A Survival Story: The garden, more news, and squirrels gone…….

A_Survival_Story_CoverWhat follows is just one part of an ongoing survival fiction series written by John Rourke and has been published on Amazon. It is being made available here for free. A new entry is published every day. The story is written in a daily journal format.



July 16th   The garden, more news, and squirrels gone…….

My generator was fired up for the first time since The Event. Eric hauled it over to where the chicken coops were being built – two of them. Ben ended up giving us six hens – which made us very happy. We got one rooster – which may make the hen’s happy. He has many more and we anticipate taking some of the eggs and allowing them to hatch. With six hens we should get 4 eggs or so per day.  Two eggs each will be given to two households. It’s not much but more than we had.

If we can get some more hens from the eggs – in a few months our egg output will increase dramatically.

The squirrels around the neighborhood have dried up. They are just not being seen much anymore. I imagine that in the past couple weeks most of them have been shot and eaten. Rabbits were never seen very much and still have to be hunted. I placed some snares out around the perimeter of the neighborhood but so far nothing.

Bill updated us on some news he heard over the scanner. Apparently in California there is some kind of sickness spreading. Not a lot of details other than symptoms include high fever, severe vomiting, diarrhea, and eventual death. The body just shuts down. It’s on the other side of the country but I am still concerned. With the limited movement of people now – especially with no planes – it should take quite some time for it to reach the east coast if it ever does.

Interesting the variety of firearms the people on Security Patrol are carrying. There are a couple of AR’s, couple of Mini-14′s, a Remington 7600 .30-06, several Ruger 10/22′s, an old Marlin Camp 9, one AK-47, some Mossberg  and Remington shotguns, and a few bolt actions.  Pistols of all sizes and shapes. One of the problems is there are so many types of guns and calibers that ammunition can’t be shared nor magazines. At least we have a decent number of armed patrols.

Tired…..as usual.

 – Jed



From Bev:

For those of you who are new to this story, I started chiming in below filling out Monica’s (Jed’s love interest) character in blue. I put up a post yesterday inviting other SCP subscribers to chime in on this survival community with the entire story up to this point attached – with Rourke’s permission. :-)

I have no clue what I’m doing, so at this point I’m differentiating my character from the original story in blue. And if you guys and gals have any better ideas, please let me know  – bcfossillady at gmail dot com!

I won’t be going back like this as we go forward, but I thought for the transition, it might be logical. From this point on, to see what I and other people have written you will need to read the comments on the post. And I am NOT reading ahead, so that we are all on the same playing field. :-D


July 15th Trip to Ben’s…….

Rained today – which was great. My rain barrels filled back up and many in the neighborhood were able to gather some rain via different methods. Some used kiddie pools, some used upside down umbrella’s and soda bottles, buckets, etc. This will be a big help to all those that have just started their gardens. Rainwater seems to just do the trick for a struggling garden.

I took M over to Ben’s today. Great trip for the community. We drove the Jeep over and it was mostly uneventful. As usual back roads were driven and I did not see very many people. We did see a few houses that were burnt down and also lots of evidence of vandalism – cars with broken windows and graffiti on buildings. Some of the graffiti consisted of racial words sprayed on the sides of a couple houses. Pathetic.

When we arrived to Ben’s his front gate and property had signs that read “IF YOU CAN READ THIS SIGN YOU ARE ALREADY IN RANGE!” I wondered if I should even attempt to contact him. The front gate was locked so I walked up his driveway while M waited in the Jeep ready to drive off if things went bad. I left my AR in the Jeep with M and walked with my Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm on my hip. Ben came out of his single floor cabin-looking house and met me with a handshake.

We were very glad to see each other and he said he had been wondering how I was doing. I filled him in on the community and the challenges we had moving forward (food, water, security). He filled me in on what has been going on around his property:

      1. His son Jeff and family had made their way to Ben’s place. Jeff is an excellent metal fabricator and welder.
      2. Ben’s nephew Jeremiah also made it to Ben’s place. Jeremiah spent 6 years in the military including 2 tours in Iraq.
      3. Ben’s best friend – Matt, and family also took residence on Ben’s farm. Ben and Matt grew up together.

