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Monthly Archives: April 2014

30th April

I helped out repairing and constructing new barricades for the front entrance today. Thankfully no zombies had followed the distraught mother into the town, or they followed her back out again if they did. Without the barricades in place we would be reliant upon the front gates to keep them at bay.

Firing a weapon at night is to be used as a last resort as the sound will travel for miles, bouncing off the surrounding hills and inviting any number of unwanted visitors.

With the barricades back in place again, I saw the genius behind their use at night. By shepherding the stupid wanderers into a fenced corral at the end of the road, the zombies have no way to get into the town. They either turn around and shamble back out of Dodge again, or they remain there bouncing off the fences until the morning shift go in and pick them off from the safety of the other side of the fence. The bodies are carried away on the back of a pickup to be burnt on the huge piles of corpses dotted about on the outskirts of town. Those are the plumes of smoke I saw the other day when approaching the town.

I assume this ingenuity comes from the brain of the sergeant, or some field manual he has, “The Man’s Man Manual for Dealing with the Dead” or “Dummies Guide to Community Living in a Zombie Apocalypse”, or what’s-his-name’s “Art of War”. Either way, he’s got it all sussed here and seems to be in for the long haul.

I’m still in two minds as to whether I want to stick around for much longer. As peaceful as it is, and the fact that I hadn’t had a decent sleep, meal or shower since this all kicked off seven years ago until coming here aside. For some reason there is an itch at the back of my mind that I need to move on. That Adam and I are not quite as safe as when there’s only the two of us. Stay on the move. Never settle.

This place is a big platter of warm, wriggling meat for the slovs, albeit surrounded in prickly wire and guys with boom sticks, but a sure target for a band of wily zombies all the same. Just look at our last setup five years ago. We let our guard down for one night and get annihilated.

Again, I have to think of Adam, but I am thinking of him when I feel we need to move on.

Just one more night perhaps…

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Posted by on 30 April in Zombie Philes

 

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29th April

The first real threat to the township came last night.

Down the first couple of streets that lead to the main gate, they have thermal cameras set up to watch for movement in the night, and during the day they can tell infected from Living just by the heat given off by the dead from the continual fever.

During the night there are barricades which are moved around so that any undead get funnelled away from the main gate and towards another fenced off section where they can be easily picked off in the morning.

Last night an SUV came barrelling into the town and towards the movable barriers. Basically a series of planks nailed to form an X with poles laid across and coils of barbed wire wrapped around, they’re good enough to deter both the dead and the Living from attempting to cross them, but an SUV barrelling in at 50 miles an hour barely slows when it hits one of those.

I hear all this as I’m doing a final walk around in the fresh air before grabbing Adam and retiring to our room on the fourth floor of one of the buildings for the night.

So this car thunders in and tears up the barricades and screeches to a halt when they reach the front Iron gates. Especially when half a dozen armed guys in full riot gear swam out like angry termites.

Driving the car is a terrified woman who looks like she had the Hounds of Hades on her tail. In the passenger seat, slumped to one side and looking the worse for wear is who I assume is her teenage son.

So the camp guards race out and surround the car. A couple take up positions further down the road where the car has wrecked the barricades to see if any slovs have followed her in. She jumps out of the car screaming for somebody to help her son.

Turns out the father had been grabbing some supplies in a shop in a nearby town while the kid kept watch and she kept the motor running. The father was ambushed inside the shop which he didn’t realise had the back door open. The kid ran in to rescue him, only to find his father’s throat had already been torn out and was, at that very moment, dribbling down the chin of some ex-school run mum. The kid backtracks back to the car only to be set upon and bitten before he gets away and into the SUV. The mother, beside herself, knowing she is going to be on her own in a few hours time with her zombie kid sitting next to her if she doesn’t get some help then drives hell for leather in a random direction and stumbles across this tranquil community just settling down to bedy byes time.

