…I walked down the hallway and turned left and started walking down the stairs to the basement, halfway down I knew I wasn’t alone down there. The smell hit my nose like a hammer. It was the smell of damp sweat and mildew along with the slight odor of ammonia that made my nose sting and eyes water. I knew that some one had been living here for awhile, I cocked the hammer back on my .38 as slowly and quietly
as possible and slowly went down the rest of the stairs.
He was laying on a ratty old kids mattress that was on top of three wooden pallets, snoring loudly. He was obviously homeless and had decided to make this basement his. He had all his possessions in this small room. With my large maglite I could see a duffle bag with clothes sticking out the top, a small table, four hand built shelves filled with crackers and soups and other canned foods were along the wall. On the other wall an old beer keg had been made into a small wood burning stove and had a small pot on it with leftovers from his last meal in it. The other wall had something I wasn’t expecting, a large aquarium filled with clean water and three goldfish, the aerator bubbling away. It took me a second to realize what that meant, he had power down here. When I saw the old lamp I decided to find out who this guy was.
When I pulled the little chain on the lamp the bare bulb lit up the whole room. He shot off the mattress like he’d been shocked with a taser. He was an older Indian man probably about fifty, tall and very thin, and was yelling at me to leave his place because he had found it first. In his hand was a small silver pistol. I didn’t think he would shoot me, but I was wrong. What saved me from getting shot was his shitty old pistol. He squeezed the trigger and all I heard was click not the loud gunshot I was expected. What saved him was the junk on his floor. As I pulled the trigger I stepped back at the same time and tripped on his boots. A can of soup exploded behind him inches from his head. He didn't drop the pistol but he put his hands up and begged me not to kill him. I told him he would be fine as long as he stayed cool.
I hear my friends running down the stairs and yell at them not to shoot. When they all got into the room I explain to them what happened. Howie tells him to put the gun down and he looks at the two twelve gauge shotguns that Jose and Howie both have and are pointed at his head and he throws his old pistol on his makeshift bed. I make him keep his hands up as we all walk upstairs to the loading dock. Once we get there he tells us his story.
His name is Robert Little Bear, he’s 44 but he looks older, and has been homeless for 17 years. After having his tent and bicycle stolen from the park where he used to live he moved into the basement of the castle two months ago. The one thing I can tell about him is that he’s had a tough life, his nose was crooked from being broken multiple times, halve his left ear was gone and had a long scar across the left side of his face. His right leg had broken sometime in the past and hadn’t been properly set because his right foot was at a 90 degree angle to his left. He was also pretty smart, he had figured out how to get power to the room downstairs from the city street light with out anybody knowing. He was a survivor and just the type of guy we could use. We told him of the Campion Virus and what was happening throughout the country. He wisely decided to stay with us.
I went back down into the basement to put the fuses into the breaker box and the others went around the whole building to make sure the lights from the inside couldn’t be seen from the outside and to sweep the building from top to bottom to make sure we had checked every room The sounds of gunshots in the distance told us we had to hurry and finish our preparations to make this place secure and halfway decent to live in for the foreseeable future. In my mind I wondered how long that would be?