Story Nann

Kathy in FL

TB Fanatic
This new story will post slower than Ava. I have a lot going on but wanted to do as promised and have another "never before seen" story just for TB2K. After it is completed I will then post it to FP and go on to the next one and so on and so forth. I am also still deciding which other stories on FF and FP to work on and finish. Having a hard time as my attention is split between a bunch of needs and my wants are having to take a back seat. Anyway, here is Chapter 1.


Chapter 1

A teenage girl tried to appear brave as she looked at her older brother on a gurney in the middle of a chaotic parking lot in front of her school.

“Coulda, shoulda, woulda. It’s all moot now. You’re hurt Dale. Bad enough hurt you got a spot on the bus whether you want one or not. And Lisa ain’t in much better shape. Mentally she’s totally bye-bye. Just get to the staging place or whatever they’re calling it now. Hook up with Mom and Dad and toss Lisa in Aunt Fran and Uncle Day-Day’s lap and make her their problem.”

“But …,” Dale groaned in real pain.

“Shaddup Big Bro. C’mon. Take this pack and go.”

The groan turned into a moan as he said, “Dad is so going to kill me.” His voice was as weak as I’d ever heard it and it broke my heart more than a little.

“Doubt it,” I told him, fairly confident that I was right. “Not after he hears what Looney Lisa pulled this time. Mom may want to kill Aunt Fran but she won’t. Besides, you really think Uncle Hy is going to turn me away? Not with Grammy needing looking after he won’t, and you know it. Plus this will take care of that worry for the whole lot of them.”

“Tell me again Dump,” he demanded for the umpteenth time.

I rolled my eyes at the old nickname – short for Dumpling – and said, “As soon as the buses start pulling out I’m going to run back home. I’ll throw the last of the food in the house into the cab of your truck, load the ammo boxes onto the floor board, throw some stuff over them to hide them, and then head out the back way to Uncle Hy’s place. I’ll take all of the short cuts and cut acrosses; and I won’t stop ‘til I hit Tuckerman Creek.”

“What if Uncle Hy has dropped the bridge?” he prompted for the next leg of the journey.

“I head south to the old Crossing and so long as the water isn’t too deep, I’ll ford the Creek there. Now enough already. I know what I’m doing.”

“You’re frelling sixteen years old Nannette so don’t give me that crap! I should …”

With total fraternal disrespect I interrupted his latest attempt at being a worrywart by saying, “And you’re ancient because you’re nineteen. Big fat whoop. Just keep Mom and Dad from doing anything freaking heroic and crap. And don’t let Uncle Day-Day do it either. Lisa isn’t his fault. No one expected the hospital to just dump the psyche ward like that instead of transporting them out of the area like they were supposed to.”

Half-heartedly Dale defended our cousin by saying, “Rehab, not psyche ward.”

I gave him the unladylike snort the comment deserved and added, “Amounts to the same thing in Lisa’s case.”

“At least this time she wanted to get clean.”

“Maybe,” I said with a shrug, having learned that Lisa’s follow through on her “wants” tended to be pretty weak.

The two big guys that were helping to load the injured onto the bus were heading our way so I kissed Dale bye on the least bruised cheek, made sure Lisa was still sedated and tied on the gurney thing in the bus, then stepped back and out of the way as they grabbed Dale’s stretcher. I headed home as soon as their bus revved up and pulled into line with their military escort.

Most people stayed in the cue lines waiting for their turn to catch some kind of ride. Not me. Dale and I had overheard a couple of Guardsmen murmuring to each other about hoping they were long gone before people realized the next line of buses was all there was, and most of those seats were going to be filled with kids and injured or elderly adults. That’s when I knew what I had to do. Talking Dale into it took a little longer.

