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, August 30, 2011

Mountain Movin - Four

Chapter Four—Smiles through the Tears.

“In here!” Roni cried as she ran to the bed to check her friend, she found a faint pulse. The guys stepped into the room and immediately Roni began to bark orders.

“Kevin, go find towels and see if the water is on, the bathroom in that way, I need clean water, lots of it and many towels. Brock, come over here and help me. Tracy honey, is there anyone else here now?”

“No, mommy made me hide but when she got hurt she called me and said it was safe because no bad guys were left.” Tracey managed to get out through her tears.

“Ok honey, now I need you to be really brave, just like you have been. You can help me get your mommy cleaned up and fixed up ok?”


Roni and Tracey cleaned and checked Lana over and found where the bullet went in. The small hole was just above the round belly that was now taunt and tight. Lana was in labor. When Roni gently rolled her over, she found the exit wound and it didn’t look good. The mattress was soaked in blood. Kevin came back in from the bathroom with towels and a pan of water. Lana started to groan and weakly opened her eyes.

Roni took her face into her hands and told her that she was going to do everything she could to help her. Lana gripped Roni’s hand and said “Save my baby!” And then she passed out once again.

“Kevin, will you take Tracey into her room and help her pack her a bag please? Tracey, this is a good friend of mine and his name is Kevin. I want you to go with him to your room and pick out a few favorite toys and your favorite clothes. And see if you can’t find a picture of your mommy and daddy too, ok?”

Tracey solemnly nodded her head as Kevin said “Sure we’ll take care of that, Roni” as he led Tracey out of the room.

“Is it that bad, Roni?” asked Brock.

Roni took a deep breath and said “She’s not going to make it. The wound is too severe; and she has lost too much blood. We have to get this baby out of her. I can’t let them both die.” Then they heard a deep sigh, a slight gurgle, and then silence. Lana was gone.

Roni sprang into action and slid her knife out of it holder at her side, she ripped open Lana’s shirt and began to cut into her belly right under the lower part of the bulge. One minute later, she was handing Brock a wiggly baby girl that was screaming her lungs out at the shock of the light in her wide open eyes. Brock tenderly wrapped her in a towel and looked at Roni. Both of them had tears streaking their faces. The new baby was perfect in every way.

Kevin and Tracey came in after Roni had cut the cord and wrapped the new baby up in a big towel. Brock had covered Lana with a blanket. Roni showed them the tiny baby girl.

“Tracey honey, you and your new little sister are going to come with me. Your mom and dad would want you two to be safe.” said Roni.

“Mommy’s dead isn’t she?” asked Tracey.

Never one to lie, especially to children; Roni tried to soften the double blow that Tracey had by saying softly “Yes sweetie. Your parents are resting in death now. We will make sure that they are taken care of and their wishes followed. I know exactly what to do.”

Tracey looked deep into Roni’s eyes and said “The next thing that they hear will be Jesus calling them and telling them to wake up won’t it?”

“That is exactly right, sweetheart.”

“Can I hold my new sister? Mommy and Daddy were going to call the baby Erin, because it means peace”

Tears came to Roni’s eyes at the irony of that name. She said “Let’s go downstairs and sit you in your dad’s big comfy chair and you can hold Erin.”

The three girls headed downstairs. Brock and Kevin looked at each other. “We need a bigger vehicle now; no way am I leaving those three alone. And there is no way we can have a new baby in the open air of the jeep.” Brock said.

“I agree” said Kevin. “Let’s go down and talk with Roni and see what she has in mind. Everything has happened so fast, but somehow I think she knows already what she is going to do.”

The two guys followed the girls downstairs and found them in the front room. Tracey and her new sister were snuggled up in a big blue recliner and totally fascinated with each other’s faces. Roni was standing over them.

“They will probably sit like that for awhile” said Roni “Now we need to get things in order. Marcus has a king cab diesel truck out back in the big garage and I’d like to see if it will run. If one of you will keep watch, I’ll go do that. I’m hoping that this place is far enough away from any of the hit areas that any EMP wouldn’t have affected it.”

“I’ll stand watch and keep an eye on the girls.” said Kevin.

“Thank you. If you pull a chair up here,” Roni motioned to a spot that was by the front door “you should be able to keep an eye on the driveway and the girls. We also need to go get the jeep and bike. Maybe we should do that first, what do you think Brock?” Roni asked.

“Do you want Kevin and I to go get them, since Tracey knows you best? Plus, I’m not quite sure what to do if Erin cries.”

“That sounds great; just give me a minute or two to see if there is any milk at all around here. Lana was going to breast feed, but she may have gotten some powdered formula just in case her milk didn’t come in right away.”

Kevin stayed with the girls and kept watch while Roni and Brock went into the kitchen to search for formula. In the well stocked pantry they found two cases of formula.

“Wow, they were really stocked up, weren’t they?” asked Brock.

“Yes, Marcus and Lana both believed in being prepared. This just may cause us a problem since I don’t think I’ll be able to take everything and I don’t want to stay here. You do realize don’t you, that I’m taking the girls, but I would still like to travel with you until we reach Durango.”

“Yes, Kevin and I would never abandon you and we had already decided to stay with you and the girls. We would never dream of leaving them or you.”

Roni smiled softly at his words and Brock felt something crack in his heart.

“You know I think that Eddie took them by surprise since he would be someone they would ask questions of first- then shoot. That’s what it looks like out there, he surprised them and got off that first shot and hit Marcus. I wouldn’t doubt it one bit if it was Lana that got Eddie and since it looks like Marcus died instantly, Lana was the one that got the rest of them too.”

“You could tell all that in just the few moments we were out there?” asked Brock incredulously.

“Sure, I was raised to be very observant and I made it a game to be able to ‘see’ more than my sisters. I was a lot better at it than them. I’ve been told I have a photographic memory.”

After digging through all the cupboards, they found an assortment of bottles. They were the Playtex kind with the disposable bags to hold the milk. Roni went ahead and washed her hands and arms well under the running facet and then fixed up a smaller bottle with some bottled water she found. She was glad that Marcus and Lana had propane so she was able to light the stove and warm the bottle up a bit. Turning the facet back on, she started to fill up one side of the sink.

“How come they have running water here?” asked Brock.

“They have a gravity flow system. Their water comes from a spring up on the hill behind the house. When the generator is on, the water pressure is stronger, but it flows pretty well when it’s off. I’m going to go get the girls and clean Erin up and try to decide what to take.” She poured the hot water she had used to warm the bottle up into the side of the sink that was half full after setting the bottle on the counter. Turning off the water; she said she would be right back and ran out of the kitchen and up the stairs. Brock followed her out and stayed in the living room waiting for her to come back down.

Everyone seemed content to look at Erin who was napping in her big sisters lap. Tracey had a grin as big as Texas on her face even though tears were sliding down her cheeks at the loss of her parents.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mountain Movin - Three

Chapter 3-- Losses and Gains

The smell of hot coffee tickled Roni’s nose and slowly brought her out of the depths of sleep where the nightmares were of the walking dead. Not being any kind of rational person before coffee; she slipped out of her sleeping bag, sat up and reached over to her bag and pulled out a cup and held it out to Kevin since he was the one who had the pot in his hands pouring himself a cup.

“I see I have another non-morning person to deal with.” he said, laughing softly, as he nodded over in his brother’s direction. Brock was also barely out of his sleeping bag and already held a steaming cup of Joe between his hands and was sipping on it.

“Bless you Kevin” whispered Roni as the warmth began to flow through her from the cup she held.

“You are gonna really love me when I tell you that the showers are now working over there in the bathrooms. As you can see, I’ve already availed myself of them.”

Roni squinted up at him with one eye open, and saw that indeed he looked freshly laundered. That perked her up almost as much as the coffee was. She quickly downed the rest of the cup, handed it to Kevin and said “I’ll be back in ten.” And grabbing her bag, off she went to the bathroom. As the hot water began to ease the aches of sleeping on the ground, she briefly thought about having to ask him later just how he had gotten them working but for now, she was going to get clean!

