Saturday, August 9, 2014

Part 33


We didn't talk much after that, just enough to pick up what needed picking up.  I climbed into the back of the truck inside the camper top and tried to get comfortable but wound up using my nifty night goggles that we found inside an overturned military cargo truck to write in this notebook.  Then when I was finally tired I laid down and slept.  I assume Jace did something similar but he hasn't looked too good all day today.

Around mid-day I asked him, "Teach me to drive?"  I figured if I knew how to drive he wouldn't have to do it all and could maybe get some rest.  So much for my trying to be nice.

He looked like he suddenly got sick to his stomach.  "Are you kidding?!  You'd need a booster seat to see over the steering wheel.  I doubt you can even reach the pedals.  I said I would teach you what you needed to survive, not how to kill yourself and me along with you."

I could have handled it if he had been kidding but he wasn't.  He was completely serious and I got completely hacked off.  I gave him the silent treatment but the jerk didn't seem to mind at all.  I probably would have made more of a point if I had refused to cook but since I wanted to eat someone had to do it and that someone seemed to be me.  Sucker.

As we drove along the interstate was still pretty clear though there were more signs of neglect the further north we went.  When we hit Madison you could say we hit what looked like the end of the world.  The interstate literally just disappeared.  I don't know what blew up but it was huge.  We had to turn west and then tried to pick the interstate back up by going across that piece of land between Lake Mendota and Lake Menona but we got half way across and it turned out to be the western boundary of whatever had gone boom.

We back tracked again and after looking on a map decided to just go around Madison completely by following the loop highway.  Geez.  It was bad.  Really bad.

We saw people ... uninfected people ... but I'm not sure they were still all human.  They looked like the homeless people in the city during the middle of winter after gang members had messed around with them.  They scurried around pushing carts and wheelbarrows, digging through what remained of the city; human cockroaches feeding off of anything they could find.  It was like having a flashback of St. Louis.

As bad as I felt I could tell Jace was shook.  I think it was the kids that did it.  Shades of Sammy and John-John and all that carp.  It was kinda strange but everyone ran from the truck instead of towards it like I expected.

Before I could ask why Jace said, "They must have had a bad experience with people that still have vehicles.  Maybe the military.  Maybe gangs."

I snorted.  "Or maybe someone is just trying to set themselves up like some kind of warlord or king.  Get a load of that."

I pointed to what I had seen and Jace looked ready to hurl.  His knuckles were blue white where he was gripping the steering wheel but he kept going and never slowed down.

A handpainted sign had been nailed up near the hanging corpses that were swinging in the rancid breeze and it read, "By order of the Mayor of Madison."  Each corpse had a sign hung around its neck.  Most of them said "Looter" though one of them said "Treason."  The one that got me though was the one that said "Necrophilia."

"Jace?  Does that mean what I think it means?"

He shuddered.  "Stop asking so many questions DeeDee and just keep your eyes open for trouble."

I took that as a yes.  Its not like I don't know there are some sick people in this world.  I pal'd around with a few of them in the city.  But there is sick and then there is sick.

It took hours to get out of Madison.  We kept having to back track and try a different road.  It was like being in a disaster movie; whole buildings had fallen over blocking roads and making them impassable.  Overpasses and bridges were just rubble like somebody had upended a bucket of lincoln logs.  Radio and cell towers were like scattered tinker toys.  Eventually though we made it to this place called Devils Lake State Park.  We were several miles north of Madison and needed to go east to hook back into the interstate but it was too dark to go on.  Jace was frustrated and walked off to ... uh ... water a tree ... and left me to watch the truck.  I guess someone had been watching us because a girl came out of the woods and said, "You missed them.  Everyone left last week."

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