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Self Improvement at the End of the World

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Here are the journals of my current play through. Everything in them was inspired by what happened in the game except backstory, which was used sparingly. Obviously I interpreted the events somewhat in order to make them more organic, but it's all based on what happened in the game. I'm using Hydrocraft, Survivors (.2 spawn rate), and ORGM. My character build is Overweight, Conspicuous & Smoker w/ Criminal, Lucky & Graceful. I'm playing in Rosewood as a recent parolee from the penitentiary. These are the Journals from Day 0 to Day 90 (3 months). Total Zombies Killed: 1345.

Contains strong language and sexual themes. Rated R;-)

 


Journal #1
 

Paroled yesterday into this shit. Can you believe that? Either the best luck in the world or the fucking worst. Ma always said I was born under a bad moon. Maybe I shoulda listened closer to her nonsense. Hard to do when she was half-lit when she woke up in the morning. 

I went to Cherry's house first thing as soon as the emergency sirens cut out. She wasn't home - no one was home. Waited a few hours then got restless, impatient. Went out back to look in her shed for something to defend myself with. Found her out there, her and Ricky Chase - both of them...christ - plagued, or whatever. Zombies...

 

***

I shacked up in the nice side of town, near the strip, in a bi-level that - by the look of the zombified ex-residents - were a prison guard and his family. Couldn't recognize him though, too much of his face was eaten off by the time I put a bat to his head. Can't say it wasn't nice though...with him in the uniform and all. The wife and kids weren't as gratifying. I dumped them all out back on the patio and then boarded the place up. I've got stockpiles of medical supplies and carpentry equipment and books. Lots of books. I should have made use of the prison library when I had the chance. I feel like I just walked into a final exam or something without having read a page...

***
 

Stupid Stupid Stupid.
 

I was out by the mega-mart looking for food and was in the back room, when I heard a knocking on the door. I knocked back...and it knocked back. I thought it might be another survivor. I threw open the door and there were 2 Z there. One got a torn up hand on my back before I could axe them both. Ran back to my safe house because OF COURSE the safest place to store the first aid supplies is there...and not in my backpack. Fucking idiot. 

***

Getting dumber and dumber.
 

I was breaking down some walls in my fortress after reading a bit too much about carpentry. I figured I could improve the defenses if I took out some of corners or something...Fuck.
 

I hit a load bearing beam with a sledge hammer from the second floor and the fucking floor fell out from beneath me. Landed on my foot HARD. Real Hard. Think it's broken. Can barely walk. And to top it off, food is low...I was planning on going out to the market tomorrow. FUCK!

***

My one saving grace is location, location, location.
 

I was able to limp through my barricade, into the clinic and steal enough Vicodin for a few days. And there is a trove of the shit there. Just across the back yard. 
 

I also looted a convenience store. I have so much orange soda, I'll probably be pissing sunshine until my foot heals.

Assuming I don't die before that.

***

 

You know what they don't really teach you in school (not that I really spent much time paying attention anyway) ?  How amazing food tastes when you make it yourself. I made a frittata. I burned my fingers because of all the pain meds I'm on, but it was amazing. Being holed up with a broken foot has given me time to read to spare. It isn't so bad. Lots of words I don't know yet. So add to the list of things I've learned since the apocalypse: Carpentry, Cooking, Farming, First Aid and Fishing. 
 

Not bad for a guy who dropped out of school in the 10th grade.


***

Thank God for Mr. and Mrs. T. Johnson - my former neighbors. Not only did they have some spare nails and a nifty electronics magazine that talked about motion sensors...they had a full fridge with 3 rashers of bacon, two lbs of mutton and a filet mignon. 
 

That I know what all of those are and why it is amazing that they have them...or rather that I do...is a testament to the power of reading. 

 I've read more books in the last week than the whole of my previous twenty six years, I bet. Also, comic books rule.

***

 

All the pills I'm taking are not only making me an addict, I'm constipated as hell. I'm going to cut back on the eggs and start eating more fiber. 
 

