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!

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Do or Die 9


The blizzard hit during the night without much warning. Thankfully everyone was home and safe that night and had plenty of wood and supplies. It raged for four days and nights.

On the fifth day, the sun blinded everyone who managed to dig out of the snow drifts that reached higher than some of the roofs.

Everyone went outside, even the baby for a few minutes to breath in the crisp cold air and bath in the sunlight.

Trina made rounds to everyone’s house on a snowmobile and took small care packages of some of the wild herbal teas that she had made of Echinacea to help keep everyone’s immune systems up. The women all wanted to learn about herbs and wild edibles and Trina promised to lend books and take them out into the woods and show them all she had learned once the snows began to melt.

“You sure were right about the snow, Trina. Won’t you stay for some dinner?” asked Sally who had Serena on her hip.

“That sounds wonderful! I am getting hungry. Can I help with anything?”

“Sure, you can change Serena!” laughed Sally in response.

“I’ve never changed a baby before. This ought to be fun.”

“What? How in the world have you managed to grow up without changing any baby?” Sally was incredulous. Why hadn’t everyone changed a baby? Burped a baby? Fed a baby?

“I was an only child and don’t have any cousins. I’ve just never been around babies.”

“Wow. That just amazes me. Well no time like the present to learn. After all, you might want to have some babies of your own someday.”

Trina looked horrified. She had once dreamed of having her own family. But who would want a ‘four-eyed fat girl’? “I doubt there is anyone left in the world that would want to marry me, let alone have kids with me.”

“Why not? You’re a beautiful young lady with many good child birthing years ahead of you.”

“Me? Beautiful? Thank you for your kind words, but I know I’m no beauty and accepted it a long time ago.” Trina tried to laugh it off, but the hurt and pain of years of taunting by classmates could still be seen in her eyes.

Sally just looked at Trina and realized that the girl did not know how beautiful she truly was. She had an unique beauty, not a classical one; but she was beautiful. ‘hmmmm,’ thought Sally, ‘this is something I’m going to need to think on. She really has no clue.
No matter, these things have a way of working out with a tiny bit of help.’ Then Sally smiled at Trina and began her lessons of the care of a very active 10 month old who loved to be naked!

Nobody else came that winter and Trina often wondered how Timothy was doing. There were many changes over the winter. Brad and Rob found some ph-something or another and stabilized all the gas and diesel in the town’s two gas stations. And solar panels were found and plans made to install them on the houses to provide some electric power to each home.

The couples took turns watching kids as two couples at a time went out hunting during the winter and early spring. The fresh meat mostly consisted of rabbit and squirrel and they made sure they were many miles away from town to hunt. Two small deer herds were found in early spring but it was decided to not hunt them for as long as possible. The solar panels all found new homes with each family.

Spring came slowly with warm teases through March and April and everyone was busy with their greenhouses. It was agreed that the guerrilla gardens had been a life send for the new residents of Nysa so as the women and kids tramped through the woods learning about all the wild edibles, they took plant starts with them and planted about two hundred different little gardens.

Mike made the suggestion that they comb some of the valleys within a 50 mile radius and see if any cattle could be found after learning from Trina that there were at least five cattle ranches within a hundred miles of the town.

Lucy and Rob volunteered to go and so did Mike. They set out in Trina’s truck with extra gas in the back and enough supplies for a month.

The kids stayed with Bryce and Melanie since all the kids were being schooled and it made things easier. The schools had been raided for supplies and the kids were actually flourishing in the home schooling atmosphere. The adults had been able to incorporate learning with all aspects of life and it was much more hands on. There was still the reading, writing, arithmetic, history, and such; but survival skills were a must -especially first aid.

One day while helping to check one of the small gardens in the park, Brianna asked Trina what she was wearing around her waist.

“It’s my fanny pack. I have the things I need in there in case I run into a situation that doesn’t allow me to get home. I call it my ‘baby bob’ and I wear it whenever I leave the house.”

“oh, can I have a baby bob too?”

Trina realized what a great idea that was. “You sure can! I’ll tell you what, why don't you and I make baby bobs for all the kids?” The two of them spent the rest of the afternoon making baby bobs that were made specifically for each child. Trina was amazed at how well Brianna knew her siblings and cousins and the other kids. She knew all the favorite colors and was able to suggest some small extras according to what they liked to do. For example, Megan liked the color yellow and was fascinated by the stars so they found a really neat folding scope that fit into her baby bob. Alex liked trucks so Brianna added two small match box trucks to his baby bob.

Each baby bob had a small pocket knife, first aid kit, small fishing kit that fit into an Altoids tin, another tin with snares in it, two bandanas, small package of Kleenex (travel size), LED head lamp (compliments of Wally world), a dozen tea bags (some homemade), lighter, small fire starter, and that extra special something that was unique for each child.

The adults then spent the next day teaching the kids the proper respect for the “tools” in their bags. Even Serena had her own little baby bob complete with an extra pacifier!

Lucy, Rob, and Mike were gone for almost two weeks and came back with three trucks that were pulling long horse trailers.

Inside were cows from three valleys ranging from 20 to 35 miles away.

“There are at least 50 more head of cattle out there. We were able to catch these because they are ready to drop calves in about two to three weeks. Just think, we are gonna have fresh milk!” Lucy stated.

“And look here” said Rob as he walked to the back of the last truck. In the back were ten cages of chickens! “Fresh eggs too!”

There was a major celebration that night in the town square. Many prayers of thanks were said and even a few instruments were found and played. Mike played the guitar, Brenda played the saxophone, Michele and Michael drug a set of drums from the band room at the school, and Sally pulled out her fiddle. It wasn’t the best band in the world but it sure was the happiest, joyous, and most thankful band in the world!

It was after the sixth or seventh song that Trina happened to look over and see a young lady with four kids standing over by the courthouse smiling as they listened to the music.

She eased over to the newcomers and smiled at them. “Hi, do you have a password for me?”

The young lady looked surprised and answered “no, am I suppose to?”

“Only if you had been sent here. Can I ask your name and how you found us?”

“Sure, I’m Amber and these rugrats are Kristopher (12), Samuel (8) and the twins are Rebecca (16) and Robin (16). We were traveling along that highway about a mile away and heard the music. We figured that anyone who obviously were as happy as the music sounded must be good people and so we decided to come and see for ourselves.”

“Are ya’all headed anywhere in particular?”

“No, we came from Trentwood, I was going to college there when the bombs went off. They were having a tour with some kids from the public schools and Rebecca and Robin were in the tour. We just happened to be together when all the sirens went off and we hid down in a room in the basement of the college that connected to the basement of the student union where they stored food supplies. We met up with Kris here outside of town on a farm, he and his parents had stayed in their basement but his parents were killed by the radiation.
They had made him stay in the basement but they had gone out to check the animals too many times. And Sam here we found wandering around a deserted small town about half way between here and Trentwood. We don’t know what happened to his family or everyone else in town.
We didn’t find any bodies at all there. And he doesn’t remember. He didn’t even talk the first three months he was with us. But you talk now, don’t ya my little man?” Amber said as she tousled Sam’s hair. He just grinned real big. “Yep, we can’t shut him up now!”

