Story After the Plague

Charmer153

Contributing Member
My Family.............. Name....... Age... Description.

Mom.................... Sandy....... 65... Widow. Born and raised in the country, lived in town from age 19 to 39, then moved back to the country. Invested money from husbands life insurance into real estate since she was able to buy foreclosures from the banks at the advice of a friend who worked at one. This enabled her to buy house is for as little as 5% of the market price on a few of them, although most were between 30% to 40%. She now makes several thousand dollars a month from rental income every month. She used the money to buy silver coins as an investment for retirement, when she would partly turn over the responsibility of the properties to us kids, while she traveled the country.

Main character......... Jonathan.... 43... Electrical engineer, and self-taught electrician. Refuses to "accept the testimony of those who will not even try" so is able to do things others say can not be done. Lost his job at age 34 when the company he was working for went out of business. Moved his camper to Sandy’s farm to save on rent and bills while looking for work in the nearby towns. Got a part-time job, but since the job did not take much time, decided to stay on the farm to help take care of the animals and gardens when Sandy hurt her back and could not do heavy lifting. Not having to pay rent and utility bills was also part of the decision.

Brother................ Daniel...... 33... Moved to the farm with Sandy when he was seven. Raised on the farm. Does odd jobs to earn money. Can make up to $750 on a good day. Anything from cutting and hauling firewood to helping tear down an old building on someone's property. Country boy through and through. Can drive a truck through a riverbed as easily as others can drive on asphalt.

Daniels’ wife.......... Gennie...... 35... Born and raised in the country. 3rd generation herbalist. Grew up helping her mother grow a medical herb garden, now grows her own and has been helping Sandy grow one for 5 years. Knows how to survive even when times are hard.

Gennie’s daughter from a previous marriage.....Amanda.......16....Born and raised in the country. Tomboy. Can swim, climb, shoot, and fight, as well as any guy her age, and better then many.

Daniel & Gennie’s son...Tim...........9....Loves to swim and climb trees. Good with BB gun. Extremely competitive with his brother, but will not hesitate to stand with him if others bother him.

Daniel & Gennie’s son...Jim...........9....Loves to swim. Usually follows daddy around the house, and tries to do whatever he is doing. Extremely competitive with his brother, but will not hesitate to stand with him if others bother him.

Daniel & Gennie’s Daughter................Sophia........4....Typical 4 year old. Takes her giant teddy-bear everywhere she goes.

Sister..................Jeanette.....45....Born and raised in town. Got the good looks from Sandy side of the family. Was cheerleader in school, and married into money when she was 25. Quickly got use to living in luxury, having maids and butlers to do all the work. She used to go camping with her best friend's family when she was a kid, but they always brought food so she never learned how to find her own food. Never lost her love for camping and still does when she can talk her husband into it. Knows very little of subsistence farming, but she does know how to find dry kindling even after a rain and everything is wet, and she knows how to start a fire without a lighter or matches.

Jeanettes’ son..........Christopher..19....Born and raised in town. Used to the convenience that comes with money. Used to getting whatever he wants since he grew up in luxury. Knows nothing of country life. Internet and video game fanatic. Video game champion and at his high school, and has even made his own game. Probably knows more about computers and computer programming than the people who build them.

Jeanettes’ daughter.....Crystal......17....Born and raised in town. Used to the convenience that comes with money, and the prestige that comes with being cheerleader captain. Honor-roll student, and second in line to be valedictorian of her class. Knows nothing of country life. Main focus in life is school and dating. Wants to go to college to be a veterinarian. Loves small furry animals.

Other People.

Name....................Age..........Description.

Benjamin Anderson........48..........Goes by the nickname Big Ben. Native American man, about 7 feet tall. One of the founding members, and currant leader, of the local volunteer fire and rescue group.

Mr. Davis.............Adult..........Father Of The Davis Family. Widower. A good and honest man who tries to do all he can to help other people.

Mrs. Davis............Adult..........Mr. Davis’s second wife. Born and raised in the UK. Does not like to talk about her past, but it is known. She was born into a Amish-like community, where their station is set by your gender. Girls learn cooking, cleaning, sewing, spinning wheels and loom, that kind of stuff. Boys learn carpentry, farming, metal work, and that kind of stuff. She was not satisfied with only learning the girls stuff, she wanted to learn all of it. When she refused to except her station she was labeled a heretic and banished from the community. She then was on the streets with no useful education or knowledge of how the world worked. That was when Mr. Davis found her, and took her in. He was there on vacation, and felt sorry for her. She returned to the USA with him, and eventually they fell in love and got married.

Stephen Davis............18..........Older of the Davis Brothers. Plays on the schools basketball and baseball teams.

Samuel Davis.............17..........Younger of the Davis Brothers. Since society focuses so much on sports, and he is no good at sports, he always felt that he was living in his big brother's shadow, and tries to prove he is equal to his older brother in other ways. Refuses to see that he does not have to prove anything.

Samantha Davis...........15..........Sister of the Davis family. Used to blame herself for the mother's death when she was born, till she was 7 and finally understood that it was the fault of the hospital.

Mark Scutter.....Early 50's..........Short wave radio operator and communications director. Was a communications officer in the Navy. Never saw combat.

Jason Ford........Late 30's..........Mechanic in charge of maintaining school buses. Not quite right in the head due to a head injury when he was a child, but knows everything there is to know about bus engines, so he is the perfect mechanic. There is a ongoing joke that he knows the buses so well that he even knows when there's going to be a problem before the buses do.

John Peterson.........Adult..........Was High school principal. Now in charge of how High school building is used as long as he does not do anything to permanently damage it.

Ms. Watson.........Mid 30’s..........The local store/gas station owner. Never married. No kids. Born and raised locally, then went to college for business economics, then returned to buy and run the local store when the previous owners decided they wanted to retire.

Brian Rhodes..........Adult..........Father of Rhodes Family. Moved his family here about 4 years ago. Believes that communism means everything is communal, everything belongs to everyone equally, and everyone has equal access to everything, so everyone is equal, and only when all are equal can people live in peace and unity. Lived in New York City before moving here. Since the plague wiped out all corporations, he believes that it was a divine punishment for those that embrace capitalism, and corporations. Ironic since he does not believe in God.

Diana Rhodes..........Adult..........Mother of Rhodes Family. Born and raised in a Christian family, till she met Brian in college. Did not know that he was a communist. He was very charming and hid his communist beliefs very well. Married him after 7 months, when she realized she was pregnant with his child. After they were married, he revealed that he was a communist, and that he would not tolerate any other points of view in his house. After he put her in the hospital two times for disobeying him, threatened to kill her if she ever disobeyed him again, and told her that his brother would kill her if she tried to report him and get him locked up, she became a willing slave, doing whatever he tells her to do in order to avoid his temper.

Brian Rhodes Jr..........19..........Older son of Rhodes Family. Loyal to his dad, but extremely lazy when working for other people. Has fully embraced his father's communist mentality. He sees no reason to try to work hard, and have to share the benefits, when he can do no work at all and still get the benefits from other people working. Suspected of many burglaries, but daddy always says that the family was at home with the burglaries took place so he could not have been him.

Mike Rhodes..............17..........Younger son of Rhodes Family. Has fully embraced his father's communist mentality, and obeys his father's orders without doubt or question. He would even kill if his father told him to, in the firm belief that doing so was for 'the greater good' of the community.

Stacy Rhodes............15..........Daughter of Rhodes family. Was 11 when the family moved here, and not yet fully brainwashed into accepting her father's communist mentality, partly thanks to her mother secretly teaching her that communism is bad. After moving here she learned that her father's communist mentality is not only bad, he is totally wrong about what communism is, but she is absolutely terrified of his temper, so she pretends that she has accepted it until she can get out on her own. Even though her father has forbidden her to make friends with anyone who rejects communism (which would be everyone outside of his family), she secretly is friends with many girls in school, and wants to get away from her father, but is scared that he would hurt her, or even send her to live with his brother in New York City, if he knew.
 

Charmer153

Contributing Member
Chapter 1.

Survivors.

Hello, my name is Jonathan, and I am a survivor. I would like to tell you how my family and I survived.

I live on my mother's farm, taking care of her animals because she is no longer able to do it herself. This day started out just like every other Saturday. I fed the dogs and made sure that they had fresh water, threw feed out for the chickens, we prefer to let them free range, but sometimes they still need help when there are not enough bugs around, Watered her gardens, she had 2, one for food, and one for herbs, and my small garden. School had been out for two weeks, and was due to start again the following Monday. The official name of the vacation was "spring break," but everybody around here knew that the real reason the school was out was because so many of the teachers and older students wanted to go hunting, that there would not be enough teachers in the school to teach anything. I had the television on for the background noise, but I have no idea what show was on, when the emergency broadcast interrupted the show. The loud beeping got my attention, as it was intended to do.

"We interrupt your normal programming to bring you this emergency broadcast. All television and radio stations will relay this broadcast to the general public, both here and abroad. Here is the president of the United States of America..." "My fellow Americans, and those that are not fortunate enough to be born and raised in this great country, it is my sad duty to tell you of reports of a viral outbreak in every major city in the world, and confirmed cases in the major cities of Canada, Mexico, and the US. No one knows where the virus came from, or how it got started. By the time we knew about it, it was all over the world, with hundreds of thousands of confirmed reports in every country. Thanks to the World Health Organization, we have been able to learn a few things. This virus seems to be airborne and is extremely contagious, passing from person-to-person within just a few hours of original infection. It seems to have a seven-day incubation period before symptoms manifest, and then fatality within 24 hours after the first symptoms appear.

