Day 77

It’s been awful. We cannot get out of this store that we’ve barricaded ourselves into. The Undead are everywhere outside. We have no idea where the twins are and it seems to be getting more and more hopeless as the hours pass. Each time an undead child passes the windows of the store, all of us are frantic to see if it’s Lily or Liam.

At some point, we need to get out of here but it doesn’t look like that’s going to be possible. We have 4 firearms and limited ammunition. The stakes are stacked highly against us.

One of the good things about being holed up in the store is the availability of canned goods. This little store did not appear to have been looted at all. I’m not sure if that’s a good sign though. If the infection spread so quickly here, there might not have been time for people to get out. That could mean that there are veritable hordes of the Undead just outside our view.

Of course we could rely on the fact that Clarke’s brain scrambling machine had knocked them all out. The horde at the warehouse was very large but it certainly wasn’t the population of Savannah by any means.

And we have a new addition to our group. Late last night Polly went into labour. It was tense let me tell you. We had no way of sterilizing anything and if there had been complications it could have meant death for Polly and the baby. But Ben handled the delivery with as much care as he could given the conditions. Even Polly herself was so very brave.

We didn’t have a clue if her screams would attract the Undead. Hell, if the smell of the delivery would draw them any closer to our location. But Polly was a trooper; I think she only whimpered a few times in the very thick of her delivery. A few us were keeping watch at the windows, waiting to see if we were going to get any unwanted visitors but they stayed away from us. I’m glad that they have no idea where we are for the moment. It gives us time to plan our escape.

Polly named her baby boy Eduardo, after his father. She was visibly shaken in those first few moments. Probably trying to figure out how she was going to manage a baby and the apocalypse. And then her resolve kicked in. And you could tell that she was prepared to do whatever it took.

Her baby was healthy despite the stress that Polly was under and lack of nutrition that she must have endured at points during the last few weeks of her pregnancy. And it was like he knew that it wasn’t safe to cry. Not a peep left his mouth. When he was first born, Ben was concerned because he hadn’t cried yet. When he handed the baby to one of the women helping him with the delivery, she looked at him and noticed that he was alert and just keeping quiet. Ben did the normal things that doctors do, trying to elicit that first scream from him, knowing that he had to make sure his lungs were clear of fluid. The tiny scratch from the foot got a response and he let out a loud wail and then as soon as it started it was over. It was the strangest thing…

Is this what we are going to be reduced to? That our children will be born with the understanding that crying could mean death? It was too much to take in for a lot of us. How could such a small little being have the inherent knowledge that making noise could get it killed?

Mind you, I probably shouldn’t complain. A few moments ago, a woman went running down the road, screaming at the top of her lungs. I’m not entirely sure how she managed to run and scream but she was doing it. And all of the Undead in our general area turned in response to the noise that she was making. You might think that they only noticed her when she passed but that wasn’t the case. There were members of the Undead army that turned in response to her screaming that were in front of her and moving in a direction that didn’t allow them to see her coming. At least we know that they can now hear us. And of course they followed her down the road. In fact there seemed to be a large number of the Undead moving along in her general direction.

We are going to have to figure out how to get out of here soon. There is a city bus across the street and it looks sound enough. All of the windows are intact and the doors are open. It’s a pretty safe bet that there would be no Undead left on the bus to surprise us. Julie thinks that she can get it running. It’s just a matter of keeping her protected while she does. The area has been clearing a bit since the woman ran through but you can never be too sure with the Undead.

The moment that we make a noise it might attract them. And there is the possibility that we try to get the bus going but cannot. What will we do then? We can’t walk out of here and expect to survive. If it came down to it, we would still try but let’s hope it doesn’t come down to it.

We’re going to attempt to get to the bus in the morning. Wish us luck and Godspeed. Finding Lily and Liam is important but there’s nothing we can do while we’re stuck in here.

The Next Day

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Day 75

We tried to leave the next morning but a growing wind and heavy rains made us change our minds. Being so close to the water didn’t help us all that much either. At times it felt like the roofs of the houses were being strained to their breaking point. The wind rocked and buffeted the windows in their panes making us think that at any moment they would blow out.

The storm lasted 3 days and during that time we had no contact with the outside world. There were times we didn’t know if we were going to make it through the worst of it. I’ve dealt with severe weather in Canada and lived through many a tornado but all of that paled in comparison to what we went through.

One of the other survivors mentioned that this was likely a hurricane or at least the outer rings of one that was passing close by. She also mentioned that if the hurricane was passing over us that we’d be lucky to survive depending on the strength of it. We didn’t have any advanced warning nor did we have the opportunity to fortify the houses that we were currently staying in.

When the full onslaught of the storm hit us, there was no doubt that it was a hurricane. The worst part, apart from the terrifying fact that we all thought we were going to die, was the flooding. The basements of the houses all filled with water because there just was nowhere else for it to go. The streets looked like massive rivers, the runoff flowing downhill and collecting in the lower areas. The storm drains were useless it seemed; there was just too much water in such a short period of time and it was obvious that they couldn’t handle the surge in capacity.

The unfortunate disadvantage about the flooding of the basements was that it only left us the ground floors and upper floors in some cases to hunker down in. In light of what we were encountering, it just didn’t seem safe enough. The water in the basements was only about a foot deep and with the power off there really was no chance of electrocution but no one wanted to take the chance.

Once the storm had passed and we were able to get outside to survey the damage we could see that our little area really had escaped the worst of it. Sure there were trees down all over the place but they had miraculously missed all of the houses that we had been in. Many of the cars that had littered the streets were now shifted from the force of the water that flowed through the area. It was like a giant jigsaw puzzle of twisted metal and deflated rubber.

Debris was littered everywhere; garbage, bloated dead bodies, severed decomposing limbs, dead animals. It was really a disturbing sight to behold. I remember seeing pictures after Hurricane Katrina and to be honest, some of the pictures that I saw in the papers were accurate depictions of what we were seeing now. It was almost how you would imagine a war scene to look. But then I guess these are post-Apocalyptic times and it’s what we can begin to expect as the norm now.