Also, I'm not sure whether walking around on it is helping my foot get any better...but goddamn it, there are things to do.

I suppose I can start that garden. Mostly kneeling, that.
 

Also, I fixed the hole in the floor that I made when I broke my damn foot. Yay.

***
 

I never thought I'd say - or write - this, but I risked my life wandering around downtown in a hydrocodone-haze trying to find the bookstore.

I know! The world's turned upside-down!
 

I needed volume 2 of my book on carpentry to figure out a dovetailing technique and goddamnit, it was worth it! I also found some books on electrical wiring and welding, both of which I needed in my collection. 
 

At the end of the world, it isn't faith that allows man to persist - it is knowledge.

***

 

I thought maybe if I rested in bed for a few days without putting any pressure on my foot that I might get some improvement. So I slept for two days eating Cap'n Crunchies and jerking off to gossip rags while sleeping the pills off. 
 

Nothing. The damn thing is still swollen and black and tender and I can barely walk. At least I'm not constipated anymore.

One of my medical references talked about "splinting a fracture" - whatever that means. I'll see if I can figure it out tomorrow.


***

A split is just an immobilization device - like a cheap cast. I used some lumber salvaged from a dead-neighbor's fence, split it lengthwise to create some bracing, then created an exo-skelton out of it with some torn up bed sheets. I covered it with a second sock, then found one of the house's former owner's oversized (size 13!) work boots. The damn thing was numb all morning while I planted that garden out back. Broccoli, Carrots, Cabbage and Potato. I'm going to make some colcannon, just like grandma Bes used to. I even have some scavenged ham for the stock.

***
 

Had an awful dream last night that I burned the damn compound down.  I watched it burning...all my tools, supplies, food. Helpless, with the smoking and noise drawing the Zed in. Woke up sweating, and with my foot aching.  I think I'm getting over the pain pill dependency.

I finally figured out that dovetail joinery that I've been struggling with, and how to make a crust for quiche. And just FYI...it's not pronounced Quickie...Key-Shhhhhhhh. It's less funny now.

***

 

A kilt! I remember there was a picture of my great grandfather wearing one...he was a royal Scottish marine or someshit. I mean, yeah, it is just a lady's skirt that I'm calling a kilt...but fuck it - there isn't anyone around to judge and honestly it's hot as balls out. So...I might as well air my balls out. Ha!
 

I fixed the hole I put in the garage - built a door and a frame into it. Now it's a proper shed. I'm going to move most of my non-food supplies out there. Hopefully, if the house DOES burn down, it won't spread that far and most of my tools will be spared. If you don't have a plan, you plan to fail.


***


 

Took my split off this afternoon when I woke up after spending the whole night re-fortifying the perimeter wall. I have doors now, not just little dinky rabbit-fences.  My foot looks better - the split has reduced the swelling - but it's still broken. Somehow, though, all the limping has made my legs stronger as I've had to change my gait.
 

I spent the first twenty years of my life learning to move quiet and slow...since I broke my foot...it's all about efficiency. 

I can't wait to get this damn split off. It's itches somethin' fierce.

***

 

Found a zed in my neighbor's back yard with her head pressed up against the fence. A girl, probably nineteen - twenty maybe? Recently turned, cuz her skin wasn't gangrenous yet or sloughing off. 
 

I wonder if she was the scream that woke me up the other night - the one that sounded like it came from my yard...

I feel a bit guilty about not going now, but with a broken foot, I'm only good in a fight I can control. I put her down fast and dropped her behind some bushes to decay in peace.

***

 

This may seem like a stupid consolation, but if I do die - either from another dumb accident like busting the floor beneath me or opening the wrong door at the wrong time...whoever stumbles onto this place will have an easy go of it. I've watched Zed roam by the walls not even regarding the door. Sonsofbitches don't even know I'm here...and I'm right off Main St!
 

Maybe whoever comes after me will find this journal. And if that's does happen...sorry for being so vulgar. 
 

