“So any idea where these Deadheads came from?” Fred asked leaning back in his chair.
The others cast uncertain glances around the table. Susie stood quickly and began picking up empty plates. Finally Indie shook her head, “No. I didn’t see this many on the way to town and Lyric said she didn’t see many on the way here from Big Moose. From what the Doc said, these things should be decomposing faster so that there was an end date.”
Marcus pushed his plate away. “Our Medics on base said the virus was mutating. They had been getting info from the CDC so they could treat bite victims.” He shook his head, “I didn’t understand a lot of the medical jargon, but what I got was it wasn’t good.”
Indie puffed out a sigh and rubbed her temples. “Yeah the Doc mentioned that too.”
Lyric shook her head and stood to help Susie clean the table. She was glad she wasn’t the unofficial leader of this motley crew. Entering the kitchen she found Susie at the sink, head down and shoulders shaking.
“Susie, you ok?” Lyric asked coming up beside her and setting the dishes on the counter.
“I don't get how you guys are dealing with this.” Susie dashed at the tears streaming down her face. “I've been trying to...” She hiccuped and shook her head.
Lyric reached over and gave her an awkward hug. “We're all just doing the best we can.”
Behind them someone cleared their throat and Lyric turned to find Ira standing in the doorway. “I hate to interrupt, but don't you think Marcus will be a tad disappointed to know you swing for both teams, Lyric.”
Frowning Lyric put her hands on her hips, “Where have you been?”
“What are you my mom now?”
Lyric waved her hand. “As if.”
“You missed dinner.” Susie turned toward them. “There might be some leftovers on the table still. I'll get you a plate if you want.”
Ira grinned, “That'd be great, thanks.”
Lyric rolled her eyes and left heading back into the dinning room.
“Is there someway to communicate with your Doctor friend?” Marcus asked, as Lyric entered the room, he was leaning close to Indie.
“I'm not really sure.” She chewed on her bottom lip nervously for a moment. “I told him what channel we were using on the CB, but I didn't ask if he had one.”
Lyric paused in picking up the plates. “Has anyone tried the HF radio?” At their confused looks she clarified, “The Ham Radio.”
Ryan snapped his fingers. “You mean the stuff in the basement. It's just a CB.”
“No the dipole antenna outside mean it's an HF radio, which has a broader range than the CB.”
“If you say so.” Ryan shrugged,” My dad's got a bunch of old radio equipment in the basement. I can show you if you want.”
Marcus stood and took the plates from her hands. “Go see if you can get anymore information on what's going on.”
Lyric bit her lip and nodded to Ryan. “Let's see what's down there.”
Ryan got to his feet and lead her out of the room, to a door in the kitchen. Lyric frowned at Ira and Susie who were talking in hushed whispers by the sink. Shaking her head she continued down the stairs into the finished basement. The cement room was open, but held shelves and shelves of supplies. In the far corner under a small window the shelves created a workspace covered in electronic equipment. Lyric made her way through the rows of canned goods and toilet paper to the corner. Wide boards jutted from the walls forming a waist high desk/ workspace. In the corner was an old bulky monitor with a banged up key board and mouse in front. Lyric ignored the computer, pulling up the cushy office chair she focused on the radios. There were several different styles, brands and sizes. She suddenly wished she'd paid better attention when he dad had been trying to teach her.
“So you know what this stuff is for and how to work it?” Ryan asked leaning against the desk beside her.
“Kind of.” She replied flipping a few switches. “My dad was into it and for awhile I was but I never got my license. I know the basics, but pageants took up the majority of my time.”
“You mean like beauty pageants?”
She nodded pressing another button and the radio began scanning stations. Under one of the smaller radios a sheet of notebook paper was taped with scribbled numbers and letters. She realized they were band widths, and they were familiar chewing on the inside of her lip she studied them. “These are aeronautical off route sub-bands.”
“And that means what?”
“The military uses them.”
“So we can talk to the military?”
“I'm not sure. My dad used to just listen...” She sighed looking at all the equipment. “This is all different from my dad's set up. I need to figure out how to use it.”
Ryan nodded, “Pops kept all the manuals to this stuff over there.” He pointed to a shelf packed with books and instruction manuals.
“Thanks, I'll look through them in the morning.” She reached for the power button on the radio and a voice startled her.
“...we found a pit with burned bodies. Couple miles from that farm house those kids are staying in.”
Ryan and Lyric exchanged a look, but stayed silent as he continued. “It's a sweet place they got power, solar panels. What do you say, Rev? It's a couple young bucks and few good looking chicks. We can take them.”
There was a pause then a new voice. “How many?”
“Three girls, one old guy, and five guys. Three of 'um are those military brats who crashed our gate.”
Another pause. “Armed?”
“Hunting rifles, maybe handguns.”
Lyric looked up at Ryan, he just gave her a wry grin then glanced to a corner of the basement under the stairs. Two very large gun safes sat nestled in the shadow of the steps.
“Hit them tonight, do it stealthy. They'll be on the lookout for more zombies, but might also be tired from fighting last night and the clean up. Hit hard and fast.”
“You got it boss.” There was a chuckle. “I can't wait to get my hands on that fine lil' army bitch...”
A queasy feeling entered Lyric's stomach, reaching up she grabbed Ryan's arm. “Go up and get everyone together. Tell them what we just heard. We need to be prepared.”
Nodding, Ryan ran out of the basement, nearly braining himself on the stairs in the process. Lyric returned her attention the radio but it was silent. Rubbing her arms, Lyric looked over at the gun safes and hoped that there was something at least semi-automatic in them.
Author's Note: Unedited Version