Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Cache - Part 12 - No Way Home

 For those who have so patiently waited.

Consciousness was slow in returning, seemingly on holiday. There was a buzzing in his ears that seemed to slowly fade, replaced by an aching throb that threatened to explode his head. He felt as if he were under water, struggling to reach the surface, to reach the air. Slowly he became aware of the fact that he lay in darkness, and his thoughts began to congeal.

He knew he was in the cellar, lying on the floor. He had hit his head when the steps had gave way under foot and he had plunged forward. He gently moved his fingers on each hand, testing for pain that would indicate injury. Next he moved his wrists, then his arms. Finding nothing more than contused flesh, he moved onto moving his toes and feet, and then his legs. His left knee was really sore, and felt as though it may have been scraped badly, but that was the extent of those injuries.

He reached up to touch the center of pain on his head, and felt the stickiness of congealing blood. He would need to tend to that as soon as he could return to the fireside. He rolled to his side and a twinge of pain shot through his head. He would have to move slowly it seemed until the wound was dealt with. He glanced at his watch and saw that it was a few minutes after 7 o'clock, but was it AM or PM? For that matter, how much time had passed since he had his accident?

He cursed himself for becoming careless as he knew that an injury could mean death if it was too serious. There was also the threat of infection from a dirty wound. It was so dark he could not see anything, not even the opening above the stairs. He located the lanyard connected to his mini-mag light and pulled it into his lap. It would not light up when turned on, so he assumed that either the batteries were dead or the light broken. Fortunately, when he retrieved the flashlight, he placed a spare set of batteries in his pocket, just in case.

He carefully replaced the batteries and was rewarded with light when he turned it on. He played the light over himself, examining his sore spots. There was caked blood on his shirt from the wound on his head, but that was all. He felt very fortunate not to have broken any bones in this mishap. Satisfied that he was intact, he played the light around the cellar, discovering that he had hit his head on the edge of a wooden shelf.

The cellar walls were lined with wooden shelves, most empty but a few had mysterious objects upon them. Mysterious only in the manner that he could not make out the labels on the cans and bottles due to a layer of dust obscuring them. He walked over to one of the shelves and picked up a bottle. He felt the contents shift about inside and then he blew on the dust covering the label to reveal its contents. He winced as this action brought a lance of pain that made him sway and catch hold of the shelf for balance.
"Ohhhhh... I won't do that again!" he thought to himself. He finished wiping off the label on his pant leg and read the name thereon.

Mrs. Gordon's Baking Powder.

"Hmmm... " he thought to himself. "I wonder what the shelf life is on this stuff?"

He spent the next twenty or so minutes examining the contents of the shelves, selecting a few treasures to return to the fireplace with. He placed the items in a doubled up plastic grocery bag and proceeded to return up the steps, carefully avoiding the broken one and placing his feet next to the area that was best supported by the nails holding it together.

He took his time ascending the steps, testing each one so as not to duplicate the tumble he had experienced. It was obviously night and the house was very dark. The first order of business was to get the lamp lit and the fire going. Then he would tend to his head wound. Lighting the lamp was a simple affair and since he always had a stash of kindling and tinder set aside, the fire was soon crackling and warming the space around him. He put some water on to heat and dug out his medical supplies, meager though they were.

His hair was normally wore cut short, like a military cut, so that would not be an issue when he began to dress his wound. One of the contents of his med kit was a small energy drink bottle filled with colloidal silver that he had made with his homemade generator. Silver has anti-bacterial properties, so he would use that to cleanse the wound prior to using Bag-Balm to initiate the healing process. He wished he had some sugar, for he remembered reading about how the Egyptians had used it as a wound dressing and how it was used on the skin  ulcers of Diabetics to heal them when they wouldn't heal on their own.

He cut up one of the T-shirts to use for cleaning the wound, and laid out his supplies in the order which he would use them. The water was soon boiling and he placed several of the cloths he had made into it to sterilize them. While waiting for the cloths to boil he examined the items he had retrieved from the shelves of the root cellar.

