There is a lot of ground to cover here.
I’ll start with the mundane. Yesterday Kevin and I led a small team outside the wall to find a stove in a house. I saw the stove when I was snooping around on the other side with Gilbert, and I had a good feeling the stove would still be there.
When we left Bastion the team was Kevin, myself, Martin, Roger, Angela and Quan. We left the rest of the folks behind in the event that anything happened either at home, or at MGR. The fires Ethan and I saw the other day on the fringes of downtown were weighing heavily in the back of our minds, and we wanted to make sure we had enough muscle to respond to any calls for assistance while we were out.
We left at about 8am in two humvees and the HRT. It was kind of a sad moment when I got into the HRT. Not only was it cold as the devil’s balls, but I managed to catch a glimpse of the Tundra sitting there in the parking lot, left alone and unused. No one has touched it in months. We’re trying to use Diesel vehicles only to conserve gas. I miss that truck. I miss its cracked windshield, and all the success I had while driving it.
Oh well. Maybe one day I’ll bronze it.
The six of us rolled out through the gate and down Auburn Lake Road heading to the house with the stove. Auburn Lake was clear, and I think a few of us got the heebie jeebies when we drove over the bridge and saw how much ice was covering the lake. It won’t be much longer before we can walk on the ice, which means animals, undead, and the living can too. Speaking of which that reminds me that we have had to cut down on our construction time on the tower near the water. It’s been brutally cold during the day, something like 10 to 15 degrees, and we don’t want to risk frostbite. We’re rotating everyone in hour shifts, which has cut our production by half.
Anyway, the road leaving was clear of undead, and we turned off onto some of the side country roads heading towards Westfield. The house itself was a fairly new home built far off the road. It was a contemporary with skylights, and neat angles, and split levels. Very open concept. The dirt driveway was about a hundred yards long past a steel fence, and curved slightly to the left. I hopped out, opened the fence, had everyone drive in, then shut it behind us. Luckily there was little to no snow in the driveway for the vehicles to contend with.
The house was dark and cold, and I expected there to be at least one or two undead in it. When I saw the house on the other side I just had a weird feeling about it, and my suspicions were confirmed when we saw the bottom floor windows boarded up. Sheet plywood nailed or screwed over the glass, and the front door had several 2x4s spaced across it to prevent folks from easily getting in. It looked hasty, but it would’ve bought the people living here a day or two to let things simmer down. Of course… things didn’t go as they’d planned.
But what does?
Quan and I got the boards pried off the doorframe in short order and after going around looking in the windows as best we could and going over the layout of the interior again to the best of my memory, we kicked the door in and breached the house.
Kevin was first in the stack, I was second. Both of us were engaging immediately. Straight forward in the house was the kitchen, and on the floor crawling towards us was a dead woman, her lower limbs chewed apart and left ragged and meaty. Kevin walked slowly and professionally inside the house, called out contact, and popped one round into her head, giving her some peace. He moved into the space to continue making it safe.
I panned left into the living room just as he was firing and saw two more zombies scratching at the window closest to the driveway, where we parked. It was a pretty clear father and son duo. The dad might’ve been fifty, and the son fifteen. I can happily report that after calling out contact myself, I snapped off a round into the son’s ear, putting him down and staggering the father on the through and through, and then put another round into the dad’s silent, wrathful face. I think he might’ve realized I shot his son. Hard to tell what’s left of the person inside when they’re walking dead.
The rest of the house stank, but in that cold, dry stink. The toilets were overflowing with human waste, and the food was all gone. None of the three minus the mother or wife had any visible signs of cause of death which led us to conclude they’d died of sickness. Mom probably lived through the illness, and paid the price when her son or husband ate her legs. Shitty way to go.
We found the rifles in the house, but not in the gun cabinet like I saw on the other side. Things can change from what I saw versus what they are now, and this was just more proof of that. We got three bolt action hunting rifles, one .30-06, one .223, and another .270. Angela found about thirty rounds for each weapon scattered across the house. We also found a 9mm Taurus pistol and about forty rounds for that, which I didn’t find on the other side. Must’ve been a new addition, or maybe I just didn’t find it when I was looking around.
Once we secured the whole house, basement included, we opened the rear bulkhead, and got to work on getting the stove removed. The stove itself was intended to heat the basement. The owners had turned it into a bit of a wood shop, and the tools and raw materials in there were pretty impressive. We took all of them. We also took all the wood, which was a nice addition to our raw materials supply. Good times I suppose.
