Jack Roy Final Chapter Up.

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Jack Roy Final Chapter Up.

Post by doc66 » Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:58 pm

Jack Roy sat on the bank of the river and stared at the remains of the bridge. The basic structure was still there, the trusses, the support columns, even some of the concrete deck; but the gaping holes where the main roadway should have been caused him to wonder if he should risk trekking over the structure just to get to the other side. There were other bridges he was sure, but nothing within his sight and finding them might mean another hour of walking, or even another day. There was no telling until he set out to find the crossing. Jack Roy simply did not want to find out.

Behind him, the remains of the suburbs lay stretched out under the gray skies. The buildings themselves were charred hulks, all that was left after an unchecked firestorm raged through the structures, consuming all in its path, probably jumping from one building to the next, urged on by wind or vacuum created during the initial conflagration, the heat and smoke pulling at the edges of the inferno until each building or tree or grassy lawn ignited as the flames ate the boundaries of the blaze. Jack Roy had started his walk through the charred area midmorning; the air still thick with the stench of the burning, his boots crunching on the ash, broken glass, debris and rubble, even bones on occasion, only to reach the bridge hours later and find that his path was stymied by the discovery of the possibly unstable connection over the water.

The river itself churned with high, fast waters. Muddy and dark, the surface carried broken sections of trees, fragments of what might have been houses, rubbish, and occasionally, a body floated by, twisting and bobbing in the current. There had been rain upstream; Jack Roy knew this because the day before he had observed the dark clouds and heard the thunder of the storm in the distance. He had not seen any of the results of the storm until he had awoken and began walking under the overcast sky, and felt the cool wind which seemed to be following the rains. With little encouragement left in his reserve of strength and morale, Jack Roy slid off his Osprey backpack—one that was much lighter than when he had first donned it a month ago—and sat down on the hood of a mostly intact Honda Civic, the pack beside him as he pulled the hose from the camelbak bladder and stuck the end in his mouth. He was low on water, but sucked at the bite valve anyway while he pondered his next move. Even with the filter attached to the bladder, the water was gritty tasting; some things just could not be avoided.

He knew that he was not going to walk back through what he had just travelled. There was an access road running along the bank of the river; it might lead somewhere, it might lead to nothing. Jack Roy had no map for the area; he had been staying on the numbered surface route in order to get to his destination with just a few detours along the way to avoid various pitfalls. Now he was stymied. Cross the bridge, risk having the deck fall out from under his feet or even coming on a section completely gone so that it was impassable, follow the access road to the next crossing—maybe—or even find a boat of some sort that could carry him across the churning water. It was the not knowing that was the worst.

Letting the bite valve drop from his mouth, Jack Roy snapped the cover back onto the valve and dug in the top of the pack for the small binoculars he kept there with his first aid kit, a siltarp, and various other Might Need at a Moments Notice items. He adjusted the glasses until he could scan the bridges length, looking for what he knew he would only be able to see for sure once he was actually on the bridge; a good path across the surface of the expanse. The bridge jumped out in sharp detail; parts of the decking that could be seen closest to him were melted from the fire, crumbling away from the metal grid that held the man made surface in place. Some of the metal supports were scorched as well, but the fire had not been able to make the transition from the roadway over the bridge to the city beyond. From the looks of the bridge, the side closest to the city was almost untouched by the flames. However, Jack Roy could see there had been damage on that side as well; it appeared as if someone—maybe the city fathers—had made an attempt to close the bridge at some point by knocking holes in the deck to stop vehicular traffic. Barricades blocked the entrance on that side and a lone police car with shattered windows sat on flat tires, standing lonely sentry over its post. Jack Roy cast his gaze beyond the car and searched the buildings and the street, looking through the magnification into the silent depths. Nothing moved but for scraps of paper that had not yet deteriorated over time in the weather and exposure. Blank windows—those that weren’t broken—reflected the darkness behind out at him. The late afternoon sun cast the shadows of the buildings into the alleys so that what lay beyond them was lost to Jack Roy’s searching. He could hesitate for the rest of the day, searching for what might be there, or simply suck it up and start across. Or start walking the access road. Whichever way, he knew that either choice might mean spending another night on this side of the river.
He was done with this side of the river.

Replacing the binoculars, Jack Roy pulled free a small pack of peanuts he had found under the shelving in a gas station. He was going to need the energy boost. The peanuts had technically expired a year ago, but they were only slightly stale and the packaging untampered with when he had found them during a search of the station. This had been his big find that day; most people did not look for things under shelving when searching. Chewing the handful of nuts gave Jack Roy something to do other than worry about the crossing and it helped him focus on at least the first part of the path he were about to take. He swallowed, poured another handful into his hand, popped them into his mouth, then rolled the top over on itself before shoving them into the pocket of the lid and zipping the compartment shut. Hefting the backpack onto his shoulders, Jack Roy decided to not secure the hip belt just in case he had to ditch the pack to keep from falling over. The loss of the pack would probably be the death of him, but he might find replacement gear somewhere on the other side of the river. Sipping at the hose one more time, Jack Roy walked over to the edge of the bridge and took the first step.