The first symptoms are a minor headache. After the onset of the headache, they begin to feel queasy in the stomach. A few hours later they begin to feel extremely dizzy. The final stage makes them extremely sleepy. After they go to sleep, the brain releases a chemical called serotonin. It seems that this chemical causes the virus to mutate into a form of flesh-eating virus. It then attacks, and destroys, the cells of the cerebral cortex. Since the cerebral cortex controls the autonomic systems of the body, the person stops breathing and their heart stops beating. They die. Serotonin does not last very long, and when the body stops producing it, it breaks down in just a matter of minutes. The absence of this chemical then makes the virus mutate again, into some sort of super flesh eating virus. This virus not only eat the dead body, but anything in the vicinity that has animalistic cellular structure. This means that if a person is wearing wool pajamas, or has a wool blankets, the virus will also eat that. It does not seem to affect plant cellular structure, so if a person is wearing cotton, or has cotton bedding, it will not be affected. The virus will continue to consume until there is nothing left within the vicinity that it can eat, and then it will die.

The fact that virus has such a long incubation period, ensuring that it is widespread, that the symptoms are extremely rapid, once the first symptom appears, that the mutations are so exact, different stages triggered by different changes in the human body's own chemistry triggered by previous mutations of the virus, first a prolonged period of no signs, ensuring that is spread before you know you are sick, then sickness, then death. it is strongly believed to be a man-made virus. It has been confirmed that I, the Vice President, and all elected members of Congress, are infected, and we will all likely be dead within the next 72 hours.

Because of the severity, and how rapid the virus seems to be able to spread, I am here by activating emergency quarantine laws. These laws order that all cities to be quarantined. Anybody attempting to leave a city will be shot, and the bodies burned on-site. Those that are not in the cities should remain in their homes with the doors and windows shut for the next seven days. I ask that the American people remain calm. If you are already infected panicking will not help, and if you are not infected there is no need to panic. I ask that all Americans accept a self-imposed quarantine to prevent spreading the virus any further than it already has. Thank you." The E.B.S. symbol appeared on the TV again and the announcer says "This emergency broadcast will be repeated every 30 minutes, on the hour. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program."

By the time the show was back on, I was already out the door, headed over to Sandy’s house to ask her if she had seen it. She was already calling my younger brother, Daniel, to see if he had seen the news report, and ask if he'd been to town recently. He said that they were watching DVD’s, so had not seen it but he would rewind the DVR to watch it, and that he hadn't had any salvage jobs recently, so he hadn't been in town for almost 2 weeks. He would call back after he’d seen it, if he thought he needed to. Sandy said that if they hung up, he might not be able to call again because the phone system would be so busy, so it was better just to stay on the phone while he watched it.

After he watched it he said that it was a good thing he had not been to town for two weeks, but now he was worried about the food. They did not have much left, and he clearly was no longer possible to just go to town and get more. Sandy told him that she had plenty of food here, thanks to her big food garden, (Mine is a small garden, just to give me something to work on that is actually mine) so they could stay here. In fact she would prefer to have Gennie here because Gennie knows more about how to take care of a garden then I do and she could probably double, or even triple, the amount of crops that I can get to grow. I was not going to argue.

Daniel said that they'd be over in a couple of hours. The rest of the family is down at the creek, at the back of the property, probably checking the fishing lines, or swimming, and he’ll have to wait until they come back before they come here.

Although I would never tell him this, the way he set up the fishing lines was pretty smart. At a narrow part in the river he strung five lines across, about 5 feet apart down the length of the river. He secured multiple fishing lines to each of these, with "flashy" lures attached to them. The moving water causes the little pieces of metal to turn, causing the flashing effects from the sun. All he, and his family, had to do was go out there twice a day, once early morning, once early evening, and remove any fish that was caught, if they caught any then. They did not always catch some. They did not eat all of the fish that they caught, anyone trying to eat that much would get burned out on it. Sometimes, they would dehydrate it, to save for when they wanted fish, and had not caught any. Usually, if the fish were still alive, they were released. If not, the local cats enjoyed it. About three years previously the family that moved in next door to them had got a few cats to get rid of the rats and mice in the barn and house. Now there are more cats then rats, so there is no shortage of eager fish eaters.

Shortly after they arrived, my brother Daniel, his wife Gennie, their daughter Amanda, the twins Jim and Tim, and the baby Sophia, we realized that there was going to be a problem with the sleeping arrangements. Since Sandy lived alone in her house (I live in my camper on her property) one of the bedrooms was used for her office, and the other was for storage. There was nowhere for them to put their beds when they bring them over. After discussing it for a while we decided that the best solution was for them to sleep in their house tonight, and then tomorrow, early in the morning, we would all work to clean out the rooms. Since the power would probably go out, long-term, Sandy would probably not need her office anymore.

After we got started cleaning out one of the rooms, we quickly realized that this is going to be another problem. Since everything that came out had to go somewhere else and since those rooms had been the office and the storage room for many years, there was nowhere else to put anything. Daniel suggested that since our step-dad was gone (he had died a few years before I got here) we could clean out the big storage room under the barn, and put the stuff from the rooms in there. I did not even know there was a room under the barn.
 

Charmer153

Contributing Member
Chapter 2.

Research.

Right after calling Daniel, Sandy decides to call her parents to see if they had heard the news, and how they're doing. It took over a dozen tries to get through to them, but she finally did.

When she was finally able to get hold of them, her dad answered the phone. He told her that they had indeed seen the announcement of the virus. It was on every television channel, and every radio station, at the same time, and has already repeated once. Since they live in town, they probably have the virus, but they are not worried about it. There destiny is in the hands of God, as it has always been.

Since they had been through hardships before, she asked him if he had he any advice for her and her family. He said to expect the power to go out before long since there will not be anybody to maintain the generators. We should probably go online and look up how to make a solar powered water heater. We should dehydrate as much meat as we can before the power goes out, and look up books about how to build a dehydrator that doesn't need electricity. Basically we should look up anything that we will need to get by without electricity. We should know what that is better than he does since our electricity goes out several times the year.

He said that after the virus had run its course, and it is safe to return to the cities, she needs to get up to their house if at all possible. They of several books that Sandy will find very helpful, including a books that tell how to cook without electricity, how to use a refrigerator as an ice box, how to make ice without a freezer. Recipe books that tells how to cook things with food from a garden, and/or animals. Last year, her sister Martha had even taken all of the old family recipes, that it been handed down for generations, and wanted to preserve them. Since many had actually been hand written on paper, they were fading away, Martha redid all of them and put them together into cookbooks. They have recipes such as how to make peach cobbler 100% from scratch, how to make bread using nothing but eggs and a small amount of dairy, how to make chicken and dumplings without anything from the store.

Sandy asked if Martha would want those books back, but dad said that Martha had kept her copy, and had already given a copy to both of her daughters. Each of the books had the names of a girl in the family. Sandy and Jeanette were the only ones who did not already have their copies, and that they had been holding those two to give Sandy the next time she visits. She said she would try to get up there if she could.

Sandy would spend most of the next three days on the Internet, looking up everything she could think of that would help us to get by when the electricity would finally be out for good, and the stores would no longer get re-supplied.
 

Charmer153

Contributing Member
Chapter 3.

Memories.

I soon learned that the room was not actually under the barn, but at the edge of it. The door leading to it was flat on the floor, under the old table I used for a work shelf, in the room I had been using to hold the feed bags. I never paid any attention to the floor since it had a old rug over it

No one had been in that room since he died. After his death, Sandy did not want to part with any of his stuff, so they just shut the door and forgot about it. As we were cleaning it out, we kept running into the same problem. Sandy did not want to part with anything. She did not come out to the barn very many times since she was doing research, but every time she did, she would see something on the trailer that she wanted to keep. Every time she saw something she said "we had to keep that", because of the memories attached to it. Things like the box of cards with the helping hands symbol on it, they came from a "assisting the poor" center where he had done some volunteer work, his medals and awards from high school, they showed that he was a good athlete, and probably could have gone pro, a menu from the restaurant he use to work at, they actually met at the restaurant, and miscellaneous other stuff that would have no value to anyone else.

We quickly realized that we would have to find a way to break Sandy’s attachment to everything, so we tried pointing out to her that this stuff had been in storage for years. If she did not need it during those years she does not need it now. She said that she needed to keep all those things, as a way to remember. Gennie told her that she should get a camera and take pictures of all the stuff she wants, that way she can have that memory on a little memory stick instead of having to fill up a big room for it. Although she did not like this idea, she knew that she needed to find another way to keep all the memories, because we desperately needed the storage room empty.

We found a few things that we could use and decided to keep, including a six pack of FRS radios, with a 15 mile range once they were fully charged, a short-wave radio that could scan the frequencies, and some books on how to use bullet reloading equipment. He had sold the equipment when he was no longer able to go to shooting ranges, but he had kept the books, and we figured that we could probably find more equipment.

