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The last of the Ravens
1,757 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From the one who brought you Autumn Breeze(c), , presents to you his next story for your reading entertainment, How I Survived


How I Survived:

Part One: Wasn't It Suppose to be Only Four Days?

"Motor City madness has touched the countryside,
And through the smoke and cinders,
You can hear it far and wide."
-Gordon Lightfoot-


October 13th, 2011, Day Three...

It's thanksgiving today. LOL. And where am I? In a lean-too
somewhere along the Cold Water River, living off of a few fish
and dried out rose-hips, and a tiny ration of rice. Why did I take
this stupid bet? LOL I know why, it was for the hundred dollars.


It was more then the money... it was for your own prestige
Mike. Wait? Am I seriously writing in third person...?

With a small laugh I drop the pen onto the open page of my leather bound journal and stretch out across the soft mattress of fir boughs. Closing my eyes I take in the wonderful heat from the roaring fire. It gets cold up here in the mountains at this time of year. How high am I? Twelve hundred meters? Give or take? Not that it really matters. On the day I arrived there was still pockets of snow in the shadows from an early autumn blizzard. Winter comes in early and hard in the passes. In another two or three weeks, everything will probably be snow.

Across the shallow river in the fading light I watch the golden aspen leaves trembling.

It is a beautiful sight. Lower down, clinging to the edges of the snaking river and gravel bars, the brush has turned shades of red and brown. Adding to the splendour of the deciduous trees above.

I watch as the last rays of the sun fade behind the snowy peaks to the west.

The fresh air is already growing cold. This night will be another frigid one. I drape one wool blanket around my shoulders and the thicker wool blanket across my lap. Good enough for now. I reach for my journal while there is still light and then fish through my backpack for my coloured pencils. I quickly sketch in the river and coloured trees, and the wall of dark pines behind that rise up to the snowy peak now crowned with brilliant shades of the setting sun. Purples and pinks mostly. A few bubblegum clouds hugged the jagged ridges. I had climbed some of those very peaks the summer before.

Smiling, I finish my sketch and store my journal away. On all my trips, both camping and survival that notebook came with me. I like to record everything. Both through words and drawings. Yet I have only filled a quarter of the book. So much more to do I guess. I grinned at the thought.

Adding a few branches to the flames I laid down and snuggle into my blankets.

The sky is darkening. The last vestigial hints of the day are melting away. I can already see the stars. No sign of anything man made, not even a plane-trail. Nothing. I might very well have been in the stone age.

Smiling, I roll over and bury myself amongst the two wool blankets.

“One more day Mike.” I whisper to myself. “Then I can go home knowing I won the bet.”

The bet I had taken was to survive out in the mountains for four days over the Thanksgiving weekend. This was day three. This time tomorrow I would be showered and warm again. Not to mentioned stuffed with left-overs. Turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. Squash too. Butternut squash thick with honey and cinnamon. My stomach growled at the thought. I smiled and closed by eyes.

Tomorrow was suppose to be my last day here...

The last of the Ravens
1,757 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·

I awoke with a start. My face was cold. At least the part of my face that was exposed to the air felt frozen. The rest of my body was tightly wrapped in a cocoon of wool atop a mattress of boughs. Surprisingly enough I felt half warm. Well, not frozen was a better was of saying it. Sometime during the wee hours of the night a layer of solid grey clouds had moved in and kept the temperature from dropping below freezing.

I yawned and reluctantly emerged from the warmth of my bedding.

Grabbing a charred branch I searched the bed of ashes to no avail. The fire was dead.

Reaching into my backpack I quickly fished out my flint-striker and steel. Next came a few wisps of dried moss and birch bark from the supply I always carried in my kit. Using the remaining branches left over from the night before I soon had a small fire burning. The warmth felt delicious against my exposed flesh.

Shivering, I pulled on my deathly cold hikers then adorned my grey jacket atop of the wool sweater that I had slept in. Crouching back down beside the fire, I set of pot of water to boil. I had filled the pot the night before. I know the time had come to make a decision. To stay and eat a small breakfast of rice? Or to hike the kilometre back to the truck and get an early start for home?

