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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Guest Post: Firestorm Chapter 9a , by Christopher Young

Another rescue mission

Heather did answer the cell phone. What a Gomer. Finish a conversation, say nothing useful. Then, call back. Heather would text message "what's for dinner"? and Gomer would reply "food." Then, Gomer would remember something else, then HE would ring back. His usual. Good thing Heather checked his bug out bags. He usually forgot something important.

Gomer explained the situation to Heather. It had been a year or two since the old Buick had run, but she figured she could get the batery hooked up. Gomer told her that the keys were on the hook. Behind the door, in the upstairs study. Not sure the car will start, though. Gomer gave her the approximate location, and what the girls had said.

Heather pushed the end button, and thought for a while what might be needed. Knew that Faith travelled with nearly nothing in the mini van. So, her kids Bobbi and Savannah would be hungry. And thirsty, and scared. She started to make a mental list of all the things needed, to rescue Faith. Not that the two women really liked each other, but this was an emergency. and the two kids enjoyed playing with her kids. An so it was really a rescue mission for the kids, not for Faith. Faith could stay out in the woods and be eaten by a bear, for all Heather cared.

Heather told the kids they had best finish breakfast, and then go get dressed for ourdoors. The kids brightened. Play otudoors? Neat, that was the best part of the day. Run around the yards, and play on the swing set. Heather saw the kids brighten, and then had to tell them that they were going to help out Faiths kids. Going for a ride.

"Ride! Ride what!" Zach exclaimed. He knew the Gomer mobile wasn't going any where, and Chris wasn't here with the Blazer. Heather reminded him they had the old Buick in the garage. Zach's eyes registered the thought. Hmm. Well, wonder if that works. He wasn't sure. Heather wasn't sure, either. Sean looked up, and said "Ride in the car!" and then scratched his butt through his underwear, which was the only clothing he was wearing. Melissa was a proper princess, in pyjammas and fuzzy pink slippers. She knew that Zach didn't like to wear any clothes at all, but that was only for play time in the yard when he didn't think anyone was looking. Such a boy. Boys are so useless.

"EAT!!!" Heather exclaimed, and then reminded them to dress for outdoors. Heather went into the prep room, and grabbed a trauma bag, and a bug out bag. One in each hand. Set the bags by the door. Went into Gomer's study to get the Buick keys. They weren't on the hook. Heather looked in the desk drawer, and on the top of the file cabinet. Heather then began to search through the study. No Buick keys. Finally, Heather went into the kitchen, and looked through the "junk drawer". Still, no Buick keys. Finally, she said to herself "Hey, wait, that's MY car!! Where did I put MY key?" and remembered her car keys were in the dresser drawer, where she always put them. Got her own set of keys (Gomer's spare key to the buick was no where to be found). Started down the stairs to the car.

Down the stairs, so also went Connie. But in a different house. In a different state. She Went down the front stairs of the house, and out to the driveway. It was about a 15 minute walk to the OP, but she knew it had to be done. She got within a hundred feet or so, and called out. Usually Bill would look out the back door of the OP, and smile at her. She was usually bringing cookies or some other treat, and Bill enjoyed cookies. There was no answer. So, she walked some more. But very slowly. Didn't know what she would see, but knew she didn't want to see it.

Reaching the back of the OP, Connie looked in, and left and right. She finally looked down, and then closed her eyes. Several seconds later, she stepped back from the OP, and turned towards the house. Opened her eys, and walked towards the house wtih a blank look on her face. Arriving at the house, Madison saw her first. Jade was about to say something, but Madison hissed like a cat, briefly. Jade took the clue, and didn't say anything. The kids could tell by the look on Mom's face, that Bill was not going to come back again. No more hugs, no more bouncing on his knee, and no more bedtime stories. Just, simply, no more.

Connie's brain had totally shut down. She walked to the kitchen, and looked for her cigarettes, to calm her down. None to be found. And then she checked all the hiding places. Under the sink, behind the fridge. David had found all her hiding places, and had smoked them all up. Finally, she sat down at the kitchen table, and just stared blankly off into space. The two kids stared blankly also, but staring at their mother. Wishing she would give them some direction. What to do. How to think.

Faith was also looking a bit blank. She hadn't woken up, in the morning. By this time, both girls needed a morning potty. Mom wasn't looking like she would be much help. The girls looked at each other, and finally Savannah said remember, the time we were camping? Bobbi nodded. They looked down at the floor of the mini van, and found a couple paper napkins. The woods were only twenty feet away, it would be safe. They opened the side door of the mini van, and stepped out. Hand in hand, they walked determinedly towards the woods. A deer near the edge of the woods lifted its head, and gracefully walked into the woods. As though the deer was reassuring the girls there was no danger near by.

Some minutes later, the girls were busy arguing "No, you're not doing it right". Truth be told, there was more than one way to shit in the woods. The girls were being very resourceful, and were remembering a lot of camping wisdom that Gomer had taught them.

At Gomer's barn, Heather and Zach were pulling open the rolling door. Behind the door, there was the Buick that Heather had driven before they got married. It didn't seem practical to keep it licensed and on the road. The inspection and registration stickers had long since expired, but the vehicle was in good shape. Heather opened the door, and pulled the hood release. Zach reached under the front of the hood, looking for the hood release. He found it, but wasn't quite tall enough to lift the hood all the way up. Heather quietly put the battery clamp back on, and looked for a wrench to tighen it. Seems like with all the tools in the house, there should be a battery wrench some where. Heather looked around under the hood. Figured Gomer would take the clamp off, and leave the wrench laying there. No chance. Heather finally went out to the old Bronco, which had caught fire. Looked around the back of the Bronco, and found a blackened crescent wrench. heather said a quick prayer. Went back to the Buick and managed to make the sooty wrench work. She climbed into the car, and turned the key.

