This morning, during the early hours when many of the children within the compound go out to the farms to collect eggs and other food, an attack came. The estimates right now put the number of zombies at nearly five hundred.
It was raining.
Seven children lost their lives along with eleven adults who bravely tried to protect them. It must be said here that the safety policies put in place by Dodger and designed by Will Price are the reason why our losses weren't far worse. It's standard procedure to keep the kids at least a hundred yards away from the barriers that define the edges of our farms.
When the attack came, the first few dozen zombies fell into the trench, filling it and making an easy bridge for the rest of the pack to walk over. I say walk, but they were running. I have to assume that this was an attack planned by smart zombies, because the reports I've gotten state that the majority of the zombies that took part in it were very mobile. Not the shambling messes that are more commonplace, but something closer to fully functional people. We saw a lot of those in the early days.
There were plans in place for such an attack, and equal credit must be given to the people who were at the farm during the attack for following them. We had set up fallback points at each farm, rough buildings with a single entrance designed to hold off zombies long enough for reinforcements to arrive. Most of the people at the farm that was attacked managed to get in, with the obvious exception of the people we lost in the attack. A few of the farmers actually climbed on top of the longhouse they live in, and pulled the ladders up behind them. They keep a store of weapons under oilcloth up there. Just in case.
By the time word of the attack got to the compound, the damage had been done. We organized as quickly as we could and got to the farm in about twenty minutes. The zombies could see us coming, nearly a hundred armed men and women unloading from dozens of vehicles, several of which had the "tank" modifications Will designed.
At the sight of us, the undead ran. What we found in their wake was terrible. The people they had killed, adult and child alike, were in the sort of state you would expect from a flesh-hungry mob of half starved zombies. We burned the remains and said a prayer. We assured the workers hidden behind the heavy door of the fallback that it was safe to come out.
We assessed the damage, and it was severe.
Aside from the emotional impact of losing children along with the adults, the practical impact of the attack on the farm is devastating. Row upon row of crops trampled to death by the march of hundreds of feet. Almost every potato plant, stalk of corn, lettuce leaf, squash, tomato, strawberry, and every other plant that produces food was destroyed. All around us floated the torn feathers of chickens, tiny bodies with broken wings scattered to the four corners.
All of us saw the destruction, and I know that every other person there felt the same raw animal fury rise up in them. I could see it in their eyes, hear it in their voices. My mistake, then, was not putting voice to reason. My error was not intervening and saying something to unite us, to calm that fury.
Now, a few hours later, there are a hundred and fifty people simply gone from the compound. About half of those that came back with us from the farm went out and gathered others, told them what had happened. Against the council's orders, against my too-late pleas for common sense and caution, those hundred and fifty went out hunting for the party of undead that have damaged us so badly.
They claim it is for the dead children. For the adults that died saving them. I'm sure that to some degree that's true.
But I felt the same pain as they when I looked out across the ruined crops. I saw the same hard and bleak future of rationed food and hunger. It may have been the deaths of our young that sparked the flame inside them, throwing the entire compound into chaos as jobs were abandoned, but it was fear of the attack's consequences that fanned the fire.
We've spent the last hour and a half working to cover the gaps on the wall where guards left. We've had to find coverage in the mess halls, for the construction crews, and half a dozen other places. It's been terrible chaos.
And of course we've got every person with an iota of medical training on standby. With so many people fired up and out for the heads of the zombies that did this, I can only imagine the number of injured we'll be seeing.
I've seen a lot of bad things happen since The Fall began, but this is by far the worst.
It's all falling apart.