Monday, September 3, 2012

Dream A Little Dream

I was sleeping like a rock until two and a half hours ago. Lately, thanks to an occasional melatonin when I need it, I've been able to get some rest. I've actually gotten used to a solid six or eight hours in a row, so much so that when the alarms started going off at four thirty in the morning, I woke in a panic.

Even with my problems, I usually don't panic. Worry, feel down, and a host of other negative emotions, but immobilizing fear isn't one of them. Most of us have had enough harrowing experiences since The Fall that what used to induce paralysis now just makes us nervous. The reason the alarms hit me so hard isn't hard to figure out; I was already having a bad dream. In it, there was a storm hitting us, magnitudes beyond anything I've ever seen in person.

I've been having variations of that dream for several days, ever since we learned about the hurricane. We're long past the point where people name storms, so I don't know what the National Weather Service would have called the one that hit the gulf recently, but it was powerful. Our contacts in that area have survived many such powerful events, and gave us warning that this was a big one. Big enough to make the weather between here and there batshit insane. The wind and rain calmed down a lot as the power of the hurricane spread out and caused ripples, but yesterday we got nonstop rain for hours on end.

Which had several consequences.

On the macro scale, the best result of the rain was seeing the cisterns and reservoirs around New Haven drink their fill. Our dedicated (and grudge-bearing) plumbers have been hauling ass to set up every kind of catch-and-retain system they can think of, though this bout of storms came too early to utilize the big centralized tank they've just started working on. It's a dubious and frankly sort of scary looking thing, but when it's done they say the giant, half-buried cylinder will hold a hundred thousand gallons on its own.

Sounds impossible, I know, but Frankfort's main city reservoir is only two miles or so down the road. A team of fifteen workers have been cutting the enormous tank there into pieces and hauling them here for a week. It may not get finished before winter, but it's a fantastic long-term storage option. If the sketchy-looking welds hold out, that is. I'm not going to place any bets.

The second consequence of the rain was spending the day with Becky. She has been incredibly busy the last several months. Mostly she works out of a building my brother had built for her, tucked away in a corner of New Haven's original core area. It's one of those prefab metal things, sitting on a pad of baked clay as hard as brick. Other than the wall, there are no structures within fifty feet of it, because Becky does chemistry in that twenty-by-forty space. Mostly she turns raw metal powders into thermite, with the occasional break to make explosives. She has other projects to fiddle with as well, but those two take up a lot of time. She even has two assistants.

Too rainy and humid to do any delicate work, she set her minions on mixing powders as usual and then came here to hang out with me. She looks more vital now than she did when she first appeared at New Haven's gate. Whatever damage her trip across the world did to her has made good progress toward being healed. With most people I try not to talk about the past or focus on old times, but yesterday I spent three hours sprawled on the floor of my living room with her, chatting about our halcyon days while we snuggled comfortably and listened to the rain.

Becky has always needed a project, a goal. It drives her forward. Doesn't always matter what that goal is, whether it's chasing down a potential piece of ass or trying to understand a key component of some obscure biological molecule. Her laughter, that always-shocking girlish sound, made me smile. Especially considering how little of it I've heard recently.

Maybe I was just on her mind, but when the alarms went off last night, Becky came straight to the house. Technically she lives here, but most of the time she sleeps in her lab. I had my jolt of panic well under control in a matter of seconds, so when she came through the door I was calm. Cool. Hell, I even had a pitcher of my brother's beer handy.

On her way, she told me that the New Breed was attacking in force. Rain used to keep the undead docile, but we've seen them break that habit more than once. The downpour was heavy enough to obscure their forms as they worked through the outer defenses. They seemed to have learned their lesson about hitting the new expansion (I really need to rename the parts of New Haven we've added, for the sake of clarity and not giving myself an aneurysm) and trying to deal with the ring of cable and wire strung around it to slow them down.

Like the old myth about Washington: I cannot tell a lie. Well, I can, but I'll be honest here. I'm actually glad I'm still not allowed out to fight. I think I can face zombies well enough, but the idea of slogging through the mud and rain to fire arrows at barely-visible enemies doesn't appeal to me right now for some reason. Instead I spent that time listening to Becky tell incredibly dirty jokes--one involving a bus full of nuns--and trying to pretend I was offended as a former Catholic.

I can say in total truth that I don't feel bad about not fighting. I really don't know if I would break or not in the heat of the moment, and there will certainly be other battles ahead. I haven't heard further alarms since the initial bells announcing a hundred or less attackers at the north wall of New Haven central, so I will assume all is well. No one is pounding on my door and screaming.

Instead a pretty girl is standing behind me as I write, rubbing my shoulders and trying to explain how amino acids join up like an L.A. street gang to build a DNA molecule. I'm only half listening.

...and she slapped me on the back of the head. Damn. I thought I avoided a fight today.

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