Road Trip
Chapter 1

Copyright© 2015 by Courtney

Fiction Sex Story: Chapter 1 - The story of a girl's travels in an apocalyptic setting.

Caution: This Fiction Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including BiSexual   Heterosexual   Fiction   Crime   Post Apocalypse   Rough   Sadistic   Torture   Violent   War  

Clunk ... pshhh Clunk!! pshhh Clunk pshhh ... the rhythmic sounds of industrial processes echoed somewhere in my head as I worked feverishly at the station. The stench of sweat, fear, and grease hung in the air as my hands quickly aligned small parts on an assembly line. The parts are metal, they are sharp, and they require a deft touch. One small mishap and the supervisor comes over and you're removed. It's happened to me twice, they beat you, throw you in a room, and leave you in isolation for no less than 24 hours. It's well, it's not something you get used to.

I looked up momentarily, after hearing someone crying out ... this happened often enough that it wasn't worth much more than a cursory glance. Another of the workers, a guy six stations down the line from me had cut his hand on the belt. He was trying to keep working, but I could tell he wouldn't last long.

BAWWWWWWW!!!! The siren bellowed and the line suddenly stopped, all eyes shifted up. The supervisor and three big guards shoved their way through the masses to the station. The guy who cut his hand was looking around in fright, my heart skipped a beat as I watched one of the guards strike him with a night stick. Through the scrum, I watched his body topple to the floor. A great silence engulfed the immediate area of the large room. Another boy was dragged over to fill the spot, then the siren sounded again and the conveyor belt started again.

We supposedly work 16 hours on, 8 hours off though it doesn't feel like it anymore and we have no real point of reference for telling time, it's just one big long blur. The work is demoralizing, I can't even describe how bad it is, but it's better than being out there. You see, the world isn't what it used to be. Outside the complex, it's dangerous. People die readily, women like me are made into slaves and forced to do unspeakable acts. There is no happiness, anywhere. I work at a place called Munitions Assembly 083. I don't know how I got here, I don't know much of anything of this place.

The closing whistle blew and I took a step back from the belt and followed on the bright pink line on the floor back to my living quarter, no sooner had I gotten to a small kiosk next to our area that a guy approached me, "Hey 17288" he said, I glanced up. "Hi" I replied. I was rubbing my hands with aloe, calluses were bad because they took away from the finesse that was required to align parts. Parts ... my mind thought ... I didn't even know what I was helping to make. All I know is that three round parts align to a metal shell and if I fail, I get in trouble.

"Are you free later?" the guy asked me.

"No" I replied, "I'm really tired and I don't want to risk passing out tomorrow."

"Alright" he replied, and moved on.

I guess I should tell you about the living quarters here. They're bad. We are 10 to a room, sometimes more but never less. The rooms are small, we sleep almost on top of one another. Meals are provided by way of a vat of stew. The meals are disgusting, but you have to eat. Water is provided and it tastes bad, like its recycled sewage. We try to not think about it, but you cannot help but wonder. Clothing is scant, I guess I am fortunate because I still have a full set. Some of the people I work with have only underwear. We're offered the chance to buy new clothes every month, the cost is one week's pay. Most of the women are forced to do this for biological reasons. We also get rubber flip flops. I know I have been here at least three years because I have had to buy 30 changes of clothes, there are periodic shortages of supplies and when they really starve us, I miss months. But I guess it wouldn't matter, because there are only two things you can buy. Clothes or blankets.

I laid down on the cement floor, spooning my rolled up woolen blanket. I rested my head on a section of blanket and allowed myself to weep quietly, as I've done for the past who knows how long. I lost the ability to feel completely sorry for myself, it's been like this for a while. I cannot really cry. it's more of an acknowledgment that all is lost.

"Courtney" I said softly, "Your name is Courtney," Identity was the first thing that was taken from you in this place. I still remember it, I don't know what happened to my parents, or where they even are. We were taken from school, in the middle of the day. A "field trip," it was called, I sniffled and wiped my nose with the back of my right hand. I heard my roommates staggering in and collapse onto the floor.

