Monday, May 31, 2010


Evans and I are going out with a small group today to try and catch a zombie. Beyond wanting to understand what is causing the dead to rise, we are very interested in seeing if we can observe them long enough without being seen to possibly understand the recent changes in their behavior. Today is going to be a busy one, and I have just enough time before we head out to post this, letting you know. 

It's gonna be tricky. But with any luck, we will have a subject to study that fits Evans' fairly strict criteria. Jess is pissed that she can't go, but in her condition, I am not planning on letting her take any unnecessary risks. If that sounds sexist or whatever, good. It is. She is carrying a life, and that makes her much more important than me. So she stays safe. 

Off we go. 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Learning Curve

The council has decided that my brother and I are to remain in charge of long term planning and construction. I chalk this up to the fact that we have had two zombie attacks this morning, and the main gate held nicely. Nothing proves that you should be kept doing what you are good at like the concrete results you get from multiple attacks by the living dead.

We are actually looking at making people in all these desk jobs work in pairs. See, before the fall, my brother pretty much did this for a living. But he is teaching me as we go, how to look at all the logistics and planning, which he is expert at. But a lot of his time is spent out on the wall, teaching people how to build. Redundancy is going to be key in the long term, so that we don't lose someone critical should something happen. Always have a backup.

We have managed to repel the attacks thanks to the determination and quick responses of our lookouts and workers on the wall. For many of us, learning to adapt to new patterns and habits has been a trying experience, but I give full credit to everyone here for being flexible and supremely able.

But it does raise interesting questions, and gives us valuable examples of how we must change our basic way of thinking in order to better survive. I have been talking to my sister about this, as have a few other people, since she is in charge of education. So we have asked ourselves what it is we should be teaching the kids, to prepare them for the future they will face as we progress.

So we are working on a curriculum based on practicality. Self defense is a part of it, including unarmed and armed combat, how to aim, fire, and care for a gun, gun and general weapon safety, etc. Mathematics and basic engineering are integrated, which seems like a good idea as the engineering element will serve to make math much more interesting for the kids. Of course reading is in there as well, and social studies, though we want to make sure that the next generation understands the way the world used to work, and why it failed in so many ways, that they might better avoid repeating those errors. One planned field trip is a visit to the wall, to give them a real understanding of what the zombies are, what they are capable of.

Our aim is to give the next generation a wide variety of skills before adulthood. They need to know how to fix a roof and survive in the wild. How to build a house and farm the land. We want each of them to be able to approach any problem with enough realistic knowledge to have a chance at solving it.

It's not just kids that are still learning.

I have been in touch with the folks at Google, as well. Many of the engineers there are actively researching long term energy solutions, and are going to be sending us some detailed instructions on how to build wind turbines and other sustainable energy devices. They tell me they are working very hard on coming up with grid-level energy storage as well, though they are skeptical on getting anything prototyped in the near future. But I hold out hope. I mean, if companies a few months ago could figure out how to harvest hydrogen from urine, and to power batteries with urine, then I think that with the proper motivation, these guys will come up with a solution using better materials than pee.

That's all for now. Have to go talk to Cortney about some interesting contacts we have been in touch with, and maybe plan another trip.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bits and Pieces

Zombies are hitting us in groups almost daily at this point. The attacks are pretty well focused on the main gate, which is where we are putting in the greatest effort on the wall. Construction is going well, and the northern face is almost done.

In all the madness of the last week, I forgot to relay to all of you that our latest group of survivors finally made it here. If I did mention it, then I promise you that I didn't do any sort of justice to them. These people are great--hardcore survivors with a huge variety of skills and knowledge among them. They didn't need to come here, not for any reason other than companionship, they could have gone anywhere and prospered. But they chose us, and we are glad to have them.

There is going to be a vote next week for a new leader. There is also a discussion going on among the council, who are collectively acting as our leadership at the moment, as to what role I will play. Mom apparently suggested before she died that should I ever step down, Dave and I should be put in charge of long term planning and projects, which makes sense given that we were doing that anyway. I like the idea of getting to come up with realistic and creative solutions to problems without dealing with a ton of red tape. Since we run a minimalist sort of machine here, we pretty much go from planning to action in one step. Mom certainly knew her boys, and the practicality that was hardwired into her has passed on to us, making us ideal for the job.

Courtney has really been keen on the idea of reaching out in a more concrete way to other pockets of survivors. We have talked a lot the last few days about a group of us going on an extended trip around the country, visiting and sharing with other communities that have managed to keep going like we have.

It's an exciting time here, and I feel like a huge burden has been lifted from my shoulders. I hope that we can compartmentalize our various governmental needs enough that our next leader doesn't have to carry as heavy a load as I did.

And in a bit of random news, my sister's small school is doing very well. Jackie was trained as a special education teacher, and has an amazing ability to connect with people, especially kids. She has taken the idea that we have to start teaching from scratch and run with it, creating a very unique and interesting curriculum. More on that soon, I want to do it justice. After all, learning and using that knowledge is what separates us from the other animals, isn't it?

Friday, May 28, 2010


I have been removed from power. The people of the compound have voted me out of leadership, and are planning a series of open forums to discuss my replacement, or if I should have one.

They are completely right to do it.

I acted without thought, dragging people in here to be grilled about the night my mother died. I pushed at my friends and neighbors, my fellow survivors, far to quickly and far too hard, without any time to consider. As it turns out, the person that was seen running from the clinic was a patient named Will, trying to warn someone. he passed out in a clump of bushes in the empty field next to the clinic, and was unconscious from his reopened wounds until last night. He re-injured himself nearly to the point of death to try and save lives, and his bravery should be rewarded.

I abused my authority. Not in a nazi sort of way, but in reacting so strongly, with no consideration, I proved to the people who have tried so hard to make this place a home that I am unfit for that sort of power. Maybe when I am older and have more restraint, but for the foreseeable future, I cannot be given that sort of position.

I see it now, and partly because of my own stupidity. You see, I have a college degree in Fire/Rescue, sort of like criminal justice but for firefighters. That degree includes a fair amount of training in the ways to determine arson, locating point of origin, and the like. Instead of using that knowledge, I acted rashly and instinctively. It has been made clear to me by many people that knee-jerk reactions like that are unacceptable in a leader here, and could lead to serious trouble with the numerous zombie attacks we are constantly hit with.

So there it is. I'm glad this happened before I could do real harm. I really look forward to doing something more in tune with my nature, and working with my hands again, if that is what's called for.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ignition Point

I didn't post anything yesterday because I was in bed almost the whole day. We took Pat's suggestion and had ourselves an Irish wake, those of us closest to my mom. There were plenty of volunteers to cover shifts for us all, which is a small testament to how loved and respected she was.

I have men out questioning people about the fire. I am still heartbroken, but a deep and seething fury has been added to that. Someone here knows something, and the truth is going to come out. I am certain that we are dealing with arson, and that means that my mother has been murdered.

I don't have a lot of time to dedicate to this. I am going to be questioning people all day as they are brought in. Today, the zombies outside don't matter. Only answers do.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


My mother is dead.

It was not a zombie attack, or marauders, but something totally mundane.

There was a fire at her house last night, and she died while doing something stupidly heroic. There were three patients at the clinic in her home, and she collapsed after getting the one of them that couldn't walk out of the front door. She was burned, but Evans tells me that it was smoke inhalation that did it.

A lookout told me that he saw someone running from the house shortly before the blaze. I can't even think of that right now. Instead, I choose to eulogize her. It is the least that I can do to create some lasting monument to the person who shaped me more than any other. And to try in some small way to show you what you have missed, not knowing her, not being enriched by her presence.

Her name was Juanita. She was born into an Irish/German family in the fifties and raised as a catholic. It was her earliest desire in life to be an artist, but the realities of life led her to a stable career in nursing. Her career was with the Veterans Administration in its entirety, where she received many awards for her work. Her professional life was dedicated to providing the best care possible to men that had served our country, who had suffered in many ways for others.

