Sunday, April 22, 2012

Scar Tissue

I keep poking myself in the tummy. The incision where Evans cut me open and played in my guts is healing up well, faster than I hoped for and better than my expectations. Thank god for small favors.

It's really difficult not to fiddle with the lump of hardening scar tissue on my abdomen. It's like a loose tooth--there, and new, and thus impossible to ignore. Doesn't help that my laptop bumps into it when I work.

Still, I have a long road ahead of me. It's nice to be able to get some work done even if I can't go out and fight with the others. And they could have used me the last day, that's for sure. Every able hand would have been a huge help, but we couldn't risk fielding more than a handful.

The New Breed are back, and they've come with friends. Will is guessing that their disappearance was only for as long as it took to gather all the numbers they could. Idiotically, we assumed that our scouts and beaters had been seeing the large group of them and that it was the majority of the New Breed in the county. Sure, there were small groups and our people attacked them, but all of those together never added up to the larger group we'd seen.

Maybe. Maybe not. It's hard to track movements and numbers in the field. We thought the New Breed were gathering in one mass and that the smaller groups were zombies that just hadn't been integrated yet. New arrivals, probably. We didn't consider the idea that the large swarm we saw was the one they were letting us see, and we should have. We should have known it based on every interaction we've had with them.

Yesterday evening, a pair of our scouts came in at full speed, screaming for us to let them through the gate. They'd caught sight of a large group of New Breed less than a quarter mile away, at least two hundred of them. We had the lookouts on the tower scan all around, and what they saw was bone-chilling. Four such groups in total, spread out around us. Zombies on all sides.

They haven't attacked us yet, and this morning when we sent out those volunteers, the nearest troupe of undead retreated. Our people aren't stupid, so they didn't chase. Getting drawn far from home and into the retreating center of a zombie swarm is a good way to get trapped as the arms of that swarm close in around you.

No, they're just waiting out there. We keep taking warning shots at them, but they're just out of range of our air cannons, much less out arrows. Bullets would be a pointless waste. Two more teams have ridden out since that first one with the same results. Maybe if we had more people, and so many of us weren't injured, we could risk pushing a little harder and faster. Take the fight to them for real.

Waiting is awful. Knowing you're about to fight for your life, for the lives of those you love. The anticipation is brutal. Sitting here, I can only hope that the undead hold decide that we aren't a prize worth the risk. I don't have much expectation of that. They wouldn't be out there in those numbers on a bluff. They've shown us they're smarter than that.

I'm chalking it up to the funny little pill Evans made me swallow about two hours ago, but I'm not stressing out right now. I know I should be worried and fidgety about the possible death sentence waiting outside the walls to hit us like the fist of god, but I'm not. I mean, I feel it, but it isn't overpowering. I can be objective.

The New Breed are dangerous as hell, that's a fact. Their many advantages over the original recipe zombies make each New Breed worth four of the old school ones in a fight. They're fast and tough and smart, and that's not good for us. More, they've got experience with our defenses and probably have plans to overcome them.

Medication is kind of awesome, though. Because I feel a strange (and possibly false) sense of security. Yes, the New Breed are lethal. But they are zombies. Which were once people. Which means they have weaknesses and blind spots we can exploit.

Ah, the sound of bells. Seems the time has come to see if some of our more clever plans will pay dividends. I really, really hope whatever this is doesn't wear off before the battle is done. Jess is here with me and I'm worried the blocked-off fear will overload me all at once and make me piss down my leg or something.

Time to make myself scare. The clinic will be busy soon, and I don't want to be in the way. Wish us luck.

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