Carrie had been walking for awhile after she took the subway as far west as she could. She really wanted to get out of New York but didn’t want to use her money for a bus ticket to her Gramma’s home just yet. That was half a country away and she didn’t even know if her Gramma would take her in or not since her mother had not let her call or even write for a long time. Besides if she was going to take a bus, she wanted to do so well away from anyone that might be looking for her. Not that she really thought her mother would care. Just to be safe, she figured she could catch a bus after a two day walk. She would have to find a station and just see how much the ticket would cost. She had no idea how much it would be.
Carrie was determined try to get to her Gramma’s and if her Gramma didn’t want her, well, she would figure out something else then. She had enough food in her pack for two weeks if she was careful and she had three water bottles and a canteen that she filled at a gas station she passed when she got off the subway. In her BOB, she had the maps she had printed off the internet while at school that led from New York to the small town that her Gramma lived deep in the Ozark Mountains. She wasn’t fooled by the maps and knew the distance of just over 1300 miles would take too long a time to walk the whole way and she had her age to consider which presented another problem.
She had the letters her Gramma had written her; although there were only eight left that she had managed to hide from her mother. They were wonderful letters and she had read them many times. These gave her hope and the reassurance that surely her Gramma would not turn her away. When her dad was alive, he made sure that Carrie got to met and see his mother and they would make a yearly trip. But that all ended with his death five years ago.
They had been a happy family with a nice home and plenty to eat. But after her daddy’s death, her mom changed and began to go to bars which led to drugs and a different man each night it seemed.
Carrie never found out why her mother had moved them to New York and the shabby apartment just a year ago but once there things got even worse.
Carrie shook her head and cleared her thoughts, the sun was up now and she was getting really tired. She had hoped to be able to find a small secluded spot and hunker down and get some sleep but she was in a really nice neighborhood just outside of the city and didn’t think anyone here would want to find her curled up under one of their perfectly landscaped bushes.
She sighed and kept walking.
Just after noon, she found a nice small park with plenty of trees and even found a quiet niche where she could rest. Once comfortable, she pulled her back pack open and dug out two granola bars, a small box of raisins, and a bottle of water. After her lunch and a careful look around and noticing that no one was paying any attention to her, she cleaned up her trash and put her now empty water bottle back in her bag and slid unseen into some dense bushes where she found just enough room to lay down and catch some shut eye. She was out in less time it took her to unroll the bedroll and tuck her pack and jacket under her head as a pillow.
Almost everything in the pack was new to her, if not “new”.
Once she had begun searching the preparedness sites, she found she needed to get some cash in order to get prepared. There was no way her mom would have condoned any extra spending for anything. It was rare enough that there was even any food in the house, let alone anything stored for the future.
So Carrie had gotten three well paying babysitting jobs and the owners of a local general store hired her to come in twice a week and do sweeping and dusting. Not only did she get paid $5 an hour but she also got a 20% discount on whatever she bought. This is where she found the thin self inflating mattress to her ‘bedroll’ and other odds and ends of her BOB as she shopped among the few camping items that they had. They had those disposable rain poncho’s -of which she had purchased five.
The backpack was roomy and almost but not quite too big for her. By visiting a couple thrift stores, an army surplus store, and her small general store; she began “to prepare”. There were many “outside” pockets where she stashed different kits in. One pocket held a small but well thought out first aid kit. Another held some small fishing and snare kits that she had in small altoids cans. She had made up three small kits of each. Another pocket held five fire-starters and two dozen lighters along with some cotton balls in old plastic film canisters with alcohol soaked on them. She had a whole Ziploc bag of matchbooks from every bar in town that she swiped from her mother. Her mom never missed a single one: neither the matchbooks nor the bars.
A pouch that was made of a nylon netting material held her canteen. One of the larger front pockets held a small toiletry kit –including two flattened rolls of TP. And the last pocket held the maps, her plant ID book, and her Gramma’s letters all in Ziploc bags to protection from any type of water.
Inside the main compartment were her clothes, of which there were three sets, a pair of tennis shoes, a towel, extra bandanas, the food, and the rest of the water. She was wearing her well broke in hiking boots and jacket. She had three knives hid in her pack and one in her pocket and one up her sleeve on a special holder on her arm.
In the back compartment was the second most precious thing that she had brought -a small Acer netbook. On that small “mini-laptop” was all the information she had gathered from all the survival sites she had visited -from making small alcohol stoves to gardening to how to survive a nuclear war. She even had the two extra memory cards for it, full.
She had gotten a great deal on it. One of the ladies she had baby sat for ordered it for her in exchange for three months of babysitting at least two nights a week. Carrie hadn’t minded since the two kids were always good and were never any trouble anyways. It was sapphire blue and had a battery that would last almost six hours. The lady had also bought a foam carrying case and the extra memory cards for her as a gift. Carrie was hoping she could find places to charge it now and then since she also had her maps, journals, and stories backed up on there. With so many places now offering Wi-Fi for free, even Burger King and McDonalds, she really didn’t think she would have a problem until she got in more rural areas.
Tied up under her backpack, in a small roll, was a sleeping mat and blankets –her bedroll, one wool and the other she had no clue what it was made of, but she did know that the two of them together would keep her warm enough since she had used them this past winter.
Up her left sleeve and belted to her forearm was her “protection”. A very sharp knife in its sheath for which she had made Velcro bands that fit around her forearm snug but without cutting off any blood flow. It didn’t slip or slide around and it was easier to access than if she had put in on her thigh. It had taken her about two hours to figure out just where the best place was for the knife.
She had an older money belt around her waist and under her tucked in T shirt. Inside was all the money she had left over from her jobs after all her purchases. There was a total of $1513 -which had to last her for who knows how long. She knew she would need more food and now as she lay there in the warm spring sun, her last thought before dropping off to sleep was seriously thinking of that bus ticket.
Carrie slept on until she was rudely awaken by a cold nose and wet tongue.