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White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Stories from our readers.

Moderator: wa5

Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:51 am

Turn onto the back road that bypassed about two km of stalled traffic, I picked my way carefully through the few stalled cars on the street. No monsters here, too far from the fresh water near the bridge. Even though it was another hot day, I kept the windows closed. The Falcon coupe had frames glass, even in the up position, it probably wasn't that secure against a determined monster.

Within a few minutes, I was passing under the huge concrete arch that was Stockton Bridge, Needing to turn to my left, to cross the river, I first had to go right, then do a tight U turn, before entering the only clear lane available, Travelling in the wrong direction across the bridge, only about five or six miles from my base.

As I was making the U turn, easing the big Ford around being careful not to scrape those big black flanks on the jagged wrecks that had been pushed out of the way by me a few weeks earlier, something terrible happened.

Almost through the turn, I began to choke, to gag, I fought to keep my breakfast down. For one moment, I had no idea what idea what was going on. The understanding of what was happening hit me just as hard as the fetid stanch had. I had to move and move fast.

Flooring the big coupe, I needed fresh air, and I needed it fast. Cranking down the drivers window as I climbed the bridge, I made it to the top of third gear, the big Cleveland howling, bellowing that basso induction roar that seemed unique to these motors, I must have been doing almost one hundred miles per hour as I topped the bridge (I take it back, this thing would murder a Camry). Blessed fresh air blasted in the open window, I was safe. For a moment there I thought I might die, Thank goodness for the clean fresh breeze that always seemed to blow at the top of the bridge.

Realizing the lunacy of travelling way faster than my eyes could see, I applied the brakes, The Falcon washed off speed quickly, for a forty year old car, she sure had good brakes. I went back to my usual speed of around 40kph (25mph) as I descended the North side of the arch.

During all the excitement, Dog had been laying on the black vinyl passengers seat, and had hardly moved a muscle, seemingly immune to the poison gas that had materialised at the bottom of the bridge.

Is there anything worse than a dog fart in a closed car?

"You rotten dog", he gave me his best "who, me"? look and resumed looking out of the window as I gave that beast with the foul innards a pat on the head.

We drove past the Pink Charger, sitting where I had placed it, near the bottom of the bridge, such a shame to leave that lovely car sitting out in the elements. It really bugged me to see it there, it was the sporty two door version of my Grandfathers car that was sitting safe in my shed at home.

My half formed plan had been to pick up Mikes shooting irons, get the interceptor and smite the bad guys in the post apocalyptic wasteland. Like an older slightly more portly and much more myopic Mel Gibson. But Mel's enemies had the good grace to stick near decent roads that were accessible to an XB Falcon GT hardtop. My bad guys had inconveniently set up camp on soft sand, a place this big black beast could never hope to go. I needed a better plan.
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Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:32 am

Taking notice of the stalled cars as I cruised by. The first few possibilities were a bust. As I slowed, my window still open a few scant inches to rid the cabin of what remained of Dogs curse, I heard the screams and howls of many monsters. Keep driving, if I didn't find anything beforehand, the Army trucks at the blockade near the airport were 4x4s, I felt sure that one of those would suit my purpose. I turned down the old road, avoiding the blocked main road. The blockade less than ten minutes away.

I kept a keen eye out for something suitable as I cruised along Fullerton Cove Road. A few possibilities but they all turned to nothing, Some had been standing for a month with their doors ajar, The two I thought might have been ok and risked getting out of my safe haven for, were no good, one had a fridge in the back and had flattened the battery, the other had no keys. The only other 4x4 that might have been ok, had been pushed into a drain by some damned fool in a Volvo loader. Dog looked at me quizzically as I called spoke out loud, calling myself a bloody idiot.

As I approached the roundabout at Williamtown, I noticed a lot of monsters. They were grouped around the big 20 foot drain that ran adjacent to the road, but some way off it. Given we were in high summer, I couldn't imagine there was a lot of water remaining. on the opposite side of the drain were paddocks where cattle grazed, , I didn't have time or the opportunity to take a close look to see if any remained. I suspected the cattle that were trapped in those paddocks were a major reason why the monsters were so thick in this area. but where had they come from? The area had been mostly clear of them last time I came through.

My answer came as I passed the remains of the blockade. The high fence protecting the RAAF base and airport was down, hundreds of infected lay broken and crushed by those behind pushing to get out. Many more were milling around the area, strike that, they had began sprinting, hunting their prey. Their "prey" floored it.
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Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:09 am

Coming up on the roundabout, I had a choice, turn left towards the entrance to the RAAF base and ultimately Medowie, to the supermarket that had supplied the crew of the Drake. Or straight ahead, toward my home and eventually a impassable roadblock.