The three had gotten to know each other the previous night as they ate venison steaks and hot peach cobbler. Kevin and Brock had both been employed at Scaled Composites, a small company at the Mojave Airport and had worked on the Voyager and the new prototype private space ship. Their mom and dad lived in Durango, CO and they were hoping that their two sisters were there already since they lived a lot closer. Their mother’s mother also lived on the farm with their parents.

Last night, during supper, they told many stories about their crazy Gramma, her childhood with 13 brothers and sisters, her remarkable ability to find lost items, and how she loved being a pack rat. But Roni could tell they loved their Gramma especially when they told how she was the one that instilled the love of bugs, lizards, bats, and snakes in them. Roni had to grin when they spoke of all the concoctions their Gramma would have them drink when they got sick. That got her to talking about how her and her sisters had been orphaned at a young age and split up, but how they were able to meet together at Momma Sue’s and how Momma Sue taught them all about the world of plants and healing. She even told them about her window and how hard it had been to make and how it was destroyed.

Breakfast was hot instant oatmeal and more coffee while the three of them decided just how to go about scavenging the campsites.

“I think that we need to check all the vehicles for gas first and see if we can’t find a cooler to put the rest of the meat in.” said Brock, while trying real hard not to stare at Roni.

“Sounds good, what other things do we need to be looking for?” asked Kevin.

“Any canned goods, blankets, tools, and things like that.” spoke up Roni. “But I really don’t think we will find too much that we will be able to use since to me, it looked like whoever did the killings also took all the usable things.”

The three of them did decide to go ahead and get out of the park that day and that they would check the campsites that lay between them and the east exit of the park. They all thought they would feel much better getting out of the park with all the dead. They just went ahead and wrapped up the extra meat as good as they could and hoped they would find a cooler. When they stopped for the night, they would just go ahead and cook and eat as much as they could anyways. They ended up putting the extra gas cans of Roni’s into the back of the jeep, but she wouldn’t part with anything else.

They did manage to find some gas that had gotten over looked by whoever had killed everyone. There was some left in one of the auxiliary gas tanks of a truck that was hooked to a fifth wheel camper. They had just enough to top off the jeep’s tank and one of the extra gas cans.

They also found a cooler that had the lid broke off, but otherwise intact. A couple of bungee cords held the lid down and the rest of the venison fit inside nicely.

The death and destruction in Yosemite Park was long behind them by late afternoon when they stopped to find more gas. They had followed the 120 all the way to highway 6 which they followed into Nevada.

“I hope we are able to get enough gas out of these cars to fill all our tanks up.” Said Brock as they looked around at the three lone cars that were the first ones they had seen in almost an hour. They ended up with a full tank for Roni’s motorcycle and just over three fourths of a tank in the jeep. But their extra gas cans were empty.

“Well, it’s only about another hour to my friend’s house. We should have enough.” said Roni as they finished gathering all the gas. “And we may just find some more cars on the way.”

“I don’t know about you guys, but I’m starving.” Said Kevin “Let’s go ahead and get us something to eat and rest for a bit.”

“I know I could use some more coffee, I’m needing a caffeine jolt in a bad way.” said Brock.

“Ok, that is a good idea, I’ll need my strength also because my friends tend to be a bit paranoid and we may have to convince them we are friendly.” Roni said in a teasing tone.

After a quick, but nourishing meal, complete with hot coffee, thanks to a small can of sterno; the three loaded back up and headed back up the road. Roni was taking the lead since she knew where the cut off was to her friends house.

About 30 miles down the road, Roni began to slow down. They hadn’t seen any other vehicles at all. Kevin and Brock could see that she was looking for something in the south side of the road. They watched as she pulled off onto a faint dirt road that was barely visible and the guys wouldn’t even have seen it if she hadn’t pointed it out. Roni waited as the guys pulled up next to her in the jeep.

When Roni lifted her visor, Brock could see right away that she was worried. “What’s wrong?” he asked.

“I’m not sure, there usually is a log that lays across the road…that log right there as a matter of fact.” she said as she pointed to a long log at least seven feet long and about half a foot wide. “That log is ALWAYS across the road.” Roni got off the bike and walked over to the log. She bent over and ran her hand over the farthest end of the log. When she stood back up, she had a wire in her fingers.

“This is supposed to be hooked to an early warning alarm system with a bell at the end. It has been cut. I think we need to stash the jeep and bike and walk in very carefully and be ready for anything. You guys don’t have to go with me, but I have to check on my friends. Lana is pregnant and I reckon she is due in about a week. If everything was ok, they would have already fixed this.”

Brock and Kevin looked at each other and then Brock said “Where do we stash the vehicles?”

Roni gave them a relieved smile and said “Follow me.” She then got on her bike and got back on the road and led them to a small rest area that had another faint dirt road that led off the back. They only drove about 15 minutes and they were in a very small clearing. They parked the jeep and bike next to each other. Roni went off into the brush for a moment and came back with a bundle of camouflage netting. She just grinned and the guys didn’t even ask how she knew it was there.

After covering the vehicles, they decided what to take. Roni took her backpack with the first aid kit in it and her gun and whip. She asked the guys if they wanted the guns that she had taken from the creeps who broke her window and they said no, they had their own. She kept them in her pack. They all took water bottles and then set off. Roni took the lead and followed a small game trail. They ended up going into a canyon and climbing the back wall of it. She stopped at the top, crouched down. Brock and Kevin joined her and they all caught their breath. Kevin let out a low whistle as the three looked down into the next canyon.

It would have looked like the Garden of Eden itself, if it weren’t for the dozen or so dead bodies laying around the yard.

“Oh my God, that is Marcus there on the porch. And that one over there by the Ford Truck looks like Lana’s ex husband- Eddie.”

“What ever happened, it looks like it is over and we should get down there and check it out. But still let’s try to be quiet and quick.” said Brock. And the three of them went down into the canyon as quietly and quickly as they could. When they got to the yard, they checked each body as they came to it, they all were dead. It looked like the gun fight had just happened that morning. All three had their guns drawn and ready to fire. Roni climbed the steps to the front porch and checked Marcus. He was also gone. She headed into the house.

“Lana!? Tracey!?” she hollered. Tracey was Lana’s and Marcus’s four year old daughter. Kevin and Brock came in right behind her and together they cleared the first floor and then headed upstairs.

“Lana!” Roni called again and she heard a small whimper coming from the master bedroom. She quickly went in and stepped to the side scanning the room. Tracey was there by her mothers side on the bed, crying. There was blood all over the bed.

Tracey cried “Aunt Roni, help mommy! Please.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mountain Movin - Two

Chapter two – This one’s for the Bears!

The only road through Yosemite Park was the 120, also known as Big Oak Flat Pass that turned into Tioga Pass. Roni hated having to take it since if there was anyone in the park that is most likely where they would be. There were many campsites on that road. But she was hoping that most of the people would be gone by now. The ride to the Park had taken all of yesterday and had gone fairly smooth. There were a couple of old dirt bike trails that had cut off much of the highways and she tried to stay on them except for when she had to find gas. But going through the park, she would have to stay on the road, it was simply too dangerous to go off trail. Plus it would take too much time and gas. She hoped to go straight through the park and be well on the other side by lunch time.

By finding a spot off road just before she got to the park on the 140/Yosemite year round hwy; Roni had managed to find a couple of cars with gas still in them and one even had an extra gas can. She kept that and managed to figure a way to hook it on the bike. Not that she liked having ONE gas can at her back, let alone TWO!

