We interrupt the regularly scheduled programming to present you with a post-apocalyptic diary of a different sort.
Burroughs, Kerouac, McCarthy, Ballard and Hunter were all near Washington D.C. when the apocalypse struck. It was as if fate brought them together – five men who had plumbed the depths of the apocalypse or the road, of madness and despair in their writing.
All they have is a wood-paneled wagon, carpool dragons and hundreds of miles of road ahead of them.
[The Organ Trail began life as a free, zombie-apocalypse parody of the 1970s eudcational game The Oregon Trail, but the Director’s Cut is an expanded, commercial release that sees Organ Trail leave its parody roots partially behind. I initially thought this would be a done-in-one, but this particular adventure is more sprawling than the simple graphics might lead you to believe.]
The government is planning to nuke WDC. Nobody can blame them really, they just can’t figure out while they waited until now.
“Could’ve nuked Washington years ago and saved us all from a whole lotta bullshit.” Hunter’s eyes are hidden behind round, reflective sunglasses. It looks like the scarcity of alcohol is taking its effect.
None of the others know who this Clements guy is, but Burroughs has taken a liking to him, and he’s the only one with a gun, so they let it pass. The group is getting ready to hit the road – Burroughs driving, with Clements reading the map – but Burroughs insists on showing off with the old William Tell routine. He finds a glass – miraculously still intact – and places it on Clements’ head.
Kerouac grabs the map from Clements’ corpse. Gore covers half the country, but when he wipes at it, he just smears it and makes it worse.
“I spent enough time on the road before, we don’t need this.”
The climb into the station wagon. 230 miles to Pittsburgh.
There’s a couple of people with work in Pittsburgh, and whilst the station wagon is looking alright now, they’ve all spent enough time listening to the music of the road itself to know the wagon is one bad pothole away from dropping a muffler – or worse.
Burroughs earns 41 dollars for the party, but the whole time he’s shooting you can see the envy in the eyes of the others – especially Hunter who hasn’t been without a gun for this long since grade school.
Burroughs scavenges for some supplies while the rest of the group rests up, eats, and trades medkits for some money. Money has always been an artificial construct, so what’s the fucking point of holding on to it now that the institutions that propped it up are all gone?
With that in mind they save their meager scrap for later and pay the auto shop to repair the wagon, and get an Ezi-Grow upgrade to supply the group with some food while they’re on the road.
There’s a massive herd on the outside of town – too alert to sneak past, and too large to shoot through. They wait it out for an hour and the herd grows docile. They sneak through, giving the engine enough throttle to coast down the middle of the crowd without making too much noise.
200 Miles to the Mall.
A fire starts in the backseat and burns the last of the group’s money. Burroughs fumes in the driver’s seat, but no one will admit to starting the miniature blaze, and it’s hours before anyone but Burroughs is brave enough to light a cigarette.
Hunter breaks a rib – inside a car that is travelling down the highway at a grandmother’s pace – and Ballard keeps begging Burroughs to let him drive, but Burroughs can see the lustful look in his eyes every time they pass by a mangled wreck on the side of the road.
The Mall is secure, but derelict. There are a couple of people there, but even compared to Pittsburgh it is a ghost town. There’s one job going, and one grizzled old bastard who’s prepared to teach Burroughs how to scavenge for cash better, but the group can’t pay him.
Burroughs gets hurt trying to finish the job, so the group still has no money – but plenty of food and enough medkits that his injuries aren’t a massive drain. There are no decent trades going, so Burroughs and Hunter patch themselves up and Burroughs goes out scavenging. He comes back with food and scrap and decides to go back out again while the Zombie activity is low. He finds food and cash, but it still isn’t enough to pay for combat training.
142 miles to Indianapolis.
On the drive the group finds food, but somehow manages to lose a can of fuel. McCarthy accuses Hunter of huffing it, but even he has to admit that Hunter doesn’t actually reek or petrol fumes – only he doesn’t say it in so few words.
There are more people in Indianapolis, more work and another Auto Shop – the group just needs enough cash to make use of it. Both the jobs on offer are deemed dangerous, but one of them is worth $58 and the other is only worth $8.
Burroughs takes the more lucrative one first. He defends the town easily, but ammo supplies are running a little low. The group trades spare scrap, and the cash Burroughs just earned for some more ammo, reinforced windows for the wagon and some repairs.
Burroughs goes out to scavenge and gets mauled by zombie dogs. He returns to the shelter trembling, and no one can be sure if it is the attack or the withdrawals that have him so shaken up.
He sees the pity in the eyes of everyone sitting around the campfire and goes straight back out there. He gets wounded further, but comes back with a bag of food, pocket full of money and a satisfied grin on his face.
Everyone rests up while Burroughs takes that $8 job. The bastard is unstoppable.
212 Miles until the group reaches the safety of some farmlands.
Half the drive is spent in heavy fog, slowing the wagon down. Hunter gets exhausted from all the sitting in the backseat, and a fuel can flies out the window when Burroughs drives over a bad pothole.
Just on the outskirts of the farmhouse the group comes up against a zombie horde they can’t drive through or around. Burroughs climbs out on the roof and takes care of it, like he always does and they pull into the farmhouse.
The farmer has a spare car battery, but Burroughs has to work for it. He shoots down a horde that’s incoming to the farmhouse and stows the battery in the back of the wagon.
Burroughs goes out scavenging while the others rest. He comes back with food and scrap, and tells Ballard to repair the wagon while he patches himself up. Ballard has spent enough time studying car wrecks that he’s actually quite skilled at putting them back together.
Burroughs learns how to reload his shotgun faster, from an old ranch hand, and the group loads up the station wagon.
They roll out of the farmhouse and suddenly from all around comes the sound of hogs – a biker gang. Hunter wears a look of concern on his face as Burroughs smashes the car relentlessly into the outlaws – they were his people once after all – but he stays silent.
160 Miles to Chicago. The wagon is heavily laden with spare car parts, some fuel and ammo, heaps of food, but only a few medkits; The situation isn’t looking dire yet, but it can change in a heartbeat.