Retired Adventurous People


in a EMP situation

Chapter 1

Retired Adventurous People, you might say never heard of them but on the other hand you could be one of them. This is the story of Mark and Helen and it starts in the small town of Coolgardie in Western Australia. Coolgardie once upon a time was the third largest town in Western Australia. Now it had a population of about 900 people. Helen is the Nurse in Charge at the Coolgardie Clinic, which had just downgraded from a country hospital. Quite a responsible position to be in. Mark on the other hand had lived the life of a Batchelor since separating from his second wife Brenda, after 20 years of marriage.  He is now the part time caretaker at the local historic Goal, where he works 3 days a week.  For the past 10 years he has been on a disability pension due to an accident he had whiles working underground. This would limit his movements at times. Mark used to be an underground miner at a goldmine further south in Western Australia.  How can two people with such a different background get together? Well it’s like this, every morning Mark goes for a 4 kilometres walk to keep his .

weight down and every morning Helen goes for an extensive bike ride for the same reason. One day as they meet on a road behind the town, they stop and start talking and found that they had a few things in common and so you could find them by the roadside talking and laughing for a while and then went on their way again. This went on for a couple of weeks and one day Helen rode her bike past the local Caravan Park where Mark was sitting on the low wooden fence talking to his son Steve who was also living in the Park the same as Mark was. After separating from his Wife, Mark bought himself a 6 metre Caravan, which he found was just right for one person. Helen stopped her bike and after a while of making small-talk invited him for dinner that evening at her place, which he accepted readily. “I’ll see you then at seven” Helen said with a smile.

He thought that he liked her but he also thought that she was way out of his league. “What shall I bring?” Mark ask her. “Just yourself” she said and was off again on her bike down the road. Mark looked after her and thought that she was a bit younger than him but apart from that there was nothing that he could fault. Ah well, looks like he was finally going to meet her husband and he remembered that she called him “Glen.” He walked back to his caravan, made himself a mug of coffee and went to play with his computer. Mark liked his caravan it gave him a kind of independency that a house didn’t. Up front was a kitchen then the dining room come lounge and finally his bedroom. One of his hobbies was his computer he could spend hour on it and so he had to watch the time. After a while at the computer Mark thought it was time to have a shower. Finish with the shower he put on his “Moleskins” and a freshly pressed blue shirt.

He picked up his leather hat which started to show its age. He locked his door, got into his trusty Ford Falcon and drove down to the liquor store and bought a bottle of white wine. Having done this he drove up to Helens house which was supplied to her by the Health Department. Leaving his car out front of the property he knocked on the door and was admitted by Helen who he thought looked fabulous in her black dress. I could see that the table in the dining room was set for three. Helen called out and a young man about 15 years old came into the dining room. He was very tall and big for his age and Helen said, “Mark, this is my son Glen.” Well you could have knocked me down with a feather; I kept thinking “Not her Husband.” We sat down at the table and enjoyed a lovely vegetarian meal she had cooked in my honour.

I had told her previously that I was a Buddhist and that I did not eat any meat. After the meal, Glen went to his room and Helen put on some lovely classic music to which we relaxed drinking our wine. They spend the evening talking about everything from Beethoven’s music to American politics. After having finished the third bottle of white wine Mark feeling a bit tipsy told Helen that he had a lovely evening, complimenting her on everything. But he told her in a slightly slurred voice that he had to leave. Helen told him that she knew that he planned to leave in a short time to travel the Eastern States. She took his hands into hers and looking him into his eyes told him that she would love for him to stay and not leave her. Next morning Mark awoke in a strange bed fully dressed but with his shoes missing. Before he could remember where he was Helen knocked on his open door and came in with tow mugs of black coffee.

She said to him “Good morning, Mark. I thought you might need this.” I starred at her and said “Shit, what happen?” Helen smiled and said “You passed out, Glen and I put you to bed. Here drink this.” She then said “Glen and I are going on a bike ride. Would you like to join us” I excused myself by telling her that I had made arrangements with my son to work on his car. Helen said not to worry and that she would come by later after lunch to see me. On leaving she ask me to pull the front door shut. I found my shoes pulled her door shut, got into my car thinking that this would give the town folks something to talk about. My car had been outside her home all night. Mark got back to his caravan and went back to bed. He woke up to someone’s knocking and when he got up to see who it was, he found his son Steve standing there with a big grin on his face wanting to know what he had been up to last night. Mark told him to go away.

After Steve had left Mark started thinking, like, what had he done? What had he let himself in for? He didn’t think that he had given Helen the impression that he was looking for an affair or anything like that. He just wanted to get the hell out of Coolgardie as his soon to become ex-wife was still living here.  He thought back on how hard it had become for him to live with Brenda. They had three lovely children together, but they were all grown up now. The two girls Sandy and Kat lived in Kalgoorlie 40 kilometres away and Steve lived in the same place then he. The first couple of years with Brenda were not so bad, but then she developed shocking “Mood swings” I had no idea what to do about them as she flatly refused to see a doctor. The last two years we were living in Coolgardie caretaking the Railway Station Museum. Which was great for both of us, as it gave us something interesting to do. We even had our own little souvenirs kiosk.

But thing got worse and when she came back from her holiday I moved out of our bed into a single bed. A while later I bought a caravan and moved out completely. Now here I am about to get into the same kind of situation. “Not Likely” But when Helen came around that afternoon Mark told her that he would put off going for a while. Everything changed of course when Helen ask Mark to move in with her. After a couple of days out of town Mark moved in with Helen. Also that weekend Helen introduced him to her Daughter Mandy who stayed in the granny flat behind the house as she was going to college during the week in Kalgoorlie. Next Glen moved to Kalgoorlie to go there to boarding school. Which left the house to Helen and Mark. Over the next 3 month both Helen and Mark made plans to get married and travel the following three years around Australia towing a 10 metre caravan. Next Friday they were going to go to Perth and buy a vehicle that was strong enough to pull a 10 metre caravan.

That Thursday Helen came from work finding Mark studying the Cars for sale section of the newspaper. As Helen came in through the door she gave Mark a quick kiss and said “what are you looking at?” but before he could answer she had slipped into their bedroom to get changed after a hard day at the clinic. Helen after a short while came back out refreshed and dressed in jeans and coloured top. Mark told her that he had been looking for vehicles ideal for towing a big caravan and he told Helen that he had found what they were looking for. Actually he had found three suitable vehicles, all of them ex ambulances. Helen said to Mark “Are they powerful enough?” He explained to her that all three of them had V8 engines in them being 5.6 litres. Next morning they loaded Helens Toyota Corolla up for the 600 kilometres trip to Perth.

It was a lovely day in June and not too hot. There wasn’t as much traffic on the road even so it was the main interstate highway. After driving through lots and lots of nothing just bush they came to the town of Southern Cross which was an old mining town that had just started up again now that the price of Gold was much higher. They stopped here in a rest-stop where they were surrounded by beautiful large copper coloured Gimlet Trees which are native in that area. They sat at one of the two tables there. Matt got the little gas or propane stove out and put some water on to boil. Then he went back to the car and checked its tyres, water and oil. Being satisfied with what he had done he went into the nearby bushes and relieved himself. Helen meanwhile had prepared their sandwiches, eggs, mayo and caviar on rye is what Mark liked. Helen made herself a ham and cheese sandwich while Mark pored their coffee. After they had filled themselves with sandwiches, Mark went and put everything away while Helen went for a walk. After a short while Mark called out to Helen and ask her if she needed a hand, trying to be funny.

Helen stepped out from behind the bushes and said that she had trouble with the zip on her jeans. With everything being in order they drove off, with this time Helen doing the driving. It was smooth going with large paddocks of wheat along both sides of the highway. Mark for some reason hated wheat paddock or any other paddocks for that matter. He only loved the bush and natural country the way he thought that god had meant it to be. Their next stop was Merredin which was a busy railway town and you could see the massive wheat silos at the rail yards. Helen pulled into a parking bay at the BP Service Station where they had a cup of coffee and topped their petrol tank up as it was a fair distance between towns. It was Marks turn to drive and when he got into the car he had to adjust the seat to his liking. Helen put a disk into the cars audio system and so whiles driving they enjoyed the music from “Die Fledermaus” which was one of Helens favoured pieces. 

Just before getting to the town of Cunderdin Mark had to apply the brakes suddenly as he nearly hit a kangaroo which had jumped out onto the road. Helen got quite upset and Mark could see her hands shaking. “Shall we stop here and have a cup of coffee to steady our nerves?” he ask full of concern. Helen quietly said “Yes please. You don’t mind do you?” “No we have plenty of time and if we don’t find anything today there is always tomorrow.” Mark patted her on her knee trying to calm her down. “Thank you.” Helen replied as Mark steered the car into a parking bay at the roadhouse. After sitting down in the dining room of the roadhouse Helen suggested that they have lunch there, which Mark readily agreed to. As the pretty young waitress came to get their order, both Helen and Mark ordered grilled fish and a side salad. While waiting for their food, Helen went over to the counter and ask the attendant about getting some coffee.

The attendant smiled at her and told her that the coffee was free and that she should help herself. Helen brought 2 mugs of coffee over to their table and ask Mark “Where do you think we should stay in Perth?” Mark wasn’t really worried where they stayed and so he said to Helen “Maybe we should stay at the Holiday Inn Motel as all 3 of the car yards were south of the river and it would be more convenient to stay there.” I also thought that the rooms were nice and clean and the place was very private. “Sounds good to me” Helen said “We can stop at that liquor place and get a bottle of Whisky.” We finished our dinner and paid the attendant, went back to the car and Helen said that she would drive to the next stop. This gave me a bit of a break to listen to my music and so I put the disk of “Carmen” by Verdi on. It is still my favoured and so I laid back in my seat and listened to the music. It wasn’t very long before we got to Northam which was a typical Wheat Belt Town and we only stopped so that we could change drivers. Another hour and we drove into the Motel. Helen went to the office and got our room key.

Then I remembered that we had forgotten to get our bottle of whisky. As the Liquor store was across the road from the Motel, I quickly dashed across, bought a bottle of whisky and some coke and ran back to our room. We decided that we would only check-out one car dealer today as it was getting late. We drove the short distance to Victoria Park and found our first Car-Dealer. As we slowly drove into their yard a salesman came out to greet us. After having been introduced Mark ask him where the Ambulance was. The salesman laughed and said “Now I remember you, you are the people from Coolgardie. You rang yesterday. Please come with me, the Ambulance is still out the back. We haven’t even processed it, come and have a look.” We followed him around the back of the Office where the Ambulance was parked. He said to us “See, we haven’t even put a price on it yet. Have a look at it while I get the keys for it.” Helen said “It’s big!” So I said to her “Yes, but they are lovely to drive. Let’s have a look under the Hood.” I fiddled around the front of it and found the lever that released the Hood. It went up with a “Clunk”, but I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that beautiful big V8 engine. It wasn’t cleaned spotless, which told me that the car-dealer hadn’t done anything to it.

 At this moment the salesman arrived with the keys so that we could get into the vehicle and start the engine. He said to Mark “If you want to listen to the engine I will start it up.” He put the key into the ignition and started the engine. Mark thought to himself that this was a beautiful sound that he was hearing, it sounded even better than the old  XA Falcon V8 that he had owned a couple of years ago, but then had it sold to his son. Meanwhile Helen had discovered that the Ambulance was still fully outfitted for service and so she ask the salesman as to whether all this was included. The salesman said “Yes, she is being sold as is, as they have no use for any of the gear inside” He then quickly added “Would you like to take her for a drive, just to see how she handles and if you like her?” Helen looked at me and I said “Yes, we would love to take her for a short drive, seeing it is getting late and I am sure you want to close up shop.” He said “Don’t worry about that, we’ll wait for you.” I sat behind the steering, remembering that I had driven the same model once before. This vehicle too was an automatic, which of course would make it much easier for towing. I put the lever into reverse and with just touching the accelerator she took off.

 I backed her out of the sales yard and drove down the street onto the highway. Here I took a chance hoping not to be seen by any Police cars and pressed the accelerator to the floor. She seem to growl for a moment and then shot forward. At this moment I knew I was in love, with this vehicle and that I had to have it. I said to Helen “do you want to drive it?” She said “No I’m good. Do you like it?” I said “Yes, and with the mileage that she had done we can’t go wrong.” Helen said “Let’s go back and see if we can agree on a good price. You sure you don’t want to have a look at the other ones?” I said “Very sure, I’m happy!” When we got back into the sales yard I told the salesman that I thought that she was nice, but needed a bit of work.  He said that this Ambulance came from the car auction room and it was an ex-Navy Ambulance. He also mentioned that they hadn’t had time to clean it or done anything to it. Even the red revolving light was still on the top. He said that he would go and talk to his boss and see if we could come to an agreement over the cash price.

He wasn’t very long and I doubt whether he had talked to anybody, but who gives a damn as long as the price is what we want to pay. After telling as the figure that he had arrived by, we shook hands and told him that he had a deal. Seeing that we were prepared and had brought Cash, papers were signed, the money was handed over and we departed with me driving the Ambulance. On the way back to the motel I remembered that I hadn’t checked if we had a spare wheel. So when we got back to the motel and looked under the back of the vehicle I was glad when I saw it sitting in its place. After we got back into our room I went to the motel office and ask if they would have some ice that I could have for our drinks. The manager was quite nice and gave me a big jug of ice cubes. He also remarked that it was a nice Ambulance that we had brought back. I thanked him and went back to our room where Helen was waiting with our drinks.

After having a couple of glasses of whisky and coke we went to the Motel dining room and had dinner. Helen had ordered Sirloin Steak with vegetables and I ordered Beef and Reef which is sirloin steak with king-prawn, rice and a very tasty sauce. I also ordered a bottle of white wine which was a chardonnay. After dinner Helen insisted that we have another drink before going to bed. In the morning we still had breakfast at the Motel after which we paid for our room and drove off. I told Helen that I was going to lead with the Ambulance and she would follow. This way she could see if there was anything wrong with the Ambulance. This must have been the first time that I didn’t have any problem with the traffic as people assumed that our Ambulance was the real thing. We had no problems getting back home and the entire trip only took as 7 hours. When we got home I mentioned to Helen that I should tune the engine of the Ford Ambulance a little bit as I thought that she was drinking too much fuel. That evening we talked about having the engine converted to running on Gas or Propane as some people call it. We had a 148 litre tank for petrol but if we wanted to do really long trips that would not be enough.

Next morning Helen and Mark went to Kalgoorlie taking both vehicles. After spending some time driving around they went into a service station and ask the attendant, did he know of anyone that did gas conversions on cars. He told us that we should go and see someone named Guy Brown near the Railway Station. Mark thanked him and took the lead again as he knew where to go. They found Guy Brown and arranged for him to do the conversion so that they could use either petrol or gas which he said would take about three days and he would start right away. Helen and Mark decided for him to put a 128 litre tank into the back of the Ambulance which would give them a total of 276litres. Guy told them that they would only be able to use 120 litres of the 128 litres because of expansions. Mark got into Helens Car and they went to do their monthly shopping. After the shopping was done they went onto “Margaritas Mexican Restaurant” where they had dinner. Whiles having dinner they were drinking whisky that they had bought at an earlier time.

At this time Mark worked out that Helen was an Alcoholic and couldn’t live without her daily drink of alcohol. Mark felt a bit uneasy about his discovery as he had never worried about alcohol. In spite of everything he went along with Helen as they were having fun and he still had his Secret. He wasn’t going to tell Helen about his secret until he thought that the time was right. After having finished at Margaritas, although quite intoxicated they drove off with Mark being the driver. Luckily there was no Police about to catch them and so they stopped at a Nightclub where they went drinking and dancing. This caused Mark to have an Angina attach which sobered both of them up and so they went home with Helen driving. Half way home they had to stop as Mark wanted to get out of the car and get some fresh air. The nigh air was cool and it made him feel better. While standing there he looked at the sky and saw millions upon millions of stars. When they finally got home it was straight off to bed.

 They spend the next few days looking for a suitable caravan. They finally found a caravan advertised right there in Kalgoorlie. So they drove to the caravan park where it was situated to see if that was what they wanted. The manager took them over to the caravan in question and introduced Mark and Helen to the owners, a young couple that needed the money. The caravan was a “Franklin” 32’ long with annex. Although not the latest model Mark thought that it was in very good condition with triple axel and air-brakes. It had a lounge room, kitchen-dining room, Shower and spare Bedroom and the master bedroom with a giant bed and sliding glass doors. Mark and Helen decided that this was the caravan that they wanted and so they negotiated a price suitable to both parties. As they still did not have their Ambulance back they got a friend to tow it back to Coolgardie where he placed it into their backyard. Now they had towing vehicle and caravan, but there was still a lot of work to be done.

The next thing they did was go back to Guy Brown to see if he had the big Ford ready. Upon getting there they found Guy Brown under the hood of their vehicle. Mark got out of the car and said “Hi Guy, how is it going? Guy nearly bumped his head getting up and said “Hi Mark, Helen, she is already. I even had the tank filled with gas so that you can try it out and let me know if there are any problems.” Helen went with Guy into his office and paid for the conversion done to the vehicle. From there they went back to their home with Mark driving the Ambulance. On the way home Mark kept trying to see if he could feel any difference in the power of the engine whiles running on Gas. He soon found that there was no difference in the performance of the vehicle. Helen’s Daughter Mandy named the Ambulance “Emily” as in Emily Ambulance. In the evening after they had finished dinner they were talking about getting rid of a few things that Helen had and didn’t need anymore.

Whiles doing that they were listening to classical music and drinking wine. They found that they could sell quite a few items to the second-hand shop in Coolgardie and so they made a list of what had to go. Next day Mark took some of the Items to the second-hand dealer and as it was a week day Helen was at work. Just as he was doing his last trip taking a Kerosene-Heater he saw Helen on her bicycle coming home from work. As she stopped to greet Mark, she saw that he was carrying the heater and ask what he was doing. Mark told Helen that he was taking it to the second-hand dealer thinking that she would be happy. Well, she few of her handle at Mark, dressing him down as if he was a little school boy. Saying things like how could he take her things to the dealer without cleaning them first thoroughly. Mark was so surprised that he didn’t say a thing. That evening Mark told Helen that he would sleep in his caravan which he still owned. Helen of course got all upset and told Mark that she would never talk to him like that again and that she had been in the wrong for doing so. But Mark said he would sleep in his caravan anyway so that he could do some thinking and clear his head.

Next day Helen talked him into staying in the house again. Which he did, but he couldn’t stop thinking about what had happen and found that his pride could not take it. For the next few days life went on like normal, but Mark couldn’t help brooding.

Chapter 2

 So one day after Helen had gone to work, he packed two suitcases with some of his things, locked up his caravan and wrote a letter to Helen stating that he was leaving her. With the letter he put his keys and her Credit card that she had given him on the table and went over to see his son.  He ask his son if he could drive him to Kalgoorlie, his son told him that he had to work, but for Mark to take his car and in Kalgoorlie leave it with his sister Sandy. Mark said to his son, “Thank you Steve I really appreciate that. Please don’t tell Helen what I am doing” He laughed and said “Don’t worry Dad she won’t find out anything from me and don’t worry about the Car. Oh yes, I nearly forgot to tell you the carburettor floods easily.” I said “Okay I’ll watch it!” He tossed me the keys for his car and I drove off. On the way to Kalgoorlie I found out what he meant about flooding. The car was full of petrol fumes and so I had all windows open. Half an hour later I pulled up at Sandy’s place. She had taken a day of work, she worked as a cartographer with one of the bigger firms in Kalgoorlie. As soon as she saw me she came out of the front door. Sandy sang out “Hi Dad, what are you doing with Steve’s car?”  “Tell you inside.” I said and grabbed my two suitcases from the back of the car. She grabbed one of the suitcases out of my hand and said, “Do you want a cuppa? “Love one,” I said and sat down in one of her lounge chairs.