They all grinned.

“Well, ya’all are most welcome to stay here for awhile and see if you want to stay or at least rest up if you wish to move on. There is plenty of food so come, eat, and meet everyone else.”

The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent in celebration and getting to know the new ones.

Amber and the kids came and stayed with Trina for the night. Even though they already had three houses ready to be lived in, Trina wanted to get to know them a bit better and see what kinds of other plans they might have.

Late that night after the four kids had been settled into bed, Amber and Trina were drinking hot tea at the kitchen table.

Trina asked “What were you studying in college?”

“Psychology, and I was only one semester away from my doctorate too. But I guess that old world is gone and I doubt there will be much need for my line of work anymore.”

“Are you kidding me? Those four kids in there have greatly benefited from your care! If even half of what you eluded to really happened, those kids were majorly traumatized and now they all seem very healthy mentally.”

Amber burst into tears! Trina was horrified that she had upset her and rushed around the table and gave her a warm hug. “Please don’t cry, I didn’t mean to make you cry. I was complementing you on how well you’ve taken care of the kids!”

Amber sniffled and managed to gain control of herself again. “No, no, no; I am just so relieved to have found good people. It seems that I’ve had to be so strong for so long and had no one to help me. I’m just so happy to have found you guys! And I’m such a sucker for happy things, I cry my eyes out!”

“I bet you use to cry while watching movies too!” Trina joked.

“Yes!” and then they both had a good laugh. That night began a lifelong friendship that would be tested by the fires of the new life this world now offered.

Since Mike and his grand-kids had a huge house, Amber and her kids ended up moving in with them and they all took care of the horses, cows, and chickens. Everyone took turns coming out and helping around “The Ranch” as it came to be called and all benefited from the fresh milk after the calves were born under the eyes of all the children who were astonished at how life was birthed. The ladies even began to make cheeses, although the first few batches were quite a mess!

More trips were made to collect more cattle and a half dozen more horses were found also.

It turned out that Megan and Hannah became quite good at cooking on the wood stoves, especially breads. And it was them that brought it to the attention of everyone that flour was going to be needed before too long, they figured that there was only about a four or five month supply left in town.

Trina was ashamed of herself, even though there were now many adults now in town and they all shared in making decisions, she felt she was responsible for everyone. And she should have realized that a thorough inventory was needed.

So for the next week the whole town was inventoried. There were some holes that needed filling. Wheat was going to have to be grown for flour and food for the cows and horses for the winter. They all prayed that they would be able to get a crop in and grown before winter!

Robin and Rebecca found a house that was full of junk food! There were chips, cookies, boxes of Little Debbies, and every other kind of junk food imaginable. It became a secret with all the kids and no one told the adults. But Trina knew since she was the one who put it all there. There were a few nights that kids would have tummy aches and no one could figure out just why. But Trina had a suspicion and kept the secret along with handing out some tea to sooth upset stomachs. She decided she would handle it herself so that the kids wouldn’t get in trouble for something that she had done. What neither Trina nor the kids realized is that the adults knew something was weird because during all the scavenging there had been no ‘goodies’ found and when combined with the sudden occurrences of belly aches they were able to figure it out and single trip following two of the kids trying to be sneaky led them right to the stash!

So one day when Trina and all the kids were at The Ranch helping out, the four remaining adults “cleaned house” because they knew that there was no dentist and no one needed any of that junk. They did kept some of the hard candies, chocolates, sugarless gum, and a few other goodies; but they loaded all the rest up and stashed it all in a storage unit that had already been inventoried with a nice large lock! They thought about burning them all but decided that everyone needed a treat ONCE in awhile and it being junk food, most of it would last for a long time.

When the kids found the stash gone, no one said one word to anyone. But there were no more stomach aches.

More trips were made to the out laying farms to look for seed for the wheat and feed for the cattle and horses. The adults made a game out of all the farm work for the kids and everyone pulled their fair share. Trina told them about a pretty good sized valley just on the north side of town that she had stumbled onto during one of her hikes through the woods. It turned out to be perfect for growing the wheat and other grains. It was easy to get to with the horses and the group spent a week planting the whole valley in grains as organized as possible. It was hard work even with the horses and the makeshift plows that they had put together. The adults would break the ground and the kids would plant the seeds that they had found of wheat, corn, oats, barley, and even some sorghum.

By the first week of July the corn was thigh high and the town looked to be in fairly good shape! All the families had really bonded and the kids were welcomed in every home. The adults wanted to make sure that the kids were always accounted for so they scrounged around and came up with some hand held radios and using the solar panels, kept them charged all the time. Then each night, no matter where a child was, that child was to call home and let their parents or guardian know exactly where they were. They also called in just before they left. The younger ones were not allowed to wander around by themselves and the older ones chaffed at being ‘babysat’. So it was decided that the older ones would be treated as adults, since they pulled an adult load, but they also had to help keep an eye on the younger ones.

During the third week of July, Trina had Brianna, Hannah, Megan, and Serena with her about two miles west of town looking for a specific edible that she had seen there the previous year. They wanted a good supply of the herb and some seeds if they could find it. The herb was golden seal and worked great with Echinacea for winter colds. They had just found a good population and had started gathering seeds when the ground began to shake.

Do or Die 8


All this time alone, Trina had become lax again, but she was NOT stupid! She very carefully cased the town and slowly made her way to a great spot to view the bell. She counted 5 people, three younger women, most likely in their late 20’s or maybe even 30’s and an older couple who could be their parents. But Trina was not going to take any chances since there didn’t seem to be any way that the people got there nor did she see any supplies at all.

Trina backed away and began to circle the town through the woods. Since she had been tramping all over the woods this past year or so looking for wild edibles, she knew her way around very well.

She heard the bell ring four more times before she found the rest of the group. She found ten more people about a half mile from town and eight of them were children. There was another couple in their ‘mid’ life that was watching the kids. That probably meant that there were at least three men somewhere either guarding or preparing an ambush.

Trina thought hard. This could simply be them watching out for their families. She hadn’t seen any guns with any of the people that she had seen. She made a decision and walked up to the couple that was guarding the kids.

“Hi” she said and then waited.

The couple was taken aback and very surprised since they all had thought that whoever was going to meet them would go to the bell.

The older lady said in a shaky voice “buffalo boots?”

Trina grinned and replied “are made for kickin’ butt!” and she stretched her hand out to shake the lady’s. The two women looked into each others eyes and the man could have sworn that somehow they were talking to each other.

“My name is Trina and I welcome you to your new home. Shall we go and let your friends know they can stop ringing the bell now?”

“Thank you for opening up your home for us and that sounds wonderful!” she then turned to the man and said “Brad get over here let’s get the introductions done…..this is my husband Brad and all these,” as she motioned to the eight kids that had by now surrounded them, “ are our grand-kids and my name is Brenda.” Then going on gut instinct, Brenda hugged a very surprised Trina.

