Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Last of Us

The rest of our people came in this morning. A few more than we expected, actually, but not more than we can handle. Thanks to my beautiful wife, there are enough potatoes growing to feed all of us if we're left with no other option.

It took the last group an extra day to get here because they brought a housewarming present for everyone: materials to build greenhouses. That's going to be super helpful through the winter. We've got something set up in the barn already, but every bit adds up.

There's a sense of finality in the last of the group finally making it here. Our number is just shy of seventy people. Sounds like a lot, I know, but it's a small fraction of the thousands in Haven. We originally planned on having about thirty people, but as time went by more of our close associates decided they wanted to make the move as well. That's part of why things are so cramped at the moment, a problem we're doing our best to solve. We're slightly over double our first goal and have had to adjust.

Still, it's all good. We made the decision quite a while back to bring any of our close friends who wanted to come. At present we can't accommodate another living soul, not even another pet, but we can use every scrap of training and experience our people bring to the table. It's not like we won't be facing some bad mojo out here. We've got one person acting as a long-range scout and they've already spotted another small zombie swarm headed this way. We knew it would happen when the last members of our party finally made it home.

Home. A strange way to think of this place, but not nearly as odd as it was even a couple days ago. I got up to go to the bathroom last night, in the dark, and didn't have to think about the way there. That seems weird and silly, but it's the little things that make new places uncomfortable and scary. I'm starting to fit here, and the place is starting to fit me as we slowly shape it. The people make it work more than anything. Our combined experience and friendship gain strength as we adapt together in this smaller and more exposed compound. If home is where the heart is, then with these people I can go anywhere.

It's easy to expound on the emotional aspects of living here at the moment. I'm used to a much more constant set of threats. My brain can't reconcile the lack of zombies. There's a sort of tension among us as we wait for the next batch to show up here. The end of the world (and surviving in it) required us to acclimate to violence and to be ready to dole it out at the drop of a hat. It's hard to break such a deeply ingrained habit, even when there's no external factor requiring you to use it.

I'm not saying we're bloodthirsty or even spoiling for a fight, just that each of us feels the need to blow off steam. Not many better ways to do it than to annihilate zombies.

It's one of the many things we'll all have to do together. Jess has proclaimed me fit to join the ranks, with limited duties. I can't leave the fence or lift more than thirty pounds just yet, but she sees no reason why I can't put down the undead from inside the protection of our barriers. It's sooner than I thought she'd allow it, but I'm not going to complain. My wounds are healed over but still ugly and far from being old scars. They still hurt at times. Jess is being more generous than she'd prefer, I think, but a few words from K seemed to convince her.

Tomorrow I'll be out doing patrols. Weird to think I'll be back to where I was three and a half years ago, but this doesn't feel like backtracking. Out here we're as prepared as anyone can be, armed with weapons both physical and mental, armored in much the same way. We know more now than then by many orders of magnitude. And we're on this wide, open plain of land with a sky so big it seems to swallow you whole. It's all there for us to work and shape, to rebuild and spread onto.

Now that the last of us are here, we can start the next great chapter in our lives. Free of the politics and complications of living in a large community, it's a story we can finally write ourselves.

1 comment:

  1. I am a little surprised that no-one thought of dropping a couple of ammonia bombs in your wake as you moved to the new homestead. It might just have helped delay the immediate threat of the small swarms. Anyway, glad to hear the place is settling in for everyone.