And fuck you, you lucky son of a bitch.

***

 

Finished up the outer wall finally and repaired some of the holes I'd left before I knew how to shape the boards up with a plane. Looks much nicer now and far less of a chance of a roamer spotting my plumber's smile while I'm bent over tending to carrots.
 

As a celebration I made myself some cheese burgers and downed a bottle of Chardonnay. Usually I'm not much for wine, but it's the only booze I've bothered to collect so far.
 

I also found an old extinguisher. I left it down by the oven - SHIT - I left it on again! 


***

 

Let it be known that I'm not a good man,  but I am a bit lucky when it comes down to it. My foot has been healing - if I push myself I can almost walk normally and I have almost no pain left. 
 

Also, while exploring some downtown apartments I found two things - an awesome motorcycle jacket which fits like a glove...and a pile of dirty laundry with some unlaudered panties in them. 
 

I admit, I took both.  


***

I went back to the megamart and walked inside - the smell was horrible: rotting food lining the shelves. I almost puked, but I was on a mission.
 

All the way to the back to the aisle I remembered walking past but never having any use for: spices!

Tumeric, Ginger, Pepper flake , Garlic Powder, Mint - my god, so many recipes that I couldn't touch before because I didn't have a spice rack are now totally within reach. It is worth it that I'm stuck in the store in a downpour. Totally worth it.

***

While scavving in the southern suburbs, I caught sight of the prison over the hill across a high, concertina wire fence. It was strange looking at it from the outside...which is when I hatched the idea of breaking in.
 

I know, it's crazy and poetic, I guess.
 

Anyway, I'm gearing up to take a crack at it.  If you find this and not me...there's a good chance you'll know where my corpse is. Look for the dude in the yellow helmet...and please. Put me out of my misery.

 

 


 


Journal #2

 

I'm sitting in my room next to two backpacks full of ammo and kevlar body armor I pulled out of the police station ON MY WAY TO THE PRISON.
 

Not really any point in going to the prison now. 
 

It was a bloodbath. I had to take Propranolol before the fight started...because I brained a zed near the front door setting off a goddamn alarm which drew a horde of them. Luckily they began clustering around security doors and I'd brought a sawed off shotgun.  I blasted away at whole groups of them. All the windows in the station are broken, all the walls covered in gore. Among the carnage I found some keys that took me into the locker rooms, then the armory. I loaded up everything I could carry and bugged the fuck out. There were easily fifty more surrounding the station.
 

I shot at a few - I'm worthless with a pistol apparently - and the noise was enough to draw them to where I was. By the time they got there, though, I was already gone.

 

I had to leave my welding equipment behind in a locked security room. It should be fine until I can calm down enough to formulate a plan. It's almost midnight. I'm unsure how I got out of that one alive. 
 

Not sure I want to go rolling the dice on it a second time. Though, my sledge is back there and that thing is worth its weight in gold (about the same weight too). 
 

Fuck. I'm going to go smoke.

***

 

Woke up this morning and decided to gear-up and head back to get my sledge and welding tools. Because of the weight, I decided to travel light and left my new suit of kevlar armor on the shelf. It wasn't necessary anyway - the horde from the night before had dispersed and so I just had to dispatch a few strays. 
 

Decided to walk south-west of town and came across the corpse of another survivor in the old fire station. No ID or weapons, and she's been dead for a week at least...but its the closest thing to human contact I've had in a month. Solitary with no walls.

***

Just took some sleeping tablets and they're already kicking in - my metabolism must be in overdrive due to adrenaline.

 

I made it to the old prison - at least the guard's muster. Fucking every damn guard I remember seeing daily for eight years and two months was there...all of them in some state of decay. I killed them all...all of them. Near a hundred, maybe a bit more.

 

I have their keys on my key-chain, and somehow that makes me feel like my own jailer. I need another cigarette...

***

 

The Splint if FINALLY OFF!

