Prepper Fiction • Re: The Fall

February 27, 2017 Cast Iron 0
NJMike wrote:
Well that took a dark turn. A very realistic possibility though.

Good writing. :thumbsup:

Still reading. :)

Thank you NJMike.

Actually it was toned down a bit from the first draft in terms of darkness.

But I needed to get Claire to a point that will get us to the war.

We are about there now.

Statistics: Posted by Cast Iron — Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:59 pm


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Prepper Fiction • Re: The Fall

February 27, 2017 Cast Iron 0

Claire knelt in the dirt, putting seeds into the still cold soil. It was too soon for planting but Jason insisted. They would take later once the soil warmed up, if the seeds did not rot.
Claire’s mother taught Claire everything she knew about plants. It was her mothers passion. Looking back, Claire understood why: It got her mother away from her father.
Claire was wishing it would get her away from Jason.
But he insisted on standing “Overwatch,” as he put it, with his AR15, his “Kit,” and other tactical gear.
Claire continued to sow seeds. She actually did not mind the work, for that matter she enjoyed working the dirt in her hands and under her fingernails. What she did mind was Jason standing around, pawing his rifle, and talking. It interrupted the sounds of nature all around them with his insistent commentary of all things tactical related.
Jason knew nothing tactical related.
In high school he took the military entrance exam, the ASVAB.
He did not score high enough to get into even the most basic military occupation. Given at the time the military was drawing down their numbers and could be very selective of who they choose to enlist, taking only those who passed at a higher percentage rate.
Jason did not make that cut.
Most of Jason’s tactical expertise was gathered from internet forums, magazines featuring covers of tricked out AR15s, and YouTube videos.
As she continued to plant seeds he droned on about their tactical situation, as she ignored. With the exception of those they saw when they made the journey to the market, they have not seen another person in months. What could they have that was worth even taking? An old, shabby, faded single wide trailer on less than a quarter acre land surrounded by overgrowth and shrubs? Aside from the wood stove, the raised bed gardens were likely worth more. And they were not even producing anything as she put seeds in the soil. Likely her bicycle was worth more.
Claire sighed as she finished the last row and stood up.
“Done,” she said simply.
Jason looked at her for a long moment.
“Ok,” he muttered.
“We should clean the gutters and clean out the rain barrels,” Claire suggested, knowing full well, ‘we’ was really ‘her.’
“Yeah, we will do that.”
For the next three hours Claire scrubbed gutters and rain barrels.

Claire wanted to go to market to trade for more food.
Jason refused. He declared he would take her bicycle and do the trading. He was more qualified than her. Fuming, Claire pointed out her bicycle was too small for him. Jason dismissed her observation and took his pack, his AR15 and wheeled out on the bicycle.
Three hours later, Jason returned, ranting about how her bicycle was a piece of junk, and he would never again use it to go anywhere, preferring to be on foot. The tactical situation on a bicycle was unacceptable, riding right into an ambush.
Claire made the mistake of commenting on how she was nearly silent on a bicycle, and could ride past an ambush before anyone even knew she was there.
Jason launched into another OPSEC rant.
He ended a few hours later, at the small cheap wooden kitchen table as she set dinner down in front of him, with how stupid she was to think otherwise.
Claire’s father used to talk to her, look at her the same way. When she felt the anger build inside of her, she would shake and cry with rage. All the hurt, the humility, welling up. She could not help it but shake and tears gathering in her eyes.
She hated herself for it. It felt weak to her. She always felt like she should be stronger. But she never was. Claire looked at female characters in her books who where strong, proud and took nothing from no one. Those women never cowered when confronted. Never took a disparaging comment or look and were never reduced to tears.
This time something was different.
Claire felt the rage, the anger. But rather than white hot, with tears in her eyes, it was cold. Cool. Calculating.
As she set Jason’s dinner down on the table, him finishing his rant with how stupid she was to think otherwise, she looked him right in the eyes. Her eyes reflecting the same cold, cool, and calculating she felt inside.
Quickly he looked away and started eating his dinner she prepared for him.
Claire slowly walked away, still looking at him while he ate. She then turned, and made her own plate of dinner. But she was not hungry. For a moment she stared out the kitchen window, the fading sunset set in the West set the sky in a tinge mix of orange and pink in the clouds in the East. She could see her raised bed gardens that would likely never sprout. She reached for a fork and knife but was mildly surprised to find a eight inch chef’s knife in her hand.
The weight of it felt good in her hand.
Natural even.

Jess had finished for the day, packing up her table and camp chair. She traded not only eggs, but two blocks of goat cheese for five pounds of ground venison and homemade pasta.
It was a good day.
Until she spied Claire pulling up on her bicycle. It was loaded down with packs hanging off the handle bars, each side of the seat stem, and a huge pack on her back. Despite the clear effort Claire had put in hauling all of it up to the market, she smiled a smile Jess had never seen.
“Hi ya, Claire,” Jess greeted her.
“Hi ya, Jess,” Claire returned. “Is there still a empty house around here I can move into,” she asked. Then she finished, “Jason is gone.”
It was the degree of finality in Claire’s voice, the cold look and then the equally cold smile that sent a chill through Jess.

Statistics: Posted by Cast Iron — Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:31 pm


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Prepper Fiction • Re: The Fall

February 27, 2017 Cast Iron 0
pilgrimtr wrote:
ok Cast iron you have me hooked.
great story please keep it coming. Pilgrim :thumbsup:

Thank you Pilgrim.
I am glad you like it.

With the introduction of Claire, I now have a way ahead.
Just have to get it out of my head and onto . . . paper?

Statistics: Posted by Cast Iron — Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:51 am


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Prepper Fiction • Re: The Fall

February 24, 2017 Cast Iron 0
LetsPrep11 wrote:
I love how I’m pulled into another world while I read this story. I don’t want it to stop! Keep it going CI!!

Thank you LetsPrep11.

As long as you keep reading, I will keep writing.

Statistics: Posted by Cast Iron — Fri Feb 24, 2017 1:36 pm


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Prepper Fiction • Re: The Fall

February 24, 2017 Cast Iron 0

Claire pulled off the dirt road and into the short drive to the rental single wide. She parked her bicycle in the shed, and closed the wooden door. As she approached the wooden stairs to the door of the faded red and white trailer, she was suddenly filled with a sense of dread and stopped.
Was Jason awake? How would he react to her going and trading ammunition for food?
After a brief tour of the market, Jess and Debbie helped Claire trade for as much food as she could take back with her. The small backpack was full with two cartons of eggs, a loaf of bread, butter, blackberry jam, and several small plastic bags of dried herbs.
And she still had what Jess called, “change left over.” Four, fifty count boxes of the .22LR ammunition of the ten boxes she brought to trade in the bottom of the backpack along with her water. Claire was going to leave the water to get another loaf of bread, but Jess and Debbie advised against it. Jess told Claire of a man who came through recently who had been on the road for several days and was out of water.
As they went about the market looking for things Claire could trade, the women told her of different things that had happened around the community since, “The world stopped,” is what Debbie called it. There was a brief mention of the civil war, but both women did not want to discuss it and after an uncomfortable moment, pressed on to how everyone was growing as big a garden as they all could. Livestock breeding programs, wild game management programs, water management programs, seed trading program and more. There was a serious on-going bridge card game tournament. The community school drama club put together three plays a year and a musical.
When Claire asked about news from outside the area, Jess shrugged.
“We used to get news from some of the other HAM operators. A lot of them have gone quiet, especially once winter set in.”
“A few said their batteries were not charging as much as their solar panels could put out and had to conserve energy for other things, heating most likely,” Debbie chimed in. “We know some lost their solar panels due to bad storms.”
“This winter was bad. Once it warmed up enough to get patrols to the other homes further out, we found some did not make it,” Jess said simply. “Starvation. Froze. One house the roof caved in under the weight of snow. One fire. And a few houses that were just empty. No one there. Just gone.”
“Even closer in we had a few incidents. Accidents, suicides, a homicide. A few of the elderly just passed on,” Debbie added.
Claire nodded but said nothing.
Once finished, Jess and Debbie invited her back to sit and talk sometime over hot tea. One of them was usually at the market at least a few times a week. Claire thanked them and was on her way back. She enjoyed the nearly effortless downhill ride, but could already feel the earlier ride to the market in her legs and butt. She was really going to feel it next morning.
Despite only being gone for a little over two hours it felt like days had gone by as she stared at the door, one foot on the bottom wooden step, still hesitant to go in.
Would he be mad? Would he yell? Would he give her that look her father used to as he yelled at her?
Claire sighed, and opened the door.
She stood in the door way listening.
Jason continued to snore from the bedroom.
Claire sighed again, but this time it was one of relief. She was certain there would be yelling once Jason awoke, but she had an idea and set to it.

As predicted, there was yelling. But it was short lived as she set a plate of three butter fried eggs, two thick cut pieces of toast, slathered in butter and blackberry jam on the table. His stomach was audible even from across the room. Jason immediately took a set and took a bite into the toast. He did not say anything but for the first time she can remember, Claire heard him sigh.
Even though it was instant coffee from the MRE accessory packs, it smelled heavenly.
As Claire made herself another egg and toast, she repeated most everything Jess and Debbie told her. She left out the ladies invitation to tea.
“Civil war?” Jason stopped eating.
“I do not know. It seemed, personal? Like they personally lost someone or something. They were clearly uncomfortable.”
“We did hear shooting several times and sounded even like firefights last year.”
Claire nodded and sipped her coffee.

Statistics: Posted by Cast Iron — Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:48 am


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Prepper Fiction • Re: The Fall

February 23, 2017 Cast Iron 0

Dear reader,
New character whom I did plan for.

Claire woke up. It was still dark out. Somewhat unusual for her, since her body had adjusted to waking just as the sun was breaking over the horizon. Not before.
Jason still was asleep snoring away next to her. She sighed and got up.
The fire had gone out during the night, leaving the rental single wide cool but not as chilly as it had been during the winter. She put her fuzzy slippers on, a heavy bath robe over her flannel pajamas, and made her way slowly out of the bedroom to avoid running into anything groping for the door frame, the hallway and stopped at the bathroom.
She splashed some water from a five gallon bucket sitting next to the toilet to flush.
The wood burning stove had a few dark red coals for her to work with and get the fire going again. The sooner it was going again, the sooner she could make hot coffee, and even make breakfast.
A real breakfast.
Claire stirred the coals with a fire poker, tossed in a hand full of dried tree bark, a few small pieces of kindling, closed the door and slid the air baffle wide open. After a few moments the bark burst into flame and began to burn the smaller pieces. She tossed in three small logs, closed the door, shunt down the air baffle a little and light a candle.
Hand held in front of the candle to prevent it from going out as she walked into the kitchen, she opened the fridge door. There the carton of eggs sat. They were the only thing in the fridge. Why she put them in the fridge she did not know, even mildly chided herself. Even with the arrival of spring, most of the snow gone except in a few deep shadows, the single wide was mostly cool enough the eggs would not go bad.
Jason had returned late in the day before with the eggs from . . . she could not call it a town. It did not have so much as a town square, or downtown, or so much as a traffic light. It was a single post office at a crossroads, a church on the hill, and the rest was nothing more than a collection of homes and farms. Some next to each other, others with a half a mile or more between each other.
Community. She decided it was a community.
The day before Jason returned from the hike to the community to trade for some food taking half a day to get there and back. Their stockpile of MREs had run out two weeks earlier, even after rationing. The rice, beans, canned goods all gone months before. They had been reduced to eating a few handfulls of trial mix a day.
For over an hour he ranted about their lack of OPSEC, especially the fool with the eggs. Jason could of easily taken the eggs from him, but there were a lot of people there in the church parking lot, even kids, and Jason wisely decided it was not worth the possibility of kids getting hurt. They had haggled for the eggs for at least ten minutes, Jason expertly talked the fool down from four boxes of .22LR ammunition to one box.
Claire waited patiently, knowing eventually Jason would get around to the details she was interested in. How many people were there? What kind of things did they have to trade? Did Jason see any of her friends? Was there any news of what had happened?
His responses were vague; A few dozen, he saw butter, bread, the eggs, some blankets, other clothing. He said he did not see any of her friends but she doubted he would recognize them anyways. He did not hear any news as he did not want to draw attention to himself. She sighed and put a pan on the wood stove to fry the eggs when Jason declared they would boil them, two eggs each. When she asked why, he launched into another of his OPSEC rants about the smell carrying on the wind. Claire nearly asked who was going to smell frying eggs? They had not seen another living soul months before the first snow fell. She did not say anything, rather put the pan away and got out a pot to boil the eggs in while he ranted.
This morning, though, she was going to have two fried eggs, over easy with a little salt and pepper they still had from all the MRE accessory packs.
Despite all his OPSEC ravings, if Jason got up before mid-morning it was something of a miracle. It was Claire’s favorite part of the day.

