I remember what it was like in the beginning. The constant fight for survival; the overwhelming sense of desolation. At that point we were on the move, just trying to stay one step ahead of them. Hoping beyond hope that someone would be able to stop them. And by them, I mean the Undead.
Our unrelenting pursuers. They never stopped. Never got tired. Sometimes you were lucky and someone or something else would steal their attention away from you. But there were always more of them. They were everywhere and their numbers just kept growing.
I liken the experience to a river taking over the landscape. You don’t really know where the source is; all you know is that it just keep coming. Everything in their path is consumed and tainted by their encroaching tide of death and subsequent undeath.
Being at the settlement has eased some of the fears that we once had but didn’t erase them completely. Sure, there was no immediate threat related to the Undead behind the walls but things are strained. Marcus still has his minions observing the other survivors in the settlement at every possible moment.
People are not allowed to meet in groups larger than ten and our communal meals are always watched over by someone from Marcus’ camp. There must be something that he is afraid of but the question is what might that thing be? If it’s the possibility that someone might decide to rise up against him, I don’t think he has anything to fear. None of us are interested in seeing any more death. We’ve all seen so much of that; enough to last us 10 lifetimes.
Marcus does have bigger problems though. The supplies at the settlement are dwindling and he has yet to figure out a way that he can send people out and still maintain his hold on the people left behind. If it were me, I would just send a team out to forage for supplies but he’s so paranoid that he’ll send the wrong people that he’s chosen to do nothing. We have about 4 more days of food left before we’ll be eating the types of things that no one knows that to do with. Things like canned mushrooms and Spam. We have nothing fresh that much is obvious. No one is growing anything anymore and the canned goods are going to begin to expire in a few short months. We need to come up with a plan of self-sustainment for the long term. Otherwise, what’s the point in maintaining a semblance of normalcy behind the concrete walls.
In some ways, life is getting better though. Marcus has eased some of his restrictions. We’re allowed more time on the computers. It’s not that there is much to look at or even do but the fact that we have a way to escape for a few more moments a week is good. Most people have just been playing the games that come preloaded. The truth of the matter is that you can only play so much solitaire and minesweeper before your brain goes completely numb.
It’s probable that Marcus is coming to the realization that the people are losing their tenuous grip on reality…
There is a shock that settles in at some point. I’ve seen it first hand while fighting in Afghanistan but what I’m seeing now is on a much larger scale. The survivors are walking around as if they are lost. They have the same looks on their faces as the people of Minden. It’s chilling really. Some of you might not remember what happened to us in Minden but the experience is burned into our psyches. As much as we might have wanted to forget, the vacant faces we see behind the walls of the Herber Settlement bring those memories back to the forefront.
We’ve seen vacancy before but it’s nothing like the widespread phenomenon that you can see as you walk down the street. It’s like every face is a mirror image of the one before. Each morning I get up and look in the mirror hoping that my face doesn’t look back at me with the same vacancy. The day that it does, I know I’m done. I’ve seen what happens when you just stop caring. Once you reach that point, it’s only a matter of time before the Undead accept you into their flock.
I’m hoping that day never comes for me. Or my friends. It would be horrible to survive the things that we have survived for the last 5 to 6 months only to give up now. We have to figure out how to keep our minds strong and in the game. The answer might be to leave the settlement. It would be dangerous of course. We have none of our weapons and no real way to travel quickly and safely but we’ve been at that point before. If the need arises, I’m positive that we’ll be able to stay alive. We have to. There is no other option. The Undead will not be the death of me or my friends.