Wednesday, June 30, 2010


For the foreseeable future, posts are going to have to be fairly short. The rebuilding effort around these parts is our primary goal, and clearing away the rubble and burying our dead is going to take up a lot of our time for a while.

But a few notes are in order, I think.

Courtney captured the mood around the compound right now perfectly. We are so frustrated that for every milestone we seem to reach, someone has to show up and try to knock our progress back. We are, as a group, moving toward being much less inclined to give armed invaders much of a chance. If you come to us with arms open, we will welcome you in kind. If you scout around our home and look at us down the scope of a rifle, we will end you, plain and simple, and your body will feed our dogs.

I am still in a state of numb shock, with a creeping line of anger snaking its way up my brain stem. I want so much for us to thrive in peace, but this constant influx of aggression is stopping that. So...measures are being taken. We'll leave it at that.

The first load of people from Michigan are on their way here. From what Courtney tells me, about twenty are coming this go round, with maybe more to come. I know that the folks up in Jack's camp are encouraging people to migrate here, since while both of our groups have plenty of room, ours has a greater capacity for food production and can sustain a large population indefinitely. So with luck a great many more will come over the next few weeks, but we would be happy with even just one.

The bus will be dropping off those folks and head back up immediately, which means that very shortly, my sister and her family will be gone. This saddens me, but I am dealing.

Back to work. Walls to be fixed, collapsed houses to be scrapped and recycled, and honored dead to lay to rest. If any of you out there are the praying type, please try to think of us next time you talk to the big guy.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


(From Courtney. Woo.)

We killed and killed because there was nothing else we could do. I am getting so fed up with other people forcing our hand. It's always been easier to destroy than to build, but why take by force when you could just ask? What has our community ever done but give freely to whomever is in need? What is the damn point of shooting at us when we would usher you in through the front gates, so to speak, if you came peacefully? I'm sick of looking at dead people. I don't feel anything right now, not triumph over our fallen foes, not sorrow over our dead. Just the urge to not have to look at corpses any more. They're pale and waxy and don't look quite human without that animating spark, and I think it reflects my fear that we will become less than human over time.

From a strategic point of view, I feel disgusted with such wastefulness. The invaders laid waste to much of our hard work, they wasted the potential of so many lives, including some that had just barely begun. They wasted their own lives, in the end. What did we gain yesterday but destruction? What did anyone gain? Thirty-six dead is a SUBSTANTIAL loss, and that's not even counting casualties on the other side, though a creeping bitterness makes it tempting to say our opponents' lives ending doesn't ultimately count for much of a loss.

So what do we do? For my part, I've been throwing myself headlong into whatever reconstruction and cleanup efforts I can. My muscles are screaming at me in protest; though anyone's life in this harsh new world could hardly be considered leisurely, the relatively soft life of a diplomat has gotten me a bit out of practice for heavy lifting. On a tangential note, THANK YOU, Jack, Lisa, Randall, Kimiko, Amadi, and all you others who have not only put aside fear and prejudice to reach out to us and our community, but came through and helped us so much in our hour of need. You're true heroes and genuine human beings, and you've given all of us some much-needed hope right now, as well as an actual shot at survival. I miss everyone up north so much, but there's no way in hell I'm leaving here now. I don't blame anyone who wants to get the heck outta Dodge; there have been plenty of close calls lately. I just have this little stubborn part inside that ignites when random groups of violent idiots come bringing death to our doorstep AGAIN, and there is just no way I would give them the satisfaction of running me off. At least not for now.

Finally, I never did properly thank Patrick for protecting Treesong while our diplomatic group was away. I had this D&D character who became obsessed with increasing her speed and mastering teleportation, so she could get to anyone who needed her help instantly. Not having mastered those skills IRL, knowing there was literally NOTHING I could do to help you guys was agonizing. No one can be everywhere at once, which is why it's so great to have a devoted group of friends and family you can count on to carry out good works in your absence. Thanks so much, Pat.

Well, focusing on the positive for a little while has helped improve my mood a great deal. I'll be getting back to work, then. A big ol' F-U to the warmongers that can't seem to get it through their heads that the old ways were dying out even before the zombies, and the standard invite to those who want to forsake the mindless violence and ceaseless drive for conquest, and help build something real, a place to call home. It's harder, but I still believe it's worthwhile.

But the bodies. Man. The sight of fallen friends and neighbors should never be something that fills you with irritation and disgust rather than grief. I know I'm not okay right now, but I promise I'll get my head together soon. So many lives, so much potential, just snuffed's so stupid and pointless. So if you're feeling particularly expansionist in your violent tendencies, please do us all a big favor and stay the hell away from our compound. We have plenty of bodies already, and right now, no one here is feeling particularly reluctant to add yours to the pile.


Yesterday was a the worst day since society crumbled, at least in our small corner of the world.

The people that hit us a few days ago came back, and this time they were in real military form. They managed to get someone inside the walls through one of the incomplete sections in the middle of the night, and he blew a hole big enough for a dump truck to drive through in the front gate. These ex-military bastards hit us with rocket propelled grenades, heavy machine gun fire, all sorts of shit. We fought in the streets, we fired at them from blinds, we killed and killed until there were only a handful of them left, and they surrendered.

We executed them on the spot. Seven bodies now hang in front of the broken gates as a warning to those who come against us with malice.

But the cost was too high for any of us to bear. We lost thirty adults and six children in the conflict, an injury to our little community that has all of us in deep mourning. Most of the dead were killed in the fighting, though two of the adults died trying to protect all six of those kids, only to have the house they were hiding in hit with an explosive, collapsing the structure down on top of them.

I haven't slept in days, so I will not try to name all of the dead, but I will say that each of them were heroes, for not fleeing or giving up, for staying here through all that we have suffered on the slim hope that we might make something better than what we left behind.

I have to give credit to some other people as well, without whom we would surely have failed to defend this place.

