Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 7:47 pm

The big picture

I heard a rumour today. I heard that Jersey had been moved off sanitation duty – it was noteworthy enough that the others who share her work were talking about it over dinner. She must have taken my suggestion to play nice, and late in the day it paid off.

Hopefully she’ll keep playing the game in her new role. I think she’s helping move some stores – one of the buildings needs shoring up against the rain, and they’re moving the contents in the meantime. I think that’s a purpose we can all get behind.

I’ve asked around, but no-one seems to know what the machine they’re building in the warehouse is for. It’s essential to our survival and our future – several people told me that, but they couldn’t tell me how or why. It doesn’t have a name. Don’t worry about it, they said. There’s a plan, one to keep us going, and that’s part of it. The General’s got it all in hand. The army has plans for when things like the bomb happen. Contingencies. They’ll make sure we all get through this.

To what? I didn’t ask but it hung over me like a personal stormcloud, cluttering up my shadow until I felt it following me.

I’m sure that I would be happier if I let these questions go, if I could just accept that this place offers survival, maybe even a future. Once up on a time, I would have. I would have trusted what someone in charge told me and carried on my merry way.

I’ve been in charge. I know that sometimes you have to make things up and fake it until you know what really is the best thing to do. I know that you don’t always have everything you need to make the right choice. It’s not some infallible, all-knowing position – it’s being the one to step forward and speak first, it’s thinking on your feet and diving in the direction that looks best at the time. It’s acting with so much more confidence than you feel that other people will follow you.

I’m glad I’m not in charge of all these people. I tried to work out just how many people there are here in Haven. Two hundred – three, maybe. So many lives, so many things to manage and control. I struggled with twenty-something.

At the same time, I’m not ready to let go. Returning to trust and ignorance isn’t as simple or easy as it sounds.

I can’t imagine how the General has dealt with it all this time, but I guess he’s used this stuff. He’s trained for it. He had control when the bomb went off and so I guess it was easy for him to just keep going. He leads because he’s leading and others follow.

The more I think about the General and what happened all those months ago, the more questions I have. He must know what happened – what really happened, why the bombs were set off, who did it. They didn’t attack the army base; they went for the cities, taking out civilians. There’s no war – the only fighting that’s going on is between ourselves and for base survival. The army is right here, not off on some front. I think if there was a war, it was over the second the bombs went off, or maybe the first time the rain fell.

The only invasion we’re suffering is by the shamblers. Who would bother invading here? Even we don’t want to be here.

The other question is just how many cities were hit. How much of the world was taken out, how much of it has had the poison spread over it, blotting out the sun and burning away everything green and good below? Have have they left us to our fate or aren’t they able to come?

So many questions. I should write a list.

The cutouts wouldn’t let me in to see him today. I got sent away with hard looks, and a leer from one of the soldiers. I’m not that easily put off (or turned on), though.

The General walks the compound every day but, just before the rain comes, he returns to his office. All I need to do is get into the admin building before the rain hits and then he won’t be able to get rid of me for a few hours. I’ll just have to see if I can get him to listen, and then to talk.

It’s not like I’m asking for a lot. Just for answers. Just to know what’s going on, in my life, in the lives of my friends. I have a right to that.

Then why am I so nervous?