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?

Monday, January 4, 2016

Haven Chapter 27

            Chapter 27

            I felt sick, I always did when I saw things like this but there was no danger here, no adrenaline pushing me forward so I felt worse. I could only imagine what Lindsey was feeling, her face was a mixture of stoic resilience, shock, and grief. Connor looked sympathetic, and I tried to be the same. Emma walked into the room from another, her hand over her mouth. She had been the one to find the body and it clearly had startled her. Connor was the first to speak, “the place has been raided, he must have fought back”
            “I’m sorry,” I said softly, but Lindsey ignored me
            “Does that mean this was a waste of time?” she asked, tearing her eyes away to look at Connor
            “No,” Emma answered, shaking her head to try and focus, “The garage is locked, it looks like someone tried to break in but failed”
            “Good,” was all Lindsey said as she walked past the three of us.

            We were surprised by her calm tone, although we shouldn’t be, we had seen it before. Once again I wondered about the resistance, and Lindsey had been through to make her like this, was it training? Or experience? We eventually followed her through the house, except Connor who went to take watch by the front door. Eventually we stopped at a large metal door with a padlock on it. It had bloodied dints in several places and the latch looked like someone had tried to break it off, the blood looked dry though, so assumed it happened a while ago, hopefully. I turned to Lindsey, “Do you know where your father left his”-
            “We don’t need a key,” Lindsey interrupted calmly as she shot the lock off, making everyone jump. Connor ran back inside, gun raised, but he lowered it when he saw what happened. “Uh, Lindsey?” I started, slightly afraid, “I think I should take the gun.” I reached out for the gun, I was worried about how she would react, but I was even more worried about what would happen if her grief made her do something stupid. Her hands gripped the gun tighter for a moment, and I got more concerned, but gratefully she released it, and passed it over.

            What we found there was exactly what we needed: about 5 cans full of petrol. But there was more than that too, Lindsey had said that her father was a survival nut and she wasn’t lying. Rope, tools, tents, there was a huge amount of gear we could use, too much for us to carry in fact. That’s when Connor and I took a look at the car. It was in very good condition, better than most cars I used to see on the road, it was older, but not so old it didn’t have all the comforts newer vehicles do. Luckily for us Lindsey’s Dad left a spare set of keys in the garage. The issue was that this car still couldn’t get past the barrier we stopped at before, so we had to come up with another plan.

            We decided to split up, Connor and Lindsey took the car the long way around, through several small streets that would eventually lead them to the other side of the barrier. Emma and I walked back the way we came, carrier just the fuel we had come for. We were walking up hill this time, and carrying more weight so it took longer than before, but at least this time we didn’t have to be so cautious about running into any of the dead. “What do you think about Lindsey?” I asked Emma, neither had spoken much yet, and both of us were already out of breath
            “What do you mean?” she panted back
            “Can we trust her?”
            “Depends, if you mean can we trust her not to stab us in the back then yeah, we can. But if you’re asking if we can trust her judgement and skill, then I can’t say,” Emma surprised me with her analysis, clearly she’s been thinking about this, then I wondered what she thought about us “back at the house she was emotional, but she didn’t really seem that reckless, just distant. She did, however, shoot a lock off with one bullet, so at least she can aim nicely”
            I laughed at the last bit, “Yeah I guess so”
            “Why are you asking?”
            “We still don’t know what’s going to happen,” I said, hoping I could trust Emma with my concerns, “with the resistance I mean, we might join them, or if the can’t find a way back they might have to join us for a while. We’ve been in fights with them already so we know they don’t easily panic and they have skill, but if people like Anthony can infiltrate their ranks who knows what will happen.” Emma nodded, then looked away, I took that as a sign she didn’t have anything more to say. It was something to think about definitely, most of the time when new people join our group it’s been a pretty easy decision, and I’ve come to trust them quickly, but joining such a large group of people comes with a whole new set of problems.
            We turned the final corner and saw the blockade, I picked up a stick and banged against the rumble a few times, in a rhythm we had set out. It was the code to saw it was us, and that we had the petrol we needed. A few seconds later a reply came through, the sign to say they were still here, and they hadn’t encountered any trouble. Then came a voice, “Todd, is that you?” it was Malcolm’s voice
            “Yeah,” I replied, glad to hear a friendly voice, “we’re coming through.” There were obviously mixed feelings when I told them about what we had found, sadness about the fate of Lindsey’s Father, but happiness at the news of more supplies.

