The infection spread westward, and at last it reached Nebraska.
The farm was overrun with the Dead, and those of us who survived became hardened and honed for killing, hoarding, and barricading.
In the twilight of a summer evening, a small group of us was passing the chicken house, stabbing the odd zombie in the head, when a deep, echoing chant arose from within the old granary. The very earth seemed to tremble with its reverberation, chilling our souls.
I crept to the western wall and quietly pulled open one crumbling wood door. Instead of the interior of the old granary, the opening led down into a vast vault illuminated in cold, fluorescent light. Down below, hulking men moved back and forth, each one a giant with abnormally jutting brows and angry, hooded eyes. They uttered the moaning chant as they constructed something I couldn’t make out, their voices rising and spreading like some vast, black tide, and we knew it was they who had brought the infection. And now we understood this had only been the first phase.
I quietly closed the door, and we retreated to an old train car hidden in the trees along the north edge of the farm. We discussed how to barricade ourselves and hide in train cars, waiting out the war, but we knew they would find us or we’d run out of supplies, one or the other.
Then Rick Grimes came inside and told us the tracks were clear, that there was a working engine. We hitched up enough cars to take a large band of our people westward to start a new colony in California. The train was green with yellow trim, John Deere-style.
Once established, a few of us would return to get the rest of our people.
At first, I thought this was a shitty plan. Why put off the inevitable? Eventually, the chanting men were going to find us, no matter how far we ran. So why not stay and fight?
But then I realized Rick’s plan was not to run and hide, nor was it to fight here, like desperate insurgents. Rather, it was to raise a powerful army, and then return with a vengeance to wage all-out war.