The melted asphalt was brittle under foot and his first steps were tentative as he continued across the bubbled surface. Cracks that had not been apparent on casual observation were now glaringly large as he stepped over them, the soles of his Keen hiking boots worn by countless miles still managed to remain stable on the broken deck. The wind seemed to have picked up now that he was out in the open and starting to span the distance over the water. Even though he had not yet reached the point where the bridge actually jutted over the river, the beginnings of the gusts tugged at his clothing, reminding him that if he should fall into the river and survive the fall, he might still succumb to hypothermia if he made it to shore. The thought sent a chill racing through his body and Jack Roy paused to let the feeling pass before taking another step.

Stepping and jumping over a large break, Jack Roy skidded on the loose surface, stopping several feet into the skid. His pack wobbled on his back and then stabilized. Letting out an explosive breath, Jack Roy gathered himself and took the first step that would take him out over the water. The deck surface seemed spongy under his feet, making him pause before he sought the next purchase. Little pebbles of broken and burnt deck skittered as he moved, cracks sighed under his weight, but things held. Grasping at the trusses, Jack Roy continued to move forward, cringing inside as little bits of the bridge shifted under his booted feet. He was now near the first big hole in the deck; the metal grid that held the structure to the framework was rusted from exposure and out toward the center of the grid work a large hole had been punched through the lattice work of metal leaving an uncomfortably large hole through which the river give the impression of boiling harshly underneath. Jack Roy pushed at the edge closest to him with an experimental foot and felt the surface give slightly. Sidestepping, he move closer to the frame of the bridge, grasping at the steel beams as he did so. There was only a small amount of decking he could use to cross, and that was just wide enough for him to shuffle across. Swallowing his fear as it threatened to rise out of his chest, Jack Roy tore his gaze away from the hole and focused on the bridge deck that was his current goal. A section at a time, he told himself, as he began his shuffle. Bits of the road surface crumbled and fell away, dropping the elevation from his feet to the water below. The sound of the pebbles hitting was lost in the rush of the water, and Jack Roy did not pause to watch the bits tumble; he kept his eyes forward and gripped hard at the beam, shuffling his white knuckles along the rusting top, feeling the metal flake away from his palms. He took a moment to absently wonder if he should have worn his gloves, then dismissed the thought as being irrelevant and too late.

Then he was passed the hole and found he had been breathing with short gasps while traversing the first of the gaps. Jack Roy took a long moment to calm himself down and control his breathing of the char laden air, sipping at the water hose, and using his time to search out his next path of least resistance. The pack was weighing heavily at his shoulders, and even though he knew he would not be able to shed it quickly if needed, went ahead and buckled the hip belt to take the stress off his shoulders. He instantly felt better with the weight off his neck. The pocket on the hip belt holding his Glock 19 stopped dragging at his right side as well, and the distraction of it swinging was gone, clearing his mind just a little so Jack Roy could spend more time concentrating on the path, rather than the gear.

And he was still only a third of the way across.

Shaking his arms and hands to keep the blood flowing to his cold fingers, Jack Roy stepped out to the next portion of the bridge.

This part was not burned, but the weather had eaten away at the exposed edges. A long crack ran the length of the deck, probably not deadly to Jack Roy, but disconcerting none the less to see the grass sprouting up where there was no dirt to support the growth. Carefully, Jack Roy began to walk the length of the middle of the bridge. Below him the churning waters reverberated between the banks, its ethereal voice reminding Jack Roy that he was not yet safely on the other side of the river. To his nervous imagination the deck give the impression of bouncing under his feet, and Jack Roy fought the vertigo he was experiencing, telling himself it was his imagination running away from him. Here in the middle of the bridge, the wind freely tugged at his clothing, pulling at him as if it were trying to guide him closer to the opposite edge from where he walked; urging that there was better footing there or even a better and safer view. Ignoring the tugging of the element, Jack Roy kept his eyes on the far end until he was close to the next gaping hole in the surface of the bridge.

This opening had been placed by someone intent on closing the bridge. The hole covered the entire expanse from side to side. The grid work of metal support under the bridge was gone, leaving jagged fingers of steel which twisted out into the air over the river. Jack Roy stared at the claws that surrounded the hole and his mind flashed to an image of an entry into a violent underworld where fires raged and water boiled from the heat of an otherworldly source. Whiffs of smoky air came to him from behind and served only to add to the imagined parallel world at his feet. The good thing was that the further away he moved from the seared suburbs, the cleaner the air seemed to be. On the other hand, the decay of the city was forming now; a dank, rotting, molding smell which wafted to him from the buildings lining the water’s edge. The competing smells only added to the sense that Jack Roy now stood on the edge of some other, dark universe. Standing as he was closer to the cities edge, Jack Roy could now see the signs along the store fronts of the street level; places that at one time advertised fun nights drinking with friends, meals to be taken in shop windows while sipping wines and craft beers. There was even an advertisement for a Palmist who could discern the answer to the questions troubling the supplicant. Laughing aloud at this, Jack Roy felt the urge to shout at the sign and ask it which side would be better for crossing the damaged expanse of the bridge. Instead, Jack Roy squatted and studied the remains of the crossing. Whoever had blown this expanse of bridge had known what they were about. The deck on both sides was nearly gone and Jack Roy could see where the trusses and supporting frame work was bulged out from the blast. The only mistake they had made was leaving the bridge standing. More than likely, the purpose of the blast had not been to destroy the bridge, but to render it useless until such time as it could be repaired when the crisis was over. The crisis was over, Jack Roy thought to himself; the only problem was that there was not enough of a population to care about repairing anything.

