White

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The world was painted white the other day. Then is was covered with ice. I like it. I have been staring out the windows for hours. I have seena few squirrels and quite a few birds. I have even seen a couple of deer. Life almost felt normal. I really wanted to start a fire, but didn’t. I didn’t want to give myself away. It has been nice.

I think I am slowly getting my words back. The past few months are coming back to me in flashes that hurt less and less. I haven’t seen a Z in three days. It has been nice. I haven’t heard another vehicle either.

The house that I found is slightly off the beaten path and has features that have made it ideal. It is up on a hill and the older Z’s tend to not climb. With the ice right now I don’t think many of them would have the coordination to make it up here.

When there were more living than dead it wold have been considered a McMansion, but this one is a little different as it has a central courtyard. Large sliding wood gates can be opened and closed for access, protection, and defense. It has been nice to sit outside and not have to look over my shoulder.

There are books and there are movies. I have added to what there was with my few forrays to the local strip mall. Amusingly enough, I have ended up almost back where I started. I hit the Wally World, grocery, store, and the local bookstore. 

Mostly, I have just been staring out the windows. I have had few thoughts. When I do most things that float through my head do not connect in way that make sense.

Don’t get me wrong, I remember everything that has happened since this has all started.  I remember the last few weeks before the tiny community I had seen trying to rebuild itself was destroyed. I remember the little girl I had found, and the fact that I called her Newt, after the little girl from Aliens. I remember feeling a small moment of happiness as I saw people trying to get back to normalcy. I remember it shattering.

Nothing left

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I have sat in front of this computer for nearly a week now. I have been in this new place for two months now. Nothing is as it was when I last wrote except that the dead are still walking, and those who die are doomed to come back unless their brains are destroyed somehow.

Nobody I talked of before sill lives as far as I know. I had to put a few of them down myself, but I don’t want to talk about that now. I don’t know what I want to talk about. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know why I am alive. I don’t know. I just don’t know.

This is too hard. I will try again tomorrow.

Kliege’s new obssession

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Well, I seem to have created something a monster now that I have introduced Kliege to the world of zombie fiction and movies.

He has already consumed all of my Brooks, and is now working on Maberry. The other night after all the work was taken care of, and Newt (she still isn’t talking) was put to bed, we watched 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later. Kliege was understandably somber after those movies, so the next night we watched Shaun of the Dead. He appreciated the humor, and still found it informative.

Tomorrow we are going on a book hunting trip for some other authors and  The Walking Dead series, which I insist he reads.

That isn’t all we have done though. Kliege had a controlled burn of the Z’s collected in the villa development. Flammables were tossed onto the dead from the perch of the ladder truck, and then the horde was set on fire. Trees and bushes were hosed down to keep them from going up as well. The one home that was built is now gone. It took about two hours for all the Z’s to completely stop moving.

I asked Kliege where he got the idea and he said he saw that someone had done something similar over at the high school just off Providence. All I could do was laugh. Kliege guessed it was me by my reaction, and admitted that he was fairly impressed. I enjoyed the compliment.

The other thing I got to see was how Kliege dealt with the young and cocky thugs that have decided to be part of this odd community. One of them got mouthy and feisty the other day, claiming that he would kick Kliege’s butt if he didn’t back off with all the work that was assigned. As far as the kid was concerned they were all safe now, so why keep working so hard? Kliege tried to explain in a civilized manner but it was not getting past the kid’s thick skull. Finally, after much yelling, Kliege informed the kid that if he could take him in a fair fight, he could take the next week off. The kid refused  to take him up on it, stating that he remembered the last few challenges, and the fact that every guy lost.

After much deliberation, it was finally settled that Kliege and the kid would each get 100 rounds. Whoever made it from Fairview Rd. and the corner of Barclay Downs Dr., past Southpark Mall, to the corner of Barclay Downs Dr. and Runnymeade would win. The rules were simple:

  1. No injuring or killing the other man.
  2. Shoot only at Z’s.
  3. You must stick to the main road unless you run into a horde.
  4. The first one out wins.
  5. If you got bit you got shot dead.

A preliminary recon was done of the area with a drive through and it was declared safe enough, but I know that the car going through had to draw out a few Z’s. We dropped Kliege and the kid off and told them that we would see them on the other side. It is about a three-mile stretch, so I figured it would take them thirty minutes to an hour to get through depending on the Z activity. They started their trek with about twenty older ones shambling about, before we lost sight of them.

