Today, though, feels pretty miraculous.
I have a lot of friends and family out of state, or at least I used to. I haven't gotten very specific with a lot of them, for several reasons. I don't like to dwell on how many of the people I know and love must be dead, and mentioning them here doesn't help that. As well, there must be dozens of them, and it would be unfair to the memories of all to mourn one but ignore others.
Imagine my surprise that my mom finally, after all these weeks, got in touch with my sister. She lives in Illinois with her family, and we lost contact with her very early on. We tried and tried, to no avail.
Now, though, mom has gotten word. They are holed up many hours from their home, having tried to get to southern Illinois from their home up north, not realizing how badly the southern part of the state was hit. So it looks like I have another trip to my old stomping grounds planned out.
Jackie and her family aren't the only ones we will be going for. Courtney, one of my best friends and wife of Steve, has asked that we search out our friend Treesong, who lives in the same area. Tree is a good friend of mine, and very close to Courtney and Steve, and since I will be there anyway...
I realize that I am talking like it's only me that will be going on this daring rescue mission, but that's not true. We had a pretty easy time getting Courtney and Steve out, but things can't have improved in that area since, so we are preparing a bit more this time. That area of the country is so thick with zombies that we are worried about even being able to drive through it this time around. I will be going, as will Steve, Jess, Patrick, and Dave, my brother. I have asked Courtney to stay here and keep an eye on things.
You see, when the argument was raging over what to do about the captive looters, most everyone decided that since none of them could agree on what to do, they needed an impartial person that everyone agreed on to make the call. Courtney was a loud dissenter to them putting the burden on me, being a good friend and not wanting the stress of that to fall on me. She argued for a council (which we also got anyway), saying that no one person should have to be the scapegoat for the indecision of others. It became clear, though, that none of them were going to bend, and she eventually relented and cast her vote for me as well, after she and I talked about it. She is, like Patrick, Little David, and others, more friend than I deserve. She is also the perfect person to cover while I am away. She doesn't like the way the people here have put the onus of tough decisions on one person, but she has agreed that it's the only way to keep folks happy.
It shouldn't be any real work for her, to be honest. It isn't for me, since we have no issues at present that require an arbiter. I haven't had to make a call on anything since we let the looters go, and since the compound is in agreement on most everything else at present, my hope is that things will run just as smoothly for her, in my absence.
Keep an eye out for a post or two by her on here, in addition to any posts I put out.
I need to go and help Dave with the last minute alterations we are making to that school bus that was abandoned down the road. He added a platform on top to shoot from yesterday, and right now he's out there working with the generators humming, giving him light and power for his welding gear. He really is a genius. He's armoring parts of the inside with sheet metal, so we can duck behind them if we get shot at. He wants some help adding in a huge backup gas tank, because we probably won't find any after we leave here. Patrick is out right now, gathering as much diesel fuel as he can find for the trip. Jess is loading up all of the food, weapons, and ammo we will need. Steve is securing a rope ladder to the top, so we can get people in without opening the door. We aren't going into this blindly, I promise you that.
Jackie, her husband, and all four of their kids, along with whatever friends we have left in southern Illinois, are coming back with us, and we will make sure they get here safely. We leave as soon as the modifications are done. Dave will likely sleep the whole way there, he's been doing so much work on the bus. We'll have to throw some mattresses in there, come to think of it.
Jess is yelling for me. It's sort of becoming my sign off call. I write way too much. Going to grab some police armor on my way out the door, along with a few gi and some chainmail. She's had people working on that for a few days now.
Next time you read a post of mine, with luck, we will be in southern Ill. Though we moved away from there a long time ago for the green hills of Kentucky, and though the world has moved on quite a long way since then, somehow it still feels like going home again.
Wish us luck.