So the sergeant comes storming out of his ground floor office-cum-home and demands to know what all the hullabaloo is (yes, he actually used the word hullabaloo) and gives her the ultimatum we all get when we first come here: If you’re bitten, or somebody with you is bitten, you have the choice of leaving with them and taking your chances elsewhere, allowing the bitten person the dignity of shooting themselves or choosing somebody to shoot them if they’re unable. If none of the aforementioned are chosen in time, the decision will be made for you.

With that she bursts into tears, looks at her son and climbs back into the urban tractor and turns around. She drove off dragging a string of barbed wire and half a barricade with her, never to be seen again.

Me, I turned to Adam who had been watching, completely unfazed by it all, and we trundled off to our room where I tucked him in and asked how his day had been.

 
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27th April

So what do we make of this new community, Adam and I?

Well, Adam is loving it. It is the first time I have really seen him smile in a long time. Well, I’ve seen him smile, and even laugh before. But never in his eyes. His eyes always have that weariness. Something you should never have to see in a nearly six year old. He has been through too much. Seen too much. Perhaps a while in this place will do him good.

The community of Sanctuary is made up of some 100 to 120 people, from all corners of the country (and a few foreigners stuck here when the outbreak took hold and they were unable to return home), from all walks of life and all races, creeds and denominations. All thrown together in one big melting pot where everybody is the same – a survivor. One of the Living.

Most have fought their way to get here. Others started here and have barely seen the horrors out there.

The leader of the place, a burly ex-marine sergeant keeps the pace humming along, and his band of lackeys run about doing his bidding. He has teams allocated to guard duty, others running scouting parties to reccie the undead’s movements in the area. Others are responsible for supplies such as fuel for the generators, food, and any other necessities of a growing community.

I’ve put my name down to help out in any of the above if we are to stay here for a while.

I’m pretty keen to keep moving after what happened to the last “community” I belonged to, and I really want to track down what’s left of that research lab to see if there is any hope of this zombie nightmare coming to an end any time soon, but I’ve got to think of the kid first.

He’s finally relaxing and not jumping at the slightest sound in the night. There are a couple of other kids here too which he has started to latch on to. And for me, I can finally let him wander off, comfortable in the knowledge that he’s safe at last.

I’ll give this a few days and see how things pan out.

 
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25th April

The smell of cooking meat filled my nostrils, and not in a good way. We were nearing a town and columns of smoke rose up in several places around the outskirts. Obviously the workings of a band of Living. We were very wary of this and tried to see if there was a way around it on the map.

Seemed the town was up against a wide river on one side, the nearest bridge, other than inside the town, was a good 50 to 60 miles back the way we had come, and to skirt around the other side of the town would take us 3 or 4 days off track. We decided (and it is “we” in these decisions – Adam has as much say as I do, though he rarely makes a decision until I say which one I want, and, come to think of it, has never said anything other than repeating back to me exactly what I say – I’ll have to have a talk to him about making his own decisions one day) to risk going straight through.

We were very cautious, and took our time. We were only 2 streets in when a voice from seemingly nowhere boomed out at us that we had gone far enough.

Now this is why I hate the Living. At least with the Dead you know what they want – pretty much just to eat your face off. With the Living, you just can;t trust them not to take everything useful off you and either throw you back out of town again or shoot you on the spot. I feared most for Adam really. Me, I couldn’t care less. I’ve seen enough and been through enough that if it ended this minute I wouldn’t be too fussed, as long as I knew Adam was going to be safe and I wouldn’t turn into a mindless flesh eater.

So we stopped still. I put my hands up, and Adam just turned in circles looking bewildered and trying to see where the voice came from.

It was then that we saw the barbed wire barricades up ahead. An iron gate in the fortifications opened up and two armed guys came through. They had full police riot gear on, including helmets with clear visors, padded and armoured vests and all decked out in black. Scary stuff, but I couldn’t help but think what a clever idea that was to protect you from slovs. I’d have to note that if we got away alive to see if I could hook Adam and I up with some more protective clothing than the rags we stood up in.

