Authors: Ron Foster
AN OLD MAN AND HIS AXE
© 2015 by Ron Foster
All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.
SILVER STAG BRAND KNIVES
SILVER FIRE ROCKET STOVES
The Prepper Story Hour
The Prepper Story Hour with apocalyptic fiction author Ron Foster is Imagination Theater, theater for the ears and the mind
The Wild Ride
“Ah hell, I guess this train ain`t going to ride me no more!” Farley said to himself dejectedly as his van’s engine spluttered and died from lack of fuel.
“Was just a matter of time, oh well? This piece of crap van got me further than I expected so I guess this place is a blessing in some ways.” Farley muttered as he coaxed the van as far as it would go before manhandling the steering wheel of the now hard as hell to turn former power steering over to the roadside as best he could.
Well, he wasn’t totally pulled off the side of the road but that was the best he could do because of the narrow shoulder. “Now what shall I do?” He said to himself for the umpteenth time today.
Not that he hadn’t rehearsed this little bug out and bail out of the van scenario over a thousand times already in his mind on the way down here. But that didn’t matter now. Even though he knew and had planned for getting himself broke down and stranded today, he still had no way of knowing where exactly he was going to end up at. He had bugged out of the city driving towards the lake with only a half a tank of gas and no known chances of getting any more fuel. It wasn’t much of a plan but it was all he could think of doing in the position he was previously in.
He had left the city 10 weeks after some space weather had managed to make mincemeat out of the electrical power grid and
conditions had forced him out. Scientists had been noting the correlation between geomagnetic storms caused by the sun and increased frequency of earthquakes and volcanic activity for years but no one had understood or predicted what the effects of a huge coronal mass ejection from the sun would have on the New Madrid fault line.
FEMA had been watching seismic activity in Tennessee and the surrounding area along with the Geologic Survey department monitoring small earthquakes and upheavals in the area to try to predict the historic reoccurrence of a mega quake like what had occurred before historically in the late 1800’s.
FEMA had even come up with a multi state plan exercise called the “Great Shakeup” to help the millions of refugees they expected from impacted regions should such an event occur but they had no idea of the scale of the event that had actually occurred and was felt nationwide. The Mississippi river had reversed its course temporarily just like it had in the past but this time it had also split the country asunder and changed the geography of North America. Quakes had also occurred along the San Andreas fault in California and volcanic rifts appeared in Yellowstone.
Farley figured he had held out in the city about as long as it was somewhat safe to do so while watching to see if the government was going to even try to mount any significant response. They couldn’t of course; this disaster was just too big and too devastating. He had heard on the radio that the new US capital was in Denver but they were really operating as such in name only and doing very little to assist its’ suffering citizens. No, it was every man and woman pretty much on their own now and he had decided to get out of the city while the getting was good.
Farley had been a wise prepper and had stored up about a years worth of food to see him through disasters but he knew that this supply would run out or maybe get stolen and it was time to act now while he still had the means to give himself a longer term chance at survival.
He had loaded up about all of the food he had in the house, and headed for the lake. That would solve his water problem but food and shelter still needed to be considered. He could fish and that was an important something even though he didn’t like to eat fish much and indeed had some allergic reactions to commercially processed fish. He figured eventually he might find a vacant house or building he could take up residence in before the winter and wild game was always more plentiful in such regions.
He admitted it wasn’t much of a plan but it was all he could come up with. He didn’t even know the geography he was going to except that he had once spent a weekend in a rental cottage in the area years ago.
He had high hopes he might find that same cottage empty but that was if he could even find it again. He had detoured around burning towns, abandoned vehicles snarling traffic, closed bridges etc. and now was pretty much lost except for knowing he was in the general area of the lake some 10 miles distant. This was a huge lake encompassing many miles of shoreline with a confusing array of access roads and back roads so he had serious doubts about finding that exact little cottage he was seeking. He also had no idea whether or not it would be occupied if he did luckily find it.
He doubted he would have much to worry about its’ owners objecting to him taking up residence there, but you could never tell. They might have even moved there for their own survival but he doubted that as they seemed to own several rental properties. Getting in wouldn’t be much of a problem he grinned to himself, thinking about a multi tool he had with him called a “Truckers Friend”. Matter of fact he had with him a different model of the multi tool called a “Little Trucker” that was more suited for survival and he could use to gain entry. One of those war hammers of his was soon going to be indispensable to his day to day living he guessed.
As light as the two axes were he couldn’t carry both with him hiking any distance but he was reassured by their presence and would make his choice shortly. Packing the van had been a major undertaking and he had pretty much drug with him everything he owned that could possibly make his life easier once he arrived because he knew he wouldn’t have the opportunity to resupply or locate such goods in the future. He had far, far too many goods to travel any distance from his vehicle and he had taken this into account when packing them but did so anyway in optimistic hope that it was possible, but pretty unlikely he would find what he sought not far from wherever he eventually broke down.
