I’ve seen the zombie sharks around non-prison islands quite often, but I love an island hopping style of game play, so maybe I’m seeing more just from sheer volume than a lot of other players. Thankfully any weapon with a reach attack will make quick work of them if you’re on dry land. If you’re in open water, that’s another story…
Reyes Albert, Prisoner, Ch. 14 "Horrific"
As Reyes motored through the deserted streets, wind blowing through his balaclava, the idea suddenly struck him.
He was more free than he’d been for years.
Ever since he was sentenced to prison as an embezzler, Reyes had been trapped in that island prison. It should have been years still before he was out, but due to the Cataclysm, he was freed early.
Reyes thought to himself… maybe he shouldn’t be in such a rush to get back to the prison. Maybe, he should live a little.
Reyes accelerated the bike to top speed. 44mph (71km/h) down the rural road. The light of the full moon cast over a nearby evac shelter, and he curved the motorbike towards it.
There was a fat zombie outside. Reyes squeezed the breaks a bit, and turned away from it. It didn’t spot him.
He ripped the motorbike around the shelter, peering through the glass windows. Some were shattered, but others remained intact. He positioned the bike away from the shelter, in case he needed to get out of there in a hurry.
Reyes entered the shelter, clutching one of his crude spears. Both of his arms were in splints, but he could always try tossing the spear before running.
Inside, he found bandages, a dust mask, and some forgotten rations.
A set of stairs. Reyes held his flashlight out, and descended.
The light was nearly blinding, but he saw numerous of doors. One led to a bloody bathroom, where he found a hand mirror. It might be nice to give himself a haircut after all this time. A couple of first aid kits too.
Reyes returned upstairs. He broke through a door to take him up to the roof. There was a solar panel here, which he took apart and placed into the motorbike’s basket. Some of the metal parts here would be of great use to the boat, once he found the jack, welder, and welder’s helmet. He loaded scrap metal into the motorbike as well, dropping it from the roof and picking it up from the ground.
The bike was full. The clear dawn cast light over the surroundings.
After failing to start a few times, eventually the bike sprang to life. Reyes could see further now, and noticed a small number of houses to the south, along with a grocery store.
He had no hopes for safety there. Whatever death he had seen elsewhere was likely all over this county. But if he drove nearby, away from danger, he could see if there were any tool shops.
Reyes blasted to full speed towards the southwest, passing a zombie child and a small gang of bulldogs.
There were a number of undead in the outskirts of this town, and it would be a squeeze to get by them. But Reyes wanted to make sure he got a good look at what the town contained, especially in its core.
The zombies tried in futility to reach him, but the bike was too fast. Reyes checked the meters; it had an hour left of proper gas. But perhaps the battery would hold out even longer. He started to question whether he knew it was actually electric.
Reyes zoomed past the zombies, keeping at range. Houses, houses, and more houses.
He had to swivel his head to see if he was truly seeing what he thought he was – a giant bee. It was as big as a dog. Reyes kept riding. What exactly had happened?
As he cleared the corner of a house, Reyes saw something horrific. He jerked his handlebars away, but not before he spotted something behind it.
Past the horrific creature, Reyes spotted the familiar logo of a mechanics business. This might just be his ticket back to safety.
Reyes Albert, Prisoner, Ch. 15
Reyes needed to get into that mechanics shop, but there was risk involved. He had time on his side, as his food and water stores were still high. It had barely been a day since he set off. Reyes wasn’t about to take undue risks.
Luckily for Reyes, the mechanics shop was near to the edge of town. Problem was, there were dozens of zombies in the streets outside.
He took off west, away from the town, to gather his thoughts and plan this out. The bike tore down the road.
A cloud of bats flew by. A forboding sight.
Reyes pulled over, and cracked open a soda. His plan was to use the bike’s horn to move the zombies out into the outskirts of the town. If he circled it a few times, he could likely divert many of them. Then, he would make a pass straight through the town and attempt to pull any of the stragglers.
There was no reason to wait. He went right back to the town.
But just two blocks away, the engine sputtered and stopped. It was out of gas. His plan would have to wait.
The only other vehicles Reyes had seen were in the town. Getting gas meant going in there on foot. Not a good idea.
A service road to the south led to a radio station. It was worth a shot. If he was lucky, the station would be empty of zombies, and could have some use.
Reyes left the bike at the intersection, and went there. It had an undisturbed chain link fence, and the doors were not locked. Reyes even found a telescope at the top.
From this vantage point, Reyes could see the hordes moving through the town. A sign held the town’s name, “Bethlehem”.
A pair of gun stores were on the main road. Only trouble was, there were a dozen hordes visible in the town.
There was also a rural farm, far to the south. And to the west, he could see the beginnings of another town, and a mall just past it.
Reyes just wished he still had that bike. A vehicle was extremely useful, especially given the broken condition of his arms.
Atop the radio tower, Reyes also found a map of nearby towns and cities. There were even some of the buildings noted out. It must have been left by another survivor… Notably, the cities Ogunquit and Yarmouth were to the west. There were dozens of smaller towns like Bethlehem, as well. This map would be extremely useful once Reyes restored his boat.
The town southwest of Reyes had written next to it, “Lab”, and “Beehive”. Reyes wondered what that meant.
He hatched a new plan. Reyes would walk back to the first bike, which was pedal-driven. That would give him the speed advantage he needed, regardless of whether he fought or fled.
During his walk back, he found a corpse. There was a cigarette pack sticking out of its front pocket, and Reyes pulled it out and pocketed it.
He tried to keep his distance as he squeezed through two feral runners. He kept a far distance, and tried to blend in as much as possible.
To his north, a group of zombies chased a fox out of the forest. Reyes needed to go in that direction. Reyes watched as the group of five chase it east, into a gang of bulldogs. The fastest zombies began to fight with the bulldogs.
Reyes took the chance to press north. He was almost at the bike.
He drew the attention of a tough zombie and a prisoner zombie, but picked up his pace.
The tough zombie drew close. Reyes needed to run to get away.
There were shots fired from inside the land prison. He figured it has a security turret that was still active. He remembered how the turret in his prison was torn apart by its zombies.
Reyes sprinted up to the bike, and hopped on. That tough zombie was following him up the road. He pedaled as fast as he could away, and back toward Bethlehem.
Keeping a steady pace, he pushed on. He noticed a car on the road. It had over a half tank of gas. But Reyes had no way to siphon gas. Maybe a hose could do the trick, if he could find one.
He arrived at Bethlehem, and started honking while circling clockwise.
It was essential to get into the middle of town, and lead the zombies there outside into the forests. That meant taking a risk.
Reyes weaved into the town, circling a zombie child. He honked repeatedly, drawing the attention of a large group.
He led them out of the town’s northern edge. East was a forest, which wouldn’t ride through. He turned back to come around counter-clockwise.
He honked to grab the attention of a dozen more zombies, and led them west out of the city.
Reyes passed, honking. He spotted a zombie that was crackling with electricity.
He made sure to steer well clear of it.
Honking along the southern outskirts of town, he reached the other side of the forest. It was time to double back to the north side.
The outskirts were crowded now. It made riding difficult, but Reyes needed to get them dispersed from the town.
Reyes did his best to avoid them, honking between turns. The sound of shattering pierced the air. They were breaking through the homes on the northwest side. This was ideal – the noise would draw more of them.
He drove into the streets, and honked as he cut out. He drew them outwards.
While turning the corner, Reyes scraped against the corner of a chain-link fence. There was no serious damage, and he kept going.
He took another swipe.
It was tense, methodical work. He continued to stretch them out into the fields.
Reyes Albert, Prisoner, Ch 16. "Bethlehem"
Reyes was luring the zombies out of Bethlehem, using himself as bait. He rode his bike around in circles, to draw them out further from the city.
It was working. He could see the metal bay doors of the mechanics garage. He let out a few good honks.
He also spotted a motorcycle with sidecar on the road. It looked to have been in mediocre condition. Maybe it had some gasoline…
A security van was there too. A powerful machine, although it had numerous busted wheels. Nevertheless there were some excellent parts here.
Reyes could make this place safe, eventually. He did it to the island prison, it was certainly possible to do it here as well. If he blocked off some of the alleyways… and built walls to close part of the town in… this too could become a fortress.
But that day would be a long way off, if it ever did come. The town was still swarming.
Reyes kicked off and kept riding. And then the inevitable happened.
Crash! Smash! Reyes collided into the boulder. Worse, an undead police canine unit was only a short sprint away.
Reyes reversed and changed direction as quick as he could. He was arm’s length away from the zombie, but managed to escape before it could swing at him.
How many times had he been in danger since crashing here? This must’ve been the fifth time he’s seen his life flash before his eyes. That damned deluxe sandwich! If we hadn’t been distracted by crafting it, he would still be safe at sea.
But there were riches in this town. If he could clear it out, he could live a life of luxury. That dream kept him going, as he pedaled away.
After gaining some distance, Reyes knocked back a water bottle. It was still just 6:15 AM. He was a bit tired, but figured that he may even be able to sleep indoors tonight if he kept pushing. The alternative was sleeping in the chair of in his beached ship The Lowrider.
Reyes noticed a corpse. The gang of bulldogs must have taken this zombie down. He pulped it with an extended baton.
Before he could react, a bulldog jumped at began to bite at his leg. Reyes struggled to get the bike moving as he shook the mad dog off.
Reyes got away from the dog as it began to flee from the approaching undead. The poor bastard was bleeding from scratches, and attacked him out of instinct. He didn’t have the means to protect it, and pedaled away.
