I have never seen so many motherfucking chickens. It’s like we’ve been invaded by an evil nation populated entirely by poultry.
Man. Just fucking chickens everywhere here now. I feel compelled to eat chicken every night now just to thin the fucking ranks and give us a fighting chance. It’ll get better once all the coops are built, but for the moment… It appears as if an entire nation of edible villains has taken over most of the open grassy spaces of campus.
Things are marginally better here on campus, and I credit it to the presence of the chickens. People are stoked that more food is literally walking around in our midst, and the kids are having the damndest time chasing them around. There’s something kind of magical about watching a child at play, and I think we are slowly falling under that spell. If it distracts us from the bullshit drama, I am all for it.
I’m tired today, but my arm is much better. The redness and inflammation has abated dramatically, and it isn’t nearly as sore as it was the past few days. I think I am back on full duty as of tomorrow.
Mallory is better today than she has been lately. She still seems fairly withdrawn when compared to her pre-fire self, but Abby has been spending time with her, and the two of them I believe are talking things over, and it’s helping. I really hope for her sake Mallory sorts her shit out. I’ve been in that place, and it sucks. It can ruin you if you let it.
Progress on the campus wall has been nothing short of spectacular. Progress in general has been nothing short of spectacular. With so many extra bodies here, we can split up to do three or four independent tasks at the same time. Yesterday for example was easily the most impressive day we’ve ever had here.
Blake worked on fuel filtration with one of the new people as an assistant. He was able to get all but three barrels done yesterday I guess, which is a weight off of our shoulders. We also had a full sized crew working on the wall. Martin led the team working on the tree cutting, and Alex and George led the team working on the wall construction. In total Martin said we got almost 100 feet of wall in the ground, complete with berm backing. At that rate, we’ll shave our construction time in half. Productivity ftw.
While all that was going on Abby and Patty led a team of four that went down Auburn Lake Road to Route 18, and collected all the available bedding, as well as the decent beds to replace the shitty dorm beds here. That took them all day. No one was hurt while they were outside the wall, which is awesome. I like that phrase too incidentally. Outside the wall. We used to say outside the wire in Iraq, which was when we were off base, and “outside the barbed wire.” I like outside the wall. Gonna start using it.
Chris, Hector and I focused on working with Ryan on testing the solar panels we’d installed on the roof of the gym. Poor Ryan has been going tank to tank almost all day pouring his fertilized water mixture on the roots of the plants in the hydro tanks. He hasn’t had enough juice to adequately power all his little manual pumps, and he has been adamant about not wasting gasoline when he can just do it manually. As he has said, “I won’t run out of gas like that generator.”
And as long as he can keep himself fed, he’s 100% right. I give that kid serious props for the work he’s put in, even after the death of his friend Zach. He’s definitely a new person now that he’s out from under that other dude’s shadow. He uses full words, and seems to have realized he is not a gang member, nor is he hardcore. I’m not happy to admit this, but I am somewhat glad that Zach is dead. Ryan is a much better person for it. It’s like taking a flower out of the shade, and putting in the sunlight. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.
James, the other soldier on Mike’s team has a badly sprained ankle. He’s more or less laid up pulling sentry duty at the bridge for us for the moment. I guess Hector, LaFrenz, and James were trapped on the second floor in a locked classroom during the fire, and wound up smashing out a window, and jumping down onto the fucking parking lot. Hector and LaFrenz managed to land safely and avoid injury, but James came down funny, and more or less dislocated his foot.
Lisa Goldman’s main medical trainee is an older lady named Lindsey. I’m not happy that there are two Lindseys here now, but I guess duplication of names was unavoidable. Anyway, she’s got the school nurses’ office back in swing, and she got James’ foot reconnected and splinted up fairly quickly. He’s in a lot of pain, but with a trickle of Percocet all day, he’s managing the pain well. When he’s finally back up to snuff, which could be weeks or months he’ll be a huge asset to have. He’s another trained gun to protect, and to bring on our little outside the wall operations.
