Author's Note: This story has a very slow build in the beginning. It also covers a lot of "real life" for the characters and since it is a journal there will be a lot of day to day chores and issues that are covered and dealt with along the way. I hope people will read and review.
I feel a little guilty for taking the time to do this when there are so many more urgent things I could be doing but I really need a place to vent. Scott is all wound up with trying to keep our income coming in and the security stuff. The kids are alternately glued to the TV when we let them have it on or grudgingly trying to keep up with school work and their chores. Me … it seems I'm stuck trying to keep everything else together and trying to inject some normalcy here and there in our suddenly far from normal lives. I'm not even sure where to start but I suppose in case anyone besides me reads this I better start somewhere near the beginning.
Scott and I have always been into survivalism. At first it was just a hobby brought on by watching too many really bad disaster movies. You know the genre with one word titles like Inferno, Earthquake, Volcano, Pandemic, or Tsunami. In those days, most of our plans were as unrealistic as the cinema features were. How about bugging out to Walmart or a local Mall and living the good life while the world crumbled? Or, how about planning to pile into the family car and camp out in the woods until things returned to normal? Never mind that we didn't have a place in the woods that was secure, the equipment to camp out with, or the skills that kind of life required. We were so naive. Life isn't a thing like the movies.
It was once the kids started coming that we had to really grow up. First Rose, then James and after a little while Sarah and Bekah. Johnnie is our youngest, and though a surprise, not an unwelcome one. As our family grew, our plans for survival matured. Surviving was no longer just a good conversation starter or a hobby. Surviving was now something we had to do because there were little, defenseless people counting on us.
Over the years we've actually had a chance to put some of our equipment and skills to use and to test them for flaws. One autumn vacation we were caught in an unexpectedly bad storm that kept our family out on a backcountry trail off of the Blue Ridge Parkway two days longer than we had planned. Then there was that time the car broke down on Interstate 15 between Las Vegas, NV and San Diego, CA on the hottest day of a record breaking heat wave. The hurricanes and other weather events we've faced here at home are certainly worth a mention or two as well.
The last few years we had also started prepping for things like war, economic collapse, or general civil unrest. Of course with the way things were going any one of those three could have caused the other two at the same time. Then there were those pesky germs that seem to be getting more and more virulent – extra drug resistant tuberculosis, avian influenza, hemorrhagic fevers, and lots of other little nasty viruses and bacteria. But of all the things we were prepared to face, I can tell you we never even had a clue that we'd be facing what we are facing these days.
No matter how much Scott and I have talked about it we still can't figure out how this nightmare started. There are so many conflicting reports. Stories run the gamut from the disease being a bizarre mutation of a naturally occurring necrotizing bacterium to a biological terrorism event that got out of hand. Then there are the fringe groups that believe that it is a disease from a meteor that made it through the atmosphere and some that don't believe it is a disease at all but a Judgment by the Creator for the sins of this world.
There. I typed it. I still can hardly believe it but there you have it. Zombies.
The thing is it isn't like any of the movies portrayed it. At least not where we are at. At least not yet.
The few facts that have been confirmed that are being given to the public is that whatever is causing this disease – and I still insist on thinking of it as a disease despite the crazies and their wailing and gnashing of teeth – is that it started over in Indonesia. It quickly spread through most of the islands of that nation and then into places like Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and other areas of Micronesia. It was once it reached Malaysia and Cambodia that it was finally noticed by the Media and we began to hear about some strange new illness of unknown origin. The problem is that many countries in Micronesia and Southeast Asia tend to be very secretive. Once the disease made inroads into countries like China and Australia though, all bets were off. I have to admit, at that point Scott and I thought it was going to be some kind of Flu Pandemic though with unusual symptoms.
Here it is months later and there isn't a nation in the world that has escaped having to deal with this disease. Luckily, whether viral or bacterial, it only seems to be transmitted by body fluids. The transmission has to be done in very close proximity to the infected individual because whatever the disease is it doesn't "survive" outside of a host body. They've tried getting samples to study but the rate of decay of the fluids makes it impossible, it even decays in subzero temps. They've also been unsuccessful at duplicating whatever it is in the lab, which might be a good thing. That leaves observing and experimenting on victims that have been captured just after infection.
Unlike in the movies this stuff is spreading slowly. The only reason it made it into the US was because some whacked out Mexican gangs were using zombies as weapons against each other. Stupid idiots. The Border Patrol do all they can, but it's nearly impossible to completely control border crime and find all of the underground tunnels that have been built over the years.
The disease is now endemic in most of the western US and in places that have a high immigrant population. Even though it is now a federal offense to not report Necrotizing and Reanimation Syndrome (NRS) the people in those populations are too scared. They are afraid of being forcibly deported back to countries that have fewer resources. In some countries, it's an automatic death sentence to even be within a mile of an infected victim. A shot to the head that destroys the brain or complete decapitation and the government can say they've done all they can to prevent the disease from spreading any further. All that fear hasn't helped obtain public cooperation, it's just driven people underground. That's why I've started restricting even the Rose and James' access to the television. There are too many stories like that these days. So far only condoned in other countries by foreign governments, but the vigilante movement here in the US may not be far behind.
Well, no more time for journaling. Scott just drove up and I need to get dinner on the table. Tonight is the night we have to decide what we are going to do next. Do we try and keep operating like normal or do we pull the kids out of all their activities and sequester them here at the house? Now that we have our first case of NRS here in Tampa, we can't put this decision off any longer.