Chapter 1: Katana
Chapter 1: Katana
The day of the first bite was August 5th sometime before eight am, but the news didn’t cover the bite until noon. I was at my mother’s house babysitting that day. My friend Wendy’s 4-year-old stepdaughter Carmina, my 7-year-old niece Kristella, and my 3-month-old nephew Roarke were spending the day with me. The four of us spent the morning playing in the backyard with the dogs. Chains, Knight, and Raven were training to be mobility assistant service dogs for my siblings and I because of our disease but they were still puppies and needed some playtime. After lunch I put the kids down for a nap and called Wendy because she was late to pick up Carmina. Her phone went straight to voicemail so I figured I would watch tv until she showed up. I was flipping through channels when I saw what looked like a riot on the news. It was odd because there hadn’t been a riot in almost 3 months, so I stopped to watch. I was only able to watch for a few minutes before the chaos caused the news network to lose the camera, but it was enough to know what was happening. That so-called Miracle cure I had been dying to get had started the Zombie Apocalypse.
My family had always been into camping and scouts growing up so we had everything we needed to take an impromptu camping trip for up to six weeks in case something bad happened and we needed to get away from civilization. We even had a 3-month supply of diapers and baby wipes for Roarke. With the whole government collapse thing we figured it wouldn’t be a bad idea to be prepared and we weren’t wrong. I packed everything we could possibly need and that would fit into my SUV while I tried calling my siblings, parents, and Wendy. I couldn’t get ahold of anyone; every single call went straight to voicemail. My family and friends were all either visiting or working in cities. The cities were where the chaos was happening; while I was in the suburbs that were mostly empty and would remain calm until people fled the city to get home to safety. At 4:30 the neighborhood was starting to fill with panicked people most of whom didn’t even live there. They were breaking into people’s houses; Zombies were slowly making their way down the streets trying to catch people. It was madness, the kids and I were no longer safe. I loaded the kids and the dogs into the car and headed for my families favorite camping spot that was 5 hours away. My family and Wendy had all agreed that if anything ever happened, we would come out here and stay for as long as we could. I knew once they got to the house and saw all the supplies gone that they would know where we went.
After two weeks in the woods someone finally pulled into the parking lot that was near our campsite. It was almost sunrise when I heard the trucks, but when I went to the tree line to see who it was, I knew we had to leave. Instead of my family climbing out of the trucks it was seven rough looking men. As quickly and quietly as I could I woke the kids. I strapped Roarke into his baby carrier and onto Carmina’s back. I put the dog’s vests on. Each could each carry four water bottles, a small fire-starting kit, and enough food and formula for 2 days. Kristella had a children’s hiking bag that fit the small tent, a tarp, and a men’s fleece hoodie inside. I had a giant hiking bag filled with food, formula, 2 pistols, extra ammo, a change of clothes for each of us, an extra water bottle, and as many diapers and wipes as I could shove in all the extra pockets. I also had a quiver stuffed full of arrows strapped to the side of my backpack and my hunting bow strapped to my belt. Kristella, Carmina, and I each had on hiking boots, a t-shirt, a baseball cap, and cargo pants. Little Roarke’s baby carrier shielded him from the sun. I had left everything that we couldn’t carry in the well-hidden SUV a mile from the campsite. Knight belonged to Kristella and Roarke’s mom, my older sister and had learned in the year he had been with her that if she wasn’t around that he was supposed to stick to Kristella’s side so I knew he would keep an eye on her. My brother’s dog Raven was both obsessed and overprotective of anyone under the age of six and was constantly following Carmina while attempting to keep an eye on Roarke during the two weeks we had been in the woods so I told her and Chains to follow Carmina. It only took 20 minutes for us to leave the campsite and we were off. The plan was to go 15 miles into the woods but 4 days and 12 miles into our journey we had to stop. Not because the girls kept complaining about all the walking, I had done my best to make a game of it so that they wouldn’t complain too much. We had to stop because we found a twenty-foot-tall brick wall that was topped with two feet of razor wire.
While I stood there trying to figure out what to do and why on Earth there would be a mile and a half long wall in the middle of the woods two men appeared around the edge of the wall about 200 yards from where we stood. All three dogs voiced their notice of the men’s arrival but didn’t move from their places next to the kids. The men approached with their arms held out in a ‘we come in peace’ gesture showing that they didn’t have a weapon in their hands. As they got closer, I could see one of the men was about my age and well built, while the other looked like his grandfather.
“Hello there Darlin’, I’m Claude and this is my son Cannon, you trying to escape all those crazies in the city?” called out the old man.
I stare for a moment before I tell him “I’m Katana. We were camping near Willow Ridge when a group of men showed up. I had to keep my kids safe and I wasn’t sure I could with those men around, so we headed further into the woods. I know how to handle myself out here better than I could handle those men.”
I don’t think they had noticed the kids behind me because Chains and Knight were flanking me, and the girls had pressed themselves against the backs of my legs while Raven stood behind them. But when I spoke both men stopped short, their eyes went wide, and they began to whisper.
