Abby smashed the living shit out of her right middle finger yesterday. Lost the nail and everything. Poor girl cried her eyes out.
Nice start to our chat eh? I figured I’d start with a jolt to get you on board Mr. Journal.
We were on fence acquisition duty yesterday when it happened. Scattered around town are these little municipal properties that were part of the water department I think. There’s a little outbuilding, a raised area that I think is some kind of leech field, and it’s all surrounded by a 6 foot chainlink fence.
I never thought I’d type chainlink fence quite so much in my life. Nor did I think my genuine personal safety and wellbeing relied so much on finding enough of it. It amuses me as well that such a simple invention can be so effective in providing safety for me and my people. The concerns of the barely alive I suppose.
We were rolling through the side of town that we’ve been clearing house to house, and Abby pointed out the fence and the fact that it was pretty damn clear of anything moving. We opted to get the fence while it looked clear. It also helped that there was a large duplex right next door that we hadn’t cleared, so we figured it was a nice two-fer.
House came first, as we didn’t want to risk there being living people inside. We breached and cleared one side, then the other side. Mercifully, the house(s) were empty, and actually had a really large amount of food between the two of them. One of the sides of the duplex had a crib in a spare bedroom, and as you’d expect, there was a lot of formula and baby food in the cupboards. Melissa and Ollie were very thankful for that.
We were stoked to find two more small woodstoves. They were the small ones like the stove we just put into Hall E, and we were able to remove them and get them into the truck with little trouble. We also grabbed the chimney piping or whatever it’s called as well. One of the duplexes had a well stocked gun case too, which was a nice find. No weapons of note really, but more usable ammo in a variety of calibers and gauges. I’m starting to note a local love affair with the .357 magnum. I swear I’ve found more .357 revolvers than anything else here. It’s a good caliber, but kinda heavy for what we need guns for.
Once that was done we had about 6 hours of light remaining in the day, and that was exactly enough time to roll up the entire fence surrounding the area we had scoped out. It was a square area about 50 feet on a side, and we got the last of the poles into the truck at right about 7:30pm or so. That’s when Abby pan caked her finger. The big blob of concrete the last pole had sat in was still on the pole, and when she was helping Patty get it situated, I guess it shifted and rolled right onto her right middle finger.
Her yelp of pain sent both Gavin and I into a fit, as we were checking around the back of the duplex when it happened, and didn’t see it go down. Both of us bolted around the corner and to be honest, were relieved when we saw her clutching her finger like she was. We’ll take a busted fingernail any day over a bite wound.
Today Abby is enjoying the fact that she has a huge bulbous white bandage at the tip of her middle finger. She now has a super powerful fuck you gesture to give when she’s feeling generous, and believe me, she was feeling generous. We gave her a half a Vike to cut the pain a few times, and it made her loopy as hell. Gavin couldn’t stop laughing at how stupid she was on the painkiller, and that made her even more pissed. I think he did more to prevent his getting laid by laughing at Abby than Patty could ever achieve professionally cock blocking him.
Her finger is pretty fucked up. I think she cracked the bone, and it’s swollen up good, but luckily it’s just the tip of the finger, and as long as she takes it easy for a few days, I think she’ll be okay. She might have some serious PTSD over being a nail short for a month or two, but she’ll live. Unfortunately, her busted finger has her on campus patrol. I can’t risk her out on a run anywhere, and if we don’t get the swelling down, she’ll be in a world of hurt. Upside for Abby: painting just nine fingernails should save her approximately 10% of the time she normally invests in nail painting. (let’s not think about how she’ll hold that teeny fucking brush in her bad hand though)
Today we spent the day with yet another Mike and crew visit from Westfield. We experienced our first pain in the ass over the semi we’re using a roadblock though. When they radio, we need to move the van blocking the bridge, then drive to the semi, then move the semi, let them through, move it back, blah blah fucking blah. Pain in the ass. However, it’s a lot like the old TSA grope festivals before the end of the world. We need to give up some comfort for security.
