Carrie ended up staying the next day and night with the brothers. They let her recharge her net-book and they even taught her how to shoot the shotguns.
Bobby had a wrist rocket, better known as a slingshot, which Carrie got really good with. It had a hollow handle that he filled with small but solid balls that were bigger than bee bee’s but still small enough to fit quite a few in the handle.
Later that afternoon, they were on the back porch and he gave it to Carrie since he hadn’t really used it in awhile.
“You can have this, for those times that your snares don’t work or if you see a turkey or pheasant for dinner.” Bobby said.
Carrie was touched “thank you so much!” and then she startled them both by giving him a big hug!
John spoke up and said “if I give you the hammock, do I get a hug too?”
“Really?” exclaimed Carrie and she gave him a hug also.
“Well now that I got a hug, guess I’m gonna have to give you the hammock.” John said and they all laughed. The hammock was one of those cheaper ones you can find at Wal-Mart that is just made up of the cording and ties to the trees on each end. Or in this case, a porch post and an eyelet hooked to the house. The thing packs down to about six inches and would fit into Carrie’s pack.
The boys also gave Carrie some deer jerky that they had made from the last deer they had got. It was very tasty and she asked “this is great, how did you get it so tasty?”
“Secret family recipe. Can’t tell ya.” John said straight faced.
“Yep, you have to either be family or we’d have ta kill ya if we told ya.” Added Bobby.
Carrie got very serious and with something like hope in her eyes, she declared “I’d be honored to be your sister.”
Now the brothers were taken aback because they had been kidding around but they could see that Carrie meant what she said.
“Well then our sister you’ll be then!” declared Bobby “But we are gonna have to some kind of ceremony to make it real.”
And so with a toast made with shot glasses full (for the boys) and only half full (for Carrie) declaration of family was made and the beginning of the Hudson-Madison clan was forged.
“Now that I’m your sister, I get to ask for a favor.” Stated Carrie.
“Oh no, already the demands begin!” joked John.
Carrie laughed and said “seriously I have a dear friend in New York that I haven’t spoken to in a few weeks, would you mind if I gave her a call?” She then gave her innocent look and the boys laughed and couldn’t say no.
“Hi Lady Jane, I’ve got some great news! I’ve got two new brothers! Their names are John and Bobby Hudson!” Carrie burst out as soon as Jane answered the phone.
“Wow! It seems like your trip is going great. I’m glad to hear that. I’ve been worried, it’s been awhile since you’ve called but I’m glad you’re ok.”
“Oh yeah, I’m just fine.” And then Carrie proceeded to fill Jane in on all that had happened the past few weeks and her plans for continuing her journey.
“I’m a lot closer now, Lady Jane; I figure just a little over a month, and I’ll be in Arkansas. I think I am going to have to go more off road though due to all that has been going on. I’m just west of Lexington, Kentucky so I have about 700 miles to go.”
The call was coming to an end when Lady Jane asked Carrie to hand the phone to one of the brothers.
“Please don’t yell at them, ok?” begged Carrie.
“Oh no, I won’t, I’ll be very polite, I just want to thank them.”
Carrie handed the phone to Bobby who had the ‘misfortune’ of sitting closest to her.
Carrie couldn’t hear what Jane was saying but she could hear what Bobby was saying “yes ma’am”,” no ma’am” and “yes ma’am” and then finally “I sure will ma’am, it was nice talking to you too.”
Once off the phone, Bobby looked at Carrie then at John “she’s our sister alright and I think we even got a new mom thrown in the deal.”
The evening passed too quickly for all three and when the brothers woke up the next morning, Carrie was already well on her way. They found a note on the porch where the hammock had been.
My dear brothers, John and Bobby,
Thank you so much for all that you’ve shown and shared with me these past two days. Little did I know that this trip I am on would bear such wonderful blessings. I’ve gained some great friends and now two great brothers.
Someday soon, I hope to have a home to call my own and I would love to have you come and visit. As you know, I’m headed to find my Gramma’s but however my trip ends, I will always consider you my brothers and never forget you and I will be sure to keep in touch with you!
Until we see each other again!