 

The midline metatarsal fracture on my right foot is healed. Moreoever, I know that means. Neccessity is the mother of invention and sound reading habits, apparently. I'm outside with my socks off sitting on the pation sunchair, soaking up the afternoon Vitamin D with my armor off for the first time in a week. I realized that with my combo of leather, kevlar and old hockey mask...I've looked more like a slasher movie antagonist than a hero lately. Time to get some sun to even out my pallor. Also, reading The Count of Monte Cristo. It's amazing.

***

Yesterday I hauled the generator inside the house and exhaust-ported in through the kitchen window. I hauled six gallons of diesel from the station down the road and wished for a damn pack mule the whole time. I found a book on animal husbandry in the prison when I raided it. I think I might try to find a farm nearby. Maybe there are horses or something I could wrangle and bring back to my compound. 

 

***

Sweet Jesus. I rode my bike all the way out to the farms east of town and then left the damn bike at the farmers market and hoofed it back. I forgot I'd left my rain jacket and journal in the bike basket...so it's been about a week since then. Anyway, I wasn't sure I was going to come back for either the journal or the bike...but I've decided to try to rig up some solar panels onto the roof of the compound. To do that I need computer parts...and according to the Yellow Pages...the closest one is ten miles east of farms. So I tried to cut through the suburbs and fields, stumbled onto a boarded up house surrounded by zed and fought my way in, hoping to find a survivor - anyone who isn't dead. 
 

It was a death-trap in several senses. If anyone had survived in there, they were long gone...and there were 30 fucking zed shoehorned into various closets, bathrooms and bedrooms...just waiting to spill out when I opened the wrong doors. All the doors were wrong. I should have just lit the fucking building on fire and run for it. 
 

But loneliness is going to get me killed. I'm sure of it. Trying to find someone to speak words to...to listen to. To look in the eye...

***

If there was a computer store in March Ridge, it was turned into a hair salon. But I did find a hard-drive and a computer monitor while exploring the town. 
 

The whole place is infested - makes Rosewood look like wholesome living. Especially the fucking Senior Center. Jesus, shambling old zed with their skin sloughing off. The whole place smelling like slow decay, shit and mothballs.
 

I also found a proper backpack at the community college. It'll help on this slog back. There is a stray dog following me.





 


Journal #3

 

Christ I'm baked...
 

So, let me back up and say that I was in the high school down the road and rummaging through lockers when I found an awesome backpack. Inside was some kid's stash of pot and porn (in the new world I create, he will be sainted). Now, I've not smoked since I was in that same building as a student myself, but goddamnit - this is the fucking apocalypse. So I brought that shit home, made a pipe out of some clay by the kiln and fired it up. 
 

I just spent two hours rummaging through the house trying to find a pen to write this note.

 

So not only did I score some drugs, but i also doubled-down on my alcohol stash. One was purely coincidental, but I searched through a lot of high school lockers and stopped after I found the pot.

 

I may have been subconsciously looking for it. I don't trust that I wasn't.
 

See...I found a woman, a pretty one, dead in a cabin at the edge of town. She had a page on her body, when I reached for it I brushed her chin. She was warm, loose when I picked her up and rushed her out to my bike.  She died in my arms. She hadn't been bitten, I checked...she'd gone hopeless. 
 

She'd injected herself with a lethal dose of morphine. I know how to suture a wound, not how to bring back someone O.D.-ing. 

You know that it's weird that I've "killed" - what - a thousand (?) zed. This is the first time I've ever seen someone really die. 
 

She vomited into her lungs, shit herself, and went limp. It is amazing how quick she got cold. I didn't cry, not there - I cried when I'd buried her. 


I'm going to drink until I forget her face, then I'm going to build a fortress - one that anyone can see. Bring the zed, bring them all to me. There are others out there, I'm not alone. If I can draw the horde here, maybe I can thin it enough that we can find each other.  The others and I. The other survivors.

 

I don't have any delusions about the woman, she was far too pretty to ever want an overweight ex-con like me. It would have been nice to get rejected though. 
 

