During the chaos of the evacuation process, a number of fires had broken out in the city - under military supervision, you and other fire crews had been brought in to bring them under control.
Whilst dealing with a routine warehouse fire in Millen Hills, you became separated from your group.
I don't know how it happened, but my axe and wirecutters are the only things that stand between me and . . . them. And the first time one of them came shambling at me, I just . . . lost it. I just stood there, watching it come closer and closer . . . and then it was knocked back by a couple of well-aimed pistols rounds! After finishing the zombie off, the man introduced himself as Joe Plexar. He was a firefighter, like me, but he's so much more now. He told me his wife Jane was sent in by NecroTech and his son Jed by the army, so he knew he had to do what he had to do. He's been looking for them in this hell ever since.
He brought me inside the Club Pengelly and fed me some crackers. I met his friends, Sloppy Joe and JackJack. I guess people start to forge new identities in a place like this. They're willing to help me out. Tomorrow we head for Shearbank - too many zombies around here.
This axe of mine has served me well . . . to a point. These things die, but they don't stay dead. It takes a lot of whacks (Lizzie Borden would understand) and damn, is it messy! Unfortunately, I forgot that teamwork is what's kept me alive, and that was a tough lesson.
Two nights ago I went out on my own, because I'm faster than the corpses and can hit them five times before they lay a fetid hand on me. What I wasn't calculating on was that someone was going to borrow our safehouse and barricade the hell out of it. I was caught outside, tired, weak . . . in this strange world, that was a fatal mistake.
What kind of world is this? Who is it that I'm killing? These are people inside that horrid flesh, I know that now. Know, because those infernal things killed me . . . made me . . . like them.
It was an angel that changed it all for me. I can't say much about what went through my mind - if anything did - before she put a giant needle in the back of my neck. The fire that ran through me, though . . . that I remember. I whirled around as my head cleared. She smiled and said, "Tell Joe I love him, but I have more work to do now. Glad you're feeling better." She gestured to the factory we had been hiding in, and then ran into a nearby warehouse. I saw her leap from its roof to a neighboring building before I went inside.
Strangely, Joe seemed understanding that his wife didn't even stop in to say hello. "It's better that way," he told me, his voice thick.
I can learn a lot about love and devotion from these two. Pity those lessons don't come as easily around here as the ones that turn one's understanding of death on its ear.
How long have I been here in Malton? Two weeks? I've learned a lot about living in city infested with zombies . . . as if anyone wants that kind of education. Sloppy Joe has "died" (does that word even have meaning anymore??) twice, but both JackJack and Joe Plexar have learned a thing or two about operating NecroTech equipment. I've been luckier; since that one little incident I've managed to keep my body intact. I'm not so sure about my mind, though.
We're in Yagoton now, within spitting distance of the Bale Mall. I rarely take to the streets these days, except when I see someone outside that needs my help. I swear, if I hadn't seen the quarantine line myself, I would think that the population is actually growing around here.
Joe Plexar and JackJack are going with Sloppy Joe and me to the Bale Mall today. Seems they feels our education is lacking . . . we need to learn how to properly loot. Should be memorable.
The safehouse we've established is nondescript, well-barricaded, and a perfect place to catch up on all my thoughts. I know I'm getting paranoid, but I won't give it more description than this, in case the wrong person finds this ratty old notebook.
"What's to worry?" you may ask. "It's not like zombies can read." First of all, I'm not so sure. Some of them come at you with a glint of hatred in the eye . . . but that's just paranoia again. My real concern is my fellow humans. Let's face it, this city is insane. We're surrounded by walking corpses, and probably half of those of us who are alive haven't been so continuously. Whatever it is that happened, it's bound to have effects on the mind. I've been attacked by my own kind, and heard about people that that thrown themselves out of windows, knowing full well that they won't really die . . . they just prefer being . . . the other way. You can see why I want my safehouse secured.
Bale Mall has proven itself to be bountiful. I'm armed to the teeth and learning to use guns like a pro.
I feel like I'm starting to make some progress. Not that my presence here is stemming the zombie population - I'm one of hundreds doing that good work - but because I'm helping people in need.
Two nights ago I was on my way back from scrounging up some more pistol clips and shotgun shells, and I popped into an old nightclub. Inside, with only a closed latch to protect her, was a sleeping woman. Her face was dirty and her hand was resting on a fire axe. I didn't want to wake her, but I couldn't just leave her so vulnerable. I moved some furniture in front of the doors like Sloppy Joe had shown me, so she'd at least have some warning before anyone came in.
Yesterday I found a couple of people caught out on the streets and about to become part of the enemy. I quickly showed them what a man who has survived nearly a month in this Hell can do.
It's almost autumn - I think that happens tomorrow. This city's going to be damned cold come winter - will we still be there then?
I've been through all my ammo again and stocked up again. I'm amazed there's anything left but rocks to use on these damned things. How much longer can we knock them down, just to have them stand up again in a minute, an hour, a day? I have to wonder whether I'm doing the right thing. I've collected some serious armament and blown away my share of the shamblers, but we all know it's not effective. Cripes, when I'm fighting a fire, I know I can win eventually, even if we have to take down the whole damned building just to keep the neighbors from losing their homes. Sooner or later, the Prime Minister is going to have to cut his losses and turn this place into glass - assuming this disease hasn't already gotten through the quarantine.