The first item out of the bag was a rectangular box with the label which read "Winchester". It was a full box of shotgun shells for the 12 gauge he had found. Upon opening it, he found the shells were in much better condition than the shells found in the nightstand. All were serviceable so with a grin, he cleaned the dust from the box and stowed it in his pack. Next out of the grocery bags was a bottle that had a familiar shape. It was a nearly full bottle of whiskey. The label had long ago deteriorated and was no longer discernible. Pulling the cork from the bottle, he was rewarded with the unmistakable aroma of whiskey.

He wiped off the mouth of the bottle and took a short swig, rolling it around in his mouth and testing it for palatability. Satisfied that it was ok, he swallowed it and was rewarded with the burn of a good whiskey going down. He took a longer pull at the bottle and then replaced the cork. It was a fairly high alcohol content and would make a good disinfectant for the wound and the area surrounding it. He fished the now sterile cloths from the boiling water and proceeded to attend his wound.

He measured out about half a cup of the whiskey and set it aside. He then took one of the cloths and dipped it into the still hot water and began dabbing at the crusted area around the wound to loosen the dried blood. After wetting the area thoroughly, he dipped the cloth once more into the water and then placed over the top of the wound to further loosen the dried blood. This step was repeated several times and then using some hand sanitizer from his med kit, he cleaned his hands and under his fingernails thoroughly.  Then he explored the area around the wound with his fingertips to find the extent of the wound and to determine if further scrubbing was required. Satisfied with what he found, he braced himself for what he knew was to come and poured the whiskey over the injury, letting out a stream of invective as the alcohol first burned and then numbed the wound.

Once he could see straight again, he poured the silver solution onto another sterile cloth and began to clean the area of the gash. The gash itself was about 2 inches long, and should be stitched, but he had no way of seeing the area and so decided to just clean and disinfect, then slather some bag-balm on it. After he finished, he covered the wound with a large gauze pad and used his bandanna to hold it in place. He finished up his task with another pull from the whiskey bottle and then began to clean up the mess he had made. He started to boil more water and rinsed out his cloths to reuse for his next medical needs. He would store them in a Ziploc bag rinsed out with colloidal silver and that should keep them sterile.

With that task behind him, he turned his attention back to the remaining items in the grocery bags. One item was a 1 quart bottle containing what appeared to be lamp oil. At least from what he could make out of the extremely damaged label claimed that was what it was. The bottle was full, seeming to never have been tapped into. He removed the cap and was rewarded with the smell of kerosene. This was a good find, something that he would have been needing. He cleaned the dust from it also and then placed it next to his pack. He wanted to wrap it to protect from breakage before placing it into the pack.

It was growing noticeably colder again as he could see his breath hanging in the still air. Building up the fire, he turned his attention now to the meat that had been drying by the fire when he had began his explorations. It was certainly dry enough so he removed some of the now empty Ziploc bags from his pack and began to fill them with the jerky. From all that meat he ended up with only one Ziploc full. It wasn’t enough. He needed additional fats and carbs for energy and the amount he had left was not going to cut it. He had already cinched in his belt two notches since this ordeal had begun, and was feeling weakened during periods of heavy exertion.

It was time to move on from the shelter of the old house. He felt a fondness for it, for it had provided him much and was still a more than adequate shelter from the ravages of the weather. He stared into the crackling flames as they danced for him, lost in internal contemplation. Somewhere out there were his two sons, status unknown. The dreams that he had concerning them troubled him. Were they premonitions or just products of his yearning for their company? He checked his watch and it showed that it was nearly 10:00 PM. Time for him to hit the sack as he wished to get an early start the next day. Rolling up in his meager bedroll, he was soon in a dreamless sleep.