Roni was making good time when she got to the White Wolf camp ground. She slowed down to almost a crawl when she noticed that there was something wrong with the site. She turned into the camp ground to do a drive through lookie-loo. Her blood ran cold when she noticed the first bodies. It looked like a family of five had been camping when the EMP hit and their site was totally trashed. But it was human hands that had tied the family up to a large tree and it wasn’t hard to see that the four-legged animals had came after the two-legged ones had left.

Roni slowly made the rounds. It was the same story at four other sites. Two of the sites had worthless RV’s still parked, but ripped apart. How in the world did this happen? Did they simply wait their turn to be killed? Or was there simply too many bad guys and they hit all the sites at once? The latter seemed to be the only reasonable explanation. Was the gang still in the park? Were they still ahead or had they left?

All these questions swirled through Roni’s head until she placed them in the part of her brain that would allow her to stay aware of the danger but not let the horror of it all stunt her abilities to keep her wits about her.

She didn’t even stop at the last site because of the family of bears that were “cleaning” it up. She barely was able to keep the granola bar she ate an hour earlier down.

After debating for just a moment on whether she should move on or see if there was anyone or anything at the Yosemite Creek campground, she turned off the main road towards the site. As she traveled down the road, she noticed that the plant life was already trying to reclaim it. This was hopefully a good sign, meaning that no one had traveled the road in a while. Well, that turned out to be a myth, for when she turned into the site she almost ran over a man standing in the road with a shotgun leveled at her.

OOPs! Too late to turn tail and run away!

The good news was that he hadn’t shot her yet. She skidded to a halt about twenty feet in front of him.

Slowly Roni took off her helmet after turning her bike off. Her long black braid slid over one shoulder. She set her helmet on the gas tank and crossed her arms over it.

“Well, I guess we’ve got two choices here,” she said to the man still holding the gun on her. “You can go ahead and try to shoot me or I can break out a couple cans of peaches, a bit of sugar and flour and whip up a peach cobbler to go with whatever that wonderful smell is that you’ve got cooking.” Then she gave him her best ‘I’m such a good girl’ smile and waited for him to say something.

Brock could not believe his eyes! The woman in front of him either had balls of brass or was crazy to be acting like she was, but man was she a knock out! There was a rope of black hair falling over one shoulder that seemed to glow with a life of its own and her deep blue eyes were direct and honest looking, although wary. Before he drowned in their depths, he decided to take a chance with her and he slowly lowered the gun. And by God are those three freckles dancing on the bridge of her nose?

“I guess I can’t pass up peach cobbler and I think it will top off the venison we’ve got cooking nicely.” Brock said as he walked closer and held out his hand. “My name is Brock Stetson and my brother over there is Kevin.” When his hand grasped hers, what felt like a solid spark was felt by both of them. Both were startled but tried to cover it up.

Kevin came out of the trees as Roni was shaking Brock’s hand and so to try to gather her wits and shake that... whatever it was, Roni introduced herself. “Nice to meet you two, I’m Roni and I’m just passing through on my way to my sister’s place. But I am hungry and will keep my part of the bargain. I can make a mean cobbler over the fire, if I do say so myself.”

For some reason Roni thought she would be able to trust these two. It wasn’t their looks, although they both were very good looking. But more like something in their eyes. There was a kindness despite the haunted look; a deep goodness that seemed to go right to their soul. Roni got off her bike and pushed it closer to the camp site and shook Kevin’s hand.

“So what has been going on here, I found a lot of dead people out there. Is it safe to be here?”

“Well, we didn’t kill them that’s for sure. We only got here this morning and since there was no one at this camp ground we decided to rest up and get better organized.” replied Brock. It seemed he wasn’t able to keep his eyes off of Roni and so he decided to keep talking to her so he wouldn’t seem rude. “We are headed east to see if any of our family made it. We were just north of LA in a town called Mojave when everything stopped and we saw the glow from LA when it was hit. We figured that Edwards Air Force Base would be hit and so got the hell out of there as fast as we could. Thankfully, Mojave had an airport with a lot of steel buildings and we have a friend who kept his vehicles in one and had an extra jeep that he let us have. He took another one and headed out himself. We stocked it up with what we could find and got out of there. We stayed with another friend for awhile but decided to hit the road again to check on our family and here we are. What about you?”

“I’m from Carmel on the coast and a bunch of punks took over the town, killed my best friend, and ruined my window.” Roni deeply sighed with the memory. “I decided it was time to go to my sister’s home and I hit the road yesterday and here I am today hoping to get a bite of that venison soon. Do you mind if I start that cobbler? It will need to cook for a while.”

The three of them settled around the fire as Roni mixed up a cobbler out of a few cups of flour with some sugar tossed in a Dutch oven she pulled from one of her panniers. She topped off the mixture with a couple cans of peaches and set it in some coals she had scraped out of the fire off slightly to the side. She put the lid on top of the Dutch oven she made the cobbler in and scooped up some more coals and placed them on the lid.

Talk turned back to the dead people out there and Roni ended up asking “Do you think whoever did that is still around? I’ll be glad to take a watch tonight.”

Brock again was the one to speak up “We haven’t heard or seen anyone since we got here this morning. We went all the way through the park, but came back here to when we realized that this was the only camp ground with no dead bodies in it.”

“You mean that at the rest of the campgrounds there is the same death and destruction” Roni asked.

“Yes, and it is even worse. These people have been dead for at least two days if not longer and the animals have gotten to most of them. We didn’t find any survivors. We were going to rest up today, get the jeep reorganized and leave tomorrow at first light. Then Kevin here had a shot at this deer that he couldn’t pass up so we decided to try to dry what meat we don’t eat tonight and that may make us stay here another day.”

“Have you gone and seen if you can find a cooler at any of the camp sites?” Roni asked.

“No we haven’t had the stomach for it yet, we just went through and looked for anyone alive; but since we now will be staying tomorrow, we might just go through the sites more thoroughly and see if there is anything we can scavenge. They sure won’t need anything anymore.”

“Do you mind if I stay with you and look around myself? And if we are all headed east maybe we could travel together, safety in numbers and all.”

“We are headed to Colorado, Durango to be exact to check on our family. So you are welcome to come with us that far.”

“That would be perfect, I have to go through Durango to get to my sisters place anyways and I know a couple that lives on the way; they won’t mind us stopping and resting. I sure hope that they are still around.”

Talk slowed down as they ate their dinner and topped it off with some delicious peach cobbler that had Brock and Kevin praising Roni and her culinary skills. Afterwards it was decided who would take which watch. Once the sun went down all the way, they were ready to get as much sleep as possible.

Roni took the first watch and at midnight she woke Brock up and then hit her sleeping bag. She slept like a log! Her last thought before she drifted off was “I sure hope I don’t snore tonight!”

The bears left them alone since they were busy elsewhere.

Mountain Movin - One

Mountain Movin’
- Veronica’s story

Chapter One –Hit the road, Jack!

“Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap!” Muttered Veronica under her breath, “I just knew I should have left sooner!” Anger flushed through her as a crash in her living room sounded through out the house. She knew it had to be the stained glass window she had finished and installed only one month before the fan got hit with the fecal matter. It was such a beautiful window too; sparkling in all that sunlight as the sun was setting over the Pacific Ocean. She had been working on that window for almost a year!

She peeked around the corner of the hall wall into the living room; a grin crossed her face since the jerk that broke the window still couldn’t get in with all the metal work that she had done with the picture. Such a lovely picture, it was two angels one female and one male, holding three young girls in their arms; wings outstretched yet embracing at the same time. All the people had smiles on their faces.

Now Veronica decided she was good and angry! Usually of the most mildest of tempers, not much got under her skin; but the destruction of the one piece of Art she had made in her parent’s memories flipped on her anger button big time! Standing up she stomped over to the whip she kept on the stand by the front door and taking up the spare magazine for her gun that she had at her back, she shoved the clip into her back pocket and shook out the whip while ripping open the door. Yep, she was ticked off all right!

