How are we going to get out of this? We have an army of undead all around and god knows where we are! I know that there is little to no chance of us surviving, even if we make it through this challenge, there will just be another waiting for us. And while the enemy grows with each fallen survivor our numbers only grow smaller, and our resources dwindle more and more. What’s the point in fighting, if there’s no hope of victory?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Haven Chapter 6

Chapter 6

I had to walk away after Will said that, using the excuse of going to the toilet. A sympathetic glance from Nicole as I brush past her told me it didn't work. As i got further away from the others my pace quickened until by the time I burst through the front doors I was almost running. I bent over, feeling nauseous. I slid down to the ground and leant against the brick wall, I grimaced slightly at the realisation that my first act as officially leader was to run away.In the distance I could see Steven at the peak of a hill, he hadn't seen me come outside. I was happy about that, I wanted to be alone.

But I wasn't alone for long, from inside I heard the voices of Will, Nicole and Andria discussing who should be the one to talk to me. In the end Andria won and I heard the door open slowly, I turned and saw her slowly edge out. I felt annoyed, both at her intrusion into my panic attack and at how nervous she was to even talk to me. I was also worried about how useful she could be if she was scared to simply talk to someone.
Eventually she found her voice, even if it was hoarse, 'Are-are you alright?'
No, I thought, but my voice had other ideas, 'yeah, I'm just, overwhelmed, worried I guess'
'You're only feeling worried and overwhelmed now?' Andria had some humour and confusion in her voice
'I don't know Andria, until now we've always been dealing with one crisis or another. And I always felt afraid, and lost, but never over whelmed. It felt like...' I realised as I said the words that its was exactly how I had felt, 'it felt like a game.'
'A game?' Andria sounded disappointed and I worried I had said the wrong thing, but after a moment her face softened, 'I think I understand'
'Really?' I was expecting harsh judgement, I'd just convinced these people to trust me as their leader and then admitted I felt like it wasn't real
'Yeah,' she said warmly as she sat down next to me, 'its not that you didn't feel scared, or overwhelmed, it was just that...' I found the words before she did
'It was that I felt, not even consciously, that if we just made it through the next few days we would find some magical solution,' I shook my head as I realised how childish I'd been, 'or someone to tell us what to do, and everything would go back to normal.' We both sat still and silent as we dealt with our horrifying new state of mind, we were never going to get out of this.

'But you know,' Andria began speaking again, startling me out of my strangely calm silence, 'The situation you were in before, the situation everyone was in those first few days, it required that state of mind to survive.' I looked at her strangely, trying to process, well everything, it seemed recently even the smallest piece of information required strenuous thought to process. 'What do you mean?' I asked disbelievingly, 'how could that benefit things?'
'Having a sense of calm and control, when in a state of constant danger and motion,' Andria's tone seemed different, more stable and, well adult than usual, 'it would have kept you calm, and that feeling you were in a game, it would've helped you make decisions as you were using logic you've used before'
'You're right,' I realised suddenly, 'I was acting on instincts I learnt from... games and tv shows,' the fact i survived show long made me laugh, but not in a good way
'And that kept you alive,' Andria moved closer and grabbed my shoulder, 'look at you, you became our leader and you had to go outside for air. If you had to do that every time you made a decision before... you wouldn't have made it here.'

I knew she was right, back then if a decision had to be made it had to be made quickly, looking back I can't believe we were able to do it. But if those instincts left me, if now every decision to careful thought and time, what does that mean for our future? Andria seemed to read my mind, 'but now, things are different, we have resources that need to be protected, we have... infrastructure for lack of a better term. You are a leader now, not a member of a group of survivors, those instincts you were using before are useful, but they aren't what you need right now.' I looked at her for a while after she finished talking, as opposed to the deep thoughts of a moment ago all that was in my head was her words. These new worries and concerns, they weren't a sign i was the wrong person to lead them, they were a sign I was the right one.

Before this talk Andria seemed worrying, someone who might be a burden to the group, but now i realised I was wrong. She was not a warrior, I don't think I could ever see her leading a charge into battle, but she did have something few others in the group did, insight. Insight into what people think, why they do the things they do. It was that insight that help me figure out what I needed to now, somehow she reached me, even in my overwhelmed state. And it was then that I realised her worth. 'Andria,' I spoke, while I was thinking she had moved away, and was now looking at the sun starting to set, 'I think I've found a job for you'
'Group therapist?' she joked
'No,' I replied through laughter, 'our... organiser, with all these different jobs and people in charge of each section I need someone to make sure everyone knows what's going on, I can't be everywhere at once'
'You want me to be your secretary?' she wasn't too thrilled at the idea
'Yes! No!' I quickly corrected, 'I want you to be the person who make sure each group is worked together properly, I want you to be... my second-in-command'
'Are you sure about this? a few moments ago I was a blubbering mess at the sight of even one dead man'
'Thats the point! This position won't require you to interact with any dead men, just alive ones.'

Our conversation was cut short when Wendy walked out through the door. As it closed I caught a glimpse of Nicole and Will standing in the doorway, obviously eavesdropping intently on our conversation. I smiled at Wendy as she stood bathed in sunlight, I realised that just as my previous mentality made me unaware to some of the dangers of our situation, it also made me neglect what was right in front of me. I opened my mouth to say hello, but Andria spoke first, 'I'm glad my job won't force me to interact with the dead, but I don't think they'll give me a choice.' I turned confused but when I saw where she was looking I realised what she meant. Steven was running down the hill towards us, just as the first of the dead appeared at the top.