Will Price led a few sorties out into the streaming throngs of zombies when they started to show up yesterday. He and a small group of folks that have been training with our modified vehicles took some runs into the crowd of undead. The fact that there were a thousand or better in that first wave didn't really matter since most of the zombies heading toward the compound were spread out as they walked.
Aside from Will, Dodger and four others took the risky course by plowing through them. In Will's case, it was literally plowing since that was the primary weapon on his vehicle. The goal wasn't to kill zombies necessarily, though it was a nice by-product. Breaking their legs and spines, rupturing their stomachs and spilling the stored nutrients there, those were our goals. Practicality means slowing them down or immobilizing as many as possible.
At first it seemed like things were going well. Will and the others had worked out a game plan ahead of time to avoid running into each other and to maximize the amount of damage they could inflict. Each vehicle has a CB radio in it, the microphones rigged to be on all the time so they could talk hands-free. Those of us who were watching on the walls had our own so we could listen in, and we were running the commentary through a megaphone so the crowd of people behind us could listen.
That was how we caught Will's observation that the force we faced was much larger than we'd originally thought. He took the position farthest from the compound, the most dangerous for how deep into the zombie hoard he went. Will was on the edge of the hill to the west, looking over. What he saw wasn't a waning trail of undead trying to catch up. His voice, magnified and echoing, had that tone of utter shock and terror that's never ignored in the world as it is now.
He said, "Oh, Jesus."
Then he called a general retreat, signaled the gates to be ready to open, and our sortie team came back home.
Over the hill were thousands more zombies, as far as he could see. Right now, eighteen hours or so later, they still haven't attacked. They just keep coming in, standing and watching us. They're massing in a way I've never seen as they wait for some unknown signal to finally attack. They're all around us, every side of the compound facing numbers that could overwhelm us with ease.
All of our people made it in from the farms except for the people we've got out in Bald Knob. They're far enough away that they're probably safe, and they represent the small if unlikely chance for outside help. I don't know if they'll be able to find anyone. I find myself praying, one of the rare instances of it in my adult life.
I don't know how we can survive this assault. There are enough zombies out there right now to build a wall of bodies all the way around the walls. The ones left would be able to do as the zombies out at the farm we lost did, and walk over the corpses of their fellows to get inside the compound.
I'm off to the third emergency council meeting since Will called the retreat yesterday. He's got a few ideas on how we can fight, how we can defend, but none of them are enough to defend against the onslaught waiting for us just a few hundred feet away.
They're waiting. Just out of bowshot, too far for anything but bullets we're desperately short on, they're waiting.
So are we.