TNW – Day 49

This is the ninth chapter.
Start at the beginning or read the previous chapter.

Copyright © 2014 by Christian Bergman, All rights reserved.

All people, places, and events are fictional … except when they aren’t.

 
The Nudist War – Day 49

She connected with him, wrapped the blanket around his arms, and held him tight so that he could not move as her momentum pushed them both over the railing. As they fell, she stared into his eyes and studied his face. Her lips met his.

• • •

Eddy woke up. He turned over and looked at the time. “1:30 AM. Hmm, that’s strange,”he thought. “Usually it’s closer to 5:00 AM when the dreams end.” He lay there a while, deep in thought. “Guess I should call Heinrich this morning and give him an update on the fuel situation.” He set the alarm for 5:00 AM and then rolled over and went back to sleep.

• • •

Eddy and Jess sat in front of the large wall-mounted monitor in the break room and adjusted the teleconferencing camera so that they were in the center of the picture. Heinrich Mueller’s austere face glared back at them on the screen. They had just given him the information on the amount of fuel stored at Galveston airport and were discussing the logistics of delivering live Zs to him.

“I can’t emphasize enough the importance of delivering the specimens alive and healthy. You must do everything in your power to assure this. We need healthy, robust specimens – the best you can find.”

Eddy and Jess nodded their understanding. “What methods have you used to catch live Zs in the past?” Jessica asked.

Herr Mueller squirmed uncomfortably before the camera. Jess repeated the question. “I am sorry, but you will be the first,” Heinrich responded.

“Oh sweet Jesus, are you shitting us?” Jess swore at him.

Heinrich Mueller began to say something …

AHOOGA … AHOOGA … AHOOGA

THE STAIRWELL MOTION DETECTORS,” Eddy yelled at the top of his voice in order to be heard over the alarm. He hung up on Heinrich in mid-sentence and immediately brought the stairwell security cameras up on the monitor. What he saw was terrifying; the stairwell was packed with naked Zs running up the stairs toward them.

AHOOGA … AHOOGA … AHOOGA

JESS, GET THE WEAPONS OUT OF THE CLOSET AND GET THEM LOADED.” He dialed MAN’s residence two floors below on six. No answer.

AHOOGA … AHOOGA … AHOOGA

Eddy dialed again. Still no answer. He tried the fifth floor residence. No answer there either.

AHOOGA … AHOOGA … AHOOGA

He dialed the phone up on the roof hoping to reach the armed spotters stationed there. Nothing. Dialed again. Nothing.

AHOOGA … AHOOGA … AHOOGA

TAKE THESE,” Jess yelled as she tossed Eddy first one shotgun then another, then another.

AHOOGA … AHOOGA … AHOOGA

GO FIND TOM AND CINDY. WE NEED THEIR HELP,” Eddy yelled. He checked another set of security cameras. The Zs were now at the seventh floor. A quick check of the other cameras indicated that the stairwell was packed with nudists all the way down to the ground level.

AHOOGA … AHOOGA … AHOOGA

The room suddenly went black. Even the large monitor which should have been on the UPS power circuit went dark. Eddy dropped to the floor with his back against the wall and switched on the flashlight mounted on the shotgun. He switched on the laser sight. His hands were shaking as he aimed the shotgun at the door.

AHOOGA … AHOOGA … AHOOGA

“Where the hell is Jess? Where is everyone else?” he asked aloud.

AHOOGA … AHOOGA … AHOOGA

He could see faces illuminated by his flashlight through the small window on the stairwell door. BAM, BAM, BAM, BAM, the nudists were hammering the door with their fists and ramming the door with their shoulders.

AHOOGA … AHOOGA … AHOOGA

The door exploded open and suddenly nudists were boiling out like angry killer bees from a disturbed nest. Eddy aimed at the nearest one and fired … BOOM. As it fell he aimed at the one behind it … BOOM. And the one behind it, and the one behind it, and the one behind it, and the one behind it. Click.

AHOOGA … AHOOGA … AHOOGA

He picked up the second shotgun, without a flashlight, and began firing wildly in the general direction of the door. His fear was so intense that he felt like he would vomit at any minute. Click. Out of ammo.

AHOOGA … AHOOGA … AHOOGA

He grabbed the third and final shotgun. “Jess, MAN, Tom, Cindy, where are you?” he thought. He fired. Again and again he fired. The muzzle flash illuminated the scene in front of him like the strobe light on some macabre disco floor. Naked figures moved toward him in stop-action, clambering over the dead bodies littering the floor, slip-sliding in their spilled blood. Click. Out of ammo.

AHOOGA … AHOOGA … AHOOGA

In total blackness he felt his way along the wall and scooted backwards on the floor on his butt. The urge to vomit was growing stronger and stronger. His back hit another wall. He was literally backed into a corner. He fumbled in his pockets for additional shells and attempted to load the remaining shotgun, but he was shaking so badly that he was unable to find the loading slot in the underside.

