Lockdown does funny things to people. Put someone in a locked room and tell them that they can’t leave and you’ll soon find out just what they are prepared to do for the rights and freedoms that they once had. The following is the story of Marcus Bereger.
Marcus was one of those unlucky people to have been locked up in the old jail until it could be determined if the wounds they had posed any risk to the entire settlement. He didn’t appreciate the forced confinement; none of them did but Marcus was different. He had a voice, he had charisma and the angry outcasts of the Herber Settlement were ready to listen to someone. Johanna and the Council certainly hadn’t done them any favours by locking them up with potentially infected people.
As a result of the fire that Marcus stoked, the disenfranchised members of the settlement started to rebel. At first, they would just engage the guards in heated debates but soon it turned to violence. That’s the way with our society, if you can’t solve it through (educated) discourse; the one that strikes first usually has the upper hand. And the self-proclaimed outcasts struck first.
It was an organized attack. They moved all of the children into one section of the jail as their safety was never to be jeopardized and then staged a mock fight in the cafeteria. They knew the fight would draw the attention of the guards, and would likely bring them all down into the cafeteria to break it up.
The Herber Settlement Police Force wasn’t made up of your brightest of individuals. None of them actually had any police experience (most of the real officers had either left the city to help other forces quell the uprising of the dead or they had died themselves keeping the Undead out of the city in the early days). What stood for officers now were untrained men and women granted the “honour” of police work by Johanna and the Council. It had worked in the interim when no one did anything to jeopardize safety. And now it worked to the advantage of Marcus and his followers. Once all of the guards had responded, and left the doors open in their inexperience, the outcasts turned on them. They were soon overpowered. It really wasn’t a fair fight, 157 grown men and women against 20 guards ill-equipped to handle any kind of crisis.
In the end, 13 of the guards had been beaten so badly that they died of their injuries. No one even knew to respond to them in the jail; their bodies were found after the fact. The remaining 7 guards were locked in cells and Marcus and the rest of the mob left the jail in search of a fight.
They didn’t have to go too far to find one. Seeing the group burst forth from the jail, panic exploded through the settlement. The assumption was that the infection had spread through the jail like wildfire and now the Undead were loose. It was a fearful reaction but one that had been ingrained so many times before.
A number of the braver inhabitants picked up whatever weapons they could lay their hands readily on; gardening implements, cleaning tools, even spare pieces of wood still present after one of the buildings had been repaired. But the mob was too big for them. While they did some damage, they were quickly disarmed and granted no mercy.
The mob moved through the city, intent in its goal. They wanted the source of their anger, their frustration and they didn’t plan on letting anyone stop them in their pursuit.
The Council all lived in the same area of the city; in the houses that surrounded Johanna’s estate. They were easy to find and naturally were at home at that time of day. The mob dispersed to each of the houses as they came upon them; the group getting smaller as it stalked up the road to its final destination.
The shouts and screams from the houses left behind could be heard as the mob surprised each of the Council members and their families. But onward the shifting mob moved. They found Johanna and her granddaughter in the back of the house, just sitting down to eat dinner. There was an exclamation of surprise, then outrage out of Johanna.
Marcus struck her with a shovel that he had picked up along the way, her skull crumbling in upon itself. Her death was instant and her granddaughter’s followed shortly. By that time, the rest of the mob had finished with the rest of the Council. They were all dead, along with their families.
Marcus proclaimed himself the new mayor of the settlement on the steps of Johanna’s estate, still holding the shovel covered in her blood in his right hand. He raised it high in the air to the exclamations of support from the crowd.
The rest of us found out about the change in power shortly thereafter. Marcus made sure that we all knew he was in charge now. Nothing really changed for a number of us; we went about our normal tasks of protecting, feeding and cleaning the settlement. There was no time for us to express anything other than blind acceptance.
Marcus is a very fluid speaker. Listening to him is like listening to music; the melody of his voice and the lilt of his words made you want to believe in the things he was promising. I can remember the last time I was present for one of his speeches.
He was standing in front of the doors to City Hall proclaiming that this was the new age of civilization. At the time, I wasn’t entirely sure he understood what he was saying but soon we would find out just what he meant. If anyone thought that Johanna was bad, they should have been warned about charismatic charlatans.
Well, myy allotted time is almost up; I had better get this up before it’s lost forever…