The terrifying thing was that the hurricane also brought along it some of the Undead. At first, we didn’t notice them because we thought that the bodies we were looking at were all dead; potentially victims of Clarke’s brain scrambling weapon. Then they started to get up. It was a little disconcerting…

The level of decomposition made us believe that they had been dead for quite some time so it seemed unlikely that they had been other survivors caught in the storm. It was a little bit of a mystery to us. We were concentrating so hard on trying to pick our way through the debris and not trip over the bodies that we really didn’t notice them slowly picking themselves up off the ground. Once you did take a second to stop and really look, the scene was creepy as all heck! Corpses with all manner of broken bones and missing limbs trying to right themselves; like a weird disjointed break dance.

This wasn’t the best of situations to be in and I know that I say that a lot but this time, I really mean it. We were all outside, scattered among the debris with hardly any of our weapons. And then from out of the debris the Undead begin to rise again all around us. One minute you thought you were alone and then you turned around only to find yourself face to face with a member of the Undead army. Terrifying is really not the right word that I would use to describe the situation that we were in. Insane might be a better one.

Most of us were able to dodge the slow-moving walking corpses but for some of us, the dexterity and the room for movement just weren’t available. The loud screams and sounds of flesh being torn and shredded could be heard as we hightailed it out of the area as fast as we could. We didn’t stop to get anymore of our weapons or ammunition. The last thing that we wanted was to get stuck in one of the houses with a horde of the Undead outside. We knew that the houses couldn’t take much more in the way of damage or knocking about before they would fail completely.

We were just hoping to find someplace safe but the Undead seemed to be waking up everywhere. Without all of our gear we were running scared and only hurting ourselves in the long run. In the panic of the moment, what was left of our group splintered; truly it might have been suicide for all of us to stay together.

A small group of us have managed to hole up in a small grocery store. It’s sound for the moment as it looks like was made to withstand anything. And thankfully, there were no Undead in the store. We’ll have to wait and see what our next move is. I hope that we will be able to find some of the other survivors. We got separated from the twins in our flight and we need to find them. God, I hope they’re all right…

The Next Day

Day 71

Many apologies that contact has been sporadic. There’s no way of even knowing if there is even anyone left out there to care. Two days ago Clarke marched into the warehouse demanding the laptop. My first instinct was to deny, deny, deny but he grabbed Polly and pointed his gun to her swollen belly in silent threat as he stared straight at me. It was like he already knew who had the laptop.

But there was no way of knowing that the laptop was hidden in the backpack that Ben carried around or that I was Max. He hadn’t asked for names and we hadn’t volunteered them. Polly, to her credit, stood stock still and didn’t make a sound. Her strength had developed in droves since Eduardo had died. Well, probably since the outbreak but we’d noticed it more now that she didn’t have Eduardo to protect her. If Clarke had focused his attention on her for a moment, he would have seen the look of disgust and hatred that she fixed him with.

Without a word, Ben passed the backpack to me. Without breaking eye contact with Clarke, I extracted the laptop and held it out for him. If he wanted it, he was going to have to come and get it. I could read the indecision in his eyes. He had entered the warehouse on his own and we still had all of our guns. Plus, he had ignorantly pointed his gun at a pregnant woman. The weight of his choices was clearly present in his eyes.

He chose the more dangerous path. A man used to walking into the fire. Interesting. He let go of Polly and walked forward, each of the weapons around him coming up in quick succession. I knew no one would shoot him but it was a message to him all the same. Don’t f&ck with us again. He took the laptop from my outstretched arm and took the time to look around at us. We looked ready to do battle over a simple piece of electronics. He read our reaction incorrectly but it had other ramifications for us.

In a moment, Clarke made a decision. He released his fingers and let the laptop fall to the floor where it fragmented into different pieces. Not unlike the lives that we were now living. Shells of the existences that we used to lead. You could visibly feel the shoulders of each member of our remaining community slump in defeat.

Clarke turned on his heel and stalked to the door with an arrogance reserved for the jacka$$es in life. Once at the door he turned, looked back at me and smiled. I could tell that he thought he’d won. Like dropping a laptop was a victory that he should have been proud about… Simple victories for simple men.

Later that day, we heard the trucks pull away from the warehouse. It was the first time that we had heard all of the trucks leave. It was a little strange. Did they leave us locked in this warehouse? Were they planning on coming back? Did they plan on getting far enough away and then turning the machine on us? All of these questions were valid and the only one that truly scared me was the possibility that they planned on using the machine on us.

Ben and I had dubbed it ‘The Scrambler’ and to be honest, I had no desire to have my brain turned into something akin to scrambled eggs. The other possibility was that they had placed a guard outside the door. We really had no idea why they were keeping us locked up. It made no sense. We posed them no threat. And deep in the recesses of my mind, I knew that we were being used as bait. We had to get out and fast.

It was time to mobilize our group. The front door was locked, but it could be jimmied if needed. The back door however appears to have been unlocked the entire time. Were we really that stupid? None of us had even checked the doors. We had just taken it on faith that we were locked in, as Clarke said we were. Either that or someone who was working for Clarke didn’t agree with what he was planning on doing and had given us an opportunity to escape.

We decided that surprise might be an option for this moment, so we threw the door open and waited. Nothing happened. No influx of the Undead, no shots rang out. Nothing. I took a huge chance and walked out into the warm sunshine, hoping beyond hope that nothing was going to happen. Absolutely nothing did. There was no one of that side of the building. I cautiously took a look around the side, trying to see if there was anyone still around. Clarke and his team were gone.

I went back to the door, and we started to empty the warehouse. We didn’t know how much time that we had. We headed due south from our location. It would take us towards the area where we had stayed in the warehouse when we first abandoned the ship. From what we knew Clarke’s team had already cleared the area of the Undead as they moved north.

The main thing that we needed to do was try to get out of the path of the pulse if they planned on unleashing it towards us. From the direction of the sound it was apparent that they had travelled away from the warehouse in a westerly direction. If the pulse fanned out in the manner that we understood it to from Clarke’s description, we needed to get moving.

I think we all ran like the wind. I’m sure it wasn’t really that fast but it was close to it. We still had a few of the kids to deal with so we picked them up and ran with them in our arms or on our backs. Some of the older and less strong fell farther and farther behind but there was nothing that we could do. We were running for our lives.

In the end, we just barely made it. Those of us in front heard the screams behind us but we didn’t stop to look. We even felt the buzzing in our heads, thinking that at any moment we were going to succumb to the pulse. We must have just been on the cusp of the zone where we would be affected. In the end, the pain knocked most of us to our knees but it didn’t kill us.

