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After the End

Re: After the End

Postby fastback65 » Sat Nov 08, 2014 8:06 am

Chapter 56


The farm moved into a slower routine with the lack of man power and even simple jobs took two people due to everyone having an escort. The hours were long. The night security shift was lengthened to six hours due to a shortage of warm bodies and they all knew they had made the right decision to try and add more people. Patty and Frank seemed to bond more closely with Tom gone and Patty was needing a male figure to address the absence she felt.

“You know, everything happens for a reason,” said Frank, “God will never put more on us than we can bear. It may seem that all is lost right now, but you will see, things will get better.”

“How can Tom getting killed, possibly turn out for the better?”

“We are not to question why tings happen as they do, we are to accept God's decision and make the best of it,” Frank counseled, “I know, right now, it seems that Tom's life was senseless and for no reason, but there is a divine plan for every one of us.”

“Frank,” Patty began, “will you and Janet be here to help me with the baby?”

“Of course we will,” said Frank, “I can assure you that the both of you will be family to us.”

Terry was driving the four door pickup along a two land road in South Alabama, when a shot rang out. Nothing appeared to be hit, so Terry reasoned someone wanted their attention. “Cover me,” he said to Max, as he unbuckled his seat belt and exited the driver's seat with both hands in the air. He walked to the back of the truck and placed both hands against the truck and spread his legs.

“Don't move,” came a voice from behind cover, “We are going to come out.” If anyone in the truck moves, we will open fire.”

“We don't want any trouble,” said Terry, “We are here looking for relatives and friends.”

A sightly built young man with a very large rifle appeared behind Terry.

“OK, you can turn around slowly now,” said the man.

Terry turned and was amazed to see a boy not more than sixteen years old, with an ancient German Mauser. The rifle was clearly too heavy for the slightly emaciated boy.

“How long since you had a good meal,” asked Terry?

“I don't remember,” said the young boy, “It has been a while I reckon.”

“Max, you and Ann, climb out slowly, we are going to have a little lunch, and mind your manners, we have a guest.”

The young boy was clearly nervous about being outnumbered, but knew he would only get off one shot, before he himself would be killed.

“Son,” said Terry, “that rifle looks awfully heavy, why don't you set it down and rest your arms. Come and eat lunch with us and then we can find out all about each other.”

Max, Ann, and Terry, were amazed at the speed the young boy ate and had to slow him down, afraid he would make himself sick if he continued at the pace he had set.

“Son, there is plenty, you need to slow down before you make yourself sick.”

The boy looked sheepishly at Terry, “name is Don,” he said.

“Don, My name is Terry and this is Max and Ann Anderson, and we are looking for their family,” explained Terry.


Chapter 57


“I reckon I could help you look fer 'em, if you could stake me and my Ma to a few groceries,” Don said, “Ma hadn't had nothing to eat for a few days either.”

“Where is your mother,” asked Ann, Can you take us to her?”

“We's staying in a big culvert over by the highway,” said the boy, “bandits burned our house down and kilt my Pa.”

“Take us to her now,” Terry said in a no nonsense voice, “We can finish our search later, but right now, we need to take care of your Mom.”

“No look her, Mister. I appreciate you feeding me and Ma, but I am taking care of her. I'm all she has.”

“Of course you are Don, I just meant we can help,” said Terry, trying to repair the damage to the young boy's ego.

“Let's go then, y'all can foller me in your truck. It'll make it just fine.”

Max and Ann went inside the culvert and found the woman severely dehydrated and in poor condition. They immediately gave her some water and Terry started a fire to make some lunch for the woman.

“Nothing heavy,” said Ann, “maybe some soup or broth if you can make some. She doesn't need anything heavy in her stomach at first.”

The woman was wary of the newcomers, afraid they were of the same ilk that killed her husband and burned her house, but her hunger was stronger than her fear, and after being assured Don had eaten, she quickly set upon the bowl of chicken broth that Terry had prepared from bullion cubes.

“You might not want to eat that too fast,” suggested Ann, “It might not settle on an empty stomach.”

“You're right,” said the woman, “I just can't remember the last time I ate anything. I always make sure Don eats before I do and if there is anything left, I eat. Don, has been doing all he can do to find food for us, but that gang that came through here took just about everything. What they didn't take, they burned. Just hateful people. They killed Don's father when he tried to protect us. They wanted to take me with them, but Don and I managed to escape. We have been hiding ever since.”

