Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Blackout Forever -- Day 364 (Part 4)

Two other guys followed Jesse around to make one side full of the circle. The rest of the hunting group followed me the other way to complete it.

Another requirement to be in the hunting party was to be silent. If you made one wrong mistake or any kind of sound, then you were doomed to scare away our prey. In the big city, every single tiny noise is echoed and put into full hearing rang of the herd. So even when there’s another group within 50 feet of us, they could jeopardize out hunt, and sometimes did.

It was a dog eat dog world now. No little fairy tales and loves stories of the perfect life that has no problems or gaps in it. It was war, every man for himself, or better yet said, every Clan for itself. If you even tried to live a normal life, someone would end up killing you. If you weren’t willing to live this complicated savage life, then you might as well give yourself to the Stores, that’s what Jesse always said.

With our circle complete, I could see Jesse directly in front of me, and he nodded. I nodded back and then he lifted up his long 22’ shotgun and pointed it straight at a large 10-pointer buck. Jesse and Dad had sometimes gone hunting and Jesse was always the better hunter. Dad had always been impressed with how well Jesse could aim and handle a gun, and Jesse had taken much pride in his words.


The loud sound echoed around the large, broken buildings. As soon as the first bullet was shot, everyone in line of the circle hurried to shoot their guns, before the startled herd got away from us. It was like when in a full parking lot, when one car alarm went off, all the others followed. We tried to get the most out of each of our hunts because our bullets were limited and we didn’t have that much to trade for more.

All Clan’s feared the Stores. They were like the leaders of the human race in the New World. They were our only chance of survival. Without them life would be much, much harder. We had to respect them, but we also feared them. They didn’t only have the ability to give, but to take.

If someone or an entire Clan treated them badly, and they did have the choice to count any behavior as badly, then they could decide between killing you or just not giving you things. And like I said, you’d probably not last for a long time without them.

Another negative thing about the Stores was that they only had one location. If you live in a distant city, then you had to travel a long way, frequently, just to stay alive.

As the noise sub-sided, only a few deer bounded off into the shadows of the surrounding buildings. Jesse smiled at me again and walked forward. Everyone else followed to gather our kill.

“Good job, Rachel, you getting better at your aim. You almost shot down that doe.” Jesse’s strong sure voice built me up every time I heard it.

I smiled back at him as we examined our slaughter. Three bucks and two does. That was enough to get us past two weeks, at least. Grabbing the deer, together we dragged them back to our Territory.

Territories are a piece of ground that your Clan claims. Normally, your Territory range depends on your number in your Clan. If you are a larger Clan, then you can have more claim because you have more people to defend it. If your Clan is smaller, then less land would be more acceptable for you to watch over. Territory is one of the main reasons why Raids happen.

If your Territory is a good spot, then Others are going to try and take over your claim. If you’re a small group with a large piece of land that is overly populated with food, or near the Stores, then large Clans will try to take over it, and your small Clan can’t stop them.

If it’s your Territory, then Others aren’t supposed to come onto it, but of course, no one listens to that. You’re only suppose to hunt on your territory, but in this large city, there aren’t a lot of claimed pieces of land, so most everyone here just leaves their land and comes onto the unclaimed part to hunt.

That’s what we did today. But that won’t last, because people are flocking in by the hundreds and soon this place will be line against line of territories and there is going to be wars when people can’t find enough food on their own ground and will venture onto Others Territory.

That’s always a big problem in cities. Soon or later, people and Clans will leave or just die out and then that land will be back up for grabs for the new comers or added onto the Others that were already here’s land.

When Jesse, Kyle and I had chosen this city to stay in, we all agreed that we should
find a piece of land that was near water and had good strong shelter. Storms didn’t happen often, but when they did, we didn’t want to lose all of our supplies to the wind and rain.

After a few days of walking around and figuring out which pieces of land were up for grabs, the hard way, Jesse found a good amount of ground only a quarter of a mile away for a lake, which could be easily walked.

