Post by solo on Mar 30, 2018 9:41:39 GMT -6
I haven't settled on a creative title yet but have several chapters in for the next installment to Divers Down. Already I am a bit surprised where my mind is taking me. So please bear with me on the story set up and recap chapters.....
23 April 2018
Homestead West of Purvis, MS
A shot rang out from the other side of the property to their immediate south. It was filled with small pine trees that had been planted in nice neat little rows. Ethan looked up and toward the south. They had come out just two days ago and really washed everything down to decontaminate as best as possible. They had built a new Chicken pen closer to the house and everybody was outside, just because they could.
The single shot was quickly followed by what sounded like a major war in a matter of seconds. Just as quickly the firing died down. It was obvious that the shooting didn’t involve them. They all carried weapons and Ethan motioned for Tim and Angie to stay and watch their Six while Chad, Brian, Gina, and Julie went with him to see what was going on.
The scene that awaited them was surreal. There were definitely two groups facing off against each other. One group wasn’t doing so where. They were all being held by gunpoint on the ground. One man was being held up and looked like he was getting questioned. And there was something familiar about the man getting questioned. That was when another man brought a woman around the vehicle with a knife to her throat.
The man holding the woman at knifepoint began to scream something at the woman then he kneed her and began kicking her. Julie instantly tensed up bringing her AR up to here shoulder.
Ethan grabbed her and whispered, “Hold up, let’s see what we are dealing with here. Fan out and don’t fire unless I do. We have to figure out who the bad guys are. It may be both groups.
They spread out unnoticed. They just got settled again when the Man that was being held at gunpoint suddenly lashed out and with a knife edged hand clipped the one holding the gun on him in the throat. The man dropped his rifled and collapsed. Ethan guessed his windpipe was crushed. Then the man barreled into the man kicking the woman down on the ground.
Then it got interesting as a third group of people showed up firing like the cavalry to the rescue. Two of the people on the ground got shot by their captors but it wasn’t long before all the captors were neutralized. It was efficient and it was quick. Ethan still did not know who any of these people were.
The one who looked like the leader then approached the group on the ground and his team began rendering first aid. Without looking, the man stated, “You all can come out now. We aren’t your enemy, but we may need a place to convalesce.”
Ethan had already made up his mind because he finally knew who he was dealing with. He got up and his group rushed to the clearing. They helped the newcomers treat the wounds. Ethan ran up to the man who had killed his captor with a chop to the windpipe and looked down. Julie bent over and checked for vitals, “He’s still alive. He has a crack on his head, though. We need to get him inside.” They loaded him into the back of the truck.
“Wait! Just like that you are going to let these guys into our complex?” Gina asked insistently.
“Well yeah.” Julie said. “This is his house. It is the least we can do.”
One of the ladies on the ground looked up, “You know Marc?”
“Yes, we went to school together. That over there is his cousin, Ethan.” Julie said. “And who are you?”
“My name is Marsha.”
“Are you sure it is him?” Ethan asked.
“Yes. It is him. Now let’s get him to the house.”
Three days later. Marsha Levin walked out of the bedroom where Marc Logan had just spent the last three days in and out of consciousness. He had a concussion but was no worse for wear. “He’s awake. I think now is a good time.” She told the folks in the outer room.
Ethan Mason literally jumped up, and then taking a deep breath, crossed the room to the door. Julie met him there and said, “Let me go first.” With that she opened the door and walked in. Ethan walked in right after her.
The man on the bed studied Julie as she walked in. You could see there was partial recognition. When Marc registered the man walking in behind her, he was dumbfounded. “You?! You have some nerve horning in on all of this!” Marc hissed.
Ethan stopped full in the doorway and with a lopsided grin smile, “Howdy, Cousin. It’s been a while.”
Marc paused a moment, then with a half-smile of his own replied, “It has, indeed.”
5 May 2018
Rural Lamar County, MS
Mark Whitcomb was a sick man. He still stood tall, but his large frame literally had skin sagging in places. He once was a very stocky man, barrel chested and chiseled feature underneath a Marine Corps hi-n-tight. Now, almost a year after the event, he was but a shadow of his former self.
Before the massive Coronal Mass Ejecta had hit the Earth and in the blink of an eye plunged the world whole back into the 1800s, Mark Whitcomb was the Sheriff of Lamar County in the Southern part of Mississippi. He had barely won election in a special runoff when the previous Sheriff had died in office. He had been a deputy in the department for almost 24 years and though he was probably best suited for the job, he barely made it in. In his eyes, he was set up for a long time to come. Until the event.
On 23 June 2017, in the early evening all electronics stopped working. Planes fell out of the sky and people on life sustaining medical equipment died. Within three days, the thin veneer of society fell away when the trucks carrying food and supplies failed to show up to make their deliveries. They had failed to make their deliveries because all their electronics in their engines had been fried as well. And those with older rigs, well, there’s really no way to pump gas without electricity or to load the trucks with forklifts. The saying goes that society is just nine meals away from anarchy. And this saying, this theory, was proven to be true.