Home wasn’t all that far away thanks to the fact they were using the parking lots around the high school stadium. I was more worried about Dale and Lisa than about myself. Foolish maybe, but that’s what I was feeling. I knew that Stan and the other guys in our Crew promised to be on the receiving end waiting for them but that only brought a little relief. That and knowing they’d pretty much taken over Stan’s dad’s office complex. Everyone was safe and secure, or so what I was told.

The only other thing really bothering me is that communication is kinda funky. I sent a text message as soon as Dale’s bus pulled out, but I was almost ready to pull out myself before I got a text back. I immediately sent out a text in our cobbled together code to let them know I was on my way too but haven’t heard back yet. Good thing I stopped long enough to remember to pray for safe travels. I sure needed it.


Veteran Member
Kathy, We appreciate each and every story but please don't stress yourself for us. I know I'd rather have a slow posting than you making yourself sick and taking away from your family.

That said, thank you very much. It always make's me smile and give a whoop when I see a new posting from you.

Kathy in FL

TB Fanatic
Chapter 2

Gosh almighty.

As soon as the words left my mouth, I cringed involuntarily expecting a pocketbook sized thump from Mom. I felt stupid as soon as I realized what I was doing while at the same time realizing just how rattled I was. I was going about 30 mph faster than was sane, but I needed to get on the County Road just about as bad as I had needed to get off the Highway. It hadn’t taken me long to realize that Dale and I hadn’t been the only ones to realize we needed out sooner rather than later; nor were we the only ones thinking the back ways out of town would be faster.

My cussing was over how many guns I’d had pointed in my direction by the crazies with anger management issues as I mud-bogged down the flooded shoulders of the road to get around the traffic that was already blocking one of the northbound lanes. Too many people had already tried to do the same thing and gotten stuck. Man, I can’t help it if the truck slung dirty water (and mud) on them as I passed. Did they really expect those stupid little roller skate cars with zero clearance and wheels the size of frisbees to get the job done?! I saw one being emptied and it looked like a clown car the way people just kept coming out of it like a physics problem on acid.

People started using the southbound lanes to head north as well, but only those with high enough clearances to get across the middle, grassy ditch that was muddy and slick in most places. Plenty of people had flooded their cars out trying to do that as well. The stupid I’ve witnessed has been epic. Those few places it wasn’t flooded were blocked by concrete guardrails on both sides. I saw in one place where a jeep had tried to climb them and was rocking back and forth like a teeter totter.

The passenger door of Dale’s truck was peppered by a shotgun blast and scared me so bad I really needed to stop and change myself, but that’d have to wait a little longer. Dale is gonna fry me. His truck is his pride and joy, better loved and taken care of than any girlfriend he has ever had. I’m just lucky it sits high enough that the shooter’s aim sucked and that he was only using birdshot and not slugs. Geeezzzzzz.

My stomach is killing me. Peeing isn’t the only thing I need to do, and my guts are in a knot. Trying not to see all the scared and angry faces that I was racing passed just added to it. As soon as I saw Frontage Road through a gap in the trees I knew I needed to get ready to break through the woods next to the county maintenance shed.

I almost didn’t make it. Some knothead had strung a metal cable across there and I felt it resist on the HD bumper and brush guard that Dale had installed last year, right before finally giving way and coming free of the post it had been chained to. Or should I say the post gave way as the snap was so loud I could hear it in the cab even with the windows rolled up. I just prayed it wasn’t wrapped around the axle or anything. If I had been going any slower it probably would have caused me problems.

I was relieved to note no one followed me into the frontage area which was at least as boggy as what I’d just left. I could feel myself slipping and sliding and I had to balance that with my need for speed. Mom and Dad would have birthed quintuple pink buffaloes if they had known Dale had taught me to mud-bog like this. Fact of the matter, they would have been real upset over a lot of things Dales and the rest of the Crew had taught me. And they wouldn’t have believed what I had taught them. Apparently they still somehow believe their lone-girl child was innocent of the “ways of the world.”

