The Helpful Humans of Crossing Bedlam


I was thinking about the post-apocalyptic and post-disaster stories that I’ve read, seen, or even heard about over my lifetime.  One thing has struck me as odd.  In most of these scenarios, the majority of humanity are self-centered, destructive, untrustworthy, blatantly cruel bastards.  It’s like the only ‘good’ humans are those that are put in the protagonist roles, but you don’t always know why they’ve retained a loyalty to their fellow man.  For example, I’ve been told that the most dangerous thing in ‘The Walking Dead’ is another human and not the walkers.  Really?  That’s just a rule?  Why is it that these stories rarely have a community working together or groups doing what they can to selflessly help others?

I can only think of one story that I’ve read where that happened and even that had ‘bad humans’ along the way:


Now I do agree that you will have users, killers, and evil people running around in such a lawless world.  Yet, it always feels like that’s the majority in these places.  So I tried to make things a little different for the Shattered States.  I already mentioned the Guardians, but they were for animals instead of humans.  They led me to think up a few groups that put humanity first and have created systems to help people.


These are robed men and women who are dedicated to preserving the knowledge of the country.  They rescue books that are returned to one of there heavily guarded repositories and schools.  A librarian has also been trained since birth to have a detailed memory, write clear shorthand, and other skills that allow them to gather new stories.  Most people know that they carry nothing worth stealing and are good in a fight if provoked.  Though they have a vow to never kill intentionally, but accidents happen.  Gangs that have territories near repositories have been known to send members who are young and smart to become Librarians.  This is because it’s always useful to have a contact with access to knowledge.

Hospital Runners

This isn’t really a group, but many doctors and nurses across the country have maintained hospitals.  Since the Shattered States works off trade, they get supplies in return for tending to sick and injured.  There isn’t a real training situation here, but orphans and those who simply want to help are always taken on to help.  Like the Librarians and other benevolent groups, most people know not to cause trouble here.  If you have a broken leg or the flu then you don’t want your doctor to be someone you beat up the week before.  Not that these people will let you die, but they might not do anything to relieve your fear.  That and they might only have enough anesthesia for half a dose.


I believe they get mentioned in Crossing Bedlam, but they rarely come into physical play.  When the country went down, teams of Engineers took over the dams, power plants, and other infrastructure pieces.  Some did it for influence over the surrounding area, but most did it to keep various systems going.  Specifically, keeping things powered.  They have even developed various batteries, which they trade for food, clothing, and other supplies that they can’t make themselves.  They have also been known to recruit people, usually children, who show a talent for engineering or even an interest.  Unlike the doctors and librarians, Engineers are not always kind and friendly.  There is no bedside manner or social skills needed for their trade, so some are rather gruff and blunt with strangers.

Even outside of these three groups, you can find individuals who are dedicated to helping people for a small price.  Mechanics and guides are prized as well as anyone who knows how to cook.  Guess there are those who work the oldest profession too.


About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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17 Responses to The Helpful Humans of Crossing Bedlam

  1. L. Marie says:

    Good. I’m glad to know there are pockets of helpful humanity left. Someone has to maintain the hospitals and other infrastructures. Otherwise, society would totally crumble.

    I guess on TV and in a movie, things are done to keep the tension high and compel viewers to return each week. But at least in some movies like The Hunger Games series, you see groups willing to band together or even sacrifice themselves for a cause, despite being forced to send kids to fight each other to the death. 🙂


    • Movies and TV tend to go a very pessimistic route. All groups outside of the protagonists are painted as some level of evil. If not right away then eventually. Keep thinking about how every group they run into in Walking Dead comes off as more monstrous than the walkers/zombies.

      I wanted to give the Shattered States some pieces of hope that it could be rebuilt. Maybe not entirely, but a few areas that people can go to for help if they need it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. sknicholls says:

    I was delighted to see librarians. 😉


  3. C.E.Robinson says:

    Charles, glad to see Hospital Runners there. Tried to imagine how I would work in such a scenario! I’d imagine there’s survival thinking, ethics, and do no harm would go out the window. A very different world. Yikes! 😳 Happy Wednesday! Elizabeth


    • Not sure if it would go out the window for everyone. A lot of bending would occur. It’s really hard to say because we’re exposed to so much violence already. Most days it feels like mankind doesn’t need much of a push to go full psycho survivor.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a wonderful idea. I haven’t started reading my copy yet, but can’t wait. Hope it’s going well.


  5. Good idea having nice folks. I tend to believe that when times get tough people tend to get real individual on who they are willing to help. I like the concept of librarians, health care, and engineers staying in business.


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