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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:21 am 
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Evening rolled down. A black-tailed jackrabbit hopped between shrubs, waiting for the sure cover of night to graze on the open hillside. It was a calm night, the end of a warm day between spring and summer. This was Central Washington, a dry and stolid foothill to the Cascade Mountains. Pine trees dotted the hills, thick in the West and thinning towards the desert-like East.

The jackrabbit finally felt secure enough to move away from cover. It shambled into the open, paused, and twitched one oversized ear. A low rumbling was coming from over the hills. It sounded like nothing the little animal had heard before, and strange things typically seem foreboding to an animal so low on the food chain. The rabbit spared no time in diving back into a burrow.

Minutes later, a writhing horde of monstrous predators poured over the hills and down towards the valley. Clawed feet stamped, forked tongues flicked. Hundreds of shambling, bipedal figures surged forward. They stooped like apes, walking as much on their knuckles and claws as their hind legs. Green scales glinted in the sunset. Yellow eyes with snake-like pupils dilated and squinted, even in the dimming light. Nostrils flared and fangs glistened with saliva. The creatures were saurian, lizard-like, with blunt wide-mouthed jaws and vaguely anthropomorphic faces.

A lone figure headed the army of slavering beasts. It towered over the rest, easily seven feet tall. He stood erect and broad-shouldered, with dense muscles bunched under scaly skin. His face was imposing, with a square, jutting jaw. His impossibly-wide mouth bristled with fangs. A bony sagittal crest ran over the top of his head. Next to him, the rest of the creatures seemed dwarfish, with stunted, skinny limbs and hunched backs. They barely reached up to the hips of their massive leader.

The tall one swaggered with pride. He was Rrghhlask, liberator of the oppressed! Devourer of mankind! This was the culminating moment of his triumph, for he would lead his little brothers to victory over humankind. For decades he had proselyted to the forgotten ones, preparing them to emerge from the shadows and strike with great fury. For years he had held on to hope that his comrades would succeed in disarming and destroying this human nation, readying this continent for conquest. Now, the oppressed and forgotten surged forward with him to the field of battle. These little ones seethed with resentment at their long subterranean imprisonment. They were primed for blood!

The scaled army followed a path of faded asphalt that ran between the sparse trees, up and down the hills. They periodically passed abandoned cars and trucks, long bereft of their owners. This was an astonishing sight to the scaly little soldiers, as most had never laid eyes on the infrastructure of mankind. They were scared at first, but Rrghhlask had shown them that the metal hulks were nothing to fear by vaporizing one with a blast from his pulsed energy pistol. He was a god to the little ones – a towering, fearless giant who appeared in the days of their fathers with tales of the heavens, the origin of their species and a grand vision of the future.

When the sky lit up, Rrghhlask told them that certain doom had befallen humanity. They had waited patiently until the weather and time were right before pouring out onto the surface of the earth, ready to claim this land as their own. Down in the valley below was a human settlement, which by now had undoubtedly fallen to panic and famine. They were to overwhelm and destroy any survivors, taking possession of their houses and technology. They were but one wave of an avenging horde that would conquer and colonize the whole face of the earth.

“Come, my brothers!” called Rrghhlask, “Night shall be our shield! We will take them in their sleep! Tear them… rend them! None can resist!”

The horde reached the top of a hill. The scaly general paused. From the crest of the hill downwards, every tree had been cut. Pine trunks and limbs were scattered all along the ground. They would be tedious to crawl over. Fortunately, the humans’ asphalt highway was relatively clear. A hundred yards below, human buildings were plainly visible several hundred meters down the road, at the bottom of a long, steady slope. Stretches of barbed wire fences and the scattered hulks of dead cars wrapped around the perimeter of the settlement. The roadway itself was blockaded with a number of inert vehicles. The scaly conqueror supposed that this was an attempt by the humans to keep marauding animals, perhaps cows, at bay. Oh, how their feeble securities would fail them!

