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Discussion Starter #1
I am writing the first draft of a book. Please make any comments, criticism, or recommendations. Thank you.

Sorry, The World Didn’t Make It

Chapter One

Most people thought the collapse would be gradual like the decline of the Roman Empire, but the end came quickly. The attack was sudden and completely unexpected. Another 9/11, but it was a 9/11 worldwide this time. This time almost all of the United States was hit. Everyone thought the terrorist would use a dirty bomb or a real nuclear bomb. Who would have thought Electromagnetic pulse or EMP would be so effective to bring the United States and the rest of the “free world” to its knees. All unprotected and most protected electronic circuitry were destroyed.

The EMP attack was almost simultaneous in the United States, Europe, Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Iraq, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. The EMP bursts were all detonated in a one hour period. The terrorist had launched hundreds of Iranian missiles from cargo ships and hit the East, West and Gulf coast lines of the United States. The missiles wiped out every electronic circuit within five hundred miles from the coast line. Sleeper cells detonated EMP bombs in every major city that was not affected by the United States coastline attack, including Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, Anchorage and Denver. Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Canada and Mexico were attacked in the same way. No information from Europe, Iraq, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia could be confirmed because they were hit first. Little was known how they were hit. The only thing known about Russia and China is when the lights went out in the United States, Russia and China had not been hit. In fact, no information was known who the terrorist were because there was no CNN, NBC, ABC or CBS.

Even though the militaries had EMP shielding, the actual effectiveness of the shielding was minimal. There maybe some mountain or underground military facilities that were not affected by the EMP bursts, but nothing else were spared. The civilian infrastructures were completely destroyed by the EMP attacks. The countries that were attacked entered a new dark age, literally. Immediately, there was no electricity. The days of walking into a room and flipping the light switch were over. The refrigerator light did not come on when you opened the door. Lifting stations stopped, water stopped coming out of the faucet and sewage stopped flowing. Telephones were dead and televisions were black. No Transportation, cars stop running and would not start again. Trains stopped where they were. Airplanes were permanently grounded. Those airplanes, unlucky enough to be in flight, fell from the sky. Panic set into the population of the United States.

Steven was in his sunday school class when the EMP burst hit Austin. They were meeting in a church room with no windows. When the lights went out, it was pitch black.
“Come this way, Elizabeth, it’s alright, I’m with you.”
“What’s happening, why did the lights go out?” Steven’s wife, Elizabeth, was frightened by the sudden total darkness.
“I don’t know, maybe it’s a fuse or something.”

Today, like everyday, Steven had his book bag. The book bag was made by the company who makes the swiss army knives. Steven took out a flashlight out of his book bag and shined it around the room and then towards the door. Everyone in the class made their way to the door. Steven grabbed Elizabeth with one hand and his book bag with the other hand. When they went out the door and into the hallway, they could see everyone coming out of the surrounding rooms. The hallway had sky lights. The hallway was full of people with confused looks on their faces. Everyone was talking and trying to decide whether the church had blown a fuse or the whole block had blown a transformer. None of them could have known that this was almost worldwide.
“Let’s go outside and see if it’s just the church that doesn’t have power.” Steven still wasn’t worried, but that was about to change.

Elizabeth took her cell phone out. “Steven, I think my telephone is broken.”
Steven looked at his cell phone. His cell phone was off too. He tried to turn it on, but it wouldn’t turn on. “Something’s wrong with mine too.”

He put his flashlight back into his book bag. “Let’s go outside.” Steven and Elizabeth started down the stairwell. Elizabeth was quiet while they walked down the stairs. She had always told Steven that she had a sixth sense when something was wrong. Thankfully, the stairwell had widows that let light in. They reached the ground floor and headed to the exit door. Many people had the same idea. It was very crowded as Steven made a path to the exit door. Elizabeth was close behind him.

When they made it outside, Steven couldn’t believe what he saw. There were cars in the street, but the cars weren’t moving. People were everywhere. “Let’s get to our Expedition,” Steven had an idea what might have happened.
“What’s wrong, Steven, what’s happening?”
“I think it’s EMP.”
“What’s EMP? What’s happening?”
“Let’s get to the Expedition and see if it starts.”
“Why wouldn’t it start?”