Once we’d had a chance to recover from the attempt on our lives, we got up and kept moving away. The last thing that we wanted was for Clarke to go back and find us gone. Would he decide to come looking for us? Once he found the bodies of the others, he’d extrapolate which direction that he thought we were travelling in. Banking on that fact, we changed our direction slightly, heading southwest now and into a more residential area. It was better seeing as we needed to get out of sight and hopefully find another laptop or two.

We found a block of houses that looked intact in a suburb that still looked as if nothing had even occurred; except of course for the overgrown lawns and cars haphazardly parked on the streets. Oh and perhaps the odd body left to rot in the hot sun of Georgia. We dispersed our much smaller group among the houses and everyone knew to be on the lookout for the Undead, any bodies that could be contaminated and any electronics that we could use like laptops or even a Smartphone. The plan was that if we didn’t find anything in the 7 houses that we had chosen, we would choose a few people to keep searching the other houses around the neighbourhood.

Luck was not on our side and we had to search an additional 13 houses before we managed to find a laptop. I had thought that computers and such were mainstays in life before the outbreak but no one seemed to have them in this area of Savannah. Either that or they had packed up their laptops when they evacuated. That was probably the more likely of the scenarios. Then of course it had to charge so we needed to figure out how to do that. While the communications in some areas still seem to be working, the power was most definitely out.

But that’s Julie’s expertise and I have to say that she is good at whatever she manages to do. So with a newly charged laptop and a rigged system for charging it, we are back in business. We should be able to keep you updated more frequently now, as long as we don’t run into Clarke and his men again. I hope they’re not out looking for us because that would not be a good thing. They could essentially turn their weapon in every direction like the spokes of a wheel and drop us like flies. The sooner we put some real distance between us and them the better. We move out tomorrow morning, as soon as this storm passes.

The Next Day

Day 67

Suddenly finding ourselves incarcerated is a change. In a way, we were always in a prison of sorts, fighting the never-ending battle of survival against a common enemy. In our new world, the enemy of our enemy was supposed to be our friend. Unfortunately, these new “friends” weren’t very friendly.

The African-American “gentleman”, and I use the term very loosely, that had approached us two days ago had been the only one to address us thus far. His speeches had been short and sweet. We were being kept in the warehouse as a means to guarantee our safety. Looking in his eyes as he told us this just didn’t sit well with me. There was something that he wasn’t telling us but at the time we really had no idea what it could have been.

In fact, we have to be really careful with everything that we do. We haven’t been properly searched. They let us keep our weapons but they don’t know that we have this laptop and a way of communicating with anyone that might be alive in the world. I don’t know if they are monitoring any communication traffic though I doubt this would count as traffic at all. Hopefully, we’re completely off their radar.

At least we’ve been able to take stock of who we’ve lost. Luckily Ben, Julie, Lily and Liam all made it along with Jane. Polly is a wreck because Eduardo was one of the people left to deal with the stairs leading up to the second level. Lt. Lafferty is still with us but all of her officers from Brooklyn were killed. The remaining survivors are a disjointed group made up of people who had worked on the ship before the outbreak, those that had found their way to the ship after it, and some that had been picked up in Waskaganish.

Ben was actually really worried about Polly. There was a good chance that all of the stress could make her go into labour and this was not the place that anyone wanted her to have her baby. In fact our current world is not the place where anyone should be having a baby but that can’t be helped.

Around noon today our host came in and pointed out 4 people to come with him: Julie, Lt. Lafferty, Kenny (an older Asian man), and myself. We followed him outside into the bright sunshine where we expected to be immediately shot on sight.

Instead, we got our first glimpse of the contraption that they must be toting around in their vehicles. Its design was simple enough; just a big turbine like you would see in an air plane engine. I’m sure I’m oversimplifying it, especially after what they told us what it was for.

Warren Clarke used be Special Ops. Once all of the proverbial sh*t started hitting the fan, he had been entrusted with a special weapon that had been developed by the government to use in times of war. From the way that he was talking, the powers that had once been thought that this weapon could easily be applied against the Undead.

He explained that the information that he was about to tell us was classified but then laughed. Classified before the government of the United States of America disintegrated. I could see his point, why keep secrets when there were no interests to protect anymore?

Clarke also explained the way in which the machine worked. There was a high frequency generator mounted behind the turbine assembly. When the machine was switched on, it generated a high frequency that was then propelled outward in waves by the turbine. Not even Clarke fully understood the mechanism by which the weapon worked, just that it did. He told us that the high frequency pulse effectively turned the brains of anything in its path to jelly. It was important to note that anything in the forward directional path of the turbine was going to be susceptible to the pulse. It explained why the Undead had fallen and why we had lost some of our friends.

Clarke explained that he had been travelling around the country with his men using the machine to kill as many of the Undead as they could. Unfortunately, they usually ended up amassing some collateral damage in the process.

He gave us no indication as to how long we were to be kept here. Just lead us back to the warehouse with the unspoken expectation that we would share the information that we had learned. It was a little frightening not knowing what was going to happen to us. In the end, we were protected to an extent but I certainly didn’t want to be in front of that machine. We can only hope that everything will work out. Maybe this could mean the end of the Undead? Perhaps it was just wishful thinking but it doesn’t hurt to have some hope sometimes.

The Next Day

Day 65

The best place for me to start would be at the beginning. When I last signed off, we were all stuck in the warehouse with a horde of the Undead on the opposite side of the wall trying their hardest to get in. We had no options really. We were surrounded with no vehicles to try to make a run for it. Further reconnaissance had revealed that there were no sewer pipes coming into the building that could have been used as an exit. We were trapped.

I took some of our better shooters up to the roof, thinking that maybe we could take them out one by one from there but once we finally got a look at the number of them, we quickly realized the dire state that we were in. To shoot could only mean drawing more and in the distance, more were already on the way. It was like someone had rung the dinner bell.

I felt partially responsible since I had chosen this particular warehouse but how could I have known that it had been marked? Or if that was even what had happened? We really didn’t know how the Undead had found us. When Ben, Bob, Julie and I had been travelling through the US, we had determined that they couldn’t hear or smell us. The only sense that still really worked was their sense of sight and that might have just been a light versus dark thing and perhaps recognition of movement. Now that we’ve discovered that the recently dead can come back without being infected by one of the Undead, did that change what senses came back with them? Were we dealing with a new breed of the Undead? The questions didn’t help while we were facing down a veritable army of them camped outside our current stronghold.

