Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Space Between

Another short update, since I have time. We are experiencing a forced break in the hostilities, because a huge swarm of zombies came at the looters over the hill, from the direction of the national guard armory. We took the extra minute that we had before the zombies came for us to pick off a few looters while they were distracted.

It has worked out well enough for us that now I wish I had gone out and brought some of them myself. I guess this group was attracted to all the gunfire, maybe stuck behind a fence, and beat it down when the smell of all the people gathered hit them. However it happened, we are lucky.

We have had casualties, sadly. So far four women that came to us from the hotel have been killed, two of the friends that Elizabeth brought, and David's stepmother has fallen as well. She was bringing food down from mom's, so that none of us had to stop to make anything. She was a good woman, a brave woman, as all of them were, and they will all be remembered with pride.

I am amazed that it took so long for any of us to die. I have to assume that the looters are trying to do minimal damage to the compound, so they can take it over should they manage to kill enough of us to make that possible. But our preparations and traps, along with the wall-o-cars, is slowing them down so much that cutting them to pieces is pretty easy. They seem to want to fight, like this is some schoolyard tussle. We only aim to kill, as quickly and efficiently as possible, to save our skins.

Such has always been the difference between conquerors and those they wish to conquer.

The zombies are starting to thin out. It won't be long before they start back on us, though now, at least, it seems their numbers are starting to get a little closer to ours. At a guess, I would say we've killed fifty of them. Too many dying for no reason, in this world where every chromosome counts.

Still no news on the girls. Courtney, Elizabeth, and Darlene have been gone for a long time. I hope they are alright.

It's looking like it will be a busy afternoon, and a long night to follow. Again, wish us luck.

Under Siege

There are a lot of them. They keep on coming, one after another, never seeming to stop.

If not for the fact that we are the ones who have the defensive position, I think all of us would have been killed by now. As it is, almost all of us have taken injuries to one degree or another. Bullet grazes are a minor number, knife wounds and the bruises and broken bones that come with hand to hand fighting the vast majority. Most of the intense combat is taking place at the base of the compound, which is actually a blessing. There, the wall of cars slows down and breaks up their advancement, making it easier for us to take out the looters one by one as they get in between the houses. I am staying here, in the heaviest action, while Pat, David, and a few others are driving around looking for other places they might have tried to come through.

Word so far is encouraging. Not too many of them have attempted it, and all of the ones who have entered through the other parts of the compound have ceased to be threats.

There is a lull in the assault at present, one we desperately need. I don't know how many they are, but we have seen no sign that their numbers are lessening. I was hoping that one of us could sneak out and try our zombie luring tactic, but we had to disregard that idea, as the looters are too mobile to be done much damage by a large herd. It might give us a break as they would have to hop into vehicles to stay safe, but it would force us to retreat to fortified shelters, and that would be disastrous.

Mom just called me on the walkie, she says that Elizabeth, Darlene, and Courtney are gone. She has no idea where they were heading off to, only that the three of them left a note saying they had an idea, and would be back soon. They left running east through the rich subdivision just on the other side of us. I hope the looters aren't staging over there, and if they are, I pray that they can't see very well this early in the day.

I hope they succeed, because my arms are getting tired of the constant recoil from my pistol, the shock of my knife hitting flesh and bone, and the weight of my Iaito across my waist. Yeah, I know, why the hell am I carrying around a sword. Call it preparedness. I don't have infinite bullets, and my knife is a weapon made for very close fighting. I need something with me that is familiar and easy for me to use, should the need arise.

The sky is being swept with actual rays of light now, not just the gray fog of pre-dawn. As I type this I keep glancing up and out the window, watching for more looters to come at us.

A warning is coming in over the radios, attack heavily concentrated at the closed off second entrance to the compound, two hundred feet down the way. No guns, they attempted to sneak in and kill the sentries at a time they thought we would be at our least observant, but I guess they timed it wrong, and underestimated our people. Women who have suffered what the captives we rescued have suffered tend to be a forward lot with weapons, and stay on their toes. I am so proud of them.

I wish I could run down there, but a few of us have to remain where we are, at this entrance, just in case they attack here too. I need to go, they could be here any second, and I need to keep ready.

Wish us luck.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bleeding but alive

We're still here. The attack hit us from the base of the neighborhood, from the road in front of the compound itself. We have no dead as of yet, but many wounded. I worry that the north side was all they hit, it feels to me like they are testing our defenses. They are still out there...I know it. I can see glints of reflected light now and then when I glance up at the hill.

We are still taking random fire. Once every few minutes, just as we are starting to let our guard down, a rifle shot will pop off and make us all duck. I guess they are either trying some small psychological warfare, or are trying to keep our attention here. Or both. We are patrolling, though, and we are all pretty tough, so I have good hopes.

More tomorrow, just wanted to let you all know we are still alive.


It was a small group, only about a dozen. Jess is a good enough shot with a rifle that I feel pretty safe out there in the crowd, swinging something that doesn't need reloading. Part of the reason I took up Aikido in the first place was so I could learn to use a katana effectively. I'm a nerd like that.

Don't let me give you the wrong idea about the wife. She is a very good shot, but she's not a sniper or anything. She takes a few seconds to aim and fire, and she's pretty good at hitting the heads of zombies without very many misses. I tell you this because in the process of condensing a day's events into the bite-sized chunks I put out to read, I realize that sometimes I don't convey the real details to all of you. Jess is a good shot, but deals with nerves and imperfections like all of us. I am no Musashi with a blade, but where other folks find them too heavy or awkward, I am comfortable. Practice makes passable, I guess.

There is no news on the looters, and that concerns all of us. That we haven't found any more of them means that either A) they are getting clever enough to avoid the crazy security measures we have taken or B) they no longer feel that they need to spy on us, because they have all the information they need, which scares the hell out of me. We have raided every store we can for walkie-talkies, and are trying to keep each other updated as often as possible.

Mine is squawking at me right now, Pat calling in to let us know all's clear where he is.

It's a bit of a job to keep people on their toes, due to the strikingly powerful need for the human mind to relax and blow off the tension in times of stress. When your life is nothing but stress, your brain tries to shut off any time you feel even remotely safe. It also does something to the libido. I can verify this personally, and corroborate through observation, since it seems like almost everyone here pairs off when not on guard duty and vanishes into bedrooms for long periods of time. Elizabeth is an exception to that, but she keeps eying me. Maybe it's because she isn't comfortable meeting new people, and she sees me as safe. Jess is the same way. I guess you could call them my type.

I am doing what I can to keep everyone sharp, but it can be hard. Between guard duty, all the daily chores that are much harder without much of the technology we were so used to, attempting some basic training in various things, and sorting all the stuff we got from the hotel, I have virtually no time. Makes it pretty hard to stay sharp myself, to be honest.

Jess is making it a pet project to find as many books on as many subjects as possible. She got a bunch of military field manuals from the flea market, and a huge load from the library, bookstores, and abandoned houses. She is obsessed with it, which sort of makes sense. The whole time we've been together, she has taken to gathering a huge variety of skills and the knowledge associated with them. She is an herbalist, she can make leather from scratch, a ton of stuff. But the most useful to us, in the long run, is probably that she can make chain mail. With enough people learning, and helping her make and set up rings, we will be able to make biteproof coverings for everyone. It will take a long time, but well worth the huge pain in the ass it was to find all that different wire. Especially the aluminum.

Crap. Walkie-talkie is spitting beeps and static at me.

No. No, no, no...It's an attack. The front of the compound is being attacked.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Consequences and Repercussions

We've found five looters in the compound since yesterday, with signs that we have missed many more. I don't know how many of them are out there, but we've had to put sentries out all over the place.

Jess and I are keeping tabs on the area around our house, since it is the most obvious target. We have folks posted in houses all around, trying to keep track of them, and stop them if we can. Apparently the rest of them have gotten desperate now that we have taken such drastic actions against them. So far it looks like they are trying to gauge our strength, map out our locations, basically gather data on us. We're doing all we can to obscure the facts, but it's draining.

It's good that we rescued the folks from the hotel, and not just because of the deed itself, but because many of them have been able get in touch with friends and family. We have more folks coming, and while we are eager to bolster our numbers, I do have my doubts about allowing many more people here that I don't know. So far all the folks we have brought in have shown us nothing but good intentions, but I just don't know how many we can take in before we get bad seeds.

Having to kill an intruder bent on rape and murder is something that almost everyone can agree with doing, even though they don't like it. But having to kill a person who has worked beside you, defended your land and family, because circumstances hadn't yet allowed their flaws to come to the fore is another matter entirely. You never know if a person will snap until the moment comes. It worries me.

But there is a silver lining. A small one, but something that makes me smile nonetheless.