I heard 16849 crying as she often did. I tried to feel sympathy, but I couldn't bring myself to, and that made me feel even worse. I thought back to the day we left. A national emergency had finally been declared, after several western states had already done so, the claim was that a new virus was killing everyone left and right. I don't know how true that report is but, we were bused off, two or three nights on the bus and then we came here.

When it was possible to mingle with other people, I always tried to find the highest numbered people to talk to, currently, that was around 44,000. I could only imagine the pain they had to endure. We're branded here at MA083. They tattoo us on our right shoulder, in big Gothic Block numbers. The new people still have spirit and drive, they believe they will get out soon. it's not until they meet some of us, even with lower numbers than me that they realize they're going to be here for a long long time. I've never heard of anyone escaping. it's like a prison this place.

I slipped into a sleep that wasn't really sleep. It was the guarded awareness that one gets into when they're scared. You're always scared here, the guards sometimes beat people for fun or as they call it "to keep us in line." you're scared of your room mates especially. I'm fortunate in that I'm not very big, so my clothes won't fit many people. Some of the guys get killed for their clothes, especially the new people. I've never killed anyone, I'm terrified of physical altercations.

I rolled over in my sleep and I felt a hand slide up my shirt. I didn't bother resisting as I did when I had first come here. It was pointless. Your body belonged to the company here, not you. Your self-consciousness was there only to be cheap labor, what happened to you when you were away from the work station was not their concern. I used to fight with passion when people would get too close, some of the girls didn't bother trying to save whatever was left of their dignity. I guess I can't blame them after a point, if you know your life is essentially over, you might as well try to feel pleasure from something.

The guards here are real pieces of work, like, I heard a couple guards joking one day that a new batch had been purchased for $15,000. A batch is about 500 people. So human labor trades for $300 a head these days. Math was always something I was decent at, and having a knack at surviving bad situations. I guess that's why I'm still alive.

After what seemed like only a few minutes, we heard the morning whistle blast. I stood up slowly and lined up with everyone else. We filed out, staying on a yellow line. First we always went through the showers. This process was degrading, even for those of us who were emotionally ruined. What happens is we go into a room, and strip. We set our clothes, perfectly folded up, on a conveyor belt and we go through a two meter long box that has water jets on the ceiling. I have vague memories as a child of playing with the pressure washer when I was younger, and it's worse than that. So I stood naked, in front of a row of guards with tasers and I followed the group through the two stage human washing machine. Stage one smells a lot like alcohol or that antiseptic that hospitals often smell like. Stage two is high pressure water. We walk one step per three seconds.

After the water stage, we pick our clothes bundle off the conveyor belt and redress, still soaking wet. Then we go down another hall, this time following a blue line painted on the floor and receive a bowl of stew and sometimes a biscuit. One time, because we beat quota, we got a piece of real meat, but then the quota was doubled.

The new work day was set to begin. We were marched into our stations and I stood waiting for the belt to start rolling. My stomach started really hurting, as it had done every month since I had turned the ripe age of 13. I wondered what year it was, I knew I was a lot older, but I didn't know how old. I prayed for a moment that it would be a light month and that it wouldn't interrupt me too badly.

BAWWWWWWW! The line started running. My eyes snapped to the moving vinyl strip and I cracked my knuckles and waited. My abdomen felt like it was on fire. I put my hands on the metal struts, trying to hold myself up. I looked down after feeling the unmistakable sensation of something running down my leg, and noticed a small red pool was forming by my food. "Shit" I thought to myself. "Shit..."

The parts came into view, I started seeing gray and black splotches. "Oh no" I thought again. "Oh fu--" I said aloud as my world turned black. I regained consciousness a few minutes later when the night stick struck my side.

"Get this trash out of here" an angry voice screamed. I felt my arms being used to drag me across the cold metal and cement floor. The lights high above seemed to be like hundreds of stars, my vision turned black again and I was out.