Steven started for the parking lot. “Elizabeth, stay very close to me.” He unzipped a compartment in his book bag and made sure his Glock 17 was ready, but didn’t take it out. Elizabeth stayed right with Steven. She trusted him and knew he would take care of her. Steven was almost jogging to the Expedition. Steven tried to open the Expedition with the remote. Nothing happened. He tried the keyless entry, but he put the code in twice and nothing happened. Steven had to use the key to open the Expedition’s door. Elizabeth was frightened by the serious look Steven had on his face. “What’s wrong? What’s EMP?” Steven didn’t say anything. He got in the driver’s seat and tried to unlock the Expedition. The lock button didn’t work either. Steven leaned across the console and unlocked the passenger door. “Elizabeth, get in the truck.” Elizabeth quickly got into the passenger seat. “Lock your door.” She locked her door. He locked his door too. Steven put the key into the ignition and turned the key. ****, nothing happened. Steven looked at Elizabeth. Tears were welling up in her eyes. Elizabeth was about to panic.

“Honey, I think there has been an EMP explosion, that’s the only thing that would explain the electricity going out, our cell phones and all the cars not working.”
“What is EMP, are we going to die?” Elizabeth was fighting back the tears.
“No, we are not going to die, but if I am right this vehicle and our cell phones will never work again.”
“How are we going to get home?”
“It looks like we have to walk home.”
“What do you mean walk home?”
“Well unless you want to steer while I push this truck home, which isn’t going to happen, we have to walk home.”

Elizabeth looked down at her shoes. They looked great on her, but the open toe high heel shoes were not made for walking. She was overwhelmed by the situation and the tears came rolling down her cheeks. It was a seventeen mile walk home. She didn’t know how she was going to make it wearing these shoes, but there didn’t seem to be many choices.

“Honey, it’s going to be OK.” Steven really didn’t know how this city was going to react to being deprived of the modern conveniences that had become necessities. He wasn’t going to scare her with that right now. Just then someone knocked on the driver’s side window. It startled Steven and he reach for the Glock. It was Bob and Sharon. They were Steven and Elizabeth’s closest friends in church. Steven opened the door and stepped out of the truck because he couldn’t roll down the electric window.
“Bob, can you believe this?”
“It’s got to be an EMP burst.” Bob was some what like minded as Steven. Steven was an end of civilization nut, but Bob was more of a conspiracy theory nut.
Yea, that’s what I told Elizabeth too.” He and Bob stood there looking around. People were actually panicked. Some were running, others just stood by their cars.
“Sharon and I are walking home. Do you and Elizabeth want to come to our house or are you going to try to make home.” Bob and Sharon lived about three miles from the church. Steven thought Elizabeth could manage that walk more than the seventeen miles back home. Elizabeth had left the truck and was standing next to Steven. She looked like a frightened little bird. Looking around and looking at Steven.
“I think we’ll go with you. Elizabeth doesn’t have walking shoes and I don’t think she would make the walk home.”
“Maybe we can find something she can wear at our house.” Sharon was a nice lady and tried to comfort Elizabeth.
“Thank you.” Elizabeth looked relieved that they weren’t going to try to walk home in her high heeled shoes. Sharon and Elizabeth started their own private conversation. It was obviously relaxing Elizabeth from the near panic state she was in.
“Let me get stuff out of the truck.” Steven emptied all of the papers out of his book bag. He kept the bible. He had always kept a case of water and two fleece sleeping bag liners in the back of the Expedition because it was just easier to keep the cup holders filled with bottled water. There was about half a case left. Steven put all the bottled water into his book bag. He had to unzip the part of the book bag that allowed the book bag to expand. He also found another flashlight, extra batteries, tissues and folding knife in the console. These went into the book bag too. With the book bag and sleeping bag liners, they were ready to leave for Bob and Sharon’s house.
“Bob, we’re ready to go.”
“Good, I think we want to get off the streets while people figure this out.”
“Probably a good idea and I am hungry too.”
“We have food, but the refrigerator won’t be working if we’re right.”
“Barbeque?”
“You bet, why not.”
Elizabeth broke of her conversation with Sharon as they walked to Bob and Sharon’s House. “What’s happening? What’s EMP? Why doesn’t the truck start?”
“I don’t know what is happening. EMP stands for Electromagnetic Pulse. EMP is emitted from a nuclear explosion. It not harmful to us, but it will destroy electronic circuitry if you don’t specially shield the circuits from EMP. All of our electrical systems run through circuitry. That’s why the electricity went out, our cell phones and Expedition is dead.”
“What does that all mean?”
“Honey, that means we are back to the old days. No electricity, no cell phones, no cars.”
Bob joined the discussion while they walked towards his house. “That’s not all, no sewage, telephones, running water, fire trucks, ambulances, or police.”
“No police?” Now Elizabeth was frightened again. She looked at Steven.
“Do you have your gun?”
“Yes and extra ammunition too.”
“You brought your gun into the church!”
“Well, I was a little apprehensive about it at first, but it seems like it was a good decision, now. I do have a concealed handgun permit.”
“I can’t believe you brought your gun into church.”
“Honey, I look at it this way, Proverbs 22:3 says ‘A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.’”
“The devil misquotes scripture too!”
Bob laughs. “Well, that’s water under the bridge. It is a good thing that you have your pistol with you. I don’t think we will need it on our way home, but you might when you walk to your home.”
The walk to Bob and Sharon’s house was relatively normal, with the exception of no cars moving anywhere. In August, it’s hot in Austin. Everyone was hot and worn out from the three miles to their house.
“Hey Bob, it’s hot in here. Oh, yea, no electricity.”
“Yea, we’ll have open all of the windows. Unfortunately, the air conditioning is not working until further notice.” Everyone laughed and started opening the windows in their house.
The women went into the kitchen to see what they could eat from the refrigerator because that food would spoil soon. The food in the freezer would keep a little longer. Steven and Bob stayed in the living room. They started to assess the situation
“I’ve got my pistol and some ammunition. Do you have weapons here?”
“My shotgun and 1911, but I don’t have much ammunition.”
“I think we both should be armed. People will be freaking out soon and bad guys may see an opportunity.”
Bob stood up and went into a bedroom. He came out with the shotgun and pistol, one box of ammunition for each.
“Bob, what water do you have?”
“None.”
“We could drain your water heater. Do you have a water hose and some thing to hold the water?”
“Yea, the hose is outside and I have a water cooler in the garage.”
“You load your weapons and I’ll go get them.” Steven put his pistol and holster on his belt and his folding knife in his pocket. The holster had an extra magazine pouch on it. He started toward the back door. As he walked through the kitchen, he caught Elizabeth’s eye. “Hey, baby, I’m going to get some things to drain the water heater for water. Lock the door behind me. OK?”
“OK, be careful.”