She was selfless to a degree that I will never equal. I am not trying to paint her as perfect, because of the inherent impossibility of it, and because if I tried, she would be over my shoulder, correcting me gently.

She could be brash. She had a sharp mind that saw all sides of a problem, and was never shy about telling you when she disagreed. She believed to her core in the equality of all people, and in the sanctity of living things. She was a great mother, if an overly self-critical one, and it was that constant niggling doubt, I think, that made her such a spectacular parent. She was a constantly evolving person, always excited to learn and change, to cast away old habits if new ideas proved better.

She often apologized for her insane work schedule. She would cry sometimes, when she thought no one could hear, for the small things in the lives of her children that she missed. But my siblings and I saw her actions for what they were; a single parent determined to provide more than just the basic necessities for her children, a mother so in love with her kids that her only goal was to give us easier lives and better opportunities. We told her time and again that we understood, that we appreciated her. But now I wish I could have said it oftener, had hugged her every time I saw her, to better convey the gratitude toward her that I always feel.

My relationship with her has always been a strange one. We became friends while I was very young. We debated everything, and she was open-minded to a degree that I have rarely seen equaled. We talked often of many things, from politics to religion, philosophy to television shows. Every subject, any subject, and these are memories that I will treasure for all my life.

She shaped me in very unique ways. It was as though she could see my heart as a child, and knew that the normal means could not satisfy. Instead of teaching me morals, she taught me to build my own. She encouraged me to try out my own ethics, and logic, and create my own stances based on them. I am the youngest child, the baby, and my kind are often treated much more gently. I was no exception. But where I was punished less than the others, so was I pushed harder to be better, relative to myself. Because she taught me to appreciate that if I were the one to determine what I would be, what I would believe, then consequently I could only blame myself if I fell short of my own expectations.

I don't know how that sounds to you, but for me, it was a wonderful way to grow up. To be treated as an equal by my mother because I had shown her that I was up to the task was more encouraging than any other stimulus.

She was the biggest balancing force in my life, my constant well of advice and answers to tough questions. My sounding board for my own ideas.

If I sound selfish here, please forgive. I can't stop thinking of what is gone from our lives, and the memories flood me. How she and I related has shaped me like wind and rain on the mountains, and I can't imagine how to move forward from here. It feels like a limb is gone, and a part of me is numb. She was simultaneously the heart and conscience of this place, and we are all less without her.

My siblings and I are getting together for a while. Jackie and David are taking it as hard as I am, and we need each other. Later, we will have a service for her, and the people around here will have a chance to mourn the passing of a person who never hesitated to help them, to heal them, and to make them laugh.

My mother is gone.

Where do I go from here?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Counting On Courtney

Just getting going for the day, and I wanted to post something before I get too busy. We are getting ready to work on a major section of the wall, and try to clear some space for our new arrivals at the same time. Work is moving very quickly on the wall, much faster than any of us imagined. Dave thinks that we can be finished inside of a month, possibly three weeks. Of course, that is just putting up the wall itself, not the walkways and firing platforms all the way around.

Finding room for our new folks is a little trickier. We have tried to leave sections empty when possible, tracks of homes where people that know each other can try to stay together, but we are getting a bit full. Dave thinks that unless we are planning on expanding out in the near future, we will have to expand up. He is going to draw up some plans for some multiple story buildings that can house many families. We will move outward, eventually, but we will need a population much greater than what we currently possess in order to do so under the threat of a zombie attack.

Courtney is working on some ideas for finding new people to join us. We have, of course, been contacted by many folks because of this blog, but we have had talks about getting to know potential arrivals before coming here, and trying to establish better communications with other permanent communities. Courtney is taking point on this issue, because she is a fantastic idea person, and when she starts to plan something out, she never misses details.

Courtney is able to look at a situation and immediately grasp the details of it. She is incredibly smart, as you may have gathered from her posts, and she can be acerbic at times. Usually to those who deserve it. She is probably one of the most compassionate human beings I have ever met, and she was one of the people that made sure we knew what the facts were when we were deciding the fates of our criminals a while back.

She is the ideal person to communicate with outsiders. She is calm and logical, but more than able to stand up for herself and others, and to fight when she has to. What makes her great is that she has a great knack for knowing when a fight is necessary and never overestimating the force required. She plans many of our defenses for this very reason.

The toughness of her is so wonderfully contrasted with her heart. More than most people, she wishes that people can peacefully coexist. Not without disagreement, of course, since polite disagreement is the only way that society can grow. But she is a great force for peace and reasonable discussion around here, and that alone has likely saved lives.

She might have to be our full time diplomat.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Little David, Big Heart

That group called us from northern Indiana. Apparently they encountered some pretty rough terrain, and the recent storms across the midwest washed out a bunch of the roads in central Illinois, so they have had to take some detours. They estimate arrival in two days, more if they come across any caches of supplies along the way. 

Here, things are going well. There was a pretty heated debate last night about individual rights versus group rights, but while the conversation was very spirited, I was very happy to see the people in it keeping civil with each other. There is a larger debate, over the constitution and our bill of rights. As I have said before, we have some pretty rugged individualists among our number, and folks on both sides want to make sure a balance is struck between strong rights for each person and protections for the freedom of groups. I think it is going well. 

As you may have guessed, I want to give you a better picture of Little David. He has been keeping a low profile as of late. I think that his injury has made him a little more aware of his mortality. He spends a lot of time with Darlene, and doesn't volunteer to go on dangerous missions. I can hardly blame him, given what he has lost in such a short time. 

Before the fall he was an average guy, early twenties. He worked with my wife (I used to work there, too, before I got laid off) and he was a good friend. David loves video games, and movies, and comics. He was just your average guy. Loved the St. Louis Cardinals. 

But he was always a stout friend. He stood behind us always, and when the end of the world suddenly pushed its schedule up, he was here. He might not be an amazing builder, or a skilled nurse, but David is a shining example of what the average person can be. When circumstances tested him to his limits, he did not back down. He stood tall, and brave, and fought for the safety of all. 

In the world as it was, people who did things like that were called heroes. They were cops, firefighters, all of the people who chose to make a difference with their lives. But this world is one that leaves no choice. The necessities of fate require heroic acts, if they are within us. And not everyone has it in their nature. 

Little David is one who does.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Gabby Heals, Gabby Kills

I was going to talk about my mom today, but something happened about an hour ago that makes me want to tell you about Gabrielle.

Gabby is a nurse, as you may remember, and between her and mom, one of them is almost always on duty, though the demands on their time have dropped since Evans got here. So it worked out that Gabrielle was out helping on the wall, learning some of the craft of building from my brother. She is especially excited to get work done on it, since the frantic pace and constant zombie attacks keep her pretty busy. The finished product will protect the compound, and greatly reduce the workload that our medical folks have.

So she's out there, swinging a hammer, getting used to the feel of nails being driven into wood, when somebody falls over the side of the wall, landing outside. You should note, at this point, that there are almost always a few loose zombies around. It is impractical to pick off every one, and the ones that leave us alone are free to roam as long as they stay away from us.

This guy falls over the edge and Gabby hears this big POP, and she knows that his femur is broken. She can see the bone jutting through his skin, even through his pants, and she knows that it is vital that he get help ASAP. Without thinking of her own safety, she tosses her hammer over the wall, climbs the edge, and jumps down. She managed to get the the guy and provide some rather creative first aid, but the smell of blood and all that movement made a few of our stray undead a bit frisky.

Gabby is working on the guy, focused on keeping him stable and safe, and several zombies go toward the two of them. Gab hears people yelling and turns, finally seeing the threat. So this woman, who is just over five feet tall and maybe a hundred and ten pounds, grabs the hammer and starts viciously beating her attackers. The whole time, she's screaming at them, and after a short time, all the zombies close to her are fully dead, and the ones not so close are edging away.