We had to borrow a trailer from a friend a few miles down the road in order to be able to haul off everything. We needed this particular trailer because of how it was built. He had built it himself. It was 6 feet wide, 20 feet long, the wall in the front, by the tongue, was solid, with 45 degree supports on the sides to prevent the front wall from falling, but the walls on the sides and back were on strong hinges, and could fold down, covering the wheels and giving you access from the side, or wider hauling size if need be. It also had a built-in ramp, about 10 feet long, which slid in under the floor in the back of it. The hinges on the back wall were lower than the ramp. The first time I saw that, I asked him why he did it that way, instead of having the ramp under the hinges. I was thinking that if the ramp was below they hinges, it could be pulled out a little bit and used as a bench, with the back wall as the back of the bench. He laughed at the idea, saying that it did make sense if you wanted to have a bench, but with the hinge is below the ramp the gate holds its shut so it can't slide out well going down the road.

Daniel called him to ask if we could use it. We all knew that he probably would let us use it, provided he wasn’t using it, but it was still better to ask. He said that we could use the trailer if we were willing to unload it. He had gone to town 2 days ago, the day before the announcement, to buy a bunch of feed and hadn’t unloaded it yet, and now he is scared that he might have gotten the virus, and brought it to his family. We can use the trailer if we will unload the feed and keep it, for either the next eight days, till they know that they are not sick, or if they do die, at least they know that the food will not go to waste and we will use it to feed our animals. We were reluctant to go get it after he told us he might be sick, so he suggested that he will take it to one of the properties between ours, to the one where nobody has lived for a few years, and park it behind the house where no one would see it, then call us and tell us it’s there.

Later, after we feel enough time has passed to be safe, we can go get it. That way we would know that we will not be exposed to the virus but we still get the trailer and the feed. We agree to this.

It took 2 full days to clear out the storage room, even with the trailer, but it was worth it. After getting everything out of the storage room, we realized that there was enough room in there to put all the stuff from both bedrooms, so there will be plenty of room for Daniel and his family.

Since Amanda didn't want to have to share a room with the twins, it was decided that Daniel and Gennie would have one room, the twins would have one room, Sophia could sleep with Sandy, since she had a king-size bed and only use one side, and Amanda could sleep on the sofa.
 

Charmer153

Contributing Member
Chapter 4

Into The Dark

Three days after the announcement of the virus, the power went out. Normally this would not have been a problem; the power goes out several times a year in our area, usually in the winter. It's usually only out for a few hours. This time we knew that it would be a problem, because there was no one we could call to find out what the problem was, or when it would be fixed.

We had been expecting it though, so we were a little prepared. Thanks to Sandy’s desire to have the well pump converted to solar power; we had an inverter that was capable of handling the power requirements for the motor. With the batteries from three of Daniel's old trucks, and some ingenuity, we were able to keep the well pump running. Even with three batteries we would only get about seven or eight hours of use before the inverters suck the batteries to low to use, unless we recharged them somehow.

Daniel said that he could make a small 12 volt generator that could maintain the batteries, using the lawnmower engine and an alternator from one of the trucks at the art-yard, since the man who lived there is not there now, and probably would not be coming back.

The art-yard was what locals called the field were a metal-sculptor had his "art". He built giant people, animals, statues, giant wind-chimes, some things that are useful, like a 6 feet tall working Holland-style wind-mill (11 feet tall counting the blades), that can actually grind a small amount of grain into flour, and many more metal pieces of art, some that could not even be identified. He always has a few partly intact, and mostly intact, cars and trucks that he buys from a auto-scrap-yard, that he had not yet taken all he wanted from, so it would probably be easy to find the part Daniel needed. When he came back, he said that he not only found the part he needed. He found 2 of them and 7 more batteries, all working. We would not have a problem with the power for the well.

Without electricity from the grid, the hot water heater in Sandy’s house did not work. The water heater at my place is propane, but I didn’t have much propane left, so it would not last long. Fortunately I remembered how to make a solar powered water heater. Sadly, we did not have all that we needed to make it. To make a good one, we needed many garden hoses. We only had three so we would only get about 7 gallons of hot water, before it turns cold again. (3/4 inch hose is about 2.3 gallon per 100 feet) The more hoses you have the more hot water you have. The correct way was to put the garden hoses in a spiral on a flat surface, using fishing line, or other strong line, to tie down the hose. (Stapling the line to the board between the loops of hose, or drilling holes through the board to tie the hose to the board, are good ways to secure the hose and prevented from coming loose.) Three 90 degree elbows for the hose. These prevent strain on the hose. A hole in the middle of the board for one of the elbows to go through. Another elbow connects the first hose to that elbow, and the third is behind the board, connected to the "through" elbow so that the "input line" can be connected without strain on it. As the sun shines on the spiral of hoses, the water in them gets hot. Unfortunately, we did not have anything that we could use for the backing, or the elbows, or enough hoses. We did have fishing line. After discussing it we decided to just lay the garden hoses out on the ground and let the sun warm it that way.

Since we did not have a way to tap right into the hot and cold water lines, and we were concerned that the water in the hot water heater tank would cool off, making the hot water not so hot, we closed the valves to the water heater to prevent the hot water from back flowing into it. We connected the hoses at the hot and cold water lines for the clothes washer. Since we needed to secure it on to the faucet at both ends it was a good thing that the hoses to the washer had the right kind of connections that we needed. We would not have much hot water, but at least we would be able to adjust hot and cold so we would not freeze or burn when we take a shower.

The next day, one of the Davis family came by and asked us if we needed any help with water. We thought this was odd, till we saw the 2 big plastic tanks on the trailer behind their truck and realized that they were taking water to those who needed it. Sandy said that we were good. We had a inverter, batteries, and a way to temporarily maintain them, so we had water for now, and if we had to, Matthew would probably let us get water from the creek.

I asked how long he could keep giving water before he ran out of gas, and he explained that he is not the only one doing this, his entire family is, and they are not giving away the water; they are selling it, 1 gallon, per person, per house, for ½ gallon of gas that they could siphon out of the cars/truck/etc.., or monetary equivalent ($1.75) in food, or money. They preferred the gas, to make sure they would never run out of gas. Most of the sales were on credit, and they know that they will probably never get paid for those, but as long as they got enough gas to cover what they used, that is what was important.
 

Charmer153

Contributing Member
Chapter 5.

Increase.

At this point I feel I should tell you a little bit about how the properties are laid out here, so they you can understand how we had such an increase.

Originally the man that lived to our right, his name is Matthew, had 120 acres of land here. However due to health issues, he had to sell half of it to pay for an operation. He decided to split the land and sell them as 15 acres each since he thought it would be easier then trying to sell it as the full 60 acres. My mother bought one, and a man named JT bought the other three, so that his property was beside, behind, and catty-corner, to us. The properties were on a dead-end street. Before Matthew had to sell half of the land, the northern border ran along the main road. The trees, and bushes, along this border were so thick that even though it was less than 50 feet, no one could see through them. The road went down the West side of the property then the long the length of the southern border. Matthew’s house was on the south east corner of the property. Since this road was a dead end, the only reason anybody would be on it would be to visit one of the three families.

Immediately after the announcement of the virus, JT got in his vehicle and left. He stopped at the local store/gas station to get gas and told some people that he was going to the city where his son lived to get his son and bring him here. They told him that is a very bad idea for two reasons…

1) What if he's already infected? By bringing him here, you bring the virus here.

2) The military is no longer letting people leave the cities.

He said that he was not going to let his son die in some "scum infested cesspool of criminals who have no decency, and even less respect for human life. I will bring him here, and he will be fine!" I do not know if he died getting into the city, trying to leave the city, or if someone here shot him trying to leave, or trying to return. All we know for sure is that he never returned.

Since he was buying the land from Matthew, Matthew repossessed the land. Matthew knew that because of the virus, all the pharmacies were gone, so he would soon run out of his medication, and would probably not live long after that.

Since Sandy had already fully paid for her 15 acres, it was extremely unlikely that JT would ever come back; Matthew knew that he would be dead within a few weeks, and that his children were probably already dead or dying of the virus, he told Sandy to make him an offer for the rest of the land. With the first offer she was kidding, and offered a dollar, thinking that he would tell how much he wanted. Much to her surprise, he took the offer. When she asked why he would sell it for so little, he said that since there are no more pharmacies, and is medicine is almost gone, he would soon be dead, and the money would not do him any good then, and since all of his kids were dying in the city there was no one to inherit the land. By him selling the land to her, she had a clear and legal claim to it, should anyone ever challenge it.

Before he had sold half of the land, when this was all his, the road had been his drive way, the gate that was on the road at his property, had been up at the main road preventing others from coming down the driveway. Now that it was all Sandy's driveway, she could move the gate back up to the road if she wanted to keep unwanted visitors from coming down.
 
What a Charmer of a story. Will enjoy greatly seeing it continue for the next several years. :-)
Seems as though you have done some study on the neighbors and relatives. Some will fit right in and some wont be very welcome at all. Like the nasty Rhodes we all travel among.
moar please.
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
C153,

Good start.... Thanks for the chapters....

The potential is there for this to happen....

Texican....
 

Charmer153

Contributing Member
Chapter 6.

Surprise Visitors.