I pulled off Frontage and headed down an old fire break lane and knew I couldn’t wait much longer. I made it under the new trestle tracks, went five more miles and saw the old, defunct trestle tracks, and was relieved to see the ground was drier; I pulled under the overpass and stopped. I didn’t dawdle but I was cautious as I got out. Stan called it being situationally aware. I call it using some commonsense.

It was apparent that it had been more than a season since anyone had come through to maintain the firebreak. Grass, saw briars, weeds/hitchhikers, and brambleberry canes grabbed my jeans as I waded around to the side of the truck closest to the overpass wall.

After relieving myself and then putting on clean undies and jeans I checked out the truck for damage. Mud clogged the small holes made by the shot pellets, the bumper was mud-caked with a few new scratches, and there were metal cable threads in the brush guard but nothing beyond that that I could see. I cleaned up the seat cover as best I could as well though it is going to need more attention when I get to Uncle Hy’s. Geez, I can hear him laughing at me now. Though maybe not. Uncle Hy is what Mom calls “earthy” but he also has what Dad calls “life experience” and is smarter than your average bear. Grammy will set him straight if he starts getting to be too much.

Keeping my ears open despite the quick change antics, I hadn’t heard anything beyond some squirrels barking at me, jays laughing at me (naturally), and the buzzing of blood sucking mosquitoes trying to bite me in unmentionable places. It was the mosquitoes that finally drove me back into the truck’s cab.

I checked my phone but had no bars, then almost cussed for real when I realized I was almost out of juice. Lucky for me my phone uses the same charger as Dale’s and that he had one that plugged into the cig lighter thingie stowed in his glove compartment. Taking care of that I tried to start the truck back up but wound up having to be a girl for a minute and cry to let out some of my fear. That’s all I gave myself, one minute. After that it was time to get tough again and move forward.


North to the Future
Zounds! Awesome Kathy! (...and I thought my white-knuckle drive 30 miles home from the gym in a torrential rain on icy roads washed completely over in deep water was tough this morning....) ;)


Retired, practising Curmudgeon
Yeah, but at my age, "champing at the bit" sounds as though I'd be expendin' too much energy. The fibbin' part is the "patiently" lie. I want it all now.
That isn't a small club Amigo; I'm a charter member myself. I'll just wait over here w/ you.

Old Gray Mare

Has No Life - Lives on TB
To the moar crowd, (yes, I check here each time I login to!). The last time the cries of Moar! were getting loud and often she took a year hiatus.

Guys Mother Hen is under more stress than your average human should have to endure. What with her family business, Covid, family and health issues. She graciously shares her gifts and talent with us as a release from that stress.

If you absolutely can't wait for a dose of her writing try the link below to her collected on line works. Be warned you may lose days possibly weeks to enjoyable and educational PAWs fiction if you do.

Link to Mother Hen's stories:


Retired, practising Curmudgeon
All three above are on point!

There's only 24 hrs in a day & we all (I hope) put our own responsibilities on priority so you'd expect MH to do the same. Guess what! That means we're a bit further down the line than 'right now' so if she needs a break to deal w/ issues, she should take it. If she needs time after that to R&R for her, she should take that too.

'Nuff ranting - I'm going back to my corner & waiting for the next ration, whenever it shows up.

No rush Kathy - I have a very good idea of how this current world is beating up your business.

All y'all take care now.....


Veteran Member
Like everyone else here, I deeply appreciate every chapter and every book you share with us, Kathy. I have been to your other sites many, many times and have read all (I think) of your books, some of them multiple times. I understand and empathize with your keeping many balls in the air at once. I have done so throughout my life, including at one time holding 3 part-time jobs and raising 3 kids with my dh working out of town and only home for a short time on weekends, if he could get home. During that time, besides the kids and jobs, I did all the yard work, all the garden work, all the work with the animals, all the housework and cleaning, plus worked on house projects each week as we were building a house then. It's not easy! So I understand what stress you are under! And I totally appreciate any and all writing you do for us! I'm also a writer and for me back then (and even now), writing was a pressure valve for me, a way to get away from the stress and pressure of life, when I had the time to write.