I really don't know why I chose to go straight ahead, even now I believe that my chances of finding an appropriate vehicle would have been better had I chosen "left".

My home lay about six or seven kilometres further up the road, My parents place was much closer. About a kilometre North from the roundabout, on the right side of the road, the paddocks behind their home gave me a roundabout way to Owens'. I was banking on the shed, behind the house still being there, My Grandfathers other car, his "fishin wagon" an old Land Rover was stored there, It still ran last time I checked, The battery and fuel from the interceptor would be enough to revive it.

As I trundled down the side road that ran to their home, mindful that the group of monsters would be on their way, I discovered that nothing had survived the plane crash that had occurred here at the beginning of the year. The huge Airbus 380 had wiped my childhood home from the face of the earth. what hadn't been bulldozed by the falling plane, had been burned by the resultant fire.

Thankfully, the area around my Parents home had always been occupied by "old Fords" cattle. The short grass in those paddocks had stopped the fire spreading. With the pursuing mob about one kilometre behind me, opened old Fords farm gate. Closing it behind me, I made a bee line for his farm shed,

The shed had three walls and was open on the eastern side, its contents couldn't be seen from the main road to its west. As I wheeled the Falcon round, planning to hide the big noisy car there, I came face to face with old Ford, reclined back against the "good tractor" his dog, a red kelpie, also called "Dog", laying faithfully at his feet. Both long dead. His .22 rifle laying at his feet. The site his me like a hammer blow, I'd liked the cranky old bastard, he was a good old bloke.

The Falcon made ticking sounds as it cooled. Dog went to investigate the corpses, I called him away and headed for the house. it was about midday.

Knowing the house wouldn't be locked, it was never locked, Old Ford reckoned he didn't even know where the house keys were, I went in, calling Dog behind me. He sniffed around, I didn't go off at him for marking his territory, what did it matter, I doubt Ford would have cared, his Dog lived inside and by the smell, had done the same thing many times. Old Fords Wife, Nel, would have had a fit, but she had passed twenty years earlier.

I could hear them now, coming, growling, yelling, squealing. I had to stay here, quiet til they passed, got tired of the hunt and returned to their water hole.

I went to the fridge in the back room, Fords' beer fridge. knowing full well it would be well stocked. I grabbed a couple of bottles and retreated to the lounge that sat near the fridge. Dog lapped at the water in other Dogs bowl, and nosed at the dry biscuits in its twin.

The beer was cool, though obviously not cold, the fridge had been dead for a month. The first one barely touched the sides and I swear it was the finest brew I had ever tasted. The second one I nursed a little longer, as I thought on my friend, laying up against the "good tractor" in the shed.
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Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:35 am

"Old Ford" had been running the dairy farm that surrounded my family home for all my life and most of his. The Farm had been in his Family for four generations. Sadly he was bound to be the last. Even before the K, he was the last. His children just weren't interested, a little older than me, the twin Brothers had attended university and moved to Sydney, both working in the financial sector, According to my Brother in law, who was a very big wheel in those circles, "they did ok".

I'd been the annoying neighbour kid that the seemingly grumpy old bloke and his lovely wife had looked out for, Growing up I'd spent a fair bit of time with old Ford. Riding on the carryall of his faded, battered old International 434 Tractor and throwing out hay to his cattle at he drove. Going "over the hill, across the road" to his pigs and helping feed them. Picking up fresh bailed hay from the paddocks to stack in the ramshackle hay shed. Thinking that I, along with other local kids were "helping", we were probably a damned nuisance.

Most found old Ford a bit grumpy, locals had rallied round him none the less, when his wife passed from a heart attack twenty years before. Not long after the funeral, it got a lot harder for anybody to hold a conversation with him, as his hearing deteriorated markedly, "deaf as a post" was the prevailing description of the old fella.

I was no longer at home when this occurred, but still called in to see my old friend whenever I visited with my Parents. He was sixty at that time and I tried to help him with some of the heavier jobs. It was a bit of a chore, as one had to speak very loudly and very clearly so he could hear. even then most of the time, he just said "hey", and you had to go through a shouting, pointing pantomime to get your point across. He was too stubborn to get hearing aides, most people, including the other farmers wives, who had been delivering him home cooked meals faded away.