AHOOGA … AHOOGA … AHOOGA

“Maybe if I just sit here in the dark and don’t make a sound they won’t find me,” he thought to himself. He could hear them scratching and sniffing their way along the floor searching for him.

AHOOGA … AHOOGA … AHOOGA

Sitting there in total darkness, he felt something touch his shoulder. He tried to back away, but the wall kept him from moving.

AHOOGA … AHOOGA … AHOOGA

That something now grabbed his shoulder firmly. Eddy sat stone cold still. “Go away. Just go away. Please go away. Please go away.” he pleaded over and over in his mind.

AHOOGA … AHOOGA … AHOOGA

Whoever or whatever it was now grabbed his shoulder even more firmly and began to shake it.

AHOOGA … AHOOGA … AHOOGA

“Eddy wake up. Wake up and turn off your alarm.” The shaking got more violent. “WAKE UP!

Eddy struggled to open his eyes. Jess’s face slowly came into focus looking down at him. “Your alarm’s been going off for five minutes. Wake up!”

“Jess, thank god you’re here. Where were you? What took you so long? Where’s MAN?”

“What do you mean where was I? I was in bed, asleep. Where did you think I was?” She paused … “How should I know where MAN is?”

“Mmmmffff. Never mind … ” the fog in Eddy’s brain started to lift, ” … dreaming.” He reached over and turned off the alarm. Then he paused to think … “I need to call Heinrich Mueller at WHO and give him an update on the fuel availability.”

“Give me a minute to get dressed, and I’ll join you.”

“Yeah, I’ll need a few minutes myself.”

• • •

Eventually Eddy stumbled into the break room and made two cups of coffee. Jess joined him shortly. They drank their coffee in silence, Eddy’s hand shook as he raised his cup to his lips. Jess turned on the large wall-mounted monitor and adjusted the teleconferencing camera so that they were in the center of the picture.

Heinrich Mueller’s austere face greeted them on the screen. Eddy proceeded to give him the information on the amount of fuel stored at Galveston airport and told him of the loss of life involved in getting him that information. Heinrich offered his condolences. Eventually the conversation changed to logistics.

“What kind of plane are you thinking of sending? Is it a cargo plane or a passenger plane?” Eddy asked.

“We have an Ilyushin 76 at our disposal. It will be able to fly from Zürich to Galveston with a refueling stop in Gander, Newfoundland, which thankfully remains disease free. The IL-76 will be able to land and take off easily from the Galveston airport and is capable of handling an ISO shipping container. We recommend you consider this as a possible shipping option for the specimens. We have used shipping containers quite successfully for catching, holding, and shipping specimens in the past. We do recommend some form of insulation on the inside or outside of the shipping container, plus some kind of padding on the inside. We don’t want them to succumb to hypothermia.”

“Thank you for the suggestion. We will think on that. Auf Wiedersehen, Henrich.”

“Good day, Edmund, Jessica.”

• • •

Tom and Cindy wandered into the break room. “No dreams last night?” Tom asked.

“Dreams yes, screams no,” Eddy answered. He took another sip of coffee holding his cup in both trembling hands.

You look like hell,” Cindy said.

“Good morning to you too,” Eddy replied.

“I think the dreams are beginning to interfere with his sleep,” Jessica suggested.

“Ungh,” Eddy agreed.

“Hey, why don’t you go take a nap for a couple more hours,” Jess said.

“Yeah, I think I will,” Eddy answered and stumbled off to his room.

• • •

When Eddie told MAN about Heinrich’s suggestion regarding the shipping container, MAN suggested they take a trip out to the Port of Galveston to scout it out. Weapons in tow, they hopped into MAN’s pickup truck and headed over to the container facility. Once inside they drove around for several minutes until they found the area where empty shipping containers were stored. MAN parked the truck and they sat for several minutes in the safety of the cab surveying what was available.

“What if,” MAN began,”we arrange shipping containers into a ‘V’ to act as a funnel leading toward a single shipping container at the end. The final shipping container would be our ‘capture and transport’ container. We can outfit the entrance with a steel sliding plate that we can drop into position once the Zs are inside. We can insulate and pad it, put in air holes for ventilation.”

“How do we know they won’t just climb or jump over the sides of the ‘V’?”

“We can stack the sides two or three containers high.”

“Okay. How do we get them into the ‘V’ in the first place?”

“Bait.”

“Bait?”

“Human bait,” Man replied.”We need to find a way to lure them into the container. We have them chase human bait.”

“What? How?” Eddy asked.

“Come. I’ll show you.”

They get out of the pickup and walk over to an open container.

