17 Chapter 16: A Meeting to put everything out on the Table
Sunrays exploded through the window of a dimly lit room as a rather aggressive welcome to the morning for Joshua. He and Dave had passed their nights watch on to Dillon and Devin so he was able to get a good nights sleep. He wasn't sure if he could trust anyone else besides the fire fighters to help keep watch at night for now. Laura and Natalie would come back exhausted after the grinding sessions that he and Nathan put them through. Nathan was a no go, sense if something bad happened or if someone acted out he would be nothing but a sitting duck. Thomas on the other hand had lost all his trust after Madalyn's story about her past with this town.
Knowing he had another full day ahead of him he forced his self out of bed and headed to the bathroom to clean himself up and get ready. Luckily he had gotten his suitcase the day before so he no longer had to walk around with plaid shirts and khaki pants. He wore a simple t-shirt that was lose on his frame and a pair of jeans. It was a bit too hot for any type of vest or Jacket so he left those alone. When he left the room he could tell a lot of people were already awake and moving about. It wasn't even seven in the morning yet everyone was already up and at it. Joshua thought it must be because this was a farmer's town.
He headed down to the kitchen to get a quick breakfast before the meeting that was supposed to start in half an hour. Last night they had decided to have similar meetings every morning going forward. If there were a lot of things to talk about it might take a while, but on days where nothing major occurred then it would end in a few minutes, but no matter what there was always going to be a meeting. Joshua finished his meal quick before heading to the open entrance hall where people were starting to gather for the first meeting of importance.
When Joshua arrived many people looked away from him with guilt ridden faces after the confrontation he had with them the previous day. Joshua simply shrugged it off and waited for everyone to join. The last people to get there were Devin with his lazy disposition, Laura who had slept in after yesterday's training and not to surprisingly the three hooligans who didn't seem to care to be there. Everyone seemed a bit restless as no one knew who was going to start the discussion. Joshua looked around and notice that both the mayor and Thomas were looking his way in expectance. They still looked a bit regretful, but clearly wanted him to continue to lead everyone.
"I'm not going to stand here and say that I've forgotten what happened yesterday, but I do realize the situation we're in needs us to work together." Joshua said as he walked towards the center of the room and grabbed everyone's attention. "All I have left to say about yesterdays discussion is that if anyone of you look away from someone here causing trouble…then you can expect a punch in the face from me before being kicked out of here alongside the person causing problems in the first place. This isn't the time for backstabbing. If you got a problem with someone bring it up in front of everyone so we can talk it out."
Joshua looked around at the people nodding towards him in agreement he could tell that he made the right choice in bringing up the subject. "Now we have a lot to discuss. I had Thomas and the Carsen brothers collect any information form everyone here so that we could put it all out on the table now. So, what do you guys have?"
Thomas and the three brothers looked between each other before Thomas stepped forward to speak. "Well we've asked people about the circumstances they went through before the ringing occurred. For the most part everyone was in town at the time of the occurrence and they all state they passed out and woke up in a purple haze. An interesting thing we found out though was the age limit of the people here." Thomas pointed over to a rather older looking farmer as he said this. "He's forty-nine years old and still here while his fifty year old brother disappeared after they met up in town."
Joshua simply nodded along sense he had already learned this from Laura and Natalie, but he didn't want people to know that so he pretended to put the pieces together now. "Considering Nathan is the youngest one here and he's just recently turned seventeen then we can assume anyone younger than Nathan disappeared and the same can be said for anyone older than him." Joshua said pointing towards the old farmer. "That's good to hear, that means all of them are most like away from this madness. So if any of you have a wife or child that fits the bill then you can feel relieved."
"That doesn't explain why all the women of the same age range disappeared as well." Thomas stated as he looked towards Natalie for an answer.
"I don't know why either." She lied. "It seems for the most part most women disappeared as well, or were moved somewhere else. Maybe they were given a choice or something, but because I work as a police officer I might not have been given the choice." Everyone in the room was a bit confused, but most of them decided to put the matter aside and just be happy that their families were probably safe. Some looked towards Laura to see if she had anything to add, but were only met with a shrug in reply.
"Anything else you guys find out?" Joshua said moving away from the subject.
"Yeah and it's not anything good." Dave said as he stepped towards the forefront of everyone.
"While scouting the houses in the area we have yet to find anyone else, but we have seen multiple signs of people vanishing with rooms left as if they were still in use. A lot of survivors might be heading towards big cities looking for help. We did find a lot of supplies we can use going forward, but there is a bit of a problem."
"What happened?" Joshua egged him on.
"About fifteen miles from here there is a relatively new factory that has been in use for a while. They make several different metal products for farm land and train railings. The problem is that the place was covered in a purple Haze." Dave said as he looked around the room and waited for that fact to sink in. Many people gasped and fearful looks sprouted up everywhere. "We couldn't really see inside it, but we could see a few of those creatures wondering near the edge of it. The place isn't nearly as big as the town, but it puts us in a bad spot being surrounded from both sides."