Finally, Jack Roy decided that he had to just pick a side and start across; there was no way he would be able to determine which was safer until he tried, and the safety of the attempt would be decided on his completion or failure. Standing, Jack Roy made sure that his pack was set firmly on his back. Once more he debated on if he should release the hip belt and then shook his head against the decision; he would make it or not, leaving his pack behind to fall into the depths of the water now would only limit his success on the other side, should he make it.

Taking a deep breath, Jack Roy reached out and grasped the railing, then placed his feet on the deteriorating remains of the deck surface and shuffled out over the raging water.

Jack Roy did not look down, he did not try to find the best purchase for his feet with his eyes; he simply gazed out at the horizon where the dark water met the gray sky and slid one foot across the crumbling surface and followed with the other. His hands grasped the rail, the cold metal and rust bit at his palms, flaking away from his grasp as he reached out to steady himself and pulled his upper body across the distance while his feet remained under his body, supporting his weight and moving in time with his hands as he slid and shuffled and heard the gravel and rocks and concrete and asphalt break away and fall. The wind teased his clothing, tugged at the backpack, and pushed him gently into and away from the rail as he moved. There was a moment when he almost stopped, when it felt like the entire structure was going to give way, but Jack Roy gathered his courage and fought the urge to simply stop and rest, knowing that if he did so, he might freeze there in the center of the hole while the wind and water urged him to give up. If large portions of the deck gave way, Jack Roy pretended to remain unaware of the danger and continued to move, his cold hands sweating while his body trembled and his knees quaked with exertion.

And then it was done.

Jack Roy stumbled on the firm roadway to where the police car sat, falling against the hood of the Crown Victoria, feeling the roughened paint against his cheek as he leaned over the surface of the vehicle and allowed himself to be scared and play all the bad things that could have happened over in his mind. Finally, he fought the wave of terror away and stood to look back over where he had come. It did not happen, he told himself. He had made it and he had conquered the obstacle. The bridge had not won, the gaping holes had not sucked him down; the surface had not fallen away from his feet and dragged him down with it.

Settling his pack on his shoulders, Jack Roy put the water hose in his mouth and took a sip of the gritty water. He looked over the street in front of him and with a deep breath put out the first booted foot into the city.
Last edited by doc66 on Thu Sep 24, 2015 1:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Jack Roy

Post by Hunt4lyf » Tue Nov 18, 2014 3:31 pm

Cool story! I'm interested to hear what happened to the rest of the populace.

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Re: Jack Roy

Post by SCBrian » Tue Nov 18, 2014 3:47 pm

Nice start Doc!
I tilt at Windmills
BattleVersion wrote:For my Family?...Burn down the world, sure... But, I'm also willing to carry it on my shoulders.
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Re: Jack Roy

Post by doc66 » Tue Nov 18, 2014 5:13 pm

Thanks, it's been a while since I've written anything, really. I had time today and sat down with this old character and moved him into another world... It kind of took off from there.
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Re: Jack Roy

Post by DAVE KI » Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:04 pm

Good start doc I'm in.Can't wait to find out the what and why's of what happened.
"We'll Fight Them, Sir!, Until Hell Freezes Over, And Then We'll Fight Them On The Ice! Sir!

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Re: Jack Roy

Post by idahobob » Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:09 am

Great start! :clap:

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People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, "Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else."

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Re: Jack Roy

Post by complex57 » Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:33 am

Really nice start.

I may be wrong, but I seem to remember you taking a break for family stuff and school? I hope all is going well on those fronts.

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Re: Jack Roy

Post by Nancy1340 » Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:53 am

Thank you for the new story.

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Re: Jack Roy

Post by 223shootersc » Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:21 am

Doc66 thanks for coming back, Love your work and look forward to MOAR :words:

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Re: Jack Roy

Post by URBAN ASSAULT » Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:49 pm

I'm in Doc... I'll be watching quietly from under a heap of unfolded clothes in your closet, but I'm still in.

:lol:

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Re: Jack Roy

Post by DAVE KI » Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:04 pm

URBAN ASSAULT wrote:I'm in Doc... I'll be watching quietly from under a heap of unfolded clothes in your closet, but I'm still in.

:lol:

-urban
Creeeepy. I'm gonna start prodding ours with a bayonet. :lol:
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Re: Jack Roy

Post by doc66 » Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:49 pm

Darkness was slowly taking over the city. Jack Roy measured the distance of the sun from the horizon he could see with the flat of his hand; three fingers left; about forty-five minutes until the hazy orb dropped below the visible horizon, another ten or so minutes of light after that before darkness. Once darkness descended, Jack Roy knew that he did not want to be out on the streets of the city. Darkness meant danger, and in spite of his trek across the bridge earlier that day, Jack Roy tried to avoid danger. Casting about for a likely place to hole up, Jack Roy gauged the buildings which rose above him, some of them twenty or more stories above the road surface.

