TEOTWAWKI: The Long Walk Home, Ch.9, “Tami’s Boots”

Posted on November 3, 2009. Filed under: Fiction, The Christian Survivalist |

After the power shut down and the airplanes had crashed and everyone was trying to figure out what to do, Tami Davis tried to start her BMW without success. It was dead just like all the other cars in the Data Center’s parking lot. But at least her car had not been damaged by the flying debris from the crash across the street! Her car still looked good. She got out of her car and wandered over to her co-workers and listened as they talked about the disaster and the death of Jared, one of the best guys in her division. The intense fire across the street from the downed airliner was putting out heat and smoke all across their parking lot. She saw people from that building staggering away injured, burned and dazed. She hadn’t planned on any of this for her schedule today.

Stan, the Data Center Manager was calling everyone together for some kind of meeting so Tami drifted over to where he and George, the chief engineer, and Ryan, the security guard, were standing. Stan told everyone that we were apparently in a nuclear war and that a very high altitude nuclear blast had sent an EMP through the area knocking out all electricity and everything electronic or computerized. That was why the airplanes were crashing and why the cars wouldn’t start. Then he went on and on about the muslims and how this was all their fault…and she got bored and somewhat offended by how prejudiced this sounded. Not that she had any muslim friends, she didn’t even know a single muslim, but she just thought all this talk of terrorism and war with the muslims was overdone and bigoted.

After the long speech by Stan, the security guard began to preach, of all things. With a Bible and everything! That really offended her, especially when he started talking about everyone being a sinner. She drifted to the back of the crowd out of disgust and boredom and wandered back to her car to eat the little snack everyone got from the vending machines that the engineers and security had broken into. Everyone got two snacks and a can of soda or bottle of juice or water. She chose water because she was always on a strict diet keeping her perfect body in good shape.

About the time she finished her snack the “church” gathering broke up. It was time to head home apparently; on foot. Tami linked up with three of the guys who lived close to where she lived in Plano to see about walking home together. She wanted to get home tonight before it got too late.

“Hey guys, let’s go, I don’t want to be out walking all night,” she said.

“All night!? Tami, do you know how far it is to Plano?” asked Brent incredulously. “It’s over 30 miles to my house and you live a couple of miles past me!”

“OK, so we better get started,” she replied.

“Tami, this is going to take a couple of days to get home,” said Eric, joining in the conversation.

“A couple of days!? What are you talking about? It can’t take that long; it only takes me about 45 minutes to drive in to work as long as the traffic is nice,” she exclaimed.

“Look, we are going to have to walk most of the night, and maybe find someplace to spend the night. Then we will walk most of the day tomorrow before we can get home. Thirty miles is a long way.”

“You’re serious? Well crap. I hadn’t thought it would take that long. Bummer” she said.

“Well, let’s all four stick together since we are going pretty much the same way,” said Trey to the others. “It’s safer that way.”

“Yeah,” said Brent and Eric.

“OK, let’s get started. This will be kind of exciting!” said Tami.

The three guys just looked at each other and shrugged. Tami was brilliant with the computer network, but seemed a little clueless about the severity of this disaster.

“Well, we have to get to Hwy 115 to head east, so let’s go up Cavendish to Northpool,” suggested Brent.

“Do you think we can get past the fire? It looks like that jet crash may have blocked the road,” said Eric.

“Let’s head up the road and see, but we will have to go around over there, it’s just too hot right here on the street,” said Trey.

The four started off through the parking lot to the west and then turned on the far side of Cavendish to head north to Northpool. It was about 4:20pm, three and a quarter hours since the lights went out.

Tami was wearing her trademark skin-tight, hip hugger, blue jeans, a sweater that didn’t quite cover everything, and a light coat. On her feet she had a pair of nearly knee high fashion boots with high heels. She had no gloves or cap. Trey was in a pair of cargo shorts with tennis shoes and a T-shirt with a light jacket- definitely not dressed for the occasion. Brent had on dockers, loafers, and a T-shirt but had a decent coat and a hat. Eric was in blue jeans, sneakers, a flannel shirt and a good coat with a hat and gloves. Tami was in good shape, she ate healthy and always worked out in the gym to maintain her perfect figure. Trey was way overweight, perhaps 200 lbs overweight, and not in good shape at all. Brent was athletic and in great shape and Eric was about average, maybe 40 lbs overweight and pretty much a couch potato.

As the four co-workers turned up Cavendish, they could see that the road was blocked ahead by the tail section of the airliner that had crashed. The tail was a good 100 yards from the front half of the airplane that now was in the building behind the one across the street from the Data Center. But the burning fuel and explosion had gone through the backside of that front building. One wing was also across the street, blocking their path. The fire had spread to a building on the west side of Cavendish so the foursome had no way through on this street and had to turn back right at the start of their long walk home.

