A Fox Gets Drunk – The Hungry Tiger Safe House

Posted: April 23, 2012 in Alternative Safe Houses, History, Safe House Lore
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I’d lost track of the hours I had been driving. Mattyyy from The Colony arranged for a truck for me with supplies. While The Colony had no current leads on the cult we both agreed that it was highly likely that they were being watched and it was in the best interest of all involved if I could slip out of the safe house fortress without being noticed. The best manner to do that was to put me on one of the delivery trucks and send me off to make a delivery. Nobody would question one of the many trucks leaving the compound every day and in turn I could appear at another safe house to trade in the truck for a new method to get back home. But my skin itched as I left The Colony feeling eyes on me that were likely only in my own head. I was nervous enough that I made no stops for the next eight hours driving like a mad woman chased by hounds of hell. Finally when I did take a stop to eat a meal that was packed for me exhaustion took over. I sealed myself into the truck and slept for another eight.

When I woke I barely felt human. The need to shower was only outweighed by the need to pee. I broke into a local home and used what I needed there as well as recovered a few more supplies. After, I was back on the road heading to where the truck’s delivery had been promised. I didn’t even know what was in the back. As I traveled down the road the silence felt unnatural despite the months of getting used to seeing fewer and fewer living. The radio’s static became preferable to the random and occasional sounds outside. A horn blaring, an alarm or some random explosion in the distance could be dampened by the sound of static turned up loud enough. Yet the sharper sounds of gun fire still broke through. Those disturbed me less as they were more signs of life, of people fighting to live and while I was not joining them or helping them, silently as I slipped through their territory I cheered them on. For a brief moment the static broke and I heard a voice. I pulled over the truck and turned the dials listening. I heard the word “Blue” and then static. The signal was lost in this territory, either from distance or something actively blocking it. I was now in The Hungry Tiger’s territory; I just had to find them.

By night fall I was getting desperate. I knew I was in the right area but streets were blocked off with cars and the truck was not going to fit through any of the narrow passages left. I pulled into a mall’s parking lot and drummed my fingers on the steering wheel. Walking at night in unknown territory, territory owned by the living, did not seem wise. As I contemplated my options a small band of bikers roared into the parking lot and I found the truck surrounded. A man with wild eyes leveled a gun in my direction while a woman beside him on her own bike with hair tossed by the ride and the wind gestured for me to exit. As I climbed out of the cab I kept my hands up in the air. “You’re not our regular driver. Mattyyy knows I don’t like things switching up on us.” I could hear the mistrust, a sign that this man whose gaze bespoke that he might be on the edge of sanity had trust issues.

“I realize, janimaltheanimal, that is the case, but Mattyyy felt that you might be able to help me. He said he doubled the shipment in payment for this unfortunate situation.” I kept my voice steady.

Looks were exchanged and janimaltheanimal gestured for one of his riders to check the truck. I heard the rear doors of the truck roll open and there was a pause before someone let out a whoop of excitement. Broad grins broke out all around and janimaltheanimal lifted his sawed off shotgun to rest it on his shoulder pointing upwards, “well now looks like we gotta guest for the night, Belle. How about you take her back with you?”

The woman on the bike beside him smirked at me and patted the seat behind her on her bike. I took in her biker appearance and her tattoos wondering again if perhaps being on my own tonight would be all that bad. But if there’s one thing worse than accepting a biker clan’s invitation while smiling, it would be refusing without a reasonable explanation. I grabbed my bag out of the cab, shouldered it and came over to climb onto the back of her bike.

The ride back wasn’t just exciting, it was terrifying. I felt myself squeezing a bit tighter than I was comfortable as BikerBelle weaved in and out of the broken cars on the road. It became apparent to me that these cars were not just scattered but arranged in a pattern. The patterns allowed the bikes in and out while keeping larger vehicles out of their territory. It also funneled any zee activity so that large numbers were forced to squeeze in a trickle for easier killing. A smart move if your safe house lacked the numbers of others such as ATCO.

When I saw the safe house itself, I felt shocked at the appearance. Of all the buildings in the area it would have been the last on my list to pick. There were glass windows all about the front proudly displaying the lights shining inside. Inside, colored lights made the bar seem festive and I could see a lit up stage with instruments.  A small barricade was set up in front of the building and behind it a row of bikes.  I could see other people dressed in leathers and sporting tattoos wandering both inside and outside of the building. It was a surreal end of the world version of a biker club in the middle of the ruins of a city. When we pulled in, BikerBelle shouted out some orders sending more men on bikes to head for the parking lot. I climbed off the bike and stood stiffly, uncertain of what I was doing here.

