Friday, April 29, 2011

Captain Jack: Run to The Hills

Jack pushed the boat as hard as it would run, zig zagging his course toward the point. He hoped to round it and get out of firing range in the shallows of Frenchmen's Creek. The faster power boats were well ahead, except for the sportfisherman. They must have run out of fuel, Jack deduced, because they slowed considerably then turned and put the boat on the beach. He saw the crew jump overboard and wade to shore. Not a moment too soon either, for when the boat became stationary it also became an easy target and was destroyed by another incoming shell.

Several more rounds exploded around First Watch, many of them only a hundred feet from where she would have been had Jack not changed course dramatically. As he and Linda approached South Bluff, the shells were falling short by a hundred yards or so. The ship was unable to pursue them through the shallows of the bank, and what remained of the little fleet was now out of range.

They rounded the point, then threaded their way through the small islands into Frenchmen's Creek. Island Time had already dropped anchor, and Jack pulled right up to Willie's stern. Linda went forward and tossed a line to Seth, who was waiting on the aft deck as they approached. Jack retrieved a bottle of rum from the locker under the cockpit seat, then went to the bow to speak to Seth and Willie.

Willie, what the fu...”

Willie cut Jack off. “I don't know. Not exactly.”

What the hell does that mean?” Jack asked, incredulously.

I heard something on the side band last night. Bits and pieces. It didn't make a lot of sense then, but it does now.”

What was it?” Linda asked.

Well.... I heard some chatter. Mostly in Spanish, but I kept hearing names of American Navy ships. From what I could gather, Castro must have decided he was better off making nice with us... I mean America... In order to put down the riots which had erupted there when things went to hell. Like we saw with the gun boat back in the Florida Straights, lots of Cubans took advantage of the shit hitting the fan. Castro's military started to turn on him, and many of his officers went rogue. Even though they had ties with China, geography made him re-evaluate his priorities. That and necessity. American warships and Marines still loyal to those rat bastards in D.C. were dispatched to Cuba to squash the rebellion Why not? They got oil... I suppose our government has been tracking our movements. As Jonathan said, we've been all over shortwave radio, which is an embarrassment to D.C. I guess since we... America had some ships in the area, we were targets of opportunity. At least that's my take on it. My Spanish is a bit rusty.”

Jack's blood ran cold. He couldn't believe that they would go so far... What did it matter to them if a handful of “nobodies” escaped? He couldn't even imagine the propaganda that must be circulating about him and his fellow escapees, and it made him sick to his stomach even thinking about it.

So what now Willie?” asked Jack.

Honestly Jack....” Willie took a long pause, staring down at the water. “I think we need to get the hell out of this hemisphere.”
The weight of that statement hit Jack like a ton of bricks. There was no way the whole group could do that, not on the few sailboats they had. There was no way they'd be able to procure enough fuel for the power boats. He twisted the cap on his bottle of rum and took a long pull, cursing the internal combustion engine in his mind...

May 13, 2012

3:45 A.M. The fever has started. I woke from my light sleep to the sound of her moaning. She was sweating, and her skin turned pale. All I could do for her was turn the blanket back, wipe her down with a wet towel, then wait for the shivering to start and cover her up again. Kevin woke up and offered to stay up with her, but I can't sleep now...

6:00 A.M. Josey was conscious for a few minutes, so I had Kevin give her some water and another hydrocodone. We have no thermometer, but she's very warm to the touch. All we can do is wait and pray.

Once again I am leaving Kevin with her to go look for medical supplies. I hate to do it, but I think my best bet is to go back to the military base by Winchester. I really don't want to go back through that battlefield again, once was enough.

10:15 P.M. I made really good time, already knowing the route. Had the old Scout wound out doing 75-80 MPH on some stretches... And just in time too, Josey's condition deteriorated during the day. Kevin said she never really woke up at all, started shivering almost violently, and he wasn't able to get any water into her. The leg is red, and almost hot to the touch.

