Another bit from A Long Walk (I really need to decide if that’s going to be my final title or not sometime soon). This is just a piece of dialog from near the end of the book. I included the paragraph leading up to it, but that’s it. The chapter it’s in is just over 4k words long.
Inside the place was lit. They could hear a humming sound that was clearly a generator. It was a restaurant, and there were people at the tables. They were eating, drinking coffee, talking, etc. There were even a few waitresses, dressed in blue dresses with aprons, running around taking orders and topping up cups. The entire scene was surreal, like running into a live Dali painting. The men beckoned Jasper and his crew to the convenience store side. Inside it was very different. The place had been emptied of shelving, and there was a large table with chairs around it. An older man and woman were there. Both were large and looked extremely strong. Hard working farm types. “I’m Beth. This is my place. This is Conrad”.
“I’m Jasper, these two are Naomi and Candice. Pleased to meet you”.
“You folks look pretty rough,” Beth said, “You had a hard time of it I take it?”
Jasper told her about his journey, from stat to finish. He didn’t want to leave out any details, there were potential consequences for them from things he had done, and he wanted to make sure they were prepared. There were too few people left to let his pride endanger any of them.
“Well shit, we had some issues, but I guess we had it pretty easy compared to you folks. I used to live right near here, Conrad was in the area too. I mean we lost people, of course, but I think I had to travel all ten klicks. I came here to raid the place, couple days after the zombies showed up. Found out it had a working genny, lots of spare gas. Hell, the freezer was still working, full of food. Set up shop right away. Conrad came by couple days later. He built most of the compound out back. We were friends before, so I trusted him right off.”
“Wow, sounds like you guys hit a bit of luck.”
“Damn right. Once I found the owner I knew the place was mine. He was up in the apartment above the restaurant, trying his darndest to eat my brains. Never did like the old lech. Used to hit on the waitresses something fierce. Anyway, as we were setting up a couple boys came up and tried to take over. Conrad took a bullet, but he bashed both their brains in with a hammer. After I got him patched up we started collecting the zombies, made a good deterrent to folks who wanted to sneak up on us. We’re still open to newcomers though. We got plenty of food, this area’s all farms, enough food that we got ourselves set for the winter and had to lave most of it on the ground. Tried our best to save the livestock too, but had to butcher more of it than we wanted. We let the ones we couldn’t use or care for go. Careful, lots of wild cows roaming around this winter…”
“You seem to have picked up a few extras.”
“Yeah, lots of em’ I figure everyone with a pulse in a hundred klicks stopped in here at some point. Not your Robert fellow though, I’m glad of that. We like newcomers, folks who can do different things. Anyone who stays more n’ a day or two we expect to pitch in, build themselves a place, help keep up the community. New faces though, it’s enough that you bring news with you, or even just stories we ain’t heard bout a hundred times already.”
“Do you have any idea what Charlottetown is like?”
“Yeah, had a few come through from there a few days ago. Couple little spots with people still in them. At least three I know of, could be more. The University has some folks, another bunch set up in Victoria Park, took advantage of the terrain. Another group in an apartment building. I think it was Spring St., someplace around there.”
“My daughter and her mom were around there.”
“Well, that’s some good news at least. Seems like people turning in the night might be a bit less likely if your family didn’t turn. Maybe you not turning means your daughter didn’t too. Course we don’t know for sure, just stories. Anyway, stay for dinner, the food is simple, and we ain’t got a lot of spices, but it’s good stuff. All local grown, we ate all the stuff from the grocery stores months ago.”