Claire did not mean too. After savoring the first bite of fried egg, she inhaled the rest of the eggs in three or four bites. After months of boring rice, beans, the onslaught of months of MREs, and then the rationing of MREs, the sensation of warm, real food was nearly intoxicating.
Claire wanted more. Her stomach demanded more. She nearly grabbed the rest of the eggs envisioning a pan full of two inch thick omelet. Then they would be gone. None left. None for Jason. And it was wrong of her to do. Before depression set in, the idea hit her hard it nearly bowled her over. She did not even contemplate the idea acting before a second thought could enter her mind, she raced to the spare bedroom got out a set of cloths, gym shoes, a light jacket and her backpack. Quietly she closed the door behind her. To the East, the sun just began to break the horizon. Claire could not hike it to the church and back before Jason woke up.
But her bicycle was in the shed.
One of the few things Jason did for Claire was to get her a decent bicycle. It was a entry level mountain bike, with only front suspension, but it came from a real bicycle store and not a big box store. Claire had always enjoyed bicycling since a kid. The freedom to go where she wanted, wind in her long hair, the sound of the tires on the pavement, watching the landscape speed by.
The wonders of a child.
Unfortunately the wonders of a child did not deal with the struggles of an adult who has not rode seriously in the past year, months of lethargy cooped up in a rental single wide, lack of food and the simple fact of gravity. The ride was only several miles, but most of it was up a gradual incline. Once Claire stopped for a drink of water from her plastic liter bottle, and to unzip her jacket. As she stood up on the pedals to continue the climb, she took comfort the return trip would be all down hill.

Jess set up the small folding table, a folding camp chair, put her egg cartons on the table and sat back and enjoyed her hot tea.
It was early, but Jess had a lot to do that day. Jack was already out in the fields tending to the livestock, the sun had cleared the horizon, a warm breeze promised a warm day ahead. Warmer than it had been in the past few days. She might even be able to remove her jacket before she headed home.
Others were setting up their tables too. Several stopped by to say good morning, and small talk. Jess was talking to Debbie when a young lady pulled up on a bicycle, sweating, and mildly panting. Jess continued to talking, but watched the newcomer out of the corner of her eye. Jess never seen her before.
The young lady got off her bicycle and began to push it though the isle, when she saw the cartons of eggs on the folding table and made straight for them.
Jess broke off her conversation with Debbie, gave the young lady her best smile and said,
“Good morning. Must of been some ride, you look flush!”
“Yes, yes it was,” Claire eyes light up, and she smiled. “Oh, I am sorry, good morning,” Claire corrected herself suddenly afraid she offended them.
Jess and Debbie laughed but smiled warmly.
“I take it you are not from around here,” Jess offered.
Claire’s face suddenly fell, hearing one of Jason’s rants on OPSEC ring in her head.
“That is ok,” Debbie picked up, “Everyone is new one time or another. I am Debbie and this is Jess,” Debbie offered her hand.
“Claire,” Claire took Debbie’s hand.
“Right,” Jess stood and shook Claire’s hand and continued, “Well, this here is the market.” Jess waved her hand around in her best showroom girl imitation. “Started out as a once a week thing, then twice a week, and now it everyday. People come to trade for mainly food, but other things too, clothing, tools.”
“Gossip,” Debbie interrupted.
“I was going to say news, but that too,” Jess smiled.
Claire smiled too, but was afraid she was going to either start to laugh uncontrollably or cry.
Actual conversation with real people.

Statistics: Posted by Cast Iron — Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:50 pm


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Prepper Fiction • Re: ‘The Worthless Hills’-Chapter Four:

February 19, 2017 Major French 0

Mary Ann Lauter finished cleaning her Para Ordinance .45 auto pistol. Both George and her had just gotten their CCWs, and they had both qualified, too. Bobby’ had qualified at the same with his AR, as did both his Mom and Dad. Bobby had acquired a .280 Remington hunting rifle for $125.00 at a Pawn shop. His dad had paid for optic optic open sights to be installed. Bobby was looking for to deer season, too.

Bobby watched ‘Hawaii 5 0’ and they called it night. The latter day MIami Vice equivalent was simply a popular TV show. Bobby conked out. His parents watched the ten p.m. news and heard about the severe weather brewing. ‘”I’f we get tornados, this trailer is not a good place to be.” George Lauter talked to his wife. ‘But we can spend the day at Betty’s because they have a storm bunker.” A phone call made the decision. They’d leave at noon and and have a Twister Party at Aunt Betty Wilson’s place, too. Bobby loved his cousins there and they loved him back, especially he’d saved Uncle Ollie beloved hunting dog, where it was attacked by a coyote too. Mary Ann remembered that morning.

Because she had an 11:00 a.m. allergist appointment for a sinus infection, They had stayed the night. Aunt Betty was cooking breakfast, while Bobby helped Donald get the chicken eggs in. THey had just finished that detail when a Commotion from outside. “COYOTES ATTACKING DOG!” Everybody scrambled for revolvers and sporting guns. Bobby snatched up a sledgehammer instead and raced outside. Queenies agonized yells meant she was getting plastered by the Scum, as the Bobby labeled coyotes.

WHAM! CRUNCH! HOWL! Bobby ‘s first swing broke the back of a coyote. A second coyote died of a skull fracture when it rushed Bobby. The rest of the pack fled as Bobby beat the remaining attacking coyote dead. A volley of gunfire from the house got the rest of them. Aunt Betty fired fired a mercy kill shot from her .41 magnum revolver into the survivors.

from a fanny pack,Bobby was already bandaging Queenie’s wounds. “SHE”S STILL ALIVE, TAKE HER TO THE HOSPITAL!” He yelled as he scooped Queenie and ran to Uncle Ollie’s pick up truck. The roared to Bullard’s whereupon Queenie was rushed into emergency surgery. A nurse at the desk noticed Bobby was bleeding. “THey got you, too.” A first aid kit was produced and Bobby ended up in the ER with a leg with a blood soaked bandage.

Bobby had to take rabies shots, sutures, antibiotics and pain pills. “You were very brave back there.” “I couldn’t let those trash kill a helpless dog.” Bobby told the doctor as he finished treating him. “Have you heard any update on the dog I saved?” Mary Ann entered the room. “Queenie will live.” She hugged Bobby and they went home.

Statistics: Posted by Major French — Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:10 am


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Prepper Fiction • Re: The Fall

February 17, 2017 Cast Iron 0
NJMike wrote:
I’ve been enjoying your storyline. I have to admit you almost lost me in the paragraph of the above with all the tacti-cool brand placement…lol. I liked the direction it ultimately went in though.

Thanks for posting! :thumbup:

Thank you NJMike.

The brand placement was a not so subtle hint toward the Rawles types with lists and lists of tacti-cool gear that adds nothing to the story whatsoever, other than look how cool I am.
No mind bending, Hollywood, behind the back, over the shoulder, every shot is between the eyes stuff.
However, I do own the Ruger 10/22T, with the air stripper. Different stock, and scope though.

Thank you again.

Statistics: Posted by Cast Iron — Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:15 am


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Prepper Fiction • Re: The Fall

February 17, 2017 NJMike 0

I’ve been enjoying your storyline. I have to admit you almost lost me in the paragraph of the above with all the tacti-cool brand placement…lol. I liked the direction it ultimately went in though.

Thanks for posting! :thumbup:

Statistics: Posted by NJMike — Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:02 am


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Prepper Fiction • Re: The Fall

February 17, 2017 Cast Iron 0

Dear reader,
Thank you for following along if you have thus far.
This edition is what I call the tacti-cool edition. So it may be a bit of a departure from previous entries.

Enjoy.

Jack and Tony dove for cover as rapid gunfire ripped into the trees and earth around them, spraying them with tree bark and dirt.
The sound was nearly deafening.
Luckily, Jack and Tony were wearing their Surefire EP3 Sonic Defender Ear Plugs.
They were out hunting for game, Jack with his Steyr Elite scout rifle, chambered in .308WIN, ten round extended magazine, topped with IOR-Valdada 2-6.75X36 Long Relief, First Focal Plane, Illuminated CQB-PK2 Mil super scout scope, and Ching Sling. Tony with his heavy bull barrel Ruger 10/22T, Magpul Hunter X-22 stock, Timney trigger, Volquartsen Stabilization air stripper, Bushnell Rimfire Optics Rifle Scope 3.5-10x 36mm Ballistic and 1/4 MOA Turret Dropzone 22 Reticle Matte scope and Lapua match grade ammo.
Jack picked up a fist sized smooth rock from the ground, and a stick. He broke the stick to size. More rounds impacted all around them, spraying them with more dirt.
“I am going to throw this,” Jack shouted over the gun fire. “When I tell you to run, you run down there,” Jack pointed, “As fast as you can, and get behind cover. You will have about five seconds, understand? If you can take a shot, take it! If not, run for the church!”
Tony nodded as dirt continued to rain down on him.
Jack tossed the rock and stick in classic military style.
They flew through the air and landed just behind the attackers, 50 yards distant.
Someone yelled, “Grenade!”
“Run!”
Tony ran the way Jack told him, while Jack ran the opposite direction.
While Tony was short, he held the high school 100 yard dash track record. He guessed he beat that record by a second as he jumped the last few feet behind a fallen log.
Jack ran in the opposite direction. Jack may have been tall and in very good shape, he had the disadvantage of running uphill. After what he figured to be about five seconds, he dove for cover, and immediately low crawled as fast as he could to a berm. He then low crawled further away from the ambush, getting more trees between him and his assailants. Jack found a good position behind some trees and waited.
After another long pause, the assailants figured out the ruse, they began firing again at a rapid rate at Jack and Tony’s last position. But Jack and Tony’s last position was a good forty yards from where Jack was now, just over a hundred yards for Tony. Bullets continued to impact harmlessly in the dirt, brush and trees.
Jack was able to take a stable sitting position, bringing his rifle up he could see between two trees, six assailants down in a depression. He rotated the power ring on the scope to the maximum of 6.75 power. He aimed at the assailant closest to Jack, the assailants left shoulder, neck, and helmet in clear view. He took two deep breaths, then a third, but held his breath at the end, and his trigger finger took up the slack of the trigger as he controlled the squeeze, when something happened at the other end of the assailants position that made him stop just before the hammer fell.