There were other corpses around. Reyes knew he needed to pulp them, or they’d come back. But it was dangerous, with the bulldogs.
He got to a clearing, and knocked back some water.
Where the hordes were once right in the center of the city, they were now coming to the vast fields outside it. Reyes knew that if he kept working at it, they would clear out of the town.
Reyes flew through the streets, pulling as many as he could. He was making his mind numb to fear, drawing nearer to the zombies as he pulled a large group away from the front of the mechanic shop.
He slowed to maintain distance. He wanted these ones to follow him directly out of town.
Weaving back and forth, Reyes balled them up as tight as he could. It was always easier to avoid a ball than a carpet of zombies.
Reyes led them into the nearby swamp. He positioned himself across the water, and honked until the zombies were getting themselves stuck. This was a great location to leave them.
He gave a few last honks before pedaling off.
They submerged themselves in the water as Reyes escaped. But he saw them emerging from the other side, which shuddered him to his core. Apparently they could move through the water, albeit at a slower pace. He drove past the radio station and circled back to Bethlehem.
He led a crowd from the northwest out, then stopped for a bite to eat. Two protein rations. He went to the motorbike, and removed its basket and placed it on his pedal bike. It still had a solar panel. He also removed the motorbike’s battery, and put it in the wire basket too.
A number of zombies had come near the mechanics shop, likely due to the noise Reyes caused earlier. He continued to draw them out.
There were many of them. He kept a distance as he wove them into a clump, and brought that clump to the swamp.
He wanted to do one or two more pulls, before corralling the entire mass even further to the west. Even the swamp was too close for comfort, especially as he had plans to fortify the mechanic’s shop, which was towards the southwest edge of town.
Reyes was early out of water, and headed back to his ship The Lowrider. Over time, the zombies would clear themselves out even more. He might even catch a nap while he’s there.
He dreamed of what the town could become. What he could do here once the zombies were gone.
Reyes Albert, Prisoner, Ch. 17, "Mechanics"
He went north, to return to The Lowrider, continuing to draw the zombies away. The vast open fields made this fairly easy. The only trouble was maintaining range while also avoiding boulders or other traps.
Nearby, the bulldogs were still fighting the zombies. Numerous dead zombies littered the field, but they would come back unless Reyes caved their heads in with his extended baton. There wasn’t time to pull over, however, as the horde was in pursuit.
As he neared the evac shelter from this morning, he pulled the zombies northeast off the road and picked up speed to lose them.
Reyes drank the last of his water, and ate two more of his protein rations.
He neared a second motel, which had a few zombies outside. Honking, he tried to lure them away while he was close.
Before long, he was back at The Lowrider.
Reyes went inside, closed the front curtains, and collapsed into the chair. He was dead tired.
It had been a long day. He had moved perhaps 40 zombies out of the town Bethlehem. Tomorrow, he would go back, and try to remove the last few zombies from in front of the mechanic’s shop.
Reyes refilled his water. He estimated maybe three of four days were left before he would need to boil any more. He made another deluxe sandwich while reclining in his chair. Then, he passed out.
Around noon he awoke, the blinding light making it too hard to sleep. He had a cloth roof overhead, but in front of him was a large gap. He needed to make some kind of blindfold so that he could continue sleeping.
He fashioned one out of duct tape, and stuck it to his face. Then he reclined back again, and continued sleeping. It was rather comfortable there.
He awoke at 9:18PM. His throat was parched, and he could use another meal. Reyes drank some of his water, and ate some pickled fish.
Reyes stepped outside. It was still light for a few more hours. Reyes unloaded the solar panel, and other scrap from his bike. The basket was empty, and ready to take any more salvage he could find. He kicked off his bike towards the south, back towards Bethlehem.
There were fish in the ponds and shores around here. That was good, as it meant that there may be sustainable food near this town. The bike made it all possible, as he was able to swiftly travel around without worrying about gas.
The dusk light was falling, which meant that Reyes would have an easier time avoiding being spotted by the zombies in the outskirts. He should be able to get right into the town, before drawing the final zombies away.
Circling around Bethlehem, the zombies were certainly at the outskirts of town.
Reyes pushed inwards, he needed to get more of them out. From the moans and groans he heard, he estimated that a bunch of them may have wandered back in.
His eyes confirmed that, seeing packs of zombies still inside Bethlehem. They may have been brought back in by some noise. Reyes still had work to do.
He passed by a community garden. It looked like some of the vegetables had grown wild. Some were rotten, but others seemed to be quite healthy and ripe.
At least this time the zombies seemed to be grouped together. Today, he had plenty of time to draw them out before entering the mechanic’s shop itself.
In the dusk light, it was very easy to lose the zombies. He circled around the buildings, driving his bicycle through the alleyways as he continued to move the zombies out of town.
Night fell as he circled the block.
More than sight, he used sound now to draw the zombies further.
And then, the opportunity finally came. Reyes brought his bike around the mechanic’s shop, to see the treasure he had been hoping for. The whole kit was there. A welding mask, welding torch, and a bottle jack. This was exactly what he needed to restore his boat, The Lowrider.
He pulled up right next to the broken glass. He removed the last few jagged bits, and climbed through.
He loaded a welding mask, acetylene torch, tanks of welding fuel, bottle jack, and a scissor jack into his bike’s metal basket.
Inside the garage, he flashed his flashlight to see what else was there.
It was a large chamber, with a small number of entrances. He could possibly make it barricaded. Reyes was glad no zombies had made it inside here.
In the northwest room there was clean clothing. Reyes wanted to wear something that would warm his arms up. He swapped his old boots for steeltoed boots, his golfing gloves for work gloves, put on a hooded hard-hat, and a tool belt.
He also picked up earplugs, safety glasses, four more small welding tanks, and two high-capacity medium batteries.
The bike was full, and Reyes was ready to head out.
The night air felt lighter, as Reyes brought the tools back north. Yesterday, when he had beached The Lowrider on the shores of the lake, he had felt like he had perhaps condemned himself to death. But now, with the metal tools bouncing in his bicycle’s wire basket, Reyes felt that he could handle even the worst calamity.
Reyes unloaded his tools in front of The Lowrider. Seven metal welding tanks, a pair of jacks, and a torch.
Now that he had the tools, he just needed some wheels. There were a few vehicles around which he figured he could scavenge for parts. Reyes loaded a few tools into his bike’s basket, and set off towards the vehicles he saw between here and Bethlehem.
He arrived at a car, and using the jack and his crude wrench, he took wheel off. A zombie was drifting close, so he hopped onto his bike. He wasn’t about to get under the car while a zombie was nearby.
The basket was full anyway, so Reyes took a trip back to the Lowrider to drop off that wheel.
There were a few zombies nearby the car that Reyes most wanted to scavenge. He had to draw them away using some honks.
One zombie had crawled into the car itself. It must have followed his scent from earlier, when he had been last working on it. He drew it out and away.
There was a bulldog towards the west, which had just put down a zombie. He lured the zombie close enough that it forgot about Reyes on the bike, and began to hassle the bulldog instead.
Reyes went back to the car, and started to take apart the wheel hub assembly. This would take him 15 minutes, during which he was vulnerable to an ambush. He managed to undo the assembly without a hitch, and loaded it into his basket.
The car’s wheels were not in great condition, but he removed them anyway. The only other vehicles he had seen were close to the town, and he wouldn’t dare go under a car in the middle of the city.
He kept working on that car, pulling off another wheel and its assembly.
A short bike ride along the road, and he was back at The Lowrider to unload. He looked over his parts, and figured that another two wheels might do the trick. While he was at it, he could even see if there were other parts he could disassemble, if not for utility then at least for the experience. He wasn’t confident about lifting the boat and putting on wheels just yet.
Back at it. One or two more trips and he would have all the wheels he’d need to make The Lowrider amphibious. He still intended to make it sail-powered, and just needed enough to get it into the water.
While passing the land prison, Reyes heard a tinny voice from within its walls.
The prison turret was still active. Perhaps Reyes could use this somehow, later…
Reyes passed by a corpse, obviously taken down by the bulldogs. He caved its skull in, to ensure it didn’t come back.
Then he was back at the car. He took off its rear wheels, and both assemblies. He also removed its gas tank. He hopped on his bike and pedaled back to The Lowrider. One or two more trips and he might be ready to start transforming his boat.
Reyes Albert, Prisoner, Ch. 18
Reyes needed to learn more about mechanics. He decided to try stripping the pieces down from a car. He took out the stereo system, and removed part of the roof, placing it into his basket. He stripped the car of a number of other parts.
Taking the car apart let him see how it had been put together. In the trunk, he even found a spare car tire, in good condition. He loaded them, and took a trip back to the ship.
In the early morning, clouds appeared and made it dark. He had been able to get around yesterday due to the nearly-full moon. But now it was hard to see.
Reyes dropped off a load at his boat, and continued back to the road for more scavenging.
Before the night was through, Reyes wanted to make one last trip into town. He forgot to grab a jacket earlier, and his arms were very chilly.
The lack of light made it difficult to spot nearby zombies, but Reyes was confident he could swerve to avoid any he came across. The bike was highly mobile. Soon, the clouds cleared up and he could see easily again.
As he entered the town, there were a number of zombies to the east of the mechanic’s shop. But he decided to press on. It would be quick stop, in and out.
Reyes clumsily slammed the bike into the corner of the shop. He looked around, and it seemed nothing had taken notice. He dismounted and began to walk towards the mechanic’s.