About four days after the announcement, life on the farm had settled into a routine. I still took care of the animals since they knew me, and I still took care of my small garden, but I was no longer responsible for the big garden. Daniel and Amanda had been working on it like crazy. Enlarging it since it will be the main source of food for an additional 5 people, and extra for barter. Gennie worked inside helping Sandy do things that was hard for her to do by herself.

A red car pulled up in front of the house, and my sister, Jeanette, got out. She had never been here before, and I was surprised that she knew where the farm was. Sandy called across the front yard for her not to come any closer. Jeanette yelled out that her, and her two kids, had been at their vacation house on the river for the past two weeks and had not had any other human interaction, so they knew they were not sick. Sandy called out to ask where her husband was. Jeanette said that since he had meetings in the city, he had left the vacation home to go to the meeting the day before the announcement of the virus. After the presidential announcement of the virus, he called them and said that the cities was locked down and he couldn’t leave. She assumed he is now a victim of the virus.

None of us were willing to take any chances and told them that they could not stay here until we knew for sure that they were not sick. Jeanette insisted that they were not sick, but we were not willing to take that chance. Sandy finally convinced her that she could not stay by telling her that although Sandy believes her and the kids was safe, the rest of the community does not know them since they has never been here before. If we just take them in with out verifying that they are healthy it could bring down the wrath of the community on us, and we were not willing to do that.

Finally, after seeing that she could not convince us to let her and her kids stay here, she asked where they were supposed to stay, since they can't stay here. Amanda asked Daniel, "Since our house is empty, is there any reason they can’t stay there?" Daniel and Gennie agreed to it. Jeanette said that they did not have any food. After the announcement of the virus, and the lock-down of the cities, they stayed at their vacation house until the electricity went out, then came straight here. They did not want to risk exposure to the virus, so they did not stop anywhere except to get gas one time. They had been driving for seven hours, with no food. How were they supposed to get by for the next week, without food.

Gennie, remembering how we solved the problem of getting the trailer without having to interact with another person, offered to drive some food over to the house and set it on the porch, and Jeanette, or one of her kids, could pick it up after Gennie left. Jeanette was reluctant, but since she could not find any other solutions, she had to accept the offer.

When Gennie took over some food, Jeanette yelled at her through the door asking how they are supposed to get water, or use the oven, or take showers, or even just watch TV, when there is no electricity. Christopher could be heard in the background complaining about the electricity being out, because he could not recharge his laptop battery. Gennie said that they would just have to remove the electric pump, and use a bucket and rope to get water. They could bath in the swimming hole out at the creek, and eat any fish that is caught on the fishing lines about 40 feet down river from the swimming area. Jeanette had never had to use a rope and bucket to get water from a well, so did not know how to do it. She had always had running water before. Fortunately, Crystal had seen how it was done in a movie, and remembered enough to figure out the rest of it.
 

Charmer153

Contributing Member
Chapter 7.

Learning.

During the next week, Daniel and Amanda were enlarging the garden, again, because we would have three more people to feed.

Matthew was teaching me how to use the automated milking system, and other equipment used for making dairy products. I had never been in his milking barn before, and was surprised at how advanced it all was, and asked why Matthew had to sell property to pay for his operation when he could afford this. After laughing at me, he explained that this equipment is almost 10 years old, and he got it when he sold the 45 acres as one. He was able to use the down payment to pay for the operation, and had enough money left over to buy all of this.

The setup was very simple. Twice a day, at 8 AM and 8 PM, a bell would ring. The four milking cows knew that the bell meant it was time for them to come in and eat. That was when he would milk them. The building was set up for 10. He had planned on getting more, but would not be able to.

In addition to the milking machines, there were also two walk-in coolers, machinery for turning the milk, and/or cream, into butter, cheese, and other dairy products.

Originally it was all connected to the power grid, but when the electric company put in their smart meters, and then his electric bill almost doubled in 5 months for some unexplained reason, he had a water wheel built for the creek just outside of the building for the electricity. Since the creek never goes dry, and never stops moving, it is the perfect solution for electricity. It was the same creek that Daniel and his family had been swimming and fishing in, just 5 miles upstream from us.

Matthew said that he was getting about 12 gallons a day from the four cows (1.5 gallons from each cow, twice a day). Up till then he is always used it for making homemade butter, and cheese, that he sold every two weeks at the farmers market in town. That would no longer be possible, so we were free to do whatever we wanted with it since the cows, the building, and all of the equipment, were included in the sell of the land.

I quickly realized that since this building now belong the Sandy, and I would be the one most likely taking care of it, I could bring over the FRS radios and we charge them.

The milking equipment also has smaller size teet cups, made for milking goats, if we ever decided to get any. He was planning on getting some, but could never find any close by, at a good price.

I suggested to Sandy that they take down the fencing between the three fields since she now owned all three of them. She said that we might do that later, but right now she wanted to keep the fence up, to keep the cows out of the garden.

Amanda said that they could put a fence around the garden, and then Daniel asked where the fence would be, since the garden keeps expanding, and nobody knows for sure how big it's going to get. If they put the fence at the size that the garden is now, what happens when they need to expand the garden? If they figure on expanding the garden, and put the fence out, what happens if they do not expand, or have to expand beyond that point? It would be better to just leave the fences where they are for now.

I suggested that she could at least take down the fence between the 60 acres that she just bought and the 45 acres that JT was buying, while keeping up the fence around the 15 acres to keep the animals out of it. She did agree with that idea.

...

After a week had passed, Jeanette, and her kids, were still alive and well, although in extremely bad moods. After two decades of living in luxury, and having everything they could ever want, they were forced to live with very little, but they were still alive. They were then invited back to the farm.

Since Christopher and Crystal were younger, and able to get around better, they were assigned the job of milking the cows. One would do it in the morning and the other in the evening. This meant that I would have to show both of them how to do it. Although Christopher and Crystal did not want to have to do this, after Sandy explained that they would get to sell all the dairy products that they made, that the family did not need, and keep the money, as long as they divided it equally between the two of them. They were happy to do it after hearing that. That was pretty sneaky of Sandy. She knew that since the federal government was gone, it would not take very long for all money to become worthless. We would probably be using dollar bills as toilet paper within a few months. However Crystal and Christopher had always had money and did not realize that it could become worthless. Sandy saw this as a way to slowly teach them how the financial system worked, and how to barter with people. I pointed out that since the milking building had electricity, Christopher could recharge his laptop. He was very happy to hear that.

Jeanette tried saying that this was not a good idea, and she would not let her kids do it, because the milk had not been pasteurized, homogenized, sterilized, and other required steps to make sure it is safe. Amanda said that she would be happy to do the work, if she could keep the money. Sandy had to explain to Jeanette that people had been using milk for thousands of years before the government required all those "safety" steps be taken, and even before the US government existed. Christopher and Crystal quickly said that they wanted to do it since they would get to keep the money they got, then Gennie pointed out that it is going to happen, the only question is who will benefit from it. Jeanette reluctantly agreed to let her kids do it?

Christopher ran to his camper and grabbed his laptop, saying that he was going to plug it in and get online. Those of us who had lived there for a while, just smiled. When he plugged in, he found that he could not connect. He thought that the metal walls of the building must be blocking the Wi-Fi, and he would be able to connect after the battery recharged and he was outside again.

A few hours later, he stormed into Sandy’s house, demanding to know why he could not find any Wi-Fi. After making him apologies for demanding something from the people there, Amanda told him that there is no Wi-Fi here. If he had a cellular modem, he could try to connect to the cell tower, but probably would not be able to get online, even if he could connect. He asked how to connect to the cell-tower, and was told that he would need a account at the local IPS.

He sadly realized that since he did not have a account, and there was no Wi-Fi here, he wouldn't be able to get online.
 

Charmer153

Contributing Member
Chapter 8.

Jeanette's Story.

After verifying that Jeanette, and her kids, were all healthy the family wanted to know what they had all been up to.

Jeanette said that the school there had spring break the same time as our school did, and they had decided to spend spring break at the lakeside cabin. Since they actually owned their cabin, they were able to make a few changes to it. All the rest were summer cabins, with no heat source, so they would not be comfortable at night that time of year. Because of this, her and her family was the only people there. Her and the kids had gone to the cabin immediately after school let out for spring break. Her husband had to take care of some work issues and was due to meet them there the following Monday. The family had spent the two weeks of spring vacation at the cabin, and had not had any contact with anybody else. There were planning to return home the Sunday before school would start again. Her husband and had to leave the Friday before that to take care of another business problem. He said that he would meet them at home Sunday night.

The next morning was when the virus announcement was made. Jeanette tried to call her husband, several times, and finally got through to him in mid-afternoon. He said that the cities were already closed off and he could not leave. He ordered them to remain at the cabin for as long as they could. They had only brought enough food for the two weeks, and although they had not eaten as much as they thought they would, they only had enough left for four days. As it turned out that was not an issue since the power went out on the fourth day so they had to leave anyways.