I came to in a box, one of the isolation boxes. There were footsteps somewhere. I put my hand down and felt my legs, they were soaked with blood. I pulled my knees up and tried to breathe deeply, I felt sick but I knew if I threw up I'd have thrown up my only food for half the day. I heard a key work the lock and the door was pulled open. Two guards came in and dragged me out into the hallway, then tried to get me to stand up. I got halfway up and started to black out again. I felt my head hit the wall on my way down. The guards watched and grabbed my arms, then took me down another hall I'd never seen. I was deposited onto a floor.

"Pick her up" a calm voice commanded. I felt my body being lifted up. "Take her and clean her off, she stinks like ****" the voice said next. I felt myself being dragged around more. I was stripped and deposited into a corner. I flashed back into consciousness when the cold water jet started blasting me. This lasted for several minutes. I was given a new set of doctors clothes then dragged back into the room with the calm voice.

"What's your name?" the voice asked, through the delirium I mouthed "1-7-2-8-8," I felt my head lull down. A hand grabbed my chin and lifted my head up.

"Think anyone will buy this one?" Another voice asked

"Not likely, look at her ... she's fried ... trash ... dog ****." The calm voiced man said in a conversational tone.

"What do we do with this 17288? She's not been a particularly good worker." The other voice suggested. "this is the third episode of this nature"

The man in front of me knelt, I could see his outline through my half opened eyes. "We'll turn her loose"

"Turn her loose?" The other asked "You mean ... outside?"

"She'll be dead in a day ... why waste a bullet!" the first man laughed

The guy kneeling made a motion with his hands and I felt myself get lifted up again and then I was being dragged. I don't know how long I was dragged for, but it seemed like forever, soon, it stopped. I heard a door being opened and then I felt myself flying. I landed in a thud, and the door slammed shut. I laid there for a long long time, not sure if I was dead or what.

Slowly, I came to my senses, and then I jerked awake. I looked around me in fright, I could see nothing but trees, a small path, and the large metal door behind me. I sat against the building, the clank-pshhh was faint here, my ears ached from the lack of sound. My hands felt restless. I heard someone coming and looked to my left, a group of three were coming towards me. They walked to me and surrounded me.

"Dog shit" one of them said.

"Help me" I sobbed

"You want help, do ya?" one of them replied, he knelt before me.

"Please" I said, tears streamed down my face.

I watched in horror as he drew his gun. "Open your mouth pretty" he demanded. The two others grabbed my arms and forced my head back. I felt the cold steel and tasted the metallic taste of the gun. I looked up with tear filled eyes. I tried to scream but my voice was gone, my body seemed paralyzed in the anticipation of certain death. I swallowed hard, my mouth had gone completely dry. The guard tensed his arm and pushed the gun in more. In the bottom of my eye, I could see his finger tightening.

"This is it" I thought. I shut my eyes, accepting the inevitability.


It took me a moment to realize what that click was. The hands released me, the gun was ripped from my mouth, cutting my lip on its way out. The three stood up and bellowed laughter. One of them leaned in and kicked me really hard.

"Get the fuck out of here, you're not worth a bullet" I was told as they left.

I curled up into a ball, clutching my left side, a faint taste of blood was creeping up my throat. I tried to cry, but my body was incapable of the feat once again. Slowly, with great effort, I pulled myself off the ground and staggered into the tree line.

The trees weren't too dense, but the undergrowth was making my life miserable. The rubber sandals were all but useless in this stuff. The surgical scrubs were sustaining many small rips on twigs and plant life with pokers. I trudged on for what seemed like ever. My body yearned for water, for food, and for sleep. I was still terribly weak from my earlier episode. I pushed through an especially dense cluster of stuff and I found myself on a two track road. I thanked my lucky stars briefly and started wandering down the road, searching for someone or something that might aid me.

The sun was past the setting by the time I reached the first sign of civilization. It appeared to be a small cabin, there were no cars next to it, no signs of life. I walked over to it and looked through the dusty windows. No one was there. I tried the door lock and found it locked. I sighed mightily, looking around.

