Hey guys, Max here. I’ve finally gotten a few moments to sit down and spend some time telling y’all what like has been like for us the past 24 hours or so.
At first Ben and I weren’t all that sure we wanted to continue these posts. At some points they seemed to consume Julie’s life. She got so angry at the people out there asking for her help, begging her to come and save them when they knew that they’d had plenty of time help themselves. And her sadness was the worst. She tried so hard to hide that from us, especially from the twins when they came into our lives. The things that she witnessed on the internet (the things that I’m not too ashamed to say I won’t go searching for) were hard but she did all of that for y’all and for us. And she carried all of that pain and distress deep in her heart, hoping that it was not in vain. That one day the world would be whole and right again.
So y’all may wonder why I’m telling you that. It’s part of the reason that Ben and I decided that we had to keep writing. Julie worked so hard to y’all informed and alive as best she could. And we know that her writing was a way of leaving behind a legacy of sorts for future generations (God willing that there is one). Well maybe legacy isn’t the right word but someone has to leave behind an account of what happened to us.
So please bear with us while we (Ben and I) figure this out. Neither one of us is very good with words but we’re going to do our best to make Julie proud of us. So I guess I’ll start at the beginning.
Immediately after getting on-board, it felt like everyone was trying to pull Ben and myself in about a million different directions. The only thing that we wanted to do was get to the deck and find Julie on shore with the binoculars if we could. We didn’t know if she had been able to get to a safe spot to collect herself. All we really knew was that she had been bitten and had chosen to stay on shore with an advancing horde of the Undead so as not to potentially infect the remaining survivors.
Thankfully Captain Kanelstrand stepped in and allowed us the privacy and the relief we needed to go and search for our friend. Not many people were out on the deck level that we happened to choose; just one older man who sported an actual ivory cane. His eyes were transfixed on the growing numbers of the Undead gathering along the banks of Waskaganish.
Looking through the binoculars didn’t make the scene any easier to assess. The Undead were everywhere. The strange thing was that their attention was solely fixed on the cruise ship sitting off shore. All of those milky white eyes staring intently out to sea as if trying to figure out how to walk on water was a little unnerving. Good news was that none of those milky eyed faces belonged to Julie.
After searching for about an hour we didn’t find her. We thought that maybe she had slipped into one of the buildings but we really had no way of knowing that. Our only clue would have been if one of the Undead had seen her go in or had been following her and was still trying to get inside to its tasty tidbit.
The main reason that we wanted to keep an eye out for her was to ensure that she have some dignity in death. No one deserves to shamble the earth as a member of the Undead army, least of all Julie. Unfortunately for all of our looking over the past 24 hours, we never saw her.
Lily and Liam did not handle the news of Julie’s passing very well. She had become like a second mother to them since she had found them in that bathroom in Kernville, Oregon. Neither of them has spoken much but it’s still early days. Ben seems to think that they’ll be fine, citing that they’ve bounced back from everything else that’s happened so far: their mother and sister trying to kill them, the horde of the Undead at the playground, Bob’s turning in the Escalade and the night in the ditch. He keeps telling me that kids are resilient but at some point something has to give right? I just hope it’s not their fragile little psyches.
The ship itself has seen better days. At one point in the not too distant past you could tell that it was something grand and luxurious. My parents had been on a cruise once and the one thing that they had continually remarked about when getting back was that everywhere they looked someone was cleaning something. They figured that they entire boat must get cleaned at least once a week with some of the more heavily used areas getting cleaned more frequently. As expected it looked the ship hadn’t been deeply cleaned since it had left Miami. It’s understandable given the situation but you would think that people, other survivors, would want to do the right thing and help pick up after themselves. Garbage cans were far from overflowing so there was no need for the widespread disrespect of some that was readily apparent.
It certainly wasn’t going to take long for the situation to come to a head and if Captain Kanelstrand had too much on his plate to deal with, I’m sure that among the survivors we can come up with a fair and equitable work schedule. Actually it’s not a bad idea at all. If we rotate jobs and duties, no one can say that anyone else is getting preferential treatment. Plus it gives us time to make sure that everyone is trained in necessary skills like marksmanship. Someone with skills like Ben’s of course will be assigned to the Infirmary. And with all the people in there, I’m not sure they’ll have time for garbage or laundry or galley duty.
To be honest, I’m glad I’ll never be on Infirmary duty. I was a little surprised when Captain Kanelstrand first showed us the dining room that he had converted into a makeshift medical unit. The Infirmary located on the ship only had 2 beds and just couldn’t support the volume of injuries and illness that they were encountering.
In the early days of the outbreak, the captain and his crew had answered a distress call from a coastal hospital in Nassawadox, Virginia. They’d managed to evacuate a number of the patients at the Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital before it was overrun by the Undead. Most of the patients were post op and on the road to recovery now but some were cancer patients at the end stages of the disease and there was little help for them. Other survivors that they had encountered along the way had broken bones or were suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, or stress. There were limited resources, limited medications but limitless possibilities for what could be wrong with someone without the benefit of modern diagnostic tools. The doctors are forced to work from highly educated blind guesses. The lucky thing was that we had a total of 13 doctors on board, all of them working in different departments of medicine at the moment that patient zero rose from the dead. Essentially this means that there were 13 different specialities in the room at any given time. Sometimes it helped, sometimes it didn’t. The main thing was that we could help people.
Tomorrow morning we’re leaving Hudson’s Bay. Captain Kanelstrand is a little uneasy with the Undead so close and so intently fixated on us. If anybody out there is reading this and heading towards Waskaganish, turn around now. It’s not safe anymore. We’ll keep you posted on where we can hook up next with you. Head east because that’s the direction you’re likely going to go. Stay safe and stay strong.