“I am going to set up the portable shower so you and Don can get cleaned up, then you two are coming with us. We have a farm not to far from here and there is plenty to eat. Plenty of work too, when you are back up to speed. If it is not to your liking, we will take wherever you want to go, within reason,” said Max.

“Don, you get in the shower first and scrub up good. While you are in there we will try to get your clothes a little cleaner. We will get you some new ones as soon as we can.”

Don's mother, whose name was Melody, started washing the boys clothes as soon as he took them off. They were little more than rags and started coming apart as she washed them. The tired mother broke down and started crying, both from the anguish of her son having nothing to wear and from the relief that finally, there was hope.

“Honey,” said Ann, “We have all been there. These people that live where we are taking you are the kindest people I have ever met. They took us in when we had nothing and now they are providing us with a vehicle and provisions, so I can see if any of my family made it. Your life will be very different from now on.”

Terry provided Don with a towel and a Tee shirt, promising to get him some clothes as soon as they could. Melody took her turn in the shower and the group broke camp and repacked the truck ready to hit the road as soon as Melody was dressed in the clothes that Ann shared with her.



Chapter 58


The group had covered less than ten miles, when Melody shouted, “Pull over, quick.”

Terry wheeled the truck to the edge of the road and stopped. Melody clambered out and ran to the rear of the truck where her stomach rebelled at the bullion intrusion. Her body was not ready for the quantity she had consumed. Ann offered her a wet wipe and a bottle of water. After a few minutes, she felt she was ready to continue.

“We are about ten minutes from the family place,” said Ann. “I have my fingers crossed, that someone has survived.”

“We can only hope and pray,” said Max, “Whatever the outcome, we have each other, and the kids.”

The house came into view and at first glance, it seemed to be abandoned. Terry stopped well short of the house and he and Max split up and flanked the house to observe it for any activity before they brought everyone up.

Terry broke the squelch on the radio twice, indicating that all was clear on his side. Max responded the same way and the two men began to creep closer. Max knew there was a basement under the house and he hoped he would find everyone hidden in there.

Terry and Max broke out of the trees at about the same time. Max signaled to Terry that he was going to go closer and Terry should cover him. Terry took a covering position and Max slowly and stealthily approached the house. Once inside, Terry would not be able to properly cover him, so Terry changed his position as Max got closer. Once inside the house, Max, who had been there many times before, went to the secreted door to the basement and gave the coded knock on the hidden entrance. He waited for a ten count and gave the knock again. Relief flooded over him as the door slowly swung open.

“Terry,” he all but shouted into the radio, “Bring everyone in. They're here.”

The family exited the basement shelter and emotions were rampant as they saw it was Max.

“Where's Ann,” asked Ann's Mother? “Is she all right. How did you get her?”

“The tears and questions were amplified, when Ann came through the door. The family was together again.

“Why were you all in the shelter,” asked Ann?

“We heard your truck coming and after the bandits came through here stealing and killing everything and everyone in sight, we just didn't take any chances. We are just lucky they didn't burn the house down around us,” explained Ann's Dad.

“We turned the stock loose as soon as we got wind of what was going on to prevent them form slaughtering them. We have since rounded most all of it back up, but we built a pen in the woods to keep them out of sight.” said George, Ann's brother.

“We don't have a lot of time, but are you interested in joining us at the farm we are living on,” asked Max? “We have plenty of food and water and a working farm. It is a lot of work, but the rewards are great. There is safety, but we need more people, both for work and security. These are good people and they are very fair minded. We wouldn't even consider asking you if we didn't think it was for the best.”

“Give us a few seconds to think it over,” said Ann's Dad, Steve. “What about our livestock and supplies, we can't just leave it.”

“We brought enough fuel and some extra batteries, so maybe we can find an eighteen wheeler and move everything at once,” said Ann.

“Ann, you and Melody, stay here while George and Terry and I go look for a truck,” said Max.

“I want to go too,” said Don, “I can help.”
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: After the End

Postby fastback65 » Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:44 am

Chapter 59


It took a hour to find a suitable truck and another two hours to get it running. They took it to an abandoned truck stop and after hooking the pumps to a generator, they filled all their cans as well as the truck tanks. Terry, looked inside the abandoned building and found cases of oil and filters. The three men quickly stripped everything they thought was useful from the building and loaded the truck.