While we were freeing the captives, Patrick let one woman out, and had to kill one of the few looters left in the hotel, to protect her. She has taken to following him around, spending all the time with him she can manage. He's a little dense when it comes to knowing that women fancy him, so it's adorable to watch. She's with him now, keeping watch.

After his divorce last year, and all that has happened to the world in the last month, he needs some sunshine. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to know that someone else outside of our group of friends can see what a great guy he is.

Jess is yelling for me. Zombies coming in from the south, through the woods. I hate having to navigate through trees while fighting. It takes too much effort to stay safe and not bash my face on tree branches.

Off to it, the wife is getting anxious.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Well, I might have lied a little bit.

I thought maybe that somebody was passing information from this blog to the looters, and I was right. They expected us to do something last night, using the cover of darkness to make up for lack of numbers. What I was hoping for was far more simple: outnumber them.

I just had to go find the numbers.

It took a while to gear everyone up. Jess, Pat and I were the only ones who had ever worn a Gi before, and it took a while to get them fitted onto all of us securely enough that we could be sure zombies wouldn't be able to pull them off. All of us were covered, head to toe. We needed to be, when we made our way to all of the penned off areas we could reach.

We were already gone when my post hit the internet, cutting fence and leading the zombies where we wanted them. Our observations gave us a good idea of where they went, what routes they took...which told us exactly which routes to lead the zombies toward them. From half a dozen locations, we teased them on. By the time we had them within sight of the hotel, the zombies were moving of their own accord, already seeing the mass of people around it.

In the big groups we were pretty much invisible to the looters. We all peeled off from our herds of zombies, killing the few that followed us with hammers, axes, and the like. You know, silent weapons.

The idea wasn't to kill them all, because it had become clear to us that they were keeping captives. We wanted them outside and fighting, distracted, while we made our way into the hotel. If they did die--fine. But our goal was to help those that they kept inside.

I can't believe it worked. We figured the reason they kept the area by the highway fenced off was to escape town quickly if they needed to, as they parked all of their vehicles pointed that way, and it turns out we bet the right way. When they fled, that's the way they went.

Right into about a thousand zombies. Mom and the second group had timed it just right. Only a few looters were left at the hotel, and they were no problem to take care of. More than fifty men, murderers and rapists for the most part, and no great loss to the human race. Even those that weren't either of those were at least complicit in the acts, so I have no mercy for them. Any shred of guilt I might have felt vanished when we found the captives.

All told, we now have an additional twenty women living in the compound. Five men were also found, fellows who had joined up for survival initially, but had refused to commit some of the less tasteful acts that so appealed to the others. Barely alive, but happy to join us right along with the womenfolk.

The bonus for us was that watching them bring in truckload after truckload to the hotel gave us the right idea: the place was stocked to the gills with everything you can imagine. Weapons, of course, but it looks like they hit big places, places we had planned to go, like the police stations and the national guard armory. Not to mention the out of town targets, lumberyards and masonry supply outlets, every sort of thing you could imagine. There are ten of us still working just to catalog all of it. We expect it to take several days.

This isn't the only group of them out there, but we are fairly sure this was the main camp, and the biggest one. As soon as we can, we'll move all of the stuff we want to keep to the compound, and stay there for the most part. We still plan on grabbing equipment when we need it, but Pat and I cleaned out the large equipment rental place down the road, so most of what we need, we have.

This place will truly be a compound before too long. My block is getting a makeover, all of the backyards on it combined into one, mostly for farming, though we will have a practice area for firearms, and one for martial arts and hand held weapons, a play area for any kids we can bring in. All of it will be surrounded by a wall eventually, sort of a central keep within the larger compound. Every fantasy geek's dream, if only realized in world fallen to someone's vision of hell. The houses on the block stay, but all will be connected, a great circle defined by the wall, or so we plan.

I want to feel bad for driving those men to their deaths, of for no other reason than the loss of genetic material in what is a pretty small pool of DNA hereabouts. But after watching them, and hearing the tales of the rescued prisoners, none of us, not even my gentle and nonviolent mother, have any guilt at all. None of those filthy excuses for men should have fathered children, and in the world we live in now, such people deserve no mercy whatsoever.

If what you are is what you do when crisis comes, then they were monsters, worse than the shambling dead that surround us at all times. And monsters deserve no hesitation.

We are here, and we are stronger every day. With the food we have already hauled in from the hotel, we can feed double our current number for at least six months. More is being found in every room. So anyone out there that feels as we do, come and join us if you can. Our doors are open.

If you have ill intentions, then go in any direction but this one. Men and women who would do the things these looters do will only find disaster here.

Fair warning.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


There is a place just off the interstate toward Louisville that used to run a huge flea market every weekend. Mostly family run things, but with the occasional wholesaler running a local shop out of there on the cheap.

It was untouched. The whole damn thing. 

You could probably have guessed that here in Kentucky, places like it are full of vendors that sell everything from hunting knives to police batons, furniture to building supplies. We were interested in all of it, but the immediate need for us was a specific vendor that I had hoped hadn't been able to pull out in time. He found out a long time ago that there is a serious martial arts presence here, and he capitalized on it. 

Clearly, he wasn't able to make it. We found everything we need. Single and double knit Judo gi, tons of belts (handy for a lot of reasons), several dozen sharpened Iaito of decent quality, five high quality Iaito, a huge number and variety of other weapons, and best of all....Kendo armor. Full chest armor, face baskets, and arm protectors. I grabbed a bunch of hakama as well, for the extra layer of protection over the pants. 

We're hoping to find somewhere that has some real armor, riot gear, kevlar vests, and if we can hit the national guard depot, maybe some flak jackets. But that's in the future. Right now it's vital to our plans that we all be biteproof above any other consideration. 

Elizabeth and I watched them for a long time, and we are almost certain that we know their routine. A few of you have expressed your concern that I am sharing too much of our activity, enough to give us away should one of the looters check out this blog. I'm not worried. None of the ones we've seen even have cell phones, and the hotel doesn't have any power. But even if they do...I don't think that any of them will be able to see where we're watching them from, because we do move around.

But to be safe, I won't be telling you what our plans are, or when we're going to enact them. I am pretty sure that the looters outnumber us by a large we're going to be doing something unexpected. 

Everything else going on in the compound has taken a break. Yep, that's the name we decided on. We all talked about it, and it fits. Our neighborhood is getting to be a compound now, it's so closed off and fortified. All we need is people to fill it out. 

Our group is still just called the group, I guess. It would be cool to call ourselves something like "the wolverines" from Red Dawn, but that might be taking it a little too far. 

Elizabeth has moved in our house, as Little David has moved out into a place on the other side of the block with Darlene. I saw that coming a mile away. 

We're tense, and excited. Tonight is going to be a game-changer, any way it goes. Wish us luck.

We will take all we can get. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Waiting Game

They are in a hotel across from us, about a quarter mile away. Elizabeth and I are hunkered down inside a restaurant with tinted windows. Damn place was full of zombies when we got here, and we had to kill them without bullets. Elizabeth sort of freaked out at first, but she calmed down and joined in the fun when she realized I wasn't going to run and leave her, or get myself killed.

This is being sent out from my phone, so I will have to keep it short.

The hotel is being used both as a depot and a base. It's a big place, and these bastards are doing all sorts horrible things. We've seen a few women dragged in, and mountains of supplies. They have to be travelling pretty far out of town to get some of this swag.

Tomorrow, I am going to make a run for some more specialized stuff myself. I almost got bitten, and while we were waiting here, watching for the looters to come outside, Elizabeth and I came up with a good idea for some bite-resistant clothing, and some armor. And we're planning on some basic swordplay classes, so I need to get some good blades for cutting. Katanas (decent ones, anyway, not crappy knock-offs) are perfect for efficiently taking out zombies.

Until tomorrow.

Points on a Map

I was to have spent last night on watch, according to our schedule, but two factors changed things a little. One is that my mom and Gabby have decided that my shoulder is healed just enough for me to use my left arm for more than typing. Not that you should take that as a statement meaning that I am hale and hearty, only that it's unlikely I will hurt myself further at this point.

The other factor is some information Little David shared while our newest arrivals slept. We were worried that there might be other looters out there, and apparently we were right. The reason that Darlene and her siblings were always hiding or on the run, and especially why they were always ready to shoot, is because there are a lot more looters out there than we had imagined possible.

That more of them haven't come here isn't luck. While he was being held captive, he learned a lot. They came and took him because they had heard about us while a couple of looters chatted just outside their hiding spot. They have a healthy respect for us, fueled by a lot of fear after we burned a bunch of their friends to cinders.

That's what rapists and murderers get.

So after hearing this intel from Little David, the entire group held a sort of council. All of us, newcomers included, talked about it, discussed plans, and tried to work out some scenarios. The new four had a lot to add, and were able to give us some valuable information about locations where the looters might be staying, places they frequently visit, and the like.