The group I was with quickly drove around to the Runnymeade end. We had to clear a way for ourselves, and others were sent  out to keep the ways free and open. It was difficult for a while to tell where all the shots were coming from. I know that quite a few had to be coming from inside the gauntlet that those two were running.

Forty-five minutes later we saw them. Kliege was  humping it at a trot, with the kid slung across his shoulders in a fireman’s hold. Later we learned, the kid freaked out about halfway through and started hauling ass even faster, shooting at everything. When he ran out of bullets, the kid threw the gun at the nearest walking dead, which promptly bounced off of it, then bounced off the ground, and tripped the kid, who went down so hard his face hit the pavement and he passed out. Kliege dispatched the Z in question and picked the kid up humping him the rest of the way out. Kliege won the deal.

I have to admit that I started giggling when Kliege told me about it in his office. At first he was mad, but finally saw the humor in that horrible situation.

 The kid is grateful for Kliege saving him, as was the kid’s girlfriend. The kid’s name is Daryl Foster, and he is very happy to be alive. He also has a new-found respect for Kliege. Not only for saving the his life, but Kliege didn’t tell the rest of the community what Foster did. He just told them that Foster encountered a horde and got tripped up getting through them.

The two have chatted, and have come to a new understanding. Foster asked K why he didn’t panic. K said it was all the military training he had, and he took it all to heart. Foster now wants to learn more about it. Too bad the recruiting offices are now closed for good. Kliege has promised to teach him all he knows.

When I came here I never intended to stay,  but the more I see of this group and of Kliege, the more I want to stay with them. I still haven’t left his new home, but then again he hasn’t offered me one of the empties.

Everyday there are a million things to be done to keep us going and sustainable, But Kliege and I always find time to talk, comparing notes, talking about the new books I have introduced him to, strategizing. I find it very comforting.

Kliege

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Kliege is the name of the leader of this little group. He and I have spent a lot of time talking and exchanging notes. After a great amount of explanation and deliberation he has said that it is okay with him for me to write about him and the group here. He hopes that whatever is written is found and either helps the reader, or helps us survive.

Kliege has also agreed to keep Newt here. We still have no idea what her real name is, but I started calling her Newt after the little girl in the Aliens movie. Our’s just happens to be a few years older. She will be staying in Kliege’s house for now, where he feels he can keep a better eye on her. I am comfortable with this.

He asked if I would stay, but I have not decided yet. I have slept fairly well for the last couple of nights, staying in his place, but it is a matter of trust. I think I can trust Kliege, but there are members of  his group that I most certainly don’t, probably because they are also the dumbasses that robbed the bank I was in.

Kliege, on the other hand, is a former Marine. He asked me to cross out former, as he says that there is no such thing. He also wants me to let anyone out there who reads this to know that he was a part of the 2D Maintenance Battalion out of Lejeune. If you receive this and remember him, please contact him at his Gmail account. I am told  that if you don’t already know it, leave a comment here.

There is a lot to write about and limited time again.

Kliege says that there are 28 civies in his group. They are made up of people that he has come across as he was making his way here to find his parents and siblings. He has not found any of them, and seems resolved that he probably won’t. The strange family he now has (and he does see most of them that way) were survivors looking for help or had helped him, and all just stayed together coming to Charlotte.

The group had held up in various buildings on the outskirts of town. Kliege decided on this location after studying various maps of Charlotte. This area won his vote when he realized there was only one way in and out easily, and there were many places close by for provisions.

All the houses have been scavenged for provisions, which were pooled and redistributed. Housing has been assigned. And a basic inventory has been taken of useful items. There is still a lot of work to do, but Kliege’s main focus has been on whipping the more thug like members of this strange group into obedience. That is a whole other tale which I will try to explain later. I am told I will get to see it first hand if I stick around for a bit.

He has also allowed them all a bit of a breather from fighting and  gathering of the dead. What I saw in the beginning of their time here was just to thin out the walking dead population, in order to make everyone more comfortable. When his group is more disciplined he will begin clearing out more of the city. I told him that it may take a while with over 700,000 people in the city proper alone, and probably another 1.5 to 2 million within a 50 mile radius. He chuckled and agreed. It is something we will have to talk about though.