I don't thank you as often as I should, Kathy. Life, ya know! Even though I'm now retired and not dealing with all the job work from years ago, I'm dealing with life issues - my health issues and physical limits, my husband's health issues, house and other work, work for church and groups, babysitting grandkids, etc. It doesn't matter what age someone is, there will always be more work than can be done in a day and more stress and pressure than most should have heaped on them.

My MOAR comment was to greatly compliment you, Kathy, on your great writing and to express my pleasure at seeing MOAR. And, like everyone here, it was to show you that I eagerly look forward to every chapter you write. However, since it was noted that MOAR was a not-liked word around here, I'll not comment with it again. Just note that even though I don't comment, your work is much appreciated and eagerly looked forward to, whenever you have the time in your life to share your exceptional writing with us.


Contributing Member
Hey, folks, just hold your horses 'til the mules get watered, as my Dad used to say. The above was said in jest replyin' to Griz. I assume, that since both comments got a "like" from Kathy that she had no problems with my feeble attempts at injectin' some self-deprecatin' humor.
Kathy, if this is a problem I hereby offer my most heart-felt apologies for havin' seemingly put undue pressure upon you. If it's becomin' a problem for other members I'll stay away from here for awhile.
Feel free to express your opinions in private messages and let's keep this thread on track.

Kathy in FL

TB Fanatic
Chapter 3

Taking the backroads that Dale and I had planned out, I avoided going by hardly any houses, at least any that were lived in. I hurried passed the driveway of a hunting camp set closer to the road, but I could tell no one was there … at least not yet. Finally I made it to the bridge over the creek and just like we had feared Uncle Hy’s paranoia had kicked in and he had dropped it. It meant going the long flaming away around, but I figured that might be best anyway. There was a place up on the ridge that got really good cell signal and if I was gonna get bars any place it would be there.

Unfortunately I was running out of time. The days were longer but since I’d waited for Dale’s bus to leave before taking off, I was gonna have to push it to get in before sunset. No way was I interested in getting there after dark and get a welcome full of buckshot … or worse.

I was up on the ridge, just exiting a dense bunch of trees, and almost wet myself again when out of the blue my phone rang. I grabbed it and answered, “Hello?!”

“Dina! She answered!! Nann?! Nannette?!! It’s Daddy!!!”

Alarmed at how my speaker was rattling I squawked, “Dad, don’t shout so loud! I can hear you! Did Dale …?”

“Yes! We just picked them up!”

I could hear him huffing so I stopped the truck and said, “Don’t get bent out of shape Dad. It was the only way. Just tell me Dale is ok … and er … Lisa too.”

He cleared his throat. “I’m not mad Dump. Not at you … or Dale. He’s mad at himself enough but …” He cleared his throat again. “Honey just don’t take any chances getting out of town.”

“Uh …”

“Uh what?!” Dad asked, knowing me a little too well for my comfort.

“Uh … I’m already out of town. The only reason I have a signal is cause I’m up on the forestry road. You know the place.”

“How in the Sam Hill?!! What did you do?! Fly?!!”

“No Sir. Dale and I mapped the shortest route possible. Uncle Hy dropped the bridge so I’m going around which got me the cell towers to the north. I don’t think the ones in town are gonna last.”

I heard Stan’s voice and realized Dad must have me on speaker. “People are already losing contact. Kinda like what happened after they made that first big push in the Spring.”

“Got it,” I responded. “Depending, I may or may not have signal much longer.”

Stan stuttered, “Dump? My … my stepdad …”

When Stan stopped Mom picked up. “Honey, Burt was called up and we’re being forced to move by his partner.”

