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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"Bugout Versus Hunker" Short Story by Christopher Young - Chapter 4

===CHAPTER FOUR===

Sunrise began about 7:15 AM. When the sun started to
shine in the window, Charles and his wife woke up. It
was after their usual wake up time, but they were fairly
sure work would not need them today. Both worked in
places that required power. The house was cold. Charles
got on his heavy bathrobe, and slippers. Went to the
cellar. Find that the fire had gone down to coals.
Charles blew on the fire, and the orange provided some
warmth. A couple sticks of kindling lit up, and then
some heavier wood. Soon, the heat was coming out of
the wood stove.

Charles wife had plugged in the coffee pot, and poured
a pot of water into the back of the pot. The coffee
grounds were in the filter in the basket. She was
looking at the power switch that usually glowed orange.
"Lectric is off, honey...." Charles said. "What to do?"
she replied. Charles turned the burner knob on the gas
range. The familiar hissing noise occured, but not the
tick, tick, tick of the electric igniter. Charles turned
off the gas, as the familiar mercaptan odor came into
the kitchen. Charles went to the cellar, and came back
with a new Aim N Flame, and opened the package. He turned
the knob on the gas range, and lit the burner with the
Aim N Flame. The warmth felt good, so he turned on a
second burner. From a kitchen cabinet, Charles brought
out a camping style coffee pot. He took the glass decanter
from theddrip coffee pot, and used it to fill the camping
coffee pot. Pulled the basket of grounds out, and poured
them into the basket for the camping coffee pot. "Looks
like we're camping in, for a while, dear."

Charles opened the freezer. The familiar fan blower was
silent. He removed a can of orange juice, and pulled the
plastic seal. Put the frozen OJ into a pitcher, and added
three cans of water. "We'd best to use up all the frozen,
first. Won't last long, with the power off." "How long you
figure the power off" his wife asked. "Dunno. But we better
figure for a long time."

Charles son came down the stairs, from the bathroom.
He pulled out a chair and sat at the table. "What's
going on?" he asked. Charles told him as much as he
knew from the radio. "No school, Dad?" the boy asked.
"No. At least not for a couple days." The boy started
to drink orange juice, and asked what was for breakfast.

Butch had decided that he'd have to get his family
as far out of the city as possible, gasoline or not.
He left the truck stop, and driven away from the city.
His wife asked at one point, should we head for home
instead? Butch gave her a look that was a bit too
cruel. She decided not to say anything more. They
had gone about 20 miles out the old logging road,
when the truck sputtered, and died. "Everyone out!"
Butch called back over his shoulder. Things would be
rough, but they would be sure to survive.

Butch opened the back door of the truck. He started
to load bags and equipment onto the ground, along
the road. Tent, bug out bags, cooking equipment, and
so on. Truly, they would be survivors. "My feet are
cold!" his daughter said. Butch looked down. Four
inches of fluffy white snow, along the side of the
road. There wasn't enough light from the stars, so
he took his six cell D Mag light, and pointed it at
her feet. Fuzzy pink slippers. The twins saw the
slippers, and started to giggle.

Butch realied she must have left her good boots in
the truck. He went and looked. The floor of the back
seat was empty. "Left em  home?" She nodded. Fortunately,
he had a spare pair of insullated boots in the back of
the truck. He got them out, and put them on the ground
for her to wear. "Why don't we just go home?" She asked.
He didn't have the time to explain that they were out of
gas. He just knew that they had to bug out to the hills
if they were to survive.

"Get all the gear you can. We might not be back for a
while." Butch's wife and three kids picked up their
bug out bags. Butch started for the tree line, which
was about 100 feet from the road. They would be safe,
now.

At Charles house, his wife figured they should at least
call work, and be sure that they could stay  home. The
battery radio was on the kitchen table.  The radio
reporters had  predictably said that all school
districts were closed. They read through the list of
school closings, which took several minutes. Charles
wife picked up the cordless phone, and pushed the
button. Waiting for the dial tone. "Honey...." Charles
said. "Won't work without power. Have to use the old
phone." She didn't quite understand phones, but the
cordless phone handset still had some power, but the
base wasn't working. She went to the living room, and
picked up the corded phone. Now, she had dial tone.
Called work, but the phone there just rang and rang.
Charles was thinking about the complicated phone
systems they had, and probably no backup battery. Well,
with most of the world shut down, they could be
excused from missing a day of work. The boy finished
his breakfast, and decided to go back to bed. The
girls decided this would be a good day to play in
the snow, in the back yard.

About this time, Butch's family was about 100 feet
into the woods. Butch had managed to get the tent
set up, and the entire family was crammed into a
four man tent. This turned out to be a good thing,
because they had forgotten to bring sleeping bags.
They had put the one sleeping pad in the bottom of
the tent, and had piled on. The several people
helped to keep the tent warmer than it would other-
wise have been. Butch had gone out in the middle of
the night to pee, and had dragged back some branches
that would make a good fire.