I carried on, I'd always liked him, but lordy me, it was hard work. A few years later, I found his secret. Riding on the back of his 434, about to spread some hay for the cattle "down the back paddock" when I noticed a calf stuck in the drain, Ford was looking in the opposite direction. Forgetting he was deaf, and wouldn't have been able to hear me until I had moved in front of him shouting, and the Tractor was turned off, I said, fairly quietly "Hold on mate, there's a calf in the drain". Almost instantly he throttled back and asked in his very loud "deaf old bloke" voice "where"?

I didn't say a word as we manhandled the calf onto dry land and it trotted away in search of its mother. But I was looking at the sly old bloke a little hard than usual. "Lucky I heard you" Ford said somewhat lamely "that calf wouldn't have lasted much longer" he said, as he remounted the idling International. Quietly I spoke to his back "I sure hope its hearing is ok", Fords shoulders slumped a little, he knew the jig was up.

More quietly than he had spoken for years, I could barely hear him over the little American Tractors rotted exhaust "I loved her, After 47 years, that never stopped, I just loved her, we never settled, we never "put up with each other" we were as in love the day she dies, as the day I first laid eyes on her. it was at the harvest ball in 47. We both knew, We married when I was 18, she was 17. Everybody thought we "had" to get married, it wasn't like that, she was a good girl. Nel was the only Woman I ever loved, or ever wanted to. When she died, I could hardly go on, if it weren't for the boys, I might have eaten a bullet. Every time somebody came round to visit, they talked about her, it tore me apart, I'm a fairly simple Man and I just don't know how to deal with that. Whenever they said what a shame it was that she had gone so young, it was like they were driving a knife into me.... and twisting it... I know they didn't mean it like that, but it hurt so damned bad..... it was so much easier for me to just not hear them, I hoped they'd get the hint and stop talking about her. just leave me alone". The big Mans shoulders convulsed up and down as he quietly sobbed. I gave his shoulder a bit of a squeeze and set about throwing out the hay.

My Mother yelled over the fence as we tractored back to Fords place "See if he wants to come over for lunch" A little alarmed, he looked at me, wondering what was going to happen next. I did what I would normally do, shouted "Lunch" mimicked eating a sandwich and pointed at my Mother. He shook his head and yelled too loudly "no thanks, I've got some stew going at home". She yelled back at me "half an hour, let him know he's always welcome". Back at Fords place, he parked the tractor on its "startin ramp" and shut it down.

The inter was a mid 60s model, and I doubt its battery had held charge since 1970. Instead of replacing the battery Ford had simply parked the machine on his loading ramp, the mound he used to load machinery onto his old truck (also an international), and roll started it whenever he needed it.

As we headed for the house, he asked me in for a beer. With the cooling ales in front of us, he asked "what now" ? I told him that I could see where he was coming from and that I would carry on with the charade and keep his secret, but, could I please, please, please, stop shouting when were alone. He chuckled a little and nodded. I never knew for sure, but I don't think his boys knew that he wasn't actually deaf. Ford and I never again discussed the matter and I never mentioned it to another living soul.

Dog jumped up on the grubby sofa, into the same spot that Fords dog normally occupied. Curling up beside me, he was not relaxed, his ears stood up and his tail was tucked between his legs, we both sat, silently listening to the howls and growls of the passing monster parade. There I sat all afternoon, Dog one side, rifles the other.

I
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Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:40 pm

The howls carried on all afternoon, and into the night. I had expected them to give up much sooner. They quieted around midnight, as of sunset, none had breached the simple wooden three rail farm fence. The fence was easy to climb, I had done so many times over the past 45 years. I couldn't risk making any noise, the monsters could be upon the house, located less than 100 metres from the road in less than a minute.

Dog stirred, rose and walked to the door, pawing it and giving a low whine. When you gotta go, you gotta go. I guess I could have held Dog inside, until he could no longer hold on, but I chose to trust the dog, trust his sixth sense. He had demonstrated it as we approached the front gate of his home, he had known there was a monster on the other side, I had not. Still I held the shot gun as I slowly opened the back door.

He didn't wander far. choosing a spot near Nels rose bush. I scanned the area checking for movement, the moon gave little light through the clouds. Thunderheads flashed in the distance, Hopefully the stifling heatwave would soon be broken. It looked like I might have to spend a little more time in Fords home than I had planned. Some cooling rain would be welcome. Dog nosed his way through the door.