My brother relayed this whole story to me, and I thought it was at once heartwarming, hilarious, and slightly scary. I mean, it IS funny--this tiny woman is so furious that she scares mindless, walking corpses. And given her relaxed and calm demeanor, her great sense of humor, I was kind of shocked that she could be so ruthless and brutal. I have a hard time imagining her angry.

The man she jumped down to save is alive, though he will be out of commission for a long time. Gabby herself is back at the wall, hammer in hand. I think she washed off the blood.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Tao of Dave

Work on the wall and tower continue well. We got word from another group of people this morning that they are headed our way. They tell us that they are bringing literally tons of grains with them, as well as some supplies that we can use for our water retention systems. They are from quite a ways off--central Iowa--so I don't know when they will be here. Probably between three days and a week. They have fifteen people, so a nice sized bunch but not overlarge.

Dave is working on the tower at the moment. We have two teams cutting down trees all over the compound. As much as I would love to leave this place as green and lovely as it has always been, recent events have taught us the value of a clear line of sight (and fire).

Today, I want to talk about my brother, Dave.

He is a good man, and I'm not just saying that because we're related. Before the fall, he dedicated himself to being the best in his field, and he was. He was the youngest project manager anyone had heard of in the business of building hospitals. In less than a decade, he went from being a drywaller to running jobs worth tens of millions of dollars. Got to respect that.

But he was so dedicated because of his family, for the most part. He is a loving father and husband, and despite his outward show of manly behaviors, he is like putty in the hands of his wife and kids. Dave is one of the smartest people I know, and has an ability to solve problems and think in three dimensions that would have made him a world renowned scientist, an incredibly decorated soldier, or a famous investigator, had he chosen those paths. But Dave is something rare in society today; a man who liked to work with his hands, and possessed of a work ethic that makes robots look lazy as hell. That combination followed its natural course, pushing him up the ladder, giving him the ability to push his limits, coordinating vast numbers of men and resources, in order to create something lasting, that would help people.

He loves beer, guns, sports, and driving fast. A few days after he got here, he went on a search around town and found one of the new Camaros. It's dark blue, and he drives it way more than he needs to.

In a pinch, I can trust that he will make the logical and pragmatic choice. He is a good man with an even temper that enjoys the simple things in life, with a brain that can do complex mathematics while reading good fiction while chugging a beer. He's a contradiction wrapped in beef jerky, and I love him for that.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A wall, a Stake, and a Steve

The first major section of the new wall, the permanent one, is almost done. It covers the main gait, and has already proven to be quite effective against a moderate sized group of zombies. Not perfect, of course, because they can find their way around the edges of it (since it's not complete, but it works as intended.

We also got a great field test of the idea that my brother and I came up with yesterday. We were worried that the zombies were getting too smart for it to work, but we seriously overestimated them. Dave and I went out early today to line the empty grass in front of the main gate with stakes. Big ones. Angled away from the compound at about forty degrees, and sharp as tacks. The few individual zombies that were ahead of the pack managed to avoid some of them, but a great many of them were impaled, which made it really easy to pick them off. On a side note, the watchtower is positioned precisely so several sharpshooters can defend the front gate from a long distance. We are thinking of building more.

I wanted to take this quiet time around the compound to talk a little more about some of my fellow survivors. Not to judge their actions or opinions as I have done before, but simply to paint a better picture of some of the people around me, so that those of you out there that are considering a move here can know more about your possible neighbors.

To that end:

Steve. Of Courtney and Steve fame, rescued from southern Illinois by Jess and myself shortly after society fell. Steve is of average height, has medium length blond hair, a pointed chin (much like an elf), big eyes, and a straight nose (also like an elf...hmmm...) Steve is an incredibly smart guy, and has a way of connecting with people, even without words, that amazes me still, after more than a decade of friendship. Let me tell you how he became one of my best friends, and maybe you will understand.

I had moved to Illinois to be closer to my girlfriend. When she and I finally broke up, Steve was a couple of towns away, at my cousin's house. It was a brutal breakup from someone that I was head over heels for at the time, and for whom I had moved two states over for. It was late, and yet he left to come get me, and sat with me on the edge of the parking lot where I was at for almost an hour, letting me literally cry on his shoulder. At a time when I felt broken in ways I had never experienced, his understanding and sense of humor was a rock on which I could stand amid a sea of hurt.

Not legendary stuff, I know, but that's Steve. He is funny, and a HUGE nerd (and proud of the fact), and quietly strong in ways that will shock and amaze you. His empathy is stronger than that of any person I have ever met, and I continually thank god that he was able to survive, and still be the person that I have known and loved like my own brother for so long.

If you come to live here, you will see him out and about the compound. I suggest stopping him and starting a conversation about pretty much anything. You will be pleasantly surprised where it will go, I promise you that.

And he's a damned good person to have at your back in an attack. It's almost scary how quick and efficient he is in a fight, considering that he's the one that taught me Dungeons and Dragons. All it took was necessity to scratch away the soft, geeky covering that held within it a warrior.

I will do someone different tomorrow. Any requests?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Great Societies

There are some days when nothing is going on around here. I exclude the background noise of a new community being built, of course; our new equipment rumbles loudly and screams as it cuts recently felled trees into wood we can build with. Hammers ring as men and women work on the wall, somewhere to the north of my house, a small crane is humming away as my brother begins work on a watchtower. 

But today, for once, nothing exciting is happening. I am in my office (the computer room in my house) taking a break from an unusually productive day of planning. An enterprising family has been making daily rounds through town, and they have discovered why the zombie attacks have been so much more frequent, and my brother and I have just finished a meeting, trying to figure out what to do about it. 

Apparently, the zombies around here are starting to hunt. Not just clump together and wander about, but they seem to be actively and intentionally searching areas. This means, of course, that they don't just happen to run into us, they find us...a scary thought, that they seem to be either learning, or at least remembering some human behaviors that help them to be better and more efficient killers. 

The question has been raised, of course, as to whether or not this means anything significant. Does it mean that these animated bodies are becoming the people they once were? Or are they something new? We want to know, and I have long had the urge to closely study them. Now it's more than idle curiosity, and more of a need to know kind of thing. We can't go on shooting them in the head if they start becoming people's grandparents, brothers, and kids again. 

Dave and I have decided on some more defensive techniques, stuff that will be very helpful and relatively easy and fast to implement. Evans, mom, Gabrielle and I are set on catching a few zombies for study. Evans wants to do an autopsy on some as well. 

All told, it's all going well right now. People are coming together on our big projects, especially the wall and the watch tower, and it is my fervent hope that building something that they have shared purpose in will help them also build common ground to work from in their lives, become more tolerant of each other. 

That is, after all, how all great societies have become so. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Momma Knows Best

Sometimes it takes a mother's words to make you take a hard look at yourself. 

My mom and I had a talk yesterday, at her request, because she is worried about me. She has sensed that something has been different about me for a while, she says, but it only became clear to her after she re-read this blog, and finally saw a pattern. 

She pointed out to me that I mentioned in my post the other day during the fight that we lost two people, and she was horrified that I didn't even tell their names, that in my next post I acted like their deaths didn't matter, hadn't even happened. I have been reading over my own posts off and on since then, and I have come to realize that she is right: I have become isolated from most of the people around here. 

There are obvious reasons for this, of course. I have been under a tremendous amount of pressure, and my position virtually guarantees that I will see each and every  person at their very worst moments. Add to that our increased numbers and my workload, and it becomes clear that my time to get to know people is somewhere between slim and none. That is completely ignoring these damn zombie attacks that just keep getting more frequent. 

But it does not excuse me from trying to find something out about them, to create some more lasting tribute to them than "Two of our people died". That is my failing, and I take ownership of it. 

So let me do that, here and now, brief and unworthy as it is. 