What it came down to was a decision that since we know they go inside and sleep at night, with little or no lookouts, that nighttime would be the best time to spy on them. Most folks wanted to draw straws, but what it came to was Patrick and I making the point that many of them had never had to fire a gun, much less do some of the more disturbing things we had been through to survive.

Pat and I have a few years of martial arts under our belts. We have experience with weapons of all sorts, from swords to guns. We know how to be cautious outdoors, and how to avoid being seen. We have between us a surprising variety of skills and talents, not the least of which is our recently discovered will to brutally act in our own best interests.

So last night we roved around. We decided to take a car, though no headlights. The noise it made was a necessary trade off for the speed it would give us if we had to run. Though there was no need for that this trip. None of the places we checked out (and yes, we left the car a hundred yards away and hoofed it up close to our targets) had any obvious signs of habitation, but that doesn't really mean anything. Tonight was about mapping out the areas, making sure there are ways in and out, as well as taking a measure of the zombie situation in those areas. We accomplished a lot, I think. We certainly have a better grasp of what potential threats are out there.

And of course, there are the zombies.

We always see some, but this trip was informative for many reasons. There is a buildup going on. I think the looters must have tried to pen off areas, but in doing so have created pockets where huge herds are gathering.

Just south of the US 127-Interstate 64 junction, there is a horde of them that has to be in the hundreds at a minimum. They are only about a mile away from what we think is a major hideout for the looters, possibly a sort of depot for all the supplies they stockpile.

I am planning on taking a nap, and being sneaky as I make my way to a location close to that depot, to watch them all today. I am taking Elizabeth with me, as she has expressed a desire to learn some survival skills, and how to be a sneaky bastard in general. She's also the backup, to get back home to let the group know what we have seen, in case something happens to me. I haven't forgotten her and Jessica's idea, but right now, it is the last thing I worry about.

I don't know if I can keep calling us "the group" and our home "the neighborhood". The me that always wanted to be a writer feels a strong urge to rename these things, to make them unique...maybe by the morning I will have though of something with a bit more panache.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Context of Fear

I was expecting something a little more complicated, but I will certainly take an easy win if it's handed to me.

The meeting was something else. While I generally disapprove of kidnapping as a means of information gathering, I can't fault the reasoning of David's kidnappers. It's not like we're on Google or anything.

As it turns out, the arrow stuck in that zombie's head was a good clue. I suspected we were about to run into the folks that shot me, and I was right. David is fine. They caught him because they wanted to know about us, see if we were safe. They seemed mighty impressed with the fact that they weren't shot down after the girl fired her bow at me.

So now we have four more.

They are actually all siblings, two brothers and two sisters, who were in a pretty tight spot. Every place they tried to stay ended up being attacked by either looters or zombies, and they were desperate for a spot to sleep that was safe. Jack, Edward, Ellen and Darlene are sleeping now, after their first solid meal in four days. Darlene, for the record, is the one that got me.

David only suffered a bloody nose and some bruised pride. It was one of the girls that took him down. I'm betting Darlene, by the way they try not to let anyone see how they look at each other.

It might seem like sex is an issue the last day or so, and I guess that's because it is. You out there probably understand. Used to be the stress we all lived under was consistent and of the low, background noise variety. But now, our blood gets pumping to dangerous levels a few times a day. It is in our nature as people to use sex as a release valve for it all...but that is so much harder for many people now. I can't fault anyone for finding some happiness where they may. David vanishing proved that point; it's not just zombies and looters that conspire against us.

The challenges we face are greater than most of us could ever have imagined, and yet, life is simpler now. But fate, or kismet, or god, or the random roll of dice (however you may see it) is blind to how the rhythms of daily life have altered. Our group looks at each other, every day, cherishing the moments we are together in ways impossible before, because the stark truth has taught us to know, deep within where only the hardest facts can live, that we are all at risk.

Any moment, any time, one of us could die.

My friends, my mother, my wife, my old flame...even my pets, whose affection has been one of the few carryovers from what used to be my life, keep me grounded. These are the things I value, and love, and shed tears for in the blackest parts of night, in anguish that they might suddenly be gone.

I may go find Jess. I think it's time to stop all this maudlin talk and have ourselves a little reaffirmation of life.

Be safe, all, and watch each other's backs. Never go out alone, and never leave each other in anger.

Always say I love you.

Social Evolution

Not to be too dramatic, but we got something like a ransom note. It was left taped to a car left in the middle of the road at the only remaining entrance to the neighborhood. Several zombies lay around the car, and one of them had the broken shaft of an arrow sticking out of its head. The contents of the note were simple--only telling us that David was captive, and if we wanted him back, we had to meet them at a certain hour, in a certain place. 

So, this afternoon we will be meeting some folks in the same store I got shot in. I'm hoping for good results. 

It's odd how the most extreme circumstances don't really faze any of us now. David being kidnapped is awful, but compared to how I would have viewed the news a little over a month ago, it doesn't seem at all outlandish. Other things are happening too, other discussions coming out that make me wonder just how different the world will have to be when it starts being rebuilt. 

For example...

Jess and I have been married for almost a year, and have not take precautions to prevent pregnancy. As she is iffy about kids, the fact that she hasn't conceived yet hasn't been a problem. But now, she is starting to realize the true necessity of having children, propagating the species for not only its continued survival, but our own. Because, of course, we will get old eventually (hopefully...), and will need the security of a younger generation to stay alive.

To that end, my darling wife, never one to be jealous or to really even understand the concept, wants me to have sex with Elizabeth. To impregnate her, specifically, but she made sure to emphasize that it's ok for me to enjoy it. Apparently she and Elizabeth have been talking about this as they work together. Like I'm just some piece of meat to be haggled about. I realize that most guys would really be enjoying this, but the reality is disconcerting. I haven't given a response, mainly because there are more men than women around here, and as a married guy, I haven't missed out on any, uh...private time. 

I have talked to Pat about it, and he doesn't think anyone will have a problem, and made the point that if we were discreet, no one would have to find out. But I still feel strange about it. I mean, I am truly in love with my wife, and while I don't have most of the idiotic social constraints about sex that most folks in our society once suffered from, I do feel strange about being farmed out to make kids. 

Jeez, I am so done talking about this for now. Somehow, I find the possibility of a life and death struggle for the survival of one of my best friends preferable to this mess. 

More to come later today. I hope. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

...But Not Forgotten

Little David is missing, and we are all getting really worried. We thought he was just out scouting the neighborhood, but he has not come back. We found the bicycle he was using to get around the area, left in the middle of the road. Pat found a little bit of blood spatter, which is good news, believe it or not.

Zombies never leave a little bit of blood behind.

So we have to assume that he has been taken by survivors, and probably alive. My fear is that the group of looters we killed may have only been part of a larger cell, and that they took David to get information on us. I sincerely hope I am wrong, but even if I am, it doesn't change the fact that one of my best friends is lost to us, and probably hurt.

What can we do? I doubt that whoever took him will make it easy for us to find him. We don't have the resources or time to do a house-to-house search, and even if we did, whoever has him will have seen us coming long before we could reach them.

Having Elizabeth, Al, and their friends (actually, Al brought her roommate and her boyfriend, Elizabeth brought three friends) around is speeding up our work tremendously, and given how much effort David was putting into making this place more of a compound than a subdivision, I can't feel bad for us keeping at the work. Mom is letting me do some light duty with my good arm...And I am spending a lot of time with David's dad, hoping to have a chance to console him, tell him how sorry I am.

Of course, my one attempt to do so didn't quite turn out how I expected it.

He told me that he could only worry for his son, but couldn't imagine that David was dead or even seriously injured, because of his incredible toughness. David has been my friend for several years, but I learned from his father what sort of character lay beneath the snarky, video game obsessed, generally cynical, and always joking exterior.

I can't (or won't) relay all of it here, but the important bits really stuck out to me. David has a son, only a few years old, who he never gets (, anyway. No word on that...) to see. The child's mother took him, moved far away. He never complained about it, never spoke ill of her, but spent his vacation time going to visit. He once took a beating from three boys in high school so bad that he had to be admitted to the hospital, and he never cried a tear. When he got back to school, he walked calmly to the boys in question (against whom he had declined to press charges) and spit in their faces.

Tough son of a bitch.

So while a part of me misses my friend, worries for him, and wishes for his safe return, another part feels a certain sort of pity for the people that have him. Because while he might appear docile, I think that any chance he has, the slightest sign of their guard being dropped, he will do what he has to do. Decisively, without pity, and with extreme prejudice.

One can hope, anyway.

Back to the salt mines. Elizabeth just walked in from outside, looking like she wants to talk. Jess is smiling at me like a cheshire cat. She's really enjoying how much this situation makes me uncomfortable. Last night, she says to me, after meeting Elizabeth, "Now I can see why you lost your virginity to her." In a totally deadpan voice. She's not jealous a bit, but she really does love messing with me.

