Friday, July 1, 2011

Smoke Signals

It's interesting to me how some of the most simple things in life can also be the most reassuring, the most hopeful. Today is a day like that, full of small signs that signify the possibility of not just survival, but of actually regaining lost ground. 

It's the smoke that's doing it. Smoke from a hundred small fires, planks of wood surrounding them. The hauls from yesterday are still being cleaned by rotating crews of men, women, and children that know how to prepare a fish for smoking. The sight of so many little pillars of smoke, each one helping make our immediate future a little easier, makes the compound look like a land of pillars reaching up to the sky. 

A bit poetic, I know, but the sheer amount of fish and other food brought in yesterday and still being brought in, is amazing. 

We're going to be eating most of this meat shortly--a small group of people that have a lot of experience suring meat are going to be working to preserve as much as possible, but most will have to be eaten. Smoked meat isn't going to last all that long, but at least we can eat it that way. So I'm told, anyway. I'm not far away from a willingness to eat it raw. I've been eating less than my current ration of food the last few days, saving up the extra just in case. 

At least our animals are eating well. We still have a ton of dry animal food left, though I don't know how long it will stay good for. Even if we run out or it goes bad, there's always bits and pieces left over from every kill from our hunts, offal and the like we can't eat. When you've got less than two dozen dogs and a handful of cats, the leavings from what feeds several hundred people is more than enough. 

I've heard that a few hunting teams have encountered packs of wild dogs, which shouldn't be surprising. With zombies roaming the land, I'd imagine the old instincts would have reasserted themselves in the abandoned pets that are victims of the zombie plague every bit as much as we are. They band together to survive, and reports indicate a pretty visible population growth. 

I haven't seen anyone eating dog yet, which isn't to say it won't happen at some point. We're treading water, but for right now things aren't to that extreme. 

The only strange thing is that, again, there's been little reaction from the homesteaders. Most of them seemed mildly happy with the results of yesterday's "fishing with dynamite" adventure, but given how ardently most of them have been supporting any kind of action that will keep our people from severe rationing, I'd have thought to see a little more jubilation from them. Hell, I'd take smarmy satisfaction and a condescending chant of "Told you so!"

Maybe they're finally getting that none of us here are enemies. Maybe they're starting to admit to themselves that while they may disagree with many of us, their fellow citizens, on many things, that we're ultimately all in this together. 


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