Rrghhlask stood and pondered these things, his impressive seven-foot frame highlighted from behind by the pink-and-red sunset. He was still pondering when a 150 grain 7.62 round landed square in the middle of his snout, plowing up into his brain pan and splatting the back of his head over the gathered crowd of his disciples.

The roar of a rifle rolled across the hilltop, followed by a moment of dead silence. The scaly soldiers stood in shock, some of them slowly wiping their messiah’s blood and brains off their faces. Rrghhlask's body stood on for a moment, but then swayed and toppled to the cement. It flopped over itself downhill several times before coming to a rest.

One of the front-liners found the wits to howl, gnash his teeth, and begin charging down the hill towards the town. His companions were shocked into action by his bravery and quickly followed, spurred into a rage by the sudden demise of the great one. They spilled down the roadway, rushing towards the cluster of human buildings below.

The line of dead vehicles blocking the roadway ahead erupted into flashes of light. Dozens of gunshots rang out in a staggered staccato. Dismayed saurian faces contorted with fear as the bullets ripped through their column. Wounds popped and fizzled as jacketed bullets tumbled and careened through the massed bodies, tearing off limbs and spraying fine mists of reptilian blood. The creatures cried out with primal rage and continued charging for another ten, twenty, thirty meters before so many bodies had fallen that all morale was lost. The rear lines scrambled to turn and disappear over the hill into the darkness. Those few who persisted were cut down before they came close to laying a claw on the line of defenders.

The last gunshot was another 7.62 round that caught a lone survivor through the chest. He pitched forward and hit the road less than ten yards from the blockade of vehicles.

Shapes stirred in the blockade. A man hopped down from the bed of a lifted pickup, slowly walking forward with an SKS at the low ready. He was followed by half a dozen others, armed with a motley assortment of semiautomatic long arms. They weren’t uniformed.

Logan reached the nearest creature, which was lying prostrate with a sucking chest wound. He raised his SKS, clicked off the safety, and lingered for a minute with his muzzle over its head. He was still lingering when old Tom, who had just slung his M14 across his back, shot the creature square between the eyes with a well-worn Colt 1911.

His companions stopped next to him, forming a loose semicircle around the corpse. Some pulled rubber plugs from their ears. An older man clicked on a flashlight and played the beam over the reptilian creature. Another poked it with the fixed bayonet of his AR-15. “Dude was right,” said Danny, fearless wielder of bayonets. “Goddamn lizard people.”


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 4:54 am 
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Six Months Prior

Cortwood wasn’t a city. More like a village. An unincorporated community in Klickitat county, right at the foothills of Mt. Adams. Not too far from the Columbia River, but a hell of a drive from anything both noteworthy and manmade.

Several hundred people lived in the area, giving it just enough of a footprint to have its own Wikipedia article. Most were farmers of some kind. Some were programmers or others who worked over the internet. They liked playing at homesteading in a place where land was cheap.

Services were sparse. A few residents lived to were the run the general store and the post office. There was a K-12 school. A bed & breakfast catered to passing travelers. In short, not much.

Some who lived there had come to this most obscure locale precisely because they wished to surround themselves with nothing. Others were the children of such people. Danny and Logan were both the latter. They spent twelve years in a school that usually served several dozen students.

By now most of their peers had escaped one way or another. After a few years of false starts and agricultural labor, Logan had escaped to Central Washington University. Danny didn’t. For the moment, though, Logan was on Christmas break, visiting his mother. It was New Year’s Eve, about a quarter to nine. He and Danny were currently sitting in the town’s only tavern, killing time.

“Whoa, hey, love this song!”, said Danny. He was referring to Journey’s Separate Ways, which was currently being coughed out by the bar’s barely adequate sound system. He turned to the utterly dour barkeep and premises-owner. “Turn it up, Tom!”

Danny was rail thin and scraggly-bearded. He was currently bobbing his head furiously as if he owned the Journey song, though it predated his conception by a decade. He had a sort of misplaced focus and energy about him that Logan used to refer to as Danny’s mojo. The pediatrician used to refer to it as ADHD.

“So you’re still at the hatchery?” asked Logan, absentmindedly rotating a mug.