God I love her.

Jess, I mean, not Elizabeth. Though seeing her does bring back some memories...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It Adds Up

A quick update--we are all ok, I think. Little David is still AWOL, but we think he is checking the streets to make sure we got them all. Nobody is dead, but we have a HUGE pile of zombies to burn. About forty of them. 

Jess started picking them off as soon as she saw the rest of us come outside. It wasn't especially difficult since most of us have rifles (not that I can use one at the moment), so we mowed a lot of them down from a distance. The last ten or so we had to get at close range, but between all of us, it was fairly easy. 

Now we're just waiting to see if the gunshots will bring more of them. Hated to risk it, but this herd pushed their way through a few cars to get to us. Not a quick group, but a damned determined one. They piled up into a space between two cars and just kept on pushing. One zombie, then two. Two became four, and so on. Once Little David gets back, we will form a group to go fix those cars. Maybe some chain to keep them still....

Elizabeth called. ETA Five or so this afternoon. 

Let the awkward looks commence. 

Pizza, My Brother, and Zombies.

I miss chinese buffets. I miss ordering pizza. I miss sub sandwiches, pricey Italian food, and fifteen dollar steaks. God I miss dollar menus.

I sit here with my stitches pulling as I write, eating my billionth meal of rice, canned pasta, and canned fruit. I want to be outside working, my mind able to shut out through sheer exhaustion the total lack of small comforts. I mean, I knew what was going to happen, but to suddenly be struck by an overpowering urge for any convenient food was a bit much for me. The knowledge that I will only have a real, brick-oven style deep dish if I build it myself.

That's a thought...

In other news:

Al and Elizabeth are getting pretty close now. They encountered a lot less trouble than they expected. They think that they will be here this afternoon, while I am sleeping. Since I am kind of worthless for hard work at the moment, I am trying to make up for it by doing night shifts on the watch. I have actually been able to do some cleaning, since we still have an empty house to one side of us. Gabby and her family took the other one...Hopefully Elizabeth and the rest will be happy with what we have done. It's reasonably secure at this point.

Pat, Jess, and Little David haven't seen the group of four we ran into yesterday, the ones that shot me. Our (their) trips out into town are becoming more frequent, as we think of new things we want or need to build. Pat is working on getting a backhoe here, so we can dig a cellar to store some of our food in.

My brother Dave is thinking about coming here as well. He lives out in the boonies, and had enough time after everything started to fall apart to make his property safe. But looters in the surrounding towns have burned out a lot of the houses near him, and while he feels safe from zombies, he has no group there to help him defend against the terrible reality of what humans will do when there is no law or society to bind them.

I am trying to convince him, as is my mother. We worry about him and his wife, their kids. I think he will come around and move camp to our subdivision. I only hope that it doesn't take something tragic to make him.

Jess is beating on the roof. It isn't the steady beat of incoming friends, it's the frantic staccato that means "There are enough zombies coming that I don't have enough bullets to kill them all". She won't fire a shot, as that would draw them toward  us very quickly. I am calling my mom as I write this, letting them know what is coming. Maybe there was a gap in the wall somewhere...I guess it's time to grab a weapon and hope I don't hurt myself too much.

Strange how normal this is starting to feel.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A tough break (and a development)

Well, a lot can happen in a few hours.

I'm going to be out of commission for a few days. I am still able to type, but no heavy lifting for a while. While Pat, Jess and I were out on a supply run, we ran into another group of folks scavenging in the same area. There wasn't any time to talk, I think we scared the hell out of them. There were two women and two men, looking pretty scrawny and beat up. They were so high-strung that one of them put an arrow in my left shoulder before we could do anything but widen our eyes.

We tried to get them to come back as they ran away, but they started running before the arrow even hit my skin. That they didn't stay and try to kill us gives me small hope, but for now I guess we'll have to wait and see. Maybe we'll run into them in the future, in better circumstances.

Mom and Gabby say that the wound isn't too bad. The girl that shot me was using a target point, So no barbs or blades to worry about. We use them as well, for the most part, because of the lower risk of arrow damage when we put one through the skull of a zombie. The bullet shape of the arrow head is great for piercing the brain, all of the force concentrated on a small point.

They aren't too damaging against a person's limbs, by comparison to other arrowheads. This leads me to think that this group of folks might not be in the business of thinking how to kill living people, just zombies. Or, they could have limited access to weapons and ammo, and bad aim. The difference could be fatal, so caution will have to be the word.

The extra run into town was to look for some sleeping bags, maybe some mattresses. Word came in right after my last post that a van full of survivors from northern Kentucky is heading this way. Seven of them, and their best guess is two days to get here, since so much of that area is destroyed. They will be clearing cars off the road and all the junk that comes with it, not to mention avoiding looters and hiding from large herds of zombies.

I only know two of the people coming. One of them is my friend Al, and the other is the girl i lost my virginity to. Her name is Elizabeth, and I am sort of nervous about this. Jessica is not a jealous person at all, but any man would feel weird about an old flame coming to live next door to he and his wife. And in the circumstances we are in, it may get really, really strange.

So without me, the work goes a little slower. I can still do some things, but my nurses are rather strongly suggesting that to avoid risking making the wound worse, I should take some days off...

I admit to some concern over the five people coming that I don't know at all, but I have known Elizabeth and Al since middle school, and I trust their judgement of people enough to take the chance.

Not that I won't be keeping my eyes open for anything and everything until I trust them myself.


Patrick, Jess and I have been out and about since my last post, checking out some areas that we've missed for supplies. You might think that we are overstocked at this point, and you would be right. We're trying to amass as much food and fresh water as possible, and storing a lot of the extra in neighboring houses, but a lot of our searches are for other things than vittles. 

Construction materials are key. With all of the new folks around here the last week, we are working like mad to get suitable living spaces ready. While there are tons of empty houses around, none of them are very secure. So we work to make them like our home. We started with the houses on either side of ours, after we tore down the fences in between. I am trying to design a roof-to-roof catwalk between them, so keeping a guard on all of them will be easier. 

We are still trying to get in touch with anyone and everyone we know, because we still want to turn this neighborhood into a safe haven. The looters taught us the value of preparedness, so the massive amount of work ahead of us will continue, regardless of whether or not we get new bodies to help us do it. 

The pressure is getting pretty intense. When we are out in town, we see evidence that the group of looters we killed aren't the only ones around. Buildings that were untouched when we burned them out are suddenly tossed and stripped of goods. Other things, many things, and all of them worrying. 

But conflict teaches, and we are all determined students. We might weep and wail after the fact, but at this point I don't think there is much that we won't do to stay alive. 

Of course, the massive effort isn't just aimed at barely-seen survivors. I might not mention them in quite the tones of fear that I once did, but please remember that there are always zombies around. They have a hard time getting into our subdivision in small groups, but we still get herds of them fairly often. We're hoping that covering the front in cars will slow them down, but it remains to be tested. 

So much of our time is spent outside that it's pretty much necessary to keep one person free to watch out for the rest of us who are working, because they do make it up to us in ones and twos fairly often. 

Not a lot of news to speak of. The job of turning my entire block into one huge community continues. Jess tells me that her planting is going well, and that some of the tomatoes she planted have tiny sprouts showing. Pat mentions that our water capture and retention system is working very well, and that we have about a thousand gallons saved up. We're trying to find ways to retain as much as possible. Kentucky has little rain in the summer. 

I think that the hours of backbreaking labor, having to constantly be on guard while out in town among the swarms of zombies, and being forced to think in new and creative ways to safeguard our lives have been pretty key in keeping us from going crazy over killing all those looters. I can't seem to get it out of my head, but at least all of it keeps me from dwelling on it too deeply. 

If only they had been decent people, they might have been a great help here. 

I wonder how many more like them there are? Men and women who, when the thin veneer of civilization i burned away, become monsters by choice and lack of reprisal. We can't be the only decent folk around. 

But it feels like it, if you can call us decent. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Building Blocks

You may be wondering why there was no update yesterday. I apologize to those of you out there who have told me that you take some solace in this blog, as a reminder that others are out there. But Saturday was a necessary exception to my "at least" daily update rule.

The reality is that once in a while, situations come up where there is simply too much to do, little warning that we have to do it, and no time to set up a back up plan...So, I missed.

Yesterday morning, before dawn, two of my best friends finally managed to get in touch with me. They live in southern Illinois, and basically, we HAD to get there to pick them up. That area of the country has been hit harder than most; I chalk it up to the incredible flatness of the landscape making it very easy for the zombies to travel.

Courtney and Steve were holed up in their house, in a bad situation: out of food, entrances weakened from constant attack, and unable to find any other survivors at all. I know a lot of people in that area, and from what I have been able to glean, many of my other friends fled.

