Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When War Arrives

I don't feel safe in this place anymore, but I feel like I finally have a role. Strange how war brings more roles for people into the community that weren't there in a time of peace.

There's a humvee on nearly every block these days, parked, sometimes empty, but there. It's supposed to be reassuring, I suppose, and there for our safety. It's just a new lawn ornament to me. Nothing special.
I've taken up running again. Haven't done that in years. It's really not safe to walk around, or run, but I still do it. My weights are getting more work too, but the straps that used to bind them to my ankles and wrists have long since worn through. Their weight distribution was uncomfortable anyway; I've restitched them, spread them out a bit more, added more weight. I'm getting stronger, faster, and I keep adding more weight. I know there's supposed to be a point where they do more harm than good, but I've passed that point and my body is holding together better than ever.

I'm seeing more and more people out walking, but fewer of them running. Those that are are still passing me up, making jokes about my youth and lack of effort, but I see the skimpy clothes they wear and those are completely unrealistic. I'm just wearing modified street clothing, but my whole wardrobe is modified these days. I've been wearing a lot more weight, not just in sand and metal bars when I exercise, but I've been fairly heavily armed. Not when I'm running though; then I just wear my two favorite blades, one metal, one hardened plastic, one on my left wrist, one in a special pocket in my right armpit. All the sheaths are home-made; when everybody else was running in the front doors and raiding the gun shops and grocers, I had my car pulled up to the back loading dock of the craft store. People looked at me like I was crazy, but when industries start to fail, they'll be wishing they'd had my forethought.

The government barely bothers with the warning level anymore. Those who still watch television keep track of it, I suppose, but to those of us who are more careful with our energy-allocation, it might as well be red/high all the time. It really doesn't matter: we're living every day just the same as the last.


I don't know how anybody else is living these days, but I know our basement is a lot deeper than it shows in the original plans. I don't even live upstairs in my bedroom anymore, everything has been moved down into my new hole. It's smaller, somewhat cramped, especially with my stocks kept separate from the rest of the family's--they don't agree with my precaution either--but I've caught Mom rifling through my threads a few times.

Dad and I put down a stone floor, and its not a perfect fit, nor the cleanest, but I've taken to going barefoot in the house. I'm not up to running without my shoes, but I'm still working up to it. The callouses are coming along just fine.

I thought about stashing my weapons in some hiding-hole, but lately I'm only taking them off when I shower and exercise, especially since that last bombing. Someone decided to hit FermiLab, even though anybody who knows anything knows that only a few scientists are still sheltering there, and everyone else is just another squatter. Fermi is only about half a mile away, so we're pretty much running on fuchsia alert, or infrared, depending on who you ask.


I still have my cell phone, computer, laptop, speaker system, but none of them are plugged in anymore. My cell phone gets a boost when I work for spare energy credits, which is really all that's worth getting paid in these days, or food or Chinese stock options.

I'm eating pretty steadily, since I've been helping with malnutrition and fasting studies. I used to be in a control group, but with my exercise regimen, they've got me in a class of my own now. Before the war arrived, I was a desk jockey, working customer service of all places, and suffering from irregular joint pain. I like to think my body is good at adjusting itself to what circumstances require, and it seems to be doing it better than anyone else's; trust me, I'm the most surprised.

My cell phone is always with me, sheathed like everything else. There's a fake weight in one of my pockets, but the pickpockets have thinned out considerably and most of my pockets are stitched shut


I'll probably be leaving soon. This place is emptying out and there's so little left. Most of the studies have been canceled as I'm the only subject left, and most of the scientists have gone too.

I've been digging deeper below the house, closing up old passages behind me as I go, moving all my stores deeper. I've picked up all the generators that got left behind and have been pulling them in by hand; I leave my weights off for those trips and make sure nobody catches me. It's hard to believe it's only been a year.
My stitching has gotten better and tougher, though it's still entirely by hand--the generators are reserved for air-circulation. I'm using techniques that hold everything together better, longer, in fewer pieces than can be endlessly, or nearly, reused and reformed.

My cell phone can't get a signal anymore, despite the boosters I scavenged from the former local service stations. It runs in solitary mode when I bother to charge it; I hope there's a software update out there somewhere...


I'm packing up my sledge, the car is long gone, and the air is starting to get colder than it should this time of year. I wouldn't be surprised what damage this has all done to the normal cycle of seasons. This log, though highly abbreviated from what I'd originally intended, will be coming with me, though several copies are staying behind. I hooked up a computer for one last print run, using up the last of the fuel.

The generators are all down, drained, and the last of the food is going to be eaten today or tomorrow. Hopefully my body isn't done adapting, because I don't know when my next meal will be.

I'm going to miss this place, so much of my sweat and blood went into it, keeping those close to me safe until I was the only one left. I hope there will be something left for someone to come back to, but I already know it won't be me. I won't be back.


My dreams have been growing more vivid. My brain is changing, I hope it's adapting, but I'd be hard pressed to say how. My last meal is gone three days back, and I'm only just starting to feel a little hungry. I don't know what's coming next, but I don't think I'll be in much state to keep this log going.

I think the changes are accelerating.


It's getting too hard to type, to write, to move. I'm starting to see things, and I've managed to stash myself away somewhere... I don't even know where I am anymore, but it doesn't matter. I haven't seen another person or animal in six weeks, and it's been seven since I left home. I've been hearing things too. Birds, I think, though it's hard to tell.

As I've walked, all alone now, my sledge emptied and deserted, I've been seeing doorways where there shouldn't be doorways: in the middle of the road where there's no wall, floating in the air, and they're only visible from a certain angle.

I think that's where the birdsong is coming from. I think tomorrow I'm going to walk through one.


There's someone on the other side. I saw them today. I've left all my breadcrumbs, I hope someone can find out all that's happened and make sense of it all. I don't know what will happen, but I want to be able to tell myself I tried. My goal is to shake their hand.


We found subject 1227 lying in the middle of the road. His body was surprisingly healthy, and showed every sign of still being alive, but there seems to be no consciousness. He left behind a journal that doesn't seem real, but it lines up with the history we've been able to dig up. His stomach was completely devoid of food, and he clearly hadn't eaten in months, but there were no signs of malnutrition.

His journal spoke of breadcrumbs, and we've followed his journey backward to his home. He made an amazing trip, covering an unbelievable distance. We found the house intact, though everything was covered by a heavy layer of dust. The inhabitants are starting to come back, and there's no sign of his family yet, but these people remember him. We see no reason to discount his record as fiction, as superhuman as it all seems.

We intend on keeping his body alive and intact as long as we can, not difficult since it seems to require no sustenance, and the muscles are showing none of the usual patterns of deterioration.

If and when his family shows up, we'll bring them in to see him. At that point, it will be up to them what to do. Since his body isn't on life support, we can hardly justify unplugging him. Until then, we'll just keep waiting and watching.

There's no reason to believe he was anything more than human when everything started, so there's no reason to believe he's alone in this state. We'll keep looking until we run out of funding or we find the answer. We will continue to hope, but in the end, hope is all we have.