Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cold Fronts

I am very serious about spreading the word between as many survivors as possible about this blog, about the fact that there are others out there. I want to build a network of communication and cooperation from here, and October is the month to do it for very good reason.

Around here, the weather is somewhat predictable. October will be relatively mild until the last week or so, and by halloween it will be in the forties for a high, just getting worse from there. It is my hope that by spreading the word and finding each other, we can build supply lines to help those survivors that may not be able to make it through the winter on what they have. We here at the compound can take in quite a few people ourselves. Just keep it in mind when it starts to get cold where live.

As for heating, Roger has been working on solutions that won't kill all of us with waste gases from burning wood, corn husks and the like. He's settled on an easy and basic design. It won't heat an entire house to perfect comfort, but it will keep most homes from getting deadly cold at night. It involves cutting holes in the walls to vent the gases through duct we will have to install. That's fine since most of us are spending some of our free time bolstering the insulation in our homes. We don't really need windows, so they are getting blocked off.

The little prototype stove Roger showed me is cool. He modified a design from something he found online for heating homes in the developing world. The cool thing is, you can make them from pretty much any closed steel container. I am planning to build ours from a charcoal grill. We have extras of those, since we pilfered every one we could find to cook on. All I need to do is cut a hole in the wall, run duct through it, insulate it, put some stone down so my floor doesn't catch on fire, and viola! HEAT!

At least, I hope it's that easy.

In other news, it's apparently pretty damn cold at Jack's compound in Michigan. The constant patrolling has taken its toll on Will. He's taking the day off from running around shooting zombies from the bed of a truck. I can't blame him. Most people healing from a broken leg would still be sitting down most of the time and rehabbing. He's making the best of the downtime, though, studying the landscape around Jack's place and coming up with additional defenses. Since it's pretty much a huge square , he wants them to put raised walkways at right angles to the walls right in the middle of each, poking outside the perimeter. That way when zombies get right up to the wall, the people on the walkways can pick them off and the people on the walls don't have to lean over and put themselves at risk firing straight down. If that sounds familiar, it should. He wanted to do something very similar here, and we have started work on it, of slowly.

I have talked to Courtney and Steve several times since they left, and I think that Courtney is getting to like Will a bit more. He's a likable guy, but Courtney still has reservations about where his loyalties will lie when and if the big group of soldiers from Richmond he came from come into conflict with us. But for my sanity and yours, I am going to stop beating that horse. It does get old worrying about a bunch of shit we can't affect, especially with so much we can affect going on right now.

At least the low temperatures at night have kept us relatively zombie free the last few days. The cold is persisting until nine or ten most days, so we haven't had to worry about any nighttime attacks, or even any early ones. Not that we aren't keeping a close eye out there, but just the ability to sleep a night all the way through without having to respond to an alarm is wonderful.

Work around here is coming along very quickly. This is exciting!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Call to Arms

I try to keep this blog personal, as close to a chronicle of our struggle--the victories as well as the failures--as I can make it. But today, I am going to ask every one of you out there for something, and I hope you will help.

Yesterday's events have made a big impact on me. To know that there are probably a lot more people out there than we have any way to count is both uplifting and frightening. Patrick and the group of volunteers are still weathering the storm of zombies at the factory they are staying in, loading component after component into trucks that we might use them here to generate electricity. Are there people near him?

Courtney, Steve, Will and dozens of others are now in Jack's compound in Michigan, leading kill teams to hunt down and eliminate the spreading plague of smart zombies, trying to slow the conversion rates and give Jack and his folks time to build more and better fortifications. Who knows if there are watchers camping out in safety, keeping an eye to help or hurt?

There is the walled neighborhood in Carterville, Illinois that took shots at Steve and I a few months back, with which we have been totally unable to communicate. Who knows if there are survivors out there that know a way to contact them that we have been unable to discover.

When I mentioned Patrick Rothfuss on my blog in a moment of reflection, I had no idea that it would bring a flood of people here for the first time, nor reveal that Mr. Rothfuss is indeed alive and safe.

All too often lately, I have ignored the obvious. I have made it a point not to ask anyone that reads this to put out the word, because I know how dangerous it would be for some of them to go out and try to get in touch with people, or that those who can access computers may not know how to reach others that are still alive.

But today, faced with friends far from home and in dangers we can't even imagine, that changes. If we are going to survive as a species, we need to unite and become aware of each other as far and wide as possible.

I ask you to help me. To help us, all of us, everywhere. To give aid to each and every survivor that still lives.

I want to make October the month that we contact more survivors than ever. So I beg you, share this blog with others. Post links on any website you can find that is still functional. Tell people, show people. Beg them to share it, to spread the word. It is my hope that on this blog we can begin to open the lines of communication between all survivors, to build a future of real hope based on the desire for mutual survival and improvement for all. But it's up to every one of you to help.

I have done what I can, from here. The only way to reach as many people as possible is for every reader to help with the cause. Let's make the next month one for history: the month when mankind shook off the oppression of the zombie plague to bring its brother and sister survivors together as one large community.

With your help, we can do it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Saviors Watching Over

Even if you don't count the zombies that incessantly wander and swarm across the world, by any reasonable measure, I have killed a lot of people. We all have.

I chalk this up to the fact that real tragedy and a lack of legal repercussions tends to strip away the thin veneer of humanity that coats some people. When you get attacked, you go Ender on them, and make sure they aren't a threat anymore. (For those of you who have never had the good luck to have read "Ender's Game", you have my sympathy.)

I've felt a lot of ways about ending a life. Bad, mostly, that I have had to put an end to the potential each of them brought to the world. Happy at times, that an innocent person had been spared and a violent, hateful one ended. Recently, a mild discomfort.

Welcome to my morning.

We have spent a lot of time searching and exploring Frankfort and the surrounding areas. By no means have we managed a true house-to-house, but until today we were certain there were no Marauders left anywhere close, and certainly no large groups of people.

As I joined a group of half a dozen in a search for fuel, we had little concern for living people. We see so few anymore that aren't a part of the compound that it almost seems there aren't any. We were in a pretty relaxed mood (as relaxed as you can get nowadays when not in the safe confines of the compound or covered in body armor) when we got to a gas station in Shelbyville. We've stayed away from the town for the most part, not going too deep into it because of the constant swarm of zombies concentrated there. We know there are some people that have managed to survive, we've heard gunshots and seen people running across the roofs on rickety, homemade bridges. But we also know that there can't be many of them, and they certainly never seem to make it out of the town itself.

When we found the gas station about three hundred yards into the town, we were completely shocked to see two gas tankers parked behind it. We cased the area as best we could, not finding any traps or obvious lookouts. So we moved in, hoping that the tanks were full...

Not thirty seconds later, we hear footsteps rushing in toward us. The few glimpses we've caught of some of the Shelbyville survivors have been of people in ragged clothes, thin and underfed, and dwindling in numbers over the last few trips. The people that popped up out of nowhere were all clad in matching riot gear, visors down to cover faces. None of them looked like they had missed too many meals.

Every one of them had on kevlar. I don't know where they got their gear, or where they came from, but all of us had a shared thought: we're fucked. Half of us had rifles easily capable of piercing body armor, but not one of us had more than a handgun ready to fire.

My guess is that whoever these fucks are, they have been following the blog, and almost certainly watching us, and set a trap for us knowing we've been looking for deposits of fuel.

Our group of people all raised our hands, slowly, as a dozen assault rifles and shotguns leveled at our chests. One of them moved toward us, and you could just see from the set of his shoulders that he was bracing himself for recoil. The way his feet planted, you knew he was ready for instant motion, pivoting to fire at a second target as soon as the first was down.

Imagine my surprise when a dozen hard plastic helmets exploded like so many death stars, shards of black plastic and clear visor mixed with globs of brain and stark white chips of bone, all together in sprays of blood that washed over all of us from the compound.

I don't know what made me do it, since we had clearly just had our lives by some people with rifles that we couldn't see, but the next thing I did was dive for our SUV to grab my shotgun.

Glad I did. Just as I turned back to my companions, two more of those armored bastards came from around the building, weapons down. I guess they though we'd all been dropped. Both of them sort of froze when they saw the reality of the situation, but I didn't. The one on the right got two barrels of .00 buckshot to his visor. When the others with me saw me raise my weapon, all of them turned and saw the attackers, and fired just after me. The second guy got hit by dozens of rounds at once, and I think that vest stopped every one that hit his chest. But then, he didn't have much left in the way of arms, legs, or head, so I wouldn't call that a win for him.