I would have asked Pat or Little David to post something for me, but everyone was so busy trying to make this neighborhood more secure that my blog was the last thing on anyone's mind. So while the rest of the group was going into town to scavenge gas and ferry cars and supplies in, Jess and I took a long, long road trip.

There was no great drama to it. The drive used to take about five hours, and surprisingly, this time it only took about an extra hour and a half. Once we got out of Louisville, the interstate was fairly clear. We passed one other car in Indiana, but they were as wary of us as we of them. Courtney and Steve were fully capable of getting to us if they had thought it possible, but after seeing the desolation around them, I'm not surprised that they believed the trip to our little safe haven would take them days, if not weeks. And they had no supplies for that, because every store was burned down, almost every home looted, and enormous droves of zombies milled about nearly everywhere.

So we got them. More than thirteen hours of driving, skirting dangerous wrecks and having to mow down the undead half a dozen times, and they are safe at our home.

While we were gone, everyone else was busy. It's clear that the wake-up call from the looters around here has been received by my mom, David and his family, and Pat...if only Tate and the others had made it. We have to assume they never will.

Our subdivision is walled in by cars. Huge lines of them, bumper to bumper. Pat and the others packed them into every little space available, to make it that much harder for the zombies to get through. My front yard is surrounded by them, and we plan on using them as a base to make a wall. They must have worked the entire time we were gone to have done so much. I saw miles of fishing line strung between spaces, cans hidden in corners. Early warning systems, if only basic ones. Effective against all forms of threat, undead or otherwise.

Lots of work to do, but two more people to help us do it. And two of my favorite ones, at that.

I will keep them safe.

Alive, at least.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Machinery of night

The title of this post means nothing.

It is simply part of a line of Ginsberg poetry, a line I have always found particularly beautiful. I feel the need for beautiful things at present.

 As I sit here and think about it, though, perhaps it does have something to do with what I have to tell you after all. Because as I sit here reading it over and over again, I do not see the letters and words for the wonder they were meant to portray at the vast cosmos around us, but rather a more sinister label for the mechanics of darkness as it spreads across the human soul.

If I sound morose, or bitter, don't fret. It's only that I am.

I don't want to scare off any genuine survivors who wish to join us, but I would be doing you all a huge disservice to lie to you and say that we all talked it out, and everything is fine. The truth, as it often ends up being, is harsh, and painful, and makes me want to scrub my skin raw.

If I could paint you a tale of heroic valor, against odds too great to overcome, I would. But there was no epic duel, no beautifully choreographed swordplay. There was a building, and some men who lived inside it. Now, there are neither.

We watched from far away, too far to be noticed and hidden in any case, as men came and went. Many of them, more than we have in our group. We saw them leave clean and fresh and return spattered with blood. We witnessed a man try to bring in a captive woman, only to see her escape, the tattered remnants of her clothing whipping around her as she ran. If I could have helped her, I would have. But as she ran her captor simply unshouldered his rifle, took lazy aim, and brought her down.

Inside their home, a doctor's office, they finally gathered. As the afternoon sun began its march toward the horizon, they entered en mass and locked the door behind them. I can see why they chose the place: a single door, easy to defend. While it appeared single story from the outside, if you walked up to it, you could see a basement level. You could see it because the ground around it had been cleared to about four feet out, a path of smooth stones surrounding the whole thing. It was a good twelve foot drop. All of the windows on the basement level seemed to have been boarded up.

We were taking no chances.

They might have kept a watch, as we do, but if they did, the man was so drunk that he wasn't going to notice anything. They all were, after sitting outside for hours guzzling their way through the apocalypse. None of them woke as Patrick and I made circles around the building, checking for any bolt holes. We saw none.

As I was watching the first molotov cocktail arc away from my hand, I could not help but think of the beauty of its movement, flashing and flickering as it spun in that mathematically perfect curve, starkly drawn against the consequences of the act.

We threw a lot of them. Pat stayed at the door, the only normal way out, and I walked around it, watching for movement in case any of them pulled off the plywood covering the plate glass windows. The idea was to cut them down if it came to that.

But it didn't. I consider it a blessing. I have to assume that they all died in their sleep, small comfort though it is. We decided to end the threat decisively, to ensure our safety from those looters not only today, but for every day to come.

You may realize by now, that I feel a strange combination of depression and numb disbelief at our actions. But no surprise. I don't know if the fact that I can do these things mean that I am changing, or only that I always could and was only lacking the right (or wrong, I suppose...) context and situation. I don't feel different. I still love my wife, my mother, my friends. I hate what I have done, and that it was necessary.

I can't imagine that this will be the last of these sort of actions I will have to take. I only wonder if doing them will ever become easier.

God, do I want them to?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hard lessons

Today is gonna have to be fast. Patrick spent an hour alone with the looter we caught. I didn't ask him about it, and he didn't volunteer anything. But now we know where the group of them are.

We intend to hit them today. It is clear that they will keep coming after us, and we simply can't let that happen. We have a plan, and a timeline, and hopefully the will to do this. 

The world is a different place now. If we want to live, the burden of survival isn't on laws or the government. It's on us. And to live, to safeguard the lives of my family and friends, I will go to whatever lengths I have to. 

In five hours, we go. Today is a busy day. If I an alive tomorrow, then you will hear from me. 

If not, it is my hope that one of the group will carry on. Wish me luck. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Follow ups

Six more looters have come for us, in two groups. 

They must be looking for their friends, which has disturbing implications. That so many survivors could become so pointlessly violent and savage is terrible, but that they would band together and be so organized frightens me to my core. 

It wasn't pretty. I don't need to go into details, but this time was a lot more brutal. The fellas we killed yesterday attacked us without reason, the guys today sneaked up on us twice, two groups of three. We blocked off the other roads into the subdivision, so mom's road is the only access in by car. The first set must have come through the other side, because they came to our house on foot. I guess they haven't been through here lately, because they obviously didn't know we post guards. Jess was up on the roof in the little crow's nest we put up, and she stomped on the shingles when she saw them. She shot one of them in the face, and Little David and I got the other two. I had to go out through the escape hatch in the floor. David went out the front, and got his man, but he took a grazing shot to his thigh. 

The second group went up the main road and broke into mom's house. 

HUGE mistake. We were all waiting for them, and not only because Little David needed first aid. 

We found the first group's car, and we moved it to the main road, and then set if on fire, put the bodies in front of it. We made sure that they knew what house to look for. Pat was at the front door with me, and when they kicked it in, both of us made good use of all the hours on the mat in the dojo. I broke the neck of the first guy through when I dropped him on his head. Pat crushed the throat of the second one, and we muscled the last guy to the floor. He is tied up in my mom's basement right now, until he wakes up. I want to know as much as I can. 

Yesterday, I felt bad. Guilty. Today I am angry, just angry, and that focuses me on stopping this threat here and now.

Still no word from Tate and his group. 

New kids on the block

Gabrielle made it, but just barely. I have no idea what the other group of people (Tate, Will, and others) are facing, but they aren't here, which is a good thing.

We drove out to the main road at the bottom of the neighborhood to wait for Gabby and her family. They were on the phone with us from the time they got into the county (on the far side from us) until they got to us. The distraction of talking them through getting here might have had something to do with them not seeing the people following them.

The only thing that saved us was Jessica's insistence that we go in a group, and heavily armed.

We took one of the trucks, Patrick driving, and me, Jess and Little David (David A) in the back. When Gab and her clan showed up, going very, very slow due to the abandoned cars everywhere and keeping an eye out for us, we thought everything was kosher. We were wrong.

They got up to us, pulled onto the main road of the subdivision, and we all started chatting. Over the hill on the main road, a huge SUV came into sight. We watched them for few moments, hoping it was Tate and his group, and most of us just stood in shock when windows rolled down and weapons popped out of them.

My wife, the quiet, shy one, started firing before the rest of us realized anything was wrong. Jess slowed them down, as only 30.06 rounds can do, while those of us on the ground got into the back of the truck. I motioned Gabrielle to go up the road ahead of us, and Pat threw the truck into gear so we could follow her to our house.

Little David had the sense to call mom while Jess and I tried to keep the SUV behind us at bay. It turned out to be unnecessary, since she and David's family could hear the gunshots from her house. I put a bunch of rounds into their engine before we were halfway up the really big hill on my mom's road, and their vehicle died.

This was good and bad. Good, because it slowed them down, but bad, because once they knew they had no wheels, they got out and spread. It is much easier to aim when you don't have to lean out of a window to do it.

Luckily there weren't that many of them, only seven. At the time, I didn't think about what I was doing, no thoughts were in my head to cloud my judgement of my actions. Only a hot mixture of rage and fear, and the certain knowledge that those I loved would die if we failed.