“Okaaayyy, that didn’t work out so well,” grumbled Eric.

“Well we can just go down Kendall to HWY 36 and get to 115 from there,” suggested Brent.

So the four headed south to Kendall and turned east. But the closer they got to HWY 36 the more they realized that road was blocked by the airplane that crashed just south and east of their building. That one was a huge 747 and there was no way they could get around that inferno.

“Well, guys, I guess we will just have to take Kendall all the way around to Northpool,” stated Tami.

“Yeah, but that is like a two mile hike,” said Trey.

“Add those two miles to the 30+ miles we have to go to get home,” murmured Eric.

Between their two false starts the four had already walked about a mile in their first 20 minutes, but it was a mile of going nowhere. Now they started trudging up Kendall which would take them two miles in the wrong direction just to get to the right highway to then begin heading home, adding a total of about 4 miles to their trip.

After about a mile of walking up the long gentle hill, Tami’s feet were starting to burn. The boots were her favorite boots, she really looked good in them, but the high heels weren’t made for all this walking, and it seemed like her feet were moving around a tad too much inside the boots. She was already starting to fall behind and had to consciously work to keep up, even though she was in great shape.

But Tami wasn’t alone in struggling to keep up. Trey was huffing and puffing as he swished along. Weighing in at almost 400 lbs, he was having a time of it.

“Brent! You’ve got to slow down! We are having a hard time keeping up with your long legs, c’mon, wait up a bit would ya?” Tami called out.

“Oh, geez, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I was going that fast.”

“Yeah dude, you’re running us all into the ground,” panted Trey.

“Tami, why don’t you get up here in front and you set the pace then.” suggested Brent.

So Tami moved up to the front, joining Brent, and started walking, but noticeably more slowly than they had been.

After about 15 minutes they could see the intersection with Northpool, and quickly gained their first objective.

“Hey guys, can we take a breather?” huffed Trey.

“Well, we haven’t gone that far,” said Brent, “but sure, I guess so.”

“Great,” said Tami, “My feet are really hurting.”

“That’s not good,” said Eric. “We still have over 30 miles to go!”

“Don’t remind me,” she said.

By now it was about 5:00pm and the sun was getting close to the horizon. Already they could feel the temperature dropping with the sun. After about a 10 minute break, Brent got them up and moving again. Trey had a tough time getting up and Eric gave him a hand. Tami winced as she stood back up.

The four friends joined the parade of people walking down Northpool in both directions. Cars were stalled everywhere. A few of the cars still had occupants, somehow reluctant to leave their car and join the crowd. Some of the people were openly weeping out of shock and fear, others were laughing and joking like it was all a game. Most had a very serious, grim even, look about them. Some were traveling in obvious groups, sticking together. Most, however, were lonely, desperate individuals, trying to survive and get home.

They saw an elderly couple barely walking, with canes for support, arm in arm. A young mom with three small children, one in her arms, her other hand holding the tiny, trusting hand of her oldest who in turn held the even smaller hand of a girl about 3. One tragic story after another passed by in both directions on Northpool as the four computer geeks journeyed on.

There was a small crowd stopped just ahead, with several people bending over. As Tami got closer she saw a middle aged man, overweight, lying on the ground with a purple face while someone was trying to do CPR. The stress of the day combined with the walk must have been too much.  They continued on towards the highway and saw another man face down in the middle of the street, dead. No one was stopping. An older woman, all alone, was sitting down on the curb crying. She could go no further and no one was helping her. They were passed by a young man in a wheelchair, pushing himself home. They passed a blind man with a red tipped cane and wearing shades, flint faced, doggedly going forward, not afraid of the gathering darkness.

They finally made it to HWY 115 in the dark and after a journey of about 4 miles, most of it in the wrong direction. It was now getting very cold and Tami’s feet were killing her. Trey was panting and huffing and puffing. After all of this walking and they were really only about a half mile from the Data Center as the crow flies, but due to the crashed jets, they could not take the shortest, direct route.

“Let’s rest for a bit guys. My feet are getting blisters,” she said. Trey quickly seconded that motion and they all sat down on the cold, hard concrete except for Brent who paced nervously. But after only a few brief moments of sitting on the overpass, the dropping temperature caused all four friends to get chilled.

Eric said, “Man is it cold! Let’s get movin’ again to stay warm. Let’s just not go quite as fast.”

“What do you mean, ‘not go quite as fast’? We’re already going way to slow for me. At this pace we aren’t going to get home for a week! Let’s head out” said the frustrated Brent.

Brent, Eric and Tami stood up, but Trey was reluctant.

“C’mon big guy, let’s go,” said Eric to the 400lb Trey.

“I don’t know if I can, man. I have about had it.”

“No you don’t! You’re not quitting on me now,” said Brent as he reached out his hand to help Trey get up.

