The wraiths cannot tolerate cold weather. We know this for a fact now. Mike and Billy found a group of them piled up in a little patch of woods off Morgan Drive. They were all dead. Not a mark on them. Just frozen stiff. Billy and Mike set them on fire just to make sure. Katherine was PISSED. She has been wanting to get her hands on an intact adult for a while to study.
The tracks they left indicate that they were travelling as a group from up north, so I was right about their migration. This means that northern latitudes will probably be safer from them. Doesn't mean we will be heading to the Alaskan wilderness though. A certain balance will have to be achieved, between danger of predation by the wraiths or freezing.
It has been debated back and forth the past few days about the possibility of finding more suitable lodgings. The church has the advantage of being easily defended as I have pointed out before, but it lacks in other areas. There are few private rooms and no private restrooms and only two showers for nine people. On the plus side it has a huge kitchen and plenty of freezer space. All the appliances are electric so we don't have to worry about propane. Most residential houses that would be large enough for the lot of use would not be secure against the wraiths and no one seems ready to break up what is already starting to feel like a family.
Pastor Tom and I raided a local VFW post and liberated their 52 inch flat panel TV. Tom insisted on leaving a note explaining and apologizing for the theft. From there we hit a local video rental shop. Another theft and another note left from the pastor. I don't think he really expects anyone to ever read the note, he just wants to cover all the bases.
I figure a family movie night will help pass the time this winter. Cabin fever can be a real problem if you don't have some sort of recreation.
I have been studying the messages recorded from the Independence radio for a few days now. Most of them are just bursts of static, but I have a few bits that appear to be voices. Trying to use some filters to clean them up a bit, but I am not an expert. There is one definite voice and it appears to be my Chinese friend. But he appears to be speaking english this time. At least I can make out one recognisable word. "Danger". Not a very encouraging message. I am in the process of setting up a ham radio in the Uni now. Now that we are setting up in the church we won't be needing the living space in the RVs anymore.
We were discussing the problem of gathering and storing fuel for the generators for the winter when Beverly hit an elegantly simple solution. A fuel tanker. She even remembered seeing one out on MO-32 on the way in. Me and Jewels took a little trip out there and sure enough it was sitting in the front yard of a farm house where it had knocked over the mail box and taken out about a hundred yards of fence. It was an old Ford single axle tanker with a 1500 gallon tank. And I mean old. Jewels says it's a 1968. I seriously had some doubts about getting the antique running.
I hate working out in the cold but between me and Jewels we got the thing to turn over. A couple of times we lost wrenches or parts in the snow, but we managed. We camped out at the farmhouse using the fireplace for heat. The previous owner had kept a good supply of firewood and canned goods. I said good night to Dee via walkie talkie. I have been reading Charlotte's Web to her the last couple of nights and I had the book with me so I read it to her until Katherine informed me that she was asleep. I know, you may think that a waste of batteries, but I had plenty of replacements in my pocket and we might as well use them because they aren't getting any fresher. I will be getting some rechargeable batteries soon though.
This morning while Jewels was brewing coffee in the fireplace I opened the door to go take care of morning business and found myself staring into a large bovine face. To be perfectly honest I almost wet my pants. You try looking coming face to face with a cow before you've had your morning coffee and see how you react. Jewels thought it was hilarious.
There were half a dozen of them out front. Between Jewels and I, we got them all roped up and led out to the barn. They were docile enough and in good shape despite being a bit thin. There are a couple of livestock trailers here that we can use to take them back with us. There's a bull too, but he would not let us approach. He followed us to the barn but would not go in. We made sure they had plenty fresh feed and water.
Katherine will have to ultrasound them, but with luck we will have fresh milk soon.
The mechanical fuel injection system on the tanker is crap. It leaks horribly, and a couple of the injectors were too badly gummed to ever work. But it only had to go a couple of miles. Jewels volunteered to drive it back. In my mind's eye I kept seeing myself look back in my rear view mirror in time to see the tanker go up in a ball of flame to make a Hollywood pyrotechnical engineer proud. But the most eventful thing on the way back was me taking out a mailbox because I was paying more attention to my rear view than what was in front of me.
Dee almost bowled me over when I came back to the church. I scooped her up and carried her into the nursery where I finished Charlotte's Web. She loves it when I do the voices of the characters. Especially Templeton the rat. My Dad used to do the voices of characters for me when I was little. My favorite book was Treasure Island, when he read as Jim Hawkins or Silver, the book really came alive for me. It was better than any movie.
I am fucking exhausted right now. Working out in the cold just takes a lot out of me. My hands are still prickly from the cold. I think I will take a hot shower and go to bed.
© 2009 R. Keith McBride