This blog is dedicated to the stories I've written over the years. Sometimes I get some time and add a story. Grab a hot cup of something and enjoy!

Please note that for some reason, blogger is NOT allowing me to post on any comments. So thank you for reading and know I do read all the comments but cannot reply.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Small Town Survival - One

This is the very first story I ever wrote. I am polishing it up a bit but would love any corrections needed pointed out or helpful suggestions. And now.....

Small Town Survival


Gracie was reading "Little Red Riding Hood" to about a dozen kids in the "Special Room" at the library, when the EMP hit.

At first, she thought that one of the Baxter Brothers had hit another pole, since they average one a month, so she got out the oil lamps and kept on reading.

When she finished, she glanced at her watch and noticed that it wasn't working. She had the two oldest kids pass out the cookies and punch and decided to see if she could find out what was up with the loss of power.

As she stepped out the library door, she glanced across the street and saw her friend Maggie on the court house steps.

"Hey, Maggie; what's going on? Do you know?"

"Not sure yet, Gracie. It looks bad though. This could be that doomsday you're always talking about." Maggied joked.

Gracie laughed and walked back into the library.

The kids were getting very restless, so she took them outside into the gardens so they could check on "their" babies.

"Look, Miss Gracie, my Marygoldie has two new flowers!" said little Samantha, or Sammie to her bestest friends.

"They are lovely, Sammie" replied Gracie. She watched as Maggie crossed the street and come sit on the low wall that enclosed the Kid's Garden Courtyard.

"Really looks bad, Gracie. Nobody’s cars are starting and there's no electric anywhere. The phones aren't even working" stated Maggie.

"Well, I doubt if even BOTH the Baxter brothers could cause this kind of mess" said Gracie "Does Tucker still have that old radio he uses to talk to everyone in the world on?"

Maggie and Tucker have been married forever it seems, although in real time, it's only been 15 years. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. They started dating in Kindergarten. Maggie would bring peanut butter sandwiches and Tucker would bring jelly ones and they would pull them apart and trade a slice with each other. This went on everyday all through school.

Gracie was married for about 5 years; but, her husband was killed in the line of duty 4 years ago. She is happy even if she does miss him a lot.

"Tucker will never get rid of that old thing! I think I'm going to be very happy that he never listened to me about it." said Maggie.

Just then a couple of the kid’s parents walked up. Maggie began to tell them to come back into town tomorrow because she was sure there would be an emergency town meeting called. "If it was just the electric we would not be worried; but the lack of phones and the fact nothing electronic is working makes us think this is big and could last for longer than a few days. So use common sense and bring lists of things you'll need and what you have to donate. Again we think this could very well last awhile and the whole town needs to pull together and work things out."

After the parents left with their children, Maggie and Gracie continued talking over a few things, such as how glad they were that they had stocked up on things last month when Tucker told them to. Plus, they discussed how good their gardens were doing this year.

As the next hour past, all the kids were picked up and all the parents given the information that was to be had; except for Sammie's parents. No one showed up to pick her up.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Grown and Sane!

This is an essay I wrote in my Freshman year, actually won first place for this one.

Grown and Sane.

Growing up I had two so called families. My mother’s and my father’s. I was the only kid in the neighborhood whose parents were divorced. All the rest of the kids thought I was lucky, two homes meant twice the gifts, right? Well, I didn't see it that way. Today I feel very blessed that I even survived my childhood. I sometimes wish that I didn't remember so much about it.

After the divorce, it wasn't long before both of my parents remarried. By the time I was five, I had two new families and I didn't fit in with either one of them. Both my mom and dad were too busy, making sure that the 'new' spouse and kids felt at home, to spend any time with me. Losing my bedroom at my dad's was just the beginning of me being pushed aside to make room for the new families. The only time I was really paid attention to was when my mother or father fought through me, or when someone needed a power trip and so decided to abuse me to make themselves feel better.