When we got our first hint that trouble was around the corner, we sent word to Jack and his folks up in Michigan that they should stay away to keep safe. He agreed with me, but apparently decided that we might need a little backup. When the fighting got intense, we heard more vehicles rumbling down the road, which most of us thought had to be more of the enemy. We were wrong. Jack sent about fifty people in some of the armored vehicles they had modified, and they saved us. Jack's people set to immobilizing the vehicles the enemy arrived in, which forced them to realize that only victory would keep them alive. For all that it made them fight harder, it also pushed them further into the compound.

They were surrounded by what amounts to a neighborhood full of farmers and builders. Regular people fighting to keep what they made. They never had a chance.

There are consequences, of course. We are short so many people now that our projects are all suspended for the most part. This might be only a temporary issue, since Jack is letting any of his people that want to come here to live do so. We have some folks here that want to go north to live with Jack and his people, and while this hurts me, many of them have kids, and I understand completely.

My sister is one of them.

Jackie is going to be leaving with her husband and kids as soon as transport can be arranged. I love my sister more than I can explain, for more and better reasons than mere blood. Jackie is kind-natured and loving, a wonderful mother and a talented teacher. I will miss her, but since we have lived apart for much of our adult lives, it is a situation that I have experienced before. Her husband is a computer programmer, so his talents will be very useful up north, and they have four wonderful kids to think of. I will miss them all, but I want my family safe as well.

My greatest hope is that Jack will have enough folks who want to come live with us that we can continue our works as before. But I recognize that while we might have enough come here to gives us comparable numbers, for all of us that survived the last few days the world have changed forever. The toll on us in friends and loved ones is too high for anyone to deal with, on top of the losses we all still feel from the world collapsing around us. We are in mourning and hurt, and for myself, I can say that I might be hurt a little too much to ever get so close to new people again. I think most here are wary of getting too attached to anyone else at this point, for fear of a repeat performance of the pain that has basically shut us down right now.

Maybe I am being too dramatic, but it feels like happiness is an abstract, as far away and as untouchable as the moon. We will smile again, and laugh with people, but I have to wonder if we will simply be going through the motions.

I pray not.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

All That You Can Be

Well, the good news is that we didn't exactly have to endure a siege yesterday, but the bad news is that these fuckers don't seem to be going too far away, either.

We should have known that something was going on when the zombies outside the wall, nearly a constant fixture over the last few months, started to move away from us in droves. Maybe they felt the vibrations of our most recent attackers as their massive military vehicles trundled on toward us, but whatever the reason, we should have seen the exodus as the warning it was.

Our loss of life was minimal. We lost two of our scouts before the attack, which is why they didn't get any warning to us. They must have been caught beforehand...

They hit us with some light fire at first, peppering the front wall and forcing our sentries to duck out of sight. Fortunately for all of us, the metal sections that we got from Jack included armored parts to hide behind, so most of the folks on the wall got away with small or no injuries.

I think it was their intention, these army guys, to "shock and awe" us into submission. They obviously aren't just out to kill us, or they would have done much more damage. It seems they underestimated us, though, because they scattered for a bit when we put a round from our tank right into one of their lead vehicles.

It took a lot of effort to get that damn thing hidden in a place that had line-of-sight to the front of the compound, but man, it was worth it. Bought us some much needed time to regroup and set some plans. When they came back, we were ready. Riflemen kept them at bay long enough to make them give up for a while. But another scout team tells us that they are holed up less than a mile away, and are staged to attack again at any time.

We have learned our lesson about taking the fight to anyone. We are safer here, and we are ready should they come. We will give no quarter, and expect none.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


they're hitting us. we are under attack. do not come here unless you are ready to fight, kill, and die if you are against us.

Friday, June 25, 2010


The people we heard yesterday are almost certainly the military men that we ran into last month. They have to know where we are, but they are camped out several miles away, apparently either not interested in us or wary of provoking us. 

I refuse to let them weigh me down right now. All of us are ready for full-on attack from them at any time, but I think we have all gotten a little sick of living under the constant threat of living people that want to kill us or control us on top of the threat of zombies. Many of the folks I have talked to here in the compound seem to feel this way--deciding to put it on a back burner of their minds, and worry about it when and if it happens. 

There is a lot going on. Naturally, we are installing sections of prefab wall sent back with us from Michigan. As dearly as we would love to have the next shipment of them in, we are holding out on sending a truck of food up north and suggesting to Jack and his people to do the same, while these interlopers are here. I don't know what their game is, but I won't risk our new and fragile alliance with the folks up north. 

We are building a few new watchtowers, and several of our better shots (including my wife) are showing some others how to fire long range. We have a few other tricks up our sleeves should anyone decide to come knocking without an invitation, but you will excuse me for not sharing them here. The element of surprise is always understated in its importance, no matter how much credit you give. 

My brother has some plans to work on some modifications to the existing power grid, so we can try to network up all of the houses in the compound to the solar arrays and turbines that are being set up as I type this. It won't be enough for air conditioning (which sucks, because it's balls hot right now) but it should be more than adequate for lighting and charging some of our equipment. In an awesome display of goodwill, the folks at Google HQ have been nice enough to have a few of their engineers design some battery arrays for us, and instructions on how to build them. Thankfully there is no shortage of car batteries around, and the design is pretty much scalable to any degree we could want, so we will have some power at night when the old grid finally goes down. 

It can't be long now. The folks at the power plant send word that they are very low on combustibles, and without people to harvest wood or other fuel, they will have to leave. I hope they choose to come here. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Amid the constant moans and groans of the wandering zombies outside the compound, we heard a new sound this morning. Truck engines, big ones, carefully humming along. A few of our more daring scouts sneaked about to look for whoever made the noise.

It looks like the ex-military guys that we ran into on the way back from rescuing Evans are finally looking for us. They have some impressive vehicles, and from what the scouts have seen, impressive weaponry. If push comes to shove, though, we will do what we have to. They might have training and equipment, but we have the advantage of a defensive position, and the desperate fury of people that are protecting children.

We should be getting a report back soon. If there is such a thing as good luck, it will b good news. But I doubt it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Alive and Well

[This is a post by Treesong.]