“Yep,” said Danny. “Still mostly maintenance and repair. Dad still doesn’t want me fucking with the fish.” Danny did seasonal work at the nearby Salmon Hatchery, where his father held a supervisory position. His father giving him a job wasn’t really nepotism. Danny showed up on time and didn’t try to sneak any salmon fry home (nobody was really sure why the last guy had done this), so he was at least as qualified as anyone within twenty miles. Yes, Danny still lived at home.

“Yeah?” said Logan.

“Well, I mean, it’s not really something I want. I’d just have to go do the hatchery technician course. Probably not even that. I just have limited interest in fish guts. I do the other grunt work. The machines, the sweeping. Anyways, how’s school?”

Logan was a psychology undergrad. “Good,” he said, “Not really sure what comes next, but I’m thinking I’ll graduate.”

“It real interesting, this psych stuff? Like Criminal Minds?” asked Danny.

“Yeah, well, sorta. There’s some interesting parts. The beginning was mostly about defining the self. Also how Freud thought everything looks like a cock,” interpreted Logan loosely. “It gets better, but I think the real meat of it is grad school. You know I mostly chose it because it’s science with no math.” Logan’s mother was the science teacher at the K-12. He had gone off to school with the intent to do something of which his mother would be proud. It felt only right after the sacrifices she’d made to get him to college.

“Beats fish fuckery. Hell, man, you should do ROTC or something,” said Danny, “Be an officer. The Army needs head doctors and shit.”

Logan knew that Danny was a Reservist or a National Guard, whatever they called it. Once a month he spent a weekend in a drafty armory a few hours away, ostensibly honing warfighting skills of some kind. Logan had initially been surprised by how many funny GIFs Danny could find and pass on during a drill weekend.

“Yeah, maybe,” said Logan. He could think of worse things, but an Army lifestyle didn’t really appeal. Besides, he’d heard there were wars.

“Meet any hot chicks up there?” asked Danny. Danny still considered hot chicks to be a thrilling novelty and held to a fairly loose definition of the term.
Logan smiled. “Yeah,” he said. No elaboration. “So anyways, what’ve you been up to?” he asked.

“Dude, I finally got it. My dream gun. Remember that one I showed you on Facebook?” said Danny.

“Oh, the AR?”

“Yeah, but not just any. I made her cheap, but good. I ended up building it with a Palmetto State upper and this sweet-ass red dot with a flip-over magnifier.” None of this meant much to Logan, but it sounded legit. He liked guns, but didn’t put nearly as much thought into them as Danny.

“How much it run you?”

“Like eight, nine hundred with the mags and stuff. The slidefire wasn’t cheap.”

“Oh, right. How’s it work?” asked Logan. He vaguely remembered seeing a video of the slidefire stock. It harnessed recoil impulse to help the shooter pull the rifle’s trigger much faster than typically possible, effectively mimicking fully auto fire. A gun nerd’s dream in a slightly liberal state unfriendly to real automatics and other Federally-restricted weapons.

“Like a champ. Blew through a couple of mags last week at the quarry. Tell you what, it would cut down a mob of zombies like last week’s fish.” Danny was a contributing member of the Undead Defense League, a web-based movement that spruced up traditional survivalism by wholeheartedly embracing movie-monster mythology. Zombies were a great stand-in metaphor for looters and rioters. Werewolves were apparently biker gangs, and vampires were home invaders or census takers. It was a good way to introduce people to the concept of stocking up on canned goods and toilet paper. It was also a great excuse to buy ammo.

Logan let that line of conversation drift for a moment while he scanned the room. Felt kind of strange, being here. He and Danny had grown up wondering if they’d ever be old enough to sit at Tom’s bar with the men. Didn’t seem so exciting now. Maybe college had warped his expectations. Tom had put the Times Square feed on his old TV, where it was almost midnight. A few other older men sat further down the bar. A few couples were at the tables. Their kids must be off at college or beyond, thought Logan. He hadn’t really seen anyone his age except for Danny since rolling into town last week. For that matter, he had put off telling Danny about his visit until after Christmas. He felt a little guilty about that now.