Two men died on our most recent trip. Their names were Phil and Vince. I will not use their last names, as they have surviving family here, and they have asked that I do not give that information. Before the fall, Phil, 34, owned a small plumbing company in Cynthiana. He was an avid sports fan, a loving husband, and father to three. He donated money to various charities, Heifer International was his favorite. He loved to listen to and play the piano, and when he moved here, he often opened his house to others who loved music, and would serenade his visitors with tunes that ranged from old-school honky tonk to Mozart. He is survived by his wife and all three of his children. He told many that he felt like the luckiest man in the world that his entire immediate family survived, and his wife takes some solace in the fact that all of their children live because of his efforts. 

Vince, 55, was more of a mystery. He arrived here with the large group that came at the same time as my brother and his brood. He and his wife ran a small bed and breakfast near Cave Run Lake, a quiet retirement after Vince's thirty years in law enforcement were up. He was a quiet man in our meetings, but his words were always measured and concise when he did speak. He was not a social animal, preferring to spend his free time with his wife, and what activities they undertook together remain their business. It is my hope that even after so many years, they spent time learning about each other every day, and loving one another. 

I see that I need to relearn to exist with the people here, and not separate from them. My friends and family are close to me, but I have hardened my heart to becoming close to new people. Maybe because I am afraid to lose them, maybe because I don't want to put myself through the agony of remembering when they die, and eulogizing them when I must. 

My heart is fragile, no matter what the rest of you might see, and it is my fear of losing you, of failing you, that urges me to walk apart. 

Forgive me that. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Self-Governance Challenges

[Posted by Treesong]

For years now, I've wanted to be part of a small self-governing community of people. If you had told me a year ago that I would be living in one today, surrounded by several long-time friends and a host of new acquaintances, building new structures and putting in crops together, it would have sounded like a dream come true. Given the circumstances, however, it's been more like a nightmare.

As I've said over and over again, what we're doing here is more than just surviving. We are laying the groundwork for the formation of a new society. And most of us in the Compound here are doing the best that we can with the resources at hand. Even in the best of circumstances, creating a new society from the ashes of the old is challenging work. But here, in a hellish landscape constantly under siege by the living dead, it's nearly impossible.

First of all, I want to commend everyone for holding this place together. I want to thank Josh and Jess for getting the ball rolling, and I want to thank everyone else for staying relatively sane and productive and cooperative for these past few weeks, even as we are surrounded by what to this day seems to be no less than a massive plague of Zombies.

Sure, we don't have the lab equipment here to determine if there is actually some virus involved, or if this is a supernatural phenomenon. But for all intents and purposes, we are surrounded by Zombies -- and for the most part, we have done our best to fend them off, and strengthen our fortifications here at the Compound, and prepare for our future survival. To be honest, given the circumstances, I'm very impressed that we've made it this far, and thrilled and somewhat relieved to see that we have some serious prospects for a long-term future.

But there is still room for improvement.

Yes, we are still in the midst of a crisis. Yes, there do seem to be more Zombies around here recently for some reason, and it's going to take everything we've got just to stay alive. But if we want to ensure that this Compound of ours continues being something worth living for -- and worth dying for -- then we need to improve our systems of self-governance just as fervently as we are improving our systems of perimeter defense and scavenging.

We've already made progress. Punishments have been reduced; the accused are offered aid in their defense; people of all faiths and orientations are openly affirmed as being allowed to live here; and we are working on a constitution and a bill of rights for our community. Many thanks to Rich, Chris, Courtney, and others -- and yes, Josh too -- for your help in this.

But there is still more progress to be made. We need to ratify this constitution and bill of rights to ensure that everyone has basic human rights, and that everyone has a direct voice in the major decisions of this community.

This may seem like heady intellectual work that has to take a back seat to more practical security concerns. But the recent incident with the vandals and its consequences demonstrate that our operating principles (or lack thereof) can have very serious and very real consequences. Once we get our head space and our social system straight, life will go more smoothly around here. Even with our Council and Josh, there is still a lot of chaos and uncertainty here, and it's important that we start organizing around principles and policies and solid strategies rather than flying by the seat of our pants and hoping for the best.

I've got to get to sleep soon because I've got to get up in the morning and work. But before I go, I need to say one last thing -- the thing I actually came here to say.

The whippings Josh mentioned were important -- but not for the reasons some people seem to think. To me, they were important because they reawakened my sense of compassion and respect for the humanity of people who I was otherwise very bitter and angry with.

I won't deny that I felt a certain sense of satisfaction at the sight of the punishment being executed. These convicts are a group of people who spread hate speech against me personally, and several of my closest loved ones, and a few other people who I don't know well but believe to be good people. These convicts are also a group of people whose actions lead to our weakened defenses, which in turn lead to the needless death of a small child.

So yes, I felt a certain satisfaction seeing them punished for what they'd done. The sound of the whip smacking against their flesh satisfied every bit of my urge to beat the living shit out of them for all of their hate and their role in the death of little Lindsey. But somehow, I also felt a great sense of repulsion and sickness at being a party to their whippings.

When someone cries out in pain, I want to help them, even if I don't like them. Yes, five lashes isn't that bad. It's a lot less than what was originally proposed, and they seemed to take it well for the most part. And it's a hell of a lot less than what Lindsey endured at the hands of the Zombies. But even so, it was very difficult for me watching those punishments carried out. I felt a sickening churning in my stomach, and a sickening sense of responsibility, even though I opposed the lashings.

I doubt I will ever like the people in question. I also doubt that they will ever like me. But they took their whippings, and now they're taking their hard labor. They were hard workers before this madness, and they are hard workers once again.

For the record, I am opposed to the whippings. Banishment is acceptable to me under the right circumstances because people who can't abide by our social contract can feel free to look for a better one with the Zombies. Hard labor is also acceptable to me, assuming the person is physically capable of it, because it's a form of restitution. But the whippings seem like cruel and unusual punishment to me, and I'm not alone in this perspective.

This is a civil disagreement. We live in harsh times, and people who disagree on this point can live together in the same community. But as people think about whether or not these lashings were a good thing, I just want people to think about the future. Do we really want to build a new society with whippings? It's something that we've adopted now because of the state of crisis we're living in, but I hope and pray that we will change our minds on this point in the near future. Today's community will be the foundation of tomorrow's society, and I hope our children can grow up to inherit a society that is not founded on this approach to justice.

Replication Is Key

We made it home. The fight didn't really pick back up after my post yesterday. We slowly picked off a lot of their numbers, and stayed under cover. It was a slow process, it took a lot of patience, but we got it done. Our attackers fled when they realized they didn't have enough people left to take us by force, and we limped home, bringing our machines with us.

While we were gone, a huge wave of zombies broke into the compound. We were still cleaning up this morning, until about an hour ago. No fatalities, since they came in through the south and had to slow down to maneuver through the woods, giving everyone plenty of time to get to safe locations. The work of gathering all the bodies is still ongoing, and the fire pits are going to need shoveling after this group, but all in all I think things went well.

We are getting attacked more often than usual as of late, and that scares the shit out of me. We have less time to repair our slowly disintegrating wall of cars, and our permanent wall is nowhere close to being even partially done. I don't know if these escalating zombie attacks mean anything, but my stomach hurts a little thinking about the possibilities.

Some of you might have caught it the other day, but today I will confirm: My wife, Jessica, is pregnant. Evans says she is about a month along, and seems to be pretty healthy. I am torn. I have always loved kids and wanted to have some of my own (Jess is neutral on it) but I never really thought that it would happen. I mean, we have been together a long time and have never taken precautions, so I just sort of thought it wasn't going to happen. Now, I am terrified about the life my child will be born into. My innate need to provide safety and security is amped up to nigh-epic levels. I am excited, and scared, and happy, and ten other emotions, and kind of nauseous. Mom tells me this is normal.