Elizabeth looked calm for the situation. Steven thought to himself that busy work must help her cope with what’s happening. He went out the back door and down a small flight stairs to the back yard. The back yard had a wooden privacy fence. It was in pretty good shape. He checked the only gate. There was no lock on the gate. A lock would need to put on that gate. The hose was attached to the faucet. Bending down on one knee, Steven unscrewed the hose from the faucet. When he got the hose off the faucet, he carried the hose to the back door and dropped it. Now, He needed the water cooler in the garage. The garage was a wooden one car garage with a side door. He cautiously opened the side door to the garage. The flashlight wept all around the inside of the garage. He was relieved there was nothing he had to deal with. It was like the inside of a lot of garages. Some shelves along the walls and stacks of boxes. A couple of old bicycles were leaned against the wall. They were now worth their weight in gold. Next to the bicycles was the water cooler. Steven grabbed the water cooler and headed toward the back door. He set the cooler down by the back door and took out his folding knife. He cut the hose to an eight foot length from the female end of the hose. Then he heard a shot and it was close. Steven quickly pulled his pistol from the holster. Nothing was moving or making noise outside the fence. Holstering his pistol, he quickly grabbed the water cooler and the section of hose. Elizabeth was waiting for him at the door and let him in. They locked the back door behind him.

Once in the house, Steven found Bob watching out the front windows with his shotgun. Sharon was standing in the hallway.
“Do you see anything, Bob?”
“No, but that gun shot was close.”
“I need to lock the fence gate. Do you have anything to lock it with?”
“Yea, there’s a lock in the kitchen drawer. Sharon can you get it?”
Sharon started for the kitchen without a word. Steven followed her into the kitchen. She opened a drawer that was obviously the junk drawer in the house. After some digging through the drawer, she handed Steven the lock with a key hanging out of it. He opened the back door and checked the back yard before going out. He didn’t see or hear anything. Moving quickly to the gate, he placed the lock on the gate and removed the key.

Back in the house, Elizabeth and Sharon had gone found fresh vegetables and some steak in the refrigerator. The gas stove still worked for now. Who knows how long the gas pressure would hold. It smelled good.

