Amazing Grace –
The El Niño Legend
(Surviving the Zombie Invasion)
Carl R. ToersBijns, author
The news of these series of perfectly aligned oceanic storms generated by the perpetual and still powerful El Niño in the Pacific Ocean, were creating surging mini-like tsunami waves comparable white foamy ripples of savagely powerful swells.
Lashing out at the now battered and damaged shoreline with absolute brutal force, the destruction was intolerable for Mother Nature to heal.
High waves of stubborn massive ocean water made frothy twenty foot high white breaker waves creating a violent backlash of foam-covered water splashing and trashing its hurricane force waves against freshly eroding beach front consuming everything in sight on the beach or further inland.
What was once a dormant dry and a long spanned drought season has turned into an agonizing nightmare, that could best be described as a gross contamination of the soil and pollution of the landscape, causing deteriorating eco conditions and making it hard to travel freely and unrestricted without being stopped by the cops.
Even four wheel drive vehicles had difficulties, especially going up the inclines of any accessible mountain roads sloped with steep grades and covered with a massive layer of red clay mud that stuck to the tires, and if traction was lost, it would leave the driver and occupants helpless and stranded on foot somewhere in the dense and water-logged woods.
Having wondered how Grace and Heather ended up near the bunker a few weeks ago, Carl had asked her how she managed to escape death and find a way out of her dilemma of being trapped in the swirling flashflood waters when her SUV was carried by the swift currents to a spot near his road just off the freeway about a mile from his shelter.
She mentioned to him how a strange man, had spotted her trapped and stuck in the deep mud and helped her get out of her partially entombed and almost submerged SUV surrounded by in the thick sludge.
Trying to open the door unsuccessfully, he decided to rescue her by breaking her passenger window and helping her and Heather crawl out of the car, pulling them out by their arms and setting them free.
He told her he too was caught in the swift waters but managed to get up on a high spot that gave him a chance to escape his truck he was driving before it was caught by another wave of surging flood waters and carried further downstream leaving him on foot. It seemed the water came from the top of the mountain in a swell that was like an avalanche roaring downhill at high speed.
Grace told her horror story of this man, who called himself Neil, and how he was telling her to follow him up to the higher ground and that he knew of a cabin that was located up there where they could stay to wait out the storm but they got separated and then, while looking for him, Heather and her got further lost in the deeper parts of the woods when Carl found them.
She didn’t know him well enough to trust him but said she was so desperate to get Heather out of the drenching rain and to a safe place, she followed him before they got separated in the darkness.
Yelling and shouting out his name, she was almost ready to give up on staying alive before Carl came out to rescue Heather and her stranded there under that tree trying to keep the rain from pelting them with what she thought was hail.
It’s been over two weeks now since the storms began and in the meantime the sun has not come out to dry out any of the flooded landscapes that had turned into marshlands and lakes large enough to go boating on with full sized yachts.
The falling seasonal temperatures were even colder than before because of the lack of sunlight in the air. Between the disappearing now underwater beaches and the major inland deluge of localized heavy rains and unyielding torrential showers, this storm covered hundreds of square miles; the landscape was saturated and consumed with dead bodies waiting to be collected by the military that has declared a national state of emergency and placed Southern California under martial law.
California was deeply exposed to severe flood tolerances that impacted nature as well as its densely populated cities and metro areas in many diverse ways that were hard to understand by anyone seeing the destruction and now the El Nino has captured the entire season of fall and likely leak into winter, the growing seasons will be harmful to the environment and people trying to survive in many ways.
Instead of the long awaited rainwater producing growth, these high waters have cut off the oxygen to many trees, plants and animals now underwater and killing many species. Everything from the city to the valleys was submerged in water or water-logged so badly, it suffocated and died.
More than anything else, it was the depth of the water, the temperatures and lack of oxygen that created the unnatural crisis of tolerating the rain waters and finding shallow waters to travel through. Basically speaking, it was an unreal disaster that would take generations to undo or turn around.
Drinking water was critical as the ground water was now contaminated with chemicals soaked into the soil by the constant flooding and the mixture of human waste coming out of the city and the concentrated amount of salty sea water was killing all that could not resist their corrosive elements.
In the meantime, the personal relationship between Carl and Grace has become a little more complicated than it had been before they became intimately involved and now looking after each other with Heather watching, seeing her mom grow closer and closer to this man she hardly knew.
Just because they kept their sexual relationships hidden from Heather, it was clear to see they still had an exceptional desirability towards each other.