He scooped up the dry biscuits and lapped at the water that Fords Dog no longer needed. I was also thirsty and rather hungry, Taking a coke in Fords beer fridge. I drained the can, deciding to wait for daylight before attending to my hunger. I felt my way into Fords bedroom, Dog joined me on the bed. I lay there for a long time, listening, thinking, worrying. I knew where Ford kept his Scotch, but chose not to retrieve it.

Sleep came just after the fat raindrops began falling up the tin roof.

I woke to grey light falling through the windows and steady rain falling on the roof.
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Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:49 am

Padding out of bed, careful not to wake Dog, or attract any other nearby unwanted attention, I checked the windows. Thankfully no monsters in the paddock or worse still, in the house yard.

I'd eaten only lightly the previous day, the first order of business for Wednesday the 25th of January, was most definitely breakfast.

Fairly slim pickins' in Fords kitchen. I found a couple of cans of Campbells chunky soup, plenty to see me through the day.

I lit the burner on Fords 1960s era gas stove, All white enamel and industrial grade cast iron, it would still be here at the end of time. Fortunately Houses around here used large portable gas bottles. Town gas would be gone by now. Emptying the cans contents into a saucepan, I took a look around the house while I waited for the soup to warm.

Spotting Fords well worn binoculars, I took them from their hook near the back door, I think he used them to keep an eye on the cattle in the back paddocks. Just about to take a look towards the road, Sleeping beauty had finally arisen and wanted to go outside. After seeing Dog out the back door, I went to the front of the house and peered past the loungeroom curtains towards the road.

Trudging back towards the RAAF base and the blockade were quite a few monsters, they didn't look as scary in the cold rain, but I knew they were still lethal to me. Even though I was over one hundred metres from the nearest one, and the rain cut their vision, I was still careful to replace the curtain slowly, lest the tiniest movement catch their attention.

Before letting the Dog back inside, I found Fords dogs' dry food, in a large bag, in the laundry, refilling the bowl, which was almost emptied when Dog returned.

My soup was bubbling, I chose to eat it straight from the pan, boy would I look silly if the queen chose today to visit. Wishing I had some crusty bread to mop up the dregs, I instead used my fingers, yep I failed charm school, sue me. The pipes were dry, even though houses in the area all had rainwater tanks, apparently, without power to run his pump, Fords water wouldn't syphon through. I placed the almost clean pot just outside the back door, in the rain, I'd wipe it out later.

Again checking the front window, it seemed the monsters were returning in dribs and drabs, I'd have to wait for the last of them before I could risk returning to the shed for one of Fords machines. Funny that they would return to a certain place, especially since they now had water, did they have a sense of "home" I wondered.

Dog was nosing his now empty water bowl, I took my last two bottles of water from the blanket sack and filled his bowl with one, taking a swig from the other. There was soft drink and beer in the back fridge, but I could find no other water in the house.

I did find an old style flight bag, one of those vinyl things that air carriers gave out in the 70s and 80s, when flying was still an adventure. "TAA the friendly way" had disappeared from the skies twenty odd years before, but the bag was still good as new. it swallowed all the gear from my blanket pack, along with the meagre supplies I had found in Fords kitchen, and his battered and faded, but still bright, Ever Ready Dolphin torch, I hadn't seen one of the old originals like this for years.

Dog joined me on the sofa in the back room as I began to plan my next move, I could have sat on the far more comfortable lounge in the front room, But Ford rarely went into "Nels" Loungeroom, and I felt it would be disrespectful to allow Dog onto her still immaculate maroon Velvet lounge suite.

Ford had four vehicles, a forty year old Holden ute, faded, with barely any paint left covering it, shiny surface rust showing through the worn undercoat. it wasn't actually rusty, but it was a pretty tired old thing, The fairly low slung two wheel drive vehicle was no more use to me then the interceptor. He also had an International farm truck, that he loaded cattle, hay and machinery onto from the loading ramp near the shed. , again, not much use to me. And he had two tractors. The 45 year old International 434, a fairly small tractor of only 40 horsepower, it was in worse shape than the Holden ute. its once bright red paint faded to dull pink and rust. It hadn't started with a battery for years, instead, Ford kept it outside, on the machinery loading ramp to roll start it. The poor thing looked more and more like an escapee from the junk yard every time I saw it, but to the little American Tractors credit, every time he wanted it, to carry hay to the cattle or food to the pigs across the road, or for any other reason, he simply climbed aboard, rolled it down the ramp, released the clutch and it started, it always started.

