Feel free to use these links to catch up on past chapters, including the letter from the narrator and the short story prequel, Don’t Forget Flake City.
Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter Four, Chapter Five, Chapter Six, Chapter Seven, Chapter Eight, Chapter Nine, Chapter Ten, Chapter Eleven, Chapter Twelve, Chapter Thirteen, Chapter Fourteen, Chapter Fifteen, Chapter Sixteen, Chapter Seventeen, Chapter Eighteen, Chapter Nineteen.
It was fairly late in the afternoon when the three began to stir. Sam moved first, though she only did so long enough to go to the small restroom to pee, and then returned to her spot on her cot. The sun was already on its track down from it’s highest point in the sky when they all woke, the clock on the wall telling them it was after three, nearly four.
“Holy shit.” Croaked Sam, surprised she had slept so long. Quickly, Sam jumped up, and began to move the vending machine back from the door.
Kaya quickly got up, and helped Sam move the machine, looking out the windows as they did so. Wes jumped up, embarrassed that he didn’t even know how the vending machine got there, and grabbed his baseball bat, unsure why the girls were moving fast, and still confused and bleary eyed from waking up.
Sam raced out the door and checked the radio equipment, grateful that she had a long queue, but more grateful that she had it looping.
Several hours worth of content had looped, but for far longer than Sam liked, so she quickly queued up some new music, changing up the style a bit, and returned to the kitchenette to make some coffee, her throat sore and phlegmy.
“I need a smoke. I need coffee.” Sam was surprised at how groggy she was, but she also had hardly slept in the days since everything started, so, she tried to go easy on herself. While the coffee brewed, Sam grabbed her bag and dashed to the bathroom, quickly changing her tank top and underwear, having to put on dirty jeans and shirt, it felt more important to change her bottom layer. Sam brushed her teeth quickly, and then splashed water on her face. Quickly, Sam’s messy hair was re-positioned in a new messy bun, and Sam left the bathroom, so either Kaya or Wes could use it, and made her way to the coffee maker. Grabbing the three mugs from the night before, Sam put the stuff for coffee on the counter. Kaya joined her shortly, having followed a similar quick wake up routine while Wes stared off in the distance, tired and confused as to why they had got up so fast in the first place.
Kaya and Sam grabbed their coffee and stood by the windows, taking in the blinding light of the outside.
“It should be darker, right?” Sam said, blinking and trying to adjust to the brightness. Even with the diffusion of the sun by the slightly tinted windows, the sun from outside was so bright it made both Kaya and Sam’s eyes burn.
“Sun reflects, right?” Kaya blinked approaching the door. Kaya was curious how bright it truly was, outside when not diffused.
“Right but like, it’s nearly four so why is it so bright?” Asked Sam as she tried to get her eyes to adjust.
“I don’t know…” Kaya pushed against the door, surprised to find it was heavy. Snow clung to the door, but there was a lot piled against it too. “Shit.” Kaya said.
“Shit indeed.” Sam said, spying the problem.
“We need to see what’s happening, right?”
“And there is weather equipment that will be needed. Shit. I should have been broadcasting this. Fuck.” Sam was mortified. “I didn’t mean to sleep so long. I got up, to pee, and I was going to stay up, I don’t know, I just sat down for a second I thought but I guess I went right back to sleep.”
“You haven’t been sleeping much. But it’s okay. There are three of us now, so we can sleep in shifts. It won’t happen again.” Kaya assured her. “Now we can all rotate, two awake one sleeping, really maximize the time and safety.”
Sam nodded. “We have to change the telescope. If I miss the window for it today, the government may kill us all.” Sam laughed, before realizing how easily they could do that, and continued. “It isn’t hard, you can do the easy stuff, but it’s all pretty easy.”
“Sure, sounds good.” Kaya said, yawning into the coffee and following Sam. “Wes, we may need a set of hands, are you ready?”
Wes rubbed his eyes and grabbed some coffee, grateful to have already put his jeans, socks and shoes, and followed Sam and Kaya to the control room for the telescope.
Sam guided the way, showing them both how to get there, and unlocked the secure door for the control room.
“So, this is the easier stuff, less technical, more button mashing.” Sam explained. “Two of us will be in the lens room, and once the scope is lowered in, we will guide the lens to either a new position, or, we will slide a lens in or out, depending on the specifications of where they want it to go.”
“That’s…not usually how telescopes work, right?” Wes asked.
Sam shrugged. “Nah, I don’t think so. But, iuno, nothing seems too weird in this town.”
Kaya considered this and nodded. “Okay, Wes, why don’t you do the button pressing, Sam and I will go to the lens room.”
“Sure, sounds good.” Wes took a seat at the control panel.
“So, don’t press anything until I get there. I have a monitor, so I can guide you there.” Sam told Wes, before leaving with Kaya to go to the lens room.
“Yeah I got it.” Wes sat far away from it. “This stuff is way above my pay grade.”
Kaya and Sam made their way towards the lens room, which was located on the other side of the same level of the tower, and eventually found themselves in the dark room, lit only by the natural light of the outside. Sam showed Kaya how to turn on the movement system, and how to put in the command sequences to bring the telescope to the room. With a large groaning sound, the telescope began to move, first receding a bit from it’s position, before coming back an collapsing until it was in the room.
Kaya watched, mildly alarmed, as some snow fell into the building as the lens retreated from it’s place.
“It’s unlikely anything can get in.” Sam assured Kaya, pressing a few more buttons. A glass covering swung into place.
“Some adjustments require open air, some require one of these plates.” Sam explained.
“This is literally unlike anything I have ever seen.” Kaya said, watching in awe as Sam showed her how to remove or add a lens, this telescope able to hold many or few at a time, all depending on “where it was looking.”