Only a blind man could see the sensuality and caring emotions displayed between each other, as Grace would lay down with Heather at night and remain there with her, cover her up to keep her warm, and waited until she had fallen asleep before joining Carl for their almost predestined nocturnal carnal pleasures.
Making sure Heather was out, she would soundlessly sneak over to Carl’s bedroom and spent the rest of the night in his arms after they had ardently entwined themselves in a moment of lust and fleshly desires, wrapping themselves up in a passionate interlude of love making that was off the grid as far as they were concerned.
Waiting for Grace, Carl had turned the television on to watch the current events around the world. The United States government was still at war in the Middle East where Carl served four years in a ranger outfit helping train the Iraqi army after they were overrun by ISIS and other terrorists groups sponsored by other country’s domination plans.
He remembered those days well and drew much of his subsistence experience for the necessary survival instincts needed to handle this unorthodox catastrophe. Carl was teaching Grace how to survive had turned her into a confident survivor and a battle ready warrior when they faced the zombies down below in the valley.
Zombies were seen roaming all parts of the world that included Australia, Europe and main parts of China and Hong Kong. Every region occupied by zombies had military troops deployed to fight them and contain their destruction.
All in all, this fight was not going too well as the undead were millions in numbers and the troops were spread so thin by wars, there were hardly enough to go around and protect the larger cities leaving the rural areas or the countryside exposed without protection and vulnerable if zombies figured it out that the people they were looking for had escaped and headed for the farms and other open spaces.
The news channels out of San Diego, Los Angeles and even as far inland as Riverside and Palm Springs were reporting heavy flooding as the storm remained stationary and dumping the wet deluging burdens loaded in the skies onto the already saturated ground.
Calling it a super low pressure area, it was tearing up the countryside and killing people, animals and starving those who had no supplies to keep them alive. Bottled water was now a commodity that brought a good price or kept for ransom.
Lagoons were overflowing their man made dams and retaining walls. Rivers were swollen and raging from north to south and east to west. There was no obstacle the powerful waters couldn’t reach with time on its side.
Bridges were collapsing after and during the heavy rains. Interstates 5, 10, 15 and 40 were experiencing serious stress cracks in their overhead bridges and some sections of the highways, some over 40 feet in length of solid concrete, had been washed away by the floodwaters.
The storm was causing severe soil erosion and washing away the land, the concrete walls as sides of hills and mountains came tumbling down onto the valley covering houses and major streets with mud and debris. Most of these main highways were being closed to general traffic giving allowances to law enforcement and military traffic only.
According to the California Highway Patrol. At least fifteen persons were transported to a Palm Springs hospital after being trapped in a mass pile up of vehicle during a serious traffic accident.
Officials were concerned that the eastbound and westbound lanes may have been structurally undermined by the flooding, and the freeway will remain closed until further notice. The headline read like this, “Interstate 10 is closed completely," spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation, told the Associated Press.
They also planned to inspect dozen of large spanned bridges across the large swath of Southern California where the “remnants of a tropical storm dumped unusual El Nino related deluges,” the AP reported.
"This is a fascinating situation on so many levels. Against a backdrop of climate change, with the global atmosphere setting heat records month after month, we have an El Niño warming the waters of the tropical eastern Pacific.
What was misleading in these reports were key words like “remnants of the El Nino” as there was no relief in sight and there were no remnants but only a series of solidly lined up storms ready to pounce on Southern California for an undetermined amount of time and atmospheric energy.
On top of what Carl had heard on the NOAA weather channel, he had heard “the waters off the U.S. West Coast are also far warmer than average, and we have a mass of tropical storms moving farther north and closer to the Mexican coast than most others in the historical record this early in the season," said weather.com senior meteorologist Nick Wiltgen.
Carl knew that as soon as the flood waters receded or withdrew to lower levels, the walkers would extend their territories and seek more victims left behind and trapped by the high waters. There was an inevitable showdown coming, a sort of high noon scenario between the zombies and the mortals who were hiding to stay alive.
Whether this was going to be a showdown or a meltdown of the human race depended on preparation and planning on how to beat the zombies at their own game. These walkers were merely wandering without a destination seeking whoever they may encounter. However, up to this point, they had not chosen to dwell outside the city making the bunker a very safe place to be.
Finding his secure sanctuary well-built and soundly constructed, the fear was not the penetration of zombies or undead but rather carelessness and not being aware of the presence of these blood sucking, blood curling creeps.
Since he learned in survival techniques the importance of water, he had an osmosis reversed water system installed that filtered the water, any kind of water and purified it to be safe to drink. Having his own filtering system had given them the gift of life as no man can live without water.
