Most of this post has been written ahead of time, mostly because of the really short window of time I get cell service and also because it's a motherfucker to type with one hand. The only recent thing to add is that Dodger and Jamie are close, I received a text from them tonight saying that they have us in sight and they are trying to find a way to us. Guess all the recent target practice has drawn quite a large crowd around us. I have faith in them and in their general sneakiness to get in. A few days rest and recuperation will do them good, then we can plan a way out.
Now I hope you can all bear with me as I try to empty my head and vent what I've learned from the girls about what happened to my family. I know that you all have tales of woe and loss, and I'm just some jerk that most of you have never met or could care less about, but it feels like my brain is swelling and if I don't get it out it'll explode. It helped my girls to tell me, now I must burden you, please forgive me.
I begin with what happened to my parents. Like I said earlier they had listened to me and had prepared the house as best they could and were safe to a degree. Alysa tells me they didn't believe that the outbreak would last that long or that the government would fall. That all they would have to do is sit tight for a couple of weeks or at the worst a month or two. Most people probably felt this way in the beginning, I know thats what I hoped for.
Every thing was o.k. for the first month, Dad had convinced a lot of his neighbors to take the same precautions, but as food got low and people went out to forage and saw how bad it really was all sense of community was lost. Every one was out for number one, which is sad but understandable. It got so bad that when you came back with supplies they could be taken from you if you were out-gunned.
Kylie told me that around the second month is when survivors from Tampa and St. Pete started to show up trying to get away from the hordes of zombies in the city. Most only came in ones and twos but there were some large armed groups as well, usually trailing large herds. I guess this was the only time the neighborhood came together was to drive these people off, then when the threat was dealt with back to guarding your own.
Finally one day screams came from the street outside the house. Alysa tells of a woman and girl of about ten running from about fifteen zombies, of how they pounded on the security doors begging for help. How each time they were ignored or had a gun thrust in their face, just barely staying ahead of the shambling dead.
Guess dad couldn't take it anymore, he gave mom the order to shoot and grabbed his shot gun and went out the door running for the women. Kylie was mom's reloader and said grandma got seven of the zombies before grandpa even got to the little girl. Funny--I didn't even know my mother could shoot, guess growing up in the wilds of Alaska will prepare you for a little bit of every thing. Then dad scooped up the little girl and blasted three zombies himself.
Picking up the little girl saved him from a bullet in the head. At least for the better part of a year until I came along. When he turned to run back to the house the woman was facing him with a pistol aimed at him and screamed at him to drop the girl. At the same time two men ran into the house firing shots where moms head would have been had she been standing and not in her wheelchair.
Katie, my sister, had been asleep, she had night watch most night, but the shooting woke her and she came running with her gun just in time to see the two men enter and shoot at mom. Didn't even hesitate, just came out firing, killing both men. Then proceeded to march out of the house and straight for the woman holding a gun on dad. Kylie said the only reason she didn't kill her were the cries of mommy from the little girl.
While this little stand off happened mom responded to Kylie's cries of warning gunned down the final five zombies breathing down dad's neck. Finally the woman dropped her gun and dad let go of the little girl. Kylie said the last she saw of the woman she was crying over her husband and brother and dad pulled them from the house into the street where he showed mercy again by putting a bullet into the head of each. The little girl had her head buried in her mothers stomach so not to watch. Alysa told me that the next time they went out the girls and the bodies were gone.
All this was to much of dad's heart I guess, the girls told me that he went gray while dragging the bodies from the house. When he was done he said that he was tired and went into the bedroom. That was the last any one saw him alive.
Mom went to check on him about an hour later, followed by Katie when she heard mom screaming. Katie rushed to mom's aid trying to get dad off of her but couldn't bring her self to shoot dad in front of the girls. Alysa said that grandma died quickly because grandpa tore her throat out. Crying Katie rushed the girls out so they wouldn't have to watch grandpa feeding on grandma.