“It is, and that is largely what guarantees we stay safe. They made this building incredibly secure, meant to withstand some crap, and outfitted to last in dire situations. This station can support itself for a quite a long time, depending on supplies, indefinitely, with the solar power and the water source. Sure, you would have to ration power a bit if you broadcast, but, it’s meant to last.”
“Surely there are supplies somewhere.” Kaya said as she helped Sam lift a lens into place.
“Yeah, I bet there are at least canned and dried goods, but…Iuno, I guess I was scared of wondering alone. It’s a big building.” Sam confided.
“I don’t blame you.” Kaya said reassuringly. “We were able to bring a good deal, but if that snow is blocking us…and more is coming…we should definitely look for any food stores this place has. Even if it isn’t great food, it will make what we have go further.”
“And I have a ton of hot sauce upstairs.” Sam said with a grin, being known for having a “hot sauce of the week” segment on the show which would showcase a hot sauce she really liked, that she ate almost exclusively all week…this led to many bottles of hot sauce all over Sam’s apartment and all over the radio station.The fridge upstairs had one whole shelve in the door covered in hot sauce bottles. Sam had brought some with her, too.
Kaya laughed. “Yeah I grabbed some as well. And some seasonings, at that apartment I met Jeff at…” Kaya stopped, sad.
“You okay?” Asked Sam.
“I just feel bad for him. I thought for sure I could get him here.” Kaya said, looking away.
Sam respected Kaya trying to hold her emotions in, and turned her attention to directing Wes in which program to run while she finalized the lens placement.
Kaya and Sam waited for the final verification from Wes, and then moved one more lens, lifting it from it’s place to another, before pressing the buttons that sent the telescope back to it’s position.
With the telescope sorted, the three returned to the main level, stopping here and there searching for supplies. Kaya found a bottle of scotch, Sam found a large holiday basket in the station manager office, complete with some blocks of cheese and sausages, wine and a bottle of cheap champagne.
“Wow” Wes said, whistling appreciatively, that is one nice ass basket. Did they even use basket filler for that or is it all snacks?”
Sam laughed. “I know, right? It’s like it’s all snacks.”
Kaya grabbed a ring of keys from the desk. “Oh hey, are these keys for the building?”
Sam nodded. “Yeah, hey, that’s weird, I think that’s the janitors keys. I wonder if he left them here or something.”
Kaya put these in her pockets, noting the neat labels. “That will come in handy. Kaya continued to search the desk, after having found the bottle of scotch, and found some toiletries, boy stuff, which she tossed to Wes, and a bottle of pain reliever, which she also grabbed.
“Not bad. Useful stuff.” Sam said, eyeing the rest of the office. A case of bottled water sat half empty, but still offering a decent supply of filtered water, just in case, which Wes grabbed.
The three returned on their trek up, finding a couple packs of cigarettes and a bag of rolling tobacco, the latter making Sam happy, before finally returning to the main level, and depositing their efforts in the kitchen.
“I want a smoke.” Kaya said, grabbing her torch and dab rig to do a dab before rolling a blunt.
“Sounds amazing. I’ll roll a spliff.
“Yleech. I’ll roll a blunt.” Kaya said as the quartz banger heated up for her dab.
“We’re gonna smoke both?” Wes asked, weak in the knees.
“I figured the spliff was gonna be for me.” Sam said, gesturing to Kaya and her objections.
“You’re gonna smoke both?” Asked Wes.
“Yup. Just like she’s gonna dab and then smoke a blunt, and we’re both going to be fine.” Sam said, sprinkling more weed into the paper she held open.
“I can’t do that.” Wes laughed. “I mean, I like the stuff, but more than a blunt and I’m knocked out.”
“Well, different strokes.” Said Kaya with a smile. “Seem’s silly to raze someone for not taking a lot of stuff to get high, I mean, it’s cheaper, it’s easier, and now, with zombies and shit, it seems like a low tolerance is a good thing. More so with Sam and I having higher tolerances.”
Sam nodded. “As far as I am concerned, it’s great that you haven’t got much tolerance. The weed Kaya brought will last longer.”
Wes smiled, grateful neither of them were the type to pester others like that, and offered to go search for shovels or at least something that would help them move the snow and clear up the balcony to have access to the room with the weather equipment and also survey the area.
Kaya took her dab and starting rolling a blunt, while Sam finished her spliff and grabbed some more coffee. Together, Sam and Kaya made their way towards the door, opting to smoke by the door, if not outside, even if they couldn’t quite open the door, to make airing the smoke out easier, later.
Kaya lit her blunt, and Sam her spliff, and Wes returned with a couple of brooms, some buckets, and some tarp.
Laying tarp down, Wes used some of the buckets and brooms to hold the tarp, before using the broom stick to break up the snow through the small amount he could crack the door.
Working slowly and patiently, Wes was able to start edging the door open, pushing snow out of the way with a broom, snow falling in as the door opened, inch by inch. Wes stopped, taking a few hits from the blunt Kaya offered him, and Sam, spliff hanging from between her lips, continued his work on the snow.
Kaya began to pile snow into a bucket, from where it fell on the tarp, before wiping her hands off on her pants, rubbing her hands to warm them as she took the blunt back from Wes. Wes continued his work, Sam helping, with Kaya scooping snow into buckets and taking it to the bathroom, dumping it in the shower to melt and drain.
Before long, the three had the door open, and were able to carefully make a path to the door with the weather equipment, and also to survey the yard surrounding the radio station tower.
The blinding white of snow made sense now, with every available surface now covered in snow, and more falling, fairly hard, from the sky.
“It’s going to keep coming for a while, isn’t it?” Wes said while shivering against the cold.
Sam shrugged as she moved towards the door, “let’s find out.” Sam said, moving into the room. Wes followed, grateful for the relative warmth of the room, while Sam checked the readouts on the machines and made a few notes.
“So, how bad is it?” Asked Wes.
Sam whistled. “It’s…pretty bad. There will be a lot more snow coming.” Sam said, moving toward the door, pulling her the jacket close around her small frame.