"That's not good, will have to get a better look at the place soon, but right now we have bigger problems." Joshua said getting confused looks from everyone. "Yesterday Laura, Natalie, Nathan, and I all went back towards town to scout for any changes since we left there. The haze is slowly spreading, but that's not our biggest concern at the moment seeing as at the pace it's moving it would take months to reach here. No the problem is the fact that a man that I saw die getting bitten to death at the gas station in town was wondering around outside like a walking corpse." The entire room grew panicked as discussion started to break out between groups. Joshua waited for them to finish before discussing the topic more.
"Was it like what we discussed back at the fire department?" Devin's voice was loud enough to hear over the crowd. His question making him the new magnet for attention. "I mean was it like a zombie or something?"
"Yes it was, it not only could move around just fine outside of the haze, but also could run unlike the creatures. It was quite fast, faster than the average person for certain. It also was surprisingly strong as it took someone like me to restrain it for any amount of time." Joshua replied.
"Do they have any big weaknesses?" Dave said as he realized how dangerous these new zombies could be if even Joshua had to struggle in holding them down. Dave was a fit man and well built, but he knew if Joshua had grappled him into a hold he would have no chance of breaking it. For these creatures to make Joshua have to strain so much was not a good sign.
"Not in particular, but they are rather stupid. They aren't near blind like those creatures so if they see you they will come running. No amount of distractions will change that." Joshua explained as he thought back on how the zombie reacted to them when they came within viewing range.
"Well what do you suggest we do about it?" Thomas questioned as everyone looked towards Joshua with hope that he had a plan. Nathan and Natalie were holding back their laughter at his predicament sense to them it looked like a bunch of lost baby ducklings had spotted their mother and were racing to follow him again. Laura on the other hand ignored the crowd's reaction and was focused on what he had planned.
"The best thing to do would be to build some defenses, alarms, and traps around the area. We're not dealing with intelligent creatures so we can pretty much make them obvious to avoid hurting ourselves in the future. If we can get some barbed wire along the fence that would also be a big help in slowing them down long enough for us to take care of a group of them if necessary. Maybe some wire lines with noise makers in the forest around the area to wake every one up if one starts coming close. The last thing would probably be to dig some ditches around the fence with planks standing up in between each ditch. That way we can redirect them to fall into the ditches where we can kill them from a safe distance with arrows or spears." Joshua started to lay out ideas that could help defend the estate.
"Where can we get the supplies for that kind of stuff?" Dave interrupted as he thought they were some good ideas, but wasn't sure if they could pull it off. "I mean the factory probably has a lot of the things we need, but that place is nothing but trouble now."
"Well you don't have to worry about that." The Mayor surprisingly interrupted the conversation. "I've known the Moran Family for quite some time, so they have told me about some of their plans for the farm in our conversations. They had been planning to start improving their fencing with wire sense they had been having trouble recently with wild hogs and other larger animals trying to break down their fence to get into the crops."
"So you think they already have a supply of the stuff we need in one of the storage houses." Joshua asked.
"Most likely, they had already gotten the order in a couple of weeks ago from the factory. Most of the stuff should already be here, they were just waiting on lining up the help to put it up." The mayor explained. "The question is do we have enough time to do all of the work to put it up?"
"We have plenty of time, the zombies wondering from town would probably take at least a week's time to spread out this far away." Joshua said gaining sighs of relief from the crowd. "That's not the problem I would be worried about."
"Wait isn't that why we're going to set up defenses?" Dillon suddenly said. Joshua was surprised he was the one to ask sense he always seemed to be happy-go-lucky about things.
"Partially. In town there may have a total of around forty to fifty people who died, meaning only about fifty of those things could be roaming around. They won't even be moving in the same direction, so they aren't much of a threat to bunch up and attack here." Joshua started to explain his reasoning. "That's not the same case for larger towns, or in a worse scenario cities. If zombies start sprinkling out from places like that imagine how large the group of zombies would be."
"They'd be in the thousands or even more." Dave said coming to a harsh realization.
"Right, so setting up defenses is more for the long term problems of coming across a herd of those things trying to move through the area. We would be flooded extremely quickly with those aggressive zombies without any obstacles in the way." Joshua concluded. Everyone in the room grew silent at the implications as a dark cloud started to hang over them. "I didn't say all that to break your spirit guys. I said it to light a fire and will to survive in everyone. Now let's get to work, if you want a shot at surviving and seeing your loved ones in the future."
The crowd grew determined as people started flooding out of the room to start on work for the day. Joshua watched on quietly for a moment before taking in a deep breath. With a clap of his hands and a quick stretch of his shoulders he mentally prepared his self for the many tasks ahead of him.