At my mother's house, her new husband brought me two new older step-brothers who didn't take long to decide that I was only good for their pleasure. My mom didn't even notice and if she did, she didn't care enough to do anything about it. Her husband took a new interest in me only after I hit puberty, then I couldn't get him to leave me alone. So at fourteen, I decided to move in with my dad. Big mistake! Talk about from the frying pan into the fire. I went from physical danger right into verbal and emotional danger. My step-mother did NOT like the idea of me living there. All through my childhood she had been trying to convince me that my father didn't love me because I wasn't pretty enough or good enough; after all he had to get a new family didn't he? To this day, I still don’t know which was worse; the physical and sexual abuse or the verbal and emotional abuse. I have deep scars from both.

Despite the efforts of those who subjected me to things that no child should ever have to endure; I’ve managed to grow up and not be an abuser myself. I am reaching for goals that I didn’t think I was good enough to reach for. I’ve found my pathway and I’m determined to follow it. It won’t be an easy road, but what is worth having isn’t necessarily easy. My life is mine to live and I fully intend to live it the very best way I can. I do my best to instill good morals, honorable expectations, and a generous sense of caring and goodness into my children. I desire to pass on a legacy of integrity, respect, and loving kindness to my children.

And that is how I have overcome the greatest obstacle I have ever faced: My childhood. I’ve won against those who would harm me by being a better person, passing on only positive attributes, and by growing up sane.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Do or Die Epilogue


It’s been 100 years and the small town of Nysa is now a thriving community with hard working but loving people.

The country has picked itself up by its britches and is also thriving. Law and order have been re-established by good men and women and is based on the Constitution. Government is small and everyone takes responsibility for their actions.

Older ones are cared for by their families which are once again usually pretty big.

Each area makes its own power and they are not interconnected with huge grids that can be taken down with one shot.

Trading is flourishing with buckboards and railroads. No one used gas anymore since there wasn’t much call for it. But there was a factory up in Michigan that had just begun to produce cars that ran on water. It wouldn’t take too long for them to become a popular mode of transportation. Gold, silver, and bartering were how people paid for the things they didn’t make themselves.

Yes, there were still some bad guys and bad girls but they were handled and not thrown into a prison where they were taken care of for the rest of their lives. No way were Americans going to set up another system where the bad guys had more rights than their victims. If the person didn’t receive the death sentence, they were fined an appropriate amount and then put on hard labor until their fines were paid. There were very few repeat offenders.

An old storage unit was opened up one day in town and inside was found a huge pile of plastic wrappers and cellophane which was covered with mouse droppings. No one could figure out what “Oreos” meant.

People were traveling again and a young man who was named after his great-great-great grandfather decided one day to travel the country and see how everyone was doing. A young girl who was named after the founder of the town but no relation, named Trina went with him.

Do or Die 12


Trina had been in the library when the bell sounded, so she was the first to get to the bell. Since all that had happened, she took precautions until she recognized Timothy as the one ringing the bell. She didn’t even realize that there were others as she ran and gave him a huge hug!

“Timothy! It is so good to see you!” she declared as she hugged him again!

Both were laughing as Timothy hugged her back and even spun her around a few times.

“It’s so good to see you too! I hope you don’t mind an old friend coming to visit.”

“You are always welcome! And there are many here who will be just as happy as I am to see you. Oh Timothy there is so much to tell you!”

“Ok, but I’d like to introduce a few new friends of mine and we are all hoping to settle here.”

“We? You mean you want to stay too? Oh that is wonderful!” Trina exclaimed. And introductions were made between Trina and the small group standing by Timothy.

Maude and Robert showed up and it was decided that the new people would be taken to The Ranch. Their small town had just increased in size by double.

Timothy proposed to Trina on New Year’s Eve and Amber also got a proposal on the same evening by one of the newer members of the town whose name was Steve. Trina still had trouble believing that a guy actually loved her for herself.

June saw all the crops and gardens planted and a huge double wedding.