After a couple of minutes she came back with my cuppa of coffee and said “So, tell me all about it.” I said “Okay, I chucked a wobbly. I have left Helen.” And so I told her what had been going on and that I didn’t like being talked down to. No I haven’t told her, I just left her a note explaining what I was doing but not where I was going. I said “I think I am going to find out how much she really wants me.” Sandy said “Coward!” To which I replied “Hell has no fury like a Women scorned.” She just laughed and said “So, where are you going?” I thought for a moment and then replied “Adelaide! I think I get myself an Apartment in Glenelg by the Ocean and we’ll see what happen after that.” I thought to myself that this could be fun and I might even enjoy my stay there. I was really enjoying my cuppa coffee. I then said to Sandy “Could you ring the Airport for me please and find out when the next flight to Adelaide will be.” While I finished my cuppa Sandy went and rang the Airport for me. “Dad, next fight is at 2 this arvo, you want me to book you a seat on that flight?” “Yes, but make it Business, will you?” I said to her. “Let’s have your Visa card then.”

She said to me. I had to stand up to get my wallet out of my pocket and then gave her my card. Business cost a bit more, but then I needed the comfort and I did have the money. Sandy was the only other person that knew about my little secret. I was sure that she would never tell anyone. When it was time she drove me to the Airport. She had an old 72 model Toyota Corolla, but she loved that car and for reasons unknown she wanted to keep it. At the Airport she gave me a hug and a kiss good by as I went to the counter to pick up my ticket. I went to the gate and showed the pretty attendant my ticket. I climbed up the stairs leading into the plane where I was greeted by a pretty airhostess who showed me to my seat. For no reason I loved having the seat by the window. I loved flying and sometime ago had learned to fly light planes, but because of my heart condition I was not able to get my Pilots license. After a short moment the Hostess showed a pretty brunette to the seat next to mine. This could be an interesting flight.

In Coolgardie Helen arrived home from work. She sang out to Mark letting him know that she was home, but got no reply. Then suddenly she saw her keys on the table, she walked over in anticipation and found her credit card and a letter. She started to read the letter and cried and cried till there was nothing left in her. She thought how could he have done that to me and right away she started to cry again. She didn’t know what to do. So first she rang Steve. When Steve answered the phone Helen said,” Hi Steve do you know where your father is and don’t give me any bullshit.” Steve said,” I don’t know where he is so leave me alone.” And he hung up. So next Helen rang Sandy, but Sandy didn’t answer her phone. That night she drank herself to sleep. Next morning when she woke up she started to cry again. Helen couldn’t eat breakfast and so she had a drink of Whisky, she didn’t care what time it was, she was hurting. After a couple more drinks she drove her car to Kalgoorlie to the home of Mark’s friend Kathy. When she got there she went to the Door and knocked to see if anyone was home. Kathy opened the door and said “Hi Helen, come on in.” Helen walked in and started crying again.

 Kathy said to Helen “What is the matter?” Helen sniffled and teary-eyed said “Mark has left me. Do you know where he is?” Kathy told Helen that she hadn’t seen Mark in over 3 Weeks. But Helen didn’t believe her and kept asking Kathy to tell her where he was. But Kathy was adamant that she didn’t know where Mark was. Eventually Helen left and went to one of the many Bar’s in Kalgoorlie. After having a few drinks she went to see Sandy. When she ask Sandy where Mark was she told Helen that she didn’t know and if she knew she still couldn’t tell her as Mark was her father and her loyalties were with him. Next she told Helen that she had to leave to go to a Meeting. Helen disappointed drove home again and got a bottle of scotch out to console herself and after a few drinks rang her Daughter Mandy. Helen told her the whole story of how Mark had left her. Mandy told her that she would come to Coolgardie to be with her at a time like this. Mandy stayed with Helen for a week in which time Helen didn’t go to work and drank too much. Two weeks later Helen started to pull herself together and went back to work. By the end of a month she had lost a lot of weight and started to look gaunt. She kept hoping to hear from Mark.

Mark on the other hand had moved into an Apartment near the beach in Glenelg. After having moved in, the first thing he did, was go to one of the many Café’s and ordered himself a cup of coffee and a piece of cake. He loved eating al fresco and watching people as they went by. The next day he joined a club where he could play “Lawn Bowls” and also have a good game of card with friendly people. That evening when he got back to his apartment he opened a bottle of white wine and started cooking his dinner, which consisted of steamed fish, vegetables and a white parsley sauce. He loved cooking and he loved to eat his cooking. When he went to bed he found he couldn’t sleep, he kept tossing and turning. After about an hour of this he got up and watched Television hoping that he go tiered. At about 3am he finally fell asleep. In the morning after he had a shower and a shave he took the Tram into the City. His first stop was a Café where he had coffee and scones with whipped cream and marmalade. Sitting there he decided that he had to get himself a car as he hated public transport. He bought himself a newspaper and looked under “Cars for sale”. There were a few that suited him and so he took a Taxi to the closes address. These people tried to sell mark a Mitsubishi sedan, he took it for a drive and found it to be in fairly good condition. But when he got back to the people he found that they had no papers for the car. They still tried to get him to buy the car by dropping the price but Mark didn’t want to buy a car without papers no matter how cheap. So next he took a tram again as the Dealers yard was quite a distance from where he was. When he got there he found that the dealer had lots of cars in the price range that he wanted to pay. After trying a few cars he found a nice Mitsubishi Gallant for $500-00 it was still driveable but only just. It needed a new clutch. After doing a bit of wheeling and dealing with the dealer he got the car for $300-00. The dealer also told him that he could get the Clutch done three doors up and quite cheap. So Mark went next to the Clutch and Brake repair shop.

 The owner told Mark he could do the job for $230-00. Mark told him do it for $200-00 and we have a deal. So he got it done for that price and so the Car cost him a total of $500-00 not bad.  So as of then he could spend more time traveling around Adelaide and surrounding areas. On one side of Adelaide you got the Ocean and on the other side you got hills. One day as Mark was strolling through the art gallery he met a young Lady, well maybe a bit older. They started talking and after a while they went to the Café which was attached to the Gallery and they had Coffee and Cake. He ask her would she like to go with him to the Opera and maybe dinner afterwards. His favoured Opera “Nabucco” was playing at the theatre and with a little bit of persuasion she agreed to come with him. They decided to go the next evening and Mark thought he better do some shopping quick as he had only street wear in his possession. 

The next evening he was dressed in black slacks and a white leather jacket, he thought he looked pretty good for his age. The young ladies name was Maria and her parents were immigrants from Colombia. She had been only 3 years old when they arrived in Australia. Mark arrived at her place in a Taxi which he thought the best if they were going to have a drink after they had been to the theatre. She looked stunning wearing a silky black dress and high heels. He opened the Taxi door for her and got in on the other side. At the theatre he had reserved tickets for the performance and so they sat near the stage and were able to see everything clearly.  Mark had been waiting to see this performance for a very long time. After a short time into the performance Mark was so hypnotised by the show that he nearly forgot that he was sitting next to a beautiful women. He was also the perfect Gentleman and didn’t make any advances towards her. After the performance was finish Mark took Maria to the restaurant where he had previously booked a table. They sat at a table at the side of the room which seemed to Mark a bit more private. When Mark ask Maria what she would like to drink, she told him that she would like a glass of white wine, which he ordered for both of them. For dinner Mark had a fillet minion with a champignon sauce. Maria ordered a chicken dish which looked very appetising and for dessert both had Peach Melba. They talked about everything and nothing, he made her laugh and told her that she was beautiful. Which she naturally denied by saying she was only average looking and that her boobs were too small. They left the restaurant still arguing and laughing about the size of her breast.

Outside on the sidewalk she took his hand in hers and said to him “Let’s go for a walk.” And so they went for a walk in the grass alongside the river Torrens which runs through the city. After a while he told her that he had a terrific time and he would like to do it again soon. To which she replied that she also has had a great time and she would like to see him again, but she also would like to think about it for a couple of days. So Mark ask her could he phone her maybe by Saturday and she just nodded her head then said “On Saturday and now I must take a Taxi home” They went to the nearby taxi stand and Maria stood on her toes and gave Mark a quick kiss on his cheek. She then disappeared into the taxi and Mark waved to her as the taxi drove off. Mark also took a taxi home where he had a drink of scotch and then went to bed. As he laid in bed he thought about the evening and how much he had enjoyed it, especially the great company of a beautiful women.

This made him think about Helen and how much he did miss her. He then decided that he would phone her the next day. Next morning he awoke to the loud ring of his phone. He thought who can this be? He knew that he didn’t give Maria his number, but it was his daughter Sandy that wanted to talk to him. Sandy told him that Helen was really suffering and that he should phone her. Mark then told Sandy about Maria and what a wonderful night he had, but also that he had decided last night that he was going to phone Helen to-day and to see if they could work out their differences. Sandy told him that this was a good idea and not to forget it. They still talked for a while and then Sandy hang up so that she could do her work. Mark went out to the Café by the beach and had breakfast and thought about phoning Helen. Somehow he didn’t look forward to doing this as he hated confrontations.  He thought about phoning Kathy, but then decided against it. Kathy and Mark had been friends for a long time they met at work in Boulder. He left the Café and walked along the beach. The water was a pure blue and it came onto the beach in small waves leaving white foam behind. Mark loved the water but not the beach, for no reason he had never liked going onto the beach. He got home ready for lunch, but Mark didn’t feel like eating, he kept thinking about phoning Helen.

After a while his nerves got the better of him and he poured himself a glass of whisky. After a couple more drinks he decided that it was time to call Helen. He knew that by this time she would be home from work and so he started to dial Helens number. He could hear the dialling tone and his heart began to race faster than a speeding car. Then Helen’s voice saying “Hallo” I couldn’t answer. She said “Hallo. Who is there?” I quickly hang up the phone. I thought to myself “You bloody coward!!” and so I rang Helen again. This time when she answered the phone she seem to hold her breath before she said “Is that you Mark?”  (Awkward Pause) Hesitantly I replied “Yes that’s me.” I must admit that this sounded very immature. I don’t think I have ever been this nervous before. “Thank God I found you. Where are you? Why did you leave me? I have been so worried, please talk to me.” Helen said to me. I could hear that she was crying, I felt sorry for her. “Helen, I am in Adelaide and I confess that I have missed you.”

She said “Adelaide! Mark, do you still have feeling for me?”  This was getting terrible and I just wanted it to be over and so I said “Yes of course I have still got feelings for you. I have been so mixed up I don’t know any more what I am doing.” “How about I drive over to you and we meet somewhere and sort this out.” Helen said to me. To which I replied “That sounds good to me, just give me some time to get myself together.” She said “Okay, I like that. Would next weekend suit you? I told her that it would and after a few more exchanged words I hung up the Phone and pored myself a very large glass of whisky. I felt quite guilt ridden as I had caused so much trouble. In a way I thought it turned out good. I must be honest I hate being lonely. So I still had a few days to myself. After finishing my drink I had a quick snack and went to bed. Next morning I saw about getting a double bed into my bedroom and so being prepared for her arrival. For the next few days I kept myself busy with getting myself ready for when Helen would come. She had phoned me and now I knew that we were going to meet in Port Augusta the next Saturday between 2 and 4pm at the Post Office.

 On Saturday morning I took the Bus to Port Augusta, we had a very pleasant drive, but I was nervous like hell. When we got to our destination I walked from the bus depot to the post office where I found a Bench to sit on and wait for Helen. I didn’t have to wait long before I could see her red car approach. She pulled up next to me and I got into her car. After hello’s and a lot more tears Helen ask me, what next and so I said to her “let’s go and have something to eat.” I thought that if we were in a public place, things would go more quietly. She agreed and she suggested that we could go to a Motel, book in and have something to eat in their restaurant. I agreed to anything that she wanted, I just wanted things to get back to normal, whatever that is. We found a Motel just outside of town. We checked in and went to our room. Here Helen after settling in began asking me questions which I answered as best as I could without getting myself into more trouble. We than went to the Restaurant where we ordered our dinner. The Food was lovely but both of us were only picking at our food and made small talk. Back at our room, having purchased a bottle of whisky and some coke we settled in to an evening of drinking and talking. I think Helen was trying to loosen my tongue. After nearly finishing our bottle of whisky we had sorted out all our problems and we both were happy again. I kept thinking what have I let myself in for?

Well at least I still didn’t tell her about my Secret, no matter how much drink I had consumed this was something that I wouldn’t tell. I was going to wait for the right moment to tell her. But first I was going to phone my friend Kathy as she would be the only one that was happy for us. When Kathy answered the phone she did so with an angry voice, as it was much later in Kalgoorlie and I had forgotten about the time difference. When she heard my voice and I told her what had happen, she calmed down and wished us the best for the future. Naturally that night we made love and in the morning everyone was happy again. That day we drove back to Adelaide to where I was living. Helen loved it there and decided that we should have a holiday here. This being a Sunday we went to the Upstairs Bar where we had drinks and listened to a three piece band and a jazz singer. We enjoyed being up here as we could overlook the ocean. Over the next week we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday, going to lots of vineyards in the surrounding area. In Handorf an old German town we stayed overnight after a hectic day tasting all different German foods.

Next morning it was back to my place where we decided to sell my car again and cancelled all utilities. Next morning it was off again in Helen’s car, that night we stayed in Ceduna before crossing the Nullabor Plains. At Ceduna we drove around and finally found a Motel with vacancies. Before settling down at the motel we went for a stroll along the Beach. Next morning we drove along the Nullabor Plains till we got to Eucla where Diane a friend of Helen’s worked as a Nurse at the First Aid station. After getting introduced to Diana, we caught up on all the gossip and anything else that was new. Diana was about our age and had a 15-year-old son. We didn’t stayed late as we still had a thousand kilometres to drive before we got to Kalgoorlie. When we got back to our room we went straight to bed. Next morning we got up early and drove until we got to Norseman. Here in Norseman we booked into a room where it had lovely restaurant. Here we had a lovely dinner, their steaks were perfect, and we also had a few drinks off our usual. Next morning we drove to Coolgardie, and we got there just in time for lunch. I think Helen was too embarrassed to let me stay there, after what had happen between us and so I went to Kalgoorlie and stayed there at a caravan park.

Chapter 3

 After a few days I went to Coolgardie and picket up the Caravan and placed it into the Caravan Park. I think in some parts of the world these are called Trailer Parks. This was the first time that I had tried to back the caravan into a Bay at the Park. I was very lucky to have Helen help me to guide me into the right place. It still took me three times before I got the Van in. Once I had the Caravan level, we then attached the 32’ Annex. Once we got that done, I thought that next time I would have to find an easier way to do this. After this we went to “De Bernales” Bar and ordered some food and a couple of drinks, which we took over to the Table near the open window.

We were only having our second drink when something unusual happen. Cars were stopping, others were running in to them, it was pure chaos. I said to Helen “Do you think we should call the Cops?” and then I got my Phone out of my pocket, but Helen said “No, don’t worry, look at all these People by their Cars trying to phone the Cops or whoever.” I said to Helen as I was looking at my Cell-Phone “Look, I got no service and all the lights just went out. This is strange and then I had a terrible thought “Could this be what I had just been reading about, an E.M.P.” Helen looked at me and I said “Helen, I think we have been hit by a nuclear bomb, this must be an E.M.P.” “What is an E.M.P” Helen ask. “E.M.P stands for   electromagnetic pulse, which is caused when some country explodes a nuclear device high, high above us in the atmosphere.” I said. “But, does that mean we are at war? And with whom?” Helen ask. I said “I have no idea but we better go on home now as we don’t want to be here when the Shit hits the Fan. Get ready for a nice walk, luckily we don’t have too far to go.” Helen said “Why walk? We got the Car.” I said “Yeah, but what if the car doesn’t work?” Helen walked over to the car which was parked right near us. She got in and turned her Key but nothing happen, not a sound. She said to me “Stop smirking and help me with the car.” I said “Helen, the E.M.P fried all the electronics, the cars computer and all electrics.” She said “What are we going to do now?” I said “Like I told you, we walk.” “What about the car, we just can’t leave it here.” Helen said looking very flustered. I thought to myself “it’s, not sinking in.”

To Helen I said “Forget about the car, we have more important things to do.” Then I grabbed her hand and we walked off towards the caravan park and our home. Helen stopped and looked at the Sky, she was speechless at what she saw. It looked like they were seeing the northern lights, I had seen them before in movies and on TV, but you never saw them in Australia. After telling Helen what they were we continued on our way. It was another hot day and it didn’t take us long to work up a sweat. On the way there I tried to explain to Helen that from today on the country would be different in every way as we have just been transported back into the 17-1800 century. I said “As of today there is no more electricity, which means no power for petrol pumps. No transport means no deliveries to supermarket, shops, and chemist and so on. No more hospital without electricity, no more police, ambulance or fire brigade. We will have to learn to survive without modern equipment, everything that we have taken for granted is now gone.” I thought she was going to cry, but instead she said “How can I get in touch with the children?” I said “I am sorry darling, but there is nothing we can do.

We can walk up to where they live, but I think it would be better if they came to us and they will.” By this time we had arrived by our caravan and just as I suspected everyone was in a panic. Everyone had the same question, when was the electricity going to come back on. I felt sorry for everybody, especially the elderly which group we belonged too. We got into our van and sat in our lounge chairs. I was looking at the table lamp and thought that we wouldn’t need that anymore. Helen pored us drinks and then there was a knocking on our door. When I opened the door I saw it was the Manager of the caravan park and so I ask him to come in. Helen then ask him if he would like a glass of scotch or something else, but he said scotch would be fine. His name was Carl and he was a nice enough fellow. He said to us “You are very calm compared to everyone else. Do you know what is going on?” I said “Yes, I mean I think I know what has happen, we are at war and we have been hit by an E.M.P.”

And then I went about and explained to him all about what an E.M.P was. When I was finish he said to me “So, how long before they fix the electricity?” I smiled and said “Oh, about 10 years or more.” He just couldn’t understand that and so to help him I told him to get all the non-perishable food that he could get hold off and also water. Also I told him that there would be no more banks and in the next few days the money would become worthless. I was so glad that I had only yesterday filled up both fuel tanks and the gas tank. When I told Helen she looked like she was giving up so she just said “Cars don’t run so what are we going to do with all that fuel?” “Helen, trust me! I know what I am doing, we are going to be alright, just give me a few days to show you.” I said not wanting to mention my secret yet, but I knew that I had to tell her soon. Next the door burst open and Mandy, Helens Daughter came in. She was all sweaty and full of dust looking worried. She sat down and said “Do you Guys know what the fuck is going on? There is no electricity, my car won’t start and I have to go tomorrow to Perth.” I looked at Helen and said to Mandy “First of all calm down, you are just in time for “Drinkies”.” I pored her a drink and topped our drinks up. When that was done I explained to Mandy what I thought that was going on. I took my drink and let the smooth tasting whisky run down my throat. T

hen I took a deep breath and said “I have a story to tell you and I ask of you not to interrupt me till I am finish. Is that okay?” Helen and Mandy nodded their heads and said “Okay” I pored myself another drink and said “I will start right from the beginning. Many years ago, as you know I worked in a Gold Mine. To cut a long story short most of us working underground in the Mine snug Gold to the surface and then home, where we found somewhere to hide our ill-gotten gains. Most people I knew at the time were spending it as soon as they got it, some sold their gold to buyers on the black market and others used it to buy their Groceries. I knew of one fellow that bought houses and that was how he got caught. I knew a fellow that would melt my ore and cast it in small moulds. Around town I played the poor bastard that was always broke and seeing I was in dept. everywhere, everybody believed it. I paid my Friend a small percentage and he kept his mouth shut. After a few years as you know the price of Gold jumped sky high and that was the time that I first started selling. Meanwhile I kept on ‘finding’ Gold.

