Journal Entry #11

March 29, 2011

Our excursion yesterday morning could have gone better. Six others were piled into the Ashcroft’s truck, a sizable F-250, when they pulled up outside. Along with the Ashcrofts were David and Alex, completing our original group, with Sal and Kevin sitting next to them.

Salvatore Marcini’s size made his 12 gauge shot gun and .44 magnum look like children’s toys. He and Kevin Diederik are two of the very few men I can find no fault in for their absence at the gate that day. Sal is a bear of a man, but his age is showing in every gray hair that speckles his balding head and he, along with Kevin and some others, was at the opposite end of the neighborhood taking care of different matters when the attack broke out.

When the first of the gun shots cracked the air, they came running as quickly as they could, but were intercepted by some of those that had fled. It seems a few of them told Kevin and Sal to go with them, and having no idea as what the situation was, they went thinking they were needed elsewhere. They have spent every minute since then apologizing to us, regardless of our assurances to the contrary. Sal is not a quiet man by any stretch of the imagination and has shown no restraint in expressing his displeasure for Howard and a few of the others. Displeasure is too soft a word, I think.

None the less, that day is over with and this morning the seven of us were together. The whole sale destruction only worsened as we rode the mile south to the commercial square where the large chain grocer was. It’s tucked into a corner, bordered on its eastern side by the little side street on which we traveled (and that ran past our community) and on its southern edge by a large Avenue that leads into a major highway off-ramp some two hundred yards to the east. The northern edge backed into what was once a neighborhood of townhouses not dissimilar to our own, though smaller. There wasn’t much left. Uncontrolled fire had ravaged many of the concrete block buildings. We didn’t see signs of any survivors, but being this close to the main avenue and highway that bore the brunt of the mobs attack, we were neither optimistic nor eager to find any.

We made the turn into the square, to reach the front entrance of the grocer. We clearly had not been the first with this plan. The glass doors of the building had been torn down, tire marks leading into the store. Our plan had been more subtle.

We carried out our raid. Michael, Kevin and David stayed behind at the front interior of the store with the truck so they could load it as John, Alex, Sal and myself brought supplies to them. The interior was pitch-black. Near the back, it became so dark one could not see their own hand and had it not been for our familiarity of the stores lay out, we surely would have become disorganized and ineffective.

We did our task efficiently, splitting into groups of two and working from the edges of the store inward. The bombings and riots had left our state ill-supplied for some weeks and the shelves were half empty even before the power outages and roving mobs of infected. Being late to the party there was even less available. Luckily, who ever had been here before was mentally lacking in their procurement priorities and had stripped the shelves bare of Snacky-Cakes, HoHo’s and some canned goods. Sal and I took the left side, starting in the pharmacy to get various medications that some others back home needed, and other things like antibiotics. Then we worked our way through the baby isle retrieving supplies for those with young children. We made our first drop into the truck and headed back to the drink isle to get what little water was left. There wasn’t much and regrettably we had to grab some sodas, which is a good comfort food, but is not ideal as a main source of fluids. I have not yet told anyone of our Berkey filters or our plans on leaving soon.

We saw John and Alex making their second dump of supplies to the truck when the first of the infected appeared. From the rear of the store it moved towards Alex, who was laden down pushing a couple ruck sacks full of canned goods into the back of the truck. Michael was quick on the trigger and a good shot too, but failed to grasp the fact that we were indoors and the front entrance was a small space. Too many more of those and we wont have our hearing much longer. I have a feeling he understands that now.

We cut our trip short. From our past experience, there’s rarely only one of those things around and the loud report of gun fire is like a big sign saying “Hey, were over here.” Avoidance is the best policy.

We almost made it unscathed too. As we were loading the remainder of our supplies and group into the rear bed of the truck, a great many more infected bee-lined it straight at us, catching David unprepared. Thankfully, he escaped Jim’s fate and only took some minor damage to his left arm. He wasted no time giving his attacker a cranial lead implant as he slammed the cab door shut and we sped away, bumping along as Michael drove over the monsters; every seventeen-year-old kids dream apparently.

I’ll have to come back to this story later, something is happening outside.

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