I sat down on the porch, with my dog Bandit laying close by. The world had changed. A little over a year ago, closer to two years; I'd had a future, and was thinking of leaving the farm. That was a joke. A bunch of rocks hit the Earth, and things changed.
Calling this 30 acres a farm, was also a joke. Oh, we had enough to eat. The garden we put in every year was huge and was enough to feed the 5 of us. We planted the same thing, year after year. We fertilized and grew the same food.
We hunted for our meat. Dad had a disability check every month, but it wasn't much. We didn't have any of the really modern conveniences. No phone, no electricity. Both those companies wanted an arm and a leg to run lines in. We couldn't afford it.
Bandit growled, and I looked at him. He was not getting up, just growling, so it wasn't anything too serious. Most likely a small animal. That was a good sign, the small animals coming back.
I wondered what day it was. I had lost track, months ago. The trees were starting to turn colors again. Mom had loved this time of year. So had my little sister. They had died in a car accident, a couple years before the world went to hell.
Dad used the insurance money to build this house. I had to admit, it was better than the last place that had been here. The new house was made of logs. It was an honest to god log cabin, with three bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and a basement. Mom would have loved it, had she lived.
Mom and my sister had been gone a little over two years, before the world ended. My brothers are all gone. Two are in the army, and one in the navy. I haven't heard from any of them since the rocks hit the earth. Probably dead, like so many others.
Dad died just a couple weeks ago. Damn man wanted to cut down a tree, and it fell on him. Stupid asshole. I hadn't really liked dad, but he worked as hard as he could. We had gotten in most of what we had grown this year. At least he did that before he died on me.
I was thinking about what I had to go search for, when Bandit got to his feet and growled his 'people are coming' growl. I picked up my rifle, and moved to my position that me and dad had dug a year ago.
"Bandit!" I said sharply.
He quieted, but now I could hear it myself. Vehicles, and more than one! I hadn't heard a car, or truck, or anything in months! I had walked all over these hills. No one had gas or diesel left. Hell, I ran dads pickup out of gas months ago. Only gas I had left was in the chain saw.
I started seeing glints of the setting sun off of metal through the trees. I waited till they got to the corner where the driveway jogged straight to the house. I put a round into the tree in front of the first vehicle. They stopped real fast!
"Hold your fire. We are members of the military, and we are doing a survey," came a voice over a loudspeaker.
"Didn't you see the sign? Said no soliciting? We don't want none!" I shouted back.
I watched as a man got out slowly, his hands held away from his body. Doors started opening in the vehicles behind the first, and I put a shot next to a boot that put itself out of it. It drew back inside real quick.
"Hold your fire! We mean you no harm!" the man who was out of his Humvee said.
"Ok, but it don't need all of you outside of your vehicles to talk to me. One of you is enough," I yelled to them.
"That's fine. We can talk with you there, and me here. What do you want?" I asked.
"We are surveying this part of the country. We stopped at the town down the hill, and they said there was a boy living alone up here. We came to offer you some help, son," the man said.
"Well, mister army man, I don't need your help. So you can turn yourself right around, and leave me alone," I said, then cursed myself silently.
I had as much admitted I was alone. I remember Dad cussing out the state's Department of Child Services about taking peoples kids, and the state breaking up families all the time. One time I threatened Dad with them, and he really beat my ass hard. Then he said: 'all right, go tell.' I never did. Family was important to us.
"Look, my name is Marvin Kettleman. Lt. Marvin Kettleman. I promise that no one is going to force you to do anything you don't want to do. But I really need to see that you're in good shape here. Winter is coming. If you don't have enough to last through it, you could die, you know," he yelled to me.
"I got enough food to last. Don't worry about me. Now you just turn yourselves around and git off my property," I blustered at them.
The Lt. took a few steps towards me, and I put a shot in the dirt close to him. Bandit was growling. I know if I saw an 85 pound boxer/pit mix growling at me, I would hesitate.
"Look. Would you mind not shooting at me or my men? I know they were warning shots, but you might hit someone by accident, then things would go to hell real quick," Kettleman asked me.
"Fine. Don't come no closer, then," I responded.
"Ok. Look, do you mind if I come up, alone? No one else need come with me. Everyone will stay in the hummers. It really is my responsibility to make sure you're ok up here," he said in a damned reasonable tone of voice.
I thought about it. Maybe if I let him come, and look around, they would leave me alone.
"Ok. You, and you alone, can come. Walk up slowly, and leave any weapons behind," I told him.
He slowly drew a sidearm from his holster, and placed it on the hood of the hummer, and then started walking towards me. Bandit growled and I told him quiet. Bandit was a good dog. He shut right up, but he watched this man coming.
I left my little bunker, and stood out in the open, and waited. Shortly, Lt. Kettleman was standing in front of me, holding out his hand to shake. I took it reluctantly. He smiled and shook it.
"That's some dog you got there. I had a Lab when I was growing up. No better friend to have," he said as he released my hand.
"My name is Pete. Peter Mackey. I guess you might as well come inside. But your men have to stay in their vehicles," I told him.
He nodded and reached slowly up to a microphone clipped to a harness he was wearing from a set of web gear. He told his people he was going inside, and that they should stay in their vehicles until he returned. I heard a couple, 'rogers, ' and he nodded to me.
I told Bandit to stay and Guard. He thumped his tail, and looked at the vehicles.
"Come on. I guess we should get this over with. Faster we do this, the faster you and your people leave me alone," I told him, leading him to the porch, then into the house through the front door.
He looked with interest as we entered the main room, or living room. No TV, but we had a couch, an arm chair, and a recliner. There was a pot bellied stove off to one side, which I used during the winter. It warmed the room nicely.
It was clean, as I had swept and mopped it just yesterday. We went into the kitchen, and he saw the table which had a bowl with a few apples in it. The last I had. I offered him one. He took it and bit into it.
Science Fiction /