Name: Reveca Vlachenko
Biography: Reveca Vlachenko moved to the United States from communist Ukraine with her family. Her family traveled across Europe in order to make the flight, and created their new home in the first state they landed in: Kentucky. She found that she loved the woods and the various ranger parks one could visit, and as she grew older she aspired to return to nature as she had dreamed of.
As she grew older, and the war between her homeland and her new home got colder, her parents were discussing returning home to reunite with family. By the time she could afford to send them home to newly liberated Ukraine, the Knox Event happened. With a desperate hope that Europe was untouched, she packed her parents on to a bus to send them to an evacuation plane, where she hoped they could find their way home.
As she tried to find her way to a refugee camp to better offer her skills, the group of survivors she was escaping with were attacked by a horde of raiders. She escaped, stumbling back into town, where she found the first open building she could and passed out in there, recovering from exhaustion.
Reveca put on a front of polite uncertainty that belied unquestionable compassion. She cared immensely for those she found herself surviving with, even if it were only for a night, sharing a fire and the same can of soup. This occasionally led to naive acceptance of those who would otherwise intend harm, but she was fortunate to spare herself the wrath of raiders, miscreants, and others who crawled their way from their dens in the apocalypse. She enjoyed physical labour and busying herself with her work, figuring herself too busy for relationships.
Reveca woke in Rosewood after her escape from the highwaymen and traveled north into the woods to an army training camp. There, she discovered the Haywood Commune, a group of survivors who sought to survive by working together in a community living space. At the Commune, she learned skills such as carpentry, cooking for herself and others, as well as how to work on cars. She held a fondness for many of them, seeing them as people she was obligated to protect, given their kindness towards her.
A young man named Ford Caddel was sweet on her - she grew closer with him as winter came in, though she found it difficult to admit her love for him. However, her protective nature could not save him from an infected bite from one of the zombies in Knox County, and neither could her desperation to see his recovery stop the same creature from biting her. With his last efforts, Ford created a cure for the infection, giving his life so that Reveca could live. The miracle worker dead, Reveca put herself into supporting the Commune more, to cope with the loss of her love - and, in the back of her mind, to work towards replicating his cure.
After nearly a year of living in the Commune, the community uprooted from Rosewood to Louisville, establishing themselves in St. Peregrin's Hospital. There, between Doctors Damien Foxworthy and Clare Houser, a cure began to be researched, as the Commune took to fortifying the base. She grew closer to the Commune's unofficial leader, Ross Haywood, seeking comfort in each other after the deaths of their partners. It was a personal trip to the old campsite that brought the two together as an official couple, reconciling with their loneliness and hope to carry themselves forward, and not give themselves up wholly just for others.
My name is Reveca Vlachenko. I am 26 years old and a park ranger previously stationed in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Redbird Ranger Station. Since the concerns regarding the Knox Event, I returned home, where I have seen to it that my parents return to their motherland. I don't want to leave them. I shouldn't have, in the first place. But I feel that this is my home now. I haven't seen where I was born in twenty-four years, and I'm not about to reflect on the hazy existence of a two year old to follow my parents home. Flights aren't cancelled yet, so for all I know, they're in the air. I'm still holed up in this house. I had to escape the pack of survivors I was travelling with after a group of men with rifles cut us off on the roads. Even if we could have reasoned with them... one of them fired a gun, as a warning shot. God knows how many of those stumbling corpse-men heard that. I had to run. They started shooting. I didn't trust them to keep their promises to not rob us. Who knows who they were. I'll hopefully never find out. I don't want to meet them again. I'm winded, but not injured. I have to find some sort of group again. I can survive on my own, but not for long. Especially with things getting worse out there. I hope that I can keep a proper upkeep of this journal. Perhaps it'll be the last thing I have for myself.