Bob was still in the front living room watching out the windows.
“Anything going on out there?”
“Some drunk with a bottle and a pistol.”
Steven looked out the front windows. Sure enough, there was a man in his forties staggering around the street with a liquor bottle in one hand and a revolver in the other hand. He fired a shot in to the air and yelled something. Neither Bob nor Steven could make out what he yelled. The drunk took another swig from his bottle and staggered down the street.
“People are going to get weird”
“You said it.”
After hearing the drunk shoot his pistol in front of the house, Elizabeth and Sharon were in the living room with them.
“I hope dinner’s not burning.”
Sharon was not in a joking mood. “No, Bob, your dinner is not burning. Was that a gun shot? It was so loud.”
“It was a drunk shooting into the air. He was almost in our front yard.”
Steven looked at Elizabeth. She was visibly shaken by the sound of the drunk’s shot.
“Honey, you doing alright?”
“Is he gone?”
“Yea, I guess he’s having a party.”
“Where are the police?”
“Well, Austin is a pretty big city. The police relied on radios, telephones and police cars to patrol and police the city. I don’t think they have any of that now. I think we are on our own for protection.”
“Steven, I scared. How are we going to get back home? What about the kids?”
Steven and Elizabeth were both forty-seven years old. Although, Elizabeth looked like she was in her early thirties. She was a slim, petite woman. She says she was five foot and one half inch tall, but Steven had his doubts that she was above five foot tall. Steven, on the other hand, had grey in his hair. He was broad and six foot-two. Definitely, considered a large man. The two of them were quite a contrast.

“I know you’re scared. I can’t tell you that I don’t have some serious concerns too. We will make it through this. I have made a lot of preparations for crisis situations and you know that. This sort of crisis is hard to prepare for, but we have a head start. We will get home. I want to leave early in the morning. The kids are probably home already and if I know Andrew, Forrest and Chaise, they are already holding down the fort. I hope Chaise hasn’t shot anyone, ‘yet.’” They all laughed.

Chaise was fourteen years old, the youngest of Steven and Elizabeth’s five children. Being the youngest of five children, she didn’t take anything off anyone. Andrew was twenty-two and the easiest going of all the children. Forrest was sixteen and the most serious minded of all the children. All of them lived at home and knew how to shoot well, especially Chaise. Richard and Cindy were the oldest children. Cindy was married to Brant and lived in San Antonio and have a daughter, Kaylee. Richard was married to Jennifer and lived in Austin and have a son, Hunter.

“There’s a good chance that Richard, Jennifer and Hunter are at the house with the Andrew and the kids. Cindy, Brant and Kaylee have Brant’s family living close by. So, they’re probably with his family.”
“I hope so.” Elizabeth wasn’t just worried Steven and herself, but the entire family. So was Steven. He couldn’t show it. He had to have a strong presence or Elizabeth might fall apart.
“We to start walking home early tomorrow.”
“I don’t want to go when it’s still dark.”
“OK, Honey, but at first light we need to start.”
Just then a gun shot rang out. It was farther out, but not real far off.
Bob checked the front door lock and started walking to the kitchen. “How about dinner everyone.” Bob had to keep that same strong presence for Sharon too.
Everyone realized how hungry they were and forgot about what was happening. Plates and utensils were already on the able. When they reached the table, Bob leaned his shotgun against the wall next his chair. Elizabeth and Sharon started serving the food. After they asked God for blessings and protection, they ate everything. None had realized how long it had been since they had eaten.
“Bob, how much food do you have?”
“Just what’s in the pantry, the refrigerator and freezer. That should last us about a week if we are careful.”
“We have food at home. If you and Sharon want to join us, you both are welcome.”
“I don’t know. I’ll have to discuss it with Sharon.” Bob looked at Sharon. She didn’t say a word.
“Let me know.”
“OK, we’ll let you know.”

