Monday, July 10, 2006

It was still Saturday morning, 9:00 AM, when I awoke. The women were still sleeping, but Angelina was watching the news at a barely audible volume.

I shook the lead out of my veins, and sat down next to her with a gallon of water. Some medicant later, the chemicals started flowing, and I felt alive again.

"Anything going on? Still no light outside?" I asked Angelina.

"Well, yes, the situation is getting worse by the hour. I don't know how we're going to live through this." I realized she was red with tears. Some depression streak? I put an arm around her shoulder, and she didn't seem to mind, and I hoped that comforted her.

How were we going to live through this?

There were strange storms raging in the north; super-cold, super-fast blasts of wind and hail. The scientists on Fox reported that eventually these could move down into the south as the planet experienced a rapid cooldown.

Politically, things were worse. The still-functional countries of the European Union had declared a war against the insurgents, and was determined to restore proper governments in fallen countries. Headed by the UK, this included violent rocket attacks on supposed hotspots. Arabs and everyone with a turban on were being rounded up into internment camps.

A new nuclear cloud appeared over northern Greece. Iran tried to launch a missile at Rome, it seems, but it hit the ground too early. The Europeans now declared war against the countries of the 'Islamic Alliance', while the Pope had made a similiar declaration: a second, formal crusade to recapture the Holy Land, to stop the evil darkness from eating up the world. The Pope had made statements over the news for all Christians and Catholics to take up arms against the Beast, the religion of Islam. Israel, fighting for every inch the Islamic guerillas pushed forward, welcomed the support.

So much for a hundred years of religious tolerance. When would they start calling for the Mormons to fight, or for some other religion to annihilate the Mormons?

I gave Angelina a massage, and told her not to worry about anything, that I would get them through the disaster.

"God doesn't want to condemn us all to a quick, cold death, that's not part of the plan. You just have to have faith."

"Yeah." Angelina sniffed, still troubled. "Yeah, we'll survive. Thanks Mike."

"We all need to get some sleep, this darkness has been playing with our sleeping schedules, you know? Go up to bed, I'll keep watch."

"You're serious aren't you?" She turned towards me, a half-grin on her face, "You don't need to sleep. I've seen you only sleep for an hour at a time, if that."

"Yeah," I smiled, "It's a thing I learned. Now go up and get some rest. Who knows when we'll need it."

Angelina went up to bed, and I watched the news cautiously, checking the windows very frequently for action outside. The area was calm again. Still, I held my gun religiously. The local news channel told that a few soldiers, aided by a vast volunteer force, had routed another attack by the Sickle of Islam on the Folsom Dam, and was cleaning up neighborhoods from their headquarters at Intel. The forces consisted largely of devout Catholics and Hindus. At least a few religions weren't up in arms, but how long would that last?

While these volunteers had captured the Folsom mosque after a bloody battle, they had left the refugee area open to attack. The Sickle of Islam had been able to get inside undetected, open the defenses and rush inside with vans. The guards had begun a long, urban battle with them, while people scattered to the hills. So much for one concentrated relief area. How many had died, I wonder, from the bullets of the Sickle?

At 1:00 PM, when the sun should have been high in the sky, the women got up and showered. They all came down, one by one, moving stealthily and quietly, into the kitchen. Tayva held watch while Karol and I made a large pan of scrambled eggs that was more cheese and meat than egg. We needed to get rid of all the food that would have to be kept refrigerated.

"How's the new girl, Sharon?" I asked Karol, while stirring the contents of the pan.

"Shocked silent, I bet. We tried to make her comfortable, but I think she lost part of her family to an attack. She doesn't want to talk much, about anything."

"You think we're taking too much people?"

Karol looked at me funny, "What do you mean?"

"Well," I shrugged, "To survive, long-term, we need people that can carry their weight. Should we just be accept any refugee we come across?"

"Carry their weight? You're the only one carrying the weight, Mike, everyone else is trying to help, but you've taken charge. Maybe if we were left to our own devices..."

"Oh really?" I smiled, "Maybe I should just head for the highway, so you ladies can create some ultimate feminist bulwark against the forces of evil, eh?"

The girls were up, and we sat down on the carpet in the TV room. There wasn't any furniture left, it had all been used to barricade windows. But I had blankets and pillows and such. It was managable, if not comfortable.

"So... I think we really need to get out of here." Angelina said after 'breakfast'.

The other girls nodded. "We shouldn't stick around here with those fanatics outside and the dam ready to blow any second." Tayva said.

"I think we should head for the country side, up in the hills. There's some mansions that I think some people will have abandoned." Angelina said, entertaining the idea of a mansion hideout.

"Those big, rich houses attract looters like moths to a lamp." Tayva sighed, recalling personal experience, "The country sounds good but we need a place out of the way, that can't be reached very well, with fences, and enough space to live in for a while."

"Wait, you guys, are we sure we want to leave my place? I mean, look at these barricades. It'll take me an entire day to do the same for another place. And, the search... it could get chancy."

"It'd be better than in these densely packed areas," Karol commented, "We can't even move well out here, and we don't have many places to move. We need escape routes."

I thought about the eventual doom of the planet if the light wasn't there. Inevitable suffocation. I was smart at that time to assume that things would get better, that God would save us from the dark death.

"Okay, we'll move out. Any suggestions?" I asked.

We were quiet for a couple of minutes.

"Cameron Park area?" Karol asked, "It's as close to 'farmhouse' as you can get in the Sacramento county. I remember a lot of fences and gates when I was looking for a place up there. And the houses were quite large, twice as big as this dump, at least."

"I've been up there." Sharon said, in a dismal tone. It was the first time she spoke, "There's horses, and sheep, a few streams, a lot of trees..." She seemed to recite from memory. I wonder what chord had been struck in her memory.

"Hey," I finally agreed, "Why not? The cars are mostly packed, but let's get as much food and tools into my truck as possible. We can leave in an hour, head up to the Cameron Park area, find an empty place, and start barricading up again."

"Thanks Mike, I know you don't want to be separated from your bachelor pad." Karol grinned.

"Bachelor pad? That's what you call it after all of done to this place?" I laughed.

We filled the cars in forty-five minutes. I got a map from Google Maps for Cameron Park, and at 2:30 PM, Saturday afternoon, we opened the garage and hit 50 mph out of the neighborhood. I had Karol in my truck, with a gun in case of emergencies, and a cell phone for communication with the other car. Then we hit the deserted highway, and hoped for the best.

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