When our blood had cooled a little bit, we tried to look about for our saviors. It took a while, but finally one silhouette grew from the top of a building across the road. Walking to the edge of the roof he was on, we saw him wave at us. We shouted that he and his people could join us, but he shook his head and gestured around him with his arms wide. We pointed to the tankers (one full, the other half.), and he motioned for us to take them. Maybe they had all they could use. Maybe they were just being neighborly. I don't know.

I wish I could tell you that we talked, and that those few (?) tenacious survivors in Shelbyville explained to us that they loved their home and had no plans to leave. That it was THEIR land, and those that came with hate would be treated like monsters. We didn't. We saw many others appear as the man walked away, at least twenty of them, all with long guns. Every one of them appeared to be Hispanic, which is interesting and sort of heartwarming to me all at once.

They left without ever speaking a word, so I have my own theories to go on and little else. But I think that those people really did choose to make a stand of it there. That given how far many of them had come simply to live and work in this country, the trials and discrimination they had endured, they were unwilling to give up the place they had chosen to call home. They must have watched the armored men set up the alluring trap that caught us all, and stuck around or sent patrols to see what happened. Again, I don't know the facts or their motivation, but I can hope, and today I choose to make my theory positive.

Funny that around here, so many people used to comment about how Shelbyville was going to the dogs because of all the Hispanic people coming there. I always wanted to smack the shit out of people who talked like that, but when you live in the south, you aren't surprised by stupid racism, or racist stupidity.

It's just particularly funny to me that when all the other people either ran away or got killed, they were the ones to stay and be true to the place they call home. God bless them.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Making the Best of it.

Our taskforce left out a few minutes ago for Jack's compound in Michigan. It is our hope that with Will, Courtney, Steve and the others to help set up some more defenses and assist with running kill teams, we can help limit the possible casualties there. We also sent a lot of extra weapons with them, because Jack's folks don't have a lot of firearms. We're all in the south here, so guns are pretty easy to come by.

But the bulk of today's post is about the group of people we sent out to the distant factory in search of turbines. Patrick is leading that group, and with today's departure of Courtney and Steve, my list of close friends that are still in the compound has been greatly reduced.

Sorry, I think I am being whiny and self-absorbed.

Pat and the folks with him contacted us again last night, letting us know that they are ok. He reports that everyone is well, but that the vast zombie swarm that surrounded the area that the factory is located in has returned. Where they are (which I won't be sharing, by the way) is  bit warmer than it is here so there are many more active zombies, and the wind must have carried the scent of live prey to wherever it was they went.

So Pat and the others are stuck at the factory. It turns out that the reason the damn things were crowded around it in the first place is because there were, at one point, quite a few people living there. Pat says that there is a lot of canned food and some camping gear, but no sign of anyone having been there for at least a few weeks. He goes on to explain that a large area of the fencing there was knocked down at some point and raised back up, and the area around it virtually soaked with blood.

Patrick theorizes that a large number of the survivors there died in the effort to clear that area and get the fence back up, enough of them that the remainder must have decided that there weren't enough of them left to defend it properly. Leaving behind the canned food makes sense, if they had other, lighter foods to carry with them. You would be amazed at how often we find canned food abandoned places because people couldn't carry it anymore.

So for the near future our folks are gonna be camping out, spending their days loading trucks with gear we need while others keep an eye out for danger. It will take a while, because they can only work for short periods when there aren't any zombies to see them. Pat is worried that the sight of humans will drive the hoard into a frenzy and make that fence come down all over again.

But the good part of being stuck there is that they can load up a LOT of trucks with turbines, get them ready to be picked up on each trip there and back. There are some pretty large capacity units there, we're all pretty excited.

Damn, it's cold. I need to go have a talk with some people about providing warmth indoors without killing anyone with carbon dioxide poisoning when it gets bad enough out that our houses start getting cold on the inside...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Big Pictures

Today is a very important day, for several reasons.

The harvest has started. The major one, anyway. We are gathering all of the food we can, preserving much of it for the coming winter. We have had to slow down work on the annex walls to accomplish this. The good news there is that the work on the annexes is coming along quickly, and the two adjoining neighborhoods should be safe enough to move into in a few weeks. The heat wave that we have been under seems to have finally broken this morning, and it's pretty damn cold out. That was what brought on the harvesting operations...

In an unrelated note, my brother Dave and I are planning some stuff for the spring. We have so many projects that we want to get done, like our power stations, but with limited people to make them work, we have to pick and choose. It is our hope that we will find more survivors to bring here, and if we can, then we plan on annexing further and further from the compound, building on to it until it lies at the center of a much larger safe zone for what we hope will be thousands of residents. Planning for it, just in case...

The sudden cold seems to have driven the zombies into hiding. The few that the patrols have seen while ferrying supplies back and forth have seemed slower than normal, almost tired. Maybe they are running out of energy and finally starving. That would be great. But even if it's just the cold slowing them down, at least that might give us a good long respite from fighting and killing them. One can hope.

Probably the biggest news today is from Jack's compound up north. A small group of Smarties attacked in the night, probing the defenses. They were cut down, of course, but this means that their timetable for dealing with the threat has moved up immensely. We had a long meeting in council about it yesterday and again after getting the news last night, and some decisions were made.

We will be sending a group to Michigan to aid Jack and his people in setting up defenses and running kill patrols against the smarties. They are already out hunting, trying to keep the numbers of converted zombies to a minimum. If they can prevent the spread of the strain of the zombie plague that enables them to become more intelligent for long enough to improve their defenses, they should be alright. We're sending forty people who have all had direct contact with smarties and know what they can do, led by Courtney, Steve, and Will Price.

There were some people who thought that we shouldn't send Will, those folks who think that he isn't fully trustworthy. Treesong and some others made the point that he is tactically and strategically knowledgeable, more so than any of the rest of us. Tree pointed out that he's proven his loyalty to the satisfaction of most of us, gave the obvious examples. The good news is that the number of people that are still eying him with undue suspicion are dwindling. The bad news is that Courtney is still one of them. Not in a spiteful way or anything, just that her inquiring and critical nature makes her harder to convince in the short term than most people. It's one of the qualities I love most about her, and I think this experience will do a lot to either help her trust Will, or find some evidence that he isn't trustworthy. I'm just glad he's able to move about on his own now. His leg and arm still hurt him quite a lot, but he can at least use them now.

They are leaving tomorrow. Not a lot of time to prepare, but there you have it. We are prepping several vehicles to move out, this time some hybrid cars we have managed to gather over the last few weeks. It's taken a while to get enough of them together, but it will help us save what we can of our limited supply of gas, which is becoming increasingly hard to find. We might have to start sending groups out looking for tankers and siphoning out whole parking lots of cars....

Sort of rambling now, sorry. So much going on, so much to do. If we can go the day without being pelted by hungry zombies, we will have had time to make some headway on our efforts. With that in mind, I should go. Every hand helps.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


My Sister sent me some very, very bad news this morning.

Jackie lives in southern Michigan at present with her husband and kids, at Jack's compound. They have been pretty safe where they are, a large industrial park where Jack and his people manufacture things for trade to us.

This morning, a single zombie was spotted walking near the south wall of their perimeter. Protocol at Jack's is to leave individuals and small groups alone if they are not attacking or behaving in a threatening manner. It's a practical consideration meant to ensure the conservation of ammunition and to protect guards from unnecessary risk.

But in this case, someone should have disobeyed and wasted a bullet.

The guard that saw the zombie reports that it was just wandering about forty yards from the wall, occasionally looking toward the fortifications and stopping for a few moments.

Studying. He actually used the word. Warning bells should have been ringing. I have made it clear to Jack, as has Courtney during her biweekly diplomatic calls, that any zombies displaying abnormal behavior, the slightest signs of intelligence, should be brought down at once. The smart zombies, who we call smarties, are incredibly dangerous. They brought a force against us that drove us into the fallback point downtown for a week. They aren't to be underestimated...

But the guard just watched in curiosity, and it was only when the zombie gave him one last look and backed away that he realized something was out of whack.