Actually, there was a couple his age having dinner over at a window table. The guy was tall. Looked athletic. Sort of like that one Olympic swimmer. The girl was very white, with short blonde hair. Didn’t look like a cheerleader, though. Kind of hippy, maybe SoCal. They both seemed vaguely familiar. He knew they didn’t grow up here. Maybe they were visiting an Aunt. Maybe they’d just gotten lost here on the way to something exciting. Maybe…

Exuberant noises caught Logan’s ear. He looked up and saw that the ball had dropped in New York. Happy New Year, sort of. He turned back to Danny. “Any goals for next year?” he asked.

Danny shrugged. “Just stayin’ alive, man.”
The lights suddenly cut out. The older patrons on the other side of the bar let out various exclamations. Danny let out an “Aha!” and started digging in his pocket. A few seconds later Logan and the rest of the patrons heard a faint clicking noise in the dark.

“Well, shit,” said Danny. “Tactical flashlight’s dead.”

“Storm tonight?” asked one of the old timers of nobody in particular.

“Haven’t heard. Was clear earlier,” said Tom, who had flared up a match and was busy lighting the kerosene lanterns lining a shelf behind the bar. Logan got up and walked over to the door. Not hearing any wind, he opened it and stepped out to the road.

It was utterly calm, a clear and cold night. Not as dark as one might expect for a winter night. The moon must have been pretty bright. He stepped out into the street to get a better look at the sky. He heard someone stepping out behind him. He turned and looked Northeast. What he saw held his attention far longer than expected.

“The hell?” said Danny from next to him. Logan had no reply. The horizon was lit with an eerie glow, red and orange. Deeper than a sunset, and far more ominous.

“Maybe Canada’s on fire,” said Logan. He immediately felt a little dumb. He looked over to Danny. Danny looked unusually concerned. “What? What is it?”

“It’s not a fire,” Danny said. “It’s the Chinese.”

Logan scrutinized Danny’s face for humor. There was none. In fact, Danny had an expression of wild-eyed concern that Logan had last seen when Danny had wrapped his first car around a post in the school parking lot and was wondering what to tell his father. “Really? The Chinese?” he asked.

“I’m not kidding. This might be an EMP strike. Electromagnetic pulse. Remember what I told you about those?”

“No.”

“Set off a nuke at high altitude and it makes a wave that kills electronics.”

“Really?”

“I refuse to believe you haven’t heard of this.”

“My school doesn’t offer a degree in paranoia.”

Danny snickered. “I’m just messing with you anyways, man. It’s probably the northern lights or something. Or maybe a solar flare,” he said.
He had barely finished his sentence when something flashed behind them. The two friends turned around, looking up to the disturbance. There was a bright smear of light on the southern horizon, distant and tiny. Serpentine ribbons of light emanated from the slowly morphing sight, green and unearthly.

“What is?” asked one of the bar patrons. Several more had filtered out to the road and were squinting at the horizon.

“Fireworks,” said another.

“Nah, must be one of them laser show thingies. Probably down at the river.”

“High altitude nuclear explosion.”
Everyone turned to look at Danny. “Boy,” said a mustached gentleman in a cowboy hat who Logan recalled as Mr. Gonzalez, “Wasn’t it you who kept saying that aliens took that cow of mine? The one that wandered down to Smiths’ place?”

Danny seemed unfazed by this smear campaign against his credibility. “It’s bombs. Electromagnetic pulse killed our power, and those are bombs. Or maybe it’s just the Second Coming. Happy fuckin’ New Year, either way.” Logan could see that his friend was getting agitated, rocking up and down on his heels.

“It’s not a mushroom cloud, Danny,” said Mr. Gonzalez patiently, “It’s just a light.” Several others nodded in sage confirmation.

The group was silent. “Power’s not coming back tonight,” said old Tom at last. “Maybe time for everyone to head home.” There was no dissent. Danny and Logan started up the street towards their respective dwellings. There was murmured conversation back at the doorstep of the tavern, which they soon left behind.

