Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The History of the World

Many thousands of years ago, the first intelligent human beings discovered fire. Then tools. Before long they started herding animals and building civilizations, transitioning from roving bands of nomads into stable societies with centralized locations.

It's been pretty much downhill since then.

There are days when I have a lot of hope for the future, but I'm always brought back to earth by some inescapable facts. Back before The Fall, before the zombie plague wiped out everything humankind spent those thousands of years creating, I bought a smartphone. I used it to surf the web and whatnot, but I always came back to my clunky laptop to write and play games. Because of the simple limit of how small a screen my eyes could use for some tasks. Like gravity or electromagnetism, it was a simple fact that writing was easier and way more efficient on a large screen with a physical keyboard. Nothing the makers of my phone could do about that.

Similarly, there are some things about human nature that no amount of positive thinking or social structure can override. When your people are sick and dying, you'll do anything to save them. When your back is against that wall you don't think about the consequences to others. We're the only species on the planet that worries for the welfare of all, not just our immediate social group. It's when the immediate social group is facing an existential threat that the scope of your concern narrows to them.

It's about love and family, you see. Doing everything you can to save the folks who've been by your side each day, suffering as you have suffered and sharing in the hundred little joys. We are a strange bunch; violent at times yet equally compassionate before or after. Rarely we feel both at once, a deeply morose sense of dark necessity, heartbreaking, even as we commit to terrible acts.

Sorry I'm taking so long to get to the point, but I don't want to type the words that are on my mind. It's stupid, I know, but the part of me that's still a scared and hopeful kid feels like not putting it out there for everyone to read somehow keeps it from being real.

About half the Louisville people that came here, which was more than three-fourths of their total population, are dead. We killed them. There wasn't much choice.

They released our captive scouts and fighters. I guess the assumption was that once they were exposed to the disease, our boys and girls would try to come back home. And that we would let them. Neither of those things happened. A lot of people seem to forget it, but we aren't stupid. All the people that went out to intercept the Louisville people were volunteers who agreed that if exposed they would stay out of New Haven for sixty days. We even set up supply caches for them just in case.

When the captives were let go, they scattered. Half-mad with disease and exhaustion, the Louisville people moved toward New Haven. The able-bodied helped the ill, brought the trucks within fifty yards when they hit the spike strips out in the grass.

They came out of the trucks, some of them walking, others crawling. Our defenders only killed a few of them. Those became zombies quickly, and as slow as the ill were moving they couldn't escape. One after another they died in a morbid domino effect.

It took nearly half of them dying to convince the rest to run. We burned the dead after killing the zombies that rose. In this case I saw "we" in the correct sense. I was there. I fired shots. I helped clean up.

I wept most of that time. They weren't bad people, nor are those who retreated. They were and are scared and desperate. Blame can be placed if you like, but I can't find fault on either side. Just tragedy.

Violence and tragedy. That's the way things go.


  1. It was a tough choice. They made the assumption that exposing your people will let them in. How many of the brave people from New Haven who have they sentenced to death, to become zombies. That to me is the greater crime. These people went to help, 12 went with a plan to help. Now 19 people have an uncertain future where it's possible family members seeing them as zombies will have to live with the pain of killing them. Shame and guilt are the only winners

  2. It was truly awful, and totally avoidable. The group from Louisville made their choice, for their own reasons, and paid the price. You offered limited help in the way of supplies(that you too need) and they refused it. They made their choice.

    I am angry that despite being told they would not be allowed in, the Louisville group came anyway. But given the fast spreading illness, it probably won't impact their survival rate in the end. I am sorry you and others were put in the position of having to kill former friends.

    I only hope this new vector has not managed to reach inside the walls of New Haven, and that some of the brave volunteers will indeed survive.

    Let the people of New Haven know, we would have made the same choice, and we support them.