"Should I ... break in?" I asked myself, quite unsure of this feat. I went to the other door and tried it. Both doors seemed to be locked well. I sighed again and picked up a stick and shoved it at a window. The stick bounced off. "shit!" I said aloud. I didn't realize how weak I was. I picked up a small rock and used it to break a window on the side of the house where I thought I could climb in. I pulled most of the glass out of the window frame and used a couple pieces of chopped firewood that was growing mold to climb through. I felt some glass dig into my thigh, but I kept pushing and pulling myself through the new entry way. Once inside, I looked around.

I found myself standing in a three room cabin. The kitchen and living room were one room, there was a bedroom loft and a bathroom. I made my way to the kitchen, for the first time feeling hopeful. I tried the sink, but no water came out. I opened the refrigerator, there were four gallons of water labeled "Well Water 10/12/2011",

"When was 2011?" I asked myself I sighed and pulled one of them out and opened it. I drank about a quarter of the gallon in one big long pull. It was the best tasting water I thought I had ever had. It tasted just a little sweet, like it was nature's nectar. I pulled the jug from my face and set it back into the fridge. It dawned on me that there must be food somewhere. I started opening cabinets and pulling whatever I could find out and setting it on the counter. I found Almond Butter, three cans of peas, and two containers of spam.

After some effort, I managed to get one of the Spam cans opened. I took a whiff of it, it smelt disgusting, but I dug my fingers in and started scooping glops of the meaty paste into my mouth. I forced myself to swallow down a whole can. I next went back through and found a bottle opener. After staring at the can for a long while, I worked it carefully around the edge of one of the cans of peas so there were several small holes. Then I went back and tried to press down between the holes. I managed to get six of the small holes on top of one another. I started drinking the pea water and gingerly chewing on the small green vegetables. The funny thing was I couldn't remember ever liking peas when I was younger.

Lastly, I stared at the almond butter container. I was still quite hungry, but my atrophied stomach was reminding me that I'd had enough. I pulled and pushed, and eventually was rewarded with a "pop!" and the top came off. There was liquid on top of a beige mass. I thought about it for a minute and then read "May separate, stir before use" on the side of the container. I jammed my index finger in and stirred as vigorously as I could. It didn't seem to have an effect, so I pulled my finger out and licked it clean. Then I replaced the top and grabbed the well water I was drinking and made my way up the stairs.

The bed was really soft, too soft for someone who had been sleeping on a cement floor. I pulled the blankets off the bed and arrayed them on the floor. I told myself I'd try the pillow, and I laid on the floor, atop the blankets and stared up at the ceiling. The sun was about to fully set, a warm glow emanated across the cabin,.

I woke up suddenly, it was bright in the cabin, I sat up with a lurch and almost smacked my head on the bed post. I looked around wondering what the problem was. Silence greeted me. Like, literal, absolute silence. I laid back down, conscious that I didn't deserve to be happy right now. I curled up into a ball and finally, years of abuse and neglect came pouring out of me, feelings of rage, helplessness and loneliness filled the gap that was my life. As I calmed down, it was this last emotion that really lurched onto me. I was now alone, utterly and helplessly alone. I sat up and sniffled for a minute before I realized that I had actually slept, the mere act of sleeping brightened my mood a little bit.

I glanced around and noticed several small cases in this bedroom. I started opening them, my hands weren't functioning well at the moment. Years of simple repetitive motion had dulled my motor function a little. I found men's clothing in most of the cases, and a couple pairs of boots. I discarded the big ones, and tried the smaller ones. They were quite big yet, but after pulling on a pair of wool socks, they fit snuggly enough to walk in. I pushed them off and then casually dropped them from the loft, I didn't trust myself to carry anything down the ladder yet. I pulled a big flannel shirt out of the bin and adorned myself with it. It was much nicer than the scrub top, I scrunched the bottom up and tied it off, so it would fit me a little better, then I pulled some jeans out. They unrolled and I heard a THUNK! I looked down at the floor and a knife in its sheath was laying there. I smiled weakly and unsheathed it. The blade was big, the knife was quite heavy, but it had a sharpening stone. I'd have to learn to use this knife. I used the knife to cut the pant legs on the jeans a little shorter. I fashioned a belt out of some rope that was laying around. I then dropped these down from the loft.