 Funny enough, my wife at the time, had no idea about what I was doing. Half of my Money I invested in Mortar and Brick, that of course really paid off and soon I was what you might call Filthy Rich. I had some very good friends like Harry who would do the ‘dirty’ work for me. First I got Harry to find me a place for what I had in mind. Several years before I had come to find an article about “Preppers”. Preppers are people like you and me, except they believe in Doomsday and so they prepare for it by hoarding Food, Guns, and Ammunition and so on. The biggest Preppers I found out are the Mormons in America. All of them have at least one year supply on hand at all times. When you think about it, if this E.M.P also hit America, the Mormons and Preppers are the only ones prepared. But back to my story, I started to read every article about it that I could find and made a plan that this was that I was going to do. Harry found a place, 90 acres down near Walpole. One front was on a lake and it also had quite a lot of timber on it, there was a nice House tucked in near the tall timbers. It was just what I wanted.

I don’t know why, but I never told my wife about any of this. Next I found myself a Pen-Pal, a Prepper in America. We exchanged many Ideas, one of them was that I needed protection, in other words “Guns”. I ask him could he help, to which he replied that he would love to help a fellow Prepper. We worked out that I would send him money, he would have preferred Gold, but he said that their Customs were much tougher than ours. So with the money I send him he bought Guns and Ammo for me. He found some ingenious ways to send it. Anyway we got them and hid them at our new bought Farm. Harry, one of the friends got me to come for a week fishing with him. My wife didn’t mind as it gave her a break from having me around wanting Sex. She didn’t want Sex for some reason that I never found out. Instead of going fishing we went to the Farm where there was lots of work waiting for us. First we hired a Bulldozer which I knew how to drive from a previous job in Queensland. I dug a giant hole near the House and in it we put a very large Gas or Propane Tank.

Smoothed it over planted grass and it looked as if the ground was never disturbed. Next I dug a hole big enough so that we could build a concrete bunker in it. Roy in America send us the plans for it and seeing that nobody would ever see it we didn’t have to worry about Shire approval. Of course this wasn’t done in one week but over several. Next we needed a caretaker, but who could we trust? I finally thought of Harry and his wife Lisa. Harry and I were in the Army together and after I got out he went oversees clearing Minefields. Harry stepped on to a Mine and was blown up, he lost both legs, which was really bad, but at least he didn’t get killed. He met Lisa at the Hospital, she was one of his Nurses. Now he walks on two steel legs. Now that is enough of that, I think you get what I am trying to tell you. Both of them were about to say something and so I told them to hold it for a moment longer. There is just a little more. You wouldn’t believe it, but 3 weeks before I met you Helen I won in the Lottery. $800000.00 Dollars which nearly all of it I converted into Gold.

So my plans are that we all leave in a couple of Days and make our way to the Farm and now you can talk. Helen got up and pored us all a drink and said “All this time I thought that you were poor and it would be up to me to support us. I still have trouble believing what you said, you never let on.” Mandy then said “How are we going to get there? You really got Guns?” After having another sip of whisky I said “First, the Ambulance will go, it was made before they put all electrics and computers in and so all I have to do is change the Fuses. As for guns, yes I got some.” I walked to our Bed and dug around under the mattress and produced a 9mm Beretta semi-automatic Pistol. I knew Helen hated Guns and so I said “don’t worry, we need it and I know how to use it.” Helen said “It sound all very good and the three of us can easy sleep in the Caravan on the way there.” I said “Helen, don’t get upset, but the Caravan has to stay here, it will be to slow to travel with it on in case we have to outrun somebody.

Let me explain, a lot of people are going to run out of food in the next couple of days. There is no law as the Police have not got any vehicles that will run and also the man will want to be with their families. So people will then start looting and rioting, killing and raping will start, there will be chaos all over the place. We have to get out before we get caught up in it. We will load up first thing in the morning and tonight I will place a motion detector on the Vehicle, that way we will know if somebody touches it. Good thing we kept the small backseat for Mandy to sit on.” Meanwhile Helen was busy making up the spare bed for Mandy. Next another knock on our door and a voice singing out “It is me” Which of course I recognised as my daughter Sandy. I opened the door and Sandy said “Hi, everybody! What happen today? My boyfriend and I were out by the salt lake having fun with our cars, when suddenly everything stopped. It scared the shit out of us, we tried to get the cars started again but no luck. So we walked back to town and saw that everybody was in the same boat. Somebody said that we were at war, is that right?” I didn’t want to upset Sandy so I didn’t tell her that her Car would have been alright if she just changed her fuses. Helen went and made up the second spare bed and I told Sandy everything we knew.

 When I told her about us being rich, she nearly passed out but had a glass of whisky instead. In fact all of us started to drink again. Now I had to find a way to put another seat into the Truck. After a while all of us went to bed to get a good night’s sleep before leaving in the morning. We had an uneventful night and all of us got up at dawn. First thing I did was to install both of the seats into the back of the Truck. Sandy’s seat came out of a Valiant Sedan, but it still fitted nicely. Next I took out the old fuses and put new ones in. I turned the ignition key and she turned over nicely, but no matter how much I tried the motor wouldn’t start. I thought that it would be better for me to have a look under the Hood (Bonnet) and find out what was wrong. The Hood went up with a mighty creak and so I got myself a milk crate to stand on. Looking under the hood I couldn.t see anything obvious and so I had another look under the dashboard, but still nothing. I replaced every fuse and condenser that I could find and still nothing.

Now it was time for me to take things apart. I started with the distributor and after having a good look at it, I found that a very small wire was burned. I had a look in my toolbox and found some thin insulated wire, which I then replaced the burned out wire with. I put everything back together, turned the ignition key and our beautiful Truck started first go. Well you should have seen all people coming out of their Caravans to see who had a running Car. The first thing everybody did, was try to start their car without any luck and so they started drifting over to our Truck. When they ask me, how come that I had my Truck going and they couldn’t start theirs. So I told them that anyone that had a vehicle without computer in it all they had to do was to replace all fuses. They all went back to their cars and after a while I thought that I could hear a couple of engines running. Next I got everybody into gear and we loaded up the Truck which didn’t take us to long. Justas we were about to leave the Manager came around and ask me if we were leaving. I didn’t want to lie to him and so I told him we were going to the coast, because down there at least we could do some fishing. I wished us all good luck and so I got the keys to the Caravan out of my pocket and told him that he could have it.

Also I remembered that he had an old 4×4 SUV and so I ask him if it ran on Diesel fuel and he said yes. So I told him to try and start the engine and that it should start as it had no electrics. He was overjoyed at the news and ran off back to his house. Next we all got into the Truck with me last as I still was checking my Pistol which when finish

Chapter 4

I stuck in the Holster that I wore on my belt and covered it with my loose hanging shirt. As we drove out of the caravan park the manager smilingly gave me the thumbs up, which must have meant that he got the old SUV started. I now wished that we had diesel, but I was happy with what we got. To miss going through the town site I drove the back way near the Airport. We were lucky, so far I couldn’t see any trouble, but where ever we drove there were people trying to stop us. We drove on to the Kalgoorlie to Kambalda road and here I decided to go back to where Kathy and Greg were living. To my dismay there was nobody at their House and so I slipped a letter that I had written with an explanation where the Farm was and how to get to it. Back on the Road to Kambalda and before we had gone a 100 meters I thought that I had forgotten all about my son Steve. So I told everyone that we were turning around and driving the Coolgardie way which was just a little bit longer. On this Road we saw lots more Cars broken-down then we had seen before and there were lots more People trying to stop us so that they didn’t have to walk the long way back to Civilisation. It took us about half an Hour to get to Coolgardie and we found Steve at his Caravan.

 When he saw us his Face lit up and he said “What took you so long? I am all ready to go.” Quickly we loaded his stuff on the Truck which included his Rifle. Which by the way was illegal as it was not licensed, it was a .270 cal. Winchester with Scope. We left the Caravan Park and were back on the road   where we turned right to head towards into the main Highway that would get us to Norseman. But first there was the small community of Widgiemolta where I hoped to get some more fuel as they had their own generator which supplied power to the community and the Service station. I was right, when we got there the service station had a sign up stating that they were open. Under the Sign was written “Cash only” which suited me fine. I pulled the Truck (Ambulance) up at the Bowser and the attendant came out armed with a Shotgun. First thing he said was “You got cash?” I showed him our cash and he began to fill up the tank with petrol. The women took this opportunity to do some shopping. When I went to pay for the fuel, I found that the price of fuel had doubled in the last 24 hours. Helen had got me a drink and a health bar, you know with all that healthy stuff in it. We still saw a few people walking along the road, I felt sorry for them as their chances of making it to the next place where they could get water and food were slim as the distance in between towns here in Australia are great.

Usually anything between 100 and up to 600 kilometres apart. I had driven in parts of Australia where you wouldn’t see another vehicle for 2 to 3 days. For a while we didn’t see any more people walking and then all of sudden we saw a line of people across the road trying to stop us. There was no chance of me getting around them and so I slowed down to see what was going on. One of the man stepped forward, held his arm up and motioned us to stop. They all carried sticks and spanners and one had a knife in his hand even the women were armed. This didn’t look good, I had to think fast, they didn’t look like they wanted a lift, and they looked like the wanted our Truck. I made my decision and so told the women to shut their eyes and hang on. I then drove on accelerating hoping that they would get out of my way, but they didn’t. I felt bad when I hit one of them, but not bad enough to stop. An hour later we drove into Norseman, it was funny, nothing looked any different from last time I was here. People were still walking around and doing their business just like they had always done. Well we had about 120 kilometres to go till we reached Esperance and the Ocean. I always loved going there to do some fishing of the jetty, but not this time. We passed through a couple of one horse towns but we didn’t see any more people walking along the road. When we got to Esperance the first thing I did was stop when I saw an old-timer walking and ask him if he knew anyplace we could get some fuel.

He pointed down the street and said that they were selling fuel at the service station down by Pink Lake.  I knew where that was and thanked him. When we got there it was like last time as it again said “Cash only” and as we still had cash I wasn’t too worried. The attendant filled the Truck up with Petrol and as he finished I ask him if he still had automotive gas. To which he replied that they still had plenty and so I got him to fill the other tank too. Of course everything had doubled in price, but I was still glad that we had the engine converted to run on both Petrol and Gas. Nearly out of town I knew where there was a small Motel and we agreed to spend the night there. When we got there the manager was happy to see us but he told us that it would be Cash only. We laughed and told him that would be fine, also we ask him if the Dining Room was open too. He told us as we were the only guest he would ask his wife to make something for us and it had to be by candle light. Later when we did go for dinner we saw that he had found a Gas Lantern which gave us plenty of light to eat by. Mind you before we did anything I removed the Distributor Cap so that no one could steal our Truck. Before going to sleep we took another bed from the room next to ours and so we could all sleep in the same room.

We also took some of the more important things out of the Truck and I reset the motion sensor on the Truck. In our room before going to sleep we talked over the day’s events and how should we proceed from here. Over a couple of drinks it was decided that we would drive tomorrow all the way to the Farm especially as we had enough fuel. As I got in the habit of waking up early I thought that I could hear somebody outside by the Truck. Just in my underwear and carrying my Pistol I opened the door slowly and saw 2 men trying to get into our Truck. I noisily cleared my throat and as they looked at me I pointed my Pistol at them. One of them backed off but the other person had a three foot pipe in his hand and said “Mister, we don’t want to hurt anybody but we need this Truck.” I said to him “I don’t want to hurt you either, so fuck off or I am going to shoot the both of you!” To make sure they understood me I fired a shot over their heads. It worked, they both ran off. By this time the women had gotten up and stood behind me and so when I turned towards them I said “That was too close, lets pack up and leave now, first chance we got we will stop and have something to eat and maybe a cup of coffee.”

They agreed and I put the distributor cap back on while everyone loaded everything back in the Truck. 5 minutes later we were out of there and on the road. When it really came down to it, I had to admit it was a lovely day for being on the road. We had a clear sky and it wasn’t too hot. After a while of driving the Girls started singing. I was surprised that they were so relaxed. The scenery started to improve as we entered the Fitzgerald National Park. It was absolutely beautiful with all its colourful shrubs and flowers. Too bad we weren’t on holidays, I think we could have enjoyed it much more. Next we came to the small town of Ravenshorpe. All shops seemed to be closed and we saw one that had its window smashed. As we got near the end of town we again saw some people trying to stop us. I didn’t really blamed them but then I thought let them harass someone else as we could see a few people getting around in their diesel vehicle. Whoever tried to invade us should have known that we had lots of vehicles running on diesel and not requiring electrics. At times in the past you could have seen more SUV’s than cars running on petrol. So we kept driving until we found a good spot off the road where we could stop to eat.

 After a short while we found just the right spot, we could see for miles down both sides of the road and also we would hear somebody arriving. I drove the Truck into the clearing and after stopping I got out being followed by Helen, Sandy and Mandy. I said “Okay, boys to the right and girls to the left.” Mandy said to me “It’s not fair, you got more cover on your side.” Meaning the bushes. So I said to her “OK, you can go this side when I am finished.” She laughed and said “No, don’t worry.” And disappeared on her side into the bushes. When I got back from doing my business, I gathered some stones to make a small circle, next I found some dry leaves and kindling and lit it up using matches that I had in the glove box of the Truck. I used dry wood only so it did not make any smoke. Once it got going, I put a pot of water on so that we could have some coffee. While I played around with this, Helen and the Girls made sandwiches. Mandy ask me, did I want Ham or Salami on my bread. I said, “Salami will be nice. Have you got any mustard?” I ask. “Nope, no Mustard.” Mandy replied. Steve was loading the Magazine for his Rifle. I said to him “How much Ammo have you got for that thing, meaning his Rifle.” Steve smiled and said “Oh, about a thousand Rounds.” Which I thought might be enough. 

The women got some folding chairs out of the back of the Truck, but I preferred to sit on a log that was lying near the Fire. I felt that we probably needed to have this break from sitting in the Truck. Helen seemed a bit more relaxed today, which made me of course happier as it was easier going with us all being at ease. We loaded everything back into the Truck and drove off towards Albany. Even so, it was flat country the scenery improved a lot now with Trees getting bigger and everything was much greener. Next, we drove over a Bridge with a River below where People were fishing. Around here, the Waters are full of Fish and other Sea-Creatures. Albany was not far off, but we decided that we were going to miss the Town, as we did not know what the situation would be like there. We had no choice but to drive through Denmark, which I always thought of as a bit of a Hippy-Town. If you were to find any Preppers this was the place. I slowed down so that I could see if there was anything out of the ordinary. There were some of the Shops open, but all of them had “Cash only” displayed. I used to get some beautiful Fig Jam here, and so we stopped outside a Shop that had all kinds of Jam advertised.

I decided that I was going to stay in the Truck with Steve whiles the Women would go into the shop and hopefully bring back some Fig-Jam. While I was sitting there with Steve waiting for the Women to return, I could see a Fellow approaching the Truck. After having a good look at the Truck from every direction, he came to my side of the Truck and said to me “How much you want for the Truck?” With my Pistol that he could not see, in my right Hand I angrily said to him “You have to be kidding, why would you even ask something like that, you can see we are traveling through.” He replied, “I want that Truck, you can either sell it to me or I will take it by force.” By this time, I could see some of his Pals approaching just as the Women got back into the Truck. Helen said to me “Mark, what is going on?” So I said to her “This Fellow wants to take our Truck.” By this Time, the Fellows Pals had arrived by his side and so I started the Truck. As I was doing this, he got out a Pistol and said “Whoa!” It happen so fast, the Truck shot forward and I shot him twice in the chest.

As we sped off, his Pals where shooting at us, but only a couple of their Bullets hit the Truck not doing any damage. I drove out of town as fast as I could. We all sighed with relieve when we saw nobody was following us. At least we got our Jam. After a short while, I could see a small dirt road leading off to the left and so I followed for a short distance and stopped the Truck. Helen wanted to know why we were stopping here and why were we on this Track. So I told everybody that I felt like a Picnic with Tea and Toast. Everybody laughed and got out of the Truck. I gathered some Stones with which I made up a circle and put some dry kindling in the centre. I lit the dry wood and soon we had our fire. We put a pot on it with enough Water for all of us to have a cuppa and a bit extra for cleaning the cups. Then I found a forked stick which then I sharpen so that I had a Fork for toasting my Bread with. The water soon boiled and Helen made our Tea. The Girls had also made themselves a toasting fork and while Helen got the Jam and Butter out of the Truck, we made more Toast. There is nothing like sitting in the Australian Bush and having a Cuppa and Toast. I must admit, it was very relaxing.

Where we were sitting, we were surrounded by Shrub and Eucalyptus Trees and the Birds were making all the different noises we even had a Kookaburra laughing at us. With regret, we left this beautiful spot and continued on our journey. We still saw more broken-down Cars and People walking. Most of them tried to flag us down, but the only way I would have stopped, was if there was a small Child involved. We came across more Rivers and occasionally we could see the Pacific Ocean. It was not that long and we got to the turnoff to the Property. It was only a very small obscure dirt road and after about 50 feet, I stopped. Then I broke off a small limb from a tree and went over our Tyre-Tracks so nobody could see that we had driven in.   I had seen an old Prospector from Nullagine doing just that. I wonder if he is still among the living. We kept on driving along tis unending Track at times weaving in and out of Trees. Then to everyone’s surprise, we turned off again only this time there was no Track. I do not know for how long we carefully manoeuvred around every obstacle trying not to leave any signs that anybody had come this way. Suddenly we came to a 2-meter high wire fence with a solid made Gate in it. Everyone could see the big complicated looking Padlock on it. I turned off the Trucks engine, took the bunch of Keyes and with one of them opened the Lock. It felt good knowing that we were home, I pushed the Gate inwards wide enough to drive the Truck through. 

Next we came to a channel which had some water in it but no place to cross it. So I parked the Truck on a right angle to it and everybody wanted to know what was going on. I smiled and said, “You’ll see!”  At this moment a Truck arrived, the Driver turned the Truck around and backed it on to the channel in front of us and when he saw me he sang out “Hi Mark, you made pretty good time.” I turned to the Women and said, “This is Harry, one of my best and oldest Friends.” Harry I gave the “Finger”. On the back of the big Truck was a Hiab Crane; already attached to the Hook of the Crane were the cables that held a very long piece of heavy-duty Rail which was about 40 cm wide and long enough to span the Channel. When you looked closely, you could see Blocks of Concrete on each side of the Channel, level with the Ground and green in colour. Harry worked the Crane like a professional and carefully place the Rail across the Channel, where on my side I helped to line up the Rail. After helping him to undo the Cable, he hooked on the other Rail and we placed it on the next two concrete blocks. The Rails had a hole in each end which fitted over a short bolt that had been placed in the concrete.