MAN begins, “suppose that this container is our trap. We would stack containers on either side funneling in toward it, there and there .” He points his arms away from the entrance of the container forming a ‘V’. Next he walks into the shipping container. “Behind the doors here“, he points to the roof, “we cut a slot that we can drop the steel plate through. Once the Zs are inside and the drop plate is in place we can close the container doors at our convenience.” He walks to the far back of the container. Eddie follows. “Here,” he points at the roof, “we put in an escape hatch. Through it we hang a rope with a carabiner attached. The other end is connected to a crane. The ‘bait’, wearing a climbing harness, runs to the end of the container, connects the carabiner, and is whisked away to safety by the crane. Of course, we have a hatch door which we then close and latch shut. So, the ‘bait’ runs to the far back of the container and connects to the carabiner. The Zs chase in after him and are trapped by the falling steel plate. The ‘bait’ is whisked to safety by the crane and the hatch door is closed and latched shut.”

“Easy peasy,” Eddy replied.

“Let’s get back and I’ll have my people start work on it immediately,” MAN turned and walked out of the container toward his pickup. As he crossed the threshold of the container and stepped outside, he was immediately jumped by multiple nudists. MAN fought back, emptying his side arm in the process. Then he went for his knife and managed to cut several of the nudists badly. In the end there were just too many. MAN and at least a dozen nudists lay dead in a pool of blood as more nudists began to feed on them.

Eddy couldn’t believe what he was seeing. “Oh shit, oh shit.” He crawled back to the farthest darkest corner of the shipping container trying to make himself look as invisible as possible. His only hope was to remain hidden in the shadows until they were gone. The feeding frenzy seemed to go on for ever. Eddy realized that he had wet his pants and hoped the smell would not attract them to him. Eventually with nothing left to eat, the Zs collected the bones and left.

Eddy didn’t know how long he sat in the back of the shipping container. Minutes? Hours? When he finally got the courage to move, a silhouette appeared backlit in the container entrance. It moved toward him into the shadows. It appeared to be holding something. As it got closer, Eddy recognized the form. It was the girl … and she was holding … the blanket. His grandmother’s blanket. No, not just holding it, offering it it to him. As she walked closer, Eddy cowered farther back into the container until he could go no farther. She continued to advance offering the blanket to him. He closed his eyes in terror.

Long minutes went by. Nothing happened.

He summoned the courage to open his eyes again. In front him stood the beautiful green-eyed female with the long red hair. She sat down slowly on the floor of the container. She scrutinized him for many long minutes as if deciding what to do with him. One by one other Zs came into the container and sat down behind her. She continued to study him. Soon the container was packed full of Zs.

“I guess it worked,” Eddy chuckled to himself despite his terror. “We have a container full of Zs.”

The red-haired female began crawling toward him on her hands and knees. She crawled to within inches of his face. Eddy closed his eyes again. Her lips touched his. When he opened his eyes again she was gone.

The remaining Zs lunged at him.

This time Eddy screamed.

• • •

“Was that Eddy?” Cindy asked Tom as they sat reviewing the security cam videos.

“Sounded like him,” Tom replied.

“Oh, not again,” Jess said out loud as she drank her coffee in the break room.

Knock knock knock “Are you okay in there?” Tom, Cindy, and Jess had converged on Eddy’s room.

“Yeah, I’m okay,” Eddy replied. As he lay in bed he realized he had wet himself in the non-dream world too. He got up slowly, exhausted, put on a robe and went to take a shower. He would worry about changing the sheets later. In the hallway he caught up with Jess and the others. “Sorry to disturb you.”

“Sadly, we’re getting used to it,” Tom joked. “I just feel sorry for you. It’s taking a toll on you.”

“Yeah, well, it is what it is.” He stumbled past in the direction of the shower.

• • •

Tom and Cindy leisurely wandered back to their task of reviewing the security cam videos. Soon Jess had joined them.

“Have you had a chance to review the garage video from Saturday, the day you arrived? There was a Z feeding frenzy going on and I need to know if we recognize any of the individuals.”

“Not yet.” Tom pulled up the recording of the security cam feed for Saturday. “Any idea what time?”

“Sometime after noon. One-ish maybe?”

“One-ish it is.” Tom typed in the time and they watched the feed pop up on the screen. The garage was empty. At the corner of the screen a hard rainfall was visible on the street outside the garage. Tom turned up the volume and the downpour was plainly audible. Tom jumped ahead ten minutes. Nothing. Another ten minutes. Nothing. Another ten minutes. The screen displayed a group of nudists, hunched over something.

“Back it up 10 minutes, we’ll watch it from there.”

Nothing occurred for the first few minutes. Then one by one Zs ran into the garage, shaking the water off; a few, a half-dozen, a dozen, maybe more. Then two more nudists came in dragging a third who was struggling violently. The rest of the nudists attacked the unlucky Z, amidst the sounds of screams, grunts, and growls. The screaming was short lived. What remained was the sound of flesh tearing and chewing with the occasional grunt or growl. The sound of rain falling heavily at the edge of the field of view provided an acoustic backdrop.