The decision only took me a moment to make.

“Home.” I whispered and stood. My legs were stiff from having been tucked up against my chest for warmth for most of the night. “Home and a warm shower then food. Lots of warm food.”

The idea sounded like heaven to me.

Smiling I pulled a small plastic bottle from my bag and added a pinch of tea to the water. One of the few provisions I had been allowed on my weekend exercise. A supply of tea and a Gatorade bottle full of brown rice. The bottle was all but empty. A few spoons worth of rice remained. Living off the land was hard. I had known this before coming out here. Nevertheless I was surprised at how quickly my small supply of rice had disappeared.

While waiting for the water to boil, I walked a couple dozen paces into the trees and urinated. After I slowly meandered down to the edge of the river. Here the water was shallow yet fast flowing, with shelves of ice remaining in the eddies. A hundred feet down stream on the inner curve of the bank sat a logjam. Large white logs stood out in stark comparison to the dark waters of the pool below.

I had caught several trout in that pool over the last few days. The bulk of my food.

The trout had been rainbows, both small and lean. The largest not quiet eleven inches. The average around seven inches. Yet they had been food. Roasted up over the fire with a serving of high bush cranberries I had stumbled upon yesterday morning, they had made the perfect thanksgiving meal.

I washed my hands in the river then quickly returned to camp.

My tea was already boiling. Smiling, I pulled the small pot from the water and poured myself a warm drink. Despite my longing to remain here in both the silence and solitude of this place, my life in the outside world was calling for me. The thought of both a warm shower and warm food was overpowering. I quickly downed my tea then began to pack up. Not that there was much to pack up. I had not taken much with me for this four day trip. This was suppose to have been both a challenge and a learning experience.

I checked my simple fibreglass bow and quiver of homemade arrows. All eight were there. I carefully strapped them to the one side of my lightly filled pack. On the opposite side of the pack rested my long handled hatchet. It's decorative leather sheath protecting its head. The bindings were sound. Finally I rolled up my two thin wool blankets then stuffed them inside my bag. Even with the two blankets and clothing inside my backpack, the bag still looked and felt empty.

Finally I used the rest of the tea to fill my canteen before stomping out the fire. Storing away my pot, I quickly headed off for the truck. Following the river's edge for a kilometre or so, I quickly came upon the service road. To my left the road crossed the river and to my right, the track split into two. I took the right branch of the road.

Far above, up along the mountain side I could see the highway snaking along.

Five minutes later I came upon the small side road that branched from the main logging road. This tiny tract was overgrown with ten foot pine saplings and willow brush. Nevertheless I cut through it and quickly came upon my truck. A black Ford-250. Parked scarcely thirty feet off the main road yet invisible to anyone going past.

Smiling I took out my keys and unlocked the door. I shoved my bag over onto the passenger side seat before spilling into the cab. Slamming the door shut I glanced at the small box of the floor of the cab. Lifting the box onto my lap, I grinned and pulled away the towel. Inside rested food. My emergency food that usually stayed in my backpack with me. I had taken the food out so as to not be tempted to indulge during my four day trip.

Grinning my eyes scanned the small treasure. Two MREs, one which read Salmon fillet and the other, Hungarian Goulash. Four tins of Christmas oranges. A dozen energy bars and two bags of dried fruit. One of apple slices and the other peaches. Finally two Gatorade bottles, one filled with white rice and the other dried lentils. A small treasure's worth of food. I felt my mouth begin to water.

I grabbed one of the energy bars and tore the package open with my teeth.

Grinning like a child on Christmas morning, I took a large bite and chewed greedily. Swallowing, I took another large bite while slipping the keys into the ignition. Licking my lips, I finished of the chocolate flavoured energy bar then started the truck.

Only the truck did not start.

The engine would not turn over. Frowning, I tried again. The engine simple would not start. The radio would not even come on nor would the cab light. Nothing seemed to work. Cursing I quickly got out of the truck and checked the engine. Everything that I knew about the engine looked all right. Not that I was a mechanic or anything. Clambering back into the cab I tried the key again. Once more the engine would not start.

Cursing I slammed my fists together, “Now what do I do?”