Things around the compound are relatively quiet on the social side of things, people aren't mobbing me like they were, though I still get a few. There is a lot of quiet talk going on, and a lot of it stops if I walk by, but that is just fine with me. I have never been one of those people who needs to know how everyone feels about me, or what they think. I do, however, expect them to follow the rules like the rest of us, and to be civil when debating issues. Because my kid is going to be raised in a place where violence is a concept that only comes from outside, and the only response to disagreement of any kind within is words, careful and concise.

Well, I have a huge pile of work to start in on, and half my day is gone. I will be getting back to it, but never fear, I will be back tomorrow.

On a totally random note--I really, really miss yogurt. I loved Yoplait something fierce, and only today, when I got a mad craving for it, did I realize how long it has been since I had it, and that I will never eat it again. Ah well, on to my paperwork.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


We're under attack. Halfway home, and we are at a standoff with a bunch of guys that look ex-military, trying to take all of the equipment from us. More when we are safe, but things are looking grim. We have lost two people so far, and we are outgunned and outnumbered. The only thing keeping them away from us is the fact that we have superior cover, and  our sharpshooters can pick them off at will.

It helps that they are having to fight off pockets of zombies drifting through, while we are able to climb up on all of this massive machinery and ignore them for the time being. We are used to dealing with situations like this, and if there is a way out of it, we will find it. Damn the luck that made us leave late today...

I will try to get back on here later. Writing from the floorboard of a semi truck isn't easy.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's Just Like 'Oregon Trail'

We're about halfway done getting all of the equipment loaded onto trucks, or ready to roll over the open road in our convoy. We have done the old wagon train, circling all these giant metal machines around us so we can camp in relative safety. A few zombies have popped up as we have been working, but no big groups, and nothing we can't handle.

The real trick is only taking what we can take and not getting too greedy. There are a lot of things here that we could certainly use, but we just don't have the gas or the manpower to get them home. It is pretty frustrating to know all of it is here while we will be going home...but, that doesn't mean that we can't return at some point in the future.

One thing we are most certainly taking with us: solar panels. I did not expect to find any here, but apparently the person that owned this place was crazy about being green (or maybe just planned to never pay for electricity again) because all four of the buildings on the property are covered in them. We have two people working like mad to get them down, and get all of the inverters and wiring loose by the time we leave. This is too good a chance to pass up-- this much paneling could at least give lights to the whole compound. If we find  a bank of batteries, we'll be in heaven, but we can make do with scavenged car batteries if need be.

One of the folks unbolting the panels is yelling...sounds like a warning. Must be a herd moving this way.

Time to break out the firearms. I will try to post later today if I can, but if this is a big group then it may be the morning before I have time. We will be leaving in the AM.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pit Stop

We're stopped at the moment at a gas station just outside of Harrodsburg. It was a late start today, a swarm broke through again at the main entrance, and it was a tough time cleaning them up. They didn't act like any zombies I have seen so far. The usual behavior is to group together and mob their prey; these broke up and spread out.

I am surprised and proud to say, our four remaining prisoners were eager to get out and hunt them down. One of them told me that they all felt guilty, wanted to do what they could to make up for their behavior. It's a start, and a good one so far as that goes.

We took off an hour ago, and my brother remembered this little gas station off the beaten path, and they have diesel fuel, a lot of it. We are loading our backup tanks with all we can carry, just in case the town we're headed to is short.

There are twenty five of us, and you wouldn't believe the amount of stuff we brought with us. Camping gear, food, weapons...we are prepared for whatever might come while we try to move all the equipment.

We're done loading gas. We'll be on our way shortly. I hope that everything remains well back home.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Today is a new day, and I feel pretty good. I spent the morning working with the council and a few others on a bill of rights, and most of us feel it's pretty solid. The nuts and bolts of the compound are running more or less smoothly at the moment, which means that duty rosters are worked out for the next week, the walls are manned, and people are fed and watered. In fact, I feel kind of scared about how well that is all working.

Because, of course, many people are still unhappy. Not the general "we live in a world of zombies" unhappy, but the more specific issues that have come up lately. But I will rant about them some other time, because today is a very important day.

One of our folks went out as a scout yesterday, to help in our search for more supplies to build the wall with, and he struck gold. He found a heavy equipment dealer in some county way to the south of here that I have never heard of that has some choice trucks and other machines used for cutting, transporting, and finishing lumber. This is a HUGE deal, as it will allow us to really get the walls how we want them, and given the rather copious trees around here, we can build them as big as we like.

So we are halting all construction at the moment, because we will need every available body here to maintain sufficient guards on watch. A bunch of us are going to have to go on this trip, my brother and I included. It will take us several hours to get there, god knows how long to load things up and possibly find gas if what we take with us isn't enough, and likely most of a day to get back.

This isn't like some of my other trips. No small group dashing in to pull out people. This is an expedition, and it seems to be drawing people together in common purpose. I like to see that. Yeah, folks are still upset, but knowing that we will be able to manufacture a lot of what we need is more uplifting than I had ever thought possible.

We will be leaving in the morning, at least twenty of us, if not more, and with luck, we can make it back in three days. But knowing our luck with trips out amongst the living dead, I won't be making bets on that.

Jess is staying home on this one.

She's two weeks overdue. I'm smiling.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Still Standing

Not much time to post right now, so I will hand out the salient points. I am still "Leader" for lack of a better term, but now we have a person who is responsible for being a judge. He decides with the council what crimes deserve what punishment. I am told this is a fair compromise, but I choose to have no opinion on it, since I had no input on that one.

I am still spending my days avoiding this place. Jess and I are gearing up to go out and secure some more big supplies we need for the wall, and to survey some places for logging, as well as trying to find some flatbeds to transport timber on. This is important work, and while I openly admit to shirking my administrative duties, I don't feel bad about it. Because the fact is, I get more of value done going out and killing zombies around areas we need to utilize than I do behind a desk. I still get the important stuff taken care of, but I refuse to let the same people who have been beating me down with demands and criticism take away my personal choice. So I do most of my work when folks get home for the day, when they have less chances to bother me.

I am going to be making these runs out into town to clear out zombies pretty often in the near future, because it is far more important to get the supplies to build the wall than to be micromanaged by nitpicking people who want solutions to every little problem.

Oh, yeah. Just because I could, I made sure last night, after I found out that I am still in charge, to put it down as law that certain social behaviors are, FOR SURE, totally accepted and legal. Like homosexuality, multiple partner relationships of any type, and similar. Yeah, I know that it seems weird to "legalize" homosexuality, but the way our few gay folks have been treated seemed to demand consequences for harassment.

So all of you who don't like the fact that people can freely do things that go against your personal (and narrow, and stupid) beliefs, feel free to leave if you can't live with the idea that people should be free to live their lives without you elbowing your way into it.

I'm sick of hearing it.

We're working on a bill of rights. This is part of it. More to come when I have time.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Watched the punishments get carried out today. I saw a man driven naked from his home, from any kind of safety. I saw four people shriek and bleed as the whip ate into them. I won't tell you it made me sick. I won't tell you it made me feel bad.

Because watching, I felt great. I felt totally justified. I felt a white-hot rage that these worthless bags of shit should be allowed to live while a girl lay dead because of them, and that thought pulsed in me with every snap of the leather. I guess I should have more empathy, should feel horrible that it has come to this. I had to anger and disgust a lot of friends to get this, and I call it worth it.

There is another meeting being called today. I was told in confidence that it will be a call for a vote, to see if the people want me to stay in my leadership position or to do something else. I should be there, but I won't. There is nothing I can say or do that will make any difference at this point. People who are against me won't believe anything I say, people who are for me won't need convincing.

So I have decided to use my time doing something more constructive. I am going back out, and I am going to kill some zombies. As many as I can. And set some traps, and lure a ton of the fuckers into them. I am going to do this because I have to do something concretely useful, something measurable and clear, that increases the amount of good in the world, and decreases the bad.

I'll let the voters decide the rest.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Now I know what George W. Bush felt like.

