A tale of two worlds. That’s from something. I don’t remember what. Fucking Google is still down. The whole internet is as well. It drives me nuts to see that little icon in the bottom of my system tray. There are no networks to connect to.
Fuck yourself, internet.
I’m frustrated tonight. Not for any good reason either. Just pissed about people, and their asshole nature I guess. I find myself wishing I’d done more when it mattered most.
More on that in a bit.
I went to The Farm yesterday with Gavin. I thought it was a good idea to get as many people with eyes on experience as possible. Abby’s middle finger is starting to get infected, so the whole team (minus Gavin and I) took a day off yesterday to do more stuff around campus. Abby chilled out and rested, doing small shit in Hall E. The rest of them did fence work and field work, plus other things. Gavin and I hunkered down in the dirt with rifles with good optics, and we stared at a farm that had precious little happening on it. Yesterday was a dry hole for us. We saw nothing unordinary. This seems to be the rule, not the exception with the farm.
Last night on campus was also kind of blah. Bad moods all around. Lindsey and her kids stayed at the farm all night after getting some food from campus, and Abby was crabby pants McGee over her finger. It’s all red and inflamed, and the antibiotics we gave her made her nauseous. Patty banished her to her room, and that was the end of it.
When I woke up this morning, I felt like total shit. I threw up in my bedside trash can as soon as my alarm clock went off, and promptly had the ninja shits for half an hour. I’m happy to report that the ninja shits didn’t strike while I was in bed, otherwise my nice new bed would’ve been ruined. Poop shuriken were not everywhere. Huzzah for an airtight asshole.
I felt rotten, so I bailed. Blake has been sleeping in Hall B with Ollie and Melissa. They took him in and made him feel comfortable. I wound up hobbling my gross ass across campus and letting myself into their place, and I woke him up. He was pissed at me, but when I asked him to do The Farm’s daily recon, he promptly changed his tune. Getting him back involved was a good idea. I think he’d been feeling neutered. He was off in 15 minutes, and I went back to bed.
I wound up crawling out again at nine am, which is the latest I’ve slept in memory. We’re up early as hell all the time now. Oh, while I’m thinking about it, the furnace has been off for a week now. We’re keeping the whole Hall E warm with just that tiny wood stove we found. We’re also now able to run the electric generator at night only. The solar panels are cranking the juice now, and we have enough power off just them during the day to run almost everything in the Hall aside from microwaving on high, baking in the ovens, or running more than a few appliances at once. It’s pretty sweet. If we could get more panels somewhere...
So when I finally became conscious, I checked around, and it was just Abby, Ollie, Melissa, and myself on campus. A quick radio informed me that Lindsey was back at the house with the two kids with a stomach bug, which told me precisely why I was feeling like asshole. I decided I’d spend some time with her and sick kids, and try to keep everyone else healthy. Last thing we needed was to have a stomach bug rip through us and shut the whole show down.
I grabbed some food, some stuff, and drove over to the Manning farm and spent the afternoon helping her do her new chores. She’s just about done cleaning the entirety of the place up, and she’s keeping up nicely with the garden. There are little baby plants all over it.
She wound up making some tea for us, and we wound up sitting in the huge living room on the old couches, sipping the hot green tea, and talking. She’s such a calm person, and has such a huge heart. I definitely feel a lot closer to her today after hearing more of their story. In between attending to her sick daughters, as well as my ass, she told me all about what happened to her and Doug after they left for the north.
The afternoon of June 23rd her and Doug both randomly had the day off from work. Doug was feeling under the weather, and Lindsey had taken a personal day to stay home and take care of him and the girls. She had a dentist appointment late in the morning anyway, so it worked out. She knew something was wrong when she arrived at the dentist’s office, and it was closed. There was a sign on the door saying “closed due to epidemic.” That was the first word about the events of the 23rd she’d heard.
Doug and Lindsey didn’t watch a lot of television, or listen to the radio. They just stayed unplugged for the most part. I think that’s one of the reasons why they adjusted so well to the way things are now. They don’t miss television like I do. That day she turned on NPR in the car, and got an earful of the end of the world. She called home to Doug, told him to turn on the radio, and by the time she got home, they were both freaking out.
Doug and Lindsey knew by about two that afternoon that things were bad, and only going to get worse. They thought long and hard about it, trying to keep the girls out of the loop, and eventually decided to call Lindsey’s uncle, who lived in a ski resort town up north. He said he was headed there, and they should too, and everything would blow over in a few days.
As they were packing, things went from scary to horrible. In their neighborhood they heard a car crash, and an exchange of gunfire immediately after. When they went to the windows to see what had happened, they saw one crashed car pull away from their neighbor’s smashed up vehicle and drive away as their neighbor opened fire with some kind of rifle or shotgun. It looked like a relatively minor hit and run that ignited gunfire. The first signs of the world starting to come undone for them I suppose. Doug and Lindsey shat bricks, scooped up the kids, and left with little more than a picnic cooler filled with food, and an overnight bag filled with clothes for the girls.