Since Patrick and Josh have written about my recent injury, I thought I'd take this opportunity to let everyone know that I'm alive and well, or at least as well as I can be after being shot within a few inches of my femoral artery. I know enough about anatomy to know how lucky I am to be alive today. Also, since I'm not able to do any manual labor at the moment, I may as well write about recent events.

First of all, thank you Patrick for getting me out of harm's way. I think their goal was just to scare us off with a minimum of gunfire, but who knows what may have happened if I'd been left there alone and wounded. I knew you'd have my back, though -- and sure enough, you did. Also, thank you to our good Doctor for mending my wounds and keeping me alive.

They shot me first, and I don't think that was a coincidence given their attitude toward people who believe differently than they do.

On the one hand, John Hastings and a few of his followers seem especially fond of having protracted political and theological discussions with me. They probably do this in the hopes of either converting me or showing others in the Compound the errors of my ways. Given the amount of discussion I've had with them, and the fact that most people around here don't have the patience for long-winded philosophical conversations in the midst of a Zombie Apocalypse, I feel like I've actually ended up with a closer bond to some of them than the rest of the people who live here.

On the other hand, when the chips are down, they see me as The Enemy, along with anyone else who doesn't fit their strict religious beliefs. If we're in a community meeting together, we can discuss and debate rationally with each other, and sometimes we can make progress. But when tempers flare, and people start grabbing their guns, I'm little different from the Zombies to them. In fact, now that he's an exile, Hastings is openly advancing a hateful philosophy which insists that the Zombie Apocalypse was brought about by "sinners" -- which basically includes anyone who disagrees with him on matters of theology and politics.

I hated to send those kids into exile along with their parents. Even though they were swayed by a charismatic leader, the adults had earned their fate. But the kids were too young to really understand what was going on. All they knew is that we were asking them whether they wanted to live with their parents or not, so they chose to live with their parents, even though it meant exile. We gave them enough supplies for a couple of weeks, though, which is good. And though the adults among them may be hateful toward outsiders, they're fiercely protective of their children, so I have high hopes that the children will be fed and sheltered as long as possible, and hopefully survive all this.

It was really good to see Courtney again after the convoy returned. Given the uncertainties of her trip and my close brush with death, you have no idea how happy I was to see her smiling face again. It was good to see Josh, too, and everyone else who left -- but I've known Courtney the longest and the best, and we had plenty to talk about after our respective brushes with death and diplomatic weirdness.

I've been joking with Courtney that she must be a better diplomat than me. She came back from her negotiations with a suped-up bus and a tentative trade deal, whereas I came back from my negotiations with an ounce of lead in my hip.

Oh well. Better luck next time, eh?

On a personal note, I find a certain cosmic irony in the fact that I've been wounded at this particular point in my life. Given the hard labor involved in running the Compound and fighting off the hoards beyond the gates, I was just starting to achieve my lifelong dream of becoming an accomplished athlete. I've struggled with health and fitness all my adult life, and I was a "nine stone weakling" when the Zombie Apocalypse hit. But I was really starting to impress everyone with my growing athletic abilities. And now, I'm back to Square One, barely even able to stand up and walk across the room. Evans says the bullet only barely nicked the bone, and that I should be fine given time to heal. Still, though, it's frustrating to be set back weeks or months by a single act of senseless violence.

On the bright side, I have a lovely and talented field medic who has volunteered to help me through my recovery. Her name is Bridget, and she's one of the survivors from Carbondale who I've been spending a growing amount of time with lately. Courtney likes to tease me about the fact that I've struck up a budding romance with someone who shares a name with my matron deity, the Irish Goddess Brighid. And I like to tease Courtney back by saying that she's just jealous, and that I would love Bridget even if her name was Ralph.

It's good to find new love even in the midst of all of this horror, and good to be able to joke with old friends even when our situation is dead serious. ESPECIALLY when our situation is dead serious, come to think of it.

Thank you, Bridget, for finding me in the midst of all this madness. And thank you Courtney for always being there for me. And thank you Rich and Paula, and Chris Klarer, and James, and Dan, for all of your contributions to the serious work of trying to figure out how to run a community humanely and justly in the midst of what we've all agreed can fairly be called an apocalypse. We've had our own heated debates at times, but I'm glad we were all able to make it out of Carbondale together, and glad we've been able to contribute in our own diverse ways to the Compound's efforts to get organized.

The Missing Day

It;s not very often that I miss a day on here. In the midst of the stress all of us deal with every day, from worries about food to the ever-present worries of a zombie attack, this blog is my release valve. Yesterday was a really tough day for all of us, both physically and emotionally. We decided on exile, and as predicted the children of our troublemakers decided to go with the parents. But we have learned our lesson from our first exile, however, and this time we bound the adults to the seats of the vehicles we took them out in.

We dropped them off about fifty miles away. It took all day to get there and back, and we left them with enough food and water to last them a few weeks, more if they stretch it. We gave them some tools and a few weapons, along with some other things they will need to survive. I hope they live, though they might become a danger to us, only for the sake of the kids with them.

But on to more positive and exciting news. Evans gave us his full report on what he has discovered about the zombie outbreak, from studying several of them, and I will sum it up for you here.

Upon dissection of a zombie, he discovered a dense growth in the skull of the creature, covering the brain and creeping through it very thoroughly. This growth, which he believes is a bacteria, seems to pervade pretty much every system of the human body. Based on the behavior of the zombies, he thinks that the bacteria infects us while we are alive, and learns our nervous systems, our brain functions, our muscular control, etc. At the moment of death, it seems that the bacteria gains full control for the first time, which explains why the longer a zombie has been a zombie, the more coordinated and clever they get. Practice makes perfect and all that.

He notes that each area of the body seems to have a specialized version of the bacteria running through it--long, tough fibrous ones in the muscles, soft and porous ones in the stomach, to absorb and distribute nutrients  to the colony and the tissues of the human host. He tells us that the bacteria is both feeding the human cells while secreting something that keeps them from dieing off too quickly, and slows down the deterioration when the body does begin its inevitable spiral into decay.