Carl knew there were hundreds, if not thousands of these decaying stiff and smelly corpses roaming, strutting rigidly down the streets whether they were under water or not.
They have been down the valley roads now for at least six trips and every trip they took they saw no survivors but plenty of rotted and decomposed walkers caught in the water or mud and slowly moving without showing any life in them.
Even the water-bloated undead seemed to have adapted to the high waters and tread through the lower levels without much difficulties as their slow deliberate clawing manner to seek and find victims was never ending as they seemed to never quit trying to find a victim.
Dropping them with head shots was easier said than done. The proximity and timing was critical to get that clean shot. Heather was having nightmares of the day they all three encountered the first horde of walkers and their clawing method of clinging onto the truck trying to trap them and eat their preferred prey alive.
Surely, those events of that first time encounter damaged her to some degree and put a severe shock into her that had to be dealt with at a later time. Time will tell.
Using the bunker gave Carl, Grace and the kid a safe place to stay. They knew it was a kill or be killed chaotic situation. There was no morality issue here; either they live or the die. It was that simple and there was no need to agonize about how it got done.
Getting used to the corpses and their grotesque manner of existence included mutated monstrosities that demonstrated an unusual amount of resilience even with their flesh torn into open wounds and what used to be vital organs hanging or exposed as these walker carry on until they find something to eat or bite or their brain is destroyed.
Dealing with this horror was unique and difficult both mentally and physically. Sleep deprivation caused poor judgments and fatigue while the mind goes into overtime during the night when they are sleeping creating vivid nightmares that causes both of them wake up during the middle of the night in a cold cold sweat.
Needless to say, there were some moments where both were jittery and nervous dealing with the adversity and each other.
Making odd hour runs during the early daylight hours to the abandoned food stores, to bank and scavenge supplies, they needed to survive became harder and more pessimistic in success and gatherings.
Most of the stores have been looted and plundered by other survivors trying to keep themselves alive. Strangely, these survivors, whoever they were, kept out of sight and remained unseen by Carl and Grace giving them an idea there were other sheltered bunkers out there somewhere that kept other non-infected beings safe from the zombies.
The danger of water bloated walkers had increased with the floods as they could pop up unexpectedly from anywhere there was at least three feet of murky or darkened black colored water.
Flooded basements of the stores Carl and Grace scavenged for vital supplies were often infiltrated or hidden just before they exposed their disintegrating and decomposing bodies to the two. They had discovered that the basements were often used as storage areas for items to be restocked when the shelves were empty.
Fearing being bit at the legs or ankles by such creatures was real and Carl had wrapped leggings on him and Grace when they walked through flooded stores or basements where they located the necessities they needed to stay alive.
These wrapped leggings was a trick Carl learned in the Army ranger unit when they were conducting real jungle warfare training in Panama and exposed to venomous snakes day and night. He knew that protecting their legs would give them a chance to avoid getting bit by these half-drowned walkers. It was a good idea and strategy cause it seemed to be working.
Taking a tour of any area filled or occupied by surreal almost invincible walkers was dangerous. Their decomposing bodies were everywhere and some were positioned in a motionless state but not quite out of commission as they still had the ability to attack and bite their victim.
Grace was telling Carl this zombie apocalypse was lasting longer than she expected. Having seen zombies walk in the mud without having legs was both spooky and dreadful. How they kept moving through the mud with their legs disconnected to their bodies was unthinkable and unimaginable for a rational person to understand.
Staying away from the banks of the rushing rivers, the swollen creeks and the mud filled roads that were almost impassable even with the four wheel drive super duty F250 dually, the two hand managed to work out a system that kept Heather safe when they went to town and because the little girl was not with them anymore they were safer.
Grace had agreed that she was safer inside the bunker and kept her occupied and playing in her bedroom until they got back, giving them the ability to search more places and find more supplies than others who had their kids tag along and also subject to attacks by child zombies looking for their own sized victims.
Aggressive and more determined than some adult zombies, they were relentless in finding someone their own size to eat or bite and infect them with the virus. Staying away from the bunker had its own perils thus they did agree to set a time limit of their absence, as they worried that being left alone would also be traumatic for her and cause her to get restless and wander out of the room to other areas of the cavern.
Agreeing it wasn’t the ideal situation or set-up, they had hoped that somewhere along the way they would find some survivors who could help them with watching Heather during such excursions.
It wasn’t one of Carl’s best case scenarios but in the long run, an extra hand who wasn’t infected could make a big difference in the end. Perhaps fate would deliver such a blessings in the near future as the rains kept falling down and it looked like the rains weren’t going to stop anytime soon.