Off in the distance, Jack Roy heard the hoots and screams and barks of the packs which roamed in the city; packs of dogs, prides of lions, and other noises that might have been human, or not. All he really knew was that he did not want to find out what was making the noise. He was actually surprised that he had not encountered something else living in the city; there should have been dogs roaming, rats, perhaps, cats, but so far, jack Roy had seen nothing that would signify that there was life beyond his own wandering the streets which lay between the buildings. There had been a lot of bones though. Piles of bones, bones with gnaw marks on them, bones that had been cracked open, bones still held together with bits of sinew, bones scattered about so that it was uncertain just what species they bones had come from. He had stepped to avoid kicking the bones, at first, and now he treated them like the fallen limbs of trees, simply avoiding them when he could, or stepping on them when he could do nothing else.

Jack Roy wondered why there were all the bones in the streets, but then realized it did not really matter any longer; the bones were there because they were. Over the last month, he had been in several different cities and each one had its own quirk that set it apart from the last. In one there had been the crosses, big crucifixes made out of telephone poles and decorated with pages from the Bible. He had taken Jack Roy a few times investigating the erections to realize that all the pages had come from the same Bible, or at least the same edition. Another city had rocks piled like markers or the spiritual lithic stones found in various areas around the world. The piles were always on east-west coordinates and out of curiosity, Jack Roy had pulled one apart to see if they contained anything of interest within the pile. He had found nothing and put the pile back together, unable to shake the feeling that someone had been watching him.

Spying a possibly open doorway to one of the taller office buildings, Jack Roy moved toward the opening and after a quick look around to be sure that there was nothing that might notice him as he moved across the street. Stepping inside the opening, Jack Roy freed the Glock 19 from the pouch at his side and after clearing the doorway, stepped into the interior of the lobby, flashing the TLR-1 light affixed to the frame of the weapon into the darker corners. The Glock’s night sights glowed faintly in the dim light and the G17 magazine counter balanced the weight of the weapon light.

Satisfied that there was nothing in the lobby with him, Jack Roy holstered the Glock. There was a reception desk sitting back in the shadows of the lobby. Jack Roy walked over to the desk and went around half circle into the area where the guard or concierge had sat. There was a pile of bedding there, under the counter area, and Jack Roy immediately freed the Glock again as the hackles on the back of his neck stood up. He gave the bedding a quick flash from the TLR-1, noting that the pile of blankets was matted and had been disused for probably months, from the condition of the layers. For a moment he was afraid that he had run across a nest, and if he had, then he had already been in the building too long. But the layers of dust on the cloth indicated there had been no one sleeping on the sheets in some time. Jack Roy shift through the paper scattered around the desk and found a directory of the building. Using the fading light, Jack Roy scanned the list and found something that looked promising.

Belle Meade and Company. The name sounded appropriately high end for his purposes, and in addition, the offices occupied the upper floors of the building. According to the directory, Belle Meade and Company were the sole tenants of floors eleven and twelve. From the directory, those were also the highest levels of the offices. Jack Roy knew that there was probably another floor above those for the mechanical operations of the building such as the elevator services and air conditioning access, heat and water, but other than the roof access—which he would also try and access—Belle Meade would be as far as he could go.

With a glance through the dusty glass partitions out at the shadows in the street, Jack Roy knew that he had to get moving if he were going to make it to the offices he had chosen, clear the floors and set up his camp for the night. Jack Roy pulled free the small Streamlight on the lanyard from under his jacket. He affixed the light to the brim of his OD colored hat and casting around the lobby area found the stairway that lead to the upper floors. The stairs were near the elevator shafts. The doors to the lifts had been pried open. Curious, Jack Roy took a second to peek into the open shafts. In one the elevator car was at ground level, another at the basement level, and the other two were up in the shaft, almost beyond the reach of his small light. He wondered briefly why the doors had been pried open, but knew that the mystery would remain so since the only people he could ask were more than likely dead, or otherwise unable to communicate the reasoning to him. Steeling himself, Jack Roy pushed open the stairway door and entered the dark well.

The door clanged shut behind him, and for a moment, Jack Roy had the unreasonable fear that he would not be able to reopen the door, and that he was stuck in the stairwell for eternity. To assuage his anxiety, Jack Roy turned the small light on the surface of the door and found the handle. He pulled the door handle and was relieved that the door clicked and opened for him. Nodding to himself, Jack Roy let the door close again. Facing the stairs again, Jack Roy cast a glance over the rail and down the stairs that lead to the basement. There was a heavy layer of dust and grit on the stair treads and no indication that anyone had used them in quite sometime. Gladdened that he would not have to worry about something rushing out of the depths at his back, Jack Roy settled his pack and grabbed the stair rail. He set a booted foot on the first step and began his ascent.

