Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Part 110

It was like being frozen for a few seconds and then I quickly crawled backwards to get my foot loose from the hole.  Oh it hurt all right but I could still wiggle my toes and move my ankle.  Nothing crunched or anything like that.  So no bones were broken but man did it hurt.

It was about that time that I noticed how gray the sky had gotten.  And I also realized that I was just barely going to make it on time.  I got up and tried to walk and nearly fell down again.  The foot wasn't broken but I'd obviously sprained it badly.  I'd done the same thing in the city once and Doc had stayed with me for a couple of days, even carried me for a while piggy back, while it healed and then we hooked back up with the group.

Yeah, I know Doc was a scuzz there at the end but he also had a good side and I learned a lot from him and he did take care of me when Sherry got too involved in her own troubles.  I guess most people are like that; there are good things and bad things about them.  The question is whether or not the good things outweigh the bad things.  In the beginning Doc had more control over his bad side, you wouldn't even had known he had one.  In the end he had started to lose control of that part of himself.  Maybe it was a blessing that it ended the way it did for him.  I guess I'll never know how far he would have been willing to sink.

But at that point in non-memory land I was nearly sinking to my knees with every step.  I still wasn't ready to give up.  I found a stick and used it like a crutch.  I told myself my foot would feel better in a few steps, then a few steps more.  The terrain was hard to travel hobbling like I was so I switched to using the forestry roads instead of cutting across.  It made walking a little easier but it added distance that only made things worse.  Then I felt a wet, cold breeze across the back of my hands and I realized some kind of storm was on the way.

I tried, I really did but about a mile from my cabin I admitted defeat.  I also knew no one was coming to the rescue.  Small snowflakes had begun to fall from the sky and there was no way I was going to get where I needed to get in twenty minutes; I wouldn't even be close enough to scream for help.

There were only a few snowflakes but the air was getting a lot colder.  That was good to keep the puss brains out of commission ... those that would stay out of commission ... but at the same time it was a calamity of mammoth proportions.  Where could I stay?  I decided to head for the Singing Water camp.  It was snowing slightly worse by the time I made it there.  It wasn't that it was snowing harder but that the snow that there was seemed to dance around like a bunch of hyperactive three year olds.

I hadn't been on the grounds since I'd been there with my family and all the changes that had been made since then made it surreal, trying to see it the way it used to be.  It didn't help to see the remains of the slaughtered animals lying all over the place.  Some of the buildings I expected to see were gone and then there were some that stood out as being almost painfully new but overall there was the destruction left behind by the madness of the puss brains.  I was painfully thirsty by that time and headed straight for the wellhouse which, thank Providence, hadn't been too badly damaged and still had a prime.  I didn't see any obvious contamination - they had damaged the outside of the building but didn't look like they had come inside for some reason - but I still let fresh was flow for several pumps before I filled my canteen.

I was an hour looking around the camp.  I spotted a lot of things I could use (after some cleaning) to survive but no place I could stay during a storm that wasn't badly compromised.  The puss brains had damaged most everything but there were a couple of sheds that hadn't been broken into.  I knew that the same combination had always been used by the family - Dad had fussed at them for their lack of security - and it was 0911 or 0711 and sure enough that got me into where I wanted to go.  One shed was the food storehouse and there was less than I expected but still more than enough for one person for at least a few weeks.  Another was full of salvaged junk.  And the third held empty storage containers and things like that.  I would have stayed in the sheds if I'd had no other choice but they weren't weather proofed ... no windows, just shutters, and no chinking between the rough boards and logs used to build them.

One of the "things like that" from the salvage storage shed was a garden wagon and I pulled it out along with several large jugs.  I took these over to the well house and filled them.  The wellhouse would be my only source of clean drinking water as there was no way to say how badly contaminated the creek was (is).  I also took a few things out of the food shed before relocking it - and changing the combination.

I felt like a one legged mule pulling that wagon back to my cabin.  Yes, my cabin.  I wasn't really aiming for the cabin but to my bunker.  There was no way to secure some place cleaner in the short time I had. By the time I got there the water in the jugs was getting slushy so I knew it was probably in the teens or single digits.  The only reason I was warm at all was because of all of the effort I was exerting.

Finally I lifted down the last items from the wagon and did my best to crawl down one last time without falling down.  The wind was blowing even more fiercely and it tried to rip the trap door out of my hand but I finally managed to close and secure it properly.  It wasn't tropical warm down in the bunker but it wasn't nearly as close as it was outside either.  Getting out of the wind made me realize just how tired I was.  I laid down in my nest of bear skin rug and promptly went to sleep.  It was a long time before I woke up.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Kathy for the new chapters this is a great story, I am really glad that you are posting it for us.