Fords other tractor was his pride and joy, the one machine that he took care of, it had been a gift from his Sons about seven years before on the occasion of his 75th birthday. A bright yellow and green John Deere, a big 4 wheel drive machine with a front bucket, and a large air conditioned cab encased in glass . you sat almost twice as high in the Deere as on the tiny Inter. Obviously that was the machine I wanted.

I tried to plan my moves, what I would have to do to make sure the machine was ready to go and wouldn't let me down. First I'd need to fuel it up, Ford had a thousand litre gravity feed diesel tank beside the shed. I was pretty sure there was a fuel can in the shed. . so first job, fill er up. I was planning to travel through Fords paddocks to Owens pit. Before any of that, there was one other important task. I had to bury my old friend.

The rain stopped as I was finishing off another can of soup at about three pm. I took another look out the front window, a few stragglers still heading south. Dog and I dozed on the bed till dark. The last hints of orange were falling away from the sky as I looked to the west. The road was impossible to see, but I could hear nothing, that was a good sign. time to work.
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Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:39 pm

Beside Nel's roses, was another, unused flower bed. Old Ford had kept up his wife's beloved roses, but he really wasn't a gardener, and the rest of the flowers had faded away over the years. I figured the garden bed would be easier to dig, not having lots of grass roots through it. It took half the night to put my old friend and his dog into the ground. When I finished I was a dirty sweaty mess. I returned to the house, sipping on a Coke while I cooled down. Onto the Tractor.

I found the fuel can easily enough, The clouds were gathering again, but there was enough moonlight shining into the shed to see it. it took four trips from the big diesel tank to fill the thirsty green machine. I took the time to check the engine oil and coolant before I went to the house to retrieve my kit. there was plenty of room inside the spacious cab for me and Dog, plus my supplies and guns. the was just one thing missing...... The key.

Old Ford never locked anything. He'd go to town and leave the doors open, keys were always in the old ute, the cattle truck and the other tractor.... but not the "good tractor" it seemed.

I spent ages searching for that key, in the shed, the ute, the truck, the house, it was nowhere. As light began to leak into the eastern sky, it occurred to me that the key may be with Old Ford. Just as the sun came over the horizon, I finished checking the oil and water on the little Tractor, its fuel tank overflowing. I really didn't want to risk the open tractor through Owens, not with the group camped there near the waterhole, but I had no choice. Transfer my kit into the topless 44 gallon drum that had been tied to the carry all behind the tractor since the 70s put Dog beside the drum, he didn't look very sure about staying on the rickety creation.

Climb aboard the steel seat, its padding consigned to history about the same time as Apollo thirteen. Clutch in select High in the transfer box, and high in the gearbox, don't forget to push the fuel cut off in. turn the key on, though lord knows why, the battery was deader than .... well, deader than everybody. Release the park brake which amazingly still worked and she begins to roll. Near the bottom of the ramp, let the clutch out and she coughs and splutters as black smoke rings issue from the rusty exhaust. but she doesn't seem to want to catch. The old girl is kind of running, but struggling. I guess she has sat for a month without turning over, she is rolling under hew own power but seems to be dying. As she really starts to stutter and get close to stalling I realise my mistake. with my left hand, I pull the throttle lever, which is at idle, all the way down. She lives.

As I reach my desired speed, I push the throttle back towards the stop. Leaving it a little above Idle, I used the foot throttle, that sits below the brake pedals. Slowing to navigate through the debris as we skirt my parents property, I see the devastation the plane has brought close up. Its like a bomb has gone off, theres nothing left of my Family home, the out buildings, the garden, nothing.. I don't look too closely, there are bleaches bits of white stick all over the place, I feed the little tractor some more fuel and move away. East, to the 20 foot drain that dissects Fords farm, once I'm across the bridge I can turn North East towards Owens.

Nearing the drain, I see something od, a shining silver something, as I get closer I can guess what it is. The broken wing from the crashed plane, I had seen it separate from the plane, after the fighters had fired upon it. It had fallen right near Fords Track.

The wing had actually fallen over Fords wooden bridge. Destroying both. there was no way to get the old Tractor over the drain now.

Why is it that every time I see a light at the end of the tunnel, its turns out to be a train?