Ben told me that they have had some violent encounters since The Event. On two occasions people have tried to sneak in and steal food out of the gardens or steal eggs from the chicken coupes. The first encounter resulted in the person getting run off – scared. The second did not go so well. Ben had to shoot the trespasser after the man pulled a pistol. He said he felt horrible about it but he had to do it.

We ate a good mid-afternoon meal of fresh eggs and some bread and butter. Talking about how good the fresh eggs were and how the freeze dried eggs and bacon we had been eating just wasn’t a comparison – Ben made us an offer. He offered up some chickens for the community in exchange for some help building a small shelter for storing firewood. I could tell he was really just helping us out – charity.

Of course I accepted. We agreed to come the next day to help and when we were done we would bring the chickens back. When M and I got back to the neighborhood I talked to Eric about the chickens. He is going to get with the Gardening Team and build a chicken coop tomorrow.

I love eggs.

– Jed

Monica – Jed’s love interest

July 15

Today Jed and I took a drive over to Jed’s friend, Ben’s home, in the jeep after it quit raining. It was beautiful winding along the back roads. The air was so crisp and clean with the smell of the rain – with all of the outdoor latrines in the community it is hard not to smell a faint trace of human waste all the time.

Jed has a five gallon bucket with a toilet top set up in the bathroom. I remember when my grandmother was alive how she talked about chamber pots in their home on the farm and being the eldest girl it was her job to empty them every morning. I feel so useless here. Jed and Eric are gone most of the day, so I have been emptying the bucket morning and night in the latrine they dug out back and then covering the waste with dirt they had piled up from digging the pit.

Water is in such short supply too that daily bathing in the solar shower Jed set up is just not an option. I put a small bowl with baking soda in the bathroom with a paint brush that I found in the garage in it for “freshening” as baking soda absorbs odor. I haven’t used store bought deodorant/antiperspirant since I worked at the natural food store and found out that in Africa, where they don’t use these products, there are almost no incidents of breast cancer. The underarm has so many lymph nodes that lead directly to the breast and other important organs that anecdotal evidence suggests it is the chemicals in deodorant/antiperspirant that leach directly into the lymph nodes through the skin that may cause breast cancer and other cancers and heart diseases. Even though this is widely known in the “natural community” it is not promoted because the businesses that make these products lobby to suppress this information. I see deodorant on Jed’s shelf in the bathroom. He has not asked about the dish of baking soda. I wonder if he has even noticed?

He did thank me once for doing the latrine duty and closing the thermal insulated blackout curtains during the day and pulling them back at night and opening the windows to let the cool night breezes flow through the house. But then, he is so tired when he gets home at night and he has been doing the cooking over the campfire. I’ve been watching and learning, maybe tomorrow I will try to have dinner ready when he comes home in the evening.

The trees and roadside grasses gleamed with rain drops still on them. And the birds singing in the trees was like an ever changing song as we rumbled along the gravel roads. But it was also disturbing with the shells of burned out homes, evidence of vandalism and racial slurs. I feel safe with Jed but I also feel vulnerable. I love rides in the country and normally I would be chatting and pointing out things that drew my attention, but I stayed silent to allow Jed to concentrate on the road and any possible hazards we may encounter. Even though Jed is armed and obviously knows how to use his weapons, at points I was imagining snipers behind the trees and buildings. I was sure to notice where he made turns and crossed other roads, just in case…

When we got to Ben’s farmstead, that was scary too. There was a big spray painted sign beside the driveway that said, “If you can read this sign, you are within range” and the front gate was shut and locked. Jed sat the AR down beside me and told me to get into the driver’s seat. He was going to walk up the driveway. He warned me to leave immediately if he was shot – I was very glad I was noticing the turns we had taken along the way! Ben is supposed to be a friend of his! If it was a warning shot, I was supposed to wait for him to jump in the passenger seat and drive off. Before he left to walk up the driveway I looked into his eyes in silence and lightly put my hand on his jaw for a moment. He smiled wryly, turned and walked up the driveway. As he walked away my stomach turned and I got that cold, hard feeling of knots and fear.