Ann and her family had been frantically packing all the families preps and had most everything ready to load when Terry pulled the truck up in front of the house. Max let let down the tail gate lift and the family started loading the truck. As soon as the tailgate was loaded, it was lifted into the truck where Terry and George were waiting with hand trucks. They would move everything into position and the tailgate would be lowered for the next round of boxes. Thanks to the efficient packing and the willingness of everyone to pitch in, the truck was quickly loaded. Terry hooked up a flat bed trailer to the rear of the pick up and they loaded the tractor and farm implements. The livestock that was in good condition was loaded into a horse trailer. Chickens and other small animals were put in makeshift cages and loaded into the back of the family's pickup. Everyone found a seat, and the convoy set out for the farm. Terry had notified Frank, that they were on the way. John told Frank he was going to drive out and see if he could find them and escort them in.

“I'm not sure that's a good idea, Dad,” said Frank, “It is not safe for you to be out there alone.”

“I thought about that,” said John, “That's why I'm taking Patty along.”

John and Patty loaded up in the old jeep and headed through the gate in search of the returning group. They had scarcely gotten out of sight of the farm, when they saw a large group walking down the road heading in the direction of the farm. John quickly reversed direction while Patty warned Frank on the radio.

“We are coming back,” said Patty, “There are at least twenty people on the road walking toward the farm.”

Frank called all hands to the house and explained what he just heard.

“Dalton, do you have any problems helping us defend the farm,” Frank asked?

“No sir,” Dalton answered, “my wife and I have discussed it and we are both on board. She is an excellent shot.”

“You two take the two berms in front. Let's hold our fire until we see what they want,” said Frank. “Mom, take the kids to the basement. I will take the rear and Janet you watch out for the front.” James and Sara, you two need to take to the wood line and try to flank them if they get into the yard.”

Everyone took their assigned positions and waited. Suddenly the group approaching the house stopped in the middle of the road. They were in sight of the house, when all but one of them sat down. The remaining man took and old Tee shirt and tied it to a stick. Holding the makeshift flag over his head, he then approached the house.

“Mr. Thompson,” the man called out, “We need to talk to you.”

“Come in the gate and lock it behind you,” Frank said from his shooting position.

The man came in the gate and locked it behind him. “Mr. Thompson, I represent the people form town. There are twenty two of us left. We have voted and we want you to be the leader of our group. We are all ready to work as hard as we can, in order to survive. There is nothing left in town, every scrap has been used or eaten. The government people came through and took everyone that wanted to go to a survivor's camp. They took quite a few that didn't want to go.”

“How is you didn't go,” asked Frank?

“We took to the woods and hid until they were gone,” said the man. Some of us haven't eaten in a week and we ran out of water yesterday on the way here. Mr. Thompson, we're done for if we don't get help and soon.” said the ragged man.

“Wait here,” ordered Frank, “I assume you know you're being watched.”

“Mr. Thompson, I don't have the strength to move.”
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: After the End

Postby fastback65 » Sun Nov 23, 2014 12:40 pm

Chapter 60


Frank brought the man a glass of water and watched as he drained the glass in one long gulp. “You want to tell me what this all about,” asked Frank.

“Mr. Thompson,” the man began, “We are all that is left of the town. There is not a damn thing there to eat and I can fathom no way to get a crop going before we all starve. The group of us have known about your farm here and we know at one time you let people work for a meal. We want two things from you. First, there is no legal authority here abouts anymore. We want you and your group to be that authority. Secondly, we want to work on your farm, no matter what the task is, in exchange for food until we can get something growing for ourselves. We don't want charity, but we don't want to starve either. I can assure you, there is no animosity toward you in our group. You are our only hope.”

“Sir,” Frank addressed the man, “We are a democracy here. I cannot and will not make this decision without consulting everyone here. Go out to your group and tell them to come into the yard here and we will get them all something to eat, but there are no guarantees you will stay. If any of you are armed, leave the weapons at the gate. Failure to do so will be dealt with harshly.”

The man walked toward the gate, unaware that John and Patty had the group under watch and cover. Before the man could get to the group of people, Terry, Max, Ann and the families came rolling up, effectively sandwiching the group. The group really had no alternative, but to enter the gate. One or tow people stopped to lay down a weapon, but they were poorly armed. Frank would learn later that the government troops confiscated all weapons while they were in town.