The next two years passed by with no trouble from the outside world but they remained vigilant and kept training. The kids even taught themselves some martial arts. And the town grew by two when both Amber and Trina had babies.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Do or Die 11


“Everyone should be home from helping out at The Ranch. Maybe they all stayed there for dinner or something” offered Trina.

Brianna started crying which set Serena off crying also but Megan and Hannah managed to not burst out in tears.

“Where is everyone?” Hannah asked.

“I don’t know honey but they can’t have gone far. We need to go and see if maybe someone needs our help. They may be trapped somewhere.”

“Like you said, they could be at The Ranch, that’s where mommy and daddy were going today” said Megan.

“That just has to be right! Let’s go check out The Ranch!”

The small group began to slowly make their way through town towards The Ranch. They would call out and check the homes as they went along but they didn’t find anyone all the way to the Ranch. The girls were getting cold, tired, and Serena was really fussy despite them stopping and changing her and even feeding her a few more Vienna sausages. Trina was having a hard time with her ankle which was by now throbbing painfully.

It was dark with no moon that night and it took almost an hour to get to The Ranch.

Thankfully Serena had finally fallen asleep. They came up from the back of The Ranch and
Trina stopped them from going any further. There was a strange van in the drive way and there were way too many lights on in main house. She could hear loud voices that were arguing and she heard a young girl scream. She thought it sounded like Robin. Quickly
Trina grabbed the arms of Brianna and Megan and whispered to them all “We have got to get back into the woods, something is not right here.”

As quickly and as quietly as possible, they retreated back into the woods about 50 yards.

“Ok, girls, I think you now know this area better than I do, can you think of any where that you girls can hide so I can go and see what is happening?”

Hannah and Megan looked at each other and with that language of best friends they made a decision.

“Miss Trina, we want to help. If something is wrong, that is our family in there and it is our duty to do what we can to help them.” Megan said defiantly. Both Hannah and Brianna nodded their heads in agreement.

Trina gave all the girls a big hug.

“Ok, then let’s make a plan because it’s Do or Die time I’m thinking. And you are right -we have to help our family and friends. “

Both Hannah and Megan went and scouted out The Ranch, Trina was beside herself as she tried to wait patiently until they got back. She left Brianna with Serena on the blanket tucked away under a sweeping pine but made sure she stayed within sight so all Brianna had to do was move one branch and she could see her.

From her hiding place, Trina could just make out both girls sneaking around the house and peeking into windows and the barn. They were gone for the longest 15 minutes in Trina’s life!

Megan reported what was going on at the barn first. “Everyone is in the barn except Rebecca, Robin, and Michelle. In the barn, they look like they are tied up in the stalls. There are two strangers with rifles at the front of the barn smoking yucky, stinky cigarettes. But there is no one in the back of the barn through the corral.”

Then it was Hannah’s turn “Robin, Rebecca, and Michelle are in the house and there are six strange men in there and they are arguing over who was going to get who first. The girls look scared but also really mad. I think Robin saw me peeking in because she kinda nodded at me. They have their hands tied and are sitting on the couch. There was one strange man on the front porch. All the men looked like they had guns.”

“Ok, so we have a total of 9 strange men and they are armed and it is obvious they are bad guys.”

Trina sighed and then the four of them put their thinking caps on and came up with a plan.

It was so simple it just might work.

Trina knew they didn’t have much time but also knew that they couldn’t do much on their own. So since Brianna was the smallest and quickest, she was chosen to slip into the barn and take all the knives from the baby bobs to their family and whisper their plan to them.

It didn’t take long until one by one, starting with the kids, the barn emptied out of the town’s people. The bad guys out front never paid attention or heard a sound, they were too busy joking around and smoking their stinky cigarettes.

They all met up in the woods and it was Ryker that came up with the firecracker idea.