Slowly, ponderously, the big man gained his feet, huffing and puffing, grunting and groaning. Despite the cold air he was visibly sweating. Once they had Trey up they set out down the entrance ramp to HWY 115 east bound. Many others were doing the same.

After about another twenty minutes of walking at a much slower pace than Brent preferred, Trey pitched forward onto the concrete, cracking his head with a loud thump, and lay completely motionless. Tami immediately panicked, screamed and began crying, “Trey! Trey! Oh no! Help! Help!”

Brent and Eric immediately stopped and bent down over the huge man. Even in the dark they could see the blood all over his face and on the road surface. It took both of them to roll Trey over.

“Hey man, listen to me! Can you hear me bro’?” said Eric. “C’mon man, are you OK?”

Brent placed his fingers on Trey’s throat by his jugular to check for a pulse.

He quickly moved his hand away, “He’s a goner; he must have had a heart attack.”

Tami shrieked, “Noooo! He can’t be dead! We have to get help!.” She instinctively pulled out her cell phone and tried to call 911. Nothing. Dead. She knelt down and tried to talk Trey back, grabbing his shirt. The stench of his released bowels was now filling the still night air.

Eric bent down and felt his throat again, “I think I feel a pulse! He may not be dead!” He bent his ear down to Trey’s mouth to listen and feel for breath.

Brent bent down again and took his pulse again and said, “No man, he’s dead I tell you. Even if he is not yet dead we can’t call 911. Who could help us? We can’t carry the man to a hospital. I don’t even know where a hospital is around here. He’s gone. We just have to leave him.”

“What!?” Shrieked Tami. “You can’t just go off and leave Trey behind?”

“Tami, what do you expect us to do? We had to leave Jared back at the Data Center, he died. There is nothing we can do here. Trey is dead, it’s cold and its dark. We have over 30 miles to go to get home and it’s already close to 6:oo. C’mon, we have to leave now.”

And the crowd of people on the Highway around them did not gather, they shuffled on in the dark, desperate to get home and in from the cold. No one offered to help. No one could help.

So they left Trey on the pavement where he fell. Brent and Eric grabbing Tami by her hands and dragging her forward, crying softly in the freezing night air.

On they trudged  with the herd of humanity; but Tami was limping now, the blisters on her feet burning. Finally, she caught the high heel of her right boot on a crack in the pavement and broke the heel completely loose from the boot, twisting her ankle in the process. She fell down on the concrete, bruising her knee and scraping her hands.

“Ohhhh! Owww!” she cried out.

Brent and Eric stopped and tried to help her up, but now she was lopsided with one high heel and one broken boot; combined with a twisted ankle and her already blistered feet, Tami was not going anywhere very fast.

“I can’t walk like this!” she protested. “My boot heel came off. What am I going to do?”

“Well,” Brent said, “I guess we will have to break off the other heel to make them even. You might be able to walk on them then.”

“Yeah, that’s the only way,” chimed in Eric. “Sit down over here on the grass and give me your other boot.”

Tami hobbled over to the grass beside the highway and sat down, then tugged her left boot off. Removing her sore, blistered feet from the uncomfortable boot felt great! She handed the boot to Eric began trying to wrestle the heel off.

After several minutes of wrestling with the boot, Brent, obviously frustrated, took the boot from Eric’s grasp. He wedged it in the guardrail somehow and wrenched it violently until the heel came off. Unfortunately, so did part of the sole. He gave what was left of the boot back to Tami and gruffly said, “There put it back on and let’s get going.”

Tami groaned as she wriggled the boot back on and staggered when she stood up and tried to walk. With her right ankle twisted, she was compensating with her left, and the sole of her left boot was now so badly damaged it was almost useless.

Brent started off walking, and Eric followed, but Tami could not keep up, even at the slower pace. She was crying softly as she limped.

“Guys,” she sniffled, “this isn’t working. I can’t keep up. It just hurts too bad. My ankle and my feet just can’t go on.”

“Look, WE HAVE TO KEEP GOING,” shouted Brent impatiently.

With that Tami broke down into sobs, shuddering in the cold.

“Chill out Brent, man!” said Eric. “She can’t walk anymore, those boots are a mess and she twisted her ankle.”

“Well what do you want to do? Carry her?” asked Brent angrily.

“Yeah, maybe we should give that a try. C’mon.”

“OK, Tami, hop onto my back and I’ll carry you piggy back.” said Eric.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, c’mon, get up here.” With that Eric squatted down in front of her and she climbed onto his back. The three headed out again, but Brent kept slowly getting ahead of them. Sometimes, when Eric called out to him, he would wait for a while til they caught up. But after about 20 minutes of this, probably around a mile, Eric was giving out.

“Hey man, slow down…wait up a minute,” he huffed and puffed. “Can you carry her for a while? I’m beat!”