Carrie traveled for another good week until things again went bad in the country. The black outs were now more often than not and this had the citizens in an uproar. Carrie had been listening regularly to the news since that is all that was on. There wasn’t much music anymore because of the blackouts. Only talk radio was on and it only came on once an hour due to them having to use a generator most times.
“….has recalled all the loans made to the United States during all the major bail out bills during the past year. The President has been in negotiations for more time to repay all the loans and has signed an executive order allowing the IRS to withhold an extra 30% in income taxes out of all checks. This will go into effect next Monday. In order to cover these extra taxes, many citizens are dropping their insurances and all savings plans. Many citizens have quit their jobs or have been laid off. The unemployment rate has risen to 44.7%, the highest ever recorded.
In other national news, the crime rate has doubled just in the past five days and many businesses are closing down due to loss of profits and vandalism. There also has been an increase in people hoarding food. According to Executive Order number 10998; all farms and food sources are now under governmental control and no hoarding is allowed.
Also due to the increase of lawlessness, the President has called into effect Executive Order 11310 and has ordered that prison camps be set up to contain those who are being arrested for unlawful acts.
Again the president has had to declare martial law and it will be strictly enforced and all offenders will be effectively dealt with. No one is to be out from 6pm to 7am. All officers of the NSA have been ordered to use deadly force, no exceptions.
Centers will be set up as soon as enough food and goods are gathered for distribution. All centers are expected to be operational within the next two weeks. The government would appreciate everyone to bring all excess food and goods to these centers for fair distribution to all. Anyone caught hoarding will be dealt with severely and will not be allowed to receive any food or goods.
Due to the current flu strain that is ravaging the world, all should be wearing surgical masks and making sure they are washing their hands frequently. Anyone needing masks or sanitizer gel, can pick them up when they bring in their excess food and goods at the centers….”
Carrie finally turned off the radio. She decided she was going to have to travel deeper into the country side and stay totally away from town, especially big ones.
That night she poured over her maps and knowing she would not be able to make a straight line due to having to cross rivers and highways, she felt she was able to make a fairly straight path. She figured she could cross them during the day so she would not be shot if found during the night. She attempted to make sure her path would cross the rivers by bridges. But she also knew she would be tweaking her path as she went. There would be fences to climb and areas to go around.
Her fire was small that night and as soon as she cooked the small squirrel that she had killed with her new wrist rocket and she even tried to cook some fiddle heads she had found. In her cup, she heated up some water for tea, and then when she was done, she banked the coals so she would be able to use them in the morning for some more tea before she set off. That night she laid awake in her hammock for a good long while watching the stars. She didn’t know if they were so bright because of the area or if it was because there were not so many lights on in the world that night. She counted five shooting stars before she fell asleep.
Carrie enjoyed walking through the country side and made good time. There were plenty of back roads that Carrie followed even though she was not actually on the road. She spent a lot of time looking for plants in her book, since it was getting well into spring, actually summer now that she thought about it; she was finding many different flowers. She hadn’t had the nerve to try any mushrooms that she had found but she did find morels a couple of times and roasted those over the fire. They were pretty good. One thing she found a lot of, was cattails. She did have fun pulling them up, cleaning them, and roasting them. She really wished she had a pot where she would be able to try making a stew with the edibles she had been finding. She decided to keep an eye out for something she might be able to use. She was finding a lot of places where people just seemed to dump things.
She was missing her new friends….and brothers, though. This was something new to her and she wasn’t sure exactly how she should be feeling. When she was real young, there had been a lot of love in her life. From her dad and Gramma and even her mom was somewhat loving. But the past five years were simply too harsh and demanding and had scorched her heart. She hadn’t thought she would be able to trust anyone again. Her mom had pretty much devastated her and left no real hope that Carrie would be able to find anyone she could trust or love. Carrie wasn’t a fool and knew she had been very blessed and she thanked God every day and night for allowing her to travel safely and find so many she could trust. She also knew that things were really getting bad in the country and sooner or later she was going to run into trouble.
It was just two days later that Carrie did run into trouble and she wasn’t too sure how to get out of this one.