There was a knock on the front door. Bob grabbed his shotgun. Steven took his pistol out of the holster with a natural motion.
Bob went to the front and looked out a window. Susan was a single mother from a house down the street from Bob and Sharon’s house. She had a teenage daughter about the same size as Elizabeth.
“It’s Susan from down the street. She’s got her daughter with her.”
“Bob, you watch to make sure she’s alone and I’ll let her in.”
Bob continued to watch out the window as Steven opened the door to let them in. Both were carrying back packs and a sleeping bag.
He locked the door as soon as they were inside.
“Sorry Bob, but we had no where else to go.”
“What the matter?
“We saw them kick in the front doors of two houses. We knew we were next.”
“What are you talking about? Who is kicking in doors?”
“There are three men. They are kicking in the doors to houses and going inside. I thought I heard screams from one house. I don’t what they are doing or if there were people in the houses, but it can’t be good. I just knew we were next.”
“Don’t worry Susan, you and Terry are safe.”
“Steven, what do you think?”
“If they’re armed, it could be bad. We should be ready to move. Sharon, do you have any shoes that Elizabeth could wear?”
“I wear a size 7.”
Elizabeth shook head no. “I wear a size 5 or 5 ½.”
Terry, Susan’s daughter, dropped her pack to the floor and started searching through it. “I wear a size 5 ½.” She pulled out a pair of tennis shoes. “You can have them.” She handed the tennis shoes to Elizabeth.
Elizabeth tried the tennis shoes without socks.
“Do they fit?”
“Yes they fit.” The tennis shoes fit well enough.
“Bob, I’ll stand guard. You and Sharon start packing to get out of here.”
“Here, take my shotgun.” Bob and Sharon went to a back bed room. They were talking quietly to each other as they left the room. Bob came back into the room carrying a medium size back pack. Bob had been an eagle scout and, then, a scout master.
“I found an extra back pack and some canteens, we can pack whatever food and water that we can carry.”
Elizabeth grabbed the back pack and canteens. She went to the kitchen and Bob went to the back bed room. Susan and Terry followed Elizabeth into the kitchen. Steven could hear the noises from the kitchen. Steven was watching out the window with the shot gun in his hands. This was supposed to be a relaxing Labor Day Weekend. Life likes to play jokes. There he was. Hot and sweaty, watching for bad guys with a shot gun in his hands. The sun was still pretty high in the sky. Steven looked down at his watch. Damn, that’s worthless. His watch had stopped at 10:30. Should have worn a wind up watch. He looked at the clock on the wall. It had stopped at 10:35. Oh well, what does the time matter? He seriously doubted he was going to the office in the near future. Or any future for that matter. Most business lived on electricity and computers. There was no electricity and computers were worthless junk now. Movement in the yard brought Steven’s attention back the front yard. It was a small dog. He could hear popping in the distance. Probably gun fire. The dog was smelling around the bushes in the front yard.

The dog looked up and then trotted off. After a couple of minutes, Steven could hear voices. Then he could see five men and six women walking down the street. Some of the men were carrying rifles and shotguns. One of the women was carrying a rifle. All of them were carrying a pack of some sort. They were talking between each other. He heard one of the men say they needed to reach the police station by dark. That sounded like a reasonably plan, if the police officers were still there. Steven had a suspicion that most police officers would go to protect their on families. The man was right about being somewhere safe after dark. Without out electric lights, people were going to freak out when it gets dark or worse. He stayed out of sight and watched as they passed by. Another couple of minutes, he couldn’t see or hear them. Strange groups are dangerous. Now was not the time to take any chances. A low profile was the best way to stay safe. Steven didn’t know how they were going to keep a low profile walking home.

Elizabeth came out where Steven was watching out the window.
“We’ve got all the food and anything can be drunk in the pack, but it is too heavy to carry.”
“I think we can mount all the packs on two bicycles that I saw in the garage. We can push them home.”
“I’m worried about the kid’s.”
“I know you are. I’m worried for all of us, but we will make it.”
Susan and Terry had joined Elizabeth and Steven in the living room.
“We don’t have anywhere safe to go.”
“You are welcome to come with us, but it is a long way from here.”
Susan and Terry looked at each other. “Thank you, we won’t be any trouble.”
“Are you ready to go?”
“Yes, but we can’t carry the pack with the food.”
“I think I have an idea to cover that.”
“We’re ready too.” Bob and Sharon had walked back into the living room. They both had backpacks and hiking boots.
“What’s the plan?”
“If nothing happens, Elizabeth and I are leaving in the morning”

Suddenly the front door burst open. A man was coming through the splintered front door. Steven raised the shotgun and fired. The blast caught the man in the center of his chest. It picked him off his feet and sent him out the front door backwards. A moment later, the back door burst off the door frame. Another man was running through the back door and into the kitchen. Bob shot his 1911 Colt three times at the man coming through the kitchen. All three of the 45 caliber bullets struck the man in the chest. Both of the men hit the ground dead. Bob dropped his backpack and covered the back door. Steven was covering the front. If these were the same men that Susan had seen kicking in doors, then there was one more out there. The sun was setting, but there was plenty of light.
These men must have built up a lot of confidence preying on people who still thought the world was the same. They thought they the police would keep them safe, but the police department could not police the city without cars or radios. Steven could not see anything moving in front of the house. Bob had made his way into the kitchen and was watching the back yard. The ladies were huddled in a back corner of the living room. Bob and Steven kept this watch for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, when nothing moved, they decided the other man had run off after he saw his buddies get blown away.