We secured both ends of the Rail and Harry shifted his Truck so that I could cross the Channel now by driving carefully onto the Rails, which we had practised in the past with different Vehicles. Once across it was Hugs all around, after which I helped Harry to retrieve and load the Rails. Of course, he made me go back across the Channel to undo the Nuts from the Bolts on my side and then walk back along the wobbly Rail. But all was good and together we drove to the Homestead where we had more Friends waiting for us.   The Cabins looked fantastic, even from this distance. Mark explained that there were 10 Family Cabins and the big one in the middle was the community House, where we had our meetings, also the Community Kitchen was there, as we all would be taking our Meals in there. The Committee would make up the Menu for the Week. Helen said, “Who is on the Committee?” and Mark replied, “We all are, that way the final decisions were always made by all of us.” Mark stopped the Truck outside one of the Cabins and said, “This is where Harry and Lisa live, our Cabin is the same. In fact they are all the same.” Helen ask, “Who build them or put them here?” So Mark said “They are all pre-fabricated and Harry arranged for everything here as he and Lisa were here from Day- one. Let me introduce you to Lisa.” Lisa was lovely, mid-thirties, almost black Hair with blue Eyes; she was not what you call beautiful, but more the Girl next Door type.

She reminded me of the Movie Star ‘Ann Margret’ but with black hair instead of red. Harry on the other Hand looked a bit like Dolf Lundgreen but with Metal Legs. We went inside their Cabin where Lisa had made us Coffee and also had baked Scones. In America Scones are called Biscuits. We sat down and talked for a while, but I could see that Helen was anxious to settle in to our Cabin. So after a short while we excused ourselves and I drove the Truck to our Cabin which was next to Harry’s. The Cabin did not look very big from the outside, but from the inside, you could see that it was big enough. It was more or less very much like a small three Bedroom Cottage. All of the Cabins were designed for “Open Living”. When we first started to have the Cabins designed, we were thinking of making the Cabin interior as just one Room. We thought that this might appeal to some People, but after talking about it for a while and we actually found a place similar to it in Perth. Like this, we have three Bedrooms in some of the Cabins, but others are one and two Bedroom Cabins. Ours is a one Bedroom Cabin with a Study. We have a bigger Living-Room for entertaining. With the Bedroom of course is an En-suite.

The Kitchen Area is included with the Living-Room. We have a very large TV screen against one Wall so that we can watch our collected Movies and others. Everybody helped unloading the Truck and when done I flopped down onto our Bed. The last couple of Days had caught up with me, plus I always do my thinking whiles laying down on the Bed.  When I woke up it was time for “Drinkies”. Helen and the Girls cooked Dinner while I was talking with Harry. Steve was off by himself to go exploring, he told me that he had to stretch his Legs. Helen had invited Harry and Lisa over for Dinner and when it was ready, we all sat around the big Table that was situated between the Kitchen and the Lounge. The women got to know each other and after a short while they were talking about where to plant more Flowers. Upon hearing them talk, I mentioned to Harry that I would like to see a few more Trees planted around the Perimeter. Harry told me that we had plenty of young Trees in the Greenhouse, which I had not seen yet. There were so many things that I had to catch up on. While all of us were having a great time, it was getting late and we had plenty to do the next Day.

We said “Good Night” to Harry and Lisa and told them that we would see them in the morning. The Girls had decided that they would share a Cabin and so they wished us a good night to. By this time, Steve had already left for his Cabin. He did not mind being by himself, in fact he preferred it that way. He had always been a bit of a loner, even when he was younger. I was glad to have him with us, as he was a terrific Mechanic. Sandy had no special skills but could turn her hand at anything. She also was an excellent shot with a Pistol; she had been shooting for the past 3 years in the Pistol Club. Steve on the other Hand was very good with his Rifle and I had never seen him miss a Target. Next morning it was early to rise and so Helen and I walked over to the Community Hall. As we walked inside we were greeted by Lisa, who told us that she was doing the cooking of the meals for the next 7 Days and that after that we could start making out a Roster. Harry came over to explain the not so well known things in the Community Hall. First he showed us the Kitchen, which had Gas, Electricity and Wood Stoves along with 3 Sinks where he said that I could help with the washing-up.

I told him that I did not mind that at all. We even had a winding kind of Hand-Pump for Water, in case we had no more Electricity. The Pantry was gigantic and all sides were lined with shelves of Food. Everything was categorised which made it easy to find what you wanted. Next Harry ask us all to step back into the Doorway. In the back of one of the shelves, Harry pushed a small hidden panel on the Wall and a large section of the Floor started to rise. Of course I had seen all this before on Paper as I had to approve all works that were done at the Farm and also sign the Cheques that had to pay for everything. Out of one million Dollars, we did not get much change. Also I wasn’t the only one to pay as everyone in our so called Club put in their savings. But it was my idea and so I paid the most. (By choice) By now, the Trap-Door was wide open and Harry explained that in case of us having no Electricity, there was a manual over ride. What we saw now, was steps leading down into an area full of Foods. There was enough here to last for years to come.

When we were building the Hall, we had included the digging of a giant Hole in which we placed a readymade Store Room that at one stage had been a 40’ foot shipping Container. After it was placed in the ground, we covered up with Dirt and on the Dirt we planted Vegetables. After looking it over, everybody climbed up again and next Harry brought us over to what looked like an enormous Cupboard with sliding Doors. Harry slid open both Doors so that we could see what was behind them. The first thing you saw was TV screens, four rows of them, below them was a narrow bench on which you could see lots of Switches, Knobs and Microphones. Harry proudly stated that this was the Nerve-Centre of the Complex. From here, you could look at and direct Cameras also you could communicate from here to the main gate and other Places that Harry didn’t mention. On the opposite of the Room was a similar Cupboard only smaller in height.

When Harry opened the unlocked doors, I could hear a gasp from Helen, as there were a row full of Weapons of every kind from a Shotgun to a 50 cal Barret Rifle. There were also a good selection of Hand –Guns. I took my faithful 9mm Beretta out of my Holster and replaced it with a .50 cal Desert Eagle semi-automatic Pistol. Helen looked at me as if she was disapproving. I hope that I can change Helens mind about Guns. Now after closing the Doors again Harry said that he had left the best part for last. He said if you look at the Walls and the Ceiling, you see nothing out of the ordinary and so he told everybody that the Walls and Ceiling were reinforced with Concrete and the Doors were reinforced with Steel. Also the Windows had Steel Shutter with narrow slits in them so that you could point your Weapon at the Enemy. Helen said, “Isn’t this all a bit over the Top?” I thought that I had better answer this one. I said “Helen, when everyone out there runs out of Food, they are going to come looking for it, no matter where. They also won’t care how they get it as they are starving.” “But we have enough to give them some of our Food” said Helen. So I said to her in my best earnest voice “Helen!!..We will talk about this when we are back at our Cabin.” All I heard from Helen after that was “Okay.” There were more things to see, but I had caught Harry’s Eye, telling him “No more!”

So Harry said “Okay Folks, let’s go outside,” and so we followed Harry out of the Door. Here Harry showed us the Vegetables Gardens around the Hall. Then he pointed to the Cabin which had the number seven written on it and said “That will be Kathy, Greg and Family’s Cabin. Next to, it is Jimmy, Lou and Kids in number 6, and Kevin, Sandra and Kids will be in number 5 Cabin. These are three Bed-Room Cabins. He then said, “That is the official Tour over and thank you Folk’s for flying with us. I shall leave you to it as I have more work to do.” We all thanked Harry and told him to keep up the good work. Harry went back into the Hall; I suppose that he was going to talk to Lisa. Looking at everyone, I said, “OK, what does everyone want to do next?” Helen said, “Mandy and I are going back to our Cabin, I have got a Headache.” With having said that her and Mandy walked off. Steve said to me with a smile “There goes Trouble!” to which I replied, “No, she’ll just have to get used to the idea that things are not the same anymore.” Sandy said, “I am going to see if Lisa has a few minutes, I want to run something by her.” I said, “OK, I’ll catch up with you later.” In addition, she walked back into the Hall. Steve looked at me and hesitantly said to me “Dad, are you in charge here? I shuffled my Feet a couple of times and said to him “That is rather complicated, but in a way, yes!” and I went on by saying “But, I would rather leave Harry in Charge as he has done nearly all of the work here, which makes him, my right Hand. I would like him to take on the role as my “XO”, that way I can relax and stay in the background and have him make all the decisions.

He always checks with me before he does anything mayor where he needs my OK. Does that explain it to you?” He says, “Yes, thanks Dad.” And then he walks of towards his Cabin. I took this opportunity to walk over and sit on the Bench at the water’s edge of the Lake. I like sitting here to do my thinking. Like everyone now, I have lots of things on my Mind. I thought the first thing that I have to do when everyone gets here, is to hold a General Meeting where we can discuss our future. I am sure there are going to be a lot of questions and I sure hope that I have by then some of the answers. But first I will have to talk to Helen about the way things are now. I do not think that Helen has come to grips with everything that has and still will happen. I hope this is not going to be an ongoing problem. When Helen and Mandy got back into our Cabin, Helen said to Mandy “Oh, I can get so angry with that man. He infuriates me. How can he talk to me like that in front of everyone? Why did I ran after him and brought him back?” Mandy looked at her Mum and said, “Take it easy, Mum. You are going to blow a Fuse.” Both of us thought about what she had just said. The irony of it was that the E.M.P had just blown all of the Fuses and so both Helen and Mandy started laughing. Sandy meanwhile walked up to the Table where Lisa and Harry were sitting. They both smiled and Sandy said, “Am I interrupting?” Looking at Lisa, she continued by saying “I was wondering if you were willing to teach me how to cook? It is kind of embarrassing but I never had a chance to learn. No! That is not right either I should have said that I had never bothered to learn. I would like to learn, not just for my sake, but also that I can help here in our Community.”

Lisa said, “I love to teach you, come over anytime and don’t worry about not being able to cook. I was much older than you when I learned. She said, “Thank you and walked towards the Lake where her Father was sitting. Upon getting there she said to him “What’s up Dad? Is she getting to you?” I looked at my Daughter who obviously thought about the trouble had before with Helen and why I had left her in the first place and so I said “No, there are no worries there, when I get back to the Cabin we will kiss and make up.” “Ha!” was all Sandy said to that. I had to laugh Sandy always was a bit of a Rebel. You might say she was an extrovert. I looked up and said, “I should have brought some fishing gear down here. Well, maybe tomorrow. You want a Coffee?” She grabbed my Arm and said, “Let’s go! Your place or mine?” “How about this time we go to the Hall? I said to her. She just said, “Works for me.” So we walked back to the Hall and once inside I sat down again and Sandy said “I’ll make it.” By now, Lisa and Harry had left. I looked around and was pleased with what we had achieved. When Sandy came back with the Coffee, she sat down too. “What’s on your mind Sandy?” I ask. “I was just thinking should we carry some kind of Weapon at all times?” she said looking at me, with curiosity written all over her Face. “That is a good question Sandy, Let me put it this way, if I was just up to me, I would definitely say, yes! But I think it should be up to a vote and for everybody to decide.

As you noticed I always carry my Pistol and right now it is up to you, whether you carry a Gun or not.” I said and continued with “Did that help?” She nodded her Head and said, “Yes Dad, who do I see about getting a Pistol?” I stood up from the Table and walked over to the Gun Rack. Sandy followed me and said “That easy, hah?” She picket out a Glock 17 9mm semi-automatic Pistol and several Magazines, also a Box of Ammo. I knew that if Steve saw his Sister with a Pistol, he would want one too. At this moment, Lisa walked back into the Hall and said, “I am glad you are still here. Sandy, could you please inform everyone that Lunch is at 12 o’clock.” Sandy left and Lisa said to me “For Lunch I just put a few things out and everybody gets to make their own.” She proceeded to put out Bread, Butter and a few other things. “If anybody wants anything else they just help themselves or they can ask me or whoever is on Kitchen-Duty.” Helen and Mandy walked into the Hall and both of them smiled at me. I thought to myself “Boy, I am in for it now.” But out loud I said “Do you two lovely Girls want to join me?” Helen came over to me and said, “What do you want on your Sandwich?” She was not smiling and so I said to her “Just anything you can find. Thank you.”

We all sat at the big Table and had our Lunch. After we had finished Lunch, I walked with Helen back to our Cabin. Once inside Helen said to me “You think we could have a Glass of Wine, please.” I said “Of course. Would you like sweet or dry?” We settled on sweet. I had Harry put in a small Bar, which was filled with every kind of Alcohol and Mixers. Both of us sat in our Lounge-Chairs and whiles sipping her Wine Helen said to me “We should talk! Why were you so rude to me in the Hall with everyone around? I was only voicing my opinion.” So I said “I didn’t want to be rude to you and your question about us helping other People was very valid. But there is a time and place for everything. This was not the time” She was going to interrupt me but I held up my Hand and continued, “You should have left that question for the next meeting or ask me in private.” Dark clouds hung over her Head as she said, “OK, I am asking now. Why can’t we help People that are less fortune then we are?” I took a sip of my Wine and said to her “Just think about it like you have been working very hard all of your Life and earning lots of Money, which in turn you saved for a rainy Day. Your Neighbour Joe has been on welfare for most of his Life as he thought that this would be an easier way to get Money. It was not as much as you got but he was happy with the idea that he did not have to work for it. While you been working hard, Joe has been out fishing with his Mate. His Kids come often over to your place to be fed telling you that Mum and Dad have gone out and that they could not find any Food in their Place. Naturally, you feed them, but you think that their Parents should be made to take responsibility. 

Next Day Joe comes to see you and he tells you that he is sorry but the Kids should not have come over to bother you. You are about to tell him what you thought of him, but he goes on and ask you for the Loan of some Money as he wants to buy himself a Boat for fishing. The question is, are you going to give him some of your hard earned Money?” Now I do not want to go on and on but this is similar to our situation. I do not want to give Joe my Money either, but I will always help his Kids. This is our ‘rainy day’. Now does this help any you some?” She looked at me and said “Wow! As long as I have known you, you have never said this much without stopping before. Yes it helps, but that doesn’t make it right.” She got up and kissed me and said, “I suppose that I have to get used to all this and I have a lot more Questions, but for now this will have to do.” I finished drinking my Wine and said, “I am going to have a short lie-down, what are you going to do now?” She said, “I’ll try to find Lisa and see if we can’t have a bit of a talk. You know, Women Stuff.” I went and laid down on our Bed. When I woke up, Mandy was sitting at the Table by herself, looking at a Magazine. I said to her “Can you read or are you just looking at the Pictures?” She looked up and said “Funny Ha, Ha.” So I said “What’s up Kiddo?

Tell me all about your worries.” She looked at me real seriously and said “You and Mum! Are you two okay or what is going on?” I said “Dear Mandy! Please do not worry about us. There are ups and downs in every relationship, I know that you and your Boyfriend don’t always see Eye to Eye, but you still care for him. Don’t you?” “OK, Ok, just don’t hurt Mum. I don’t think she could take it anymore.” I said, “OK, let’s go outside and see what is going on in the big wide World.” As we walked over to the Hall, Harry caught up with us and said “Glad I found you, I am trying to get everybody to come to the Hall so that I can give you all some more to carry with you.” So when we got into the Hall the rest of the Gang were already there. I could see that on one Table there were some small 2way Radio sets. Harry grabbed one and passed it over to me. “Could everybody please have one of these sets with you at all Times.” He said “and of course have them switched on. These are in case of an Emergency or if you just want to call somebody.” In addition, he went on to say “In case of an Emergency we thought of maybe ringing a big Bell at the Hall. But then we thought that the noise from that would warn the Intruder or whoever that we knew that they were coming.” I clipped the Radio that he had handed to me onto my Belt. I could see that everyone else was doing the same thing.

To my surprise, I saw Steve sitting by the Control-Panel. Harry saw me looking at Steve and so he indicated to me that he was going to talk to me about Steve. Sandy stayed with Lisa at the Kitchen, but everyone but Helen and Mandy went outside. I sat with Harry at one of the Tables and after Lisa and Sandy had brought us some Coffee to drink, Harry said “Steve came to see me about the Control Panel and why there was no one watching it. So I thought that it might be a good idea to give him the Job at the Controls. Of course, I had to explain everything to him first. He listen to me carefully and he seemed to understand most of it. I also showed him where the Book was which had everything that he needed to know in it. You know he has not left that Panel since he got here. I think he’ll be alright.” So I aid to Harry “thanks Harry, you know that I really appreciate that you are helping him. By the way, what is Sandy doing with Lisa?” “Oh, she ask Lisa to teach her to Cook.” He said. “That is really great, please thank Lisa for me.” I said to him as I got up of my Chair. Harry got up too, and told me that he would be in the Shed if I needed him for some reason. It was not long after and all of us were having Dinner in the Hall. Helen and I volunteered to help with the “Washing-Up” When we got back to our Cabin Helen said to me “I think we are going to have a bit of a Problem with Mandy.” I said “Oh yes, why do you think that. She seemed very level headed to me.” Helen said, “As you know she is the only one here that smokes. Well, she is going to run-out of Cigarettes to-night or maybe in the morning. After that you don’t want to be near her. Maybe we should ask Sandy if she wants to move-in with us for a while.”

 I said, “Is it really that bad?” Helen said, “One Day Mandy decided to give up smoking, after a couple of Days I told her she could move out or start smoking again.” “Ah well, let’s have a drink and we see what develops.”  I said as I walked over to the Bar to make us a drink each. Whiles having our drinks, we listened to some of our favoured classic Music. Next morning I got up early so that I could help Harry he wanted to walk along our Boundary-Fence so that he could see if there was anything amiss. I found Harry in the Hall having another Cup of Coffee. I walked over to the Counter, said “Good Morning!” to Lisa and Sandy and made myself a Cup of Coffee too. The first thing that I had noticed was that Steve was sitting at the Control-Panel again. After we had our Coffee, we walked towards the Fence and started walking north to see what we could find. Both of us were wearing a Backpack, which had Water, Food and First Aid Kit in it apart from a few other small Items. Harry also carried his Shotgun; he said it was in case we saw some Rabbits or maybe a Kangaroo. Both of us loved Kangaroo Meat and so we walked along. After about 2 hours of walking, Harry thought that we would need a rest and so he took off his Backpack and pulled his small Stove, which used Kerosene out.

He had the Kerosene in a small metal Bottle, which now he poured some of the content into the Stove. I handed him the small Pot with the water and while we were waiting for the Water to boil, we got our Sandwiches out of our Backpacks. We both found something to sit on and after a moment of total silence Harry said “So, how are things with you and Helen, is this something we should worry about. I scratched my Head as if I was thinking and said “No I don’t think it will come to that, normally she is pretty level headed. I think that the whole thing is catching-up with here. She only just got over that thing with me leaving her.” Harry said, “Yes, you have to tell me all about that one Day. “Oh, I probably will, one of these days.” I said to him “How are things between you and Lisa?” “They are pretty good at this moment, but you remember we went through a bit of a rough patch a while ago. Lisa, no actually, both of us would have liked to have Children. But we tried everything even “IF” but no luck and the more we tried the more Lisa became irritable. She, I mean both of us got eventually over it and now we have a very happy relationship. Since we been out here working on this Project has changed the both of us, for the better.

