Story Nann

Kathy in FL

TB Fanatic
Chapter 37

I ran upstairs to see if I could find what was making the high-pitched whining that had set the dogs off. I cracked the window open only to hear Sgt. Cahill yelling, “Is that ours?!”

“No Sir!” one of the men answered followed by some cussing. “I think it’s an enemy Fire Scout! The damn thing has a lock on our drone! Jackson, Dundee … get out of the …!!”

I hope to never see something like that again. The whosiwhatsit they called a Fire Scout looked like a mini helicopter with no one driving it, and spit out what I thought at first were bullets. I found out that they kinda were but they were more like darts in that they didn’t have their own propulsion the way a bullet does. The Fire Scout used air propulsion to “throw” the metal piercing darts.

The drone wasn’t the only thing the darts hit. Both Jackson and Dundee were down before they could fully exit the jeep. According to what I heard later it was a “new and improved” version that was only 12-feet long and could fly as much as 100 miles at 100 knots before running out of juice. It is why it is called a Fire Storm 100. The only thing we had on our side was that it was supposedly only designed to target other drones and not people by International Agreement Number Something or Other. I knew instinctively that we didn’t want that thing to fly home and tell where we were.

I got my bow – stupid, stupid, but it was all I had – and that thing was still flying around making sure that our drone was completely disabled. There was movement and the thing spit more darts. So surprise, surprise, it doesn’t just target drones but uses a limited repertoire to target any movement within so many yards of its primary target.

I ran upstairs to the attic, crawled over all the flotsam up there, and went through a window to lay flat on the roof. The Fire Scout was flying so low at that point that I was above it. The main set of blades were hardened off and I couldn’t do anything, but the blade on the back, what Sgt. Cahill later called the tail rotor, wasn’t as protected. I got what Mitch called “ungodly lucky” and was able to put a carbon bow shaft so that it caused the tail rotor to malfunction. And with no tail rotor the mini helicopter started spinning like a top. It didn’t take long for it to crash just on the other side of the jeep. Unintended consequences however was that the thing had plenty of fuel still in it and I got back inside and started running down, slamming the door on the dogs and then running to the barn to get shovels.

“What the hell?!” I hear someone yelp when I throw shovels down and Mitch grabs one and we both take off. We had to dig a fire break to keep it from spreading. The field where it fell was too dry to just hope a fire wouldn’t spread. The shovel was ripped out of my hand by Sgt. Cahill and he yells for me to go help with the wounded. The other guy was there with one of the other shovels so I yell to Mitch, “I’m gone!”

I see the third guy on the ground beside the jeep trying to figure out how to help Jackson and Dundee. “Grab him under the arms and drag him towards the porch! We gotta get him out of the way just in case!”

I grabbed Dundee and started pulling her back. I know it hurt because she screamed but we couldn’t leave them lying in the dirt where a fire could spread any second.

“Where are you going?!” Guy’s name turned out to be Jarrell.

“Tarp, water, and other yada, yada. You got a first aid kit?”

Before I could run Dundee grabbed my ankle. “Jeep. Field kit.”

I turned and sprinted for the jeep and grabbed the kit – thank goodness for red crosses being universal so I didn’t have to dig around through the rest of the stuff around it and waste time – ran back to find Jackson going into shock. “Crap!” I snarled. “Keep him still.” I grabbed a piece of wood that I’d been chopping earlier and used it to elevate his feet a little. Then I grabbed the field kit and pull out the pressure bandages. There were scissors in there too which is what I used to cut away the uniform around the wounds.

Dundee was with it just enough that she told me how the new-fangled, military-grade, field trauma pressure bandages worked and where to place them so I didn’t cut off all the circulation to the arm and leg wounds he had. She tried to put her own on but I had Jarrell help her when I noticed she was shaking. Then I got the wounds elevated and supported. Before I could elevate Dundee’s leg wound I had to splint it to stabilize the leg because it was turned just funny enough that I thought it might be broken. I’m moving at ninety to nothing but it also felt like things were in slow motion and too slow. Next, out came the crinkly emergency blankets.

Jackson started crashing. “Yo, yo, yo Jackson! You do NOT stop breathing on my watch!”

Right before the forced evacuation I had renewed my CPR certification so I was all trained up. It only took a few rounds for Jackson to breathe on his own and boy was I thankful. They never tell you just how gross real CPR can be.

I loosened all their restrictive clothing including belts, bootlaces, and on Medic Dundee I cut the sports bra she was wearing so I didn’t have to worry she couldn’t breathe.

“Dammit that was a new one,” she cussed at me.

“You have my sympathies but if you were in my place you’d do the same thing. Are you cold? Dizzy?”

“Cold,” she said with a shiver. “Blood loss and reaction. You need to monitor Jackson’s vitals. There’s a bad and stub pencil in the side pocket of the … yeah. Is he in shock or unconscious?”

“Yo! Jackson! Roll your eyeballs if you can hear me!” He didn’t just roll his eyeballs, he grabbed me. On the right arm where I was still healing.

I yelped. Loud. I felt myself pulled backwards and Jackson let go before I had to break his hand.

It was Jarrell and he asked, “You hurt?”