We went back down into the warehouse thinking that if we got everyone onto the second and third floors we could at least destroy the stairs and block their ascent up to us if they ever got in. It was a last resort but if you could have seen the numbers we were facing you would have understood the hopelessness of our situation. It was either that or try to shoot every last one of them from the roof and hope that our ammunition was greater than their numbers.

We posed the question to the community. They opted for both plans believe it or not. Everyone dutifully and calmly filed up the stairs and spread out among the rooms of the second and third floors. We had decided not to destroy the stairs yet but we had someone posted on them just in case we needed to get the job done quickly. We weren’t even sure if we were going to be able to do anything about them but we were going to sure as hell try.

About 30 of us went up to the roof with as much of our ammunition as we could carry. We set up and starting taking out shots. Things were going smoothly, the Undead were falling and it looked like nobody was missing anything that they aimed for. The trick was to aim farther away from the building. Aiming straight down was a little harder because you could get a little lost in the vertigo of the moment.

To see all of those bloodied and blackening faces staring up at you now, their milky dead eyes searching out ways to get to you set your skin crawling. The Undead were definitely an equal opportunity employer. There were all races and most likely religions represented. The Undead didn’t discriminate. They just wanted you, and the sooner you joined the ranks the better.

It was like balancing on a razor of terror. One wrong step and you’d be sliced open, your soul exposed for all to see. So many of us barely keep it together on a day-to-day basis. But then in situations like these with the Undead ready to tear you apart or make you one of their own, tension and stress are both good and bad. They wear you down but they can keep you alive. Again it’s that balancing act and you have to learn to walk that line or face potential death.

We weren’t making any headway with the head shots. They were falling but it just seemed like the minute that one fell, two more pressed into the spot that it just had been. It was the one of the most depressing sights to be seeing at the point. Despair and hopelessness welled up in each of us. This was it. We all thought it was over. We looked at each other, thinking that maybe it was time to take stock of our ammunition, knowing that we would want to make sure that there was enough left for us when the time came. None of us would want to become one of them.

Then the strangest thing happened. The pressure in our ears rose and in response we all turned to the west in time to see the outward wave of the Undead falling. It was like a pulse of yielding death had set them free from their misery. Like dominoes they fell and continued to fall until each and every one of them was down. And none of them got back up.

We didn’t know what to make of the sudden and complete dropping of the Undead. In the distance, I could see a large convoy of what looked like military vehicles and they were heading in our direction. Could they be responsible for this?

We headed back downstairs, excited to tell the rest of the group what had happened. Our excitement was short-lived when we came face to face with the reality that whatever had killed the Undead had also affected all of the people on the second floor of the warehouse. There were over 200 people dead from something that we didn’t understand. It was awful but would they come back? Were we locked in here with them now?

We had to get out. It was imperative at this point. We couldn’t stay locked in this warehouse with over 200 bodies that could awaken at any moment. But with the weight of the other bodies on the outside doors, would we be able to get out? Were the Undead even down for good or were they just stunned? How much time did we have? Our window was getting smaller by the moment so we had to act now.

The doors all opened outward so we stayed away from the west, north, and south sides of the building. With the way that the corpses of the Undead had fallen against the building, it would be next to impossible to push them away. Our only hope was the east side. The Undead should have fallen away from the side of the building. Hopefully. Moment of truth. It was difficult but not impossible. With a little straining and a lot of shoving, we could get the door open and we started to file out. We picked our way across the sea of rotting bodies, the smell foul and sickly sweet all at the same time.

It took us long minutes to get everyone through the throng of reposed corpses and get far enough away from the warehouse. It must have been at least 2 kilometres at least. We could hear the vehicles in the distance driving over the corpses. The popping sound that they made and they exploded, the sounds of bones breaking. Normally you wouldn’t hear those noises but there were so many bodies and the vehicles were whisper quiet. Definitely military, maybe Special Ops if they were that silent.

We waited for the trucks to find us. I knew that they had seen us. They had to know we were there. Why else would they have helped us?

The convoy of black militarized vehicles pulled up in front of the group within the next 15 minutes. A large African-American man in his mid 40’s got out of one of them, armed to the teeth. He stared us up and down for long minutes and asked who was in charge. Javier stepped forward and was rewarded with a shot between his eyes. These people meant business. Not sure what their business was, but they meant it.

We were herded into another warehouse and locked in. The weird thing was that we were allowed to keep our weapons. Hopefully they’ll explain the deal to us very soon. There are many questions that we want answers to. And we would really like to be able to get on our way as soon as possible. If they have a weapon that can kill the Undead, that’s great. The only problem is that it also kills the living.

The Next Day

Day 63

The community that we had become on the ship was splitting up. Simply put we were just too big to try to move across country as a unit. We had over 600 people and to try to organize that many forms of transportation was just way too difficult to even comprehend or attempt.

The group meant to fracture in a few different ways.

Some were planning on heading out to try to find a ranch or farmhouse that they could make into a compound of some kind. Something that they could make impenetrable and potentially work at becoming sustainable in the long-term for survival. It was a fair plan but not one that I really saw as being feasible. It would be too hard to keep the Undead off of all of the land and there would be the problem of possible marauders. Plus how do you defend that much land with such few people all of the time? Didn’t seem like it was going to work to me but I kept my mouth shut.

There was another group that planned on heading farther south and seeing what they could find in the desert. That was there only plan. Thankfully they didn’t have any of the children to take with them. I really didn’t think they were going to get very far. Staying on the move was a relatively good plan. The Undead were constantly on the move, so if you could stay one step ahead of them you might survive.

There was yet another group that felt that their salvation was hidden in the colder climes of the north. It’s still the middle of the summer and technically not all that cold but people have the right to do what they are going to do. I think they wanted to find a town like Rosenberg had been let off in, something so isolated that it was literally off the map. The unfortunate drawback with that reasoning was that they hadn’t quite figured out that if there were no roads leading in or out, it was going to make it pretty hard to get there by land. But wasn’t my place to deflate the hopes of the many. If they could find a way, all the power to them. And in the end, plans had a way of changing in a moment so you really only used them as a guideline anyway.