I cried on her grave because I am so happy. There are others out there.

Oh, and that dog? It's out in the yard - a boxer I named Selkie, mostly because she looks half-human and half-seal. She's a weird creature, but she lets me pet her and lets me swear without caring too much. It's good to have physical contact with something alive, even a dog.

***

I went back to the prison, this time without much of an agenda. I think I might have been a tad suicidal. I don't know...It's hard to know thyself. Gnothi Seauton. Perhaps that's why it is such a big deal if you do.
 

Maybe I thought there would be survivors there because it is so defensible. It was overrun, though, hundreds roaming through the cell blocks, gangs of cannibal corpses leaving their decaying slime trails like zombie slugs. I found a silenced pistol up in the muster. Somehow using it feels less like self-preservation and more like execution.

***

 

I intend to pack up some things and head towards Muldraugh - it's about a half day's ride from here I think. If I travel light, I might be able to bring back some of the computer parts I need to work on that solar array. 
 

But perhaps, in a bigger town, there is a chance that there will be a survivor. Someone else to share this fiefdom of misery I've eked out for myself.
 

Because even the zed are dwindling here. Just stragglers, now that I've cleared out the prison. I've had my signal lamps lit for days, no one has shown up yet, I haven't even had to go out and untangle any zed out of the barbed wire.

***

 

I cannot fucking believe it...I found someone. Alive. Unhurt.
 

I was doing my twice-weekly circuit around town and passed by the school. I saw someone inside...figured it was a zed broken in, but it wasn't. It was the school librarian. Anne Calloway. She'd been hiding in the crawl-spaces and raiding the deep freezer for more than a month!
 

When I took off my mask, she lowered her bat and collapsed into my arms, all but sobbing. I froze up...I didn't know what to do. How to respond. Eventually I said..."I have a safe place..." and she came. She's eating breakfast now, looking out the window at the thunderstorm rolling through. She almost started crying again when I gave her some cheese. Apparently, she hasn't seen any in a while.

 

It's odd. Now that she's here...I don't know how to act at all. She seems a little freaked out by all of the guns and weapons and the grow-room I built. But she's not run off yet. She surveyed my setup...the perimeter fencing and wall...the reinforced steel along the whole first floor...and she seems to get it. While not invulnerable...we're much safer here than wandering around outside.

She just asked me if she could use the shower. So I'm to leave her here with the dog and go look around for more survivors. Maybe she's not the only one...

 

***

Came back from a fuel run today and let Anne stay behind because she was tired. Found her neck deep in a bottle of wine when I got back. She was smoking my pot too. I guess that alleviates my anxiety about her being judgmental about my proclivities. I think she might actually be settling in.

 

***

Anne nearly killed me when I told her I was going to Muldraugh still, because we're running out of ammunition. We went through most of it target shooting - she'd never held a gun before so we needed to learn all of that for both our sakes. We'll need ammo come winter, not only for defense, but for hunting. With two mouths to feed, we're going through more food than I could have imagined. 

 

She relented after I told her she wouldn't be alone - Selkie will stay with her - but she did make me promise to come back, very seriously.  Also, the pot plants being upstairs don't hurt much either. She's a goddamn pothead now. I told her to plant a garden while I was gone. I doubt she will, or she'll get baked and I'll come back to a hemp farm.
 

Anyway, my map says that Muldraugh has a gun store and a police station. I've become a a master at breaking into those kinds of places. I assured Anne that I had done it twice prior to her arrival, and that I could do it again.
 

First things first though, I have to set up a staging area somewhere in Muldraugh to case the police station, since it will be closest. From there, I can decide how to go. 

 

***

 

If the crazed survivors I met along the road are any indication of what awaits me in Muldraugh...fuck. I should have brought that body armor. The crazy fuckers started firing at me from the woods before I could even differentiate them from the local zed. If I hadn't been weaving amongst the stalled out car out of necessity - a veritable serpentine - I think I would have been toast. Still, some of the shots were close enough to whistle past. 
 