“Previous ouch. Jackson just grabbed it. Do me a favor and try and get him to calm down. His breathing is getting funky again.”

I held my arm to me trying to make the pain subside enough so I could do what needed doing.

Unbelievably Dundee was trying to sit up. “And they call me hard headed. Lay down will you?” I snapped at her.

“What’s the injury?”

“Mine? Shallow puncture. Kinda thing happens on a farm. And yes, I have an up-to-date tetanus shot. And before anymore weird questions, I have Wilderness and Remote First Aid Training, am a certified Wilderness First Responder, and have certs in WALS, TMFR, and was working on my CRFA. So I’m not going to accidentally cut a body part off and sew it back on in the wrong place.”

“Why?”

“Why what? And you need to stay calm and quiet.”

“If you get to ask me why I get to ask you why. And humor me. It’ll keep my mind off what is going on and that’ll make me calmer.”

I decided to answer her questions while I checked over her wounds just in case she wasn’t blowing smoke at me. “When you are the only girl and the little sister of a Venture Crew you have to find some way to prove yourself. I was our crew’s medic, forager, and cook. I just use the guys as mules and a labor pool.”

She snorted a surprised laugh. “You’re really a Scout?”

“Really. Or was. Still am until I age out at twenty if our Crew is still registered. Right now …” I sighed. “I got separated from my immediate family. My big brother is … or was … our Crew Leader.”

“Where is he at?”

“He played hero and rescued our cousin that was in rehab. Didn’t end well for either of them and they were medicav’d out where they could meet our parents. They … I hope … are all together someplace taking care of each other inside a Safe Zone. I had to escape another way and came here to my second home.”

“So Decker really is your temporary guardian.”

“Yeah,” I said without giving any more detail.

I jumped when Jarrell said, “He ain’t breathing!”

Back to the CPR and this time it took longer to get Jackson breathing again.

Dundee said, “Check the pressure bandages. He’s bleeding out someplace.”

I added another pad to his leg and pulled it tighter and added a splint in case something was going on inside I couldn’t see. I was trying not to panic because I’d been taught that panic was the enemy, but I was up to my armpits in fear. Taking classes and having certifications is a lot different than using what you know with real live humans that are hurt.

For the next thirty minutes I went back and forth between Jackson and Dundee. Jackson didn’t stop breathing again but his color was very bad, and he wasn’t responding like he should, though I could get him to roll his eyes around under his eyelids, he just couldn’t open his eyes. He could grab my hand and squeeze but it was weak. Dundee was better but had started to fade as well. But that is when I heard a thwack-a, thwack-a sound and looked up to see another helicopter, one with a red cross on the side, land a little further along the road.

I had Jackson’s and Dundee’s vitals pinned to their uniforms when real live military medical personnel arrived like the cavalry. They were putting them on stretchers when one of the medics noticed what I’d done and told me, “Good job kid. Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water and change out of those bloody clothes as soon as possible.”

I looked for Mitch but he was in the middle of a bunch of soldiers and I wanted nothing to do with the testosterone I could smell from where I was at. “The girl” was once again left to clean up a mess and I started picking up all the bloody bandages and papers and carted them to the burn barrel. I had just come back from checking the dogs when Mitch found me.

“Dammit Nannette, let me know where you are next time.”

Having already had my own reaction out of sight of all the he-men I told him, “Don’t yell Mitch. I’m this close to turning into a real, live girl and if I let loose you’re going to have a mess on your hands.”

“I …”

“Please God don’t let there be a next time but if there is, I’ll try and tell you where I’m going. I thought that guy Jarrell noticed but I guess not.”

And then he spun in a different direction causing me mental whiplash. “Dammit, you’re arm is bleeding. Did you hit it?”

“Uh uh. Jackson – the wounded guy – freaked and grabbed it. I’ll clean it as soon as I get all the stuff picked up. Where does Sgt. Cahill want what’s left of the first aid bag thing,” I said, nudging the pack at my feet.

“It can sit there until they notice it. C’mon and sit up on the porch until you get some color back in your face.”

“Okay, sounds good. What about you? You … you didn’t get hurt did you?!” It was the first time the thought had leaked into my brain and I stumbled.

“Whoa Nann … I didn’t get hurt and I’m not going anywhere. C’mon, that’s right.”

“I can’t leave you to deal with that mess out there.”

Mitch shook his head. “We’ll worry about that in a little bit. Just sit in the swing. You did good Nann. You did real good.”

“I almost missed.”

“Huh?”

“I almost missed. The stupid thing wouldn’t fly straight.”

“Nann?”

“Huh?”

He tilted my chin up to get a good look at me and then let go. “Explain it to me.”

“Oh. I went on the roof and shot the back propeller thingie with one of my carbon arrows … then it started spinning and that’s about it.”

“You were on the roof?” he asked like he didn’t quite believe what he heard.

“Yeah. It was the only way to get above that mini helicopter drone thingie. I was hoping I could do something to the main propeller blades but it was all armored up. But I was able to hit the back one and I think the shaft of the arrow must have jammed the thing that lets it spin. It made a funny noise and then the drone started spinning out of control. I didn’t think about it causing a fire when it came down. Sorry.”