But before he could duck through the window, a zombie rounded the corner from behind him and began to pursue. He figured it wisest to hop back onto the bike, and get out of there. With a sprint, he mounted back up.
As he pushed hard to get the bike moving, it got too close.
The zombie seemed to be lodged onto the basket. This was not good. Reyes frantically pedaled and turned the bike left and right, trying to shake it off.
He felt its jaws try to close around his torso, but it wasn’t able to penetrate his tactical vest’s thickness.
There was nothing else to do but to dive off of the bike. Reyes ran into the nearby building, through a cleared window. Maybe he could circle around, and get back onto the bike in a quick minute.
He picked his ass off the ground, and ran into the house. Reyes pulled his flashlight out, and flicked it on.
Of course it was full of zombies. Of course.
But there was a gun in the middle of the room. Maybe it had ammo? Reyes went for it. It was a home-made pipe shotgun, with a single shot. Better than nothing. Reyes thought quickly, and headed out the south door. He shut it closed behind him.
Reyes needed to put some distance between him and the zombies, and then sneak around to the bike. The zombies were creating a lot of noise inside that house, as they shattered through what was left of its windows.
He used the winch in front of the mechanic shop gate to open it, and slipped inside. The shop itself was rather fortified, aside from the few glass windows to the north. But at least it would put off his scent.
He slid to sit down on the floor, his back resting against the metal bay doors of the mechanic shop, and took a few seconds to get his bearings.
Through the north windows Reyes could see the bike. There weren’t any zombies immediately beside it. Since he was in the mechanic shop, he went over to grab the jacket he risked all this for.
He slipped on a work shirt under his vest, and a light jacket on top. His arms were encumbered, but they were still broken and healing with splints anyways. Some extra bulk may be for the best.
It was time to make a break for it. Reyes climbed through the window and crept towards his bike.
He hopped on and kicked it into gear. Inside the house, he saw numerous zombies breaking through the windows. Reyes honked as he escaped the town, trying to draw them further away from the mechanic shop. Those damned zombies kept coming back to town.
It seemed they were hesitant to follow him. He lost them quickly. So Reyes pulled up next to another bicycle, and removed its basket. He placed the basket on the front of his own bike, as extra storage space.
Reyes hopped onto that other bike, and brought it out of the town a bit. If he had enough time, he could even take some of the parts off of it, including the pedals.
He brought it a bit further west, where there seemed to be no zombies. Then he set to removing the pedals as quickly as he could. After that, he kept taking the bicycle apart. The sun began to rise, and Reyes noticed he was feeling dead tired.
Reyes hopped onto his bike, and rode back to the beached ship.
Soon enough, he got there. He immediately went in, drank some water, closed the curtains, put on his blindfold, and passed out.
He awoke at 3:38 PM. After making some clumpy milk from milk powder and drinking it, Reyes looked over his materials. He figured that, using some lighter wheel mounts, he could possibly make it happen sooner. If he attached four bike wheels to the corners, the boat might be mobile enough to get it back into the lake.
If he made it fully amphibious, he would never have to worry about beaching it again.
Since the sun was up, Reyes set to the task. He installed the first light wheel mount at the corner of the boat. Using his torch, he even fixed it up to optimal condition.
He just needed three more light wheel mounts, and the modification would be complete.
Reyes hopped on his bike and set out south again. He knew of at least two bikes he could scavenge. He would leave his own bike alone, and keep it mobile. There was no sense cannibalizing it before he could be sure the boat was on the water again.
Reyes filled up on food and water, and headed once more to the town of Bethlehem.
All things considered, Reyes felt lucky he had crashed into such an ideal spot. It was far enough from any nearby town that he could work on the boat without worrying. The remote road made it quick, taking just minutes to get into town.
Reyes made a mental note of two cabins he saw a the treeline to the southwest of where The Lowrider was. Perhaps there would be some things to take from there, before heading back to the prison.
He yearned to be back on that island prison. Back there, he could rest easy knowing he was safe and secure beyond the lake, and behind its walls.
Today was warm, and Reyes removed his balaclava for the first time in weeks. He felt the fresh Spring air on his cheeks as he rode south, over the remote road.
He took off his filthy tactical vest and placed it in the front basket. He had plenty of storage, and didn’t need to wear that nasty thing. It had blood spatters on it, and sometimes the scent stung his nostrils. His backpack was also stained, but since he had no replacement he continued to wear it.
Several of the corpses killed earlier by the bulldogs had returned to life. Reyes cut south over the field.
A dead bulldog. Reyes wondered if it had been the one that bit his ankle a day or two before.
There was no opportunity to stop. Too many zombies were around here. This had been one of the places he had drawn them out into over the previous days.
Reyes found his way to the motorbike. A day or two ago, that vehicle had run out of fuel, just before Reyes was about to haphazardly enter the town of Bethlehem in attempts to clear zombies. He was lucky it ran out here.
Reyes took the last wheel off, removed the light wheel assemblies, and loaded his bike. In total, he had two light wheel mounts, two small wheels, and an extra-light frame. He took off as the zombies neared.
Reyes rode into town next. There was one other bike that may have a spare wheel close by.
But the zombies had moved there. He lured them off, and circled around.
After losing them in the outskirts, Reyes returned to the second bike. He hopped off and began to crawl towards the it. Hiding around the corner of a truck, he took apart the last bicycle wheel.
He placed the wheel and its mount into his rear basket. This should be everything he needs to get the boat back into the water now.
Reyes stood up and hopped on the bike. He started pedaling back to The Lowrider.
Reyes Albert, Prisoner, Ch. 19
While biking home, Reyes acrobatically ate some pickled fish and pickled veggies. It was a tough task while riding a bike, especially with both arms in splints.
Reyes was feeling good. He had everything he needed to get the boat back to sea. All he needed now, was to put in the time to get the wheels installed. There were still a few hours of sunlight left, and Reyes planned to use every one of them he could to get the boat mobile again as soon as possible.
He got to The Lowrider, and set to work.
After some tinkering, he realized he needed some more frames. Each wheel needed to be outside of the boat itself.
He attached the first wheel, and tried to shift the boat. No luck, he needed at least one more at minimum.
Reyes set out again in search of frames. He figured it would be best to see about taking apart the last parts of the motorbike.
It was 8:01PM. The dusk would come soon.
Reyes’ thoughts drifted as he rode the bike down the road. He turned too late, and accidentally ran into a bush. The bike was not damaged. From here, he turned his head to see further into the prison. It seemed that two autonomous alert drones were patrolling near the entrance gate.
As he rode past the prison, he heard another gunshot. The turrets were active, and killing some of the zombies. They were probably coming back to life, after being shot.
Reyes really didn’t want to risk being shot as well, so he kept on with his plan to scavenge before dusk set.
After luring the zombies away from the motorbike, Reyes took the rear frame off. As he disconnected the muffler, night was starting to fall.
He decided the middle of the motorbike had too many parts to remove, and left it there.
Next would be the bike, just a bit out of the city. He started to lure some zombies from near the bike, bringing them to the outskirts.
Circling around a small forest, Reyes swung around and returned to the town’s northwest side.
He crouched beside his bike. There was one zombie nearby, but the sun was setting. He wanted to wait it out. But the zombie noticed him. He brought it up through a narrow alleyway to the north.
Reyes circled back around to the bike. It had two extra-light frames that he could remove… He crouched down, and got to work.
But a zombie emerged from the corner, possibly brought here by his scent. Reyes had no choice but to lead it away.
The home to the north was torn through, but Reyes felt it unlikely to have any hidden zombies awaiting him there. He rushed through an open window.
Bad luck. The door out of this bathroom seemed to be locked. Reyes pulled up his pipe shotgun…
The zombie’s torso was shredded for a critical hit of 100 damage. That just made a lot of noise.
This was so close to the vehicle he was scavenging, too. There was no time to wait, he had to get out of here fast, before the zombies on the outskirts closed back in.
He emerged back into the streets. He could see a tough zombie closing in. Time to go.
As he left, he could see a few zombies clambering into the house he fired the shotgun in.
Well, that bike was not going to be scavenged. Reyes decided to head back to The Lowrider anyways. He needed some rest.
He would try to move the boat with only two wheels, but made his might up to cannibalize his bicycle if it needed two more.
Reyes arrived at The Lowrider, and unloaded the bike. Tiredly, he pressed on, and attached the second wheel.
He tried moving The Lowrider. It still dragged along the ground. Reyes went inside, and passed out after setting a six-hour alarm.
His alarm awoke him at 4:57AM. An early morning, he wanted to get the boat up as fast as possible. He could only sleep soundly once he was back home, at the island prison.
He ate some more clumpy milk, and re-hydrated some dried fruit. His food supplies had enough for perhaps a week.
It was time to say goodnight to his bike. Goodnight, bike.
As the dawn rose, Reyes had taken off the rear wheel. His acetylene torch was running low on fuel, so he reloaded it from one of the many small tanks he had around.
With three wheels, the boat could move. But Reyes went the extra mile and ensured it had four complete wheels.
And it was complete! Reyes had managed to attach the four bicycle wheels to The Lowrider. It was amphibious, able to move on land or water.
Reyes wanted to bring as many scraps as he could back to the island with him. He attached the two wire bicycle baskets to the front wheel frames, so they would be accessible from land.
After using his torch to make sure everything was fully repaired, Reyes loaded the baskets with all the scrap and tools he thought most important.
It was high time to leave. Reyes went into The Lowrider, and adjusted the sail.
In seconds, he was at sea.