I carefully descended the ladder and tested my stability by standing on one foot. If I was going to be traveling, I had to be a little stronger first. I went into the bathroom and found a portajohn, one of those little ones that you dump in the woods every week or so. Since I was used to a community toilet, it felt a little weird, but a good weird, using this very secluded one. I looked down at the water and realized I wasn't bleeding still. Fear crept into my system of what might have happened. I dismissed the thought and went to the living room and sat on the couch.

"What now?" I asked myself. I stood up and paced the room. I walked back to the bathroom and closed the door. I didn't notice it before, but a tall mirror hung there. I stared at myself, disbelief over what I looked like. What used to be youthful full cheeks were now sunken with protruding cheek bones. I pulled my top off and examined myself, all my ribs were poking through. I twirled my hair, I could remember my mom being obsessed with my cinnamon colored hair. It used to shine so bright, now it was a dulled tone. I turned to my left a little, the big block letters were there. I pulled my top back on after poking my hip bones a little. I was feeling exhausted again, I needed to lay down. I trudged back to the couch and laid down. The soft but worn cushions felt weird. I ran my hands over my ribs a few times as fatigue overtook me again.

"Happy birthday Courtney!" Mom's voice chimed out. "Look!" I saw her point, dad came in carrying a 10x18 sheet cake, the words "Happy Birthday" with a "15" were stenciled in with icing and a star. I sat at the table gleeful, to my right were Katie and Alexis, to my left were my mom, and Cassie. I blew the candles out and ate cake and ice cream. The dream faded away,

"Listen up!" a new voice called out. "We have to take a field trip, we have to leave right now!" Mr. Lebowitz's voice called out across the class room.

"I want to go home!" Cassie had said in protest.

"Your parents have already been notified that we are leaving today." Lebowitz's voice reassured, unconvincingly.

Cassie had started to take her phone out, and Mr. Lebowitz confiscated it. "No phones in class!" he scowled.

"This isn't right" Another kid, Jeremy spoke up. "I'm not going anywhere."

The classroom door opened and four people in big yellow suits came in carrying cases. They pointed at the door and out of shock, we obeyed. I sat near the front of the bus, Cassie sat next to me. We started driving and then we left the city, then the state. Cassie started crying, and so did I. We sat there holding each other until we got to a switching point. They split us up by sex, and then even-odd. They took Cassie and put her on a truck. I was reboarded on the bus. I sat alone now, in a ball, clutching my school backpack. I had tried to use my phone, but it said "no service." I wrote a text message and hit send, hoping if we ever got signal, it would send then.

My dream fast forwarded a little. Intake. We were pulled off the bus after several days of travel. We had barely eaten or drank. We were put into orderly lines and then counted off. There were a lot of people wearing black uniforms with big guns. I was too scared to do anything but what I was told. One of the boys near me started asking questions. A guy who was pacing the line walked over to him and beat the kid nearly to death. He then addressed us.

"You are now employees of this facility. You will be paid $0.25/hour, you will work until told to stop. Your parents have authorized this when they signed your enrollment papers to public school. If you disobey, you will be punished. We do not want to punish you. You will follow the line system on the floor. Any deviation will be seen as insubordination and treated as such. Do I make myself clear?"

Stunned silence was the only response.

"I SAID, DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR!?" He shouted, his face turned red.

"Yes" a symphony of replies came.

"Put your ****in these trucks." He ordered. We passed our backpacks up to the front and then the little trucks were carted away. The wind blew then, and I clutched myself, it was chilly that time of year.

"What the ****are you doing copper top?" The red faced man said, storming over to me.

"I'm c ... cold..." I stammered

"What!? You will address me as sir!" He spat back, his face literally inches from mine.

"I'm c ... co ... cold sir?" I said weakly.

"Put your ****ing arms down before I make an example of you too." He said sternly.

I felt my body clench as the wind blew again. My teeth involuntarily chattered.

"Thanks to little miss "˜I'm so Special' over here, you will get to wait until the other three groups are taken inside." The red faced man continued. "If any of you move from your statuesque pose, you will be punished."

