Allow me to let my thoughts wander a bit before I get to the story below. Additionally, let me state that the story in question is not the longish one in need of editing that I mentioned in the last post. Furthermore, let me warn you that the story isn’t even finished.
I can’t really keep myself to working on one thing at a time. And it seems that the busier I get, the more projects I take on. I really don’t have time to write, and I really can’t afford to not write. I’d go nuts. So, in order to force myself to continue, I’ve begun another progressive story. I did this with Four Stops, and it kept me writing even though I wrote and posted other stuff in between chapters. So, I will finish editing that other story, and I will work on this new one as well. Notice that I didn’t promise, I hate making promises that I’m not absolutely certain I can keep.
As long as my thoughts are wandering, I thought it might be interesting to point out that these two stories have the same person to credit as inspiration. I won’t mention his name since I’m sure he wouldn’t appreciate that, but he’s like family. The premise of The Preserve is his idea, but he’s not to blame for the resulting content or ideas I built around it. The other story, which I’m thinking will be called Of All Our Parts, is based on a dream he had.
And with that, here’s The Preserve: Part 1. Leave me some feedback. Since this is still totally open-ended, your input is almost certain to change the shape of this thing.
The Preserve: Part 1
The dead plague turned out to be a good answer to a lot of difficult questions. It was the sort of street-level logic formally employed by the crazed and homeless. Whose sandwich is that? Can I sleep here? Was that a good book? Answer: Punch, kick, cut, claw, strangle. There aren’t too many of either of those people groups around anymore. Unfortunately, they were one of those difficult questions that the zombies solved through applying their own arguments with broader and more forceful strokes.
What do we do about global warming? How do we handle rogue nuclear nations? How can we make public education relevant again? What do we do about the crazed and homeless? Answer: Crack open as many skulls as possible and eat their gooey innards. There were a lot of even more difficult questions floating around before the dead plague. It’s funny how our opinion on such issues used to literally define who we were as people.
It’s also funny how we drop so many of our principles and ideals when we face an enemy that ignores all the rules that govern us. How do you stop an enemy you can’t frighten, dishearten, shame, placate, or reason with? In the old days, when an Iraqi blew up a U.S. checkpoint, what was he trying to do? Did he really think it was possible to kill off the American Armed Forces by taking out one or two soldiers at a time until there weren’t any more left? No. He was attacking American soldiers to hurt the American spirit. He wanted his enemy to feel sorrow and fear. He wanted to make them think that the situation in Iraq was hopeless, that the war was impossible to “win,” that it cost too much to continue. He wanted America to give up and go home.
And what was he relying upon to accomplish his mission? The mercy and restraint of the very people he was attacking. Forget the nuclear option. America was capable of leveling every city, town, village, hamlet, and hovel of Iraq inside a week using just conventional weapons. The Iraqi insurgent had to trust his enemy to show restraint. That restrain, and the varying degrees of it’s absence, has defined every war of human history. But a zombie knows no restraint whatsoever. He doesn’t have a limit. You can’t make his warfare too costly. No matter how many bullets you put into him, no matter how many pictures you take of his innocent victims, no matter how many of his fellows you kill, all that he ever thinks is, “I’m going to eat you. I’m going to eat you. I’m going to eat you.”
That’s why you found even the stanchest environmentalist lighting tire fires when it was the only way to keep the walking dead from eating him alive. The environment didn’t matter quite so much anymore, not to anybody that survived at least. And Pacifism? If anybody stuck to that, they’re not around to talk about how that worked out for them.
Still, there is an exception to every rule. For example, as long as we’re talking about the dead, you don’t have to look any further than Jesus Christ, right? And that’s not a zombie thing either, so don’t even get started on those tired jokes. But if you want an example that includes zombies and old-world principles, I’ll just point out Stanley Cartwright. There’s a blue-blood name for you, and Stanley made it through the plague with his bleeding heart still pumping out that old blue.