Book One - Reality Bites
Chapter 4 - The Wonders Of Chaos
“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” Tom Bodett
Throughout history, during times of social unrest, women and children paid the greatest toll. This time of unrest in the world was no exception.
She had no idea what time it was when she woke up. She was in shock. She hurt everywhere. She could only see a little out of one eye. She looked around her bedroom as best as she could. She was alone. She laid there for a long time, praying they would not come back. She finally realized one of her wrist straps had loosened up some. She slowly worked her hand until she could pull it free. It took her a long time to work the rest of the straps free. She tried to sit up. Slowly, she got out of bed and stumbled to the bathroom, barely making it by holding onto the walls. She was bleeding everywhere, including her vagina and anus. So much blood everywhere. Does the human body even have that much blood? she thought. She looked around the dimly lit bathroom. Looking down at her body, there was not an inch of her that didn’t have blood, or a bruise or something. Nothing was really registering in her brain. She stayed in the bathroom a long time before she finally realized the house was quiet. Either that, or she was deaf now, she didn’t know which. Does it really matter? she thought. She shivered in her nakedness. Was it cold out? It doesn’t feel cold, she thought. She finally made her way back to her bedroom. It looked like a tornado had blasted through it. Things were broken and thrown every which way. She grabbed the first thing on the floor that looked like it would cover her. She was shivering, so she must be cold, right? It was flannel nightgown. This should be warm, she thought. It took her awhile to get the nightgown over her head. She kept losing her balance and stumbled around. She fell a few times and it took some time to get back up again. She could hear herself gasping for each breath. At least I know I’m not deaf, she thought.
She slowly staggered out of her bedroom and inched her way to the top of the stairs. She looked long and hard with her one eye. She listened for any sound. All she could hear was occasional snoring. They were still here. She shivered more violently as she waited at the top of the stairs. She knew she had to go get help. But where could she go? And who would help her? She didn’t really know the neighbors that well. They hadn’t lived here all that long. She felt she had to do something, anything, or she would start screaming and never stop. I’ll try to get outside, then I’ll … no matter what, she thought, I have to get down the stairs. Oh, how she didn’t want to go down those stairs. They were down there. She took as deep a breath as the pain would let her and took a step. She took another and another until she reached the bottom. Hesitating on that last step, she shook violently. She was so afraid they would hear her or see her. She stepped down from the last stair, inching her way as silently as possible down the hallway. She looked both ways. The snoring louder now, it sounded like it was coming from the living room. She could see some of them asleep on the floor, the couch and the chairs. It looked like they had found her mother’s liquor cabinet. Bottles of liquor were littered all over the place. She looked the other way down the hall. Silence from the kitchen. She strained with every fiber of her being for any sounds coming from that way.
Nothing, not one sound could she hear. She turned and slowly moved along the wall into the kitchen. She could see the back door … it was right over there. She took a couple of deep breaths to get up her courage. She walked straight to the door and slowly opened it, walking through to freedom. Slowly, she shut the door. It had grown completely dark. She hadn’t noticed until she stepped outside. She resisted the urge to run screaming into the night. She had no idea where or which way to go. She stepped around the side of the house by the garage, praying she was out of sight. She had to think but her head was so foggy.
She tried to remember where that hunter lived, the one she and her friends had protested against for having guns and murdering innocent animals. Where was it? Where was he? He had guns. He could come and kill those awful men, those monsters. She remembered he said he was a Christian. She hadn’t been raised with religion, but remembered something about forgiving those who sin against you. Maybe he would forgive her for being so wrong. She would beg him to please forgive her. She was so very sorry. She remembered some of the things she and her protest friends had yelled at him. Please, please God. Please let him forgive me. She prayed and hoped there was a God. Please help me, she wept silently. Without the street lights, it was so much darker than she remembered. She took a couple deep breaths and told herself to calm down and think. Suddenly she remembered where the hunter lived. His house was a couple of blocks away. Her prayer had been answered. She walked as quietly and as quickly as possible, skirting the edges of the other houses. Her heart leaped in fear every time she had to cross a driveway. She was so sure they would see her and drag her back. She stopped to listen for noises every couple of steps. Her whole world was focused and existed in those two steps she took. The world appeared shattered and splintered to her now. Life had turned itself upside down. She didn’t know who to trust. If she could get a gun, she would go back and kill every one of those rabid monsters in her house.
She thought, Oh dear God, my mother. Will I ever see her again? What have they done to her? She was silently crying, barely feeling the warm tears as they rolled down her face. The tears were making it harder for her to see out of her eye. She tried to pull herself together. She had to go on and get help. Her mother was depending on her to rescue and help her.