Kaya, in a similar position, stood at the edge of the observation deck, looking below. “Is it freezing?”
“Below, nearly zero, and it’s about to get a lot colder.” Sam said, her teeth chattering. “We have a ton more snow and more cold, with winds, all coming at us. This isn’t even the storm.” Sam said as they moved inside. Wes closed the door behind them, shivering, grateful for the heat in the station.
“Really?” Asked Wes, “that isn’t the storm?”
“No.” Sam said, shaking her head sadly. “That was just the first little bit of it, this storm had some legs, and we have been hit by two baby legs. A big wave is about to hit us, and it’s going to get bad.”
“We have a lot we need to do before then, I imagine.” Kaya said, her buzz helping the coffee wake her brain up. “Those solar panels you mentioned, they will have snow on them. We need to brush them off.”
Sam nodded. “Yeah, Shit, I forgot. That’s gonna be cold.”
“And it’s only going to get worse, we should wipe them off, and then wipe them off when the wind isn’t too bad.” Kaya said, tightening her jacket around her body. “We need more layers, if we keep doing it, but the wind is only going to get worse, so we should go now, real quick.”
“I can help. C’mon.” Wes offered handing each of them a broom from the snow poking earlier.
Kaya locked the door to the patio, and the three followed Sam to the roof access point. The radio tower had many surfaces in which panels had been configured, and some were positioned at such an angle that most the snow that fell on them slid off fairly quickly, but some of the older ones were positioned in more flat configurations all around the many places on the layered roof, all of which was covered in snow.
“Shit. This is…I don’t know where they all are and everything is covered in snow.” Sam said sniffling from the cold.
“Okay.” Wes said moving forward. “So we just look for the shape, or depression, in the snow, that the panels make, and then we search them out, clean em off.” Wes shuddered and slowly walked, pushing gently with the broom.
Sam followed his lead, moving towards a spot she thought she had seen a panel on, while Kaya searched for one. Together, the three of them sought out the panels, brushing them off with their brooms. Thankfully, the panels were easily cleaned of snow, but it was painfully obvious they would have to check these panels fairly often to keep them from getting to heavy with snow and breaking.
Together, Kaya, Sam, and Wes made their way back down to the studio, where Kaya put on some fresh coffee and Sam checked the radio equipment.
Wes volunteered to go search for the supply stash, assuming there were at least provisions near by, as the cots had been. We knew they needed to either have supplies for weeks on end, if not longer, or be prepared to go loot it. By the first wave of snow alone, and considering a lack of city services to clear the snow away, Wes knew it could be a very long time before things calmed down enough for them to get back out and loot, and the deeper the snow got, the harder that possibly needing looting would be to do.
Kaya offered to make some food, while Sam did all the check ins with the government officials, and updated the radio. “I would kill for some asian food. Some noodles or something. All we have is ramen though.” Sam told Kaya.
Kaya smiled. “Oh I got something for ya. It’ll be spicy too.”
“Wait really?” Sam asked, stopping what she was doing at the control board.
“Yeah. I am a whiz with ramen, and all sorts of improvised cooking. I never leave my house.” Kaya said with a laugh. “And you know I smoke a lot, I am pretty good with ramen. I saw some cabbage in the fridge, its old but that’s fine. Some eggs in there I can hard boil. Tons of hot sauce. Yeah, I can make something with those ramen packets that won’t suck.” Kaya smiled, and left Sam to work on the radio while she investigated the kitchen more closely.
The small kitchenette had a small stove, a sink, some basic appliances like microwave and coffee maker, and some simple pans and utensils. The dish situation was very mismatched, as were the food and seasoning selections, evident of various social and economical backgrounds, different cultures, all mingling together in a radio station. Cupboards of various kinds of dried and canned goods joined a few types of nut butters and chips. Some sweets, sauces, and a selection of seasoning that ranged in a degree that was encouraging for a good meal made from bland ingredients.
Stepping back, Kaya was pleased. The cookware was lackluster, but the spices were plentiful, which was helpful, as she had only been able to find some basic stuff at the apartment.
Jeff hadn’t grabbed any. Kaya had asked, when she was forced to eat fairly bland ramen, if he had grabbed any, when he had been fighting the fever, and he said no, it had never occurred to him to grab seasonings.
“Sucks though.” Jeff said. “Survival food will be pretty shitty without some seasoning.”
“Plenty of seasonings now.” Kaya said, swallowing her pain and removing several. With one pan she put on some water to boil, in a another, some water with various herbs, and just a sprinkle of the seasoning packet to help the other seasonings along, setting the soy sauce to the side for later.
Kaya knew that Sam liked a very spicy noodle, a spicy anything, really, and she shot a text to Wes to see what he would want. After putting the eggs on to hard boil and setting the broth to cook up, Kaya dug around the fridge and freezer to find anything to go with the noodles. Kaya found not only the cabbage but some carrots, and some spinach that was nearly bad. Kaya tossed some of the veggies into the broth to enhance it, and chopped some of what could be tasty into the various soup bowls for the three of them. Carrots were quickly shredded, spinach loosely chopped, as it would wilt, cabbage shredded, and some dried chives in a shaker gave Kaya hopes to making the whole thing come together. Tossing some chili pepper based sauce into the broth to add a bit of heat, Kaya checked the message from Wes, who had been open to the same kind of soup, but less spicy.
Kaya tossed the broth into a larger pan, adding water, more seasoning, and some of the spinach, and threw the lid on, to make a larger batch of the broth she had been free styling.
Kaya worked diligently for a few minutes, and before long, Sam joined her.
“Wow, something smells good.” Sam said, eyeing the broth.
“Wes said something like yours, but maybe less spicy, so I will make his noodles first and then add spice to your broth.” Kaya explained, gesturing to her pans.
“Need any help?” Asked Sam.