Reyes Albert, Prisoner, Ch. 20, "Sushi"
The Lowrider was moving slower than Reyes had hoped. Perhaps he loaded too much scrap into the front baskets…
The ship was stalled in the water. Facing opposite to the breeze, Reyes was stuck here until the wind changed.
He slipped on his blindfold and took a nap. Six hours later, the wind was still against him.
The Lowrider was stuck, motionless. He hoped the wind would cooperate soon. Much of the remaining food was meant to be cooked with a fire, and Reyes had no place on his ship suited for cooking.
With nothing to do but wait, he sat back, and started reading a crime novel.
It was taking a long time for the winds to change. He estimated he had just two days left of water.
Twelve hours with not enough wind to move. It was time to jettison some things.
Reyes dumped a sheet of metal, and a foldable-light frame. His empty Colt Lightning .45 Carbine, which he had used to kill zombies inside the prison. A gallon of cooking oil, which he dumped into the lake, keeping the jug.
He had shaved off 20kg. He also dropped two planks, and a larger tank of gas for his torch. He still had a few smaller gas tanks left. He was up to 30kg of removed cargo.
Aha! The winds finally changed, and The Lowrider started moving again. He steered into the breeze, which was pointed towards the prison. After a while, he turned slightly. It was better to go to the lighthouse first, and pick up more food and water there.
The boat bobbed along in the night, small waves lapping against its four wheels. Reyes steered tangential to the breeze, and before long he was at the lighthouse docks.
Reyes pulled the boat up to the shore, and stepped onto the sand. Call it superstitious, but before unloading, he felt the need to check the lighthouse for anything dangerous.
With a flick of his flashlight, Reyes checked the room. It seemed fine. Reyes went to check on the water purifier, and filled the three plastic bottles he had on him.
The bottom floor was all clear. He went up the stairs to the kitchen, dragging the shelves out of the way of the stairs.
He checked each room, and the lighthouse was all clear. As he passed the machine rooms, he picked up a rubber hose, to carry with him. Good for siphoning gas, which was a possibility now.
Home, sweet home. Reyes hadn’t felt this safe since he was last here, almost four days ago. It was a wonder he even made it back alive, considering how many zombies were in Bethlehem. He could recount multiple near-death experiences.
Reyes went into the kitchen and started an oven fire. He boiled 3L of lake water, giving him a couple more days of hydration. He filled the water heater downstairs, to store it all in. He kept going, amassing as much clean water as he could.
Eventually he had over two weeks’ worth. He filled a 3L jar and placed it in The Lowrider. He took all his foodstuffs out, and brought them to the kitchen.
He made himself a delicious quesadilla, from two corn tortillas and some canned cheese spread. Delicious, and had some calcium too. He made deluxe cooked oatmeal next, out of some forest honey, oatmeal, and clean water. Best yet, he had enough supplies to have that for a whole week if needed.
Reyes made some more. It was good trail food, and would last for a whole week. Reyes made a few days’ worth on the fire.
The sun began to rise as he finished up. He watched the dawn through the kitchen window.
It was serene, being here up on the lighthouse. Reyes had a few quick projects he wanted to do today.
First things first, he needed to make the boat more mobile. That meant probably widening it, and adding more supportive boards to keep it out of the water. Its main problem was water drag, caused by the weight of the cargo.
Reyes wanted to be able to make large cargo trips with it. That was essential, especially because the wind was unpredictable. When the wind was right, he wanted to be able to move anything he needed all in one go.
In his mind, he pictured a trawler, or a skiff. Something capable of longer trips around the lake.
He loaded his oatmeal into The Lowrider. There was maybe three days’ worth of the stuff.
Reyes would take apart the small canoe that was docked here. It had everything he needed right now to improve his boat.
As he added the boards on, the ship seemed much more capable of movement. Its water drag had halved.
After a short break to cook some deluxe scrambled eggs, Reyes was back at it. He made quick work of scavenging the rest of the canoe, and started to assemble the pieces onto The Lowrider.
He realized he would need more nails, and took apart some benches in the lighthouse’s entryway. He took apart desks and chairs.
Since he was just kicking around the lighthouse, Reyes took off most of his protective armor. He even took off his steeltoed boots, and walked around in just his socks.
The sun went down, and Reyes ate a dinner of deluxe oatmeal before going to bed.
He wondered what else was out there. Now that The Lowrider was getting to be sea-worthy, he was thinking of his next trip. He had originally wanted to scout the shores of the whole lake. He felt that was a good idea, but also that he could expect his trip to take even longer than the last one.
He awoke to his alarm, set for nine hours of sleep. He got up, and went to the kitchen. Breakfast was a healthy serving of honeyed water.
Reyes needed nails. He always seemed to need more nails for his projects.
His upgrades to The Lowrider were coming along nicely. It was becoming even longer than before, as he added length to the back. He planned to do the same to the front of the boat as well.
It would be nice to have more storage, at least, and he considered doing something with the solar panel.
All this work was teaching him more about mechanics. If he kept this up, he’d be able to transform his boat into almost anything.
There were fish here at the lighthouse. Reyes wanted to try his hand at fishing for a while. This was the perfect opportunity.
Fantastic. They must’ve been half-starved, they practically leapt onto the shore.
He set them out behind the lighthouse. Time to butcher the three fish.
Not bad at all! He took everything but the refuse and went inside. After trying some of the fish raw, Reyes decided to cook up some sushi rice, using dried rice, vinegar, and sugar.
He also cooked up the little scraps of fish meat that he was unsure about eating raw. One of the fish had a large enough liver to cook on its own, and he did so and ate it.
He brought one of the lighthouse’s charcoal cookers into his boat. That would likely enable him to cook, and even boil water on the boat. It had plenty of charcoal. Reyes felt it would last a long time. That added days, even a week to his maximum voyage time.
Reyes had just a few pieces he wanted to add to the boat before it would be time to leave. The boat was fast becoming large enough to be autonomous.
He made a mental note to bring some of the mechanisms from the lighthouse’s old machinery with him, but he needed to build more on-ship storage first.
Like the prison island, the lighthouse was pillaged for nails. No desk, bookshelf, or chair was safe from The Lowrider’s hunger for nails.
Much of his work was complete, now. The Lowrider now had a front and back deck.
Reyes Albert, Prisoner, Ch. 21, "Lucky Catch"
He awoke to a stomach ache. Perhaps yesterday he had a little too much raw fish. A little bit was good, but too much was too much. He’d need to be more careful to only eat raw meat when it was really fresh, and not let it sit out for even an hour.
He ate some of yesterday’s cooked meat scraps, which were still fine to eat. He tossed the last bit of old rotten fillet into the lake.
Reyes did some fishing, and caught four fish within an hour.
He cleaned the fish, and brought the fillets and scrap meat to the kitchen. He tossed the scraps together with some fatty bits and cooked those up, and then cooked the fillets. His goal was to make enough food to last a couple days.
An hour and a half later, he had a stack of thirteen cooked fish fillets.
He figured he could always get more fish wherever he ended up.
Reyes kept working on The Lowrider, adding more storage. He built a travois to carry more items, using some rope that he cut into shorter lengths.
He added this second travois to the back of the boat. It could hold another 70L of cargo space.
This would be a good place for some of the passive items. Things he would only use when the boat was stopped. He put the charcoal smoker, pro fishing rod, and other items there.
He also thought that if he were able to make a nose for the boat, it might travel faster. It may even make it easier to dock.
It was quite good. Problem was, the nose of the ship was now keeping it stuck on the island. Reyes decided to rearrange the ship a bit, moving the wheels up on the nose. But it got dark before he could complete it.
He slept, and woke up the next day to finish eating the last of his cooked fish. The day began with fishing, and Reyes caught six fish today. More than any day before.
After cleaning the fish, he brought the fillets up to the kitchen to cook, and had his lunch.
Then, he finished up with The Lowrider, and took it for a spin.
It was fast. Capable of traveling faster on land than at sea, The Lowrider was really shaping up.
But during his test ride, Reyes found the ship stopped in the water when the wind turned.
There was nothing to do but wait until the winds changed. Reyes tried casting his fishing rod off the back deck. He caught, butchered, and cooked two fish.
It seemed to be easy enough to survive on the water. As long as he had charcoal for his charcoal smoker, he could provide for himself.
The only problems the boat had still were to do with mobility, and the unpredictability of the wind. Perhaps he could set up a motor, if he could find one somewhere along the lake’s shores.
But at current, travel on the boat would be slow. Reyes passed the time catching, cooking, and eating fish. He took a five-hour nap. Then he decided to jump back to the island, to get some tools to adapt his ship further.
When he returned, he was drenched. He sat there unhappily. Next time, he should strip before going for a swim.
When morning finally came, the breeze shifted and Reyes pulled the boat forward to the dock.
Then, he installed two wire baskets onto the front deck, and moved more cargo into the boat. Sheet metal, pipes, and more. Reyes loaded until the ship was heavy in the water. It would travel a bit slower, but he had everything he needed for a long voyage.
Reyes went through the lighthouse, and took all of the food. He also picked up books, and other machinery.
He found an electric motor upstairs, after disassembling part of the lighthouse machinery. This would be perfect. Reyes installed the motor at the back of the ship, under the travois.
Reyes felt like he was becoming a competent mechanist. All this work on the ship was paying off.
He installed a solar panel beside the engine, as well as his motorcycle battery. Now, the ship could travel reliably. The solar charge was phenomenal, and could charge the entire battery in roughly 2.5 hours. The battery could run for one to three hours at a slow pace, depending on the wind.