I am out of the house right now. I have been taking shit from people for the last day and a half about this call I made to punish the folks that caused the death of a little girl. I need a day off, and this is pretty much the first one I have gotten since the fucking world ended. Jess and I are doing something I have always wanted to do: We're sitting on top of the Frankfort water tower. Well, not on the top, but on the walkway that goes around it. I am typing on my laptop, using my iPhone as a modem. Funny that it took the zombie apocalypse to happen for me to lose enough fear of Apple to jailbreak my phone so I can move about and write easier.

Jess is sitting beside me, picking off zombies. They are all over the place over here near McDonald's and Franklin square. You sort of have to wonder if George Romero was right when he made all those Living Dead movies. Do they go to places that people used to gather out of some primordial memory of being social? The logical extension of that is, of course, that since they pretty much do nothing but try to eat people, they would want to gather at a fast food place. Go figure. The world falls to shit, people turn into flesh eating corpses, and McDonald's is still doing business.

I am trying not to think about what is going on back at the compound right now. There is already talk about a vote against me, to remove me from leadership. People saying that I have abused power, all that jazz. Well, they might be right, I don't know. I think I have done all that I can to keep people safe and alive. After all, I was the one who saw this shitstorm coming, and it was me and my friends and family that secured the place YOU ALL FUCKING LIVE IN.

So if you want to vote me out, go ahead. And a big fuck you, by the way. I get all kinds of hate and bullshit from people for decisions I have made, but not one goddamn thank you. It's so frustrating that I almost wish I had just let in people that I knew, people I trusted.

You know what? I am so pissed right now that I really don't think that it is wise for me to keep writing. I am going to climb down from here, take out some weapons, and go cut the heads off of a bunch of dead people. I need to let out some aggression, and better them than the next jackass that comes up to me with snarky comments.

[New video up on the Vlog on youtube. Check it at the side, or at our youtube channel

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Prices Paid

This is not going to be a happy post. Many out there are going to read this and wonder if this is a good place to live, and in making that decision, please remember that our actions, are for the best of the community in the long term.

Let me preface by saying a few things that have been heavy on my mind during the last few days, while the horrible recent events and the ensuing meetings have been going on. We live in a world plagued by the undead. There are zombies everywhere, attacking constantly. It would be far simpler for us if that were the worst of the problems we have to deal with, but the truth is as hackneyed as it gets: we are our own worst enemies. People are independent, and those that have managed to survive this far have to be far more so than the average person used to be. This is great for survival, but makes cooperative living difficult.

I welcome debate, argument, and opposing views. But to quote a reader of this blog, narrow minds and attitudes need to be checked at the door. That kind of person will not be able to mesh at all in this place, where we don't try to legislate most behavior.

So, to the hard part. Five people stood accused of relatively minor charges, mostly to do with vandalism and fearmongering, maybe a little terroristic threatening. But add to that resisting arrest, and assaulting officers (if you want to call us that) and things got a little more intense. But as many of you have probably read, this event led to weak points in our defenses, causing the death of a young girl.

We discussed it for a long time, and the debate got very heated. Some people that I have long considered friends probably don't look at me the same way again, because ultimately, this idea was mine, and I managed to get the votes, if barely.

Those five people have been sentenced. The ringleader of their little group, who freely admits to menacing the others into agreeing with him and doing as he asked, has been sentenced to exile. He will be stripped of all possessions, and dropped off outside of Franklin county naked. If he can survive to come back and try to have his vengeance, he is welcome to try. This is actually a compromise on my part--I would have rather him be killed.

The other four, three men and one woman, will each be whipped, for starters. Each one will get five lashes, in full view of the public, and three months hard labor. If any of them refuse this punishment, we will not force it on them. But if they do refuse, they will be exiled as well. With clothes, since they were not the instigators, but no other supplies.

It's harsh, and brutal. It seems unfair, but the only way to stop this sort of behavior is to make sure that everyone knows that anything that puts us and our children at risk cannot and will not be tolerated. Have all the personal views you want, but keep it to words, and do not incite violence.

I want to say something hopeful and moving right now, but all I feel is tired and angry.

God forgive me.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Goings On

We are on a fast break, so this post is only to let you know what is going on at present.

We (the council and I) are in a closed meeting, after talking with many people around the compound. I will not give any details at this time, as we are actively deciding what to do about our offenders.

This is a long and depleting process, and as such I will not be posting anything else today, or adding to this one later. Simply wanted everyone to know the goings on, and that I have not forgotten you. It is my hope that today will set an example for what is and is not acceptable behavior.

I need to get back, and have some lunch while I have time. One way or another, we will see this finished today. Results to you tomorrow.

I leave the blog open to Treesong and Courtney, should they wish to add anything, if they have time today.

Friday, May 7, 2010


I realized today that you can't tell until the bottom of a given post who wrote it, so, this one is from Courtney.

Kind of busy right now, just wanted to acknowledge some of the comments from Ghostrider2k, who claims not to be a "great thinker or philosopher," yet somehow has managed to work out what a surprising number of our own people couldn't.

"...intolerance should be left at the door, not to darken our doorways. If we cannot have a 'Live and let Live' attitude among the people we depend on everyday, we are all going to dead and soon."

There we go. Simple and to the point. Not to go all pop-culture (or is it post-culture now?) but the "LOST" mantra of "Live Together, Die Alone" seems incredibly pertinent to our present zombie apocalypse scenario.

"Bleh, this kind of nonsense makes my skin crawl."

You and me both, friend.

"If it is the end of days, then they and us, missed the big Holy train to heaven, putting us ALL into the same category."

This thought has crossed my mind more than once, believe me. Maybe it was a fear of that exact scenario that motivated the group now in custody. Maybe they thought they could buy their way into heaven with their condemnation of the sinners around them. Who knows? I hope at least a few will open up and share what on earth their motivations could have been.

Thank you for your words of support, Ghostrider; they are timely and incredibly appreciated. It is impossible to describe the mood here at the compound with complete accuracy. People are shuffling around, blank expressions on their faces, looking less animate than the zombies we pick off from time to time. The unnatural horror of the hungry dead seems to pale in comparison to our overwhelming sense of failure and loss. Perhaps this sorrow will bring us closer together? I pray for some silver lining to this terrible affair.

Anyway, as deep as our grief is, we are still on guard, we are not shirking in our duties. What I want to stress here before I sign off is that life goes on, and if you're a reader holed up somewhere and running out of food or something of that nature, please don't hold off on contacting us out of respect for our time of mourning or what have you. We do need to get our house in order, but not at the cost of more lives.

The Crisis of Choice

I am still angry. Angry at god, if he is there, for allowing this plague to destroy our society. At marauders, for being what I hate most in people and proving that sometimes the thin veneer you see is really all there is. At these damn people who caused this pointless death, who set in motion events that killed a child.

You can see the posts below this, lamenting her loss. I did not know her as Courtney and Steve did, and I will not lessen her by claiming that she was close to me. But that does not mean that I do not grieve; I love kids, and I am more protective of them than I am of myself. She was known to me by sight, but my anger is that ANY child should be put so needlessly at risk.

Pragmatically, that is one less person, one less life full of potential, to further our cause here, which is the survival of the tribe. If that sounds cold, I am sorry. There are so many ways that this hurts us, and I would be less than honest not to explain the uncomfortable ones along with the standard fare.

We are already breaking our own guidelines. We have had the perpetrators under lock and key for more than a day already, which we didn't want to do. But this is a complex issue, fueled by a lot of emotion right now. We are all angry, and in the interest of justice, we are taking the time we need to reach a decision that is both fair and appropriate. I pray that we can manage it.

Bread and water for the prisoners, and only the rations that a child of ten would get.

Seems fair to me.

More tomorrow.


This is a post from Treesong.