The jerk trying to smash in the window was unaware of Roni’s presence until the whip wrapped around his neck and jerked him off his feet. The crowbar that was in his hand went flying through the air and caused the other two punks with him to duck. The whip lashed out again and struck one of the punk’s hands causing him to drop the gun he had.

The three punks looked her way as Roni said “You just bought that window with your lives. By the way, the front door was unlocked.” then with the whip in her right hand and gun in her left, she fired three shots.

She didn’t really feel any regret over the killing of the punks, since she recognized them as the same three who had broke in and killed her one great friend, an older lady, Mrs. Tammy Beauford.

Things had been going fairly well here since the EMP went off, but when the gang came down from San Francisco just under two weeks ago and killed the sheriff and almost all the rest of the law enforcement here, crap had been being flung far and wide. Mrs. Beauford was a lovely older lady who never bothered anyone and was always happy to see Roni. She had bought a few of Roni’s Art pieces and when she commissioned her to make a bust of her dear husband about five years ago, they became fast friends.

Roni had been trying hard to make sure Mrs. Beauford was protected, especially since the gang had come, but Mrs. Beauford would not move from her home. She thought she was far enough from town to not be noticed. She was wrong and when Roni had not been there, the same three that she had just killed had found the house, broke in, terrorized then killed Mrs. Beauford. When Roni got there, the three were roaring down the road in an old truck that was filled with many of Mrs. Beaufords belongings. She would have gone after them right then but she thought that there might be a chance Mrs. Beauford was alive and needed medical help.

She threw up for a full fifteen minutes when she got there.

Now Mrs. Beauford rests in death in her back yard in her rose garden. A simple marker stands at the head of the grave. “Beloved wife and friend. Tammy Beauford”

Roni shakes her head and brings herself back into the present. After taking the weapons that were on the bodies, wrapping them up in one of the slimy jerk’s bandana, and letting the ‘coke’ she found blow away in the breeze coming off the ocean; Roni decided to leave the bodies there and to move up the day for leaving town to today.

Yes, it was time to go. She hadn’t been able to get any more messages to either of her sisters. Emma was in Colorado and Gracie was in Arkansas. She had been able to only get one message to each. Gracie’s friend Tucker had told her she may have to leave her beloved ocean and he also gave her some good ideas on how to get her motorcycle running and what to pack. His warning about sticking to back roads was clear in her mind, but she always took the back roads when she would go visit Emma. She liked the scenery and she had a couple friends along the route that she usually stayed with for a day or so, to break up the drive.

Turning around, with the three handguns, four knives and one pair of handcuffs tied up in the bandana, her gun back in the belt at her back, and her whip coiled up once again, Roni went back into her house, closed the door, locked it and walked straight through to her kitchen. The knives were pieces of junk so she broke the blades and tossed them in the trash. The guns weren’t much better, but she figured they may come in handy even if they only had the bullets that were in them. She hadn’t found any extra ammo on any of the bodies and she didn’t feel like looking for any vehicle that they had come in. She thoroughly washed her hands after pouring some water in a big bowl, using a lot of soap. Those creeps made her feel dirty. She then finished the last of the salad she had made from the veggies that Mrs. Beauford had had in her garden. She had only taken a couple of bites when the punks had tried to break in.

Roni didn’t have much in the way of material things. Her small house only had two bedrooms, kitchen with an eating area, one bath, a living room, and a very small garage attached on the side that held her motorcycle and not much else.

Until the “DAY”, she had spent most of her time at her gallery where she had a room that she worked in creating her Art. The gallery had been trashed the second day that the gang arrived in town and she hadn’t the heart to go back there since. When she saw the extent of the damage and that it looked like it was done simply for fun, she was very grateful that she had not been there when they broke in.

Roni rinsed out her bowl with some water. She walked through her house making sure that there was nothing left that she wanted to take and actually could take. Placing the full duffel bag and back pack inside the garage, Roni went back into the kitchen got all the non-perishable food and the two jugs of water and took them out to the garage also. She packed the food and water into the two panniers that she had on her bike, a small Dutch oven fit on top nicely. The duffel bag got strapped down on the rack that connected the panniers. The duffel bag now contained the guns and handcuffs she had so recently acquired.

Going back into the house, Roni went to the cupboard that was over the small washer and dryer that was in the corner of the kitchen, and grabbed her tightly bound sleeping bag that also had a tarp in it. She took that out and strapped it with the duffel bag. The last thing she strapped on was the extra gas can that was filled with gas. This had its own special rack over the back fender. With her over-sized regular tank and the extra gas, she could ride for just under 350 miles before she had to refill. Since she would be taking her usual route, she hoped that the places she normally would stop for gas would be there but she had a small hose with a bulb that she could use to siphon gas out of tanks of the vehicles she figured she would encounter on her way.

She was already wearing her most precious possession, her dad’s dog tags. Emma had gotten her dad’s wedding ring, Gracie got their mom’s and she got the dog tags. They meant the world to her and she never took them off. These three things were the only things that the girls had of their parents.

After making sure she had all she wanted, Roni clipped the whip on the belt at her waist, stuck her gun in the holster she put on, and before she stepped into the garage and almost closed the door behind her -probably for the last time ever; but she decided that she needed to get the rest of the anger over the window out of her system. So she proceeded back into her home and began to empty all the glass dishes out of her cupboards and break them. When they were all broken, she stepped over the shards and left her home no longer angry.

Just before Roni pulled onto Ocean Ave to head towards highway 1, she looked at her beloved ocean one more time and vowed to come back again one day.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Small Town Survival -Epilogue


From the journal of Samantha Cooper Flannery:

“Well, I hope the story of that fateful time reaches the eyes and ears of future generations. I ended up marrying Matthew Flannery, son of Patrick and he is a most wonderful husband and father to our five kids.

The kids from St. Jude’s all are healthy now. How can one not get healthy with Momma Sue looking after you? She stuffed them with Essaic Tea and many other herbs and concoctions. Boy did she have many go a rounds with Dr. Rutherford. But of course in the end, Momma Sue won a new admirer and between the two of them, they managed to educate many in the healing arts. As a matter of fact, healing is learned by all here. Although Momma Sue has since passed away, she sure managed to cram her knowledge into all of our heads, so now we each carry her in our hearts and minds always.

All of us kids grew up in a wild and dangerous time. We had many problems to tackle. But as a community, we tackled them. We had some losses and we had some troublemakers and yep FEMA did come but didn’t find much. Granny Gibbs managed to put about another half dozen bad people in their graves before she fell asleep in death.

It was an EMP that hit the world that day. It seems that Korea was to blame and since China and Russia didn’t have a clue what was going on, they set off all their missiles.

Many of our major cities were hit, why Memphis wasn’t; I don’t know but I am thankful since that is where my Matthew was. The US government managed to set off all of our missiles also and let’s just say that in another couple hundred years, we may just get to rediscover the east.

About a year later, a real bad flu swept the country. Thanks to our isolation, we managed to escape it. Our friends in Payneway also faired well.

The signals off of the cell towers are still used today, even though Payneway now has two doctors of their own. Mostly they are now used to signal for gatherings and good times.

Daniel, the young boy who managed to hook himself to Doc; well he was and is a real sweetie. He began talking about one month after Doc brought him home and has not shut up since! He also ended up marrying my name sake; Abigail, who I’ll talk a bit about in a moment.

Things are quite different now. Oh yes, we are still the United States of America, but I like to think we are a better country. We now once again value the good things like dignity, honor, and integrity. We value each person for their strengths and help all to over come any weaknesses. No we are not a perfect country, but with the help of our Creator, maybe someday we will get pretty close. There is a lot less greed in the world now. People are more content with the basics and good company. Children are once again considered a great blessing and we have lots of kids running around town now a days.

Our little community has grown to a whopping 1500+ and we all help each other out with the planting and harvesting. We still tend to keep to ourselves for the most part.