“Liquid fuel spill,” Mitch said absently. “Sit here for a sec. I’ll be right back.”

Well he didn’t come right back exactly and I remember kinda listing over and leaning my head back. I jumped when I felt someone touch me. It was Sgt. Cahill checking on me. “Easy there.”

“Where’s Mitch?!”

“Helping to get the jeep operational.”

“He’s gonna get a headache.”

“Medics have given him something for it already. And some drops for his eyes.”

“What about Jackson and Dundee?”

“They are already back at base and I’m told they’re both stable.”

“Oh,” I said relieved. “That’s good.”

“It is.” It lifted something and I realized it was what was left of the arrow.

“Well that sucks,” I muttered. “I only have a couple of carbon arrows left.”

“Young lady, that was a hell of a shot. This thing was round around the tail rotor shaft.”

“That’s what I meant to happen. It’s not like I could do much by poking a hole in the thing. It was all armor.”

“Exactly. You may have just found its Achilles heel. That particular drone has become a problem in the field, but if you can take one out with a bow and arrow …”

Mitch ran up and said, “Hello Bright Eyes. How ya feeling?”

I knew that tone and needed to put a stop to it without showing it made me angry. “Please don’t start treating me like I’m two years old again. Please?”

Sgt. Cahill chuckled. He turned to Mitch and said, “She’ll be fine.” And to tick me off he added, “Might need to put her to bed early. She sounds a little cranky.” Grrrrr. So not funny. Then he got serious once again and told Mitch, “Just got confirmation that the mobile drone base has been destroyed. Expect within twenty-four hours for there to be some assets in the air. The Brass for this Zone has officially gotten PO’d and with targets acquired intends to move on them. You know what to look for during and after such operations. Keep your eyes peeled. You also have the charts so you should be able to identify any birds in the area. If you see enemy troops do not engage, send an emergency report. You’re free to deal with salvagers or mercs as necessary, no legal repercussions federally or criminally but we can’t help if you wind up in civil court so make sure of the facts before you act and keep any and all evidence that supports your side.” He glanced briefly my way then told Mitch, “It’s up to you but I wouldn’t consider it a problem if you trained her on the radio and codes so you can have a back up. And I’ll think on the other you brought up as well. Might be able to do something with it but not until after we see how the next sortie or two goes.”

“Yes Sir.”

Sgt. Cahill walked off and I wanted to stand but Mitch had his hand on my shoulder. “Just stay put. We’re gonna give them some room to get gone.”

“I need to check the dogs. And will it be dangerous for them to be out because of all the splodey things?”

“They’ll stay in the yard when I tell ‘em to and we’ll bring them in at night. Top of the list is to set the radio up then I’m going to run a magnet to get any loose bits and pieces of metal. After that comes reinforcing all the outbuildings. Gonna need your help Nann. Sounds like there will be more bombing runs here shortly. I think they are trying to avoid putting boots on the ground but that could change.”
 

Kathy in FL

TB Fanatic
Read "Fel" and "Starting Over" again to help with my Kathy cravings.
I'm trying to complete more stories this year. Last year was stressful to say the least with moving my parents but things are finally settling into a routine ... hah! yeah right ... so I hope to be able to get back to the ones that took a hiatus. Depends on which ones can break through their writer's block first. The reason I'm getting so much done on Nann is because we are here at the BOL for a few days and I dictate the outline while I'm cleaning wood out of the firebreak and then while the fire is going in our burn area I piece it all together. That's one of the reasons you might find some egregious spelling and grammar areas the last couple of chapters. LOL. But at least the story beast is being fed.
 

9idrr

Contributing Member
I'm trying to complete more stories this year. Last year was stressful to say the least with moving my parents but things are finally settling into a routine ... hah! yeah right ... so I hope to be able to get back to the ones that took a hiatus. Depends on which ones can break through their writer's block first. The reason I'm getting so much done on Nann is because we are here at the BOL for a few days and I dictate the outline while I'm cleaning wood out of the firebreak and then while the fire is going in our burn area I piece it all together. That's one of the reasons you might find some egregious spelling and grammar areas the last couple of chapters. LOL. But at least the story beast is being fed.
Thanks for more story and an update on how things are goin'. All chapters are greatly appreciated.
 

Sammy55

Veteran Member
YES!! Thanks, Kathy!! This beast appreciates her feedings!! LOL!

I've read your other stories....oh, maybe...2-4 (or more) times each.... Just finished Starting Over again. Always great and filling from the first bite to the very last drop!!
 

Jeepcats27

Contributing Member
Question, I'm re-reading Up on Hartford Ridge, where is a good place to look up all the canning recipes? A lot of them I've never heard of. Please just point me in the right direction and I'll get there!
 

Kathy in FL

TB Fanatic
Question, I'm re-reading Up on Hartford Ridge, where is a good place to look up all the canning recipes? A lot of them I've never heard of. Please just point me in the right direction and I'll get there!
Depends which ones. Most of them come from my personal collection. Give me an example and if I have them on my computer I will post them tonight.
 