Today we broke up into groups again. Primarily we formed two and a half groups. On campus we split into wall work teams the same as yesterday, which I guess is two groups in and of itself, and the rest of us went back to Westfield to Lenny’s farm to get the chickens.
What a fucking task.
Six of us went in the semi plus one humvee, and we enlisted the aid of Lenny’s barely adult work force to get things loaded into the truck. Lenny had 93 chickens. Of that, there were fifteen roosters, and 22 “chicks.” Lenny had done some work to get the coops removable, and we were able to strongarm the damn hen houses into the semi trailer. Most of them were chicken wire and frame, so the big issue was bulk, not weight. Some of the houses were legit structures though, and those all had to remain behind.
The chickens inside them made the trip, because Ollie had built homes for them already back here. Sadly, during the trip back there was some shifting in the back of the trailer, and four of the wire frame coops were smashed apart. Fortunately, the birds inside were fine, but because we lost storage space for about 30 chickens, we have chickens everywhere for the moment.
Rewinding a bit, Lenny seems… lonely. Despite now living with more people than he’s lived with since the end of the world, he struck Mike and I as being sort of detached. I think he might be realizing that he doesn’t want to stay in the farm more anymore. I’m really hoping we can talk him into moving as soon as the harvest comes up. We have until late August I think for that, so with any luck, we can butter him up about it.
Lenny caught the young couple fucking in the barn that very first night by the way.
On a more serious note, we have started to look at all the new people very carefully. One of the secondary reasons we have broken everyone up into different small groups is so that we (ALPA originals, if you will), can try and find out if the person who set the fire is here. The last thing we need is a goddamn pyro on campus. What scares me even more, is in the wake of Gilbert’s sharing that evil is out to get me, I’m starting to wonder who else is under the influence, so to speak. If the Devil can get to Gilbert, he can get to anyone.
Eventually, he might even get to me.
Every night after we work with our respective teams, we’ve been meeting here in Hall E and going over what everyone has said about their story the night the high school burned down. Abby grabbed one of the student’s laptops, and she’s keeping a detailed spreadsheet on who has said what to who, so we can start to look for inconsistencies in stories.
Our hope is that we will catch people in a lie, and thusly lead our way to the motherfucker who killed all 36 of those people, and ruined all the supplies those people had been relying on to survive.
When we find out whoever did it… They’re gonna have a lot more than going to Hell to worry about. Mike is hot for blood on this, and when he finds out who did it, he’s going to stave their fucking head in. Or worse. In fact, I’d put my money on worse.
What next for us? Where do we go from here? I’m liking the cycle of one day on campus, followed by one day off. So in keeping with that idea, we decided we’d iron out some stuff here on campus tomorrow.
Room assignments. Well, more accurately, we’re going to figure out where people want to sleep at night. They’re welcome to sleep more or less anywhere, but we need to know where folks are living, and what needs to be stocked where. How many guns, how many bullets, how much food, do we need to power new buildings, etc?
After we’re done doing that, we are going to have a big fat family dinner. As many folks as we can all eating at the same time. We’re planning on sending six chickens to the executioner so we can eat them. I’m also sort of wondering if we should be sending someone out to look for deer or game. A single deer would feed all of us for a day or two for dinner. That kind of free food is a big deal. You know actually, I think I can plug some of the kids into fishing in the lake. I know there are plenty of fish to catch, and fishing is a fairly easy task they can accomplish within our eyesight.
Day after tomorrow… we’re going back to MGR. Martin wants to go back to reinforce the doors we had to cut open so we don’t have to use the ladder truck to get into the building. He wants simple, but strong bars to shut the door with, and I’m all for that. Once MGR is safe to occupy again, we’re going to work on staffing it, and then possibly hitting the police station to remove the repeater tower so we can get it on top of MGR. Then we’ll have radio contact over the entire length of town, which makes me feel all kinds of warm and fuzzy on the inside.
Mike has expressed some interest in staffing MGR consistently, and I think Dwayne is also interested as well. Both of them like their space, and if they want to live there, I’m fine with that. I also like the idea of having a military man as my eyes on top of the building. We’ll see a lot more that way than with a civvie up there half assing it.
