Beginning of the New Beginning Vol 3, страница 1
BEGINNING OF THE NEW BEGINNING VOL 3
by W. Joe Taylor
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, events, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Except when they’re not.
I changed the names of some nice people to maintain their privacy. Or if I think someone might sue me or beat me up.
This book is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. The reader should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to his/her health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.
W. Joe Taylor
All rights reserved.
To my loving wife, for putting up with my random ideas and crazy hobbies like book writing. Thank you for allowing me to be me.
Thank you to my family and friends who gave me encouragement, as well as to everyone who supported my journey along the way.
Thank you to Jefferson from First Editing. I had no idea how bad my grip on Oxford English
was until you helped me.
A special thank you to the following individuals who participated in my Facebook survey. This book would not be as bad ass as it is without you all.
Again, I would like to remind you all I did not promise how long your character would live or how they would die. Nor did I promise if your character would be good or bad. Or how old they would be…
Chapter 1. Road to Denver.
Chapter 2. Montana.
Chapter 3. Denver.
Chapter 4. Montana.
Chapter 5. Denver.
Chapter 6. Billings.
Chapter 7. Battle of Billings. Daytime.
Chapter 8. Battle of Billings. Nighttime.
Chapter 9. Leaving Billings. Finally.
Chapter 10. Road to Wenatchee (wen-ATCH-ee).
Chapter 11. Sandpoint, Idaho.
Chapter 1. Road to Denver.
It was bitterly cold on the morning of ZP13 when Bill woke up, not necessarily for North Dakota, but compared to what he was used too. He got out of bed and checked the inside/outside temp readout. Sixty-five inside, thirty-eight degrees outside. He threw on a hoodie, started the coffee, and sat at the dinette to wait. He looked over at Charity’s bow and quiver hanging on the wall while his groggy morning thoughts wandered.
You’ve got to be shitting on my dick. A cold front must have blown in last night. Damnit, I hope it doesn’t snow early this year. We still have to cross the Rockies. Good thing I turned on the heater before bed. I wonder how everyone else fared last night. We have got to get some of them heaters Mike was talking about yesterday. Why doesn’t she use the bow anymore? Do I like caviar? Goodie, the coffee is ready.
Bill grabbed his favorite stainless-steel coffee cup and filled it up. He looked out the window. The sky was purple, and between the trees, he could see the gray light trying to break into the darkness across the horizon. The long tendril of orange that appears before the dawn hadn’t arrived yet. He saw something scamper across a tree branch and was pretty sure it was a squirrel. He felt rested. He hadn’t stopped going since day one. Even in Montgomery, he’d been busy building and fabricating.
That sure worked like I’d hoped, even though we only used it for its intended purpose once. It worked like a champ. The bad side is now we can be easily followed from the air. How am I going to fix that problem? We will have to be more careful of the route we choose.
Bill saw movement in the trees that was way bigger than a squirrel. He grabbed his Sig 556 and quickly pulled back the charging handle until he saw brass in the chamber. Then he pushed it closed again. He slipped his feet into some house shoes and opened the door very slowly. He had made sure to keep the hinges and latch well oiled since ZomPoc had started. He wanted to be able to sneak out and not get eaten. He squatted down till his butt cheek touched his right heel and stretched his left leg out till his foot touched the ground. He skipped the steps so they didn’t groan under his weight. After his right foot was on the ground, he closed the door carefully, letting the latch touch the striker plate but without latching it closed. Then he walked as slowly and as quietly as he could until he could see a little silhouette of a man. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen began to repeat in his mind. Bill paused and watched: the man was just standing there, looking around.
“Don’t move,” Bill said. “I’m not going to hurt you as long as you don’t try to hurt me. Put your hands in the air and walk towards me.”
“Please, don’t shoot. I thought you all would be asleep.”
“Just follow directions, and everything will be alright.”
Bill switched on his tactical rail light and shone it at the man’s waist. The man had his hands up, but not very high. They were even with his head, his upper arms parallel with the ground. Bill chuckled. If the man’s shirt was pulled up onto the back of his head, he could be the Great Cornholio.
“That’s close enough. Who are you, and what are you doing here?”
“My name is Shaun Lemke. I’m the park ranger. I have been watching you all since yesterday morning.”
“Cool. Why didn’t you come say hello?”
“I didn’t know if you were good people, so I stayed back in the trees, out of sight. Then I saw you had little kids with you and thought you must be all right. I just wanted to make sure that you didn’t burn down the lodge or vandalize the park. But you have all been very respectful. I heard you guys talking last night about leaving, so I left you alone.”
“Ok, I can understand that. But why the fuck are you being a creeper now?”