I’d have to say that the most ambitious plan almost floored me though. A few of the more adventurous (I’m not even sure if that’s the correct word I want to use but nothing else springs to mind) want to find a serviceable air plane and essentially hijack it. Well I doubt it would be called hijacking now. The companies that own the planes aren’t really incorporated anymore and are unlikely to miss it so we can probably just call it borrowing or perhaps temporary acquisition. Regardless, I don’t think anyone is going to be in a position to mind too much. I just don’t know where they think they’re going to go and what they think they’re going to find once they get there. I hate to think of the conditions they’re going to have to take off and land in.

And then there was my little team which consisted of Ben, Julie, Eduardo, Polly, Lt. Lafferty, Javier, Jane, Lily, Liam along with myself. We were going to head all the way across the country and make for Seattle, the great walled city and see if we can’t get on the other side of that wall this time. I think we’re better prepared this time having seen the wall and knowing that there must be a way in. And if the city of Seattle ended up being a dead-end, we were prepared to regroup and re-evaluate. If Seattle didn’t work maybe we would find a place on a hill that we could defend. A place where we could spend some time and figure it out. Regardless, in a few short weeks, we were going to have a new baby to think of so we had to aim for a secure place and get there as fast as possible.

Besides with only 7 adults and 3 children (I’m counting Jane as a child even though she’s around the age of 13 or 14), it would be easier to find suitable transportation to help get us across the country. In my mind all of this seemed too simple and easy.

The first large group left at dawn this morning, setting off to the southwest, trying not to make much noise. But it didn’t seem to make much difference. It was like the Undead had been waiting to ambush anyone as soon as they left the building. In a moment, the group was completely engulfed by them and there was nothing that any of us could do on the inside to help them.

The screams coming from our friends could be heard through the cinder blocks of the building. It was heartbreaking, terrifying, panic inducing, stomach turning. Once the screams died down the other sounds started. The tearing, the slurping, the slippery sliding sounds of flesh on bloody flesh, the sounds of stumbles on loose asphalt. Then the knocking started. It was a wet knocking. More like a glomp as opposed to a knock. They knew there were more of us inside and they wanted in. How do you keep panic from taking over with a horde of the Undead doing their best to signal a cornucopia of death was awaiting you if only you would open the door?

How were we going to get out of this… The walls are strong and the windows small so we’re safe for the time being. We’re going to try to wait them out but honestly how long can we wait? They’re Undead and not likely to get bored easily.

The Next Day

Day 61

Today was not a good day. I can say that with absolute certainty. When I signed off last night, the ship had run aground on something. Well that might not even be the right term. We crashed into another ship that had sunk and was lying just below the surface. Javier and the rest of the crew navigating the ship saw it too late and couldn’t avoid the collision. The bad news was that as a result we began to take on water and there was no way that we could have stopped it.

Our only and final option was to abandon ship. It was either that or drown. The problem was that we had roughly 620 people who needed to get off that ship and then what were we going to do with them?

We waited as long as we could into the early morning, hoping for the breaking rays of dawn to spread across the eastern sky before putting the first life boats into the water. We were off the coast of Georgia and from all appearances last night it looked like a major metropolitan area. Obviously the ship sinking was the worst of options, but having it sink next to a large metropolitan area wasn’t much better. We were taking big risks by bringing such a large group to shore without an actual plan.

We spent the night gathering the necessary supplies and making a plan. Our first priority was to find a large building or warehouse that we could easily secure for a short amount of time while we figured things out. It was crucial that we get everyone out of sight as soon as possible and preferably the closer that we made that location to the point that we had to come out of the water the better.

In order to do that, the first 4 life boats that we sent over in the early morning light were manned with the strongest and best shooters aboard the ship. It was do or die time for us.

Once we were closer to the shore it became increasingly apparent that we were on the outskirts of a relatively large metropolitan area and from the business names on the docks it had to be Savannah. Luckily it wasn’t an area as big as New York but anywhere the Undead could be, wasn’t anywhere we wanted to be.

We landed without incident and fanned out to scout out different locations. Our plan was to meet back in an hour with anything that we thought was suitable.

The docks of Savannah were in remarkable shape. It looked almost as if the people who owned the businesses would be coming in for a hard day’s work soon. It was certainly a promising site for us. A short distance from where we came ashore, I spotted a warehouse that still had all of its small windows intact. It was a large cinder block building with what looked like at least 2 floors from the outside. I circled the building with my team looking for any signs of the Undead; bloody hand prints or gore that is so commonly associated with their decomposition. There were none.

I tried one of the side doors and found it unlocked. Not a great sign but not necessarily a bad one. The Undead didn’t really have the dexterity to turn a doorknob so the chances of finding any of them on the inside hadn’t increased by any degree. A quick sweep of the interior showed that it was essentiallyempty, and had three floors, not two. It would certainly do as a base of operations until we had time to figure out where we were going to go.

We left the building and returned to the rendezvous point. None of the other teams had managed to find anything suitable so it was a quick sell for the location that I had found. We left a number of the team on shore to guard our location and the place that we were planning on coming on shore. Everyone was doing their best to stay out of sight but the area was completed deserted. We couldn’t have asked for a better situation.

We started bringing the survivors over right away, using all 10 of the life boats. We brought as much of our supplies as we could carry on our backs because we didn’t know if we were going to have access to any vehicles as of yet. All of the guns and ammunition would be coming with us. There was no way we were going to leave any of that behind.

Transferring the survivors from the ship to the shore went fairly smoothly. The ship itself was beginning to fill a little faster with water and the bow had sunk a little further down in the water from the weight of it.

One of the last people to leave the ship was the monster. It was by design that we waited to bring him across to shore. We really had no idea what we were going to do with him once he didn’t have a place to keep him locked up. Could we really travel with a prisoner and fend of attacks from the Undead should the need arise?

In the end it didn’t matter. Captain Sven Kanelstrand, the monster known as Double Dutch took the easy way out. Once the life boat that was carrying him had made its way part way to shore, he propelled his body over the side and into the water. With his hands bound it was hard for him to swim but it didn’t even appear that he was trying. Instead he just stared upward as he sank below the surface. A few bubbles were all the remained of a life that had caused so much pain and suffering to so many people.

That was the only incident to speak of. Everyone was moved to the warehouse and we didn’t see any of the Undead in the process. We set up some people to watch from the windows on the second floor just in case they put in an appearance. We didn’t want to be caught unaware especially now that there would be significantly more noise coming from the area.

So now that we had found a place to stay for the moment, we just needed to figure out what to do long-term. There was no way that we could stay here and with the ship sinking quickly as it filled with water, our options on the seas were over.