It was five very surprised adults that the small group came up on. Introductions were made and Trina found she liked them all. “You know, it’s ok to call your men-folk in now.” Trina said.

More surprised looks and then they busted out laughing. Brad hollered out “Ok guys, the jig is up! Come on and meet our new neighbor!”

Trina never thought she would remember the names of her new neighbors! But she was able to help them find homes close together and helped find enough supplies to get set up. She kept the keys to all the shops because it just made sense to her.

Two of the women at the bell belonged to Brenda and Brad; one was their daughter and one their daughter in law. Their daughter was Lucy and she was married to Rob and they had three kids; Megan (11), Brianna (7), and Alexander (Alex for short) (6). Their son was
Bryce and he was married to Melanie and they had two kids, a boy and a girl; Riley (12) and Hannah (11). The other woman at the bell was the daughter of the couple that was also there and her name was Stephanie and she was married to Brock and they had the other three kids, all boys; Mark (14) and the twins – Jake and Ryker (13). The older couple, that was there at the bell and Stephanie’s parents. were Maude and Robert.

Trina stayed in town for two weeks and got to know the large extended family pretty well.

They all shared in setting each home up and gathering supplies. Each day Trina would work with one of the women and their ‘little’ family. She finally told them where she lived and they told her how Timothy had found them barely surviving about one hundred miles south west of the small town. They had been hit hard by a gang and they had only barely escaped with their lives and what was in an old VW van they had managed to get away in. They had met Timothy at a rest area where they were camping trying to figure out just what they would do and where they would go. He was considered literally a God send!

And he had talked with them for four days before he had made the offer for them to come to Trina’s small town. During those four days, they had hunted and gathered wild edibles.

But they could not gather enough for all of them to last much longer than five to seven days.

The group didn’t take long to decide to try for Trina’s.

It was really too late in the season to put in gardens but Trina took them around to many of her small guerrilla gardens and the men set up green houses in each back yard. They were all able to find enough of the wood burning stoves to replace the regular stoves in the homes and Trina asked if they could help her install one in her home.

Trina also milked all the women for news of Timothy –how he was, did he look good, was he eating enough, where was he going next, etc…..? The answers of “he was fine, eating well and not sure where he was headed, but did send his regards” just didn’t satisfy Trina and yet she couldn’t figure out why.

The bell rang twice more before the first snow of the year. The first time was a couple on bicycles with a very little baby girl named Serena with the mom and dad’s name being Sally and Art. The second ringing of the bell was by two siblings and their grandfather. Their names were Michael (16) and Michelle (14) and their granddad Mike and they rode up on three horses with six more on tethers and loaded with supplies.

Everyone pitched in each time and made the newcomers welcome and helped them find a home and get it ready for winter. A small farm with a nice size barn between town and Trina’s house was found for Mike and his grand-kids. Everyone pitched in and used Trina’s truck and another truck that they were able to get running, to find hay and feed and haul it to the barn.

Snowmobiles were also found once Trina told them how much snow she had last winter and warm coats, boots, and other clothing were gathered for each family. All the homes that were picked were the best insulated and chosen for long lasting. The group worked hard making sure that supplies were gathered and stored in good places since some of the shops didn’t look like they were going to make it through the winter. They also decided to go ahead and pick the houses that were the best to live in for anyone else that made their way to their town.

And they held a meeting and decided to rename the town. It was now called Nysa, which means “A new beginning” because that is what they were trying to do- start a new beginning.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Do or Die 7


The late spring and summer weeks went by with Trina feeling lonely for the first time since the “reboot” and she began to realize that she did want other people around. She had changed a lot these past months. She began to realize that the changes went much deeper than her losing the weight and becoming stronger physically but she was also changing inside. Her confidence had increased which came a shock but here she was putting the roof on her new outdoor kitchen and hadn’t she been able to make the structure very sound and strong? And squared? THAT was fun! NOT! But she had done it! And she had done it all alone. Yeah, it took time and patience but she was cultivating patience whether she wanted to or not.

And how about all the wood and food she had been able to gather? Why she had turned the basement into an herbal room with all the wild edibles and herbs she had found or grown. It was almost perfect down there for her to hang the herbs and plants up so they could thoroughly dry. And she had a really good herbal first aid kit now. Even though she was hesitate at first to go to the liquor store to get the alcohol she needed for the tinctures and then she had to figure out just what type was best. She experimented with some different grain alcohols.

As the weeks passed, she had made several trips to town in order to gather more supplies and clothes. Especially shoes since she knew that the buildings would not last forever nor would the goods in them and so she wanted to get all that she thought she would need before the elements destroyed the stores.

There was music playing on a portable CD player that was up on the roof with her as she hammered in the last of the shingles. She used silicon chalk liberally to seal up any place that she thought might let rain in.

Trina mentally went through all her lists to make sure that she was keeping on top of things: Her guerrilla gardens were doing great. There were signs of nibbling on about half of them so she took that as a good sign that the wildlife was coming back.

There had been no sign of the last of those dogs from the pack that she and Timothy had tried to eliminate. Every seed in town had found a home in her basement and every garden checked for potatoes of which those found had been cut up and replanted in some of the guerrilla gardens and in one of her raised beds.

Her garden beds were doing great except for the corn. She was thinking she would add some fish to it next year like the Native Americans use to do. She had plenty of seed.

Her outdoor kitchen was almost done and she had found the perfect burners for canning. She was going to use those single burners that hook up to propane tanks that they use to use to fry turkeys! Well that IS what the shelf tag said. She was also able to find and collect 22 propane tanks but didn’t know how to fill them once they were empty which she didn’t worry too much about since she didn’t know where she would fill them anyways.

One of the bedrooms had been turned into a library since she had brought home every book she thought she would need and it was a tight squeeze between book shelves…good thing she was no longer so over weight.

One thing that she was worried about was her glasses. She had two pair but knew that she would eventually need more. How she wished she had had that Lasik surgery before the “reboot”! She had been saving up for it and they had offered her a payment plan, but she had put it off….how ironic that “hindsight is 20/20”.

She kept having the feeling that she was missing something important but just couldn’t figure out what it was.

Then her thoughts were interrupted by the ringing of the bell.

Do or Die 6


Timothy Myers was his full name and currently he was traveling across the land to find other survivors and to get the “lay of the land”. He began in his home town of Sweet Water, South Carolina and was working his way north for the spring and summer months -then was going to head west and south for the next winter.

So far, he has found just small families here and there. But he was keeping a notebook in a code that only he knew, so that if it fell into the hands of someone bad, they wouldn’t know who was where. He was also hoping to set trade routes but so far, everyone was too far away from each other. He had been traveling over a week before he came to Trina’s town.

