Sunday, March 18, 2012

Empty Cages

My post yesterday acted as a call for help, apparently. We have allies in decent numbers not far away, but I don't talk about them a lot. One, because while geographically we're near each other, in real terms the survivors in Louisville and New Haven aren't that close. Two, they don't like to be talked about. I had to ask permission to write this post. 

After I posted yesterday, some of the Louisville crowd contacted us. They aren't a cohesive group toughing it out in one place like so many people do. In the city that's pretty hard. Instead small clusters of them secure locations, spreading out their numbers into dozens of places. They gather during the days to work together, and break apart again at night. It works well for them, and with the large number of undead wandering the city it's probably best they don't bring too many folks together in one place. 

The gist of the message was simple: the Louisville gang has seen some strange activity lately and my post made them wonder if it was related to the New Breed buildup out in the countryside. Just as we caught wind of the increasing numbers of New Breed far enough away from our usual runs, so too have the Louisville survivors noted rapid changes in their local zombie population. Here, in a much less urban setting, it's not a big deal to go a day or three without seeing any undead. 

In Louisville, it's unusual as hell to see the numbers of them dwindle, much less disappear entirely from some areas. But that's exactly what's happening. Neighborhoods that have seen a constant presence of zombies for months or longer are suddenly empty of them. The mass gatherings in the downtown area are slimmer. Noticeably so. 

Most of those vanishing are old school zombies. I bet you can see where this is going, eh? 

So some of the Louisville crew decided to risk a trip out into the county yesterday, or at least farther than they're used to traveling from their usual stomping grounds. They wanted to confirm that the New Breed was pulling the same trick there that they are here. Given the huge numbers of undead in and around the city, it wasn't hard to spot a group of them. The Louisville crew followed. 

All the way to the zoo. Which had been abandoned not long after The Fall. I haven't been there for probably eight years, but I've been told the folks at the zoo decided to free the animals when it became clear the end was pretty much nigh. I admit to a small amount of personal satisfaction at that--the idea of penguins and tigers and adorable creatures from around the globe wandering around Kentucky makes me smile. While I've always enjoyed zoos, I always felt guilty that those critters didn't have their freedom. Yeah, I'm a softy. Deal with it. 

Anyway, the New Breed is gathering on the grounds of the zoo. The crew was understandably reluctant to make a trip inside the gates, but even from the road (down which they drove very quickly since the New Breed saw them coming) they could see the swarms inside. They'd seen old school zombies dragged or herded in. That's about as much confirmation as any of us need. 

The Louisville group has offered to send a hundred people here for two days to help us locate and destroy the zombies in Shelby county. We've happily accepted the offer, because no one here believes the battle we won last week did much to dent the numbers there. We know the New Breed is smart and able to hold back part of their force, an example of complex tactical thinking. If they hit us with two hundred or better at the silo, then they did so because many more were elsewhere, held in reserve. 

To take out those kinds of numbers we're going to need help. I don't know that another hundred trained fighters will be enough if we have to fight them out in the open, far away from the huge advantages the walls and defenses of New Haven give us. To clarify, even if we did manage to win that fight, there's no way we could do it without heavy losses. 

I have to imagine the Exiles are reading this and getting a nice chuckle from it. They've got the river to protect them from the masses of undead. For whatever reason, we haven't seen large numbers of zombies come for the fallback point. 

Over the next day or two, I'll be busting ass on plans and preparations. We've got a chance to thin the herd enough that it will take the New Breed weeks or months to recover. Without the Louisville crew, it wouldn't be possible at all. Not without also being suicidal. 

Hmm. The thought of zombies filling all the empty cages of the Louisville Zoo has a certain appeal to me. I don't know why my inner smartass seems to find justice in that mental image, but it does. 

If this cooperative effort works, then we may return the favor for the Louisville folks and try to help them do some real damage to the zombies in the zoo. Tactics and planning. That's always the key. 


  1. I think this whole situation is very very interesting. I found your books on kindle and I'm hooked. Heres to hoping that everything goes well in the assault. Also lets hope those damn new breeds don't evolve enough to use the internet! -Michael from Oklahoma

    1. OK. Thank, Josh, as I am definately hooked! You have become my new "addiction" when I quit smoking. These smart zombies are out of control. Cage them and smoke them... flame throwers?