Well, I think that’s it for now Mr. Journal. I appreciate you listening. I often forget how much it helps me to write all this shit down. Some days it’s hard to organize my thoughts, and being able to record it makes me feel a little better about the chaos inside my head.
Trying to keep it all under wraps has proved to be a very difficult task. We’ve had arguments and small fights here almost constantly since everyone arrived, and it has made for an awkward campus. Everyone has frayed nerves. We’re all on each other’s case about shit that we can handle, but don’t seem to have the patience to wait and deal with.
We’ve broken up into two groups. Well more accurately, we’re still two separate groups. The ALPAN people, and the Westfield folks. The old guard is angry the new folks are taking up space, eating our food, and using our shit. The new folks are pissed off they’ve been transplanted, and their friends and family members have been killed. The peace is fragile right now, and I am really hoping I don’t have to break up any more fights. The next person who gives me the hairy eyeball after I tell them how things work here is getting their fucking teeth punched down their throat. I’m fed up with having my authority questioned.
This is MY home. These people are here because of the work I did, with the people who were here because I LET them come here.
God I’m pissy. Legit at the end of my good nature. I am really pretty close to decking someone. Mike pulled me aside earlier when we were over in Westfield at Hector’s garage and told me I needed to take a deep breath and simmer down. I damn near put his teeth out. I’m just so sick of all this bullshit. I’m fed up with assholes, and death, and fucking zombies. We frigging practically waded through undead over in Westfield this morning to get back to the school. No one had the foggiest idea where they came from.
Granted, some were burnt to a crisp, which likely means they came out of the school over there, but there were a lot of pristine (and I use that term very fucking loosely) undead just , milling about. We wound up putting down something like 60 undead just to clear space to get to the garage. Clearing the armory was easier, but not by much.
Alright, details I suppose are the order of the day at this point.
Yesterday we gave tours, assessed skills, and tried to meet everyone. I don’t remember all their names. It’s just not happening. I don’t think I have room in my fucking skull for the names of new people. I’m afraid now that if I learn their names, I’ll get close to them, and then they’ll die, and I’ll feel much worse about it. I’d rather keep them at arm’s length, and anonymous, so when and if they do leave or die, I have remained detached.
Is that fucked up?
Yesterday while we gave tours and whatnot Martin led a small crew of volunteers to get some of the wall done. I think he had three people with him, and they managed about ten feet of wall. Not much to celebrate, but wall is wall, and every foot counts. I’m really hoping we can get some of these people working on the wall with us in a hurry. An extra six or seven bodies would basically double our work force, and that’d shave a LOT of time off the project as a whole. Right now the priority is relocating everything back from Westfield to here.
Speaking of which…
I think I already said we went back to Westfield earlier today. We made the trip for three reasons. First, we wanted to hit the garage that Hector had been using to get everything there out of it. Second, we wanted to go to Mike’s armory and get everything out of it they’d left behind, and thirdly, there were four people who wanted to move back to Westfield to live with Lenny on his farm while we prepared to accept his livestock. I guess Lenny will be giving us his chickens and cattle first, and when the harvest rolls in, we’ll get the lion’s share of that too.
We rolled out in a large force, prepared for major confrontation. We took both humvees, Mike’s semi truck, and the HRT. For personnel we took Hector, Mike, Myself, Abby, Chris, Ryan, one of the girls my age from Westfield named Renee, and one of the newest people, a black guy named Dwayne Chilton. I guess he’d only arrived in Westfield a few weeks ago. He’s originally from Texas, somewhere near Galveston I guess, and he’s a rugged guy. I guess he was up here going to college for his master’s when it all went down. He’s my age I think. We also brought the four people who are staying with Lenny. Lenny is going to be living with two 19 year olds, one boy and one girl, one 17 year old girl, and a 28 year old girl. I cannot wait to see how that pans out.
Patty, Ollie, and Melissa were left in charge on campus, and we rolled out in force straight to the garage. As I said, the garage was fucking overrun with the dead. The school was right next to the shop, and as I said there were plenty of burnt undead mixed in with the fresh. I don’t know why, but the undead had migrated there. Maybe it was the powers that be trying to cock block us again. Maybe it was just the noise and commotion of the fire and the exodus to here. Who fucking knows?
