Monday, November 19, 2007

Chapter 15 - Intruder

June 8th, 2008
Upstairs Headquarters

T.Rex grabbed Angel Hair's arm and sprinted into the living room. He saw Beard and Kamikaze sitting up and looking around sans earplugs. The others were sound asleep.

"Everybody stay quiet," he hissed.

There was silence as everybody awake strained to hear. There was one moan slightly louder than the rest that seemed to emanate from below, followed by a few irregular thumps.

"I think one got in downstairs," Beard whispered, and Kamikaze nodded in agreement. Brant snored loudly and everybody instinctively froze. Once they realized there was no threat, they relaxed. After a few minutes the noises went away, and together with Kamikaze and Beard, the last night watch pair woke the rest of the Fools and told them of the noises.

"I think the apartment below us may no longer be secure," T.Rex warned them. "Anyway, everybody get some breakfast and then pick up where you left off yesterday."

The group did just that. The backpacks were loaded with supplies and tagged for each Fool and carefully set by their respective sleeping areas. Ryan had Angel Hair, Rubble, and Kamikaze fix up some lunch while he went to check on the attic hatch.

T.Rex walked down the hallway to the back left bedroom. He heard some muffled laughter, and as he turned the corner he saw a bright beam of light illuminating the closet.

"Hey guys, progress report?" T.Rex shouted up. There were two distinctive thumps as Peace and Cowboy entered the attic via the roof.

Beard poked his head into the closet from the attic hatch. "Hey T.Rex. We were just about to come tell you the good news. We managed to get through the last of the studs a few minutes ago, and had spent a few minutes sweeping away the sawdust and insulation. C'mon up here and have a look around!"

T.Rex took the invitation to join them and scampered up the side of the dresser, grabbed the lip of the attic hatch and hoisted himself up slowly. Beard grabbed his shirt and pulled until he was through. Dusting himself off, he saw the pile of debris in the back of the attic. Nearby was the blinding beam of light from a roughly square hole cut in the slanted roof, starting a few inches from the floor and extending about three feet upwards.

"The way I figured it, we can sit in the actual attic and look outside," Beard pointed out. "This gives us decent visibility out of the backside of the house, but more importantly keeps us almost entirely hidden. And we don't have to worry about falling off, since it's level inside. The view is partially obscured by trees and another building, but you can see through it to Marsteller St.

"If we need to bolt, this side of the house and the trees will hide us for a bit before we break out into the open. It's possible to climb out of the hole and get up onto the roof, but even if you lay flat, you really risk being seen. Still, you get visibility over the whole complex this way, and it'd be better for signaling. I think it's possible to jump the awning over there to your neighbor's house, by the way."

T.Rex beamed. "Great job, guys. This will work quite well. How do you plan on keeping the rain out?"

"I honestly think we could just put some buckets down and collect rainwater, if it came to that. I mean, we aren't really worried about some soggy attic boards when we just destroyed part of the roof, right?" Peace asked.

"Well, keep a tarp up here just in case," T.Rex conceded. "Oh, and some nails and a hammer. For now, let's all grab some lunch."

The group raided the garbage bags of nonperishable food for sustenance, each Fool choosing a pair of items that appealed to them. As the meal wound down, T.Rex addressed the group once more.

"Alright Fools, the good news is that the bulk of the tasks to be done around here are finished. The bad news is that that means we've got not much else to do but sit around and wait patiently. We'll still have three meals, but starting tomorrow we're gonna start rationing a bit tighter with the food. This evening we're also gonna talk about some basic combat stuff, but in the meanwhile, I want everybody to oval up."

"Improv?" Cowboy asked. "Now?"

"Bingo. I want everybody to ovulate for warmups. It'll be good to have a break and have some fun for a bit," T.Rex explained.

With no time restrictions, the group made their way through the typical exercises. They started with a mashup of Bippity Bippity Bop, Do You Like Your Neighbors, and What Are You Doing.

The Fools ran through some of the basic games of their repertoire, starting with Chain Murder Mystery. Next came The Clap, Blind Date, 60 Second Alphabet, Deaf Interpreter, Space Jump, Swinging Pendulum, and then Word Rations. They took a short break and discussed some of the better scenes and jokes, and how to improve them. Continuing on, they played Moving People, Three Things, Do Run Run, Good Bad Worst Advice, and finally closed with 185.

After the final "and scene" was called, the group gathered in the living room to hear Ryan speak, as was quickly becoming the routine.

Ryan cleared his throat and began: "Fools, today I want you all to gather your personal survival packs that have been prepared and open them. I want you to pull everything out inspect it, study it, and become familiar with it. And then I want you to think about how each one can be used to its fullest potential. And then I want you to re-pack it all, and know where everything is, how it fits in there, and how to do it all over again. Go to it."