Michael had left his bedroom window open to catch the breeze that night since his room was stuffy. In his room were firecrackers that the boys had found in town and decided to not let the adults know. He was able to slip into his room after quietly removing the screen from the window and handed out two bags of firecrackers. These were divided up among most of the kids who spread out all around The Ranch just inside the woods so they could not be seen. The lighters from the baby bobs and Trina’s backpack went with them. They were in groups of two so that each group had some way to light the fuses. Then they waited for the signal.

The arguing got louder in the house and the man on the porch went inside. Everyone froze when there was a gunshot and a scream. Brad quickly looked into the living room window to make sure the girls weren’t hit and saw a dead man on the floor. One of the men as telling two others to take out the trash and now there was one less that they had to share with.

Two of the men drug the dead man outside into the woods and didn’t come back out again.
Brad and Rob took care of them. Now the bad guys were down from nine to six.

Art and Brock took out the two guards at the barn one by one by slipping back into the barn and one of them hollering for some water. One of the guards said something about teaching them how to shut up and went into the barn laughing.

The laughing was cut short and then it was silent.

“Hey what’s happening in there?” Silence

He moved into the doorway and hollered again “Mac? Are you having some fun with those women?”


He took one more step into the barn and that was the last thing he ever did. He never saw the shovel come down on his head nor felt the knife reach his heart and stop it. Now there were only four.

The odds just got better for the good guys as they relieved the dead men of their guns and ammo.

Now came the hard part getting the girls out of the house safely so they could not be used as hostages.

Sally stayed with Serena, Brianna, and Alex under the pine tree where Serena was sleeping through everything.

Brad, Mike, and Brock slipped into Michael’s room and waited for the women to begin their part of the plan. The guys were going to sneak into Mike’s room and get his guns before the bad guys found them.

They could hear the conversation going on in the living room.

Lucy, Melanie, and Stephanie made their way to the front of the barn. The plan was for them to not so quietly pretend to “try to escape” hoping to lure some, if not all, of the men outside. They were going to do some screaming and running across the front yard towards the woods. They were going to be staggered out and running in an erratic pattern.

Mike almost blew the plan when the leader grabbed Michelle and threw her over his shoulder announcing that he was going to be the first to check out the merchandise. Michelle began to kick, scream, and squirm but the leader just smacked her on the butt and laughed as he made his way down the hall to the first bedroom on the right….which was the room where Mike and Brad had just snuck into. The leader kicked the door shut and tossed Michelle on the bed and then froze as a gun was pressed to his temple and a low voice growled “you’re done” just before he lost consciousness. Now only three were left.

It was then that the ladies began their performance; the three men left ran out of the house at the first scream. Brock and Brad followed them outside quietly.

Eerie howls sounded throughout the night and then the sound of gunfire….a LOT of gunfire all around the house convinced the remaining men to lay down their guns and surrender.

Brock gathered up the guns and it wasn’t long before all the bad guys were tied up tight and tossed into the van.

While everyone was gathered up from their various places, Brock and Brad decided they would be the ones that took care of the bad guys.

Mike followed them in the truck as they drove the van back out into the night. Everyone stayed at The Ranch that night. Maude and Stephanie cared for the various scrapes, bruises, and Trina’s sprained ankle. All the kids were given Chamomile tea and then they piled in the den on thick pallets with Sally and Art watching over them until they were all sound asleep.

While waiting for the guys to get back, the rest of the adults gathered in the kitchen and drank coffee but no one talked much because everyone realized just how blessed they had been and how unprepared to face bad people they were.

The guys didn’t get back until 4 in the morning. No one asked them what happened and they didn’t offer any information. None of the adults slept that night and two by two they took turns walking around and watching for trouble. They went armed.

Trina finally broke the silence at dawn “We are sitting ducks and I don’t know about ya’all but I do NOT like it. So what are we going to do about it?”

No answered.