You held me up, held me down
Made me crazy, then you brought me around
Were my darkness and my light
You were my blindness and my sight

Were my shelter and my storm
Made me cold then you made me warm
You were my fever and my cure
Made me doubt then you made me sure

One step forward and two steps back
Nobody gets too far like that
One step forward and two steps back
This kind of dance can never last

You were my hope and my fears
You were my laughter and my tears
Were my destiny and my fate
Kept me movin', you made me wait

Were my weakness and my power
You were the thorn and the flower
You were my sunshine and the rain
Made me feel so good, brought so much pain

Now one step forward and two steps back
Nobody gets too far like that

"One Step Forward" The Desert Rose Band.
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Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:06 pm

With its turning brakes, the little Tractor could turn on a dime, I really should have warned Dog though, Poor thing went tumbling into the grass. He was up and running in no time, A farm dog wouldn't have fallen, and if it did, it would have jumped back on without a second thought. I had to stop and lower the carryall to the ground to coax Dog back on.

Retracing my steps to Fords house, I kept motoring to his front gate, No monsters at the moment, but the sound of the little tractor would be drawing them ever closer. I quickly dis mounted, opened the gate and drove the tractor through. Not seeing any of my foes, I closed the gate after me, the less ground those rotten things had access to, the better. As I went to remount the Tractor, I noticed Dog at my feet.

I had to run the gauntlet past the blockade to get to Owens. there would be many monsters, if Dog fell or jumped off there, they would have him. I picked him up, heaver than he looked. I dumped him unceremoniously into the drum, on top of my gear, he stood on his back legs, his head barely reaching the lip of the drum. At least he would be ok if I had to make any sharp turns. I checked my shot gun, jammed between the mudguard and the tractors transmission, it seemed secure enough. select High gear and lets go.

Fords binoculars were around my neck, I used them to scan the area near the blockade as I approached. A few around there, but not as many as I thought there would be.

I approached at full speed, around thirty five kilometres an hour, it may not seem that quick, but on a poorly maintained 45 year old iron horse. it felt like I was on a bucking formula one car as I slalomed around the foul critters. Several fell victim to the solid push bar on the front of the little Inter, it was made from solid Steel I beam, apart from a few scapes, it was as straight as the day it was welded to the 434 by one of Fords old mates. Thankfully none went under the front wheels, but a few did go nder the back ones. The heavy water filled tires crushed them I hardly felt a thing.

About to make a left turn at the roundabout, I saw the road was blocked with hundreds of them, they had taken over the McDonalds. whether they were there scavenging for food, or simply for shelter I didn't know, perhaps it was just a familiar place that some basic part of their brain recognised, who knew. But Owens was a bust.
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Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 2:47 am

Instead of turning towards Owens, I continued straight through the roundabout, South, towards Newcastle. At the tractors top speed of thirty odd kph, I had the opportunity to take a look at the Maccas. All the glass windows broken out. Crowds of them milling around the building, As I passed and they heard the loud exhaust. The small tractors engine singing along at its maximum. As one, they turned towards me, most of those closest to me fell as the ones behind them surged forward, moving over the fallen, intent only on chasing me down.

A fence and a small drainage ditch separated them from the road, I would be long gone by the time the group from the building reached my current point, I could only imagine the same thing was happening within the group outside the car park, milling around the lane. There would be tens, possibly hundreds of monsters crushed by the crowd surge. There would be big Macs for everybody today.

There were a few monsters ahead, as I drew beside them, they began sprinting adjacent to me. Blind to everything but getting to the tasty treat on the noisy red machine.

Several were fast enough to stay with me for a short time. Regular people just cant run that fast for long. A few reached for me, even those that managed to lay a finger on me all ended up on the road. They were so focussed on getting me, that they failed to notice the big, hungry tyres, their oversized treads just waiting for an errant arm or leg.

Four or five times, the exact same thing happened, They equalled my speed, they reached for me, moving ever closer. leaning in towards the hungry tyres. Part of them rubbed against the rubber and was caught by the five inch high lugs. They were dragged down, disappearing faster than Maxwell Smart in the phone booth. I would feel a bump of varying intensity and there would be either an anguished scream of pain, or silence.