I saw an older man come out and greet Jed and shake his hand. Jed motioned for me to come up to the house. I put the jeep keys in my pocket and carried the AR, nose down as Jed had showed me, up to the house. Several people came out of the house, including two women. They all greeted us after Ben introduced Jed as his friend.

“Would you like a cup of tea?” One of the women asked.

I said, “Yes,” and was grateful for the invitation. The men walked off and we sat on the porch sipping sweet tea. Lesa kept an eye on the gate as we chatted, the other woman stayed silent and just listened. They had come together as a preplanned family and friends group to Ben’s farm as a retreat in case something did happen – and IT did! The conversation was about what they had heard was going on and I shared what we had heard, she made a point of letting me know that they were well armed and organized – did she think I was here on a spying mission?

They shared a wonderful meal with us that included fresh milk, fresh eggs, freshly baked bread, garden vegetables and even freshly butchered squirrel. It was oh so delicious after the canned goods, bean soups, canned and freeze dried meats, with just a few vegetables from the garden, we had been eating.

I watched from the picnic table as the women busied themselves making a meal around the wood stove in the summer kitchen in a lean-to off the side of the house. There was a large wooden bowl covered with a dish towel to keep the flies out with bread rising off to the side. They had a five gallon bucket under a large wooden table where they tossed their vegetable scraps. One of the women skinned and cut up a bled and gutted squirrel that one of the men brought her and gave it to another woman who who rolled it in what looked like a cornmeal mixture and fried it in a large cast iron skillet on the stove. One of the children brought up an armload of wood for the cook fire and another brought a bucket of clean water from…? Did they have a spring or were they collecting rainwater from the roof like we were?

I asked where their bathroom was and one of the women motioned to an outhouse about a hundred feet from the house. The hollyhocks, some seven feet tall, were just starting to bloom around the outhouse. When I got inside I noticed that they had their toilet paper hung on a nail in the wall. Extra TP was in a tin coffee can beside the seat. And they had a bucket of sawdust with a little scoop in it. The outhouse didn’t smell like our latrine or have flies in it. Did the sawdust neutralize the smell and keep the flies away? There was also another bucket with a gritty kind of fine sand like substance in it – was it lime? I have to remember to ask Jed about that.

On the ride back Jed shared that he would be coming back tomorrow to help with a building project in trade for a few laying hens.

I’m tired tonight, but I was very impressed with Ben’s place and how capable the women there seemed to be. It is getting late in the year, but maybe I should plant flowers around the latrine. Maybe they would help with the odor. Lots to think about anyway…



July 14th Wishing life was normal……

Woke up today feeling rather depressed – even with M with me.

I miss “normal” life. Going to the grocery store to pick up a gallon of milk. Running through the drive-thru at Burger King for a quick burger. Watching a great movie at the movie theater. How about air conditioning!?! Picking up the phone and calling a friend. Would have been nice to be attending a preparedness conference today rather than living the life I had prepared for – but hoped wouldn’t happen.

Everything is so difficult and slow. Preparing meals takes much more time and preparation. It was 88 degrees today and cooking over an open flame – HOT!! Sick of the heat and I would like to wish for the Fall and Winter but then the opposite problem will happen – the cold will come. I haven’t been thinking about that but need to.

I am alive and our situation is somewhat stable. I am lucky to have the food stores I have put away. I wonder how Ben is doing. He is not far but with the streets as dangerous as they are – it is not a good drive to make. Maybe tomorrow I will see if Bill – or maybe even M – would like to take the drive and see how he is doing.