I drove the HRT in the lead, and using Martin’s plow attachment, I smashed right into the crowd of undead while the other vehicles sat on the fringe and started to pick off the zombies. We worked a pretty good system as I drove around in circles, taking them out in the truck while others shot the roamers that were too hard to hit. As we were emptying the garage our sentries had to pick off maybe a dozen more zombies, which was bothersome of course, but all in all, it went very well. Disconcerting sure, but no injuries, and no deaths. Had enough of that already.
I wound up doing sentry duty due to the cuts I got on my arm. They are kind of infected, but they’re getting better with bacitracin and plenty of water. I’m going to wind up getting scars out of it, but who cares. The three large gouges are diagonal across the top of my forearm, so anyone who shakes my hand for the rest of my life will see the scars. Anyway, I didn’t really want to lift heavy shit all damn day and risk having the cuts reopen, so I stood outside like a fucking tool and used every yard of my ACOG’s range to take out anything I saw moving. Mike coordinated everything with Abby and Hector on the inside.
We posted two sentries, and had ten people moving shit. It went pretty well at the garage. Hector had relocated all the spare parts from the motor pool at the armory to the garage, and that’s primarily what we took. He also had a few barrels of motor oil, diesel, and gasoline, which was a nice find.
Incidentally, we’re now thinking that we will focus on emptying the remaining gas in Westfield on our fuel runs first, before we hit the stuff here in town. We’re leaving it largely unprotected here, so getting it up and out makes more sense. Also, if we need gas in a hurry, we’d rather get it right down the road, as opposed to being forced to drive all the damn way to Westfield.
After we emptied the garage we drove across town to the armory building. Mike’s armory is basically just a large brick warehouse with a large garage behind it. As a logistics support unit they weren’t technically infantry or anything so they didn’t have a substantial supply of weaponry. They did however have tools and vehicle oriented repair gear out the fucking wazoo. We wound up having to smear about twenty undead that had taken up residence outside the fence of the base, and that was a little tricky to do, because we couldn’t hit them with the HRT easily with them against the fence, and for whatever reason (I’m going with them being pure evil, and the bane of my fucking existence) they wouldn’t leave the fucking fence either.
We had to park, get out, and shoot the assholes manually. Huge waste of fucking ammo. Well not that huge really, but whenever I can drive over a dead guy and save a bullet, I’m doing it. Hector and Mike got the fence open, and we drove inside the safety of the chain link. From there, it was just labor to get everything loaded into the semi.
From what I saw Mike had about a dozen IOTV vests, a crate or two of M4s, and around 4 crates of 5.56. That’s a nice, healthy boost to our stores. Also, he had a crate of 5.56 in both of the humvees just for safety’s sake, and he removed from the school just before the fire 4 more crates. Effectively, we’ve got an ass ton of ammo for the rifles now.
I was really hoping Mike had some M249s, or god forbid a M240G, but that kind of heavy hardware wasn’t really just left laying around. Plus, if he had those, we’d have seen them mounted on his vehicles by now. I’d have given up a testicle for a M203, or some fucking fragmentation grenades. Wishful thinking I suppose.
He had spare parts for the M4s, as well as uniforms, boots, medical supplies, some spare cots, bedding, tools, water, spare parts, and just a nice mixture of all the things you’d expect a small armory to have… just in case. It wasn’t the motherload in terms of lootage, but the ammo and weapons alone are well worth it. Also, I found out that Mike can fix and repair the M4s and ARs we are using, which is great. I can maintain them in terms of cleanliness, but if something breaks, I’m going on gut instinct to fix it. He on the other hand, can actually diagnose, maintain, and repair the damn things. I’m wondering if our failures lately are as a result of insufficient weapons maintenance, coupled with mixing in reloads with military issue ammunition?
I’m betting Mike will know. Mike also knows how to reload. Yay for Mike.