I remembered there existed a campsite north of Rosewood, past some of the farmland. I knew army recruits would train there in the summer. I expected it to be abandoned, but I instead discovered a commune holed up there. I was terrified, truthfully, that I had stumbled upon less than friendly survivors — mere days ago, I had met with two men who left me in the cold. Thankfully, the men I spoke with at the commune seemed kind. I’ve been here for a few days, now. I have my own room, which is more than I ever expected. Ross — I suppose he is the leader — took me on a looting venture north of the commune. We found very little, but I now have a rifle to my name. I’ll have to practise shooting.
I overheard discussions regarding a prisoner, a hostage, and a 'all out war'. What could it mean? I worry that this moment of peace is already nearing its end.
Outside of the commune’s walls, I saw two bodies. Both men, so close to the open graves waiting for them. It didn’t feel right just leaving them in the cold. Not when they were so close to their resting place. Good night. I regret I never got the chance to meet you.
I think I am a true American now. I know how to work on cars, I have my own gun, I've attended a funeral led by a man of the Christian faith... what a peculiar life I've discovered in this post-apocalyptic world.
I met some more people of the commune, as well as a neighbour - Natalia Evergreen, who lives at The Farmstead. I have begun writing names down on a state map that I took with me from the station. Mostly the names between Haywood and the Farmstead... I've learned the names of a few different places, but I cannot say I've been anywhere but those two. Natalia was kind, but with how she playfully mentioned a possible "war" over recruiting Mae in the past... it is not my place to comment or judge, I suppose. It was before my time. I can only marvel at the grim humour one can adapt. My family mentioned that those of the old country often would find the same cold entertainment from their miserable surroundings.
I write this journal entry next to the fire, seated by Bryan Suldat. He's a very quiet man. But we are both reading textbooks, nowhere but our own heads... and it is peaceful. I prefer life like this.
Dmitry killed himself two days ago. We buried him with his gun. He left a note that he was tired of this world.
Eric gave me Dmitry's katana in order to give to Ross. They were good friends, and it's only right that Ross keeps it. I hope I can tell him soon. It's been a few days since. I couldn't bring myself to write it down when it happened, when Eric and I were in the mess hall. I saw a note by the car... it was snowing. It was so cold. The earth barely gave as the shovel lifted it, so we could lay him down. It was Eric, Bryan, and myself witnessing the burial.
It feels wrong, burying comrades like this. But it is an unfortunate reality.
I finally met Maeleigh, after Natalia was praising her so much. We took a trip to Ekron together - a surprising amount of zombies still roamed those streets. We cleared them out, and the two girls even discovered a working generator! I am uncertain as to who will keep it, between the commune and the Farmstead... but we are plenty equipped, so I think it will be fair to go to either of our factions. I have recovered two generators that I still need to bring to the commune, but depending on where we go next...
It was a wonderful time to be with Maeleigh and Natalia, but our moods soured when Natalia caught Maeleigh up to what has happened regarding the prison. I am worried of the coming war. It seems Natalia is set on making them pay for the deaths of their friends, while Maeleigh continues to wish for little conflict. But we cannot simply *wish* for no conflict - we need to be prepared in case it arrives at our doorstep. Or our homes will be ash and our bodies butchered before we even fire a bullet.
(edit and add new years 2000 here)
I returned home from a venture to Louisville to discover the aftermath of a horde. It would seem that a mysterious representative of a man named 'Pipe' brought them here. No one was gravely injured, but the bodies are still laying on the ground. It is terrifying.
I feel miserable having been away as my comrades fought a deadly horde. Maeleigh’s katana broke, and Jack was shot by Pipe's representative. The Farmstead was attacked as well — I wonder if I am able to speak with the prisoners in Rosewood and see if they had been affected, but I do not imagine they harbour much interest in speaking with an outsider.
