Hey everyone, it's Rachel here.
It's been almost a week. We've walked almost 200 miles. We've not stopped. We're filthy, ragged and weary. We've got a hand-crank radio, but we've heard nothing about two corpses found in the kitchen of a restaurant in a small village, so that's something.
We do, however, have a problem. Lianne's arm is hurting, worse than it did before, and well beyond the area that was damaged. That means she's probably got an infection in the wound.
She needs to go to hospital.
Of course, if anyone saw us go in or out of the abandoned restaurant, before long, someone'll be looking out for a group of seven squatters, one of whom is injured. And if this hospital reports that, we're done. They'll know Lianne's name at least, they'll probably call the police, at the very least, they'll know whereabouts we are. We'll be locked up, and that means we can't move around. Which means he'll get us.
If we don't, Lianne will be in pain, and then she will die.
Shannon's in her tent right now, thinking it over. Natalie went off to cry, and Peter went with her.
Rule 5. Don't go anywhere alone.
When I first met these guys, they put me under Lianne's wing. And she had ten rules for me to follow.
1. It's never over. This is roughly analogous to that whole "There's always another nightfall coming" that Shannon and Roland repeat like a mantra, but that's not all flowery metaphor - it IS significantly more dangerous after nightfall. Which is why Lianne prefers a simple "It's never over." It means we're never safe. It means we're never entirely doomed. And it does mean that we'll in all likelihood be on the run forever. It'll never be over.
2. The group is everything. This, I think, should have gone first. The reason we're one group is that we're stronger because of it. More than that, I rely on these people implicitly. There are individual, interpersonal relationships, but fundamentally, we're a unified group. Leave No Man Behind, Watch Each Others' Backs, slogans like that.
3. Don't go anywhere unarmed. Obvious, given recent events.
4. Don't go anywhere without telling everyone else. This is just genre-savviness.
5. Don't go anywhere alone. See above.
6. Try to avoid looking out of windows. Why tempt fate?
7. Use fake names.
8. Everyone surviving takes precedence over everything else. This is a big one. If there's a chance of all seven of us surviving something, you take it over a better chance of six of us surviving. All of us will put everything on the line for one person. We all survive. That's the goal, and that's the thing that drives us.
9. If you see a proxy, alert the others, and get ready for a fight. If possible, make peace with the idea that you may die.
10. If you see...the other one...you run. If you're lucky, you might make it to safety. Make peace with the idea that you're probably going to die.
These rules have done me well. She says they're why she's still alive. That maybe the rules will outlive her. And now that sweet woman who looked after me, and gave me a role model in this whole mess, she's constantly groaning in pain, and she's going to die soon if we don't ignore the safety of the group.
And I leave you...with a dilemma.