Monday, June 27, 2011


There are two important things to share with you today. The first is that Will's attacker had his trial yesterday, and got his punishment: two lashes and hard labor detail for a month. The rest of the homesteaders are less than pleased at such a harsh sentence, but then they're also happy that his cohorts didn't get more than a slap on the wrist. Overall it's another net zero situation, because most of them think attacking Will was over the line. They may not like the punishment, but they at least admit there was a crime. My main concern is that they may begin to feel that Rich ordered lashes and labor instead of one or the other in retaliation for the homesteaders exodus more than a week ago. I don't think that's the case, but others may.

I really wanted to go into more detail about this, but the other piece of important news is more pressing. 

It's interesting thing to see how creatures react to changes in the weather. This morning, our hunting teams and those the homesteaders have fielded came back not an hour after leaving to report that their game had pretty much vanished. A few farm workers were sent back to tell us that the cows, pigs, horses and sheep have all nestled down as best they can. 

The most telling point is the total lack of zombies outside the walls right now. We know that at least some of them were playing possum during the heavy rains last month, tricking us into a false sense of security by going inert during downpours. Real storms are different--zombies hate them. Thunder and lightning, heavy rains and fierce winds are things to fear, and even the base, stupid zombies have enough of their reptile brain left to recognize the need for safety. The smart zombies picked up on that much faster.

This development incited a flurry of communication between several people here at the compound and pretty much everyone we know outside of it. We've seen this before, when the truly awful storms rolled in and beat on us like the hammer of god. Now we're using a system we set up after that spree of terrible weather that we call stormwatch. 

I know, it's all kinds of dramatic, isn't it?

It's actually really simple. Every group of survivors we can contact are called, and we ask them for weather conditions. We lack the more sophisticated means of measuring and predicting weather, but if someone in, say, southern Indiana tells us that they're dealing with powerful storms that are moving in a southeastern direction, it gives us some warning. Measuring wind speed helps us get a rough estimate of how fast the storm is moving, though that isn't really accurate. We're just trying to do what we can to be ready in case a barn-buster comes through here. 

We've got the kids running around telling folks to button down everything they can. Most people have some kind of shutter or shields to put over their windows, a project that my brother Dave came up with. Helpful for us that so many abandoned houses had shutters to spare. One team of guys ripped enough of them off and brought them here to outfit all of our homes in about three days. I'm really hoping that we aren't going to get hit very hard, but I don't know. The weather this year has been crazy. 

That example above, about the group in Indiana? That wasn't theoretical. We've heard from six small groups and one large one, all of them in a rough line heading west across the great plains. There's a huge system moving in, and it's wide enough that the two northern and southernmost groups we talked to out that way are being hit by it. So are the two farthest east and west, except for us. From what we cal tell, this thing is about three hundred miles wide and at least that distance long. Guesswork, and shoddy work at that, but it's all we have.

We're in the center of its path. 

So, the portable cell transmitters are getting secured right now. The last one is the small unit we keep at my house, and that's going to be shut off as well right after I send this. I will do everything I can to be back tomorrow if possible. If not, try not to worry about us too much. It may suck, but we're tough. We'll make it. 

If you're being hit and we haven't been able to get in touch with you, then our prayers and hopes go with you. With luck you'll find this message when the storm blows over. Good luck to all of you, and to us.

I'll be happy as long as there aren't any more tornadoes. 

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