“Yeah, those eggs should be cool enough, peel em for me?” Asked Kaya as she stirred the broth that had started to become more soup like.
Wes joined them, carrying with him several armfuls of bags. The bags all had the station logo and some giveaway logo on it, but the contents were much more lucrative.
“So, I found some stuff, some of it is meant for guests, I guess, but snacks, teas, coffees, stuff like that.” Wes said, gesturing to a few bags. “And like, an alarming amount of alcohol and tobacco, like, seriously, what is the health of the average radio DJ?”
“You probably don’t want to ask that question.” Sam said, digging through the bags, having put the peeled eggs on the cutting board by the bowls full of veggies.
“Found a bunch of snacks, bags of chips, jerky, candies, that sort of thing.” Wes explained, pointing to some more bags, “Some more linens, I don’t know about you two but I got cold last night.” Wes gestured to another bag. “Found some more feminine toiletries, and also a box of feminine hygiene products…Iuno I figured that would be a thing, eventually.”
Sam and Kaya exchanged glances, both slightly impressed he had thought of this, but also amused because the thing he grabbed was comically large, the supply box for one of the ladies room vending machines.
Vending machines like the one in the bathroom they had all three been using.
Regardless, the two women thanked Wes for his consideration, and continued to let him show what he had found, revealing no small amount of useful items, including some shirts they could wear, and some laundry soap. “I figured we could at least wash our clothing this way, with a bucket and soap.”
Wes put the bags down, explaining that there was plenty more, but he wanted to eat. “It’s amazing, how much you can see things around you as helpful for survival, once you look at the world that way.” Wes smiled, moving a bag of food to the counter. “I’m so hungry though, soon as we eat I don’t mind looking some more.”
Sam smiled, grateful Wes didn’t mind exploring. Most of the space he was looking through had been coworkers of hers, some were even people she liked, and while their offices were full of useful things, pillaging in their space made Sam sad, so she was grateful for Wes’s volunteering.
Kaya finished up Wes’s noodles and handed him a large bowl of hot noodles and veggies, with a egg sliced on top, decorated with dried chives for lack of fresh ones, and some sesame seeds, before turning her attention to Sam’s, who enjoyed a very spicy dish. Kaya added a large supply of the spicy chili sauce she had found for the broth and then tossed a thing of noodles in for Sam’s soup. Before long, Kaya had Sam’s food served up, and turned to her own, making a batch of noodles and tossing them in with veggies and spicy broth, slicing an egg on top and adding some sesame seeds and hot sauce to the top.
The three ate in relative silence, slurping away at the spicy noodles.
“Damn, these are really good.” Said Wes, appreciativly.
“Thanks. Hacking ramen is something I’m pretty good at. Which will come in handy, I’m sure.” Kaya had found an entire cabinet filled with large boxes of ramen, and she suspected there were more where that had come from.
“How did you get so good at ramen? Did you work at a noodle place?” Wes asked.
Sam smiled. “Kaya here studied in the very best place to pefect ramen skills.”
“Where is that?” Wes said as he forked a large mouthfull of noodles into his mouth, having given up on the chopsticks.
“Poverty” Sam and Kaya said in unison, making each other laugh.
Wes laughed uncomfortably, before asking “Where did you find veggies?”
“Surprising about of veggies left in the fridge.” Replied Kaya, “I was pretty surprised, actually. Still have some cabbage and some carrots, the spinach was nearly bad, so I made what was left of that for this. Good for iron.”
“Some of the DJ’s have been trying to eat healthy around the holidays to be bigger pigs, not to mention we have a whole crop of interns who have been given kitchen access.” Explained Sam as she began trying to balance some noodles on a spoon. “Probably explains the veggies.”
“I can make some more ramen, or even some lo mein, with the noodles, and the left over veggies. There are a few more eggs in there. Probably won’t see eggs around these parts for a while.
“Nah, they have some of that faux egg in the fridge.” Sam said. “I have been keeping an eye, trying to eat through the stuff that expires first.”
“I can swirl in eggs then, the protein is the same even if they don’t taste just right. I think they taste fine, in my opinion.”
“We need an herb garden…Maybe in the spring we can start one on the roof-” Sam stopped herself mid sentence. “God, you don’t think it will last that long, do you?”
Wes stopped slurping his noodles. “I mean…These winters are pretty extreme up here, once the snow starts, even when it starts early…it tends to stick around until spring.”
“And no one is here to clean up the snow, no city workers, no plows.” Sam said sadly. They had discussed this at length, but now that they had all seen just how much snow was dumped on the space in a short span of time, and with more coming…The entire group was very worried about how much Flake City would be buried in snow.
“I mean, it could mean that the zombies are buried, unable to move.” Wes said encouragingly, recalling to Sam’s theory on freezing weather.
“Those zombies downstairs though…Iuno, doesn’t it seem like some of them can think? Some of them may move inside, to inside buildings. Would make looting dangerous, if they are just inside, waiting for us.” Kaya said, worriedly.
“Plus that talking one who got Jeff.” Wes said, shuddering at the memory.
Sam balanced one of the pickled jalapeños Kaya had added to her soup onto a pile of noodles and cabbage on a spoon. “We need to make sure we are secure, here. If those things are talking, and communicating…” Sam shoved the spoonful into her mouth.
“We definitely need to stay vigilant” Added Kaya.
“What do you mean?” Asked Wes.
“Well, we talked a bit last night,” said Sam, “But with three of us, we should probably sleep in shifts. Two awake, one asleep, that way one person can sleep deep and well, knowing two others are awake and paying attention. This keeps the radio manned, any emergencies handled, and if anything goes wrong, two people are awake to handle it and wake the third.”
“That’s pretty smart.” Wes said. “And keeping our main activities at night, when they aren’t as active, is probably wise.”
“Not hard for either of us, really.” Kaya laughed. “Sam’s a night owl, so am I.”