Tony was only armed with a .22LR rifle.
But Tony was a good shot with any rifle. And his 10/22 was a very good rifle.
The assailants resumed to tear up dirt, trees and brush, no where near where Tony was in rapid fire.
Over the fallen tree, Tony looked through his scope. He could see the right side of the closest assailant, his shoulder, rifle, his helmet. The assailant was wearing some kind of coyote tan chest rig, multi-cam uniform but a plain grey helmet.
Tony was debating taking the shot, when he noticed the closest three assailants, their helmets were nearly in line as they shot over the top of the depression. He backed the scope zoom power out so he could easily see all three of their helmets. He could not help but smile.
Using match grade, sub-sonic ammunition, the air stripper, and heavy nature of the match bull barrel, recoil was nearly non-existent. In quick succession, he took three well placed shots.
Without waiting around, he got up and ran for the church.

Through his scope, Jack saw his target suddenly turn and drop down.
It was muffled, but he could hear shouting.
Someone was hit . . . more than one . . . they took hits to their helmets. More shouting and confusion.
The assailant sat up enough Jack had a clear shot at his helmet. Jack took another deep breath, held it, squeezed the trigger and sent the bullet to its destination. In nearly one smooth motion, Jack cycled the bolt and loaded another round.
Jack knew if those were military issue Kevlar helmets, his shot would likely not penetrate.
However, glancing blow from a 170 grain bullet traveling at nearly 2700 feet per second at just over a hundred yards, would most certainly rattle the head inside the helmet, physically and mentally Jack hoped.
The assailant dropped lower into the depression after the bullet bounced off his helmet. Jack waited for about ten seconds, the silence was nearly deafening after all the gunfire.
The gun fire stopped, Jack could hear the church bell ringing rapidly. Somewhere not far away he heard the sound of emergency alert whistle blaring out three long calls with a brief pause between each blast. He heard another even further in the distance as each member of the community responded, passing the alert along. In a few minutes the whole community would be on alert if they were not already with all the gunfire. Those nearest who could respond would arrive at the church, with arms. Others who could not afford to join up with the militia at the church, would remain in their homes, assume a defensive posture, on watch and armed.
Those with radios passed the word along to others in the outlaying areas.
A few more moments passed, more whistles faded into the distance, when Jack had his answer; He did rattle the assailant mentally.
Suddenly three assailants stood nearly upright and fired rapidly, wildly in all directions, one shouting,
“Covering fire!”
The other two just yelled and fired wildly.
Jack noted the one who yelled “covering fire,” was the one he shot in the helmet, the bullet gouge easily seen in the helmet.
The other three got up and ran in the opposite direction of the covering fire.
Through the scope, Jack noted they all had magazine chest carrier rigs of various colors, some with desert tan uniforms, others with a urban multi-cam, and one with woodland camouflage. Some had elbow and knee pads. All wore some kind of military style boots, and wearing some kind of pack of equally different camouflage, by all appearances nearly full. Two of the retreating team ran thirty or so yards, took cover behind trees and took up positions ready to fire.
The third only got about ten feet, tripped and fell face first. He tried to get up, but stopped and rolled over, favoring his left arm.
Their magazines empty, the covering team dropped down behind cover. There was a long pause. Then someone shouted,
“What are you waiting for,” he shouted, “Fire!”
The two retreating team began to fire, the first team began their retreat but nearly ran into the covering fire.
Jack could see what he was now calling the leader of the group, the one he shot in the helmet, now screamed for cease fire three times. When the shots stopped, they resumed their retreat, the leader stopping to pick up their fallen comrade. Two of them ran past the others positions and kept going, the leader helping the injured, and hobbled past, yelling, “Go!”
They disappeared into the trees and brush.
Jack waited for thirty seconds, stood up, brushed himself off, and set out for a steady but careful jog toward the church.

It was Tuesday night, not an official town meeting, as those were on Wednesdays.
But the church was nearly full as if it was Wednesday night meeting. Everyone wanted to know what had happened first hand.
The town’s six councilpersons sat at their folding plastic tables, in their folding chairs, on the dais, while other members of the community took seats in the pews, the thrum of conversation filled the church.
At the top of the hour, councilperson Kathy Anderson rapped the gavel twice to call the meeting to order.
“Thank you everyone for coming,” she started. “I know this is not a normal meeting but we all agree,” she motioned to the other councilpersons, “It was necessary. Sheriff Nelson, would you brief us all on what happened?”
The sheriff walked up to the dais and turn and spoke to everyone.
“It appears six armed men had penetrated deep into our community and launched an attack on Jack and Tony.”
“How did they get past our patrols,” someone shouted out. More than a few grumbled in agreement.
The sheriff held out his hands for quiet.
“From what we can tell, they came in cross country during the night, avoiding the roads and our patrols.”
“Were they military,” someone else shouted.
At this point in time, Jack stood up to help the sheriff.
“One of them may have been,” he thought of the one whose helmet he glanced a shot off of. “The rest had no formal military training.” Jack pressed on before anyone could shout out any additional questions. “They did not have any small team tactics, they shot wildly, they lacked discipline. Their equipment was a mix of gear, and camouflage. I think Tony and I stumbled on a bunch of civilians lead by someone with prior military experience, or someone who watched a lot of war movies.”
A nervous laughter passed through the crowed at the remark. The tension seemed to ease up a bit in the church.
“I have to agree with Jack,” Sam announced as he stood up. Sam was a amateur astronomer, and the towns unofficial weather man. His exactness for numbers and statistics was legendary.
“We recovered five hundred and sixty three rounds of spent brass at the ambush site. I am sure we missed some. All had commercial, 223REM head stamps.”
A few people, including Jack whistled at that bit of news.
“Five hundred rounds per a six man team is a lot of ammunition to burn through,” Jack commented on.
“Five hundred and sixty three. How much was each man carrying,” Sam asked Jack.
Jack shrugged, “The chest rigs I saw were of at least two, maybe three different manufactures. Some chest rigs can carry as few as three thirty round magazines, others up to eight thirty round magazines. I have seen one carrying twelve.”
Sam considered it for a moment.
“Let us say they carried eight per person. That would be 1,440 total. And we found about five hundred and sixty three, lets say closer to six hundred for the ones we missed. Forty two percent, give or take a percent.”
Jack could not help but smile at Sam’s exactness. “Two engagements like the one we had today and they would be nearly out of ammunition.”
“That is not all,” Sam continued, “They left twenty of these behind.” Sam held up something, made a ready to catch gesture to Jack, and tossed it across the three pews.
Jack caught a flat desert tan Magpul magazine.
“What is it, Jack,” Kathy asked.
“It is a aftermarket magazine. High quality. Not cheap. Unless they have a large supply of these magazines wherever their base is, they will likely run out of magazines before they run out of ammunition. Run out of these and a semi-automatic rifle becomes a single shot.” Jack finished.
“Correct,” Sam said simply and sat down.
The Sheriff continued, “We sent out additional patrols. Found some boot prints leading to the main road. Cherrel Bogantz says she thought she saw some strange looking men rushing down the East road but could not be sure. She was busy chasing after George again,” sheriff Nelson added. The whole church let out a roll of laughter, as Cherrel’s wayward goat was famous for her escape artist antics. “We are looking for volunteers for additional night patrols and two LP/Ops.”
Twelve hands went up. The Sheriff smiled.
“Get with me after the meeting and we will talk assignments.”

Statistics: Posted by Cast Iron — Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:02 am


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Prepper Fiction • Re: The Fall

February 10, 2017 Cast Iron 0

The man finished his story, shrugged, and said,
“So, here we are.”
“Here we are indeed,” Jack replied. While he thought, Jack refilled the mans empty glass, topped himself off, and offered more to his wife.
“I had some earlier,” she declined.
The trees around them swayed, their new leaves fluttered in the warm breeze. Birds flew around them. The smell of spring was in the air.
“There is still some semblance of civilization,” Jack said to his wife.
“The bridge? Yes. But is that the exception or the rule? He was also attacked by total strangers on the road. What do you think,” she asked the man.
He took a long pull from the glass, set it down and paused for a moment.
“Things are bad,” he started. “All around. Some have resorted to shoot first ask questions later. Others are trying to hold on to civilization.” He paused. “The people at the bridge could have just as easily of shot me, taken my things, and dumped my body without a second thought, but they didn’t. He shook my hand and wish me luck. I have thought about that more than a few times.” He glanced into his glass, looking for an answer.
Jack interrupted the pregnant pause,
“So! You promise not to do anything stupid,” and offered the man his hand. The man looked surprised, but took Jack’s hand.
“Jack. This is my wife Jess,” Jack nodded his head toward his wife.
“Dan,” Dan responded, shaking Jack’s hand and nodded to Jess.
“Ok, so where are your parents place,” Jack asked as he took the GPS back out of Dan’s pack.
“It is about time for lunch,” Jess said as she put the shotgun on safe and slung it over her shoulder. “You want to eat out here?”
“Sure, it is nice out, why not,” Jack replied. Jess walked into the house.
The GPS powered up, Jack pressed a few of the buttons until he found what he was looking for.
“Dan,” he started, “Are quite a bit further Northwest than you thought.”
“I am?”
“Yep. You must have one heck of a pace, my new friend. Here, this is where you are in comparison to where your house is,” Jack passed the GPS to Dan and pointed the two locations on the screen.
“And here,” Jack took the GPS back, pressing a few more buttons, then showed Dan again, “Is where you are now, and where your parents place is. You have to go due East, then South to get to them.”
Dan considered the map for a moment.
“I will be coming in on the road I usually take to my parents, but from the North rather than the South if I did not have my little detour.”
“Right. After lunch we will go up to the town hall and see about getting you a pass. You will need to to go North a few miles, the pick up this road,” Jack pressed another button showing Dan the screen, “Go East, then pick up this road and that will take you South, into your parents town. Normally I would say four days, but at your pace, three easy.”
“What is this pass?”
“I will vouch you are a good guy, and let you transverse our territory without being harassed. The patrols will also know about you and let you pass unmolested.”
“How far does your territory go?”
Jack leaned back, “I am not going to lie, that is a little fuzzy. For the most part, we have established borders, but they can be contentious. The adjacent communities will respect our passes . . . most of the time. Other times, not so much. Relations have been good as of late, so I do not anticipate problems.”
Dan did not look convinced. But it was, what it was.
Jess came back to the picnic table with two large plates, set them down, and took a seat next to Jack.
Dan’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head.
“Oh. My. God. Real food.” He looked up in wonder.
Jess smiled in pride, “Hardboiled eggs, bread, cheese, carrots and left over pork from last night. Do not be shy, dig in,” she smiled.
“Thank you,” and Dan popped an entire egg into his mouth.

An hour later, Jack and Dan walked out of the town hall, Dan with a pass in his hand.
“Jack, I don’t know what to say.”
“Thank you would be good. And all that is necessary. No,” Jack paused a moment. “And when you get to where you are going, find your parents, let everyone know there are pockets of civility out here. If we do not keep our civility, we are doomed as a species and have no right to survive.”
Dan offered Jack his hand, Jack took it.
“I will Jack. And thank your for the provisions.”
They shook again, Dan walked down the drive to the main road and turned North and started his trek again.

Statistics: Posted by Cast Iron — Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:48 am


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Prepper Fiction • Re: The Fall

February 10, 2017 Cast Iron 0

Dan awoke early again, and seemed to be falling into a regular pattern, not that he minded. His water gone, he was going to miss even the gym locker like instant coffee from his MREs. Water was going to be his priority today.
He set out, noting the clear sky, a warm breeze, for a spring day it might get warm.
A few hours later, he found out how accurate his observation was. He put away his light jacket. His ball cap kept the sun off his head, but he was still freely sweating. And he was thirsty. It was all he could think about. He was amazed at how far even a 3L water bladder did not get him.
Dan cleared a small rise in the road when he saw what appeared to be a man in a ditch, swinging a pick ax. Dan slowed his pace to remain quiet, but the man was clearly engrossed in his work. Once, the man stopped and seemed to be contemplating something. Dan stopped too. He was almost on top of the man in the ditch. Once the man resumed his work, Dan actually walked quickly, quietly past to get to the higher side of the road, thinking it would give him a tactical advantage. Dan shouldered his AR15, took a few steeps closer and said in his best commanding voice,
“Dont move!”