No matter how many times a person took stairs in a building—and Jack Roy had been taking a lot of stairs over the last month or more—they never got easier. The constant trudge upward, placing one foot in front of the other, lifting his leg and pulling the weight of his body and the contents of the pack, was tiring to a person in good shape, which he considered himself to be, giving the circumstances of the world he lived in; but doing so after hiking all day, crossing a rickety bridge, and then shuffling through a bone carpeted city, was almost more than he even wanted to tackle. At about floor four, Jack Roy thought briefly about giving in to his weariness and just finding a place at that level. However, he knew that most people, and the creatures they had become would also find the fourth floor easy to gain access to. The trick to surviving was—as Jack Roy had discovered over time—getting higher up than most everyone else was willing to climb. And that level, he had found, was about the fifth or sixth floor. By that time, the burn of the muscles and the heart rate and the breathing all combined to make a body force the will to decide that enough was enough. The trick to a good night’s sleep was to get higher than the average person was willing to go. So up he went.

By the time he reached the big number painted on the wall that read eleven, Jack Roy was ready to stop. He was ready to shed his pack and collapse for the night. But reaching the first floor of Belle Meade and Company was just the first part of his evening. He still had two floors to clear and to find a place where he could hole up for the night. The last set of steps made him wince with each burning left of his legs. Finally, the large twelve appeared before him and Jack Roy’s little light illuminated the door to the office area. He almost went back down a floor when he saw the key card entrance, but then he smiled to himself. The key card meant that this level was the executive level of the company; he wasn’t even going to bother with checking the next level down, at least not tonight.

Sliding his pack off his tired shoulders. Jack Roy pulled free a small pry bar form the side pocket of the backpack. The pry bar had a flat end and the other was a claw with a hammer and spike affixed to it. The bar had seen many uses over time, and the once colorful paint was now chipped and scarred and dull all over the surface of the bar. Investigating the frame of the door, Jack Roy was happy to discover that like most barriers, this one was really only armed with the key card lock, and after trying to pull it open without succeeding, knew that it was meant to keep honest people honest. He set the pry bar in the crack between the door frame and the door and with a little pressure, was able to pop the latch of the door. The snap of the lock giving was loud in the stair well, and even though Jack Roy was pretty sure that he was the only person in the building, he paused for several long seconds to be sure that there was nothing moving that he could discern.

Satisfied that he was alone, Jack Roy opened the door and stepped through, pulling his pack after him.

Membership had its privileges.

The lobby area of the executive suites was well adorned with expensive wood paneling, leather seats were scattered in comfortable spaces around the area, complete with side tables and lamps that probably were more expensive than the combined value of the furnishings of Jack Roy’s small dwelling on his mountainside. One entire wall was the logo of the company; a stylized configuration of the letters B and M with filigree around it in what was probably gilt covering and exotic enamel paint. The receptionist’s desk was glass, the chair a web of see through material, and the thin computer terminal might have been worth more than the old truck sitting on a road somewhere that Jack Roy had made payments on for two long years. Another wall was a glass window that looked out over the city and let in the orange light of the setting sun. Here above the city, the he had gained another fifteen or so minutes of time before the world went into darkness and Jack Roy knew he had to make the best of it while he could. He pulled one of the heavy leather chairs over to the door of the stair well and made sure that the opening was cover by the massive piece of furniture. He knew that it would not stop anyone, but it would slow them down long enough for him to prepare a defense, should he need to.

It was time to start his systematic search of the floor.

Putting his back pack behind the desk, Jack Roy freed the Glock once more and turned off the small LED light on his hat. He left the light there in case he might need his hands free, but for the search, the TLR-1 on his Glock would be all he needed to clear the floor. From the lobby, Jack Roy began his search moving around the outer portion of the floor, checking the executive offices, clearing each one and making note of the contents as he swept through; a fast search at first to be sure nothing was lurking in a corner ready to bite, hack, shoot, club, or otherwise destroy his slumber. He found conference rooms, and closets with paper supplies and water coolers with jugs of water still in them and more water bottles that had yet to be open; he found sofas and private bathrooms, he found secretary nooks, and a lounge with a big screen TV, and he found the president’s office.

A huge corner office, the windows faced the south east and the south west so that the light of the sun would bath the office throughout the day. The shades covering the floor to ceiling openings were electronically control, stuck wide open so that the view of the city was unhindered. On one wall was a bar, still full of bottles which were partially full, expensive crystal glasses and flutes and balloons for the whiskeys and champagnes and wines shelves and racked in front of the mirrored wall. There was an empty bottle of Yamazaki Single Malt on the bar along with two glasses. A thin film of the scotch covered the bottom of both glasses, as if two people had come up into the office for a final drink and then left the glasses and the bottle behind for future explores to ponder their final moments. Jack Roy felt a moment of melancholy looking at the glasses; he had not spoken to another person for almost two weeks, and that brief exchange had been over who had more right to a few cans of beans, rather than pleasantries—or final goodbyes—over a glass of whiskey.

The despondency he felt was quickly replaced, however.

As Jack Roy turned to finish his search, he saw that on the desk of the president of the company there were two massive piles of feces. Jack Roy could not help himself; he began to laugh aloud at the sight before him. He continued to laugh as he wandered over to the desk to investigate. The mounds were old; they were dried and they had stained the desk blotter underneath; whatever odor they had once contained had dissipated into nothingness. But the act of defiance shed a different light on the two glasses resting on the bar.