The boat had come a long way from its first clumsy iteration, back when Reyes was first escaping the prison island. Now, it was an autonomous watercraft, driven by solar-powered electric motor, in addition to its original wind sail. Reyes felt unstoppable.
He decided it was high time he returned to his island fortress, to see what was there. It had been so long, he had forgotten the state of it.
The Lowrider churned through the water, kicking up foam as Reyes tested the new configuration. He kicked it up to second speed. The trip to the prison island was short, and he could let the battery recharge while he was on the island.
He arrived with 50% of the battery charge still available. It would be an hour before it was fully charged again.
Reyes pulled up on to the shores. Good old island paradise. He wielded his baton, in case anything had happened in his absence. But he knew he would be worthless at fighting, as his arms were still healing from being broken about a week ago.
Reyes grabbed the hauler from the shore, and pulled it inside the prison walls. He had forgotten just how secure it was, behind the barred metal fence.
He walked into the prison entrance. It felt good to be back in this cluttered fortress.
Returning to the prison fortress was so familiar to him. He remembered that initial struggle to make this place safe.
He remembered when the Cataclysm first happened to him. He was unarmed, and defenseless in the warden’s office. He had been punched through a plate glass window by a hulk.
Over the days that ensued, Reyes managed to clear the prison out using guns he found in the prison watch towers, as well as a large dose of luck. The zombie hulk managed to slay dozens of other zombies on its own, before Reyes killed it with his last bullet.
The prison was now a refuge, a place to come where Reyes knew he could be safe and secure. Especially after his recent trip to Bethlehem, he was sure it was a place unlike any other. Here, it was safe, and he could rest easy.
Reyes re-explored the island to see what was still here.
Just like he remembered. Some of the zombies still inhabited certain cell blocks. These ones were in the showers. But he was safe. He almost regarded them as old friends.
There were a couple stationary tools in the woodworking room. A drill press, and a power lathe. Both still needed power to function.
Reyes went to back The Lowrider with a load of items from the fortress. Splash! Reyes accidentally fell into the water while traveling around his boat. He hated getting wet.
After he dried off, he created another travois, which he hung up in front of the ship’s front door. With the new electric motor, he was confident that the boat could handle carrying even more cargo.
CDDA / DeadPeople tileset doesn’t render boat floors under other objects. Just know that underneath every travois are wooden floorboards, same as under the two wire baskets.
Reyes loaded in his three cans of beer, his books, and other goods from the prison kitchen here.
The battery was just about full, and Reyes decided to hit the lake again. His next goal was to scout it as far as possible, seeing whether there would be any towns along the coast.
As the boat drove south, Reyes kicked back, and relaxed. He kept his eyes on the water, especially after the catastrophe with the deluxe sandwich last time. The lake’s soothing waves were relaxing, as it continued on its course. He expected no trouble, especially now that The Lowrider was amphibious.
This should be a quick trip, out for a few hours before sunset.
Reyes was getting pretty darned good at maneuvering vehicles, especially with all that bike riding near Bethlehem.
He drove the boat south, until he could clearly see the shoreline. Then he turned east, and began to chart the lake. Much of it was familliar wilderness. Geese, fish, and other harmless creatures.
Reyes decided to have a bit of fun, and pulled The Lowrider up onto the shore. As he did so, a salmon got lodged in the front wire basket. Free food! He went out, killed it, and cut it into fillets. It was monster huge, weighing in at about 40kg. What a lucky catch. If there was somebody out there, they were watching over Reyes.
Reyes took half of the fillets, and left the rest for the birds. Or the zombies… whoever came sooner.
What a fantastic machine. Reyes felt exuberant as he plowed back into the lake, laughing like a madman.
He pulled the boat to a stop. About 25% of the batteries remained, and it would take just an hour to fill to capacity. Reyes checked out what books were available to him in his ship-board library.
Truly, this was the life.
Reyes Albert, Prisoner, Ch. 22
Reyes reclined in the boat, reading a copy of “Tactical Handgun Digest” while The Lowrider recharged by solar energy.
About an hour into it, he stopped to cook and eat some of the fish. Delicious.
He thought about how he could make more charcoal. He estimated his current supply may run out in a week or so. Maybe he could even make a charcoal kiln onboard the ship. That would enable him to perhaps pull up to shore anywhere there was a forest, come ashore for a short while, and cut up trees and branches for more wood.
Reyes needed a few things for that. Firstly, a 2L metal tank, and more scrap metal. He would also need an axe, for cutting wood.
He kept getting wet… Whenever he moved inside the boat, he ended up getting soaked. It seemed to happen everywhere but the seat from where he drove the boat.
Reyes figured he might be able to solve the problem with some sheets, setting up hanging “chairs” for him to move through the boat on. But he didn’t have a sheet on him.
A little more reading of his book. Then, the battery produced a green light. Fully charged.
He continued to drive the boat east. Before long, he spotted a lone structure right near the coast… It seemed to be a lab.
The shores were flat here, so he drove right up to it. Reyes had plenty enough batteries to investigate it from the safety of the shore.
Before he did, he put the boat into “defensive posture”. He closed the rear curtain to prevent sight, if he had to quickly turn away from anything that could shoot bullets.
Curious… Two frosted glass doors to the north deserved investigation. There was also a wide metal bay door, the mechanism to operate it was likely on the interior side.
As he got onto the road, he noticed that on the pavement, the movement was smooth enough that it actually recharged while moving. This fascinating machine was capable of perpetual motion, so long as the sun was out or the wind was in his favor. Reyes just needed to be at the wheels to make sure it didn’t hit anything.
He walked towards the entrance, and slid open the glass doors.
Some sort of a… courtyard. He could swear he just heard some zombies. He wanted to go a bit further, so he peeked around the corners and went on.
Okay. So he definitely was hearing the screams of the undead. But he hadn’t spotted any yet. This place may have been much like the island prison – predictable, and possible to navigate so long as he made sure to be very thorough, and not leave himself at any risk.
He explored as much as he could, before pressing in.
Reyes kept an eye out for valuables. He picked up a messenger bag, and slipped it over his shoulders.
A book, a couple cans of soda. And a radio.
Reyes didn’t know what to feel about the radio. Should he be excited to hear from survivors? Should he even be hopeful at all? He figured that anybody who he spoke to would be wary of him. He was a criminal. An embezzler. If a person pried too deeply into his past they might never trust him.
He picked it up, and turned it on. He scanned the frequencies, but heard nothing but static.
The radio tower may have been offline, though he doubted it. Reyes came from there a few days ago, and it seemed to be undamaged. Of course, there may have been some electrical fault he couldn’t identify.
He kept on going.
A card reader blocked access to what he assumed to be the garage. Being an embezzler had its perks, and before long it was hacked open.
This was not the sort of thing Reyes liked to hear. He stepped away immediately.
It seemed to come from… downstairs?
Reyes was sure that, so long as the danger was not in the next room, a lab was safe enough to explore. It was possible there were some zombies below, perpetually reviving and getting put down again and again by the turrets. It could have been happening for months.
But he couldn’t figure out the lock.
Reyes came up to a vending machine. He had amassed $1612.29 from the cash cards he had scrounged up from the prison island. He could buy anything, or everything.
He settled on some non-expired cranberry juice, lemon-lime soda, energy soda, and clean water.
Reyes disassembled the desks in the front room for nails, and then set off. There was some kind of warfare, likely between zombies and automated turrets, going on below him.
He slipped his earplugs on, and continued with the task.
The offices up here were a treasure trove of nails. There was nothing his baby, The Lowrider, loved more than nails.
Reyes politely shut the glass doors behind him, and climbed back in The Lowrider. He popped out his earplugs. He drove back onto the safety of the lake. He had two hours of charge left now.
To the south, across a river, Reyes spotted a tree farm. A likely place to find what he needed for the charcoal smoker.
He circled around to investigate beyond the trees. There was a structure, further south. Likely the tool shed.
It seemed a friendly enough place, so Reyes backed in.
Aha! The shed did have an axe. Plus a saw and pliers. Reyes brought these back with him into The Lowrider. The main office had a desk, but nothing else. He most certainly look the nails.
A quick stop and an easy win. Reyes continued down the river, to the southwest.
There was a place Reyes could easily hop onto the road. As he did so, he saw something… strange. A ball of what looked like oil sludge. It was quite honestly moving, of its own power.
Reyes kept a distance. There was also a gang of bulldogs here.
This seemed foolish to Reyes, and he went back onto the water. The Lowrider’s battery was only a motorbike’s, and it had little ability to sprint. It relied heavily on the recharge of the solar panels to keep moving. He wasn’t even confident it could outrun bulldogs, let alone anything else unexpected. Reyes made a mental note to find a bigger battery.
He continued on into a large bay. Along the west side, he saw a gang of fast zombies chasing birds. Those things could definitely chase down The Lowrider on land. But as long as he kept to the water, he would be faster.
Reyes spotted a riverside dwelling. It was torn up, but seemed quiet. There was even a muskrat inside a sun room. In the distance he spotted a bull dog. They were certainly prodigious around here. He dropped to a crawl to avoid its sight.
He wanted the cloth sheets from the curtains. They seemed sturdy and thick, perfect for his ship.
There wasn’t much else. He disassembled some bookshelves for nails.
There was a town, West Fairlee on the east side of the bay. It seemed to be rather small, but that wasn’t such a bad thing. Reyes let his ship recharge batteries as he decided whether to advance.
