Been in Stockton for a few days now scouting about. Got Google Earth up and running on a new laptop. The battery was bad on it, but it's just going to be used in the Uni. We are parked in the parking lot of the Dollar General store. But I don't think we will be staying here too long. We found the body of a girl here in the parking lot. She had only been dead about a week according to Katherine. I managed to keep Dee from seeing her, but she knows the rest of us are pretty upset about something.
The dead girl was left hanging from a lamp post in the parking lot. She had been raped and tortured. A lot. She was really little more than a child, according to her student ID she was only 17. Her name was Christina Tudor. It did not feel like the work of the wraiths and Katherine agreed with me after her examination. There were bruises consistent with a large human hand, restraining her, beating her and choking her. There were probably two of them according to Katherine. I keep thinking of Micheal's attackers in the FedEx van. Some monsters are all too human.
We buried her in the Stockton Cemetery out on J highway. We found a backhoe in one of their big sheds and that sped things up a bit. None of us knows a thing about stone cutting so Billy made a marker out of a large bronze plate. He used a CNC laser cutter found at a nearby metal fabricator shop to make the inscription. Took him most of the day and he did a real nice job. Out of all of us I think he was most upset by the whole thing. I could see that he'd been crying when he set the marker. A few hours and a lot of beers later he told me that her photo reminded him too much of his kid sister. I almost feel sorry for the her killers if Billy ever gets his hands on them. Almost.
We are getting supplies from the Woods Supermarket on 39 Highway and I have ordered that nobody goes out alone or unarmed. I got no argument on that one.
Katherine told me a few days ago that she believes the creatures go through evolutionary development during their parasitic embryo stage and grow a pair of lungs. That coupled with their bulk and density lead me to believe they can't swim. Katherine agrees with me on this point. This has given me an idea. I have been looking at the Google Earth maps of Stockton for a few days now and I have noticed something. Stockton lake is a man made lake formed by damming the Sac River. The Sac River twists and turn quite a bit. So much so that numerous small islands have been made by digging short canals where the river has almost turned in on itself. Some of these islands have been cleared and converted to rich farmland. There is one island just north of Masters Island, its unnamed but it is almost a mile long and a little over a quarter of a mile wide. The river is about one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet across all the way around the island. At the northern tip of the island there is a bridge. I am thinking of presenting the idea of moving there. If these things can't swim then we need only guard the bridge. There is nothing there, so we will have to build or camp in motorhomes. But there are just too few of us now to adequately defend an open settlement. Being a river island there is a potential for flooding, but most flood victims have one thing in common, they just don't know when to evacuate. I figure if it looks like flooding, pack everyone into the RV's and head for higher ground till the danger is past.
Katherine also has a theory about the commonality of us few remaining people. All of us adults were probably in a state of altered consciousness or brain chemistry at the time. I know that she read the accounts Jewels gave me, with his permission. But I don't recall telling her my story. May have to bring that up later. She did not go into details, but my guess is that Billy was stoned, Jewels was in a lot of pain from his arthritis and had taken a rather heavy dose of his pain meds. Mike, perhaps it was just a mixture of pain, fear and anger. Katherine has refused to talk of her experiences that day so I don't know. Beverly does not look like the kind to do heavy recreational drugs, but I have seen her down a few beers before going to bed. And then there are the psychopaths Mike met in Osceola. We may never know Dee's story. She seems to have blotted those first weeks out completely.
So the theory is that brain chemistry or mental states may have caused some of us to be left behind. Or it could be just random chance. I like this option better. Katherine tends towards pessimism. If she is correct then the remaining population of the Earth may be mostly drug addicts or axe murderers. That does not make me feel too optimistic about the future of the human race.
© 2009 R. Keith McBride