As you can imagine, I am scared shitless for my sister and her family. I am worried about the people that live there (and there are a lot of them), and I am worried that the one place that left with the means to produce some technology is about to have its existence threatened.

The rest of my day is probably going to be spent in council, all of us trying to figure out what exactly we can do to help them out. We can send some people, but I think that if that lone pilgrim manages to infect a big enough number of other zombies with its own, better strain of the plague, there is no number that we could send that would make the difference.

No, I think that if this becomes the fight I would lay money on it being, materials, training, and tactics are going to be the forces that tip the scale in favor of Jack and his people.

I just hope that this is the beginning, and that the lone walker at the walls was just getting there, and that it wasn't a scout sent in to look around for weak points. If it still has to infect its own army, then there is a chance that there will be enough time to devise some strategies for victory. Or, at the least, survival.

Is there a difference anymore?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Over the Hump

Jess is up and about, if a little slowly, and she's lording that fact over me. I'm still pretty sick, but not nearly so bad as the last few days. 

It's sort of disconcerting that being sick has cut me off from so much of what goes on around the compound. Zombies have been attacking regularly in the last few days, but not in big numbers. It's still unseasonably hot, and the theory is that they are surging before the cold comes in. 

I really hope that cold weather brings us some relief from the attacks. Work on the annexes can continue for a long time in cold weather, but without the constant assaults on our workers, it will go much faster and allow the folks from downtown to be close to the compound, and to pool our resources. 

Of course, as the weather gets worse, the less big projects we will be handling. This is going to give my brother and I a lot more free time for other interests as the need for us to plan them lessens. I want to pick up a few trades, learn some more skills, and work on writing things other than this blog. 

I had nearly completed the last edit on my first fantasy novel before the fall of society. It's still sitting there on my hard drive, waiting to be tweaked and finished. It's been all I can do to write this blog with all we have been doing to survive and thrive, and I think it will be nice to work on something else as well. Should be a short project, since I had been working on it for a year before then...

One way of another, I will be up and about tomorrow. The only way I won't is if I am dead. I can't stand another day of laying here being ill, and there are things I need to look into, supplies to be gathered and cataloged before the truly cold weather gets here. 

Damn it, I want to feel better. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Not too Hot

Still really sick. Enough that I couldn't even get up when a bunch of smarties broke through a soft section of the south wall.

It wasn't too bad, from what I have been told. Maybe ten of the smart zombies got through. They found a way to get the regular zombies with them to pile all their weight against a section of wall that is mostly thin plywood. Lucky for us, we anticipated that weak spot getting hit at some point, and always have extra guards posted. The smarties made it about forty feet before they were cut down, but the alarm was sounded the second they penetrated our defenses.

I just reread that. I should be more specific. Will Price was the one to suggest we post extra guards at the weak spot. The rest of us figured that the usual patrols would suffice at first, though he convinced us otherwise. In our defense, the south is the area we are hit from least, since it's mostly woods. We have lumbered it out to a distance of about fifty feet, but it's very hard for zombies to navigate through it so most of us don't worry about large attacks from them there.

Of course, that is where the attacker came from, the one who shot Jess. So yeah, we are inclined to listen.

Evans thinks I will be feeling better tomorrow. My fever broke today, but the vomiting and...other symptoms are taking their toll on me. I am drinking a lot of water, but our supplies are getting thin. We haven't had a decent rain in a long time, and our reserves are almost gone. We still have the creek, of course (we dammed it up a while back to build a small reservoir, but it takes time to haul and filter it)  but I hate having to ask others to go get it for me. For us, since Jess is still injured.

I need to eat some lunch, and I hope I can hold it down. Will is still taking care of us, though he's making a point not to hover over us. Roger is giving him a hand today as well, I think the two of them are in my kitchen playing poker at the moment...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I'm writing this in bed. My brother is shouldering the burden today, since I am sick.

I feel like I have the flu, and for all the bitching I used to do at how shitty the medications my doctor used to give me for it were, now I wish for them so much that it actually hurts.

I only decided to write anything today because we have finally heard from Patrick and the volunteers with him. They have had a lot of trouble getting to the facility where the parts and supplies we need are stored. They didn't lose any people, and I think that has a lot to do with Pat as a leader. He's very cautious, indeed, very creative in being cautious, toward keeping people alive. He is also very patient, and he needed that to out wait a large swarm of zombies, and some local survivors that were hunting them.

The really good news is that there are literally dozens if not over a hundred trucks there, and most of them capable of carrying large turbines. It will take a few trips, but Pat and the others with him think that there is enough fuel between all of them to make half a dozen two way trips. All of us here are stoked at the news.

OK, that's all I've got today. Jess is still staying in bed most of the time to heal up her bullet wound, and now I am pretty much useless right now too. Will is hanging out with us today, helping Jess and I out. He made us breakfast this morning. I want to know where he found bacon. I could kiss him for that.

He has also been eying my Playstation 3 pretty dreamily. He never got a chance to play the last Metal Gear Solid game, and my house has enough solar and wind power to run it along with my computers...

Huh. We must be adapting to the world around us as normal if Will has an urge to play video games. More, I have my normal urge to show him how much better I am at it...but since I'm sick, I will let him go to town.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Aaron is Enlightening

Today's post isn't action packed or full of emotion. It's dedicated to the remarkable work Aaron is doing in making the education around the compound truly comprehensive.

As a preface, I will say that I have always had some serious misgivings about how the educational system in the US has operated. Not the basic stuff, of course, like reading and the foundations of mathematics, but pretty much anything after grade school turned out to be repetitive and less than stimulating. I agree with Robert Pirsig's idea that people tend to learn at peak efficiency when they choose what to learn, and learn at least efficiency when forced to study things that are of no interest to them at all. The other problem I have had with my education at least is the total isolation of subjects. Subject A is taught as an independent entity from subject B, and any correlation between the two is for the student to discover.

I have always thought that teaching one thing should inherently include other subjects. This teaches logic and comprehensive understanding while grounding the student in a broad number of subjects, creating a good generalist thinker. Good generalists can become good specialists, but rarely is there a good specialist without the ability to think with a wide scope.

Aaron agrees.

His lessons for the younger people are great to watch. This morning he started teaching basic botany, using the local plants and trees. He did what you would expect, naming the various species and their uses, but he added so much more into the lesson. Aaron made the students take note of which types of trees produced the best wood for building and for fires, which ones burned quickly and slowly. Which had useful saps and produced edible nuts. He even pointed out which ones would provide the best windbreaks because of foliage density and total area, and what types of roots would make farming difficult. Mind you, I am just writing what I can remember as an observer. But I can tell you, not one of those kids looked bored.

He is teaching adults as well. Aaron is putting in a lot of time learning skills and even more time teaching himself how to apply principles to them and how to derive principles from them. He is learning the smattering of Aikido, Judo, and Iaido that I and a few others teach, and is teaching some folks how to apply the body mechanics of those marital arts to everyday life, including work. I saw him showing someone how to use a basic Aikido stance as a base for learning a perfect hammer stroke to drive a nail, all the while explaining the physics of what he was teaching in understandable terms. The equations and formulas for force and work are so much easier to understand when you have real world experiences and examples to learn them with. I had to leave during that particular demonstration, but he was moving on to anatomy and physiology when I left, going on about the properties of the bones, tendons and muscles doing the swinging of the hammer, how the brain and nerves conduct those signals...

I know it seems like a lot of stuff to read it here, but the greater part of what impresses me here is that Aaron manages to make people understand and retain without overloading them. He is incredibly talented as getting people excited about what he is teaching by how he is teaching it. And that flash of energetic understanding in a student that is the hallmark of all truly awesome teachers like my sister? His students have it. Not once in a while or once a day, but often throughout a given class. It's like watching the audience of a movie with a lot of strange plot twists, constant surprise and flashes of an new understanding of the whole.

In this way he is giving our young and old alike an amazing ability to comprehend the whole of something, and to apply knowledge from one area to something seemingly unrelated. He is gaining popularity quickly, though I can't be sure he's entirely comfortable with it.

