After I posted about Evans passing away, there was (of freaking course) a zombie attack. They come at us exactly when we can afford it in the least, though it probably didn't help that I pointed out to the enemy that our main trauma doctor was gone. This time the Exiles upped the ante a fair bit: they used the zombies as cover to move in and set a fucking ramp. I don't know where the Exiles found people either brave or suicidal enough to make the run at our wall, but it worked.
Our people on that section of the wall were so overwhelmed with keeping the swarm--which had knocked a hole through a weak part of the buffer--at bay that they weren't able to stop the Exiles before they set up their simple but effective ramp. They were even covered in zombie gore to mask their human smell. Give them full credit for massive steel balls if nothing else.
Long story short, a small section of the wall here in Central was overrun. It didn't last for long thanks to some clever person dropping a thermite bomb on the ramp, but for an intense ten minutes we were fending off the undead as they breasted the wall and moved house-to-house.
In the aftermath there were a few people with very serious burns, mostly made by zombies that caught fire from the thermite and tumbled into them. Quite a few others took cuts and scratches. We lost lives. I don't know how many.
And since Evans was gone, treatment for the injured was not optimal. People were coming in much faster than the clinic could handle them, and while Phil was doing a bang-up job, he was on his own. Way too much work for him without another doc there.
Not long after that cloud of chaos descended on the clinic, a small group of people decided they'd had enough. I was actually over in Will's office when the six of them showed up and asked to be given a small cache of supplies and permission to leave New Haven permanently. I was pretty shocked, to be honest. Two of those folks were early joiners, here for more than two years. One of the others came from Ohio with George, and the other three were newcomers from North Jackson. They wanted out, and Will let them.
We don't keep people here who don't want to stay. This place works because it's a willing joint effort. I believe in the power of the many united toward a common set of goals, but it doesn't work through coercion. Even at my lowest point, I never imagined really leaving here. Oh, I might die in the process of defending my home or from any number of horrible ends, but I wouldn't leave. That's because I am, as Stan Lee would have said, a true believer. Part of my own mental distress was reconciling the goals of this place and my unbreakable support for them with the awful things we've done to achieve them.
Others may not see it the same way, and that's fine. I don't blame those folks for wanting to leave. Being here means having to deal with a laundry list of enemies and threats. It means a near certainty of being injured, and the mess at the clinic plus missing a doctor made the choice easy for them. This place is great, they said, but the risks were too high.
Will asked them why he should give them any supplies at all, and the spokeswoman for the group pointed out that they could have just left over the wall (dangerous) in the middle of the night and raided one of the emergency supply caches tucked away outside the walls. Or stolen on of the stocked escape vehicles. They didn't do that because they knew in a dire situation that choice could cost the lives of the people who expected those supplies and that car to be there. Instead they just asked up front and counted on Will being a reasonable person.
He was. He ordered them outfitted and sent on their way. I hope it all works out in whatever safe, remote corner of the country they end up in. Sometimes I wish we could all live that way, but if we did then society itself would cease to exist. Maybe the human race, too.
It probably sounds cold, but while I don't hold a grudge against those people for going, once they passed the gates I stopped thinking about them completely. They don't exist any longer. Will didn't seem all that upset, and I'm a bit surprised he didn't stop me from writing about it. He doesn't want anyone to think we've got anything to hide or that we'd try to keep people here against their will.
Good luck to them. But then, we need luck too. And if I had to choose which of us would get it...