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. 7

Record #147-56-91

Internal Security Log

51st Day After the Fall

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6:00am Reporting Unit: Pvt. Hicks

All stations reporting all clear.

7:00am Reporting Unit: Pvt. Hicks

Most units reporting all clear. Activity reported by Dawson on the west side. Confirmed remotely. Looks isolated. Walkers moved off after about twenty minutes.

8:00am Reporting Unit: Sgt. Maxwell

Everything’s A-Ok.

9:00am Reporting Unit: Sgt. Maxwell

Everything’s sealed up tight. Hicks said he heard something out in the yard, but my patrols couldn’t find anything. False alarm.

9:32am Supplemental Reporting Unit: Sgt. Maxwell

Hicks has complained of hearing things. Won’t shut up about it. Would have dismissed him and recommended a session with a head doc, but one of my patrols heard something too. They couldn’t find anything though. I’m telling all security personnel to be extra alert today.

10:00am Reporting Unit: Sgt. Roberts

Maxwell & Hicks have half the base scared stiff. I haven’t seen or heard a shred of proof of any activity inside the perimeter, and even outside it’s been quiet. If those two don’t shut up, they’re going to start a panic that could get more people killed than half a dozen of the Dead inside the gates.

11:00am Reporting Unit: Sgt. Roberts

11 of 12 stations reporting all clear. Remaining station failing to respond. That station has had radio problems in the past. I expect it’s just more mechanical trouble.

11:40am Reporting Unit: Cpl. Edwards

Sgt. Roberts left his post to investigate station 9 about twenty minutes ago. No word from him yet. People in comms are getting scared.

 

Journals of the Fall, pt. 6

Record #147-56-91

Notes From the Body of Unidentified Wanderer

50th Day after the Fall (estimated)

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Day 1 - Kicked out of the group today. Fat lot of good it’ll do them to lose me. I was the only one holding them together. Mark my words, they’ll be at each other’s throats within a week, whether they turn or not.

Day 2 - Didn’t make as good time as I’d hoped. Held up by the search for water. Never considered that much before all hell broke loose. Can’t believe how thirsty I get.

Found a clean stream or spring or something. Hope it was clean anyway. Didn’t see any bodies near it, human or otherwise. Was tempted to stay a while, but I’ve got to keep moving.

Day 3 - Running low on water again. Should’ve stayed longer at that stream I found yesterday.

Day 4 - Found a pond today. It was a little murky but it smelled okay, tasted fine.

I can’t see what’s left of the city anymore.

Day 5 - A huge relief today. I came across an abandoned camp. There was some stale food there; I’ll have to use that first. What I had on me is running a bit low, but it’ll last longer than this stuff will.

The real prize was a canteen, half full. I’ll still have to find water regularly, but at least I can bring some with me now.

There’s a bunch of other gear too, but most of it will just wear me down. Got a couple of blades though. That’ll be useful.

Day 6 - Just when you think you’re starting to get the hang of survival, you realize it’s getting awfully hot and you’re not equipped to keep the sun off. I’d give half my water for some sun screen, or a hat with a brim.

Day 7 - There are buildings up ahead. I’m torn. They’re right in my path, and if I push on, not only can I make better time, but I might be able to pick up things I desperately need.

Or, I might be surrounded and torn to pieces.

Day 11 - Let this lapse for a few days. Been on the run. Figured it’d be the dead that would get me if I got too close to town. I didn’t even consider the living.

The damn town’s a fortress, or near enough. Someone’s got some people organized, and they sure aren’t looking for new friends. They’ve got guards at every watering hole I’ve hunted down. Have no choice now, have to

- The travelogue ends here. The pages were splashed with blood. The body showed signs of having been run down by a vehicle. J.T.

Journals of the Fall, pt. 4

Record #115-22-00
Transcript from Audio
42nd Day after the Fall (estimated)

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[muffled thumping and fumbling]

“Uh, hey. Whoever hears this—if anyone hears—”

“Seriously, Neal? Nobody’s ever going to find this, and if they do, they’ll never play it.”

[additional fumbling and bumping as though someone is trying to turn the recording device off]

“Hey, knock it off! This is important, for like posterity.”

“They won’t have the power to play it! Oh for—fine, whatever. Knock yourself out.”

