This zombie master, whatever it was, had me bothered. It had the other men bothered, which meant that the women were bothered.
I called for a retreat. Even if we won this engagement, sooner or later we'd lose one, and we can't afford to lose a single man at this time. This was self-evident for all of us, and--thankfully--I got no backtalk for my decision. The hard part was deciding where to go and how to get there; at this point, we agreed that north (away from the zeds) was our best option.
Keeping the zeds away was one thing. Organizing a migration was another. Doing both at the same time? Hellacious, even with everyone on board willing and able to pitch in. It wasn't that the zeds were a pressing problem. It was the time. We had to move out, migrate undetected, arrive without incident, and settle in for Winter all within a few short months. This would be bothersome in the best of times, and we were not there.
We were up against an enemy we could not kill. Oh, sure, blow off the heads of the zeds and so on, but that's not enough. Hive minds don't work that way; the best we can do is keep it away, and diverted. So, we went after it while we prepared. We hit sighted groups of zeds at maximum distance for our rifles, fired a few times, and then faded away into the countryside. We hit on one side, then the other, keeping the zeds confused as to where we were. This confused them, until we saw one day that one of them moved with purpose, as if alive. We chose not to engage, but instead to take that as our cue to move out.
We trapped the homestead, rigged it to collapse and burn should they come- and once we moved out, we made them come into the trap. I had no clue if it would work, if it would fool that hive mind, but soon enough it would not matter. We had more pressing problems; we had less-than-helpful folks in the way between us and our destination.
The problem we ran into was the foolish survivalist sort, the folks who think that they could turn marauder after a collapse and succeed, being just as much a predatory presence as the zeds. In other words, they never got the true meaning of Romero's zombie films and instead thought it was an instruction manual. Fortunately we maintained the practice of keeping scouts well enough ahead to warn the rest of us, and warn us our scouts did; stealth and avoidance were our ways in these days, and again they proved their worth.
To deal with them, I had an idea, and it would be dangerous.