Statistics: Posted by Cast Iron — Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:45 am


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Prepper Fiction • Re: Surviving the river

February 5, 2017 RayMac1963 0
arkieready wrote:
I hope to hades that this is indeed fiction!!!!!

I kind of figured Perma had exaggerated up his recent “adventure” to make it fiction. Not like his everyday isn’t already way out there. I have no idea he had gotten himself in that much trouble. :shakeno: Not exactly happy with his safety precautions.

Statistics: Posted by RayMac1963 — Sun Feb 05, 2017 2:37 pm


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Prepper Fiction • Re: Surviving the river

February 5, 2017 IceFire 0

So glad you survived the trip into town, but DANG, man…you made some SERIOUS errors there (which I KNOW you darn well know.) Hopefully, you will NEVER repeat them!

Oh, and while you were in town, did you buy a new thermometer, so you at least know how bloody cold it is BEFORE you decide to head out? Next time, LET YOUR WIFE KNOW YOU”RE COMING!

Statistics: Posted by IceFire — Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:26 pm


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Prepper Fiction • Re: Surviving the river

February 4, 2017 independentlurker 0

I can’t imagine going through what you went through and still carrying on with that lifestyle. I also am a loner. I like to be out in nature but I will admit to being a fair weather outdoorsman, or outdoors woman would be more appropriate. I hate to be cold and I guess I will, if I have to, throw my lot in with the lower 50 hoards. Where I live in upstate NY it is too cold for me. I want to move south when we retire. I am trying to find a place not too crowded that has mild winters. It is so hard to imagine your lifestyle.

What a story though. For sure it is better than most fiction out there. You have a way with words that may come from being alone. Having the time to mull things over. You definitely could be an author. Even if you write fiction, please consider it, as I know, up there, you are always looking for extra income. So glad you are alright.

IL

Statistics: Posted by independentlurker — Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:44 pm


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Prepper Fiction • Re: Surviving the river

February 4, 2017 LetsPrep11 0

I have to echo Cin and Arkie. Your story was terrifying. I too was speed-reading like a runaway train, burning up the tracks as it charged downhill. I just Had to find out that you were okay. So the question is…how badly did your lovely wife chew you out?

You’re a great storyteller and a book is an excellent idea! Whew, I gotta go rest now and bring my blood pressure down!

Statistics: Posted by LetsPrep11 — Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:16 pm


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Prepper Fiction • Re: Surviving the river

February 4, 2017 Cin 0

That was terrifying just to read!

The voice of experience came through with horrifying reality.

I’m GLAD you’re OK, Permafrost. Thank God.

Statistics: Posted by Cin — Fri Feb 03, 2017 8:46 pm


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Prepper Fiction • Re: Surviving the river

February 4, 2017 Permafrost 0

Unfortunately, no. I later found out that on the day I left it was 56 below zero at the Tanana Airport and 61 below zero at the store in Tanana by the river. I think Manley Hot Springs was at 57 or 58 below zero for the day. Those are daytime high numbers by the way, without wind-chill. I had only planned on being in town a few days, but I have been here over a week now recovering from the trip to town. Hopefully I will be leaving to head out to the cabin in a few more days, It is hovering right around zero right now and forecasted to be like that for the next few days.

Statistics: Posted by Permafrost — Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:46 pm


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Prepper Fiction • Surviving the river

February 3, 2017 Permafrost 0

On many occasions people have commented on my chosen lifestyle, and I suppose that is understandable since their lives are as foreign to me as mine is to them. Often I tell them that they just get the highlight reel when I talk and most of the time my life is uneventful. For the most part this is true. Every once in a while though I find myself in a bad spot that could only be described a living nightmare, it is the stuff that Jack London and Robert Service wrote about. Secretly I think this is the basis for all reality television in Alaska, if you follow someone around long enough in the wilderness they will eventually find themselves in a situation that is truly entertaining, provided you are not personally living through it. Most of the following tale could have been avoided if I was not stupid and arrogant and stubborn. When someone becomes accustomed to a situation, they no longer see the danger in it. Like the miner who has rocks falling on his head all day or the demolitions guy who will casually stub out his cigarette with a stick of trimtexx when the foreman complains about him smoking next to explosives, someone who has spent a lifetime in the artic will invariably become complacent when it comes to traveling in it. I have broken many of the rules regarding artic traveling, sometimes it is because of necessity and sometimes it is because I’m just an idiot. This was one of those occasions that could have been avoided if only I had followed the rules, or at least some of them.

In late December of 16’ the interior of Alaska had a fairly decent wind storm, 50 mph winds toppled the burnt trees that were left after the last forest fire had come through. All of the overland trails and all of the trap lines were clogged with debris, at times a guy could cut all day with a handsaw and only make a mile or two. I had become frustrated at the effort to get the trap line and trails opened up, and to top it off we had gotten about two feet of snow after the windstorm. To say it was slow going was the understatement of the year, between breaking trail and cutting downed trees I was burning a tremendous amount of calories and I didn’t have a single pelt to show for it. By the middle of January I decided to say the hell with it and head back to town to visit my wife and resupply my cabin.

If I had been smart I would have called my wife on the sat phone and told her that I was coming back, getting a weather report in the process. I was not smart however, I thought it would be a great idea to just show up and surprise her. When I look back I can say that it all went downhill from this point. I was about to break three of the most important rules regarding travel in the artic. As I sat at the table the night before I was to leave for town I actually thought about it, I knew I was being stupid. I slowly sipped a glass of whiskey and pondered if I should call her. The idea of surprising her won over my normally cautious nature. I would be traveling alone, but there was no other option. Long ago I had realized that I really did not enjoy the company of others in a long term situation, unless it was my wife. She is one of those unique people who can enjoy the solitude and quiet without trying to fill it up. Often we would just sit together on the bank of the river for hours, not making a sound and just enjoying the serenity of our sanctuary. She was not here though. Many trappers in the interior work in teams but I had no trap line partner, nobody to help if things went wrong. I tried it one season but I found that people constantly try to fill the silence with conversation, they seem to detest the serenity of nature unless they can fill the emptiness with noise. My second big mistake was not knowing what the weather would do, my thermometer had been destroyed by a bear in the fall and I had never replaced it. I knew it was cold, but I had no idea how cold. Every old timer will tell you that you should never take off traveling if it is colder than 40 below zero, and I agreed with this philosophy. There is just too much to go wrong when it is that cold, steel becomes brittle & snaps very easily. If I had known that it would be between 50 & 60 below zero I never would have left, but in my stupidity I never replaced my thermometer or called my wife. My third mistake goes back to that same phone call, nobody would know I was even traveling or when to expect me in. My wife and I have an arrangement of sorts, I call her every couple of days on the sat phone and she does not conn some pilot we know into buzzing the cabin looking for me. She will send a pilot out after about 4 or 5 days without contact, knowing that sometimes you can’t get a call through on a sat phone because of clouds or other weather. In reality it is not that great of a plan, I would be frozen solid after 5 days if I got injured on the trail and could not make it back to the cabin in winter. But it was our plan none the less, and the only one we had. I figured it was easier to just take off and not have her worrying about me on the river ice, I should be in cell range or with her by that time the next night and it would be one of those no harm no foul type things. Try as I might I just couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling I had, so I snuffed out the oil lamp and went to bed early.

A woke up at around six the next morning, but I was in no hurry to get going. It does not get light until around 10 or so that time of the year, and I had time to eat some breakfast and drink some coffee. I had about 10 or 15 miles of trail put in on the river, with packed down snow, so I needed to be at the end of that when it was getting light to start the trip to town. I would be taking a single freight sled behind me, lightly loaded with emergency gear & fuel in case something happened, maybe about 150 or 200 pounds in all. After the morning trip to the outhouse I was having second thoughts about traveling, it was really really cold. Unfortunately I am a stubborn man, and without a thermometer to look at I figured I was just being a (Censored word. I’m a potty mouth) so I kept on getting ready. A four stroke snowmachines is one of the greatest inventions of man, able to get you from place to place using only about ½ the fuel of the old two stroke machines. There is a tradeoff for this though, they are not prone to starting easily in the cold. Batteries must be kept inside and the engines need to be preheated with a propane torch to get them going. I heated the cylinder jugs with a torch and dropped the battery in, and to my surprise it still barely started, the only times I had seen this it was when it was colder than 50 below. It never even donned on me that it might actually be colder than 50 below, I just figured the battery was getting weak. After running for about 10 min I shut it down & put a blanket over it, trying to transfer some of the heat to the tranny. I went through this process a few times until the belt was warm enough to spin and the tranny was warm enough to shift. While the snowmachines was warming I filled three thermoses with boiling water, hoping that would get me to town before they froze solid. I still had that nagging feeling but I was ready to go, the machine was warm and the freight sled was loaded & hooked up. Donning insulated bibs, parka, trappers cap, face mask, goggles, gloves and then mittens; I took off into the empty wilderness expanses of Interior Alaska dead set on seeing my wife.

The first part of the trip was uneventful and by 11 in the morning I was at my closest neighbor’s cabin, about 35 miles downriver from me. They are an older couple and to call their place a cabin might be understating things a bit, they had a beautiful spread that was somewhere between a homestead and a farmstead. I had not seen them in months. The law of Alaska demanded that I stop, even briefly, to share news and say hi. Much as I wanted to be off I stopped to have the customary cup of coffee and visit. We had a wonderful visit, and shared our collective troubles that we were having. They too had been having a hard time of reopening the trap line trails, and had resigned themselves to many more weeks of backbreaking labor to open them up again after the storms. In reality they could have said the hell with it and just lived off of their social security for the winter instead of trapping, but it was not in their nature. Sometimes I think they aged so well because of this trait, they were the type of people who needed to stay busy and active. After they found out I was headed to town I got a lecture about traveling on the river alone, and that rolled into a discussion about me being in this country alone without a partner to help if things went wrong. But again I am a stubborn man. I am of the belief that much of the fear old timers show toward the rivers in this part of the country is based on bad experiences with underpowered snowmachines, or dog teams that will become unmanageable in situations where there is overflow or open water. A modern snowmachines has about 4 times the power of an old Alpine or Bravo, plus a lot more track area to aid in flotation on top of the snow. After they could plainly see that they were not going to talk me out of it, they offered to put the water in my thermoses on the stove to reheat it, so when I departed I could start the clock over on my water supply. In my haste to be off I never looked at their thermometer and they never told me the temperature because they figured I already knew it. When I look back now I understand why they were so concerned about me traveling, but in my ignorance about our miscommunications I just chalked it old folks being overly cautious about the kid that lives upriver from them. We said our goodbyes and I told them I would pick up their mail from their son and bring it out when I came back in a week or so. I was off at about 12:30 and I had another 3 hours of river travel to do and about 3 1/2 hours of daylight left. After that I would be on land and eventually meet up with a well-traveled trail that was hopefully maintained by the folks that lived along it. I would later find out that as soon as I was out the door they were emailing my wife on their HughesNet connection to let her know I was on my way. It didn’t matter if I wanted to surprise her, they were rightly concerned about my trip to town and wondering about my sanity if I was traveling in these conditions. Cabin fever is a real concern living in isolation like we were and I think they thought I had gotten a touch of it, and that it was coloring my decision to travel.

