I promised you some good news yesterday, and I'm not going to disappoint. One thing that's taking me a long time adjusting to is that New Haven is a big place with lots of stuff going on. Not like I didn't know that, but while we were out on the road things were often much simpler. It was easy to focus on one or two things. Here, there's always a ton of stuff happening, and a lot of the goings on get missed.
I've got some interesting things on the docket, so I'm just going to jump into them.
Getting this out of the way first: to our surprise, we discovered in our experiments the other day that the New Breed's reaction to extremes in temperature does extend past their skin. The bands of thickened tissue that protect their necks and heads, as well as the major joints, softens when heated above a hundred and fifteen degrees. That's going to be incredibly useful information once we figure out a way to use it, since producing large amounts of heat is difficult for us without electricity, and weaponizing cold pretty much impossible.
That information does come with two caveats, however. The skin and underlying protective bands do weaken, but they also firm back up over time. We're still testing the range on that, but it's somewhere in the area of ten minutes so far. The other is that zombies, being essentially cold blooded, take a while to get hot. They aren't starting with a body temperature near a hundred, remember. That makes turning this information to our advantage difficult. But still, it's great news, and I have faith in Will and Dodger to come up with something.
In a big, nay HUGE turn of events, trade between New Haven and the outside world has resumed. It took a while to plan out alternate routes (and for our trade partners to feel sure the Exiles wouldn't cross the river to attack caravans of goods) but we're ready. Not a moment too soon, either, because there's a huge backlog waiting to be shipped about. We've got medicines to send, and Phil is planning on heading out with one of the trade caravans to provide some medical care at some stops. This is due to overwhelming demand for doctors, because there are a lot of places out there with pregnant women. Must have been a very long winter for those people.
We've got a new citizen, which isn't in and of itself strange, but how he came to be here is, a bit. His name is Donald, though he likes to be called Don. He's middle-aged, very personable, and he's been living on his own for the last two years. The crazy part is that he was only about half an hour away.
Don, you see, was living at the abandoned grounds for a local renaissance festival. Makes sense when you think about it, given that most of the place already had a wall built around it, the rest heavily wooded. It was set up to be functional without electricity, and there are different booths and buildings for him to utilize. Don used to work there before The Fall. He's a leatherworker. Beyond knowing how to make leather goods, he can craft armor, shoes, hats, all kinds of things. He's passably skilled at blacksmithing and a dozen other useful crafts. Chalk that up to thirty years of learning how to do all those things working for renfests around the country. The guy turned his hobby into a lifestyle, and that helped him survive.
Our scouts found him because Jess and I realized in all the time we've been struggling to survive, we'd never thought to scavenge the fairground where the renfest was held. That's kind of a huge oversight on our part. So we suggested it, and what do our scouts find when they get there? Don, working on a pair of boots. We're the first living people he's seen since The Fall.
All his other skills aside, everyone here is super excited to have a cobbler. Eventually we'll run out of scavenged shoes, and we'll want more durable footwear. I've always fancied having a pair of knee-high leather riding boots, myself.
There's always bad news, though, and Don did bring some of that with him. He did a lot of hunting out in Henry county, even ranging as far as northern Shelby county. He swears he's seen large gatherings of New Breed zombies in that area, possibly hundreds of them. We've begged for the remaining few people living in Shelbyville, the ladies we rescued from Tennessee, to come here. Most already had when the tensions with the Exiles were at their height, but the last few have been stubborn. Don's news has done what our pleas couldn't, and the remaining holdouts will be heading here this afternoon.
Then we'll have to deal with those zombies, assuming they don't catch us ferrying people from Shelbyville.
Oh, one last bit of news, and then I've got to get to business: Patrick is going to be a dad. Which is crazy, because I didn't know he was even seeing anyone. All the time away and then coming home to so much danger and work, I've kind of gotten out of the habit of talking with my friends regularly. I'm really happy for him. This is a dangerous, scary world to bring a child into, but when has the world been otherwise? A kid couldn't ask for a better dad than Pat, and no fear of zombies or human enemies should stop us from continuing the cycle of life.
Hell, those are the best reasons for doing it. Cheers, brother. If it's a boy, I like Joshua as a name.