His body awoke a little at a time. First his eyelids fluttered, and then his feet twitched. Next his fingers flexed and he moved his legs. Now his eyes slowly opened and took in the ambient light, for it was just after sunrise. He glanced at his watch and saw that he had slept longer than he intended, so he sat up slowly so as not to aggravate his head wound. He poked the fire back to life and set out some water to heat in the blaze. He placed his last bit of instant coffee into his cup and began to munch on the last granola bar. He sighed as he sat surveying what had been his home for a short while. Looking out at the current weather, fog and rain, he knew that he would miss the warmth of the fireplace as he begin his trek once more. His belly rumbled as if to say that it wanted more food, which it did. It was time to break camp and head off.

He wrapped the bottle of lamp oil in a t-shirt and placed it in the center of his pack, protected by the other contents. Next to it, he placed the oil lamp, for he would not willingly risk it. He tied the fry pan to the outside of his pack, where it would not be too near the other fragile items. It might pick up some surface rust with the crappy weather, so he wrapped it in one of his contractor bags before lashing it onto the pack. After boiling more water he filled up his water bottles and donned the poncho, heading out into drizzling rain.

He hesitated for a brief moment, undecided on whether to change the dressing on his injury or wait until his next camp. Waiting seemed to be an uncertain prospect, but if he delayed his departure any longer he might as well stay the day. Unwilling to lose another day on his path to C1, he picked up the shotgun and headed out into weather. He had manufactured a sling for the gun out of some pieces of 550 cord left over from his boot repair. Both hands were need to navigate through the blackberry bushes that choked off the deer trail that he was following.

Because of the fog, he was not aware that he was on the western edge of a large field on the outskirts of town. He recoiled from the barbed wire fence as he almost stumbled into it after his foot became entangled in a particularly ornery bramble. The field was used as a storage yard for RV’s during the off season and he could see the shapes of them through the heavy fog. Visibility was limited to about 30 feet so it was hard to determine his exact location. He had been traveling for hours now, slowed to a crawl by the bramble bushes, and was getting hungry. Up ahead in the field was a small alder thicket that would offer some concealment from discovery by wandering eyes.

He quickly set up his poncho to sit under and dug out his meager rations. He removed three pieces of the coon’ jerky from the bag and pulled out a few of the cattail roots. While he chewed on the jerky he busied himself with peeling the roots and ate them raw. It wasn’t a very satisfying meal but it would have to do until the next encampment, where he would boil some water and cook the roots with some of the meat, creating a sort of stew. The fog was thinning a bit as a light breeze began to stir it about. Waiting until dark seemed to be the best choice to reduce the chance of detection as he moved through the town. Left with nothing to do while he waited, he decided to take a nap.

He awoke to the sound of voices. Children’s voices to be exact! Before going to sleep he had decided to lower the shelter to just be tall enough to roll over underneath, but not sit up. This served two purposes: being closer to the ground allowed more heat retention from his body with less exposure to the wind and it lessened the chance of accidental discovery by possible passersby. Fortunately the children didn’t have a dog with them and they seemed to have no interest in the alder thicket. He peered out at them as they passed within a stones throw of his sanctuary and noticed that they seem fairly subdued for children at play. They walked on and were soon out of sight in the once more thickening fog. Checking his watch, he saw that it was nearly 3 o’clock; the sun would be setting soon, its feeble rays unable to banish the fog entirely, giving up to try again at a later time. He did not want to start moving again until late evening, after everyone was home and preparing for bed.

His stomach growling, he dug out more of the cattail roots and peeled them as he chewed on some of the coon jerky. After eating he tried to doze off, thinking about how things had been before all this had happened. His small family had been very close knit, and had been that way since his divorce. Hell, he had almost raised the boys single handedly away, since his ex was always too busy surfing the net and chatting online. After the divorce, things became a struggle, but they had survived and when the boys became old enough to get themselves off to school, the pressures eased up a bit. Until the economy started to take a dump that is.