I saw myself turning towards the building when I jerked awake again. It was very dark, but I felt unsettled. My mind was hazy with the memory of the complex. I rubbed my eyes gently and tried to focus. There was rustling in the weeds.

"They're coming for me!" My mind thought, irrationally. I clutched the hunting knife and listened intently. The rustling stopped and then another sound started, a low screeching. Then another set of rustling started and the two critters, I guess, ran away because I could hear dry leaves being kicked about.

I relaxed back onto the couch and stared at the pitch dark ceiling. I rubbed my abdomen, it still ached from whatever had happened. A momentary thought made me shudder, but I dismissed it as being unlikely. As much as I could, I had tried in vain to protect my dignity and virtue, and "˜that' hadn't happened in months. "Maybe I'm dying?" I asked no one in particular. The blackened supports offering no assistance to my self-diagnosis.

As I thought more about the situation the more I had to believe they had drugged us. I shuddered again, thinking about just what they were feeding us. The nasty water, the terrible stew, the "˜treats', what if we were all just guinea pigs? What if I have an incurable disease? This line of thinking quickly made me ball up and unrestrained tears flowed from my eyes. They weren't too worried about letting me go, they were so convinced I was going to die anyways.

I sniffled big and pulled myself together with the revelation that I was no longer in that terrible place. I was out, I was free, I was able to move, to walk, talk and to exercise free will. I decided that in the morning, I should do a more thorough look around to see if there was anything else of use around the cabin.

I shut my eyes, but sleep wouldn't come. I felt extremely refreshed, but I didn't move to get up until the dim twilight started making itself known. I donned the jeans, which were now carpi length, and I tied the shirt onto me. Then, with the wool socks on, I pulled the smallest boots on and stood up. I walked around the room, testing my balance and the willingness of the boots to respond to my input. I nearly tripped twice, but I found my comfort zone and I unlatched the door.

The morning air was thin with fog, I walked gingerly around, the area was cast in deep shadow as the sun wasn't fully up yet. I saw an unnatural looking object, and walked to it. What I wasn't sure of, turned out to be a pump well. I hefted the handle and tried to pump the well back to life. I raised and lowered the handle with all of my might but I quickly grew tired. I thought back to something my dad had said when he was home from one of his work trips and we would go camping. When we'd come across these wells in camp grounds, he always primed the well. I fought to remember how to prime it, then I went inside and got a whole gallon jug and poured it down the top of the well. Then I resumed my levering action and I could feel resistance. Spurred on by this new development, I used the whole of my 5'6 frame to actuate the pump handle, then suddenly, WOOSH! Crystal clear water came flowing out of the pump with each exertion of mine on the handle. I stuck my face into the stream and swallowed a mouth full of water. It tasted very good, but it was so bitterly cold.

Now much more awake and eager to do something useful, I went back inside and sat on the couch, waiting for more light. I managed to get a little more sleep and the sun was providing adequate illumination when I got up again. I went back through the cabin, this time looking for things I had missed. It seemed to me that there must be lanterns somewhere, and maybe matches. I was walking around the house a second lap when I noticed a small door on the floor. I pulled it up, and a box was sitting there.

I squatted and tried to pull the box out, but it was really heavy. Instead, I opened it where it sat. Inside were a box of matches and oil fueled lanterns, a few books were in the bottom also. There was also another item, a big plastic bag looking thing. I pulled the bag out and read the instructions "Camp shower," it read, then it went on to tell me how to use it. I quickly dumped the gallon and a half I had inside into the plastic looking bag and dragged it outside for more water. Using the gallon jugs, I filled the big bag up and with great effort, set it on what remained of the wood pile.

With that done, I went back inside and pulled the lanterns out. I took a small container of oil outside with some matches. I hadn't really ever made a fire, but I had seen my dad do it. I found some small dry sticks and broke them up, then I set them in the bottom of an old partially rusty coffee can. I added a little of the lantern oil to the bottom and I dropped a match in. A small fire wooshed to life. I added a couple larger sticks in and presto! I had a small fire in a can. Elated by this new found progress I had, I added more small sticks and just let the small fire burn itself out.

