Monday, April 4, 2011

Facing the Wind

I'm not going to spend a lot of time rehashing the events involving Harry and Will Price. You can go back and read that if you want to. Long story short, Harry got whipped. Three lashes. One for the assault on Will, one for the recklessness of putting himself in danger by doing large amounts of a dangerous drug, and one for putting the rest of us in danger. On top of that, Harry now has to cover Will's old job driving the honey wagon around and picking up people's buckets of excrement. He has to keep doing it until Will is healed up, though Will is in good enough shape to continue his work with Dodger on the defenses.

Moving on...

We've seen a big change in the weather around here since my last post. From a hard frost last week, we're now in relatively balmy temperatures in the high sixties. The down side is that the wind has picked up a lot, and that makes working outdoors difficult. Kentucky is usually pretty windy in early spring, but the gusts have been unusually strong.

This has had an interesting effect on the local zombie population. I stood on the walls earlier this morning, checking the placement, number, and sharpness of the stakes we planted in rows to slow the zombies that wander toward the walls, and I saw several of the undead as they were buffeted by the wind. About half of them would just stop when the wind hit them hard, tucking their heads down toward their chests until it eased up. This was such weird behavior that I can't even begin to theorize on what caused it. I've seen plenty of zombies in my time, in many different situations. Wind is a pretty common occurrence, but this reaction to it is totally new to us.

One thing that we've learned to accept and watch out for is the fact that the undead seem to evolve continuously. Or rather, the fungus or bacteria that animates them does. We've seen a small number of them become more intelligent, those we call the smarties. We've seen them develop a capacity to ward off the hibernation-inducing effects of cold in a matter of a few months. We've seen one of them develop a sort of territorial marking reflex, but just that one being used by the folks out in Bald Knob. The search is still on for others, but our time and resources are limited.

Those are just the obvious bits of evolution that we've been able to witness. There are other implied changes that we suspect might have happened in the zombie population over time. One of those seems to be the capacity to store a lot of the flesh and blood they consume in their stomachs, preserved for future consumption in presumably the same manner that their flesh is preserved. It seems to be the most logical explanation for why they can go so long without feeding.

What's the point of this? I don't know that there is one, aside from making it clear that we have to keep our eyes open for any changes we see. I've talked many times over the last thirteen months about how we humans have had to push ourselves hard to grow and change, but it's just as important to note that the primary threat to us, the zombie hordes, do this as well. The best weapon we have against them is caution and knowledge, to arm us against whatever survival mechanisms that may grow in them over time.

I hear the creaking axles of the honey wagon coming through. I plan on giving Harry a big smile when I hand over my bucket. Maybe this punishment will teach him a lesson, and help him to grow.

The sad thing about people is that we're just not as consistent as zombies are. They WILL adapt and change, while we have to hope for the same results. It's almost funny, if you think about it.

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