He awoke with a start, unsure of where he was in the blackness. Then, as memory returned him to his present location, he relaxed a bit. He lay there and listened to the night sounds, filtering out the sounds of nature and trying to find anything out of place. All seemed normal so he roused himself and began taking down his shelter in preparation of moving on. The fog made it difficult to see any distance, a double edged sword as it would make him harder to see also. Donning his poncho, he set out once more, just a few blocks from his home.

Even though he knew he should stay away, he could not resist the draw, to at least see it once more, see if the boys were there...

As he had remembered from when he had gone on evening walks, certain homes had dogs out in the yard and they would bark at strangers walking past. He kept to the opposite side of the street from these homes and walked as stealthily as possible when near them, minimizing the sound made by walking in yards instead of the sidewalk. He was startled by a motion activated porch light while doing this, and froze, thinking he might be discovered. Once he saw that was not the case, he resumed walking down the sidewalk and was soon only three blocks from his house.

He moved into a yard and dropped low to the ground behind some bushes. He strained to hear, listening for a tell-tale sound that might betray any watchers in the dark. Hearing nothing, he moved on once more and was soon just around the corner and across the street from his house. His heart was pounding in his chest, and thrills of danger ran up and down his spine! If he could just gain access to his back yard, undetected, he could get into the house and get his B.O.B. He would then have all he needed to continue on, not needing the supplies from C1, or C2 for that matter!

He was just about to gather his nerve and move across the street when a voice spoke from the darkness. “Screw it! I am going to have a smoke. There ain’t anybody coming near this place!” A second voice said “It’s your ass if the Sarge catches you! “ The first voice just grunted his acknowledgment and the sudden flare of a lighter lit up the face of the sentry. “Aw, what the hell! Give me a smoke.” Said the second voice. The lighter flared once more and soon there were two glowing points of light where they stood on watch. “What’s the point of having so many troops watching for this guy?” asked the first voice. “I mean, there are eight of us staking out every corner and posts up and down the street for a block each way!” “What a waste of manpower!” The second voice just mumbled something he couldn’t make out. Time to leave!

He slowly backed away from that spot, carefully placing his feet as to make no sound. He turned and quietly made haste from there and did not stop until he reached the street that paralleled the stream that ran through town. He followed a path made by the youth of the town down to the creek and then began following the path and stream east. Once he had made it to the edge of town he stopped and rested a bit.

He had narrowly missed being caught by indulging in his desire to be home again. If the sentries had been more disciplined, or had been non smokers, he would have been caught trying to cross the street. As it was, he had missed the other sentry posts by walking parallel to the street he lived on, but over two blocks from it. The reality of the situation was now firmly in place. There was no denying the facts.
There was no way home!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Nuff' Said

'In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language.. And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.'
- Theodore Roosevelt 1907

With whom does your loyalty lie?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tales Of The Apocalypse - Warlord

Sometimes I find that I have a story building inside of me, usually spurred on by current mental stimulus. These tales won't necessarily integrate into The Cache, so they just build and float around in my head until they demand to come out.  I guess I have been reading too much doom and gloom lately.

Tales Of The Apocalypse - Warlord

Crouching in the rubble of the burnt out building, he scanned the shadows created by the buildings down the street. He knew they were out there. He could see the crumpled body next to the shot-up mini van and that body hadn't been there 2 days ago. It appeared to be one of the other recon cell’s members from the patch he could see on his shoulder.

He clutched his Mini-14 tight to his chest rig, ready to snap it to his shoulder at a moments notice. It would be nice to have some of the more advanced weaponry that the army had been using, but his attempts at vulturing so far had almost gotten him killed. His Ruger would serve him well enough until he could safely upgrade. His was the traditional 3 man cell which integrated within the militias at the street level. But he was currently the only one left alive.

