With our adventurers now on horse back and heading in a northerly direction, leaving the now Not-so-Happy Trails Ranch behind them, they wisely chose a cross country route, for fear the remnants of the Guns of Pure Humanity that fled down earlier the road may still be thirsting for vengeance.
After a couple days of uneventful travel the group found themselves running low on food for the horses, Heather kindly reminding them a horse isn’t a lawnmower on legs, especially when being ridden 8+ hours a day. Thus they decided to swipe a phone book from the nearest payphone and do a little salvage at the closest grain supply store.
Thursby’s Grains a semi popular chain of stores catering to farmers and specializing mostly in pig and sheep feed made the top of their short list, as it was located on the far outskirts of San Angelo and seemed a perfect fit for their needs with the additional bonus of only about a 1/2 days travel on horseback from their current location.
After some lengthy discussion on the best way to approach the area, the group decided to leave their horses about a mile from the store in the care of Jamie, (who agreed to look after Tommy,) fearing if it was a zombie infested area the horses would panic and flee, or draw too much attention, planning instead to swipe either a fork lift, pallet mover, or maybe wheelbarrows from the store to haul the grain back to the horses on foot.
Riley during the approach quietly gave the group a crash course on recon and covering each others backs as well as checking their fields of fire, and a lengthy lecture to Jessy about the dangers of using full auto fire, which he blithely ignored, refusing to take any advice from “some patronizing kid less than half his age.” (note this was a in char choice, as the player imagined his char as a aging man who didn’t like being shown up by the “younger generation” in front of “women folk.”)
The building, a large low slung steel warehouse style layout, had a mostly empty parking lot, filled with a half dozen cars, the half eaten rotting corpse of a man with a battered rifle still in his hand, and a small fenced in area out back where they could all see several humanoid shapes shuffling about.
Heather immediately suggested they attempt to snipe the zombies from long range and silence them so they wouldn’t make a racket and draw unwanted attention, as well as pointing out they would probably have to fight them anyway once they started looting the store. Jessy and Renee both agreed with him, despite Riley’s urging for them to conserve ammo and avoid needless conflict.
(Seeming to have spontaneously decided at some point they were in a democracy they agree to go with the majority vote on this and most future decisions.) Riley agrees on the principle and ideal of the concept, but warns them democracy doesn’t have a place in the middle of a firefight.
The resulting sniper action from Jessy and Heather made short work of the half dozen meandering zombies, Jessy actually using the single shot option on his AK-47 for the first, (and last) time ever.
After clearing the area of all available enemies they moved in, Renee stopping to check the corpse in the parking lot, and received a nasty surprise when the corpse turned out to be a crawler zombie that nearly bit her hand before she caved its skull in with her shotgun stock. (unfortunately not before it let out a echoing moan.)
Knowing the moan and their rifle fire would bring unwanted company sooner or later they hurried inside, Heather staying outside with her dogs on guard duty, urging them not to “screw around inside all day.”
Being of a large warehouse archetype the interior was extremely dim, and out of them all, only Renee had a flashlight (attached under the barrel of her shotgun) everyone else having left their’s back with their traveling packs with the horses. (In all fairness before hand I’d asked everyone to list off what equipment they were taking with them when they left the horses, and aside from weapons/ammo, their clothes, canteens, a first aid kit, Jessy’s cigars/lighter and a pair of binoculars; the rest got left behind so they could “travel light (less?) and quick.”)
Cursing their oversight they briefly contemplated going back for their lights but decided against it given the likely hood of more enemies arriving before they returned or shortly after. (As well as wasting valuable daylight.) They instead opted to raid the cleaning closet and make torches MacGyver style out of a few mops, shredded cleaning rags and some flammable chemicals. (Why they didn’t check behind the service counter for a light or the hardware/tools section of the place to see if they carried flashlights I have no clue, but the players seemed to enjoy the thrill/challenge of making torches from scratch.)
Deeper within the warehouse they found the isles clearly marked, and quickly located the horse feed, along with some dog kibble for Heathers darlings, and went further back to look for a fork lift to transport everything.
