Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thank You

Thank you dear readers for following these stories! And most of all for passing the site on to other readers from 18 countries. I am, indeed, in awe of this 'cyber' community!

My intent was to amuse so I hope these stories have given you a chuckle or two.

The Search has ended. I hope you enjoyed my one and only attempt at fiction.

I welcome your comments!

There are a few more true stories to follow but as the holidays approach I will wait to post them. We are all too busy for stories!

Wishing everyone a Happy and Merry Holiday season.

The Search About day 60

Camp/Town news:

Today a baby was born. He brings us pleasure and most of all hope.

We are coughing less. Our skin is not as red as the rashes are almost gone. Nausea has passed for the most part.

We have found food. Jeanne cooks for us.

We have shelter.

We have a shower.

We feel healthier with each passing day.

The sun is shinning a bit brighter each day. The air is somewhat clearer.

We depend more and more on each other.

We had a laugh last night. It felt good.

We have come to understand our situation and have formulated plans for our survival.

We have developed a routine and we have some comfort.

We are not sure if the food we found is harmless but we need nourishment. There is little of it.

Plans need to be made to grow crops. Can we learn to be farmers?

Most of the town ‘stuff’ tends to disintegrate when we try to use it.

How much do we try to make? Can we learn how to do this?

We have no answers. Each day is a new beginning and a time of learning for us.

Our mutual interests had drawn us together at the beginning. Now, we must draw together to continue our survival and the survival of the species.

We can do it. We will follow in the footsteps of those who came before us.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Search Day 9

Decamped news:

We awake late but it is dark. The eerie world around us is covered in ash; the ground is black. The sun is on display — cool, not burning, a pale brown seen through a fine yet thick haze of smoke.

The ground beneath our sleeping bags is black; we are black. We are hungry. We are panicked. Our breathing comes with difficulty. Coughing continues; red rashes worsen.

In our vehicles, bumper-to-bumper, slowly we continue the crawl to the tiny town thru the haze, thru a blackened world.

The forest has burned and what little we can see through the haze reminds us of used matchsticks placed upright, row upon row. It is a sickly, ghostly sight.

The fire had been close to us. No wonder the Rangers did not get to us.

The dusty 2 track ends and the track widens to pavement. We can see the road better and we spread out a bit. Bumper to bumper driving has been unnerving; too close, way to close for comfort.

The town is dead. A light ash dust devil swirls the main street for a moment. The only sound is of a door flapping on its hinge. It is quiet, the wrong kind of quiet. We join the silence and walk the town.

It is static. It is horrific. A few people lay dead on the sidewalk. Men and women, we all cry. We are very afraid and in shock. Houses, businesses are still. Cars abandoned. Nothing but the ash swirl, which has kicked up again, moves, then it too is stilled, quiet.

Someone notices a telephone kiosk and tries to make a call. The line is dead. The expected rash of cursing ensues. Tears flow.

A newspaper in a sidewalk rack screams out at us:

World Nuked World on Fire

What day is it?

Our thoughts:

We are a small band. Just the ten of us.

One pregnant lady.

Three college girls in their 20s.

Three college men ~ same age as the girls.

One woman in her 40s.

One young man in his early teens.

One 50 year old man.

We are diverse in our jobs and life’s experiences and more diverse in our hometown living situations, but we are a band. We have worked, lived and so far survived together.

We are alive. We have been ill. We are exhausted from worry. We are bone sore from work.

We ten have survived a world catastrophic event.

Are we the only ones to have survived?

Will we ever have the answer to this question?

to be continued

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Search Day 8

Camp news:

Most of us tossed and turned the night. Sleep was poor.

Breakfast was poorer. Tempers short. Spirits are flagging. Bodies are sluggish-weak.

Breaking camp started and delayed as we constantly stopped to splash water over ash-covered faces. Everything is finely layered in ash. Coughing continues, eyes burn and tempers explosive but contained.

We are not happy. We are slow and grumbling.

The ash rains down on us, yet we see no fire. We are a worried, scared, tired and grumble-ly lot. Now, we are sure, we have been forgotten by the Rangers.