Griz3752

Retired, practising Curmudgeon
So yes there were some minor spelling issues but hardly egregious; they looked more like the usual MS-generated ones. As to the rest of it, enjoy the time where you are but feel free to keep spoiling us w/ this excellent little tale. If you have to make a choice on what to do, put your feet up & think about it -- maybe have a mug of tea or something. ;)

Take care & thanks
 

Lake Lili

Veteran Member
Thanks Kathy!
Hope your parents are settled and the one still being homeschooled is almost done - mine will be done in Gr12 in December and I'm still trying to sort out what I'll do next. Thanks for the stories. Most appreciative of your time and talent.
Lili
 

Sportsman

Veteran Member
Thanks, Kathy. Did I read this right... you dictate these? You can do a voice to text app that actually works this well? I'm shocked. If I dictated a paragraph to my iphone or PC, I'd spend more time correcting it than if I typed it the first time.
 

Texican

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

Thanks for the chapters on Nan.

Several years ago you were writing a story based in Florida about a mom and her extended family of over a hundred or was it two hundred divided into several locations and a walled community and zombies yes lot of zombies.

Mom's Journal of the Zombie Years. Last time I looked it was hundreds of pages long. Did you finally complete this saga?

Thanks,

Texican....
 

Kathy in FL

TB Fanatic
Thanks, Kathy. Did I read this right... you dictate these? You can do a voice to text app that actually works this well? I'm shocked. If I dictated a paragraph to my iphone or PC, I'd spend more time correcting it than if I typed it the first time.
For whatever reason my voice is easily understood by Siri. LOL. But as you can see that there is also a lot of glitches because I am dyslexic and will sometimes reverse words. I think Siri and I have the same problem with homophones as well. ROFL. I used to have the program "Dragon" that worked quite well for a time but the version I had didn't work beyond Windows 7 and though Dragon is still around I haven't replaced it. I'm now much faster typing "stream of conscious" and dictating can be a hassle for longer pieces.

How I write has changed over the years and also depends on the story and what I'm physically writing on. I used to write everything long hand and then re-type it. I have a few stories that are still done like, the ones that are written in short chapters. MJOTZY started like that. It is one of the reasons it is harder to pick up. My writing style has really changed.

Some of my stories are all outlined before I even start writing. The best example of that is Veta and Veta 2. I know exactly what each chapter is going to hold, it is just connecting the "facts" and "elements" into something cohesive. But that story already requires a lot of research and referring to my own traveling to keep it realistic. And the drive comes in bursts instead of steady, daily writing.

I use a lot of narrative and dialogue as well as well as first person storytelling. In my head I know what each character sounds like ... pitch, tone, accent, etc. It is in part what helps me to move the story along. When I lose the "voice" of a character it can take a bit to find it again.

I have four main devices that I write on ... my phone, my laptop, my ipad, and my desktop all-in-one. My laptop and desktop are primarily for typing. My phone I use strictly for dictating. My ipad can go either way. They are all synced to my OneDrive so I can bounce back and forth as needed. And I keep those files backed up to an external hard drive as well. I can sometimes tell what I've written a story with based on how bad the editing is. ROFL.

And now that I've bored you to tears, I'm going to try and finish editing another chapter to get it posted tonight.
 
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Kathy in FL

TB Fanatic
Kathy,

Thanks for the chapters on Nan.

Several years ago you were writing a story based in Florida about a mom and her extended family of over a hundred or was it two hundred divided into several locations and a walled community and zombies yes lot of zombies.

Mom's Journal of the Zombie Years. Last time I looked it was hundreds of pages long. Did you finally complete this saga?

Thanks,

Texican....
I have plans to do so this year but my notes are all hand-written for that story so I've got to pull them out and put them in order. Hopefully the characters will cooperate.
 

Laurane

Canadian Loonie
I have plans to do so this year but my notes are all hand-written for that story so I've got to pull them out and put them in order. Hopefully the characters will cooperate.
My australian accent comes out like chinese in speech.....though I was teaching my grandson some spanish, and it sounded pretty good.
 

Kathy in FL

TB Fanatic
Chapter 39 (out of order, read Chapter 38 first) - I goofed

“This is good Nann,” Mitch said with his mouth nearly full. “I don’t remember Grammy doing anything like this. Aunt Dina teach you?”

“No,” I said, savoring my own bites of meat that did turn out good if I say so myself. “Taught myself from some recipe ideas in an online scouting forum. Geez I wish …” I stopped and shook my head.

I looked at Mitch and he was smiling. “Don’t say it,” I told him.

“Wish in one hand and …”

“Mitch! We’re eating.”

“… poop in the other and see which one weighs the most,” he finished before cackling.

I shook my head but smiled in spite of his language. “I swear you sounded just like Uncle Hy.”

“And your folks would have kicked my butt for talking like that in front of you.” He shook his head, the humor dissipating.

“What did I say earlier?”

“Huh?”

“We’re just going to do things our way and like it or not, everyone else is going to have to learn to live with it.” I am beginning to realize just how true that is going to be.

“You sad all of a sudden Sweetheart. What’s wrong?”

I shrugged. “I wish … I just wish for something that can’t be. Too many somethings.”

“Like?”