I think we might have lucked out into a resource we can't afford to risk in Aaron. So maybe we need to talk to him about avoiding going out of the compound. I think he can make us stronger in ways not many of us could have grasped a few weeks ago, and I don't want to lose that chance to some random zombie catching him off guard.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Shades of Gray

Things have quieted down for the most part around here in the last day. The zombie attacks on our workers have slowed down dramatically with the first truly cold mornings of the year. It also helps that Jeff Thomas, the guy who figured out how to modify some electric motors (taken from some hybrid cars) to run milling equipment finished his work. We can now crank out enough lumber to keep up with the needs of the hoard of people working on the annexes. 

Our detachment of additional guards has reached the people we sent to look for the farmers willing to drive their sheep here. It's looking good weather wise for their trip here. Helps that those farmers have about thirty large dogs with them to harry the zombies they will certainly run into and to herd the sheep. Keep your fingers crossed. 

I guess the only big news around here today is that Will Price took his first unaided steps today. His arm is still a few weeks from freedom, but today he walked. He only made it about five feet before he needed a crutch, but it's pretty great progress. Evans thinks that he will be totally mobile in a few weeks, though he will have to rebuild the strength in his limbs. He's pretty excited to start pulling his weight, and is frantically trying to learn just about everything around here. With Patrick gone (still no word...) he is spending about an hour a day with Roger learning metallurgy and smithing. He's still doing two hours of classes with Evans on medicine. He is acting as the council's consultant on defense, which is at least three hours at a stretch several times a week. He spends a lot of time with Aaron, taking classes and acting as a teacher's assistant when called for. He does many other things, and watching him soak it all up is pretty impressive. To have had such a burning urge to learn all this time, and to hold it in check says volumes about his willpower. 

Speaking of Aaron, he has opened up a little. That's a relative statement, mind you, because he is still pretty reclusive when not teaching, but at least now he leaves his quarters for walks occasionally, and once in a while stops to talk to people. I think part of what has been helping him is that I put him in touch with my sister, who was our primary teacher here before she left for the safer realms up north. Aaron and Jackie communicate every day, and conversing with someone who shares his passion has given him some stability. It has also helped him become more creative in his lessons, but that is going to be tomorrow's post. It's interesting, and I want to do it justice. 

I hate to leave on a down note, but we have gotten some disturbing reports from those we send out in our ever-expanding sphere of exploration for materials and supplies. Signs show that there might be (or have been) a lot more survivors than we previously thought. Evidence leads us to believe that pockets of survivors have been hiding and then worn down over time by constantly roaming hordes of zombies. Fresh blood and bodies, abandoned supplies, cars still first we thought that these were isolated incidents, but a pattern is emerging. It seems to me that finding other living humans has to be made high on our priority list if we are going to keep the human race going. It also explains why so many of the undead are still walking around instead of starving. We know that they can go for a very long time with nothing, and truly we have no proof that they actually need to eat...god, I hope they do. Because if not, then that means that their numbers can only be reduced by us killing them...

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Today has been crazy, and I wasn't going to post anything...but a few comments on my last post caught my attention.

RichLayers said...

Ummm, I hate to be a naysayer... but are you sure... do your zombies ever go after animals? Because, I mean, you're setting yourself up for a whole new meaning of Mad Cow Disease.

I don't know what the zombies around your neck of the woods act like, but here, they rarely attack animals. I mentioned this in a response comment, but it does bring up an interesting point. Our zombies attack small animals if they get desperate for sustenance, and it's becoming more common. There are just less people for them to eat, though they do seem able to survive on for a very long time on almost nothing. I chalk it up to the controlling organisms in their bodies being very efficient and being able to store up a lot of excess inside. Also, autopsy by Evans has shown that zombies will cannibalize their own unneeded tissues for energy--such as intestines and the like. Since the fungus or bacteria that control the dead bodies of the zombies leaches nutrients from the stomach direct (which seems to grow to meed the size needs of that particular undead) those organs are so much food, saved to be used at need.

I should also note here that the zombies seem to harbor no aggression toward animals. I don't know if this is some holdover from when those brains were alive and human, but in general they ignore or avoid any life but human. Of course, that means we get ALL the aggression (which is why this post is hastily written, and wasn't going to be written at all initially--several attacks on the annexes today, groups of five or six, and I have been helping out over there...). 

The other comment was this:

Drackar said...

And here I thought this was a lead-up to eating the dogs.

Sheep are a good food supply, and easy enough to keep fed. Goats are a better option, grazing wise, as they can eat more feed, but they don't provide the wool...and the milk is not very tasty if they eat anything but grass and grain.

Perfectly reasonable, Drackar. Indeed, I think it's a great idea. Unfortunately, we have no idea where any goats might be, while we do in fact KNOW where some sheep are. 

Which is another part of why I have decided to post today. Our party found those sheep farms earlier today, and were able to contact us not long ago. And guess what? Those farmers are still there! They have agreed to travel here, herding their flocks (as long as we provide some guards, of course. We're happy to.) all the way to Frankfort. It will take a bit of time, but FINALLY, something has worked out easily and without complication. 

And no shots fired. Always a plus. 

With the recent spurts of zombie attacks due to so many of our folks being outside of the walls working, Trying to organize about a billion details, making decisions in the council, worrying about a new leader (and worrying about everyone else, come to that...), I find myself feeling remarkably normal. It's not that I don't feel pain at the loss Jess and I share, simply that I find that one of my mother's sayings turns out to be true: the only way to deal with tragedy is to go on, to live and work. To not let it dominate and control your life. 

She was a brilliant and wise woman, but in all honesty, I am glad that she didn't live to share this particular pain. I hope that whatever heaven she may be in, she is smiling that I learned at least one lesson from her. 

Friday, September 17, 2010


We've had to make a lot of hard choices since all of this began. The world we live in is now a harder place, with the odds stacked against us. As strange as it may sound, we have had a hard time with making decisions about animals. Sound weird? Think about it.

We keep dogs, in large part because they act as a wonderful early warning system for zombies. Even small dogs can smell them coming from a long way off, and tend to freak out when a large group is coming. Of course, Jess and I have our big boys, Riley and Bigby, who double as guards when the need comes up. But dogs have to be fed, and while food isn't a huge problem right now, winter is coming and stores have to be put aside.

It's hard to imagine our lives without our pets. Jess and I have cats and two ferrets, and they have large stocks of dry food, enough to last another year at least. All or our animals bring us comfort and unconditional love and companionship. We kill people when the need arises, and zombies every day....but all of us came up against a hard wall when it came to man's best friend. Dog food just goes too fast, and takes up so much space that we didn't stock up that much of it.

The solution we came to isn't a pretty one. We have to stock up on food, and having a steady supply of meat is crucial to keeping up our strength through the approaching cold.

So we have decided to measure out exactly what we will need for ourselves and our dogs protein wise, and add twenty percent to it, and we are going to slaughter cows to get it. Some of the ones at our nearby farms, of course, and as many as we can find in outlying areas. Then we release every cow that lives out into the wild, try to herd them into a large mass. We intend on letting them breed and migrate as they will, but try to keep track of them so that we can hunt them down when the spring comes. We'll be wanting milk, I am sure...

The big reason for this is that cows need a lot of pasture, and since they were our only domesticated livestock option until now, we pretty much had to keep them around. But Will Price and Aaron got to talking after one of Aaron's classes the other day (as a fellow "outsider", Will has made it a point to reach out to our new teacher, and to try and get to know him. They also happen to share a love of accumulating errata and odd bits of trivia...) and during the course of that conversation, Will learned that Aaron knows where several very large sheep farms are located. This is awesome news, because sheep are a perfect staple animal.

They produce more meat per square foot of grazing land required than cows. They reproduce faster. They are covered in warm, fuzzy wool with which we can make lots of clothes. Well, next year we will, can't shear them right before the winter...

The hard part will be getting them here. None of us have quite figured out how we are going to do that yet, but a party will be heading out this afternoon, following Aaron's directions and hoping for the best.

I told Will, after he passed this information on to the council, that he and Aaron should come over to the house tonight. Jess is coming home, finally, after so much time recuperating at the clinic. I wish Pat could be here for it, and the small homecoming get together I have planned, but he and the volunteers with him are still gone and out of touch. So instead of pining for my best friend to be here when he can't, I will focus on getting to know new friends better, and maybe helping draw Aaron out of this shell he's drawn himself into.

Come to think of it, maybe I will invite Roger and his wife over as well. I'd like to see some familiar faces tonight...