The stove was fairly large, and getting it out took almost all of our muscle. Angela, thank God, was pulling security for us when we were loading it into the back of one of the humvees, and she called out contact on the driveway. One lone zombie was shambling his way up towards us, and she shouldered her AR and popped him down with one shot. Of course all the rest of us just froze solid, holding the goddamn stove up in the air, waiting and watching to see what the contact was. It was a scene straight from a heist movie. Like the crooks are watching a security guard walk past while they hold all the bags of money. We got a good laugh out of it.
It didn’t take us long to get to that point, and that left us with some time to check out the houses nearby. There were only two, and we hit them fairly hard and fast. I didn’t recall anything inside from my snooping before, but it turned out to be worth it. There was a tiny bit of food there, as well as two more handguns, some lumber, shingles and 2x4s, some 4x4s, a handful of concrete blocks, and a few other things like kitchen tools etc. I forget exactly what we got, I was taking a shit in the woods behind one of the houses when we were emptying them. When nature calls, right?
Is it odd that I missed taking a shit with someone covering me? Felt like good old times.
The run back to Bastion was clean. Nothing in the road, nothing dangerous happening. We passed along the message to the MGR people to let us know if any fires were visible, and on the way back, right around 3pm or so, they called out that a couple of the fires had perked back up again. Based on Ethan’s assessment, the fires were in the same spots as when he and I first saw them. I’m glad they aren’t moving. It makes me feel more confident about the fires being at places where people are newly living, rather than just random fires set by vindictive pricks. Or something worse.
We left the stove in the humvee for delivery to MGR at a later time, and did a quick debrief before going our separate ways. No complaints by anyone on anything of note, just a general sense of impressiveness over me knowing exactly where things were going to be. More Adrian mystique I suppose.
Last night we relaxed, and cleaned our weapons, and I went over in my head what exactly I’ve got planned here. Some of my decisions don’t make sense on the surface, and I realize that. I don’t share everything in my head with people, and I also don’t write it all down here. Sometimes I make what looks like a bad decision strictly to see what happens. Like for example, why are we going to use wood stoves at MGR when the smoke plume will give our position away? Maybe I want to force contact. Maybe I want to bring people to us. Maybe it’s because when they run lights at night there on the top floors, they stand out like a fucking pink feather boa at a funeral.
The way I see it, the smoke isn’t us tipping our hats to anyone observing. If they’re observing, then they already know we’re there. I asked Martin yesterday when we were out getting the stove if he could engineer some improvements to the door at MGR, as well as come up with some security enhancements for the building in general. MGR is far more likely to get hit than we are here, and even if we are hit here, we are far more capable of dealing with an assault. I guess looking at my decision in hindsight, we definitely should’ve upped the security first, but I can’t take that back now.
I slept like shit last night.
Michelle Kevin and I agreed we’d meet over dinner today. I spent the entirety of today alone, trying to assemble my thoughts around what it meant to be who I was, and who they were, and what the fuck we were intended to accomplish now that we’re together, healthy, and actually capable of doing anything.
I have no good answers. When the three of us snuck off to eat dinner by ourselves here in Hall E, all of us looked sheepish, like we couldn’t believe we were about to talk about what we were about to talk about. Lot of words beginning with the letter W in that sentence. Yeah, you just re-read it didn’t you? Clever fucker aren’t I?
I’m dodging the issue.
Michelle started the conversation. She was clearly the person to do it, and I think she knew it. She’s so smart, and intuitive, and she’s had the most “contact” with the powers that be of the three of us.
Michelle simply stated that she felt we three were here to redeem mankind. We were the ones that were given the guidance and the chance to rebuild things in a better way. Restart culture and society to share more common bonds, reduce prejudices, racism, sexism, and our fucked up consumer based existence. She felt that we were tasked with restarting the world, simply put.
Kevin’s take on it was very predictable. He felt that we were united together to eradicate the undead. Simple as that. In order to free humanity from the scourge that was testing us, we had to pass the test by winning it. Kill or be killed, destroy all the undead and we would be set free.
What he said there hit a chord with me. I get the idea that he is “The Warden” and is the protector. I get that. He’s the warrior that keeps us safe, and fights, and all that jazz.
