Journals of the Fall, pt. 9

Record #012-02-35

Journal of Randal T. Dawson

5th Day After the Fall

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Day 5

What am I doing out here?

Seriously, what the hell am I doing out here? The world has gone completely crazy, and I’m out here checking the mains?

I haven’t heard from my family in a week, and all the phone lines to the city are out. There are police out in force, even the military are out and around doing who knows what, and the stories!

I don’t believe even half of ‘em, but whatever it is has to be almost as bad to have things in the state they’re in. The Internet’s gone nuts too, at least where it’s working. Has to be some sort of terrorist plot.

Besides all the police and military and stuff, things are tense as hell but quiet around town. The bosses say something’s coming, but nobody will say what, or when. They just get real quiet.

Well, if they want the mains working, I can keep ‘em working.

Day 7

The town lost power. Water treatment’s running on backup, we should be good for a few more days. At least we’ll be good if things keep going as they are now.

Things are worse out there if the ‘net is any indication. Still have a bit of a charge left in my phone, so I can check. There’s not much left to check though. Most sites are down, and the few I can still reach have barely any use.

Most of what’s there are crackpots posting tips on how to survive attacks by some kind of monsters. The dead come back to life. That garbage can’t be real though. That’s just movie stuff. It’s not even Halloween! When this whole thing blows over, they ought to be arrested for trying to make a bad situation worse by scaring people.

It’s sure scaring me. There’s someone bad out there from outside the town. I don’t buy for one second that they’re the dead risen from the grave, but they’re putting enough people into graves. It’s a little too much truth for my taste.

Day 8

My job got bumped up to the highest priority. There are three other engineers helping with what used to be a solo job. They were pulled in from further out on the town radius.

The police and military types have pulled inward too, and they’re terrified. I heard they’re shooting people who try to escape outside the town; least, that’s what one guy said. He was never too reliable.

Whatever’s really going on out there, it has sure cut down on the amount of crap flowing through the pipes, but these systems weren’t meant to run on reserve for so long. We’re having to get creative to keep the whole thing running.

Day 9

Holy crap. Some of those stories? They’re actually true. I saw one today. I don’t know who it was, or where it came from, but there is no way in hell that thing was still alive, no matter how much it moved and walked and moaned.

Thank God for the military. It was 20 feet from me when they shot it down. Fell right into the reservoir. I don’t much care to think about that, honestly. They fished it out, but we can’t flush out the tank. We have nothing to refill it with until the next rain.

Day 10

People all through town are getting sick. They have us herded together in shelters; I go there when I’m not on duty, which right now is most of the time.

Early this morning people started coming down with whatever it is. Some of ‘em are getting pretty bad pretty fast.

- This journal was found in an abandoned shelter. Evidence suggests most of the town turned in a short period of time. Large numbers of partially eaten victims were found in the shelter, with tracks of many of the risen leaving and spreading out to the surrounding areas. J.T.

 

Journals of the Fall, pt. 8

Record #012-02-35

Diary of Rochelle de Meaux

Time Unknown

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He paces endlessly, tortured thoughts unknown to those around him. There’s a sense of depth, of hidden darkness that clings to him like a musty shroud. It’s a shroud that billows with impatience, each step casting waves of it out into the night.

Now and then he stops, asks me what I’m doing, why I’m writing, why I keep looking at him. Sometimes he yells, the impatient waves turned to the lashing, crashing of a hurricane.

“Writing,” I tell him. It’s the truth. How can I not write? How could he, anyone, expect that of me? Writing is all I know. All I’ve ever known, all I’ve ever done.

Well. Writing, and observing. Always observing.

For instance, I observe that every time I answer, he tightens a little more. Withdraws a little deeper into the tight-wrapped shell he’s forming around himself.

I would lie to him if I thought it would help. But it wouldn’t help. He’d only withdraw even faster.