Just one of my pursuers was smarter, or perhaps luckier. She was a big Woman, tall and solidly built. She paced me for a moment, then fell back. I breathed a sigh of relief, as she looked like trouble. I felt the bump as she mounted the carryall. Dog started going crazy. I looked over my shoulder as she steadied herself, about to launch at me. Mikes sawn off shotgun or S&W model 29 pistol might have been real handy about now. As she launched, I pulled hard down on the wheel and hit the left brake pedal. The tractor jagged hard left. The inside wheel lifted a little, never a good feeling on a high riding vehicle at speed. As I corrected, She finished her arc. Thankfully the change of direction had been enough to changer her landing position from me to the right mud guard. She held on tightly with her left hand to the guard, sadly for her, she blindly clung to the big hungry tyre with her right. As she flew forward, dragged by the tyre, She tried to make a grab at me and missed. Her head jackhammered into the road. For just a moment, that's how she stayed, the tyre grabbing at the skin of her face and her grubby shirt. the shirt gave first and was torn off and gone. Her legs pointing to the sky pumping up and down, flailing wildly trying to get some purchase. Vainly trying to get away from that biting clawing stinging black cheese grater. He left foot connected with my cheek, it was hard enough that I saw stars. I was only vaguely aware of the tractor bucking up and over her, as the tyre finally won the battle and dragged her down. I came back to myself as the first fat raindrops hit my face.

The girl had been the last of them, the road ahead was clear. I was almost to the turn to the old road, Fullerton Cove Road, and had to slow, in order to safely take the turn. I looked back to see the girl, bloody and broken, trying to rise, to continue the chase. Making a snap decision, I checked that Dog was still safe, and spun the little tractor through one hundred and eighty degrees. She was reaching towards me as the sturdy push bar impacted her head. She had tried to kill me, to eat me, her flailing foot had made my right cheek numb, I was destined to have a black eye for weeks to come. But none of that meant I could not empathise with a creature in pain, and given I had the opportunity to end that suffering with little cost to myself, I'd have been a bigger monster than her, had I not done so.

Turning again, I passed the poor broken body, again heading South. The rain came in earnest soon after. in less than a minute, I was drenched. I generally found cruising along on a Tractor to be a pleasurable experience, Old Ford had once opined that "A Man can do a lot of thinking on a tractor", I'd always considered that to be a very deep statement. Miserable rainy days like today, getting drenched, shivering in the cold, were never a great time to be piloting the farmers sports car. Add the constant set backs and the hit and run of seven or eight ex humans, and it might be understandable that the grey sky reflected my mood perfectly.
wa5
 
Posts: 377
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:53 am

Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 5:47 am

As I trundled South, drenched to the bone, my mood improved, A Man can indeed do a lot of thinking on a tractor.... Even though I couldn't shake some guilt for my part in ending the lives of a lot of the monsters, that's what they were, Monsters. Their humanity, like Elvis, had left the building a long time ago. I was eradicating a vicious predator, a scourge on the land that had no redeeming qualities. I was merely eradicating a pest, that they looked like humans was immaterial.

Even the rain wasn't that bad, sure I was wet, but it wasn't that cold, I even managed a chuckle as I took a look at Dog, his head hanging over the lip of the barrel and looking like a drowned rat. I was soon trundling through Fern Bay. Stockton Bridge loomed ahead through the rain and mist. On the opposite side of the road sat the bright pink, magenta, Chrysler Charger, it was really starting to bug me, that lovely car sitting there in the weather. I would eventually have to do something about that.

I veered left, towards Stockton, planning to enter the beach near my life boat head to my caravan and eradicate any pests that were still there. The rain eased as I reached Stockton.

Still drizzling, I saw the little monster dart from a front yard, waving her arms as I approached. I heard her high pitched voice yelling. Lining her up with the push bar I pushed the throttle all the way down. She was wearing pants. and I could just make out "Hey stop Mister". I swerved around her, and pulled up as she was in line with the carry all.

Ahead I heard a roar. hitting the hydraulic controls, the carryall lowered, "Get on and Hang on" I yelled. The platform scraped along the bitumen for a second or two as the ancient hydraulics battle to respond to my command to "raise". the little tractor was soon running at top speed again, we skirted the running monsters and continued towards the ferry wharf. I had briefly considered stopping there and contacting the ship, before realising that the idling tractor (that I couldn't turn off because it could not be re started)) would attract any monster in the area. As we passed the little orange boat, I heard a high pitched voice. Hard to hear above the tractors drone, I throttle back, checking that there was no danger close, I turned to face the little girl. "I'm really thirsty mister, are you are stranger"? I pointed to the little boat and said "we will just go over near that little boat, where its safe, and I will get you a drink, Ok?, and No sweetheart, I'm not a stranger".

