The next season of Z-LAND will take place 5 years after the last.
To get you ready for it, Rycon has written what happens during those 5 years and we’ll be posting them here so you can follow along with what happens to the survivors.
Last time we covered what happened the Chloe and Scott during their first year. This time we cover Schalk’s time and how the year comes to an end.
While present for many of the events throughout Scott’s story, Schalk has taken to more of a passive approach to the community. Much like the month before, he’s spent most of his time atop his crows nest or pacing the out edge of the reserve. It’s during this pacing that he discovers the tracks of small animals, cats or possums he presumes.
Using some of the workshop’s tools, he fashions a number of deadfall traps and small cages to leave on the perimeter. Within a few weeks these have a positive return: a number of uninfected possums and a cat or two.
Up top of the MDC he butchers and dries the meat of said critters. The fur of the possums are a valuable resource and, well, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, the leather from which Schalk attempts to tan and preserve. It takes time and trial and error, but eventually he has useable material. The “jerky” that he is able to provide to the community is a welcome change and supplements the current diets nicely. All the while Schalk waits for a response from the radio again.
It’s been month now since he’s heard anything from his night-time communicator until out of the blue it starts again. It was just a regular night, the usually set of coordinates streamed in changing subtlety night to night but this time it was different, it was a message. Schalk was sure of it, and with pen in hand he jotted down the sequence, it translated to “CBL15”: a civilian band channel. With trepidation Schak powers on the civilian scanner and flick to channel 15. He waits, silence… … and then a voice. “Is it you? The same person as before, the one on the mainland?”
Schalk had never heard his radio friend’s voice before but this very well could be the same person. He starts off slow, giving a name and receiving one in return: Kate.
Kate claims to be the same person who was communicating with him in coded beeps in months prior. When inquiring about her absence she pauses for a long time until finally receiving a dismissive response. She states that she was away from the equipment, away from her, she pauses again… home.
Communication always comes to an end an hour after midnight every night. Each night Schalk’s there, and they talk but not through coded beeps this time rather two humans speaking over great distances. During the day he expand his trapping by stringing nets between the accommodation building and the MDC proper to catch birds and bats. It takes time but the nets return a profit in time, the same goes for small hooks with fish guts tied to branches to catch sea birds and the like. More variety of proteins, and also feathers to be used on arrows.
Schalk share his success with Kate at night she seems genuinely happy to hear him thriving. She’s always very careful to make sure that he doesn’t give to much away about his surroundings, almost as though she’s protecting him from something. She has asked about numbers in the past, how many people he has, but all he’s got from asking her is “many”. She’s also been interested in his ratio of males and females in the group. After being honest with her, as she has been with him so far, she offers him a warning. “If you ever see a New Zealand Army uniform or a chopper overhead, do not communicate, hide if you can.” When asked why, all she can offer Schalk is that his group just “wouldn’t do well here”.
Maybe it was a slip up, or maybe it was intentional, but her last sentence confirms that Kate was part of some military presence. A presence that Schalk would slowly learn more of as the months went on and the conversation continued.
Winter wasn’t kind to him atop the accommodation building but he had some time to insulate his little abode atop it. That and all the furs he had collected over summer made for warm boots, mittens and beanies.
After Jonah’s heart attack the old man joined him often as Schalk walked the perimeter checking the traps as he was unable to venture outside of the reserve. Often he spoke of his daughters, how they never had the chance to start their own families. There is a sense of understanding between the two of them and perhaps the start of a friendship.
The year comes to an end with the birth of Willows son. It’s been a year of slow change but the complex around Schalk has changed throughout it. Fortified, with gardens, a community and the start of something new. Each night Kate waited to hear about his day and she shared hers with him. As best he could understand it, she was a communications officer in the New Zealand Army and that each night for an hour she had the comms suite to herself. She never disclosed her location and neither did he. What would come of his talks was still to unfold but for now he knew a little bit more about another’s life in this undead world.
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