My words aren’t the only thing driving him deeper within himself. They’re not even the main thing. More than anything else, it’s the waiting. We lost power several days ago. It’s like that huge crippling of the power grid that happened a few years ago all over again. Only this time nobody knows the extent of the problem.

Only trickles of news have gotten in or out of town, and he is waiting for news. For hope. His hopes are going gray.

Each day he’s a little grimmer, face a little more wooden. The cupboards he’s sharing with the rest of us empty a little more.

A shout reaches us from deeper into the house. “The water’s off.”

“What do you mean it’s off?” He sounds like he knows exactly what that means, but he’s angry about it and doesn’t know how else to react.

The pale custard-yellow of the walls looked warm and inviting, once. Next to someone so gray though, they’ve turned a bit sickly. It makes you want to huddle in on yourself, if only to avoid touching them.

“I don’t know, it’s just off! There’s no more coming out of the taps.”

I’m not sure if we should have seen that coming or not. Now that it has happened, it seems so obvious and natural. Without power, the water system has to shut down. I guess I thought maybe it hadn’t reached there, or that they had a backup supply or something.

Maybe they did have a backup, and that’s gone too. There’s something ringing and hollow in that thought.

He’s going to go out. I know that. I know I can’t stop him. I want to, but I can’t. If someone doesn’t go, we’ll have no water.

They said on the radio that nobody was to go out, but they didn’t say why. They didn’t say it so loudly that it scared everyone half to death. We’d heard the rumors already.

It’s funny how word gets around even faster than radio sometimes. Old Joe at the truck stop swears he saw Bob walking the highway shoulder, but he’s been dead for a week and a half.

Wendy swears up and down she saw her dad’s silhouette on the hill out back of her place, but he’s gone too.

They’re all stories everyone’s heard. The mind goes gray like his when you lose someone. Life loses all colour, all smell, all taste, all vibrancy, and your mind can’t cope with that forever, tries to bring the colors, the smells back again. Sometimes it brings them back too well, you see things that aren’t really there.

That must be it. Right?

But there’s more of the stories, too many more. And soon they’re not being told by people who just lost someone. Tony sees a guy he’s never seen before. The guy’s all torn up, broken and bloody but not bleeding. Danny sees something too. Always at a distance. Still just whispers.

They tried to tell people what they were seeing, but we never believed them. I mean, can you blame us? I suppose now you can. But it was straight-jacket talk at the time, just asking to be thrown into a padded room. The dead, walking around? Attacking people? Turning us into them?

That’s the comfortable story we cling to anyway. It was too much to believe. It was true enough at first, but eventually we’d all seen to much. Eventually, we simply couldn’t bear to believe. To stay sane, we had to deny what we knew.

So now he’s going to go. Tony and Danny too. And the rest of us will stay, and we’ll hope. What else can we do?

- The diary was found next to remains too badly eaten to be identified. Other remains on the site and certain details of the surrounding environment corroborate the details of the account. J.T.

 

Journals of the Fall, pt. 5

Record #168-13-23

Transcript from The Bertrand Jamison Podcast

45th Day after the Fall (estimated)

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“Good morning, everyone. All of you who are left, anyway. I can’t believe I still get comments on this, but I swear to you all, I will keep recording and publishing as long as the power and my connection holds out.

If you hear this show, I can’t stress enough how important it is to comment. This living hell we’re experiencing is hard enough to bear without thinking we’re alone. Even if you’re with a group, it’s critical to embrace the idea of community. Let your voice be heard. You’re not alone. I’m here. Others are here. Let us hear from you.

I have to spend some time thanking those of you who commented yesterday. Davis from Syracuse is holed up in his local police precinct with a band of 7 other survivors. It sounds like their situation is pretty grim. A migrating—is it migrating? Do the dead migrate? I’m going to call it migrating—anyway, a migrating horde of the dead moved into the area a few days ago and haven’t cleared the area yet.

