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Order Of the Heart

The Old Rugged Barn

By Bruce Curle `Published 2 years ago 10 min read

Mary Walker sat as the truck bounced down the road, quickly approaching the ageing farmhouse and barn. She had not been here for over a year, but it felt like a lifetime, so much had changed since she bought her last dozen eggs outside of a barn. The pandemic came and seemed to go away until the new variant seemed to create the living death.

Matt turned the truck hard, and increased speed as two of the infected stood in the road before them. He had lost so much in the last few days and was tired of this never-ending nightmare. “Hold on!” he shouted as the truck struck the two infected women tossing one of them almost straight into the air, and the other collapsed under the wheels.

A moment later, they drove into the property and bounced through the holes in the property entrance. Mary turned on the radio, hoping to get some news, something hopeful. She managed to find what she thought was a station, “Raise a little Hell” by the Canadian Band, Trooper blared out of their speakers. Both Matt and Mary seemed shocked by this but did not dare change the station; it was the first station they had found in over a week.

As the song ended and their truck pulled around the side of the large wooden barn, a voice came across the airwaves, “This is Oscar November Echo, Chilliwack one to all survivors in the Fraser Valley. We will continue to broadcast all news as it comes in.” Both sat in their truck, unable to move from the seats for fear of missing something.

Oscar November Echo ........ Chilliwack One ................

Less than a kilometre away, Peter Jackson drove the dark blue Correctional Van quickly down the road, almost coming to a halt as they neared the old Agassiz bridge. Several vehicles appeared abandoned on the bridge, but he could not see anyone.

Harold Johnston sat in the passenger seat, fiddling with both the commercial and civilian radios,

“Bloody Hell,” he said as he tuned in the Trooper song, “Raise a little Hell.” “Gotta be a good sign, laddie.”

Through the metal screen, Bailey Botsford scratched his beard and looked at the road ahead, “Well, we ain’t going back,” he said as he loaded several shells into the rifle he was holding.

Jackson pressed the peddle almost to the floor as they moved onto the bridge. The correctional van weaved between a few autos and soon was in the center of the bridge over the Fraser River. All three men had not been this far away from the Correctional Centre in many years; for them, the pandemic gave them a chance for forever freedom or at least a few moments of life outside of the yard.

Mary slowly stepped out of the truck with a large red plumber’s pipe wrench in her right hand. She had considered becoming a plumber when she left high school, but life took her along a very different path and now her life was changing once more. Since the third grade, Matt had been her friend when she went to elementary school not that far away from the barn. Matt lived further out, but they often sat close to each other and talked on the school bus. They even went to the high school prom together, the last normal graduation before Covid-19 took over the world. If she closed his eyes, she could still see them dancing, hear the annoying pop music that rang in her ears and smell the sweat that reeked around the dance floor. It was like heaven compared to the smell of the infected.

Matt got out of the truck holding his father’s favourite hunting rifle. He still had lots of shells for the gun that he had hoisted onto his belt. Luckily he was one of the few that knew how to fire a gun before the infection, having memorized the workings of a gun and want makes it fire since he was eight years old. He remembered the first deer he shot and the time the old cougar tried to get his rooster when he was thirteen years.

The van pushed a small subcompact auto out of the way as it went down the bridge toward the other side of the river. A few weeks earlier, this bridge might have been jammed with autos and tractors this time of the day but not only a few abandoned vehicles and them. He increased speed as they went off the bridge back onto the one-lane highway; once on the highway he slowed slightly.

The three men quickly decided they needed to stop somewhere quiet and maybe find some different clothes and remove the broken shackles off Botsford. Johnston also hoped to find a coffee shop; he really wanted a real donut; he had not had one in many years and yearned for the sugary taste. This was always best with a good bottle of Scottish, another taste he yearned for but had not had in over sixteen years.

Mary peered into the barn before entering it inside; she found various old farming instruments and tools, and it smelt musty with large spider webs bangling off the sharpened blades. Matt slowly followed her inside and pointed toward a ladder to the upper hayloft.

Matt slung his rifle over his shoulder as he went up the old ladder, occasionally stopping to remove cobwebs off his hands; he also worried how weak and old each rung of the ladder was.

As he was halfway up, he could see through cracks in the barn walls and view the area around the farmhouse and barn. Once he was in the loft, his feet creepy loudly on the soft loft floor. Mary quickly followed him up the ladder, and, in a few moments, both were standing in the hayloft.

