Journal Entry #15

April 3, 2011

The ceremony was brief and undignified. No music was played; few words were uttered above a timid whisper. Scornful eyes assaulted the few of us that were there when it all happened, but there wasn’t anything we could do for David other than what we did. I didn’t know him well outside of neighborly politeness. They say he was a good man, and from the little I saw of him that would seem to be true. How he hid his degrading condition from us all, I’ll never know. Maybe he knew what the end would be; surely none of us did. Without fanfare his body was placed into the same shallow hole we have been placing all the other bodies in, despite his wife’s begging us not to behind a wall of uncontrollable sobbing.

We were forced to end the funeral early when we heard what sounded like a car or truck revving down a road some ways in the distance, unseen. It was the first time we had heard non-infected around our community. Despite being somewhat isolated, we are still in the middle of a dense urban area, so it is not beyond reason to assume that others are still out there. I am apprehensive about drawing their attentions, however others in the group seem to be doing what ever they can to do just that. Howard, the former HOA president and coward, is chief among them. Their short attention spans cause them to forget, or ignore, the scores of looters and gangs that are plaguing our state and other areas around the country, even before all of these “infected” started to show up. I don’t personally care what in the hell they do, but for now our fates are a shared one.

On a brighter note, Kevin has finished his electrical system and has fully equipped his basement with lights, coolers and even a small window AC unit just in case. We all are looking forward to having a common area to go to and escape. The basement is a good size and he had it finished with a few small rooms. It won’t fit everyone all at once, but it could seat quite a few of us comfortably in shifts.

We are still going to hold our near nightly meetings in the main pool house, since it is large enough to hold all of us, minus a few that remain on watch. They tend to be short most nights, just a recap of things that were done that day and need to be finished or begun the next. Mostly this entails finding activities for the children, reinforcing areas on the perimeter fences and walls and other day to day tasks. We’ve consolidated ourselves into the central areas of the community, moving into abandoned houses that provide a better defensive position, rather than having families scattered around and isolated on the peripheries.

It is becoming a bit harder now to shield the fact that we have significantly more food than some of the other families. I am by no means a skinny man and though I’ve lost some weight, I’ve not lost as much as some of the others. When we were only one of two families left in our building, it wasn’t hard to conceal the aroma of baking bread in our Dutch Oven. I insists that we are just using what’s in our pantry and it’s true that we are, as we’ve yet to break out the deep-storage items like wheat berries and canned goods. Eyebrows are rising none the less and whispering lips are being hidden behind cupped hands.

Were not the only ones with this problem since we weren’t the only ones that were prepared. Kevin’s wife gave out a few cans of food to one of their neighbor’s kids, as well as a loaf of bread to another family. It was a generous charity that may seal their fate. I don’t mean to be callous or uncaring, I certainly sympathize with the other families with children that are beginning to hunger, eating just a few cans of food a day, but at the same time I have my own family of four to take care of. I’ve given out some food already, secretly, to a very select few and I am realizing that even that may have been an error. I can’t have the few that are willing to step up to the plate and defend the others growing weak on empty bellies though.

It’s not necessarily that some of these people failed to prepare for disaster, it’s that they failed to even perceive that disaster could happen. We live in a state where Hurricanes are a constant threat during season and I admit that the last few months have been difficult as supplies coming in have been hit or miss, but that is the very foundation of why we saved what we could. For the price of a dinner at Chili’s, we could buy ten pounds of dried beans and peas, twenty pounds of rice and maybe another fifty pounds of flour or wheat berries. It is not abhorrently expensive or overly time and space consuming to keep a few months of basic food on hand. Sure, our meat is coming out of a can instead of the grill, and our fresh veggies are now gone (though we still have some frozen, not sure how much longer we can keep the freezer running), but the dehydrated and freeze dried ones are more than welcome. A little salt and pepper and its hard to tell the difference. Mix that in with a few cups of rice and a couple ounces of canned chicken and it makes for a great all-day meal.

We’ve had a few good nights of light rain, too. Its been welcome since water storage was the one area we hadn’t been as prepared for. I’ve set up some basic water catchment systems. I’m hesitant to use the roof run off for consuming, but it makes for great grey water use for things like flushing toilets, cleaning, and watering our small herb garden. In the drive way I’ve run a rope using a taught-line hitch between our big tree and a post. This holds the tarp up tight, which then runs down into a series of 5 gallon buckets and anything else I can find to put water in.

We take this inside and run it through our Berkey filters for use in cooking and drinking, storing excess in the unused (and sanitized) bathtubs. This works only so far as we have enough rain. Florida is known for its rain, but it’s also known for its unsuspecting droughts, like the one we just got out of a couple years ago. The average bathtub holds about forty to sixty gallons of water. It’s a good thing the master bathroom has a stand alone shower! Combined with the one 55 gallon water drum we have, and a few 7 gallon portable jugs, we can hold a fair amount for the time being.

We’ve helped most of the others devise a similar system. It has done much to ease up a few fears, but moral is hopelessly low after the ordeal with David. Now that we know the “infection”, or whatever the hell it is driving these things, can be spread through bites and wounds, panic and fear has taken a permanent foothold within us all.

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