We have a school again, although not like any government school there ever was. We teach courses that allow the kids to live in this new world we find ourselves. Much learning is done at home from the parents and everyone is welcome at school. The rule is “you’re never too old to learn something new” and we all take it seriously.

Every so often one of us will go out into the world and come back with new stories to tell, new books to share, and usually a bride or groom. But we all come home. Even Miss Gracie came home. See a couple of months after my mom and dad got home from Memphis; our house was struck by lightening and burnt to the ground. Miss Gracie gave us her home to live in and she went to Colorado to check on her sisters. She packed her a few things on her bike, and gave us everything else she had, including the kids! We sure missed her. She was gone for two years! During that time I got a new baby brother, Randal Gavin Cooper, Randy for short.

Back to my namesake: the baby girls that Miss Gracie helped Mrs. Montgomery deliver were named: Victoria Grace and Abigail Samantha. Would you believe they ended up having two more boys after that? Lord, bless them!

Maggie and Tucker took in four of the kids from St. Jude’s and even managed to have four more of their own!

Brooke raised JJ and JP and after just a year, they sent her back to Memphis to find herself a husband! She agreed to go and wouldn’t you know it, she came back with a really neat guy that was just as awesome at martial arts as Brooke was! They were a perfect match and JJ and JP welcomed a new baby brother shortly after Brooke married Lance.

Did I mention that Gracie came back with a husband also? Well, I’ll mention it now. She found this guy in Colorado, seems he is ‘Rony’s husband’s brother. And since Kevin has come into Miss Gracie’s life, she is even more content and happy than I’ve ever seen her. They had a brood of kids of their own, seven to be exact. The youngest was named Sammie Sue…..I guess that means I have two namesakes.

We all are older, wiser, and happier now. A new generation of kids roam freely and unafraid through out our community. And they are welcome at every home. Life is sweet and life is good. Life is worth living.

Now I’m going to close this journal, mostly because I hear many of my grandkids hollering for me. I wish all happiness and peace.

Sincerely, respectfully, and peacefully

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Small Town Survival -Thirty One


Gracie and Sammie were traveling a well known path that led from her house down to an old creek bed that only flowed in the early spring, but stayed muddy all year long. After carefully crossing it over some rocks put there for that purpose; they found the small game trail that led to where the best berries grew. The trip to the briar patch took about 45 minutes of careful walking with Gracie making sure that Sammie was also looking at their back trail to keep herself feeling secure that she would know the way home. After checking the berry bushes and seeing that they would indeed give many blackberries in just a couple short weeks and that the blueberry bushes also would be giving a great harvest, they decided to go check on the Montgomery’s. This was a family that rarely came to town. Mrs. Montgomery was pregnant with her seventh child and due in only about a week or so. She had given birth to all her kids at home with her husbands help. They weren’t in town the other day nor did they come to the hoedown, so Gracie thought she should let them know what was going on just in case they didn’t know, especially since they lived off grid and had no TV or radio.

Gracie and Sammie had just come out of the small strand of trees that bordered the back of the Montgomery’s property when they both heard a sharp, loud, agonizing scream. They both quickly looked at each other, and Sammie whispered “what do we do?”

Gracie thought for just a moment and then said to Sammie “ok, here’s the plan. We don’t know what is wrong, so you have to stay here and be my best hope. I’m going to leave my bag here and only take the radio and my knife. I’m going to sneak up to the house and then see if I can find any danger. You just leave your radio on and listen, do not answer the radio or talk into it unless I say ‘sugar and spice and everything nice’. So no matter what else I may say, if I don’t say that, don’t answer, ok?”

“Ok, Miss Gracie. I won’t answer unless you give the code.” replied Sammie.

“And if I tell you to run back home, you better run back home. Do you understand me?”

“Yes ma’am” Sammie could tell that this was serious business.

“Ok, now I want you to hide yourself real well, turn your radio on low, and wait and listen. I love you.”

With a quick hug and kiss and a slight push to go hide, Sammie scampered off and hid herself under a fallen tree with both the packs. Two of the kids went with her, Spice and the General, the oldest of the Sheppard's. The other two Sheppard's were alert at Gracie’s’ side. As soon as Sammie was out of sight, Gracie began to edge forward towards the house. She could still hear screaming going on, and as she got closer, she could hear arguing and children crying. She almost tripped over one of the families beloved dogs. He was dead. It was a gruesome sight. Someone had taken a knife to him. He looked like he had been dead for at least a day. Max and Georgia softly growled deep in their throats. But the sound didn’t carry over the cries coming from the house.

Now Gracie was totally ticked off. No one should treat an animal like that. They made it to the back porch without anyone in the house knowing they were there. With a quick hand signal, the two dogs slipped into the back door that Gracie had slowly opened. She was careful to have her knife ready. Now that she was in the house, she could hear the argument.

“Let me go to her, she is in labor and needs help. She isn’t due for another week and the baby may not be turned right. My God Mike, don’t you have any heart?” yelled a man that Gracie quickly recognized as Frank Montgomery. Then she heard a voice that chilled her to the bone.

“I don’t give a damn if she lives or dies! And you better shut your brats up or I’ll start killing them.” shouted Mike Tanner.

Gracie was now filled with righteous anger. It seemed to her that Mike Tanner didn’t give her warning enough serious thought. And it seemed that he now was in control of the Montgomery home. Well, not for long; she thought.

Slowly easing around the door way that separated the kitchen from the short hall that lead to the living room and also back to the bedrooms, Gracie peeked around the corner. She could see Max sliding behind Mike who was standing about six feet into the room with his back to her. Max glanced back at Gracie for some sign that he could jump him. Gracie gave the sign for no since she could see a gun in Mike’s hand. It was hard to miss since he was punctuating his words with jabbing motions of the gun. There was no sign of Georgia and so Gracie could only conclude that she went to Mrs. Montgomery side.

Gracie placed a finger to her lips as the oldest child; Frankie Jr. caught sight of her.

Then Mike must have sensed something was not right and slowly turned with the gun. Quickly Gracie ducked back but Max sprang and clamped his teeth on Mike’s gun hand. The gun went off and a shot flew threw the doorway and into the wall right where Gracie’s head had been. Whipping around the wall quickly and into the living room Gracie hollered “Release!” Max instantly released Mike’s wrist that the gun was still in.

“I told you I never wanted to see you again, Mike. And I wasn’t kidding.” With those words Gracie threw her knife and it slide through Mike’s ribs and found his heart just like they were butter. The gun slide from his hand and as he looked her in the eye, he dropped to his knees and then fell face forward, driving the knife even deeper.

"Is there anyone else here?" asked Gracie quietly.

"No it was just Mike" replied Frank.

Gracie apologized to the Montgomery family for them having to see her actions. She retrieved her knife from Mike’s body and quickly cut Frank free. “Mary needs you, she is having a hard labor and I think something may be wrong with the baby, please go to her” he cried.

Gracie pulled her radio out of her pocket and said “sugar and spice and everything nice, come to the house Sammie.” She then released the button and said “Sammie is here with me, she is coming to the house, Frank do you think you and Frankie Jr. can move this piece of trash out of here? I’ll need Susie, Cindy, and Sammie’s help now. You girls come with me.” She looked at the younger kids and said “Will ya’all start up the stove and start heating some water? And make sure Sammie brings my bag into your mom’s room?” All the rest of the kids solemnly nodded their heads and Gracie and the two oldest girls ran to Mary’s room.

Georgia sure enough was there and Mary had her head buried in the dog’s soft fur.

“Mary, it’s ok. The danger is over and I’m here to help you. Let’s get you cleaned up and get this baby into the world.”

Mary lifted her head and a flood of relief, gratitude and then pain crossed her face. “Girls, will you find a clean gown for your mom and bring me all the clean towels you can find, ok?” With quick nods of the head Susie ran to the dresser and dug into one of the drawers for a fresh gown. Cindy took off out the door but was back with a minute with a stack of towels that was over her head.