This is a lot of speculation, of course, but it does make sense based on the observable data. It does leave a few things in question, such as why a few zombies seem to be mindless but otherwise living people. (Maybe they died and were taken over so quickly that the bacteria managed to restart their systems, pump blood and all the like, without allowing any real brain function...if that is the case, then some of these poor bastards might be human again with the right medicine...)

That is what his research boils down to at present. I am sure that more findings will come down the road, and I will pass on to all of you what we discover.

At least we have some clue now why the attacks have become more common, more focused. If we could find a way to keep them at bay so we didn't have to fight almost every day, we could accomplish a lot more. Any ideas you guys might have would be appreciated, just post them in the comments.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Repeat Offenders

Evans wowed us yesterday with an amazing report on the pathology of the zombie plague. I want to do it justice, so I am saving that post for tomorrow.

Because, sadly, there are tough choices ahead of us today. The group of people that tried to take our armory by force last week are in trouble again, before we could even come up with a consensus about what to do about their previous offenses. We have been debating it very carefully, since there are children involved, but the amount of discord today's acts have incited make it imperative the we do something now.

This morning all of them and their kids sat out in front of the building we use to house our bulk grains and other food. They all sat against the front, not letting anyone in. One of the sentries on patrol around the compound saw this and asked them what it was about. They told him that they all wanted to leave, to strike out on their own, but wanted to load up a vehicle with all the food they could carry. Apparently they were acting like this was a totally reasonable statement, which most of the people here disagree with. We have no problem with them wanting to leave, but they aren't going to take more than their fair share with them. No way are the rest of us going to be weakened because they feel entitled to whatever they want.

So now all of them are locked up. The kids are being watched by my sister and a few others, but at the moment the adults have no means of communication. I am just one of many voices, and I am very glad that deciding what to do with them isn't on my shoulders. Rich and Treesong are weighing options, being two of the more levelheaded people, and Rich being our "Judge" for lack of a better term. I am betting on exile with what they can carry, and the kids getting the choice of going with them or staying. I'm guessing that way because I have already heard them talking about it. Courtney has already promised me that she will be explaining the situation to the little ones as soon as we know exactly what that situation is.

I hate to think that any parents would walk away from a place that is safe for their kids. My hope is that the children choose to stay, but I don't think that kids that young will be able to grasp the reality of the situation well enough to make an informed decision.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Zombies have been hitting us all day. Not a great many of them in any one spot, but sort of a low grade fever of them constantly. The bodies are starting to pile up, and none of the equipment and materials we got from Michigan are put into use yet. That means no snazzy new wall sections to help keep the undead at bay.

Evans wants to give us a detailed and full report of his findings later today, and I am super excited about it. He claims to have a good idea what causes the dead to come back to life (of a sort) and why they are so intent on eating people. While this information won't do anything to make our situation better, it might be useful if we survive long enough to have folks that can create new medicines.

I need to get out to the perimeter shortly, to take over for someone. Most of them have been on the walls for four hours, fighting constantly, and everyone needs to eat and drink. Hoping that today won't turn into another marathon. I don't think I have it in me.

I really hope that Evans has some idea why they seem to keep gathering on us and attacking, and that he has some idea of what we can do to stop it. This is getting frustrating.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fresh Perspective

I have lost count of the number of times I have said this lately, but we are home again. We pulled in with our convoy about half an hour ago, and I am very glad to be back. Jack's folks are in the process of unloading our gear, and ours are prepping containers of food for the trip north. 

Zombie attacks have been heavy since we left, at least as heavy as the were before. The fire pits are pretty much full of ash at this point, and we need to detail some people to start emptying them out before too long. Evans has made a lot of progress in understanding exactly how this plague works, or so he told me when he caught me on my way in. I am sufficiently tired enough that I am fine with waiting until later to hear what he has to say. 

My brother is very happy to see his wife and kids again. I know they missed him dearly, and to be honest, I missed them a lot as well. Same goes for my sister and her family. Funny that it took the end of the world to bring me closer to my siblings' families. Distance kept us from seeing one another before, and our everyday lives kept us so busy that just spending time together could be a chore. 

We are all closer now. Jess has always been shy and quiet around my family, and people she doesn't know. But I have watched her change since all of this began, watched the shell she built around herself crack and crumble away. She is so much more assertive, almost brutally open with her opinions and views. But she also spends time with my family and their kids, doing everything from babysitting to sharing recipes, to teaching my sister the basics of shooting, unarmed combat, and all the like. 

Marrying Jessica was never in question for me. Though I feel some dim pain in my heart that some might not like the fact that my wife happens to be of a different race than I am, it was never once a factor for me. She is hard working, smart, and funny. Her sense of humor is as twisted and dark as mine, balanced out by a sense of wonder and whimsy that is childlike in its purity. She is a rare and special person, and my life is endurable in all other ways as long as she is in it. 

In a nutshell, I missed her a lot. But I am home now, and with luck I will be here for a long time. We have much work to do, and with the trade between the compound and Jack's group in Michigan, we now have real resources to draw on. We can make this place truly secure, and a real home to those that live here. 

Despite the reoccurring problems we run into, I think that overall we are a good group, dedicated to each other's survival. And in the world as it is now, that is more important than anything. 

Friday, June 18, 2010


We are on the road, heading home with our convoy. There are zombies all about, but thanks to some clever alterations Jack's people made to our bus as well as their own vehicles, we can drive right through them without worry.

A group of trailbreakers are moving ahead of us, and we are hoping that the sheer size of our convoy will be enough to get us through the spot we were ambushed at before. Not much else to report at present, other than the fact that there are apparently some problems with the folks that tried to take our armory the other day. I didn't get a full update, but I am sure someone will call me at some point today to pass on more details.