Jess isn't a fan of beef. I might go look and try to find a chicken somewhere, though most of them have been moved out to the neighboring farm. Damn cold mornings, making everything harder.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Some like it hot

Holy shit, what a night.

It got unseasonably hot yesterday, over ninety degrees, and the sudden shift toward warm weather seemed to jump-start our local undead.

The bad part is that it stayed warm all night, and the zombies kept on coming until about two hours ago. It was a steady stream from multiple directions, and enough of them got cut down at the northern section of the wall that the most recent arrivals could just about walk up their bodies to the top of the wall.

I would say that we took down somewhere around a thousand of them over the night, and that says great things about the wall. The higher areas of it kept the undead that attacked them from being any kind of threat, funneling them to shorter areas of the wall where kill teams could be concentrated.

Will was helping with the attack, standing on a crutch while loosing arrows. He managed to get my attention at one point during a lull in the fighting, asking about the modifications to the wall he had previously suggested.

With so much going on, it's been all we could do to build a few of those mods, and there is no way we could do the whole length while still trying to annex the other neighborhoods. But he gave me a very detailed explanation of how the extensions would make defense much easier, and I have to agree. Maybe we can get a small team of maybe six people working on them, slow and steady...

We spent the last two hours hauling bodies and burning them. I don't know what it is about the infection that controls the zombies that makes them burn so easily, but I am glad for it. At least we don't have to waste fuel getting them going.

Heeeey....maybe we can use zombies to power a turbine...

Ok, I have been awake for entirely too long. Going to bed now, and hoping that the folks on watch today while the rest of us get some needed rest don't have a hard time of it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

State of our Union

Still no word from Patrick and the group that went out with him. It's not surprising, really, given how spotty and unpredictable cell coverage is, but it still sucks. None of us likes the thought of a large group of us going out with no way to contact home regularly, but we expected it given that they are heading in a direction none of us have been since society fell.

Work on the annexes is coming along quickly. We need to secure the neighborhoods next door with speed if we are going to get the folks from downtown into comfortable housing before it gets really cold. Frames for the walls are getting raised with good speed. We learned a lot from the mistakes we made while building the first wall, and of course we have a much bigger work force this time around.

One factor that seems to be helping a lot is the shift in weather. Kentucky is one of those places that doesn't seem to have a lot of intermediate stages in the seasons. One day it was crazy hot, and the next it was cold. Like thirty degrees colder at night and in the mornings. The zombies don't appear to like the cold very much, moving slowly if at all. Not a lot of attacks in the early parts of the day, just stragglers in ones and twos.

I have brought up the idea of increasing the number of sentries with the council. In the wake of the attack on Jess and the loss of our baby, it has become clear to me that we need to keep a closer eye for living people and not plan mostly for zombies. I know that the man  who did the shooting was a trained military operative, and that he might have made it in regardless, but I think (as do many of us) that more eyes on patrol will ultimately make us safer.

But like all of our decisions of late, this one is being held up with a lot of debate and discussion. The longer we operate without a central leader, the more clear it becomes that we need to elect someone to break tough votes and sort of act as our president. We have put it off and sort of forgotten about it since we have been doing pretty well without a leader, but with winter around the corner and lots of logistical concerns to be worked on and major decisions to be made, the slow decision making process we use now has to be fixed or forgotten.

I am spending two hours a day with about forty other people, learning what we can from Evans and Gabby about medicine. Right now we're doing anatomy and physiology for beginners, though I have a good working knowledge. I am mostly helping people new to the concept while getting a much needed refresher. Will and Roger are in the class as well, all of us very hopeful that we will be able to master the knowledge and skills needed to eventually become something like field doctors. Not quite real doctors or surgeons, but with enough knowledge to do a fair job diagnosing and repairing...

Aaron, our recent find from Lexington, has taken to his new post as our primary teacher with almost scary dedication. He holds classes from just after dawn until dusk, then stays up for hours engineering new ways to make people want to learn, writing lesson plans, and learning about what he is going to be teaching the next day. He seems to have become singularly focused on his work, but a few of us are really worried about him. He's friendly to a fault and always willing to talk if you approach him, but he doesn't socialize at all and looks sort of sad every time I see him.

I really hope we can get him to open up. He has some amazing ideas about education that ring true with some thoughts many of us have had, like teaching people what they want to learn instead of shoving a bunch of worthless errata at them with only traces of useful knowledge added in.

Listen to me. Worried about him because of how useful he might be, instead of worrying about him because it's just the right thing to do. Sometimes I read the things I have written and think about the empathy I once had for all people, and it makes me want to cry for the man I once was.

You lose enough, you hurt enough, and it wears away at you. I have to hope for the safety of all of those I love because I love them, and because if I lose much more it might just grind me down to nothing.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Simple Motions

I spent my morning burning off some stress. The folks from downtown have taken to securing the adjoining neighborhoods with amazing zeal, every free person from down there at the fallback point coming here in their spare time to help with our efforts. Not surprising, considering that they are going to be living there, but a nice bolster to our workforce.

I have been patrolling the boundaries in armor, cutting down undead. Going out and sweating inside of the mismatched gear we use to defend against zombie bites, walking into danger with each cut of the blade, is just what I needed to get my mind right.

It isn't that I don't want to mourn. It hurts more than I can say. But sitting at my desk working on figures and plans isn't at all helping me get past the pain and be effective. It just leaves me more opportunities to think about what has happened, to turn it over in my mind, and I know intellectually that I need to do something to snap me out of that habit or it will consume me.


Walking a beat, hearing the swish as the heavy Iaito in my hands cuts the air. Feeling the sudden resistance of cold flesh and bone as my swooping blade meets the enemy. Watching the parts fall away from each other as the threat is suddenly just a pile of meat.

It makes me feel like "The Bride" from Kill Bill. Like Ogami Itto from Lone Wolf and Cub. Like every titular character from Seven Samurai. Yeah, it's corny and stupid. But it takes me back to a time when I was younger in almost every way, in which those characters were ideals of righteous revenge, if not justice. For a moment, every time I see a zombie and mentally fall into the rhythm of motion that at once tenses and relaxes me, I become that ideal. For those few seconds, I don't think about recent events, I simply act.

Stupid, I know. But it's useful work, and if it makes me feel something from my younger days, if it makes me feel like some protector from the movies, then so what? It's just another form of release, something all of us desperately try to find nowadays, and if I get poetic and silly about it, feel free to laugh.

Hell, I would want you to laugh. God knows I wish I could here lately.

But now, of course, it's back to those plans and figures. My brother can't do it all (without losing his mind, anyway) and I have to help him. But you know? I do feel a little better.

Now if I could only get a hold of Patrick and the people with him, to see how far they've made it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Freedom and Ashes

Patrick and our group of volunteers are heading out today, heading toward the factory that has the turbines we need to build our power stations.

Pat really doesn't want to leave. He has been one of our best friends for what seems like forever, and he has been trying to be there for Jess and I after the shooting and loosing the baby. And while both of us have taken a lot of solace in his being there for us, living in the zombie apocalypse has taught us that hard practicality and taking advantage of opportunities trumps whatever personal tragedies we face.

Because the facts are simple. We love Pat and will miss him, but his staying here will do nothing to help Jess heal faster, and will not bring back our child.

But his going will mean a chance at sustainable power, which will benefit everyone here immensely. Most prominent in my mind at present is the fact that the clinic will be able to grow into something closer to a hospital, since with all that electricity we will be able to run x-ray machines and the like. Frontier medicine only suits us as long as it's required by circumstance...

Which leads me to something interesting.

Evans has started taking names from people to learn medicine. He's got enough gray in his hair that he worries about leaving us without a doctor and surgeon. Will has asked permission to learn from him, which is surprising. Some people are still nervous about Will, worried that someone from his unit in Richmond managed to perpetrate such a heinous act here. Those folks don't think we should put full trust in him, and they lump medical training in with that.

I happen to think that every person who learns skills that might save others is a treasure. It's something that we will take up in council, as well as the larger issue of Will's place here in the compound. I don't think it's fair to the guy, given the strength of character he has shown us, that we continue to dictate his freedoms piecemeal. I think it's time for a definitive yes or no on his status. Is he a citizen here, as he wishes to be, or an enemy?