            As we waited Malcolm refuelled the van, and Monica, Emma, and Owen, the man from the resistance, went on a quick raid of the surrounding houses. I sat down for a rest in the van, but I couldn’t relax for long as Jacobs walked in and sat down next to me. “It’s pretty obvious we need to talk about what happens next,” she started, but this was different than the previous times we’ve talked, this time she spoke to me as an equal
            “Yeah, pretty soon I’ll be home,” I tried to speak to her the same way, “but I don’t think we’ll be up for a trip back to, where ever you live”
            She smiled, “actually we don’t live anywhere, we haven’t settled yet”
            “But you said”-
            “Without a base we are more susceptible to raiding, so when we negotiate I make it seem like we’re all set up,” she explained, my mind was reeling
            “So… why haven’t you stopped yet?”
            “We haven’t found a place yet, it needs to be large and out of the way enough to house us and keep us safe, but close enough to previously populated areas so we can still get new supplies”
            “Right, makes sense I guess”
            “So here’s my question: does your base have enough space to house and protect over 150 people?”
            I wish I could say I thought about it, but the answer was already obvious, “No”
            “Then we can’t settle there, that brings me to my other question: is it in your people’s best interest to pack up and join a group without a home”
            Once again I already knew the answer, “No”
            “Then that settles it, we are not combining groups, and considering everything we had to trade was on the vehicle Anthony stole,” she paused and took a deep breath, “there’s no reason for us to stay together”
            “I’m sorry Jacobs”
            “Please,” she shook her head, “call me Allison, I’m only Jacobs to people who I don’t trust.” It was an off-hand statement, but it meant a lot, I found myself disappointed we wouldn’t be working together.

            “When Connor and Lindsey get back I’ll take the car and leave,” she said finally
            “Ok,” I wondered how to make it up to her, I shamefully realised that if it wasn’t for us she wouldn’t have lost so many people, even if one of them was Anthony. “We’ll split the supplies from Lindsey’s house,” I offered, “she your person anyway”
            “Thanks, but that’s the other thing I want to discuss,” Allison replied, she spoke in a weird tone, “I think Lindsey should stay with you guys”
            “What why?” I was surprised to say the least, the two of them seemed very close
            “She’s strong, friendly, and capable. And she’s one of the people I trust the most”
            “Then why”-
            “Because one day our two groups will join,” she said, and she turned to stare earnestly into my eyes, “if we both survive long enough we’re going to have to combine forces with every honourable survivor out there to rebuild society. And even if we’re not combining now we still have to work together, and as I said I trust Lindsey, so if one day we meet again and she says she trusts you whole-heartedly I can believe her, a hundred percent.” I believed her, and more than that I agreed with her, we had to survive this, and I could see the new society she hoped for. And I knew it would take everyone to do that.

            Connor and Lindsey eventually arrived, followed by several of the dead that were easily handled in close-combat. As we divided the supplies between us Allison took Lindsey aside and explained what we discussed, the range of emotions on their faces was heart breaking, but they both new it was for the best. When they were done Allison handed her a small pack, she and I had discussed this too. It was some of those gas things Greg had used to contact her back at the station, only these ones were a different colour. The main purpose of these ones is to say that they had found a place to settle, but we were to use it when we felt ready to join their traveling group, or their settlement if they had one. And then, after a few other words and goodbyes they left, Allison and the one man out of almost a dozen, heading back home. I wondered what kind of reception they would get when they returned.

            We all got into the van, now full of petrol with some spare cans too, and headed back home. We knew we weren’t out of the woods yet, we still had no ammo, and if we ran into any large group of zombies we had little hope of coming out alive. But despite that we were still optimistic, after all that had just happened losing Brooke, finding Lindsey’s father, saying goodbye to a potential alliance, we felt things were finally looking up. We were all smiling, up until the point that the car lurched to a halt as we reached the top of the hill, and Malcolm, the driver, stumbled desperately out to stare at the horizon. We all followed him, and joined him in staring. The warehouse was visible now, we could just make it out amongst the other buildings and fields. But that wasn’t all we could see. It was the largest amount of the dead I had ever seen, and it wasn’t in one line or group, but it was coming from several directions, from dozens of side streets, all stumbling in one direction. Towards the others, towards our home.

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