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.