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Author Topic: The Degenerate  (Read 8971 times)
Posts: 9326

« Reply #75 on: January 01, 2018, 01:50:54 AM »


Some people bring a knife to a gunfight and win.

Some people bring swim fins to the knife fight, watch the other idiots kill each other, then take their stuff and swim happily out of zombie range.
Posts: 7416

« Reply #76 on: January 01, 2018, 05:38:10 AM »

It's growing on me, you are certainly very disciplined and consistent
Posts: 89

« Reply #77 on: January 01, 2018, 11:16:13 AM »

Thanks, guys.  This story sometimes keeps me going on the 13 mile-a-day mail route in all weather.  It sort of grows on its own.  That's not the end of this chapter...just writing in shorter bits now.
Posts: 89

« Reply #78 on: January 15, 2018, 12:17:25 PM »

It was another cold morning as they slipped out of e truck. breathy mist exhaling from their mouths as they geared up for to move into the city.  Some of them moved to keep themselves warm as the last of them readied.

They had decided to take a route east toward a small footbridge Cliff had pointed out, suspended under the Madison Street Bridge.  James had contributed that they keep the river to one side of them so that only side of their flank would be covered.  A small bike trail ran along the river through a wide park there and it seemed like an easy way to travel with several possible exits.

Their primary goal at Kit’s command was reconnaissance.  They could devise a rescue operation one they knew what needed to be done.  Their first priority was to stay alive and rendezvous at the truck that night.  They were split into two teams in case they needed to several way, but they began together.

A strange dome shaped building sat atop the hill here like a mini observatory, except that the city lights would not have made it very useful for that purpose.  Several deer raised their heads as they passed down the frosty grass slopes toward the Rattlesnake Creek.  There were few houses where they descended and so they entered the park without incident.

The park was also still.  A few bodies lay curled up against the cold, huddled under blankets and assorted piles of clothes.  A listless, stammering corpse of a body came wandering in from town side to the south.  It paid no attention to them as it passed a ways from their party.  The group moved along without noise and by means of signaling toward the creek.  A large apartment complex stood sentinel across the creek leading down to the river.

Several large steel doorways set in cement stood barred with steel locks were set directly into the hillside.  Mist from the river cast them in an add hue that made them imagine what strange plight the survivors might be in.  James took the opportunity to move to the bank of the creek and glance down before returning to the group proper.

They passed a small bridge leading across the creek and around a bend to the apartments and followed the foot path as it went along.  Soon James spotted a small dirt path amongst the rocks on the slope of the embankment that lead under the railroad bridge.

“We could probably follow the water down to the river to keep ourselves in cover.”

Kit nodded and they continued their course.  By now Kit had James’s commitment to tactical maneuvering and was allowing him to lead them along.  He was sure footed along the uneven trail and seemed at ease.

Across the water the blue tarp campsites of a number of the ill-fated residents of Missoula were scattered amongst the willows.  The corpse of one unlucky person lay against the rocks in their path and they were all forced to move around it, over the rocks.  The town felt strange.

Their path led them out to the bank of the Clark Fork River, strewn with rocks beneath the overhanging porch of a nice hotel restaurant. 

James bent down to pick up a small fishing fly attached to a piece of line here.  Everyone looked at it as if it had some significance.

They headed west up the riverbank to come around up another small path to the bottom of the bridge.  Kit held him back to allow Ben to move first for reason that he had more experience in combat.  Ben took the role without complaint and they followed him up in a single file line.

At the top, a man against the bridge railing eating with difficulty something that seemed to extend from – it was another body.  He looked up and saw Ben; his eyes grew wide in fear.  The man seemed to be having some sort of thought process as if he had been caught guilty of something he knew was wrong and unsure how to respond.  Then he began to raise himself slowly to approach Ben as the others rounded the bridge railing behind him.  Its terror seemed to mount at the additional persons approaching him and he moved as if to bolt toward them.  Ben waited no longer and dropped the bat down on the man’s head, crumpling him in place.

Kit patted him on the shoulder then gave him a squeeze as he examined Ben’s face.  Ben was resolute and undisturbed by the necessary deed.  They moved on ahead across the bridge.