“What?! That wasn’t the plan! Stan’s Dad made sure! That’s not Fair! That complex was gonna be …”

Dad said, “Hush Dump. I got ahold of Geri and she practically begged us to bring everyone. She’s all alone now that Fred Jr. got shipped overseas, but she won’t leave the campground. It’s all she has left from Fred Sr. We’re already packed up and are in line to get on the highway.”

Alarmed I shouted, “Stan! Fina back roads ASAP! The highways aren’t safe!”

Dad’s radar went up. “Dump?”

If I’d had more time I could have chosen my words more wisely than what fell out of my mouth. “What’s done is done.”

“You sassing your father young lady?” Mom snapped automatically.

“No ma’am but …”

“But me no buts. I want you to go straight to Uncle Hy’s and I want you to stay there. Your father and I …”

Dad said, “Dina” and Mom shut up. She was the disciplinarian in our house while Dad played good cop, but we always knew that Dad was ultimately in charge.

Calmly Dad told me, “Nann, you know what we expect of you. As soon as things calm down and get safer, we’ll make arrangements.”

I noticed he said safer, not safe. Dad can be stubborn, but I was counting on Dale and the Crew to keep him from going all heroic and stuff. “Daddy I was going to work at Uncle Hy’s this summer again anyway. Just think of it like that. And you and Mom can get in some extra honeymooning at the cabins and …”

Mom yelped, “Nannette Marie!”

I love my mom but she can be a stick in the mud sometimes. “Geez … it’s not like I’m expecting a baby brother or sister or anything.”

I got a semi-serious warning harrumph from Dad then the phone signal started fading. It had to be on their end because I was still all bars on mine. Love you’s and plans and instructions flew until I got three beeps and the dreaded “call failed.” I tried calling back but only got some recording from the government about reserving lines for absolute emergencies only.

I rolled down the window and realized it was a lot cooler at that elevation than it had been in town. Now I’m glad Dale told me to throw jackets and cold weather clothes in with everything else though they took up space.

I was about to roll up the window when I realized I wasn’t hearing anything, not even the road noises that the wind usually pulled with it from down in the valley. The trees were making some sound but the planted pines and cedars in the area were all that noisy. Then I heard rumbling way high up. I knew that sound as I’d heard it off and on for the last couple of months. Planes. Big planes.

Bombers were going in to try and halt the southern border from advancing further north. My fear came from knowing that advancing line was a whole lot closer after last night’s offensive.

Kathy in FL

TB Fanatic
Okay, so I managed to finish typing in my long hand pages for Chapter 4. I can't guarantee there will be another post for a day or two. I'm behind in setting up the 2021 files because I'm still messing with the 2020 files and prepping them for the accounting that gets done this time of year. Hopefully I've caught all the bloopers.


Chapter 4

It took a minute for Uncle Hy’s dogs to come out of the woodwork and nearly run me over. Usually they would have been dancing around before I parked.

Butch is alpha and is some kinda mutt that looks part lab and part hound with a little bit of billy goat and mountain lion thrown in. He and his mate Pretty are the only dogs I know that make a habit of climbing trees. They were both anxious and whiny once they recognized me. It wasn’t a good omen.

“Uncle Hy?” I called.

No answer.


Then I heard a groan from the side porch but when I raced around to that side of the house I stopped short. It wasn’t either one of them.

The dogs pranced between me and the man lying at the bottom of the steep porch steps like they were confused why I didn’t do something. The man groaned again and rolled over and I saw he had a USMC t-shirt on and was filthy from head to toe. And most of it hadn’t happened recently. Then it clicked.


I ran over but as soon as I touched him he started fighting and he clocked me a good one.

“Ow! Dang it Mitch that hurt! I was just trying to help. If I’ve got a black eye I’m gonna drop something on your head. Where’s Uncle Hy?”

He slowed down when my words made it through his drama; after that it was like he was searching for something and that’s when it hit me. He couldn’t see me. There were bandages around his neck and I realized at one time they must have been covering his eyes.

He rasped, “Dad?”