Packed up we move on - to home.

Visibility is so bad we caravan slowly down the 2 track. The town, 2 hours away may as well be a million miles.

Five hours of driving, bumper to bumper, crawling and not many miles, we come to a cabin. We stop and call out but get no answer. The ground around the cabin is burned, barren—ugly and scary. Timidly, we enter the cabin.

He is on the bed - dead, covered in ash. His skin appears to have been burned, but he is fully clothed. The cabin reeks of vomitus and other body fluids. The cabin is static — everything in place — no trace of fire.

Nausea sweeps over us. In a mutual panic, we get in our cars and leave; bumper to bumper; we continue the crawl for mile after mile of fear.

Another cabin – the same scene greets us.

Another, then another.

It is dark. There are no lights to greet us.

We think we are in the forest but trees are black and limbless. The ground is barren and black. The fire was close to us!

We press on and accomplish but a few miles.

It is night; true night and we stop to rest next to the road. Sleeping bags are rolled out and hastily scattered on the blackened ground. We have not eaten. We don’t think to.

We are frantic and weary. Stomachs are in knots. There is little talk and no laughter.

Actions are slow. Tempers are fast.

Sleep gathers like a cloud and overtakes us.

There are no dreams in this night of hunger, exhaustion and fear.

to be continued early

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Search Day 7

Camp news:

We all slept late this morning. There was no agreement to do so, it just happened.

It is darker, if that can be. Air is thick and we can taste the smoke. Feel the ash.

Jeanne still not happy but enjoyed her breakfast “in bed.” Straw drawers cooked up their favorite breakfast. It was hearty and well taken but not by all.

We are sluggish in our approach to the day. We seem to be malcontents. Most of us are coughing. Some seem to have strange rashes, which look more like burns. We all profess to weariness.

Lunches are packed but there is much dithering about the start. Everyone wants to stay in camp.

Our hike today will take us back to the spot where we were yesterday, as site mapping needs to be completed. The PI tells us we will do a full surface collect and that gets us out of the ‘stay in camp’ mode.

The hike is slow and plodding. We follow the path we made yesterday but our feet are heavy and daypacks are heavier.

We take breaks; talk is limited and not animated. Coughing is rampant. Rashes are redder. Moods are somber.

On site, we noodle and find! Artifacts are point plotted on the map; collected, numbered and bagged readied to be carried down the mountain, readied for the lab.

We have planned to take everything collected to camp for later study and identification.

Someone gets nasty about not wanting “to carry those damn rocks.”

We huddle and agree for each of us to carry just a little in our day pack-no more than anyone can do so comfortably. Comfort is the key word. We are tired and coughing.

Most of the artifacts will be left behind. It is a disappointment. We go over the collected material very carefully and decide upon each artifact as to its research potential. Only tools such as bifaces, retouched flakes, ground stone or true diagnostics will be taken back to camp.

The long trek back to camp home is exhausting. We have found what we came for; it is the theme of the light trail talk.

No shower! The branch has broken, the water is cold and everyone is just too tired to try to mend what ails the camp.

We try to keep up our wounded spirits. It is not working. Even dinner is a drag. Jeanne has cooked, but is not happy about it. She has remained with us though, which is welcome news.

We are careful with each other. Actually, we almost cling to one another as worry overcomes us.

The fire, rather the smoke, is taking its toll. We can see the ash. We can smell the smoke. We can taste its acrid nature, but we don’t know where it is, and we are in full bloom worry.

We talk of action but decide we don’t know what action to take other than leaving and going home.

Another try at the car radio brings the expected door slamming, but this time joined by explosive cursing.

Home! The talk turns of home and we become animated.

Spirits rise. Energy is renewed. We develop a plan.

We will break camp in the morning after breakfast, after the chores and packing is done. We will head for home. We will be leaving a few days early but, so what! We found what we came for.

Paleo Indian was at high altitude; we found them. The sites are fully documented for later recording and future research.

We clink our glasses of wine and salute the next day.

So, off to bed we go, dirty and tired, but with hope and remembrances of home.

to be continued (early)