Though his laughter, Jack Roy could imagine two low level employees, perhaps the last two who had ever arrived and report to their jobs before everything just simply stopped working, riding the elevator up to the eleventh floor and finding no one else there. They might have even tried to work, at first, and then the realization hit them that they were the only ones who were going to arrive; every other co-worker had either already left to escape, or was slowly succumbing to the sickness sweeping the earth. Those two might have found a way to gain access to the twelfth floor, maybe searching for guidance from a high level of management, or simply to see if anyone else was working, and found nothing. At first they might have been frightened, and then bold. Finally, on realizing that this was the end, had found the office of the CEO and after drinking from his bar, had dropped trouser or lifted their skirt and left their final message to the company that had employed them. Their final Fuck You to The Man; a massive, drunken shit.

Jack Roy approved.

He made note of the contents of the office and went to the final section of the office area; an executive dining area. The glass wall looked west and Jack Roy could imagine well-dressed people eating plates of fine foods while power brokering deals the world over. TV screens were strategically placed around the small room so that the diners could keep up with current events—or the stock market—or even watch their favorite TV show; Jack Roy had no clue how the other percentile spent their time. The tables—six four top settings—were set with good china and glasses, but clear. He stepped through swinging doors, past a drink station with soda machines, and a cooler that contained a few bottles of craft beer and expensive wine, and into a dark kitchen where Jack Roy knew he had found what amounted to gold.

It was not a large kitchen; more along the lines of a good sized—but expensive—home scullery, but the racks in the pantry were what held Jack Roy’s attention. There was cans of stock and vegetables; not common grocery fare, but organic selections in glass jars and sun dried, and blanched and canned crafted squashes and green beans and corns relishes and salsas; kippers and smoked salmon, and imported meats, caviar; good caviar with unpronounceable Russian labels, water crackers and capers and things Jack Roy knew he would have never had the chance to eat, until now.
Best of all there was coffee. Vacuum seal packages of coffee, premeasured portions, perfect for the 12 cup pot.

Jack Roy had not had a cup of coffee in four months and his mouth watered at the thought of pouring a fresh cup of steaming coffee. Black and hot and thick tasting on the tongue, heavy in the mouth, coffee.

Why none of this had ever been looted out, Jack Roy had no idea, but he was glad he had gotten here first.

With all of the floor finally cleared so that he was sure there would be no surprises in the night—at least from the office area—and the night falling fast, Jack Roy made his way back to his backpack, all the while dreaming of the meal he was going to make, the couch he was going to sleep on, and the breakfast he was going to have after his long sleep on the couch.
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Re: Jack Roy

Post by doc66 » Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:58 pm

URBAN ASSAULT wrote:I'm in Doc... I'll be watching quietly from under a heap of unfolded clothes in your closet, but I'm still in.

:lol:

-urban
So... you've been in my closet. I'm not sure what to think about this, but, if you want, there's bourbon out here.
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Re: Jack Roy

Post by Hunt4lyf » Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:38 pm

Creepy...

Looking forward to MOAR!

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Re: Jack Roy

Post by DAVE KI » Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:33 am

This is definitely getting good, hope to read much more.
Still goes with the bayonet.LOL.
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Re: Jack Roy

Post by Spazzy » Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:53 am

Got a good creepy vibe to the story, I like it!
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Re: Jack Roy

Post by Murphman » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:41 am

Good Stuff, doc
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Re: Jack Roy

Post by 91Eunozs » Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:18 pm

Liking it... A lot.

You mention it's in a different setting than your other stories...any connection other than this character? Alternate universe type deal (a la Steven King's gunslinger series) or simply another story?

Regardless, thanks for the read so far...good stuff.
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Re: Jack Roy

Post by Snapshot7.62 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:58 pm

Glad to see you are writing again doc, great start!
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Re: Jack Roy

Post by doc66 » Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:18 am

Sitting in the leather high backed dining chair at the table by the big window in the executive dining room, Jack Roy enjoyed the big breakfast he had prepared for himself. He had taken a skillet that was large enough to scramble five dozen eggs and had broken apart some of the less impressive pieces of furniture—which more than likely meant they were also the most expensive—and built a fire in the massive, shallow bowl in order to cook up his feast. In order to be safe with the fire in the tall structure, jack Roy had built the fire out on the small balcony he had discovered off the lounge. The balcony was probably a smoking area for the executives on the floor; put there so they did not have to make the trek to the street level with the rest of the plebs. While the blaze burned down to a nice bed of expensive coals, Jack Roy had put together crab cakes from the canned meat in the pantry, combined them with the bread crumbs—stale, but who cared now?—and mustard and unopened mayonnaise still within the shelf life of the packaging, canned artichoke hearts, and spices from the racks in the kitchen, fried the cakes in sunflower oil, and then made potato pancakes from a box mix shoved in the back of the shelf. He topped the crab cakes with caviar, the potatoes pancakes he mounded blackberry jelly on top of and then sat down with all of this heaped on a plate of fine china with a pot of the strongest coffee he could stand, brewed so that the dark liquid appeared to ooze from the carafe.