Legally Uncle Hy was Mitch’s father, biologically he was his great grandfather. Uncle Hy’s daughter from his first marriage had been a forceps baby gone wrong. After the divorce she was raised by her mother and mother’s family. No too successfully though. She hadn’t made good decisions and snuck off a bunch, and wound up getting knocked up when she was just twelve years old. The family said it was a real scandal at the time as the boy involved was only thirteen and had even less sense. Her daughter wasn’t much better no matter how Uncle Hy and Aunt Trudy, his second wife, tried to help. Her decision-making skills were as bad as her mom’s only with less reason. She got pregnant real young too – I think it was fifteen – but wasn’t interested in anything but trying to sell Mitch for “enough money to get to Hollywood where she would finally be discovered.”

Uncle Hy really did try and help her, but Mitch’s mom was just messed up. Not only were her decision-making skills awful, she lived in a fantasy world fueled by different drugs. People said she was self-medicating but since she was already on mental health medication that was a bunch of who-ha. She just wanted to believe what she wanted to believe and didn’t like it when live didn’t live up to her fantasies.

Mitch got the suck end of things in the beginning. He was born addicted to whatever drugs his mom was taking at the time and no one would take him. Then he got taken away by CPS. Uncle Hy was able to talk the state people into letting his family adopt him. No one was sure how Mitch would turn out until he was almost thirteen years old as he had a lot of learning challenges and a hot temper from the frustration of it all. But then something finally clicked, and things started going good. He joined the marines after finishing community college. That was only a year ago and something told me it hadn’t been an easy year.

“Mitch? It’s me … Nann.”

He groaned again then said, “Dump? Damn … need Uncle John.”

“He’s not here.”


Carefully I responded, “No. Where’s Uncle Hy? And Grammy?” But he didn’t answer. He’d passed out.

I ran around calling their names and looking for them when suddenly I hit the ground face first. Turning to see what I’d tripped over I spied a shovel and then a new wooden cross topped over that had “MOTHER” burned into it. The “R” was backwards which told me Uncle Hy had done it.

I was confused but my brain was all in gear finally and I went back to Mitch.

He was still unconscious but given his earlier reaction I still tried. “Mitch? You’re gonna hate this but I gotta get you inside. It’s gonna be dark soon.”

I’m not a small girl and a lifetime of trying to keep up with Dale and his friends – with and without their consent – had made me tough. The guys in our Venture Crew were also auxiliary members of the Volunteer Fire Department. Even though I was too young, the Crew still let me take the training to humor me … and score points with girls to prove how “enlightened” they were about females. Honestly, they were just pigs in sheep’s clothing but I kept their secret.

Mitch was lighter than he should have been but going up the porch steps with him in a fireman carry still wasn’t easy. I almost dumped him twice; once on the stairs and once getting through the door. The dogs followed me in though they didn’t normally make it this far because Grammy may have been old, but she was greased lightning with a broom or flyswatter.

I finally laid Mitch on the old sofa in the family room – the furniture in the parlor was newer and reserved for company and special occasions – and ran to the kitchen to get some water to clean him up. The faucets didn’t work but the old pump handle in the canning kitchen did.

I did the best I could for Mitch then fed the dogs, the chickens, and shut down the animal pens the way I’d been taught last summer. I brought stuff in from the truck until it got so dark I started tripping over my own feet because there was no electric for the houselights. I thought about crashing in my old room but didn’t want to just leave Mitch all by himself. I threw my sleeping bag on the floor, sent another text hoping that the message got to my folks even though I wasn’t getting any from then, and finally fell into a troubled sleep.


Retired, practising Curmudgeon
Prep work for auditors, taxes & such is such a pain (back, neck, head & some others...) but past brutal experience from the one time I slacked off on such tasks tells me you need to take care of it; your life will be a little easier, courtesy structure & organisation but I'm sure you know that.

We'll just hang out over here; no rush as many of us have the same sort of dirty but necessary work to do too.

Stay healthy
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