We got much closer to each other and now we appreciate each other more than we did in the earlier Days. Harry said. I said, “That is really great and I noticed that when you and Lisa are close to each other you both radiate. Now to change the subject, let pack-up and walk some more.” It did not take as long and we were moving again. Suddenly Harry stopped me and pointed to a big Kangaroo. He took his Shotgun of his Shoulder, made sure that the Kangaroo was not a Female and then killed him with the first shot. Harry laughed and said “Fresh Meat to-night. We love Kangaroo, what about you?” I said to him that was a great shot and that with a Shotgun. What did you have loaded?”  “Single Slug, I did not know what we were going to encounter. If we had walked on the inside of the Fence, we would have missed out.” He said. We did not find anything else on our walk and because we were taking it easy we got back rather late. Everyone had voted to have Dinner when we showed-up, which I thought was nice of everyone. Lisa was overjoyed when she saw the Kangaroo we had brought back. All laughed at the way we were carrying the ‘roo. We had cut down a fairly straight Stick of one of the Trees, tied the Roo to it and carried it like they do with Tigers and other over our shoulders. We had to keep switching sides because our Shoulders were getting too sore.

Now I wished that Kevin was here, as he is a Butcher. But I thought that Harry and I did a good Job of skinning and cutting-up the Meat of the Kangaroo. Mandy looked at it, held her Nose and said “Pew, I am not eating that.” Pointing at the Roo. Helen said, “I have eaten Kangaroo when we were in South Australia and when cooked right it taste good. Maybe a little “Gamey” To which I agreed by saying we’ll make a nice Stew from it to-morrow.” Steve came away from his observation consul and said, “I am going to try to catch some Fish in the morning. I think I saw some “Bream” in the Lake.” Helen said, “I might join you, I like fishing. I said, “Great, how about we all go, we have enough fishing lines.” Harry said, “Sounds good, but I’ll say here to man the “Consul” After we were done with everything I invited everyone over to our Cabin to have “Drinkies” or what we call “Happy Hour.” Mandy declined the invite saying that she was having a Headache. I then remembered that she was doing “Cold Turkey” as she had no Cigarettes left to smoke. Anyway, we had a lovely Party, good thing that we have a decent supply stashed away. The Wine was aging nicely in its Cellar. Lisa ask Helen if she had noticed the small Hill behind our Cabin. Helen said that she had and was there anything significant about it. Lisa laughed as if she had one up on Helen and told her that build into that hill was our Clinic.

Helen said to Lisa that this was terrific, but why into the Hill. So Lisa then told Helen at how we had talked about where and how we should have our Clinic and that Mark had come up with the idea to build it and then cover it with concrete and then Soil. Nevertheless, why not leave it open like all the other buildings Helen wanted to know. I thought that I had better answer that as to build it as we did was my idea. I said We thought that a Clinic had to be a very secure place, as hurt, sick or wounded People could not look after themselves and that they would be more vulnerable than other that were mobile. Helen said, “Why haven you shown me?” So I said, “I don’t know about anyone else but it had just slipped my mind.” Harry said “I can’t believe that I forgot something important as that, sorry about that Helen.” Helen was all excited and ask, “Can I see it now, has it got Lights?” I said, “Yes of course it has electricity and yes we can go now.” She emptied her Glass of Scotch and said, “Let’s go.” When we got there Helen said “But this is the Chuck-House,” she points to the Chicken Run that we had built next to it. You could even see part of the Chicken house where it went into the Hill, only it never did. This was more camouflage for the Clinic and so I said “We just have to grab the Eggs first as Mandy forgot to get them this morning. Mark opened the Door that was leading into the Hill and switched the Lights on.

You should have seen Helens Face when she saw all the equipment. She said “But this is like a modern Clinic, I can’t see anything missing. All you need is a Doctor.” I said, “Yeah, we have been working on that. I have a Friend who is a Doctor and I left him instructions on how to get here. Whether he comes or not is anyone’s guess. Greg is an incredible Person, but when I last heard from him he was having domestic problems.  Any way I don’t know about you but I am going to Bed, tomorrow is another Day.” Everybody agreed with me and so we wished everyone a good Night. When Helen and I got back to our Cabin, she said, “You must have spent Millions on this Place and did you really forget to tell me?” I said “Yes and Yes, but don’t ask, how much. What else should I have done with all that Money and I always firmly believed that a Catastrophe would happen and it did. Let us go to Bed. Helen said, “I love you! You are so smart.” We did get to Bed after having another drink of Whisky and Coke.

Chapter 5

When I awoke, I saw that it was going to be another beautiful Day. I had made a Mug of Coffee for Helen and me, she was still trying to wake-up. After having a shower, Helen and I walked over to the Community Hall where Steve was already sitting at his Post. Lisa and Sandy were busy in the Kitchen and Mandy was nowhere to be seen. Naturally, all of us had forgotten about us going fishing this morning. We sat at a Table where we could watch the Screens on the Control-Panel, so that Steve could join us. We were just eating our Bacon and Eggs Breakfast when Harry came in carrying the Fish that he caught. I said, “Gee Harry, you are putting us to shame. How many did you get?” “Oh, only about 8, I could have gotten more but I chucked a few back into the Lake to let them grow. Now I am ready for a nice big Breakfast.” Harry said in good Humour. I was just about to get up, when I saw Mandy coming into the Hall. Helen walked over to Mandy and said, “How are you feeling?” To which Mandy replied “How the F**k you think I am feeling? I need a fu**ing Cigarette!”  I was a bit taken aback as I had never heard Mandy swear before. Helen put her Arm around her Daughter and said “Don’t worry, you’ll make it.

Nearly all of us had to go through what you are going through now.”  Mandy said “Ah, just leave me be. OK” Helen and I just got to the Door when Steve excitedly sang out “There is somebody by the Gate!” We all rushed to see who it was and to our delight, we recognised Kevin’s old Toyota Landcruiser. I said, “Everybody stay put, Harry and I will go and see what is going on, I saw another Vehicle behind Kevin. You grab the Truck Harry, and we’ll go.” As an afterthought, I said to Harry “Take a Weapon! You never know.” So Harry and I drove down to the main Gate. Upon getting there, Harry backed the Truck onto the Channel and both of us got out. Kevin and Sandra were waving and shouting. So we told them to take it easy. I sang out to Kevin “Hi Kev! Who are your Friends?” Kevin said, “They are our Neighbours and Friends, Roly, Donna and their Son Robert. I invited them to join us here; I didn’t get a chance to get in touch with you.” I said, “No worries, I’ll see you when you get over here.” Kevin must have forgotten that I knew Roly from Norseman where we had worked together at the Regent Mine. Well, it had been a very long time. But I wondered when Roly and Donna had shifted next to Kevin. Last time I visited with Kevin and Sandra they had different Neighbours, I know because I had met them when they had come over to Kevin’s for a BBQ. We had built a kind of a removable Bridge out of Aluminium just for People, when they wanted to cross the Channel.

 Sandra and her Daughter Lyn came over and Sandra gave me a big Hug and said to me “You know, you were right, the shit hit the fan (TSHTF)”I said “How you have been? You are looking great! And Lyn you are a grown up Lady.” Lyn laughed and said, “It’s really nice to see you again, Uncle Mark.” Sandra said “Yes she has really grown and Robert too. But tell me about the Love of your Life.” I said, “Tell you later, her name is Helen and she has a Daughter named Mandy, who at this moment is suffering from Cigarette withdrawal.” “Oh that is bad.” Said Sandra. I told her that I better go and help the Boys. While I was talking to Sandra, Harry had got onto the Crane on the back of the Truck and had send the first Pallet over to Kevin, which they had quickly loaded. Both parties did not bring too much. When everything was on our side of the Channel and loaded onto the Truck, Kevin and Roly drove their Vehicles to a pre-arranged Place in the Forrest. Too bad, but they had to walk back. While they were gone, we tied down the load on the Truck, but leaving our little Bridge for the two Fellows. We did not have to wait very long and Kevin and Roly crossed the Bridge. We then lifted the Bridge with the Crane onto the Truck.

Meanwhile Lisa had arrived in the other Toyota to take everyone back to the “Village.” Kevin and Sandra had number 5 Cabin and we told Roly that we had to put them into Cabin number 8 as the ones next to Kevin had already been taken and there was personal Stuff in them. Roly told us he was not worried where we put him, he was just glad that they could join us here. We told our new Family Members that we would meet in the Community Hall in 1 Hour, to which everyone agreed.  I first met Kevin and Sandra in Norseman when I went to a Party at Billy’s Place. Both Kevin and Billy worked as Drillers for an Exploration Company. Billy was involved in almost everything that was going on in Norseman. I always remember him telling me that he and his Brother had built what they called a “Land Yacht” with wheels. They had great fun sailing it on one of the many Salt lakes near Kambalda. But back to Kevin, him and I got along famously and eventually became very good Friends. Kevin was a Butcher by trade and he came from Nanup in the South where his Brother and Parents still lived at the time. When he came to Norseman one Weekend, he found out that there was no Job as a Butcher to be had, but that he could make a lot more money working in the Mining Industry. He found a job with one of the many Exploration Companies and settled into the Life in Norseman. After living there for a while, he met Sandra at one of the Parties that he was invited to.

Sandra was a local Girl, born and bred in Norseman. She was and still is a very attractive Woman and so Kevin started courting her. I found that Kevin looked quiet and shy, but he could be wild and a bit of a Rebel. Anyway after a not to long courtship Kevin ask Sandra to marry him. Sandra could have had any Fellow in Town, but she said “Yes” to Kevin and so they were married. Next they had the Twins and both of them were tamed, well a little bit. It was still Parties as usually and we took it in turns as where the next Party would be. It usually started at our Place and Billy’s and Kevin’s next time. Billy was the Person that had repaired my Car when we first came across the Nullabor Plains and we became Friends after that. At his Place, we also met Kevin and Sandra to become lifelong Friends. To describe Kevin would be that he is short and very powerful; if you are his Friend, he will do anything for you. If you are his Enemy, he will crush you. He loves his Wife and Children and would kill anyone that did them harm. At one stage Kevin and Sandra went through a bit of a rough patch and so whiles Grandma looked after the Twins, Kevin took Sandra on a Caravan Holiday where they rekindled their Love for each other. Not long after that they shifted to Perth where Kevin opened his own Butcher Shop. Sandra went back to University and got her Degree in Science.

Before coming here to the Community, the Twins were still living at Home. Not so much is known about Roly. Roly emigrated from Switzerland and came to Norseman where he worked in the same Gold Mine than I was. He was about 6’6” tall and well build, blond and Blue-Eyed, spoke English fairly well, but spoke German and French fluently. When he met Donna, they moved in together in a House that Roly had rented. Their whirlwind romance had everyone talking, it seemed that they were meant for each other. After about 6 month, Donna suddenly told Roly that their relationship was over and that she had met and fallen for another man. Roly was devastated and started to drink heavily. One night he drove his Car up on the Hill on the end of the Road and after a few more drinks, he drove down through the Scrub onto the Road. Just as he started to drive faster, a Goods Train crossed the Road and Roly slammed his Car right into it. No one ever found out if he drove into the Train on purpose or was it an accident. Luckily, Roly finished up in Hospital with only minor injuries. Whiles in Hospital, Donna never left his site. They sorted out their differences and shortly after got married, I and my Partner were Witnesses at their Wedding.

I never knew much about Donna, when I first met her, she was working in the local Fish and Chips Shop. After meeting Roly, she stopped working there and like all Girls her age just lived for the Day. Donna is about 5’ tall, brown-haired woman with brown Eyes which look big and round. She has a nice Figure with no Fat; she is very athletic and played in many Sports. They have a Son 19 years old and in statue takes after his Father. Now I sure hope that everyone will fit into our small Community. I walked home to have a short rest before we have our Meeting. Helen was waiting for me; she had made me some Sandwiches and a nice Mug of Coffee. The first thing I ask her was “How is Mandy doing?” Helen said, “Oh, definitely getting worse, she has been calling me Names. I know she doesn’t mean it but it still hurts.”  “Don’t worry she will get over it and then we all feel better, especially her. If you like I’ll go over and see her, maybe I can help by talking to her.” I said hoping that this would quieten Helen down a bit. But Helen said “I don’t know where she is. Harry let her have one of the ATVs and she took off on that. What If she hurt herself?” I then said “Hang on a moment, I’ll go over and see Steve maybe he has seen Mandy on his Monitors.” Anyway, it was time for us to walk over to the Hall for our Meeting.

When we walked in there, were smiling Faces everywhere and I thought that it was great to see the old Gang again? Too bad Jimmy, Lou and their Kids were not here yet, but they should be here within the next couple of Days. I smiled at everybody and said “You can’t believe how happy I am to see you all again, I just wish it had been under happier circumstances. Before anyone, say’s anything I like to introduce my Partner and soon to be my Wife, I give you Helen. I know some of you won’t recognise them but these two standing by the Control Panel are Sandy and Steve, my two Kids.” Everyone smiled and waved, some came over to hug us and Rob ask me if he could still call me “Uncle Mark” or what else. Therefore, I told him that if he wanted to then I would still be Uncle Mark. He smiled and gave me a hug that nearly took the wind out of me. Brian walked over to Sandy and Lyn sat with Steve asking him all about the Monitors. I stood up and said, “Can I have all your Attention for a moment! I do not think that anybody feels like talking about Security or what work they are supposed to do, so I suggest that we defer the Meeting until Jimmy and his Family get here. So you can either retire to your Cabin now or we all stay and have a drink. Harry! Bring out the Booze and give everybody what they want. As it was about Lunch-Time, Lisa and Sandy brought over a couple of Tray’s filled with Sandwiches. Kevin and Sandra came over to see Helen and I.

We soon split up into Helen and Sandra and Kevin and me. Kevin was telling me how bad it was getting on the Trip to our Community. He said to me Mark you cannot imagine it how bad it is, looting everywhere. The Police cannot do anything; they do not have enough Cars that run. The other thing is, where all these People got their Guns from. I was sure glad that we had ours, I will be forever in your debt for coming up with the idea for this place and bringing us here.” “Hear, hear,” was Roly shouting and giving me a Hug and kissed me on both Cheeks like the French do. “Ah, get out of it, Roly” I said to him “It is just great to see you all again.” Next Donna came over and kissed me full on my mouth and said “Well, did you miss me?” So I said to her “Yes Donna, but I’ll keep on trying, now that I got a new Pistol.” She laughed and said, “No, you haven’t changed!”  I went over to Sandra and ask her how she had been and went on to say, “Sandra you are looking good. How do you do it?” She said, “Well, for one thing I have been working hard. I made my “Professor” and so I have been teaching at Murdoch University.” “That is so wonderful, I am so proud of you.” I told her and then whispered, “How did Kevin take it, you being a Professor and him being a Butcher.”

She said, “Well, we had to make some adjustments but I told Kevin if me being a Professor would get in the way of our happiness, I would quit and go back to being a Housewife. Let’s face it we both have Jobs that we are comfortable in.” she laughed and said, “So do you need a Professor here?” Next David shouted to me, to get my attention and said “Dad, There is another Vehicle at the Gate. He has got a white Flag on his big Antenna.” Harry said to me “You stay here Mark, the Boy’s and I will take care of this. It must be Jimmy and you know you have done enough for to-day.” I said “Okay, but call me if anything goes wrong.” Helen was talking with the Women and so I slipped out back to our Cabin to have a short rest. Jimmy was driving a fully restored 1966 Mark 2 Land-Rover. He bought it in very bad condition and so every spare Weekend he would work on it. His Wife Lou was very supportive and I am sure that without her he would not have been able to restore it in the time that it took him. I had just been one Year in Australia when I met Jimmy in Surfers Paradise. He was sitting in the Bikini-Bar drinking Pineapple Juice and watching the Girls that were there. We started to talk and soon we became Friends. Jimmy and his Brother Donny worked for their Father at their Workshop. Jimmy was a Mechanic and Donny was an Auto-Electrician. Donny had just finished his Apprenticeship and was happy in his work.

Not long after we met, Jimmy had his 21 Birthday which we celebrated somewhere out Bush at a swimming hole. Somebody had brought along a Record-Player and so we had Music, Alcohol and privacy. I was surprised at how few Friends Jimmy had but on the other Hand, Jimmy was always quiet and maybe a bit reserved. I remember, one of the Girls, Mary was going to teach me how to dance. At the time, I was working at the Beachcomber-Hotel in the Kitchen, when I met what was to become another Friend. Her name was Coral Palmer, but she wanted everyone to call her Rosita. She moved in with me in the Cottage that I was renting of my Employer and soon Jimmy, Rosita and I were known as the three Musketeers. Rosita wanted to become a Striptease Artist, which after a lot of determination she did. Jimmy and I would take it in turns to take her to different venues of employment. Places like “Theatre Royal, La Boheme and several others. Thus, I also have to meet some of the seedier side of show-business. Then one Day my seedy past caught-up with me when two Detectives arrested me outside the Bikini Bar. I was sentenced to 3 Month imprisonment and that was the last time that I saw Jimmy until 10 Years ago when I found out that he lived in Perth. I was going through the Phone-Book looking for someone, when I saw Jimmy’s name. As he has a very unusual name, I thought that it must be him and I rang his number. Lou answered the Phone and told me that Jimmy would not be Home until later that evening. I told her who I was and that Jimmy and I had been Friends.

 Lou in turn told me that Jimmy had often talked about me and that he even had gotten in touch with my Sister. My Sister later told me that this was during the time that she and our Parents had been flooded-out. At that time there had been so many Problems for them that she had forgotten to tell me. So now Jimmy and his Family were sitting outside my Gate. I only had about 10 minutes rest, took one of the ATVs and then drove down to meet them. I stopped at our little Bridge that Harry had put across again and got of the ATV. Just as I was, about to cross the Bridge, Lou and Molly came walking towards me “Uncle Mark, How are you? Why didn’t you come visit us for my Birthday?” By this time she had reached me and threw her Arms around me and said, “Missed you!” Lou came up and said, “She has talked about you since we left Home. It has been Uncle Mark this and Uncle Mark that.” Lou kissed me on the Cheek and said, “You can have her! Do you have anything cold to drink?” I reached over and grabbed a cold bottle of Water out of the Saddle-Bag on the ATV. It did not take Harry with the help of Kevin and Roly very long and they had transferred all of Jimmy Stuff. Jimmy and Tim took Jimmy’s SUV further into the Forrest and threw a Camouflage Net over the Vehicle. I did not take very long and we saw them coming through the Bushes. Jimmy walked up to me and gave me a Hug and said, “It’s been too long!” I said, “Yes, It sure has.

By the way, do you come here often?” “Not often enough, they serve good whisky here and the Women aren’t half bad either.” He said as he grabbed Lou and pulled her towards him. I laugh and said, “You haven’t changed, old man!” He said “I’m not much older then you. Let’s go and help Harry, I can’t wait to get a decent glass of Whisky.” Lou punched him in his Ribs and said “Go on, off you go!” We secured the Bridge back on the Truck and drove without stopping to Jimmy’s Cabin. I knew that he had a lot of his Stuff there already as he and his Family had come here quite often on their Holidays. Lou came with me on the ATV and as soon as we took off, she said, “Quick, tell me all about your Women. What’s she like?” I said, “She is a Nurse like you and that is all I’m saying.” She hit me in the Back with her little Fist and said “Bastard!” Lou is the nosiest Women that I knew and I loved teasing her. When I dropped her off at their Cabin, I said “Lou, when you and Jimmy are ready come over to our Cabin, other ways I see you at the BBQ. Lisa thought it best for us to have a BBQ this evening.” She said, “OK, I’ll see you then.” Looking around me I thought that I couldn’t have found a better Place than this if I tried. All of the Structures were hidden among the tall Trees of the Forrest and we even had camouflage netting over every structure. We did as little driving around as possible as we did not want to leave any signs of Civilisations.