“Bob, this house is no longer safe. The garage has only one easy point of entry through the side door. Let’s take everything to the garage and hold up there until morning.”
“That’s a good idea. We should make sure the garage is clear before all of us go in.”
“Yea, nothing like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. I don’t want to share the garage with the third member of that gang. Stay here, you take the shotgun and reload. I’ll clear the garage.”

Steven took out his Glock and flashlight, and then cautiously walked out the back door. He checked the gate. It was still intact. The lock was still there. The garage door was closed. Slowly, Steven opened the garage side door. While he held his pistol ready, he shined his light all around the garage. Nothing. He entered the garage and made a thorough search. He didn’t find anyone in the garage.

Bob and Steven took shifts guarding the small group in the garage. All of them tried to sleep. No one could except Steven. Bob had told the others that Steven must have a clear conscience. Sharon laughed, but Elizabeth knew better.
 

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Chapter Two

It 4:00 a.m. on Labor Day, they were ready to leave for Steven and Elizabeth’s house. The packs had been strapped to the two bicycles in the garage. This would allow them to move faster without having to carry the weight of the packs on their backs. Elizabeth didn’t like that they were leaving while it was dark. Steven and Bob wanted to avoid as much contact with other people as much as possible. They hoped that most people were either asleep or still inside a building at this hour of the morning. Steven went out the side garage door and through the house. He crouched next to a bush in the moonlight and watched the street where the main garage door opened to. He saw a cat walk leisurely across the street. After a couple of minutes, he decided the coast was clear. Steven lightly knocked on the main garage door. Bob lifted the door and they started walking.

The group had decided it would be best to make the least amount of noise as possible. No talking was allowed unless they saw trouble. Their route took them through neighborhood side streets and then west on forty-fifth street. It took an hour to travel from Bob’s house to the expressway. The group didn’t see anyone or anything moving until they came to the expressway. Mo Pac Expressway or just “Mo Pac” was the western expressway running North and South in Austin. It was a main artery of the city. Mo Pac had three southbound lanes and three northbound lanes. Staying out of sight in the tree line along Mo Pac, they could see a small but steady stream of people. Some were headed north and some going south. Everyone was carry or pulling something with them. The people on the expressway did not have weapons in sight except for an occasional baseball bat. There were cars and trucks all over Mo Pac, but none were moving. Everything looked orderly in a weird way.

They needed to go south. Watching the people walking in both directions, they decided to travel north on the expressway. The sun was beginning to rise. Bob stowed his shot gun on the bicycles that he was pushing and put his pistol under his shirt. Bob could still get to the shot gun easily. Steven did the same with his pistol. He was pushing the other bicycle. They didn’t want to call attention to themselves. Everyone in the group walked close together around the bicycles. Since they were now in the open, they talked freely between each other.

Terry asked, “How far is your house?”
“It’s about fourteen miles from here, we should make it long before dark.”
Elizabeth looked at Steven. It was obvious she was racked with worry.
“What time do you think it is? How long do you think it will take us to get home? “I’m really worried about the kids.”
“It looks like it is about 7:00 a.m. We should get to the house in four to six hours. The kids are fine. Andrew, Forrest and Chaise know what to do. Richard and Jennifer are there by now. Richard will set up everything before we get there. They’ll be waiting for us. How are your shoes holding up?” Steven was trying to get Elizabeth’s mind off the kids for a short while.
“I wish I had some socks.”
“When we stop for a rest, we’ll see if anyone has spare socks for you.”

The group continued south on Mo Pac. As the sun rose higher in the sky, more people were traveling on Mo Pac. Obviously, a lot of people got caught away from home. Occasionally, they heard some popping in the distance. The walk was not hard. Some motionless cars sometimes created a bottle neck, but, all in all, there weren’t a lot of obstacles in the road. The people they passed didn’t say a word. The shock was obvious in their faces.

As they approached the Town Lake Bridge, they saw a police officer on a horse. Everyone was surprised. He was armed with a shot gun and looked normal, except he was sitting a horse. As they got close, Steven could see a body lying on the ground in a pool of blood close to where the police officer was. The group gave the police officer and the body a wide berth.