Communications now were pretty basic. Runners would memorize messages and deliver them to the intended recipient. No written documents to fall into enemy hands. If any documents were carried, it was disinformation to throw off the enemy. There was no more electricity as the massive CME had toasted the grid, indeed it had bathed the planet in its malevolent blanket of magnetic energy and plunged the world back into the dark ages.

There were some areas which had survived by not being connected to the grid, but they were few and far between. When the electricity died, it only took a few days before the cities erupted into a frenzy of rioting. rape and plunder. Arsonists burnt whole swathes of the city and none could put out the fires. There were no emergency services. Everyone was on their own. Long simmering racial tensions exploded into an orgy of slaughter, as Blacks and Whites and Hispanics all formed along racial lines and begin to cleanse their neighborhoods of the "others".

This poisonous line of reasoning spread out from the cities and contaminated the rural areas as well. Once peacefully integrated neighborhoods had become a no-man's land, torn apart by unreasoning hate. Small bands of scavengers scrabbled amongst the ruins of middle class neighborhoods, looking for food and water, fighting and killing along ethnic lines. The President had dispatched the National Guard and all the available troops to try to contain the violence of the cities, but they were targeted by all sides in the conflict and soon abandoned their mission out of self preservation. They formed small fortified areas from which they seldom ventured, only to re-supply from larger bases. All of the troops stationed overseas were marooned, left to fend for themselves and dream of ways to return home.

The police forces of the nation had spent all of three days trying to contain the emergencies before they faded away to fend for their own families. Some special units formed up and fortified themselves into strategic locations near supplies or water. They would hold out for a long time, at least until they ran out of ammo. Once the gangs discovered their locations, they were besieged and harassed by sniper fire day and night, and did not dare show themselves.

The Asians mostly faded back into their enclaves and let the other races fight it out. They were not in a hurry to take on the heavily armed forces that roamed the landscape, looking to purge the others from the area. They would bide their time and when the situation warranted, they would emerge to re-engage in commerce with the remaining population.

The collapse had now entered its 6th year and the skirmishes had diminished down to a few sniping incidences on the war torn streets, littered with the burnt out hulks of the vehicles left where they had died. Occasional turf wars between warlords or gangs erupted briefly, but no one had that much ammo anymore so the battles were over quickly and casualties were light.

He leaned back, deeper into the darkness of the collapsed, fire ravaged building and took a long drink from his water bottle. He remembered the purges that began soon after the collapse. Politicians were drug screaming and protesting their innocence as they met their doom. The lucky ones were shot and killed immediately. Some were hung, others... well they weren't so lucky. He remembered the fires and the smell of burning diesel and human flesh, and the blood curdling screams that still haunted his darkest dreams.

Afterward came the rise of the warlords who commanded large groups of militia to secure their fiefdoms. All resources within these areas were claimed by the warlords and if you wanted any, you must serve them in some fashion. He had been independent for as long as he could, but was captured by a patrol one evening and was forced to choose either death, or service. At least he was not made a slave as had been the fate of other souls ensnared by these roving bands. Most of the slaves were of the different ethnic groups, captured during battle or during raids for supplies.

He offered the warlord his skills as a scout and was enlisted in the service of Harold Blackstone, Lord of War and protector of New Hope. It seems that Blackstone had been the owner of a security service that had military contracts, thus giving him access to more advanced weaponry than his competitors. He was also a retired Special Forces Captain which gave him an edge over a lot of the other warlords who's military experience was little or none existent.

A slight movement in the doorway of the old pharmacy down the street brought him to full attention. He carefully raised his rifle and looked through the 3x9x40mm scope and saw what he thought was a human foot. He gently released the safety and readied himself for a shot if the opportunity presented itself. More movement, this time to the left side of the appendage and about four feet above. Two or more targets made him a bit nervous. There may even be more than that, possibly flanking his position, even though he had done nothing to give it away.