“I actually prefer night, as well.” Wes said. “So that’s an easy adjustment. We just rotate sleeping times, where should we sleep. You will want access to this room, and we sleep in here.” Wes gestured around to the break room off the radio station floor that had become their little living area. The couch had Sam’s laptop on it, the cots all had bedding, bags were by the cots, and coffee mugs sat awaiting use on the counter.
“Could block off that corner.” Sam gestured to a corner in the back, by the door, with a little alcove. “Could use some of that rope and tarp, some of the extra bedding we found, and that can be the sleeping area, all tucked away. Then, if something goes wrong, they are right by the door for us to let them know, or for them to spring into action, but also separated enough to get some sleep.”
“Yeah, the lights are out over there too, so it will be fairly dark.” Kaya observed, noticing the fluorescent bulbs had gone out in that area.
After the three finished their noodles, Wes went in search of more supplies while Kaya and Sam put up a couple of tarps and some spare blankets, making a little wall and doorway for people to pass through. The three cots fit into the space well, with enough space to move around to get to each cot.
“That way everyone can have whatever sleeping configuration they want, and these beds are tucked away, not in the way.” Sam said, observing how annoying it had been to weave around the three cots in the break room.
Wes returned, bringing some more food supplies, but also having found some more linens, tarp, and some wood, with nails and hammers. “I found a whole supply room, with more tools, I’m going back there next. Figured we could really make sure this area stays secure, just in case. I’m going to go down to that main door, and make sure the door down there is secure.” Wes said.
“Good idea. Just in case.” Sam said. “I can’t believe I slept as hard as I did, I know we secured the room we slept in but man…That was a long time to be unguarded.”
“Yeah, thankfully, the zombie we saw seems to have left.” Kaya said. “But we won’t make that mistake again.”
“If the snow gets high enough, people could get to us.” Wes said. “I mean, I don’t know how high the snow could get, but without anyone moving it, without it getting salted, pushed, driven and walked over…Without all of that, how high can the snow get?”
“Fuck how high can it get, how high will the blizzard make it?” Sam asked, eyeing the wind outside. Huge gusts of wind with giant flurries of snow blew all around outside, snow seemed to fly in every direction, and there was something terrifying, something nearly magical, about the snow.
“We will keep two people awake.” Kaya reassured her friend. “We have found plenty of coffee, and Wes is working diligently to find more, and even if zombies do find their way up, we will fight them. We can, we will be able to retreat and regroup, if needed, too.”
“We should have plans for that, just in case.” Said Wes, worried, having scared himself with the idea of the talking zombie just walking up a snow drift and walking in the door.
“We’ll make some. Keep our bags packed, like we did at the smoke shop. Keep your shoes nearby, all that. Stash weapons around.” Kaya said, talking out loud, thinking of how to make themselves better prepared.
“The paranoia is bad, when you are in survival mode.” Sam observed.
“Yeah, I read you burn more calories too, and you eat more. Which is why Wes doing what he is going is so important.” Kaya said.
Sam and Kaya worked on some ways to barricade their floor, for when they were all three there, but also made sure they could easily get out, if needed, to retreat to somewhere else in the station. The goal was to make sure they could leave, but whatever was on the other side of the door, couldn’t get to them. The stairwells had been easy to barricade off, as both stairwell and elevator required the passcode, and some floors required the keys and the passcode. The doors were all locked but they made sure to also barricade them, just in case, the paranoia of vaguely sober Kaya and Sam fueling them to secure the area they would be living in.
“The storm really has me on edge.” Sam said, after doing another one of her updates for the radio, and sliding off her headphones.
“Yeah, me too.” Kaya said. Wes had returned from another round of searching for supplies, and Kaya urged him to call it, having spent a few hours doing it, and the storm was kicking up pretty bad, so Kaya wanted them to secure their space and brace for the storm that was about to really hit.
Wes and Kaya stood at the windows, joined by Sam having just finished the update. The storm was hitting now, not the legs, but the storm. Angry, scary gusts of wind gusted all around, snow fell in and from every direction. Lightening lit up the sky, making the flurries of snow look more evil than whimsical, and horrifying claps of thunder shook them all, and Wes returned to the break room to grab alcohol.
“Wine or scotch?” Asked Wes, returning with bottles of each and a few mugs.
“I’ll do a little scotch, then we can crack that wine open.” Sam said, grabbing the scotch. “I think we should toast the storm, and Jeff.”
“Thanks.” Kaya said softly. “But then wine. Because I think we may be in for a long night.” Kaya added, brightly.
Sam poured some scotch in each cup, Wes offered to get them ice.
“This is the scotch we got from the station managers desk.” Kaya said matter of factly.
“Right, I asked if you wanted ice.” Repeated Wes.
“Wes…This is a 25 year old scotch.” Sam caught her self, not wanting to be mean, Sam smiled, “uhhh.. No, we’re good.”
Wes returned with ice in his mug, a blanket wrapped around him. “I’m cold.” Wes explained, returning to the group, sipping the heavily iced scotch. Kaya and Sam bit back giggles, having each taken a few dabs and promised each other to not gang up on sweet Wes.
“I think this could be fun.” Wes said after a moment’s contemplation. “Assuming this storm doesn’t knock us out, we have some great food, nice booze. Hell that wed rine…I mean…that red wine, it looks good. And we have snacks.”
Kaya eyed Wes, who seemed oddly ‘charged’ up, chatting more than usual, about nothing at all.
“You okay, Wes?” Asked Sam, who had also noticed.