June and Janet began making sandwiches as fast as they could and James and Sara began handing them out along with a glass of water. Frank showed them to the outdoor faucet and told them to drink all they wanted. Several people need to use the toilet, but Frank was not about to let them into the house just yet. He directed them to the barn where there was a working toilet and running water.

While the group was eating, Max and Terry drove the first of the trucks into the yard and were followed by Ann and her family with the livestock and furnishings.

“Looks like our first order of business is to get some housing established,” Frank said to himself.

John and Patty looked at the ragged group and shook their heads. John told Frank, “You know we have enough lumber dried and stacked to build a bunk house type building for now. Ann's family will probably want to build their own place. There are also a couple of empty house nearby we can use for the time being. It won't be the best security, but we can outfit each house with a radio and we can use roaming guards until we get everyone moved into a central area.”

“I really don't think we have any other option,” agreed Frank.
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: After the End

Postby fastback65 » Mon Dec 01, 2014 7:58 am

Chapter 61


Frank and John guided the group into the yard and made sure everyone at least looked healthy. He got Patty and Janet to ask medically pertinent questions and ask about any special needs they had. Frank, Terry, and Max, began planning on how they would house the newcomers. They had a few tents and they put them into service and planned to house the rest in the barn for the time being. Ann's Dad suggested the trailer they brought their belongings in could be used as an expedient shelter, it was after all over fifty five feet long and eight feet wide. Bunks could be improvised. Using their own initiative, Patty and Janet were inquiring of everyone if they had any skills that could be utilized. They found most of the women had been housewives, although there was a school teacher, a nurse, and a veterinarian's assistant. The men they found had varied backgrounds, as expected, but there were a couple of farmers and three carpenters and a plumber. One man had worked as a apprentice electrician.

Janet gave the list to Frank and Frank and John called the people they needed to a conference. A pole barn type building with enclosed walls was quickly planned and the electrician's apprentice said he knew where a large supply of line poles could be sourced.

“This will take care of housing the group until we can build individual housing and then the structure can be used for storage,” said Frank. “Let's get everyone together and I will tell them what to expect and what will not be tolerated.”

“That sounds like a good idea,” said John, “The sooner everyone knows what is expected of them, the better.”

The assembled group had finished eating their lunch and were sated for the time being, so Frank used the opportunity to talk to everyone at once.

“I want to welcome all of you to our farm,” Frank began, “This is not a government project and there is no welfare to be found here. If any of you thought you could come here and be fed without paying for it, you need to leave now. We have a lot of land that needs to be cleared and if we are going to feed a group this size, we need to enlarge our gardens and our greenhouses. As most of you know, the volcano has significantly shortend our growing season, so starting seeds in the greenhouse and transplanting them is the only way to get some crops matured. Other crops will do fine in the cooler temps, but the green house and the gardens are our first priority. If any of you have any military experience, see Terry after this meeting. Security is a concern. There are groups that will stop at nothing to take what we have. You will be expected to be respectful at all times to everyone here. You are our guest for the time being. Not all of you will be permanent residents. Some will leave on their own accord and some will undoubtedly be asked to leave. Any infraction of the rules will be dealt with harshly. I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity and try to fit in. This will be the best chance of survival for most of you. If anyone has any questions, let's hear them?”

“Who made you the boss,” came a question form the group?

“Sir, I own this property and everything you see here was bought and paid for by me. That makes me the boss. I suggest that if you have a problem with that, you need to be thankful for the meal you just ate, and then hit the road. That goes for everyone. If you have a problem with authority this is not the place for you. If you can show us you can fit in, you will be considered family, but in the words of a pretty good president, 'You are either with us, or you are against us,'”, take the rest of the day off and think about what you are asking of us, and what we are offering you. After the evening meal, we will see who is staying and who is leaving,” Frank concluded.

Several of the men and one lady sought out Terry, and told him of their military experience. Terry told them of the need for security and that their experience would be a valuable asset. Some of the ladies sought out Janet and June and offered to help clean up and prepare the evening meal. Their offer was accepted and June suggested their clothes could be laundered and showers could be had in the barn office area.