He could shoot the foot and hopefully cripple the target, drawing off combat resources to tend to the wounded, but he would rather deliver either a killing shot or a more serious wound. He continued watching through the scope and straining his ears for any tell tale sound of movement. More motion, down the street this time near the old bank. It would seem that this is more than just a scavenger mission, perhaps a recon in force to probe Blackstone’s strength and presence in this claimed but disputed territory.

A Black Muslim warlord who called himself Hussein Abdullah, also claimed this territory, for Allah. Not that there was much left here to fight over. The town had been picked clean and then mostly destroyed. Hell, the ground wasn’t even that great to grow anything in, but it was an important buffer area to keep insurgents out of Blackstone’s protectorate.

In the third year after the collapse of the power grid, food had become very scarce and there had been reports of some groups resorting to cannibalism. Several scouting parties had not returned from those trips and Blackstone sent out a much larger force to deal with this scourge. Upon locating the town, his forces surrounded it and killed every one of the cannibals. They freed twenty or so prisoners who were to be future meals and then burnt the disgusting place to the ground. The cannibal leader was crucified on a cross just outside of town as a warning to any other groups who might harbor this same idea.

He saw more movement, deep within the shadows of the pharmacy, the movement of multiple bodies. Still watching the foot, a Hispanic face peered out of the darkness and looked out upon the street, glancing both ways before withdrawing. This appearance startled him, as there was no reported presence of any Hispanic groups nearby. The nearest known group was 150 miles away, near the old sanctuary city that had been going bankrupt just before the collapse. With unemployment so high there was not enough financial support to keep providing services to all the illegals’s that flocked here since Arizona and other border states enacted their own versions of federal immigration law.

A shape quickly flitted to the cover of a rusting hulk of an SUV just outside the pharmacy. It was joined by another hurried shape seeking cover. It appeared that they were going to try to reach the body by the mini van. He saw movement as others took up supporting positions in windows and behind counters in the pharmacy. None seemed to be covering his particular location, perhaps because it was in such a state of destruction that they did not feel that it could offer much of a threat. He had a clear path of retreat behind him so that if he did take a shot or two, his escape could be implemented without exposing himself to direct fire.

He readied himself for the shot, for he knew he was going to take at least one before retreating. That would slow up the advance and give him ample opportunity to escape, he hoped! Both shapes sprinted from behind their cover and raced to the temporary cover of the mini van. One of the scavengers appeared to be just a youth, even though he sported an AK-47. The other was an older man who was also armed with an AK. The older man slung his weapon and began to search the corpse for spoils. The youth was covering their position, looking away from his location. It was then he knew he could take them both.

Taking two deep breaths, he let out the last one and held it. He centered the crosshairs on the youth's head and gently squeezed the trigger. The youths head erupted in a fountain of pink mist and he dropped like a stone. The older man whirled to look for the source of the shot and was rewarded with two rounds through the chest. The third shot allowed those in support to locate his possible hiding spot and they proceeded to light up the area with all their firepower. But it was too late, he had already slid down the pile of rubble and was running out the back yard and into the surrounding brush.

His first kill had sickened him, and left him vulnerable for two days as he dealt with the nausea and flood of emotions. The second one was not so bad, and by the time he had made his sixth kill, he felt nothing at all. It was kill or be killed, and if you hesitated you were dead. That was what had cost him the other two members of his cell. They were inexperienced and hesitated when they should have reacted. Now they were just carrion for the beasts of the field to devour. He had not met any others that he felt qualified to join his cell to this point, so he operated alone. He didn’t hate the people he had killed, and prior to the aftermath of the collapse he had felt he had many friends that were from both the black and hispanic races. The collapse had destroyed all that.

He traveled covertly for several hours before finding an outpost of Blackstone’s. He reported what had happened in the town to the Sergeant at Arms and received 3 MRE’s as a reward along with 20 rounds of .223. MRE’s were hard to come by, and were only used as a method of payment for outstanding service or a special reward. He thanked the Sergeant for his generosity and quickly disappeared into the underbrush. He was headed to a little traveled spot to make his camp for the night, as it was near dark and the twilight was waning.