We have been talking about how I have survived so long. He can’t believe that it is because I was a huge zombie fan before all this and have applied what I learned from all those books, graphic novels, and movies. Weird, but true. I am introducing him to Max Brooks tonight. It may have been fiction at one point, but now it will be a basic manual. He wants me to make a basic list for him, so he can catch up. I told that I think it would be a good idea for everyone to begin watching and reading about zombies, even though it is/was all considered fiction. He is going to think about it, but wants to get familiar with the whole genre himself.

I figured he survived simply because he was one badass Marine before all this (even if he was a pencil pusher and box lifter), so I asked him when knew something was going on that the government wasn’t being real upfront about. Kliege then proceeded to tell me about the last time he had been in DC for a weapons demonstration and briefing.

He was on the beltway heading home after leaving meeting at the Pentagon. He said that he nearly wrecked his car when an arm reached out from under some thick bushes next to the road. He reported it to the highway patrol figuring it was a homeless person who was sick or something. It was two days later that the first reports of a “virus” the had reached epidemic proportions was making its way into every major city. He made it back to Lejeune and stayed there even after it was made clear by our government that all hell had broke loose, and there was no cure for it, and no help coming from any of our allies or enemies. Everyone was dying as rapidly as we were as a country. He finally left when the base was overrun with Z’s and he was only one of five men not infected. After days of no contact from those higher up the chain of command, the five decided to head out and try to find their families. There is more to the story, but he didn’t want to talk about it.

Kliege knows that what was once considered normal will never be again. He knows that the only choice is to start over. He just doesn’t really know if he is the man to lead this group. I think he might be. Then again maybe I am a bit partial to him since my daddy was a marine himself. They probably would have gotten along simply because of that one commonalty alone.

Unexpected changes

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I have had  many unexpected changes over the past several days. The two biggest being that I found a child  surviving in a church, and I am now in the new community in M’s old neighborhood.

The child I found when I had to barricade myself in a church after being followed by a large group of Z’s. I had no idea that I had started my period at that point, but apparently they did. To make a long story short I was looking for a safe place to hide from any of the dead who might be able to break in when the she decided to show herself to me.

I have no idea how long she had stayed there as she refuses to talk. Trauma. She is smart though. When I explained what was happening she ran and got some incense from behind the altar and went to the front doors and started burning it. The sounds from outside got louder for a while, but then calmed way down. I can only guess that since they couldn’t smell me they went away.

I stayed with her at the church for eight days. She had made a nice space for herself under the stage where the altar is. There was some food, but not much. It looked like she had raided the nursery and brought all the crib mattresses and blankets under there and made a rather comfy bed.

How she survived this long is amazing. I tried to get her to talk, but she wouldn’t do it.  She is now a walking shell, but not as bad as the child in the child in Brook’s book, but that is what she reminds me of.

We spent most of our days watching and listening. We burned lots of incense, and I found that air freshener sprayed liberally around the door frames worked as well. I also debated heavily on what my next move was. I couldn’t leave her alone, but I wasn’t sure that I could handle taking care of someone else on top of myself.

I asked her if she would like to go be with other people.  She gave a tentative yes. I had no idea if the new community would take her in, but I needed to get her with other humans.

I am being told I have to stop now. The leader here is not sure if he wants anymore information shared on this place going out. He is intrigued though with this idea.

Bait

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I now know what “bait” means. The noises from the walking dead piqued my curiosity so much that I had to find out where it was coming from.

I had carefully watched from various windows part of the morning to see what was happening out on the street. Z’s walked past the house, in the direction I would have taken had I been going to M’s house. From time to time I would see a car go by, usually a racer. Nothing ever came back my direction though. The sound of the Z’s just kept getting louder. I had to know what they were doing with them.

I stuck to what sparse woods and bushes there were, watching where I stepped and taking it very slowly. The Z’s on the street were interested in something, but from where I was at I couldn’t see anything, so I just followed until I heard a loud scream.

The noise wasn’t to far ahead, and it was enough to entice the walkers to move just a smidge faster. I thought that M’s neighborhood had been breached despite efforts to secure it. I even sped up a little, but was  brought to a quick stop again when I saw a rather odd sight.