I'm crying now as I type this out mostly because that I couldn't cry in front of my girls as they told me this. I could have cried with them, but they didn't cry, they just look at me with a sad far off expression as the told me the story. Alysa telling me most of it and Kylie piping up when she knew something Alysa didn't know. I hope that they haven't forgotten how to cry, or even how to feel.
My sister couldn't deal with what had happened to our parents, so she ran from it. I can't blame her, putting down the dry husks that used to be my parents is the hardest thing I have ever done. My sister loaded all the supplies, guns and ammo in the house into my parents mini-van and set out for a safe harbor in the storm, Morry's house.
Josh saw the zombie plague coming because of his love for the subject, I think most zombie fans and comic book nerds saw through the government's lies and cover ups. So my sister reasoned that Morry, a comic book artist living with three other comic book artists, would be well prepared for the apocalypse and she was right.
When the people in Morry's neighborhood ran instead of listening to him, he annexed their houses in much the same way Josh did in the beginning. Bringing all his friends and family in the area into one secure location. By the time Katie and the girls showed up they had put together a square block of defensible houses and had blocked off all major roads leading to their position, stemming the tide of zombies coming from the bigger cities. Katie barely made it there, harder for zombies is harder for every one.
Alysa tells me that it was nice to be around people that looked out for and helped one another. Both girls were a little sad that other than Alice, Morry's daughter, they were the only children there. I guess Katie felt somewhat uncomfortable being one of the few women there, but every one was nice and happy to see them, to know that there were others out there alive.
The place had been set up well, seems one of the first places they hit when scavenging was a book store. Nerds my not have a lot of practical knowledge but they know where to get it and apply what they learn. They had solar cells covering every roof in the compound, they had even set up a fenced in solar farm using a dead end street in the neighborhood. They had a complete ham radio set up, but Alysa said that there was little to no contact, guess cell phone and computers killed most of that tech. There was even a house set aside as a mess hall and kitchen, Katie was more than happy to take on the sexist roll of camp cook, with the girls as sous chef.
The girls managed to find some comfort in the basic routine of the place, even a sense of safety. Alice was the one to tell me that Morry was happy to be able to protect my sister and her girls, he said it was the least he could do after all the scrapes I pulled him out of in high school. I think he was just happy to have some one that knew how to cook, and would have protected her even had I been his worst enemy in school, he was just that good a man.
Over the months more and more people found their way to the neighborhood, most found while out on scavenging runs. In the end there were over fifty people living there, working to build some thing that could last. Biggest problem was food was getting harder and harder to find and even then they wouldn't turn any one away. Kylie said that mom was getting real good at making soups and stews, even if they were a bit thin.
Farming was the answer and they turned to it early on, and in the Florida sun how can you go wrong? Only problem was a lack of protein, a problem solved I'm proud to say by my Kylie. Peanuts, they grow well in the south and are rich in protein. They even found soy beans to plant. It was sad they never saw the harvest come in.
The crop was their downfall.
They had attracted the attention of a large group of raider looking for food and no work. Kylie saw what happened as she was hiding from the kitchen trying to avoid work, and was playing by the fields. Every guard watching the fields and every one working them were shot at the same time. She just looked at me with sad eyes as she described how every one fell over at the same time, how the shots rang out from all sides. She ran back to find Morry and the other guards firing from their post, yelling at my sister to get the women and children out.
Katie didn't have much to do in rounding up the women and children all were working in the kitchen, canning veggies for the winter. Alysa said that men in the camp were over protective of the women and children not because they couldn't fight but because they were more valuable than the men for the human race, I think most of the women didn't argue to much because they had seen enough violence for one life time.
Every one headed for the one bolt hole. You can't have basements in Florida because of the water table, but they still had sewer lines and drainage tunnels and Morry insisted that every one knew the way out to the emergency vehicles in case they had to run. Ten women and six kids crawled for over half a mile in pitch blackness to the stocked mini-vans waiting on the other side.
The last part of the story I know better as that is where I found the girls. That will have to wait until later. My emotions are spent and the darkest chapter of their fight for survival has yet to come, that and my eyes and thumb are killing me. Thank you all for letting me unburden my self, to try and keep some measure of sanity.