We stopped at the top of the hill, about two hundred yards from mom's house, and had ourselves a gunfight. Jess dropped two of them very quickly, shooting one of them through the glass of his car door as he was getting out. Didn't even get a chance to fire back. I got one myself as he ran toward me, the idiot. Pat had gotten out of the truck as soon as we stopped, leveled his shotgun and started firing with a speed that seemed impossible in such a big guy.

Pat got two of them.

We managed to avoid getting hit only because we had the advantage of terrain, and the sun was at our backs, making it hard for them to look at us to aim. The last two of them almost had me, but since I was still in the bed of the truck, I dropped flat when I saw them rushing toward us, pulling Jess with me. Pat dropped back to hunker by the front of the truck, forcing the last two attackers to come around if they wanted to get him. I thought we were done for, honestly, because Jess and I were sitting ducks, flat on our backs. They could have easily walked up next to the truck and fired down on us, but for one small factor.

Little David.

When we stopped, I forgot all about him. He dove into the truck as Pat was getting out, and in the chaos, everyone forgot him. But he kept his wits sharp and was watching it all very closely, and when the two men tried to get close, he threw the truck in reverse, making them duck the sides. One of them smashed his face on the asphalt when his weapon got tangled up as he tried to roll, and Patrick took him in one shot.

The last one was a bit more spry and had actually started firing when a big, silver SUV came over the hill at forty or fifty miles an hour and crushed him.

I never knew my mom had it in her. She abhors violence, hates it with a passion. But from her house, she told me later, she saw what was happening, and wasn't about to let her son die.

Now that it's all over, many hours later, I am starting to really feel what happened. I killed someone. I ended all of his potential, all that he could have been, in a single instant. And even though I know it was necessary and completely justified, I still feel terrible about it. It's like a toothache that won't go away, always in the back of my mind, along with the fear and worry that our new world forces on us. I did a thing today that a few weeks ago I never dreamed of, and I wonder what other decisions we will be faced with in the months and years ahead.

I am trying not to think about it. My heart hurts enough right now, with guilt at being a killer, and relief that my people are alive and unharmed, and more guilt for part of me feeling good that I ended a threat to them.

It was looking to be such a beautiful day. Just goes to show that Jess is usually right about these things.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Out of the ashes...

I feel like I have done my part in helping those of you who have survived the last few weeks prepare for what has been ahead. I have had a hard time choosing between my selfish desire to vent about the general crap that life has become, and trying to help out by providing as much information as I can. I chose to be informative lately, and I stand by that choice. If something I write helps you survive, or someone you love, then I can take the small loss of writing what I feel, what I endure.

I think that as far as posts to help you prepare for survival, I have done what I can. Chances are that if you have made it this far, you no longer need so much help. So I really don't feel too bad about writing about what is going on around here, though I may do the occasional how-to list. 

With that in mind: Great news. 

My dad finally contacted me, he and my stepmother, my stepsisters, and their whole clan are safe. My oldest brother is still AWOL, but knowing him, he's holed up in some old house, his kids around him, not a worry in the world. 

Locally, things are even better. 

My voicemail is heavy with messages from people I either know, or know people i know. My friend Gabrielle is loaded up with her husband and kids, heading here. That will make another four to our growing little community. She's also a nurse, with a varied background that will be invaluable to us. Between her and my mom, we might be able to set up a clinic someday. She tells me that their house was almost secure using similar methods as we did for our house, when a huge swarm of zombies hit them. It was something new, I think, because these zombies weren't just milling around, they were focused and relentless. Gab and her family got away by drawing the lot of them into the house and setting it on fire before getting the their SUV, which she kept packed for escape. Smart lady. 

David A. (not my brother Dave) told some of our friends from my old job about us, and it looks like a group of five or six of them are headed this way today. I know all of them, and while I might not have been best buds with them or anything, I think they will all fit in. 

Various others have called, but those are the only ones I can tell you for sure are coming. Some of the others are going to make a stand where they live, or haven't committed to anything yet. I hope that they come around. We've cleaned out the houses on our road, so there is ample room, if not as secure as our place. 

So all in all, things are looking up. I was worried when we started to see looters around here, not helped by the pair I scared off last week, but it looks like they've thought better of coming back. No more major groups of them in the last few days. 

Jess is berating me for being overly optimistic, but when the sun is shining, the breeze is just right, and good friends let you know that horrible, biting death just happened to miss them, how can you not be?

Health and well being

This is my attempt to help you all deal with the sad reality that the concept of organized medicine is pretty much dead. All of us, every survivor, must by necessity become part field medic, nurse, doctor, and herbalist. This post will be large, so bear with me. 

Basic first aid:

It is imperative that you start learning basic first aid. Being able to assess the type and severity of a wound, illness, or condition is vital. Start by checking out this link, which is a good beginner's guide to help you learn what to look for. Without an understanding of how the human body works, you will not be an effective provider of first aid. Therefore I strongly suggest that you study the basic functions of the human body at this link. If you do not have an obvious cause of injury, suppose that you come upon an unconscious person along the road, use the ABC's--that is, make sure they have a clear Airway, that they are Breathing, and check for Circulation, by feeling for a pulse (and its strength) at the major sites. 

More likely in the dangerous place the world has become, you will be dealing with wounds. In general, wounds should be cleaned very well, kept moist, and kept protected. So , make yourself some saline (a rounded tablespoon of sea salt (no added metals, PURE salt) to one liter of distilled water makes .9% saline, or "normal" medical saline) for irrigation, clean the wound, pat it dry, and put some antibiotic ointment on it before placing a nonrestrictive dressing on it. Mind you, this does not apply to Zombie bites. For those, the only option is amputation, or a bullet. For a very good basic look at wound care, check out the CDC's disaster guide to wound management here. If you are desperate, you can look here to get the general idea how to stitch a wound. I warn you, it is basic, but then, so is sewing your skin back together. 

Gathering supplies: 

Make sure that you get as many medical supplies as possible. For this section, I am leaving out medicines. That being said, my suggestion to you is to completely ransack any medicine cabinets you find, and sort the contents out later. With pharmacies, hospitals, doctor's offices and the like you can be more selective, after you know what you are looking for. So, make sure to grab: Band-aids, curlex, various sterile pads (4x4's, etc), abdominal pads, maxi pads (these are very versatile, useful for heavily oozing wounds), air braces for arms and legs (can help control bleeding when you inflate them and be, you know, braces), as many ace wraps as you can find (work well over dressings when you have no tape), natural tears eye drops, antibiotic ointment, sugar, vaseline (sugar and vaseline can be mixed together to make a a paste to treat pressure sores), burn cream, manual blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, oximeter (and batteries for it), ice and heat packs, iodaform gauze for small wound/nose packing, LOTS of gauze, both in rolls and in pad form, some non-stick coated gauze pads for burns, steri-strips (which help hold a wound closed), rolls of silk tape, paper tape, needles, silk thread, dental floss, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, surgical supplies such as scissors, scalpels, and forceps. 


My main suggestion here is to first get a recent pill guide. It is VITAL that you understand what you may put in your body, and what it might do, especially if you have medicine allergies. Second, you need to make sure you understand what some human averages are pertaining to vital signs, so you don't accidentally kill yourself or someone else by giving a blood pressure med to someone who doesn't need it. So, another list: AcetaminophenIbuprofendiphenhydramine (for allergies), meds for blood pressure (such as clonidine), any and all diarrhea meds (this will dehydrate you fast if left untreated), milk of magnesia for indigestion and constipation (which can rupture your insides if it gets too bad, so I also recommend trying to find enemas and suppositories to break up impactions, aka "big hard poop"), as many antibiotics as possible (make sure you aren't allergic!). 

You may want to get some pain meds, but be extremely cautious when doing so, because most of them can be addictive, and the last thing you want is to get your neck ripped out because you were so high you thought the zombie was John Lennon or something. It probably isn't a bad idea to get some syringes and anesthetics for sutures and whatnot, but please, PLEASE read my next (and last) bit of advice first. 

READ BOOKS! Find as many books on the diagnosis of disease, emergency medicine, herbalism (nice link here), first aid, and the like as you can. Knowledge is the key to survival, and raiding a medical library is a good way to keep yourself alive and healthy. Not to mention you can train and teach others, and if society ever starts to recover, maybe become a valuable commodity to your new community. 

OK, all done. Sorry this was so long, but this one I really wanted to cover a lot in, because this is probably the most important lesson for long term survival we can learn. Thank you, mom, for the help in creating and organizing this list, and for raising me to love medicine. It sure is coming in handy. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Security Measures

It was pointed out to me that since I have some free time just laying around, I could get into more detail about our supply situation, what materials we have and are planning to have, and what modifications we have done to the house, with the added request that I show pictures.