I followed their packed trails for about 15 or 20 miles downriver until I was again in the waist deep powder of untraveled river snow. The light wind had created drifts on the river ice, some areas were bare of snow other than a scant few inches, and others had drifts that were chest deep. There is nothing quite as serene as happily moving along on an unspoiled river, knowing that you are the only one who has been here for months and in all reality, one of the few hundred living people who has ever been there. It is easy to get lost in your own thoughts as the miles fly by, and you ride on in a trancelike state that I refer to as autopilot where everything just melts away. Before I knew it I was within 20 miles of where I would need to turn off on the overland trail. This is one of the trickier sections of river that has numerous creeks and 2 small rivers flowing into the main river, autopilot time was over and I had to pay close attention for both open water and overflow. Many times I would have to stop and look at the river ahead from a sandbar or area of low snow to scan for open water or overflow. This is the part of artic travel that is nerve-wracking, because one mistake can mean your end. Open water is fairly easy to spot when you stop and look for it, and generally it happens in areas where there is a hot spring keeping the ice from forming. Not to say that the water in these areas is warm, it is just warm enough to keep a small patch of ice from forming. Overflow is the greater threat when traveling, it is a condition where water has bubbled up from a crack in the ice and is on top of it. The layer of water between the snow and ice cannot freeze because the snow insulates it and you get a slushy mix that is rarely seen until it is too late. In times past I have actually dropped my freight sled and scouted ahead because a freight sled acts as a big anchor in overflow, stopping you dead in your tracks. The only thing to do when you get caught in overflow is keep the throttle wide open and pray to whatever gods and goddesses you hold dear that you will make it through before you lose your momentum and are stranded in standing water without any traction for your track to grip to. I was about 10 miles from the overland cutoff when everything went wrong, despite my best efforts I was stuck in overflow and truly screwed.

I will freely admit that I was in a hurry, and it was because of this that I found myself in the situation I was in. It was getting late and I was going to lose the light soon, so instead of playing it safe like at all the other spots I figured I would just take my chances. Instead of dropping my freight sled and scouting the area around where a creek dumped into the river, I chose to take the far bank away from the creek entrance and just plow through as fast as I could. When you hit overflow you know it, your ground speed drops instantly even though your speedometer says you’re still zipping right along. I was in it and had nothing to do but try to power through it, there is no turning around. For a while there I thought I might make it, I had hit it at about 50 mph and was slowing considerably but I had gone a fair distance. I figured that I would get out of it, but as I kept slowing I got worried. My engine was not bogging down the way the older machines would, but I had little if any traction. If I did not have the freight sled on I know I would have had no problems getting through, but I had chosen to take a shortcut and now I was going to pay dearly for it. Though my speedometer said I was going over 60 mph and the throttle was wide open I was probably only going 5 mph. Standing on the running boards I rocked the machine sideways back and forth trying to get every foot of distance I could. I knew well where I was, and I knew that a sandbar was only a few hundred yards ahead. If only I could make it to the higher ground I would be free of the overflow, but it was not to be. I came to a halt about 150 yards from the sandbar, the clumps of stunted willow sticking out of the snow marked its position.

As I came to rest I put my knees on the seat, picking up my feet because I had no idea how deep the overflow actually was. Being in a hurry had gotten me into this situation and now I was (Censored word. I’m a potty mouth), I needed to take my time and figure out a plan before I got wet. Once overflow is exposed to the air you do not have that long until it starts to set up into ice, but it was not an instant thing. When the snowmachine settled the water was over the running boards but not up to the seat in the back by the track but the front was higher, and the belt linking the engine to the transmission might not be completely submerged. The bottom of the engine was most certainly under water but the top and the electrical components should still be out of the water. As bad as it was, it could have been worse. All of the ropes and the come-a-long were in the box behind my seat, and I started doing rough math to figure out how far I could get. There were some burned spruce trees about 200 feet ahead of me and slightly to the right, and the clumps of willow that were dead ahead of me about 150 yards. I could reach the willows but I didn’t think that they would be strong enough to tie off to, that left a diagonal pull to the spruce trees. I knew I would get wet no matter what I did, it was just a matter of limiting the time I was wet. If you have never worn bunny boots they are a wonderful invention, having layers of felt and air encased in rubber so that they keep their insulation value even if you get water inside of them. More concerning to me was getting my legs wet for two reasons, the skin & tissue would start to freeze and it would also cool down the blood going down to my feet causing them to freeze as well. Being careful not to get wet I got all of the rope out of the box, as well as the come-a-long. I took off my mittens and my parks, securing them in the watertight box behind my seat, and mentally prepared myself for the cold plunge that I knew I had to get done. I unwound about 8 feet off of a coil of rope, and stepped off into the water. Just as I suspected the track was still sitting on some slush, the water was up a little over my knees. It took my breath away but time was now in short supply. I quickly tied the end of the rope around the skis, submerging my hands & forearms in the freezing water, and started uncoiling it as I made my way to the bank. About ½ way there it felt like the overflow ended but I was already wet and I couldn’t take the time to look behind me or consider how close I had gotten to being free. After the first coil of rope ended I tied on the second length of rope that I would attach the rope come-a-long to and kept moving. The second length got me just barely to the bank, but it was a steeper cut bank than I had originally thought. I fed the rope through the come-a-long and stretched it tight, I had about 20 feet to the trees. Leaving the come-a-long I took another coil of rope and scrambled up the bank. I tied the rope off to the bottom of a tree fairly far back from the bank, then proceeded to wrap it around the base of four more trees on my way back to the bank. Throwing the rest of the coil over the bank I climbed down after it, and attached the come-a-long to it. When you are using a rope come-a-long your progress is measured in inches with each pull. I was getting really cold now and my gloves were caked in ice. I stripped off my gloves and got out a fresh pair from the pocket of my flannel shirt. I hoped this would be quick, I could no longer feel my legs or feet and my hands burned with the cold in the fresh gloves. I started cranking for all I was worth, and silently wondering if I should have unhooked the freight sled from the machine. There was a fair amount of resistance but it was moving. After about 7 or 8 minutes I had gone through the coil of rope that fed through the come-a-long, and I had to re-rig everything to keep the operation moving. I was still in overflow but judging by my footsteps I only had another 30 or so feet to go until the front was out of the overflow. I cranked away for all I was worth but my strength was starting to go and I could tell I was in real trouble if I didn’t wrap it up soon. When I figured I was out of the overflow I ran back to the machine and started it up again, giving it a little gas. The rubber belt squealed as it tried to find traction in the metal pulleys connecting the engine to the transmission, but I kept at it. If I didn’t get something going soon I was dead. Finally there was some movement and I surged ahead a few feet. I jumped off and cut the rope around the skis, not even bothering to try to untie it. Throwing the rope out of the way so it would not get bound up in the track I drove to the bank between the willow and the spruce. The worst of it was over but I was far from safe, I was soaking wet in the middle of nowhere without someone to help me. By the time I started opening the bins that were lashed to my freight sled my hands could hardly move. Stripping off my wet flannel, thermal top, and gloves I put on my last pair of new gloves and put my parka back on. Getting the big scoop shovel off of the freight sled I frantically started clearing snow off of the edge of the sandbar, trying to find the ground and clear an area big enough for a fire and my thermarest sleeping pad. When it was clear I put down a tarp and unrolled the thermarest to inflate. Next I got the two 2×12 boards off of the freight sled and laid them down flat to build a fire on. Running as best I could to generate heat I got up the bank with the dead spruce and collected branches for a fire, dragging them back to my makeshift camp. I wasn’t screwing around at this point, I was close to dead, so I lit three flares (when you’re really cold you can’t use a lighter or matches because your fingers don’t work) and set them on the boards. Next I added the branches I had drug back. I needed energy and at this point it was all I could do to stay moving, luckily I always carry just the thing inside my parka in the winter. Fumbling with the jar I tried in vain to open it, in the end I had to warm my hands a minute to get them to work so I could get the jar open. Rendered bear fat is probably one of the best instant energy foods you can eat in situations like this, and I ate a heaping spoonful. It may be good for you but that only works if you can keep it down, and almost as soon as it hit my tongue I started to gag. I kept it down and chased it with a shot of whiskey out of a flask to get rid of the taste and thin my blood a little. I started back for more branches, trying to not think about how bad my legs and feet would be when I finally removed my bibs & boots. After another load of branches I knew I had to be done, I closed the valve on the partially inflated thermarest and spread out my sleeping bag. I got out four chemical hand warmers and wrapped them inside my spare thermals, this bundle I put in the bottom of my sleeping bag to try to jump start some heat to my feet. I tried to undo the zippers on the legs of my bibs but it would not work, they were iced up solid other than where they bent at the knee. In the end I sat on the sleeping bag and slid out of my boots and bibs, as well as the pants and thermals. I didn’t want to look at my feet or legs yet, I was not sure I could deal with it and there was nothing I could do anyway. I slipped my lower body in the sleeping bag and arranged the branches so that they would burn a little more efficiently, taking the time to set my boots close to the fire to dry but far away enough to make sure the rubber didn’t melt. Taking one more spoonful of bear fat and another shot of whiskey I removed my parka and t shirt and started zipping up the bag when I felt a burning sensation start in my legs and feet. The pain was almost unbearable, and it had only been 30 or 45 minutes since I first hit water. I opened up an inside pocket of my parka and took out an old bottle of Percocet left over from my back surgery, it was expired by four years but I figured it might still have some life left in it. I swallowed two with another shot of whiskey and zipped up the bag the rest of the way, figuring it was going to be a miserable night.

I must have fallen asleep quickly, for when I awoke there was ice from my breath around the opening of my mummy bag and the fire was mostly out. My legs and feet still screamed in pain but it was not as bad as before. I opened two more chemical warmers and put them in some socks, then shoved them down to the bottom of the bag. I used the plastic wrappers from the chemical warmers to help jump start what remained of my fire and repositioned the branches so it would continue to burn for a few more hours unattended. I was hungry & thirsty but I could not stand the thought of getting all the way out of my almost warm cocoon to get food out of the freight sled. Luckily I had remembered to bring the thermoses over before I got undressed and I checked the temp of the water in them. All were liquid but only two still contained hot water, the other one had cooled. I drank a whole thermos of hot water, figuring the heat would help my core temperature. I put the other two by the fire, and placed my now dry boots inside my sleeping bag. Sleep again took me quickly.

I woke up to pain, screaming pain. The fire was out and I had no more wood. I had no idea how bad my legs or feet were but I knew they hurt, and I needed to get something going or I would be wolf food in short order. I turned on my headlamp and thought about my situation. I took 2 more pills, another spoonful of bear fat, and a shot of whiskey. The water was frozen solid. My arms were red and slightly swollen from the elbow down to the tips of my fingers, but there was no signs of the severe frostbite that I feared. Knowing there was no other choice I unzipped my sleeping bag and looked at my legs & feet. My legs were red and swollen, the tips of a few of my toes were slightly white. Though it hurt, it was not as bad as I had feared. I would keep my toes. In reality the calf of my left leg looked like it might be the worst off, there were a few white splotches mixed in with the red swollen skin. I put on my thermals and socks, then zipped the bag back up to try to rewarm myself. I must have passed out for a while because I awoke a short time later feeling slightly better, enough time had passed for the Percocet to kick in. There was no choice but to get moving, as much as I wanted to just stay curled up in my bag I had to get moving or this would be my final resting place. Unzipping my bag I put on my boots and parka. My spare bibs were in the freight sled and I had to beat on the watertight tote with a hammer to break the ice and get them out. Once fully dressed I got more wood, lit a fire, and proceeded to melt snow for water. I took the battery out of the snowmachine and set it by the fire to warm, and started beating the ice off of the idlers & rear suspension. In short order I was exhausted, though I had only been working a short while it felt like I had just swam across the Yukon. I got some moose jerky and crawled back in my bag not even bothering to take off my boots. I ate some and again slept.