[footsteps recede, the original speaker (Neal, presumably) clears his throat several times]

“Sorry. If anyone hears this, this is a record of what life is like now. We’ve been lucky—”

[sounds of derisive snorting in the background, sounds like several individuals, and at least one short laugh]

“Luckier than some, at least. We started out in Acresville. That’s probably why we’re still alive. We tried to get to some of the bigger cities around the area, but by the time we did, they had already fallen. The dead—”

[background has gone quiet, Neal clears his throat again]

“The dead … there are just so many of them. Everyone went to the cities, everyone who wasn’t there already. I … I don’t know how long they lasted, but man. I, um. I don’t think they even lasted a day. There’s too many of them. So many.”

[bumping sounds and a click as the recording time changes]

“Hey, this is April. Neal said the rest of us should try this, and—well, I guess it can’t hurt.”

[silence broken by unintelligible conversation in the background, the sound of footsteps]

“The others think it’s stupid, and it kind of is I guess. I don’t really think anyone will ever get to hear this. We’re on the road again. The water stopped working in the last place we stayed. Power’s gone too. We have a few spare batteries, but this recorder’s the only thing we’ve got that uses this kind, I think. If it were up to me, I’d still save it for something more useful.”

[a harsh whisper in the distance can’t be made out; the recording stops again, then restarts; April’s voice is clearly shaken, maybe in shock]

“Oh god, did I draw them with this damned thing? Jason’s gone, he’s just gone. He was there, then he was gone. Nobody else bitten. Adam had to—he had to—Jason’s gone.”

[recording stops, then starts again, Neal speaking]

“We haven’t done this in a while. April vanished last night. Nobody’s seen her; we have to keep moving. When we left Acresville, there were ten of us. There are only four left now. We’re doing okay for food I guess. It’s the water that’s going to kill us. We found a pond yesterday, but one of those things was in it. Adam killed it, but nobody could stomach drinking the water. We don’t think it was safe to drink. Is any stream or lake safe to drink? Or will it make you into one of them?”

[Neal’s voice sounds more dry by the minute]

“We’ve only got a few days of water left. If we don’t find more soon … beware of ponds.”

- Recording date estimated from artifacts associated with the recording medium as discovered. Fate of those recorded remains unknown. J.T.

Journals of the Fall, pt. 3

12th Day after the Fall

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I think I’m going to be sick.

I’ve felt this way all day, since I saw the other trucks. Or one of them anyway.

I wasn’t supposed to see, and if any of the guards ever reads this, I’m dead, but I don’t think I care anymore.

They tried to be careful, parked the one truck out of sight of all the others. They had screens up to keep us from seeing, but one of the corners was torn and I saw enough.

They had those things in there! I saw my neighbor. The one who’d disappeared. What was left of her anyway. They dragged her—it—out of the truck. Then made it walk off in chains and a muzzle.

I thought they were supposed to be saving us? Why are they bringing them in? What could

- The journal ends here. J.T.

Record #127-08-03

Blog of Joe Nesmith

35th Day after the Fall

To any who is able to read this, you are not alone.

I write this not just because I’m still out here and posting, but because I can tell from my web stats that despite all the odds, there are still people out there with Internet access. A surprising number, in fact.

I’m preaching to the choir, I know, but get to social media as soon as you possibly can. The main networks aren’t what they were just over a month ago, obviously, but they’ve never been more important.

Before you go there though, let me give you some life-saving advice that has kept me going the past few weeks.

  1. Get with a group of people you trust. Do not hook up with strangers.
  2. Stay away from cities. Even small towns are death traps now. I know they’re tempting with their abandoned stores and supplies, but that’s where the people were before. It’s where the dead are now.
  3. Stay away from hospitals. Even before, they were the best place to go to get sick. Now, they’re worse than cities.
  4. Try to find some remnant of civilization. This is where social media comes in. Right now, everyone’s panicked and terrified, but some of us are trying to build something. Try to get in touch with people near you. There is strength in numbers.
  5. Conserve your battery life! Unfortunately, network centers are gradually shutting off as power systems fail. There’s nothing we can do about that. We can do something about conserving our own power.

That’s all for now. Spread the word. Organize.

- This is the last posted entry. Advice given was questionable. Avoid strangers, avoid cities, find civilization? Even after the fall, the so-called “survival” gurus were iffy at best. J.T.