“What the hell, man.” This was Danny, thinking out loud.

“Just stay in,” said Logan. “Maybe there’s a news bulletin or something. You said this thing, bomb, whatever, killed your flashlight?”

Danny shrugged. “Think I forgot to change the batteries, actually. Check your phone.”

Logan’s phone was powered off, something he didn’t remember doing. It came back on, but there was no network to pick up. “No signal,” he confirmed.

“Great, well… maybe someone’s got a ham radio,” said Danny.

It was time for them to part ways. Logan sighed. “You know,” he said, “Someone at the power plant probably took a few bottles to work for the holiday and tripped over a cord or something. And the light was fireworks.”

“Yeah, probably.”

The sky was still glowing.


Last edited by redcabeca on Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 12:07 pm 
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fun story!

What was this meant to say in the second post, 3rd paragraph: "A few residents lived to were the run the general store and the post office."

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:42 pm 
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teotwaki wrote:
fun story!

What was this meant to say in the second post, 3rd paragraph: "A few residents lived to were the run the general store and the post office."


Aw, crap. Supposed to say something like "A few of the residents were able to make a living running the general store and post office, but otherwise businesses were scarce."

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:26 pm 
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Keep going!

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:47 am 
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I like it! Something a little different...

Maybe break up the wall of words in the middle of the second post a bit for readability, but easy to follow regardless.

Looking forward to Moar!

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:21 pm 
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redcabeca bring it on :clap: . Wasn't sure what to make of when or where but I am familiar with Klickitat county.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:36 am 
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DAVE KI wrote:
redcabeca bring it on :clap: . Wasn't sure what to make of when or where but I am familiar with Klickitat county.


I will enjoy irritating you with the hard-to-place details of my made up fake city in a real region I drove through once. :crazy:


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:43 pm 
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redcabeca wrote:
DAVE KI wrote:
redcabeca bring it on :clap: . Wasn't sure what to make of when or where but I am familiar with Klickitat county.


I will enjoy irritating you with the hard-to-place details of my made up fake city in a real region I drove through once. :crazy:


Enjoy irritating me? Thought it was a new post :cry: .You know like maybe 10 pages.LOL. :awesome:

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Logan’s mother, Laura, was stoking a fire in the old wood-burning stove when he made it home. She still lived in the squat brick-walled home where he had grown up, largely unchanged in the intervening years since his father had passed away. The only real change was that she had torn up the sad-looking front lawn in favor of a raised-bed vegetable garden. She said it was part of a school initiative to encourage healthy eating. Logan suspected that it was part of a slight midlife crisis after he, her only son, had moved out.

“Some night,” said Laura after a quick glance at her son. She was poking at a slightly oversized log, trying to wedge it into place to close the stove door.

Logan sank down into the old leather couch, his jacket still folded over one arm. “Have you looked outside?” he asked.

“Just popped open a window to see if a storm snuck up on us,” Laura replied.

“Something’s happened.”

“What? You and Danny get into trouble? Another fight with the Blair boy?”

“No. And he’s moved, you know that. I’m talking about something bigger. Something weird.”

“Well, do I need to assign an essay to get the story?” Laura finally got the stove closed and sat across from her son in a worn recliner. Yellow flames cast a cheery light from behind the glass-paneled stove door. Logan needed no reminding of his mother’s role in his education. Laura taught all the science classes at Cortwood’s K-12, so Logan had found himself in the unenviable position of being the teacher’s kid for seven years or so. She hadn’t cut him any slack.

Logan watched the firelight play across his mother’s face. She looked tired, all lines and creases. Her eyes were still piercing and bright. There was often a pointed and merciless humor twinkling somewhere in the recess of her gaze.

“Shortly after the loss of power at Tom’s, we witnessed anomalous atmospheric phenomenon on the Southern horizon. Professor Danny suspects causation, hypothesizing that the peculiar aurora we witnessed was a high-altitude nuclear burst. Electromagnetic waves have disabled our infrastructure, undoubtedly the first step in an insidious military maneuver by the Chinese,” said Logan. They both knew he was ragging on her lecture style, which occasionally slipped over the line into pompous when she found the lesson material particularly engrossing.

