Thursday, January 8, 2015

Part 111


My foot was way worse when I woke some hours later to the sound of a blizzard above my head.  It was swollen and stiff and asleep where it had swollen inside my boot.  Getting it off nearly had me puking but I managed it and then called myself three types of lunkhead for not doing it right the first time around.  As soon as I got it out of the boot it swelled even more but at least the feeling was starting to come back ... not that that felt too nice.

I stood up the best I could and crawled/hobbled over to the water jugs and I noticed that the closer I would put my hand to the ceiling of the bunker which was the floor of the cabin, the colder it would feel.  I realized that snow was probably blowing in and piling up inside the walls and across the floor.  I hoped that it would eventually add some insulation but I didn't want it to seal me in, cut down my oxygen, and just thinking about the mess that would be coming when it thawed made me even more nauseous than my ankle was already making me.

It was a three day blizzard.  By the end of the third day my ankle and foot were still bruised but back to normal size.  I needed to get out, get some fresh air, dispose of my personal waste, and take care of other necessities like getting more water from the well house and trying to figure out some kind of stove so that I could eat something that wasn't dry or ice cold.  I also needed to clear my head and start deciding what I was going to do.

While it was still cold enough to keep the puss brains down I needed to move.

For the next two days I salvaged what I could from Singing Waters before I was stopped by another three-day blizzard.  After that storm I got brave enough to go back to see if all of the camps had indeed evacuated.  I found a few people that had tried to hold out who had frozen to death - or starved to death, I'm not sure as it was hard to tell - but no live person, uninfected or not.

Then there was another real humdinger of a storm that lasted five days.  It wasn't really a blizzard because there wasn't any wind in it; but, it did snow quite a few more inches onto the already snow covered ground.  During that one I nearly went bonkers but it did give me time to think, or maybe forced me to think is a better way of saying it.  I knew there was no way that I was going to be able to stay in the national forest area.  If the weather didn't get me, starvation eventually would.  I'd seen the remains of a lot of animals.  The puss brains had torn into anything that moved while they were running loose.  That would mean that hunting was going to be pointless.  Even if I could overcome that I still had to deal with the fact that all of the water and land for who knows how many miles in every direction was contaminated.

And eventually all those puss brains that the weather was holding away were going to come out of hibernation.  The blizzard and storm season wouldn't last much longer and I needed to get gone before they woke up and started moving.  I also needed to get on the road before the thaw really set in or I would get bogged down in mud and floods.  The question that I couldn't answer was which direction would I go.  Every one had their own problems.

North was only more cold and I wasn't exactly likely to be met with opened arms at the Canadian border.  More than likely they were hacked off plenty at having so many puss brains coming their direction.  East would just be smack into the hordes from the large urban centers.  South would have to be through more hordes and it would be like backtracking due to failure.  West ... well I'd never been west but that would be chasing the puss brains being shipped out there.  I decided just to get away first and then see what I ran into before positively committing to anything.

Between storms I tried to figure out how much I could carry; what I would take and what I would leave behind.  It wasn't easy.  Not all of the equipment Jace had provided had held up.  Some that had had proven to be less than useful.  I carefully separated things until I had a pile that would fit in the best backpack.  I had to leave a few things I really wanted because they were too heavy or awkward ... like a small camp chair and the wind up lamp from the trailer.

That didn't leave me a lot of room for food and I couldn't really count on hunting because I didn't know where I was going, if the infecteds had stripped it, or if the uninfected had stripped it just trying to survive.  I suspected the winter was bad for people and that those left might be dangerous but I didn't know for sure.  But better to be safe than sorry ... plan for the worst and hope for the best.  Only I don't have a lot of hope left in me.  I know I should be grateful that I've survived.  I figure I must still have some purpose to fulfill.  I just don't seem to have a lot of energy to get excited about it.

I was running out of cans of food though I tried to piece it out what supplies that had been left behind by the mass evacuation of the area.  Singing Waters gave me a lot of wild rice, dried meat and fish, dried cranberries and other wild berries, a small supply of dried apples, some homemade sausages, a few dried vegetables that they must have been able to get from their gardens, maple syrup, honey, and a few other odds and ends.  It sounds like a lot of food but it wasn't; it went quickly as I was unable to add anything to it because everything else was contaminated.  I missed having cattails whenever I wanted them and fussed because I had let my personal supply get so low.

I decided that I was going to try and pull the wagon that I'd been using to haul things from the various camps.  It held some of the equipment I couldn't carry and would hold most of the food I had left.  I reminded myself not to put all of the food in the wagon but to shift some things around so that some was in my pack and some in the wagon in case I had to drop the handle and run.  That way I wouldn't lose everything.

By the middle of March I simply had no choice.  It was starting to rise above freezing during the day ... not a lot on some days but enough that the snow was turning to slush and mud.  It was get out or get bogged in.  Those first steps back the way I had come from were really difficult to make.  But I didn't have the option of doing anything else.  Part of my plan to survive had failed ... but part wasn't a failure because I had survived.  I try and take the good with the bad but like I said before, it's become hard to get too excited about things.  Getting excited means you feel something and feeling something just seems to line you up for another kick in the pants.

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