The starter growled, but didn't have enough energy to start the car. Hmm. Now what? Guess it needs a battery charger. Thought she'd seen one in the cellar of the main house. Heather sent Zack in to get the batery charger. And an extension cord. Zack came out several minutes later, holding a small air compressor, and a short extension cord. He's sweet, but a bit clueless. Heather went into the cellar, and turned on a light. Had to sort through a couple piles of stuff, but finally found a charger. She clipped the charger onto the battery, and a short extension cord onto the charger. Since the garage was on the same power as the house, the socket had power. The propane generator was supplying the electric. Heather switched the charger to "boost" and got back in. Turning the key again, the engine spun for two or three seconds, and then the motor started. Leaving the motor running, Heather went out to unplug the charger. And then wrap the wires, and set the charger on the shelf. Zach was doing the victory dance, and motioned for high five. First time in how ever long that Zach had high fived his Mom.

Zach said that it was time to go. Got to go rescue Faith and her girls. Well, Heather said, time for a few more things to do. She pulled the shift down into drive, and rolled the car out of the barn. No sense filling the barn with monoxide. She drove the car up to the underground fuel tank, and cranked some gasoline into the fuel tank. Only took a galon or two, Heather always tried to keep the gas tank full. And then she and Zach went into the house for last minute instructions.

At Sam's, they were discussing the morning. Sammy, the younger, wasn't looking very awake. There was a knock at the door, and everyone turned to look. Brenda got up from the table, and opened the front door. There, was an Ohio State Patrolman. His smokey the bear hat was straight, and his expression could not be determined, behind the mirorred sun glasses. His right hand was wearing a thin black leather glove. His hand was comfortably resting on his duty weapon.

Chris looked up, and Chris appeared puzzled. Gomer was pale, and looked like he'd rather be any where else. Sam, if his expression could be read, was "oh, no, not this again".

Brenda sweetly invited him in, and silently the Trooper stepped into the house. Sam broke the silence by speaking. "George, you old son of a bitch, come in and have a cup of coffee with us". The trooper lifted his gloved hand off his pistol, and reached up to take off his sun glasses. "Sam, glad to see you're OK. I saw the fire damage out back of your garage, and didn't know if you were OK. Figured you could take care of yourself. How the heck you been doing?"

George brought much needed news. He'd heard a lot about what was going on in the state, and in the nation. None of it was good. The Muslim extremists had been demanding control of the nation. That their Sharian law would be the law of the land, and the constitution would be suspended indefinitely. There had been a lot of fires in Ohio, more than the fire department could keep up. With commerce being shut down, many of the fire departments had run out of fuel. Fires were left to burn themselves out. Millions of people were homeless, and had been sent to FEMA camps. The last traces of government were just about out of resources, too. The military and the uN were about the only government remaining.

George said also, that law enforcement was nearly at a standstill. There was not enough jail space, and the courts were impotent to do much. The nation had been reduced to lawlessnes. There was a call for the return of government. But, not sure that would happen any time soon. George advised them to keep a watch all around the clock, and be careful who they invite into the house.

Brenda offered George a bit to eat. George replied he'd like that. From the way he chowed down, it was clear that he hadn't been fed in a while. No telling how long. After breakfast, George burped, and wiped his face. Thanked Brenda for the best breakfast he'd had all week. And on a personal note, asked Sam if he could spare some .40 S & W ammo. The department was out, and he was down to only the last five rounds in his pistol. Sam looked very surprised. Well, after all, it was George, who had been his friend for all these years. George had looked the other way a couple times when he could have written Sam a ticket. Sam got up from the table, and hobbled off to the back room of the house. Came back with a box of 50 rounds. Set it on the table in front of George, and told him to load up.

George smiled, and said he'd put out the word that the folks here are on our team. The police had unofficially figured out that some folks are loyal Americans, and so they watch over the loyal folks, help out any way the police can.

As Trooper George was loading up his two empty magazines, Sam decided to push his luck a bit. How to get rid of four bodies, out back of the lot. George said no problem, he'd have the Public Works truck stop by later today and pick em up. Just drag em out by the street. That kind of thing was common, now days.

George wrote down his cell number, and left that with Sam. In case they ever needed any more help. Put on his gloves, sunglasses, and trooper hat. Said he'd have to be leaving. Any thing we can do to help, just call. Then, he stepped out the door and was gone.

Sam looked across the table at his son. "You Okay? You look like you didn't sleep very well? Seems like after that long walk last night, you'd have enough fresh air, and been able to sleep pretty good. Sammy sqirmed a bit and said it was just a passing thing, and he'd be OK.

Brenda rescued the stalled conversation. Said she had heard from a couple of the neighbors. The one family was out of food, but FEMA was handing out rations. They just had to go and fill out the one page registrations. Some of the workers at the FEMA camp didn't speak very good American. Some folks were wondering if they were foreigners. FEMA came and searched the house, to make sure they weren't hoarding food. Says they did confiscate the one gun in the house, and old antique that hadn't fired in a hundred years or so. Sam, Chris, and Gomer. Eyes met across the table. So, the gun roundup has started?

Sammy got up from the table, and went to the pantry. Stuffed a couple granola bars, and some dried fruit in his pocket. Headed out the back door. For a guy who spends most of his time on the computer, it's good to see him outside, getting some exercise. Sam was pleased.

The fresh air was also doing Faith's kids some good. After their morning potty, they started to fill their time throwing rocks and sticks at the trees. Savannah had been on the T-ball league at school, and was very good both at throwing and batting. Zack was looking hardy. He was friends with both girls, and was sad when they left. Soon, they would be back together.

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