The majority of that is no problem, but I have to explain why I will not be showing any pictures of My house from the street, or in any way that would identify it by sight. You see, while we want to encourage some people to come here and have a safe haven, to hopefully build a community, there are those out there with much more dangerous intentions. I've already given our approximate location, and I have no intention of advertising to looters, rapists, and murderers.

That being said, we will be adding some pictures soon. Jess and I are still looking for our camera, which we misplaced yesterday. We are planning on some video logs as well, though I don't know when we will be able to get them out. Hopefully in the next few days, I will let you know when we get them up.

As for supplies...a partial list in a previous post, can be found here, but for those of you who missed some of that, here is a list of a lot of the things we have stocked up on:

Bulk flour (and plastic containers to store it in), 30 large containers of salt (and grabbing all we can when we find them), 20 large bags of rice, 10 large bags sugar, 20 large bags of dry beans (various), 2 large containers of pepper, various spices, hundreds of cans of vegetables, and a lot of dry pastas. For an idea what you should look at in food stocks, click here for the article in the zombie survival wiki. It adds the idea of oxygen absorbers and vacuum canisters. We grabbed a lot of canned stuff, which is typically against my inclination, but since most of it is high-calorie, which we need, we eat it first.

(Note: I have included a lot of tools in here, because it seems wise to me to multi-task as much as possible. Thanks, Alton Brown.) 12 crowbars, four each of the three lengths available at my local store, 6 drywall hammers (various weights), 2 pickaxes, 10 hatchets (4 wood haft, 6 single-forged), 3 wood axes, 3 brush cutters (the single edge ones that look like miniature hooked spears), 3 bows (2 compound, 1 wooden), lots of arrows and dowels to make more, several rifles, shotguns, handguns, knives, and a closet full of ammo.

Construction materials:
A dozen large rolls of ten foot chain link fencing (so far), a hundred long fence posts, four large pallets of 3/4 inch plywood, ten large jugs of nails (various dimensions), about a hundred 2x10 boards, 3 pallets 2x4 boards, many large coils raw wire, assorted boards for home construction (footers, etc), a variety of latches, locks, bars of steel, steel plate, tools to work them, and errata that are too numerous to remember, much less list.

(not a complete list, because all the things we have are jammed in and stacked up, bought or taken by all of us at different times) bulk box fishing line, 4 fishing poles, lots of clothes of various types, water purification tablets, two generators, large plastic containers of all sizes (including water tanks for farms, two for water, one for gasoline), a bunch of extra shoes and boots, dozens of bars of soap, liquid soap, matches, steel and flint, duck tape, extra needles, thread, bolts of fabric, lye, funnels (because funnels rock), various lengths and diameters of rope, various types of chain, bags of goose feather, Lots of how-to books, smell maskers.

4 shovels, 2 spades, seed spreader, tiller, post hole digger, gloves...and time.

Tomato, potatoes, cucumber, various melons, wheat, various greens, corn, soy beans, bamboo (i will have a whole article on this one later), onion, beets, various peppers, carrots, peas, various beans, peanuts, cotton, various berry plants, including blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries, mustard, radish.

This is not a complete list, and likely, I will never be able to produce one. I will be going over some of our future projects in great detail later on, and some more comprehensive lists may be included. The hard truth is that I sit on my couch as I write this, pretty much the only free space in my living room. We have some outside storage, but our mad dash to prepare has greatly overloaded our home, and there is no digging through the random piles of supplies to satisfy my curiosity.

You may note a total lack of any medical supplies. That is because my next post is going to be all about that. With links, I hope.

Keep safe.

PS--how do you guys feel about the lists? Are there any specific ones you want to see, or do you hate them with a fiery passion. Let me know in comments. Also, if any of you have specific questions on how to do something, the best way to do it, what you need, or where to find a way to do it, ask it. I will do what I can.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Well, here's something I didn't think would happen.


Without the banalities of modern life to fill in the gaps, we actually have a lot of time to fill. So far we have done so with construction, keeping guard, etc. But now that there are more people here, it's amazing how much extra time comes free.

It's not as though we don't have a lot planned. My brother is going to help us build a lot of stuff, or at least get us on the right track. My current idea is to annex the houses on either side of us, and remove the fences in between, fence in the whole thing, and make one huge back yard that we can farm and build in. But all of that is going to have to wait for several things, not the least of that being enough materials and enough people.

So here I am, no zombies around to speak of, off of guard duty, but since we have decided to travel in pairs at all times, it's just Pat and I at the house right now, and he's on guard.

When other people get bored, they play video games or watch TV, but our options in that area are fairly limited right i will write. I know that once we get things really going here, it will be hard to find the time to update. But until then, I guess, you folks out there will keep getting running updates on what we're doing, and how. If any of this helps you a at all, even if just to remind you that in a world gone completely mad, you are not alone, then the my time in writing it has been well worth it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Baby steps

My wife is a natural shot.

She felt terrible about it, and cried her eyes out, but she hits what she aims for. At first I wasn't sure she was even going to be able to pull the trigger, and after she bagged the first squirrel, I thought she was done for. But she calmed down, and proceeded to school me on how to shoot. I've been sport shooting for years, this is her first time actually firing a rifle. I love this woman.

Things are going well, considering our circumstances. David's family is getting on well with mom, though I think it will be a while before she gets used to having so many people in her house.

Now we're stocked up on meat for a long time. The only problem is keeping it from going bad. Pat proves to be an invaluable resource here: he knows how to dress a lot of varieties of animals, how to make jerky, and how to smoke meat. He has a list of skills longer than my arm, gained over his years of moving around the continent.

We are starting a house to house search for survivors. It doesn't look good for our road, which is almost certainly deserted except for us. I know for sure that the houses on either side of us are empty. We have plans for those...

As soon as we get done smoking and jerking our kills, we're going to go out and see what construction supplies we can find. My brother (also named David, we call him Dave) can build anything. He is going to make the trip from a few towns over to get us started on some projects. Frankfort was hit so hard and fast that I think it's a safe bet that the big stores will have some of the things we want, and what we can't find at the stores, we will scavenge from houses.

This place is going to be a fort when we get done. And big enough to house a lot more people. I think we can make it work, at least if we can get more people.

Back to my meat lessons with Patrick.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Routine matters

Things are starting to settle into a pattern around here. We're still getting waves of zombies here and there, and it's looking like that is going to be the way of things for the near future at least. As soon as they run out of food, or into a large enough group of different zombies, they sort of pinball around in a random direction. Here in Kentucky, where the hills and forests prevent a lot of movement, that direction seems to be the way they came from as often as not.

David's parents and brothers are staying with mom, which is a great load off my shoulders. She has a lot of room but not much in the way of food, so it's a good match. David himself is staying with us, along with Patrick. With four of us here, we can mount hunting trips and keep a guard, all without leaving the house empty.

Jess and I are going out hunting today. Funny that I am the one to show her the necessity of killing animals to survive, when I myself have a hard time with the idea. But I am her husband and her best friend, and I have been there for her through all the bad times. I know her and how she works, and no one else on earth has any better chance to get her to do this. And she will have to, for us to survive.

So far, no more contact with friends, but David showing up here gives me some hope that we will hear from more survivors eventually.

I am worried about some survivors, though. Patrick tells me that he saw some looters at the bottom of the subdivision, and that they looked like a pretty rough bunch.

Ah, Jess is ready to go. She looks adorable in a camo hat.

Patching up

Just a short update here.

While we were waiting for David and his family (who are staying over at mom's at present), we managed to take  some time to assess the damage to our house. When you have several hundred zombies pressing in around your property, banging on windows and whatnot, you get scared.

As I said before, we stayed in the safe areas during the whole thing. But, of course, adding the steel sheet metal over the windows had an unexpected effect: zombies are attracted to reflective, shiny things. The good news here is that they barely dented it, because we made the window coverings thick. The bad news is that when large groups pass by, we are going to become a giant drum as they hit our house.

It should be explained here that one of my previous posts dealt with that scenario, and my mother pointed out to me that I did not go back over and explain it in greater detail. Now that I have the time, you have your explanation. The truth of it is, this isn't some plotted-out adventure story. It's my life. And life is  confusing, stuttered, chaotic, and sometimes the details come later.

And to be honest, I was kind of embarrassed. I mean, who wants to let his readers know that he was nearly pissing himself because a couple ghouls were breaking bones on solid metal? Basically, I was jumping at shadows, and I didn't want to admit, then, just how weak and helpless I really felt. Because, of course, it turned out to be no threat at all. Anticlimactic. That's life.

Anyhoo, back to your irregularly scheduled blog in a few hours. Just wanted to clarify.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Good news

Every really bad day has to have some sort of good news in it, I think. I got mine.

I was feeling so frustrated at my mom, because after all of that, she still refuses to come over here. I mean, its not as though she lives far away; I can walk to her house in two minutes or so. But that two minutes is hugely different now, and she's my mom. I worry for her.