The last of the Ravens
1,757 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·

“Ok...ok... think straight Mike. Think straight.” I grumbled to myself as I stepped out of the truck with a muttered curse. Reaching back inside I adorned my light-weight rain jacket before strapping my canteen across my chest. The metal canister was still hot with the fresh tea. I smiled at the radiating warmth. After shoving two energy bars into my pockets, I closed the door of the truck and locked it.

My eyes studied the forested slope that rose up sharply to the north. Several hundred meters up the slope was the highway. As a crow would fly, only a kilometre at the most. But between me and the highway was a short series of cliffs and screes. I decided I would follow the logging road back up to the highway knowing full well that this would be a good eight kilometre hike.

While hiking eight kilometres was usually neither here nor there for me, I had not eaten a decent meal in four days. Nevertheless I started off with high hopes. I even smiled a bit. Another adventure to add to my journal I told myself. Oh it was an adventure all right, I just did not know what I was getting myself into.

For the first half kilometre the road was level then the uphill slog began. Back and forth like a meandering river the road curved to the gridlines of the hillside. A seemingly never ending upwards grade. Never flat, never overly steep, just a constant slope. The ultimate tread master. I smiled at the irony.

After a while the view on the lower side of the road began to open up.

I stopped for a break and looked at my watch. To my dismay the screen was blank.

“Stupid battery,” I cursed knowing I should have had the battery changed weeks ago, “Right now you decide to die. Piece of junk.”

I did not bother checking my cell phone. Cell's got no reception down in this part of the mountains. Thinking back maybe I should have checked my cell phone at that point...

Instead I perched on a small boulder and drank from my canteen while enjoying the sweeping views. Almost two hundred meters below me snaked the Cold Water River through gravel bars and stands of aspens. Their leaves a golden hue a dozen shades lighter then my own hair. Further back the slope angled up towards the next snowy peak, coated in a thick stand of lodge-pole pine broken only by a few yellowing patches of larches. The trees led up into the snowy abyss cloaked by the thickening clouds.

It was a beautiful sight.

I smiled and quickly ate one of my energy bars before continuing up along the road.

Soon the road entered a small gully. The first level grade since the beginning. Tall spindly aspens lined the way, their small aurous leaves rustling in the crisp breeze. When the stronger gusts struck, it snowed gold. Fluttering and spinning towards the ground. The gravel was already covered in a thick snow like layer of fallen foliage. The sweet crisp scent of fallen leaves filled my noise. I grinned and hurried along, knowing I was more than halfway back to the highway.

Overhead, the weather was moving in.

After another slow hour I rounded the bend and the highway came into view. I was only a half a kilometre away at the most and I grinned at the knowledge. Soon. Soon I would get help and be on my way home. Though I was not looking forwards to the good hour and a half drive, I would be thankful nevertheless that I was on the way.

Taking a few more steps I stopped as the road emerged from the stand of firs.


I frowned. Something just seemed wrong. Scratching the side of my head I glanced towards the sky above. Darkening. Ominous. A few spits of rain had already begun to fall. The weather was moving in from the west; the coast.

I walked another hundred meters and rounded a small hillock before stopping again.

Looking down on the highway I realized what was wrong. It was too silent. There was neither the steady hum of vehicles nor the omnipresent scent of exhaust. Nothing. For as far as I could see in either direction the road was deserted.

“Odd...” I muttered then took a step forwards. Squinting I gazed off towards the east. Two or three kilometres down the road I spotted a car. Two cars... and smoke. A thin streamer of smoke trailing up towards the sky. My azure eyes opened wide. “Oh no. Not another accident.”

With new found energy I began to run...


Fifteen minutes later I slowed to a halt. With the concrete guard rail between me and the still deserted highway I came within spitting distance of the four car pileup then stopped. The first thing I noticed was the stench of death. The odour overpowered the sweet scent of balsam and the harsh scent of ozone that was always present before a heavy rain.

Several ravens picked at something hanging out of the driver side window of a blue Honda.

A body no doubt.

