We made it to the new settlement, finally. I'm blown away by how much work everyone has already done here, as most of the hardest elements are already finished or in the final stages. Food is planted and growing, both in the ground and in makeshift greenhouses. The central house itself is enormous. It's an old farm house with a lot of modern updates. Six actual bedrooms and a host of other rooms converted for the purpose.
Whoever built the place back in the day must have been prosperous over the years. There are small cabins dotting the property close to the main house. A family of three can live in each of them, cramped but not falling over each other. Jess tells me they were used to house farm hands in the world that was. And we're not putting them to much different use, to be frank; about half the people here will be working with Jess to manage our basic needs such as food, water, shelter, and materials.
Not that water or materials will be a problem. While I won't say where we are, I can mention that the area in general was very sparsely populated before The Fall. Most of our surroundings are former farmland, so while we don't have the ability to borrow a cup of sugar from a neighbor, we have access to all the farm supply places within a hundred miles. There's no one here to claim any of it. Most of the people here have been working for the last few weeks to do just that, gathering fencing and other heavy supplies for our needs.
We've got a well with a manual pump and a cistern built to hold thousands of gallons of water. Add that to our own water capture and retention methods, even now being put in place, and it's a recipe for success. The hunting close to the house is shitty, unfortunately, requiring longer-range hunting parties than I'd like, but since we're feeding a lot less mouths it's more than worth the effort.
Our barn is reinforced to withstand hell itself. People are putting together other shelters to house everyone more comfortably. It's amazing what folks come up with when presented with a variety of materials never meant for this kind of construction.
While we're a little jammed together for the moment, it won't be long until everyone who wants a private space has one. K has the basement--the entire basement, which is huge--by mutual agreement. He shares it with a few people he came to Haven with. He has a particular set of skills that we're happy to let him use, but they require concentration and space to work. No one is complaining.
Jess and I have our very own bedroom. I tried to argue against that since it seemed unfair to everyone else who has to suffer through sleeping stacked like cords of wood, but their arguments won out. I am still recovering from my wounds, and within a week or two everyone will have some kind of place of their own even if it's just a hollowed-out school bus. Of which there are many, there being a bus graveyard about three miles from here. Lots of options for housing when I think about it.
The solar panels are already installed. Once we hook up the battery banks (K knows how to make new batteries, and while they might be inefficient compared to old ones, cost is no longer an issue, so he is making them BIG) and salvage more materials to build wind turbines, we'll have reliable power. Enough to hook our cell transmitter to rather than burn gas to run the thing.
One problem we didn't think we'd have to deal with is zombies, and that's kind of funny when you think about it. This area, as I've said many times, seemed ideal to us because of the low population. We knew we'd leave a trail for the undead to follow. It's a long way from anything. Some of them are bound to lose their path on the way here. Others will be distracted by more appetizing smells. But while we expected them to come, we had no idea it would be in numbers anything like what we're dealing with right now.
There are about a hundred outside our fences. At the moment that's not a disastrous figure to cope with. Our fences aren't just chain-link, after all. They're reinforced five times over with everything we could think of. A miniature version of the buffer from Haven is in place, much simpler and less effective, but good enough for our needs at the moment. More than anything they're an annoyance. If they managed to bear down on a single spot on the fence I'd be worried they'd have a chance of getting through. We've got people out there drawing them off and thinning the herd, nearly constantly. It's a smart but dangerous way to manage zombies, armored and using hit-and-run tactics. Given the higher than expected numbers, it's an unpleasant reality to deal with, but that's life.
As with any move to a new place there are a billion little details I could get into here, but those are the basics. We're healthy and safe, ready for the rest of our migrants to join us. There's a storm rolling in, clouds like pieces of night carrying the rumblings of an angry god. If that seems like it has two meanings, don't fret too long over it. Of course it does. Not because of anything specific, just the world we live in.
I'm okay with that. We'll survive and thrive. It's what we do. No mater the circumstances, no matter how hard or dark the road ahead becomes, we'll carry on and make our lives a little brighter every day.