Next, I thought that I could see someone at the Lake and then it occurred to me that it could be Mandy. I got back onto my ATV and headed towards the Lake. I went the long way around so that I did not leave to many Tire marks to be seen. Mandy was sitting on the Bench and was so deep in thought that she did not hear me arrive. I sat next to her, which startled her to the extent that she jumped up from the Seat. I said “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.” “Oh, it’s you Mark, I was just thinking that I behaved like a big Kid.” She said to me with tears in her Eyes. “It’s just so damn hard! How did you cope when you gave up smoking?” She ask. I said “Actually for me it was just as hard, (which wasn’t quite true, but I thought that this time it wouldn’t hurt to tell a Lie) I came Home that day with Chest-Pain and so I had to give up smoking. These things are worse than Drugs and so of course it will be hard but you are strong and I know you will make it.” “Thanks’ Mark, I think you are bull-shitting me, but thanks anyway.” She said as she got up and walked over to the ATV saying, “We better get back; I want to talk with Mum.” I got onto the other ATV and we went back to the Hall. Everybody and I mean everybody was busy talking and catching up.

Most of the Women were getting Food ready for the BBQ. All our BBQs ran on Gas (Propane) instead of Wood. Wood was free but it also made smoke, which meant that someone saw it and we would be discovered. This we were trying to put off as long as possible, for instance, I knew that there was a Forestry-Lookout Tower only a few miles from where we were. I knew that the nearest House was about 10 miles from us as the Crow flies. I was wondering if I should go over and help with the cooking, as BBQs were Man’s work. But seeing Helen coming over to me and carrying a Tray of Food, I thought I stay-put. Mandy was following her with the drinks, Steve was talking to Lyn again, which I thought was quite interesting. Helen motioned for me to follow her and when we were out of ear-shot she said to me in a quiet voice “Mandy came to me and we talked, I think everything is going to be alright.” I did not think there was anything for me to say and so I just nodded my Head and went back to eating my piece of Meat. Next Harry sang out so that everybody could hear him “Meeting at 10am tomorrow morning, everybody be there please! Now have a good time and don’t drink too much.”

Someone sang out “What’s too much? Harry.” But he didn’t get any answer. I snug off to our Cabin, as much as I loved to see all my Friends again, I hated Crowds. Back in the Cabin, I sat in my favoured Chair and enjoyed my Scotch and Coke. Helen arrived not much after I had sat down and told me that she had had a lovely chat with Lou and that they were going to get together tomorrow at the Clinic. Sandy came over to wish me a good night and when she was gone, I said to Helen “I know it is still early, but do you think that you could get to like it here?” She said “You’re right it is still early, but I think as long as we are together it doesn’t really matter where we live and I must admit we do have nice Neighbours. But I do want to know what is happen around us, I find it hard, not knowing, you know what I mean.” I said, “Yes, I know what you mean, we will see what we can find out tomorrow, even if I have to go into Town.” Helen said, “Let’s go to Bed.” Which we than did. I kept on hearing things during the Night, but found that it was nothing. In the morning, we went to the Hall, where most of our Friends were having their Breakfast. Harry came over to us and after morning, greetings told me that he was quite nervous about the Meeting. I told him not to worry and that everything would be fine. I also noted that this morning there were 2 People in front of the Control Panel, namely Steve and Lyn.

I was glad that he had found someone that he could relate to. People came and went and I could see that Harry could not take it much longer. I got up and said, “Could I have your attention please, there has been a slight change, I think everybody is here and could we please have our meeting now. Make that in 5 minutes I can see a couple are still missing. Kevin could you get the Twins please.” Kevin left the Hall and came back with the Twins. I said, “First on a personal side, I wish to thank you all for making Helen and her Daughter Mandy and my Kids Sandy and Steve welcome. Also I will not be in charge of things here but will hand that responsibility over to my old Friend Harry, not that any of you are lesser Friends, and in fact I would like us to be a Family with everyone being equal and having equal say in everything. With having said all that I will now hand the meeting over to Harry.” (Applause from everyone) Harry got up and said “Thank you Mark and I mean thank you Mark, not just for what you just said, but for everything that you have done for us, this Place! You made all this possible and thank you for having confidence enough in me. I will now begin with the most important things on the agenda.

 In my opinion that the most important thing is that, we all work together. Seeing we are all Friends and Family here, you would think it would be easy. But we are a small Family, and in small Families where everyone knows each other you get Bickering, Jealousy, Arguments and so on. We are no different from any other Family and so we will have all these things. With one difference, we will sort them out before they become an issue. Can you all understand this? I hope you can, if you think you cannot live with the rest of the Family, and then leave now.” I could hear People gasp, I was glad it was Harry up there and not me, but he said what must be said. Harry continued by saying “Now that the worse part of my speech is over let’s get down to business. First there is our Security, which at this moment is no problem, but we can expect that to change when everyone out there runs out of Food and Shelter. Steve our new Control-Operator has picked up different short pieces of news. Some of it is not very encouraging; there has been talk of killing, rape and looting. I would say that so far this would be more happen in the Cities then out here in the Country. However, it will come to us, believe me!

 We have not as yet heard anything from the Government, but I guess that it would take many years to restore electricity, especially to the Cities and bigger Towns as they rely on the Electricity Grid. So as they say I think we are in for a long winter. Jimmy, Kevin, Roly and Mark will be each in charge of their own section. Jimmy, you will have the Front with the Gate, Kevin, your’s is the west Boundary, Roly, the North and Mark will have the Lakeside. If you think of anything to improve security in your section come and see me.” Roly’s hand went up but Harry said, “Questions later, please. Now let us go through my list, all is open for debate, but later please. Next Helen, I suggest that you will be put in charge of the Clinic, after checking on yours and Lou’s Qualifications I would like to put you in Charge of the Clinic, again I must emphasize that if there are any problems or you see any problems in the future then come and see me and that goes for everybody. Lisa, this is where I get into trouble, you will be in charge of Food and Cooking, if Sandy wants to stay with you that is fine. Kevin, you will be in charge of Meat, not just butchering but also hunting. Jimmy, with you being a Mechanic, you will be in charge of all types of Machinery, if you need help see Steve. As I said before, Steve will firstly be at the Control-Panel; so far, he has been doing a very good Job. Rob of course will look after all our electrical needs and when needed will back-up Steve. Roly, we have a special job for you with you special talents.

You will be our all-rounder meaning if we need a Windmill and we do not have one, it is your Job to get one. Brian, we will definitely need a Plumber, if my Toilet gets blocked, you’re it. Donna, I believe you are an excellent Seamstress, you will never run out of work, I already have some waiting and no it is not my pants. Now Lou,” Just at this moment Helen stood up and said “Harry, may I please interrupt, I feel that it is Important.” Harry said, “By all means, go ahead.” Therefore, Helen said, “As you all know both Lou and I are Nurses, but we both have worked in different fields and so I propose that Lou and I share the Clinic and all the responsibility that goes with it. I am sure that there will be plenty of work for both of us.” Harry said “Lou?” Lou also stood and said, “Helen is absolutely right and I will be only too happy working with her.” I must admit at that moment I felt very proud of Helen and of course Lou. Harry whipped his brow and said “Lyn, I thought it best to put you in charge of our Horticulture requirements, in other words you will be looking after our Gardens make sure we have plenty of Vegetables and Flowers look always nice. Now Sandra, you I ask that you will help Mark in the running of this Place.” Sandra looked very surprised. “Then we have Molly and Tim, you two have a really horrible Job, I feel sorry for you but everyone here must have a Job and both of you will be my Assistance, like Gofers you know “Go Fir this and Go for that.”

Last but definitely not least we have Mandy; Mandy would you do me the honour of being my Assistant?” I think you could have heard a pin drop when Mandy said, “Are you sure? I mean I would love to be your Assistant.” Harry said, “Thank you and with this said I will close the Meeting and ask everyone to think about their Question for the next few hours and we will continue at 2 o’clock.” I thought that Harry had done a terrific job and that I will tell him later on. I could see Helen and Lou leaving together, presumably to the Clinic. I was just about to leave when I saw Sandra making her way over to see me. When she got here, she said “Mark, what is this all about, me being your Assistant?” So I said to her “Sandra, we thought that you would be the best Person to help me run this Place.” She looked at me dumbfounded and said “But I thought that Harry would be doing that.” I said to her “Well, Harry is in charge, but you and I will be like Admin. Or Management, we will think of all the things that need doing and how they can be done and after we are happy, we then pass it on to Harry.” “Shit, you are crafty!” she said to me.

So I said to her “Yes, but with your help, now if you’ll excuse me I am going to my Cabin to have a rest and think of more things that I can shit stir with.” She said, “OK, I’ll see you later at the meeting.” I said, “Oh, remember you are sworn to silence.” She looked at me and said, “Do you mean that?” To which I relied “Yes! Most definitely!” and I walked to my Cabin where I laid down on our Bed. I did not wake up until Helen came in carrying a Tray with Sandwiches. I said “Oh yes, I feel hungry. How did you go with Lou?” She said, “Just fine, I like her and she will be a great help in the Clinic. When you said, that if we needed anything we should see Harry, Is that right?” I said, “Yes, I think it’s better that way, plus it frees me up to do other things and I am glad that you Lou are getting on so well. What else did you pick up in the Hall?” She said, “The Place is buzzing like a Beehive. Everyone is talking.” “Pick up anything that I should worry about?” I ask “No, not really but if I was you I would keep my Eyes on Roly. I don’t know what it is but he worries me.” She said with a frown on her Face. I kissed her and said, “Don’t worry, I can handle him, he hides behind Women when things get to tough for him.” “I hope you’re right.” She said and sat down with me to have some of the Sandwiches. At 2 o’clock we walked over to the Hall, everybody seem to be there, I thought it best if I would go over to where Harry was and try to support him. Harry thanked me for coming over and said to everyone “OK, the Meeting is open again are there any Questions?” Everybody sang out till Harry said “One at a time please.” A few hands went up and Harry said to Roly “OK, Roly what is your Question and don’t make it to long I got a Bus to catch.”

Roly said, “That’s funny Harry. So my question is; what happen if I want to make my piece of the Fence electrified? “Well seeing it is something new and not repair, you will ask me and just so that you know, I will ask Mark, as he holds the Purse Strings.” Said Harry. So Roly says “But you just told me that I am responsible for that Fence I know that electrifying it will make it more secure.” I thought that I better help Harry out here as this could go on forever. “Roly, until you can afford to pay for it you will ask Harry, electrifying the Fence is not a small job, it involves more People than just you, these People already have work that they are doing and so Harry will have to take them away from what they are doing and it goes on like that. The verdict is that you will have to ask Harry. OK?” Roly said, “OK, but I don’t like it. What about if I want to go into Town?” I said “That is enough Roly; let somebody else have a turn.” He grumbled but sat down and still kept grumbling about something not being fair. I am starting to agree with Helen about him. Speaking of Helen, Harry called her up so that she could ask her Question. She said to Harry “Can we get more supplies? Harry said, “No, not as far as I know, do you need anything specific?” Helen said, “No Just asking.”  Rob was next and he said “Sorry for asking, but I see you and Uncle Mark are wearing Pistols, my question is; should we all wear some kind of a Weapon?”

Harry said “Thank you Rob that is a very good Question. In my own opinion, yes, everyone should carry a Weapon, be it Pistol or Rifle and only and I mean only if everybody agrees to this, then you can see me about getting a Weapon.”  At this Stage, I like to ask everyone to think about it whether we all should carry weapons. The reason I am for it, and I know so is Mark, things are not getting any better, we have heard about killings and rape. I ask you, what is going to happen if one or someone wanting to kill or rape you confronts more of us. What if it is not you but your Daughter? How would you feel then if you had said “No” We have a Box over there would you please write down yes for carrying Weapons No against and let me tell you that the Person carrying a weapon will have to go through a rigorous course first. If I or Mark are not satisfied that the Person should be carrying a Weapon then much to my dismay that Person cannot have a Weapon till both of us agree. Now while you think about that are there any more Questions.

Jimmy said “Nah, nothing that can’t wait.” Harry said “By the way, you all know that you have a Phone in each Cabin, sorry no outside Line. Another thing Steve has a secure Red Button at the Console, please familiarise yourself with it, this Button is only to be used if we are over run and cannot defend ourselves any longer. Then and only then you hit that Button and assemble inside this Hall which is Bomb proof. There is a cover over it that you will have to lift before you can hit the Red-Button. We will talk more about that later, we have lots of time and remember “Rome wasn’t built in one Day.” Now if you will please place your votes into the Box and we will count them in front of you, so that you know that there is no cheating. Slowly everyone walked over to the Box and placed their piece of Paper in it. When this was done Harry and I counted the Votes. We both looked at each other and so I said to everybody. “We have counted the Votes and the score is 16 to 2, we have not reached a result. So please will all get together and see if you can get everybody to say; Yes!” Someone said “What about you and Harry?”

So I said “Yes, we are coming.” We went on and on for about an Hour and the best we could get was 17 to 1 and so I said “OK, folks, you all know the result. I don’t think we will budge that Person and so I will make an executive decision and declare that everyone that wants to can carry a weapon after qualifying.  Everyone nodded their Heads and Helen and I went back to our Cabin. When we got inside Helen said to me “Do you think it was fair for you to step in and change the votes?” I said “Helen I know how much you are against Guns, but one Day a Gun might save your life.” She flared up and said “I didn’t say that it was me with the No vote, you got no right to assume that.” I thought “Here we go again” But said “Let’s not worry about that now, I also think that we should keep Business talk out there and not bring it Home.” But Helen said “I am going out or do I need your permission?” I didn’t say anything, it would only upset her even more. On top of everything I am worried about my Sister, who lives in Europe. I don’t think that they over there got “Nuked” but then you never know. The uncertainty makes it hard, I wish she would have come over here when they were talking about it.

 I sat at my Computer and booted it up, even so we have no Internet, and I have so much information stored on it. Sandy knocked on the door of the Cabin and said “Are you coming for Dinner Father?” I said to her “You know, you worry too much about me, but yes let’s go.” And I got up again and followed her. When we got to the Door of the Hall I felt my Heart beat faster and so I said “Hold it, Sandy, not tonight. I just can’t face that Crowd.” She said “But they are your Friends and Family, they will think that there is something wrong if you don’t show up for Dinner.” I said “OK! But keep Roly away from me tonight, I am not in any mood to put up with his shit.” She said “I promise. Come on.” And so we went in and I sat at the Table next to Helen and Mandy, not knowing what the evening would bring. As I sat down Helen said to me “Are you alright, you don’t look so good, in fact come with me over to the Clinic.” When we got up Harry spotted us and sang out “Are you okay, Mark?” Everybody was looking at us, I nodded my Head and said “Yeah, just a Headache I think.” He said “OK, I’ll check on you if you are not back.” Of course Sandy and Mandy followed us. At the Clinic Helen told me to sit down so that she could take my Blood-pressure.  I hated it when everyone was fussing over me. She put the Cuff from the Sphygmomanometer on my Arm and after a moment found that my Blood-pressure was way up 170 over 92 which was way too high for me.

 Helen said “Did you take all of your Tablets?” I said “I might have forgotten with everything that is going on.” She said “Hell, Mark, you can’t forget them, especially now with all this on your Plate.”  She went over to the Cabinet and got two Tablets out for me. Sandy had gotten me a Glass of Water while Mandy stood there with a worried look on her Face. I swallowed the Tablets and then Helen told me to go and lay on our Bed and that she would be over as soon as she was finished there. The Girls were going to inform Harry about my condition. Helen made sure that I laid down and said “Did you really forget to take your BP Tablets or was today a bit much for you?” When I didn’t answer her she said “Just try to sleep for a while.” I awoke about an hour later when I heard Harry’s voice. Both he and Lisa had come over to see how I was. Helen said “Before everyone else turns up to see how you are going, I am going over to the Hall and get Steve to announce over the PA that you are all right and that you will be there for Breakfast.” I said “Good idea, Harry and Lisa sit down please and let’s have a drink.” Lisa is a real worrier and so she said “Are you sure Mark? We don’t want to impose on you.” I said “You could never impose Lisa, same goes for Harry. You are more than Family.” That put a smile on Lisa’s Face. We sat around for a while talking and having drinks and I must admit that I feel very relaxed around Harry and Lisa. It wasn’t until midnight that Harry and Lisa left and we went to Bed.

Chapter 6

It was a new day in our new lives and everything felt beautiful. It was dawn and I could see the mist over the Lake and in the Forrest. I had no problem in pretending that nothing in our lives had changed and that we had always lived here among the tall trees. At this time of the morning you couldn’t hear much noise except for a few Birds singing whiles jumping from one Bush to another. I thought that this would be a good time for me to go for a walk through the Forrest where I could do some uninterrupted thinking. I made sure that I had my Pistol and my little 2way-radio and so started to leave, but on second thought I knew that I should let someone know where I was going and that someone was Steve who like me was already up and at his Console. I let him know where I was going and said that I should be back by 7am. My walk took me through some beautiful country and so just before I got back I picked some Wild-Flowers to give to Helen. When I got to our Cabin Helen came out carrying two mugs of Coffee. She said “I saw you from the Window.”

 And pointing at the Flowers in my Hand she said “Oh, are these for me? Thank you so much, that is so thoughtful of you.” We sat on the Bench outside our Cabin and drank our Coffee. After that was done we walked over to the Community Hall. When we got inside Steve beckoned me to come over to him. I said “What’s up?” He said there was a message on the Ham-Radio, and that it was very hard to understand. He thought that it would be best for me to take the recording that he had made of it and see if I could decipher it.  I told him that I would and armed with the recorder I walked back to Helen and had something to eat. Having finished my Breakfast I told Helen that I had some Business to attend to. I walked back to our Cabin and once inside set up my recording equipment. As I listened to what it said on the recording that Steve had given to me, I got onto my 2way and called Sandra. When she answered I ask her to come and meet me at my Cabin. It didn’t take her long and she was knocking on my Door. I said “Come in, how are you this morning?” She said “Fine, what’s up?” So I said “Come on over and listen to the message Steve picked up on the Shortwave Radio.” She came over to where I kept all my equipment and I gave her the Head-Phones to put on.

As she did this, I switched on the Player and said “Here are the adjustment knobs if you need them to maybe clarify what you are hearing.” Sandra sat down and listened intensively. After a while she said “This is incredible, are you going to tell everybody?” I said “Yes! Can you please make a transcript of what you think that you heard?” She said “Do you want me to make it now?” I said “Yes, and I am doing the same, then we compare what we got before announcing it.” Sandra said “That is a good idea, I’ll do it now.” And so the both of us wrote down what we thought that what we heard. When finished I compared both and found that they were almost the same. I said “I’ll get Steve to announce that there will be a meeting in 15 minutes.” To which she replied “Sounds good, I just have to go home first and then I’ll meet you in the Hall if you like.” I said “Yes, do that and I see you inside, thanks’ again.” She smiled and walked off. Ten minutes later I walked into the Hall where everyone was waiting.

 I addressed our community by saying “Thank you all for coming so quickly, you are probably wondering why I have called this sudden Meeting, well wonder no more, Steve our Console Operator had picked up a pretty scrambled message on the Shortwave-Radio. Sandra and I have tried to unscramble as much as possible, so here it is. First the message is from our Prime Minister.” Here we got a few people shouting boo, but I continued on by saying “Next he wants us to get together with our Neighbours and share our resources, in other words if you have been saving up food for a rainy day and your Neighbour has none because he has been living every day as if there is no tomorrow, you have to share with him. He said that we had definitely been invaded by a foreign power but as he had very little in the way of communication he is still trying to get in touch with Darwin by Shortwave Radio. He said that all of us that had the foresight to have our equipment in Faraday Cages should report to the nearest Authorities and handover our equipment. Please don’t interrupt, I know this is Funny. He says that we also surrender any Vehicle in working condition to the local Police that they may use it where needed most.