Hoping to be home by morning.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sowing Ends

We aren't needed here any more. The ground is still being cleared in some areas, but our stock of goods has been exhausted, and what we know about growing and harvesting food Jack and his people now know as well. But of course, these are things that the people here could have figured out on their own. They might have had a harder time of it, but I am sure that they would have found things to plant and eat. The true value of this trip isn't that we saved these people; we didn't. It is the relationship we have begun, and the positive growth that I truly hope will follow.

Courtney has done so much to build ties, spending nearly all her time talking with Jack and the other folks in leadership positions around here. It really pains her to leave, but all of us are eager to get home. The horrible situation that's unfolded over the last few days still needs some resolution, and we miss our friends and families.

We will be heading home tomorrow, in a convoy that will bring sections of wall, some solar panels, and many other things. Jack is sending some folks with us to clear the way, and to help us stay safe. His people will be making their way back with truckloads of food. Seems like a good deal to me.

Hoping that the zombies hold off at home at least until we get there.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Patrick tried to get in touch with me very early this morning, because a situation came up. I am going to insert the comment he left on the blog right here:

"Patrick said...

I hate to be the one that pisses in your oatmeal, but I've got bad news on the home front. Do you remember John Hastings the small minded preacher that did all the graffiti last month and got exiled naked last month? Well he's been slipping into the compound for the last two weeks recruiting people to come to the new camp he found. I only found out about this late this after noon, when one of the people he tried to recruit came and told me that about 10 people, and 3 kids were going to leave with him. I said no sweat if they want to leave no one was going to stop them. Thats when I was told they planned to take as much of the food and weapons that they could smuggle out over the next couple of nights. I kept my self in check and went and found Treesong so a clear head could go and talk to these people. When we went up to the house with John and most of his people, some one opened fire. I swear we had no weapons on us we just went to talk. I got grazed in the arm, but Treesong was hit in the hip and was bleeding badly. I got him out of their as fast as I could. Evens worked on him, got the bullet out and the bleeding stopped. As of a few minutes ago he was conscious and talking so he should be ok. When I got back to the house it was empty. So I ran straight to the armory and was fired on as soon as I was in sight. Guess Evens told some one what was going on because some body on the tower returned fire and saved my ass. Thats how it sits now the armory is surrounded, John and his crew won't come out. Treesong is trying to be brave and stupid at the same time by wanting to go negotiate. Me and Evens won't let him. I've tried talking but only get bullets in response. Want to starve them out but they've got kids in there. Don't know what to do brother. Got any ideas?"

He was in an understandable rush, and I wish he had been able to get in touch with me. But events transpired while I slept, and the outcome...

John and his followers apparently realized that we weren't just going to let them go with our weapons and supplies. He came out holding one of the children in front of himself, gun to the poor kid's head. I don't know which one of the folks in the watchtower took the shot, but I am very glad they did. Any man that would threaten a child deserves death. 

It turns out that none of the others took to kindly to his actions, but all of them were too afraid of hitting the little boy, Brendan, to try and take him out. I'm not in charge anymore, but my suggestion to the council was to think hard about the options here. Any time you involve kids, the morality of your choices alters. I don't want to keep people that don't want to stay, but I don't want to exile children with their parents to almost certainly die out among the zombies. 

No decisions have been made yet, but all options are being considered. I hope the people back home are wise enough to come up with a solution. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Heavy Metal

So here we are, smack in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. This is the sort of thing I used to joke about back before the fall, but right now the truth of what we are living through has never been more clear.

My group and I are still in Michigan helping Jack and his large community get plants in the ground and devising strategies for expansion of their farmland. We think that we can clear more area than we thought yesterday, mainly because we have found a large quarry about an hour away, and the machinery there will make very quick work of asphalt, concrete, buildings, you name it.

So things are looking up, except for the huge wave of zombies that came in last night. People were still out working, of course, because Jack has the people and the resources (battery powered lights, charged up during the day by solar panels). Apparently a couple of guys have been working on an interesting defense system that none of us had any idea about. I don't know the exact details, but it involves something that looks like a catapult, some interesting devices that get launched from it which spin about and cause mucho damage to whatever they hit, and some very good aim. All in all not too bad an attack for us.

Jack is sending out a party of about fifty people to clear the way down to the town we got ambushed at. We want to define as clear a trade route as possible between us and them, and perhaps we can establish contact and maybe trade with our unknown assailants as well...

My folks back home tell me that the farms around us are pretty lush with crops. I think we will make a go at farming them again next year, since many of them were planted before the zombies hit us. Long term sustainability, here we come!

Oh! I almost forgot. Jack and his group are designing us some transports and beefing up our bus even more. New engine, new transmission, new armor...and the transports will be amazing. I've seen bits and pieces, and it blows me away. Jack had an idea to help us build the wall faster, and he is having some simple snap-together sections fabricated for us. Plenty of metal around here to do it with, and he says making them is simple and easy. I think he might be trying to make up for the attitude his people had about us before they got to know us, but I will take any help I can get.

Having a good time and the future is looking a little brighter, but I miss the compound. I miss my friends and neighbors, and most of all I miss my wife. Be safe, we will be home to you all soon.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Don't Tread On Me

The work here continues, but under a lot more stress than before. Zombies have started to drift this way in fairly large numbers, and add to that a bit of a revelation from Jack, and it comes up to shitty work conditions.

Turns out that before this group got to read up on us and get a feel for who and what we are, the general consensus was to basically co-opt the entire compound and bring all of us up here to work as the farmers to their manufacturers. Not exactly slavery, but they were preparing to get agreement from us by any means necessary.

Jack told us this because he had managed to change the minds of a great many people. The simple fact is that there is just not enough land around here that is ready to be farmed on. So while these folks will have enough to eat if they are careful through this coming winter, they will be in a pretty desperate situation come spring. Jack made it clear that the only chance they would have would be to trade with us for our extra, because our weather down in Kentucky will allow us to produce more food for a longer period of time.

Everyone back at the compound is working hard on the wall, but some groups have been sent out to check some of the farms in our county and the surrounding ones. I am told that a large shipment of corn and grains can be sent if trucks can be provided, and that the farms directly to the west of the compound have a large number of cattle showing back up after all this time. It's a big place, so we hadn't been able to search all of it.