He told Trina about the others he had found, all mostly good people simply trying to survive. Then he told her about the condition of the country. So far he had not seen anyone that was from the government nor heard anything about them. He had bypassed Washington DC since his little radiation detector had gone off when he was over 100 miles away! He figured that it had been royally nuked! As he went north, he followed the “radiation line” and it seemed that the whole east coast from 100 miles south of DC all the way up past New York City was going to be a hot zone for a long time to come.

All of the large cities gave off radiation, so Timothy had stayed to back roads. He had a motorcycle that he was using to travel. Trina lifted an eyebrow at that when he mentioned it since she had not seen a motorcycle.

The park was blooming out nicely this spring and Trina had planted wildflower, herb, and veggie seeds in different places throughout the park. She had plenty of seed and figured, “why not”. She knew she would not be able to pick it all or even eat it all but thought that it might bring some of the wildlife back.

Trina stayed in town for the three days that Timothy stayed. During that time, they talked about many things including whether or not Trina was lonely living here all by herself. Timothy invited her to come along with him but she declined. He asked her if she would mind if people came there and lived. She thought on that for a moment and said “Well, it would depend. If they were people that were good and willing to work hard to survive and make this a prospering town again, I wouldn’t mind sharing it with them. But I don’t think I would like for a LOT of people to show up. Why? What do you have in mind?”

“I’ve come across a few places where there were just two or three people and although they were making it, they would do much better getting together with more people working together. Would you mind if I send such like people here to live?” he asked.

“How would I know that you’ve sent them?”

“What about a password? Like Buffalo boots or something?”

Trina laughed out loud and Timothy couldn’t help but like the sound of her laughter. “And I’ll reply with ‘are made for kicking butt!’ so they will know they are in the right spot.”

“Come with me.” Trina said as she led the way out of the park and back towards the tallest building in town -the court house. She walked over to the small courtyard and showed Timothy the large black bell that was mounted in a small tower with a long rope dangling down from it.

“You have to pull the cord rather hard since no one has greased it since before everything happened. But when the wind blows extra hard, I can hear it at my home. So if you do send anyone here, have them come here first and ring the bell every half hour until I show up. If I don’t show up within one day, then I won’t be coming because I’ll be dead or worse.”

“Worse? What do you mean?” he asked.

“Well, worse would be like I’m lying somewhere with a broken leg and can’t go anywhere or super sick and can’t get out of bed.”

“When someone does show up, I’ll simply ask for the password and then if it is correct, give them the counter password.”

“Sounds like a plan. Are you sure you don’t want to go?”

“No, this is my home and I’m happy here. Besides someone has to be here to welcome all those you send.“ Trina thought for a moment then added: “you won’t send like thousands here will you?”

“No, I don’t even think I will see a hundred people. And not many of those will even be willing to move here. Don’t worry, I will be very selective and make sure that only honest, hard working people come, ok?”


Trina waved long after Timothy was out of sight and then went and got her bike and rode it thoughtfully home.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Do or Die 5


Trina decided that caution would be her best friend now especially since she realized with those shots just how relaxed she had become; her front door wasn’t even locked anymore! The bike ride to town only took about five minutes and there were sporadic gunshots every few minutes by her estimation and they seemed to be coming from the grocery store.

Trina hid her bike in the alley between two shops about a half of a block away from the store that the shots were still coming from; and carefully made her way towards the sounds. She had her rifle up and ready for anything and her fanny pack had extra ammo in it. She carefully peeked around the corner and took in the sight of someone taking shots at the dog pack that had him or her trapped by the front doors.

Trina had used chains and padlocks on all the doors to the shops so that the winter weather couldn’t open them and to keep critters out. It looked like the person had a pair of bolt cutters and had been in the process of cutting their way into the store when the dogs attacked.

She could see five dead dogs but there seemed to be at least ten more. Quickly she came around the corner and started shooting the dogs.

The person jerked and shot at Trina.

“Hey, I’m trying to help you” she shouted “and you just shot me! I ought to let these mongrels fix you good!”

“I’m sorry, you startled me and I thought you were another dog. Are you gonna be ok?” the person tossed back.

“Just shoot the darn dogs!” Trina shouted back as she took out another dog.

In ten minutes it was all over. A total of twelve dogs lay dead or almost dead and three had run off.

It was then that Trina realized how much she was bleeding as she gazed at the blood that was soaking her light jacket and shirt. “Crap!” she said.

The person ran over to her apologizing profusely and Trina realized that it was a guy just as she passed out cold.

“Crap” Timothy said as he caught the girl that had just saved his hide and he had shot! He managed to get her jacket off and found out that he had shot her in the left arm and it was a flesh wound, the bullet had badly scraped her arm just below the shoulder on the outside part of the arm. The cold, wet ground was not the place to clean and dress the wounds so began to look around for someplace to clean her up at or on.

Just then she began to come around. Trina looked up into the deepest and sexiest blue eyes she had ever seen and she immediately thought she had died and gone to heaven.

“So I’m dead am I.” she stated.

Timothy laughed and said “not yet you aren’t. You passed out. Is there someplace I can take you to get your wound cleaned up and bandaged?”

“We can go into the store there. I have the key in my fanny pack” she returned as she began to get to her feet.

“Hey, you shouldn’t be getting up yet, it looks like you’ve lost a lot of blood.”

“I’ll survive. Just give me a hand will ya?”

Timothy helped Trina to her feet and let her hold on to him while she finished swaying and got a grip on herself. Timothy still had one of his hands on her jacket and it was pressing against her wound to try to slow or even stop the bleeding. Trina used her free arm to dig out the keys and pick up her rifle.

They slowly walked to the door of the store. Since each key was labeled, it only took a moment to open the doors and go inside.

Timothy picked up Trina and sat her on one of the places where they sacked the groceries and told her “keep pressure on that arm, I’m going to go find what I need to clean it up!” And then was off with a cart down the aisles looking for the first aid area.

“You’re going to the wrong way” she shouted “It’s all on aisle 3”. He only hollered once to ask where the bottled water was.

“Aisle 10 with the soda” she replied.

It wasn’t long before he was back with all kinds of things in the cart. Trina kept her eyes closed during the cleaning and bandaging and was very proud of herself for not fainting again.

“My name is Timothy, by the way. And I truly am sorry for shooting you. I tried to pull the gun up once I realized that you were not another dog but just wasn’t quick enough.”

“Well, I guess it could have been worse and I know I’m glad you didn’t kill me.
I’ve been trying to work up the guts to take care of those dogs for awhile now. I simply was forced to take action today. Besides, I think I’ll live.”
She held out her right hand and said “my name is Trina and this is my town”.

Timothy wasn’t sure just how she meant that last part so wasn’t sure if he should stay or move on.

“Well, do you mind if I gather a few supplies before I move on? I don’t want to be anywhere I am not wanted.”

Trina began to laugh. “I didn’t mean that you are not welcome here. I just meant that I live here; this is my town as in this is where I live.”

“Oh, ok. But I don’t live here so I feel I should ask, since you are here and seem to be the only one here, if I can maybe trade for some supplies.”

