Huh. What do you know, I didn't have to decide after all. They left me. They just flat out left me behind. I don't think Doc meant to but he was kinda busy getting chewed on. I know he was a creep and all but he was nice in his own way in the beginning so I put him out of his misery. I might be a terrible shot but I've developed really muscular arms and a good swing. Better than I ever had when I was playing softball at school.
My weapon of choice is an aluminum baseball bat that has a couple of round training weights glued to the end. All you have to do is pop the skull or take out the heart by crushing the rib cage. I suppose a sledge hammer works too but it doesn't feel as right in my hands as the bat does. The do-hicky-ma-jigger on the end of the bat means that even if your hands get slick from sweat or other stuff the bat won't go flying away. I lost two hammers that way - nearly hit Moses with one of them and boy was he hacked - before I figured out a bat would work much better.
No matter what you're swinging though you gotta be quick because the infecteds heal ... and I mean heal fast, and from things they shouldn't be able to heal from. I think that is why they are always hungry. They have to burn up a lot of energy doing that healing thing. I've seen them eating the covers off a leather chair. They'll eat grass mats. They'll even eat cotton clothes ... not synthetic ones though. Anything that used to be a live something or other they'll eat.
The mess the infecteds make - their waste - smells sooooo bad when it is fresh. But it is so dry when it comes out it decomposes fast and stops smelling or I'd have been puking every moment that passed for the last year. So if you can smell the mess the infecteds make then you know they've been in an area real recently; within the last twelve hours or so.
They're messes have made most of the water sources we used to have too dangerous to drink. You gotta be real careful about what you eat too. Soap and water or bleach and water if you got it. If not, boil it. You keep your utensils and drinking bottle clean or else. Infected e.coli is a really hard way to go. It didn't happen to anyone in our group but when we cross paths with other groups we share news and gossip and we've heard stories.
Like I said, infecteds need to eat and they'll eat almost anything that used to be live ... even carrion. But they prefer the live something or others. The feral dogs and cats that are left in the city are mean but cautious. They've gotten good at hiding and usually the only reason you know they are there is if they attack you first or you feel their eyes watching you as you go through their territory. Believe it or not the infecteds have gotten to most of the rats too ... when the rats haven't attacked them first. Don't hack off a rat pack. Especially not one that has started to consider people shaped things as a food source. And never go below ground. Not even the puss brains go down there. I don't know if that is true of every place but it is certainly true of this city.
The bigger something is the more likely the puss brains are to be attracted to it. Before the electric went out there was a youtube of some puss brains attacking a herd of elephants. I never want to see anything like that again. It gave me the runs. It even made Sherry gag.
And just for chucks and giggles the weirdos who made the whatever it is that causes the infection that makes the puss brains made it so the older the infecteds are ... or I mean the longer they've been infected ... the faster they heal. Their bones and connective tissues do anyway - skin, muscle, tendons, and that sort of thing. Some stuff doesn't ... like eyes. Gross. Alot of them look like they've got mange too. And alot of them have fingernails that are missing. Doc said it was because they weren't getting the right nutrition for their condition and that it would eventually kill all of them. It's always good to have hope. And if they get busted up bad enough but not killed, when they heal it is like a broken toy that doesn't get glued back together right. I've seen some really freaky looking and moving puss brains. And right now I don't want to think about that too much. I'm kinda upset enough as it is.
My feelings are hurt that Sherry would just dump me like she did but I'm thinking maybe she thought I was dead or bit up ... not salvageable at that point which is what Moses used to call members of our group that got the infection passed along to them. I wouldn't blame her if she did believe that. But if it had been her I would have made sure to put her out of her misery. I wouldn't have left her to wander around as a puss brain for who knows how long.
By rights I should be chewed to ribbons but I fell through the floor where it was being repaired before things went to heck in a hand basket. It knocked the wind out of me and hurt like you figured getting your boobs wracked would, but it also meant the puss brains were a floor behind me and since they couldn't move too fast on stairs - the ones that cornered us acted like they had inner ear issues - I started running.
I didn't stop running until I was as far away from the developing horde as I could get. Not coincidentally I'm pretty sure I'm heading in the right direction to go home. I also got to one of our group's caches before any of the others did. They'll get around to it eventually but I'll be long gone by then and so will most of what was in the pipe; a big PVC pipe that was capped on both ends. Except for the booze; they can have that. And the cigs. In the past I've tried both to see if it would make me feel any better like the others made it seem like it did them; the booze just gave me a headache and queasy stomach and the cigs stole my breath to run. So, no booze and no cigs. Wasted weight in my backpack and this thing is heavy enough as it is. Well, except for the Everclear but that isn't for drinking; it is for sterilizing stuff. Doc used to use it to sterilize his medical stuff or what he used as he medical stuff because he said nothing survives a 24 hour soak in Everclear. The smell alone makes me tend to believe him.
Ravioli, potted meat, two canned hams, some fruitcocktail, beanee weenees, and some other canned junk should hold me for a while. Sherry also taught me about some weeds that can be eaten. I recognize them but I keep forgetting the names. I nibbled on some wild ruffage last night to keep things moving because that canned stuff totally kills my digestive track. TMI but true.
I shouldn't feel as good as I do but ... well ... I do. For one thing I've made killer time today. I found these really cool inline skates and they've been as good as a bike. Even better because I can maneuver with them better than I could a bike. And I only took one header when I hit a crack in the side walk running - er, skating - from a group that had marked a whole city block as their territory since the last time we passed through there. Luckily in addition to the skates I found the knee and elbow pads and a helmet at the same time. It was in this store that sold sports and exercise equipment. I went in there looking for some tape for my bat handle. I walked out with some clean clothes - totally rocking the sports bra thing - a new rain proof jacket with a hood, and a couple of other odds and ends that I found back in the camping area. The place was a wreck but I also managed to grab some first aid junk and some thirst quencher gum and some of those whacked out energy bars. Mom would have had a kitten over the number of carbs in these things but hey, a girl needs some energy if she is going to run ... or skate ... away from the puss brains.
I try and balance eating the "carb bars" and the "protein bars" because too many carbs and I get tired, too many proteins and my kidneys feel like someone kicked them. The carb bars have a lot of sugars in them which is why I want to take a snooze after they run out. Doc says the protein bars are hard on people's waste disposal system when they don't get enough water to help process them through. I guess I learned something from Doc after all.
And I'm jazzing on one of those five-hour energy drinks. I need to sleep but I can't afford to, not tonight anyway. I couldn't find a real secure place so I've got to be my own guard since I don't have anyone to share the job with. If the map I found in the bus station is right as soon as I get on the other side of the warehouse district I should be real near one of the bridges. The question is whether I can get across the bridges on this side of the city. The ones on the other side were blown up by the soldiers or something like that and another one fell down when a barge hit one of the those things that hold the bridge up out of the river.
I've seen the bridges though not up close. Moses always said it was a waste of time and energy to go that way because even if we could figure out a way to get across the broken bridge spans people on the other side of the river didn't want us and would shoot us to keep us bottled up with the puss brains. In the beginning that was true, Sherry and I saw it happen before we joined Moses' group. It was so bad that people just stopped trying to get across. But I figure enough time has passed that surely they wouldn't care about one girl wanting to go home. It isn't like I expect anyone to feed me or anything. I just want to go home one more time.