It was getting light when I woke up. I realized I had fallen asleep with my headlamp still on and an open bag of moose jerky in my hand. I truly felt like poo poo, to dehydrated to even feel hungry. The water in the pan did little to quench my thirst, and I put more snow on to melt. While I was waiting for water, I pre-heated the engine with a torch and put the battery back in. Reciting many different prayers to many different deities just to cover my bases, I tried to start the machine. It popped and sputtered, but it started. I do not think I have ever been as relieved as I was at that moment. I was far from out of the woods, but I had hope. My machine was running and I was only 10 miles from the overland trail. I drank more water and ate more jerky, forming a plan in my mind. I would leave my makeshift camp set up, and unhooked the freight sled. No more chances, I would run the river to the overland trail and then come back for my freight after the river trail was in. I collected the rope and come-a-long I had left on the river, and packed up everything besides my bedding. I had to beat the frozen bibs with a hammer to get them to fold up and go in a tote, but everything was packed. It was time to go, as much as I hated leaving my emergency gear I had a better chance without it.

The rest of the river trip was uneventful, cold as hell, but uneventful. By noon I had tracks on the river and was back at my camp to collect my freight. As I pulled in I saw two ravens there. One was pulling strands off of the scrap of rope I had cut off and the other appeared to be making himself at home on my sleeping bag. Part of me wondered if these were Odin’s ravens, and part of me wondered if I had just gotten raided by Raven the native deity. Either way I tried to keep a calm demeaned and not worry about my sleeping bag. When I stopped by the remnants of the fire I saw what the one was after, I had spilled a few pieces of moose jerky in my bag the night before. As far as ravens go this one was nice, there were no holes in my bag and it looked like the only place he poo poo was on the tarp instead of where my face goes in the sleeping bag. I collected the remaining pieces of jerky and set them on the snow next to the small chunk of scrap rope. Figuring it was a good idea to hedge my bets, I unraveled the rope and cut it into smaller six inch pieces so it would be easier for the ravens to build a nest with. I returned to the freight sled and got out a handful of loose tobacco and scattered it in the air, it did not matter if they were gods or birds I had covered all my bases. I go back & forth on religion, but in times like these it is better safe than sorry. Within a half an hour I was packed and hooked up to the freight sled. Traveling would be easy now that the tracks were down.

By two that afternoon I was on the overland trail cutting trees. The pain had flared up again so I took my last Percocet and tried to make some time. Every few hundred yards I was stopping to cut stuff out of the trail so I could get through, but I was close to the traveled section of the trail. By four I was on packed trail and moving at a good pace, I would be at the landing in time to call my wife when she got off of work. It occurred to me that I had no idea what to tell her. As far as I knew she didn’t know I was coming to town, and I wondered if I should tell her exactly what had happened on my way back. There would be no hiding my arms & legs, but did she really need to know how close I had been to loosing body parts or freezing to death. I supposed I would make the choice when I heard her voice.

Statistics: Posted by Permafrost — Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:26 pm


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Prepper Fiction • Surviving the river

February 3, 2017 Permafrost 0

On many occasions people have commented on my chosen lifestyle, and I suppose that is understandable since their lives are as foreign to me as mine is to them. Often I tell them that they just get the highlight reel when I talk and most of the time my life is uneventful. For the most part this is true. Every once in a while though I find myself in a bad spot that could only be described a living nightmare, it is the stuff that Jack London and Robert Service wrote about. Secretly I think this is the basis for all reality television in Alaska, if you follow someone around long enough in the wilderness they will eventually find themselves in a situation that is truly entertaining, provided you are not personally living through it. Most of the following tale could have been avoided if I was not stupid and arrogant and stubborn. When someone becomes accustomed to a situation, they no longer see the danger in it. Like the miner who has rocks falling on his head all day or the demolitions guy who will casually stub out his cigarette with a stick of trimtexx when the foreman complains about him smoking next to explosives, someone who has spent a lifetime in the artic will invariably become complacent when it comes to traveling in it. I have broken many of the rules regarding artic traveling, sometimes it is because of necessity and sometimes it is because I’m just an idiot. This was one of those occasions that could have been avoided if only I had followed the rules, or at least some of them.

In late December of 16’ the interior of Alaska had a fairly decent wind storm, 50 mph winds toppled the burnt trees that were left after the last forest fire had come through. All of the overland trails and all of the trap lines were clogged with debris, at times a guy could cut all day with a handsaw and only make a mile or two. I had become frustrated at the effort to get the trap line and trails opened up, and to top it off we had gotten about two feet of snow after the windstorm. To say it was slow going was the understatement of the year, between breaking trail and cutting downed trees I was burning a tremendous amount of calories and I didn’t have a single pelt to show for it. By the middle of January I decided to say the hell with it and head back to town to visit my wife and resupply my cabin.

If I had been smart I would have called my wife on the sat phone and told her that I was coming back, getting a weather report in the process. I was not smart however, I thought it would be a great idea to just show up and surprise her. When I look back I can say that it all went downhill from this point. I was about to break three of the most important rules regarding travel in the artic. As I sat at the table the night before I was to leave for town I actually thought about it, I knew I was being stupid. I slowly sipped a glass of whiskey and pondered if I should call her. The idea of surprising her won over my normally cautious nature. I would be traveling alone, but there was no other option. Long ago I had realized that I really did not enjoy the company of others in a long term situation, unless it was my wife. She is one of those unique people who can enjoy the solitude and quiet without trying to fill it up. Often we would just sit together on the bank of the river for hours, not making a sound and just enjoying the serenity of our sanctuary. She was not here though. Many trappers in the interior work in teams but I had no trap line partner, nobody to help if things went wrong. I tried it one season but I found that people constantly try to fill the silence with conversation, they seem to detest the serenity of nature unless they can fill the emptiness with noise. My second big mistake was not knowing what the weather would do, my thermometer had been destroyed by a bear in the fall and I had never replaced it. I knew it was cold, but I had no idea how cold. Every old timer will tell you that you should never take off traveling if it is colder than 40 below zero, and I agreed with this philosophy. There is just too much to go wrong when it is that cold, steel becomes brittle & snaps very easily. If I had known that it would be between 50 & 60 below zero I never would have left, but in my stupidity I never replaced my thermometer or called my wife. My third mistake goes back to that same phone call, nobody would know I was even traveling or when to expect me in. My wife and I have an arrangement of sorts, I call her every couple of days on the sat phone and she does not conn some pilot we know into buzzing the cabin looking for me. She will send a pilot out after about 4 or 5 days without contact, knowing that sometimes you can’t get a call through on a sat phone because of clouds or other weather. In reality it is not that great of a plan, I would be frozen solid after 5 days if I got injured on the trail and could not make it back to the cabin in winter. But it was our plan none the less, and the only one we had. I figured it was easier to just take off and not have her worrying about me on the river ice, I should be in cell range or with her by that time the next night and it would be one of those no harm no foul type things. Try as I might I just couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling I had, so I snuffed out the oil lamp and went to bed early.

A woke up at around six the next morning, but I was in no hurry to get going. It does not get light until around 10 or so that time of the year, and I had time to eat some breakfast and drink some coffee. I had about 10 or 15 miles of trail put in on the river, with packed down snow, so I needed to be at the end of that when it was getting light to start the trip to town. I would be taking a single freight sled behind me, lightly loaded with emergency gear & fuel in case something happened, maybe about 150 or 200 pounds in all. After the morning trip to the outhouse I was having second thoughts about traveling, it was really really cold. Unfortunately I am a stubborn man, and without a thermometer to look at I figured I was just being a (Censored word. I’m a potty mouth) so I kept on getting ready. A four stroke snowmachines is one of the greatest inventions of man, able to get you from place to place using only about ½ the fuel of the old two stroke machines. There is a tradeoff for this though, they are not prone to starting easily in the cold. Batteries must be kept inside and the engines need to be preheated with a propane torch to get them going. I heated the cylinder jugs with a torch and dropped the battery in, and to my surprise it still barely started, the only times I had seen this it was when it was colder than 50 below. It never even donned on me that it might actually be colder than 50 below, I just figured the battery was getting weak. After running for about 10 min I shut it down & put a blanket over it, trying to transfer some of the heat to the tranny. I went through this process a few times until the belt was warm enough to spin and the tranny was warm enough to shift. While the snowmachines was warming I filled three thermoses with boiling water, hoping that would get me to town before they froze solid. I still had that nagging feeling but I was ready to go, the machine was warm and the freight sled was loaded & hooked up. Donning insulated bibs, parka, trappers cap, face mask, goggles, gloves and then mittens; I took off into the empty wilderness expanses of Interior Alaska dead set on seeing my wife.

The first part of the trip was uneventful and by 11 in the morning I was at my closest neighbor’s cabin, about 35 miles downriver from me. They are an older couple and to call their place a cabin might be understating things a bit, they had a beautiful spread that was somewhere between a homestead and a farmstead. I had not seen them in months. The law of Alaska demanded that I stop, even briefly, to share news and say hi. Much as I wanted to be off I stopped to have the customary cup of coffee and visit. We had a wonderful visit, and shared our collective troubles that we were having. They too had been having a hard time of reopening the trap line trails, and had resigned themselves to many more weeks of backbreaking labor to open them up again after the storms. In reality they could have said the hell with it and just lived off of their social security for the winter instead of trapping, but it was not in their nature. Sometimes I think they aged so well because of this trait, they were the type of people who needed to stay busy and active. After they found out I was headed to town I got a lecture about traveling on the river alone, and that rolled into a discussion about me being in this country alone without a partner to help if things went wrong. But again I am a stubborn man. I am of the belief that much of the fear old timers show toward the rivers in this part of the country is based on bad experiences with underpowered snowmachines, or dog teams that will become unmanageable in situations where there is overflow or open water. A modern snowmachines has about 4 times the power of an old Alpine or Bravo, plus a lot more track area to aid in flotation on top of the snow. After they could plainly see that they were not going to talk me out of it, they offered to put the water in my thermoses on the stove to reheat it, so when I departed I could start the clock over on my water supply. In my haste to be off I never looked at their thermometer and they never told me the temperature because they figured I already knew it. When I look back now I understand why they were so concerned about me traveling, but in my ignorance about our miscommunications I just chalked it old folks being overly cautious about the kid that lives upriver from them. We said our goodbyes and I told them I would pick up their mail from their son and bring it out when I came back in a week or so. I was off at about 12:30 and I had another 3 hours of river travel to do and about 3 1/2 hours of daylight left. After that I would be on land and eventually meet up with a well-traveled trail that was hopefully maintained by the folks that lived along it. I would later find out that as soon as I was out the door they were emailing my wife on their HughesNet connection to let her know I was on my way. It didn’t matter if I wanted to surprise her, they were rightly concerned about my trip to town and wondering about my sanity if I was traveling in these conditions. Cabin fever is a real concern living in isolation like we were and I think they thought I had gotten a touch of it, and that it was coloring my decision to travel.

I followed their packed trails for about 15 or 20 miles downriver until I was again in the waist deep powder of untraveled river snow. The light wind had created drifts on the river ice, some areas were bare of snow other than a scant few inches, and others had drifts that were chest deep. There is nothing quite as serene as happily moving along on an unspoiled river, knowing that you are the only one who has been here for months and in all reality, one of the few hundred living people who has ever been there. It is easy to get lost in your own thoughts as the miles fly by, and you ride on in a trancelike state that I refer to as autopilot where everything just melts away. Before I knew it I was within 20 miles of where I would need to turn off on the overland trail. This is one of the trickier sections of river that has numerous creeks and 2 small rivers flowing into the main river, autopilot time was over and I had to pay close attention for both open water and overflow. Many times I would have to stop and look at the river ahead from a sandbar or area of low snow to scan for open water or overflow. This is the part of artic travel that is nerve-wracking, because one mistake can mean your end. Open water is fairly easy to spot when you stop and look for it, and generally it happens in areas where there is a hot spring keeping the ice from forming. Not to say that the water in these areas is warm, it is just warm enough to keep a small patch of ice from forming. Overflow is the greater threat when traveling, it is a condition where water has bubbled up from a crack in the ice and is on top of it. The layer of water between the snow and ice cannot freeze because the snow insulates it and you get a slushy mix that is rarely seen until it is too late. In times past I have actually dropped my freight sled and scouted ahead because a freight sled acts as a big anchor in overflow, stopping you dead in your tracks. The only thing to do when you get caught in overflow is keep the throttle wide open and pray to whatever gods and goddesses you hold dear that you will make it through before you lose your momentum and are stranded in standing water without any traction for your track to grip to. I was about 10 miles from the overland cutoff when everything went wrong, despite my best efforts I was stuck in overflow and truly screwed.