There was a woman about twenty feet in the air standing in a cherry picker, even odder was the man suspended from the bottom of it with a rope around his chest securing him to the platform of the lift. The picker truck was outside a wall, while it’s load is above and inside another abandoned developement.

At one point on the site, a beautiful Italian style villa had been most of the way built, with obvious plans to build a few more and make a micro-community. It was still there, but surrounded by Z’s.  There is an eight foot high wall (I am really guessing that measurement,  but I can only see the tops of a few of the Z’s hands over it as they reach towards the sky) that I remember surrounds the whole piece of property. There are only two places for people to enter or exit, and both are right on Carmel Rd. All walking dead who were on the street were heading into the compound to get at the possible food source, the guy dangling in the air.

 His feet were two to three feet above the outstretched arms of the gathered dead. There were at least two Z’s who were fresh enough that they were actually jumping up to try to grab his feet. It turns out that the scream I heard had actually come from him. This I discovered when he let out a few more.

A second larger engine started up, but I couldn’t see where the noise was coming from. It was obviously right by the house, but it was louder than the cherry picker. From the far side of the house, the first thing I noticed was another body swinging into view, then back out. Looking up just a little I saw the top of the ladder from a fire truck. This second guy let out an even girlier scream than the first guy as he was positioned over the undead crowd. He tried to grab the rope that held him and pull himself up, but couldn’t.  And, when the jumpers came at him he passed out from fright.

I need to admit something here. Seeing those guys scream like little girls made a strange part of me giggle a little, and I know that if anyone had been near me they would have noticed a faint smile. I didn’t know anymore at that point than what I have just written, but I then understood what “bait” was.

The incoming of walking dead finally slowed down to nothing. The dangling men were told to really make some noise, which they did with no argument, keeping all the attention of the zombies on them. Two firetrucks were driven in front of the entrances. They were parked very close to the wall, and once in place men who were riding on top placed thick plywood on the zombie side. I am assuming it is there so that they can’t damage the truck and the fresh one’s can climb out.

Once all this was done, the cherry picker and the ladder truck were moved  and driven, backed side by side on Carmel Rd., in front of the other fire trucks, blocking both lanes. The dangling guys were swinging in the air when a tall, strongly built man came into the picture.

He carried no gun that I saw, or any other weapon. The clothing he wore consisted of heavy cargo pants, the type that have a gazillion pockets, and a simple T-shirt. He wore laced up black boots that reminded me of the steel toed one’s my dad wore when he did heavy physical work. Nothing else. He had on glasses with black rims, and either he had shaved his head or he was bald. In another place and time I would have found him attractive.

He stood and stared at them for a while. When he finally spoke, he did so with a strong but quiet voice, asking them if they were going to be derelict in their duties again. Both the hanging men quickly said no. He then proceeded to let them know that if it did, they would be used as bait again, and it didn’t matter if it was a nest of newly dead or not. The dangler’s quickly assured him it wouldn’t. The big guy turned and left. The men were lowered to the ground and untied.

I realized as they stood up it was the two riders from the other night. They had been caught being goofy, and not patrolling properly. Stupid on their part,  but I can’t find it in me to place the blame 100% on them. Patrols like that should be changed every 30 to 40 minutes, more often if it is really hot or cold out. The big guy in charge either didn’t know better or felt he could trust those two enough to hold the fort while he held his meeting. Stupid on his part.

I watched as the group slowly made their way back towards the entrance to M’s neighborhood. Once inside, the semi’s were driven back into place, and again large planks of plywood were placed on the sides of the truck facing the houses inside it. Two people stayed on top with guns, standing guard. Obviously, the main business was done for the day, and even though I only watched I was tired as well. There was so much info to process.

I am now back in the house I stayed in last night. I find myself conflicted. The man I saw today, who is obviously the leader, is not what I have imagined. More importantly, while he obviously came up with a different kind of punishment for those who screw up that is kind of scary, he didn’t out in out kill them or hurt them with corporal punishment of some sort. The way things are being done is actually kind of ingenious.

A small part of me wants to go and introduce myself and be around other humans. The part that has read most of the published zombie novels, and seen even more zombie movies says, “Stay Away, you can’t trust them yet!” I think I will stay away for now. I have done good on my own.

 I am tired. Not sure if I will fall asleep right away, as I don’t feel secure enough in this house, but I will read, and at least try to relax. Tomorrow I am going to move on, just not sure where.

