I'll be straight with you; I expected to be emotionally torn up yesterday. I really did. My mind seems to be a lot less fragile than I accounted for, though, because I woke up on my day off from the blog not feeling any different than I did before I volunteered to carry out the sentence of those prisoners.
I remembered back to the early days of The Fall and how deeply the horrible things I did affected me and there just wasn't any comparison. Part of how all of us learned to deal with going to extremes much farther than life had prepared us for was to objectively judge our actions. I won't rehash two plus years of moral observations right now. You know what I'm talking about.
Didn't expect that to make a difference. I knew those people had to die--had earned that punishment for killing our own people--but I expected some fallout from the choice to do it myself. As it happens, I seem to have reached a place where knowing intellectually that an action in necessary and moral (relatively speaking) is enough to stave off the deeper issues I've been dealing with. After all, these people weren't desperate and hungry. They weren't waifs without resources or hope. Hell, even most marauders have the driving force of need behind them. Constant hunger.
No. Our prisoners were well-fed, heavily armed, and outfitted with very good equipment and clothing. They weren't hurting at all. Just more red marks against them and their people for the attack, which was a piece of calculated strategy to remove New Haven from the effort to find these fuckers and wipe them from the face of the earth.
On the whole it was a good thing for me to remember the man I was a few years ago. I went back and read over some of the blogs I wrote after particularly hard episodes and seeing how far I've come has hardened my resolve.
This morning, for example, I took part in a defensive response when a minor zombie attack came. They've been hammering us for days though not in large numbers. There's a lot of damage yet to the buffer even though the walls have been repaired well enough. The buffer has a lot of weakened areas and one huge spot that just doesn't exist, and it takes time to fix. Priorities mean we have to do what we can, when we can, and it still benefits us in regards to the zombie attacks to just leave that space alone for now and let the undead enter through it.
The zombies that came against the wall were almost all New Breed. We know they've been herding old school zombies into the county (or so our scouts report) and the assumption is that they're keeping them in reserve either as a surprise force to bring against us, or as a stockpile of food for the winter. Which is gross.
Whatever the reason, the New Breed have been doing the attacking themselves over the last several days, but only in small groups. These guys look to be the slower and weaker New Breed, though. Some kind of culling in the ranks, maybe? Whatever the reason, I'm happy for it. I got to run to the wall and open fire right along with the rest of my response group today. Couple of the undead actually came close to cresting the wall close to me, too, when two zombies crouched with hands against it so a third could jump on their backs and get his fingers on the edge to climb up.
I broke a knife blade off in that one's head. Not my best work and Pat is sure to yell at me for breaking one of his blades, but effective. I didn't feel a battle lust or anything like that. Just the same calm sense of necessity I felt when I pulled that trigger. In the equation that decides whether my actions are called for, protecting and serving my people always comes out as a win.
It feels a little like going back in time, saying these things, like I'm Marty McFly or something and channeling my younger self. But I like it. Feels good to not be crushed by the fear of failure any more.