Seana in Mississauga is reporting much more typical behavior from the dead. The numbers in her area are thinning, a relief for sure; she tells us that the greater Toronto area started out incredibly thick with them, but she’s hopeful now that maybe they’re gradually dispersing. It doesn’t sound good for anyone who was actually in the city around the time of the Fall though. If you’re in Toronto itself, or have first-hand knowledge of any survivors there, please do let us know.

Ahmed in Los Angeles successfully fought off three of the dead last night. Nobody in his shelter was injured, thankfully, and his family is still safe. This is the third time we’ve heard from Ahmed. I’m glad to hear from you again. Please keep us up to date on events in the city of … well, in the city.

Jamal in New York City—Jamal, you have my sincerest admiration for staying safe this long there—is reporting increased raider activity. There are not one, but two large gangs of motorcycle riders basically pillaging the city, raiding smaller safe-houses and looting food. He warns others in the area to be careful; he has seen members of both groups kill members of the other group, and innocents as well. It’s not all bad news though; they make a point of destroying any of the dead that they find.

And finally, I have some sad news. Daryl from the Seattle outskirts stopped commenting five days ago, after reporting increasing numbers of dead in the area. Another commenter in the area reported a sizable holdout was breached about that same time. Daryl, if you’re still out there, our thoughts are with you.

That’s it for today; be safe out there, everyone. Spread the word as far and fast as you can."

- The show was broadcast over the Internet until the North American power grid collapsed. Jamison’s enclave appears to still survive. J.T.

 

Journals of the Fall, pt. 1

Journals of the Fall is a  new series of no planned particular length. Little Things really put me in more of a zombie mood and this should give me a wonderful excuse to explore some ideas I have about them in more detail. This will probably become the basis of my JuNoWriMo project as well.

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Year 56 Post-Fall

West Huron Reclamation Base

For General Distribution

The following records include collected diaries and journals of the time immediately following the Fall. These include transcriptions of audio recordings and videos posted to the remnants of the global Internet, which remained accessible for a brief time.

It is our hope in collecting these records that light may be shed on the troubling events that we have experienced in the decades since the Fall. Records will be added to this collection as they are created or discovered.

Record #103-05-15

Journal of Terence Louis Tully

7th Day after the Fall

It’s been a few days since all the crazy started. I think it’s only been a few days. Hanover’s a pretty tiny place, it took a while to reach us. Of course I’d read all about the dead rising online, but I thought it was just another meme going around. It wasn’t the first time someone’d hacked a traffic sign to warn people about zombies, y’know? Now I wish that was what was really going on.

It was the ‘net that told us things were serious. When it went down, we thought it was just the usual crap from our cable company again, but when we called to complain, there was no answer. Cable was out too. It took us longer to realize that though.

The next day there was nothing. No TV, no internet, no radio, nothing at all until the army rolled into town. They were going to help us, they said. They gathered everyone up into trucks and started just hauling us off. Most of us, anyway. They were giving us some sort of test, shining lights in our eyes. Most went into the trucks. A few they sent off somewhere else. I haven’t seen any of them since.

It was while we were on the trucks that I first heard them.

Sorry if my writing’s getting too hard to read here. I don’t like to remember those sounds. The guys who used to make those zombie movies had it all wrong, or maybe it’s just not the kind of sound you can get quite right out of a TV. I’ve started writing all this down to try and take my mind off it.

They haven’t told us where we’re going yet. I’m pretty sure they don’t plan to, either.

Little Things, pt. 5

And here we end our little tale of the zombie apocalypse. Thanks for reading!

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The going was faster with the improved light, and they soon left the lake behind them. Jake grimaced as a dull pain spread out from where he’d gashed himself. “Hey,” he said a short time later. “We got anythin’ left in the pack? This ain’t stopped bleedin’ yet.”

Oliver gave him a pained look. “Might be somethin’. If we press on, we can be there soon.”

“Yeah, and we’ll be trailin’ a line of the dead right behind us. Every step I take, I’m leavin’ blood behind.”