After the few hours of taking everything we could out of the armory, we hoofed it over to Lenny’s farm to drop off the four kids so old man McDowell had company. The look on his face when saw the 19 year old couple was priceless. Mike and I just grinned ear to ear as he rolled his eyes. I’m betting it’s less than 24 hours before he finds the boy balls deep in the girl somewhere in a hay stack. Can’t wait to hear that story.
Speaking of hay, Lenny said he’s going to be working hard on cutting the hay in the fields near his house and getting it bailed for the cows. I guess there are some fields owned by his now dead neighbors that he used to get the hay out of. He’s got the tractor and shit to do it with, and now he has the labor force to get help. Exciting shit I suppose. I can’t get over how much bullshit goes into just fucking surviving now. It’s unreal.
Our trip home was clear and uneventful, and when we arrived we got everyone out and about to assist us in unloading everything. Weaponry and ammo went to Hall E, food and medical supplies went to the different Halls for even distribution, and random gear was also sent about so we don’t have all our shit in one place. That’s one lesson we have certainly learned from what happened at Westfield. Spread everything out, but keep it close. We don’t want one accident to destroy all of any one item or supply.
My arm is sore, and my shoulder as well. Lots of firing today after lifting heavy things, and lifting heavy things after firing... I’m getting too old for this shit. I need a mojito, a lawn chair beside the lake, and a two hour long, leisurely blowjob right now. I need to fucking unwind.
Sadly, we have no limes, no fresh mint, no time for lawn chairs, and Mallory’s sex drive has joined Jimmy Hoffa, wherever the fuck that dead bastard is.
Speaking of no damn time... tomorrow we are collectively working on just campus stuff. We all agreed that the fence needs to be worked on immediately for security’s sake, and Ollie needs help building better interior fences to pen in the cows, and chicken coops. He can build quite a few, but we’re also going to need to steal some of Lenny’s as well. On the plus side, all of Lenny’s what? 80 or so chickens means we will be able to eat chicken regularly, which is exciting. We’ve got plenty of baby chickens about to hatch as well as the ones Lenny has, so our poultry population is just… exploding.
Cows will come later once the fences are built.
Tomorrow we are splitting a small group off to hit houses to accumulate better beds and bedding. These old dorm beds and mattresses are decent enough, but a real bed, with a real mattress will go a long ways towards making everyone much more comfortable. We also haven’t been taking sheets, comforters, and blankets really, so we need to get a shitload of those. I’m thinking a small team of 4 led by Patty or Abby can accomplish that task in a hurry while the rest of us do fence labor.
Day after tomorrow we are running back to Westfield to get those chickens. Delicious chickens.
A full day of talking to all the survivors has more or less ruined my optimism about life, and survival in general. I can’t believe how many people are fucking dead.
Thirty six people died in Westfield the other night. Thirty fucking six. That’s so many fucking people. Many of them I knew fairly well too, which is a fact that sits oddly with me. Most of them weren’t friends, but anytime someone you know passes on, it seems there’s this fucked up thought process you always go through where you try and figure out just how you feel about their death.
I’ve been doing a lot of that today.
Remember when I visited the school to try and get laid Mr. Journal? Remember all those girls that were sitting in the cafeteria that day? The ones that were pretty much all hitting on me?
They’re all fucking dead. All of them. I don’t even remember their names right now, but I can sure as shit remember their faces. I can clearly recall how they sat there talking to me now, and how oblivious I was to their advances. I feel like shit strangely. I sort of wished I’d slept with them, at least one of them before they died. I feel like I could’ve made at least one of them a little happier.
Is that weird? It feels weird to say. It just seems like a waste to me in the moment.
Lisa is dead. That just pisses me off. I liked her. She was good people. She was a good leader, better than me by a long shot. We’re also sorely going to miss her medical skills. She had two trainees that have received almost eight months of training under her, but they’re not anywhere near as well trained as she was, and they’re green. Rookie green, and scared to do their jobs. I’m sure for minor stuff they’ll excel. It’s the big things that scare me now.