I wandered back to the box and pulled the books out, there were three, a Christian Bible, a book called The SAS Survival Guide, and the last cover was torn off, but inspection of the pages told me it was a book about building tree houses. I thumbed through the SAS guide and the tree house book, then I popped a hole in another can of peas and set it onto the top of the smoldering ashes. While that warmed up, I got the other can of Spam down and set it out. My tummy started gurgling at the sight of food. I sat reading about snares while the peas warmed up slightly.

A few minutes later, for concern of not wanting to burn myself, I pulled the peas off and shook the can. The liquid was hot, but not boiling hot, a small amount of steam was rising out of the hole I'd made. I carefully sipped some of the water the peas were stored in and then the sip turned into a gulp. I popped the SPAM open and started eating globules of it with my finger. "Food" I said to myself, realizing I was essentially out of food now.

I elected to stay another night here and I went back inside and started getting things around to try to sleep some more. I kept thinking how I wish I could make this my home for a while, but the problems were chiefly food and that I didn't know how far I was from the scary place. I eyed the pile of clothes in the corner with a bit of anger. I wanted desperately to know what year it was. I pulled everything out of the trunks again and dumped everything down to the lower level. Then I pushed all the bedding to the downstairs. I checked every inch of the loft to make sure nothing was missed.

I clambered back down and started sorting stuff. I knew I would need water, so I set a gallon jug out to the side and I compressed the other ones, then I replaced their tops. My dad had told me once to never leave anything useful behind if I could carry it. I made a makeshift fanny pack out of one of the big flannel shirts and filled it with useful stuff like two cans of peas, and the almond butter. Breakfast would be the remaining can of peas (yummy!).

I also decided I would bring as much of the bedding as I could. What I thought was just bedding turned out to be an unfolded sleeping bag. I had no idea how I was going to carry it, but that was a concern for tomorrow. My body was still aching, so I made sure the door was locked and I laid on the couch, I put the knife half under me. I wasn't sure if I would ever want to use it, but it made me feel a little safer with it there. I pulled the cover over myself and was truly happy. While I waited for the sun to go down, I flipped through the survival guide, it was interesting reading. My brain soaked the images up pretty well I thought, I was picturing the devices in my mind as I read, and they seemed rather simple in their construction.

Fatigue overtook me and my eyes grew heavy. I let the book rest beside me. I felt a little groggy when I was awoken in the night. I heard a loud crash somewhere in the distance. It caused me to nearly jump off of the couch. I looked out the windows and listened intently, but I couldn't hear or see anything. Despite feeling terribly weak, I managed to pull some stuff to the loft, it was the only logical place I could think of for safety. I didn't really sleep the rest of the night. I just clutched the knife and the sleeping bag, staring with wide eyes at the lower level of the cabin.

As soon as morning twilight broke, I forced myself to sleep. I awoke a little later when the cabin was fully illuminated. I pushed the stuff down and made my way to the main floor. Then I tidied up and used some rope to fashion a carrying system for the sleeping bag. I put it on, with the flannel sack tied beneath it, and I worked open my last can of peas. Then I pushed the door open and stepped out into the light.

My only need was to refill the one gallon jug of water, which I did with a bit of effort, for the pump had lost some of its prime. I retied my carry system with the gallon jug in there and I looked around. I wasn't sure where to go, but then I spotted a small trail leading away from the cabin and the road. I kicked the ground with my left boot and started off.

Walking in the boots was a challenge. So used to the frail rubber sandals, my feet weren't used to actual support. I kept stumbling and tripping, but I never really fell. There were enough trees around to catch me. I did probably look a bit drunk though. The trail descended and I did what I could to stay with it. I looked around, the scenery was very beautiful. Breath taking in spots. I figured I had to be in a Pacific northwest state. The scenery just seemed like that's where I must be, but until I found a map, it was all a big question mark in my mind.