“Alright, smartass. What is it really?”

“No joke, mom. Danny and I saw this weird light in the sky. North of town the horizon was glowing red and orange. After that, we saw this weird flash of light down south. Looked kind of like an explosion. There were green waves. Like the northern lights.”

“Did you two consider the possibility that on this particularly festive night, people might just be shooting off fireworks?”

“This was something else. The burn was slower, more constant. Like a huge explosion unfolding. Like a supernova.”

Laura was quiet for a moment. “Anybody else see this?” she asked.

“Why,” asked Logan, “You don’t believe me?”

“I believe you. Not sure if what you saw was a nuke, but I’m wondering how long it’ll take our neighbors to catch on if you’re right.” To Laura’s credit, she was remarkably open-minded for a teacher.

“We were at Tom’s. Tom saw it. So did Julio Gonzalez, Bert Snyder, and a few others. And I’m sure we weren’t the only ones that were outside.”

Laura sighed. “This could be much ado about nothing,” she said. “I hope Danny isn’t running around preaching doom.”

“He’s not an idiot.”

“No, worse. He’s impulsive. He draws conclusions from a single puzzle piece and jumps the gun. Remember that I taught him, too.”

Logan decided to steer the subject away from his friend. “What do you know about EMPs?” he asked.

Laura shrugged. “Danny’s got the basic idea. A nuclear blast at high altitude sends out a spike of electromagnetic radiation. It can overwhelm electronics and fry circuits. Voltage jumps up too fast. It’s worse for things that are plugged in. Power lines, transformers, all that would be toast.”

“What about smaller stuff?” Logan asked. “My phone’s still working.”

“You don’t have a signal, do you?”

“No.”

“Just wondering. If you did that would mean there was definitely no EMP. Close the damper on the stove, would you?”

Logan obliged. The stove’s flames slowed to a crawl. His mother continued. “I think nobody really knows what would happen to electronics like that if a bomb went off here. Nobody’s set off a nuke recently, if you weren’t aware. There’s theories. The real damning part would be the cars.”

“Cars?”

“New cars have computers in them, remember? A lot of folks think they’d be dead on the road, right then and there. You see any stalled cars on the way here?”

“Nobody’s driving tonight.” There was a Klickitat County deputy who lived and worked around Cortwood. General community knowledge was that he would be parked somewhere strategic tonight, waiting for someone to pull out onto the road after a few too many. Since most everyone who bothered to leave home did so for the booze at Tom’s tavern or a friend’s house, there was much walking. Cortwood was small enough for that.

“Never mind. This is ridiculous anyways. Power’s probably back soon. I’ll bet some fool hit a pole out on the highway.”

“Humor me. What happens if Danny’s right?”

Laura snorted. “Chinese paratroopers take Safeco Field.”

“With the EMP,” prodded Danny.

“People will panic, you know. What do you think happens when water stops coming out of the tap? Food’s gone in a week. Most everyone in a large city dies. The doomsday crowd has been ranting about this for decades.”

“Your water stop?”

“Goodness, Logan. You grew up here. You know how this goes,” said Laura. He did know. Logan recalled several occasions when winter storms had killed the power. It had once taken nearly a week before it was fixed. “Water’ll be out until the power’s back,” continued Laura. “I filled the tub.”

“I’m not drinking mom-tub-water,” said Logan.

“I’m not sharing, ungrateful brat!” They glared at each other before smirking and breaking into chuckles. Fatigued of doomsday conversation, Logan glanced towards a dusty pile of board games by his mother’s bookshelf. He and his mother hadn’t had time together like this in years.

“Chess?” he asked. He lost.