“Here all I could think about in those woods with the girls, was how awful it we were having it out there with my foot hurt and how long it was taking us to get back to town especially because of the earthquake and here it was in reality even worse than I was imagining. Thank God we are all alive. But this could happen again and we must be ready.
Next time, chances are that we will not be so blessed.”

It was true, they all had grown lax and had not thought seriously about defending the town since the only ones that had found them without Timothy giving directions, was Amber and her four kids. But now the bad guys had found them and the reality that likely there were even more bad guys out there hit home with a hard thud.

The biggest problem was that no one had any real security training. Yeah, they knew how to shoot a gun since many of them were hunters. But patrolling and protecting a town wasn’t the same as hunting and they all knew it.

Maude, Brenda, and Amber fixed up a huge but simple breakfast for everyone. There were fluffy pancakes, scrambled eggs, and fresh milk. Afterwards, Amber took Robin, Rebecca, and Michelle outside for a walk one by one to assess any post effects of the trauma they had suffered. Trina had privately suggested to Amber that she use the training she had received. Amber decided that she was going to check everyone over mentally and since she had such a friendly manner, most didn’t even realize they were being analyzed. Amber found that there were three she needed to keep an especially close eye on: Mike, Michelle, and Rebecca.

After the chores were all done for the morning and everyone was once again gathered up in the large living room of The Ranch, the group began to discuss what they were going to do about protecting themselves.

“Why can’t we look in the books?” asked Kristopher “we have used books for learning all about what we can eat in the woods, for our schooling, for all the things we’ve done here so far; why can’t we find some books on defense?”

“Out of the mouths of babes…” replied Maude and smiled at Kristopher who pretended to take offense at being called a “babe” and said “I’m not a babe! I’m `13 now!” Everyone had a good laugh as he placed his thumb in his mouth and grinned.

“I think the first thing we need to do is somehow block that highway access that leads here.” Brad said.

Everyone agreed that these were two excellent steps that were needed. That afternoon and the next day were filled with the work that was going to protect the town. All the damage from the earthquake was going to have to wait. The biggest grocery store had fallen in and so had half of Wally World. There weren’t too many two story buildings in town except the court house and a couple other shops around the town square. Three of those had damage because they were old and didn’t have the some of the reinforcements that were built into the newer buildings. They weren’t worried about them, just took note as the guys got what was needed to close off the road to town.

The adult men: Brad, Brock, Bryce, Rob, Robert and the kids: Mark, Jake, Ryker, Riley, and Michael first walked to the highway looking for the best places to cut and place trees across the access road that connected the town and the highway. Then after the road was carefully gone over and the best places to block off chosen, they went and got all the tools they would need.

They did a great job of making it look like there was nothing past the “dead end”. They had found a street sign that said “dead end” and set it up close to on ramp going in their direction. That had been the suggestion of Ryker. Thankfully the road turned about 400 yards from the highway around a small bluff and after their work; it looked like it was a real dead end.

Thankfully, the library was in good shape and no damage was found except for some books had fallen off the shelves. Amber, Kristopher, Sam, Robin, Rebecca, Brenda, Lucy, Megan, Brianna, Alex, Sally, Art, Serena, Stephanie, Melanie, and Hannah all spread out in the library looking for any kind of books that would help them defend their home. Some garden carts were liberated from the garden center and everyone took home books that day.

A schedule was drawn up and everyone except Serena, Alex, Brianna, and Sam was given a shift of guarding the town. Michael, Kristopher, Ryker, Jake, and Mark were reading up on how the Native Americans use to scout and began to practice everything they could find on stalking and following people without them knowing. Of course, once the girls found out what they were doing, they also commandeered some books of their own and began to practice. They also were the first ones to snag some bows and arrows and taught themselves how to use them. Robin, Michelle, and Rebecca never wanted to feel helpless again! Amber watched over the kids carefully and found that their efforts were good for them since it focused all that rage into actions that gave the kids not only self confidence but the assurance that they would be able to do something if there was a next time….and chances were, there would be a next time.