“Yeah, I’m good! The storm is nice. It’s a nice storm. Should be a nice night for us, snacks, alcohol, maybe some smokes. I’ve always wanted to smoke, and drink, and eat, and be around people…It’s just such a nice storm, and even though everything is so bad, it’s actually some of the best times I have ever had. I mean you are both so nice, and this storm is so big, and so scary, but so nice, and everything out there is scary so the scary storm is nice, and we have such nice snacks, and such nice alcohol, and how much do you think that basket cost? I mean, a few kinds of cheeses, sausages, white and red wine, champagne, did you see it had some different crackers and a few sauces too? That cranberry dijon mustard looked amazing. Olives, pickles, anchovies and capers, I mean who even does all that stuff? That’s not even all it also has chocolates and some fruit candies, it think I saw some caramels and butter-scotches too. Did you see? Some cocoa mix too. Some cocoa may be nice, maybe with the scotch. It’s kind of cold in here though, and wow that lightening is very bright and I can’t believe how strong the thunder is-“
“Holy crap, Wes are you okay?” Kaya said grabbing his shoulder.
Energy surged all around Wes and Kaya, and Sam quickly leapt forward, grabbing their mugs from their hands a weird feeling, like an explosion, but with energy, seemed to explode between the two. Wes shuddered. Sam set the mugs down and raced to the break room, grabbing two blankets. With a speed that surprised Sam, she returned back to the window, tossing a blanket on Kaya and another on Wes, who both began to shudder.
“Hey, it’s okay!” Sam said holding the two shuddering friends.
“What…What…What was that?” Asked Wes.
“I..I al…Also would li..like t..t.t.t.to know.” Stuttered Kaya.
“Energy. I don’t know. I don’t know all of it, but I guess, Wes, you probably…you…uh…so you’re a magic person of some sort?” Asked Sam, awkwardly.
“What?” Asked Wes, shocked.
“Magic, energy, whatever. Iuno what you call it. You are off the grid though, they don’t know you have it, right?” Asked Sam.
“Yeah. I mean yeah, I guess.” Wes stammered out, clinging to the warmth of the blanket and the two women he stood by.
“Yeah. So, the storm charged you up, and it was just rambling around. Kaya, of course you have some magic energy whatever, hell even if you don’t, you touched him, which made the extra energy explode like that. No one got hurt, but it makes you both very cold.”
“How th..the fu..fuck do yo you eve know that?” Asked Kaya, pulling away to go grab her torch for a dab.
“I’m a radio DJ for a late night segment in a very weird town. I just…kinda know things.”
Kaya put on some coffee and put some cocoa mix in each of the mugs, tossing a smidge of Baileys in each of the cups as well. A small bar had formed, from the pillaging Wes had done, making Kaya think many people who worked at the radio station enjoyed a drink a lot more than they let on.
Kaya took two incredibly large dabs while the coffee finished, shaking off how weird the energy explosion had been. Kaya wasn’t sure what was more weird, the explosion, or the way Sam had just known what it was, so easily.
Sam and Wes joined her in the room as Kaya poured coffee into each of the mugs. “Here” Kaya said, offering some to each. “It’s got hot chocolate in the coffee, as well as some Bailey’s,” Kaya explained.
Wes sipped his beverage, letting the scalding hot coffee ground him in reality. “I’m so sorry,” Wes said to Kaya.
“It’s fine. It’s a crazy storm.” Kaya brushed it off. “Like you said, we have good booze and good snacks, we are in for a nice night.”
And so the group sipped spiked mochas, and Kaya rolled another blunt.
Sam used this time to roll a few spliffs, and Wes dug through the kitchen until he found a wine opener to crack open a bottle of red wine, with the coffee having gone quickly to warm up Kaya and Wes.
The storm raged, shaking the building, and laying waste to the outside. Where it had once been a winter wonderland, looking a bit deep in snow, but still happy and light, now, it looked more like those terrifying pictures of arctic winters. The sky was dark, impossibly dark, lit up only by horrifyingly bright shots of lightening that were striking all around. Power would surely go out in many parts of town tonight, and fires would likely start, if any could in the howling wind. The wind seemed to blow in every direction, and with it, gusts of snow, thick chunks of ice and hail. Hail and ice pummeled any surface they could find, eliminating any urge to go outside to satisfy any morbid curiosity about what it was like outside.
“I’ll need to start the radio show soon, will either of you be joining me, at any point tonight?” Asked Sam.
“Maybe” Said Kaya with a smile.
“I’ll make some snacks!” Said Wes brightly, eager to make up a snack tray.
“Maybe in a few.” Sam said. “I need a smoke or two before then.”
Kaya smiled, knowing that Sam was worried about her listeners and the condition this storm would leave them in.
“Wes, honey, how about you and I drink, maybe have some snacks, and we can give Sam some in a bit, after she gets going on the program. We can hear the show in hear, if she turns the speaker on.”
“Aw, you both want to listen?” Sam said. “Thanks, yeah, I’ll turn it on. Then you guys can hear the breaks too.” Sam bid them both goodbye, having rolled a few spliffs and a few plain cigarettes, and pouring another spiked coffee, Sam made her way back to the studio while Kaya accepted a cup of wine. Wes washed the few dirty mugs, and poured his own mug of wine, before sitting down on the couch.
Sam piped in the radio show, and Kaya used hand signals to indicate higher and lower to get the volume at a good level.
Sam opened up the show, and asked for any call ins, reporting the wind speeds, which were well over 35 mph, which higher gusts measurable if more parts of town were working, or you know, had reporters.
“I have a limited amount of equipment here at the station, so I don’t want to report what I can’t verify. But I can verify wind speeds of over 35 miles per hour, and temperatures dropping below zero, which is, officially, a blizzard.” Sam paused and took a sip of her spiked coffee. “If you have electric services, you will likely lose them. If you have gas services, you may lose it. I would advise, if you are able, to unplug anything you aren’t using, minimize power, and, if possible, turn off any lines. Pipes have already burst around town, with more expected. The lightening will also make more fires. Be ready to evacuate to safety elsewhere.” Sam took a deep breath.