The Next Day

Day 60

The reunion between the twins and Julie had to be postponed until after Julie woke up. We didn’t want them to get their hopes up in the event that Julie didn’t make it. In all truth, they were just starting to come back around after Ben and I had to break the news that Julie had died in Waskaganish 29 days ago.

We had kept the news that she was alive and found her way back to us from them until Julie was 100% ready to deal with their reactions. And I didn’t think to even prepare them at all on the long walk to the Infirmary. I guess we thought the surprise would be something nice for them. To see her alive and well and waiting to give them a big hug.

Of course they had heard throughout the ship that someone named Julie had been brought aboard but at their young age, it never occurred to them to make the connection. In their mind’s eye, Julie was dead. It was simple and final.

As I brought them into the Infirmary, they stopped dead once they saw her, their small hands closing so firmly around mine, I was sure that I was going to have permanent marks from their tiny fingers. They became frozen little statues. Frozen little statues that started to scream as if the world was ending. In their minds Julie was dead and seeing her now walking toward them must have made them think she was one of the Undead. The look of terror on their faces was awful and the panic and terror in the room was palpable. If they could have run, I’m sure they would have.

Julie stopped her approach and spoke to them quietly, explaining to them that she hadn’t died in Waskaganish, of how she had travelled a very long way with some new friends to find them again. I don’t know how they managed to hear her over their own screams but the screaming stopped the moment that she started speaking. Maybe deep in their souls they knew that the Undead couldn’t speak.

You could see them consider what she had said as she patiently waited to find out their verdict. Long minutes passed as they both stood there on either side of me, their little hands gripped so tightly in mine. Liam was the first to relax his and his shoes made the tell-tale thump, thump sound of rubber on carpet as he ran into Julie’s outstretched arms. She held him for long moments, her eyes never leaving Lily’s face. It had been 29 days since she had last held the twins and she had missed them more than anyone could ever know.

It took Liam extricating himself from the embrace of Julie’s arms and physically going over to Lily to make her understand that Julie wasn’t Undead. It must have been some telepathic connection that the twins have because they didn’t need to speak. Liam just hugged Lily, placing his cheek against hers. When he let her go, Lily launched herself across the room and into Julie’s arms nearly knocking the two of them over in the process. Liam hung back for a few seconds, allowing Lily the same private moment that he had received and then he was on them. The three of them became a giggling mass of love. I don’t have any other way to describe it.

Ben had stitched up Julie’s shoulder earlier that day so she was technically free to wander around the ship and check things out. What she really wanted to do was find Jane and make sure that everything was okay with the girl. She had left her with Eduardo and Polly, knowing that they were as used to her as she was to them.

She found them all in the Mess Hall cleaning up after the midday meal. The look on Jane’s face when she saw Julie spoke to her attachment to her. You could tell she was unsure of what she should do; her job at that moment was clearing tables but she desperately wanted to go to Julie. Seeing the confusion in her eyes, Julie went to her instead, with Lily and Liam in tow. It was the moment of truth. How would Jane react to the twins?

Julie was surprised by the hug that Jane gave her as it almost knocked her over. She was even more surprised that the girl was careful not to jar the area where she had bitten her 29 days earlier. The girl looked down at Lily and Liam who were shyly regarding her from behind Julie’s legs. In her eyes a new level of recognition awakened and she bent down holding up both of her palms in the internationally recognizable symbol of the “high five”. Lily and Liam scrambled out from behind Julie and landed the double palm smacks with precision, the three dissolving in a fit of laughter. Things were going to be fine. Jane would fit in perfectly and in time she would hopefully start to speak.

Sitting down for a moment to watch the children play a game of “Stella, Ella, Olla”, the ship started to feel weird, almost as if it was trying to change direction and go from forward to backward all at the same time. An alarm sounded and Javier’s voice came over the loudspeaker instructing all of us to brace for a potential impact.

Everyone sat down on the floor against the wall, thinking that was the safest place in case something were to happen. But nothing could have prepared us for what happened next.

The ship came to a shuddering and lurching stop throwing everyone and everything around. The sound was enormous. That’s the only way I can think to describe it. I’ve heard mortar rounds hitting close by and roadside bombs being triggered next to Humvees I’ve been in, but it was all paled in comparison to the sound the ship made today.

From what Javier can tell it looks like we struck another ship that sunk in the moderately shallow water off the coast. It probably wasn’t the best place for us to have been sailing but we had wanted to stay close to the shore to miss some of the stronger currents that might have taken us further out into the ocean. Besides, we were looking for a place to fuel up if we could find one. Now we stuck on a sunken ship and we had no way of knowing what kind of damage our ship had sustained.

I’ll keep you updated as I know more. Let’s just hope we don’t end up with more bad news.

The Next Day

Day 59

After leaving Waskaganish, Julie knew that her only option for getting back in touch with us was finding a computer or Smartphone with some charge left and Internet access. We’d already noticed that some of the towers were starting to fail. It was a lot slower that we had anticipated but at this point we were prepared to take anything that we could get in the way of communications.

Thankful that Ben had left his maps in the Escalade, she instructed Eduardo to head south out of the port town. Her aim was to get to the east coast of the US and then figure out a way to get our attention. At that moment she had no way to reach out and let us know that she was alive so she had to get herself and her new team of survivors into a position to be picked up. It wasn’t the best of plans but it was all that she had to work with.

Once they reached the fork in the road south of Waskaganish, she surveyed both options. They had met a few of the Undead but Eduardo was a skilled driver. I suppose making it all the way from New Mexico to Waskaganish in a Ford Pinto taught you a thing or two. Deciding on the left hand path, Julie told Eduardo to go that way. That road would take them through Nemiscau on the way to Chibougamau. From there they would take the 113 to Val d’Or. It was risky taking all of the larger roads but right now, time counted more than anything.

And Julie was banking on the fact that the captain had taken the ship east out of Hudson’s Bay. There was a chance, albeit a slight one that he could have gone to the west. It was a chance she didn’t want to think too much about at that moment. She had people that she cared about seeing again and it was the only thing that was going to keep her going.