“I wish Grammy and Uncle Hy were here for me to ask questions of. I wish Mom was here because she is so practical she can make your teeth hurt but all of this organizing and arranging would be right up her alley. I wish Dad was here because he’s just … calm. Most of the time. And when you and Dale would get to making a lot of noise he’d walk in and know what to say to settle you down without bossing your around or hurting your man feelings. But none of that can happen and … and I just need to get to figuring things out and hope I don’t mess up too much along the way. I don’t have them here. I’m going to have to figure a new way of doing things and be satisfied with that.”

“Yeah, feel the same way. Wouldn’t even mind Uncle David and Aunt Fran so long as they kept Lisa on a leash. You could even throw in them weird friends of yours. With them around I know there’d be people to take care of you and help you.”

“Mitch …”

He held up his hand. “I know. Trust me, it don’t make me feel comfortable to feel like I feel and at the same time know you are just a kid.”

“That’s where you’re wrong. I … may not be all grown up like the girls … women … you are used to. But I’m not a little kid Mitch. And you aren’t taking advantage of me. And you aren’t the one that got me hurt or … or whatever else you are thinking. I’m going to grow up whether my parents and Dale are here or not. I’d grow up whether you are here, though I’m gladder than glad you are. If you are worrying about what Dad and Mom are going to say … don’t. They’re not here and … and I gotta figure all this stuff out myself. And one thing I have to figure out is how to be an adult in this world we are in … and in the one we are making together. And how to get you to see that I’m not a kid so much as I’m a new adult and still figuring things out.”

He looked troubled so I added, “But you don’t have to change your thinking all at once. Just … give me a chance. Don’t put me in a box, or worse a playpen, and … I don’t know … not give me the chance to do what I would do anyway. Fine, it isn’t going to be until August that I’m eighteen, but it’s not like a birthday really has all that much to do with growing up anyway.”

He looked like he was going to say something then changed his mind. He got up from the table and went over to the stove to pour the dregs out of the coffee pot. He lifted the percolator and looked at me. “This is one of the things we are going to have to be more careful about. Anyone could have looked into the window and said to hand the coffee over.”

I surprised him by telling him, “They did see the percolator. It was that guy Jarrell. His eyes got big and he opened his mouth and asked how we still had coffee.”

“I’ll be damned. Why didn’t you say anything?!”

“Because he was easy to fool and so were the rest of them. I asked him to hush before you heard them and started to fuss at how bad the experiment had turned out. That I was letting it boil down so I could use it for dying your socks.” Mitch looked like he was trying to follow my story but wasn’t quite keeping up. “See I told them Grammy had told me how our family had parched acorns during the Great Depression to make coffee with because it was too expensive for the likes of us to buy. Only apparently the army has spoiled you ‘cause you took one sip and turned a little green and spit it out in the sink. So rather than waste all my hard work of cracking and shelling all those blasted acorns, I was going to use it to dye your socks because I’d accidentally boiled them with my red t-shirt and it had turned your socks pink and you were not happy.”

I just looked at him all sweet and innocent and I see his shoulders start shaking. I shook my head sadly and continued on. “It’s obvious all those poor boys were Yankees. I’ve never seen so many gullible guys in my life. Not even Cubbies would have fallen for that one. Everyone knows that mixing brown and pink makes garnet or magenta and that’s worse than pink socks could possibly ever be.”

Mitch started laughing so hard he had to sit down on the floor. I smile like he’s smarter than your average bear and got up to start the dishes.

“You know, it’s not my fault that their nosiness got them dished up some storytelling. How was I supposed to know they were so foolish they’d swallow that yarn whole and not even blink as it went down?”

Boy did that tickle Mitch. “Oh Girl, you definitely something else. I don’t know who would have laughed harder at that prank, Dad or Grammy.” He finally got his breath back and said, “Gullible or not, this is the kinda thing we need to start thinking about.”

“It will help if I keep the shades pulled. It is going to start warming up soon anyway and if anyone asks I can say that the house gets hot if we don’t keep the curtains closed and the sun out.”

Mitch nodded. “Might have to close the shutters for that matter. And yeah, before you say it, I know that’s going to make things stuffy. No way around it Nann, I’d rather be stuffy than have to try and figure out how to change the glass out of these old windows if they get broken from flying debris. Dad switched out the original shutters for storm shutters before I came along but it wouldn’t hurt to go over everything with security and potential shrapnel in mind.”

“Shrapnel?!”

“Nann, anything is possible. I was … ignoring it I guess you’d say because I didn’t think I could do anything about it, but that’s wrong headed thinking and I can’t afford to be that way. First PeeDee attacks you, then you get shot, then the damn drone.”

“Mitch …”

He wouldn't let me finish. “You know how you say you need to be realistic and I need to let you grow up and do what you can? Don’t you think the same thing applies to me?”

“You’re not Superman and I don’t expect you to be.”

“No, but I do have a job to do.” Then he looks me square in the eyes and says, “And a job I want to do, a job I need to deserve to have. I …”

We both heard them about the same time. I said, “That’s a lot quicker than 24 hours.”

“Sure is. And here’s the dogs, right on time.”

Butch and Pretty wanted in. They weren’t cowards but they knew when to run to their humans.

