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.