I will vote citizen. He has proven himself to me, and has killed for us. And I think that if we are going to build a society that will do and be better than the one we have lost, we need to start trusting a little more. Making one man's life so stressful and complicated because of where he comes from rather than judging him on his actions in his time here only makes his life that much worse. The constant fear of being thrown out or imprisoned for his former affiliation with the soldiers in Richmond does nothing to improve his life. I don't wish that albatross of stress on anyone, because as we have all been shown once again in the last week, life is far too short.

It's here to be lived, and enjoyed if possible. Will could die tomorrow, and if he does, I would like it to be with the certainty that he did so in service to his equals, as we should be in service to him.


I guess I should add, before I go, that we had a small service for the baby yesterday. Nearly everyone who was off duty wanted to come, but it ended up being Jess and I, with Will, Pat, Steve and Courtney. Treesong acted as our minister, and we gave our unnamed son our love as we set the pyre alight. We decided to spread the ashes at the base of an apple tree near our house. I'm not a religious person, and only spiritual to a mild degree, but it gives me hope to think that he will help that tree grow, and that its fruit will strengthen and sustain others.

To all of you that wanted to come, we are sorry. It would have been too much for me to see the sadness on your faces, our own pain magnified back at us hundreds of times. Jess and I appreciate your love and concern, and hope that you understand.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Jess is still resting up, and will likely be off her feet for a few days. I am taking the rest of today off to spend time with her, and this post will be short.

Not a lot of new info to be had. Will is out and about now, since none of us think that he had anything to do with the man who attacked my wife. Will says that it is likely the man was sent this way looking for the crashed helicopter, that it has been done before by the soldiers in Richmond.

I am only writing a post at all today because we had some big news come in.

This has been a quiet time for zombie attacks, thank god, and that means that work all around the adjoining neighborhoods is moving along well. We've also been able to get some people out to find some basic construction materials for our power plant. Thank god my brother knows how to make concrete...

This big news is that the factory that houses all of those turbines is beginning to clear up. That means that a group can be sent to it to start bringing them this way. Patrick has volunteered for the trip, and he is going to be heading out with a dozen others on monday. We can't let this opportunity slip by us, especially considering that satellite photos show a large number of trucks available at the factory to transport them...maybe we will send more than thirteen people...

If Pat and the folks that go with him can manage to find enough fuel, they will be able to bring back enough turbines to keep even our more power-hungry endeavors running at full strength. So much can go wrong, but it gives me something to research and plan, something to work on.

But my brother is doing that right now. I will help again in the morning. Today, I will join my wife on one of the hospital beds we lugged over, and we will mourn together.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Busy Away the Tears

An update.

Jess is devastated, as you would expect. I am not doing much better, but I have had things to do and keeping busy has at least distracted me from losing the baby enough that I don't head off to Richmond to start killing people. 

Will has been confined since just after the attack. None of us hold him responsible, but neither do we trust that he won't go out and try to get to Richmond himself. Pat questioned him about the man that shot my wife, and Will says that the guy was a PFC named Steve Parker, which matches the military ID we found on the body. He looked pretty thin and rough, like he had been living out in the open for a while. My guess is that he struck out on his own looking for the downed helicopter, and was probably watching us for a few days before he made his way in. He looked pretty starved, so I can only imagine what the sight and smell of all our food did to his mind. 

No, I'm not apologizing or making excuses for him. He shot my wife and caused her to lose our baby. If I could, I would bring him back to life just to kill him myself. 

Everyone is pretty distraught. Jess is loved around here in a way I can never be, and people are pissed. Courtney sort of took over, trying to calm people down while making sure that the compound was secure. She was the one to have Pat lock up Will, and she searched the body of PFC Parker. She wants to know what happened just as badly as the rest of us do, and she is a lot more suspicious of Will in this than I am. But considering that Will was the one who took action, probably saving Jessie's life, combined with the fact that he has been under lock and key since he got here, I just don't see how he could have been involved. 

I think on Courtney's part that she feels like she has to do something, and that wonderful mind of hers has to consider all possibilities equally. I certainly understand it, and since she's a lot more able to think dispassionately than I am right now, I trust her judgement. 

This does mean that some time down the road we are going to have to do something about the soldiers in Richmond. It's something that we will be discussing in council soon, I am sure...

Steve, Courtney's husband, nearly broke his hand. He was there at the clinic with us, helping Evans and Gabby in any way he could. When things calmed down, my normally relaxed and calm friend went nuts, and punched a wall with everything he had. Said he was just frustrated that there wasn't more he could do. 

The friends I have, I would never trade for anything. They have been rocks for me to hang on to, and their support has meant more to me than I will ever be able to say.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Death to Aggressors

[Posted by Treesong]

I've known Josh in passing for years now, but I've really gotten to know him much better in the months since the world around us has crashed and burned. Usually, Josh has been the one to call for more security, more weapons, more draconian responses to the mindlessly hostile world in which we now live. And usually I, along with a few of our friends, have been the one to call for communication, for cooperation, for even tempers and merciful responses, even in the presence of brutal acts and heartless people.

But you know what? I'm running out of patience, running out of understanding, running out of mercy.

We live in a world where most of humanity has either outright died or been turned into some horrible mockery of life we now call "Zombies." And here, in a small corner of the Heartland of America, a small community of us are doing what we can to band together with other peace-loving survivors and build a new life for ourselves. Our goals may at times seem selfish — and may at times BE selfish — but we are part of a grassroots effort to rebuild humanity from the ashes of a global apocalypse.

After all that's happened — the collapse of civilization, the death of most of humanity — how can any sane person dare to violate the peace among the living, to invade a settlement of survivors, to bring needless death into a world already overflowing with the living dead?

There's a simple answer to this question. No sane person can do these things. And no sane person can tolerate these things.

I am a peace-loving man. I simply want to live here with my loved ones and scratch out some small measure of peace and comfort and survival in a world that has pretty much literally gone to hell.

If you live outside of these hallowed walls, I don't care who you are, or what you believe in, or what you're doing with your lives, as long as you leave the non-aggressive survivors of our land in peace.

But make no mistakes. I have taken the lives of both Zombies and the living in defense of my people. And I would do so again without hesitation, without question, without remorse, in defense of my people.

If you, too, wish to live in a society of peace, a society of rights, a society of justice, then by all means, join us in our effort to build such a society.

But if you come to us as an aggressor, with murder and conquest in your heart, then you had better pray to whatever God you believe in that your death will be swift and painless. Because if you come here to violate our peace, to take our land, to kill our children, then you have forsaken all pretense at humanity, and humanity will forsake you in return. The way I feel today, if anyone else tries to invade this compound, I may personally nail them to a post outside our front gates just to watch them die. It would also send a message to any other would-be aggressors that we don't take such murderous behavior lightly.

This might be a good time to point out that I've just learned yesterday that my lover is with child. I found out this otherwise joyous news only hours before the tragedy Josh has written about. There are also other male-female couples in this compound, and any of them who aren't with child currently might end up being so in the coming weeks and months. Unless, of course, this incident scares them away from it. It is for these children that we are building this new world, and it is for these children that I pledge my life in defense of this community.

If any of you come to this community with malice in your hearts, then Gods help me, I will kill you all. We've worked too hard and come too far to have our effort at a new life ended by mindless monsters who don't have the good sense to approach other survivors in a spirit of peace and cooperation. If you come to us with weapons drawn, then by the Gods, we will end you, and we will use your own weapons to end whoever sent you.

He Didn't Have a Name

I haven't been back to sleep since my post yesterday. I can't even begin to describe the horror of the last day, but I have to get out the events. Writing has always been my way to relieve my mental pressure. That's why this blog exists. How to begin?

Where I left off, I guess.

I went outside when I heard the gunfire and people yelling. I thought maybe there was a breach in the wall, perhaps a few zombies got through. I was terribly wrong.

The scene I came upon less than thirty yards from my house froze me solid for a few seconds. There was Patrick, Aaron, Will, my wife Jess and a Big man in an army uniform. Pat and Aaron were crowded around Jess, who was laying on the ground covered in blood. Will was kneeling painfully at the side of the man wearing fatigues, checking for a pulse.

I couldn't understand what I was seeing. It made no sense to me.