Once they had passed through Val d’Or, they took the 117 to the 105, passing through towns like Maniwaki and Gracefield. The towns looked deserted and the travelling was relatively easy. Most of the Undead were moving in random directions, not like what they had seen in Waskaganish. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to their movements which was a good sign and a bad sign. It meant that they weren’t communicating with each other. But it also meant that nothing living had passed through the area recently. It was desolate and isolating. Like you were the last people to survive. Poor Polly kept rubbing her swollen belly frantically, probably trying not to think about the fact that her child would be born into a world that was crawling with the Undead and failing miserably.

During the long expanses spent driving, Julie spent much of the time talking to Jane. Eduardo and Polly were amazed at how Jane responded to the way in which Julie spoke to her. It was like she was a Half-Crazed Wild Girl Whisperer. Within a few hours, Jane had stopped struggling in the back of the Escalade and actually seemed to relax. Now she was even grunting along to the little song that Julie was singing. It wasn’t perfect but it was progress.

A difficult part of the journey was coming up. They were going to have to cross the Ottawa River and that was going to bring them right into Ottawa. There was no way around it really. It was either go through Ottawa or go through Montreal. Julie picked the lesser of two evils. Montreal had the larger population density plus it had the larger urban sprawl. Ottawa was the safer bet. Hands down.

The 105 turned into Highway 5 which brought them across the river and into Ottawa. It was slow going at first but the highway was still passable. Eduardo just had to be careful and slow down. The city appeared to be deserted as none of the Undead came out to greet them.

Merging onto the 417, the main artery of the city was another story altogether. Some might wonder why anyone would take the major highways in an emergency situation but in all actuality they probably are the best bet for that same reason. Most people will reason that way as well and will avoid them in favour of the other roads in town. The highways might be clogged but they still might be passable. And after all this time, if you can get up a ramp, chances are good that you can at least traverse the roadway as well. Not exactly the case on the 417. It was a parking lot. Luckily, Ottawa has a separate and reserved highway system of sorts that runs along the 41 that they use strictly for their transit system. It’s the first of its kind in Canada and frankly a godsend at that moment. A quick reverse down the ramp, into the body of a single Undead woman who had managed to find us and a redirect onto the transit highway.

It wasn’t clear sailing but the going was a bit easier. It was down here however that they found the main concentration of the Undead. They must have already scouted out the contents of the cars above and now that the honking had long stopped they were left to wander aimlessly until they rotted away. I wonder how terrifying it must have been for people to have been stuck in their cars while multitudes of Undead faces and hands pressed up against the glass until the moment that the pressure caused it to implode. How many families trying to escape had died together like that?

Eduardo was careful with his driving and while he did have to go through a number of them, he still managed not to snag the Escalade on anything. Soon they were at the exit to the 416 where they needed to go South. Julie knew that they needed to get out of the city so she told Eduardo to try taking the opposite lanes of traffic. At that time, no one would have wanted to come back into Ottawa so chances are they would be in the clear. The reasoning was sound and it was clear sailing out of Ottawa and down all 76 kilometres of the 416 to the 401.

At the 401, they went east towards Cornwall. At some point they were going to have to pass into the US and this side of Canada only allowed for passage into the US over bridges. There was no other way and they didn’t have the time to backtrack all the back around the Great Lakes and then back again in order to miss them. It had to be done. Julie didn’t share this bit of information with Eduardo and Polly right away mainly because of Polly’s pregnancy.

The 401 wasn’t too badly clogged. The shoulders of the road were wide enough to let them pass if need be but the closeness of the long grass was creepy. It hid all sorts of things. Eduardo hit first and then asked questions later. Thankfully everything he hit was Undead.

Finally they came into Cornwall and took the exit for the Seaway International Bridge which joins Cornwall to Rooseveltown, NY and spans the St. Lawrence River. The bridge was worse the Julie had expected. The two lane suspension bridge was gridlocked so there was no way that they could take the car. At the worst, Julie had figured that they would have been able to get the car partway across before having to walk the rest of the way. Now they were going to have to walk the full 4.7 kilometres and hope that nothing was hiding in wait in any of the cars. That and hope that Jane wouldn’t turn out to be a huge problem as well.

Julie had thought that Polly would make a bit of a fuss about having to walk such a long way being pregnant and everything. In all honesty, I think any woman in her condition would have. But Polly was different. She started walking and you didn’t hear a peep out of her. She knew that her life depended on her ability to keep going. She hadn’t stayed alive this long only to die now.

And surprisingly, once Julie took Jane out of the back of the car and tethered her to her waist and explained what was going on she seemed to get it. There was some kind of understanding dawning in the girl and a genuine bond was building between the two of them.

If they were going to take the time to walk across the bridge, the least they could do was look for some more weapons. The one firearm that they currently had was not going to do them much good if they got themselves into a situation where they had to fight. They agreed that they would look in the cars for visible firearms and ammunition and if they saw any, they would try the doors. There would no reason to attract any unwanted attention if there was nothing of use to them.

The bridge was pretty much deserted and the cars fairly devoid of anything useful for the first 2 and a half kilometres. Soon after that, the bloated bodies began to fill the cars. None of them were moving but none of them wanted to take the chance just yet. Just as they could see the end of the bridge, a long figure stood up at the end of it, its tattered clothes and stump of an arm making it quite apparent that it was one of the Undead.

Julie felt Jane tense against her; she grabbed her hand hoping that the small amount of comfort was enough to stop her from running and pulled her behind one of the parked cars. Eduardo and Polly disappeared behind a car on the other side. Julie couldn’t see them but she could hear the shuffled scraping of the soles of the feet of the Undead man coming their way. The smell hit her and she gagged. It was worse than some of the floaters that came into her morgue which seemed impossible but then so did the dead walking around. She pulled her gun, not wanting to use it, afraid that the noise of the shot would alert more Undead in the area and potentially frighten Jane. The problem was that she was pretty sure that it had seen them.

She could hear it getting closer and closer. It was now or never. Without warning, the decision was taken out of her hands. Eduardo had quietly circled around behind the Undead man and had rushed up behind him and just kept going. His aim was to push the frail, stinking, rotting body over the railing of the bridge and into the water of the St. Lawrence 15 feet below. His plan was ballsy but it worked.

In one of the last cars on the bridge they hit pay dirt. Not only did it have an adequate supply of guns and ammunition but the owner had left the keys in the ignition when he had abandoned it. They only had to put a few cars into neutral and roll them off to the side in order to get the car out of its parking spot.

So now that they were in Northern New York State, the idea was for them to get to the coast and then figure out a way to get in touch with the cruise ship. They knew they had to keep on the move but they also knew that they were going to have to keep stopping in order to look for a computer, laptop or Smartphone that worked.