The base clinic yielded several suture kits, morphine, antibiotics, nitrile gloves, alcohol, gauze, bandages, and some medical books, among other things.

I gave Josey two shots: one morphine and one antibiotic. She's still shivering and hot, but I know it will take time for the drugs to take effect. Meanwhile, neither Kevin nor I have eaten a bite today. Time to cook up a little something for what is sure to be another night of fitful sleep at best.

While I was at the military base, I had a very odd experience which really unnerved me. It seemed like... I don't really know how to explain it... Something was "running". Like an engine or something. There was no sound really, more like a barely perceptible low frequency vibration. I looked in the direction of the "ventilation stacks" I saw last time, but nothing was coming out of them. I couldn't see any exhaust coming from anywhere around me. But that was my perception, an engine was running somewhere. A big one. And it wasn't far away.

There were no signs of life anywhere, just that unnatural vibration. I put my ear to the ground, but it made no difference. I couldn't pinpoint the source. I couldn't hear it anyway, just felt it. All around. Very faint. Very strange... One more thing, I felt like I was being watched. Yes there are security cameras around the base, but they should have been fried along with everything else electronic. Right? They didn't move. There was no light on them or anything. I saw no people, no sign of people, no movement other than trees swaying in the breeze. I got out of there quick as I could, because I have no desire to repeat my experience in captivity. That's when the Scout was pushing 80...

11:45 P.M. Josey is not doing well at all. The sheets are soaked, and she's burning up. I hope the antibiotics weren't bad; the label said "do not refrigerate", and the expiration date is over a year from now... Her leg has really swollen. Kevin and I loosened the bandages to accommodate the swelling and keep the blood flowing.

Though she still wasn't conscious, Kevin managed to get her to swallow some water. After so much sweating, I'm sure she's dehydrated. That can't be helping things at all. We're keeping damp towels on her head and belly for what it's worth, until the shivers start again. I'm praying for you Josey.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

May 12, 2012

My heartfelt thanks to Meadowhouse, Delr, and Doc for your subscriptions!

8:00 P.M. Disaster has struck... Early this afternoon, Josey noticed something on a hilltop as we wove our way through the dead vehicles along the highway. She saw what she thought might be a signal mirror, or a glint of sunlight from the glass of a moving vehicle. So we pulled off to the side of the road, geared up, and started to make our way up the steep, rocky hillside.

Half way up, Josey stepped on a rock which gave way from beneath her. Her foot slid into a small crack which the rock was covering and she fell over backwards, wedging her leg, breaking it, and dislocating her knee. It's a compound fracture, and her tibia was protruding from the skin.

Kevin threw up when he saw it, but quickly recovered and helped me free her leg. Josey was screaming in agony, and she'd more to come. I found a small stick within reach, and put it between her teeth to bite down on. I sent Kevin to fetch two straight sticks to use for a splint while I pulled off my T-shirt to cut in to strips for bandages and to tie the splint on. When he returned a few minutes later, I steeled myself to the task of setting her fracture as best I could. Which was something I did not look forward to...

I told her I'd do it on the count of three, but pulled it straight on two. With no idea whether the bones were aligned properly or not, I wrapped the wound with the T-shirt strips and then laid the sticks on either side of her leg. With Kevin's help I tied them snugly, one above her knee and two below, flanking the wound. Once the major pain subsided, Kevin and I picked Josey up and put her arms around our shoulders. We carefully made our way back down the steep, rocky slope, then carried her back to the trailer and into bed.

All we had was some aspirin which was in the first aid kit, and I gave Josey four of them. For what it was worth, which wasn't much I'm sure. She still writhed in agony until she passed out from shock. I had Kevin wrap her up in blankets and elevate her feet, then I dropped the trailer and took off in the Scout in search of medical supplies in the nearest town.

Unfortunately there wasn't much to be found. Some hydrocodone and a couple bottles of vodka, along with a few rolls of gauze, some Ace bandages, and a few feet of flexible splint are all I could find. The local pharmacy and doctor's office had been essentially stripped clean. I did find a pair of crutches among the bones of their former user on the way out.