He munched on his deluxe cooked oatmeal. There was a road he could mount from the south. It would be faster, but more dangerous on the road. He needed that to be able to sprint away if necessary.
Reyes waited an hour for full charge, and then he began.
Reyes Albert, Prisoner, Ch. 23
But then night fell, and his plans were postponed. Reyes went to sleep.
It started to drizzle when Reyes woke up, at 6:19AM. He was soaking wet, and not happy about it.
Reyes ate some breakfast food, and boiled some extra water. He was on a mission. He wanted to push through the town today, to at least see if it was inhabited by the undead.
He embarked onto the shore. Up this road were West Fairlee and East Haddam.
It took an entire 15% of his battery power to get over that little chunk of land. He really needed a better battery.
But once on the road, the car could move quickly enough, and even regain energy.
It seemed to be muskrat country. Reyes kept creeping on, at a walking pace. But of course, there was a feral runner ahead on the road. Damn things were his perfect enemies right now.
Reyes decided to try luring them out of town. He would try to drive through the town quickly, drawing the zombies through with him to the other side.
Maybe he was overconfident about his driving abilities, but he wasn’t about to give this town up without trying.
A zombie collided with one of the rear wheels. But it wasn’t damaged. Reyes pushed through to an alleyway with… an armored personnel carrier.
He went east, keeping up the pace as the zombies followed him. He figured the best chance he had was to head south, to East Haddam.
The zombies seemed to lose interest quickly, compared to the bike. Something about the huge wooden carapace must have made Reyes less appealing.
East Haddam seemed to be swarming. There was an effective barricade of cars, to make it worse. This place was a no-go.
Reyes drove north past West Fairlee. There were a number of them near the intersection with the armored personnel carrier.
He noticed a couple bikes in town. Between them, he could make a bike with a working horn, and lead these zombies out of town for certain.
More than anything, The Lowrider was extremely stealthy. Even as the drizzling skies broke out in rain, it was able to self-sustain its batteries without losing charge. It could still even crawl at low speeds.
Nothing much was there, and Reyes went back into the lake. It was time to continue scouting the shores.
As the rain picked up again, Reyes tried to improve his ship while it recharged. He extended the roof to try and keep rain out.
Soon, he could hear the rain slapping the top of his canvas roof. He’d used some curtain fabric as a roof. Finally, he was protected from the soaking rain.
Reyes read his book on handguns, as the battery charged. A couple hours later, he began to move again.
After continuing north, he passed a winery. But behind it, he saw what looked like a large, round structure arising from the forest. It was a deep purple tint, unlike anything he’d seen before.
He didn’t dare explore the forests, as The Lowrider was incapable of making it through the dense foliage.
Suddenly, a beaver leapt through a crack in the boat wall, and tore at Reyes’ messenger bag. He span the boat around, causing it to dunk back under the lake. He continued onwards until the battery was depleted.
Reyes spotted another lighthouse, and brought the ship around to investigate.
The last lighthouse Reyes went to was a great place. He wondered what this one would contain, but was interrupted by his battery running dry. He sat tantalizingly close while the battery re-energized.
Off the back of the boat, Reyes fished. He noticed a shambling silhouette through the far window. Eventually, he caught a catfish and a smallmouth bass. He cut them up
He also spotted something… even more terrifying. It was some monstrosity composed of multiple dead people.
Reyes needed that thing away from the lighthouse. Sooner than he could react, it immediately began to submerge itself in the water, heading towards him.
He circled around to see into the pantry. There was an immense quantity of food here.
The lighthouse needed to be cleared. He couldn’t find the other zombie, and assumed it fell into the lake water. Likely, it was gone for good.
Reyes would search through the lighthouse, and take anything of value. He docked, and waltzed in.
Fishing equipment. Books. But the real treasure was all the food in the back.
Rice. Flour. Sauces. Spices. Jars and cans of vegetables and meats, more food than he could load onto The Lowrider.
As he was working on the docks, the abominable creature from before showed up. Reyes dashed into his boat to accelerate away.
The creature was smashing at the corner of the lighthouse. He reversed his engine in the water as it shuffled its horrific form across the sand, and into the lake.
Reyes certainly wouldn’t continue work on the boat again until he could be certain it was long gone.
He parked at the rear of the lighthouse, by the pantry window. He went into the lighthouse, and then opened the window so that it would be easier for him to go in and out.
Reyes still needed to clear the lighthouse, and see what was left here. In the kitchen, he found some more cooking tools and ingredients. He even found a fire extinguisher, which he loaded onto The Lowrider in case of emergency.
Continuing on, he found a mesh diving bag. There were also some advanced textbooks, for mechanics as well as first aid. Great reading material for his time on the water. Reyes was excited to dig into them while he continued to scout the lake.
He also found a flotation vest, and slipped it on.
It was time to keep moving. Reyes pulled The Lowrider away from the lighthouse and continued his scouting.
He had a truly enormous amount of food with him on the ship. This could last him weeks, now. If he ever ran out, there was an excessive amount left at that lighthouse too.
He went for deluxe beans and rice. He used half of his powdered eggs, some salt, dried beans, and clean water. It was delicious and nutritious.
On the swampy shores, Reyes noticed some kind of fungal creature.
Ahead of him on the lake, he noticed a dense cloud of spores. These creatures seemed docile enough, but Reyes put his dust mask on, just in case the winds changed and the spores came in his direction.
The road here was near to the lake, and Reyes embarked onto the land to make use of it. The ship recharged its batteries as it crept along the pavement.
As he crossed the bridge, there was a cabin ahead. It appeared to be heavily damaged; a whole corner of the log cabin had been caved in, and the roof have collapsed a bit.
Reyes found some clothing inside, including ballistic glasses, a fast draw holster, a compression shirt,
He entered a dark hallway, and flicked his flashlight on. At the other end, a zombie dog picked itself up on rotten joints, and began to bark a gravelly, wet bark. Reyes went back through the door, closing it behind him.
Reyes hoped that door was strong enough to resist the undead dog. He didn’t imagine it would be able to escape that hallway. Reyes continued around the building, peeking through the windows to see if there was anything else of value.
There was a larder, and Reyes noticed a kit inside marked SURVIVAL. It looked important. Reyes smashed the window with his extended prison baton, and cleared the glass from it, then stepped though.
In addition, there was a bear trap here. It was heavy, so Reyes had to rearrange some items in The Lowrider, but he got it. He fashioned some wires into another bike basket, and placed it on the rear of the vehicle.
There were a bunch of nice things here. Kitchen tools, and some other preserves. Reyes was getting to a point where he could take the cream of the crop, where food was concerned. He was no longer desperate.
Best yet, his arms were fully healed from their break back on the prison island. He removed his two splints.
Reyes continued on the road to the southwest. There was a town on his map, the one he found at a radio tower near Bethlehem. The map said it was called Barnet, and it was between him and the island prison fortress.
Reyes Albert, Prisoner, Ch. 24, "Barnet"
Reyes continued south towards Barnet. This town was the closest one to his island prison fortress, perhaps only an hour’s drive away.
It seemed small. The survivor’s map that Reyes was reading from marked its location, but not whether it had any services. It likely had only a few homes, and nothing more. But Reyes found it particularly interesting, because it was nearby to what he considered his own home, the island prison paradise.
The Lowrider crept southwest, at a walking pace. The road here was right beside the lake, and Reyes knew he could make it sprint over the shore and escape into the water if there were any issues. Having an amphibious craft like this was brilliant.
Ahead of him on the road, a lone excavator vehicle sat abandoned. This was perfect! Reyes went up to it, and parked The Lowrider. The excavator had a car battery, which was exactly what Reyes needed to give The Lowrider more ‘oomf’.
The additional battery increased his ship’s total energy capacity by 500%. This was a huge improvement. It meant he could leave it charged for longer, and release stored charge to accelerate his ship. He could sprint with it, and outrun zombies much easier.
He also removed a floodlight, and the excavator’s trunk. He installed both onto The Lowrider.
Reyes wanted to get to Barnet before sundown. He arrived at 7:24PM.
There were zombies there. But aside from that, it seemed to be a small lakeside town of three houses. A forest trail extended to the north, meeting with the town.
Reyes waited on the lake for The Lowrider to recharge. He read a book on handguns. He was feeling like he could handle one now, if he ever needed to. He ate the last of his deluxe oatmeal, washed it down with some cola, and ate one of his cornbreads.
He thumbed through some of his books, to see what they were about. One of them was all about how to make different kinds of gun ammunition.
Reyes had a tough time falling to sleep. Maybe it was the realization that the world all around him had fallen apart. There truly was nothing much left, aside from what Reyes could make for himself. And nothing would come easily.
The Lowrider was still eight hours away from being charged. Reyes started his day by fishing off his boat.
After two hours, he still hadn’t caught anything. He decided to try a different approach…
Using the baskets of the ship, Reyes rushed to the shores and tried to see if he could catch any by driving through them. He managed to crush two of them. Good enough.
He picked them up, but… He was just too upset to butcher them. Reyes was starting to feel better, but his mood was low. He started to make a deluxe sandwich. This time he was not moving, so there was no chance of getting distracted and crashing like the last time.
Reyes heard a shuffling outside. He looked around, but saw nothing. Had something pushed against the bottom of the boat?
Reyes took off. There was no point being here. He left the fish behind, without butchering them.
Now that the boat was more charged, he looked at the condition of the battery.
Fantastic. This would let him keep the boat moving as long as he wanted.
After he was a safe distance away, he finished his sandwich.