They park was filled with many denizens, most of whom were sprawled out in an attempt to sleep.  Most were fidgeting because of the cold but were too exhausted to move.  Other were huddled in groups.  The group moved silently among them following the paved foot path along the river toward the main Higgins Street Bridge near where the light had shone the night before.

A man in the parking lot was chanting to himself as if to keep off the cold, sitting upright.  “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus”’ he stammered in a kind of repetitive prayer interspersed with short and violent outburst of mere noise.  He watched them pass undisturbed in his perturbations.  His eyes seemed to bore into them.

A row of stairs lead straight up to the street but just then someone was fumbling their way down, a women covered in thick layers of clothes.  She leaned heavily against the railing and seemed not to notice them as they moved around to the vehicle entrance ramp leading up from the old building with a clock on its tower.  They emerged on the street.
Posts: 89

« Reply #79 on: January 15, 2018, 08:03:35 PM »

A row of shops lined the street across from them set beneath old apartments built in the mid twentieth century, stained with age.  The new desolate circumstances made them look even older.  The sun was peeking over the mountains to the east and beginning to cut through the thin fog around them.  The five of them stood looking up at the apartments.

“What now?” Ben asked.

“It had to have come from up in those apartments,” said Kit.

“That looks right.”

“Do we have to go in?” asked Carl.

“A couple of you will.  We’ll split up and leave two outside as we do.”

“Actually, I’d rather go in that stay out here.”

“Alright,” Kit stood planning a moment.  “Ben and Carl with me.”

“So which one of these doors takes us upstairs” asked Cliff.

“Go one by one.  Left to right, front to back,” replied Kit.  “Like we know how to do.  You’re in charge out here Cliff.”

Cliff nodded and glanced at James, who nodded back to affirm it.  The group moved toward the first store with Kit giving them hand signals on how to proceed, ordering them in house clearing procedures and teaching them as they went.  They entered a small crystal shop on the corner first and soon returned to where James and Cliff stood guard.  Next was a small costume store with most of its original wares pilfered.  They returned soon from it as well.

James touched Kit’s arm before they entered the next doo.

“This one leads downstairs to a dojo.”  He held his iron bar up for Kit to see.  “If you don’t mind, I’d like to upgrade.”


“Martial arts studio.”

Kit noticed the flyer on the door and finished processing what James was asking.  

“Oh.”  He thought for a moment.  “Carl, James wants in on this.  Wait with Cliff for just this one?”

Carl seemed almost relieved to be outside now that he had done a couple internal sweeps.  He nodded once and James took his place and they proceeded. Kit withdrew his flashlight and entered first.

The way led down a set of old wooden stairs into a painted cement room with no furnishings beside floor mats.  Kit carefully swept his flashlight around the room and through the openings between steps as they descended, keeping his gun up the whole time.  Ben followed behind him, ready for melee combat.

His flashlight landed in the far corner where a pile of humans lay curled together sleeping.  They stirred little at the light as they cuddled together for warmth.  Kit held the light on them for a moment before turning to Ben.  He signaled three in the form of a question.  Ben hissed toward the door and re-signaled up to Cliff who acknowledge with an ok sign.

The three of them moved quietly down the stairs, still sweeping but with constant surveillance of the sleeping group.  When they had secured the first room James reached up to the wall to grab a small bokken suspended on the groove of wooden wall mount—a katanakake in James’s mind.

He pulled carefully set down the angle iron and picked up the Japanese training sword with near reverence.  He moved it through his hands with honed skill, measuring its heft and balance.  Then he moved to clear himself from the others and silently made a few strokes with it in the air.  Kit remained fixed in concentration on the opening into the far room and the sleeping group but caught the smooth motions from the corner of his eye.  James felt buoyed.

Kit looked at him as if to ask if he was done.  James made a final blocking stance with the back side of the blade held against his arm and angle and then relaxed and nodded readiness with obvious pleasure in his eyes.  Kit made a perplexed squint and then returned to the part of the room he was covering.  They prepared to check the closed door behind them and Ben found it opened only into a small furnace room.  Then they moved toward the opposite wall.
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