As it turns out, they left at a good time. Maybe the best possible time. Traffic heading north was heavy, especially after they got past the city and got north on the interstate. People were driving like assholes, speeding like a bastard, and as a result, there were a LOT of car accidents. On a normal day, there are fender benders all over the place and maybe two or three major accidents across the whole state. Lindsey said on the drive up there were multiple rollovers, several vehicles plowed into guardrails, a bunch ran off the road, and quite a few with flats on the side, or just broken down or out of gas. As a result, there were dead folks, which meant zombies in the road, which caused more collisions as folks hit them, or swerved to hit them, causing more wrecks, causing more wrecks, etc etc.
Obviously we don’t know all those stories, but I am wondering now how many folks got in their car, and left without filling up the tank? I’d bet a lot. Most of the folks in this neck of the woods don’t realize that once you get out of the suburbs heading north, there are stretches of twenty, thirty miles before you get to another gas station. I think it’s fair to say multiple vehicles just… ran out of gas. Assholes rear ending people driving slower in their panicked attempts to escape north, drunks crashing, you name it. A massive exodus like the one that afternoon had to cause gridlock at a certain point. It did, but I haven’t gotten that far yet.
Lindsey got to the town where her uncle’s vacation house was sometime around 8pm. They’d listened to the radio the whole way, and by then as you already know Mr. Journal, life sucked. I think by that point there was a dead nurse in my back yard, my mom was dead, I’d shot a guy in the grocery store parking lot, and things were just fucking awesome in general. It’s weird to look back on that day now. So much has happened since.
The family arrived at her uncle’s place only to find it empty. Her uncle never arrived. Ever. To this day she still doesn’t know what happened to him, and it was clear in the tone of her voice that she was sad about it. When she was on the phone with him originally, he said other relatives of theirs were coming as well. None of them made it to his summer house either. So many questions right? And no answers at all. That’s the way things are now. Closure is a fucking pipe dream.
When they arrived up north the grocery store in their town was already down to its bare bones. The credit card processing companies were down assumingly due to overload, so atm and credit cards didn’t work anymore, and if you didn’t have cash, the store wasn’t selling. Cue armed robbery. People took what they could, and after a fashion, she said the store manager just opened the door, and told folks to take what they could. It was a better alternative than risking getting shot over a loaf of bread I suppose.
The resort turned into a ghost town by midnight. Everyone went to ground, and miraculously, there were little to no deaths. I mean it makes a lot of sense. If no one died, then it didn’t spread. It took US to spread this, not some virus working on its own. She said they ran out of most of the food at her uncle’s place in a month, and that drove them back into town to try and barter for food.
It had gotten bad in the resort town. The entire village had been taken over and placed under martial law by the local National Guard unit. They’d taken over the remaining places where food was available, and stockpiled all the medicine and important supplies. Most importantly, they’d instituted their own set of basic laws that preserved law and order, and also their power.
Lindsey and Doug had to go to the Guard command at the major ski resort in town. Eagle Mountain resort it’s called. Strategically, it’s excellent. There’s a deep fast river cutting around the majority of the mountain, and there is a single large bridge crossing it that takes you to the resort’s parking lot. Sound familiar much Mr. Journal? Lindsey said they set up a huge trading post/police station on the far side of the river, and only “approved citizens” were allowed to enter the resort.
To get approved, you had to agree to work set labor hours, have useful skills, be a known member of the community in good standing, and bring in goods that added to the “community survivability.”
Now that might sound good on paper, but if you think about it, it was a recipe for disaster. The key words to look at in that previous sentence are “known as a member of the community in good standing.”
Why is that a problem Mr. Journal? This is a town usually filled with out of towners. Certainly filled with out of towners right after the shit hit the fan. There was something like ten, maybe fifteen thousand folks there after the exodus, and the entire town year round only had maybe three thousand residents. Now as you’d imagine, the out of towners had a really hard time making a case as being a “person in good standing.” The locals obviously were waved through the gates with a thumbs up if they agreed to work and brought some tools, or fuel, but the non locals?
Well, Lindsey said they had a really hard time getting by. Those with money usually had things they could trade at their homes to buy a good reputation. Their cash was useless, but a donation of an expensive SUV, a spare electrical generator, or a four wheeler found those folks suddenly well known and valued members of the community. Cash talks. The policy created a vast gulf between the haves, and the have nots.
Inside the resort, behind the fortified bridge and across the river, the guardsman and their “citizens” lived a life of relative ease. The ski resorts are set up to last through inclement weather pretty good, so they had a fair amount of electricity, fuel, and food to last. Those outside in town were forced to rely on whatever they could scrounge in town, or hunt for. I guess a saving grace was that there were precious few undead up there. Luck of the draw perhaps?
Lindsey guessed and said maybe 80% of the survivors that didn’t make the cut into the resort made a living together after they collapsed into a luxury condo complex nearby. Raids from other locals diminished when their targets weren’t spread out, and they could organize hunting parties, raiding parties, etc. They never amassed enough firepower to attempt an assault on the resort. Lindsey said her family was fortunate that they never got seriously hit by anyone.