Pat, Aaron and I all seemed to move at once, hauling jess up into Will's forgotten wheelchair, and we rushed her around the corner to the clinic that was once my mother's house. I don't know how long we were there, or how much blood Jess lost, but I was at her side the entire time Evans and Gabrielle were working on her. I held her hand and prayed, begged to god that he save her. A god I hadn't talked to or fully believed in for a long, long time. I wept at the agony I saw in her eyes as my friends pushed themselves beyond their limits to save her life, and that of our unborn child.

Hours, it seemed like. It might have even taken that long in reality.

But she's alive. Our baby didn't make it.

Gabrielle didn't want me to look at him, but I had to. I couldn't let him go without at least touching those tiny hands at least once. I needed the reassurance that he had been. I don't know if I can explain it, so I don't think I will try more than that.

Jessica was unconscious by the time the baby passed, so she didn't have to deal with the immediacy of it. I don't know how I am going to be able to tell her when she comes to. Jess had always been indifferent bordering on not wanting children, but when we found out she was pregnant, things changed. She changed. I don't know if I can bear to be the one to crush the joy in her heart as it has been in mine.

I found out much later what happened.

Jess met up with Aaron, Pat and Will as she was coming home. The army guy came out of the south woods, yelling at Will. He got close to them, yelling about Will coming back home. Pat and Aaron were unarmed, but tried to give Jess and Will cover with their bodies. The guy drew a gun, but Will was prepared. He pushed himself out of his chair to snag a rock from the ground and to get out from behind his two protectors.

Will threw perfectly, crushed the guy's throat. Pat and Aaron were shocked enough that both of them moved from where they were standing, and that made an open path to Jess. I would like to think that the shot was just wild and random, that no human being left alive could possibly shoot a pregnant woman on purpose. I don't know. But regardless of his intent, the result was clear.

Evans took a look at the man's corpse not too long ago. He says that there are deep bruises in the shape of fingers around his windpipe. I guess Will was doing more than just checking for a pulse. Good for him.

I need to go check on Jess again. If this seems flat and without my sometime habit of writing elaborately and with pretty words, it's because I just can't find the right ones to express what is pouring through my head right now.

I have to go.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cancel Red Alert

Well....Aaron is here, and he's alone.

The team managed a pickup yesterday, but due to a zombie attack sometime between when we got the email from him and when our people made the pickup, a mob of zombies killed all of his people. He only escaped by falling right next to a truck, and managed to hide in the undercarriage about half a block from the rendezvous point. When he heard the team drive up and start clearing out the herd, he made his presence known.

He's an interesting guy. In his early thirties, he's got a very similar personality to my own. Loves comics and anime, tabletop gaming, and has a hard vein of practicality in him sufficient to the task of survival. He's also been a student off and on for most of his life, and has a zeal for teaching. Which is awesome, because as many of you know, my sister was our primary teacher until she left for the safer confines of Jack's compound in Michigan. I hope he likes it here, because we need someone who knows how to teach without trying to reproduce the broken and mind-numbing system that we used to have.

He's not showing much pain at the loss of his people. I don't know if that's because he barely knew them, or he's just been numbed to the pain of loss as some folks are, or if he's just holding it in until he can get some privacy, but he seems to be dealing.

He's pushing Will Price around in his wheelchair at present, getting a guided tour. Patrick has taken this rare time away from the Lieutenant to come talk to me about him. Most of us think that he is sincere in his desire to be a part of us, and the idea behind him living and working with Patrick was to see if my big Alaskan chum could spot any duplicity in him, catch him trying to case us out for information to take back to his fellow soldiers in Richmond.

I am happy to report that Pat hasn't seen a thing to cause suspicion. Will is apparently what he seems; a soldier sent out on a mission that ended in tragedy for those with him. He wants to live here, be one of us, and I think he should be welcomed.

Some of the people around here have wondered why he should be looked on with such concern when many others were brought here and essentially handed the keys to the kingdom. The answer is simple if loaded with implications: when other people came here, they were as refugees looking for a place to survive. When he came here, it was because he was sent to our town by a group that possibly has the resources to obliterate or conquer us in a matter of hours.

I can handle a large group of individuals who just want safety. The dangers they bring are individual and dealt with in the same manner. If they were to pose any sort of group problem, chances are that it would be a social one, dealing more with issues of tolerance rather than control. We've seen that happen, sadly. More than once.

But a single man who represents a larger group of very powerful people? People with the means to strike from miles away, to kill dozens at a go? That one man could mean death or slavery for all of us. It's not the flock of birds in the field ahead of you that should worry you, but rather the snake hiding by itself in the tall grass.

So today is another good day. I think we'll get the council together, and see about removing the restrictions from Will.

Huh. Just heard a gunshot, and it sounded really close to the house. That's unusual. I can hear some people yelling. Maybe a few zombies got inside the perimeter. Better go check it out.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


The team left out to get Aaron and his people a while ago, and we are hoping they will be back before dinner. I have my doubts that they will see this done that quickly, however, since we are seeing an increase in the zombie population around here.

Some of our scouts reported seeing several groups of them ranging between one to two hundred standing in the now-familiar pattern that means smarties (smart zombies) are trying to convert normal zombies. I guess it didn't take them long to start rebuilding their numbers. Thank god they aren't attacking us yet.

Most of us think that this calls for an attack, sending out a group of armored fighters to chase them, trap them, and thin the herd. Some don't agree, reckoning that we are much safer here than going out to fight. That's probably true, actually, but it enough of them come at us at once, especially the smart ones, we could be in serious trouble.

Will Price is with me and my friends on the council here. He's of the opinion that the truly less risky course would be to attack the problem before it can grow too large, only risking the lives of less than twenty people in an attempt to prevent or at least delay a large scale attack on the compound. He pointed out to the doubters that we are currently doing a lot of work outside the compound prepping the adjoining neighborhoods for annexation, and I think that might have swayed some of them. We'll be voting on it tonight, or after the transport party gets back with Aaron and his people, whichever comes first.

I am amazed at Lt. Price's ability to make people understand the tactical advantages of ideas. He knows that he still isn't fully trusted, but he still seems to do his best to resolve conflicts logically, acting in the best interests of the compound. He knows that he isn't one of us just yet, and still he holds no grudge at our distrust, only doing what he can for the betterment of all.

He's also getting stronger. Evans says that he is healing at a pretty incredible rate. Will still isn't able to walk, but he is standing for brief periods, and the pain isn't nearly as severe as our good doctor thought it would be. Evans thinks that Will's leg might be doing much better than anticipated, and could be up and about in a few more weeks. I know the grumpy old bastard would probably like him to stay off it the full two months, but we can use every man. Besides, it isn't as though any of us will let him do anything strenuous. He's a fighter, that's for sure.

In his free time, Will is hanging out with my wife quite a bit. No, nothing sinister, since I am usually around and I don't see anything untoward going on. Rather, Jess is teaching our wayward soldier the finer points of agriculture, all the random facts she knows about planting and growing things. Part of my brain wonders if he intends on getting an education here and taking it back to Richmond one day to pass on his knowledge to his fellow soldiers. I don't know if I like that idea or not, if only because it would mean he is planning to leave and is using us, but my base setting is generally positive for the concept of sharing ideas and experience.

Oooh. My brother Dave just came in, and is telling me that we have a guy who thinks he can modify some electric motors to run some of our saw equipment. That's really awesome, it means that we can start on the annexing soon. We have enough stores of lumber to make a good start on the process, maybe a week's worth, and in that week we should be able to make a lot more. It might not be pretty, but we can start.

And our folks down by the river will have a safe place to live, right next to us.

Today's a good day.

Monday, September 6, 2010


I got an interesting bit of information a few minutes ago. There's apparently a small group of survivors in Lexington, maybe a dozen or so people. The email they sent out to us got stuck somewhere along the line, so it's a week or so old. There is still a lot of lag and downtime in our emails, so I am not terribly surprised.

The leader of the group is a guy named Aaron. He was a student at one of the community colleges there until the fall. He sent me a pretty decent length message explaining the situation there, including location and the best way to get them out.

That's why this post is going to be cut short today. I am going to pass this on to the council and see what we can do, try to plan out a quick pick up...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Perspective of Jess

Perspective is everything.

Before the apocalypse I worked on third shift, so I was usually awake to see the dawn come, though I almost never had the time to watch it. Now I have to be up before the sun peeks over the shoulder of the world, and I have watched it rise most days.

