I spent a lot of yesterday fighting. Jess insisted I go out with the small assault teams to clear some of the zombies away. It wasn't a pleasant job, but every body is needed. We had to clear enough undead away from the gates and draw large enough groups off so we could send out collection teams for supplies.
It sucked out loud, believe me. Patrick stayed with Jess, since he only has blacksmith duty most days what with him having the one hand and all. His workload varies, and the new plague has our need for freshly worked metal at a low point. Of all the people left in the world, I trust Pat with my life and my wife more than any other. Hell, I that much was true before The Fall, too. Patrick Rooney is the best friend I could have asked for. Much like Jess herself, he's more than I deserve.
My team had the unenviable task of being first through the inner gate--the smaller, man-sized door set into the huge front gate--to clear away the few New Breed and old school zombies brave enough to come within bow range. They've seen that we aren't willing to waste arrows on stragglers at the moment and more of them edge closer all the time.
That part was fairly easy. The rest...
It was ugly work. Killing always is, even when it's zombies. We cleared the stragglers from the gate enough to let out three tanks, who took over the lion's share of the job. They led the larger forces of the undead away while those of us on foot fought the rest. The teams left out as we worked, and they won't be back for another day. They're loading up on firewood, which they have to cut, and hunting for fresh meat, and other sundries we'll need for an extended siege if it comes to that.
New Haven has been insulated from the outside to a large degree ever since the first perimeter defenses went up. With the construction of one wall and then another, even better one, the feeling that this place is an island has grown. Now that we're weaker than we've been in a long while and surrounded by the undead, it's almost impossible to feel any other way.
To a lesser degree, my house was starting to feel that way as well. I want to be there with Jess, need to hold her hand in her time of need, but I'm actually glad I got out and helped fight. I hadn't realized how isolated I was starting to feel after only a few days without my normal routine. I wasn't going out for a jog or trotting to the office to hand in reports. I was at home, working nonstop and only seeing the outside world through windows.
Before and after the fight, I managed to have some good conversations with my teammates. Two of them work in the annex most of the time, and they're helping handle the gopher problem. They've set traps and managed to capture a few of the little buggers. Apparently gopher makes a decent stew.
Another is a guard on the wall, and is one of the marauders who showed up with Kincaid. Guy's name is Darryl, he's in his forties, and he joined up with us because he wanted a safe place for his daughter. I had no idea some groups of marauders were families, but Darryl only joined with them for her. She's just sixteen. Though they've only been here a few months, she fell for a local boy. They had a small ceremony just yesterday, hands bound by ribbon and all that.
Even in hard times, love can bloom like roses in the cracks of concrete. Hellfire, love born in times like these? It's especially powerful, tempered like steel.
I know I've never loved my wife more.