Meanwhile Heather waiting outside, noticed a small pack of stray dogs, sniffing around the garage across the street, and being the soft hearted animal lover that she is, ordered her dogs to “stay” and headed over to try and see if she could tame them, and hopefully take a few of the strays with her when she left.
Deeper inside the group found a forklift in the back, with the keys still conveniently in the ignition, (I was planning on making them hunt for the keys and find a beautiful type zombie secretary in the bosses office to contend with, but was running short on time so nixed that bit) Despite no one having a clue how to operate the machine, Jessy confidently declared “It can’t be that hard, what could possibly go wrong?” (say that out loud in a zombie game? Quite brave. Stupid, but brave.)
After having tempted fate so, Jessy’s driving skills were put to the test, (and the dice don’t fail to make Jessy regret his choices of words when he botches his first driving roll) with the fork lift being already in gear and rocketing forward as he started it. (Holding down the gas when starting it because the pedal looked like a brake in the flickering torchlight might have had a ‘lil something to do with it. )
Jessy + forklift abruptly surged forward, nearly mowing down Renee, Riley, and screaming in surprise before sailing off the front of the open loading dock and into a pallet loaded with bags of cow manure. (It was going to be leaf mulch, but his prophetic words from earlier tempted fate into making him eat those words) After barely controlling his urge to vomit, and rinsing out the mouth full of manure with the reminder of water in his canteen, Jessy then argued loudly with Renee about using hers to finish the clean up. (She was less then willing to let him handle her canteen with his manure covered hands and face)
During all of this Heather, who had managed to partially tame the dogs by feeding them some Twinkies from the vending machine in the garage, heard the loud argument coming from out back and hurried off in that direction, not noticing the three crawler zombies hiding under a delivery truck until they grabbed her by the legs.
Inside, the groups argument was abruptly halted by revolver shots, as Heather unloaded her .44 magnum into one of the crawlers, her screams prompting her dogs to run to the rescue. Running out through the open loading dock (and avoiding slipping in the ruptured bags of manure) The group spied Heather and her two dogs, attacking something shadowy under the truck, and then noticed the pack of strays running towards them, growling and enraged.
Jessy immediately drew the conclusion the strays were assaulting her and tried to “fire off a couple dozen rounds just in front of the pack running towards her to scare’em off a bit.” His full auto fire however, burned through an entire magazine of ammo and transformed the charging pack of strays into chunky salsa. (Firing into the air would’ve worked too, but it wasn’t something the char/player thought of.)
While Renee and Riley were yelling at Jessy for “almost hitting Heather and her doggies” Heather and her hounds managed to finish off the last of the crawlers and pulled herself to her feet, a few bites on her legs, her jeans ripped to shreds, but not too much worse for wear.
Another couple minutes of confusion ensued as Heather explained (with plenty of colorful metaphors regarding Jessy’s new smell) how the pack of strays was nearly tamed by her and not a threat at all, until Renee interrupted their yelling match to point out they needed to get moving before all the noise brought more zombies down on their heads and they wanted to get back by nightfall.
They then spent the next 30 or so minutes gathering up the bags of grain and loading them into wheelbarrows, deciding to take one wheelbarrow each and hurry back, placing Jessy at the rear down wind of the rest of the group. Upon their safe return Jessy was greeted by a look of shock from Jamie and amusement by Tommy who started begging his uncle for the details of why he “went roll’n in a pile a cow flops.”
Later that evening while Heather ditched her tattered jeans for a short denim skirt and had Riley clean and dress her wounds, Jessy did his best to clean up in a near by river. Afterward however, Tommy unfortunately got stung by a scorpion near his tent, and seemed to have a bad reaction to the bite; prompting an difficult decision of whether or not to attempt to get some kind of antidote from a hospital, or hope he would recover on his own without medical aid?
* * * * *
Will Tommy survive the scorpion bite? Will the group’s unity be fractured by conflicting interests? Will Jessy’s beard be stained an off color brown?
Find out in the next adventure synopsis #3 found Here.!