Frankfort has a lot of resources for food. Farms are numerous and bountiful, but after learning that these people were seriously considering trying to make us into some lower class to work for them (though they don't see it quite that way) we aren't inclined to be particularly generous with our foodstuffs. From here on out, we deal in quid pro quo. If they want food from us, we get technology and equipment.

We are trying to be as pragmatic about this as we can. We simply can't afford to pack up and go home, forgo ties with these folk. We need each other if we are going to have a chance at rebuilding, really taking a shot at the long haul. We have many plans for things that we can have them make, and they were trying to watch out for their own, after all. I can't really blame a group of people that have never worked with the earth for thinking that others more experienced could do it better.

That's where we are at present. I am hoping to hear from Jess later in the morning to find out what we can send up here. Jack assures me that a shipment of solar panels and the equipment we need to make them work on our little grid will be ready to go when we are.

Hopefully this arrangement can be a long term solution to some of our problems. If we can make it work, then all of us will be much safer and happier people.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Something is really strange around here. I'm back from our very successful trip around the area to find plants and seeds, and while I was out, I caught a few snippets of conversation that snagged my interest.

While I was on guard due to the rather numerous zombies wandering near our campsite, I heard two of the men from the factory talking about plans being changed. I listened in as best I could, and I heard something about needing to talk to Jack about finding another way to get the job done. They said something about a group they'd "sent south". They stopped talking as soon as they caught sight of me, and pretty much everyone in the group was cautiously polite the rest of our trip.

I made it a point to try and talk to Jack about this as soon as we got back, but he acted as though he had no idea what I was talking about. But there was something in his eyes, in the way he moved, that made my hair stand up.

My hope is that there was simply some change of plans that has nothing to do with us, that these folks just don't want to share with outsiders. That would be ideal, because regardless of what it is, I am not here to judge them or try to interfere. But I have a sneaking suspicion that whatever this secret is, it involves us, and that scares the shit out of me.

Our group has a meeting in about thirty minutes with Jack, and I need to talk to the others, just in case things here go badly. Again, let no one in that you don't know. We can't take any chances that there isn't something deeper going on here.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A very short update

Still out of town, gathering plants. Some worrisome things going on, but more about it tomorrow. Too many eyes and ears right now.

At home--let no one in that you don't know. There are reasons.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Perchance to Grow

The people here have done so much.

Three massive parking lots are now clear patches of earth, and more are being worked on. My estimation of what our time frame would be didn't take into account the huge number of people willing to work all hours. There are already furrows being plowed, and seeds getting ready to hit the dirt.

So far we haven't drawn the attention of any zombies. I doubt that our luck will hold out in that area, but at the same time, given the large number of people here, I don't see anything short of a huge herd of them causing any problems.

I am getting ready to leave with a team that Jack put together, and we'll be going pretty far afield in search of foodstuffs to plant. Wish us a safe journey, and I hope all is going well at home.

As I write this, I am sitting on the roof of a factory, and the whole roof has been turned into a water-catcher. Clever design funnels the rainwater down into barrels that used to contain needed fluids for a factory to work. Now they hold the stuff that makes people work, and in great quantity. I imagine that other buildings have been similarly altered.

Below me, I see people bent over amid the peaks and valleys in the newly turned earth, a huge square of fertile possibility in a drab and gray monument to repetitive and dreary sadness. I see the sweat gleam on their brows, and I can imagine what this land will look like when it grow and blooms.

Maybe the zombies did us a favor.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Breaking Earth

Lunch break, and no zombies in sight. Apparently the walking dead got the idea a few weeks ago that not too many people were around here, likely because of the lack of smells. Got to love the industrial park being filled with all manner of chemicals, makes for a nice if unintentional zombie repellent.

So we got to work on turning as much of the area as possible into farmland...and it's going a lot faster than I would have thought. See, here there are a ton more people to do the work, and no need to mount heavy guards. So almost all of the adults have been helping us out.

Jack has been working on this for a while now, but only the preparation. He has had people going out in groups to gather heavy equipment, hauling in many loads of dirt and fertilizer, but there just weren't enough seeds and plants, especially foodstuffs that had already started sending up shoots.

We have a lot of parking lot to tear up, but we will make fast work of it. The hard part is getting it broken up into chunks, but once that's done we just send in the backhoes and pile it up. Sort of makes a nice wall, and I've seen some people walking it, keeping an eye peeled outside.

So we figure two or three days of this, and the first parking lot, which is huge, will be bare soil again. They have some equipment that we can modify to help dig furrows, so it won't actually take that long to get going. The trick is to find some source of more plants and whatnot within a reasonable distance. I mean, we brought everything we could spare from the compound, and everything we could find about town, but these folks will need a lot more.

One good thing, though, is that there are a lot of seed potatoes here. As in, literally about a ton. Ask the Irish, if you find any alive, how that worked out. Hopefully another potato famine won't hit, because they are stupidly easy to cultivate, and they grow most of the year. I think that they will be the staple food here.

After watching these people work and solve problems, I begin to wonder why they hadn't already started this project. I mean, it's not like they needed us to do it, though we are bringing many things that they can seed off and breed new plants from. I wonder if it could be something as simple as not wanting to screw it up? It's a small mystery, and one that I am not too worried about, but it's like a loose tooth I keep running my tongue over.

Meh, screw it. I'm just being stupid. After all, they were planning on breaking up the parking lots and roads, they had all the gear to do it. Now, we just have to hope that all this human activity doesn't bring a swarm of zombies down on us while we work.

Back to it, and I hope to be back to all of you at the compound soon.

I miss you, Jess. And I love you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Safe and Barren Land

Finally made it. I fucking hate hiding, whether it's from zombies or people with guns.

We managed to get on the road late yesterday afternoon, and we carefully marked that town's location as a possible place to go back and take a careful look at in the future. They didn't fire on us outright, which is a good sign, but they did chase us for a long while. If we weren't on a timeline here, we might have gone back.