“Now will you go wet a couple of the towels for me to use to clean your mom up?” asked Gracie and Cindy took two towels and went back out the door.

“Mary, I need to examine you and see how the baby is sitting. Susie, can you go find some clean sheets so we can get this bed changed?” Again Susie nodded her head and was out the door and back almost before the question was done being asked.

Together the three of them cleaned Mary up and got her into clean sheets and a clean gown. After examining her, Gracie told her the bad news.

“Honey, I’m afraid the baby isn’t turned right and he or she is trying to come into the world wrong way first. I think I can turn the baby, but it won’t feel good. Sammie had come into the room during Susie and Cindy’s running around and spoke up “Miss Gracie, here is your first aid kit, are you going to use the needles?”

Gracie smiled at Sammie and said “yep; they will help Mrs. Montgomery deal with the pain of having a baby. Thank you Sammie very much for remembering the BOB’s earlier.” Taking a slender tube from the first aid kit, Sammie looked Mary in the eye and said “You and your baby are going to be fine, now let’s get you on your hands and knees.”

Gracie quickly inserted the needles at the correct points to stop Mary from feeling the pain and thanked God for the studies in acupuncture that she almost didn’t take when the course came up at the college a couple of years ago. And for the wise old Chinese teacher who worked with her after class also until she had perfected the 'needles'.

With Mary on her hands and knees, Gracie was able to reposition the baby by external and internal manipulation and just shy of two hours later, Mary gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Cindy and Susie both had been taking turns going out for fresh warm water to dunk towels in to use for the birth process and cold water for their wiping their mom’s forehead and anywhere else she wanted a cool cloth. They gently helped Gracie wash their new sister off, cooing over the little one. Mary gave a yelp, and Gracie glanced over. “I think that must be the afterbirth, let’s take care of this.”

But with one big push, it was another baby that came out, not the afterbirth. This baby girl didn’t cry like the first and wasn’t breathing. Gracie quickly grabbed a towel and started rubbing the baby quickly and when the slightly rough treatment didn’t seem to be working, gently blew puffs of air into the small baby girl. With a couple of fingers she pushed onto her chest above the heart.

Cindy, Susie, Mary, Sammie and Georgia held their breath, daring not to breath. Even the first baby girl seemed to know not to cry and quietly gurgled. Then in a rush, the baby took in a deep breath and let out a howl and brought smiles and tears to the others.

Gently the girls helped to clean up this baby too and after they had Mary and the two babies cleaned up and the bed remade again, both Mary and the two babies began to doze on the bed together.

“Cindy will you go get your dad? Susie, would you go make a pot of tea out of this for your Mom? She won’t sleep for very long right now.” And Gracie handed Susie a small packet of tea from her first aid kit.

“Well Sammie, I don’t think we will be making the town meeting today.”

“No Miss Gracie, I don’t think so either.” They both looked at each other with dorky grins on their faces, then they gazed at the two adorable babies sleeping so comfortable at their mom’s sides.

Frank was dumbfounded with he came in and saw two babies in his wife’s arms. Then he couldn’t help himself, he got a dorky grin on his face too! Mary opened her eyes as Gracie, Sammie and Georgia slipped from the room to give them some privacy.

Between Gracie and the kids, they managed to get supper fixed, they found some homemade soup that Mary had canned, in the pantry and since they already had the cook stove going for the water that Gracie needed, she made two big sheets of biscuits and everyone got fed. Mary drank the tea with her supper and soon after the babies nursed for the first time, mom and babies were sound to sleep.

Frank and Gracie sat at the kitchen table after supper drinking some coffee talking quietly. While Gracie had been in the bedroom helping Mary give birth, Frank and the rest of the kids had kept busy cleaning up the mess in the living room including taking burying Mike’s body; and now the kids were piled in there with Gracie’s “kid’s” and sleeping also.

Gracie got up and told Frank they had better get going if they were going to make it home by dark. With grateful thanks and big hugs, and promises of letting them know what the babies names were going to be; Gracie, Sammie and the kids set off for home. And when they got to Gracie’s Sam and Sandra were waiting anxiously with open arms that Sammie slid right into.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Small Town Survival -Thirty

St. Judes.

It took almost an hour to clear the bridge of the cars so that the caravan of vehicles could pass over it. Mostly they were able to pop the older vehicles into neutral and just push them off the bridge, with JJ and JP steering and working the brakes. They rolled pretty easily; they just had to be careful because some rolled backwards down the slope of the bridge. The kids had a blast and really thought they were helping big time, which helped them feel like they were fitting in.

Those from the hospital stayed in their vehicles: one van, one suburban whose seats had been removed to make more room, an old Frito Lay truck that had been there to make a delivery to the snack machines, and two ambulances that they got running at the last minute. Patrick’s family had also made it to St. Jude’s with the two trucks that he said he had (he just failed to mention that they were big enough to almost be called semi’s), the one jeep and they had, and a bus that they got running. The two mini-semi’s finished pushing all the more stubborn vehicles off the bridge and the group was on its way as soon as they recovered Bobby Joe’s truck.

In Payneway, they stopped and a fire was started to signal their friends that they had just dropped of there- was it only this morning? They went ahead and figured they may as well get everyone fed and take stock of what and who they all had while they waited for Jim and Ron.

“For just the six of us, we sure did manage to gather quite a bit,” observed Sparky.

The six friends grinned at each other. “Yeah, we seem to have the attraction that a dog has to fleas” snipped Sparky “Only we seem to have gotten some good fleas.”

Sam helped Sandra get out of the ambulance and made her comfortable in the fresh air, not too close to the fire. The sick kids were helped out also and made comfortable too. Patrick and his family donated enough food to fill everyone’s bellies with a good meal.

Everyone had canned stew and homemade biscuits that Patrick’s mom whipped up fast and cooked them over part of the fire where she rigged up a camp oven that her husband had made her for camping trips.

Since there really wasn’t time for everyone to meet everyone else in Memphis, they decided to go ahead and get everyone acquainted while they ate. Halfway through the meal, Jim and Ron pulled up on a couple of bicycles that looked like they were from the fifties.

They about wiped out at seeing the big group of people laughing and joking around, with everyone having big grins on their faces, and great smelling food in their hands. It was indeed an impressive sight; especially with some of the kids hooked up to portable IV stands.

After the food was gone and things cleaned up and repacked; many decisions had been made.

Patrick and his family were practically begged to stay and live in Payneway and the children from St. Jude’s were to go with the rest of the group to Harrisburg since there was a clinic there. Not to mention, Momma Sue.

Total of those staying in Payneway:

Patrick Flannery
Pat (Patrick’s dad)
Melinda (Patrick’s mom)
Sara (Patrick’s wife)
Patrick and Sara’s children:
Megan- age 13
Morgan- age 13 (yep, twin girls)
Matthew- age 11
Marcus- age 8
Belinda (Patrick’s sister)
Ryan (Belinda’s husband)
Belinda and Ryan’s children:
Bryan- age 16
Jacob- age 14
“Bean-Sprout” aka: Clarissa Joy- age 5

Total of those going on to Harrisburg:

Big Mac
Bobby Joe
Dr. Margaret Rutherford
And four nurses:
Sue Davenport
David Nelson
Pamela Summers
Vicky Olsen

And the ten children:
Molly Evans- age 2 months
Mikey Sinclair- age 5
Todd Belmont- age 5
Annie Hayes- age 6
Ethan King- age 8
Emma Stone- age 8
Julie Freeman- age 9
Ricky Smith- age 10
Georgie Bennett- age 11
Brennon Michaels- age 12

JP was getting ready to climb into the big truck, when he popped off with “Too bad the cell towers don’t work, or we could keep in touch by cell phone.”