The trail went on and on, my walking grew steadier as I put distance on the boots. I saw a clearing ahead and when I reached it, I found it was a river bank. I walked along the river and saw a covering. Under the covering was a turned over canoe. I wondered for a moment if I should go onto the river, but I didn't have the energy to walk, so I pulled the canoe back over and set my stuff into it. Two wooden paddles were bungied into the canoe, along with a tackle box. I couldn't find a fishing pole though (not that I'd know how to use it). Before I scooted off, I remembered reading something about fishing in the book, so I flipped the survival book open and started reading. I have to admit, hearing the river, laying in the bottom of the canoe, with birds and blue sky over head, it was lulling me into a sleepy state.

After reading the chapter over a few times, I decided that I'd be best to just use a line off the back of the canoe that I could check periodically. My next concern was what to use for bait. I thought about the cartoons I watched as a kid, they always had a wiggly worm, there were white bugs in the rotting wood pile, maybe those would work? I sat up in the canoe and looked around for something rotting. I saw a few possibilities and I brought the knife. I used it to hack away at the rotting stump until I could see a few small white bugs. I grabbed three and walked steadily back to the canoe. I opened the tackle box and selected a hook from a small box and gently slid one of the bugs onto it. The other two, I just set in the box. I selected some line and cut a length off that was the span of my outstretched arms. Then I tied the hook on, and then I tied the other end to the canoe. I marveled at the contraption for a moment and I sat in the canoe and butt scooted my way into the river. When the current caught me, I panicked for a moment, before I got my bearings and started paddling to right my way.

I found myself in the middle of the river in short order and cast the line over. As I floated aimlessly down the river, I had time to look around and ponder my life. Chief among my thoughts was what I was going to do with my life. I had some ideas like first to get healthy and then to seek out my parents and make sure they're okay, but beyond that, I need something else. I need a goal! I used the paddle to negotiate a small twist, and then I sat back and let my mind wander. "Who am I?" I asked audibly, it wasn't a question I had time to ask when I was younger, but here, now, in this situation with these circumstances, it was a question I needed an answer to.

This internal dialogue carried on for quite some time. I was about to make a slight course correction when I heard a splash. I twisted around, something I hadn't done in a while and I felt my back pop in several places. I shuddered with delight as the sensation traveled my body. Then I scooted back to the baited line and carefully pulled it up. The fish was beautiful. I set it on the bench and watched it flop about. Something within me told me the humane thing to do was to kill it. Hesitantly, I pulled the knife from its sheath, placed it near the gills, and pressed in. The fish's struggle ceased immediately. I sat there for a moment, staring down at the thing I'd just killed. I wondered then if I would be forced to take another life, something perhaps with two legs. The thought struck me in a way that honestly made me feel utterly alone. I broke this reverie and made my course correction. I set the slain fish on the floor of the boat and re-baited my hook then cast it off.

When the sun was past high overhead, I caught another fish. I repeated the process, this time it felt more "˜normal', and that was another feeling that bothered me. I'd been taught that killing was never, ever "normal." I scowled a little as I remembered I'd have to clean and filet the two fish. "Home-ec 101" I joked to myself, Home Economics is a class I was sposed to have taken in school, where I learned the basics of running a household like a proper lady should. The next thought that came to mind was that I would get the food I desperately needed, right here. That was the thought that spurred me to bait and recast the third bug, this one caught a little quicker. I now had three nice fishes to clean and to cook. I started looking for a place to pull off and maybe make a small fire.

Luck smiled down on me, far ahead I could make out a small shack near the water. I gingerly paddled down the river and beached the canoe. I hobbled, almost falling out and staggered up the shore line. I'd been sitting the whole day pretty much. I took a deep breath, trying to smell out anything. All I could smell was oldness. Shrugging this off, I pushed the half broken door open and walked into a trash heap, or what looked like one, but was in reality a bunch of crap thrown about this two room cabin. I used my boot and kicked stuff around, trying to find something useful. I went to the kitchen area and found a small pot, but there was no food. I found a small box of matches also. I took these items back to my boat and set them in. Then I went back in search of something to make a fire in. I found a half rolled roll of tin foil and grabbed it immediately. I'd seen dad make enough food to know that foil was an essential part of quick and easy meals. To make a fire in, I settled for another coffee can, this one still had some coffee in it. I pondered making coffee.

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