She was creeping around some hedges when she heard a noise behind her. She stopped, and as quietly as possible, bent over to crawl on the ground. Intense pain wracked her body. She kept thinking, Ignore it, just ignore it. She clenched her teeth and finally made it to her hands and knees behind the hedges. Her consciousness wavered a few times, but caught herself before she fell down. There was the noise again. She tensed up. All of sudden she was cold, so very cold. She was exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. She didn’t know if she could go on anymore. She could smell the earth. Slowly, she lay down on the ground, her energy just seemed gone. There it was again, the noise. Footsteps. Coming up behind her. How can they be tracking me at night? she thought. Please God, please don’t let them find me. Her trembling grew so strong she felt unsteady. She resisted with every fiber of her body not to scream. Her breathing increased, her heart pounded wildly, like a beating drum. It was beating so hard and loud she wondered if it could be heard. Would it give her position away? Calm down and stop breathing so fast, she thought. Just calm down, she kept repeating in her head like a mantra. You got this far, don’t give up hope now. She looked up, and suddenly in the starlight, she could just make out a figure in front of her. She held her breath and closed her eyes, saying a silent prayer, Dear God, please don’t let them see me. Them? she thought. She heard footsteps coming up on the other side of her. All too soon, another figure walked up to the first.
They whispered back and forth in hushed voices. She strained her ears to hear what they were saying. Her lungs were screaming … she hadn’t realized she had been holding her breath. She was so scared. She didn’t take a breath. She just kept holding it in. She needed to breathe. Move on, you two, dear God, please go, she prayed. She could not wait any longer; she had to breathe. They were close enough now that she could tell the two were men. They were only six or seven feet away. Slowly she released her breath. She started a new mantra in her mind, Quiet, just be very quiet. She slowly drew a breath in. The two figures bent down and she heard one of them say, “How do we get out of town?” Then they clearly were not the thugs. Oh thank God. Please help me, she said over and over. It sounded to her like she was screaming, but it came out just barely a whisper. The two figures jerked and turned toward her, startled. They weren’t sure if they heard something or not. A flashlight clicked on, aimed right at her. It blinded her. She closed her eyes. It felt like an electric shock of pain went straight through her brain. One of the figures gasped at the sight of her on the other side of the hedge.
“Oh my God, what happened to you?” Suddenly they heard a loud bang and a 9mm bullet ripped through the hedge above her head. The two men instantly rolled and dropped into a prone position. They both had guns. One had a short rifle with a flashlight attached to the barrel. They heard the next bullet and saw the dirt kick up in front of them. More bullets came their way. Then the deafening reply from the Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun roared and flames came out the barrel. Surely this is hell, she thought. The next shot they heard was fired from a loud cannon. The blast echoed off the houses.
She heard grunts and two bodies hitting the ground. Then they heard the rack-rack sound of the 870 being reloaded and the click-clack of the 30-30 being reloaded. She heard one of the men whisper to the other, “Both down.” She could not take it any more. She could not just lay here and not do something. Slowly she stood up and started to run as fast as her body would let her. She was screaming as loud as she could and she didn’t hear the bullets that whipped past her head as she ran. Three of the brutal thugs that had broken into her house started rapidly firing a semi-automatic 9 mm in her direction. The echoing across the houses deafened the replies from the 12 gauge and the 30-30. She stopped and hid behind a tree.
One of thugs screamed in pain. He yelled, “Kill those mutherfuckers.”
Another one said, “Ahh, damn it, I’m hit. Help me.”
Good, I hope it hurts like hell, she thought. She screamed out as loud as possible above the noise, “There are seven of them. They have my mother at 17282 Oak Lane.” Suddenly bullets were erupting everywhere again. One hit the tree she was hiding behind and she started crying. The shotgun roared, the triple 000 buckshot skipped off the brick wall, hitting the thug hiding behind the porch. He died with a very surprised look on his face.
Suddenly she was red hot mad. She was remembering all of the things that had happened to her, all of the things that had been done to her. All of a sudden it was just too much. A rage built in her and she charged back towards them yelling, “Kill all of them … they’re rapists! Shoot them! Kill them all! Kill them! Shoot them!” She raced forward. A 9mm hollow point caught her square in the chest. She fell backwards by the hedge she had been hiding behind earlier. She heard the roar of a shotgun and rifle return fire. Her last whispered words were, “Save my mother.” Then the darkness closed in on her forever.