On the land, there was a somewhat tall building, with a tough roof and sturdy walls, surrounded by a 10-foot tall wire fence. That’s exactly what we were looking for. Within ten days of finding it, we had moved in and made the place as comfortable as it could be, with 12 teenagers living in it and one crazy 11 year old. That was almost 7 months ago.

Now as we were walking back to our Territory, I saw why Jesse had been so glad and desperate to find a place with a fence.

I heard a vicious snarl from around a dumpster, only about 25 feet away from where we stood with our fresh meat. The feral dogs looked hungry and I was terrified. We swung the gate open and rushed in, right before they attacked. Breathing heavily from such a quick rush, Jesse said,

“And that’s why we have a fence.”

I looked over my shoulder to see the full pack of the dogs. There were over 30 of them, and they were as thin as a twig. Their ribs were sticking out so far; I could swear that I could see the blood moving slowly under their skin. Their fur was only in patches, if any, and their eyes were red with anger and starvation. The faces on those poor dogs would have normally made me throw all the food over the fence to them, but like I said before, no one else matters but your Clan. I turned around, hastily, and followed after the rest of the group into the side door of our home.

To be continued...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Blackout Forever -- Day 364 (Part 3)

“Yeah,” I replied turning my head away from that wildly grinning face.

“Lets do this,” Jesse said, holding his gun up to his chest, barrel pointed skyward and slowly walked across the street.

Just like all the other Clan’s one of the biggest “duh, it common sense, and a necessarily to surviving in this World” things is that you need is a plan. Without a plan in the New World was like traveling under the ocean without an oxygen tank. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

There were many techniques in hunting wild animals in the middle of a city, which wasn’t natural, so obviously it was more difficult to capture the prey, who had more hiding places then in their natural habitat. Our plan was that we would surround the herd, spread out so that we created a large circle and then each take a turn at firing our firearm at the herd, trying to take down anyone we could.

When it came to hunting, the rules to the Old World didn’t apply. There was not one season that you were allowed to hunt and not one type of animal you could take down, like only bucks and not doe’s with fawns. Even if we had big rules like that, how would we get the news around? With the world’s power and electricity stole away from it, we were like cave men again, but crueler and with weapons. There wasn’t a messenger person you could send around with news about new laws and regulations, and if there was, they would be considered Strays and that meant you were up for grabs to be taken in and traded to the Stores.

Stores were gathered people who had the last of the supplies, and I don’t know what would happen to you next. If you were seen alone, unarmed without any type of companion, no matter who you were, you were a Stray. One of the only rules that was known everywhere, and don’t ask me how it got everywhere; I guess it was, again, common sense, that if you were alone, you were anyone’s game. That’s why Clan’s had to stick together and not be seen alone.

The Stores were a very large, about 50 or so, gathered group of people who were merchants and traders. They had the very last, even though it was still a some-what large amount, of supplies that the rest of us needed, like clear water, fresh meat, rice, corn, beans and other vegetables. They also had other things besides food, like candles and matches, clothes, furniture, books, wood, gas for fires, bullets, knifes and other weapons, kitchen essentials and gobs of extra supplies of things that could help you live in the New World and survive.

To be continued...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Blackout Forever-- Day 364 (Part 2)

“Shhh,” I warned, putting my finger up to my mouth and pointing around the building to the deer.

Jesse peaked around and smiled at me. I was our Clan’s best tracker. Maybe I didn’t have the best aim, which sometimes lost us our dinner, but I could track deer like no one else. Clan’s normally started when a family or group of friends came together, and how ever many people it started out with, was how many it stayed with.

If the group had taken in a Stray, a person that had been betrayed, it would only be because they had recently lost one of their members and needed an addition, or that that specific person had a good talent that his original group was too stupid to notice. I just came with Jesse and Kyle and 5 other friends of his, who brought 5 of their friends for our total of 13 members.