The townspeople had a full summer and fall with all their training plus harvesting food for the winter. They also had to harvest the grains for the animals. Fall was filled with canning and butchering. Wood chopping was a common sound heard and each family had a share with the gathering, cutting, and stacking.

All in all, the town worked hard and together to make sure each family would be well set for winter. They had plenty of surplus so no one worried when during the first snowfall of the winter, but then the bell rang in the town square.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Do or Die 10


Trina yelled for the girls to sit down quick! And then she covered Serena with her body.
The ground shook for about two minutes and they could hear trees falling. Trina gathered the girls to her and checked them over really good making sure they were not hurt in any way. Serena began to cry loudly and Brianna took the pacifier out of her baby bob, popped it in her mouth, and she began to calm down. They all sat down and breathed a sigh of relief.

Then they realized that the town might not be in as good of shape as they were. Hannah jumped up to run and Trina saw the fear in her eyes and jumped up to grab her and just as she reached her, Trina’s foot got caught in a hole and she tripped and fell. Pain shot up through her foot and she just barely managed to stifle the yell in her throat since she didn’t want to scare the girls anymore than they were.

A small gasp must have escaped since Hannah turned around and saw Trina sprawled out on the ground. Megan picked up Serena and along with Brianna, walked quickly over to Trina. Hannah was crying and trying to help Trina set up.

“Hannah, it’s ok, stop crying we all will be fine.” Trina tried to reassure her.

“Trina, look at your foot!” Brianna said.

Sure enough, Trina’s foot was swelling up pretty fast. She quickly took off her shoe. “I don’t think it’s broke, look I can still wiggle my toes!”

The girls giggled as Trina wiggled her toes “look they are waving at you!”

“Ok, let’s think for a moment. I don’t think I’ll be walking too well on this foot anytime real soon. So why don’t we do this. Let’s go ahead and gather the plants for the seeds and roots for the tea. Remember we don’t want them from the same plants. And we want to leave at least half the plants and plenty of the seeds so they can grow here next year. We can first have our lunch and maybe Serena will settle down for a nap. Thankfully we are prepared! Since we all brought our baby bob’s and we have two of our big bob’s too. Then maybe we can find me a walking stick.” She said as she pointed at the two backpacks that Megan and Hannah had been wearing. Trina had a neat backpack carrier that she had been carrying Serena in so Hannah had been wearing her backpack and Megan carried an extra one.

Megan piped up “We can gather the seeds and roots and bring them to you and you can get them ready for us to take home. We will only gather about half the flowering plants.”

“Yeah, and you can rest your foot and we will be right here in your sight” added Brianna.

“I’ll find you a really good walking stick because I feel bad for making you hurt your foot” Hannah said sadly.

“Now you listen here, Miss Hannah. It is NOT your fault my foot got hurt. It was an accident -that is all. Now come here and give me a hug and we’ll both be better.” It ended up being a group hug with Serena patting everyone on the arm or face and gurgling in her own little baby language which assured everyone that they would all be A-OK!

There was one of the radios in Trina’s backpack and they tried to raise someone in town to let them know what was going on and to see how the town had faired but no one answered their call.

Trina knew that no one knew exactly where there were but only that they went west out of town.

Lunch went by quickly and Serena did doze off on her blanket that Trina had stuffed in her bag. She was glad her foot had quit swelling but knew it would take awhile before the swelling went down. She figured that with some kind of walking stick she should be ok and be able to walk back home. She didn’t let the girls know how worried she was about not hearing from anyone in town. We must simply be out of range or the signal could be blocked from all the trees she reasoned.

It only took the girls about a half hour to gather the flowers they needed and Trina shook the seeds into a couple small film canisters after shaking off the extra debris. The flowers she washed off with some water from her water bottle and then placed in a small portable plant press that she kept in her backpack.

“How come you didn’t put them in a zip-lock bag?” asked Brianna.

