Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Heidi's First Kill

We went to get Heidi a laptop for her journey and we ended up getting her some much-needed experience in using guns and killing zombies, as well. We made it to the store with no problems, then on the way back we decided to take a detour through this school we found, thinking it might make a good secondary base or at least maybe have some more first aid supplies and stuff to scavenge (not to mention books--Heidi will stop anywhere that might have a book). Well, there's absolutely nothing of any use to anybody in there, but before we leave, Heidi decides she needs to use the bathroom. Keep in mind that we haven't had running water for awhile and we've found that undisturbed bathrooms usually seem to have one good flush left in them, so they're a bit of a luxury. Our mistake was to forget the lesson that any idiot who's ever seen a zombie movie knows--the zombie is always in the bathroom. We should have checked it first as a group. I guess having so few zombies around now has made us soft.

Anyway, she went in, opened a stall door, and there it was, just standing there staring at her. Not breathing, of course, not making a sound, just staring and waiting for somebody to open the door. At least Heidi had her flashlight in one hand and her pistol in the other. The way she described it, the thing just started calmly walking toward her the minute she opened the stall door, so Heidi screamed, backed up, and unloaded 4 shots into its head and neck at point blank range. If Matt was with us, he would have been really ticked about using the extra ammo. Anyway, I took a couple of photos for posterity.
The zombie was female, not too damaged (just bites on what was left of the neck and shoulder) and, somewhat disturbingly, not decayed at all. I've seen decay on all the others we've seen, so that means she had to be a fresh victim. We did a quick search of the school and couldn't find any other zombies. We found some blood, but that's about it.
I don't know--every time we go out, it's like another mystery. Anyway, Heidi is pretty shaken up about it. She might even be rethinking the split, now. We'll see. We all go through it the first time. Actually, I went through it just about every time. Academically, we know they're already dead. Emotionally, it feels like murder.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Art of Healthy Living by Heidi

Ever since we got struck by the summer cold in June we have been taking vitamins. We quickly realized that the Zombies weren't the only thing we had to fear. The flu, a broken bone, a cut, things that were so minor before could kill us now if we weren't careful.

A few of us had some first aid training so we have been slowly gathering those supplies too. Practicing good hygiene and dental care as well as we can with limited water supplies. As careful as we try to be - accidents happen. We've been real lucky so far - if someone ever needs surgery we're screwed.

As long as we keep checking pharmacies we should be able to find most of the things we need - prescriptions will be a problem, since most of those got cleaned out pretty fast once the apocalypse started. One of the other issues is eventually these things will lose their effectiveness once the expiration date rolls around. So I will be keeping a look out for reading material on alternative medicines. (Yeah, I know, old school.)

Did I mention Roger and I wear corrective eye-wear? I figure I've got 3-5 years before these glasses are totally useless . . . . . Okay, I've got to stop with this now because I'm getting freaked out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


On the list of sounds you'll never forget, I think the sound of gunshots at night has got to be near the top of the list. I remember during the brief time that I lived in downtown Milwaukee I would fall asleep on Friday and Saturday nights to the sound of an occasional gunshot. I wasn't worried--I was in a secure building, but still I was a little creeped out. Of course when the zombie apocalypse hit, there was a lot of gunfire. And screaming...endless screaming. It seemed to last for months. Then it stopped. I guess the last humans were like us--hiding in the shadows and trying not to call attention to themselves. I imagine people were still dying, just dying quietly.

The reason I bring this up now is that as a few of us gathered on the roof to watch the sunset, drink some weak coffee or tea and breathe in the stench of death that assaults us day and night, we heard gunshots. Distant--I think southeast of here, but clearly gunshots. My first thought was of Geoff, maybe fighting for his life against a zombie horde with the last of the guns and ammo he stole from us, but now I'm not so sure. The shooting has been sporadic, but it has gone on for more than an hour now, sometimes closer, sometimes farther (although that could be a trick of the wind). If I didn't know better (and I guess I don't, really), I would say someone was out there hunting zombies. At least I hope it's zombies they're hunting. There's a part of me that's worried, but there's another part that's saying "Rock on! Pop one in the head for me, pal." All hail the new hero of the zombie apocalypse, whoever he is.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Okay, Heidi's Break is Over

The last couple weeks have been crazy. I've been learning how to get into the blog account, organizing the first aid supplies (more later) and making a list of what to look for once we get moving. I have found that if I don't make a list we get overwhelmed when in a store and start grabbing things we don't need. Seriously, stuffed animals? (Hey, it's free!)