Big Mac and Doc looked at each other and hollered over to Ron and Jim who were getting ready to lead Patrick and his family to their new home.

“Hey Ron! Jim! Hold on a sec, we’ve got an idea” Big Mac yelled, and then sauntered over to tell them the idea.

“Young JP gave us a great idea, see that cell tower there?” All the men looked up at the tall silent tower that was just a few hundred yards away. “I don’t see why we couldn’t see a light at night or a brightly colored flag of some sort during the day, especially with some good binoculars. If you look over that way towards our town, you can just make out the cell tower there.” Now all the men looked east to spot the far away cell tower. “Maybe we can rig up some sort of signal if either of us need some help, like one steady beam for big bad trouble, blinking light for need help, no danger; and maybe we can find a colored piece of clear material that is green for all is well, just checking in” finished Big Mac.

Bobby Joe spoke up and said “We need a red light for danger, do NOT come.”

“You’re right,” replied Ron “We will need some sort of arranged signals, like if we could use a doctor and such.”

“We need to train the nurses to be doctors and everyone should have some sort of medical training. I’m hoping that the doctor will train people in her spare time and then we can see if someone wants to move here permanently. You can send your people to town a couple at a time then to be trained. I’m sure we will be working closely with each other especially since we have all these fertile fields in between us that I’m sure we all will be using. Why don’t we set up a day and time for a meeting to work all these little and big ideas out so that things can go smoothly and safely for all of us?” said Doc.

Dr. Rutherford broke in “That sounds real good, but boys, we really need to get these kids to their new home and settled in. This is a lot of stress on them and that is not good.”

So it was quickly decided that in ten days there would be a meeting in Payneway.

And the caravan rolled on home.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Small Town Survival -Twenty Nine


They had just finished trussing up the last of the bad guys, when two bright trails streaked across the sky.

Brooke, Sparky, Bobby Joe, and Big Mac all looked up and grinned. The battle had been fought bravely and only ten of their group were wounded and only one seriously. They had really taken the bad boys by surprise. Now the small group of friends who had come so far to find their friend knew she was safe and it was time for home.

“Time to head on home, friends” declared Big Mac. “I take it; you have things here well in hand, eh Tiny Tony?”

“Yep, I reckon things here are going to keeping turning for the better, as long as I have a say so. We need to get more organized and find more supplies, but I think we will do all right. We all thank you for your help. Now we need to get busy living again.”

“I count you as a new friend, and we will be keeping you and yours in our thoughts and prayers.” With that both men shook hands and the two groups, one big that was now caring for their recovered loved ones moving off toward their neighborhood; and one small. Ken and Scott also shook hands with their new friends and with Debby safe and secure with them, took off towards their home.

“With people like that, this city just might stand a chance of surviving this mess.” Quipped Big Mac.

“Excuse me,” piped up a voice. Brooke turned around and saw JJ and JP standing behind her. “You DID promise to teach me how to do what you did back there, so I’m assuming that means we are goin’ with you, right?” she asked in a half confident and half hesitant voice.

“How can I say no to someone who saved my life?”

Then of course explanations had to given and the prized pelt pulled out of the garbage bag that Brooke had dug out of her pack to put it in. Afterwards they all headed back to St. Jude’s. JJ on the back of Brooke’s bike (she wouldn’t ride anywhere else), JP in the truck with Bobby Joe and Big Mac- talking up a storm, worried about how they would live when they didn’t own anything that would help them (Big Mac told him that he was just a kid and it would all work itself out and there would be plenty of help for him and his sister), and Sparky took the lead on his bike.

Small Town Survival -Twenty Eight


Sam managed to get a nurse to not only get his wife some clothes but also to track down Doc. It was only about ten minutes later that Sam was outside the door looking in at Doc and the little boy who was still refusing to talk. Dr. Vern was at a lost and not so subtly suggested that Doc take him with them when they left. One look to Sam and a nod and it was settled, the boy would go with them.

Doc spoke up and said “Well boy, if you’re gonna come with us; we got to call ya somethin’….can you at least write down what you want us to call you?”

The boy nodded shyly and Dr. Vern handed him a scrap of paper and a pen. The boy labored for a few minutes with his writing and then finally handed the paper to Doc.

In big uneven letters was the name “Daniel”. And with that the three of them headed back to Sandra’s room to see if she was ready.

When they got there, the nurse was just finishing packing up a cooler with medicines in it.

Sue said “Doctors orders! These will help you, it’s not much; but we don’t want any kind of infection setting in. There are instructions in a plastic bag on top inside and in this bag,” as she motioned to another bag that looked like a laundry bag, “Is enough bandages to last at least a week. Make sure you keep her wound dry and clean.”

“Would you like to go with us, Sue?” asked Sam “We could use a nurse back home.”

Sue pondered for a moment and then said “Listen, it’s true I don’t have any family here holding me and we really won’t be able to stay here much longer. I’ve heard what some of those who are in charge have said and they figure we will only be here four or five more days. But there are some kids here that have no one and I don’t know what we are going to do with them if we close, so I can’t leave them no matter how much I would love to get out of this city before it really gets bad.”

Doc spoke up and said “How many kids are we talking about and what are their ages?”

“Well,” Sue took a deep breath “We have ten kids whose parents weren’t here, well I mean at St. Jude’s, when all hell broke loose. The youngest is only two months old and the oldest is twelve.” She took another breath and then continued “If you could take them with you; not only would I go but there is a young doctor and three more nurses who would go. We were planning on somehow taking the kids with us when we had to leave, but if you could help us, it would be so much better. We also would be able to take whatever we could pack up and fit into the three vehicles that we know will run. They are stashed in the basement of the parking garage here.”

Sandra quietly said “Go get ready, ya’all are going.”

Relief flooded Sue’s face and she sprang into action calling as she ran down the hall that everyone and everything would be downstairs in fifteen minutes.

Sam carefully helped Sandra into a wheel chair and with Doc carrying the cooler and Daniel carrying the bag; led the way out of the room to the one elevator that was working due to the generator. When they reached the ground floor Dr. Vern was waiting for them. He had a cart full of medical supplies in totes.

“Follow me friends. I’ll show you where Sue, the kids and the staff is going to meet you.” They followed him to the loading dock that leads out to the garage. They could hear vehicles coming up from below.

“You know Sam,” began Doc “We forgot to let the others know we found Sandra.”

“You’re right. Hey Dr. Vern do you think we could real quick shoot off a couple of flares to let our friends know to go to the meeting place?” asked Sam.

Small Town Survival -Twenty Seven


Brooke dropped her bag and jumped at the lion at the same time he jumped at her. She managed to tuck herself right up under his chin and wrapped her arms around his neck. JJ was dumbfounded only for a second; she quickly gathered her wits and reached into the bag that Brooke had dropped. Her hand came out with the biggest, fattest gun she ever saw. The lion was trying to bite Brooke and JJ yelled at him. He looked up, opened his mouth to roar, and JJ holding the gun with both hands, closed her eyes, said the shortest prayer ever: PLEASE -and fired!

Direct hit, right into his mouth flew the flare!

Brooke quickly let go of the lion and rolled out of his way as he rolled and pawed at the pain in his throat. She jumped up and pulled her 45 out of her leg holster and put the poor cat out of his misery.

“Well, that was something new. It’s not everyday I get to wrestle a lion.” quipped Brooke with her brow arched. Both she and JJ started laughing with relief!

JJ commented “We really shouldn’t let that nice fur go to waste, should we?”

Brooke just got out one of her skinning knives and they set to work.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Small Town Survival -Twenty Six


Sandra took another deep breath and continued with her story.