“Look, I really am sorry. You see, I’ve been debating with myself as to whether or not to ask you guys if I could go with you. But then I realized I really don’t want to leave this place. And you seem to have a pretty full party already.”
“Are you here all alone?”
“Yup. After everything changed, I just stuck around here. It’s pretty much all I know. There is plenty of freeze-dried food, enough to get a couple of people though the winter in case some of us got snowed in. I figured I would keep an eye on the place till the government gets back on its feet. You aren’t the first people I’ve seen here. There was a group from town that showed up last week, but I was able to run them off by wearing a bear rug. Oh, you should have seen the looks on their faces. But then, when you guys showed up, I knew that wouldn’t work.”
“My name is Bill. It’s nice to meet you, Shaun. Really, a bear rug? That shit actually worked?”
“I couldn’t believe it myself. I guess I’m lucky they didn’t just shoot me.”
“Yea, you are. Why don’t you come inside and warm up? Over breakfast, maybe I can convince you to join our crew. We have more space than you realize.”
Shaun followed Bill back to his camper, and the sky was light enough that they could see clearly now. Charity was standing at the door with her bow. She had an arrow nocked a
After pleasantries were exchanged, they went inside, and Bill offered Shaun some coffee. Bill cooked breakfast while Charity showered. Shaun sat at the dinette, and they made small talk. After breakfast, Charity took Shaun out to meet the others while Bill showered and got ready for the day.
“What’s your decision?” Cootch asked.
“I think I will go. You all are great, and it’s been pretty lonely the last two weeks here by myself.”
“Awesome. Well, we will stop over by the lodge to pick up your things, and we’ll be on our way here shortly,” said Bill.
While everyone loaded up all the freeze-dried goods into the semi’s trailer, Shaun threw his duffel bag in the back of the 4Runner and hopped into the back seat.
The convoy was on the road by nine, and they bypassed Grand Forks by using some of the smaller farm roads. The route they had chosen all the way to Denver would afford them the opportunity to avoid most thrillers. Passing back through Fargo on Interstate 29, they didn’t see anyone on top of the mall.
Four and a half hours later, they stopped for gas just south of Brookings, South Dakota. In pretty much the middle of nowhere, surrounded by hundreds of miles of flat farmland, were two gas stations across the road from each other. Sharing the parking lot of the south gas station was a fireworks warehouse painted red, white, and blue. The sign at the off ramp said the town of Colman was only two miles to the west.
“God, I love capitalism. This wouldn’t be possible without free-market competition,” Cootch said over the comms.
“I agree,” said Bill. “We’ll split up and make this stop go a lot faster.”
“With nine vehicles to fill up, that will definitely help,” Mike added.
Nine? Bill thought. The semi, my 4Runner, Q’s, Cootch’s, and Mike’s trucks. The two small RVs, the Sprinter, and the Behemoth. Holy shit, we’ve grown a lot since the beginning. No wonder no one wants to talk to us.
“Yea, I guess you’re right, Mike. Ok, everyone, you know the drill. Since we can only fill…well, four at a time this time, let’s get some clear teams together and see if there is anything useful inside the stores.”
They parked the vehicles so one was on each side of the in-ground tank access covers. Once the fill and clear teams were going, Bill called Q and Cootch over.
“Guys, I want to go inside the fireworks store and see what we can scrounge up. I’m thinking—”
“We catch the neighbor’s grass on fire?” Cootch said, interrupting.
“No. We don’t have a prom dress or a garden hose. But if we get some of them Saturn Missile things, maybe some Roman candles, we can set them up as distractions when we need to draw thrillers away from us.”
“I like where you’re going with this. We can always get out the brake cleaner and make it better!” added Q.
“Oh, man, we had some good times,” said Bill.
“We will again once we get set up in Washington,” Cootch replied.
“But like I was saying, the claymores and hand grenades are great for distracting them, but I want to save them for when we really need them. And the fireworks will draw more of them because they are longer lasting instead of just one loud bang.”
“Cool, let’s go see what we can find,” said Q.
The door on the side was locked, and Bill was about to shoot the lock when Cootch stopped him. “Here, let me. It will be much quieter this way. And besides, I don’t feel comfortable shooting at a building full of explosives.”
“Good point. Show me what you got.”
Cootch pulled a lock pick set out of his tac vest and had the door open in a matter of seconds.
“Dude, I had no idea you could do that.”
“I learned it when I was on a special investigations team. But you and I never needed to break into anything before, so it never came up.”
“That’s so cool! I think our lives just got a whole lot easier.”
There wasn’t much left in the gas stations; they had already been picked clean by whoever was left in Colman. By the time the vehicle gas tanks were full, the three guys had everything they wanted from the fireworks warehouse. It was enough to almost fill the back of Cootch’s truck bed.