Outside, the arcane light he’d seen was gone. All was calm.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:03 pm 
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Great up date and good point about cities and food! Now how far is this town(mythical) from Goldendale?Yakima or E. Burg?I'm waiting for the next installment with baited breath or fish bait breath depending on how you look at it. :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:06 am 
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I like it, please continue at a breakneck pace for another 40-50 chapters! LoL

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:59 pm 
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To his credit, Danny did not go about spreading doom. His mind alight with a thousand and one possible nightmare scenarios, he walked briskly to his father’s house two streets down from the tavern. The house was fairly modern by Cortwood standards, painted clean white with neatly manicured hedges. Danny let himself in and groped around in the dark by memory until finding a lighter and one of his stepmother’s scented candles.

His father, John, had recently remarried. He and his new wife were away for the holidays, visiting her grown sons in Arizona. The thought now occurred to Danny that their return flight might be delayed on account of nukes. At least their plane wasn’t in the air tonight.

Danny made his way to his basement bedroom by candlelight. His dwelling was chaotic and unorganized. Posters of (relatively) old bands like the Scorpions and Van Halen were arranged haphazardly across the walls, while a litany of military gear, survival equipment, and weaponized items were propped against every available corner.

He dug through a side pocket on a hiking pack and came out with a few more candles. These were liquid, with a supposed 72 hour burn time. Emergency stuff. He lit them up and set them on his desk. He then turned his attention to his gun cabinet, his mind still churning with visions of Red Dawn.

Danny was a weapons enthusiast. His gun collection had been cobbled together by some years of browsing the online classifieds, hunting down things that most captivated his imagination. He went for things that were peculiar, interesting, and most of all inexpensive. It was a fixation.

His new rifle was first, the inexpensive AR-15 build with the slidefire stock. He locked the bolt back and peered into the chamber by candlelight. It gleamed an oily black from the copious CLP he’d doused it with after last week’s range session. It was set on the bed. A Vortex red dot sight was bolted to the top rail. Fearing the worst, he clicked it on and looked through the tube. Nothing. He swore out loud and set the rifle down. A thought then came to him and he picked it back up, clicking the brightness adjustment button several times. A fuzzy red dot appeared in the reticle, glowing brightly in the dark room. That was a relief. The damn thing had no iron sights, a lesson he would apply to any future rifles if the world hadn’t just ended.

The next gun he laid hand to was an AR pistol (last year’s project), which was also a cheap build mostly made from Anderson parts. The AR-15 pistol was largely the same firearm as its rifle counterpart, but built without a shoulder stock. The reasoning was that it could legally be equipped with a barrel under 16 inches, unlike a rifle. The shorter barrel was lighter and handier in close quarters. In lieu of a stock, it was equipped with a rubber Sig arm brace, which could either strap to the forearm of a user or simply be used as an ersatz shoulder stock. It was the closest thing to a true short-barreled rifle that Danny could get without submitting to the odious and burdensome processes required by the ATF.

He had six 30 round magazines for the two weapons, all of which were full. Another 400 or so rounds of cheap steel-cased 5.56 ammo sat over in the corner in a plastic ammo box. It could be a lot worse. His ammo reservoir tended to ebb and flow.

Next up was a Norinco SKS, Danny’s first centerfire rifle. Against his base instincts, Danny had left it unmodified in the original wooden stock. A folding blade bayonet sat under the rifle’s handguard. It fired the 7.62x39 cartridge, heavier and harder-hitting than the 5.56 AR-15’s. It had an integral ten round magazine, which was fed from the top with steel stripper clips. He had about two hundred rounds for the SKS. He briefly pondered the ironic potential of using this communist-designed, Chinese-produced weapon in a guerrilla effort against Beijing’s army.

Setting the SKS aside, he pulled his shotgun from the steel gun cabinet. It was a Mossberg 500, configured with a 14” barrel and a bird’s head pistol grip. Like his AR pistol, it was engineered to skirt Federal barrel length laws. He was able to beat the 18” minimum by keeping the shotgun stockless and at least 26 inches overall. A shotgun without a stock was essentially a novelty item, but he could still use it to blast anything closer than ten yards with impunity. He pulled two 25-round shell belts out for the shotgun, loaded with 00 and #4 buckshot. Other than that, he had half a box of birdshot and a few lone slugs.