Blah, blah, blah and then he says that we should stay indoors as there have been reports of rioting, looting, killing and other. He didn’t say what the other were. They are also trying to fix our electricity and we will have it as soon as possible. That is all Steve picked up and so now you can see that the country is in deep shit. My question to you is; what do you want to do about it?” Jimmy was the first to speak “What should we do about it? I am very happy to be here and thanks to you, there is nothing to stop us from living here for the rest of our lives.” I smiled and said “It might come to that, but you are right and it wasn’t just me, you all contributed in one way or another. I couldn’t have done this without you, no way!”  Roly was next and he said “Yes, how come all of our electrical equipment here is working and is not affected by the EMP. I said “See page 2 in your Manual that was in your Cabin, it has the Faraday Cage and its purpose fully explained.

Next Question to you all is; shall we dig in and not worry about anyone else, outside of our Community, maybe we can have a show of hands, yes, for we look after ourselves. No, for that we share what we got. All those in favour of us keeping to ourselves rise their hand please. I couldn’t see any hands not up and so I said. “Meeting is over, Thank you everybody, next is weapon training, Harry will you please select the first 4 People and send them to where we got the range set up.”  I went to Helen and said “Are you coming back to the Cabin for a Coffee?” She said “No you go ahead, I am meeting Lou at the Clinic.” I stopped at the Door to our Cabin and looked around. I could see that Harry and Lisa were in a serious discussion. Harry said to Lisa “Well, what did you think of what Mark said.” She said “He was right of course we have to stick together and protect what we got, and he is right, we could be here for years to come.” Harry said “Yes, he is quite a man, do you remember when he first came to us and we talked about setting up this Place, I think we talked that whole night. Yes, where would we be now if it wasn’t for him? We had to work hard, but he was not cheap, he always paid for what he thought was the right price.

He paid us wages plus, and he never treated us like you would employees.” Lisa said “Yes, he always treated us like Family and don’t forget, he paid for your bionic Legs and never ask for a cent in return.” I think all of us here are pretty lucky. Do you think Roly has changed?” Harry said “Yes, I think he is scared and that makes him act that way.” “You could be right.” Lisa said “Am I in the first lot to go to Weapon Practice?” Harry said “You can, if you want to, I’ll take; you, Sandra, Mandy and Lou, what do you think?” “Suits me.” Lisa said and Harry went off to collect everybody in this Group. Mandy helped me with the carrying of the Pistols and Rifles, I had chosen 5x9mm Beretta Pistols and 5×5.56mm M16 Assault Rifles. I had made up a Dummy Load for both. Mandy had made up some targets in the shape of a human, which were set up at 10 meters distance. Once all four of them had arrived I told them to pick up a weapon each and have a good look at it. After a while I said “Ok, everybody has a different way of teaching how to handle a weapon, so please don’t say, but so and so told me to do it this way.

We are going to do it my way. First, always assume that the weapon is loaded, that means you always point the weapon at the ground, never point it at someone that you don’t want to kill. When someone hand’s you a weapon, the first thing you do is you check if it is loaded. I will first demonstrate on a Pistol and you will then copy me.” I showed them and made them do it till they were confident. “Next we have a look at the safety lever, always have it on till you are ready to shoot.” That went fine too, Just then Harry came over and said “Helen, wants to see you at the Clinic.” I said “OK, will you take over please.” Which he did and I walked over to the Clinic to see what Helen wanted, that couldn’t wait till we got back Home. I walked in after making sure that she was alone. “What’s up?” I ask her and she said “I am sorry but I forgot to tell you that I needed to take your Blood Pressure again this morning and I just remembered now.” I felt very suspicious of her reasoning but let it go. I sat down in the Chair and let her take my BP. When finished she said “How have you been feeling? Any Headaches?” I said “Feeling good and no Headaches.” She looked at me and said “You know, I am not going to pick up any Pistol or Rifle.”

I sight and said “I won’t make you. But mark my words you will pick up a Weapon, when you see your Daughter about to be killed or worse raped.” She didn’t say anything for a moment but then with Tears in her Eyes she said “You know, you can be a real Bastard at times. Now get out and leave me alone.” I couldn’t have done anything to make things better and so I left. When I got back to the Group Harry said to me “Problems?” to which I replied “Yeah, can you take over?” He said sure. Where will you be?” he looked at me apologetic and said “You have to tell someone.” I said “Yeah, I’ll be in the Forrest, I’ll have my 2way.” “Take care my Friend.” Harry said and watched me walk off into the Forrest where I knew that I would find Peace. Harry should have known that I wouldn’t leave the Compound, but our bit of Forrest was big enough for me to disappear in. I knew of this spot right near the Fence where there was a big log that I could sit on. When something bothered me I would retreat to this spot, where I could sit for Hours without anyone bothering me. I also knew that what I had told Helen would hurt her but it would hurt even more to lose Mandy or someone else that you loved and all because you wouldn’t compromise your principals. I would leave her to think about it and I wouldn’t mention it again.

Then suddenly I thought about Kathy and her Family, I sure hoped that they would get here soon. I could imagine what it was like in Kalgoorlie, I knew that Kathy had a wood stove but what about water. All of the pumps were run by electricity and they could be out of water by now. I kept worrying about them. At this moment Kathy was saying to Greg “Greg we have to get out of here now.” Greg said “But we will be safe here, you wait and see the Government will send help.” Kathy was getting angry and so said “Don’t be stupid, do you really think they can help us, they can’t even help themselves. There have been killing and looting in Town, Greg I am afraid for the Girls.” Ursh came into the Kitchen and said “What’s wrong Mummy? Why are you shouting at Greg?” Kathy said “Don’t worry Ursh, go and get your Sister, we are going to see Uncle Mark.” “Oh good what shall I get are we going in Greg’s Car? Ursh ask. But she went into their room and told her Sister that they were going to Uncle Mark’s and that Mummy and Greg were fighting. Kathy shouted “We are not fighting!” and then to Greg she said “We are going in the morning one way or the other and I don’t care if I have to take your Vehicle.”

He said “Alright, alright! We go first thing in the morning, but we are going to need more Fuel, go and see John next Door and see if he will give us some.” Kathy said that she would and went to see their Neighbour John. After a moment she came back fuming and said “Do you know what happen? When I knocked on his door he ask who I was and when I told him he opened his Door just a bit and said to me “What do you want?” I could see that he had his Rifle in one of his Hands and when I told him that we need some Fuel he said “F**K off! And slammed the Door in my Face and we used to play Cards with that Bastard. Come on we will start to load the Toyota.” Greg said to Kathy “We only got the Tank full of Fuel, how are we going to get more?” Kathy said “Think! We can syphon Fuel from stranded Cars, just think about it. Put a Hose in the Toyota.“  The Girls came carrying the Stuff that they wanted to take and Kathy said “Don’t forget the Sleeping Bags.” First thing in the morning they left Kalgoorlie driving along the Kambalda Road. There were lots of abandoned Cars along the Road and Greg said that they shouldn’t have any trouble getting Fuel out of one of the abandoned Cars. Kathy didn’t say anything, she was still angry.

By the time that they got to Norseman they had only used ¼of a Tank of Fuel. They didn’t bother to stop here and went on to Esperance where there were a few People running after their Car and throwing Stones at them. They could see that here had been a lot of looting. As they drove past the Hopetown turnoff they spotted a stranded late model Nissan Patrol and so they stopped to see if they could get some more Fuel for their Vehicle. They had been lucky so far and had not seen another Vehicle moving along the Road. Greg got out and tried to open the Fuel cap but couldn’t get it open till he tried to use a Screwdriver. After he got the Cap off he tried pushing down the Hose but again had no Luck. Seeing this Kathy suggested that he punched a hole in the Tank and that they let the Fuel run into one of their square plastic Boxes. Greg laid down under the Nissan and used a Hammer to hit the Screwdriver into the Tank by the time that he pushed the Box under the Tank he had lost quite a bit of Fuel but had gotten enough for them to keep going for a while longer. As it was getting late the drove their Vehicle further into the Bushes and made Camp. Greg wanted to light a Fire but Kathy said that they shouldn’t risk it.

The Kids weren’t worried by only having Sandwiches to eat, but Greg wanted his Cup of Coffee but had a Can of Coke instead. Next morning they drove off again. Luckily they kept on finding more Vehicles along the Road so that they didn’t have to worry. They too were smart enough to bypass Albany and didn’t stop in Denmark and so they didn’t get caught there like Mark did. When they got to Walpole they knew that they were not far from Marks place. Kathy said that maybe they should stop in Walpole and get a couple of things from the Shop so that they didn’t arrive empty handed when they got to Mark. But when they saw all the men with Guns the kept on driving. Now they had to keep their Eyes open as Kathy was trying to find the correct turn-off to Mark’s Property. Finally Kathy saw the turn-off and as they turned she remembered what Mark had said about wiping out their Tyre Tracks. Greg got out of the Vehicle and like Mark wiped out their tracks with a branch from a nearby Bush. After they got going again Kathy kept trying to call Mark on their UHF Radio just like Mark had told her.

Back in the Community everything with Mark and Helen was back to normal and Mark was busy teaching more of his Friends to use their Weapons. Molly came running down to where Mark was and told him that someone, a Women was calling him on the UHF Radio. Mark went into the Community Hall where Steve was talking on the Radio telling Kathy that it was him Steve and that Mark was coming. Mark got onto the Radio, happy that Kathy had made it and told her to stay where she was and that he was coming to get her. Mark went to find Harry and when he did, he told Harry to grab the Truck and that Kathy and Greg had arrived. When they got to the Gate, Mark went on by Foot to get Kathy. It didn’t take him all that long before he got to their Vehicle, Kathy and the Girls had gotten out to stretch their Legs. When the Girls spotted Mark coming through the Bush, they excitedly ran up to him. Kathy smiled at him and said “Hi There! We have made it, but where is your Place?” Mark gave her a Kiss on her Cheek and shook Greg’s Hand, then he said “Well, it’s just over there but it is not just my Place, it also is your Place. Everybody back in the Car and I drive.” Mark got behind the Wheel and drove the Vehicle carefully through the natural obstacle course. At the Gate he said “

This is it welcome home.” He then told Greg to unload everything onto the Pallet that was hanging on the Crane which Harry skilfully operated. After he was done he went with Greg to hide their Vehicle. When they got back he locked the Gate again and said “Ursh do you want to ride with me? Mum and MM can get in the front of the Truck and Greg can sit on the back and look after things there. Ursh skilfully climbed onto the ATV and we all took off towards the “Village” When we got to their Cabin Kathy said “I would never have found this Place. How many People live here?” I said “With you! 22 People and we are all one big Family, please move into your Cabin and Sandy will come over and show you around, I am sorry, but I am needed elsewhere.” “Alright.” She said and “Thank you so much for letting us come here.” I waved and said “No trouble, you are Family.” I went back to see Sandra about a project we had been working on. But first I told Sandy to go and see Kathy and that she would need lots of care. I must admit that I was a bit worried about them but don’t know why. Never mind I probably like always worry about nothing. When I had gotten back to Sandra she told me that she had packed up for today and we could do some more tomorrow.

So I went over to see Donna and then I found her in the “Shed”, we call it the Shed because it has everything in it, in one corner is a Workbench a Lathe and a Drill on the other side Is a very big sewing Table with 2 Machines set up one of them being an Industrial Sewing machine and the other one is a Domestic Machine. Then there is the Electrical and Plumbing Area and much more. I said “Hi Donna, how are you or should I say what are you doing here have you got a job already? She said “No I was just looking at all the different fabrics we got here, but what can I do for you?” I said “Can I get you to make me a vest that holds Ammo Magazines, here let me show you, I have a picture of one here.” And so I showed her the Picture that I had cut out of a Magazine. She looked at it and said “Yes I think I can make it, as long as you can supply me with a Magazine so I can fit it probably.” “That won’t be any trouble’ I told her and so I said “I’ll bring you one tomorrow.” She smiled at me and I left. I never know how to take Donna, she was pretty wild in her younger Days. I went looking for Harry but found Lisa so I said to her “Do you know where I can find your Husband? She said “Yes, he has gone checking on the Cows.”

I honestly felt like crawling under a Rock, I had never been so embarrassed before. Lisa looked at me and said “What’s up? You look like you just seen a Ghost. Are you alright?” I said “Oh, Can you both ever forgive me. I don’t know how I could let this happen.” I had to sit down, this really upset me. She said “OK now tell me what is wrong, what have you done?” I whispered “I forgot about the Livestock!” She said “That’s alright. There is nothing to worry about.” I said “Oh yes, there is and I am going to rectify it right now. I’ll see you in a while.” And I took off. I went down to Kathy’s Cabin, but she wasn’t there nor was anyone else. So I remembered that Sandy was showing them around. I got onto my little 2way and called Sandy who answered by saying “What’s up Dad?” I said “Have you got Kathy with you and where are you?” She said “We are just about to go into the Clinic.” I said “OK, I’ll meet you there.” It was just around the corner from where I was and so I walked over to them. Greg was talking to Helen and so Sandy and Kathy came over to me. I said to Kathy “Did you ever tell me that Greg came from a Farm?”

Kathy gave me a strange look and said “Yes, Greg’s Parents owned a Farm and so did mine, what is this all about?”  “What do you or Greg know about Livestock?” I ask and she said “Everything I guess, why? Have you got Livestock?” I said with a sigh again “Yes, but I got no one to spare that can look after them. Harry and Lisa have done a great job looking after them, but I need someone that can make this their sole Job, they would be in charge of everything from breeding to culling.” Kathy laughed at me and said “Look no further, I’ll talk with Greg tonight and we’ll let you know in the morning, but don’t worry it’s a done deal.” I could only say “Thank you so much and don’t worry you will get all the support you need.” She still laughed as I walked off. Next I looked for Rob and I found him talking to Mandy near the Shed, as I approached Mandy took off towards the Clinic and so I said to Rob “How is everything electrical going? Are the Solar Panels doing their Job?” He said “Oh yes and more, we could supply a whole Town with electricity.”

I said “That is great how are we of for electric pumps, do we have any?” he said “Yes about 4 or 5 not to sure but I can have a look, they are next to the Shed under cover.” I said to him “Naw, don’t worry about it I am just trying to work out what we got.” This seem to satisfy him and I walked of back to our Cabin. I was thinking back to when we first thought of using Solar Panels. As we had built the Village out of sight among the tall Trees of the Forrest we thought that we were going to have problems with placing the Solar Panels. I can’t remember who it was, but somebody suggested that we place the Panels right where everybody could see them. Only we make it look like they were dumped like rubbish all over the place, we even went to the Local Rubbish-Tip and loaded the Truck up with a couple of old Fridges and other rubbish. Then we placed it so that it looked like someone had dumped rubbish there several times. Now and again we place more rubbish next to it. That was fun, but then I also remembered that I hadn’t eaten today apart from that little bit that I had for Breakfast.

If Helen was at the Cabin I would ask her to get me a couple of Sandwiches. I was in luck Helen was sitting in the Cabin reading some Manual. When she saw me, she got up angrily and said “Where have you been? I see less and less of you, I have been worried, I thought that when you put Harry in Charge I would get to see you more often.” I said “I’m sorry, my love, I have been all over the place and yes you are right I have been neglecting you. I am hungry and I am going over to the Hall to quickly grab something to eat and after that, I am all yours.” Helen said “Sit down, I’ll go over and get you something.” By the Time that she got back, I was sound asleep in my Chair. Helen kissed me and quietly said “Come and have something to eat, I got you some nice Sandwiches.” I grabbed a Sandwich and said “Will you pore us a Drink Please?” Helen sat with me and said “We had our first customer today. It was Roly, he had hit himself with a Hammer on his Knee. I don’t think there was any damage done, but he will be limping for a day or two.” I said “Couldn’t have happen to a better man.” And then I thought “Shall we pick up Kathy and Clan for Dinner? They might be a little apprehensive, you know, the first day and all that.” “Good Idea, just give me time to put on my Face and we’ll go.” She said. When we got to Katy’s Cabin, I found that I had been right. When I ask Kathy to come with us for Dinner, she told me that they were going to have just something quick and then go to Bed as they have had a long day. So I said to Kathy “Come on, we are having “Roast-Pork” tonight and if we go now there will be just us and we can eat in peace.”

And just to make my Point “I bet the Girls would love some nice sweets.” The Girls jumped up and down their Eyes pleading with their Mother. Kathy looked at Greg and said “Alright, let’s go then. We might as well get it over and done with.”  There were a couple of People, Jimmy and Sandra there and we soon had Kathy laughing and talking, but I could see that all of them were tiered.  Kathy said “This Water taste good, where does it come from?” I said “We have got a Well, where we found Water not very deep down but we also have good drinking water from the Lake, that we can use as Back-up.”  We didn’t stay any longer then we had to, to finish our Meal and then said Good Night to everybody there. When we got back to our Cabin Helen ask if I would like a drink before going to Bed. To which I replied whiles taking of my Boots, that I would Love a Drink and to relax. The next Day started off quite badly. When Helen got to the Clinic she found that the Place had been flooded from a burst water pipe. All of our Places have an Emergency Switch to shut off Water, Gas or Electricity and so Helen quickly shut off the flow of Water. After that was done we got Brian to repair the damaged Valve by replacing it. Next came the big Clean-up, luckily Helen and Lou had lots of Helpers. When all was finished I ask Helen to make out a report on the lost and damaged Articles.

When I got the Report, I knew that we were in trouble. The Blood-testing Kit had been made completely useless. Other Items that we had lost we could replace from our stock. I called a small informal meeting with just Helen, Lou and Harry. After a lengthily discussion we knew that we had to send someone into Town and to try and get a new Blood-Testing Kit. But who should we send? Helen suggested that she should be one of the People going as she knew what they were looking for. I got up and said “Look we need about 3 People and I mean Armed People. We won’t have to send either Helen or Lou as whoever goes can take the useless Kit as a Sample.” Harry said “Who do you think we should get? I should be one of them.” To which I replied “No Harry, you are not going.” Harry’s Eyes flared up and he said “Why? Because of my Legs.” I said “Harry, be realistic, you know that isn’t so. You are in Charge and the General never goes himself he always sends a Trooper.” Harry relaxed and said “OK, but who are we going to send?”

I said “I don’t know, so let’s call a meeting and ask for Volunteers, then we can pick from them.” We called a meeting and explained what we needed and also it would be a good Idea to go into Town and find out what is happen. I said “We need 3 Volunteers for this Job, they all have to be proficient with Pistol or Rifle and think about it carefully. All of the Fellows volunteered except for Greg who said he couldn’t hit anything with a Rifle and he had never even held a Pistol. We had to make a decision which was not easy, but in the End we decided the Kevin, Roly and my son Steve would go. Steve was the best shot with a Rifle, Roly was good with a Pistol and Kevin would take an AK 47 which by the way a child could handle. I put Kevin in Charge as I thought that he would be the best Person for the Job. We decided that they would leave next Day at Daybreak. They went early while it was still dark, Kevin said to take Jimmy’s Landrover as it was closest and also it was painted in Camouflage Green. After they got onto the Main Highway to Town Roly commented on how uncomfortable The Landrover was. As the go closer towards Town they saw that there had been a Roadblock erected.

