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Monday, December 6, 2010

"Bugout Versus Hunker" Short Story by Christopher Young - Chapter 8

Sunshine came up over the eastern horizon. Butch was going
off to the woods for his morning toilet. The boys came
along, also. They had used the last of the toilet paper,
but fortunately there was some TP in the MRE pack that
they had opened yesterday. The teen daughter had totally
refused to eat the sheep guts or pig intestines, as she
called the MRE food. Butch found it refreshing, he'd eaten
MRE enough times, while he was hunting. The twins fought
over the MRE brownie, and that wasn't much calories to
work with. They were both starving. They had slept in a
pile, on the one closed cell sleeping pad. Dad had piled
the backpacks on top of them, to help keep the heat in.
They had found one mylar space blanket in one of the bug
out bags, and that helped a lot. Dad was thinking that it
must really be bad in the cities and towns.

Butch realized this was the second day that he hadn't
taken his heart medicines. He was starting to wonder if
they should go back home, and get his pills. But, they
were about twenty miles out an old logging road, and
that would be a long walk. No, they would have to stay
for a couple more days, to be sure that crisis was over.
He couldn't return to civilization too soon. After all,
the mutant zombies must be out in force, now. Samurai Sam
was never wrong.

Charles found some coals in the bottom of the wood stove.
Blew on them to bright orange, and then put some kindling
in. The dry kindling lit up immediately, and then he put
a couple logs in. The time was 7 AM. He didn't think it
was worth waking his family early, there was not much to
do. He went up the stairs, and put some coffee int he
camping coffee pot on the stove. Put in some waer, and
set the flame to medium. He knew that the smell of coffe
would bring his wife and kids to the kitchen. And, it did.
Fortunately, they had just been shopping. Charles had his
wife buy some extra coffe last week, so they would not
run out an time soon. The freezer was almost empty. A
couple frozen pizzas, to cook up. That would take some
creativity but he'd figure something out.

The house slowly warmed up. From ceiling to floor, as the
heat came up from the cellar. Charles finally decided it
was warm enough, and called up the stairs to wake his
family. The radio was tuned to a station which played
cheerful music. "Kin I git some hot cocoa?" the older
daughter asked. Charles looked in the cabinet, and found
four boxes of cocoa left. He got out three packets, as he
knew the other two kids would want some. With the Aim N
Flame, he lit the back burner, and filled the teakettle
at the sink.

The song ended, and the news reporter came through the
speaker. The meltdown and financial crisis of the moment
was soon to be under control. They had managed to get the
power grid restarted, in most parts of the country. This
area was expecting power to be returned, any day now. One
day soon. The President had thanked the nation for the
calm response, and had asked the food riot people to be
patient.

Calm and patient wasn't describing Butch's tent. His wife
was ragging on him for the disaster t hat they were in.
Butch kept reminding her that there were riots and death
and destruction back where they lived. There was totally
no way they could return home to that. Even if they had
the truck, that is. And a tank of gas. They could no way
go back. They had made it through the night with no food,
and Butch was no closer to lighting a fire. He had spent
a long time with the flint. No matter how he sparked, the
chunk of Piney Woods Fire Log refused to light.

They decided to try taking turns with the flint gadget.
Next, his teenage daugther tried to light the fire. She
had the same luck as her father. Which was none at all.
The batteries in her Ipod were going flat. She had tuned
in the local news station. The news anchor had been saying
that the riots were winding down. Power would be restored
soon, and things would get back to normal. The President
had authorized another stimulus, and that was supposed to
help.

The day was spent in much the same manner. Butch's wife
nagged and ragged, that Butch should make things better
some how. Butch wished he had some fluid for his Zippo.
But, none was to be found. Darkness came, about 6 PM.
With nothing else to do, they retreated into the tent.
Pulled the backpacks and mylar space blanket over them.
As the outdoor temperature dropped about 15 degrees from
the 34F they enjoyed that day.

Charles family ended, much the same as their day had begun.
Charles put some more wood in the stove, and they closed
with Bible reading, and night time prayers. The house was
reasonably warm. The girls got to enjoy their second bath
by candle light, which they really enjoyed. Mom had to
stay with them, account of the candles. They talked about
Laura Ingalls, and the Little House on the Prarie. They
decided that the boy was old enough to have a candle in
the bathroom. Much to his relief. At age 12, he didn't
want to be naked around anyone. Well, he might make an
exception for Miss Perkins, at school. Everyone knew she
was divorced. Can't imagine why, she's the hottest babe
in the area. Which gave him warm memories, just thinking
about it.

(To be continued.... )