Left M’s

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Finally, made it out of M’s neighborhood.

I wound up having to stay longer than I planned. Settling people in houses was more of priority than I anticipated. The guy in charge came in and checked out M’s house really early. I was able to hide under the bed again, but unfortunately the couple that got the house decided to break it in with some celebratory sex and then sleep.

I thought about leaving after they had fallen asleep, but I didn’t know where the rest of the living were and didn’t want to take a chance on being seen.  The couple was also light sleepers, which I understand with what has gone on. The were a few times that I changed position a little too noisily and woke them up. I froze and stayed as still and quiet as I could, while they made sure that nothing was in the house.

Sometime during the afternoon I heard someone stop by, but all I could hear was mumbling.  When the couple came back upstairs they were trying to figure out how to work the complex media system, but most of their talk was centered on the meeting to take place later in the day.

I am not going to go into detail about it, but the part that really concerned me was that there was a meeting that everyone had to attend. Apparently, the leader has chosen the largest house in the neighborhood (big shock), and it was at his place. To be truthful, because of it where te house is located and its general positioning, I would have chosen it as well.  Anyway…all had to be at his house at five to go over plans and rules for the inhabitants of this new community. The couple was not pleased with being ordered around, but both agreed it was better than becoming bait.

Obviously, this is a really bad thing. I am dying of curiostiy to know what it entails, but am not going to risk my neck to find out.

I had a guestimated time of departure. The question then became which direction. At that point it all depended on if there was anyone out there watching the street. Which, it turned out there were a couple of guys riding around on bikes, up and down the streets. 

I didn’t realize this until I was finally able to leave M’s house. I took it as quickly and as quietly as I could, but only got as far as the end of the garage when I had to hide behind a bush. It took about 15 minutes for them to complete a circuit. I just kept watching them. Honestly, I was too scared to move, the word “BAIT” kept flashing through my mind. I was frozen there so long that the sun set during, but something good came out of it all. The rider’s time had increased by that point as well. They were now taking about 20 to 25 minutes between laps, and they were not what I would call paying attention, weaving around the round being silly. It was obviously time.

I made it as quickly as I could across the street and headed to the nearest cul-de-sac. The house that was at the very back had a similar wrought iron fence to what M has, but I saw that the houses on each side had the towering hedge rows. I was on the right side of the main house and decided to go for the closest backyard right there. Bad choice. Behind the hedge wall was a cinderblock wall. There was no way over or around it, so I had to go back around the main house to the other one.

I had no idea when the riders had last been by or if the meeting was over, but I wasn’t going to wait for an invitation. Keeping close to the house, I made it around. Just my luck, there was no yard access on that side, so around another house. It was at this point that my predicament got a little comical.

I heard the riders coming back as they were still pedaling around, but either they were really bored, or so tired they were slap happy. The closest thing for me to hide behind was a tree, not a big thick old oak that would have been enough to shield my girth, but some medium size ornamental. I felt like I was this huge pink elephant trying to hide behind a toothpick. Bizarrely enough, the guys were far more interested in their decorative flashlight show then watching for walkers or the living. Thank god they moved on quickly.

Admittedly, the first thing I did after they left the cul-de-sac was find a large bush to hide behind and pee like a race horse. Once relieved, I headed into the back yard. No wall over there, just ginormous hedges that I had to push and shove my way through. I am covered with scratches all over my face neck and arms.

I didn’t stop though. Getting back towards Carmel and Colony roads was my destination. I only got about halfway there when I heard a large number of zombie moans. Not knowing where I was exactly I found shelter.

Currently, I am in a one story ranch. The side garage door has seen better days so it didn’t take too much effort on my part to get in. No one was home, living or dead. I found what could be called an attic and was obviously used for storage space, but there was no way I could stay up there. I opted for the huge jacuzzi tub with comforters, pillows, and blankets thrown in it. There is a large window that slides open that I can make it out of.  All the doors have towers of drinking glasses in front of them. If anyone tries to come in I should hear it.

I have slept. I have eaten. And now, it is night-time again. Since I haven’t been found I will wait until morning for my next move.

The moans of the undead can be heard, sometimes louder than others, depending in the direction of the wind. They must have them corralled somewhere close.

I will try to get some more sleep, but don’t know if it is possible.

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