When I returned, I found Josey still out. Kevin was putting a wet wash towel on her forehead and had been wiping the blood from her leg as best as he could. I took advantage of her unconscious state to fix her up a little better. Some of the vodka I used to flush the wound, which I then taped shut with bandage tape from the first aid kit. Next I covered it with gauze, held in place with Ace bandage. Then I used the flexible splint and more Ace bandages to stabilize everything as much as possible. I think things are lined up right, but I can't be sure. Only time will tell...

11:30 P.M. Neither Kevin nor I felt much like eating. We've been keeping watch over Josey, who's been drifting in and out of consciousness. I gave her a hydrocodone pill and some water while she was half way awake, about an hour ago. She's sleeping now, which is for the best at this point. I've suspended her leg in a makeshift sling hung from the overhead bunk, to keep it above her heart and reduce swelling and bleeding.

Kevin finally fell asleep on the floor next to his mother's bunk, and I carefully worked around him when I changed her dressing. She's still asleep thanks to the hydrocodone, and she doesn't seem to be running a fever. I think I'm going to have a couple shots of that vodka and get some rest myself; we're in for some long stressful days I'm afraid.

Friday, April 22, 2011

May 11, 2012

First, I must thank Tweell, Cousin Linda, my Aunt B.J. and Uncle Rob, my uncle "Mad Dog", Dave, Sneaux (really Sneaux, the laptop was more than enough!), and a HUGE thank you to Granny B! Yer damn straight your subscription is included Granny! All of y'all are keeping these stories going, and if either ever gets published you'll all get a signed copy for sure! Thank you so much for all y'all have done for me. I'm eternally grateful, and this installment is dedicated to all of you...

11:30 A.M. We stopped at the scene of what had been a huge fire fight. Burned up military and civilian vehicles alike are scattered over a couple square miles of open fields, and shell casings are everywhere. So are the bones of the fallen. With solemn respect for those who fell here, we carefully searched the scene for anything that might be useful to us. Didn't find much besides a few knives, a couple jerry cans, and some camouflage netting. Having packed these few things in the Scout, we quietly left the area. After we put that place a few miles behind us we stopped to eat, and I took a few moments to put this down to paper while it was still fresh.

9:45 P.M. We moved north/northeast alongside Interstate 81 today. The good news is that there's a lot more dead vehicles on this stretch of highway. And the bad news is that there's a lot more dead vehicles on this stretch of highway...

We topped off our fuel tanks from the numerous 18 wheelers we encountered, and made good use of the Scout's winch to clear our path on several occasions this afternoon. One "bonus" we did manage to capitalize on was a grocery store truck which still contained several partial pallets of canned food. Much of it's load had already been taken, but there still remained several weeks' worth for the three of us. Another lucky find was an auto supply truck which carried a bunch of fuel stabilizer, amongst other stuff. I've begun to worry about how long the fuel we find will remain usable, but this stuff will help prolong the life of the diesel we find along the way. Otherwise, we would soon be faced with the task of "brewing" up our own fuel from grease bins and/or animal fat. This would slow our progress significantly.

Kevin and I went hunting again this evening, and tonight we brought down a calf which was wandering aimlessly in a field nearby. I hated to kill something so large, knowing we wouldn't be around long enough to make use of it all, but I consoled myself with the knowledge that a lot of other critters would certainly take advantage of what we leave behind.

Once again, Josey made an incredible meal out of our kill, and we stuffed what we could into the propane powered freezer in the RV. That's one good thing; we are able to find lots of propane cylinders, and the stuff doesn't go bad. Maybe we should start looking for a propane powered vehicle. When all the diesel has gone bad, propane will still be out there in large quantity. It's definitely something to think about. That, or switching to travel by water.

Meanwhile, our purpose is still unclear. I suppose we're looking for other survivors, but on the other hand we're trying to avoid them. I am trying to avoid them anyway, given my past experience. Maybe Josey and Kevin have a different perspective. I should ask them about that. But the fire is getting low, and the hour is late. There's another day of who knows what ahead, and it's time to rest...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Captain Jack: Under Attack

Thank you to Christopher and Michael for your subscriptions!