Even if deliveries could be made, the card readers didn’t work without electricity either, therefore stores went to a cash sales only platform. This was bad for most. It is estimated that 80% of Americans have less than $50 cash on hand at any one time. It is a truly plastic society. But this isn’t what made people mean. What made people mean is when the generators ran out of gas. The generators provided a slim semblance of order until water could no longer be pumped from the storage facilities. Those with wells did okay, but those, especially those in the big cities had no water, then the food ran out. It quickly became a running battle between those who had and those who tried to take away.
Indeed, example after example of how bad things could be have been laid out before Americans, but the lessons never took. For instance, over half of the fatalities from Hurricane Katrina didn’t come from the storm herself. Over half of the fatalities were from homicides in the aftermath. In New Orleans, it was reported that most of the police simply left. They went home to take care of their own families.
To make matters worse, those who depended on medications for stabilization ran out of those meds and became psychotic or neurotic and sometimes both. Prisons no longer had control over their inmate populations and they turned into roving bans of murderers and thieves. And fringe groups began to thrive. Gangs and motorcycle clubs maintained order within their ranks and this lead them to become deadly efficient in the collection and control of supplies.
Then the winter struck. It was a heavy winter and it lingered. Without heat, many people died as a result of exposures or the attempt to stay warm with questionable methods. More than one family or group of people burned up when their house caught fire or died from exposure to carbon monoxide because they had no clue how to have a wood fire within their house. Mercifully, the extreme cold kept the diseases that result from a lack of sanitation at bay.
Then on 1 March, the nuclear power plant on the Mississippi River had failed and produced a cloud of radioactive smog that covered the entire south. Those who had survived to this point did not survive unless they had warning to get into protected and hardened facilities. Few did. And those that did, many times they came up too soon.
This was the case for one Mark Whitcomb. The Sheriff came up to soon. Before this, he had set up a sweet deal at the compound located halfway between Purvis and Columbia, the county seat in Marion County, the next county to the west of Lamar County. The compound was fully stocked and starting a couple of years before the event, before Deputy Whitcomb became Sheriff Whitcomb, The Sheriff was in complete control of the compound.
Two Years previous:
Sheriff Jared Purvis was driving in a pouring rain on his way to a vehicle accident around the old Trussel swim hole south of Purvis. The old hard tack road gave way to a gravel road and too late, Sheriff Purvis, drove head long into a washout. He hit his head very hard on the steering wheel and passed out. He never woke up because the washout only became worse and eventually dumped the patrol car over in the Boggy Hollow creek, where he quickly drown.
When they pulled the car out, Deputy Whitcomb knew he had to act fast and worked to be named acting Sheriff, until the special elections where held. With this act accomplished, he was able to begin requisitioning items he would need to make the required changes to the new 20 acre lot he had just purchased at a tax auction just inside the Lamar County border with Marion County. The property was situated on the top of one of the rolling his there and had a commanding view of the country side.
This piece of land happened to be surrounded on three sides by one of the local deer hunting clubs that you had to pay to be a member of. There were restrictions worse than most Home Owners’ Associations and that kept the 640 acres relatively untouched. Being as it was deep in the Piney Woods part of the state, there were mostly second generation growth pines that had recovered the land once all the woods were clear-cut in the late 1950s.
There were hardwoods like Hickory, Oak and Pecan, but they were few. On the property itself, it was mostly grazing land so it was clear of trees except in the fence rows. The 20 acres was divided up into four fenced in tracks. The house and barn sat on about 5 acres while the remaining acreage was divided roughly, evenly between three pastures. The front part of the property, the old Columbia-Purvis Road ran the length and a long driveway lead between two of the pastures to a well-built log cabin style house at the back of the property. The barn was enclosed so that the livestock could be milked/and or rounded up for vaccinations and such. There were two bays for horses.
Immediately, Acting Sheriff Whitcomb expanded the Barn by adding a large enclosure to the back. It was a metal building that soon housed heavy equipment like a bulldozer, backhoe and a small crane. He had a single person lift as well as he really didn’t care for ladders. He saw himself as a survivalist and one of the first things he did “for” the county was to acquire several assault style military issue rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition. He stored it in his climate controlled metal building as well.
He put in huge gas and diesel tanks, buried and also buried two large shipping containers that he had modified to live in. In those containers, he had the latest surveillance and communication equipment. He had two large water tanks installed as well as a third “root cellar” type room plumbed with one of the containers and was stocked to the brim with shelf stable food. The containers had such creature comforts that he was certain he could remain down as long as necessary. He saw himself as the rugged survivalist. Yet all of this preparation was done with the resources provided by the good tax payers of Lamar County and it was all, somehow, off the books.
He had built this so that all of his family could survive whatever happened. Yet in on cruel twist of fate, Mark’s mother died immediately after the CME hit the earth. She had a pacemaker and when it was affected, it got really hot and essentially fried. This did no small favors for a temperamental heart.
His father had left the family when Whitcomb was very young and no one had heard from him in years. Mark’s wife had taken their teenage daughter and left him during the election. She saw all the changes he was making to the property and though she didn’t know for sure that Mark was misappropriating county funds, but after a long marriage, she didn’t want to get mixed up in his drama. Mark came home late one night to an empty house with little word to where they were.
Essentially, the lie that he told himself in justification of his modifications simply eroded and in his narcissistic view of the world, it was everyone else’s fault even though when one looks at it very hard the only common factor in each of his shortcomings and failures was himself.