“Why don’t we eat some dinner and you can tell me where you are coming from, where you are going, and if you’ve seen any other people. Then in exchange for that news, if you want to move on; I’ll make sure you have has much supplies as you can carry. How does that sound?” She asked.

“Dinner sounds good to me!” He exclaimed.

There was no way that Trina was going to take him to her house. After all, she didn’t know him and besides, he had shot her! And since she had taken a couple Tylenol, she was feeling better. It looked like the bleeding had stopped and her arm was only slightly throbbing now.

Together they scavenged around and found enough food for dinner. A couple cans of Dinty Moore beef stew and some canned brown bread with a can of fruit cocktail to top it all off. They drank a couple bottles of water to wash it all down.

Heating up the stew wasn’t a problem since they simply set up one of the cheap grills that the store had and used some of the charcoal. They did this outside of course. After they finished eating and cleaned up, Trina suggested that they walk over to the small city park that was about two blocks away. She made sure the chains and lock were secure on the doors of the store before they began their way over to the park.

Along the way, Timothy began to tell her about himself.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Do or Die 4


The rest of the summer turned into fall and Trina kept scavenging around town. She also kept gathering wood for the fireplace for the winter. She wasn’t sure how much she would need so she just kept cutting and stacking it up in the garage. She had pushed her car out of the garage and off to the side of the driveway since she figured she wouldn’t be using it anytime soon.

It seemed to be getting cooler quicker but she wasn’t sure of the date anymore. She decided to watch the sun and mark on the west wall that surrounded the property, where it set each evening, then when the days began to get longer she would know that the winter solstice had past and that would give her the date of around December 21 or 22. At least she would be in the right month!

Gas for the truck had been no problem since she found a small hand siphon/pump that she used to gather diesel for it. At least she knew the difference between the two types of fuel but she did wonder how long gas lasted. She also moved many books from the library and the garden center for advice on gardening and simply for pleasure. She began telling time by where the sun was outside, unless it was overcast and raining. She remembered reading somewhere that the ancient Native Americans would use their hand width and that each hand width was equal to about 15 minutes. So for four hand widths each afternoon, she wrote her stories, the rest of the day was filled with chores and scavenging.

She also kept track of the number of days from the time she came out of the basement. She figured she would be able to figure out just how long she had been in the basement. The snow came and it was heavy and deep. Trina was thankful that she had put the small greenhouse so close to her back porch since she was trying to grow just a few fresh veggies in. But it was clear that it was soon going to be too cold to keep growing anything since she had no way to keep it warm. She already had closed off most of the house and was sleeping in the living room. She left the water tricking full time in the bathroom and the kitchen because she was terrified of frozen pipes. She also began to worry about not having enough wood, even though she had only gone through a small amount.

Finally the year’s shortest day came and she realized after a few calculations that she had been in the basement for almost three months and back out for five. That made it almost eight months since the bombing and she hadn’t seen one other human that was alive.

Now she began to think that she maybe she should go out into the world and see if she could find other people out there. It was only logical that if she survived, that there would be others. But she had no clue which way to go and she did not want to run into any mean people. “Besides, I need to start my garden in the spring and the plants in the greenhouse before that. I simply won’t have time to go looking for others. And besides, I don’t mind being alone anyways.”

The winter days passed pretty quick for Trina with her days filled with her reading up on how to do new things besides gardening like how to crochet, can the food she hoped to grow in her garden if she could find some way to do the actual canning, and even how to repair and keep up the truck that was now sitting in her driveway. It was a good thing that she liked to learn new things. Maybe if she could hook up a propane cooker for her canning…. Another trip to the garden center to look over the possibilities would be in order when spring comes around.

Her notebooks were also filling up with wonderful stories that were of a wide variety of topics from fantasy to horror to humorous. She had begun a journal of the things she was learning and doing during what she began to call “after the reboot of the world”. She was seeing all kinds of animals both around her home and even in town. She began to worry about a pack of dogs that she saw through the gate that seemed to be roaming around the town. They looked hungry and mean. She counted 15 dogs in that pack.

Once in the middle of the night, she was awaken by loud growling and she thought that the pack had found its way into her yard. Grabbing a flashlight and stuffing her feet into her slippers, she pulled on her coat and grabbed the poker by the fireplace. She slowly opened the front door and could just barely make out glowing eyes at the end of the driveway where the gate was closed. The whole pack of dogs was at her gate and clawing at it and scratching at the driveway like they were trying to dig their way under the gate. They were barking and growling and scared the crap out of her! A quick movement in the yard had her jumping and swinging the flashlight around, thinking that one of the dogs had made it into the yard; but it was a rabbit that they had chased that had found refuge in her yard.

It was then that she decided she needed to get a gun. One she could shoot from far away, those dogs needed to be taken out. As soon as it was fairly nice out and most of the snow melted, she made another trip to town and picked up a few rifles and a handgun. She took everything she thought she would need including books from the library on how to shoot and load. She also noticed that the buildings were showing their neglect and she began to realize that the things in town might not last forever.

That night, she began her lists. Lists of things that her home would need to be maintained, what things she would need for her gardens and greenhouse, the truck needs, clothes for herself especially since she was still losing weight and gaining muscle. She had made a trip for new clothes just before the major snows came but she would need other clothes in a smaller size sooner rather than later.

Her lists included canning jars and lids and some kind of stove she could can on. One of the books she had taken from the garden center had an outdoor kitchen in it and she thought that would be a very good idea, she could build it behind the garage. It was only for a few minutes that she thought she could not do it; but she had been building up her confidence over the past months and realized that if she was careful and took her time; she could learn and do most anything. So the outdoor kitchen was going to have to be thoroughly planned out as a major summer project.

There was just so much to think about! Almost too much! She needed to keep things simple, if that was even possible! She sat down heavy on the couch and picked up one of the books she had brought from the library. It was “Stalking the wild Asparagus” by someone named Euell Gibbons. She briefly wondered if he was alive somewhere and out stalking his asparagus. She built up the fire in the fireplace and settled in front of it and began to read and really began to have her eyes open.

Foraging for food, wild edibles, grown without human help, free… “But I don’t know what kinds of wild edibles grow around here!” she was troubled, but not for long.

It seems that another trip to the library was in order for books on native plants and how to identify them. She read late into the night and managed to grab a couple hours of sleep but was very excited about what she was learning from the book and could hardly wait to go out and explore the woods back behind her home and that surrounded the town.

She had been practicing her shooting and even though her days seemed to be filled up with the chores in the greenhouse and around the house she began to go out into the woods each afternoon and try to identify the wild plants that were beginning to peek out of the melting snow. It wasn’t time to plant anything into the beds yet but in another couple weeks she was going to transplant the cole crops she had started in the greenhouse.