“I’m gonna check the animals one more time. Tomorrow we’ll think on how to barricade them doors. But we also need to get fire buckets and check the fire hoses just in case.”

That idea played with my guts. I nearly added I needed to pay some attention to the garden … more than I had been … but we could talk about that later. Right now we had to have other things on our minds.
 
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AlaskaSue

North to the Future
I have plans to do so this year but my notes are all hand-written for that story so I've got to pull them out and put them in order. Hopefully the characters will cooperate.
Currently enjoying another re-read of MJOTZY...up to day 204. It is still every bit as good a read as when I first saw it way back on the zombie forum and watched you creating new characters as folks interacted with you. Fun read - and thanks for the bit on your writing. Interesting as all get-out to us, of course my friend! <3
 

Laurane

Canadian Loonie
My mother was married on her 17th birthday and dad was 6 months older.... was just at end of WW11 in England and dad was in British Navy in Accounting.... they had to grow up fast too and though they were close to an industrial bombing area they were never in danger, though they were not sure of that at the time. Wish we had asked more questions about their lives as their kids all grew up so protected and comfortable if still a bit poor in some things... we could never afford a bike so I never learned to ride one. Kathy, do you draw on your own experience much as a younger main character with an older man teaching one another? I imagine my parents sharing their adventures like 2 teens without a clue and learning together....staying together, in love for 60 years.
 

Lake Lili

Veteran Member
Kathy - quick question... Post #367 is Chapter 37 but the next chpater posted at #383 is Chapter 39. Did I miss or is Chapter 39 missnumbered? Thanks, Lili
 

Old Gray Mare

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Mother Hen your stories are so prophthetic its scary at times.
Vaccination Passports for Hawaii Travel
...and my vaccine card issued by DHS....snip

I looked at Mitch then handed the Sergeant the other card that I was forced to carry by law.
 
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Kathy in FL

TB Fanatic
Chapter 38 (read before Chapter 39 above) - I goofed and posted out of order.

Something about Mitch has changed. He’s … I don’t know what to call it, but it makes him seem further away, like out of my reach further away. At least sometimes. I suspect it has to do with him being a “real” soldier again. Or maybe it was interacting with soldiers or just with other adults, people, whatever. I’m not saying his feelings have changed. He’s pretty normal as long as it is just the two of us, mostly anyway. I don’t know exactly what I am saying beyond the fact that Mitch has changed. I’m learning to deal with it but I’m not liking the feeling I am getting that he’s changed but somehow, I’m not allowed to. And I don’t think I can put it all down to Mitch being Boss Dog.

“Dammit Nann I told you to let me know where you go.”

I stopped, put the milk pail down and turned. “I told you I was taking care of the animals while you did that whatever with the roofing nail magnet to find all the metal pieces.”

“You weren’t with the animals.”

“I was in the barn putting the milking stool away and there were animals in the barn with me.”

He opened his mouth and then closed it like he was trying to figure out how to say something. I wasn’t up for an argument, but he was starting to get worse than Dale had when a new family had moved in down the street from us, and the brothers decided I was an easy target. Just like with Dale, it would just go easier on both of us if I was the first to give in. But I held my pride. I don’t mind being the girl, but I won’t be the little girl.

“Mitch, I get it. I need to be careful so I don’t make your job harder. If there were more of us I’d suggest using the buddy system so no one ever went any place alone but we don’t have that. If you can’t trust me, can you at least explain why so I can figure a way around it?”

“It’s not you I don’t trust,” he said in aggravation. “Try and see it from my side. We’ve got drones, salvagers, enemy combatants of some flavor or other, military personnel in the area, enemy action …”

“And we’ve had all those things all along. We didn’t know about all of them, but they were there. I didn’t run with scissors or do anything else stupid like that before and I’m not about to start now.”

Then Mitch had an adjustment reaction of his own. He cussed, threw his hat on the ground, cussed some more, then kick the hat and sent it flying into the old water trough the dogs used. “How am I supposed to take care of you?!”

Trying to stay calm in the face of the same kind of testosterone that Dale and Dad could put off I said, “Same way you have up to this point. By letting me be part of the process.”

He just looked at me for a moment before flopping down on the stump that I sometimes use to chop wood at. “You’re just a kid and … dammit to hell. What’s Uncle John and Aunt Dina going to say when they find out? You shouldn’t be seeing any of this. Hell, you’ve already been shot and had to shoot the enemy and I didn’t do a damn thing to stop it.”

I understood the feelings he was having but I didn’t necessarily agree with all of them. “I’m seventeen, not a baby, and Mom and Dad are just going to have to accept that. So’s Dale. And you are too. I get that it would be nice to have things back to the way they were before the war started, but that’s just not realistic. And you didn’t have a thing to do with me getting hurt. It happened. It didn’t make either one of us happy. But I learned some lessons that I needed to learn in apparently the only way God thought I would learn them well enough that I’d do my part not to let something like that happen again. So … lessons learned. The lessons could have hurt a lot worse, or you could have gotten hurt a lot worse protecting me from stuff I need to do on my own. I’m not Lisa. I can’t live with my head in the sand and drugs up my nose to hide from life lessons. You can’t prevent me from having to grow up; that’s life. Is that what you think you should do?”