Finding his destination, he stepped into a seemingly dense patch of underbrush that surrounded a clump of cedars. Reaching up to one of the highest branches that he could reach, his fingers found and pulled on a hidden cord that dropped a rope ladder down through the branches to the thicket floor. He climbed up the ladder and as soon he had gained the sleeping platform among the middle branches, he pulled the rope up after him. Sleeping at ground level was very dangerous and the wild dog packs that roamed the countryside could find you without any warning, and that would be the end of you.

There was a small lean-to shelter on the platform to keep off the rain and a clay chimnea that he had found and lugged back to his hideaway. The chimnea was surrounded by wood reflectors to direct the heat into the shelter as well as hide any light that might escape from the fire itself. He kept a stash of wood covered with a tarp on the platform along with tinder and kindling for quick fires. Inside the lean-to was a plastic bucket with a Gamma lid in which he stored his meager supply of food. In a wooden trunk at the rear of the shelter he stored his extra clothes and his small supply of ammo. In another bucket was his water supply, which he refilled with runoff from the roof of his shelter. Yet a 3rd bucket had a toilet seat for body waste and a 4th was full of wood ashes to cover the waste with.

No one else knew of his hideaways, as he felt that secrecy was the best type of security. He only burned the chimnea at night to hide the smoke and also because during the daylight hours he was generally on the move. He had 4 of these type camps and several underground camps where he spent the winter months as they were warmer and easier to insulate. He didn’t move around much in winter; the snow was getting deeper with each passing year and he didn’t wish to leave any tracks leading to his dwelling. He choose a desolate wilderness location for these camps, nearby only to water sources and fuel supplies. He spent at least 2 months each summer stocking these retreats with food and wood to last through the lengthening winter months. Soon, he would have to move south as many others were talking about doing.

The earth was entering a new ice age, and new glaciers were forming in the northern territories. The remaining population in these areas were migrating southward with each passing year as the snows deepened and stayed longer. The tardy spring weather finally melted the snows late in June and left a chill in the air that did not disappear until late July. Then later in October the cold began to return, with early frosts and bleary days in which the sun struggled to penetrate the fogs. The larger groups began to displace smaller ones, or they absorbed them altogether. Wild game, which had been almost extinct after the collapse due to hunting pressure, made a great comeback in the 4th year as the hunting population had died off from starvation or had been killed in conflict or plague.

The CME was a depopulation event beyond the wildest dreams of the global elite. Only they had not planned on their own extinction as a result. 5 billion died in the years after the event. War, famine, plague and natural disasters took their toll. Nature was no respecter of wealth and power. All were leveled to poverty, until the warlords arose. It was a new world now, and the old ways were no longer attainable with the current level of upheaval underway. 

He cleaned his Mini-14 by firelight that night and thought about his next recon trip. The Sergeant had given him a new task; to go back to the town and look for more of the group he had discovered there. He had been reluctant to go at first, but the Sergeant had offered him more ammo and MRE’s, and if he could bring back a prisoner for interrogation, an RPK with 8 each 40 round magazines! With ammo! He could not pass up the offer, and even if he could not get a prisoner, the intel would pay well. Tomorrow he would head out. He would recon the town from a large tree on a knoll just to the north of town and with a clear view. If need be, he would sleep in the tree, just so he wouldn’t miss anything. Tomorrow…

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Book Review - Camping & Wilderness Survival: The Ultimate Outdoors Book

Camping & Wilderness Survival: The Ultimate Outdoors Book
by Paul Tawrell

I ordered this book on 7/2 from through one of their affiliates. I paid $26.78 with shipping and handling for a like new condition book, but I see there are cheaper choices. I was pleased with the condition of the book as it appeared to be new and in excellent condition.