“Assuming tonight’s guests are able to join me, we will be discussing things to look for when searching for alternate shelter, how to pack for and keep yourself ready for running away from danger, and, how to make a new shelter secure.” Sam eyed the phone lines. “I haven’t heard from many of you, but I would love to, so as always, feel free to call in, on or off the air, I would just love to hear your voice.” Sam turned her mic off and hit play on the next round of songs, sighing heavily. The music played, and the storm raged outside. The phone rang, with a long awaited update from one of the houses on Greek row.
“We lost power, lost a lot of things…But we got brave, and the few of us that came together, we tore apart what we had, and fortified the stronger of the two houses, gathered all the supplies…It was bad, but the zombies all ran somewhere else and we were able to move back and forth. We have the house all barricaded, and we have some food, water, and wood. Power is gone, and we did see, from one of our look outs, that one of the houses on the street caught fire, we think lightening struck it. We can’t put that out though. The zombies came back, and the thunder, man they seem to really respond to that.” The member of the frat rambled, obviously very nervous, but trying to rise to the occasion and tell Sam about their progress.
“We can’t take anyone in, we don’t have enough supplies to even last the snow storm, but we are safe, and we have a few people here.” He finally said.
“That’s really good news, good job.” Sam said, updating her records. “This storm will be bad, and there will be no one to clean up, but maybe you can gather supplies while everything is frozen.
“We can’t see where the zombies are, the snow has piled up so high already. We wouldn’t advise anyone trying it. You could sink in the snow and land on a zombie.” The guy said.
Sam finished up the conversation, and pulled out the bits that would work for a radio update, doing quick edits while a darker toned rock song played.
Wes and Kaya watched Sam work from the window, sipping their wine. Wes was mesmerized by Sam’s work, a one woman radio production team, and before long, found himself plopped down in the studio across from Sam. Kaya sat in a spare chair, sipping her wine as Wes got used to the heavy headphones, and Sam patched his mic in to the mixing board.
“Another good song, remember, survivors of Flake City, you can always request a song, I will play 100% of requests, even if your song sucks, because you are a listener, and with everyone turned into a zombie, it is that much more important to play whatever you want. In the meantime, I will probably keep playing zombie themed music, because wow, who knew there were so many bands and acts out there with zombie and death references?”
Sam chuckled. “So I have here with me, Wes, who you may recall from last night, and our discussion on head shots, and for tonight’s segment, we are going to talk about survival. As the storm rages on, some of you may face even more risks for survival, so we are going to be talking about being on the run, finding shelter, and securing shelter. We will be talking about supplies to bring, and things to look for in a shelter, as well as how to get into them.”
“Wes, welcome to the show, you are a regular listener, right?”
“Semi-regular. Not like Kaya.” Wes said nervously.
Sam laughed. “Kaya is another survivor, a friend of mine actually, who will hopefully join us at some point this evening. Wes here has listened to the station a bit, but he isn’t a regular night owl like us. So, tell me, Wes, you had to evacuate?”
“Yeah, I had to evacuate, my apartment became compromised, and I ran. I’m a bit of a nerd, so I had a sword, and that was super helpful. And I had my backpack, which was good enough when I went backpacking. I took whatever supplies were helpful, and should have grabbed more things…It’s rough out there, I didn’t even have half of what I needed, but I was better suited than other people I saw. I took shelter in a office supply store, which didn’t have many supplies for survival, but did have more dried snacks like jerky than you would think, and I hid out there until some fucking zombies broke in. The thing is, you find a place, you get to where you think you are safe, but then there they are, relentless.” Wes sighed.
“So, I ran. I ended up at the church, which was open, assuming you had no evidence of infection, which I didn’t, but the cops working the church took my sword, which meant when zombies got in, no one had anything to defend themselves. I was able to get away, because I stayed paranoid.”
“What did you do that you think was key to you not being eaten alive when the zombies broke into the church?”
“Well, the zombies broke in, and I was in the sleeping dorm, but I was sleeping with my bag on and my shoes on…very paranoid, I didn’t trust them to keep the building secure long. Anyways, they broke in, and with the cold, not to mention the hordes I saw outside, I knew I had to hide, so I went up, hid high in the church.”
“What made you decide it was better to stay in the building, instead of find new shelter.”
“Well, the tower I found, had a small room, and while it was drafty, it had a fireplace. The power was going out, and with the cold, I knew I needed a place I could burn stuff to stay warm. It had some wood, and more things I could burn, old furniture and such. I didn’t have a ton of food, but enough for a bit, so, it seemed smart to stay there until I could find somewhere else. I wanted to find somewhere with a fire place, for heat and making food, if needed, and also, somewhere with people, preferably, because even though I spend lots of time alone…after being in a church for a few days with zombies I realized how silly it was to not be around humans in a time like this.” Wes took a breath, before taking a long sip of wine. “I don’t like being lonely, but with walking dead roaming around trying to eat you, you really miss people more than you thought possible. A place with food, is also good, to find, but water is more important. If you can make fire, you can melt snow. Keeping a fire fed takes a lot of wood, so that also weighs into it.”
“How about security, what do you look for?” Asked Sam.
“Well, thick doors, something that covers windows. I wouldn’t say no windows because you want to be able to look and see what is happening, but you also want to make sure you stay safe.” Wes took a long sip form his wine. “Barricade doors. These things… they can break through wood, they can come through walls, through doors. Put heavy furniture in front of any entry ways, and have an exit you can get out easily, if needed, that is barricaded so you can move it quickly, but stay secure.”
“So you had put heavy furniture on a trap door, once you got to that tower room?” Sam asked.
“Yeah, until I had to burn it. I didn’t let myself fall asleep for too long, either, to make sure nothing could sneak up on me. I haven’t seen zombies be able to climb ladders and open trap doors, but I didn’t want to risk it. After all, I got in. Sure, it wasn’t barricaded from the inside, but I was able to get in, and these zombies are just humans trying to eat other humans, so I try to think of what a human can do when they are hungry, and try to prevent against that.”