Lowell, the man that had originally approached Frank, came up to Frank and asked again, if Frank would consider being the regional authority. There was no one in town and Frank could assume the job of law enforcement now that the sheriff was gone. “ I will consider it, but it had to be a unanimous vote. I will not take the job if there are any objections,” said Frank.
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: After the End

Postby stjwelding » Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:34 am

This is a great story thanks for taking the time to post it hear for us. Thank you for posting the link for me.
Wayne
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Re: After the End

Postby Redneck_Packrat » Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:15 pm

Enjoying the story very much. I appreciate a storyteller way more than a polished "author" with eleventy-seven editors and proof readers. You keep writing, and I'll keep reading!
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Re: After the End

Postby fastback65 » Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:11 am

Chapter 62


Frank called a meeting of the permanent farm residents and told them of the request for him to become the law enforcement for the area. Janet was not too keen on the idea but she could see where it was needed and she couldn't think of anyone better for the job so she gave her blessing. The rest of the group agreed and offered any help they could give. Frank then brought up the subject of who should stay and who will be leaving. No one knew of any they wanted to send away but they did have a few they were sure would be good residents. John and Terry presented the plans for the bunk house and asked if it were OK to start. Frank thought all the plans were good and. Max would help Terry with the training of the security and Janet and June would get the ladies up to date on preserving food and gardening and greenhouse work.

“Well, I guess there is no time like the present to let them know what our plans are. I cannot stress enough, we need to keep our eyes and ears open at all times until we can be certain beyond a shadow of a doubt, that these people are what they say they are,” warned Frank.

Word was spread that there would be a meeting in one hour and everyone was to be there. When the group assembled, Frank began.

“It has been brought to my attention that you folks would like me to assume some sort of law enforcement authority in this area,” Frank began. “It seems to me that we should all be our own law enforcement, but I can see that at some point there is going to be an issue that will have to be arbitrated. As I told Lowell, I will only accept this position, if the vote is unanimous. One dissenting vote and I am out,” Frank told the crowd. Let's have a voice vote, and remember, your staying or leaving is in no way dependent on how you vote.”

Frank called for Aye votes and the mass of people spoke as one. When he asked for Nay votes, you could have heard a pin drop. “I am not sure what the name of the position is, but I will accept your vote and do my dead level best to be fair,” Frank promised. “Now my Dad and Terry have something they want to discuss with you.”

“We are proposing to build a bunk house type structure with built in bedding and a kitchen. We will have a separate shower and toilet area for the men and women. We have thought of having separate sleeping areas for the men and women, and in the very near future, we will try to provide housing for married couples,” John offered. “We have plenty of lumber, and there is a great deal of timber we still need to clear. If any of you have ever run a portable sawmill, please see either Terry or me after the meeting. If there are no suggestions or questions, we can conclude the meeting. I ask that all the men meet over by the tool shed and talk to Max, and all the ladies, please come to the rear of the house and talk to Janet and June,” John concluded.

And that is how it started, the twenty odd stragglers that showed up half starved, Ann, Max and her Family, James and Sara, Patty, Terry, and Frank and his family, became the nucleus of a community that would survive. The group gained a reputation for being fair and honest and trading was setup with like communities that had also survived. As the government slowly reformed,
Frank was called on once again. This time he was asked to be the Governor of the newly formed state. With most of the East coast still in ruins, Frank was called on to expand his farming to try and feed as many survivors as he could. The Government paid in gold, the new currency. The Capitol was moved to St. Louis, both to try and be in a more central location, and because there was very little of Washington D.C. Left. Priorities were set and the railroads were set in working order first, followed by the major highways. Refineries and power plants were slowly brought back on line and as the electricity flowed it brought growth and a resurgence of the population.

The world would never be as it once was, it would be better. No cell phones constantly ringing, with the decrease in traffic, the air quality started improving, despite the volcano. Game and fish, free from the over predation of humans, began to flourish once again, and the oceans had a chance to start repairing the years of damage done by human encroachment. At the farm, there were several weddings, and the population slowly began to grow. The large parcels of land around the farm were checker boarded into forest and cropland. Families were allowed to move onto the cleared areas and farm them. Frank allowed them to pay for the land as they could, and soon he had most of the parcels closest to the original farm occupied.

James and Sara, both found partners and bought adjoining parcels. They would continue to see after one another for the rest of their lives.

After serving as Governor for eight years Frank stepped down. His parent's health had declined and he wanted to spend as much time as he could with them. Tommy, was appointed to take his place, and became the youngest governor in the New United States.


The End
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: After the End

Postby stjwelding » Mon Aug 17, 2015 5:10 am

I just reread your story and have to tell you that I enjoyed it as much this time as the first. Thank you for sharing your gift of story telling with us.
Wayne
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