At first they were not sure where to go since everybody they knew, and considered to be part of their social circle, lived in town. Then Jeanette remembered the farm. Although they had never been here before, she did have the address, and was able to use the GPS to find the place. The only stops they made after leaving the cabin was to get gas, and at a solar powered roadside rest-stop about three hours from here, where they were able to relieve themselves and refill their drinking bottles from the artesian well. They found a gas station that seemed to have a working generator, since it had working lights, but were unable to get gas since the pumps were turned off. They did not want to go inside and decided to look around the outside of the building to see if they could find anything. Jeanette walked around the building till she saw a drive-thru window with a speaker box, and a note saying that is how they are now doing business, to avoid human contact. She asked for the pumps to be turned back on so that they could get gas, and was told that she would have to pay in advance. She just placed $100 bill under the speaker box and then went back to the car to find that the pump was turned on and Christopher was filling the tank.

It only to the about $60 in gas to fill up the tank, so she went back to the window to try to get her change. No one would answer the intercom. She decided that she would try the front door if no one would talk to her through the speaker, but found that it was locked tight. When she went back to the window she saw that the speaker box was gone, and the window was shut and locked as well. She decided that the $40 was not worth the hassle and just left. After that they drove straight here.
 

Charmer153

Contributing Member
Chapter 9.

Going To Town.

Now that Jeanette, and her kids, was staying on the farm, we again had the problem of where everyone would sleep. Gennie said that they had a nice tent, and inflatable air mattresses that Jeanette and her kids could use until something better could be figured out. They could set up behind Sandy's house. At night, this worked, but it caused a problem during the day when people were moving around. They thought that the others should work around their schedule, as the maid, butler, driver, and other servants, had done for the past 20 years. The others did not agree.

Sandy finally told Jeanette that she had to be up, and have the tent "out of the way" by 7 AM each morning, so that the people trying to get the work done, can get the work done, without having to go around it all the time. The first two days, Jeanette did not get up and around by seven. On the third day, I, Daniel, Gennie, and Amanda, decided that we would fold up her tent, and put it away, and she could try to find it the next night. After that she made sure that she was up and had the tent put away by seven each morning.

On the morning of the 17th day after the announcement of the virus, the shortwave radio announced that there have not been any reports of virus caused deaths for the past 5 days, and the virus seems to have run its course. According to reports from a military ship, using thermal imaging satellites, say that although many cities are totally burned down, those that did not burn down, are now nothing more than ghost towns, with nobody moving around. Amanda asked if it's safe to go back to our local towns. Daniel said that it probably was, but everybody still had to be careful. The first trip would just be a scouting trip with only two people going, and they were to stay in the car, with the windows up. If they saw any other people they were to turn around and get out of there fast.

After the scouting trip, and no sign of any other people, it was decided that it was safe for us to go into town again.

We decided that since there were eight people that were old enough to drive, three were still too young; seven of the eight people would go to town in two cars, Gennie remained behind to take care of the younger kids. Our first stop would be the automotive dealership with five of the seven would get pickup trucks, and then go to the RV dealer to get camping trailers since the camping trailers was basically a large box on wheels, and could hold a lot more than the trucks.

Christopher and Crystal said that since they do not have drivers license they could not drive the trucks. Amanda almost fell over laughing at that. Daniel, almost growling, told them "This is an emergency, so those laws do not apply right now. If you know how to drive, you can." They both said that they had taken drivers ed, and knew how to drive. They just hadn’t got the license yet because their chauffeur drove them wherever they wanted to go. At this comment, a deaf person would have been able to hear the anger in every syllable that he said "Get! In! The! Trucks! NOW!!!!" They did not need to be told again. Jeanette started to tell him not to order her kids, but the look he gave her stopped her mid-sentence.

The two that still had the cars, Sandy and Jeanette, would go to the police department of each town to get the handguns, pepper spray, tasers, and anything else that could be useful. Those that had the trucks and campers would go to the stores, and pawnshops. Our objectives were all the 6-volt flashlights and batteries, 12-volt car batteries, battery cables, inverters, food, generators, and all the guns and bullets that we could get. Those going to the pawnshops would also be looking for all this and any precious metals, such as gold, silver, platinum, other precious metals and old coins. Daniel would also be getting enough hoses, boards, and connectors to make 3 solar water heaters. Since we had no way to know how big a spiral of 5 100-feet hoses would be, we decided to make sure he had hot water by making more then one solar heater, so if we could not fit all the hoses on one spiral, we would be able to make more then one.

Since each person was going to a different location, they were alone, so it took a full day to load the campers. After we got back to the farm we decided to wait until the next day to unload everything. The next morning it was decided that five people, me, Daniel, Gennie, Jeanette, and Christopher, would take five trucks, without any campers or trailers back into town, while the rest unloaded what we got yesterday. We knew that Sandy would not be able to do much; however Crystal, Amber, and Tim and Jim, could carry stuff from the campers to wherever she said to put it, and Sophia could do simple jobs, like unwrapping, and connecting, all the hoses so they will be ready to use.

Those that were going to town would get flatbed trailers from a farm dealership just this side of town. Those going to town would be going after the lumber, which we would stack up on the trailers and secure with tie down straps. The day before we discovered that not being able to communicate with each other is a problem, so we decided to take the FRS radios with us. Four of us then went to lumber yards, there were 4 yards, and one returned to the tractor supply store to get large plastic containers that we could put gasoline in, and a forklift to quickly unload all of the lumber back of the farm.

I had figured out a way to get the gas out of the ground even when the power was off, by lowering one end of a garden hose, we got a few new ones, down into the underground tank, with the other end connected to a plastic barrel, and using a air-pump to create a vacuum in a plastic barrel. After the barrel was full we opened a valve under it and let the gas poor into the big containers. It took a while to fill up all the containers, but we had no reason to hurry. We were sure there were no other people around now. After we filled all of the containers, we refill the tanks on the trucks. We ended up with several thousand gallons of gasoline. We decided this would be enough for today, as it was already 4 o’clock in the afternoon, so we decided to head back to the farm.

Upon returning, we saw that not only had the others unloaded the campers, but they had set up four of them to be lived in. Although they were not hooked up to the water, they had not had the extra garden hoses to connect to them, or spliters to connect multiple hoses to one faucet, or the electricity, there was no electricity, the stabilizing jacks were down with cinder blocks underneath them to distribute the weight and level the trailers.

Amanda had gone over to their house and got some of her stuff moved into one, Crystal had moved Christopher’s stuff into one while he was gone, and moved hers and Jeanette’s stuff into another, and Daniel and Gennie said that they wanted the fourth one. Only one camper was not yet set up to be lived in, but since we were not expecting anybody else this was not a problem.

We now had enough food, guns, generators, gasoline, batteries, and inverters. We thought we could handle almost any problem they came our way. Oh, how little we knew. Some lessons can only be learned the hard way. We knew enough to know that it would be very foolish to assume that we were ready for everything. Eventually outsiders would begin scavenging our area and if we did not already have everything we needed before that happened we would never get what we needed after it happened.
 

Charmer153

Contributing Member
Chapter 10.

The Search.

On the morning of the 20th day Sandy seems to have a problem. She had no hot water. No water would come out of the hot waterside. After looking outside to see if there was a problem with the garden hoses, we found that it had been disconnected from that house, and connected to Christopher’s trailer. Judging from the size of the wet area at the drain, he had let the water run for quite some time. After asking him about this, he said that he had let the water run until all the hot water was gone so he could get a drink of cold water. I thought Sandy was going to kill him. Her temper exploded. She informed Christopher that the hoses had to be connected to the house so that they would have hot water, and now there was no hot water to use. He tried to claim that he needed running water to drink.

Jeanette and Daniel was saying that they did not get running water in their campers, so why should Christopher. Christopher said that they could have hooked up the hose anytime they wanted to, just like he did. At that comment Daniel went out and disconnected the hose from his trailer to reconnect it to the house. After the water problem was solved, we all had breakfast and Sandy said that after thinking about it, she thinks it would be better to error on the side of caution and go overboard with our preps, rather than get caught unprepared. It was decided that day, Daniel, Gennie, Amanda, Christopher, and Crystal, would all be going back to town.

Daniel would be going to the car parts stores to get more batteries, more terminals, headlights, which we would use for yard lights, and get all the 12 volt light fixtures from the RV/camper place, even the ones already in the campers, if need be, so we could put them on the walls inside Sandy's house, the well house, the barn, and anywhere else we thought we would need lights. The campers all had 12 volt lights already built into them. They simply had to be connected to a working battery.

They did not need to take them out of the campers. There were 2 crates full of replacement lights in the back room.

They would be taking four vehicles. The plan was that they would remain together, going house to house, street by street, looking for guns, food, rare coins or precious metals. We could think of two reasons to do this.

1) When outsiders finally did reach this place, we wanted to make sure that they found no reason to stay. No food, guns, precious metals, or anything else for them to use here. We hoped they would decide that there was nothing here for them, and they would move on.

2) We wanted to make sure that we would be set up for anything, including having enough extra that we could barter with our neighbors in the future for skills and/or material that we did not have.

They decided that they would only search the house is within five blocks of the main Street, because they knew that searching every house in both towns would take months, and they did not want to spend that much time searching. Most of the houses only had a little bit of food in them, a few had some guns, may be a dozen had precious metals, but they were not finding much in most houses. The ones that did have precious metals seemed to belong to prepper's, because they did have some food stockpiled. Anywhere from a few months, up to a year's worth, for one person. These would help us, but since we had 11 people, they would not last us as long as they would have lasted the people in town.