The Z feeding frenzy was over in a few minutes. Some of the Zs took the opportunity to defecate and urinate before the pack left the garage and headed back out into the rain.

“Did you notice anyone familiar?” Jess asked.

“Not me,” Tom replied.

“Me neither,” Cindy chimed in.

“Okay, document the individuals as best you can. Check the other cams; try to determine where they came from and where they went,” Jess requested.

• • •

After drying off, getting dressed, and airing out his cot, Eddy decided to wander down and talk to MAN. He pounded loudly on the sixth floor stairwell door before unlocking it and entering. “ANYONE HOME?” he yelled. “HELLO? MAN?”

“Edmund is that you?” came booming down the hallway. “Come on in.”

Eddy walked down the hallway into what was now the kitchen area.

“Want a beer,” MAN asked.

“Sure, MAN, er, Matt,” Eddy replied. “Thanks. Where’s Maggie? Thought sure she would have flashmobbed me by now.”

“She’s up on the roof with Maxine and Wolf. So what’s on your mind?”

“A couple of things: I want to know what you saw on the videos from the Seaside and second to tell you about the dream I just had.”

“Let’s hear the dream first,” MAN replied.

He listened intently as Eddie described the dream. “Well for one thing,” MAN observed, “I definitely wouldn’t have gone anywhere without a security detail, so I wouldn’t have gotten jumped, but I do like the idea of how to set up the containers. You got all that from a dream, eh?”

“I guess so. I mean, I haven’t really thought of it before. Besides you were the one who came up with it, in the dream that is.”

“Pretty good for a dream. Congratulations. I think we’ve got a plan. I’ll get with my folks later this afternoon.”

“Okay, then tell me about the videos.”

“I’ll do better than that, I’ll show you.” MAN led him over to a computer screen and brought up the first security camera. “This one is looking due north.”

“Holy shit.” The scene Eddy looked upon showed hundreds, maybe thousands of nudists converging on the Seaside from the north. He watched as each of the three perimeter explosive barricades was detonated in succession. They kept coming. The scene more or less repeated on each of the other security cameras. He watched as Zs taken out by gunfire from above, were attacked by their companions and stripped of their flesh. He watched a mob of Zs converge on one of the second-floor balconies using the living bodies of other Zs as a step ladder to reach the second floor. He watched them rip the balcony railing down and begin pushing the appliances – used to blockade the sliding glass doors – onto the ground. He watched them rip the plywood covering off of the sliding glass doors and smash through the glass. He watched the horde of nudists funnel in through the glass doors into the Seaside. As he watched, he saw bodies thrown off the roof and consumed as soon as they hit the ground. Eventually the machine-gun fire stopped. Eventually the screams stopped. And then it was over. Like an army of ants, the nudist horde drained out of the Seaside and streamed southwest along the beach toward Mexico.

“I’ve got them welding the elevator doors shut today,” MAN said as he turned off the video screen.”We just finished running cable and installing the military radio antennas on the roof. I’ll have men posted up there by the end of the day.”

“That definitely wasn’t the local crowd,” Eddy noted.

“No, most likely a swarm from the north. Change of season must be driving them south.”

“Let’s hope we don’t run up against them again anytime soon.”

“Agreed.” They finished their beers and Eddy headed back upstairs. Even though it was only late afternoon, Eddy was exhausted and needed desperately to get some sleep. He put new sheets on his cot, got undressed, crawled into bed and fell immediately asleep.

• • •

Eddy woke up, rolled over, and looked at the time. 11:55 PM. Rolled back, closed eyes, fell back to sleep.

• • •

She was in the room, of this he was certain. “How did she get here? No alarms went off,” Eddy pondered to himself. The room was dark, quiet, but he knew it was her. He forced himself to lay still, motionless, summoning all of his non-visual senses. He listened intently to every creak, every scuff. He could hear her bare feet touch the floor and then lift away. He held his breath and listened acutely for her inhalations, her exhalations. He smelled the air in slow deep breaths, pulling it through his nostrils, searching for her scent. Every olfactory nerve tingled with anticipation. She was here, yet he dared not move, dared not twitch, dared not shout or cry out. She was here.

He felt her breath against his cheek. He heard her sniffing his face, his hair. Despite the total blackness of the room, he was able to visualize her every aspect with his remaining senses. She was standing next to him now.

A light touch on his shoulder, fingertips lingering on his arm, he felt her hand in his, fingers intertwined. She squeezed his hand; not hard but caringly, lovingly. She stayed there seemingly forever.

“Tomorrow.” Her lips met his. He was alone again. Sleep.

• • •

>> NEXT: TNW – Day 50

One thought on “TNW – Day 49

Leave a comment ... or else ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s