Ross took us to Louisville in order to collect vehicles. We found a box truck and a fantastic delivery truck from a grocery store — that had gone unlooted! I could almost have believed it was a forgotten base we had stumbled upon. The five of us — myself, Ross, Maeleigh, Natalia, and the new recruit Mallorie — could carry so much. We loaded up our trucks (including an RV, though we were forced to abandon it… note: return to Muldraugh for the original one soon.) and continued to explore…
… We came upon a large horde. I do not know how we became so unfortunate, so soon; Maeleigh was near-mauled. Natalia was scratched and bitten. I found myself in dire circumstances — sustaining critical damage — but Ross and Mallorie assisted me. We bunkered in an empty house for the night and continued onward. We found a hospital for medical supplies, then began the long journey home.
I drove past the Farmstead, alone in the box truck, and decided to spend the night. I met several of Natalia’s comrades, including Mathoul, the leader of their community. Bryan was there, and I discovered they were planning to ambush the mysterious Pipe. He had not told any of us he even planned to do this… perhaps it was decided when we could not see one another, but with how little I have seen of him in recent days, I wished he had told us. I do not wish to bury another companion so soon.
Of the Farmstead members… Sydney is quite nice. They made me some stew, and though it was filling, the flavour was… to be desired. Two men named Christopher and Carl were fighting when I arrived, over some meaningless shit — exactly the type of violence-for-violence brawling that Americans are known for. Mathoul had to treat them like children once they stopped. A man named Bane was there, but he kept to himself. I now understand Natalia's frequent visits to the Commune if this is her regular company...
It has been so long. So much has happened. This entry will not be chronological; the last few weeks have been a blur of events, that I will only be able to detail as I can.
Ford was bitten - but he survived. He managed to decipher these documents I found in Louisville and gave to Ross, and he... he's alive. It has been a few days since that and he is *alive.* He is still harbouring the remnants of a fever, but the gangrenous, decrepit look that began to haunt him disappeared. A friend of Ford's was invited to the Commune when Ford planned to let himself die, named Mortimer -- I briefly saw them when I went to the Farmstead with Ross, but it was in the middle of the night, in a storm, after a horde attacked them all. I had no time to speak with them, but I only hope that Ford had managed to contact Mortimer and tell them of his success.
I visited the Farmstead with Ross in the middle of the night, as Pipe had attacked. He summoned a horde of hundeds, hundreds of walking corpses... It is a miracle that they survived. And I am happy for it. Wounds are temporary, after all. It clued us that Pipe would likely be visiting the Commune in the future... and within a day or so, he did. His entourage tormented Mallorie. Spoke down to Ross. Hurt Bryan. Making a show of their own superiority, built on nothing but their own egos. One of them, a woman named Lisa, tried to kill me, accusing me of planning an assassination on Pipe. I wanted him dead. But I am not stupid enough to attack so brazenly. I was not going to let her hurt me.
Finally - as Pipe left. As their bus was figuring out its exit.... Mallorie threw a pipe bomb at them. She killed them all. I could not stop her.
I just... I don't know what is going to happen anymore.
It's been too long. How can I even begin to explain what has happened?
Ross went missing. We thought he died. He crawled his way back to the Commune, bloodied and worse for all wear. Maeleigh was on the verge of burning the place down out of grief. And now he's back. Means worlds to her. She deserves the happiness.
I got bitten. Ford got bitten again. David did, too - and the selfless, unforgivable man that he is, he only made enough for David and myself. Died giving it to me. Told me to pull the trigger. We made a promise to each other to do that, if it came to it - but that was so long ago. It is too easy to make those promises, feeling like you're able to accept the coming possibility. But I know now that you cannot. You cannot speak so simply on life. It is not something we can agree to lose, to postpone to some farther time. Death is always too close. Death doesn't discriminate.
We'll be giving him a proper funeral, soon. I'll make sure he is buried with his shotgun. He wrote the recipe for the cure, but God knows if any of us are skilled enough to replicate it. Everything he wrote down means nothing if we don't have the same gentle hands he did.
Why did he do this to me?
Middle of March
Mae's dead. Killed herself after she got bitten. I heard Natalia went out a similar way. I hope they got to meet again.