“That is a good question! If I were to put them in a zip-lock bag the moisture would be trapped and the flowers would mold, then they wouldn’t be any good to us. This plant press will keep the flowers intact and yet let them dry. When we get them home, we can take them out and either use the solar dehydrator to finish drying them or we can hang them up in the basement. The flower part will help hold the roots until they are dry. Once they are thoroughly dried, we can clip off the roots and store them in either jars or plastic containers which will keep moisture out. We can also go ahead and grind them up, but I like to wait until we are actually mixing the tea up.”

“Wow, and then we can make tea out of this for colds, right?” asked Megan.

“After we mix it with some Echinacea it will be the same tea that we all drank last winter when we started getting colds.”

“oh, that tasted pretty good!”

“That’s probably because of the honey we put in it.” Trina said and then continued “Ok girls, it’s time to make a plan. I’ve tried twice more to get someone in town on the radio with no one answering. So we need to start back to town. Hannah brought me a really good walking stick, thank you Hannah” Trina said as Hannah shyly smiled.

“I figure we can most likely get home just after dark if we leave now, with the way I will be limping along. So let’s pack up everything. I don’t think it is safe for me to carry Serena anymore; do you girls think you can take turns with her in her carrier, Hannah and Megan?”

Both girls nodded and Megan took the first turn. Serena woke up as they were getting ready to load up and head out. Trina changed her, putting the wet diaper in a gallon zip-lock bag and putting in the bottom zipper of her backpack. Everyone had their baby bob’s on with Serena’s clasped to the straps of her carrier. Megan had Serena on her back, Hannah had one of the bigger bob’s on her back, and Trina had the heaviest one on hers. She knew that if she fell, she wouldn’t hurt anything in it.

The group had tagged trees and bushes about every 200 yards as they walked into the woods, plus they had followed a narrow game trail, so that is the way they headed back towards town. Trina knew that the trail went along side a small creek that still had a trickle of water in it this time of the year, so she was going to have them refill their water bottles there.

They took their time and took many rest breaks with Hannah and Megan switching Serena back and forth each time. Trina helped them and they became really good at it and got quick after only four or five breaks. They were over half way home when it got dark enough for the head lamps. Everyone put one on except for Serena of course.

Finally, Trina said “Let’s take a break. Look, this is a really good spot to stop. Let’s take a vote and decide if we want to keep going or camp out for tonight. I know we all are worried about our loved ones in town and we don’t have any tents or sleeping bags. But it will be warm enough to not have to have them anyways. And don’t worry about my foot, it’s doing fine.”

The girls looked at each other and it was unanimous, they all wanted to keep going.

“Ok, then we will go on. But first let’s put on some more bug spray, Hannah I think it’s in the pack you’re wearing. And let’s eat something. The food is in my pack.”

They all took off their packs and sat down. Trina pulled out the dried fruit and a few cans of Vienna sausages out of her pack and along with water, they had their meal. Even
Serena got her belly filled with Vienna sausages and apples that Trina re-hydrated and mashed up. Since they were by the small creek, Trina had Megan and Hannah refill all the water bottles. They used a small water filter that Trina had in her pack. Trina made a small fire and heated up enough water to make everyone some strong tea and she took a few Tylenol with hers.

When they were all done, water bottles filled, packs repacked, and fire completely out; they set off again with their lights dancing out ahead of them. The girls got really good at knowing when to expect to see one of the small flags that they had used to mark the trail. Megan and Hannah took turns leading, whoever did not have Serena; then came Brianna, and lastly Trina bringing up the rear.

Trina made sure that the girls stayed close together and they didn’t have any problems climbing over the few trees that had fallen on the path. They came out of the woods on a small rise and looked over the town. They didn’t see any lights on anywhere which was strange due to the solar panels there was usually at least one small light glowing from a window of everyone’s house until at least they went to bed and after the quake, they thought everyone would be up.

Gunshots from the direction of The Ranch caught their attention and they all looked at the faint glow coming from that way.