“Whatcha gonna do with all that?” Papaw asked.
After Bill had explained some of his ideas, Papaw had a shit-eating grin from ear to ear.
Before they left, Bill wrote another note about where to find the new community. This time, it was on the side of the fireworks building facing the freeway, written with orange spray paint.
They got on Interstate 90 at Sioux Falls and continued their charge to the west. Dennis led them at seventy-five mph. The convoy eventually crossed the Missouri River.
A mile past the long bridge, they exited off the freeway and began heading south and west towards Denver.
A few hours after that, they stopped for another refuel in Colome, South Dakota. It was a cute little farming town that apparently had no survivors, or they’d left at the beginning of ZomPoc.
At the eastern edge of Ainsworth, Nebraska, there was a roadblock. The local survivors had blocked the road and shoulders with several combines, tractors, and various farm implements. The convoy had to turn around and find another way. Bill didn’t want to start a fight with anybody if they didn’t have to.
Dennis turned the semi left into a parking lot of a tractor supply dealership. Bill guessed it was where the equipment in the roadblock had come from. It had a dirt road that paralleled the highway and was long enough to fit the whole convoy. They got back onto the highway, headed back east, and drove one mile. They turned right onto an old dirt road and followed it south. In two miles, the road turned right, and then it was only three miles west back to the main road south of Ainsworth.
A few hundred yards from Nebraska Highway 7, Dennis told everyone that the road was blocked and that he was pretty sure there were people standing behind the vehicles. Bill told him to go ahead and stop. He was going to walk up there to have a little chat.
“Whatever you say, boss.”
“You want any backup?” Cootch asked over the helmet comms.
“Well, I want the sniper team up top, and if you want to go with me, that would be cool. I don’t want to threaten anyone yet, so let’s keep the rifles at the low ready for now.”
“Sweet, let’s do this.”
“Fellas, we’re blocked in from the rear too,” Papaw chimed in. “A couple of trucks just emerged from the dust cloud we kicked up.”
“All right, everyone on full alert. Get into your fighting positions. If we have to fight our way out, we will. Dennis, be ready push these fuckers off the road at a moment’s notice. Charity will pick up Cootch and me on the way by.”
“Uh, Bill, Tess has never pulled the trailer.”
“Well, she’s gonna learn today. It’s do or die time.”
Bill and Cootch approached the roadblock in front of them slowly, with their weapons in the open but pointed at the ground. Fifty yards out, a voice called out and told them that was far enough.
“Look, we don’t want any trouble,” Bill yelled back. “We’re just passing through. I thought we made that clear when we turned around at the other end of town.”
“Why are you here? You don’t look like the guys from Long Pine,” the man said.
“Hey, bud, I have no idea what you’re talking about. We’re from Texas. We just want to head south on that road you’re blocking, and you will never see us again.”
“Texas? What the hell are you doing in Nebraska?”
“We just rescued our friends from North Dakota. And now were going south for a bit.”
“Ah, I see. So, you really aren’t from Long Pine?”
“No, man. Seriously. We have no idea what you are talking about.”
“We figured you were trying to get in on the south side of town.”
“Oh. Nope, we are just trying to get away from here without anyone dying. That’s all we’re doing rig
The man from the roadblock stepped out from behind his truck and walked forward. His rifle was also pointed down. He had a dog with him that was mostly white, with black markings. Bill thought it looked like a pit bull. He liked pit bulls and had owned a couple in the past. The dog was wearing a K9 police collar, and it remained calm as they approached.
“I still have several rifles pointed at you, so don’t do anything stupid.”
“Well, sir, that makes two of us.”
The man stopped dead in his tracks. “What do you mean?”
“I have snipers, expert marksmen, on top of several of the campers back there, aimed at you and your guys who came up behind us. You might have us surrounded, but we have you outgunned.”
Bill walked slowly towards the man, letting his Sig hang loosely on its single point sling. He put his hands up at chest height with his palms facing forward.
“My name’s Bill. This is Cootch. Like I said, man, we’re from Texas and have no beef with y’all. We don’t want anything from your town. Will you please let us by? I promise you won’t see any of us again.”
“Name’s Justin Klitzke. I’m all that is left of what used to be the local police. Two other officers turned into one of them on day one. And the third was shot by bandits.”
“There were only four officers for the whole town?”
“Yea, it was a nice, small Midwestern town. Then, one day, these other assholes came in and started shooting up the place after they tried to ransack the grocery store.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Thanks. We’ve seen other people sneaking around, and we killed a few of them. I guess they think just ’cause the dead walk there are no rules anymore.”
“I can tell you that shit is happening all over the country. Every state we go to, we have to kill some fucking assholes that want our shit. There is no government anymore. It’s every person for themselves.”