Now the Geoff and Cynthia incident has caused some panic and distrust because we are now aware of how easy it is to take stuff and run. So we got a plan - I've been helping Shawn secure the food and Matt secure the weapons, I figure the more I handle the weapons the more confident I will be using them. We have a few closet type spaces that we've moved everything into and Roger, Shawn, Matt and I will be taking turns sleeping in front of the doors. We just don't trust anyone else right now and we can't afford anymore loss of property due to defections. Although I will say the Geoff and Cynthia exit was a wake-up call for some of our misguided citizens.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Zombies did our work for us

The guys came back a little later than we expected, but they came back alive, and with some of the stolen gear. They never found Geoff, but they found Cynthia, at least what was left of her. She had turned. I'm told that by the look of it, the zombies feasted on her pretty good while she was alive, which means either Geoff was dead or he ran off. Based on the fine character he showed by leaving with her in the night with a bunch of stuff that didn't belong to them, I'm betting on the latter. Oh well. One guy alone out there isn't going to last long. I know I sound callous, but we have so little around here, we don't have much patience with people who try to take more than their share. We got back one pistol, one shotgun and some shells. We're still mising one shotgun. They did find most of the food, but the stumblers had apparently torn into it so they didn't want to bring it back.

Back on the homefront, I think a split is unavoidable now. Heidi wants to go north and it sounds like Sarah and Matt and maybe a few others want to go with her. I told her she has to take Louie with her too, or she gets no food or guns. She thinks I'm kidding (Sorry Louie). I want this to be farewell, but not goodbye, or however the heck that goes, so we've got to work out some sort of long range communication plan. I had set Heidi up with her own account on here (although I'm not sure if she knows how to use it yet); I'm thinking we need to go back and snatch another one of these computers if we can. That will let us blog back and forth so we can stay in touch and hopefully reunite after they find whatever the heck they're looking for. It's going to be sad to see them go, but I guess I feel better knowing that we can stay in touch. There's also a part of me that's curious as to what things are like out there.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

20 People left alive--why do some of them have to be jerks?

Just when I thought things were settling down a bit, we get two idiots who risk the whole group. Geoff and Cynthia decided to leave early this morning, before most of us were up, and the A-holes took 3 guns and a bunch of our food with them! Matt spotted them from the roof--he didn't know what they took or he probably would have popped them right there. There was no time for a discussion or a vote or anything--when we saw the guns missing, we formed up a posse and they went after them. Matt, Shawn, Corey and Jacob went out right on their trail. I wanted to go with them, but then again, I didn't. I mean killing zombies is one thing, but what the heck are we supposed to do with these folks? They're just ordinary people, a young couple, right? Except they're armed, armed with guns they stole from us. If I went along, I would be the cooler head who is supposed to prevail--the problem is I don't feel very cool right now, and even if I was, I don't think Matt is going to be in any mood to negotiate (Shawn either for that matter--he has kind of become keeper of the food and he's taking this theft personally, too). They're coming back with those guns and food, no matter what, and I guess I'd just as soon not know what the "No matter what" is. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Zombies are irritating, but people drive me nuts

When we had our triumphant return from the outdoor store, I thought we were in pretty good shape. We had more food, more gear, and a lot more weapons. I come back to find out that some people had left and more wanted to leave. If there's one thing this whole zombie apocalypse has proven, it's the value of numbers. A dozen zombies can beat one guy with a gun almost every time, but when you've got 15 or 20 people and most of them are armed, well, you can take out a lot of zombies. I guess that was what I thought we were going to have when we got back--a big group, lots of guns--safety. Whether we stay here or move on, I felt like we were going to be read for whatever came at us.

Now people are leaving. Sharon, Stan, and a bunch of others left while we were gone. Geoff and Cynthia just got here and they're already talking about leaving. I'm hearing whispers from others. Even Heidi keeps talking about wanting to go north and look for her family. I'm sorry, I didn't like going to Wisconsin when there weren't zombies there--why would I go now? I just feel like this whole thing is falling apart. I keep thinking if I was stronger, if I was a "Rah rah" guy, maybe I could give some rousing speech to rally the troops and get us all pulling in one direction. That's not me. Hell, I'm not even officially the leader. People just keep asking me what to do because I kind of sound like I know what I'm doing and I've been here the longest.