Not a whole lot I can do about that here, though. All I can do is use my axe and gun to stop them from coming at me and mine. Or is there more? Jane Plexar is doing more - with a single needle she drops a corpse, and unless they've been driven completely insane, they agree that they'd rather live as men than monsters. Her husband Joe, and even JackJack, have learned those lab skills right here in the field. I could do that. Maybe I'd be more likely to make a difference - unlike ammo, those syringes are being restocked by periodic air drops. Maybe if we could at least get to the point where we're all human on the outside, there would be a chance that Parliament would hold that final order long enough to find a cure for us all.
These bastards are getting smart, and that scares the hell of out of me. I was on my rounds today and wandered into a factory, and found a lone zombie within, behind the closed doors! The thought that it knew how to close them was troubling enough, but it was wearing a flak jacket, as well! It took several shotgun shells and a clip from one of my pistols to take it down, but I happily did so. Then I threw its body into the street and built up a barricade so that others in the area would have a safe haven.
I wandered farther afield, and a few blocks away, at the Newbould Place Police Dept., I found a small pack of them methodically wearing down the fortifications. I quickly made myself known by pumping the first one full of lead. It dropped (but again, this one was wearing a flak jacket as well . . . it's truly disturbing to think about this!), but the light was fading fast in the sky and I could see others shambling up the block towards the commotion. Desiring to save my skin, I avoided the fetid grasp of my enemies and slipped through a chink in the barricade to warn the occupants of the imminent danger. I won't sleep easily tonight.
Bastards. Bastards. BASTARDS!
It's really my fault. I thought the Style Building was a safe place to hole up for the night. I should have planned better, gotten back with friends who watch my back. But I was alone. Asleep. Defenseless.
Who knows how long they scrabbled at the barricades, or how many of them smelled me inside? I was exhausted, and those damned things can be quiet when they want to. I don't remember the attack . . . but much as I would like to deny it, I remember what happened afterwards.
My body must have been tossed outside, and the barricades rebuilt. I stood up . . . shambled . . . knew that I wanted the flesh of the living. I must have wandered for a week or more, doing unspeakable things to all that I met. I kept with others of my kind, but for some reason I had some dim awareness of how humans were unlike me, and attractive to me. Those recollections led me to be able to use doors - I don't know why a zombie like me was able to move as fast as the living, but I could do that, too. So many died at my hands, my mouth . . .
Some unknown angel shot me up with a syringe. I stumbled back to the safehouse, and the boys healed me up. I didn't speak for three days, and they never asked what happened - the state of my clothes and haunted look in my eye probably told more than I could have in words, anyway.
Being one of them and remembering was a good thing for me. I've learned things about them, how they act and operate, that make them easier to kill. I'm relentless in my pursuit of the headshot on these bastards.
I snapped. That's all I can say about it. I just . . . lost it. I was so disgusted with myself that I stopped talking to people, and just crawled into a corner of our warehouse, hoping to die among the boxes. I had visions of being a fireman in the Ray Bradbury tradition, and setting fires, burning this whole damned place down. It's really the only thing that will save us now.
Sloppy Joe finally came looking for me . . . it's really amazing how deeply hidden you can be, in your head and in a warehouse. It took him a couple of days, but he brought me back to myself . . . mostly. I still feel sick inside, but I know that the dignity of death has been taken from me by this twisted city.
I forgot I had this journal, until I finally had to move from our safehouse in Yagoton. Been there for six, eight months, but we had to go. Some crazy son of a bitch named Zaknrfama killed me . . . same guy that killed our bud Furtle Burger a couple of weeks ago. Sloppy Joe dosed me up before my body was even cold, and we went and found the bastard hiding out in the Bale Mall. Now his body is meat for the crows, but the Bale Mall Elite, Johnny-Come-Latelies that think they have a clue about where to barricade and how to mete out justice, will come looking for us, so we relocated to a new place. I've been trying to call in backup, but I think the rest of our friends are dead, or worse.
No damned signal.
Found the Digby Building and barricaded it up. Brought in a generator and fuel. Called some friends to tell them what's been going on. Looks like somebody doesn't like the idea of phone coverage around here. I might just keep an eye on things for a bit.
Well, that sucked. Went back to the old safehouse, great reunion with a few longlost friends like JackJack, and the bastards took me out. Not for killing that crazy Zaknrfama, either. They got Sloppy Joe for that. Me, I got offed for killing someone I never even heard of. Pisses me off. Luckily I found the clinic eventually and got patched up, at least as best as can be, and went back home. No one's there anymore - guess they're all dead.
Too many upstarts in this neighborhood. Wackjobs like The Neon Knights. Megalomaniacs like the BME. Well, sooner or later they'll all just become zombies again, and at this rate I'll just stop reviving the idiots.
Well looks like the BME are falling, or at least the barricade levels and graffiti say so. Won't be sorry to see them go; I understand they want to stop man killing man, but you can't go outside anywhere in Yagoton because of their psychotic barricading policies. Time will tell if they're gone for good.