Sleeping had been no problem, even after he had spied the light of fires reflecting across the city scape. The specks of light were far enough in the distance that Jack Roy felt that he had no worries about being discovered; at least by those who could speak after the manner that Jack Roy was used to. From the windows spread around the building, Jack Roy counted at least fifteen different fires. Fifteen different people, or even collections of survivors, that claimed territory, scavenged, possibly hunted, perhaps grew gardens as well as they could, and existed in the city that contained more bones spread across the surface of its street than it had population. Of course that did not include the population of those who could no longer be considered Homo Saipan Erectus, not in the traditional scientific sense.

The rains and clouds were gone, the moisture in the air the day before has served to wipe away any kind of airborne particles, and typical of the skies that followed such an event the sky was bright blue and clear as far as the eye could see. There was no haze hanging to obscure the horizon, because of this, jack Roy could see out to the very edges of the city and beyond its boundaries out into the green fields and thick treed landscapes until the hills that formed the bowl of the basin the city sat in faded to a blue green line. When he had stepped out onto the balcony to build the fire Jack Roy found that the day was going to be warm, even this high over the concrete where the soft winds always seemed to move. Inside the building, the air was still cool, and the warmth of the day seeped through the open balcony door Jack Roy had propped open in an attempt to clear the musty air of the floor that lingered from months of being closed to the elements.

When he finally pushed the plate away, still covered with half eaten crab cakes and sections of pancakes, Jack Roy sipped at the coffee and wished that he had a large glass of orange juice to complete the meal. Orange juice was one of those things that Jack Roy missed. Along with dozens of other things; pizza delivery, take out Chinese, cold beer, and music playing on a radio, and friendly human voices. The last group of people he had been sheltering with were a month gone; lost to him in an attack that had razed their compound, left many dead or dying or fleeing to parts unknown. There had been a companion for a week or more after that, but the man had gone to find water and never returned. Jack Roy had waited for his return for two days before admitting the man was never going to return. Gathering the few belongings he could carry, Jack Roy simply scribbled a note giving the direction he planned to travel and then after tacking it to an easily spotted post, began his journey.

There had been so much loss.

The memories weighed at his psyche. Jack Roy knew if he stayed still long enough, depression would begin to build its dense, foggy wall around his emotional consciousness, and drag him into the black depths. To fight the state of melancholy threatening to form, Jack Roy pushed away from the table and gathered the food from the table. The remnants of his meal would make a good lunch, so with the aid of his light—he was going to have to search out more batteries soon—he found several storage containers to store the food in until he was ready for a midday meal. Stacking the food on the buffet table in the dining room, Jack Roy set the dishes in the dusty sink in the kitchen to clear them from the table. He was not going to wash them, there was no point in it, but he wanted to maintain a semblance of cleanliness for his own personal wellbeing.

From his gear, Jack Roy freed the paddle holster he used when he was not carrying the backpack and slipped it into the waistband of the cargo pants he wore. Another paddle rig was slipped into the off hadn side of the pants, this one contained a double pouch for the G17 magazines he used in the G19. He was down to his last four magazines, and a partial box of 9mm ammunition. Somewhere in the city Jack Roy was sure there was more ammunition, the problem would be finding it. In a nation that manufactured millions of rounds of ammunition yearly, ammunition was one of the things that was nearly impossible to find. When the boxes were found, they were plentiful and more than a single man would want to tote along with him in addition to the other trappings one needed to exist. It was true a resourceful person could find many things simply laying around, but when traveling the roads between the remnants of civilization you could not count on shelter, food, and water to be where one needed it, when one needed it.

High in the building, with the items he had discover thus far, Jack Roy knew he could exist for several weeks if needed. However, he knew he was not going to stay that long; there was only so much summer left to him and he still had many miles to travel before he reached his destination. His best bet was to spend a few days here, provided he was not discovered, and heal and rest from the brutal punishment that the constant walking was meting out on his body.

In order to keep himself occupied, Jack Roy decided that his best course of action was to explore the upper floors, find a book or two that captured his interest so that his mind was occupied, and use the height of the building to scope out the path of least resistance through the city until he was ready to pack his few survival accoutrements and head back out.

To that end, Jack Roy slipped the small binoculars into a cargo pocket, picked up the pry bar, and slung the pouch for the Nalgene bottle over his shoulder and headed for the stairs.

Climbing over the chair he had placed in front of the door, Jack Roy pushed the door open and once more stepped into the darkness of the stair well. Letting the door swing shut behind him, he paused long enough to listen for noises in the well. There was only the sound of the building; the clicks and groans of a structure left to its own devices. He started up again.

The stairs ended at a large platform on the 13th floor. The door here was also key carded; a different style from the one at the executive level and Jack Roy once more used the pry bar to pop the door open. He stepped into the darkness and cast the light of his Streamlight around the space.

