[This is a post by Gabrielle]
There isn't a lot of good that's come from us having to escape the compound. None of us liked leaving, or knowing that good people were left behind. We hid a lot of vehicles out in the wild, but even though the number that escaped were about a quarter of our total population (not half as Josh mentioned the other day), we're still pushing the limits of what the supplies we put in those cars and trucks can do. A lot of our refugees are getting hungry.
Our group is doing well. Very well, actually. We've been scouring every town we go through for more medical supplies, and trading our services with those we come across. It was slow going for a bit, we went a day and a half without seeing another living person. That was kind of strange given how often we were running into little groups of survivors. Josh and the others are right--there are a lot more survivors out there than we could have imagined. It's just that most of them don't have a means to discover that there are others out there.
We came to this little town yesterday afternoon and have decided to set up shop here for a while. We've been gathering all the food we can carry so that we can set up a camp for some of the other refugees. Evans has sent out messages telling them where we are, so that they can come join us. While I still can't say where we are, I will tell you that we stopped here for a few very important reasons. One is that this town, while small, has two large hospitals. Well, large for such a rural area. There are also two medical pavilions packed with what used to be the offices of a variety of specialists. I've never heard of this town before, and never been to this state. But my guess is that this place used to exist pretty much because of the healthcare facilities, sort of how lots of old cities sprang from goldmines or lumberyards. There are enough supplies here to keep us going for a long time, and we've found a large tank of gasoline.
The second reason we decided to stop here is the hunting. We almost hit three deer on our way in, and there are woods all around us. I lived in Kentucky for so long that it doesn't surprise me a bit to see ten or twelve deer trotting across a field in a given morning, but a few of the others with us had to get used to the idea that food was just walking around waiting to be shot.
I guess I should mention our new arrivals, now that I have said something about them. The other big reason we stopped is because early yesterday morning we found a family in need of help. I've been asked by them to keep their names private, but the rest of their story I'm allowed to tell.
They are from New York. The city as well as the state. They've been moving in fits and starts toward the compound for weeks, having to camp out for long periods of time when they ran out of gas, waiting while the father went searching for more. The day before yesterday they stopped in this town, and the dad went out to hunt for fuel again, leaving his wife and four kids huddled in their van. He did find some, of course, but when he came back there were a bunch of those cold-proof zombies coming toward their vehicle.
He rushed them, making noise and trying to get the attention away from his family. It apparently worked, and he led the undead away for quite a distance. He lost them at some point and had made it almost back to his camp when he slipped and fell, breaking his ankle badly. It took him more than an hour to crawl back within sight of his family, and it took them a few minutes to realize he wasn't some starving zombie pulling itself across the ice and snow.
They stuck it out all day, slowing down the bleeding with cold and hoping that help would just drop in their laps without any real hope that it would. Lucky for all of them that we were heading this way. Or lucky, at least, that they were trying to get to where we came from, and this road was the easiest for both of us.
They were really disappointed to find out what has happened to the compound. They hadn't had any way to check in with us since they left their home a few weeks ago. They did decide to stick with our group, though, and we are VERY glad to have them.
The wife is a homemaker, though she has had to learn and hone her fighting skills since the zombie plague hit. I watched her completely dismember two zombies this morning without batting an eye, and then turn around calmly to ask if any of us wanted some pancakes.
(Oh yeah--the smaller of the two hospitals here still has two giant, full tanks of propane to run its generators. We're conserving it as much as we can, but no one can resist warmth and hot food...)
Their kids range in age from seven to sixteen, and are all nice kids. The oldest is pretty useful in a fight as well, he seems pretty mature for his age. The younger ones need a good bit of looking out for, but their family has done well for them so far, and now they have us too.
We would have taken them even if the wife had been some bitter harridan and the kids a bunch of useless whiners. The father decided to stop here for practical reasons (little gas left) but they could have kept on for another hour or so if they had really needed to. He stopped here for the same reason we did--you can see both of those hospitals from the main road through here.
Yeah. He's a doctor.