We hadn’t taken anyone in yet, and I didn’t mind that. I was the only girl in the entire group, and got the most attention from the guys, which was totally fine with me, but not so much with Jesse. He was really protective over me and Kyle because he “couldn’t stand to lose us”. I was pretty confident that nothing would happen, but I was also glad that Jesse was protecting me. He really cared, unlike our dead parents.

Well my dad used to care, until his new wife, Stephanie, overpowered him. Our dead step-mom died when she became ter-ly sick with the Flu, which wasn’t a problem with me, and later my father went with her by the same sickness, which made me really mad. If she hadn’t had been there, he would have still been alive. But that Witch had to come along just to kill them both. Jesse was more than a son to our dad, they were like brothers, close friends, and when he died, Jesse made a promise to him that he would keep us safe, and dad was still holding it to him.

Our mom had cared a whole lot, though she didn’t have very many things to worry about in the Old World. She had died a couple of years before the ‘world ended’, by getting hit by an eighteen-wheeler truck. We had been able to say goodbye in the hospital, but we weren’t there when she died. I was sure that Jesse would do anything in his power to keep Kyle and me safe and well, even if it meant his life being in jeopardy, which I totally wasn’t about to let him do. So along with keeping my Clan feed and alive, I had to keep myself healthy and living.

“So are we going to shoot some deer or what?” One of the guys behind me said.

I swung my head around and scowled at the face I matched with the voice. I saw Sean, one of the friends Jesse had often had over to the house when the Old World was in play. Sean was always joking around and it had gotten him slugged in the face once or twice when he had said the wrong thing around me or Kyle by Jesse himself, who wouldn’t normally swat a fly (unless that fly was a 6-pointer buck). See, I told you he cared.

To be continued...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Blackout Forever-- Day 364

It was day 364 of the New World. That’s what everyone called it. Everyone that had survived. The death count was by the hour. For the first few months of the New World, everyone was kind of okay, we still had had essential needs like gas and food, before it spoiled, but as time went by, we have run out of those things. The New World was declared official when scientists all over the world couldn’t come up with any ideas on how to turn the power back on. On March 21, 2012 the world lost its electricity.

Crouching behind an abandoned building, I peered around the side of broken brick. With my gun loaded in hand, I waved the others over to follow, who were standing around the corner behind me. We were out hunting today. It was hunting season in the city. Ever since the New World began, people came in flocks to the cities all over the world. You couldn’t survive in the country or anywhere else these days. You had to be with a group of people or Others would attack you and eventually you would end up dead.

We called them Clans. Every single person was part of a Clan, an organized group of people that they could trust and were willing to work with. Clan’s could be small, from 2 to 10 people, or very large, from 11 to 30 or more. The greater the Clan was, the harder it was to get enough food for everyone, but the safer you were when it came to raids. People were frantic, and would do anything for food these days. I’ve heard stories that you couldn’t imagine. Things that would make your flesh crawl. People were desperate. Times were so hard; I didn’t know if the human race would survive.

But just like everyone else, I was only worrying about one certain thing. My Clan. We had 13 people, including my older brother, Jesse, my younger brother, Kyle, and 10 other people that were our friends and now family. If you weren’t close to your Clan, you wouldn’t have such a good chance surviving. If you Clan were mad or upset with you, they could easily betray you to the Others. The Others were what we, and by we I mean everyone all over the world, called our enemy’s. It was you and your Clan and nobody else mattered.

Now, we were waist high in tall dry grass, sprouted from the hard solid cement around the vacant buildings of the abandoned city and we were tracking a small herd of roe deer. Hunts were when you skimmed the city for wild roaming herds of animals or any people who were weak or betrayed by their Clan, who you could take hostage and either added to your Clan, which was rare, or trade them for other supplies.

Each Clan had different rules for hunts. If the group was smaller, then normally everyone would go on hunts, which could be dangerous for little kids, who you couldn’t risk to lose. Or, with a Clan like our size, which was a normal number, only certain aged people could go, for younger ones were to valuable and needed. In our Clan, you had to be at least 14 and know how to use a gun. That was me and Jesse, and the other 6.

To be continued...