The one  really worry about is Matt. He's been volunteering for two shifts a day on the roof, watching for zombies. He's not just watching for zombies, he's hoping for zombies. Before this whole zombie epidemic or whatever it is hit, I always joked that Matt was the type of guy who would end up on a roof with a high powered rifle someday. Well, the day has come. And he's got plenty of ammo.

Friday, August 5, 2011

One-Stop Zombie Apocalypse Shopping

Cabelas was in better shape than we expected. It had been looted, but whoever did it closed up afterwards--probably planning to go back. I suspect it may have been whoever was holed up in that shopping mall surrounded by zombies where we lost Mike. I think the looting happened early in the outbreak, though, because the stuff that was missing was kind of stupid. Lot's of clothes and shoes and high-end electronic stuff was clearly missing--like somebody thought they were going to pawn it or something. The display guns were gone, of course, but nobody even looked in the back of the store, where they keep the real stuff.

We tried to stick with calibers that matched what we had--12 guage shotgun, .45 caliber pistol and Matt's SKS--we struck out on that one and had to get a different caliber of hunting rifle. We came away with a couple of Remington 870 pump shotguns (just like the one Matt left with Shawn), four 1911 pistols (like the one Matt was letting me use on this trip, amazingly enough) and two classic Springfield M1A rifles (they don't use exactly the same ammo as Matt's SKS, but the damage is supposedly similar). We also grabbed so much ammo for all of those that I thought we would break the springs on the Blazer. I crammed in a couple of fishing rod and reel kits (the break-down kind), some binoculars for Heidi (with night vision), 6 absolutely badass machetes with 19 inch blades, a few flashlights, batteries, and sleeping bags, and (strapped to the top of our grossly-overloaded vehicle) 6 crates emergency food kits. Matt also insisted we make room for gun-cleaning supplies.

If hotwiring were a skill any of us had, it would have been nice to pick up another vehicle to replace our lost truck and load it as well--we left a lot of good stuff in that store. We did something abso-freaking-lutely brilliant with some of the extra guns and ammo in the store, if I do say so myself. I won't go into it here in case the wrong people are reading this, but I'm really proud of this one.

Another thing we did before we started back--we camped in an industrial building down the block and took target practice on a small cluster of zombies that came wandering down the street (they might have followed us from the mall). It was almost fun. I don't really care for the shotgun, but I think I can do some damage with the pistol and rifle. Matt was on--three kills with 4 shots from his SKS. Corey handled the shotgun pretty well for a smaller guy. Justin...Well, I think Justin might have to stick with the machete--he pretty much just wasted ammo. More importantly, we all kind of acclimated ourselves to the idea of being the hunter instead of the hunted. I'm kind of starting to feel like Matt--we've all lost so much to these things; maybe it's time to get some payback. After we dropped the cluster, we kept waiting for more to come, but they never did. We even thought about going back to the strip mall and cleaning house on those 100 zombies, but we were afraid we might be overrating our own abilities...And we didn't know how we'd handle it if Mike was one of them.

When we finally got back on the road, the trip started out pretty much uneventful. The roads were still clear. Well, almost. There was a blockage on Dundee Road that wasn't there before--it couldn't have been, or we wouldn't have made it. It was a school bus, a yellow school bus, overturned in the road with a couple of cars crashed around it. We're not sure how it got there, but we agreed it was bad news--Matt thought it was a classic ambush. Luckily we saw it far enough ahead that we were able to take an alternate route (thanks to Heidi's new binoculars). We actually took an extra night because we detoured up through Palatine and set up our own ambush, waitingto see if anybody followed us (we didn't want to lead anyone back to the camp). Nobody came, though. I still wonder where that bus came from. Anyway, we made it back acouple nights ago and nobody has showed up at our door (human or zombie), so maybe we're just paranoid. We're alive. These days it's one and the same.  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

In Memory of Mike-the Zombies Took Another One

Sorry for the coarse way in which I informed you of Mike's death--it's been a long week. I guess you didn't know him anyway so it probably doesn't matter. As you can imagine, we've become a little callous about death here--after the first 100 million or so, deaths start to lose meaning. It's been a while, though. We lost Kevin in the Sam's Club a month or two ago, but he had just joined us--nobody really knew him. Mike...Well, we all liked Mike. Mike deserves better.