Next out was his first rifle, the 10/22 that his father had given him as a boy. It was currently housed in an old plastic bullpup shell, a result of his teenage fixation with weapons that would look at home on a space station. The trigger was mushy and the effect was rather cheesy. Still, he had several thousand rounds for it, much more than any of his other guns.

He had two handguns. The first was a crude FMJ derringer chambered in .410 shotshells and .45 Long Colt. These pieces were widely derided and even feared as unsafe to operate, but Danny had found it plenty robust, if a little tricky to get the hang of. His preferred load was the Winchester PDX, which combined several copper-plated lead discs with a small amount of copper BB shot. It was a single shot weapon, but he could easily hit a head-sized target at seven yards with it, leaving plenty of holes in a grapefruit-sized circle. He had several boxes of birdshot and a few more of the PDX shells. He didn’t bother keeping any .45 Long Colt, which were expensive and dismally inaccurate out of the little derringer’s crude barrel.

The last was a Glock 26, Danny’s concession to practicality. He had fairly small hands and found the subcompact 9mm as comfortable as any full-sized pistol. He had five magazines for it. Two were flush-fit ten rounders, while the other three were full-sized 17 round magazines. He had a leather inside-the-waistband holster for it, as well as several hundred rounds of cheap target ammo. He cursed at himself for not having stocked up on defensive hollowpoints – he had only twenty or so.

It was soothing to pore over his collection like this, and Danny didn’t really know what else to do at this hour. It wasn’t midnight yet, and somehow it felt almost like a responsibility to stay awake and keep a vigil for the new year. He spent another thirty minutes or so rifling through his hiking pack, making sure that his bug-out gear was as he’d left it.

He decided to fill the pack’s hydration bladder, taking it upstairs to the kitchen sink. It was then that he remembered that with the power cut, he’d quickly lose water pressure. He thought for a moment before salvaging as many plastic soda bottles as possible from the garage recycling bin and filling them from the tap. Pressure started tapering off after he’d saved about a dozen gallons worth of mildly coke-flavored water. He shut off the tap, thinking to save whatever pressure was left.

Danny tried to boot up his laptop with no success. It had been plugged in, without a surge protector. Maybe that was it. He wondered if there might be a battery-powered AM/FM radio in the house, but after a short search couldn’t find one. Okay, that one was a slight oversight. At least he had ammo, right?

The last thing he did before turning in for the night was check the pantry. There was the usual assortment of boxed, canned, and jarred consumables. Interestingly, his new stepmother had brought large sacks of whole grain rice, beans of various types, as well as some other weird grains he didn’t really know anything about. What the hell was quinoa?

All in all, things could be a lot worse. Danny figured that things couldn’t possibly escalate before morning, so he slept soundly.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:28 pm 
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O.K. I am officially sucked in!"things couldn’t possibly escalate before.That tears it.Here comes the Jink Fairy. :twisted:

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:07 pm 
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:clownshoes: Very cool, easy to get into this one, please keep it coming....


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:16 pm 
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Yup! Diggin' it...

Ironically just stumbled across a rather "adult" version of D&D-type books while browsing Amazon for books to load on the Kindle for a business trip over the next couple of weeks...the bad guys remind me a lot of your lizard men. :awesome:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:02 pm 
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Officially was sucked in redcabeca and (irritated) but all is good. But YIKES AWAY did the Jink Fairy land? Yeah I bumped it up and people are going to cuss me. 8-)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:15 pm 
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DAVE KI wrote:
Officially was sucked in redcabeca and (irritated) but all is good. But YIKES AWAY did the Jink Fairy land? Yeah I bumped it up and people are going to cuss me. 8-)


#@%$%@ it Dave, this is almost as bad as bumping MJOTZY. Whadda ya thinking...

As for redcabeca: Last visited: Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:16 pm

:cry:

We should start a petition to have all the teotwawki authors shackled to their desks until their story is finished...

:awesome:

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:44 pm 
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Ah guess that's the problem. I was thinking when I should have thought. :oops: ,but I am down for that petition though.LOL.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:33 pm 
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I hit a rut! Gonna try to post another chapter before the weekend.


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