It seemed like a lifetime ago but, Matt remembered a hayloft with Mary when they were ten years old; they stayed up in it till late in the night watching a barn party with their family and friends below them. His Dad dance to music from the 1970s and the 1980s. Mary's mother seemed to know the words to every song that played. Nathan Williby’s stereo speaks vibrated as if they might explode as some of the songs blared out. It was a truly festive night indeed.

Mary looked moved toward the hayloft doors and swung them open ever so slightly. “Not quite the play for a Barn party, is it?” she said with a grin, looking toward Matt. Her attention suddenly went toward a government blue van moving toward the property.

Both of them pushed themselves against the wall to not be seen as the van began to enter the property. They had no idea who these people were, but they did not intend to find out if at all possible. The last people they encountered wanted Matt’s rifle and just wanted Mary; in a brief skirmish, Matt shot one in the shoulder, and Mary struck one over the head hard enough he collapsed and was still not moving as they got away in Matt’s truck.

Peter Jackson thought this old farm would be a perfect place; Johnston had checked the abandoned coffee shop got a couple of old donuts, Botsford had found a vehicle filled with various clothes and supplies. Peter was sure he would find some tools in the barn to cut the shackles off Botsford, and it would be a good place to sleep.

Matt watched as three men exited the Correctional Van; the two in the front were taller than the guy they helped out of the back of the van. Matt could also see a large group of infected slowly moving toward the farmhouse; it seems the wild, loud driving of the van had drawn their attention.

Matt checked his weapon as he saw the number of infected slowly move toward the farmhouse; Mary also was watching and held her pipe wrench tightly, afraid they might not get out of this Barn.

Peter Jackson moved toward the farmhouse but noticed the front door had been kicked in, and little was left of the frame. He could see some of the infected in the distance approaching. They pointed toward the barn, and the three men ran into the front doors of the barn and pushed them until they were shut. Johnstone found a large piece of wood and wedged it against the door.

Botsford looked around the musty barn for a moment and noticed some dirt slowly falling downward. He motioned to the others and pointed toward the loft. He raised his weapon toward the loft as he loudly said, “Come out, come out, little mouse!” As he moved toward the ladder, he said, “We don’t bite, at least not until we see your shining light.”

Matt could see the Infected getting closer and knew any loud noise would attract them toward the barn. He saw the prison clothing on the three and knew they were longtime federal-style inmates. Danger men all of them; he opened the loft doors a little more and aimed his rifle at an infected man as he approached. His weapon echoed inside the barn striking the infected man in the head, the man staggered and collapsed in the long grass, but now they were all moving towards the barn.

The noise of the gun echoes through the Barn; Jackson and Johnston moved to the shadows until they realized the shot was not at them. Botsford fired a single shot through the floor, “No little mouse, but maybe a piggy or two!”

Matt stomped his feet as the entire floor shook,” This is a good Barn to die in!”

Johnstone fell a set of hands grab at his long red hair; he pulled away, firing a revolver in his hand. The old farmer staggered; Botsford grabbed a large old piece of woos striking the old farmer; unfortunately, it was a rotting wood splintered everywhere. Johnstone fired several more shots until the farmer collapsed.

Mary looked frantically around the hayloft until she found the rope pully; her Four H skills came to play as she hooked the rope through. Matt looked below; he did not like the idea of going down the pully into the arms of the infected. Mary could hear someone at the base of the ladder; she moved to push the ladder down, she waved at Matt to assist her. He was unsure of this idea, but after a few moments, the ladder topped down and fell apart on the ground as the infected began to push on the barn's walls slowly.

Peter Jackson fired his weapon through the Barn walls at the intruders, “At least help!” he bellowed.

Mary would never be sure he was yelling at them or his companions; Matt had pushed an old loft window open; below was their truck and no sign of the infected. The two moved the pully as far as they could.

Botsford yelled, “Little Piggies come to play!” as he fired into the loft floor.

Mary went; first, the rope took her halfway down, and she swung on the rope and dropped into the bed of the truck. Matt tossed her the keys as he started to climb onto the rope and start his descent.

Mary started the truck as they could hear weapons fire in the Barn; she watched as Matt collapsed into the cargo bed. She stomped on the gas pedal, not waiting for Matt to get into the cab of the truck.

"This is Oscar November Echo Chilliwack One,” echoed the truck radio. “Make your way to the Large Yellow Duck,” We will find if you are out there.”

Moments later, as Matt bounced around the cargo bed, Mary turned east toward the large yellow duck and maybe a new life.


About the Creator

Bruce Curle `

A Fifty something male that enjoys writing short stories, scripts and poetry. I have had many different types of work over my lifetime and consider myself fairly open minded and able to speak on many topics.

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