Before I left, Anne kissed me. Not like on the cheek, full on the mouth. She said, "You're the only family I've got left. Don't go dying on me. I'll develop a complex."
 

Maybe it was foolish to allow ourselves to get attached to one another. But it has made the whole thing a bit more bearable.

Fuck. This world is too dangerous for assurances of any kind.


***

While I was securing a path into the police station from the staging point I created in an old sit-down restaurant, I passed by a church. Another survivor had gotten himself cornered inside, blasting away like a moron. Last stand by the altar, swarmed by thirty zed from the pews. Biblical. I probably could have gone all heroic and saved his ass, but I didn't. I slunk away, Anne's voice in the back of my head saying, "You're the only family I've got."
 

Putting a stranger before her seemed not only foolish, but selfish. I'm the one who has to live with not helping; live with my ego. 

Taking action to prevent my ego from taking a hit despite the probable outcome of her ending up alone, again - I just couldn't justify it. So I slipped away, until the cadence of gunshots faltered and the half silence of wind in the late summer trees resumed.

 

The benefit was that all the racket drew all the zed in the area away...including those that were swarmed around the police station earlier in the day. I found the place wide open. I broke the mag-locks on the security door to the armory and got inside. The place is an arsenal. Unbelievable for a little podunk cop-shop. You'd think it was Miami Vice or something. I don't even know the names for most of the guns that I found...and I grew up shooting all sorts of them. 

 

Too much to carry, obviously. But I can button the cop-shop up and come back another time. I'll just take the best of what can be carried and head home. 

 

Funny how my little fortress has become that - a home - but only because Anne is there. Prior to her, even with that damn-worthless dog with the brain the size of a walnut, it was a fortification - a compound. Now the walls have meaning.  It's only been a day and a half, so probably two more before I get there, but that's enough. 



***

Well, I got everything I could want from this trip. I found a silenced submachine gun in the same caliber as my silenced pistol and a can full of ammo that fits both. Probably about 1000 rounds total. I also grabbed a M16, kitted it out for hunting purposes, and 600 rounds for that. Between the three guns, we should be set for the winter. 
 

I drank some whiskey to celebrate and cooked up some baked potatoes left over in the deep freezer. Tomorrow I'll eat the leftovers and hit the road as early as I can. I'll see Anne by evening.

***

I overslept because of the booze and didn't make it home until well past midnight. When I did, she was sitting up on the overlook with a candle and some cigarettes, that dumb dog under her feet like an ottomon. She saw me pedaling hard past the stragglers that had shown up in my absence. I came in the back door and both of them - my girls - came running down to greet me. As usual, we began with the bite check. Then, since our clothes were off, she jumped onto me and we fucked right there by the pond. That damn dog watching the whole time with a confused look on her bitch face.

When we were finished, we went for a swim and talked about everything - it was the last day of summer, so skinny dipping seemed appropriate. We smoked pot on the shore and drank more whiskey, despite my gut complaining a bit. Then we ran inside and fucked some more on the bed. Drunk-like, one of use knocked over the table lamp so after I woke up I had to find a spare bulb, of which there was one.I'll have to salvage some more from the houses around here.

 

She ran herself a bath and let me watch her while I lazed in bed, naked, cleaning my gun.

 

She asked me if I thought she was pretty, and I said the prettiest in the whole world, as far as I know. She laughed. 

I didn't tell her about the others I saw on my trip. The wood-folk and the bandits and guy going all Alamo in the church.

 

I will, or I intend to rather. But not at this moment. I want to enjoy a bit more "homecoming" then she and I can get down to business. I'll get her some body-armor and a gun, then we'll go hunting with that damned dog and see if we can find some fresh meat.

***
[Written on the back of the final page in different handwriting]

 

You know, I think I'm in love with you Steve. And it's not just the isolation and intoxication talkin'...

 

Love,
Annie

***

 

 


 

 



 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

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