In one house, in the ritzy side of town, Christopher found a projector that had four different kind of connections. RCA, HDMI, USB, and VGA connection. He quickly realized that if we could find a way to get stable power, this could be be connected to a DVD player, or a laptop computer, for family movie night. After showing it to Daniel and telling him the idea of movie nights, Daniel said that he had seen 2 more in the bedrooms, but had not paid any attention to them since they need electricity to work. They quickly got all 3, in-case one got broke.
 
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Charmer153

Contributing Member
My proof reader is no long able to help me, so if you find mistakes, please let me know.
If you find something that seems to be gibberish, please remember that I use dragon speak, and sometimes it does not work as good as it should. If you find a error, let me know so I can try to correct it.
 

Papa

Contributing Member
So far so good...interesting how the entitled attitude comes out in some people even after TEOTWAWKI
 

Charmer153

Contributing Member
Chapter 11.

Great Treasure.

It took a few days to check all the houses within the areas that they were searching, and then they started checking the houses outside of town. In most they found what was expected. A couple of weeks worth of food, and maybe one or two guns, but at one house, 3 miles outside of town, they found what can only be described as A GREAT TREASURE.

This house appears to have belonged to a prepper. There was a 2500 gallons water tank on scaffolding beside the house, with pipes running into the house. Clearly the water in the house was a gravity feed system. A windmill driven water pump was pumping of water up to the tank. The overflow from the tank flowed through another pipe into a very large barn, where it poured into animal watering systems.

In a large room in the back of the barn there were big machines. Two forklifts, three tractors, three harvesters, three planters, three backhoes, and one homemade log trailer, with a chipper shredder at the back, and a log grabber above the shredder. Secured to the ceiling were ten 1,000 gallon plastic containers, with a PVC pipe right in front of them, a "T" connecting each one to the pipe, the end of the pipe connecting to a hose. At the end of the hose is what could only be described as a "do it yourself" nozzle. It was a short piece of pipe with a valve at one end. It was assumed that this was used to refuel the machines.

In the barn there were rabbits, chickens, goats, cows, and a few horses. The rabbits were in a fenced in area about 60’ x 60’. Thankfully they were able to eat grass and the auto watering system gave them water.

There were four rooms on the side of the barn. The first one was open, and had a horse-drawn wagon. The second, third, and fourth, had locked garage doors.

Inside the house, in what we assume was the study, in the basement, was a large safe built behind a bookshelf. The door was open. A note taped to the inside of the door explained this. "Hello to whoever finds this. My name is Scott Sanders, and after hearing the news about the virus, I know that this headache and queasiness I am feeling means that I, and my beloved wife, are going to die very soon, so we will no longer need any earthly things. I have opened the safe/vault, and placed a metal bar blocking the door from shutting, so that you may have access to what is in it. I hope whoever finds all my stuff is able to use it wisely. I prayed to God that it is found by good people. Inside this safe is over $250, face value, pre-1960 silver coins, over 200 pounds of pure silver, and 20 pounds of gold in various forms, over a-half-a-million dollars worth at today’s current stock market price, non-hybrid\non-GMO seeds for carrots, lettuce, celery, corn, potatoes, onions, and many other foods, including some simple spices. The rabbits are for wool for spinning if you know how. The goats are for meat and milk if you know how, the chickens are for the eggs, the cows are for the milk if you know how, and the horses are trained to pull the wagon. There is a laptop computer with a list of addresses, and yard maps showing where fellow prepper’s who live in town have buried barrels of silver, guns, and bullets, in their yards. On the side of the barn are three locked rooms. One key will unlock all three. The key is hanging on a hook by the back door.

In the first room it looks like the only thing in there is a forklift, with a CD player sitting on the seat. However there is a small remote control in a cloth bag, hot-glued to the underside of the seat, out of sight so it would not be easily found. If you put the batteries from the CD player in the remote, then push the center button, there three buttons, the entire floor of that room will descend through four levels into a large underground room. Do not press the first or third button, or the controls to the elevator will be destroyed, and he will never be able to go down. In these underground rooms is the reason we have taken such extreme security measures. You will find enough food to feed 20 people for 10 years. We were planning for about 100 people to come live on the farm should shtf day ever arrive. The food would have lasted two years if we had not been able to grow our own.

The second room has enough PVC pipe and UV resistant plastic to build five greenhouses 40 feet wide and 200 feet long.

The third room has everything needed to build a methane digester, and five composters. Step-by-step instructions on how to build each of them are on the laptop. May God bless you. Amen."

Nobody could believe what they had found. There was far too much here for them to take back to the farm with only the trucks they had with them, and they were too far for the FRS radios to be able to reach us. They decided that they would load up as much as they could and returned back to the farm telling the others what they had found so that the others could take more trucks and trailers to get more of it. Even with five trucks and five trailers, we still did 3 trips, and did not get even 1/10th of all the food before deciding that since we had the remote, and the safe/vault was closed, the remaining food would probably be safe there. Two trucks and trailers made a fourth trip to go into town and get the barrels that were buried. It took two days of continuous nonstop work to get all of this moved to Sandy’s farm, the stockpiles of food locked up in the barn where nobody would see it, and the barrels were buried so no one would know we had them.

At 25 days after the announcement of the virus we had enough wealth to buy half of the county, enough guns and bullets to hold off an army, and enough preserved food to last us for almost 2 years and we knew were to get more, plus by using the windmill powered water pump and gravity fed water system we were able to supply water to all of the campers, and thanks to the thick trees, and bushes, blocking the view of the property from the main road, no one knew what we had, or so we thought. By using a few of the solar panels to make a battery bank, separate from Sandy's house, we were able to supply 12 volt power to all of the campers so the lights would work. The 110 power still would not work, but at least the lights would turn on.

Although the powerful inverters had been use on Sandy’s house, and at my place, we still have smaller inverters that we could use in the trailers for things like refrigerators. The problem was the solar panels did not produce electricity fast enough to maintain the refrigerators, so we needed to find a faster way to produce electricity.
 

Charmer153

Contributing Member
Chapter 12.

Power For Free.

We knew that we could connect alternators to the batteries to charge them faster, but we needed a way to run them without burning up our gas on small motors. I had seen videos on the Internet about people hooking up powerful electro-magnetic motors, such as from a grinder, to multiple alternators. This always resulted in a self sustaining generator. Unfortunately we only had 2 alternators, and no powerful motor. Thankfully there were three automotive scrap yards in town, one in the first town and two in the second. Going by the RV dealer again, and getting a motor from a camper water pump, we were able to build one of these generators. The motor was only powerful enough to turn three alternators, but it was enough to maintain the batteries and supply power to the motor. Also since the pump motor was a 12 volt, we did not need to use another inverter for it.

We were concerned about the power from one alternator feeding into another and trying to turn it as a motor, so we decided that until we could get some diodes, each one should be connected to a separate battery bank, and each battery bank would be connected to a different trailer. This would mean that we would have to build another self-sustaining generator, since each one could only supply power to two campers, and we had four.

After discussing it, we all agreed it was better to get the parts to build many of these self-sustaining generators, which we could later use to recharge batteries for neighbors, or even trade to a neighbor for use of equipment that we do not have.

Up till now everything had been family oriented, but we knew that would not last. Sure enough, the morning of the 29th day after the announcement, Mathew came over and told us that while we had been gone to town yesterday, one of the Davis family visited him, and told him about a community meeting that was going to be held at a local church at 2 PM the next day, and it is requested that at least one member from every residence attend.

After discussing it for a short time, we decided that three people would be going. Me, Gennie, and Daniel, since we had lived in the community so long, and were known. Sandy and Amanda would stay behind to watch the kids, and make sure nothing happened to our stuff while we were at the meeting.

Jeanette, Christopher, and Crystal, had taken three of the trucks, and trailers, to a resort that they had loved to go to, about 4 hours from the farm. They were going after the electric golf-carts. We all agreed that it would be better to use electric vehicles to get around local, instead of using our gasoline.
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
Charmer it has been nearly a month....

The Moar Hounds are getting hungry for another chapter in "After the Plague"....

Texican....
 

Charmer153

Contributing Member
Chapter 13.

The Meeting.

We got to the meeting, probably 5 minutes early, and noticed that most of the vehicles were leaving. At first we wondered if we had the time wrong and we had missed it, so we asked somebody that was getting into their truck. He explained that the meeting hadn’t started yet. The reason why the vehicles were leaving is because so many people showed up that they couldn’t fit them all in the church. At most community meetings, only a few people show up, maybe 5% of the community, if that much. This time over half of the community is showing up, so they are moving the meeting to the school parking lot since it’s the only place they could think of to fit so many people on such short notice.

After all the cars and trucks got to the school, they realized that it was to crowded to have the meeting, and did not know what to do, till someone suggested parking the cars and trucks in the big field across from the school, behind the teachers apartments.

Many of the teachers lived in a single story apartment building, across the street from the school. The apartments were to small for a family, but one person could live there with no trouble, and since they came with the job, the teachers did not have to pay rent.

Once most of the vehicles were out of the way, four trucks were set up, parked beside each other, with the space between the third and fourth one. They setup a generator in the back of the second truck, put one speaker in the back of the first and fourth truck, and put the microphone in the back of the third truck. We then realized that the space between the third and fourth truck would make a space between the person talking and the loud speaker.