I took a few steps closer and stopped. In the nearest vehicle, a van of some sort, rested four bodies. The tinted windows were riddled with bullet holes. Several were completely shot out. Crystals of glass covered the pavement. The sparkle of bullet casings laid haphazardly amongst the glass shards.

Silence. In the distance the wind moaned.

I advanced a few more feet then stopped again. The head car was crumpled against the concrete guard rail. Several of the cement blocks were knocked out of place. Smoke still poured up from the mangled charred wreck. The driver had not made it from the vehicle.

“Seven bodies in all.” I muttered a curse as I spotted a eight body laying on the pavement. The birds had already taken the eyes. From the looks of them, I judged they had been laying there for a good two days already. Maybe three. “What on earth happened here?”

I suddenly felt very vulnerable.

My bow and hatchet alike were back in the truck a good ten kilometres away. I did have my hunting knife and I was a good throw with the weapon, but it was my only weapon. My right hand instinctively gripped the hilt until my knuckles were white. For a good five minutes I just stood there before taking a few steps backwards.

I turned and started back the way I came. Then stopped after a couple dozen steps.

I glanced back. Frozen. Where was I to go? My truck would not start. Worse, I doubted help would just drive by. These bodies had been here for several days. Obviously something bad had gone down while I was in the bush. But what?

Glancing at the sky I watched as a wall of rain began to descend from the west.

“Well I just can't stay here Mike.” I grumbled to myself as I started walking once more. “At least the truck will be dry and I have some food. Plus my bow.”

Without further ado, I began to jog back in the direction I had just hiked from.

It was a long walk back.


and the plot thickens:thumb: hope you are all enjoying. any tips or advice, comments and suggestions are ALWAYS welcomed (gotta practice writing you know:upsidedown: ). and please above all else, enjoy:upsidedown:

The last of the Ravens
1,757 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·

October 14th, 2011. Day four.

I was suppose to be at home by now. But here I am, sitting
in my truck. My dead truck that won't start and listening to
the rain and wind pummel the roof of the vehicle. It sure is
coming down hard. I think there is snow mixed in as well.

I am not sure what time it is. I got back to the truck as the
worst of the weather moved in. It's maybe four? Already
getting dark. Don't dare go out and make a fire. What
with what I saw up on the road and all. Eight dead bodies
and nothing. No one. Something bad has gone down. Very
bad. But what? Who knows. I don't.

What should I do?

I don't even know. I can't just sit here in my truck and all.

Food will only last so long. I need to know what's going
on. What has happened. Will see what the weather is like
in the morning then decide. Time for dinner. Salmon tonight...

I set my pen down and grabbed one of my two MREs. Salmon fillet. It only took me a minute or two to devour the contents of the package. Salty salmon goodness. I smiled and licked the package clean before washing it down with cold water from my canteen. Dinner. I tried to find some happiness in the food I had just eaten as I watched the surrounding trees.

Rain. It was coming down in roaring waves.

The shadows were growing long in the pines. Soon darkness would tighten its grip on the forest and surrounding valley. And, I am ashamed to admit, I felt afraid. For the first time in ages, I felt afraid to be out in the woods. No. That's wrong. It's not the woods that I was afraid of. It was the unknown of the situation. What could be out in those woods. What had happened to the world was what I was really afraid of. I was at home in the forest. The wilderness was my friend. My ally. I had a gut feeling that I would be depending on this ally a lot more in the days and weeks to come.

An hour later and the world was dark.

I tried to get comfortable stretched out across the seat of my truck. My efforts failed. Despite my blankets and sweater that served as a pillow. And despite all the sounds and noises of night, I dared not try my flashlight. I knew light would be seen for kilometres. Maybe even from the highway. The last thing I needed was trouble. More trouble. I had just wished I had brought my .22 rifle along.

As if in reply, the distant thunder of gunfire shattered the dreary silence.

I could tell it was coming from up on the highway. Several kilometres away. I was safe for the time being. How safe? I could not be sure. At least, I thought to myself bitterly, I am no alone out here. But then again, did I really want to run into the people who had been doing the shooting? Probably not.

“God,” I whispered at one point an hour or two after dark, “What has happened?”

I got no reply.

I fell asleep a time later to the soothing sounds of the rain.
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