So these guys come out and are more interested in looking all over us for bites and scratches than actually talking and telling us what their intentions are.

They eventually lead us through the iron gate and into the compound. Well, I say compound, but really it’s a small walled-off town within the city. There are people roaming freely in the streets and what struck me immediately was how clean everything was. The streets of any town these days are littered with cars, rubbish, desiccated corpses (some moving and others not) and paper. Paper everywhere. For a supposedly paperless society, the paper blowing through the streets would make up a sizeable chunk of rainforest in its original form.

Anyway, back to the main crux.

So once they were happy we were safe, they lead us inside the compound. “Sanctuary” is what they call it. A bit of a lame name, but there you go. They offered us food (in the form of a can of peaches), a cold shower, medical help for the various bumps and bruises we both carried, and a bed with a roof over our heads. All they needed in return was our promise we’d abide by their rules and not rock the boat in their happy community.

It’s “lights out” time so I need to stop writing for now. More soon…

 
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Posted by on 25 April in Zombie Philes

 

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20th April

They say a man can last about 3 days without water and up to a week without food. Well here in the summer-less North we’re not short of fresh water. There are streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, lochs and puddles everywhere. It’s the food that’s the problem.
There used to be a joke about how the haggis is an animal that lives in the hills of Scotland. If that were the case, I could do with coming across a paddock of them right about now.

I’m pretty much just skin and bones now, and Adam isn’t far off that himself. I make sure he gets as much food as I can, giving him most of my share when he’ll let me get away with it. I don’t know if I’m doing him a favour or a disservice. If I were to waste away and be too weak to fight off an attack he wouldn’t survive much longer than I would, but on the other hand the poor kid is growing and his body needs all the sustenance it can get otherwise he’ll end up some puny midget of a man in later life.

Our target each day is to try and walk about 20 miles – about two finger widths on this old map of the country I carry around. While we walk, we’re constantly scanning ahead and behind for slovs, and seeing if we can spy anything that might lend itself to eating. An apple tree, a house that doesn’t look like it has been too badly raided, hell, an old dog or oh yeah, a wild horse would be a feast for a week or more!

Just yesterday I was daydreaming about burgers. I was about to describe them to Adam who has never seen one in his life when this grey, emaciated hand shot out from a storm drain I was walking past and made a grab at my leg. At first I thought it was a slov that had been in there hunting rats and I was about to lop off its limb with my handy dandy machete I found in a green grocer’s until it spoke.

“Food?” it croaked. “Got any food?” Of course I had some food, but I wasn’t about to tell her, him, it anything. When it came out into the light I saw it was a wizened up old lady. How she had survived this long I wouldn’t know (she would probably tell me it was from not smoking, regular exercise and that a rat a day keeps the doctor away).

Adam was pretty intrigued that we’d found another Living that we could talk to, but he stood warily on watch while I dealt with the situation.

Seems she had been living in the storm drain most of the last few years – that is except for when there were big rains and her home was busy being a – well, storm drain. She mostly ate, much as I had already guessed, rats. But also various mosses and plants she had found to be edible. We couldn’t spare any of our food but I left her with a handful of mixed nuts that were in the cupboard of a house a few days walk back, and went on our way. She begged to come with us, but all three of us knew she would be a burden on us. She would slow us down, couldn’t fight even as well as Adam the five year old could, and would need just as much food, though this last part she argued against.

In the end we left her to her drain, promising to stop in on our way back in a few months. I marked this spot on our map too, and after finding out she knew nothing about a research facility, we headed onwards.

 
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16th April

Back in the day there was talk of a camp over in France that had survived. I’ve read back in this diary and seen I wrote about it some time back. From time to time I find a power source – usually a store with batteries, or a generator I can get going without too much need of mechanical assistance.