Apparently, Bruce Quinney (new guy at the Commune) knew Ford's father in the Persian Gulf War. Little coincidences like this are funny, in a weird way. How easy it is to meet someone else who happened to know the very person you miss. I hope the three of the Caddels are happier together. I hope Mae's happier. It's getting harder to hold on to hope.
We're finally moving. It took us long enough to come to this decision - but before she passed, Maeleigh spoke with someone out in Louisville. Ross, Ivan, and Bryan have secured it, and the contact (whose name eludes me) is keeping watch over it. Packing has taken a lot out of me - so many sore muscles, bruises from bumping into things... but, having the Commune more or less to myself has given me time to focus on my mechanics. I may get mocked for my driving, but I've picked up what Eric left behind.
Damien Foxworthy, a doctor from Muldraugh, joined us a few weeks ago. His assistant is named Mike Davidson (more of a bodyguard, if anything.) though I've mostly only spoken with the doctor. We visited Muldraugh to recover the last of his personal belongings. Before this -- another survivor visited the Commune. His name is David Johnson (so many men named David in this state...) and he was in need of shelter and food. Though he stayed only the night, we managed to come across him in Muldraugh after a distress call he made on the global radio frequencies. There is a new group of survivors taking refuge in the city, but... they appear quite hostile. David believes they open fired on him while dealing with the undead.
Mallorie petitioned that they could have taken home in Pipe's old battle arena. Unfortunately, it was abandoned. We did, however, discover some sort of presence in the warehouses of Muldraugh... the Commune's former RV was there, too. I know it was ours. A note from Ross was in it, from long ago.
Feels like I'm just trying to remember what's going on these days, rather than having any thought of what's going on. It's miserable. I want to spend time by myself, just wordlessly work, work, work. The others are kind. I am just tired.
April 2000. Working out in the dirt. Nothing else to do.
June 9, 2000
St. Peregrin's Hospital was the ideal place for our new home. Doctor Foxworthy was already researching a cure, desperately looking between the brain he found and the notes Ford managed to write before he died. It wasn't just for him, of course; all of us deserved our own place, somewhere we could fortify and find others, feeling less like a cramped campsite and more of civilization. Don't get me wrong, I always loved the woods. I still do. But what made me appreciate it so much when life was normal was the ability to return to something equally as familiar. Knowing I had a family back home to see. Being able to do simple things, like sing along to music, to do laundry on a breezy summer day...
Louisville was terrifying to get to. I could barely pick up a pen to write how it took. We all survived - some of us with injuries, but we forced our way through Valley Station and we made it. Bruce left before we finished setting up - he went to find his family back home. I don't resent him for leaving after we got here, though. Maybe he remembered there was still something back there. He deserved a good ending, too, and I hope he is finding one.
Ross and I have gotten... a lot closer. We're together, now. I think. We've certainly kissed a lot. And he's calling me Revy. It's embarrassing. But I like seeing him smile, more. I like seeing him have something he still wants to work towards, after he spent so long desperate to run from everything, even when Maeleigh was still alive. If I can be some sort of constant that he wants to protect, but not feel so helpless to carry himself, I want to be that. It feels good. It's the same sort of thing I felt with Ford - having a memory to carry, but still knowing you, yourself have a value in being the carrier of that memory.
Doctor Clare Houser joined us, and with her existing research, she and Doctor Foxworthy have begun crafting a vaccine. I think Bryan needed to hear that. He was shattered, last I saw him. Otto tried to help, but it didn't work.
But he heard that we have something. And he's called for everyone to come join us, in some sort of... block party? Celebration? God, we don't even know if the vaccine can last this long. We'll have to develop more treatment. But... for once, that's on someone else's shoulders. I can help them in my own way, but the expectation isn't on me to fix a problem. How long has it been since I let myself yield like that?
Maybe we'll get central power, again. Maybe we'll see streetlamps before the winter. It's all just raw hope. And that's what keeps me going. I hope things get better. And I will make them get better.
This looks really good!
To all my killaz and a hunned dolla billaz.