These fanatics say that the Zombies have been sent by their God as a punishment for our sins. Is it God's plan for a small child to die too? What did she do to deserve this fate? Was it His will that the mother should hold that small, broken, lifeless body in her arms, sobbing for us to fix her?

Even in all of this madness, I have never beheld anything so horrible in my life. There are no words for watching a child torn to pieces right in front of her mother. It all happened so quickly, and yet it seemed to take a lifetime. I will never forget her cries of sorrow as we said that there was nothing we could do and took the body back out of her arms.

And it was all avoidable. If we hadn't been caught up in internal struggles, this wouldn't have happened.

Luckily, I have enough tattered shreds of my sanity remaining to resist the urge to kill these hate-mongers in their sleep. But I want anyone and everyone who sympathizes with them to remember this day.

We are living in a survival situation here. It's alright if you think some of your fellow survivors are sinful, or misguided, or whatever. We may feel the same way about you, too. It's okay to have different opinions about fundamental theological and political questions. But the minute you start a campaign of hate against your fellow survivors, you doom us all to infighting, and a drain of resources from our survival needs, and ultimately death. And that is unacceptable.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I commented previously that I can't get these recent events out of my head. I guess I shouldn't even be trying to, what with having to come to Big Decisions soon about the fate of the offenders. Oh, how I wish I could feel self-righteously smug about them now depending on the compassion and tolerance they so vehemently derided, but it's all so hollow, and it just makes me feel even more queasy than before. I've had tears running down my face for what seems like forever now; no time for choking sobs or fetal positions, just rushing back and forth across the compound, trying to shore up the defenses, tend to the wounded, all while the tears fall, eerily detached from any other expression of sadness.

Evans couldn't save her. None of us could, but of course it falls upon the doctor to pronounce her dead. No technology that exists in the world could have saved what was left of her, but her mom carried the too-small, too-bloody bundle to Evans nevertheless, unwilling to give up hope. Evans said little on the matter, as usual, but he looked very tired. "THIS is why you brought me here?" is probably what I would ask, were I him, but as I say, he keeps his thoughts to himself.

It's probably a small mercy that she was so far gone; I still don't exactly understand this whole zombie outbreak thing, how it started, how it spreads. I for one have not ruled out supernatural causes, but the truth is, I just plain lack sufficient knowledge of science, religion, or magic to figure out any real answers. Some people have had some rather cynical assessments of the responses of our fellow man in the time after the outbreak, but I still wonder if the Marauders weren't somewhat affected by whatever made the zombies, too, like it warped their minds somehow? I don't even know whether I want this to be true or not, because it would sort of excuse their actions, but if they're tainted, they might not be redeemable... Anyway, I know they're probably just scared, angry people who lack or suppress basic empathy, but I'm hesitant to rule out other answers. We may never know what really happened, but that doesn't mean we will stop trying to puzzle it out.

Ah, yes, here we go, the horrible, sick feeling in my stomach is back. I managed to distract myself for a few minutes, but of course it didn't last. Screw it, why try to ignore it? Her name was Lindsey. Her dad died, protecting his family from zombies, of course, and she was all her mom had left. "Mommy says Daddy's in heaven now," she would dutifully repeat, but in a voice that sounded like she doubted whether a place like heaven could really exist with a world as messed up as this one. She loved purple, and butterflies, and peanut butter sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Everybody that knew her loved her, and I think she kept our debates more civil, because no one wanted to upset her by shouting and cussing. She would sing little songs about having too many kittens on a boat or frogs on a log or whatever other weird little kid songs there are. She and Steve played together more than once; kids love Steve because he will play whatever they want, and not tell them it's too silly. It was some game they made up where you run back and forth and pick up rocks and put them in a pile but try not to wake the scarecrow, because then you have to roll away? Steve tried to explain it, but I never quite figured it out. Now I guess I never will. If my beautiful sister Sarina is still alive, she'll be ten now, too. I miss her so much I feel like there's a hole in my heart, and having Lindsey around made it feel a little better. Lindsey was a beautiful little girl and a precious life and never did a single thing to possibly deserve a fate like this. If there is any consciousness in the universe that has mercy and the power to act upon it, Lindsey is with her Daddy again, and they are chasing butterflies together and very, very happy. For the rest of us, there is just that patched-up hole in our perimeter where our defenses should have been, and a gaping hole in our community where a little girl should have been. I don't know if it's possible to fix that one.

I want to punch the people that caused the disturbance, over and over again until they double over from the pain in THEIR gut. I want to scream at them, "MURDERER!" and see them shunned and condemned by the community they betrayed. But, I am not going to act on this. These are thoughts brought on by grief, and acting under these influences will surely lead to vengeance, but not justice. Lindsey didn't even like to hear us arguing; what darker deeds would we think to carry out in her name? Let us each mourn her passing in our own way, but let that be separate from whatever trials and sentencing may take place. Remember these are not even Marauders, these are people that until a few days ago shared chores, meals, music, laughter...and we have to think about intent. Who in the world that remotely counts as a sane individual would WANT a little girl to die? I am sure it was never their intention to harm such an obvious innocent. They are no doubt grieving, too.

And they should be.


Today is a bad day, for reasons that I lack the time to document in detail. Several things have happened, each making things worse. 

We have discovered who has been responsible for the recent bouts of graffiti and vandalism. 

In apprehending this group of people, five of them in all, we took ten people, which shortened our numbers for other projects. 

While we were in the process of arresting the offenders, they fought us with extreme violence, forcing us to call for additional help, depleting our numbers by another ten. 

It was during this fracas that the lookouts spotted a wave of zombies coming for us. The arrest and ensuing violence distracted many people on duty, and because of that violence, occupied more than ten percent of our population. Since we operate on a three shift schedule, this weakened our position terribly. Normally such a group would pose no threat. We take down several a week. 

The wave broke through, and we estimate the number of zombies to reach the second street back at around thirty. As a group, they broke through a partially constructed fence, and the result is that a girl of ten is dead. Her mother is, understandably, inconsolable. 

I have very hard decisions ahead of me, and I am trying to give my rage time to cool before I make them. 

Right now, I am not inclined to mercy. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Ok, for today, I am mostly going to leave out our ongoing investigation into whoever is trying to terrorize people around here that disagree with them. Because I don't want to let anything slip, and because the whole thing is pissing me off. So for this post, I am going to focus on some plans my brother and I have been working on for a bit now.
One of the things that has been a concern for us is a stable and sizable water supply for the whole community. Frankfort has gravity-fed systems, but any system is vulnerable where it is most vital: delivery. So we had the idea to build a system of cisterns around the Compound, and basically have wells in them to draw water.

We've already got some decent stuff for some of the houses, such as rain catchers and barrel storage, but we need to go large scale, because a time will surely come when we will need it.


We are, of course, working on the wall around the entire compound. This is a HUGE undertaking, and while some areas have sections under construction, many have nothing at all started, other than the rapidly disintegrating wall of cars.

Zombies are impacting that wall of cars every day, in multiple places. We are shoring up where we have to, and hoping that we will be able to get major work done on the real wall before we get blindsided with a very large group.

So you can see why I am so goddamn frustrated with this whole situation. I have to pull people off of work details to investigate, hurting our production on wall segments. It's bad for all of us.

Just take Courtney's advice and come forward, talk to us about all of this. We can find a solution, and we can get back to helping each other instead of infighting.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The First Stone

I don't like anything about the current situation. I am dealing with people on all sides, who all demand that their ideas are the only way to go, I have people telling me that we have to enforce "moral living", essentially saying that we have to define a family unit in our community just like it was before the fall.

My personal thoughts seem irrelevant to most of them. Moreover, facts and reason seem to be completely ignored. Add to that the necessity of pulling people off of work details to investigate the vandalism last night, which puts some projects behind schedule, and it adds up to a pretty bad day so far.

I have taken care of most of our business for today, and delegated the rest. I need to get out for an hour, and luckily, my brother needs to go out and scout for some supplies we need for the wall. I am going with him, to ride shotgun, and we'll snag a few more people before we go.