We are surrounded by people here, at our intended destination. I still won't be telling you exactly where in southern Michigan we are, but for the sake of having a name to call this place, let's call it Diego. That will work as well as any other random name, I reckon.

Diego is a fair sized town, perhaps forty thousand people before the fall. But clearly not a place that, before the zombies hit, had a lot of economic diversity. It reminds me pretty sharply in appearance of the old labor towns that used to be built to house workers around major projects like the hoover dam. This place is packed with factories and plants of one type or another, machine shops to supply them with repairs and custom parts, and all the supporting businesses that you would expect from an industrial town.

I am sitting at a table in a well-lit room. It's all stainless steel around me, and there is a big plate of steamed brown rice in front or me. They have a lot of power here, for reasons that excite the hell out of me.

See, the zombie apocalypse came right when a lot of things were going on in government to try and fix many of the problems in the economy. Michigan got a lot of help, some funds to help businesses get started to create more green energy, and tax breaks for them. So you have the building I am in right now, which was a plant that employed about a hundred people, that made solar panels, and the chemists here were working on some exciting new ways to make and store energy.

I'm thrilled at the possibilities.

Courtney is in her third meeting with their leader, an older man named Jack. He was a supervising research scientist here, and he has more degrees than I can count. He's also a damned good leader, to have managed to save so many of his fellow employees, and so many from the surrounding factories.

But he also hedged his bets a little as well. I admit that I was somewhat confused as to how three hundred or so people could be running low on food so quickly, but Jack was masking the true numbers here. It's breathtaking to see so many in one spot, more than seven hundred in total.

I can see why he wanted to keep this secret, but his reasoning in this case is faulty. I know of no groups even half his size, and none of them well equipped or with enough manpower to try and get here to capture any of his folks. The sheer numbers that he can put out as watchers and guards are his est protection, and now that he is more aware of how things in the outer world are going, he's very happy to know just how safe they are.

But it does make clear just how desperate the food situation is going to be around here before too long. There is a lot of canned stuff, and literally tons of rice and grains, but all of that will last maybe six months. Just long enough to run out before winter. And since this giant factory is in the middle of an industrial park, there isn't a lot of bare earth to work with. But we have plans, never fear, and the helpful part is that what they lack in food and landscape, they more than make up for in manpower and equipment. Give us time and machines, and we southerners will gladly help you make a farm.

We begin tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Still in Indiana, no way to charge phone. Hiding from gunmen all yesterday and this morning, bus is well concealed. Zombies everywhere here, so not much chance of being seen. Just waiting for a break in the crowd. Will post again when I can charge my phone, which won't be until the bus is on and generating power.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Northern Indiana is not a fun place to be. But then, we wouldn't have taken this gigantic detour had northern Ohio been passable.

We hit the largest horde of zombies I have ever seen about an hour and a half shy of the Michigan state line. As we came over a hill, we saw a crowd of milling people so vast that we couldn't see the road under them anymore. There had to be a hundred thousand of them. We bolted, of course, as quickly as the bus could turn, and not knowing the area well, we got a bit lost trying to find an alternate route.

We are back on track now, but while only bigger places in Ohio looked truly devastated, Indiana looks like shit pretty much everywhere. Looks like riots and arson destroyed most stuff before the zombies had a chance.

Holy shit, there are some people on the road ahead of us, and they have some big ass guns. Dave is yelling, saying something about holding on...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Ruins

We camped out last night on the Kentucky side of the river, looking toward Ohio. We have been told that the bridges were impassable, possibly destroyed, but neither is the case. We made it across with no problems, and just a few minutes ago we left Cincinnati.

Some of you might not know, or might not remember (though I can't see how anyone could forget) that this city was ground zero for the zombie outbreak. It's one thing to see news reports, to hear the stories, and another experience entirely to see the results first hand.

There were bodies everywhere. It looked like something from a nightmare, seeing great piles of human beings strewn about, people half-eaten laying in the streets. The number of zombies roaming around was incredible, and as far as we could tell, there were no living souls left. We've had to get pretty sharp at recognizing the subtle signs of covert human habitation, but none of us saw a thing. From what we could see, Cinci is a wasteland.

The buildings are mostly broken and burned, the streets lined with abandoned cars and shattered masonry. A big fire hit this place at some point, and it went through here unchecked. It looks like the national guard did a real number right before the end, given the number of obvious mortar impacts scattered around.

In all, it was pretty depressing. Not for the first time, I wish that more people had seen this for what it was early enough to stop the spread of the zombies, but if wishes were fishes...

Onward as far as the clear roads will take us, and hopefully into Michigan by nightfall.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Trade Routes

We're on the road right now, headed to Michigan. I won't be telling you where we are going specifically, for security reasons, but it is in the southern (ish) part of the state.

The people we are going to see are overseen by a sort of city council, similar to what we have here. Like us, they started with a leader, but after some bothersome events decided that major policy should be decided in a group. Just like us.

They expressed some doubts that we would be able to make it there, and when I told them about the alterations my brother has made to our bus, they plain didn't believe me. Since the last time we took it out of state, my brother Dave has made something of a project out of the thing. He's extended parts of it, added some clever slide out cots, and managed to hook a big trailer to  it. He also pulled out the engine, beefed it up, and armored the whole thing in some pretty creative ways.

It goes without saying that he added some more gas tanks.

Courtney is in charge of this trip, once we get where we are going. We are all acting on her calls, because the situation is too important and too delicate to leave up to committee. She's the boss, Tony Danza style.

I am somewhat concerned about leaving the compound with the recent flare-up in Zombie attacks, but the opportunity before us is just too good. There was a bit of an argument about my brother and I both leaving, but he has managed to teach several trustworthy people a great deal about construction, and our future projects. Enough, anyway, that with the start we have given them and the plans we have left, they can survive without us indefinitely. But it is vital to this trip that we have a group with proven nerves of steel, that has traveled into similar circumstances before.

