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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Guest Post: Firestorm Chapter 14, by Christopher Young

Bought The Farm 



Sunday night drew to a close. The sun set in the west, and the excitement of the day was drawing to a close. Sammy had been caught in the act, his parents knew something was wrong, but wasn't sure what. The details were now revealed. Sammy had been trading food for sexual favors. The family's food storage had gone down, faster than predicted. Since they were now hosting Chris and Gomer. And since Sammy had been feeding his girl friend, and sending some home to her parents.

And as darkness fell. Brenda lit the oil lamp on the dining room table. Sam turned on the radio. To his pleasure, the station out of Cleveland was still broadcasting. The cheerful song came through the speaker, and brought a welcome relief to the day's stress.

The announcer came on the radio, and started to tell of the news of the nation. More infrastructure had been damaged by the riots, and the fire bombers. The President was continuing to remind people to remain calm. Do not take the law into your own hands, but to call the police if you see anything wrong. This was getting harder to do, as the telephone network was completely destroyed. A few small town telephone systems were operating, but very few. And there was no long distance communication any more.

The United Nations had been called in, and they had set up feeding centers in all major cities and areas. People were encouraged to report to the UN for relocation, and for emergency housing. Of course, the relocation was voluntary, but all civilians were expected to obey the orders of the UN troops. The troops were also performing a house to house search for weapons, and other dangerous items.

After several minutes of depressing news, Sam turned off the radio. Said to the gathered family "Lets check out the farm, tomorrow. Since we're the new farm owners, we really ought to go have a look. See what's there, what can be used." All around the table nodded, in agreement.

The same radio broadcast was heard across the nation. One or two of the satellites in orbit were working, and a few stations still had some diesel fuel for their backup generators. By this time, most broadcast stations were operating only about an hour in the morning, and an hour after dinner, to conserve fuel. The reactions across the nation were varied. Most folks just sighed, and decided to cooperate with the UN. A few people decided that the freedom of the nation did not permit outside forces to be giving us orders.

At Gomer's compound, the radio over the kitchen sink provided the same news to Heather, and the five assembled children. The music was a welcome relief. They had come home from church, and changed into play clothes. After the Presidential announcement, it was time for the Heather Announcement, which was that it's bedtime for kids.

Bedtime was also the case, in homes and apartments across the nation. Night time was a change in schedule, but did not guarantee quiet for the entire nation. things that go bump in the night used to be just a tree hitting the house. Now, with the nation at risk, things that go bump in the night could be UN troops coming to take you away, or it could be terrorists with petrol bombs. It certainly was a different world out there. And not for the better.

As Chris nestled in for a night sleep, the lumpy sofa cushions reminded him that he'd rather be in his own bed. Gomer was fine in the chair in the living room. He had first shift, so he took out he ear buds from the video game, so he could hear anything going wrong. His sensitive hearing would let him know if anything was wrong.

Morning arrived, sun shine came in the windows. In Tennessee, the sun shine came in full force, hardly a cloud in the sky. As the sun came in the East windows, it blinded Jade and Madison with its razzle dazzle. Jade turned away from the sun, and pulled the covers over his head. Few more minutes sleep. Madison had been dreaming of pink ponies. She had been riding down a forest trail, with the green trees bending over to brush her long, blonde hair as she gently and effortlessly guided the pink pony down the trail. A handsome prince was on the balcony of a castle, waiting her arrival. Servants had been laying flowers on the trail, so her horse had softer path. As she started to wake, she extended her arm, in regal elegance, and turned to her handsome prince. Her eyes focused, and she saw Jade, trying to sleep in a bundle, curled up under the covers. At that moment, Jade cut loose with a ripper of a fart, and Madison realized she really needed to pee.

It wasn't much better, in Ohio. Chris had been dreaming of his old days in school. Chris had been the science nerd, and had spent his school days designing electrical circuits, and chemical reactions. Never did quite manage to make nitroglycerine, but not for lack of effort.

Chris got up, and tried the water in the sink. Fortunately, the water was still running. Headed off the bathroom, for his morning routine. There wasn't a lot of use, to shower. After all, his clothes were nearly a week old. But, still, there was the old tradition. The water was bitter cold, so the shower was very brief. Battery powered shaver still worked, and tooth brushes work without electricity.

Electricity was a modern convenience Heather enjoyed. She knew enough to only run the generator a couple hours a day. Morning was electric time for about an hour, to cool the fridge, and run the dish washer. The fridge and freezer had been good at holding the cold, and there was plenty of refrigerated food. The farmer down the road had provided them with eggs, and some of the folks at church had been home baking bread. they were happy to trade for other supplies, and so Heather had a good stock of food in the house. Breakfast cooked up in a couple minutes. And the five children came down the hall, having woken up by the sweet aroma of food.

Brenda was a bit handicapped, trying to cook any kind of breakfast. The pantry was looking a bit empty, and Sammy's romantic adventures had not helped, any. What was left, was some canned goods, and a bunch of macaroni and pasta. Brenda announced to the gathered family, that there was only a couple days food left in the pantry, and we'd best to be making the best of it. Sam replied that today we'd best check out the farm.

Chris and Gomer had not been to the farm, so they politely agreed. Since it was a road trip away from Sam's, Chris decided that he and Gomer should pack what they came with. On the small chance they didn't return. Chris asked Sam for the directions to the place, even though they would follow Brenda and Sam, in the Model A. The farm was about four or five miles away, out in the country. Sam had good maps of the area. Since he knew the road well, he let Chris have the maps. Had copies of the map, anyway.

Leaving Sammy and his sister at home, the traveling band of misfits loaded into two vehicles. Gomer looking even more depressed, without a Ford to drive. And being a passenger, again. Brenda started up the Model A, and headed down the road. Chris followed at a safe distance. To kill some time, Gomer got out his video game, and put the ear buds in. No sense in paying any attention to this mess.