At 2 o’clock, Big Ben got in the back of the truck, to start the meeting. "My fellow community members, welcome to the first of what we hope will be many meetings. Many of you know me as Big Ben. My name is Benjamin Anderson, and I am in charge of the local volunteer fire and rescue group. As you all know, 1 month ago a virus swept through the populated areas all around the world. As far as we know, only those that live away from populated areas survived, and not all of them did. There has been much talk recently about people running out of food and medical supplies. A few have had the foresight to see that we could not survive this as individuals. If we do not come together as a community and help each other, it will not be long before we, as individuals, come face to face with insurmountable problems. After discussing this with Preacher Brown, myself, three of the people in the community which have medical training, and Miss Watson (the local store owner), it was decided that we had to find a way to bring the people together to work as a community. In that hope, we have set up this meeting, and have scheduled more meetings every day this week at 2 PM. By then, we hope to have all the critical issues settled, and can go to only one or two meetings a week." Then with a small grin he said "weather permitting". "Since it is no longer realistic to expect food to be delivered to the stores, electricity in the lines, or to get gas from the stations, we must become self sufficient. As we all know, without electricity there is no way to pump gas or diesel, so unless Miss Watson can get a generator to power the gas pumps, what is already in the tractors and other machines, or other storage containers, are all that we can have. It is our hope that we can get a list of people that have tractors, plows, harvesters, and other farming equipment, and people that have diesel fuel, that they could donate to be used. This is not… "

At this point, the members of the Rhodes family spoke up, loudly, saying "All of the tractors, plows, harvesters, diesel fuel, and other equipment which could be used to help people should all be gathered up and put in one location, for anybody who needs to use it. That way the poor people that could not afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars to buy all this equipment will still be able to use them, instead of only the rich being able to survive."

Many people started yelling "That is not right, that is communism. It is not right to force those that have to give what they have to those that do not have. Also, there are people that do not know how to operate the tractors and other heavy equipment so expecting them to use it would be foolish. And what would the rest of us do after they broke the tractors? That may be how things are up in New York, but not here." At this point Ben quietly sat down on the tire cover, and let the argument go.

After three or four minutes, there were a few loud bangs, as gun shots were fired up into the air. The argument immediately stopped, and Ben was able to continue. He tried to explain that the people, who had the tractors, plows, and other tools, did not have to give them to the community for anyone to use. The people who came up with the original idea just wanted to have a list of names of people who had the equipment, so that those who needed the tractors, plows, and other equipment, would know who to talk to, to make arrangements to use it.

We thought that we could keep quiet and no one would know that we had the equipment. Again, we were foolish. We should have realized that there was no way we could have spent days moving all of that equipment without being seen. Thankfully nobody knew how much we had. They did ask us about the tractors, plows, forklifts, bulldozers, and backhoes, but didn’t say anything about the food, green houses, or other material that we had found at Scott’s house, or any of the houses in town. We said that if they could put fuel in them, and show that they knew how to operate them, they could use them. Many did not have any diesel fuel, and were very upset by us requiring that they supply the fuel. We quickly realized that this could be a problem. We had plenty of fuel and did not need more, plus we had the gas-vac, as I called it, that we could use to get gasoline, or diesel, out of the underground tanks, so we had no immediate shortage.

Daniel was about to say that they didn’t need to supply their own fuel, just show that they could operate the equipment, when 17-year-old Mike Rhodes interrupted him. In a low whisper, just loud enough for us to hear, he gave us what we considered to be a thinly veiled threat. We were told that if we were not willing to help others, they would have no motivation to help us when we needed it. And now that there are no police, what is there to stop someone from coming by one night, and just taking our bulldozers, tractors, and other big machines?

Daniel quickly slammed him to the ground and very loudly informed him that threatening us is not a good way to get us to help people, and he was about to say that he could supply the fuel before this loudmouth had interrupted him, and if anybody did try to come by and take what we had, the only thing they would be leaving with was a bullet. Instantly the rest of the crowd was as silent as a tomb. A few people wanted to know what he had tried to threaten us about, so Daniel told them. Many quickly stated that he did not speak for them. They would not refuse to help others in need just because those in need do not help them.

A lot of people were talking about the problem with water. The Davis family had been a tremendous help, but eventually they would have to stop, because all the gas would be gone. I quickly realized that this could be in our favor, since my gas-vac idea could be used to pull water out of the ground, and it could be powered by solar panels, this was a good chance to help others.

When Big Ben asked if anybody had any ideas that could help people, or any questions, would stand up, six people stood up, including me and Daniel. Big Ben called on Daniel first, and Daniel offered to use the bulldozer and backhoe to help others to enlarge their gardens if they needed it. Many people were very grateful for that. He then called on me, and I told him that I had a design for a device which could be used to pull the water out of the ground.

At first many wanted to know how I knew my design worked, and I said that I knew it worked because we had used it, but I did not tell them what we used it for. They accepted that, and started requesting that I make some for other people to use. I told them I could not make that many, but I could show the one I had, and let others see how it was made, so that they can make more. They accepted that.

The third man was a older man, and he asked how he was supposed to grow a garden, since he and his wife lived alone, had a hard time getting around, and did not have any young, strong, people to do the work for them? Immediately several people offered to help them with the plowing, and planting of the garden. All the old man would have to do is water it, and let someone know if it needed the weeds removed. He was extremely grateful for this.

The fourth asked about the people that could not grow food because they did not have the space, such as the teachers. After a few minutes of thought and discussion, someone suggested that we not only grow food for personal use, on all private property, but also grow gardens in properties where no one lives, such as the 15 acres where the cars are currently parked. One of the teachers said that after it is plowed, they can take care of the planting, watering, assuming that they could find a way to get water, the weeding, and everything else until it is ready to harvest. However it is a good idea to plant and grow as much as we can as a community so that if one person’s garden fails they will not have to starve. Big Ben asked for a show of hands for everyone who thought that community gardens, to help those who cannot grow a gardens, would be a good idea. Every hand went up. He then asked how many would be willing to use their tractors and plows to set up and help maintain such gardens. About 45 or 50 hands went up.

Big Ben looked like he was going to cry. "It is so great that so many people are willing to help those in need." Then although he did not address them by name, he looked straight at the Rhodes family and said "In order to prevent this from being abused I believe that we should set a rule that the community food will be for those who cannot grow their own food, whether it be limited space, health problems, or any other legitimate reason. However, those who can grow their own food, but simply won’t, because they expect others to take care of them, don’t get anything from the community food bank. Can I get a show of hands of those who agree with this?" With the exception of the Rhodes family, every hand went up.

Someone then asked where the food would be stored. Another said that since the school is not in use, has lots of rooms, is centrally located, is solar powered, and is eco-thermally cooled, it would be the logical place. People asked what the many different rooms had to do with it. The person that suggested the school then said that the different rooms could hold different things, such as one room could hold fruit, and another could hold vegetables, etc... Those who have, or have used roots cellars know that there are some things they cannot be stored together, such as onions and bananas, because the fumes from the onions will ruin the bananas.

Again the Rhodes family spoke up saying that what the school is used for, and what can and cannot be put in the school, is controlled by the school board. People cannot just decide on their own to use the school for storage. At this, John Peterson, the HS principle, announced that five members of the school board are dead, and the two that remain have already told him that as far as they are concerned school is out for the year, and if he wishes to use the school for another purpose, he's welcome to do so. And again the Rhodes family spoke up saying that only those two cannot decide. The school board is seven people. and until another election is held and the number is restored to seven again. things must continue as they have been, with the kids going to school. At this the two remaining members forcefully informed the Rhodes family that there are no rules, or laws, in that area that tell how many people must be on the school board, and the kids had already been out of school for 6 ½ weeks. Even if they went back to school now, summer vacation starts in less than a month.

Again someone asked "what about the people that are already out of food? It takes months for food to grow, what are they supposed to do?" Ben asked if anybody had been to town yet and could verify that it was safe? We did not want to have to admit that we had been to town, but we knew that we were probably the only one who had, and if we did not tell them that it was safe, some of them would probably starve to death before going to town. Gennie said that after she had heard on the shortwave radio that the virus had run its course and the cities were now ghost towns, she went to town, and had not seen any other people, so it should be safe for a group of people to go to town and get food from the stores to put in the community food bank. At first I wondered what she was doing, giving that we’d already been to town and I thought we got all the food. I would later realize that there is no way we could have gotten all of it. We did not even get one quarter of it. The campers could not hold all of the food in the stores, so there was plenty left for other people.

The last two had remained standing during this, and they both offered to help plow gardens for those who needed it, but would not allow others to use their tractors. They were concerned that someone who did not know how to use the tractor would break it, and then they would not have it anymore. A few grumbled about this, but no one tried to argue with them about it.
 

Charmer153

Contributing Member
Chapter 14.

After The Meeting.

Immediately after the meeting several people came up to us and asked when they would be able to come by and see the device I had built for getting water out of the ground. I told them they could see it now if they wanted to, however since we did a rush job on building this one and it is not very solid, only a few people would get to see it at a time. Once they saw how it was built and understood how it worked, they would be able to make their own.