What doesn’t make any sense to me, is how Michelle is “The Savior,” and I’m “The Scribe.” She also said I was “The Soul.”
What the fuck does that mean? When I asked her how the “titles” had meaning, she told me about how this all started. I feel like I’ll do it no justice writing about it here, but the basic idea is that she and her associate were studying burial rights and ceremonies in Africa on June 22nd.
She was taken to a small gathering deep in... the Congo I think she said, and there she saw a burial ceremony go awry. I guess midway through the ceremony the temperature drops like a rock, and the smell of blood pervades the space. Then some creepy ass voice tells her that it “all starts here” and that humanity with be “judged” and that she will “bear witness.”
Some old guy dies, and stands back up. You can guess where it goes from there. No undead attacked her really. She fled, her partner dude died, and she started to walk/run away. She was eventually escorted by a small dead kid that kept her out of trouble all the way to Morocco, where she met Kevin and his group.
She had dreams of The White Room, as did Kevin and I. Of course for whatever reason, her dreams were far more informative. She spoke to her father, and even heard voices that apparently were the voice of the… creator? God? Ronald McDonald?
Who fucking knows.
Exceptionally long story short, she goes on and on, and finally basically says that she believes that humanity lives or dies based on me. Perhaps not me and me alone, but maybe a decision I make. Maybe whether or not I survive, or if I become a better person myself.
She thinks that because I am no one special, and that I am the generic male, I am the perfect person to base this on. If I succumb to evil, and remain a shithead, then humanity will be judged as having failed, and we’re all fucked. Kevin is here to make sure I don’t get killed while I figure my shit out, and Michelle, as “Savior” is here to give me guidance, and be there for me. Whatever that means.
Keep in mind Mr. Journal, this conversation reached the five hour length, and only just recently finished. So clearly, I am paraphrasing here.
I don’t know quite what to make of this. I kind of knew this was all coming, but to be honest, none of us really know what to do. Kevin wants action. He wants to go out, find and enlist more fighters, and start a fucking full on, full fledged war against the undead. He understands the idiocy of this, but also believes part of our making it through this is not giving up, and bringing the dead to a full state of rest.
Michelle thinks we are already in the end game. She thinks we are winning already simply because we are surviving, and starting a new, hopefully better world. She thinks the Trinity’s sole purpose was to unite, and persevere through adversity, and prove that humanity deserves a second chance.
If that’s the case… why are the dead calling her the Savior? And why, why oh why am I the Soul? What does that mean?
At the end of the discussion we’d reached a stalemate. None of us fully agreed with the others, not out of argument, but out of confusion. We had no idea who was right or wrong. Frankly, all of us felt that each of us was a little right. I think that’s part of this. It’s kind of like having faith. If you had proof, your faith wouldn’t be faith, it’d simply be knowledge.
Sometimes you just need to feel what you’re doing is right for it to matter.
Winter is upon us, and we have many domestic issues to contend with. Food will be tight as is, and we now have multiple groups in the town that are likely to vie for the remaining resources in town. Even if they are friendly, bringing them in, in any way affects our ability to survive. We simply can’t afford to feed many more.
We all did manage to agree that for the moment, simply maintaining was a good idea. Investigate town, work on fortifications, increase our food production and resource retrieval, and when warmer weather came, hopefully we’d have a better idea of what we were supposed to be doing. I think all three of us were secretly hoping for more dreams that would lead us to the promised land, so to speak. We could use some serious insider intel.
Gilbert, if you’re listening, I could use a call.
Our plan for the next few days I’ve already shared. We’ve got space to expand the hydroponics in the gym, and that’s what we need to do. We’ve got some design ideas for hydroponics that don’t require any electricity, and we’re going to build some. We need to fortify MGR. We also need to install the second stove there, and probably increase their electricity on hand. Both Kevin, Ethan and I all foresee us expanding the number of people living there, so we need to gear up for that.
Construction on the waterfront tower must continue. We also need more wood to burn. Syl needs to be rehabilitated, the school must stay open and operational, and we need to make more babies. I know we’re having a rough time planning on how to feed who we have now… but we need to make more babies if we as a species are going to survive.
I’ll end on that note. We’ve got to fuck more. Maybe that’s my role in this. Maybe the Soul has to knock some boots to save humanity.
Right. Like that’d be the case.