The other man sighed in resignation. “Right. We’re low though, man. Real low. This’ll clean us out but good.” He snapped the lid open on their travel kit and passed over a bottle of disinfectant, relatively clean rags for bandages, and the real prize of the lot, the all-important anti-bacterials.

“Damn. This is all we’ve got left?”

“Stop cuttin’ yourself and it’d last longer,” Oliver said grimly. He unstrapped a small hand axe from his belt, eyeing the land around them. “And hurry up about it, I don’t like just sittin’ here.”

“Me? You cut yourself more with that tree-splitter than I ever have on anything,” Jake spat, downing the last anti-bacterial tablet with some water, then cleaning the gash in his leg thoroughly. He was just about to start wrapping the bandage when Oliver jerked around to face behind him, eyes wide, raising his axe. He lurched to his own feet and awkwardly turned, stumbled backward, looking up into the half-missing face of the dead man that had walked up right behind him.

His brain numb with shock, he grabbed at his belt for his own axe, but Oliver was already beating the dead thing back, hacking at its neck with grim intensity until the head bounced off the side of the road.

Jake shook himself to clear his head and hastily tied off the bandage, fingers shaking. “Thanks,” he croaked, his throat suddenly sore.

“You alright? You don’t look so good,” the other man said.

“I’m fine. It just surprised me is all.” He felt a bit feverish and hot, and his legs shook as he stood. “I just need a few minutes to walk it off.” It’s just the shock, lettin’ it sneak up behind like that. “And that’s what we’d better do. We gotta kee—” He fell to one knee, retching.

“Aw hell, did it get you?” Oliver looked torn between rushing to his side and backing away. “Couldn’t have bitten you, but did it scratch?”

He coughed up a storm, but managed to shake his head no. “Didn’t—didn’t touch me,” he forced out. It would’ve taken longer than that anyway. Nobody’d ever turned in less than half an hour. But if not that thing, then what?

His hand leaped up to his neck. He hadn’t been bitten by the dead, true … there it was. Boiled up to the side of a small grape, right where the damn bug had bitten him. His eyes met Oliver’s, and he nearly threw up again as he started noticing that Oliver looked oh so very tasty.

* * *

Oliver slipped the axe back into the loop on his belt, turned, walked away. He felt bad just leaving Jake back there, but staying at the site of a fresh kill was a good way to get dead fast.

As he pushed on, he forced his mind to backtrack over every step of their journey. Jake hadn’t been bit; he’d bashed his leg open on something sharp. Was that what got him infected? Try as he might, he’d never heard of anyone turning because of a cut before. It had to be a bite, a scratch, some kind of contact with the dead that opened the skin, let out the blood.

The path before him crossed a small bridge over a babbling creek. He wasn’t ordinarily the philosophical sort, but crossing that bridge felt strangely powerful just then, a leaving behind of his former self and on to the next stage of his life.

Something tickled his neck, just under his earlobe. He swatted it idly, wincing at the faint itching he felt spreading from the bite. “Damn ‘squitos,” he muttered. No matter. He’d be home soon.

Little Things, pt. 4

They picked their way slowly through the ruin of the road until it was Jake’s turn to nearly open himself on the rusted remains of some metal structure. He hissed in pain as it scratched—but didn’t cut—him, and he stumbled, only barely keeping his feet.

“I’m tellin’ you, we need to open up the light,” Oliver growled. “If we keep it off, we’ll draw ‘em just as surely by sound anyway. We’re gonna get cut—”

“Aw hell,” Jake panted. Something had broken the skin. “I jus’ did. Fine, open it. Just as little as you can.” He strained to hear the slightest whisper of movement around them, but the breeze was rustling branches not far off the road, and the lake shore was splashing gently beside them.

We’re gonna regret this choice, he thought as the light opened and spilled onto the ground in a small area around them. “I can’t hear nothin’ over the wind and the lake,” he said, “so maybe they won’t either.”