Yesterday would have been Thanksgiving had we still be living our normal pre-apocalyptic lives. There were a few of us that gathered to celebrate; mainly Julie, Ben, Jane, the twins and myself. We did have a few people from British Columbia that came as well but it wasn’t really a joyous occasion. How could it have been after what went down the other night?
As you know, I’ve been working as one of the PGs (Perimeter Guards). It’s an 8 hour shift of just staring at a gap in the wall. A boring, tedious, exhausting 8 hours but you knew that you were doing something that greatly benefited our community. This is mainly why I cannot fathom how someone managed to fall asleep at their post.
It happened a few nights ago. Sunday morning to be more exact. Gregory, an older gentleman probably in his 60s, was given one of the more solitary gaps to guard against. It was along the north wall and in an area of the city that wasn’t inhabited by too many families.
The worst thing about the duty was that we didn’t have the luxury of light to help us. The council thought that using light to highlight the gaps at night would only attract more of the Undead to them. I could see the logic behind that, really I could, but you have no idea what it’s like to be standing in the inky darkness of night with only your ears as a warning system. After a while your eyes would adjust to the darkness but it wasn’t a perfect system by any means.
I know a bunch of guys that rigged up different types of warning systems just to help them out. Strings with bells across the openings. Cans stacked up in front of the gaps. Anything that you can really think of to make noise in the event that one of the Undead decided to come through your gap.
That must have been what Gregory was relying on. He’d probably been using his system for quite a while and it had worked thus far so why would he think about changing it? The scary thing is that you cannot rely on the Undead to be predictable…
To a certain extent they are. They will come after you relentlessly until you either kill them or they kill you. It’s pretty simple; they are driven by their need to feed and assimilate. What you cannot bank on however is that they can come at you from all different angles, in any way, shape, or form that they can. As long as one of the Undead is mobile, it’s going to pursue you. It might get waylaid if something else crosses its path, but it will keep moving in the last direction that it saw you going.
Poor Gregory. Underestimating your most voracious enemy is dangerous and he definitely learned his lesson.
It was about 3:30am on Sunday morning and I was keeping my eyes glued tp my gap. I was stationed on the west wall that night but I was close to where the north and west walls met. It was a quiet night. Sometimes you heard people out and about in the streets, acting as if nothing was wrong with the world. A little bit of security can put the blinders up for people. That was pretty scary to deal with as well because there were people living in the Herber Settlement that didn’t believe that anything was really wrong with the world. It was like they had selective memories of what had happened and were choosing to forget that there was a world on the other side of the wall.
The night was quiet and incredibly dark… We didn’t even have the benefit of the stars to help illuminate the tiny gaps we watched. I heard a slight scraping along the concrete close to my gap and knew that soon I would have a visitor to turn away. Within a moment, the scraping got louder and from experience I could tell that pretty soon the rotting corpse would be all the way through. It was easy to tell when you had something about the come through; the smell usually gave them away if you didn’t pick up on the noise. I quickly put the invader to rest and went back to listening. My mind started to wander and I began to wonder why The Council didn’t just patch the gaps. It would make life a whole heck of a lot easier. But then I guess maybe they wanted to make sure that people had a job to do… It was a risky choice but one I wasn’t about to argue with; I had no desire to leave the settlement.
As I was listening and smelling for my next invader, I heard a noise off to my right. It sounded a little far away but it was like I instantly knew that it had something to do with one of the gaps. We had an alarm system in case we got into trouble. It consisted of an air horn (a super annoying sound but effective). We each had a specific call signal which was a b*tch to learn each night to be honest…
I blasted my horn 3 short bursts to signify that I was on the west wall and followed it up with a 4 second long burst. The long bursts were meant to tell the Response Team which gap you were guarding. There were only 4 along this stretch of the wall so I only had to deploy the button for 4 seconds as I was the farthest out. In my mind, it would have been easier to have us just continued to press the button until someone came to your rescue but I’m sure they had their own Morse Code of sorts just in case the PG got taken down by one of the Undead.
Once the response team got to my location, I quickly explained that I had heard a strange noise coming from the north portion of the wall. Since I couldn’t leave my post to go and check it out, it was up to them to get over there and investigate. I didn’t feel bad about calling a false alarm; there were usually about 5 or 6 a night. But in my mind it was better to be safe than sorry.
I turned my attention back to my gap and tried to put the possibility that one of the Undead could have gotten through the wall out of my mind. I was doing a pretty good job until all of the shouting started. From what I could make out, it appeared as if Gregory had been surprised by one of the Undead while he had been asleep and the Response Team had happened upon the offender while it was feeding off of Gregory’s now dead body. It was a good thing that I had blown my horn since there was already another member of the Undead army almost through the unattended gap and another one just waiting to push its way through after it.
The Response Team managed to get the situation under control fairly quickly (did I mention that they get to carry flashlights?). Poor Gregory met him demise unfortunately but it drove the point home to all of us watching our respective gaps. Paying attention was of the utmost importance.
The rest of the night passed uneventfully and I was granted a week’s vacation by The Council from my job as a Perimeter Guard for averting what could have been a huge crisis. I’m not sure if a week off is what I need though. I’ll be able to recover from the stress of the job, only to have to go back on active duty in a few days. I pray that someone on The Council will come to their senses and just patch the gaps. I’d rather watch a patched gap than an open one. Until next time, stay safe my friends.
3 thoughts on “Day 117”
Love the story. The lack of direct dialogue is working very well for you in this piece.
Thank you Matthew! I appreciate the compliment 🙂