My brush with death has been on my mind the past week. You’d think I’d be used to near-death experiences, but I’m not. Actually, I don’t know why I expect myself to be ok. I’ve mentioned how I didn’t handle the beginning of The Fall well, and after Pittsburgh became unlivable I was more or less suicidal, just walking across the country. Really, it was only after embracing the UAS that I started to pull myself together, and it wasn’t until Haven that I started trying to live my life. So why is it surprising to me that I’m still struggling with these demons?
And these New Breed. There’s just something about them that makes my skin crawl. I think it’s the fact that they think and reason, yet they are so clearly not human and their thinking is just…off. Take the attack. The New Breed recognized that we came out to collect arrows. They recognize that the arrows are tools, weapons that make them stop moving. So they collected arrows and lay down, prone, on the ground. That’s problem-solving intelligence right there. Yet, while they can problem-solve, their thinking doesn’t extend to anything abstract. They get that arrows stop zombies from moving, but they don’t understand why. They don’t get the relationship between the object of the arrow and the result of a dead zombie. So when I ended up among a bunch of playing-dead New Breed, they had arrows just laying on their chests, or they held them in their hands. They didn’t stick the arrow into their leg or stomach. They get that “arrow + zombie = dinner thinks it’s safe.” They don’t get that “arrow = dead zombie because arrow is sharp and sticks in zombie brain-pan.” Their thinking is both human and alien. It’s weird, it’s wrong, it shouldn’t be. It creeps me out.
And yet these New Breed that can’t understand abstract concepts, killed two people right in front of me and nearly got me too. I don’t know why I survive these attacks. I’m clever, but so are a lot of dead people. I’m not particularly strong or fit. I was never a fighter. Yet I survive. Every person I’ve ever known died in The Fall. Up until recently everyone I met Post-Fall died. People die around me. And yet I stay untouched. Do you get how bizarre that is, how unthinkable? All it takes is one bite from these monsters and you’re gone. There’s no coming back from that. And yet I’ve survived for years. Day after day watching as people get bitten, torn apart by the undead, raped and murdered by sociopathic marauders, people left for dead so that others could survive. How am I still here? How is it that I’m even still around to write this and eat hamburgers and trade stale chocolate? Why do I deserve to be alive? There are better people out there who died.
There’s no reason. That’s the answer. There’s just no reason. Life happens and there’s no greater plan. People die because that’s what happens. Those two other arrow collectors who died were here and now they’re not. I don’t even know their names. The one got torn to pieces right in front of me. Got eaten alive, spraying me with blood, and I don’t even know his name. That’s the world we live in now. We work, we preserve our morality, we do the best we can, and there’s nothing that comes back for that. No karma, no benevolent deity. Just death. Or life. Whatever. There’s no reason.
Well, no, scratch that. There is reason, but it’s man-made. We make our own reason for life. And that’s why, even though life happens regardless of ultimate morality, I refuse to sink to the level of those pathetic wastes of human potential that have become marauders. Death might eventually come to all of us, but when it comes to me, I won’t be taken as some base piece of sub-human slime that rapes and murders for entertainment. I guess all I can do is keep trying to live my life. I’m alive because the universe just shrugs and says, “why not?” No greater reason than that. I still don’t think I deserve it, though. I know I don’t deserve it. But people don’t get what they deserve. They never did. They never will.