Thursday, December 15, 2011

Work Release

The rest of us are being kept under lock and key until Will serves his sentence--he's got to rebuild the door and doorframe of the house he broke into. That's not a quick and easy job like it used to be. He has to take the raw lumber (thankfully there's a supply of it here, this being Oregon and all, or he'd have to cut down a tree and start from scratch) and work it into what he needs. The door is salvageable with some work, but the frame is gonna be a job. He's putting in twelve hour days until it's finished, and spending his nights here in the cells with the rest of us.

I wasn't wrong when I called these folks isolationists. As it happens, they've deliberately stayed away from outside communications since the first weeks of The Fall. The zombie attacks in this neck of the woods have been shockingly steady as undead move back and forth between California and Washington. The massive swarm that hit Harlen recently came close to this place, though that's a relative statement. Call it twenty miles from the main roads. We only came this far away from the highway because our next stop is westerly, and the maps we were given put us on this path. Said it was quicker. Ha.

I don't know the names of anyone here. I don't know the original name of this town, or what they call it now if it's different. The desire to keep to themselves is strong, and I'll respect that. I won't share the location on the map with anyone, nor will my team. If these folks want to be left alone, that's their business.


They aren't totally cut off. As I mentioned yesterday, marauders do make their way here once in a while. The locals have developed methods of dealing with the zombie swarms that take hand-to-hand combat out of the equation for the most part, and drastically reduce the need to expend ammo. I say that so you understand that every group of marauders to come this way has been met with overwhelming force in response. They save bullets and arrows by not having to use them on the undead. People with guns of their own are a different matter.

The locals aren't quite as shy telling us the hearsay they get from the marauders they encounter. One place in particular I talked about with my guard is Crater Lake. I've been interested in it for a while, just as a bit of a geology nerd. It's the deepest lake in the US, a huge circular caldera from a collapsed volcano in the Cascade Mountains. The area itself was a national park before The Fall, and I've wanted to go there for a while. The views are supposed to be amazing. But my real point of interest is the island on the edge of the lake, Wizard Island. Yes, it's really called that. It's pretty big, and the summit of the thing is called the Witch's Cauldron, a 500-foot wide depression at the top of the volcanic cinder cone that built the isle.

I've always thought it was neat, but now there are apparently people living there. I don't think we could make it up that far into the mountains in our vehicles at this time of year even if we had the time to try. The overwhelming likelihood is that the whole area is snowed in, given the altitude.

I can't help but be curious, though. The island isn't huge, and the resources would be slim. Are they hauling what they need to build from the mountain itself and leaving the trees on the island alone? Are they hunting and fishing as their primary source of food? How many people live there, if it isn't a lie told by a desperate man? Damn my genetics for breeding an insane level of curiosity into me. I wanna know. Were the zombies in this state so terrible that people would decide to move thousands of feet up into the mountains rather than face the hordes? I want to know!

But like most things in life, I'm probably not going to get my way. I have to admit, though, that the curiosity has been a nice distraction while we're locked up. I hope Will hurries, or we'll all die of boredom.

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