“No. Of course not.” He sighed and scratched his head and pulled his hair.

I walked over and slapped his hands away. “Stop that. No need to make yourself bald. If that’s what you want, I’ll do it and make it more fun along the way.”

He leaned back and just looked at me like I was crazy before saying, “All right now. We don’t need none of that neither.”

I tried a sassy grin and asked, “Not even a little bit? Could take our mind off things.”

“I’ll take our minds off things and dump us both in the cold water so behave. My brain is already in a blender. And where’d you learn that kinda stuff?”

Rethinking my strategy, I answered, “Don’t get suspicious. I didn’t mean to sound nasty. I just saw it in a movie, kinda sorta, and thought it might be a good way to distract you from all your worrying for nothing.”

“I’m not worrying for nothing. And I bet Uncle John and Aunt Dina don’t know what kind of movies you are watching.”

“No, and neither does Dale for that matter,” I told him. “But there are some things that are easier to learn by observation than questions. I am not watching Mom and Dad … uh … nope, no, ain’t happening. I knew they tried for more kids after me but I don’t want the details. And since I don’t want to be called a voyeur when Dale has a girlfriend, movies are what I’m stuck with. And since it isn’t working, I’ll stop. Sounded kinda silly when I said it to be honest.”

“Yeah … well … it is kinda working so lighten up. When a man gets riled up he doesn’t always mind getting … distracted. This isn’t the time for it however.”

“Fine. Then tell me how to get you to understand I’m not breakable and that I’m not going to fight you on any new rules you come up with. I just need them to be reasonable so I can still get my work done.”

He wiped his face with his bandana then asked, “Did you wash your hands?”

Well that was obviously a change of topic. I answered, “Yeah. Then I washed them again before I milked, I washed them afterwards so I could carry the milk inside and pour it in the pans. Then washed them again before coming back out to put things away. And I’ll wash them again after I finish with the animals and before I cook supper. If I wash my hands anymore, they’re gonna get raw.”

“You don’t need to cook. You been through a lot.”

I rolled my eyes. “In case you haven’t noticed I’m not a stick figure and require regular feedings same as you.”

“I don’t need to be noticing that right now either,” he said though there was a little grin there that said he was calming down. “How about we try a couple of those freeze-dried steaks? We’ll rehydrate ‘em and I’ll grill ‘em over the wash water fire.”

He was still trying to manage me but I let it go. “Sure. I found the instructions for them under the lid of the trash can all those vacuum-sealed cans are in. And it’s not just steaks in there. Some of them are freeze dried pork chops and freeze dried shrimp. Just in case you don’t want the steaks.”

“Nope, you plump ‘em up and I’ll grill ‘em. We can have mashed taters and gravy, and some of Grammy’s canned corn too if you’re in the mood. And just for kicks we’ll have some of that freeze dried ice cream for dessert.”

“You’re mood is better.”

“Knowing where you’re at and having the others gone helps.”

“And those eyes drops?” I asked curiously.

“That don’t hurt neither. The medic said it’s eye strain as far as he could tell and he was in optometry school before he got drafted.”

Relieved of something I hadn’t realized I was worrying over I told him, “Well good, at least someone semi-professional finally got a look at your eyes.”

“Yeah. I admit having someone with some training tell me there’s not anything structurally wrong with my eyeballs made me feel better. When he asked what had I been doing I told him hats, dark glasses, and those compresses you make.”

“What did he say?”

“Said they didn’t hurt and to keep doing them if they give me some relief. He actually asked for the recipe for that eye compress. He says he’s going to pass it along to some civilian aid groups that are dealing with a lot of eye infections in the general population.”

That’s some of what I mean. Mitch is even talking a little different, showing his college education and training. I don’t begrudge him, it just makes him seem different. To get my mind off noticing I asked him, “Guess what I found out?”

“Er … what?

“Those metal trashcans are now considered contraband. Cause … get this … they can be used to make bombs with.”

Mitch just looked at me then said, “Where did you hear this? Did someone get in the house and look around?”

“No. I warned them off wandering in and Butch and Pretty sounded like they wanted to chew soldiers when they even came on the porch. That was all the convincing they needed. I was eavesdropping.”

“On who?”

“I was listening to some of those guys that came with the flatbed to pick up the drone pieces. They were eyeing the animal troughs like they were booby-trapped or something until their ‘LT’ – I think that’s what they called him – told them essentially to stop being stupid and nosey, that no one was going to go to the trouble of welding those troughs together. If they were in an urban setting maybe, but that we were too far inside a buffer zone to make it worth some terrorist’s while to do it. He also told them not to create trouble no one needed. What do figure he meant?”

Mitch didn’t answer me at first and was just looking around the yard. “Damn,” he muttered quietly before adding, “We got more work to do than I thought. Not even Dad would be prepared for that sorta thing.”

“What sorta thing?”

Mitch stood up and he picked up the pail to return it to the barn since I’d already scalded it out. I followed him waiting for an answer. When it came I understood why Uncle Hy wasn’t fond of visitors.

