Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Shell Shock

This morning, our guests from North Jackson gave us a present. In all the activity and general business going on it was forgotten. Or maybe they just wanted to really surprise us by not handing it over straightaway.

Bullets. Capital  'B'.

We've been totally without any ammo for a few weeks, and the last of it was only for the big guns Will managed to get working. The soldiers that joined the community at North Jackson brought literally tons of supplies with them, but many of the higher-ranking among them had managed to stockpile ammunition in dumps around this part of the country as they traveled.

You know, just in case.

It was a little disturbing to see the joy in Jessica's eyes as she cradled a dozen boxes of ammunition for her rifle. It was like watching a mother cradle her child.

Most of it is military issue stuff, which works well since we've got a shitload of military weapons lying around unused for lack of bullets. A few of our sentries armed themselves appropriately, and for the first time since the soldiers from NJ were here a few weeks ago, the crack of gunfire rang out. We are going to be rationing the ammo very strictly, but one or two shots at a group of zombies won't hurt.

The interesting thing is, the zombies turned tail and ran at the sound. I guess the surviving locals have learned their lesson in that area. We've got a lot of rounds at our disposal now, but we aren't planning on wasting them. Even the few men who fired their guns this morning got a stern warning about it.

The NJ soldiers also brought us thirty compound bows, really nice ones, complete with arrows. They've been using similar weapons to pick off the odd zombie as they stand guard over the folks working on the new wall. We'll have to get a group of folks together to screw the heads onto the shafts, but that's no problem. I mean, free stuff, right?

It's funny, but even though we'll save the bullets for dire need, it's comforting to know we have them. I'd forgotten just how reassuring it can be to know there's real firepower at your disposal. I don't know what the future holds, what kind of trouble we'll face, but our confidence is slowly growing. We've been managing good hauls with hunting, stretching the food very far by making more giant batches of stew, and we're putting a little away each day.

Things aren't rosy and wonderful, but they're getting better. I think that more than anything is interesting. I've gone back over the last few months' entries, and what I see is our story being told in flashes and still images, each one adding to the total to make a moving image. We struggle day by day, we scratch for every victory and hold on to them for dear life, but it's not some epic tale.

It's life. Our collective experiences as we live them. I'd love to tell you that some miracle fell out of the sky and blessed us with endless plenty, but that's not true. We've had help from good men and women that risked a lot to do so, and we're thankful for that. The extra bodies around right now are a blessing, but they aren't a panacea. Long after our NJ friends have gone, we'll be dealing with hard times and nervously eyeing the horizon from our posts along the wall, ready for the next threat.

The struggle can be overwhelming at times. I'm incredibly happy that we've got allies to help us through the toughest parts.

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