Explaining it was very simple to the people because it was a very simple design. When Miss Watson came up to see the design, she recognized the smell of the gas. I guess since she had been running the store/gas station for years, she would know what gas smells like better than anyone else. She quickly realized that we had used it to get gas out of tanks in town, and that it could be used to get the gas out of her tanks to help the community. She asked us if we could build a stable one, using a 5 gallon bucket, with a space under it for her 5 gallon gas can, and somehow put a lock on it so that others could not turn it on and off but she could. She could then get the gas out of her tanks; 5 gallons at a time, to help people in the community grow food. I told her that I could easily do that, but the gas would not help everyone, because some tractors use diesel. She laughed at that and asked if I could build 2, one for gas and one for diesel. I said that I probably could.

It took a few hours to show the water-vac to everybody who had come to see it. Many said that it was a brilliant design. I simply said that it served its purpose.

Benjamin Anderson a.k.a., Big Ben, saw the campers and asked why we had not set up one or two of them by the milking building since we could plug in the campers and get full use of them? I immediately felt like a grade school dropout, a.k.a. an idiot. After they all left we decided to move two of the campers to the building, one on the north side for Christopher, and one on the south side for Crystal. Although this would use the fifth camper, which had been empty up till now, it would let Jeanette have a camper all to herself, and make it easier for Crystal to milk the animals since her home would be right there, beside the milking building instead of on the other side of the creek.

Sandy made it very clear to Christopher and Crystal that having the electricity and the running water that comes with that location is a reward for doing the job, and if they did not do the job, that reward would be suspended.
 

Charmer153

Contributing Member
Chapter 15.

Movie Night.

That night we decided it would be fun to have time to just relax and watch a movie. Thanks to the projector that Christopher had found we were able to show the movie on the side of the barn. There’s nothing like watching George Burns pretending to be Satan, and God, on the big screen, and this screen was about 8 feet tall.

Again, we had lessons to learn, and this was one. Since the electricity was out, there were no yard lights (we have not yet hooked up our 12 volt "yard lights") and the projector put out a lot of light. Before the movie was half over, people were coming by to see what the flickering lights were. When they saw that we were watching a movie, they asked if they could stay and watch it to. We realized then that we would not be able to keep our lights a secret, especially after we put up the 12 volt "yard lights", so instead of trying to pretend that we did not have anything, we invited them to watch, and decided to make it look like we had less than what we really did have.

After the movie was over, a few people asked how were we able to power the DVD player and projector, and where did we get the projector. We said that since 2 of the campers were now plugged in, and no longer needed the batteries, we used those batteries, and a inverter, for the power, and we got the projector at a pawn shop a few years ago, but it had never been dark enough to use it outside before because of the lights.

Many wanted to know if we were going to show movies on a regular basis. Sandy said that she had not thought about it. We just decided to show one tonight because we wanted to see one. Many of them said that watching television is one of the things they miss most, and getting to watch the movie was a wonderful treat. Sandy said that she would think about setting up movies for the community, maybe once a week and on special occasions.

A few asked if it would be possible to borrow the projector, batteries, and inverter, so they could watch some of their own DVDs at home. Sandy said that we did not want to loan it out, because if anything happened to it we might not be able to get another one (She did not want to tell that we already had 3 of then), however if we do start having community movie nights, other people will be permitted to bring their own DVDs to show. She would think about it tonight and if they asked her tomorrow, after the meeting, she would have an answer for them.
 

Charmer153

Contributing Member
Chapter 16.

The Loss.

The next day, before leaving for the meeting Daniel said that he was going over to see if Matthew would like to ride with him to save on fuel and he would meet us at the meeting.

When the meeting started, big Ben asked if there was any questions or suggestions that should be brought up today. Daniel said that he had just been over to Matthew's house, and Matthew is dead. He seems to have died in his sleep. For a moment everyone was silent, probably in shock. Daniel said that he would be willing to use the backhoe to dig the grave, but didn’t know how to make a coffin.

One man said that if he could use a generator for power in his shop he could build a coffin. It would not be a fancy box like you see in town, it would just be a plain wooden box, but it would be a coffin. One of the men of the Davis family offered the use of his generator for this. This death caused many to realized that just because we survived the virus does not mean we will get to enjoy a long life. We can still die of other problems.

In a choked voice, Big Ben asked how long it would take to build the coffin, and dig the grave. Daniel said that he could dig the grave with the backhoe in about 10 minutes. The man who said he could make the box said that it would take him about 20 minutes. Big Ben then asked if anybody had a problem postponing the meeting till 4 o'clock so that they could have the funeral. No one seem to have a problem with it, and many thought it was a good idea.
 

Charmer153

Contributing Member
Chapter 17

Tuesday, The Second Meeting.

The funeral was done quickly, but still respectfully and everybody was again back at the school parking lot. This time instead of having four pickup trucks they had one flatbed trailer with the speakers, amplifier, generator, and several seats on it.

As the meeting was starting, five people went up and sat in the seats. Big Ben opened the meeting. Again he asked if there is anything anybody would like to announce, or any questions they would like to discuss, at the meeting.

Since nobody had any questions or comments, Big Ben said that we shall move on with the meeting. He then introduced one of the people in the chairs as Stephen Davis. After stepping up to the microphone, Stephen said that since Gennie had announced that it was safe to go to town, the Davis family had put camper shells on the back of three of their trucks, and went to town that morning. They had gone to three of the stores, and fully loaded all three pickup trucks with shelf stable food, and are just waiting to know where they should take it to, so those who need it can get it. Another person said that they had decided yesterday to use the school for the food bank, so they should unload at the school, after the meeting. John Peterson said that he would unlock one of the doors so they could carry the food in.

Again the Rhodes family interrupted trying to claim that the only way to make sure that people were not hoarding food in their homes while taking food from the food bank is to take all of the food from people's homes and putting it in the food bank for community use. Again people were calling out that is not right, that is communism, and there was very little chance of people trying to do that because people in this area just don't do things like that.

Stephen had returned to his seat, and after the interruption settled Big Ben introduced Miss Watson. She said that thanks to the two the vacuum devices that I had built for her, she is now able to get fuel out of the tanks for those who need it, but only for those who need it to help grow food. She will not give up her gas for people to "drive around just because they want to." I thought my ears would explode from the applause.

Next Big Ben introduced Jason Ford's, a man I had never met before, but most others did know. Jason announced that he was the man responsible for keeping the school buses running. After discussing it with John Peterson of the school, it was decided that one of the buses would have all of the seats removed so that cabinets and shelves could be installed. This would be used to transport's food to those that were unable to come to the school to get any. A few people asked why people would have a hard time getting to the school. Jason explained that eventually people are going to run out of gas, and since the gas now coming out of the tanks is used primarily for farming equipment, the people that are out of gas may not be able to get more, or the car could out of oil, or it could just be a flat tire with no spare. They could be several reasons why a person could not make it to the school. Jason then returned to his seat.

Next Big Ben introduced the fourth person, Mark Scutter. Mark had a shortwave radio that was capable of receiving, and broadcasting for hundreds of miles, but he currently had no way to power it. If a way to power it could be found, we could communicate with people in other parts of the country. Thanks to Gennie we now know that there are other groups of survivors. John Peterson immediately asked if the shortwave equipment could be set up and one of the classrooms, and use the power from the school's solar panels. Mark said that would work, and since the school is centrally located, and going to be the food bank, it is the reasonable place to put a communication center.

After Mark, Big Ben introduced Samuel Davis. Samuel said that he had been one of the three to go to town, but had been unable to get any food from the store, because someone was guarding the store that he went to, but he had been able to get food from other places. After Samuel told his story, he returned to his seat.

Mark again took the microphone and asked if there is any questions now. Two people stood up. One was a teacher, and the other was Sandy.

The teacher asked when the field behind the apartment would be plowed. The man who had offered to plow it said that he could do it at any time, but he did see a problem. Once it was plowed, and planted, where could the cars park. For a moment nobody was able to answer this, and then Big Ben said that would not be a problem. Starting tomorrow, the meetings would be held inside the gym. A stage would be placed on the far end of the gym. This would also make it possible to have chairs there for people to sit on, instead of them having to bring their own chairs, or sit on the hard ground, and we could leave the sound system set up all the time instead of having to set it up and take it down each day. Everybody was happy to hear this.

Mark then asked Sandy what she'd want to say. She said that in response to people asking her about showing community movies, she has decided that she would like to do that one or two times a week, on Tuesday and Saturday nights, however she does not want the big crowds on her property. There was some talk amongst the crowds about the movies. Not everyone had known about the projector. That quickly changed, and many people started asking where the movies would be shown. Sandy said that she did not know where they would be shown, but she did not want the crowds on her property so it would not be there. John Peterson offered to let her show the movies in the gym, since the gym was as tall as a two-story building, and there would already be chairs and a sound system in it. Everybody thought this was a good idea. Someone asked what kind of movies would be shown, and Sandy said that they had not thought about that yet. They would have to have a variety for different people who like different things. I suggested that a list of different movies could be taped on the door to the gym, and people could put a mark beside the one that they wanted to see. Then the movie that got the most votes would be the one that got shown that time. Many people liked this idea, however the Rhodes family asked what was to stop people from voting many times and tampering with the results. Many people started yelling that unlike the people in the cities, the people in the country are still honest. That seemed to placate the arguments.

After Sandy sat down, Mark asked again if there were any more questions or suggestions that need to be brought forward. When no one stood, Mark closed the meeting.
 
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