It wasn’t long before she began to experiment with some fiddleheads and batter that she made up. Since it was so nice out, she decided to cook on the grill outside. She usually cooked in the fireplace since there was no gas to her stove anymore, she had made sure that the shut off valve was closed since she didn’t want any surprises…just in case. She wondered if she would be able to move one of those wood stoves to her home, they looked very heavy.

Slowly over the late winter and early spring as the earth warmed, she added to her list of known plants as she learned how to ID them. “Why I have a huge banquet of edibles growing around here!” she exclaimed with delight. Trina was still going to plant her garden and even had a few ideas about something she had read about called guerilla gardening.

It was on a warm late spring day that she finally had all the plants planted that she had started in the greenhouse. Every bed was filled and she had even cleared the small patch of grass and weeds between the greenhouse and back porch for an herb garden. She was proud of that since it had taken a whole week to do with its little pathway wandering through it. She had found the design in one of her books from the library. There were also several guerrilla gardens here and there. There were still plenty of seeds left over so she stored them down in the basement in an air tight bucket.

It was as she was wiping the sweat from her brow and grinning to herself for a job well done, that she heard gunshots coming from town.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Do or Die 3


After two more weeks, Trina again came out of her home. She had heard no one on the small radio and she thought it might be a good idea to find more food before she ran out. It took only a day each to clean out the other two houses on the street, thankfully, there were no bodies there. Trina couldn’t figure out where they had gone since they were there the night before the bombing. And she felt guilty for breaking into the homes and taking the things but she really felt that she had no choice and vowed to herself that if the residents came back, she would make it up to them somehow.

It took another month for her to dredge up the courage to venture into town. When she realized that her car was not going to start, she dug her old bicycle out of the storage shed and rigged the garden cart to it. Her back pack was on and had two bottles of water in it and some jerky that she had found in one of the houses.

The town was very quiet and there were bodies here and there. None on the street but some in vehicles and in the buildings and while there was an odor; it wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be. It looked like the people just didn’t even try to take shelter, not that there was any kind of community shelter or anything. Trina figured that the rest of the people must be in basements. Most of the shops were unlocked and she wasn’t just sure what she needed to take.

At the garden center, she realized that she would need to grow a garden, something she had not done since she was a little girl and growing green pepper plants just for fun. “I will definitely need a bigger garden then that little tire garden I grew the pepper plants and snapdragons in” she thought. “And I’ll have to do it all by hand!” She wandered through the center and decided that she was NOT going to be able to till up a garden and came up with the idea of several raised beds. There was a display of a few raised beds with dead flowers in them and a fountain that had long ago dried up that gave her the idea. If one can plant flowers –why not food plants? Now she had to figure out how to get all the bricks she wanted to her house for the beds!

Today she just loaded up on all the seeds she could find. The bags of seed potatoes and berry bushes all looked dead. She thought about cutting open one of the potatoes to see if it was rotten or if there was any hope at all and realized that she didn’t have a knife. It didn’t take long to fix that, she just went over to a display of knives by the hand tools. “Hand tools! Of course!” she exclaimed out loud. “I’m going to need so much stuff!” The ax in the hand tools and thoughts of making a garden in the spring, reminded her that she had to get through winter first and that meant she would need wood for the fireplace and she had none right now. Suddenly overwhelmed she sat down and had a good cry!

After about ten minutes of heart wrenching tears, Trina finally pulled herself together with a big sigh. “Time to get on with living! It’s do or die time!” She stopped and thought for a moment “I guess that will be my motto: Do or die! And I really do not want to die.” She thought hard about maybe trying to get a truck started and wondered if all the vehicles were like her car.

“No time like the present to try one or two.” She thought. There were a few cars in the parking lot and being a small town where some people leave keys in their vehicle when they are only going to be a moment or two inside a business; the one truck had its keys hanging in the ignition. It was a clutch type truck and Trina was very thankful that her dad made her learn how to drive on an old clutch truck that bit the dust shortly after she got her first drivers license. The truck didn’t start; it just gave a little clicking noise. “Hmmmm, maybe the battery is simply dead.” Trina thought. Across the street was an Auto Zone and it didn’t take long for her to go over and get another battery and switch them out. The truck started sluggishly but it started! And the tank read full! “Finally! Some good news!

Trina almost shouted. But she managed to control herself.

It took her 10 trips back and forth with the truck to gather all that she thought she would need for raised beds and to start plants in a small greenhouse kit that she had found. She also took all the dura-logs that the center had. She took her time loading and unloading since some of the bags of dirt and manure were heavy. She had to totally open the kit and put it in the truck piece by piece. Which is also how she unloaded it in her back yard which was much easier than actually putting the thing together which took her almost a week of frustration and she almost gave up numerous times until she finally got it together the right way!

She was so glad that the water was still coming out of the faucet, even if it was slow, her nightly bath was so refreshing. One day she happened to catch a glimpse of herself in the full length mirror behind the bedroom door and was startled. It was a stranger who was looking back out at her. All the hard work and exercise from hauling wood from the woods and chopping it up was really beginning to show. She knew that she had taken to wearing sweats since they tied tight around her waist but she hadn’t really thought about what was happening to her body. She then did something she had not done in almost 10 years; she dug the scale out of the bathroom closet and weighed herself. 134 pounds. She stepped off and on five times before she began to believe what the scale was saying. She had lost over 60 pounds! And now that she thought about it, she really felt good physically. She wasn’t as tired as she usually was either. No harsh breathing anymore and she didn't need to take as many breaks as she use to! Wow! It snuck up on her!

She pushed her glasses back up her nose and grinned widely. “I think I like it! And I think it’s time to go shopping for some new clothes!”

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Do or Die 2


The two months went by agonizingly slow. Trina spent the time mostly dreaming up new stories, sleeping, and she had thoroughly explored the root cellar finding 17 jars of canned goods that her mom had canned a year before she had died. There were four jars of green beans, five of pickles –bread and butter flavor, two of corn, three with tomatoes, and the last three had peaches in them. The seals were still intact so she ate them. Although she was careful to eat just a little of each first in case the food was bad; but she didn’t get sick off of them.

Each time she went out to get water she would spend about ten minutes exploring the basement as the bucket filled with water. It took a long time since there was no pressure, but she remember how her dad said something once about the actual well was up hill from the house and that this part of the well was something or another….she couldn’t remember exactly what he said let alone when he meant. She had found more batteries for the flashlights and even a small AM radio that still had good batteries in it. The drawer she found it in had more batteries for that also. So she spent time listening for any sounds on the radio. She didn’t hear any stations but figured it was because she was below ground.

She tried real hard to keep track of the days but she found she was sleeping more and more and sometimes the clock would wind down and she was never sure just how long it had been since it stopped. So she would simply just wind it back up and go from the stopped time. She found herself talking more and more out loud to herself and was alternately grateful and upset that she had no dog or anyone for company. She even began to do some simple exercises each day, mostly sit ups and stretches just to pass the time. She felt like she was slowly going crazy is because of the constant dark and silence. Then one day, she realized that she was getting use to them and that worried her even more.