So there I was, sitting out on the roof with my compound bow, thinking that one more negative moment in my day would drive me over the edge, when my phone rings. This got the attention of one of the stragglers ambling past my house, and I had to put an arrow through his eye. (After I put one through his thigh, belly, and, unfortunately, his crotch. Aiming from a roof is hard.)

It was a friend I hadn't talked to in a while, even before the dead started to walk around. David and I were really good friends at one point, but recently have not had the time to hang out. I worried about him, and above the general buzz of concern that fills the back of my mind all the time now, and hearing from him picked me up. He told me that his family is with him in a big van, five of them, and they are trying to make it to us.

This is great, but also potentially bad. He said that they have a bunch of food, but we don't have room for that many people. Maybe his parents can stay at mom's, and the rest here. It's something we'll all have to discuss. But hey, more people means more security, and I am all about that. So i guess you can call me cheered up a notch.

Maybe some of them will nap on the way. It would be nice to sleep next to my wife for at least a couple hours.

Another Day

It's been insane around here.

The street is nearly empty right now, the gigantic herd of zombies has moved on. Not far, I'm sure, because  there are still a lot of people in town. If you listen from the back yard, you can hear the screams.

If you are hoping for some heroic tale of how we were scared, but found some amazing inner strength after our quaking fear, and went on a zombie killing rampage set to frenetic death metal, and possibly in montage form, you are going to be disappointed.

Jess and I spent the last...what, day or so?...alternating which one of us would go out every fifteen minutes and make sure they weren't getting past our defenses, and who would sit in the house and shake. I can tell you exactly how many we took out in that time, between us: ten.

That was the unavoidable result of going outside, even onto our enclosed deck and hidden from view. Most of them were due to a broken gate on the front deck, because of a stupid design error on my part. The crowbar gets heavy after a few swings.

The movies and comics never give you the real experience. They never convey the bone-weary exhaustion that comes with living in constant fear, interspersed with periods of sharp terror and nausea as you have to bash in the skull of something just to stay alive. I think I took out our mailman. To be fair, he was trying to bite my face off.

I shouldn't say this, but a small part of me enjoyed that. He skipped our house a lot.

Right now, we are just doing what we can to relax, and shed some of this tension. I think I will go see mom today, see how she is holding up. She's made of incredibly tough stuff. Patrick has my eternal thanks--he stayed with her through it all.

Jess is drawing, maybe painting. Pat is eating. Mom has taken up smoking again. Can't say I blame her. After all, cancer is not likely to be what kills her at this point.

And I am writing. I wish my talent were enough to make a picture for you of what our world, this little slice of America, has transformed into in less than a week. But hunger and lack of sleep has dulled my words enough that all I really want to do now is sleep.

More later, maybe, after I talk to mom.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Short one, just to let you know that we are still here.

The hoards from Lexington and Louisville hit us at the same time. Non-stop droves of them, for the last sixteen hours. It's gotten so bad that we can't even go outside, unless we go out onto the front deck.

She's yelling for me. They're beating on the windows.

Oh god.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Stress managenment

It's been a long one. Patrick is here again, I think it is getting to him that he can't convince mom to come here with us. He has been trying, I have been trying, but she won't leave her house.

The zombies have been coning through here with annoying regularity, but we've gotten in a pretty good rhythm about keeping watches. It helps that when the wind is blowing right, they pass us by. That is more helpful than it sounds, because killing one, especially with gunfire, tends to get their attention. But unless we are hit with a huge swarm of them, I think we will be ok.

Pat and I were going to go hunting today, and have Jess go over to mom's house while we were out, but we had a bit of an episode today that stopped that from happening.

Jess was in the back yard, doing some planting, I was on the front side of the roof keeping watch. I heard footsteps but it was hard to tell where they were coming from. As I looked around, I heard Jess shout. I ran over the peak of the roof, and I saw two guys in the neighbor's yard, right up against our fence. Thank god they only had baseball bats and no guns.

The fellas were looking at her like she was a prize, but they got scarce fast when they saw me looking down the barrel of a rifle at them from less than a hundred feet. They ran, but now I'm worried about what happens when they become better armed, and find others that might want to check this place out. I don't want to have to shoot anyone that isn't trying to eat me, but I think that we're pretty well prepared for a firefight if it comes to that. No, my real worry is that someone will set our place on now I have to worry about fireproofing the exterior of the house. Jesus, it never ends.

I have been trying to find some friends to come stay with us, in case some shit goes down, but aside from Joe, who is taking care of his sisters, I haven't had any contact from anyone in two days.

I really need to get some of our needs and wants prioritized. I guess that will be how I spend the rest of my day.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A few points

It's calm right now, it has been more of the same since my last post. People are fleeing the neighborhood in droves, and others for some reason are pulling their cars in and then abandoning them. Someone left a school bus running on the next road down. I took the keys.

We are planning on using abandoned cars to make a rough wall around the yard, and fill in the spaces with whatever we can find. More on that later.

Right now I want to address an issue that was brought up to me by a reader. There has been some confusion by some folks out there how the virus spreads. Here is what we have theorized so far:

The virus, if that is what it is, has already spread pretty much everywhere. It does not kill of itself (so far) but everyone is a carrier. Zombie bites do seem to kill, though it seems to take varying lengths of time. Either way, you come back as one, and it seems to be universally quick.

Also, a few people have asked what types of zombies I have seen. In other words, do they fit the classical zombie profile, the slow and shambling ghoul, or the modern type that is fast, strong, and smart. In fiction, the classic zombie is only stopped by severe head trauma, while the modern ones can be taken out by normal means, though they can take a lot of punishment.

Here is what we have seen: The "types" of zombies seem as varied as people themselves. We have seen some that move like living people, but believe me, they were really, really dead. Missing limbs, organs, that type of thing. We've seen them slow and steady, like the old Romero movies, and everything in between. The good news is that none of them seems very smart, unable to grasp the concept of door handles or any type of logical manipulation. So far, all we have seen suggests that the only way to stop them is severe head trauma, or piercing the brain.

I know that doesn't seem very helpful, but there it is. There are a variety of them out there. None of them are superstrong or anything, not able to do things they normally wouldn't be able to. That is as much as we know. I hope it helps some of you out there.

Back to the watch, Jess is yelling at me because I have been in here too long.

Patrick got us several rolls of heavy duty, tall fencing, and stuff to put it up with. And a truck. I didn't ask where he got all of that, because at this point, I just don't care.

A good defense

It was pretty much a worst case scenario. 

Less than an hour after my last post, they started appearing at the bottom of the neighborhood, in ones and twos at first. I don't know how many people in south Frankfort have died, but enough of them became infected that we are seeing them here. I can't explain how it spread so fast, unless they were here before Joe contacted me. 

The first few zombies walked through the subdivision basically unnoticed for a while. Kids were outside playing, but not down at the base of the hill. By the time they were noticed, it was too late. Many more had come, and those folks that were unaware if their nature were killed, and joined them. 

We have had a fairly easy time of it, all things considered. Patrick stayed with my mom, and went above and beyond, staying on her deck behind the gates we built to keep watch. He tells me that it was cake, that all he had to do was keep his eyes open. Mom tells me that he kept her safe by taking out more than a dozen of them with a crowbar. 

The wife and I had a few episodes, but for the most part our neighbors have done the work for us. Our road is littered with the bodies of zombies, most shot before they could get near front doors. A few of the folks that live on our road have tried to come by and ask us to stay in our house, which is the only secure one around...we accepted their shouted apologies for looking at us funny as we turned our home into something out of a mad max movie, but we did not let anyone in. I know I have said to be conscious of the needs of those around you, but they clearly know what needs to be done, and have the will to do it. Plus, No room for all of them.

The guy next door to us took his family and ran. If he stays gone long enough, I think we're going to annex his yard, and maybe his house. His yard isn't fenced in, though, so that could be a problem. 

Jess displayed a shocking efficiency in taking down the undead. She took a piece of rebar that we cut down and reinforced and was busting heads in our driveway after all the other people on the street had retreated inside or fled for safer ground. I was with her, though I used my pistol first and my hatchet as a last resort. Jess hates guns, and I despair of ever getting her to use one. 

I am surprised at how quickly she was willing to go out and defend the house. I guess it must have set something off inside her, to see them so close to out home. Today definitely showed us that the front of the house is our weak area, so we're going to have to block it off somehow. 

We left our Norwegian Elkhound, Bigby, out on the the front deck. He barks whenever one of them gets within a hundred feet, so at least we have warning. This is the first real break we have had in the last twelve hours. Hoping it will last long enough for me to get some sleep, Jess is napping now.

My eyes are getting heavy, might have to go wake her to take a turn at watch.