I remember the day he joined us. It was still early in the outbreak; we were really just getting started. Most of the people who joined us were friends and relatives of the core group (Heidi, Shawn, Matt and I) and everyone was coming with their family photos and heirlooms and whatever survival gear they thought they'd need. Everybody brought bottled water, it seemed (thankfully). Nobody knew Mike or knew how he found us. He just showed up at our door carrying nothing but a box of doughnuts. I'm terrible with names, so for the first month, I just called him "Doughnuts." He never seemed to mind.  

So here's how it happened. We had toyed with the idea of making up some grand story about how he sacrificed himself to save us in some great zombie battle royale, but it doesn't seem right to make his memory a lie--besides, it seems like nobody really gets a hero's death during the zombie apocalypse. The truth is, we made it all the way to Hoffman Estates almost without incident. We had to clear a few cars and we saw some zombies along the way (some followed us, but we out-distanced them), but we made pretty good time and we were actually at the intersection of 59 and Higgins not long after nightfall on our second night (we mainly traveled at night--I still think the zombies mainly hunt by sight). That intersection is where it all went bad.

We were in two vehicles--three of us in the Blazer and two of us in the pickup. We've agreed not to say who was where, other than that Mike was driving the pickup. There's this little strip mall at the intersection (a Target, a Caribou Coffee, etc.). Well, we turn onto Higgins to head toward Cabelas and about 100 zombies come pouring out of the mall. Mike panics, hits the gas and flips the truck. His passenger made it out, but Mike was pinned with 100 zombies coming at him. I guess a hero would have made a stand and tried to kill those zombies and save Mike's life. There are a lot of dead heroes out there. We took off. You could argue that the person in the truck could have done more to try to save him, but the bottom line is that any one of the four of us would have done the same thing. You don't live this long by worrying about the people you have to leave behind. Matt fired a few shots to try to blow up the gas tank (pretty near impossible, I've heard, unless the tank is empty) and then he fired toward the driver's side to spare Mike from what comes next. Judging by what we heard as we drove away, I don't think he was successful.

The mission was a success--we're loaded on ammo and supplies now--but the cost was high. I don't think any of us who were on that trip are going to be able forget what we saw and heard that night. We did learn something, too. The zombies are starting to cluster--that's why we don't see so many of them anymore. They find a building with somebody in it and literally hundreds of them gather around. We suspected that was happening, but now we know for sure. I guess we did well to dispose of our watcher last month before his friends arrived. This makes me think maybe there were some other survivors in that strip mall where the 100 zombies came from. Maybe our distraction helped them to escape, assuming they wanted to escape. I guess now we know how to find survivors--look for concentrations of zombies.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

We're back

We made it. We got stuff. We lost Mike. The zombies are still out there. I haven't slept in three days. I'm going to bed . More tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Where Are They?

When Roger and the guys were getting ready to leave they figured it would take 5 days,
this is day 7. For the last 48 hours there has been a continuous lookout for them.
We’ve had to re-tape the binoculars twice. I have lost count of how many times someone
has shouted “I see them!” only to discover it was the wind blowing some shrubbery
around. I guess if you will it hard enough you can trick your eyes into seeing anything.

The real kicker is that Sharon, Dave, George, Stan, Amy, Nancy and Kyle took off today.
Shawn and I said fine, but you can only take with you what you brought. They started
to argue about how that wasn’t fair and they should at least be able to take some food
and water. We told them the food and water belonged to the group and since they
didn’t want to be part of the group they get nothing. So they stormed off with a lot of
shouts on how we were making a bigger deal out of this situation than what it was.
Shawn and I both agree we are better off without them.

So now there are only 12 of us left here. Luckily all the organizing and packing is done.
We exercise, do our shifts on look out and nap. Everyone has been pretty quiet, we are
all feeling isolated and afraid – the last few months have all been so unreal – I think it’s
finally catching up with us.

I have to go now, Shawn is on his way over to talk about what we should do if the guys
don’t come back. I do not want to have this conversation – maybe if I just keep
typing . . . please let them show up soon.