“Why the hell is she in the woods with two little kids and a bunch of dogs?”
“You saw the news; you know how unsafe the city is right now. Hell, you were in town the day everything happened. What else was she supposed to do? Stay in the city and get those kids eaten or kidnapped?”
“What are we supposed to do Dad? Take them in? Or do we tell them to go away? What if something happens to them? I don’t think I could live with that on my conscious.”
“Me neither…. Guess we’re taking them in! Your mom will be happy to have two little ones to look after.”
The older man looked up and before he could say anything, I held up my hand and corrected him. “Three little ones, plus me, and three dogs. Not too sure she’ll be thrilled about the extra mouths to feed.”
Again, both their eyes widen. Their mouths both drop open when I step aside and gently turn Carmina enough for them to see she has a baby strapped to her back instead of a backpack.
“Holy shit” the son says while looking at his dad with a ‘what is happening right now’ look.
“Alrighty little missy you all better hurry up and get inside the sun is starting to set. Come in, meet my wife, have a hot supper, sleep in a good bed, and we can figure out what to do in the morning.” The man says as he turns around to head back to where they appeared.
The man’s name turned out to be Claude Yewen. He owned and lived in a fortress of a mega mansion with his wife Harmony and his son Cannon. Claude and Harmony grew up in a doomsday militia compound with 24 other kids roughly their age. When they were all old enough to leave, they ended up working for the government while trying to prevent their new policies from the inside, but they never forgot their roots. They each had their own fortress complete with a mega mansion, a small farm, and a gigantic workshop. The 13 compounds were about 50 miles apart with the Yewen’s compound as the central hub since they were their leaders. The mega mansion had a giant kitchen, dining room, and living room that were each big enough to fit almost 50 people. There were 10 bedrooms on the second floor with jack and jill bathrooms for all except the master and the 6th room was connected to the bathroom for rooms 7 and 8. There were another 16 bedrooms on the third floor with jack and jill bathrooms. The basement was a giant nuclear bunker complete with a mini hospital, crematorium, and a bunk room with enough beds for 50 people to each have their own. There was a bathroom with 4 shower, 8 toilets, and 12 sinks, a rather large underground garden and a place for some of the farm animals, there was a kitchen, a cafeteria, and a warehouse packed full of anything you could ever need that was over a mile wide and a mile long. Everything in the compound was connected to a private filtered running water source, solar panels, and a few small wind turbines. The compounds outer wall had 3 layers of brick piled 20 feet high topped with two feet of razor wire and was shaped like an octagon with each side being a mile and a half long. The barn was bigger than the house I grew up in, the workshop that was filled with welding, plumbing, and carpentry materials was over twice the size as the barn and was probably two thirds the size of the house.
The place was incredible, and it became our new home. Every day I trained the girls in guns, archery, tracking, hunting, camping, and Brazilian style Jiu jitsu. Cannon trained all three of us girls in two other types of martial arts and showed me a little of what he knows about everything he does in his workshop. If the girls weren’t training with Cannon and I then they were in the garden or kitchen with Harmony learning how to cook and the different things that plants and herbs could be used for. If I wasn’t with the girls or Cannon then I was in the bunker with Claude pouring over books and his notes on how to care for the animals and learning how to do the perfect amputation and anything else we could possibly need. Cannon and I would go out and get a couple of Zombies to practice amputations on before showing the girls how to kill them. During our first run into town to find some zombies to practice on we found two pregnant dogs that looked like they were going to die any second, so we brought them home with us. The Cane Corso had nine puppies but only five lived. Three girls Dazzle, Shine, and Sparkle, and two boys Kronus and Death. The Doberman had eight puppies and somehow, they all lived. The runt had a hard time so I took special care of him and now its like he can read my mind; he grew up to be the Alpha, he is huge at only six and a half months old. I named him Reaper, his brothers became Satan, Scythe, Spirit, and Demon, while his sisters were named Shimmer, Glimmer, and Glitter.
Cannon wasn’t much of a dog person he already had two cats named Calypso and Celeste, so the kids and I became the proud owners of 13 dogs. 16 if you count the three German Shepard we already had. Cannon and I worked with the puppies to train them to be military grade protection dogs. Raven, Dazzle, and Shimmer became Roarke’s dogs, while Chains, Glimmer, and Shine became Carmina’s and Kristella became the owner of Knight, Sparkle, and Glitter. The other seven belonged to me and became know as the pack. After six months of living in the compound it got extremely cold, there was snow everywhere, and people from all the compounds began to get sick. In the Owens compound the leader’s 14-year-old daughter Jane died from the sickness and her mother Judy killed herself over the loss of her child. The leader of the Fleming’s compound lost her husband Dwight to the sickness while her best friend Nelson lost his husband Edward and became the leader of the Robertson compound. Kristella, Carmina, and Roarke didn’t get sick but not everyone in the Yewen compound was safe. Harmony, Cannon, and I all got sick. Harmony didn’t survive and Claude had a heart attack when he woke up the next morning to find his wife of 50 years dead beside him. We lost them both that day. That was almost two months ago.