It was a massive open space, with exposed girders, uncovered wiring, and duct work snaking along the ceiling. All around were the silent hulks of the machinery which at one time kept the building at consistent temperatures, racks of pipes and sheets of drywall, shelving with paint buckets, cleaning supplies, tools chests and work benches. There were no windows in the walls, making Jack Roy move slowly by the light of his pen light. He debated about using the weapon light on the Glock, but decided against using the light in an effort to save the batteries in the brighter flash. Since his goal was the roof of the building, Jack Roy moved around the outer walls, searching for the stairs which would lead him to the roof access. Along the way, he stopped a few times to search through the tool chests and inventory the items on the shelving in case there might be something he could use down at the executive suit. In one of the tool chests, Jack Roy found a big, six cell Maglite. To his surprise, the LED light clicked on and flooded the area with a wide beam. Clicking off the little light attached to his hat, Jack Roy played with the focus of the light until it was a tighter focus, rather than a wide flood. With the light, he was able to chase away the darker edges of the room and saw that he was not alone.

There were three bodies sitting at a table.

Jack Roy panicked for a moment, and his hand fell to the Glock in the same moment that he realized that the figures were not moving, and had not moved for some time. In the harsh white light of the Maglite, he could see that they had been at the table for some time; their faces were gaunt and the skin taut across the bone. Where there should have been eyes, there were only dark holes. The lips were drawn tight over the teeth, which shown yellowish white in the light. The cast of the flashlight made the shadows dance eerily across the mummified remains, and in the movement of his scanning the scene with the Maglite the frozen faces seemed to move and change expressions. The illusion caused Jack Roy to almost quit the search as his base instinct for flight fought with his rational senses. Gathering his nerve, Jack Roy convinced himself that there was nothing to fear and moved closer to the figures.

Two more bodies lay in crumpled heaps on the bare floor next to the table. Dark stains flowed out from under the emaciated forms. To either side of the bodies, chairs were laying on their sides, perhaps having been knocked over when the bodies fell.

On the table were scattered playing cards; a deck of Hoyle regulation poker cards with the jokers face up on the scattered deck. The grinning faces of the jokers only served to add to the macabre and once more Jack Roy had to steel himself as he walked to the table. Poker chips were piled in front of the bodies, and each one had either a bottle of beer or whiskey or both standing at their elbow. Also on the table was a revolver; a long barreled cowboy single action. It was then that Jack Roy noticed that two of the players had holes in the center of their forehead. Curious, Jack Roy moved to inspect the skull of the third and saw that there was a hole in the top of the man’s head. Now that he was close to the table, Jack Roy could see the dark stains where the men had bleed out onto the table and all over the cards and the poker chips. He squatted down beside the table and noticed that the third man also had a hole under his chin where he had pushed the barrel of the revolver and then pulled the trigger. Picking up the Ruger Blackhawk, Jack Roy noted that the barrel was rusted with blood from the blow back of the suicide. He opened the loading gate and turned the cylinder. Five of the six rounds had been fired.

For a long moment, Jack Roy stared at the scene in front of him and imagined the story as it unfolded in his mind. They three men and been sick; maybe they had known what was coming having watched friends and coworkers succumb to the very fever that was coursing through their bodies. Not wanting to suffer the same fate, not wanting to drop into the fever induced coma and perhaps awaken on the other end changed, they had somehow ended up here where they had all spent so much of their time—or had been enacting out a pact they had agreed upon—they had come to this place to drink their last drinks, and play poker. Jack Roy believed that they had played until they lost, and on defeat, one of the others had taken the big handgun and shot the man with the loosing hand. The game had then been repeated until there was only one, who turned the firearm on himself. Jack Roy wondered if the decision to play the deadly game to the end was one born of rational thought, or if it had matured with the deterioration of the mental processes as the fever took over their rational thought.

On the table at the elbow of one of the men was a box of .45 Colt. Jack Roy picked up the green container of Remington ammunition and shoved it into one of his cargo pockets. Standing quickly, he decided that he no longer wanted to explore the level, and shone the light around the space until he spied a likely door that would lead him to the roof access. Moving quickly to the door, Jack Roy was relieved to find that it opened easily at his urging. Thankfully, there was a set of stairs going up behind the door. Jack Roy found a heavy bucket and placed it in front of the door to hold it open, and grabbed another to carry to the top with him. He reached the top of the stairs and pushed open the door, letting the bright sunlight flood the area and brighten not only the enclosure, but also his psyche, which had been made considerably gloomy by the discovery of the dead at the table. Turning off the flashlight, Jack Roy stepped out into the clear day and the fresh air, dropping the bucket in front of the door so that it would not swing shut behind him.

He stepped out onto the gravel surface of the roof and reveled in the warm sunlight, letting it clear his head of the depressing acts he had seen below.
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Re: Jack Roy

Post by Hunt4lyf » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:02 am

And...???

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Re: Jack Roy

Post by idahobob » Fri Nov 21, 2014 9:52 am

Whew!

MOAR!

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Re: Jack Roy

Post by 223shootersc » Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:15 am

We need MOAR of the good stuff :clap:

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Re: Jack Roy

Post by Kopf-Jaeger » Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:12 pm

Doc, I don't remember giving you permission to stop writing!!!!! MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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