After the Apocalypse
Chapter 19: Northern Exposure
by Mark Bollman--> and Steve Donohue
The road to Lapeer proved remarkably similar to the road just outside of Metamora. Steve and Lou stopped to investigate the first few cars they discovered, but the grisly bodies they found left them less than eager to look in the others they encountered. They forced themselves to do it though, unwilling to let even a stranger die if they could be saved. Like Dave and Tim though, they did not find a single survivor.
They continued north on M-24 to the I-69 interchange where they found their first serious roadblock. The junction of the two roads took the form of an overpass and the remains of I-69 now lay spread across M-24 like a giant roadblock. Lou slipped his Explorer into four-wheel drive mode and they were able to traverse the embankment and circle wide to avoid the ruined section of roadbed.
"That may come in handy," said Steve. "If the road is blocked here, it will help keep people from heading south; a good roadblock may prevent looters and stuff."
"Do you really think there will be looters?" asked Lou.
"Well, it's hard to believe we're the only survivors," said Steve, "and some of them are liable to be at least as desperate as we are for food and supplies".
"I suppose you're right," replied Lou. "What'll we do when we get to town?"
"If things are open, I guess we'll try to find out what's going on and then purchase as much food as we can. If they aren't, we'll probably have to do some looting ourselves."
"Are you serious?"
"Yes. I mean, this is survival now, not just yours and mine, but all our friends and families. This isn't a game and I don't intend to finish last."
Lou was somewhat taken aback by Steve's tone. The Big Man, as his friends sometimes called him, was usually pretty laid back. It was well known that he had not deliberately killed even a mosquito in nearly twenty years. Lou was shocked to hear the edge in his voice, but he was glad, because he recognized the tone. It was the one Steve used when he'd had enough and the discussion was over. It was clear to him that Steve was prepared to do whatever it would take to get the things they needed to survive.
Turning back onto M-24, they proceeded north up a small rise until they spotted the State Police post on the right. Lou pulled into the parking lot as best as he was able and the two of them got out of the car cautiously. Lou reached into the back seat for a shotgun, but Steve shook his head.
"Probably not a good idea to show up here with an unlicensed, unregistered shotgun."
"Oh yeah", said Lou, somewhat sheepishly. "I guess you're right."
The post turned out to be in worse shape than they had thought. Although the front facade was only slightly damaged, the building behind it had largely collapsed. They poked through the rubble a bit but didn't find anything very useful. As they headed back towards the parking lot, Lou picked up a piece of re-bar with a chunk of concrete still clinging to it. Once they reached the lot, he swung it hard at the side window of one of the six cruisers in the lot.
"One of the things we're looking for is weapons, right?" said Lou when Steve gave him a quizzical look.
"Oh yeah, I hadn't thought of that."
Lou reached inside and unlocked then opened the door. He tried turning on the police radio, but all he got was static. He shut it off, then looked for a trunk release. Swinging the door of the glove compartment down, he pushed both buttons, one for the trunk and the other for the fuel door. The two of them searched the trunk and found a shotgun, a box of fifty shells and two bulletproof vests. They broke into the remaining cars and wound up with 5 shotguns, 400 rounds of ammunition, a grenade launcher, 6 tear gas grenades and a half dozen bulletproof vests.
They tossed most of the equipment into the back of Lou's truck and each of them donned one of the vests. They tried to remove the radio from one of the cars, but it proved too difficult; while they could have done it, they weren't sure about antenna requirements or what use the radios might turn out to be. They got back into the Explorer and continued their journey south.
"I want to stop at K-mart," announced Steve.
"Geez, I hope you're not planning to buy some sort of action figure," laughed Lou, "because the time capsule has already been buried."
"No," said Steve after chuckling briefly, "but I'm hoping it might have survived better and I'm thinking we might find a generator there."
"We don't have much gas."
"Well, the tanks will be underground, but that gas station didn't look too badly damaged. Maybe we can rig up some sort of siphon to get some of it."
"Man," said Lou, "I'm glad you pulled that long straw, I'm not sure Mark and I would've thought of that."
"Well, it hasn't worked yet, so save your congratulations for now."
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