“What a clever way to look at it: ‘What can a hungry human do?'” Sam said laughing. “Okay, so then you got to the smoke shop, and then you guys got here, and we won’t talk about that trek, but what advice would you give people seeking shelter?”
“Well, get creative. Places that may not have a ton of food supplies may at least have a secure location, and maybe that place has some shit you can burn to stay warm, or even some power. Look for places with only a few places in, so it is easier to secure. When trying to get in places, keep in mind that everyone ran, as everything got intense, so, lots of doors are unlocked. Don’t break a window to get in when a door is unlocked, because you will just have to barricade that window later.” Wes took a long drink, nearly finishing his wine. Kaya refilled it, always a fan of watching people get drunk, and knowing Wes, who had first sleep shift, needed to get a good buzz and fall asleep soon so he could reset his sleep schedule.
“Be sure to raid the place you take shelter in. I didn’t think the office supply place would have snacks. And we have found snacks in desks too, because people get hungry, so also don’t be afraid to check those for supplies. Keep your eyes open while we you loot, make sure no one else is there, in case they wish you ill. Some people may not be their best selves, right?”
Sam nodded, knowingly. All too true, sadly, all too true. Alright, so we have some good tips for if you need to evacuate, keep your bags packed and shoes on, be ready to run, get creative with where you will take shelter, loot wherever you go, and keep in mind not only your food and warmth for survival, but defensibility. Think of what hungry humans can do, and plan against that.” Sam wrapped up. “Okay we are going to take a brief break, have a drink, couple of smokes, and then we are going to be back. Until then, enjoy the next segment.”
Sam and Wes removed their headsets and the group ate some of the snacks and drank the wine, Wes’s buzz making his head spin. Sam made notes on her white board in the studio, and on her note pad, and the three passed around a blunt. Wes, after three glasses of wine, some spiked with Bailey’s mocha coffees, the scotch, and now the blunt, was ready to pass out, so he ate some more cheese and crackers before putting on some sweat pants he had found and an over-sized band shirt he had found that was comically big.
“If either of you get tired, just wake me up.” Wes assured the two of them as he finished off the fourth glass of wine, washing down the snacks he had enjoyed as a before bed dinner.
“Sure. I will be good for a while still.” Sam assured him. “I am normally up for hours after the radio show, and I am up doin that until dawn.”
“I’ll be able to stay awake even longer, if needed.” Kaya said, “I slept hard last night, I should be good.”
“Still.” Wes urged. “I don’t want any of us being too tired. We all need to be in our best shape in case something does happen.” Wes said as he bid them both goodnight, hugging them both and tightening the blanket around his shoulders.
Wes returned to the break room and found the sleeping area Kaya and Sam had put together was incredibly comfortable, blocking out plenty of noise and light. The extra linens Wes had found were going a long way in making the cot more comfortable, and the wine and weed made Wes’s head spin, and before long, his head spun into a deep sleep of odd dreams, featuring electric snow and frozen zombies.
Meanwhile, Sam asked Kaya, yet again, to join her on the radio segment.
“I just don’t like how fake radio has to sound.” Kaya said. “I mean, people are dying and shit and we have to stay radio friendly. No dead air, and sure, your show has music of all types, but it’s not like we are discussing the inner most fears of people in this crisis, or the implications of people rising from the dead. I mean, look at what Wes said earlier…think of what hungry humans can do, and prevent against that. How fucking terrifying.”
Sam laughed. “Okay, then lets talk about it. Let’s get real.”
Kaya smiled, and lit another blunt. “Okay, sure. Let’s do a radio segment.”
So the two women poured some more wine, enjoying the rest of the break and getting strong buzzes going, before brewing more coffee to spike with some of the Bailey’s. Kaya grabbed her dab rig, some wax, and her torch, along with her dab tool, and set these in the studio, before grabbing coffee, water, and the blunts she had rolled.
Together, the two slid on the headphones, and began the next portion of the show.
The hours passed, and even after the two stopped the talking portion of the radio show, Kaya and Sam talked. Before long, it was Wes’s time to wake up, and time for Kaya or Sam to lay down. The two devised the idea to have “down hours” for the radio, when it would replay content, and advertise that time as such, to signify the zombies were active, so they were staying as inactive and quiet as possible.
Kaya changed into some lounge pants and a loosely fitting shirt, and after putting her hair up, brushed her teeth and washed her face before laying down on her cot. Kaya was so grateful for Wes’s looting, the extra linens made the cot softer, and the room really was dark in this area. Outside, the storm raged on, the wind blowing hard, making some houses and nearby buildings take on damage. Things left outside blew into unbroken windows, into walls, and into the zombies still above the snow. The snow fell, piling up, covering every thing quickly, before long, any of the zombies from outside who had not sought shelter, were getting trapped in snow, trying to move forward, but struggling in the thickness of the snow.
Ice, thick chunks of ice and hail beat against surfaces, and the freezing temperatures kept everything icy and unforgiving.
Inside the radio station, however, it was warm and safe, and inside the sleeping area, if felt warmer and even nicer. Kaya had taken several dabs before bed, plus the many cups of spiked coffee and wine with Sam, so it didn’t take long for her to fall into a deep sleep. Wes and Sam, who decided to watch zombie movies on the air, had no problems letting Kaya sleep for a long time, and the whole area was barricaded, and Kaya, despite her paranoia, slipped into a fairly restive state, and an even deeper sleep than she had hoped for.
Thank you so much for reading, be sure you are subscribed/following the blog so you don’t miss the next few chapters- we are approaching the end of volume one of Flake City! Be sure to also follow if you want to see other blog post content- As once I have finished posting Flake City, I will be bringing back some of my recipe and skins are blogs, along with tons of zombie reviews I am working on for you all.
Thanks as always, for reading!
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