Reyes moved up into Barnet. There was a clear field where he could drive right into the town. He increased the speed to double-time and started going in. A few of the zombies started in his direction.
Oh, Jesus!! What was that!
Fuck, fuck fuck fuck
Reyes veered left and right, but it wasn’t coming off. He slammed into a bush. Reversing it, the zombies almost advanced to the hood of his ship.
He reversed back into the lake. The creature seemed to have disappeared back into the water.
Reyes put The Lowrider into neutral as the zombies walked one-by-one into the depths of the lake.
He went up again, from another angle. The shark was still there.
After driving up onto the shore, Reyes took his crude spear out of the interior travois, and began to stab at it as it wriggled on the front of his car.
He jabbed at it, panicked. Just before he lost his breath, the thing was dead. He smashed its brain in.
Reyes reversed, and it fell off the hood. Well, that was dealt with. He circled around and entered the town, for real this time.
There were plenty of cars here. If nothing else, he could scavenge the place for vehicle parts to improve The Lowrider. Batteries, engines, even an armored car. The building to the north was even still boarded up.
He lured the zombies south, into the lake. Two more of them walked into the depths. That was essentially the whole town, aside from any that may be inside buildings.
But when Reyes circled around to enter the town again, he dredged up two of the zombies. It seemed that they kept getting stuck in his cargo nets at the front.
He wasn’t exactly sure how to get them off. He reversed, and closed the curtains. Maybe they would lose interest and try to swim off.
No such luck. He heard a crashing as he turned from reverse to forward. Likely those zombies in the boxes. Reyes would need to bring them out differently.
He drove back up to shore, and as he did so, he realized he was in trouble. They had boxed him in. There was another pair of zombies caught up in his rear nets as well.
The zombies were able to start smashing the boat from the shore, so he reversed again into the water. The trick was to keep moving. This kept the zombies in the water, and unable to stand.
Reyes left the boat in reverse as he brought out his spear. He opened the front door… nothing. The zombies were submerged. He’d need to be on land for this.
The Lowrider bounced forward over the field, as Reyes japped at the zombies with his spear. He kept an eye out not to crash into boulders.
The first one went down, and Reyes made sure to smash its skull before it fell too far away. He went onto the second one, in front of the car.
It was getting really close. Reyes needed to kill it fast.
As he was bringing his spear around…Shit! It brought its teeth down on his right arm.
He struggled, jabbing at it and fighting himself free. It was shaken loose, and Reyes pierced it with his spear. The zombie fell off and rolled under the ship.
Reyes glanced at his arm. It was sore, but the thing had not drawn blood.
He pulled the car over and stepped off, luring the other two away from it on foot. Then, he sprinted back into The Lowrider, and lured them into the lake. He hoped that was it, and the town would be free to explore now.
Reyes was immensely relieved to embark onto the shore and not see a single undead thing clinging to it. He returned to the second zombie he had killed, and smashed its brains.
He returned to Barnet. There was only a few zombies left in the streets, in the center of town. Reyes decided to see if he could stealthily get into the buildings from the outside.
Reyes shut the curtains and navigated slowly. Navigating based on memory rather than sight, he pulled up into the driveway of the boarded-up house. He only bumped into the wall once, and was proud of that.
The front door was locked. He went around the back, which was also locked. He took out the ol’ trusty lockpicks.
This place was nice. Nothing bad so far…
Near the door, a Ruger 10/22 was leaning up against the wall. Four shots in it. Reyes picked it up and wielded it.
There was also a copper spear. Excellent, these were useful for getting zombies off his boat.
Some food was down the hall. Steel frying pan, that would be great to cook with.
Cleaning products. Now that there was room on the ship for more gear, he loaded some bleach too, and a scrub brush.
Huh, looks like there’s a basement. And a gun safe…
There was an unfinished basement downstairs. Truly huge. Even big enough for a farm… If he set up some grow lights, and moved some dirt down here, this could be a great place. Its proximity to the prison was a huge advantage.
But then again, there were areas of the prison that were perfect for an outdoors grow area. He thought of the grassy alleys, between the fences and the prison itself. That was still better, if he ever found seeds.
Reyes liked to think long-term. It kept him focused.
Searching the rest of the house, he found a cordless drill, plus solder and a soldering iron. He also found a sleeveless trenchcoat, which had tons of storage space. He put it on.
He headed back outside. At the other end of town, Reyes had seen a house with a garden. If there were seeds here, they would be there.
Navigating again by memory, Reyes tried to make it through to the other side without being noticed. There was a garage, with a mechanism outside for opening it. Reyes tried to pull up beside it, but it was too difficult and he bumped into something. He heard zombie footsteps outside, and decided to try another angle.
Reyes opened the front curtain, to see a gigantic web in the forests to the north. The expansive webs coated the forest trail leading out of the city.
He turned, but there was a zombie lying in wait behind the house. Another came up from behind, and nearly grabbed him through the corner of the ship.
He reversed blind, then climbed through the ship to open the rear curtain while it was still moving. He opened it just in time to see a crawling zombie climb up onto the rear travois.
Reyes dragged it through town. He swung his rifle onto his back, and pulled out his spear. Slowing the ship down to a crawl, he aimed it away from any obstacles and climbed into the back, while it was moving.
He stabbed the thing off, then climbed back to the wheel and drove around. He got out and smashed its head in.
Reyes headed back to the town, and lured four more zombies into the waters.
He wanted to clear Barnet out. There was so much here that could help him survive.
I love your boat. It looks so ridiculous with the wheels stuck right on the outside and the wire baskets. Not to mention the wooden doors!
I would have thought that increasing the boat size would make it even more difficult to move. I always have trouble building vehicles.
I think it was difficult to move because it was deep in the water. Adding more floating sections reduced boat’s vertical underwater profile and consequentially reduced water drag.
Cheers! Glad you’re enjoying it.
The thing that helps Reyes for this is that it’s all wood boards on water, so the wider it gets the easier it is to float, and the lighter it sits on the water. Imagine every board he’s placing is almost like another wheel. Each one reduces friction.
At the start of this playthrough I had no clue about vehicles. Started with a little canoe, and he’s building it up into a big ol’ amphibious junk raft!
Reyes Albert, Prisoner, Ch. 25
Reyes intended to search more of Barnet, and see what else was here.
He pulled up beside a greenhouse garden. There were three flower pots here, which he loaded onto the boat.
The garage was open, and Reyes walked in. Not bad, the gate at the front was in good shape, but Reyes didn’t dare open it. There were still zombies around this house.
He explored further into the house. Another basement…
Sweet Jesus! Reyes stepped away and closed the stairwell door. The thing didn’t attempt to bash through it.
After waiting a few seconds to make sure it didn’t make an attempt, he cautiously explored further.
In another room, he spotted a rattlesnake. He just shut the door, no sense fighting the thing.
Reyes found another holster, and put it on. There was a dufflebag here too, which Reyes took. He swapped out his filthy military rucksack for it.
After searching all of the rooms that were safe, Reyes took off for the last house.
He parked expertly, and headed in. This was the last building in Barnet to secure, before it was a safe town. Reyes picked the lock at the front door, and opened it.
A vacuum sealer. Some good food. And a basement…
Reyes carefully descended.
It looked to be a utility room, stocked with some tools. Some nice stuff, that Reyes didn’t have.
Oh crap. Rats. He skewered the three of them with his copper spear, and came out of it only a little scratched.
There was a water purifier here, which was great to know. There was a good supply of water left in the tank. Reyes spotted a zombie in the field outside. He decided to try and kill it using his copper spear. Reyes shrugged off his heavy load, and went for it.
A second zombie crashed down the gate towards him. It must’ve come from the lake. He killed it quickly, and splattered its brains across the wall.
A third approached right after. This was good, he was ready to take them down. This one got close enough to make a small rip on his sleeveless trenchcoat with its teeth, but Reyes was unharmed.
They were down. He put his dufflebag back on his shoulder, and walked back through the house. He found a raincoat and put it on. Maybe this would help him not get as soaked while on the boat.
Now he had explored the entire town. It was a nice enough place, worth the trouble. A few scares, but all-in-all, he was satisfied.
The last thing to do was remove some of the batteries from the cars. He hooked up a horn, and a new car battery.
One of the vehicles was atomic-powered, and had a huge storage battery, plus a large electric motor. The battery was much too heavy to lift, but that car had plenty of useful metal.
Maybe Reyes would stay in this town for a while, and revamp The Lowrider.
He set to work on it. Even if it took days, it was worth it. The battery inside it had a huge amount of capacity, and was about half charged. This could give Reyes a huge boost.
A zombie came out of the forest, and Reyes put it down.
Reyes kept working on scavenging the atomic car, killing another zombie that had emerged from the waters.
He was ravenously hungry. He drank some soda, and had some junk food.
Reyes upgraded the ship to use the atomic car’s large electric engine. This gave a huge increase to maximum speed, and he hoped it would be more efficient as well.
He took it for a spin. The thing was incredible. It could now sprint at extreme pace for up to three minutes. The thing was becoming a speed demon.
The new engine was almost twice as fast. With the new batteries, he could travel the lake for 26 hours straight on a full tank.
Reyes decided to stay in Barnet overnight. There was a boarded-up house that seemed safe, so long as he didn’t disturb the gator in the basement.
He brought a beer and snacks into the house. Time for some R&R.
Reyes Albert, Prisoner, Ch. 26, "Road to Unknown City"
When the morning came, it was time to move on. Reyes continued along the lake shore, scouting. It was a lot of wilderness, northeast of his prison island.