I need to go on record and say officially that Mike is a straight up badass. He’s been so good to us here it’s insane. To think now that we were so close to going to war with this guy kills me. It makes me wonder about how many people that wind up fighting each other could’ve been good friends if circumstances were only a little different. I guess that’s spilled milk.
Mike brought Hector with him as well as LaFrenz again, and I guess Mallory tagged along to offer haircuts to everyone here. I was hoping he was going to bring one of the three girls I was talking to the other day, but oh well. I guess trying to pick up a chick really ought to be on the back burner for me.
Mike didn’t bring a ton of trade bait for the water. I guess that’s because they didn’t really need anything of ours. He said the warmer weather has let them search some of the houses that were buried in snow on the fringes of town, and that they’ve found a fair amount of food themselves. He also said they’re knee deep at Lenny’s farm getting the fields prepared for planting and whatnot. Ollie had to laugh at that. He alluded to the fact that his father was a wee bit of a slave driver during the spring. I’m wondering now if Ollie left strictly to escape working for his father right now.
Hector took a time out with LaFrenz and worked on our trucks. He brought spark plugs, oil filters, and other shit and actually did oil changes, and what amounted to a poor man’s tune up. That was super nice of him.
Mike took a tour of our fieldwork, and actually we spent the majority of our afternoon out there working as a group. Having a good sized physically able dude to help really sped things up. Mallory came out as well after she gave everyone that would sit still long enough a fresh haircut. She’s a good worker as well. In about five hours we put up something like 80 feet of fence. I think it also helped that Ollie and I more or less perfected the installation system the other day, and being able to start off doing it efficiently cut down on wasted time.
During our work I dropped the hint to Mike again that we needed more .223 ammo due to the town being suddenly overwhelmed with moving undead. Our target rich environment was making us a wee bit ammo poor. I told him about the living stragglers returning/appearing in town, and he said they were experiencing the same problem, though to a lesser degree. You see, they managed to clear town of the vast majority of undead before winter due to having a lot more military grade hardware and ammo plus personnel at their disposal. We have no armory here in town. In fact, the closest armory/base is Westfield’s. I know on the opposite side of the city there was an Air National Guard base with a reserve center, but that might as well be on the far side of the moon.
Anyway, Mike said that the folks arriving in town were avoiding his people like the plague, which I thought was odd, considering Mike and his men roll in military vehicles wearing their BDU’s and body armor 24/7. They are clearly American soldiers in America, doing their job (so to speak) and the fact that people are literally scattering when they appear doesn’t bode well for whatever was happening where they were all winter.
I’m now wondering if there are other units of guardsman that aren’t being quite as proper as the fallen Lt. Daniels’ men. That’s a scary thought. I’m envisioning scenarios of small vacation towns up north suddenly being overrun with people trying to escape this area where it’s more densely populated, only to find all the people from down here suddenly went to the same place at the same time. That’s the inherent problem with everyone having the same escape plan I guess.
There are almost no businesses in the rural vacation areas that aren’t entertainment oriented. Lots of restaurants, ski slopes, ice cream shops, bike rental places, etc. There are a lot of hotels, bed and breakfast joints, etc. Per capita there has to be half the grocery capacity of this area. There are towns of 300, or 500 people that swell to 2 or 3,000 during the summer months as folks escape the city. Those extra people don’t grocery shop. They eat out. If all those people suddenly appeared in that town, we’re talking ten, twenty thousand folks trying to survive off of two, maybe three grocery stores.
Seasonal businesses aren’t stocked up for long periods of time. They only carry enough food and supplies to last their season. Granted, most grocery stores turn their inventory quickly, but there was a mass exodus from here, and I’m certain now that more food was left behind here than bought and transported away.
I wonder if all those folks that escaped here and headed up there found themselves fighting each other over the scraps of an empty town, incapable of hosting all the people that suddenly arrived there? I wonder if the National Guard there had to put boot to ass to enforce order, and things got out of hand?
