Friday, January 13, 2012

Bare Bones

I'm writing this offline and firing up the transmitter just long enough to send it. We're not in mortal danger yet, but things are not good for us.

We've been struggling with downed trees and other roadblocks for days. Our rate of travel is somewhere around what a baby is capable of if it were wearing a lead onesie. The cold has gotten truly bone-chilling, which has sent the zombies into retreat mode. That's about all the good I can see in the weather, since I imagine the cold is what keeps on snapping trees.

We've been stuck in a small town for the last day and a half. Always productive, we've spent a good portion of that time gathering what supplies we can find and siphoning fuel. I'm pretty sure we'll have to begin figuring a way to give the gasoline we find a bit of pep, as most of it is going on two years old now. I remember trying to start a lawnmower with year-old gas once, and that was a task to reckon with.

We've made camp in an old house. A really, really old house. I think it was a historical site before The Fall, because the place looks Victorian at least. We spend our waking hours in the house itself or out in the cutting wind searching for supplies, but we're actually sleeping in the small servant's quarters built just off the main house. It's small and made of heavy brick, and has been very well preserved or refurbished with a wood stove and even a pile of firewood. It's a tight fit for all of us at once, but we need to keep Will somewhere we can keep heated at all times. He's still so weak...

The trip from Block to here has been a rough one for all of us, but especially for him. He's tough as old leather, but I can see the cold and travel have taken their toll on him. I'm praying for a break in the weather so we can get him home safely. Maybe I should add a postscript onto that message to god, asking that He kindly stop slowing us down with detours around trees.

We're a pretty experienced crew, used to getting along under less than prime conditions, but the cold is making all of us irritable and muzzy. Steve's eye socket is still healing, and it apparently hurts like ten kinds of bastard when the wind gets under his patch. He's been putting dressings on it the last day, but has to be careful how many he uses, as Will requires a lot of supplies for his leg. Becky isn't much easier on our rolls of gauze, though thankfully most of her wounds were stitched early on and have healed up enough not to bleed.

Rachel and Bill are working together, and they get along famously. Bill is up and about, limping heavily but able to walk on his own. He and Rachel seem to be handling the incessant biting winds better than the rest of us, so they're doing most of the supply hunting farther out into town. Not that they can go more than a hundred yards without frost forming on their skin.

We still don't know why the roads have been so relatively free of cars, but I haven't seen any tracks in the snow that would indicate other travelers out here with us. For the moment, at least, it feels like the road is ours and ours alone. It's relieving because that means we probably aren't in much danger and the feeling of dread is baseless and just shows that I'm a needless worrier. It's also sad because being on the road, no matter how bad the conditions, feels lonely. Empty. Highways should bustle with other drivers. It's not like I haven't been driving all over the country for months and from time to time before that. You'd think the feeling would be something I'd encountered before. Maybe it's just the urgency of our trip or how the pristine snow around us makes it so starkly obvious that no one else is out there. I don't know. I just find myself sharply missing people a lot. All people. Any people. Even asshole drivers that cut you off because they're on their phones.

Ugh. Getting maudlin again. That's my cue to go. I need to make some breakfast anyway. Steve brought down a deer last night, and there's stew left over. We need all the calories we can manage. I should heat that up while the others are out stomping around in the snow. Maybe I'll break out my emergency stash of hot cocoa mix, that might lift our spirits.

God knows we need it.

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