But Brent kept on walking, maybe even a bit faster. The distance between them lengthened and in the sea of darkness it didn’t take long at all for Eric to lose sight of Brent. There were still several others on the dark highway so it was confusing at first, but then Eric knew that he could no longer see Brent. He had left them. He could feel Tami’s cold tears on the back of his neck.

Finally, Eric stopped and dropped Tami. She landed on her feet with an “Ouch!” but she did not fall to the blacktop.

“I’m sorry Tami, but I can’t go on anymore,” he wheezed. “I just can’t carry you any further. You’ll have to walk. I will go as slow as you need but I just can’t carry you. I need to rest for a while.”

“Hey, there’s a burger joint over there on the access road, let’s go over there and get some rest,” Tami suggested.

“Yeah, that sounds great; maybe they have some food we can eat.”

The Wendy’s had about 15 cars in the parking lot, left there since 1205 and the bomb going off. Of course the lights were out and it was pitch black like everywhere else so they could not tell if anyone was there as they slowly approached the door, Tami leaning on Eric.

They tested the door and it was unlocked so they entered the pitch black, stone cold fast food restaurant. Tami pulled her cigarette lighter out of her pocket and flicked it on. In the wavering light they did see a handful of others in the restaurant sitting at the tables. One of them had a flashlight and flicked it on the two newcomers.

“Ooooo WEeeee, look at the nice lookin’ white girl, ” he said. The light went slowly from her face to her neck, to her chest, her belly, her groin and then her legs. A lot of hootin’ and hollerin commenced with a cacophony of  jeers, whistles and cat calls with crude comments.

Quickly, Eric grabbed Tami and turned back to the door from which they entered and attempted to leave, but a strong arm appeared out of nowhere and blocked his path while another arm reached out and grabbed Tami, none too gently. “Now don’t y’all get in no hurry and leave this here party. You look mighty cold and we can sure get you all warmed up if you stay!”

“Let go of me!” Tami yelled as she whirled and hit the young man who grabbed her. He then grabbed her arms and pinned them down to her sides and turned her so that she could not even kick at him.

Eric took a swing at the guy blocking his path but received a punch in the nose for his trouble and went down to the floor moaning, grasping at his bloody nose. Then the man started kicking him and shouting, “Whatchu gonna do white boy? You’re all bleeding and stuff now!” And he kicked him unmercifully into a bloody pulp. Others joined in the fun until Eric passed out.

Tami was being pulled down to the carpeted floor by three different guys, one for each arm and one for her feet. She started fighting like a little she devil but only got several punches in her face for her trouble. She was knocked almost out, but not quite. As they ripped her clothes off of her, she knew what was about to happen.


A few hours  later, about 1 am, the men had finished with her and left the restaurant. She was barely conscious, naked, bloody, and shivering uncontrollably. She rolled over to her hands and knees and started to grope for her clothes. She crawled around but only succeeded in bumping her bruised and bleeding head against several chairs and a table. No clothes. By this time it was certainly in the low twenties inside the Wendy’s and Tami was going into shock. The cold reached down inside her so that, on top of the wounds she had received while being brutalized, now she ached deep down inside from the cold.

She crawled over towards the door and found Eric’s cold, lifeless body lying face up in a pool of his blood, eyes half open. She collapsed on the hard tile floor, shaking, trembling. Her eyes were growing heavy and the darkness got strangely darker. Soon, she was no longer shivering, she was drifting off to sleep, where it was warm.


“We are leaving an hour later than I wanted, it’s almost 1am, so I hope to be at our bivouac by dawn, around 7:30 am.”

“Any questions?”

I put on my web gear and fastened the belt and then I put my Chinese bandolier of SKS ammo over the top of that. Finally I squatted down, grabbed my ruck and threw it over my head, putting my arms through the straps.

“Ugh! This is gonna suck” I said.

With that little op order out of the way, we set out from the Data Center. Our little camp fire was still going but it was on concrete and would burn out safely. The fires around us illuminated our way for the first leg of our journey, but the moon was coming up now too. It was only about a quarter moon, but with no clouds, it would provide sufficient light once we were out of the glow from the fires.

As we headed out I kept my SKS on safe, but with a round chambered. My Ruger was in my side holster and I took it off safe. I put my watchcap on my head and the gloves on my hands. It felt like it was about 20 or 25 degrees. Liz took her final puffs from a cigarette and threw it down. I looked at John and he said, “Let’s roll.” I nodded, turned and set out at a slow 2-3 mile per hour pace. Our journey home was beginning.

“Do you really expect there will be trouble out here tonight?” Liz asked. “Is it really going to be dangerous?”

“As long as we stay together, stay alert, and stay armed, we should be OK. But, yeah, I think things may get a little primitive very quickly.” I told her.







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