It could’ve been much, much worse there than how it was here. I’ve seen that the worst of this nightmare can come from living as well as the dead.
It certainly explains why people would leave the relative safety of nowhere to return to the towns and cities they left behind that they had to suspect were now filled with the walking dead. I mean, how bad does it have to be for you to leave where you’re holed up to come here?
Back to Mike being the fucking man. When we wrapped up the field work Melissa invited us all to Hall B for dinner, and we sat and shared a nice big meal of the remainder of the venison. Mallory sat next to me and I am pretty sure she was role playing the part of a chipper-shredder as she ate that meat. Gobbled that stuff right down. Fairly sure I got hit with spatter too.
When we were about done with the food, Mike said he had brought another crate of .223 for us, which was phenomenal news. Amping up our .223 stores by 1700 rounds or whatever is a very nice cushion to rest on. I also mentioned the fact that we were short an IOTV vest, and I shit you not, he took the vest he had worn earlier and handed it to me. I asked him what he and folks needed, in exchange, and he said not to worry about it. With a constant supply of water, support, and good meals, he said we were square on it.
I coulda kissed him.
It’s heartwarming to see the good side of human nature. I think living in a world of shit enhances the moments where we genuinely are good people to one another. Mike wouldn’t take no for an answer on it, and I was at a loss for words. He is such a person. Hector is a phenomenal guy, and despite the fact that LaFrenz wouldn’t say shit if he had a mouthful, I like him too. Mallory is badass as well. She’s always making me laugh with her smarmy sense of humor. I can see how she made good money as a stylist before all this bullshit went down. I’m glad she made the trip over. She’s pretty awesome.
They all vacated the premises shortly after our town clearing crew returned. Mike asked for the water (obviously), a few cartons of cigarettes we’ve stockpiled, plus a bottle or two of booze, and a few assorted tidbits of things that are neat and useful. Never underestimate the value of manual can openers in bulk. They don’t last long, and we eat a lot of canned goods. Gospel Mr. Journal. Write that shit down.
Gilbert, Gavin and Patty were on the road today, and due to a lack of muscle, they simply cleared a few houses. Gilbert was complaining about his toes, which he hasn’t mentioned in some time. To be honest, I’d forgotten they got smashed up at the daycare. We’ve had raw, wet weather lately, and I suspect that’s fucking with him. He’s moving around good, just bitching up a storm. Their loot return was mediocre, but they did find a house with a Ruger 10/22, which is a sweet find for us. Very nice rifle for the armory.
I definitely missed out on something though, because after Mike and Hector and Mallory and LaFrenz left, everyone was looking at me like I was retarded or something. It was totally one of those “are you an idiot?” moments, but I can’t figure out what was up. I asked them why they were all looking at me, and to a one, they all just shook their heads and walked away.
Shrug. I wish women didn’t do the whole “hinting” thing. Neither Abby nor Patty would come out and say why they were looking at me funny and shaking their heads.
Damn women and their subtle gestures.
Tomorrow we have vowed to clear the auto parts store so Blake can get supplies to start up Mike’s Automotive again. I’m hoping this is also a gesture that he will appreciate and understand the full importance of. I’m still not entirely sure he’s with us, but I’m hoping this is the nail in the coffin of uncertainty. Blake has assured us multiple times that the auto parts store is largely free and clear of the undead, but everything has changed with people returning to town.
The day after that we are setting up a safe house. We’ve picked one of the houses we’ve already cleared that’s right on Main Street. It’ll see a lot of traffic, and hopefully it’ll allow us a safe way to start up conversation with other survivors that have been here all along, or some of the survivors that are now just returning to the town.
Either way, we’ll be out and about and minus Abby, which leaves us a good gun short. I hate the idea now of rolling out without her eyes and trigger covering my ass. Everyone else is good to go, but I hate leaving a quality gun behind.
I’m still waiting for my mistake to cost us.
It’s coming. My dread waxes and wanes, but it hasn’t disappeared.