I will freely admit that I was in a hurry, and it was because of this that I found myself in the situation I was in. It was getting late and I was going to lose the light soon, so instead of playing it safe like at all the other spots I figured I would just take my chances. Instead of dropping my freight sled and scouting the area around where a creek dumped into the river, I chose to take the far bank away from the creek entrance and just plow through as fast as I could. When you hit overflow you know it, your ground speed drops instantly even though your speedometer says you’re still zipping right along. I was in it and had nothing to do but try to power through it, there is no turning around. For a while there I thought I might make it, I had hit it at about 50 mph and was slowing considerably but I had gone a fair distance. I figured that I would get out of it, but as I kept slowing I got worried. My engine was not bogging down the way the older machines would, but I had little if any traction. If I did not have the freight sled on I know I would have had no problems getting through, but I had chosen to take a shortcut and now I was going to pay dearly for it. Though my speedometer said I was going over 60 mph and the throttle was wide open I was probably only going 5 mph. Standing on the running boards I rocked the machine sideways back and forth trying to get every foot of distance I could. I knew well where I was, and I knew that a sandbar was only a few hundred yards ahead. If only I could make it to the higher ground I would be free of the overflow, but it was not to be. I came to a halt about 150 yards from the sandbar, the clumps of stunted willow sticking out of the snow marked its position.

As I came to rest I put my knees on the seat, picking up my feet because I had no idea how deep the overflow actually was. Being in a hurry had gotten me into this situation and now I was (Censored word. I’m a potty mouth), I needed to take my time and figure out a plan before I got wet. Once overflow is exposed to the air you do not have that long until it starts to set up into ice, but it was not an instant thing. When the snowmachine settled the water was over the running boards but not up to the seat in the back by the track but the front was higher, and the belt linking the engine to the transmission might not be completely submerged. The bottom of the engine was most certainly under water but the top and the electrical components should still be out of the water. As bad as it was, it could have been worse. All of the ropes and the come-a-long were in the box behind my seat, and I started doing rough math to figure out how far I could get. There were some burned spruce trees about 200 feet ahead of me and slightly to the right, and the clumps of willow that were dead ahead of me about 150 yards. I could reach the willows but I didn’t think that they would be strong enough to tie off to, that left a diagonal pull to the spruce trees. I knew I would get wet no matter what I did, it was just a matter of limiting the time I was wet. If you have never worn bunny boots they are a wonderful invention, having layers of felt and air encased in rubber so that they keep their insulation value even if you get water inside of them. More concerning to me was getting my legs wet for two reasons, the skin & tissue would start to freeze and it would also cool down the blood going down to my feet causing them to freeze as well. Being careful not to get wet I got all of the rope out of the box, as well as the come-a-long. I took off my mittens and my parks, securing them in the watertight box behind my seat, and mentally prepared myself for the cold plunge that I knew I had to get done. I unwound about 8 feet off of a coil of rope, and stepped off into the water. Just as I suspected the track was still sitting on some slush, the water was up a little over my knees. It took my breath away but time was now in short supply. I quickly tied the end of the rope around the skis, submerging my hands & forearms in the freezing water, and started uncoiling it as I made my way to the bank. About ½ way there it felt like the overflow ended but I was already wet and I couldn’t take the time to look behind me or consider how close I had gotten to being free. After the first coil of rope ended I tied on the second length of rope that I would attach the rope come-a-long to and kept moving. The second length got me just barely to the bank, but it was a steeper cut bank than I had originally thought. I fed the rope through the come-a-long and stretched it tight, I had about 20 feet to the trees. Leaving the come-a-long I took another coil of rope and scrambled up the bank. I tied the rope off to the bottom of a tree fairly far back from the bank, then proceeded to wrap it around the base of four more trees on my way back to the bank. Throwing the rest of the coil over the bank I climbed down after it, and attached the come-a-long to it. When you are using a rope come-a-long your progress is measured in inches with each pull. I was getting really cold now and my gloves were caked in ice. I stripped off my gloves and got out a fresh pair from the pocket of my flannel shirt. I hoped this would be quick, I could no longer feel my legs or feet and my hands burned with the cold in the fresh gloves. I started cranking for all I was worth, and silently wondering if I should have unhooked the freight sled from the machine. There was a fair amount of resistance but it was moving. After about 7 or 8 minutes I had gone through the coil of rope that fed through the come-a-long, and I had to re-rig everything to keep the operation moving. I was still in overflow but judging by my footsteps I only had another 30 or so feet to go until the front was out of the overflow. I cranked away for all I was worth but my strength was starting to go and I could tell I was in real trouble if I didn’t wrap it up soon. When I figured I was out of the overflow I ran back to the machine and started it up again, giving it a little gas. The rubber belt squealed as it tried to find traction in the metal pulleys connecting the engine to the transmission, but I kept at it. If I didn’t get something going soon I was dead. Finally there was some movement and I surged ahead a few feet. I jumped off and cut the rope around the skis, not even bothering to try to untie it. Throwing the rope out of the way so it would not get bound up in the track I drove to the bank between the willow and the spruce. The worst of it was over but I was far from safe, I was soaking wet in the middle of nowhere without someone to help me. By the time I started opening the bins that were lashed to my freight sled my hands could hardly move. Stripping off my wet flannel, thermal top, and gloves I put on my last pair of new gloves and put my parka back on. Getting the big scoop shovel off of the freight sled I frantically started clearing snow off of the edge of the sandbar, trying to find the ground and clear an area big enough for a fire and my thermarest sleeping pad. When it was clear I put down a tarp and unrolled the thermarest to inflate. Next I got the two 2×12 boards off of the freight sled and laid them down flat to build a fire on. Running as best I could to generate heat I got up the bank with the dead spruce and collected branches for a fire, dragging them back to my makeshift camp. I wasn’t screwing around at this point, I was close to dead, so I lit three flares (when you’re really cold you can’t use a lighter or matches because your fingers don’t work) and set them on the boards. Next I added the branches I had drug back. I needed energy and at this point it was all I could do to stay moving, luckily I always carry just the thing inside my parka in the winter. Fumbling with the jar I tried in vain to open it, in the end I had to warm my hands a minute to get them to work so I could get the jar open. Rendered bear fat is probably one of the best instant energy foods you can eat in situations like this, and I ate a heaping spoonful. It may be good for you but that only works if you can keep it down, and almost as soon as it hit my tongue I started to gag. I kept it down and chased it with a shot of whiskey out of a flask to get rid of the taste and thin my blood a little. I started back for more branches, trying to not think about how bad my legs and feet would be when I finally removed my bibs & boots. After another load of branches I knew I had to be done, I closed the valve on the partially inflated thermarest and spread out my sleeping bag. I got out four chemical hand warmers and wrapped them inside my spare thermals, this bundle I put in the bottom of my sleeping bag to try to jump start some heat to my feet. I tried to undo the zippers on the legs of my bibs but it would not work, they were iced up solid other than where they bent at the knee. In the end I sat on the sleeping bag and slid out of my boots and bibs, as well as the pants and thermals. I didn’t want to look at my feet or legs yet, I was not sure I could deal with it and there was nothing I could do anyway. I slipped my lower body in the sleeping bag and arranged the branches so that they would burn a little more efficiently, taking the time to set my boots close to the fire to dry but far away enough to make sure the rubber didn’t melt. Taking one more spoonful of bear fat and another shot of whiskey I removed my parka and t shirt and started zipping up the bag when I felt a burning sensation start in my legs and feet. The pain was almost unbearable, and it had only been 30 or 45 minutes since I first hit water. I opened up an inside pocket of my parka and took out an old bottle of Percocet left over from my back surgery, it was expired by four years but I figured it might still have some life left in it. I swallowed two with another shot of whiskey and zipped up the bag the rest of the way, figuring it was going to be a miserable night.

I must have fallen asleep quickly, for when I awoke there was ice from my breath around the opening of my mummy bag and the fire was mostly out. My legs and feet still screamed in pain but it was not as bad as before. I opened two more chemical warmers and put them in some socks, then shoved them down to the bottom of the bag. I used the plastic wrappers from the chemical warmers to help jump start what remained of my fire and repositioned the branches so it would continue to burn for a few more hours unattended. I was hungry & thirsty but I could not stand the thought of getting all the way out of my almost warm cocoon to get food out of the freight sled. Luckily I had remembered to bring the thermoses over before I got undressed and I checked the temp of the water in them. All were liquid but only two still contained hot water, the other one had cooled. I drank a whole thermos of hot water, figuring the heat would help my core temperature. I put the other two by the fire, and placed my now dry boots inside my sleeping bag. Sleep again took me quickly.

I woke up to pain, screaming pain. The fire was out and I had no more wood. I had no idea how bad my legs or feet were but I knew they hurt, and I needed to get something going or I would be wolf food in short order. I turned on my headlamp and thought about my situation. I took 2 more pills, another spoonful of bear fat, and a shot of whiskey. The water was frozen solid. My arms were red and slightly swollen from the elbow down to the tips of my fingers, but there was no signs of the severe frostbite that I feared. Knowing there was no other choice I unzipped my sleeping bag and looked at my legs & feet. My legs were red and swollen, the tips of a few of my toes were slightly white. Though it hurt, it was not as bad as I had feared. I would keep my toes. In reality the calf of my left leg looked like it might be the worst off, there were a few white splotches mixed in with the red swollen skin. I put on my thermals and socks, then zipped the bag back up to try to rewarm myself. I must have passed out for a while because I awoke a short time later feeling slightly better, enough time had passed for the Percocet to kick in. There was no choice but to get moving, as much as I wanted to just stay curled up in my bag I had to get moving or this would be my final resting place. Unzipping my bag I put on my boots and parka. My spare bibs were in the freight sled and I had to beat on the watertight tote with a hammer to break the ice and get them out. Once fully dressed I got more wood, lit a fire, and proceeded to melt snow for water. I took the battery out of the snowmachine and set it by the fire to warm, and started beating the ice off of the idlers & rear suspension. In short order I was exhausted, though I had only been working a short while it felt like I had just swam across the Yukon. I got some moose jerky and crawled back in my bag not even bothering to take off my boots. I ate some and again slept.

It was getting light when I woke up. I realized I had fallen asleep with my headlamp still on and an open bag of moose jerky in my hand. I truly felt like poo poo, to dehydrated to even feel hungry. The water in the pan did little to quench my thirst, and I put more snow on to melt. While I was waiting for water, I pre-heated the engine with a torch and put the battery back in. Reciting many different prayers to many different deities just to cover my bases, I tried to start the machine. It popped and sputtered, but it started. I do not think I have ever been as relieved as I was at that moment. I was far from out of the woods, but I had hope. My machine was running and I was only 10 miles from the overland trail. I drank more water and ate more jerky, forming a plan in my mind. I would leave my makeshift camp set up, and unhooked the freight sled. No more chances, I would run the river to the overland trail and then come back for my freight after the river trail was in. I collected the rope and come-a-long I had left on the river, and packed up everything besides my bedding. I had to beat the frozen bibs with a hammer to get them to fold up and go in a tote, but everything was packed. It was time to go, as much as I hated leaving my emergency gear I had a better chance without it.