After overcoming the disorientation caused by the shock wave, Jack darted to the surface. Linda was leaning over the life lines looking for him, and he saw immense relief in her eyes when she spotted him.

What the hell was that?!” Jack exclaimed.

Linda had no time to answer before the second explosion rocked the lagoon. Jack quickly hoisted himself aboard and began scanning all around. People on shore were running in all directions, and many of the boats' crews were hoisting anchor. Jack ran forward to retrieve his own, yelling for Linda to start the engine. The third explosion hit much closer this time, sending a geyser of water, coral, and mud some two hundred feet into the air.

Hard to port and full ahead!” Jack yelled as the anchor pulled loose from the bottom. He hurriedly secured it to the bowsprit, then ran aft to take the helm. “Go below and try to raise Island Time on the radio!”

He didn't bother with sails, there being so little wind. And he decided that quick maneuvering would probably be necessary just as the fourth explosion caused him to turn hard to starboard.

Have you got Willie yet?” Jack yelled toward the companionway as he nervously swiveled his head in search of Island Time, and the source of the explosions.

Not yet!” Linda replied. “Wait... Yes! I've got him... He says there's a large contact on radar just over the horizon... Due south!”

Dammit!” Jack cursed. “They got us bottled up! Shit!”

He pulled up the local chart in his mind, and a second later he yelled “Hold on tight, I'm coming about!

Jack spun the helm hard over, not backing off the throttle. First Watch heeled hard against the turn, dipping her rail into the sea. Another explosion erupted just 50 yards off the port quarter. As he eased out of the turn, he shouted “Tell Willie to make for South Bluff!”

He seized his binoculars and scanned the southern horizon, now off his port side. A gray smudge of smoke, most likely from a ship running hard, was just barely visible. He swung his gaze toward the scrambling flotilla and his eye caught the churning froth of whitewater off the crew boat's stern. Looking forward, he saw a shower of sparks from two men furiously grinding on the anchor cable. Her anchor was fouled and they couldn't retrieve it. Then, to Jack's horror, he saw the boat explode. He watched helplessly as the two men on the bow were hurled through the air like rag dolls, amongst a cloud of fire, shrapnel, and debris.

Jack threw the binoculars down, and made what he knew was a futile attempt to jam the throttle down further. The little engine was already on the pin, running wide open. Linda climbed up to the cockpit, and heaved great sobs when she saw the burning wreckage.

No time” Jack said. “Did Willie get the message?”

Y... Yes.”

Good. Get below and stay there. Be ready for hard turns.”

She paused for a moment, with a look of horror on her face, then disappeared into the cabin. Jack realized the look he had on his own face was one of murder. He felt the muscles in his forehead contorted in a way they'd never been before. His eyes were narrow slits, and his jaw was tightly clenched, causing the muscles to protrude and ripple. But he didn't change it, because murder was exactly what he had in mind. He wanted to make those who killed his friends suffer. He wanted to torture them unmercifully, then tear their throats out with his bare hands. It was the first time he ever wanted to kill. Not for revenge, but in cold blood.

Monday, April 18, 2011

May 10, 2012

Before I get started, let me highlight the subscription button there on my sidebar. I've decided to do it that way, on the honor system because a "subscribers only" blog would require Google registration, which I know some of y'all don't want to do. So that's my solution. If you don't want to use Paypal, shoot me an e-mail. Both stories will be posted here, and I will migrate the links tonight or tomorrow morning. Thank you all for your support and encouragement. Now back to the story!

10:45 P.M. We stumbled across a military installation today. It was wide open, and deserted. So we went in to scrounge around for supplies, only to be disappointed by the confounding lack of.... Anything! The place had been stripped clean. There had been a significant fire fight as well, there was brass lying everywhere. And bones. Human bones, fragments of uniforms, all of which had been stripped clean by scavengers both two legged and four.