“Steven did you see that?”
“Yea Bob, I guess that’s the new law and order.”
Elizabeth looked puzzled. “What do you mean?”
“Honey, it doesn’t look like they are taking people to jail.”
“You mean they are killing them?”
“The police didn’t have enough police officers to be everywhere when they had cars. I doubt they have many horse or bicycles or officers. And how they would get a prisoner down to the jail downtown from here with out a car?”
 

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Thumbs up so far. You write it and I will read it. Good stuff.

A little more detail on what they actually took from the house. Might teach someone how to prioritize what they need when packing up like this.
 

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Yes, it is a rough first write draft. I wanted to put my thoughts on paper. After I have some time away from each chapter, I will re-work the chapter. I need some time between the intial writing and the re-work, so I don't do the mental skips over problem areas. I also have a professional editor to edit the final copy.

Thanks for your help on this. I appreciate everyones comments.
 

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Real good start, it has an easy read and most can follow the story easily. I think you are right, keep the story going while it is in your mind and edit when you are done. Nothing getts my mind off center like fixing mistakes. When done you can take the time you need and not lose your train of thought. Keep um coming!
 

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That is a good question about the flashlight. I will have to research EMP and Flashlights. This is exactly why I posted this story. Thanks. Chapter 2 should be completed very soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Bob was visibly uneasy while he listened to their conversation.
“What do you think that man did?”
“I don’t know, Bob. I only hope that it was serious enough to get shot for and not just an example.”
“Me too.”

The group started to move more quickly trying to put distance from them and the dead man lying next to the mounted police officer. The Town Lake Bridge was just a head of them. They stopped at the bridge. In Austin, the Town Lake Bridge was the one of the five bridges across the Colorado River. This was a possible trouble spot on their route home. If there was trouble, there would be little cover. Bob took out his binoculars and panned the other side. After a minute or so, Bob handed the binoculars to Steven. Steven started to investigate the situation for the bridge crossing.

“I don’t see anything, do you?”
“No, I don’t. Hopefully the police presence is keeping everyone honest.”

Bob stowed the binoculars in one of the packs. They started across. The group was still staying close together. When they were about a hundred yards from the end of the bridge, gunshots rang out. Everyone hurried behind a pick up truck. The pick up truck was close to the concrete side railing of the bridge to provide cover from both ends of the bridge. As long as everyone kept there heads down.

“Does anyone know where the shot came from?”
“No.” All the ladies just shook their heads. Elizabeth was crying.
“Stay Low. Bob, can you get to your binoculars?”
“Yea, the bicycle fell next to me when I dove for cover. Here you go.”
“I’ll take a look. Everyone stay down.”

Steven took the binoculars and slowly peaked around the corner of the pick up truck. Looking at the side of the river, Steven could see two police officers scrambling towards the east side of Mo Pac. One officer was carrying a M16 or a AR15. It was hard to tell at this distance. The other officer had a shotgun. Both officers went into the wooded area to the east. Moments later, gun fire erupted.

“Steven, what do you see?”
“Yea, there are two more police officers on the other end of the bridge. It looks like they went after someone. They’re coming out of the woods and waving their arms.”

They all looked back at the mounted police officer. He was waving back at the other police officers. It was obvious the police were keeping the bridge as safe as they could. And by the most effective means available to them. The other people on the bridge stood up and started walking again.

“Let’s head out.”

Steven and Bob picked up the bicycles that they were pushing and checked the packs on the bicycles. The ladies were shaken, but they all were ready to start walking.

“Are OK, Elizabeth?”
“I’m scared.”
“It’s going to be OK. We are making good time. We’ll be home in no time.”

They made it to the end of the bridge. The two police officers were standing next to the cement wall of the bridge. Steven was close enough to hear them talking to each other. “Damn gangs, you can never get all of them.”

Steven kept pushing the bicycle. There was one more bridge that went across the Barton Creek Green Belt, a nature reserve. He hoped there would be some security there too, but he wasn’t counting on it.

The expressway was getting crowded. People were heading both north and south. Most still had a dazed or frightened look. There was a good place a head that the small group could rest. It had cover, but you could see anyone approaching. Steven knew his people would welcome the rest stop.

No one was talking.
 

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They made it to the spot Steven had planned to rest at without any trouble. There were other people sitting around. Guess others thought this was a good place to rest too. Steven and his group sat down, away from the other people in the area. Trusting strangers didn’t seem like a good idea.