The rest of the river trip was uneventful, cold as hell, but uneventful. By noon I had tracks on the river and was back at my camp to collect my freight. As I pulled in I saw two ravens there. One was pulling strands off of the scrap of rope I had cut off and the other appeared to be making himself at home on my sleeping bag. Part of me wondered if these were Odin’s ravens, and part of me wondered if I had just gotten raided by Raven the native deity. Either way I tried to keep a calm demeaned and not worry about my sleeping bag. When I stopped by the remnants of the fire I saw what the one was after, I had spilled a few pieces of moose jerky in my bag the night before. As far as ravens go this one was nice, there were no holes in my bag and it looked like the only place he poo poo was on the tarp instead of where my face goes in the sleeping bag. I collected the remaining pieces of jerky and set them on the snow next to the small chunk of scrap rope. Figuring it was a good idea to hedge my bets, I unraveled the rope and cut it into smaller six inch pieces so it would be easier for the ravens to build a nest with. I returned to the freight sled and got out a handful of loose tobacco and scattered it in the air, it did not matter if they were gods or birds I had covered all my bases. I go back & forth on religion, but in times like these it is better safe than sorry. Within a half an hour I was packed and hooked up to the freight sled. Traveling would be easy now that the tracks were down.

By two that afternoon I was on the overland trail cutting trees. The pain had flared up again so I took my last Percocet and tried to make some time. Every few hundred yards I was stopping to cut stuff out of the trail so I could get through, but I was close to the traveled section of the trail. By four I was on packed trail and moving at a good pace, I would be at the landing in time to call my wife when she got off of work. It occurred to me that I had no idea what to tell her. As far as I knew she didn’t know I was coming to town, and I wondered if I should tell her exactly what had happened on my way back. There would be no hiding my arms & legs, but did she really need to know how close I had been to loosing body parts or freezing to death. I supposed I would make the choice when I heard her voice.

Statistics: Posted by Permafrost — Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:26 pm


No Picture

Prepper Fiction • Re: The Fall

February 3, 2017 Cast Iron 0
DR1VENbyKNOWLEDGE wrote:

Cast Iron wrote:

bacpacker1513 wrote:Ci, I would never guessed that Dan was just a recent addition. That segment flowed well. I look forward to further bits of work. you have the makings of a good tale.

Really (i.e. Dan a new addition)?

Thank you. Here I have been hemming and hawing over a character I just made up over the past two days.

The others have a lot more time, effort and thought into them to flesh them out so to speak.

Your observations makes me feel I have not let you down as to the quality, which I feel is most important to a story.

Still, I have no idea where Dan is going to go.

Is that not odd?

yes, really…It’s flowing.

it’s not odd. some of the best characters/songs ever written come in a moment of clarity taking minutes to create. you’ll always be hyper-critical of any work you create….It’s developing great.

Any disconnected feel you have you can always go back and smooth the edges of transition if you think it needs it.

There is ZERO wrong with profiting from your work…Think of it like this, the more people download it, the more they’re thanking you for sharing your time and giving them a break from their reality. every single book I buy I see it the same way.

Amazon pays by the amount of pages actually read if in the Kindle Unlimited releases….If you don’t continue reading a story for some reason, the author only gets paid a for that portion….the more pages read and additional books downloaded in a given series tell you as a writer if people are REALLY appreciative of your work….it’s great constructive feedback for you, the author as well.

Again, well done. :thumbup:

I did not know that about Kindle. Good to know and thank you for the information.

Statistics: Posted by Cast Iron — Fri Feb 03, 2017 11:10 am


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Prepper Fiction • Re: The Fall

February 3, 2017 Cast Iron 0
IceFire wrote:
Not really…sometimes, the characters take on a mind and life of their own, and the best you can do is try to keep up with them!

Well said Ice. I will keep at it.

Thank you.

Statistics: Posted by Cast Iron — Fri Feb 03, 2017 11:08 am


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Prepper Fiction • Re: The Fall

February 3, 2017 Cast Iron 0

Dan awoke early, a few stars still shown through the tree tops high above. The sky appeared lighter in one direction, he assumed was East. Slowly he stood up, working out the kinks. The gauze did not move when he put his boots on, but he would have to lace them up not quite as tight as he would like. He put away the tarp, and put on his light weight jacket.
Ever so slowly, more for his feet than trying to stay quiet, he made his way back the direction he came.
The trees ahead thinned and he could see where the road was.
The sound of snoring stopped him dead in mid step. He listened harder. There it was again, the definitive sound of someone snoring.
And hard.
Dan almost laughed. But it meant someone stayed out all night looking for him, or set up a trap. He backed up several feet and slowly followed parallel to the road, the snoring fading behind him.
The cross road surprised him. To the right, the main road he took to his parents. The cross road went West. He sighed and pulled off his pack, got out the GPS.
It was an older model, the maps not up to date. He meant to use it for hiking, a hobby he swore he would take up once he got the GPS. He used it once.
The map location icon displayed just outside of his house in his neighborhood, a good ten, maybe fifteen miles behind or so he thought. He pressed the minus button three times, and then scrolled up, trying to follow his progress on the road.
Dan must have driven the route a few thousand times. And yet he never gave a second thought to roads, houses, or even the bridge he had to pay a toll to cross. It was all a blur to him, usually engrossed in a audio book or some podcast to pass the time as he drove to his parents.
He moved up a few more feet to get a better view of where the cross road and the main road intersected, looking for a road sign. Nothing.
The snoring man was still only a hundred yards or more behind him. The sky grew lighter. Dan scrolled a few more times, trying to determine how far he had traveled. He found a cross road that seemed to be about where he should be. It formed a U, reconnecting to the main road a ways further North. Dan decided to take the cross road and went West.

After hiking for an hour and a half, Dan decided he was not on the road he thought he was. Even with his blister reducing pace, the road should of turned North by now, but it continued West. He was seriously contemplating going back when the sound of gun fire from more than one weapon coming from the direction of the main road stopped that train of thought. The shooting in the distance continued for several minutes. It did not matter as Dan did not care as long as it was happening behind him.
West it was.
He munched on a second power bar, took a few sips of water for breakfast as he continued his plodding pace. This road was lined with deeps woods on either side. He could not say if that made him feel more secure or less. Someone could be watching for someone to come down the road and ambush him. Or if he heard someone coming he could get off the road and into the woods quickly. Dan found himself glancing over his shoulder more only to find empty road.
The sudden appearance of a driveway surprised him. Clearly no one had done any lawncare in sometime, the drive nearly blending in with the side road grass and weeds that were coming up. He carefully glanced to see a single wide mobile home. No one was moving outside. No sounds. He thought he caught the smell of smoke but it was so fleeting it was gone immediately. His feet were in no condition for another sprint, so he crouched down as low as he risked and did a half run, half crawl past the drive and kept it up for a dozen or so yards once past the mobile home. He straighten up and walked a little faster his blisters be (APN bad word edit).

The afternoon the sun was out and warmed up considerably. Dan removed his light jacket, but was still damp under his arms, his back, and even a light sheen of sweat on his brow. The pack was light, but after a few days, it seemed heavier today. Taking a sip of water, he noticed it required more effort. He got off the road, found a old, gray weathered tree stump to sit on while he took inventory of his supplies. One zip lock sandwhich full of trail mix, two power bars, and three MREs. His water was a little over half a liter left. Dan had not seen any readily available water since the encounter with the man shooting at him, and the snorer. He needed to find some soon.
Repacking everything, taking a handful of trail mix, Dan continued on, but kept a eye out for a source of water.
A few hours later the sun sinking towards the horizon, Dan decided to call it a day, and make camp in the woods. Tonight he wanted a fire. It was a risk, one he felt worth taking. He wanted to be warm. Finding what he felt was the right spot took sometime, but he set up his little camp and went about building a small shelter for the fire. He had no problem getting it started as he noted it seemed rather dry in this area. Still no sign of water either.
Removing his boots, changing his blisters bandages, there was no indication of infection and they appeared to be healing. The newly forming skin was tender though. Propping up his feet on his pack before the fire, sat back and opened a MRE. He opted not to use any water for the included heater to make a hot meal. The MRE in his pack, against his back all day was warm enough to make do. He watched the fire as he ate, the afternoon sun faded into twilight, and dusk approached. Tonights camp allowed him to see more stars then the previous night. Last night seemed like such a long time ago. The stars, the fire, food in his stomach, he actually felt better than he had in . . . he did not know how long.
He had to pull his feet back as they were becoming uncomfortably warm. He changed position to lay more along side the fire to warm the rest of him. He put his wool socks up on a stick to warm them. MRE finished, he gently pulled the now warm socks on his feet, pulled on his jacket and wrapped himself up in the tarp, and fell easily asleep.

Statistics: Posted by Cast Iron — Fri Feb 03, 2017 11:06 am


No Picture

Prepper Fiction • Re: The Fall

February 3, 2017 DR1VENbyKNOWLEDGE 0
Cast Iron wrote:

bacpacker1513 wrote:Ci, I would never guessed that Dan was just a recent addition. That segment flowed well. I look forward to further bits of work. you have the makings of a good tale.

Really (i.e. Dan a new addition)?

Thank you. Here I have been hemming and hawing over a character I just made up over the past two days.

The others have a lot more time, effort and thought into them to flesh them out so to speak.

Your observations makes me feel I have not let you down as to the quality, which I feel is most important to a story.

Still, I have no idea where Dan is going to go.

Is that not odd?

yes, really…It’s flowing.

it’s not odd. some of the best characters/songs ever written come in a moment of clarity taking minutes to create. you’ll always be hyper-critical of any work you create….It’s developing great.

Any disconnected feel you have you can always go back and smooth the edges of transition if you think it needs it.

There is ZERO wrong with profiting from your work…Think of it like this, the more people download it, the more they’re thanking you for sharing your time and giving them a break from their reality. every single book I buy I see it the same way.

Amazon pays by the amount of pages actually read if in the Kindle Unlimited releases….If you don’t continue reading a story for some reason, the author only gets paid a for that portion….the more pages read and additional books downloaded in a given series tell you as a writer if people are REALLY appreciative of your work….it’s great constructive feedback for you, the author as well.

Again, well done. :thumbup:

Statistics: Posted by DR1VENbyKNOWLEDGE — Fri Feb 03, 2017 10:47 am


No Picture

Prepper Fiction • Re: ‘The Worthless Hills’-Chapter Three:

February 3, 2017 Major French 0

Beverly Found the ‘Happy Hunter’ gun shop across the street from Tudor’s. She entered it just as it opened. While the handguns were not junk, but the days of a Ruger P85 MKII stainless being as good as a SIG SAUER P226 were long gone, also. The shotguns were blase’, too.
But the Sport-Utility rifles were indeed promising, as were the semi automatic machine pistols, too.

Statistics: Posted by Major French — Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:38 pm


No Picture

Prepper Fiction • Re: The Fall

February 3, 2017 IceFire 0

Not really…sometimes, the characters take on a mind and life of their own, and the best you can do is try to keep up with them!

Statistics: Posted by IceFire — Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:36 pm


No Picture

Prepper Fiction • Re: The Fall

February 3, 2017 Cast Iron 0
bacpacker1513 wrote:
Ci, I would never guessed that Dan was just a recent addition. That segment flowed well. I look forward to further bits of work. you have the makings of a good tale.

Really (i.e. Dan a new addition)?

Thank you. Here I have been hemming and hawing over a character I just made up over the past two days.

The others have a lot more time, effort and thought into them to flesh them out so to speak.

Your observations makes me feel I have not let you down as to the quality, which I feel is most important to a story.

Still, I have no idea where Dan is going to go.

Is that not odd?

Statistics: Posted by Cast Iron — Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:29 pm