Warm weather saw things get much worse for them. By that point the food resources in the resort had run dry, and the guardsman ventured out, and started doing what the other batch of survivors down the road had been doing. Going door to door, searching for scraps. Mind you, this is before crops could yield any food, and with so many folks hunting and fishing, the local wildlife had been decimated as well.
There was no food left for the resort people to find, so they started taking it from the out of towners. Obviously, this was met with resistance. And unfortunately from the sounds of it, the shotguns, hunting rifles and handguns of the folks in the condos were no match for the humvee .50 cals. There’s no cover against those Mr. Journal. They’ll go right through a whole house and kill the people on the other side.
It was a massacre. Once the scale started to tip, the guardsman evidently decided that the other groups were too much of a threat to their survival, and expendable, and they purged them. Lindsey’s tear filled description of the events sounds an awful lot like the holocaust. People dragged out of their homes kicking and screaming, and forced to leave, perform slave labor at the resort, or die.
The leader of the resort was a Colonel in the state National Guard, and Lindsey didn’t recall his name, but she said he was clearly insane. If her story is true, then I have no doubt about it. Lindsey said she and her family escaped because they never moved fully into the luxury development. They stayed at her uncle’s summer home and only visited when they caught or shot trade bait. She said they were exceptionally lucky because of a small stocked pond in the back of her uncle’s land. I guess they pulled a fish or two out of there every day, right up til it froze over. After that she said they managed to trade a few snowmobiles, a deer Doug shot, and some other things to survive. It wasn’t much of a life from what she said, but they couldn’t see risking a return to the southern part of the state.
When things went badly at the resort and the condos, Doug and Lindsey decided it was no longer safe for them, or the girls there. They had to risk coming back. They had no fuel, a truck that had been beaten up over the winter something fierce (the Nissan I saw), no food to speak of, and they were almost out of ammunition for their two weapons.
Doug snuck into the resort area where some of the vehicles with fuel were left behind after the guard unit killed or enslaved everyone. He managed to siphon a full gas can before he bugged out. Lindsey said he had claimed that he was chased into the woods by soldiers shooting at him. Doesn’t surprise me in the least. Imagine what was going through his head? All they’d been through, and here he was running for his life with barely enough fuel to get his family hopefully somewhere safer. Desperation.
They put the gas in the truck, loaded up what they had (which by appearances was just their two kids), and they left for here in the middle of night with the headlights off.
She said the trip home was remarkably quiet. They encountered ZERO living souls the entire trip home, which is very discouraging to me. On the interstate they drove by multiple groups of undead, shambling up and down the road in varying intensities. They drove around them as best as possible, and when absolutely necessary, they’d stop the truck, and Doug killed them with a wood splitting axe from her uncle’s house. Lindsey has that same axe next to the fireplace. When she pointed at it I noticed the red stains on the handle. Macabre.
For the most part they didn’t fight much on the trip aside from the few times they stopped to try and siphon more fuel from the crashed or abandoned cars. She said it took them an entire day to make it back here. This is about a four or five hour drive by interstate normally, if that tells you anything.
There were two facts that she shared that disturbed me a great deal. The first fact was the gridlock going north. After they’d left the road there had been a series of accidents that stopped all forward progress heading north. She described one tragedy after another on the highway with pileups, cars riddled with gunshot holes, and clusters of undead that sounded enormous. She lamented the fact that they couldn’t stop to search the police cruisers left behind at the crashes for guns or ammo. It’s funny how your priorities change.
The second thing that really bothered me was the city. The interstate doesn’t run straight through the city, but circles it at a few miles out. If you want to get into the city, you need to get off on an exit, and make your way on surface streets to the center. From the interstate though, you can see all the tall buildings, and in many places, you can look down from the elevated highway and see the shopping plazas, hospitals, neighborhoods etc.
She said the city was practically destroyed. The larger shopping plazas had craters covering them, and cars were flung about like toys. The larger buildings at the city’s center were rotted out scorched hulks, clearly having burned out a long time ago. She said many of the overpasses going into the city were destroyed, broken in half by targeted munitions of some form or another judging by her description.
Clearly craters are caused by explosions, and most likely they were caused by bombs. Bombs probably dropped from planes. I can’t help but wonder why we would bomb our own cities? I mean it does make some sense to try large explosions to clear the masses of undead, but honestly, bombs do more damage to buildings and roads than they do to civilians or human targets, and likely even less to zombies. As I’ve said a thousand fucking times, the only way to kill these fucking things is to destroy their brains. Bombing a pack of them doesn’t guarantee shit for head injuries.
Whoever pulled the trigger on the idea of bombing our own soil to kill zombies must’ve known that wouldn’t be effective. How do I know it wasn’t effective?
Lindsey said as far as the eye could see, in every direction heading into the city, were masses of undead. Door to door, streetlight to streetlight, from crushed and exploded car to smashed apart mailbox, were the walking dead. A moving, undulating sea of rotting flexh.
That’s maybe 40 miles away. There is nothing stopping them from turning this way, and making the trip here.
I don’t know how much sleep I am going to get tonight. I’m suddenly filled with doubts, and the fear that at any minute, the entire population of the city will arrive here on my doorstep.
Tomorrow is Abby’s birthday.