I didn't get a chance to write a post yesterday, and I can tell you with some certainty that they're going to be more erratic for a while. Jess and I are camped out with our group again, which has now grown to more than thirty people. Most of them are from the compound, but s few are members of other communities that heard about what happened and went looking for us to lend any help they could.
There have been several people from around the country, both from the compound and outside places, that have offered to write posts. A few of my fellow refugees have even mentioned it, and due to the hectic schedule of running and trying to survive this cold, I'm pretty likely to take a few of them up on it. Just managing our daily needs outside of the comforts of the compound is taking up a tremendous amount of our time and effort.
For example, Jess and I managed to bring all of our animals with us. You'd be amazed at how many people ignore the dog, cat, and ferret food when the apocalypse happens. We've been stocked up for a long while, and those things weren't forgotten when we fled home the other day. It's still a huge pain in the ass managing two dogs, three cats, and two ferrets. The dogs (who we never thought would learn to behave) have become amazingly obedient since The Fall happened. They protect us when we stop, circling around wherever we camp or sitting at the doors of a building if we stay in one. They go apeshit whenever they scent a zombie, though given the several inches of snow on the ground, I don't see that as being a problem in the near future. They will growl and bark at strangers or noises the rest of us can't hear, so they more than make up for the hassle of bringing them along.
The rest of them, though...
The ferrets stay in their cage a lot of the time, and they sleep about twenty hours a day in the winter. We play with them, which does a lot of good for them and for us. It seems no matter how terrible the pain or how hard the road ahead, cuddling with your pets always lightens the load, if only for a little while.
Cats? Well, they're cats. That means they eat all the time, sleep wherever they want (which is all too often my lap or shoulder while I'm trying to drive) and resist any attempt to coerce them into cages, collars, or leashes. We let them wander around the car when we're on the road, in our tent when we have to camp, or in a closed room otherwise.
You might think this post is sort of frivolous, but to me it's about as important as it gets. There are so many things we've lost as a people since The Fall, and more yet after the Richmond soldiers took the compound. I have tried to retain some of the more important parts of myself that make me something more than a marauder, and showing kindness and love toward living things is definitely one of them. Don't misunderstand-- if it came down to my survival, I would give up my critters. I don't know that I could eat them or anything, but I do know how to make the awful choices that living in our new world entails.
It's a pretty similar dynamic with the people that have joined in with our original group of refugees from the compound. I watch out for them as they do for me, I give them food when they are running low. I listen to their worries and try to comfort. It would be almost easy to deny them--that's probably how the various marauders started. By saying no to someone in need when they had the capacity to help. I can imagine the slippery slope that had to have been. It's easy to justify not doing what you can to help when you are worried about your own survival. From there, it's a small step toward that same justification used for stealing from those who have what you need. Then only what you want.
Eventually, it leads to violence--murder, rape, assault--all the things that we have seen them do.
Are you reading this, Richmond boys? Do you see where it all began?
You were volunteers, serving your country and its citizens. You probably felt abandoned when everything fell apart, and for that you have my sympathy--we all felt that way. You even managed to keep to yourselves for a long, long time, only to finally give in to whatever desperate needs drove you to my home. Imagine how you would have reacted had someone done to you what you've done to us. Think about it for as long as you can manage.
Because here's the thing. I wrote all of that up there about how caring for my pets is one of the ways that I keep who I am, who I want to be, in my mind. But please don't see the guy who baby-talks his golden retriever without also realizing that behind those same eyes lurks a man who burned dozens of men to death in their sleep in payment for much lesser crimes than you have committed.
You hold my home hostage. You have my good behavior, for now, because of that basic love of living things. If I didn't think that you would start killing those left behind in a heartbeat if I or my friends attacked you...words can't describe the things I wish I could do.
Remember that the sword cuts two ways. If my people are being harmed or assaulted in such a manner that we feel it would be worth risking the lives of some to save the larger group, we'll do it. Be very careful.
Not that my threats mean much right now anyway. We all know it, and there's no reason to dance around it. You're trained soldiers who are in what it essentially a fort, with defenses that would be nearly impossible to overcome with the meager resources at hand. Not to mention the very small number of us, and your plenitude of heavy weapons you all brought with you.
So I will go on dangling yarn for my cats out here on open land while one of you surely violates the home that my family and I worked so hard to preserve and protect. You won the battle.
But you started a war.