The Fools were eager to oblige, and they each found their packs near their sleeping areas and began to disassemble. Some of the Fools began to swap food items out of taste preference before Ryan noticed.

"Hey!" Ryan shouted. "I want everybody to swap back to how their food was. Beard and I have divided those up specifically for the best balance of weight and nutrition as possible, so unless it's a cherry Pop-Tart for a strawberry one, keep the stuff how it was."

The mood was slightly subdued as the group continued to explore their packs, but the excitement quickly resumed as they discovered the variety and complexity of equipment presented to them to manage.

As they finished re-packing, Ryan signaled Beard. He stood up and addressed the Fools. "Hey everybody, listen up. T.Rex has asked me to go over some general zombie combat with you all. So here we go.

"First, if you can avoid combat with a zombie, do so. It's dangerous, and it's incredibly risky. They've got nothing to lose, and no sense of danger, mercy, or hesitation. All they want is your brains, and they will do anything they can to get it, and that means they shrug off wounds that would stop you all. In addition, the longer you stop and fight one zombie, the more the moans and sounds of battle draw others to your location. So: moral of the story - run and live to fight another day.

"That said, if you have to fight, obviously, use whatever you can to put distance between you. Avoid fighting with your hands or in close corners - find a stick or chair or anything to keep away. Always look around to keep from running into a dead end or more zombies. Ryan already mentioned that if somebody gets bitten, there's no hope, so take them the hell out.

"Now, the only way to stop a zombie is to destroy its brain. You can cut off both legs and the vicious bastard is still gone try to crawl for ya. Cut off both arms and it won't flinch, just stumble single-mindedly for ya. Cutting off its head is okay, but it can still bite and infect you, so stay away from body parts. If you shoot, aim for the temple, between the eyes, or some kind of head shot. You can riddle the body with holes and it won't do any good unless the brain is stopped."

Brant raised a hand. "Uh, with all due respect, don't we know all this already?"

"Just making sure," said T.Rex. "Continue."

"Right," Beard said. "Like I said, shoot for the head, or smash its skull with something. That's the way to stop them. If you don't have a weapon and can't run, I would suggest kicking it away. Don't try and grapple with it."

Ryan stood. "Okay, I'm going to quickly review all the weapons, so that everybody else is on the same page. Everybody has two weapons, in case of emergency or breakage. I've got the hunting rifle and one of the crowbars, to start.

"Beard has one hatchet and the only other gun, and that's his pistol. Peace has the other hatchet and ski poles. Rubble has his bow and one pair of pool cues, Angel Hair has the other pool cues and the other crowbar. Cowboy, you've got the baseball bat and the biggest kitchen knife. Lastly, Kamikaze gets the machete and that nifty two by four.

"Alrighty, looks like it's about bedtime, so everybody pack up. We've got maybe an hour before sunset, I'm guessing, so you've all got free time until then. Oh, and by the way, I want each pair of night teams to spend a few minutes up in the attic surveying outside. Don't go on the roof unless you absolutely have to, and even then make sure anything reflective is covered and anything dangly is silenced. Basically, if you hear or see anything strange, come get me or Beard."

As the Fools milled around a bit before turning in, Ryan pulled Beard to the side.

"How are the phones?" T.Rex whispered.

"Not good," Beard replied. "All of the Verizon phones are no longer getting any signal, and I haven't heard anything on any of the other ones. I think we should make sure the group stays busy to avoid the bad news."

Current Word Count: 19,566


  1. You know, only one of your people is capable of ovulating, and even then I doubt she could do it on command.

  2. I always want to put in footnotes. Like how I ask the group to "ovulate" to get into an oval at improv practice. *shrug* This isn't meant to be a novel for the public, at least not yet. As it is, it's more like one giant in joke.

  3. You could put in footnotes, you know...

  4. I could. I'm trying really hard to resist hyperlinking every other sentence to something (since, y'know, a REAL BOOK wouldn't have anything like that). Similarly, I avoid footnotes for simplicity and to force myself to choose wisely my words.

    Eh, maybe later? I wish I had an easy way to put them in like in Word...

  5. To be fair, it is obvious from context what Ryan means, given that he says "oval up" right before. Unless this is all taking place in some bizarre parallel universe where the Purdue mascot is actually the Ovalmakers.

  6. Way to beat me to the fact that Brant snores like an ogre.

    Ironic that we start with CMM…kinda…I definitely would have made a tasteless re-living

    Brant was given a weapon with ammo, and one that’s easily broken…that’s bad news