The book arrived 7/20, and I was pleasantly surprised as to the size of the book.
It has 1080 pages and is jam packed with color images and information on all sorts of topics on the outdoors. This book is a great resource for learning about all types of things, from tying knots to building fires, selecting knives, cold weather survival and many other topics.

While this book is more like an encyclopedia than an in depth study on any given topic, it is very nicely done. There is so much information in it that it will take a long time to read through just the parts that interest me the most!

In reviewing the Customer reviews on Amazon, I see there is a mixed reception to this book, depending on the skill and knowledge of the person doing the review. For the most part it has good solid reviews with the negatives being a small minority.

Not having read through the whole book yet, I can only say WOW! I would recommend this book if you are at all interested in the out of doors. You are bound to learn something new even if you are a seasoned veteran of the wilds!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A New Blog

Rourke over at (under my featured links) contacted me and told me he has started a new survival & preparedness blog - He has been working hard on it and says he has had some pretty good interviews, and has up an interview with author and columnist Jerry Ahern (post apocalyptic survivalist series, The Survivalist). Head on over and check him out!

After Armageddon: Parts 7 Through 9

Here are the final 3 videos.

After Armageddon 7

After Armageddon 8

After Armageddon 9

Friday, July 16, 2010

After Armageddon: Parts 4 Through 6

Here are parts 4, 5 and 6. The next 3 parts will be posted tomorrow. Enjoy!

After Armageddon 4

After Armageddon 5

After Armageddon 6

Thursday, July 15, 2010

After Armageddon: Parts 1 Through 3

Here is a series that was presented on the History Channel called After Armageddon. It is presented fairly well and is thought provoking.

After Armageddon 1

 After Armageddon 2

After Armageddon 3

I paused quite few time while watching this to explore what my reaction would be to each of the circumstances that is presented here. It is worth taking some notes.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tarp Shelter Setup and Tying the Prussic Knot

Tom from Canada asked for the link to this video, so here is the link and the video!

8x10 Tarp Setup

Also I'd mentioned some videos about tying knots so here is one of them.

Prussic Knot

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Selous's Gear - New Toys

I received some new toys in the mail today! I took advantage of the Cold Steel July 4th sale and purchased some of their products. I bought 2 of the Long Hunter knives and one each of the 12" and 18" Spear Point Machetes.

If you buy 2 of the Long Hunters you can get them for $25.00. The Machetes were $7.99 for the 12" and $9.99 for the 18".
The sheaths for the Long Hunter are made of Cordura and seem to be made well enough. When you get them out the box, the blade is protected by a cardboard sheath and is in a small plastic bag. At first look, when you place the knife in the sheath, it seems to be overwhelmingly sloppy. In fact it would most likely fall out if you wore it on your belt and went out into the woods. 

There is no keeper on the sheath like others have as there is no finger guard to be captured. After looking at the website ad I noticed that the knife was seated deeper in the sheath. So I did that with mine. The knife was now held firmly and will not fall out. The grip may loosen over time so that is something to watch for.

Here is the blade compared to my Becker BK7.

Here are the toys and my BK7 for size comparison.

I was disappointed to find that the Long Hunter was made in Taiwan and not the US. The handle of the Long Hunter is made of polypropylene. I find it comfortable enough but am concerned that it may become slippery if you have any blood on it from butchering game. Time will tell if this is a valid concern.

The machetes are worth every cent and seem to be solidly made. Their sheaths are also made of Cordura and the ad says that the handles are also made of polypropylene, though they feel a bit like hard rubber to me. The handle feels good in my grip, and the 18" has a very nice heft to it. The upper false edge is nearly as sharp as the bottom of the blade, but they both need some serious sharpening to be able to use them effectively. Here again the blades are made outside of the US. These are made in China. I would not let that put you off though.

Overall I am pleased with the quality of the merchandise and do not feel guilty recommending any of them to my readers. It is a sale so you need to move on these items quickly if you wish to take advantage of it.