It's just past the middle of the month, and the weather has been above freezing for the last few days. The general idea since The Fall has been to be more cautious when the undead are about to rise. Will, in a display equally forward-thinking and unhinged, chose otherwise. While I'm still too under the weather to participate, nearly every other able-bodied person went out yesterday evening in the relatively warm winter air and killed zombies.
Scouts have been searching the surrounding land for weeks in an effort to find as many creches of hibernating zombies as possible just to make yesterday possible. I doubt the county is cleared out given how much communities like ours seem to attract massive groups of zombies, but our people killed every one they found, more than a thousand in total. That number includes the ones our scouts found and killed themselves outside of the county itself. I'm sure, based on past events, that at least that number cleverly hid themselves away where we can't find them, but that's a problem for the full thaw.
Will's logic for this move was that once the thaw does come, we shouldn't have to expend effort on both the war with the UAS and fighting the undead. Better to take steps now to avoid problems later. Hard to fault that kind of thinking when you look at the larger picture.
And I'm not, really, but being so ill the last few days has given me a bit more perspective. I reached that point of being so sick where you just don't have the energy to be upset or angry about anything. My body was worn down to nothing, couldn't eat, could barely drink, and I kept hearing people who came around the house discuss the current state of affairs.
I have to wonder what would happen if all of us just pulled back from the fight. If we retreated behind our lines and told the UAS that the borders were immutable--stay on your side of them and there will be no further trouble.
Yeah, it's a fantasy at best, I know it. Recent history proves that no matter what any of us does, the UAS is going to try to collect what they see as their due. More than anything, I want the fighting to end. I want people to calm the fuck down and recognize that life is far more precious than at any point in the history of our species. The old saw is still true; every life matters. We can't afford where this fight is taking us. I'm not ignoring the very real situation we're all in. I know the fight is happening whether we want it to or not. It's just that we can't afford to half-ass this. A long conflict with mounting casualties for our side will cripple us, maybe permanently.
I woke up early this morning, feeling a bit better, and went to visit Will to explain these thoughts to him.
He agreed with me, but the conversation didn't go much beyond that. I've seen Will at my place a lot over the last months, but this was the first time I'd been to the little nook he calls home in a long while. The whole room is swathed in maps and documents, open texts on strategy and tactics, guides to warfare and theory of government. His whole body language was tight, and he was clearly keeping things close to his chest.
Which is fine. I don't need details, I'm not in command. I just saw my friend in a new light, and it concerns me. He always looks stressed--his job would give anyone gray hairs--but this morning was the first time I've noticed how much he has changed. The old Will, the one who was a prisoner but smiled through it, would on his worst day stop to tell a joke or pick a flower just to have something pretty on his lapel. He used to sketch and draw, and when all of us came home last year he kept the funny little stuffed walrus we had in our truck. Said it was his good luck charm.
I can't recall the last time Will stopped to talk to someone, or watched a sunset, and his cramped little den showed little of the man he was. There were no things of beauty in that room. Nothing to show he had hobbies or wants or desires, nothing at all other than work.
Make no mistake, Will does his job well. He's an incredible leader, a brilliant general, and a caring human being. I only worry that his concern for all of us is forcing him to leave the man he was behind. I wish he could find the time to remember, even if only for a day, that there are other things in life outside of work.