When her calendar was marked with two months, she ventured up the stairs to the kitchen. She had been out of food for almost three days and had been drinking a lot of water to feel full. She was weak and could tell she had lost quite a bit of weight but it wasn’t as bad as she had feared.

The tape came off the door easily and Trina came back into a dark house. It was night which was weird to her since she thought it was 9 AM. “Well, I did miss winding the clock a few times so that must be it” she thought. “Let’s see if there is any activity going on in town” and she headed to the front door. Everything looked fine in the house. It was all still locked up tight. Opening the front slightly, she peeked out of the crack and sniffed. “Everything smells ok, not that I know what radiation smells like”. She opened the door just enough to slip out on the porch in the shadows. Looking around, most everything seemed normal except for lack of lights. Trina didn’t hear any sounds except the breeze that was moving through the trees. The moon was full and bright and hurt her eyes. The warm air seemed a bit too warm for June. (It actually was not June but mid July, Trina had stayed in the root cellar for almost 3 months)

Trina decided to go back in and sleep in her bed. She tried the shower in the bathroom first but the water just came out slowly. She put the plug in the drain and let the water run. It would be a cool bath but it would be a bath! She took her bath by the moon light coming in the windows and then fell into a deep sleep in her bed.

The next morning the sunlight woke Trina up and she stretched while still in bed.

Pain shot through her stomach and reminded her that she was hungry. Her eyes still had trouble with the bright light so she fumbled in her drawers in her night stand and came up with some clip on shades for her glasses.

“Well, I guess I’m going to have to go out and see if I can find any food. And people!”

Twenty minutes later, Trina was locking up her front door from the outside and setting out into the neighborhood. She had her comfy sneakers on and an empty back pack on her back. She was already warm in her now fairly loose jeans and a T shirt that was now also loose on her but she thought that they would provide some protection. She had been able to keep her jeans on with an old belt.

It was to the neighbor’s houses that she went to first. Banging on the front door, she hollered loudly “Mr. Granville? Mrs. Granville? Anyone here?” She then tried the door handle but it was locked. All the doors were locked and no one answered her calls. The second house was also locked up tight and no one answered her calls. Then she got to the last house on the road. Here she found the back door unlocked and she tentatively went inside as she called for the owner.

“Miss Rose, are you home? It’s me, Trina. Hello?” She called as she made her way into the kitchen. There was no answer. Trina made her way through the house and found Miss Rose dead in the hallway as if she simply fell on her way to her bedroom. She had been dead for a long time. Trina was glad she had an empty stomach. She wondered if the pacemaker that Miss Rose had malfunctioned.

Miss Rose had lived alone and Trina felt bad about raiding her cupboards but not so bad that she didn’t take all she could fit in her back pack. She didn’t open the refrigerator but did look through all the cupboards in the kitchen and set all the food on the counters. And she cried through the whole thing. It ended up being about a dozen trips and after the second one; Trina found the garden cart in the shed in her backyard and used that to move things to her home. She emptied Miss Rose’s house of all the food, paper products, and anything else she thought she might need.
It was when she saw Miss Rose that the gravity of the situation hit her. No electric for over two months and no one had come and found Miss Rose. These two things really made Trina stop and think that she might now be entirely on her own. She began to realize that the government would have already sent help, if there had been any help to send.

When she made the last trip, she locked up Miss Roses house and went home feeling really sad. Her first thought was to turn to junk food but there was no junk food to be had, so she ate a jar of peaches that she had taken from Miss Roses home. She was only able to eat about ¼ of it since her stomach had shrunk so much. At least she was no longer hungry.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Do or Die


Trina was sitting on the floor in the corner of the kitchen right by the fridge and elbow deep in a half gallon of Dutch Fudge Chocolate ice cream with Brownie Bit’s when the power went out.

“Well, crap! That’s all I need, stupid power to go out after all that I’ve been through today!” She didn’t stop eating the ice cream, just carried it with her as she grudgedly began to search the drawers and cupboards for a candle or flashlight. She found two flashlights, neither of which had any working batteries. She did find one lighter that was almost empty and a half a book of matches. Finally, between mouth watering bites of the rich and thick frozen treat; she located a small box of tea light candles that had three left in it. She lit one and placed it on the kitchen table then sat down and finished off the ice cream.

An hour later, the power still wasn’t on and Trina wandered around the house, now stuffing double stuffed Oreos in her mouth since the ice cream was gone. She even went out to her back porch and looked over the town. No lights were on anywhere.

She paused mid-crunch “What the heck? It’s so quiet out here”. She went back through her small but tidy house to the front porch. “There will be people driving around town; they always do that when the power goes out at night.” She sighed loudly and grabbed the half gallon of chocolate milk off the kitchen counter as she walked through the kitchen on her way to the front porch.

Once outside again, she didn’t see any cars or vehicles on the roads. Not one headlight. She did see two of her three neighbors sitting out on their front porches, so she sunk down on the old rocker that had belonged to her great grandma still munching on Oreos and sipping chocolate milk. No one ever came out of Miss Rose’s house.

She must have sat for a good half hour when she began to doze off and still hadn’t seen anyone drive by or even walking. Her neighbors had gone back in shortly after she came out without even a wave her way. Sighing again loudly she went back into her house and locked up behind her.

Her house was small but very well built. It had thick stone and solid oak walls that made heating and cooling relatively cheap for the area. The walls of all the rooms had cedar paneling that made Trina think of the 60’s or 70’s…or sometime before she had been born.

The eight foot fence that surrounded the house was a thick stone wall topped off with three feet of wrought iron work with some wicked looking spikes topping it all off. The fence was built by her granddad about two months after the riots in the
late sixties. The combination of the high porch and iron work allowed her to look out over the neighborhood from the porch.

She loved her home. It was on the very edge of town and on a bluff that looked out over the town and the surrounding valley. She was the last one left in her family. Both her parents were dead, killed in a car crash just four years ago while she was in college. She always regretted never having a brother or sister but her mom had explained to her that after Trina’s birth there were complications and an emergency hysterectomy had been done due to excessive bleeding. Later it was found out that the doctor was to blame and under the influence of illegal drugs at the time. It was only due to the nurses close attention and intervention that both Trina and her mom even survived. And because smaller towns were what they were, no lawyer would take the case and Trina’s parents simply thanked God that they had survived with their lives and got on with them.

This house had been in her family for four generations, built by her great-grandparents long ago; she wasn’t sure of the year right now but she had an attic full of treasured memories and the house was filled with heirlooms that while might not bring a lot of money, did hold a lot of family memories.

Trina herself was about 5 foot 7 and over weight by a good 50 pounds and while she wasn’t really happy with her form, she simply felt that she didn’t have time to go to the gym five days a week. Food was her weakness and she didn’t think she had the will power to give up eating those things she really liked. She liked to believe it was genetic since her mom and dad both had been heavy. “Healthy” was how her mom used to describe them. She had long dark hair that she kept pulled up with a clip and wore glasses that hid her deep green eyes. She was actually pretty but didn’t feel the need to get all “gussied up” like some of the girls she saw.