Oh, I had Mark and Jessie bring me over one of those little portable DVD players with the built in screen and battery. I charged it using my solar system. That allowed their little girl, Addie, to watch a Disney movie for a couple hours. I bet she had a new appreciation for such a treat.

Gotta get some sleep.

  • Jed

Monica – Jed’s love interest

July 14

It is truly settling in what happened now that I know my home is gone. And the thought of losing Jed, well, it made me more aware of how truly vulnerable I am here. I don’t know anyone besides Jed and Eric.

I need clothes that fit me and shoes that I can work in. And I have feminine needs and well, in a household of men there just isn’t anything for that. So today I decided to walk through the neighborhood and really meet some of the other women. I’ve seen them at the meetings, but never really talked with any of them. Carol and Audrey were great.

Carol’s husband has a prickly heat rash and they don’t have anymore ointment to treat it. I used to work at a health food store and shared with her that baking soda made into a paste would help. She was so grateful that she gave me two pair of her “skinny” jeans! Then she walked with me next door to meet Audrey.

It was funny when Audrey answered the door, Carol introduced me, “Aud, this is Monica, Jed’s lady. She used to work in a health food store and knows all kinds of stuff!” Audrey flung the door open and practically dragged me in. She gave me a pair of sandals and some walking shoes she didn’t care for and a box of tampons. They are running low on food and her husband has high blood pressure with only a month left on his prescription. She has low thyroid levels and is out of her prescription.

“Black Cohosh is one herb that has been known to help with low thyroid, but I don’t know where we’ll get it” I told her.

“What else is Black Cohosh used for,” she asked.

“Oh, hot flashes and menopause symptoms,” I said.

Audrey’s eyes lit up. “I’ll bet Maud has some of that.”

A couple of hours visiting and I came home with two pair of jeans, shoes, tampons, and two new friends.

Mark and Jessie were at the house when I got back, they were chatting with Jed. I took Jessie aside and showed her what Carol and Audrey had given me and asked her if she had any natural health supplements, antibiotics, vitamins, etc. at their house. “Yes, but what do you need those for?”

I explained that I used to work at a natural health store and there are already people running out of prescriptions, getting rashes, etc. Knowing what people had available could make the difference between life and death for some folks. I could see that she took that information very seriously – mothers do.

I was so elated making some friends that I think I annoyed Jed when I chattered all through the cooking and meal. But he did seem interested when I told him about my years at a health food store in my late 20′s. Jed said he had several books on natural medicine that I could look through.

Today was the first good day I’ve had since the bombings. I almost feel happy, but I can see that Jed is restless.


July 13th Community is threatened……

As if the news last night wouldn’t be enough to darken the day – a group of people came to the front gate asking for food and water.

The group consisted of 8 men and women. The Security Team members radioed Ryan who then radioed Bill and I. We went to the gate and within the few minutes it took us to get there the small crowd started getting upset.

I talked to Ryan and Bill and addressed the issue of charity. I told them if we give them anything not only will they likely return for more, but others will no doubt here of it and then they will come. Bill and Ryan said they didn’t see anything wrong with giving them water. I voted against it. I know it may seem cruel – but I felt that it is what had to be done.

Several gallons of water was provided to the 8 people – who after taking it asked about the food. Ryan stood up and told them water was all we could afford to give. A couple of the men started yelling that they were starving and their wives needed food. Ryan looked at me and I said no shaking my head. Ryan relayed the answer to the group. At that point one of the men pulled out pistol from his pocket. Ryan, two members of the Security patrol, and myself drew on the man quickly. The guys wife jumped in front of him and pushed the gun down. We told the group to move on immediately.

They complied and were not happy.

We didn’t even get a thank you for the water.

I talked to Bill and Ryan after group was long gone and emphasized my disagreement with giving away our supplies. They both said that they tended to agree with me after thinking a bit – but it was too late.

This encounter could have turned a lot worse if the group had been better armed and organized.