It's always beautiful, but rarely moving now. It is simply another part of my day, something that happens. Before it was still a rare and glorious thing, given how rarely I could watch. But now that I have to be up and outside when it comes...

It's the same way with people. I've said it before but it remains true--right now human beings are split into three basic groups for me. The dead, living people that are threats, and family. I define family as all of those who live in peace with us, anyone who has come here with a hope for peaceful coexistence.

I am sitting up in the main watchtower, typing while my wife sits next to me in a camp chair. She's looking at the same thing I am, the guards along the wall doing rounds and occasionally picking off a zombie. She is seeing it in a lot more detail through the scope of her rifle.

It's been hell trying to get her to be safe while she's pregnant. She's so far along now, and I worry. But she was starting to go stir crazy not being a part of the defense, which I get. But she managed to convince several people that she would be just as safe in the tower as in the house. I disagree, but I also trust my wife to be careful for herself and our child. She has been a force within the compound since before it existed, and it's hard to deny her the right to defend others.

But all of us still worry, of course. Jess is a different person than she was before the fall, not as emotionally fragile or shy, but now somehow more outspoken while managing to be reserved. I know that seems like a contradiction but it really isn't. Think of her as a dispassionate observer who waits to speak until the facts are in, and just add in some creative swearing and rude hand gestures, and you've got her. It has made her universally known here, respected by most, and loved by many.

She's my wife, but all of us treasure her.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Annexing of Places and People

As you may have guessed, my computer was seriously messed up yesterday. My laptop is old and actually in pretty good shape, but prone to some occasional system errors. Living in a world decimated by zombies and the fall of society makes it a pain in the ass to reinstall an operating system.

So much is going on around here, or at least that's the way it seems. Since we've finished the wall, only smaller projects have taken up our time. While the plans I announced yesterday are simply huge, the truth of the matter is that they will take a long time, possibly years if our luck is bad. But there is only so much farming to go around, only so many people needed for guard duty. This is a big problem lately, with all of the folks from Lexington living in the fallback area. The conditions there aren't terrible, but they are cramped and uncomfortable. There is enough area there to produce food for those that live there, but only just, and certainly not enough to save for the winter.

We also hate that the folks from Lexington have to be so far away. It was never our intent to segregate them in any way, only that we were already packed to the gills here and there weren't many other options.

Which leads me to one of the other ideas we have had on the back burners. Since there are two neighborhoods literally butting up against us and we need a lot more room to breathe, efforts are being put into gathering what we need to start annexing. We have all the heavy equipment we need to make boards and beams, but what we can get from Jack and his people is about maxed out. They can only produce so much extra for us, the rest needs to go towards their own defenses.

The real problem is that we need to conserve fuel. We are trying to get someone with mechanical experience to look at some of our equipment to see if we can modify any of it to run with electric engines...

Not much else to report today, other than something I think is sort of interesting. Lt. Price--Will-- is in my back yard, just like he has been the last few days, digging up his own food to eat. The interesting bit is watching his determination. He digs and digs, absolutely focused on finishing, no matter how much pain his damaged arm and leg cause him.

Every so often he finds a rock, usually something small. I have watched him off and on, examining the stones with an appraiser's eye as he tosses them up and down. I've seen him heft and toss them with increasing speed and accuracy at the shed in my yard. At this point he's fastballing them a second after he finds them, and hitting an area about the size of a softball pretty much every time.

We can't allow him a weapon yet, so he finds his own. One arm is immobile, so he learns to fight with the other. He's adaptable, and tough as a coffin nail.

And I think he's becoming one of us.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Foul Munchkin

Trying to fix a computer is magnitudes more difficult in the world we live in now than the zombie-free one we lived in before. This is going to take a while. Will make up with a better post tomorrow.

(Sent from my phone.)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Project

OK, so anyone that lives in the compound or downtown in the fallback zone knows that we have a decent amount of power available. Between our solar arrays and a few wind turbines, we collect enough to run our lights and computers most of the time. Not enough for air conditioning, sadly, but we do alright. The main problem we have had is that while we have rigged together some large battery storage, it isn't nearly enough for what we would need if we managed to get power going full time.


My brother and I have been working on an idea, our special project. The folks up at Jack's compound have helped us enormously with the planning and math, and the engineers at Google have done the lion's share of drafting the plans to make the whole thing more efficient, as well as figuring out a way for us to get that grid-level storage.

Yes--we have figured out how to make enough electricity for all of our needs, and how to store it. It's actually a combination of methods. For production of energy, we are going to be building a solar-thermal plant using molten salt. It sounds a lot more complicated than it is, I assure you. It will be a huge pain in the ass getting to where we think there are some suitable turbines, but if we can get through the throngs of zombies that surround the area they should be in, the hardest part will have been done. The rest is simply construction.

The second part is all about manpower and gravity. Between where the compound is and downtown is a very, very steep and long hill. We are going to raise a series of heavy cables and a geared pulley system with guided tracks, hook up big cars to it, and run the cables through heavy flywheels to spin a turbine. If the math works out, one person will be able to ratchet the weight (the vehicle) back up the hill in about ten minutes to do the whole thing over again. If we manage to get enough cable, then we can have this system going pretty much constantly.

As for storing all that energy, we are planning on a flywheel based storage system. I won't go into the details of that, but suffice it to say that we need those turbines to make it work.

Fortunately, the boys and girls at Google seem to think that there is a manufacturing facility that used to make exactly what we need, and that it is untouched. They had to take over a few satellites to look in on the place, but hey, it's not like there is a government to get mad at them about it anymore.

The major issues will be building sufficient flywheels at a storage station to meet all our needs for the foreseeable future, and getting to this facility. Because it's apparently shrouded in zombies for about a thousand feet in every direction. I won't be telling you where it is, because frankly I don't want anyone getting there first. But it's a long pace away in a bigger city, and cities are always packed with the undead.

I cannot give enough thanks to Jack and our friends at Google for helping us manage this. It has been a priority for us since the very beginning, and teams have been working at both Mountain View and Jack's compound to figure out how we can realize this.

It will be a long time before we are up and running, and a lot of laborious effort, but it looks like we have a real shot at it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Engaging the Switch

About three hundred zombies came at the walls today, the first big attack we've had in a while. The interesting part is that there were several smarties among them, and that they seem to have come from the direction of Louisville. We know they were smarties because they tried to climb the walls, which isn't behavior normal zombies ever exhibit.

It wasn't too rough a fight, and our defenses held up well. But an attack of this size has made a lot of us see the wisdom in taking some of Will's suggestions to make the walls even more effective. One of those is adding points to them that stick out at right angles to the wall, basically like the points of a star. This would give us the ability to fire at the enemy from multiple angles at once instead of having to lean of the edge to hit the ones at the base of the wall.

Jess pointed out to me last night after reading my post that some sort of mental switch has flicked in my brain, because I started calling Lieutenant Price by his first name. I guess seeing him on the ground outside my house digging for food, knowing that he wept openly when he learned of some of our made me see him more for the person he is than the threat he might be. He has been our guest here for what, two or three weeks now? And I have seen little to show me that he is planning anything dire. No soldiers have come, no attempts to communicate with his fellows in Richmond.

When he found out this morning about Jack's large group of survivors in Michigan, he didn't ask anything about them. No numbers or locations, he was just surprised to hear that we have a supplier for machined lengths of wall and hopefully new technologies. He didn't even ask how we pay them for it.

I really think that if he were planning something, he would be trying to learn some sort of details about our operations. But he isn't. At all. He's just following Pat around and getting to know people. I really hope that the way most of us are starting to feel-that he can be trusted-turns out to be true. Because he seems like a good man, someone that can fit in here. And we could certainly use his experience and knowledge, and hopefully one day he will help us connect (safely) with the rest of his unit in Richmond.

I think he's trustworthy, am almost certain of it at this point. If he proves to be, he will be a great boon to our group. If he proves not to be, he will be killed. While we haven't told him much in the way of operational data, what he has absorbed about us through his everyday interactions would still give an attacker a powerful advantage.

Off to find my brother. We are fine-tuning the details of our secret project, and hope to be able to tell everyone what it is tomorrow. Hopefully construction will begin in a few weeks, after we work out the kinks in some of the logistics with Jack and his folks up north.

Until then, be safe.