There were no weapons to be found, no ammunition. Not even a knife, a belt, a canteen... It was all taken after the carnage ended. What we did find was a hidden entrance to an underground facility, with a large "biohazard" warning on the door. The door was sealed somehow, and without electrical power I think there was no way to open it short of several hundred pounds of explosives. It was one serious door. And it was literally covered with dings from gunfire. Very little paint remained, and hundreds of deformed slugs littered the surrounding concrete passageway which led to the door. Somebody was desperate to get in there it seems.

The whole scene creeped us out, and we left in a hurry. Something just felt weird. Dangerous. On the way out, I noticed an odd structure which I just had to investigate before we took off. It appeared to be the ventilation system for the underground facility, as far as I could tell. It was a small building with louvered panels on all four sides, which appeared to cover large filter elements. Rising from the center of the roof were two stacks about 24 inches in diameter and at least 50 feet tall. I can only assume they are the ventilation exhaust. The building is surrounded by fencing and razor wire, which also struck me as odd, being inside the military installation. They were keeping their own soldiers away? Strange...

The three of us loaded up and pressed on. We're heading generally north along the mountains, bypassing D.C. as best we can. Then the plan is to turn east and head for the coast. From there we'll head north again, until.... Well we really don't know. I guess my train of thought is something along the lines of maybe the disease can't thrive in colder climates. Kinda like how there's more diseases in the tropics, but you don't see malaria in Canada. But then again, summer is approaching. Not knowing much of anything, I suppose it's as good a plan as any.

We stopped at a nice wooded spot for the night. Kevin and I bagged a feral piglet for dinner, which roasted up very nicely over the open fire. Josey rummaged through the food stash and came up with some baked beans and a vegetable medley which went well with the pork. Now if only I had a shot of hootch to wash it down...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Would You Subscribe?

Computersaurus Rex is dying. My monitor recently took a dump. My pay is frozen, in light of the inflation we're all experiencing in food and fuel. My internet provider jacked up the price, as well as many other bills I pay.

My question is simple: Would you subscribe to my story? Of course, if I had subscribers I'd write more. It's getting to the point that I won't be able to write at all soon. The price of life has exceeded my ability to pay for it. So let me know, because soon I'll be unable to keep posting...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

May 9, 2012

11:00 P.M. We made our way into Winchester today. It looks much like every other city and town I've been through so far, dead and empty. There wasn't much as far as supplies went, and we couldn't find a confiscated stockpile either. This place was stripped clean.

However, we did find a decent camper. Small enough for the Scout to pull, but big enough for the three of us. The other thing we found is a tremendous amount of bird bones. It seemed like they were everywhere we looked. On roofs, on top of cars, scattered across the ground...

Bird bones and feathers everywhere. It's an eerie sight, that's for sure. In fact, the whole town gives me the creeps, and Josey too. We made camp on the outskirts, and planned on an early departure.

Kevin and I hunted down a pair of cottontails for supper. We were lucky to find them, because game seems to be pretty scarce around here. Livestock too, which seems odd. I've run across plenty of cows, goats, and sheep in my journey so far, as well as pigs (both feral and domesticated). But around here they are non-existent. Sets the mind to wondering if there's not a fairly large population hidden nearby. Dogs do their damage on livestock, but not big stuff like cattle. And now that I think of it, we haven't seen any dogs around here. Cats either. Until now, I've seen plenty of cats. But they were never a concern, so I never made mention of them...

Josey roasted those rabbits to perfection, and heated up some canned veggies from their stash to make the meal. It was wonderful to me (in an odd sort of way, given my isolation over the past months) to share a meal with other people. It almost felt surreal, like it wasn't really happening. Like it was some kind of dream, and I would soon wake to find myself alone again. And my thoughts turned toward my lost Jenny. My God, I'd nearly forgotten her. I've been through so much that I've become hardened and cold, but now I'm filled with sorrow over my Jenny. I haven't had time to grieve I suppose, but now it's caught up to me.