  • Jed

July 13 Monica – Jed’s love interest

Tonight I sat down across from Jed to write in my journal too. He seemed surprised, but then just smiled and went on writing. I wanted to reach across the table to him and just hold his hand, to feel the warmth of his skin. Just be close to him, but he was busy writing.

Jed brought home the news of people at the gate wanting food and water. I instantly felt that we must share, but then Jed told me how one of the men pulled out a gun and threatened them even after they gave them precious, clean water that we had so carefully filtered through sand.

When he told me about the incident, I instantly got a lump in my throat and a cold, wrenching feeling in my gut. What if something happened to Jed? What would I do? Where would I go? The idea of losing Jed now flooded into me and made me almost sick. Time and life is so precious. It made me realize these stirrings in my heart that I am feeling are real. Jed isn’t just safety and security to me. All of those old feelings of love are awakening, but this time with a depth I never felt before.

But does he feel the same way? We really haven’t talked about “us”. I can see why Jed keeps a journal now. It clears the head and puts things in black and white. Should I tell him how I’m feeling?


  • July 12th A world in turmoil……

Next to the night The Event happened, I have never felt so uneasy. The scanner Ted gave us brought forth news that is both incredible and terrifying all at once.

Here is what we have so far:

 United States military forces are at war overseas. The United States nuked Iran and North Korea. They apparently were largely responsible for the attack on the United States. Forces are patrolling and continue to engage these two countries. Other Muslim countries such as Pakistan have taken up for Iran and are getting involved.

 Most all domestic military forces have disbanded and returned home to their families.

 Canada, Israel, and England are on our side. Israel and England are dealing with some of their own issues as well and apparently assisted in the attack on Iran.

 Germany is staying independent and says they are sitting this one out.

 I am not sure the exact reason – but the United States right after The Event nuked China. China returned with a very limited response and all of their nuclear missiles were brought down prior reaching the United States. China went from over a billion people to less than 500 million from the estimates given. I am guessing China was targeted for a reason?

Cities across the United States are in absolute chaos. Massive amounts of crime, little to no law enforcement response, murder, rapes, kidnappings – terrible. Apparently we are very lucky to have made it thus far so “easy”. People have no food, no water. Medical facilities have been overwhelmed, especially those anywhere near the nuclear sites. Desperation is traveling across the United States like a tidal wave.

 It is reported that radiation danger is minimal and mostly localized to the denotation cities.

If the people in this community needs something else to motivate them – this should be it.

– Jed

Monica – Jed’s love interest..

July 12,

I see Jed writing in his journal in the evenings by the light of the little solar walk light that he brings in every evening and he seems so relaxed afterward that I have decided to start keeping a journal of my own.

How I miss my home and my friends and my life! I am so grateful to Jed for taking me in, but I miss my own life – my old life. I miss the Arizona sunsets, the dry heat – it is so humid here!

I had only packed for a few days and only my best clothes. Now I miss my jeans and comfortable walking shoes. I’m out of hand cream, my face cream, the polish is wearing off my nails and I have no nail polish remover. Little things I know, I should just be grateful I’m alive.

Last night we got news that Phoenix, my home, was one of the cities bombed. I have no home to go back too. No job; no friends. And Jed is not the person I remember when we were young. He was caring but selfish back then. It was all about him and what he wanted to do. Living for the moment. Perhaps that is youth, was I any different? Now he seems much more aware of other people. And thinking ahead.

I feel safe with him as he is now. His planning and preparedness is something I admire. I have no idea what I would have done back at the motel if he had not offered to take me with him.

Last night, after all the washing was done – I’ve got it down to two five gallon buckets and grabbed the plunger out of the bathroom to work the water through the clothes as washing them by hand has made my hands dry and sore – and the clothes hung on the back yard fence, we just sat and talked in the moonlight. Not really about anything important. And there were long, comfortable silences. The moon was bright overhead and huge, there was a breeze that kept the humidity down and the bugs away, someone must have started a campfire as there was the smell of burning pine and the sound of laughter in the distance, and for a moment it all felt alright – I felt “normal”.


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