Bob passed bottled water out to everyone. The women were visibly tired, but alert. Steven and Bob kept their weapons close at hand. After 30 minutes, Elizabeth was ready to go.

“Steven, we need to get home to the kids.”
“I know, if everyone is ready we should get moving.”
Bob and Sharon stood up. So did Susan and Terry.
“We’re ready.”

Everyone wanted to be somewhere safe and they weren’t there yet. The feeling of being in the open was so vulnerable. As they walked south on the expressway, they could see the last bridge they had to cross and it looked like a long way across that bridge.

When the small group reached the bridge it was about 2:00 p.m. Steven and Bob took turns looking through the binoculars. Neither of them saw anything but stalled cars and people walking across the bridge. There were no police officers either. They started across the bridge and reached the other side. No bandits or gangs this time. The walk home seemed to last for ever. Watching every clump of trees and bushes that someone might ambush them from. The stress was exhausting.

Finally, about 5:45 p.m., the group reached the entrance of the Circle C Ranch subdivision. There was a barricade on the main road. Circle C Ranch was an upscale subdivision. Steven always thought those BMW driving twits didn’t have the slightest idea what to do in a disaster, but he was wrong to some degree. The barricade consisted of large SUVs positioned in a way that you could not ram through them. There were armed men too. Steven could see that they had hunting rifles.

Steven shouted to the men at the barricade.
“I live here and I’m coming up to talk.”

They replied with permission and Steven started to walk toward the barricade. Elizabeth was worried. There were so many men with guns and Steven was walking up to them. She was afraid that Steven would start something and get hurt. But that didn’t happen. Steven was talking to one of the men. And after what seemed like hours, Steven turn to them and waved for the group to come to him. Steven was still talking to the man when Elizabeth and the group reached the barricade.

“Honey, this is Paul Simmons. Paul this is my wife, Elizabeth and my friends.”

Paul Simmons was a large distinguished looking man in his 50s. He had a pistol in his blue jeans and a scoped hunting rifle in his hand.

“Pleased to meet you, Elizabeth. Steven, after you get settled back home, come back and let’s talk”
“I’ll do that.”

The group made its way around the barricade. There were ten men with guns manning the barricade. All had serious looks on their faces.

As they walked through the neighborhood, they saw neighbors talking to each other in their driveways. No kids were seen anywhere. There was a couple burned houses.

The sun was starting to get low in the sky, when they reached Steven and Elizabeth’s house. Elizabeth started to hurry to the house, but Steven stopped her. She was irritated that he stopped her, but she realized why. Steven shouted to the house. Chaise replied immediately. Chaise and the two boys came running out of the front door. All of them were armed.

“Sorry, hon, I didn’t want you to get accidently shot.”
“That’s OK.” Elizabeth ran to the children, checking each one. Making sure they were OK.

Steven made all the introductions, though the children knew Bob and Sharon, and they went into the house. The kids had everything in order. The medical bag was on the kitchen counter. Ammunition and weapons were organized and accessible. Water bottles and flashlights were in key positions.

After Elizabeth did her mother hen thing, Steven asked the kids if they had any trouble.

“We didn’t see anything, but we heard a lot of gunfire.” Forrest spoke first.
Chaise couldn’t wait to say something. “We did just as you said. I took the back, Forrest and Andrew took the front. I didn’t see anything.”
“Y’all did good. Andrew, how are you doing?”
“Good, but we haven’t see Richard or Jennifer.”
“That reminds me, Bob, I’m leaving you in charge of this bunch. I have to got to go back to the barricade and talk to Paul.”

Forrest handed the AK-47 and magazine pouch to his father.

“You kids show Bob where everything is and help him secure the house.”
“Yes, sir.” The kids almost answered in unison.

Steven went the hall closet and pulled out a day pack. Actually, it was the assault pack that went his CFP-90 pack. Elizabeth went to Steven.

“Why do you have to leave?”
“They might let Richard and Jennifer can get past the barricade and the neighborhood is trying to get organized. Paul wanted to talk to me about helping and I want to talk to him so Richard and Jennifer can get here.”
Steven took a 2-way radio out of his pack. “Radio check, radio check.”
Forrest replied, “check.” Elizabeth realized that every child had a radio.
“I’ll be home soon. I’ll check in top of every hour by radio.”

Steven waved to everyone as he pedaled his bicycle down the street.


***That's the end of Chapter 2. Working on Chapter 3 while I'm on holiday.
 
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