Tucker’s dead. Remember him Mr. Journal? Larry and Candace’s kid from the trailer near The Farm? The one who took a few rounds to the hip and stayed in Westfield to get medical help from Lisa? Yeah he died. Whole fucking family is wiped out now. What a frigging waste.
Megan Clough? Remember that name Mr. Journal? She’s the girl who slept with Sean, and gave birth to Sean’s daughter Allison? Both are dead. I want to say that’s karma in full effect, or maybe even say something vindictive like “that’s what she gets for fucking Sean” but the reality is… It’s a dead mom, with a dead baby, and my heart is just fucking broken over it. I’ve got no hatred left for Sean. His daughter deserved a chance, and Megan deserved a chance, and now they’re dead. Redemption left unearned.
It’s a fucking shame.
Of all the folks who did survive, Chad did. Imagine that. Sean’s asshole buddy makes it through like a fucking beacon of shittiness. I hate to say this, but he’s actually been really cool since he arrived. Very helpful, and doing a good job of keeping the folks here on track, and productive. Some folks are really struggling with the loss of life, and others are just freaking out over the displacement. He’s been a champ, and I guess he doesn’t deserve me shit-talking him.
Hector, Mike, and James the three guardsman all survived. I guess LaFrenz and his girlfriend took off north to get away from all this. I hope he does okay. He was a little weird, and a little quiet, but he struck me as a good man. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for him.
Mallory made it, but you already knew that.
The kid Chris also made it. The rugged nerdy one. I guess he was the one who helped fix the generator. I’m glad he made it, he’s a good shit. I can identify with his role in life. He did get his arm pretty fucked up though. I guess he was hit by a zombie that was on fire, and he’s got a scorch mark that looks conspicuously like he was attacked with flaming bat.
I guess that seals the deal on the whole zombies on fire thing eh?
Zombies on fire: worse.
Few of the folks I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned the names of too. Like I said, there are a lot of fucking kids here now. Insane. I hope we can keep them safe. I guess the bright side of all this is that we have tripled our labor force.
We have also tripled our food needs. From what Mike said, Lenny has agreed to allow us to relocate his cattle as well as his chickens here so we can get milk, eggs, and chicken meat on the regular. That’ll be coming in a few days. When he can harvest his crops, he’ll be shipping most of it here. He has stayed behind on his farm, where I’m betting he’ll spend his last days. He’s a good man. Right now he’s alone though, and I’m hoping we can convince at least two or three people into going back there to live with, or live near him. Safety in numbers… and it also gets a few people out of here that we don’t have to worry about feeding.
We need to ration food immediately. Scary thought.
Tomorrow we are taking a day off to continue to get folks settled in and acclimated to the campus. It’s a huge place with a lot of buildings with locked doors, and everyone needs a full tour to know where to find what, and what the damn rules are.
Speaking of rules, we’re having a meeting tomorrow morning to establish community guidelines. We need very specific instructions on what folks can do and where, and what the expectations are of living here. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and everyone MUST contribute. We cannot afford to harbor people who do not carry a fair share of the load of labor. If you can’t provide us with something, you need to leave, and provide yourself with everything on your own. Everyone carries their weight, or as much of it as they can.
The day after tomorrow we’re tentatively planning a return to Westfield to hit a garage there that Hector has stocked up with spare parts, as well as what remained behind at Mike’s unit’s armory. He’s saying he got almost all the ammunition out of the school before the fire, and he says that there is quite a bit of useful gear back at the armory. Spare weapons, parts, tools, vests, boots, blah blah blah. Really a treasure trove for everyone.
It’s funny to think that water runs are now a thing of the past, and that all these people will now be living here, or living near here. It’s weird that there are so many more people here. I don’t even know the names of most of them. It’s kind of scary, especially considering that Mike is certain that someone set that fucking fire.
If they’re here, I hope I have some pretty awesome dreams so that folks can point out who the fuck did it. The last thing we need is for buildings to start burning down around here, or whatever could be worse than that.
I shudder to think.
I’m so torn. I’m happy for new people, but this is a lot of fucking people. I’m also sad because I lost friends, and the world lost people that matter, and that could’ve really helped us rebuild, or at least move on.