It was Wego who came to my rescue, stepping out of the bar and approaching. “BikerBelle, you arrive and you brought with you another lovely lady. Only one who is not marked up to look like a painted lady from the circus.” His hand extended beyond the white robes I’ve come to know as Algiers Point members and handed me a bandana.

“Wego, one of these days that smart mouth of yours is going to get you punched.” BikerBelle’s threatening tone hid behind a hint of a smile. I could understand why, as one could see in the gentle expression in Wego’s face and his friendly demeanor that it would be difficult to hold a grudge against him.

Wego linked his arm with mine after I took the colorful home-made bandana and started to lead me off, “one of these days yes, but not until you’re all good and drunk and I suspect you’ll all be far too busy unloading that supply of beer from The Colony, won’t you?”

I heard the laugh of Belle as Wego brought me into The Hungry Tiger and towards a table in the back. This was becoming a familiar scene. I enter a new safe house and immediately Algiers Point members seclude me to debrief me on matters. At a small round table at the back I sat across from Wego while he brought out a brush pen and dipped it into black ink. He carefully started to draw characters from kanji, an art of Japanese lettering. “I find this relaxing to do, I hope you don’t mind.”

Smiling faintly I shook my head, “not at all Wego. Is there something about The Hungry Tiger I should know?”

“Yes. First off they are all a little crazy. Not terribly so, but just a little. Some of the members have lost people very close to them in manners that are more personal than others. Tread lightly and watch your speech.” His eyes sharpened as he met mine, “and don’t go drinking with them. Even if you think you can drink, just don’t.”

Before I could respond a gloved hand came down upon my shoulder, “well now, who is this here?” The voice had a slight accent to it that I could place. Glancing up I saw a man dressed not just in leathers but leathers for show.

Wego’s response hinted at his disapproval at being interrupted, “KingKonge, this is Chyram of Terry Fox.”

“Chyram of Terry Fox, what are you doing sitting around with the most boring of men in all of Hungry Tiger? Come along; let’s get you a drink, love.” I saw Wego’s slight head shake warning me, but, irritated at being told I couldn’t handle a few drinks, I stood up nodding in agreement.

At the bar, I was handed a beer. We got to talking until the rest of the truck’s food and booze arrived. Soon everyone was busy storing what was there and I chipped in to help. The dusk turned to night and the night turned to pitch black. I found myself looking more and more at the glass windows in worry. All the lights were on. We were a firefly of activity in the night drawing every zee to us and I did not want to die that night.

Belle noticed my concern and moved to sit on a stool beside me, “there’s not many of them left out there.”

“Many of the zees?”

“Yup, not many. Oh there’s some, and we know it, but now there’s only a few. We have to go to efforts to drag in more. When the outbreak wave hit this city most of us were having an End of the World party right here. Only somewhere along the lines of getting drunk or high janimaltheanimal sort of broke. He freaked out and grabbed a gun. He said that he wasn’t going out like those mother fuckers out there all moaning and drooling on himself. Man has to have pride in his appearance. He went up on the roof and just started shooting. Rest of us followed. When morning came, we were all still here, and anything left out there was dead or moved on. We all just stayed.” I could hear the glow in BikeBelle’s tone. The two of them were close, though how close I couldn’t be certain.

“So what do you guys do here now?”

“We’re a way station with The Colony and we take in stragglers. Sometimes people stay and sometimes they move on. We’re family. We look out for each other. What else would we do in this world?” I thought about her words and then the cult before nodding my head.

“There’s more out there than zees you know, even more than government agents.”

BikerBelle nodded her head slightly, “we’ve heard of your cult but haven’t seen any yet. I figure it takes someone with charisma to come in and sway a safe house to follow them right? Well nobody is going to come in and take us from janimaltheanimal. This is his club, we’re his bikers. The man might be insane, but we’ll all die to defend him.” She gave me a toothy smile that might have been a warning.

“I’m not here to cause problems Belle.”

Her laughter chimed out, “you cause problems? No offense but what exactly could you do?” My teeth grit just a little but I forced a smile. “You know what? I think it’s time we had ourselves a good old fashion roof party.” Belle stood up and called out, “KingKonge, time for you to make some noise, rest of you, we’re heading to the roof!” Shouts of encouragement rang out and I found myself trapped in a crowd that pushed its way up a narrow staircase and onto the roof of the building. Lining the edge was rifles and ammunition. Several men brought boxes of beer up and placed them in the center.

BikerBelle brought up her hands, “Rules, ladies, gents, and janimaltheanimal: You miss a head shot you drink a beer. For janimaltheanimal, he makes a head shot, he drinks a beer.” That brought out a roar of laughter and a group of half drunken people started to load rifles. I grew nervous even as one was thrust into my hands. Below me, to my horror, I heard music. I looked down and through the curved glass I could see KingKonge on the stage starting to play. Some were still on the main floor dancing or cheering him on. The song was good, the beat was great and the words were hard to ignore, but the sound was drawing in more than the joy of the crowd.

