Our group hasn't gotten much bigger than the last time I posted. We picked up a pair of refugees from the compound yesterday whose vehicle had gone off the road when they hit a patch of ice. The front end was wrecked, so we siphoned off the gas and packed in their supplies with ours. Lucky for us that one of them knew the area we're in better than the rest of us (which is to say that they knew it at all, none of us have ever been here) because they found this spot for us. It's a nursing home, apparently forgotten after The Fall, still full of medical supplies, medications, blankets, and best of all, food. It even has a cistern below ground, and old fashioned hand pumps. Thank god we brought water purification tablets with us...
Some of the others that escaped haven't had as much luck. Seems that many people escaped in groups, loosely based on where they were in the compound when the call to run came out. It's a damn good thing that it's winter, because I doubt that half of us would have survived if we'd had to fight our way through a crowd of zombies to get free.
Gabrielle, Evans, and some of the other folks who worked at the clinic are together, though they apparently went the other direction when they ran. There are about a dozen of them, six of them Evans' students. Gabby sent me an email yesterday talking about what they've been up to, and it's pretty neat.
Think of a sort of gypsy medical group. They've encountered a few other people since they left, small groups that none of us knew about. None of them larger than a few dozen people, most a lot smaller. Gabby and the rest have been trading their services for food and shelter. They aren't turning away folks that can't offer anything, but most people can give a little something. She went into a good amount of detail, and I'm going to have her post some stuff on here in the near future so you can read about it yourselves.
I haven't heard from Patrick in a while. I hope he's OK, but to be honest I'm not all that worried about him. Pat is a survivor in the truest sense of the word--nothing can stop him. If it's possible to make it through, he will.
Courtney and her entourage are still doing their thing, traveling from place to place trying to get supplies and other help to those survivors in need. Of course, now we won't be bringing any of them back to the compound to live and work, but we can still help them. Little David isn't faring so well, though...
It hit him hard when he heard about Darlene. David is a lot like me--snarky, smart, and with a need to cover his sensitivity with a thick layer of sarcasm and a sharp tongue. I haven't had a chance to talk to him, but from what the others have said it took several people to hold him down when he heard the news. He was going to take a vehicle and make a run back to the compound. Little David isn't a big guy. He must have been more angry than I can even imagine.
No, scratch that. I don't have to imagine it. I know what I felt when I saw Jess lying on the ground, her blood spreading under her. I know the rage that sits in the pit of your stomach like a ball of ice, sending cold hate through your veins and suffusing every part of your body. If I hadn't felt it then, I sure as hell would know what it feels like now that Will Price has handed our home and half our people over to the enemy. It's a struggle every second not to turn around and go back, picking off sentries from a distance. I imagine the scenarios over an over again, the many ways that I could weaken the Richmond soldiers.
The certain knowledge of the horrible consequences of those acts keeps me from going, though. I know that our people still in the compound would pay the price for our actions. I worry about what those soldiers are capable of, who they would take revenge on just for sheltering us or giving us aid. That's why the few people from outside the compound that we've met so far remain nameless, and why the locations of everyone that has escaped will remain unknown for the time being. I won't bring destruction on anyone if I can help it. If I wasn't worried about that, I would simply have headed to Michigan, toward Jack's...
For now I will settle for living still, happy for the cutting wind and heavy snows that mean that no zombies will come for me while I sleep. Being alive and moderately well supplied is about the best I could hope for in this situation, and I've even got the bonus of having my wife and some friends with me. We'll stay where we are for a bit, see if we can find some decent hunting, and explore the small town nearby for things we need. I will be posting when I have time to, but never fear--there are some other people that will be more than happy to fill in those gaps for me.
Keep us in your hearts, and think warm thoughts for us.