Stopping near the boat, I quickly dismounted and went to the rear of the machine, The little girl stood watching me. I pulled the hitherto unseen Dog out of the drum, the little girl squealed with delight, Oh a puppy, he's adorab'ble. "His name is "Dog"" I said, "That's a silly name" she replied. Thinking quickly I said "how about you call him "Max"". With trepidation I watched as "Max" and the little girl got to know each other. I had always found healers to be a bit untrustworthy, prone to biting,, I needn't have worried, it was a match made in heaven. they loved each other. As I dug the last bottle of water from the bag, still scanning the area for bad guys, I heard the little girl tell the dog "Hello Max, I'm Lisa" I caught movement and heard something through the rapidly thinning rain, lifting my binoculars I as a group still about a hundred metres away, and closing fast.

"Sweetheart, Hold on tight, we have to go" "Ok" she answered. as I climbed back into the saddle. They shifted track to try and intercept us, but were way too slow. two minutes later we were on the beach, heading North again.

Half way to the shipwrecks and my , pardon me, "our" home. I slowed and rolled to a halt. Time for some proper introductions.

"Hello Lisa, I'm "Wa"" That was the name my eldest Niece had christened me when she was a toddler and it had stuck, now well into her mid twenties, I was "Wa" to all my nieces and nephews, and to a good many friends as well, or, at least, I had been. "Hi" she said, rather more pre occupied with the dog.

I took a look at her. it was obvious to me why she hadn't succumbed to the disease, she had the same condition I did. A pretty and alarmingly skinny little girl, with long very blond hair, she had obviously dressed herself in her brightest and prettiest clothes. bright pink tights, a shocking pink t shirt with a unicorn on it and sandals, also, un surprisingly bright pink.

I dug out some of the nutrition bars from the flight bag, she ate them hungrily as we sat on the carryall, her legs swinging over the side. The newly christened Max nosed around the sand, lifting his leg on one of the tractors tyres. continuing to sniff around. I felt fairly confident that if any danger were to come our way, the dog would spot it first, still I kept a weather eye for danger. The rain had stopped while were travelling on the sand. As we sat talking, the sun peeked out from behind the clouds. We both shaded our eyes, In other circumstances I would have given her my sunglasses, but I needed to see as well as possible and I the responsibility of keeping the little girl safe, comfortable was less important at this point.

I mentioned to Lisa that we were headed towards my current home. but there were some bad guys there, that I would need to get rid of. Kids amaze me sometimes, she looked at the shotgun by my side and asked "Are you going to shoot the monsters"? I told her that was the plan "Ok" she said. I asked if she would be scared of the noise the gun made? "No that's ok". "Would you like me to leave you and Max somewhere safe while I take care of it" I asked. "NO DON'T LEAVE ME" she almost shouted. I wasn't very good at this parenting thing it seemed. I wrapped my arm around her and she threw hers around me.. "I wont leave you ever" I promised, hoping that I could back that up.

Looking out to sea, I noticed the carrier was still there, I really wanted to make contact with that boat. Before I came to be an adoptive parent, My plan had been to reclaim my home, then quickly return to the little boat, attempting contact with its radio. I suspected that plan was out the window now that I was no longer alone.

Taking the unused flare pistol from the bag, I told Lisa that I was going to make a loud bang. I wanted the ship to know that somebody was still here, hoping that their initial reaction was more to do with a desire to avoid infection than a base desire to hurt, such as somebody who was in the early stages of the K virus. I took the gamble and fired off a flare. It went of with something of a hollow whoosh.

The red star exploded with a bang out over the ocean, Hanging there before slowly descending into the water. As it faded into the ocean, I let another one go. A few seconds later it was answered by a much larger starburst, its magnificent white light almost equalling the sun "They've seen us" Lisa said excitedly. I lifted her from the tractor and we walked to the waterside hand in hand "give them a wave" I said, Hoping that they were looking in our direction. It seems they were, as the ships fog horn gave its forlorn wail a few seconds later.

Feeling a little more confident that our earlier exchange was a misunderstanding, I showed Lisa the universal signal that kids gave to truck drivers to sound their air horns. She was soon excitedly making the motion towards the ship, each time she pulled that imaginary chain, The ships horn dutifully sounded. Nobody infected by the K would have done such a thing, I couldn't imagine the captain of any Navy ship in the world doing such a thing before the plague. The sight of a billion dollar fighting machine doing the bidding of a little Girl restored my good mood completely.

The sun was starting to burn, it was time to go, Confident that the ship would not be leaving any time soon, I called Lisa back to the idling tractor. She bounded onto the carryall, Max right beside her. The little girl giggling loudly, the dog grinning in that way that only good dogs do.
wa5
 
Posts: 377
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:53 am

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