Soon, Reyes came up on a farm. He had been hoping for something like this. Reyes was looking for seeds, to plant on the island prison. It would be a good idea to have some there, growing, so that he could come back for a harvest.
He found dozens of seeds. This was a great start.
Across the way, there was a lone zombie. It hadn’t noticed him, and it was far away beside a barn, so he kept on searching anyway.
In a bedroom, Reyes found a Browning Hi-Power 9x19mm, with eleven bullets.
As Reyes explored the farm, he heard a barking, and noticed a gang of Labrador mutts attacking a zombie. They seemed to be defending the farm.
He didn’t push his luck, and headed back to The Lowrider with a lot of seeds. This farm was a great success, he had even found that handgun.
Reyes found the fences here to be excellent sources of nails. He decided that this would be a great place to settle in and improve the ship over a few days.
He made some deluxe beans and rice, from canned beans, rice, powdered egg, black pepper, and water.
He worked on his boat until nightfall, taking apart the farm fence boards and building them into a wider skiff.
In the morning, he cooked a bunch more deluxe cooked oatmeal and continued to widen the boat. Around noon, he made tortillas, then cheese quesadillas. He was eating well on this trip.
He installed a metal shelving unit on the new area, and finished it just before nightfall. The next day, after breakfast, he continued building. He extended the walls out, all around the skiff.
It was still quite a mess, but he had created an area inside the boat large enough for him to move around in. He could stand right in the middle, stretch his arms out wide, and still not touch both sides.
The extra width reduced the drag it would have on the water, making it more efficient. He also had more spaces for cargo inside the boat. He moved the other boxes and travois inside. He didn’t want any more zombies getting caught up in them.
This was a welcome opportunity to re-organize his things. As he took apart the ship, he set them all out on the ground in front of The Lowrider. Just a few more modifications, then he’d put everything back in…
As night fell, Reyes wasn’t tired. He turned the ship’s floodlights on and continued to take apart the farm fence. He finished the rear ship wall. There was so much room for activities.
It was looking more like a car now, with a flat low deck on the front. Reyes installed two metal cargo spaces in place of the side wall, which doubled as a protective barrier. He could even load and unload cargo from outside, for convenience.
Reyes even set up a stereo system beside the seat. The Lowrider’s transformation was complete.
After loading the ship with all of the necessary cargo, Reyes set off.
At the northeast corner of the lake, Reyes approached a road that led north from shore. The survivor’s map from earlier listed a few city blocks around here… A hint that there was a city within a fairly short distance.
Reyes wanted to find another city. The last one he was at was Bethlehem, which had been only half as big as this. Whatever this place was, it would probably have treasures for him to bring back to his island paradise.
Reyes pulled up to the road, then waited as The Lowrider recharged.
The trip would take an uncertain amount of time. He couldn’t see any direct connecting roads… But chances were, if he headed north he could connect to the city. Otherwise, he hoped that the open field to the south could get him there.
He reloaded his charcoal smoker. Reyes would need some more charcoal sometime soon, which meant that he’d need the materials for a charcoal kiln. A 2L metal tank, and some pipes.
While waiting, he read from ‘The Big Book of First Aid’. Cooked some onion rings, and two vegetable pies. Some deluxe vegetable beans and rice. Reyes really kept on cooking, he knew the first voyage into this unknown area would be tough. Boiled water for a few days.
It was 4:37PM when Reyes embarked onto land. Soon, he came up on an emergency vehicle.
By the looks of it, it was some kind of rapid-response transport. There was a gun in the back seat, a M4A1, with 24 shots left. This would help him with the unknown city he was headed to.
He knew there would be lots of zombies there. Maybe too many. He had some guns, but unlikely enough to kill all of whatever was still there. The guns would be for a last resort, if escape was impossible.
He came up on a dairy farm next. A couple cars on the road outside, but not too difficult to maneuvre around. It looked like there were some baby chickens here, and a cow. It seemed worth exploring.
There was a bicycle in front, in perfect condition. Through a window, he saw a rattlesnake inside, crawling over the stove.
There didn’t seem to be any zombies nearby… Reyes broke the glass to get into the living room.
There was another acetylene torch inside, with a full regular tank of gas. He even found a hand-crank battery charger.
Out in the field were eight cows, and two chicks. They seemed to be safe enough here. This place was far from anything he could see.
He found another pistol in a car nearby. Glock 19. In a nearby secure van, he found some gold, and diamonds. Only a bit, they barely weighted a quarter of a kilogram. Normally, these would’ve made him a lot of money. But the markets were dead, and now they were just trinkets. Nevertheless, he kept them.
As he was driving towards the unknown city, Reyes spotted a private resort nearby. Seemed like a nice place to check out.
The place was surprisingly large, and surrounded by tall wooden fences. He kept circling around and… What was that?
As Reyes crept slightly closer, he saw several bloody streaks left in the grass near the creature. It seemed to have… killed people, or zombies… and eaten the bodies whole.
He backed up out of this one. There was no telling what is was capable of.
Reyes returned to his primary objective, to get to the unknown city.
Next, there was a campsite right beside the road. It begged to be explored. But it had been deserted, and had only a tiny amount of canned food left.
On the way south, Reyes attracted the attention of a roaming group of zombies. They tracked him south towards the city as The Lowrider continued onward.
The zombies became thicker as he neared the unknown city. Reyes avoided them, traveling on the road at double pace.
Reyes Albert, Prisoner, Ch. 27
Of course there were so many zombies here. This was the beginning of the unknown city.
Reyes had every intention to begin scouting, doing his best to avoid zombies while doing so. He didn’t think it would be too hard. The Lowrider was resilient, it could handle this so long as he was careful.
He kicked the engine up to triple pace. At this speed, the battery would take a full day to run out. Plenty of time for a rip through town.
This side of the city was bordered by a dense forest. That made it hard to escape, so he committed to making a full through-pass. To the south, he spotted a nearby radio station… This was exactly what he needed to scout the area, but he already had attracted a trail of undead. He would need to keep going, despite it.
But there was already a problem. In his path, a birdhouse and mailbox blocked his advance. He scraped through, bumping and bashing one of his wheel mounts. That was okay, he could fix it afterwards. Nothing broke… yet.
A pharmacy. A butcher shop. Pawn shop. This place had riches, that was for sure.
He circled around the vehicles in the intersection and continued east. Deeper into the city.
Shots were ringing out from a bank to the southeast. Reyes looked like he needed to get by that way…
With the ship in motion, Reyes closed the side door’s curtains and crept south past the bank. If the turret couldn’t see him, it wouldn’t shoot him.
The autonomous robot seemed to be having enough trouble keeping the zombies at bay. Better yet, the zombies from behind him were still chasing, and would maybe get distracted by the robot.
Reyes cranked up the speed. The batteries could handle this.
It seemed the name of this place was Nobleboro. He spotted a subway station as he entered what he assumed to be the downtown core. He passed by forgotten shopfronts of convenience stores, and spied an electronics store one block east, and navigated towards it through the scattered undead.
Through its windows, Reyes craned his neck for a quick second as The Lowrider roared down the streets. Consumer electronics, but some hardware components as well. Some RC cars… Maybe these could be used to lure the zombies away…
It was unavoidable by this point. Reyes slammed into two zombies, damaging the solar panel on the front of The Lowrider. Damn! It wasn’t broken, but he’d need to be more careful.
A gas station. Another electronics store. Police station.
This second electronic shop looked to be a little more serious. He even spotted a shelf with CBMs.
Gun store. Hospital. Reyes cut through a field.
Shit! He turned to avoid a zombie, and crashed the corner of The Lowrider into the barricaded door of the gun store. One of his wheels almost fell off. Maybe accidentally breaking the door down would be helpful later, but for now Reyes needed to make sure that no other wheels took damage.
It was time to get out of the city of Nobleboro. Reyes crashed over a crawling zombie, who finished off his front right wheel. Down to three wheels.
Reyes was really worried about his solar panel. If that thing went, then The Lowrider would be in trouble.
Damn! He tried his best, but the streets were just so packed. The solar panel was still okay. A second wheel was close to breaking, and if it did, The Lowrider would be stuck in the city. He doubted it would survive the ensuing horde if he had to flee. Reyes decided that if he crashed, he would resort to pulling out the guns.
Last road out. Reyes motored on. He was almost out, after driving through eight city blocks.
He drove straight over a talking doll, rather than crash into another zombie.
Ahead of him, he noticed a car with three working solar panels. This would be worth coming back for, especially since it was near the outskirts.
With four panels, he could possibly bulk up the car. Maybe at night, he could sneak back to remove them…
Reyes closed his rear curtains, and then left the town completely. On his way out, he passed a baseball field with a swarming horde.
Then, almost as suddenly as it had began, the scattered swarms of zombies ended and he was through. No zombies ahead. Just quiet forests, and a peaceful curving road.
Nobleboro was intense. It was a densely-packed city, surrounded by forest on its northwest and southwest. Unfortunately for Reyes, those were the two sides closest to his lake.
The batteries were recharging slower than normal. The damage must have crippled them somewhat, which limited the recharge speed. Reyes wasn’t great with electronics, at least not as good as solar cell repair demanded. His only option was to wait for nightfall, and sneak back to that solar car to replace it.
He set an alarm for midnight, and went to sleep.
Driving though cities is uber dangerous. I think you got off lightly. You’re still alive and your boatcar isn’t completely destroyed. More solar panels would be good though. That’s worth a little risk.