From the rim of light, we started to see them. Zees filtering in from the pathways of cars, pressing in near the barricade. janimaltheanimal brought up his rifle and fired off a quick shot. A half rotten zee’s head exploded like an over ripe melon and a cheer went up. A beer was passed to him and he chugged it quickly. More and more zees appeared and we ended up all taking shots. I soon found I was not among the best, and as I drank more, my shooting got worse. At one point, quite drunk, I looked at BikerBelle with a half closed eye and slurred, “You know, you keep handing them out but you’re not drinking. You’re a cheat!” Her eyes narrowed and she punched me in response. I fell back, hit the gravel of the roof and saw the world spin. Then it went black.

I don’t remember much for the next few days other than that they passed. I woke up sick with Wego holding back my hair while I “prayed” to the porcelain gods. I remember being chastised by him and hearing him lecture Belle. Then I remember I drank more but I forget who handed me the drink. There was pain, nothing extreme, but I remember the discomfort on my back, and while I vaguely remember agreeing to it, I certainly wasn’t conscious enough for details. Then I was hung-over, half wishing I was dead, while clinging like a sick monkey to BikerBelle, her bike thundering beneath us both. It was only a week ago that I had lamented the stupidity of being on a bike in a zombie infested world. Here I was not able to keep my balance on a bike driven by a road demoness heading home.

We pulled up to Terry Fox and I was helped off the bike and into the arms of Beebles and Malkoris. They helped me inside and I heard laughter as the bikes rode off. Distinctly I heard Belle’s voice say, “Make sure to tell her I said ‘you’re welcome’.”

“What happened to your back?” Malkoris’ tone was concerned.

“I don’t know, it hurts and it itches.”

“Hold still, let’s get this bandage off,” Beebles carefully peeled back the tape before gasping, “oh! I didn’t know you were into this sort of thing. It’s incredible Chyram!”

My heart thumped in my chest, “into what sort of thing?” Malkoris’ eyes met mine and he went to find a mirror. Standing with my back to the larger mirror I used the smaller one to look back behind me. With a snarl I growled out, “That bitch!” The anger faded to laughter as I stared at it. Alright, it was not something I would have done had I not been totally blind drunk, but if I had to pick a tattoo that embraced who I was becoming, a Kitsune was pretty damn accurate. I felt the grin I was trying to hold back appear on my face.

“Yeah I can tell you’re all broke up about it.” Malkoris rolled his eyes and turned to leave the room. “I’ll go make your bed. You’re still drunk and need to sleep this,” I felt his hand lightly smack the still-sensitive skin of my back, “off.”

The Song Sung by KingKonge:

  • Safe House: The Hungry Tiger
  • CVC Level: 6
  • Current Recorded Members: 28
  • Overall Opinion:When I was a kid I didn’t smoke or really do anything that the “bad kids” did. You always knew who the “bad kids” were because they all hung out at the smoke pit at the far end of the field. And when I was in the eighth grade they were intimidating until one day I got beat up. (Surprised that I was in a fight? Don’t be I was a mouthy little kid who survived by wit not strength.) It was the same “bad kids” that came to help me out. They put word out in the school that if I got touched again, they would come and deal with my attacker. Shocked the heck out of me to tell you the truth, I didn’t know I had left a good impression. The Hungry Tiger reminds me of those kids. In the forums and in Global Chat they have rough edges. They are quick to use sexual innuendo in Global Chat to the point that originally I wanted to write them up as a brothel to start. They are fierce to protect one another, especially the vocal members, and follow all the trademarks of online social behavior I expect from those who have companions that know each other in the real world outside of online activities. (Which some do.) When they think they are being wronged they don’t just respond, but they repeatedly attack until they get satisfaction, emotionally or in compensation. This is the sort of tight knit community needed to sustain a smaller safe house. While their numbers are small compared to other houses, The Hungry Tiger leaves a big impression on the community. Few would not know their name. More over having been welcome in their PAL room I know that they are inviting of people, both guests and members. I can’t get a good feel for the rating of the chat in their safe house but I would not recommend them to a younger than sixteen year old age group. However for the young adults who want to have fun, or anyone interested in bikes or tattooing I would recommend these people. If I get beat up in PSC (assuming it’s not my sometimes questionable wit that causes THT to do the beating) they would be on the list of people I would appeal to for help.
  • Communication: Palringo Room (Contact within CVC or Forums for exact locations), Safe House Chat, CVC Global Chat for Safe House invites (1/2 fees when invited), Please Stay Calm Forums

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