When this happens, the first thing I do is get a radio going and scan around the airwaves for anything other than the hiss of static. One time I found a ham radio which once belonged to some enthusiast and after much faffing about and far more time spent in one place than Adam or I were comfortable with, got the thing going. I tried talking on it and spun around to random places on the dial and tried some more. Nothing. I even thought about leaving it running with a recorded message looping over and over, but we’d already spent too long there getting the thing going in the first place. Besides, I don’t know what I’d have to say over and over again that would be of much interest to anybody out there listening.

What was I saying? Oh yeah, so the long and short of all this is that there hasn’t been any evidence that the Frogs made it either. They’re probably still out there for all I know, but they’re an entire English Channel away, and besides, Adam and I don’t speak French. Oui?

Oh, and another rumour that was going around before our camp was wiped out was that there was some kind of research lab up North. So every summer Adam and I make a pilgrimage up this way to search around for it. If it wasn’t for this hunt I’d much prefer to remain down South where the summer is a bit warmer, and not so wet. But the up side is that there are far less zombies around due to the lower initial population.

So we break camp each morning, pack our meagre belongings into knapsacks and follow the roads Northwards. We stay off the road itself, preferring to remain in the trees (if there are any) or behind hedges and things, anything really as we feel too exposed out on those roads. We keep the road within eyesight and just trudge along – mainly through empty farmland and knee-high grass. The slovs have long-since eaten any cattle and livestock from the farms.

We had a bit of a coup the other day when we came across some long white poly-tunnels. They were hothouses, but not being see-through to let in sunlight I was a bit baffled what they could be used for. That was until I opened one and found it to be a mushroom farm. The mushrooms had been growing wild and self seeding (or is it spooring?) ever since. So we had a good feed of those, taking as many as we could carry, and I marked it on my raggedy map to come back to on our way back down for the Southward winter migration.

 
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12th April

Adam and I like to have a laugh when we come across a slov in a strange situation. Like the other day, there was this one that had somehow got itself run over and was stuck under the back wheel of a car. It must have been fairly recently, otherwise who knows how it would have survived this long without food. They have to eat something every now and then, but I digress.

We had a bit of fun teasing this poor sod. All it wanted was to get hold of one of us and have a good munch, but it was pinned there by the back legs under that car.

I love to hear Adam laugh. It is such a rare thing, and I just wonder what he would be like if we came across a bunch of other kids, of the Living kind I mean.

He seems to have a bit of a soft spot for the undead though. Ever since I filled him in on how his mum was bitten and he was born just before she turned. He holds some kind of affinity to them, though he is very cautious of them. He takes no chances, but often stays my hand if I’m about to kill one unnecessarily that is in no danger of hurting us.

Anyway, I’m getting distracted writing about my parenting woes when really I’m meant to be filling in the backstory about how we got to where we are today.

OK… After getting in the car and bailing on our overrun camp, Adam and I shot out of town and I drove and drove until coming across a huge snarl-up on the highway and we had to stop. By this stage I had driven for a night and right though the next day. We were half way up the country by this stage. Adam did nothing but cry. And when he wasn’t crying, it was because he was asleep.

I had no idea how to be a father. I tried to feed him some dried meat I had brought along with me, but he was only a baby, probably about 1 at this stage, so wasn’t up to much chewing on the tangy venison. He sucked and gummed a couple of strips for a bit, but eventually he threw a big paddy and I realised he wanted something resembling baby food, or milk, or something. There was also a horrid stench filling the car. Whilst most of the country, and in fact the world I presume, smells like death on a stick, this stench was something else. And that was my introduction to the joys of babies.

To cut a long story short, we did make it back to that airstrip a couple of years later. It was completely overrun and there was no sign that anybody had made a last stand or lasted beyond that fateful night around the camp fire. I took the CD from the boom box that still lay not far from where I remember we had it set up. I still have it with me somewhere.

 
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Posted by on 12 April in Zombie Philes

 

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