“When I got to St. Jude’s there was fighting everywhere, I mistakenly thought that the good guys were inside. So I tried to slip inside. Big mistake! The bad guys had already taken over and were simply trying to kill everyone that had got away. The shots coming from outside were from those trying to cover the doctors and the last of the patients escape! When I realized what a fool I was, I tried immediately to get out of there. And I almost made it unscathed. But just as I got out the door, one of the punks saw me and opened fire. I tried to duck and roll to get behind a car that was close by, but as you can see I didn’t quite make it. The bullet went through my kidney. The doctors think that with proper care, I’ll be ok. But Sam, no matter what I want to go home!” she declared with tears running down her cheeks.

Sam hugged his wife and gave her comfort and reassurance that they were going home right now. He poked his head out the door and hollered at a passing nurse. “Do ya’all have any clothes for my wife?”

Small Town Survival -Twenty Five


Tiny Tony’s plan seemed to be a good one. The main body of the crowd was going to storm onto the college grounds while a small team went in the “back door” and tried to find exactly where the women and children were. They were hoping that the distraction out front would allow the small team to succeed. Brooke quickly offered a suggestion.

“I’d like to take the lead in the small team. If there is anyone here with some martial arts training, we could take out the guards and then a few others could direct the women and children out the “back door” while the rest of you are conquering out front.”

The small team ended up with ten members, they had just thirty minutes to take out as many of the lookouts they could. Brooke took her small cross bow out of her bag along with two dozen small arrows.

“Let’s make it quick” and off they went circling around to the back of the college using the various buildings and vehicles for cover.

From the information that Tiny Tony was able to obtain from one of the punks that had been inspired to tell all they knew, the women and children were all in the Briggs Student Center and since that was smack dab in the center of the campus, it would be rough getting there without being seen. Everyone that was going to storm the college was on North Parkway right now and they were going to go up University Street and then just cut through and storm the college from that way. Brooke and her team decided they would go further east just past the North Parkway Entrance and then use the apartment buildings and sorority houses for cover. They would end up pretty close to the student center. With just an open parking lot being their main worry. Hopefully, they would be in place and be able to cross undetected with the distraction from their new and old friends.

Just before Brooke left, she spotted a young man that was about 14 and who didn’t look like he could fight his way out of a paper bag.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

“JP” he replied.

“Would you do me a great favor and watch our truck and bikes while we go take care of this business?”

“I want to go too, my twin sister is in there and she is all I have. We’ve been trying to make it and while I was out looking for food, she went out because she thought she wasn’t pulling her weight. Our so-called neighbor saw a couple of the gang members snag her and didn’t do a damn thing to help her. Then when I got home, they told me what happened. As I started out, they were going into our home. I doubt there is anything left there now.”

“I’ll tell you what, not only will I get your sister out of there, if she is still alive; but, you both can come home with us when we leave. That is if you are up to some hard, honest, and character building work.”

“Ma’am, I’d just be glad to get my sister back. We’ve never been apart and have always been there for each other. Would you really take us with you?”

Sparky had to speak up just then and say “Son, this lady doesn’t say anything that she doesn’t mean. So if she says she will get your sister and take you both home, that’s exactly what will happen. And if you do stay here and keep an eye on our things, the boys and I will come up with some kind of payment also.”

“Ok, I really would like to go too, but I don’t think I’m capable of doing much good especially since I don’t know how to shoot a gun.”

“When we get home, we’ll fix that problem.” said Big Mac.

“What is your sisters name?” asked Brooke as she and her team started off.

“JJ, it is for Jasmine Jovan and you better tell her that JP stands for Jordan Paul or she won’t believe that you know me.”

“Ok, be back soon.” and they were off.

Its funny how sometimes time seems to slow way down for some, but for others it speeds by like a bat out of hell.

For JP time seems to stop all together and for Brooke and her team, it went by way to quick. They were almost to the north entrance when they could hear all hell break out back where they had just been. They saw two so called guards who looked like they were smoking crack. Two silent arrows ended the party. They dropped without a sound. Quickly Brooke and her team wound there way through the apartment building managing to stay unseen. The Robinson and the Blount buildings were the only things in their way. As they scouted the area with a small but powerful pair of binoculars that Brooke had in her backpack, they spotted just four more guards in their way. Again, silent arrows took care of the problems. They slipped over to the side of the building quickly and found that the entrance to the mailroom receiving had been left unlocked, which they had thought would be barred by the gang. The noise from the front of the campus was coming closer. Knowing they didn’t have too much time, the group quickly split into two smaller groups and Brooke gave the lead to a former student who knew the way to the most likely place the hostages would be. The second group kept the way back out clear.

There ended up being ten members of the gang left in the building watching over their victims and a fierce but short fight ensued with victory going to Brooke and her team. It was amazing how quiet and effective hand to hand combat could be. Since they had taken the gang by surprise, only one member was able to even get their gun into action and he only got one shot off before one of Brooke's knives found its way to his throat. She quickly retrieved it and wiped it off on the members shirt.

When the team opened the door to the room the gang was guarding, they were met with a sight they hoped they would never see again. The room was only about twenty feet by thirty feet and it was filled with women and children. Brooke quickly took in the situation and blinking back tears from the sight and smell, spoke up.

“Ok, we are here to get you out and safe.”

One of the women stood up and said “How are you going to get us out of here? None of us have any shoes and some of us don’t even have decent clothes. Some of the children are sick and some of the women are in shock.”

“What’s your name?” Brooke asked.

“My name is Mary and I guess you could say I’m the moral officer here.” she said with a sarcastic snort.

“Ok Mary, this is how we will get you out of here: I need your absolute cooperation and we need to move fast. There is a rather large group of men and women out there fighting for your freedom, let’s make this worth their sacrifice. You will need to follow this young man right here and he will lead you to safety. Please stay very close to each other and please help each other. If some of you would help with the children and the women who are in shock, we can do this. By the way, is there a girl here named JJ?”

“I’m JJ, how did you know my name?” asked a young girl who looked like she was sporting a black eye.

Brooke took her chin in her hand and slowly turned her head back and forth, taking in the damage to the young girls face.

JJ piped up and said “You should see HIS face!” with a big grin.

“Jasmine Jovan, Jordan Paul has sent me to get you out of here, stay right by my side, OK?”

“Let’s go! I’ve had enough adventure for a lifetime!”

Nickolas, the young man who was part of Brooke’s team, began to lead the women and children back out the way they came. Brooke and JJ waited until they all had cleared the room and brought up the rear. Many of the women were carrying the children to speed the ragtag group along. And some of the women had their arms around those in shock and gave them encouraging words to move them along.

Their exit went smoothly and the two teams merged back into one as they escorted the frightened and tired group back through the apartment buildings and down toward the north entrance. They ended up by their circling, behind the group of town people who saw them at the same time that the gang members did. Brooke and JJ ended up getting separated from the group because Brooke had to take care of one gang member that had come upon them as they were leaving the building. The gang member had been up in the library and saw them enter the building. He had just got to the student center when the group was coming out. He tried to grab JJ as he tried to sneak up behind her and Brooke. Before he felt it, he had two broken arms, his “jewels” smashed, half of his teeth knocked out, and then his last thought was “damn”, and then he knew nothing.

“Wow,” said JJ “I’m impressed.”

“I’ll teach you.” Said Brooke as they tried to catch up with the group.

Brooke pulled JJ close as they rounded the corner of the last apartment and she noticed that they were cut off by the fighting. Quickly glancing around, Brooke noticed a small opening that led to Charles Place Street and decided they would head that way.

“Come on, this way. Be real quiet.”

They slid through the bushes and came out on the road. Brooke decided that they needed to get one more street over and cut through the trees and yards over to West Drive and headed back south. They stopped for a moment when they got there and Brooke took off her back pack and grabbed two bottles of water out of it and some jerky for JJ. She looked like she could use some food.

“Thanks, I hadn’t eaten since before they took me.” Just as they were about to start walking again, a menacing growl came from behind a parked car. Looking over, Brooke saw the lion just as it began to spring towards them.