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

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