I would much rather deal with a direct threat, even zombies, than the headache that this place has been the last few days. I am starting to see where Courtney is coming from. A few closed-minded bad apples really can set a bad example for the kids, and that's not tolerable.

Hopefully the folks I sent out to ask questions and see if anyone has paint on their hands will have something for me when I get back.

It tickles me that people are attacking others in the dead of night for a supposed lack of morals, and really makes me chuckle that they apparently don't see the irony in that.

Funny, huh?

Monday, May 3, 2010

More Dialogue, Less Spray Paint, Please

So, there's this whole "hateful graffiti" thing going on... We have GOT to work out a more efficient and calm way of voicing opinions. Maybe some sort of press/publication? Though isn't that sort of what we have going on here? A blog isn't much, but it's SOMETHING, at least. Anybody can make one, for anybody to read. Maybe a message board? Would anonymity help, or hurt? See what I'm doing here, is trying to think of solutions, because whoever did this is probably feeling scared, like they have no voice, or something like that. But their actions are themselves helping to create a culture of fear. Inside the compound, we are supposed to be safe. We are neighbors, friends, and family. We can disagree, and even despise one another at times, but in this crazy B-movie gorefest of a world, we need to have safe havens, where we know we at least aren't going to hurt one another. Whoever you are that did this, if you're feeling sad, or scared, or just frustrated, please understand, we ALL are. I know things aren't perfect here, but we're really trying to make our world the kind of place we want to live in, and that we'll be proud to have our children live in.

Josh keeps saying there's room enough for everyone here, and physically that's true, to a large extent, but what do we gain by making others feel unwelcome, like there's not enough space emotionally? A hostile, tense collection of heavily-armed individuals? We have the seeds planted to grow a thriving community; please bear with us for a while while we tend these seeds.

But, hey, let's get something straight. You have beef with the way things are being run, okay. We can work this out. We HAVE to. It's no big secret that I disagree on some key issues, too. Dissent is an important part of keeping a society honest. But listen, there are ALREADY kids here. Do not for one second think that because we strive for diplomacy and moderation of disputes that we are cool with being trampled upon. Get wise to this, and please think of a more constructive way to voice your dissatisfaction next time. Because words like those are violence, too.

...sigh. This After-School Special has been brought to you by Courtney.

Night Time Stroll

Something is going on around here. I don't know who is doing it, but I will find out.

This morning, about an hour ago, my dogs started barking. They only do that when someone comes pretty close to the house. I woke up and ran to look out one of the peepholes, but didn't see anyone there. No zombies, no people.

I asked the lookouts if they had seen anything. One of them said he heard someone running, but the cloud cover was so dense that seeing anything was impossible.

But now, we know that it wasn't a zombie, and likely wasn't a marauder. The clouds have broken and there is enough predawn light outside that we can see what happened. Someone has been going around, tagging houses. Writing horrible things on the the doors of a few of the people who are living in polygamous groups, scrawling threats on the doors of some folks who have expressed distaste for endorsing any decisions based on religion, and on my own door, a half finished swastika. Not the manji, mind you, which is the same symbol but used by many cultures to represent many ideas throughout history, and none of them bad, but the actual swastika, circle and all.

Apparently, someone thinks I am a nazi. I can see why this is happening, I knew that not everyone would be on board with some of our decisions. But at no point did I think this sort of childish baiting would happen. Silly me.

I will find you. This is not acceptable.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


...exactly what it sounds like. The guys and gals at Google have outdone themselves. Holed up in Mountain View, the employees of Google and their families have managed to bring youtube up. It's apparently required a lot of Macguyvering to get this going, but their hope is to increase communication among survivors. I imagine that if society ever gets back to the point of having a stock market again, Google stock will be number two in the world, right behind zombie protection gear.

We have started a channel, naturally.

First video to be posted later today. Hopefully, many more will follow.

Division of Labor

Leadership is a funny thing.

In the current context, it is vital. When you are out in the world, not surrounded by walls that keep out the undead, it can mean everything. Having a cool head when confronted by a swarm of zombies is essential; you may understand why I have a select group of people  that I choose to associate myself with in those types of situations.

Many of us have never encountered the real thing. Maybe military folks have, but I think that for the most part the rest of us have only ever had "leaders" who were in charge of us because of a superior position at a job, being an elected official (which equated, I think, to being a better liar than the other candidates...) or some other factor that took the choice of who would lead away from those being led.

I have always felt that being a leader of people meant more. That it was imperative to gain trust, to set an example for others, so that they would follow you by choice, from respect, and not because some arbitrary set of rules helped you get lucky.

I was voted in, and by extension so was the committee that keeps me balanced. And soon, we might be voted out. It seems that our growing community has fallen victim to one of the oldest of society's stumbling blocks: a case of the have-nots.

Need an explanation? No problem.

You see, last night I fielded the idea to a great many folks about the possibility that those of us who have been actively coordinating all of the construction, farming, and other work going on around here doing that as full-time work. Or I should say, as our only full time work, since it takes up so much of our time. This was met with a pretty even split in opinion, with slightly more than half of the people in favor of it. But the problem I ran into wasn't whether or not John or Jane Doe was ok with this, it was that seemingly every person had some project or idea that they felt was vital to us.

But none of them had any idea how to accomplish them. Well, a few had some thoughts on that, but most didn't. The prevailing opinion was that it seemed pretty easy to do what we have been doing, planning and executing it all, and most of the people thought that it would be no more difficult to fulfill their ideas as well. The logistical nightmares we have been dealing with did not occur to them, because we haven't been shouting about them from the rooftops. We encounter a problem, and we solve it, because we HAVE to.

So now I have a ton of people getting pissed because I couldn't hand them promises, or because I had to explain why an idea they had wasn't feasible. Many grumbled, asking why we needed to have full-time jobs in running this place, if we weren't going to do what we were asked.

Maybe they will vote us out, that would be a nice break.

But we did make it official: I and my council (which is what the committee is now called; we have committees for individual projects now, the council oversees them all) are doing our jobs full-time. This pisses people off, but I really don't care. I won't allow the people that have been doing all of the work designing and implementing plans for our long-term survival to burn out from overwork. So we'll be busting ass to get as much done as we can in the shortest possible time, just in case they do kick us out of office.


Saturday, May 1, 2010


Thanks to several tips, we were able to get through Lexington without too much trouble. I'm dealing with my injuries, which are not too bad, but will leave impressive scars. Mostly a few big cuts from broken glass. Two broken fingers.

And I think my collarbone is broken. Again. This makes four times.

I'm getting a lot of shit from a lot of people about going off to rescue someone, when I have responsibilities here, blah blah blah. Other folks are giving me shit for risking myself (Mom...). I have told the first group to shove it, mainly because I am unwilling to risk the life of the person in need of saving so we can have a long, drawn out talk about it. If someone needs help and wants to join us, I'll go. It's that simple.

The second group is living under some illusion that we are ever safe. Life is a constant exercise in avoiding various sorts of death now, and if I am going to be at risk, I choose to do it in a way that at least creates the possibility of helping another, not to mention improving the lives of the others here. Yeah, you can argue that I can help others here and all that, but the fact is, not too many people were keen on going out to get Evans. Didn't seem to think risking a team of people was worth the life of one person.


So we're home, and it seems like Evans is pretty satisfied with our homemade clinic. At least, that is the impression I get, since he didn't belittle it. He's kind of a tough guy to read.

It's looking like we're actually going to have to split some of us who are in leadership positions off into full-time administrators. By that I mean that we are facing so many massive logistics issues that just planning and managing all of the projects and resources is taking up a full day's worth of work time. So those of us that have been doing all of this and working shifts on the wall, farming, and all the rest are barely getting three hours of sleep. I really don't think we have other option, if we want to effectively manage our projects and keep our little society running.

Let me know what you think.