Mitch finally explained as we walked back to the house. “There’s bounties on certain types of recyclables. Metals especially. I’m not doubting you heard the words you heard but I’m thinking they might have been looking for an excuse to confiscate some things around here. You still part monkey?”

“Excuse me?!”

He grinned showing he’d been kidding … up to a point. “Can you climb up into the barn and shed lofts and then out one of the vents and skinny down a rope?”

“That’s not the hard part. If you are talking about locking the outbuildings from the inside like I think you mean. The hard part is thinking of a way to get back in. And make it so no drone can watch us do it. ‘Cause it is gonna get tiring doing it multiple times a day. And come snake season? I start seeing them and you and I are gonna have us a little talk.”

“Girl you too much,” he laughed getting closer and closer to the Mitch I’d grown used to as the day wore on to evening.

It wound up that I cooked supper after all. Mitch apologized – which was a little freaky – but asked if I would accept a raincheck on him cooking. He needed to put the radio together and get the antenna installed. I wasn’t opposed so he went to do that while I turned the steaks into kabobs by threading them on metal clothes hangers with fresh mushrooms I had foraged that morning and some canned pineapple that was getting long enough in the tooth that it was a tiny metallic in taste before cooking. I also fixed “mashed taters” and gravy, skillet corn, and carrots. I would have preferred green beans myself but then again I can eat green beans at every meal and not get tired of them so long as they are cooked right and don’t squeak. Mitch on the other hand likes him some beans too but I didn’t want to completely wear him out on them and we hadn’t had carrots in a while so I bake some sliced carrots mixed with sliced burdock root.

I found Mitch in Uncle Hy’s office, now his, fixing the radio into what Grammy had called the old victrola cabinet. He saw me come in and said, “I’ve put this thing on a furniture dolly and can now move down into the cellar that way. All that is left is to hook up the wires which I’ve run down there.”

“Need some help?”

“Not right now. Supper ready?”

“Whenever you are.”

“Smells good.”

“Hope it tastes good.”

“Look … you mind if I go over a few things with you while we eat?”

“Why should I mind? Grammy never stopped Uncle Hy when he needed to talk.”

“She didn’t like it at the table much though.”

I shrugged. “I’m not Grammy. And you aren’t Uncle Hy. And our world has changed. We’ll just have to do things out way when they don’t fit the way things used to be.”

He shook his head and not for the first time said, “You make this too easy.”

“You’ve said that before. Maybe it’s my job to make things easy when I can. Sure as heck is better than making them harder.”

“Yeah it is. Let’s eat and then call the dogs back in.”

“They’ve been cooped up a lot today.”

“I’ll give ‘em a bone to chew on. If the planes start flying I don’t want to have to find ‘em in the dark. And that’s just one of the things we need to talk about.”
 

Kathy in FL

TB Fanatic
Kathy - quick question... Post #367 is Chapter 37 but the next chpater posted at #383 is Chapter 39. Did I miss or is Chapter 39 missnumbered? Thanks, Lili
Thanks for catching that. Sigh. It's what I get for trying to do too many things at one time. I was watching our burn pile, responding to posts here, responding to texts from my mother, and typing in work orders ... and listening to Elvis through my bluetooth speaker. :eye::jstr::lkick:You'd figure I'd know better by now. Elvis always adds too much wiggle and then things get crazy. Whoops.

Apologies. Hopefully it isn't too confusing.
 

Kathy in FL

TB Fanatic
My mother was married on her 17th birthday and dad was 6 months older.... was just at end of WW11 in England and dad was in British Navy in Accounting.... they had to grow up fast too and though they were close to an industrial bombing area they were never in danger, though they were not sure of that at the time. Wish we had asked more questions about their lives as their kids all grew up so protected and comfortable if still a bit poor in some things... we could never afford a bike so I never learned to ride one. Kathy, do you draw on your own experience much as a younger main character with an older man teaching one another? I imagine my parents sharing their adventures like 2 teens without a clue and learning together....staying together, in love for 60 years.
Some of it comes from family history and some of it is observation. My husband and I are only 2 years apart but he was raised by older parents and is more like a man from my father's generation than he is one from ours. He also had to mature early ... he was doing his parents banking for them before he was out of middle school due to my in-law's lack of education.

The other thing is that I enjoy reading historical personal journals/diaries. It is amazing just how much your can learn of value that way.

I will say that I learned a lot by studying family genealogy and putting two and two together. One of my great grandfathers had three wives. The first two died in childbirth. The third was over twenty years younger and she outlived him by nearly 30 years and never remarried. Another great grandmother (7 years younger than her husband) outlived her husband by nearly 25 years without remarrying. And the great grandmother that I am named after and was closest to outlived her husband twenty years and grieved for him until the day they were reunited in Heaven (they were barely 2 years apart in age and had grown up together).

My personal observation is that marriages where one spouse or the other is older/more mature have more longevity and stability. Not always of course but more often. I go back and forth what I wish for my sons to be honest. I guess my writing is just a way to exercise some of the things that go through my head.
 

kua

Veteran Member
What a delightful story! Just found it a couple of days ago and am now all caught up. I will have to go back to slow down and read deliberately to catch the things I missed the first time around. Thanks so much for this story. It is filling a void in my reading right now.
 
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