Things with Jane kept improving to the point that Julie stopped tying her up on Day 46. If she wanted to run away after that, there was really nothing that she could do to stop her. But the difference in the young girl was remarkable. She still wasn’t speaking but she was acting a lot more like a young lady should and her attachment to Julie was apparent. If you looked at her, you could even tell that she felt bad about the fact that she had bitten Julie in the shoulder and the pain that Julie was feeling now was all because of her.

In fact, the injury to Julie’s shoulder was getting really bad. The infection was starting to really set in and even Julie knew that was a bad sign. She had nothing to help her fight it off; no antibiotics, no alcohol that she could pour in it. They barely had clean water to cleanse it. She knew her only hope was to get them to the ship before she died. Ben would take care of her and make her better. She just had to get there.

On Day 49, they stopped at a house in Vermont and managed to find a laptop that still had internet access. It was at that point that Julie knew that she had to get to Coney Island. She thought she only had three days at that point but she was willing to travel down the coast and follow the ship for as far as she had to.

In the car, on Day 52 she lost consciousness. Eduardo and Polly raced as hard and as fast as they dared to get her here. If she was going to die, they wanted her die among her friends, the ones that she talked about all the time. It seemed only fair since she’s spent all this time trying to get back to them.

Luckily, the ship never let the waters around Coney Island. And Julie pulled through.

The Next Day

Day 57

It feels wonderful to know that Julie is alive, awake and finally on the mend. Since getting the antibiotics from the pharmacy in Brooklyn, her condition has improved by leaps and bounds. The hole in her shoulder is still cause for concern but Ben seems to think that once he’s 100% sure the infection has completely cleared up that he can stitch the wound up. Right now it’s still open to allow it to drain. At least the smell is gone. That’s an important and good sign according to Ben. I wouldn’t know any different, I’m not a doctor.

God, it’s nice to be able to talk to her again. You don’t realize how much you miss someone until they’re gone. Even though she’s exhausted and a little foggy from the pain medication, she is soaking up as much of the news of the ship as we’re willing to tell her.

Telling her about our troubles with the monster Double Dutch was hard. Her memories of Captain Kanelstrand only included those filled with respect and gratitude. She had read enough of our postings to know that we would be at the beach at Coney Island for a period of time but hadn’t really had the time to get too in-depth into what was going on. By the time they had left that house, not even we knew who the monster was so there was no way that she would have known. She took the news surprising well.

In the end, she knew that the monster had to be someone who worked on the ship just based on the knowledge that would be needed to tamper with the communications, the fuses and hide the bodies in the bilge compartments. The captain was just as likely as any of the other men or woman who had made up the crew prior to the outbreak. In her line of work she had come up against some of the most depraved individuals but in a roundabout way. She didn’t deal with the monsters directly. Instead she dealt with the carnage they left behind. Her expertise would have been a Godsend in those first few days of knowing that we had a monster aboard. But it’s all water under the bridge now. We have the monster and he’s not likely to kill again his lifetime.

Julie also spent a lot of time talking about what she endured getting Eduardo, Polly, Jane and herself back to the ship. When she was first bit and sitting in that Quonset hut with a crazed Jane bucking and fighting against her restraints, she wasn’t sure that she was going to be able to get out of Waskaganish alive. She’d been really amazed that she’d even gotten herself and the frightfully strong Jane into the hut at all without the army of the Undead following both of them inside.

It’s going to be a long time before she’ll be able to type and tell you her story herself so I’m going to tell you what she went through in the bits and pieces that she gives me. The shores of Waskaganish is a pretty harrowing tale.

When we last left her she had thrown the laptop into the life boat and grabbed her gun. From what we had seen at the time, it looked like one of the Undead had taken a chunk out of her shoulder. Julie had a mind to search out the walking corpse that had infected her, while we all took to the water in search of freedom on the cruise ship. What she found instead was a horde of the Undead closing in on her and one half-wild, crazed young girl with huge blue eyes glaring twin holes into her own. It was unnerving but not a death sentence. Yet.

In the face of the oncoming army, Julie knew that she had to get out of sight. She also knew that she needed to get the young girl out of sight as well. She might be able to bite and scratch and fight but how would she fare against one of the Undead. It was possible that her survival instincts were pretty good since it was obvious that she had made it this long and this far but there was really no way to tell.

It took precious strength and a lot of mental fortitude to get that wild girl into the closest Quonset hut. Once inside, she started to immediately try to get out which was a problem. Opening one of the two doors would have certainly meant death. Thankfully there were some ropes in hut that she was able to use to restrain her.

Catching her was difficult. Julie made sure that she impressed upon me many times that the Jane that you meet today is not the same Jane that she was dealing with back then. The girl that she was trying to restrain was as strong as a horse because of her fear and anger at being contained. Plus it’s not like Julie was 100% healthy at that time either; she’d just had a chunk taken out of her shoulder which was bound to affect her ability to use it. In the end, she was just barely able to restrain her.

Unfortunately, the noise of the girl in the Quonset hut did draw the attention of the some of the Undead. I guess from the way that Julie described the scene, they must have been on the opposite side from the shore making it impossible for us to have been able to see the small crowd of the Undead from the decks of the ship. Not that we could have gotten to her anyway…

For the next 4 days she sat in that hut with the half-wild girl trying to talk quietly to her, trying to figure out how she was going to get out of Waskaganish. Knowing that she wasn’t infected made a huge difference in her plan. All she had was a single firearm, a few rounds of ammunition, and all of the supplies in the Escalade. Thank God they had left the keys in the car on the off-chance that someone else might make it to Waskaganish and end up needing it. All she needed to do was figure out how many Undead were outside, and how close the SUV was. Then she had to figure out how to transfer an unwilling captive through what could be an obstacle course filled with the Undead and then get them both into an even smaller enclosed space with an injury to boot. It seemed insurmountable but not impossible.

Just when she was about to get up and start trying to get everything together to leave, the door opened and into the Quonset hut hurried two people, a man and an extremely pregnant woman. Help had arrived with the news that Waskaganish was almost deserted. A few Undead were just wandering through town at that moment but it looked like they hadn’t noticed the pair as they ducked into the hut. Introductions were made and once the group had determined that no one was infected, they packed up the Escalade and left the town in the rear-view mirror.

The Next Day