Me, Courtney, Steve, Dave, Darlene, and Little David. Jess is staying put this time out, as I am still not keen on the idea of her risking our kid. I wanted Patrick to come, very very badly, but I trust him to watch out for Jess above anyone else outside my family. He's also a person that can talk comfortably with pretty much anyone in the compound, and everyone knows he's fair. So he will keep things calm.

Our load of plants and seeds is slowing us down, so I don't know how long this trip will take. We will definitely need to gas up for the trip back, because our giant reserve tank will just barely get us there. We're told that our hosts have a plentiful supply of fuel.

That's all for now, so far all signs are good, all roads are clear. That crew from Lexington must have drifted through here recently, and worked on the roads. Bless them.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Industrial Evolution

A quick post today.

We have made a breakthrough contact. There is a large group of survivors in southern Michigan that have managed to get in touch with us. Courtney has spent all morning talking with them, and what she has passed on to the rest of us makes it clear that we have to gain the trust of these people, and build a lasting relationship.

The reasons for this are many. The first is that there are more than three hundred of them, a greater number of living people than any of us have yet encountered, with maybe the exception of the team at Google, though they are very tight-lipped about their numbers. The second reason is that they are almost all automotive workers--among them many skilled die-makers, machinists, welders, and mechanical engineers. A few chemists from a nearby Dow plant have joined them, and the vast amount of abandoned raw materials at the factory they have set up camp in, as well as the surrounding plants, means that with time, they can start making things that many of us believed would never be produced again.

They are making things now, though most of it very basic and crude; farming implements, wind turbines, linkable defense frames that you can snap together in sections and put outside a wall to act as a zombie deterrent (sort of like our pointy stakes, but better). But the lack of serious agriculture in that area is a huge problem for them, and though they were wise to raid many food manufacturing warehouses in that area, they need help with farming. They have the manpower and the know-how, but they need seedlings, seeds, and the like, as they have planted all they could find. We are hoping that we can help them, and maybe set up some a trade system and a safe route between here and there.

So it goes without saying: we are getting the bus ready to go. Time is vital for planting, and we are going to be on the road by morning, loaded up with what we can spare. This time we have had a lot of time to prepare for our next big trip, and the bus is an armored beast, trailer in tow. I am excited, and Courtney is ready and eager to engage her role as our diplomat face to face. This is exciting!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

...of the fittest.

What a day. We've been cleaning up the bodies from the massive assault yesterday, burning zombies in huge piles. We managed to get by with few injuries and no fatalities, but it was a close thing. The saving grace this go round was the wall and the defensive structures we have in place. Stakes and trenches are awesome precautions.

It also helps that we piled a lot of debris up around the compound, just past where the wall will be when we complete the other parts of it. It discouraged large groups from getting through those areas, but the front is the only easily accessible part anyway.

We can't take another like it anytime soon. We had to pull every person to fight, and it went on for hours. Everyone is exhausted and scared shitless, afraid that more hordes will come today. We have three groups of people out in town and on the interstate looking out for large groups.

Jackie and a few of her kids made us all proud. While the rest of us were running around and fighting, thinking only of staying alive and searching for the next kill, she and a few of her older students made runs back and forth to bring us jugs of water, dense and simple foods to keep up our energy. And between runs, they waited inside the wall , one group on each edge to quickly kill any stragglers that made it through. My sister is a bit of a girly girl, and I can't tell you the amazement that ran through me when I saw her kill a zombie with a hammer, acting with a violence and certainty that I have never seen from her before. I have this weird mix of pride and deep disquiet running through me. People do change, no matter what doctor House used to say.

Back to the hauling and lifting. It's too damn hot to be burning so much, but we don't have any other choice.

The way in is open for you if you want to come. We're safe for today.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


If you are heading this way, STAY AWAY for right now. We are under continuous attack, and have been all morning. Zombies are swarming us in droves, and this is the first minor lull in the attacks. We are trying to contain and eliminate, but we cannot assure the safety of anyone trying to make it in at this time. Repeat, for the time being, DO NOT COME HERE.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tower and Captive

We caught a zombie. It took forever to find one that met Evans' rather strict criteria, but we got there. It was a bit like hunting, sitting around in a blind waiting and waiting and waiting. Wish I had taken my phone with me, so I could have gotten some writing done while I was so bored.

The zombie we have penned up is an adult male, somewhere between the ages of 24-38. He is without obvious injury, and appears freshly dead. He has no odor of decomposition, which is good. It means we have a great place to start.

We want to observe him for as long as we can, seeing what changes occur physically over time. Evans plans to dissect him eventually, so that we can try to understand what is causing this to happen. One thing that I can tell you for sure; when they first come back, zombies are clumsy and stupid. The one we have is not, so we have to assume that he has been this way for a while.

Enough of my morbid interest in necroscience.

Jess is really pissed that she isn't going out into town. She has gotten so used to being free to take risks, to be right there next to everyone else while bad mojo is going down. But now all I hear about night and day is that she's stuck on light duty, watched wherever she goes. So "we" talked about it, by which I mean that she told me and I had no choice but to agree, and she is going to be doing tower duty.

The watchtower is a bit of a masterpiece, and we have my brother to thank. We managed to squeeze in enough people on it to finish it quickly, and since we harvested almost all the trees in the north half of the compound, it has a clear view down the hill, and over the wall. It sits at the highest point, right in the middle, so we keep four riflemen, one for each direction, up there at all times as lookouts.

Jess is going to be the dayshift north rifleman. Riflewoman. Person. Whatever. She's a very good shot and Patrick got her an amazing 30.06 with a ridiculous scope on it as a strange sort of baby shower gift, though we haven't had one. I worry about her being so high up, being so exposed should living enemies show up and try to snipe us out. But she isn't to be denied, and I like my bits and pieces right where they are, so I won't argue.

She's up there right now, and I can hear the occasional crack as she tests her aim from five hundred feet. Glad she's on our side, she likes one shot kills way too much for her own good.

I am off to work with Dave on some designs for additional defensive structures we want to add to the wall when we get it done. Best to plan these things out ahead of time, so that we can be ready to go as soon as possible.

Things are going well.