This dirt road that he was sitting on however was not what he had expected though even in his most pessimistic thoughts and that fact was his first major concern. There was nothing and I mean nothing along this stretch of road. He had seen very few houses on the way and he was surrounded by mostly wooded land that probably belonged to one of the timber companies growing pine trees. Not his idea of a bug out location by any kind of a stretch of his imagination. He could hang out in the woods for quite sometime but that wasn’t in his game plan and only a bit better than worrying some starving individual would try to break into his home in the city.
He decided he could cache his goods in the woods somewhere and set out on a hike to find a better area in the morning was his best option so he set about exploring the area for a likely stash point. Nothing miraculous or cool offered itself to him for a location but he did find a clump of bushes that looked like a good place.
It was about three in the afternoon and wouldn’t get dark until around 8 so he had lots of time to get his task accomplished and think about it. “I best try to put this stuff in two locations in case some hunter happens upon it or somebody spots the van and decides to investigate a bit.” Farley thought.
“Maybe I will stash stuff on both sides of the road and mix my trail up a bit,” he figured and set out up the road and then across to look that area over.
By about 6:30 he had hauled most of his gear out of the van and roughly stashed it. He wasn’t happy with his efforts at all though because he had only the one extra tarp to cover one pile of goods and in his rush to get the van loaded had forgotten the box of garbage bags residing under his sink at home.
“First good rain I am going to have a bunch of wet shit to deal with on my return but that can’t be helped.” Farley mused as he attempted to pile on more branches to his stash to keep it from getting so wet but soon gave up the effort.
“Things could just stay as they are. Damn, it’s hotter than hell out here.” He muttered to himself for the umpteenth time today and went back to the shade of the van and the trees above it to think about his dilemma further.
The sign he had passed about 6 miles back down the road had indicated it went to the lake but just how far the lake was he had no way of knowing. He had water if you counted four cases of bottles and one 5 gallon jug he couldn’t carry with him. His web gear had one canteen and he had a separate two quart canteen on a shoulder sling he could tote but that was about as mobile as he could get. In this heat, water was the biggest threat to his survival that is, he reminded himself, if the damn mosquitoes didn’t drive him crazy first and thought about where he would bed down for the night.
“He could drag his small tent out and make a regular campsite complete with a fire pit but on the other hand why set up anything if he was leaving out at first light in the morning?” Farley pondered, deciding he would just sleep in the van with his backpacking gear. He got his SilverFire Scout backpacking stove and found a few wooden sticks to heat his dinner with.
Tonight’s menu was fried Spam and a MRE apple dessert. If he didn’t eat all the Spam in one sitting he would throw the leftovers in a Ziploc to eat later for breakfast on the trail. It should keep that long he figured and went back to thinking about what food he should carry with him on his journey in the morning. That was indeed a troubling question to him because he had no idea how far he would have to go or how long he would be staying once he got there and was able to hike back to retrieve more supplies.
“I got that collapsible hand truck in the van, hell I got a collapsible deer cart in there also that I could haul about half my shit with if I knew what distance I have to travel.” Farley thought as he cursed once again the map he was relying on that didn’t show these back roads. By his best estimate it was 10 or 12 miles to the lake from where he had ended up at and maybe another 8 miles to that rental cabin over by the State park area but he wasn’t exactly clear on that and remembered how lost he had gotten traveling many lake dirt roads in order to find it.
“Hell 10 miles if I force march myself would put me there at the beginning of the lakes shoreline around 5 in the afternoon if I didn’t fall out after the first few miles.” He thought to himself realistically remembering how hard that was to do when he was in his prime at 18 in the army with full gear let alone now several decades later and trying it with even more gear.
“I might just be away from all this food for a lot longer than I originally thought.” Farley considered, thinking he was a fool for not wanting to use his big cabin tent to cover up that stash of goods better. He had thought about just opening and laying the tent over some of his goods to resist the rain better but he didn’t want to consider coming back to a soaking tent or it becoming damaged from all the camouflage he would have to pile on to hide it. On the other hand if he was gone for weeks or a month for that matter, those cardboard boxes of cans of freeze dried food would probably be losing their labels next time he saw them so he reluctantly got up and set about making his main cache more water resistant.
Farley wasn’t amazed that he hadn’t seen any cars out on the road he was stuck on today but he did wonder about it. I mean the solar storm didn’t take out all the cars’ electronics as many people had expected. Most vehicles seemed to run and function just fine, well at least in his general area anyway; maybe they had problems further north. The Solar Storm was more than powerful enough though to create havoc and mayhem on every electrical grid in North America and Europe though through a series of cascading power events to declare lights out for the majority of the world as well as created many days of radio black outs. It took a week for most folks to even hear about and begin to understand what had happened to the world and its technology.
Farley had pretty much known from the very beginning that it was an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse” event and his “oh shit!!” moment began much sooner than most folks the minute he turned on his radio after the lights went out. His cell phone had gone out at the same time the power went off.