One of the thugs yelled out, “I’m gonna kill you two mutherfuckers!” Mark turned off the flashlight. The world became very dark. Everyone’s eyes struggled to adjust. Shadows soon looked like some insane thing or person charging you. One of the loud mouthed punks started shooting at nothing but imaginary men charging him. Mark and Eric watched him. It would have been quite amusing if it wasn’t such a deadly situation. As the thug was firing, Mark saw an opportunity to crawl over to the porch. He peeked over the edge and saw the punk’s raised hand and the flash of the gun. He smiled and turned on his light, knowing full well the bad guy would be blinded. He stood up and the 12 gauge roared, then silence swept through the dark night. His partner, Eric, stood up and walked over to Mark. He shut the light off. They both bent down. They were not sure who was hit and who was dead. They thought four of them were hit and most likely dead, but they could only see three bodies. They had lost the element of surprise to try and take the house and rescue the girl’s mother. Eric whispered to Mark, “What do you want to do?” Mark said, “Let’s go check on the girl.” They snuck back along the edge of the house until they were even with hedge and the girl. Mark said to Eric, “Stay here and cover me. I’ll check on her.” He took his backpack off and laid it on the ground.
He could barely see her lying on the ground in the darkness. If it wasn’t for her light colored nightgown, he might not have found her without a light. He crawled up to her and whispered, “Are you okay?” No response. He reached out his arm and found her hand. Her fingers felt cold. That didn’t mean much. People who are in shock are usually cold. He had learned this from an EMT course he took to prepare for the worldwide collapse he knew was coming. He then reached up and felt for her neck. He found the proper place for her pulse point … nothing. He reached up and held his hand around her nose for a couple of minutes to feel if any breaths were being taken or exhaled. He felt nothing. She was dead.
He crawled back to Eric. He whispered to him, “She’s dead.” There was silence for a few moments while they thought about this situation.
“Let’s finish this and kill the rest of them animals,” Mark hissed between clenched teeth.
“No,” Eric said. “Use your head. We don’t know this woman from Adam. We only saw three bodies down. That means four are left. We are outnumbered two to one. It would be insane to go after them. Besides, her mother is probably already dead.”
Mark wanted to burst out yelling that it didn’t matter. But then he stopped and thought, No, Eric is right. What kind of sense would it make to chance their lives when the girl was already dead? He agreed with Eric. Chances were, so was her mother. He turned to Eric. “It’s time to get out of town. Let’s get back to the escape plan and get out of this hell hole,” Mark said instead. The two had been good friends since college. They found they had a common interest. They both were concerned with the world’s condition and were preparing for the end of the world as they knew it. The two of them had many late night talks about it. They established a survival retreat with the help from Mark’s dad.
It was just up the coast if they could reach it. They had it fully stocked and Mark’s dad was retired from the railroad and lived there full time to guard it and to do maintenance. They had fifty pound packs with them. It was enough gear and food to last for five days. They were lucky in this firefight. Neither one of them had been hit or wounded. That might change if they didn’t get a move on. It was time to leave this disgusting place and get going.
It was the right decision for them to make, after all. Pam’s mother was already dead by then. She had been beaten to death. Mark and Eric had hit and killed three of the brutal thugs and wounded another. The thugs were waiting at Pam’s house. They set up an ambush for anyone who would be stupid enough to come after them. They had also heard Pam yell the address to the two people who had shot at them. They lying in wait, hoping someone would come after them. The thugs were looking forward to the confrontation. They wanted to take out the two people that had tried to help the girl so they could even the score for their dead and wounded. Mark and Eric would have died walking into that ambush.
Eric and Mark put their backpacks on and checked the straps and flaps. They didn’t want to lose any of their equipment or make any extra sounds as they ran. They looked at each other’s backpacks when they had them on just to be sure everything was secured right. They both took off running across the street. They passed through a back fence gate and entered a back yard, then jumped a low fence. They were back on the track of their pre-scouted escape route. They headed for the interstate, deciding to only travel at night. It would be safer that way. They figured they could make ten miles a night. They had two hundred miles to go. Two hundred miles would be twenty days. They would need to get more food along the way or go on quarter rations. Luckily, they had purchased for their supplies an Emergency Snare Kit. They, of course, had it with them in their bug out pack. With a little luck, they would snare a deer and smoke the meat. That would give them plenty of food to make it up to the retreat. When they reached the interstate, it looked like they were in a scene of a zombie movie. Dead, useless cars blocked both sides the road. Some cars had the doors opened invitingly, like they were just waiting for the owners to get in. A few bonfires could be seen in the distance.
Mark turned to Eric and said, “This looks really bad. What was Plan B?
Grid Down: Book One Reality Bites
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