She didn’t think she was very pretty so did not see the need to try to pretend she was. Instead she worked hard and spent time with her hobby. She loved to write and had literally hundreds of notebooks filled with all kinds of stories. She was able to forget about her worries for awhile when she wrote.

Besides eating comforted her and it was about the only thing that did. And she always managed to sound reasonable about food, like today for example. She was feeling really lousy because after 3 years of hard work and loyalty, she got fired! And for no reason at all! And she didn’t have much recourse because she lived in a “right to work” state and any employer could fire any employee and not have a reason to! So she needed some comforting. Lord knows she didn’t have a boyfriend or husband to comfort her. All her boss would say is that he was giving her an extra hundred bucks and for her to spend it wisely.


Finally after almost an hour of sheer boredom by simply wandering through the house from basement to attic, she put all the junk food she had been eating away and curled up on the sofa to fall into restless sleep.

The night was long and filled with nightmares. Her bad day seemed to trigger the monsters from her past. She had not had them since her parents were killed and they came with just as much horror as they did when she first began to have them at the age of 12.

She woke all blurried eyed and said out loud to herself “Darn nightmares are bad, but not as bad as the real thing!”

Morning light came through the curtains in a watery vagueness and Trina stumbled into the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee. It was only when she tried to turn on the coffee maker that she realized that the power was still out.

“Well, crap! What the heck is going on; power hasn’t been out this long since before I can remember” she mumbled to herself as she flipped the kitchen light switch up and down then opened and closed the refrigerator. She noticed that things were starting to get warm and looking in the freezer, saw that the few packages of meat and veggies were beginning to defrost. She quickly closed the
fridge again and turned around in bewilderment.

She went out to the front yard to look around and see if any of her neighbors had any information about when the power would be back on.

The first thing she noticed was the smoke coming from downtown. It looked like there were at least a dozen fires going. And the smoky haze had a strange tint to it. She looked at the three houses that shared her street and didn’t see anyone at her neighbor’s homes. She turned around to head back into the house when there was a bright flash that out shone the weak morning sunshine. Trina jerked and fell into the door post.

“What the heck?” she said as she began to turn back around carefully. “That light felt like it went right through me…..Oh MY GOD!“ she began to yell out loud. Whipping around she searched the Horizon and finally THERE -the top of a huge cloud could just be seen far to the south.

“We’ve been nuked! No Way! Oh my God –oh my God- oh my God!!! They’ve hit the air force base. Oh my God….think Trina! Think! That’s got to be about 45 or so miles away…. Crap, what do I do? I’ve never ever thought I would be in a situation like this.”

She ran back into the house and began trying very hard to not panic. She didn’t succeed very well.

Finally since she was beginning to lose her mind, she forced herself to simply stop and think.

“Ok, think Trina. Somewhere I read that a nuclear bomb would have radiation for many miles. So I need to find a safe place to stay until the fallout is gone.

Ok…..basement? Well, that will have to do since I don’t know anyone with a fallout shelter. Basement has no windows and I can go into the part that Gramma used to call the root cellar…it’s a bit deeper into the ground and I can close all the doors.”

“I’ll probably need to be down there for at least a few months. So I need food and water…..the well is down there and the laundry room so I should have water covered… Ok…let me drag all the food down there….”

Trina spent the next 15 minutes taking all the food from the kitchen downstairs to the root cellar. That was after she spent 30 minutes looking for something that would light the way. She finally found an old Coleman lantern in the garage that her dad had. She also found four of the small bottles of fuel that it used. She snagged the small hibachi grill that was by the lantern. She didn’t hesitate to take the cooler to put the food from the fridge in.

She then drug the mattress off the bed that was in her childhood bedroom because it was the only twin mattress in the house. She hadn’t slept on it since her parents died. She had moved into their room to feel closer to them. She then gathered up blankets and pillows. She figured she would need something to eat on, so she gathered up some dishes and dish soap from the kitchen.

After she was downstairs she tried to think what a day down there would be like. Then it hit her that there might be more things in the garage that she could use and why did she NOT look in those totes that her dad used when he went hunting while she had been in the garage?

“I have no clue if I’m being radiated right now….Oh God! Why can’t I go faster?”

It felt like it was taking her forever to get things together. She was breathing very hard and her heart was pounding. The sweat was beginning to drip off her face and her shirt was wet with it. She was suffering from the exertion and the anxiety.

Someone must have been looking out for her since no fallout was by her home yet. The wind was blowing in a southerly direction but there had been another nuclear bomb that hit about 120 miles north of her so fallout was on the way and she had only about another 20 minutes before it hit her home.

Back in the garage that was right off the kitchen through the small coat and mud room, Trina went to the two totes that her dad had always taken with him when he went deer hunting. Pulling one off the shelf, she set it on the floor and opened it up. Inside was what looked like a sleeping bag and pad and some kind of coffee kettle and what Trina thought must be what her dad used to call a “mess kit”. But there were also matches and two flashlights. She dug through the top things and found some batteries. She flicked one of the flashlights on, no light shone. She changed out the batteries, crossed her fingers mentally, and tried again: light shone. She closed the tote but kept the flashlight out and carried it to the basement steps and went back for the other one. Fearing she was almost out of time but not wanting to drag useless junk downstairs, she quickly peeked into the second tote. It looked like more fuel and some box thing. “Could that be a camping stove?” she thought. She immediately decided she would take it downstairs. Back to the stair well she went with it. Before she went down for the last time, she again walked around the house making sure all the windows and doors were locked up tight. Then she drug first one and then the other tote down into the place she planned on staying for a while, closing the basement door behind her. She wanted so bad to take some books or at least some notebooks and pencils with her but she knew she would waste all the batteries and fuel to have light to read and write by. She made sure she would not be tempted by taking them. She knew that her will power was not that good.

Once she was in the basement, she took her time and began to organize her supplies in the root cellar. She decided she would eat the things from the fridge today and tomorrow. Before she closed herself into the root cellar, she decided to look around the basement for anything she might need. She found a couple empty five gallon buckets and a box of black trash bags, “I guess I can use these for a toilet” she thought. And she found a roll of duct tape. “Wasn’t there something about taping up doors or something the government was saying a couple years ago?” She took the tape and went back up the stairs and taped all around the door.
“I don’t know if that will help, but it makes me feel better…I think” she said to herself.

Once inside the root cellar, she organized all her supplies. She had the other five gallon bucket full of fresh water from the sink by the washer and had decided to only go out in the basement to refill it. Thankfully she had grabbed the calendar off the kitchen wall and in one of her dad’s totes was an old fashion wind up clock. She decided she would keep track of the days using these. In the bottom of the second tote were five boxes of food that looked like compact meals.

All together she figured she had enough food to last her the two months if she only ate one small meal a day.

“Well, I always talk about going on a diet, guess this time I can’t cheat! I’ll either have to do it or die!”