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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

(5)The Cache - By Northern Raider

John Smith’s wife Wendy a specialist nurse was just finishing off the last of her patients notes before she closed down the clinic for the night when the lights went out,   She sat patiently for about 10 minutes under the dim light from the low powered emergency escape lighting system. “Damn it” she thought “John was right I should keep a torch of some sort in my uniform pocket, rather than on the table in the clinic with my other examination equipment”.

Using the dim emergency lighting she retrieved the flashlight from her desk and headed for the locker room. Opening her locker she first grabbed her cell phone to call John but it was not connecting to any cell. Slightly worried about this she turned on the portable radio that sat on the coffee table by the sink, she soon became alarmed at the news about the rolling blackout affecting most of the region. She headed back to her locker and pulled out a small rucksack that John insisted she kept at work. In it she found her spare well worn but exceedingly quiet and comfortable walking shoes, a fleece vest and a waterproof cagoule. She changed quickly as the heating in her work place had suffered the same fate as her husband’s office and it was cooling off quickly. She decided to wait an hour to see if john called before she decided to make a move.

In her rucksack she had a flashlight and batteries, small lock knife, compass, two bottles of Lucasade, three low fat nutrition bars and two tinned energy booster fortified milk shakes.  A small radio, two light sticks, a first aid kit and a Leatherman juice multi tool were among the other items she kept in her bag.

After listening to the radio once again and drinking one of the fortified shakes Wendy decided it was time to head home, so of she went to the station at the end of the road,

The station was closed and locked and the lights were out, “Bugger” thought Wendy it’s the bus for me so she walked briskly to the bus stop. When she got there she found dozens of people waiting but no bus.   One lady said she had been there since 5.30PM and it was now getting on for 7.45PM.   At that point she spotted a guy in a railway workers uniform cycling slowly up the road. She asked him if he knew what was happening as he rode alongside the bus queue.

“Its absolute bloody mayhem pet, no buses or trains are running, traffic jams from here to the coast they say, and those buggers in the city have started rioting and looting, last I heard was there would be no more trains for at least 48 hours and I was told I could go home, So I’m off to find my missus and hopefully get home before midnight”   He then cycled off into the darkness.

OK so now what?  Thought Wendy, that husband of mine is going to be so smug and unbearable for weeks, his staunch beliefs able how fragile the social infrastructure had become was so right “she thought to herself which in turn made her chuckle“
John Smith you are right and I love you for it” said Wendy quietly to herself and she set off at a brisk walk using her flashlight to light her way as she headed towards the edge of town and the U – Store depot that was sited along the way.

About 50 minutes lady a warm and glowing Wendy Smith arrived at the U-Store depot and went straight to the mini unit John had on long term rent. The security officers were still on duty and were not unduly concerned about the power outage because power failures were so common of late. The space John had leased was not much bigger than her locker at work but in it was cached  a folding mountain bike, another rucksack  with maps and compass, food, camp cooker , water bottle with puri straw, clean clothes, medical kit, £50 in cash, first aid supplies, more chemical light sticks and a few other bits n bobs.

Wendy assembled the bike loaded into her rucksack supplies she decided she needed from the cache, and set off into the night, The route she chose was the old railway which was now part of the national cycleway route system, it was unlit but the moon was out so she chose not to use her bicycle lights in case it attracted unwanted attention. It was getting cold and starting to rain ever so lightly, and the evening was wearing on. Wendy decided that the chances of her meeting anyone along the cycleway at this time were so slight that she could  travel fairly safely, besides looking back into town it sounded even from that distance all the loonies were running riot back there.

Wendy mounted the bike and set off home, it took her just over 2 hours to reach the safety of her semi rural home, on arrival after getting her breath back and gathering her wits Wendy set up a string of Cycalume sticks to give her light until daylight returned and John came home, She then started about cooking all the food in the freezer on her Butane powered three ring camp cooker.

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