Upon getting there they saw that it was manned by several People. Kevin stopped the SUV and approached the Barrier, One of the man stepped forward and said to Kevin “Hold it right there Fellow,” and pointed his Shotgun at Kevin, who knew that you never argue with a man pointing a Shotgun at you. “What do you want?” said the Shotgun holder. Kevin said “One of our Friends had an Accident and we just need a couple of Things from the Hospital. So the Fellow said in a not so Friendly tone “Get out of here, nobody comes into our Town.” Kevin tried to reason with the Fellow, but he just lifted the Shotgun up and the rest of them followed suit. Kevin said “OK we are leaving.” Kevin got back into the SUV and said “Once we get out of their sight, we go into the Bush and drive along till we get into Town where hopefully we can mingle with the rest of the Townspeople. Everybody agreed that this was their best Option. They got to the Hospital without any more Trouble. Once inside they were confronted by a pretty Nurse who said “What can I do for you Fellows, is somebody hurt?” Kevin said “Why is it so dark in here?

Haven’t you got any electricity? She said “No, nothing has been working since That Day. Even our Back-up Generator wouldn’t start, so now the Doctor stays at Home and we Nurses take it in turns here in case someone needs help. Kevin said “Sounds like you are having a hard time here, and we are here under false pretence. She looked at us and with a worried look on her Face she said “We don’t have any Drugs, they all have been taken.” Kevin said “Don’t worry we are not after Drugs, but we are in bad need of a Blood Testing Kit.” She breathed a sigh of relive and “We got one of them I’ll go and get it for you. In the meantime grab whatever else you need. Both Roly and Steve filled up their Arms with Bandages and whatever else they could see. The Nurse came back and gave Kevin the Blood Testing Kit and said “Be careful of the Fellows at the Road Block, they are mean Bastards and on Drugs. Kevin said “Thank you, for all of your help and also for the warning.” They walked out together and at first nobody saw the Badies from the Road Block standing there until the Leader said “You wouldn’t listen, would you? Now you are going to pay the price. They levelled their Guns and started shooting. Roly and Steve threw themselves onto the Ground, but before they could get their Guns, Kevin had dropped the Blood Testing Kit and started firing his AK from the Hip and didn’t stop until all of his Bullets had gone.

He stood there shaking with fear and excitement his adrenalin pumping. He saw that he had killed all of the Fellows that were shooting at them. But then he saw that the pretty Nurse had been shot in her chest and was dead. Both Steve and Roly were bleeding. Roly had been shot through his shoulder and Steve had caught some of the Shotgun Pellets in his Chest and his left Arm. Kevin than realised what he had done. He steadied himself on the Door of the Hospital and suddenly emptied the content of his Stomach. He righted himself again, picked up the Blood Testing Kit that he had dropped and placed a fresh Magazine into his AK47, then shouted “Can you make it?” Both Steve and Roly nodded and crawled into the Landrover. By now some of the Town People had arrived at the Scene and Kevin sand out to them “Better take care of the Nurses Body, these Fellows didn’t care who they Shot, Guns and Drugs don’t mix, let this be a lesson to us all.” Then he drove off feeling terrible, He ask the two of them “How bad are you hurt?” Roly said “I got shot in the Shoulder, we have to stop, I am losing a lot of Blood.” Kevin said “In a minute, how are you Steve?” Steve too had lost a lot of Blood but he said “Not too bad!

 I picked on the Bloke with the Shotgun.” Kevin said “Both of you, do you think you can last till we get back to Camp?” Steve said “Roly has just passed out. Meanwhile we were trying to relax and get on with our Daily chores, but not knowing what was going on with our three Friends made it hard for us too. I went into the Hall so that I could listen in on the UHF, but it was all quite. Helen and most of the other People were joining me. Lyn was sitting in Steve’s Place and was looking tense. Suddenly the Radio blared “Mayday, Mayday, Mark can you hear me? I’m coming in with wounded! I keyed in the Microphone and said “Kevin, we read you, how far out are you?” Kevin said “Just now going Bush” He was breaking up a bit but we all knew what he meant. While I was talking Harry had gotten the Truck ready by throwing a large Mattress on to the back of it. Both Helen and Lou had grabbed an ATV each and had taken off. Everybody got to the Gate at the same time. As soon as Kevin stopped the SUV Rob and Brian carried Roly on a Stretcher back to the Truck, Steve tried walking by himself but Kevin went and supported him. Lou rode back to the Clinic on the Back of the Truck whiles Helen took one of the ATVs back and Brian took the other. Jimmy drove his Landrover back into the Forrest and hid it again under the Camouflage Net.

Once at the Clinic Helen and Lou got to work on their two Patients. Lou had to stop Roly’s wound from bleeding, which she did after giving him an injection for the Pain and another in case of Tetanus. They had to spend a lot more time on Steve, he too, had gotten both injections, but then they had to carefully pick out, all of the Shotgun Pellets that were lodged in his Arm and Chest. I couldn’t believe it, after all that they still brought Home the Blood Testing Kit and one other thing, we found out how bad it was out there. I just hope that we never have to go through that again, but I knew that this was not to be. After a couple of Days rest Steve was back at his Post, with Lyn, who never left his side. I also thought that everyone else had been affected by what had happen in Town. Every Family here seem to be closer knitted than before. Roly could be seen again at the Hall for his Meals, but Donna never left his side. The next Day Steve came to me again with another Message from the Prime Minister. After Sandra and I had listen to it, we thought it best that everyone should listen to what our great Leader had to say. At Dinner that evening we told everyone that Steve was going to play back the Message that he had picked up. We didn’t get to hear much because of the static interference.

But we picked up sentence like “Prime Minister, War, trying to ………Darwin, also ….EMP…New Zealand ………..Ships…..Aid…………England…….America……not…..Weapons…….Middle……

Muslim ………Sidney……Water …..Riots ………..shot  ……will….Electric……….by……Years……..Home….Man….FESA……reserve…..We are not……..but can….Darwin….   Military…….no one will….your Country….   That was about all that we could pick up. I think everyone here had their own Idea about what it could mean. I spotted Kathy and I thought that I better see how she was getting on with looking after the Cows and Pigs and others. She told me that they were doing great and that the Girls looked after the Chucks and the Goats. When I ask her if they were settling in alright. She told me that things couldn’t be better, but she was a bit worried about her Sister Coleen. But when I ask her where she was, she said that she had no idea as they didn’t get along to well. The next few month moved along without any major incident. We harvest more than enough Vegetables and the Women got together and Bottled a lot of them. Our herd of Animal had increased even after culling. We had no breakdowns that we couldn’t handle. Life was beginning to look good and we were becoming careless.

Then one Day Kevin came racing in on one of the ATVs from checking his Fence. When I stopped him he said “There is someone at the Fence and he needs our help. We never thought of getting any of the ATVs across our channels and so Harry used the Crane on the Truck to lift the ATV across. Once on the other side of the Fence Kevin drove off to pick up the Fellow that he saw. Meanwhile Mandy was on our side of the Fence talking to the Fellow and found out that his name was Fred and that he came from a Farm on the other side of the Forrest. By now Kevin had got to him and first gave him some water to drink. We could hear Kevin ask him if he thought that he could hang onto him on the back of the ATV, he nodded his Head and climbed on behind Kevin. When Kevin got back to the Gate he put a Harness onto the Fellow and Harry used the Crane to lift him across to us where Lou was waiting for him. Next Harry lifted the ATV across and then Kevin. Lou took Fred to the Clinic where her and Helen rehydrated him and cleaned up sores and wounds they found. When he was feeling a bit better they brought him over to the Community Hall, where he scuffed down a big Meal and a Cup of Coffee.

After he finished he told us his story and it wasn’t very nice. He stared by telling us that he did come from a Farm that his Parents had owned, he said that things weren’t all that easy but they had a worry free life, that was until the Day 2 Fellows showed up asking for Food. His dad was suspicious as they lived a long way from anyone else and both of them were walking. So Dad gave them Food and they went back to where they came from, or so he thought. Next day they came back and they brought along about 60 other fellows on Bikes and in Cars. They came onto the Farm and first they shot his Dad, when his Brother in Law came out they shot him then they took the Women over and over again his Sisters little baby they used for Target Practice’ He said that he was on the other side of the Barn and he was ashamed to say but he snug off he didn’t want to die. I said to him “You did the right thing Son, by coming here he could have saved some lives as I was sure that they becoming here to us too. How long did it take you to get here?’ He said “I don’t know, maybe 6-7 days, I lost count. I know I was eating Grubs and I caught a Rabbit but it was mostly Grubs.” and just as he was finish saying that, he bend over and emptied his Stomach. Now we all believed him about eating Grubs. I ask Steve if he would take Fred with him into his Cabin as he was the only one with a room to spare.

That evening I called a Meeting for all of us. I went back to our Cabin and laid down on our Bed to do some serious thinking. Helen made us a Mug of Coffee each, after which she ask me what was going to happen to all of us if that Gang of Marauders came here. I told her that I was sure that they would come, the only Question was “When!” I kept trying to think, but nothing would come, everything in my Brain was scrambled and after a while nothing made sense. At the Dinner Table everyone was very quiet and lots of them were just picking on their Food. After we all had finished eating, I stood up and said “I don’t know what everybody expects from me at a time like this, but I promise that I will try my best to resolve this issue that has come before us. I know that one thing is for certain and that is that we are going to be invaded. If not this Time than the next or the next Time, but I assure you that this will happen. For this reason I ask each and every one of you to put on your thinking Cap. I know that we can’t make any decisions now. So let’s make it by tomorrow 2 o’clock here. We can’t afford to take any longer as the Enemy might only be Days away from us. Another thing is, that if anyone wants to leave, nobody will blame them and they will go with my blessing. Jimmy stood up and said “This is my/our Home, I don’t know about anyone else but I am staying and I will defend my Family and Home till the last drop of Blood flows through my Veins.” Lou stood up, holding the Hands of Molly and Tim and she said with Tears in her Eyes “Till Death do us part!” Everyone with solemn voices declared their unity in this. I said “Shall we finish this discussion tomorrow?”

Helen and I got up to leave, when Harry came over and said “Drinkies?” I said “Yes! Glad to have you and bring Lisa.” He always did anyway. In our Cabin Helen pored Drinks and we all sat down. Lisa was the first to speak and said to me “Have you got any Ideas?” I took a sip of Whisky and said “Yes, some but I like to hear from everybody else before I put my big Foot in my Mouth.” Lisa said “Ah, you couldn’t.” It wasn’t one of these great evenings but we still got a lot said. By the Time we got to Bed that Bottle of Whisky was empty. That Night I tossed and turned all night long and didn’t get a good Sleep. But at Daybreak I sat at my Table with Paper and Pen. I wrote down all the different scenarios that I could come up with. Then I drew Pictures and when nothing else came to my mind I went looking for a Book that I knew that I had. The Books Title is; The Art of War, by Sun Tzu. He was a Chinese General in Ancient Times. One of my favoured Quotes of his, was “Appear weak when you are Strong, and strong when you are weak.” To me that made a lot of sense. To day time for me went too fast, but after Lunch I thought that I was ready. Everyone was there at 2 o’clock and waiting for me. On one of the Wall in the Hall we have a large Blackboard which was meant for this kind of an event. When I got to the Blackboard I said “Have you all come up with any Ideas? And who will go first.” Kevin got up and said “Should we try to get the People from Town to come and help us?”

I said “Very good Idea, but I honestly think that we don’t have enough time, I think the Marauders will be here within the next few Days.” Donna said, “What can we do in such a short time?” I said “Lots!” We cannot defend every corner of this Place and so we have to defend what is most important. Everyone from now on has to be armed that means carrying a Weapon at all times, even when you have to go to the Toilet. About this I do not want any arguments, think before you do anything, your life may depend on it. Next thus of you that are not yet confident in the use of your weapon, see Harry. If possible carry somewhere on yourself a Knife, we have plenty and it might just get you out of trouble. We cannot do much more about personal protection. Now I know that we have some fuses and detonators left from when we were building this Place and some sticks of Gelignite. Sandy! Can you make up some Bombs? She said, “Yes Dad, we also got fertiliser and Diesel and we’ll find shrapnel to go with the Bombs. Tim and Molly will you help me? Both of them went with Sandy. Rob! You go and make sure that we have all the Generators ready for Back-Up, also, we need all of the Fire-fighting equipment ready. Brian! Will you please help Harry set-up all of the Special Weapons.” Everybody looked to see what I was talking about. But just then, Harry pulled a hidden lever at the wall and again a piece of the Floor came up to reveal stairs. When they came up again, they were carrying heavy Machine Guns.

You could hear the gasp escaping from everyone’s Lips. I thought, “Wait till they see the Box of Grenades.” Next, I called Helen and Lou, and told them to bring anything they thought was necessary into the Community Hall. “When everyone is finish with what they are doing come and see me.” I said “Kathy! Can you give Lisa a Hand please? Jimmy! We are getting to old for this! Could you have a look to see where we can put up some kind of a Barrier?” Fred! Do you feel up to giving a Hand?” Fred stood and replied with a fierce look on his Face “This time I am not running, I don’t care if I die, but I am going to kill as many of them as possible for Mum and Sis and also Dad and Carl.” I had no daub that he meant what he said. I was also glad that I had ask Donna to make the Vest for holding the Ammo Magazines. They were now on the Table with all other Weapons. I took a K-Bar Knife of the Table and stuck it into the top of my Boot. I thought that I would go and walk around the Compound to see if I could think of anything else. When I came to Sandy and her Helpers, she told me that she had enough material to finish 23 bombs.

 I said, “That is great put about 13 of them along the tree line. Then we will put the other ones near the main house. I saw Harry by the community Hall and so I walked up to him and said do we have any Barb Wire and how much? Bill answered me by saying we have enough to do the whole property. I said, “That’s great! Can you put it around the compound?” “I’ll get onto it, right away.” She said. I then walked around trying to find Helen. I finally found her at the clinic. I saw she was busy but I said to her “When will you be free?” She said “In about five minutes.” I said, “Great I will see you’re back at the cabin.” I slowly walked to the cabin and thought there is so much to do and so little time. I was wondering when the Marauders were coming? There were so many questions, “Are we going to be ready in time? Is there enough of us to defeat them?” I suppose we are going to find out soon enough.  In the Cabin, I considered having a laydown but instead I sat in my Chair and again opened Sun Tzu’s Book “The Art of War”. One particular Quote caught my Eye; he said “To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.” After letting that sink in, I started to think about everything from a different angle. I saw myself, cautiously breaking open the Gate, sliding into the Channel, knowing that they were going to get wet Feet as there was quite a bit Water in the Channel. I looked up and saw that we had to put Spikes into the bottom of the Channel.

I quickly got up and walked as fast as I could to find Jimmy, when I could not see him I called him on my 2way, which he answered right away. I said, “Jimmy meet me, I have an Idea.” When we met I said to him “Can we weld Nails to something and then place them in the Channels below the water level?” I explained to him what I had in mind. Jimmy said, “We can do this! “I’ll get on to it right away; I’ll find someone to give me a Hand.” That was another thing taken care off. I waked over to where everyone was working. When I saw Roly, I said to him “Gota Job for you!” He said “Yeah? And what would that be?” I said, “At Daybreak would you go out to the Highway, make yourself comfortable and be on the Look-Out for Marauders. After 4 Hours I will send someone to relieve you.” He said “OK, no worry’s I can do that. I will leave just before 6 am. “Is that Okay?” I said “That’ll be great! Roly. Take Food and plenty of Water. I thought that I would go over to our Cabin now, so that I could meet-up with Helen. I had not seen much of her today. As I got to our Cabin I could see that Helen had made us a Drink, for which I was very grateful right now.”

 After we had our drinks, Helen and I went over to the community Hall. Lisa had prepared us some fast Food, like mashed potatoes, sliced cold Meat and fresh carrots from our garden. She also made some Toast for whoever wanted it. This was all I really wanted as I was beginning to feel tiered. Walking back to our Cabin, Jimmy and Lou joined us. I made us all a Drink and Jimmy said: If I make a couple more Spike Traps, that should be sufficient.” I said “No “Shoptalk” tonight let’s just play a game of Cards.” Helen got the Cards out and we played Poker for a couple of Hours. After which they left. Like I said, I was tiered and so fell asleep within Minutes. Next morning whiles having Breakfast, Donna told me that Roly had left quite early for the Highway. So I went over to Kevin and ask him, could he do the 10 till 2 o’clock watch. He said, “That is OK with me, I’ll relieve Roly at 10am. Now I had to find someone to relieve Kevin when he had finished his Watch. While Sandy and her Gang had placed the Bomb’s in the Ground, Rob wired them all up to a Panel from where we could activate three Bombs at once. Next, I had to find Brian as I had another Job for him. When I found him up near the Shed, I said to him “Brian! Do you think you could make us some wooden boards and put Nails into them?

We can hide them under Leaves and small rubbish, so that these Fellows know when they stand on them. If you can make enough we can place them on both sides of the Barb-Wire.” Brian said, “Don’t worry I’ll get on it right away.” Next was Kathy and Greg and when I spotted them, Ursh and MM were with them herding the Cows I said to them “You must by now know what is going on so I leave it in your hands to make sure that our Livestock is well out of the line of fire if it comes down to it.” They assured me that this would not be a problem. I was thinking that it was time for a Coffee. Instead, my 2way came on with Kevin calling me, I thought that he would be out at the Highway with Roly, he said “Mark this is Kevin, over. I said, “Kevin are you with Roly?” He said “Yes, and we have two Women here that would like to talk you. It’s about the Marauders.” “Shit!” I thought “I’m on my way, be there shortly, Mark out. I rode the ATV to the Gate and walked from there at a fast pace to where Kevin and Roly were.

When I got to their hiding-spot in the Forrest, I saw that he had been right about the 2 Women, but he forgot to mention that they had 3 Kid’s with them. I got of my ATV and said, “Hi, I am Mark, I believe you wanted to talk to me. What can I do for you or you for me.” While I was talking, I got some bottles of water and gave them to the Children. She said “Thank you! My name is Jenny and these two are my Girls.” I judged the Girls to be around 5 or 6 years old. She continued saying “And this is Pam and her little Boy” also about 6 years old. She continued again, “We would like to stay with you, we only just escaped those Bandits and we just can’t run anymore.” Pam looked at me and said with a whimpering voice “Please Mister!” I said, “First thing, how far are the Bandits behind you?” Jenny said “Only about two Days the stopped at the other Village and they have been killing all of the Men, captured the Women and the once that they didn’t Rape right-away they had to cook for them. They used the Kids as amusement and shot them if they tried to run. I saw one Women staked out with Nails on the Bitumen and they had their way with her until she was dead. Mister, you have to let us stay with you!” “How did you get away from them?” I said and Pam said, “When we saw them coming we hid in one of the Railway Wagons.

We were so scared because of us having to keep the Kids from Crying. We both saw our Husbands killed.” I said, “I am sorry about that, but where do you think where they are coming next? To our Community, so why would you want to come there?” Jenny said, “When we saw your Man here, we didn’t know about you. Then he told us how you had built this Place for Survivors so that they could be safe. Well we need somewhere to feel safe!” I said, “Roly has a big mouth and he is not my Man. I own the Property and all of us have built on it for nearly the past 20 years. We are all Co-Owners and if we took you in, we be putting you in danger again.” Pam spoke this time and said, “We are both strong and able and we will do anything you tell us, but please give us a chance if not for us then for our children’s sake.” When I looked at Kevin and Roly, they both nodded their Heads as if to tell me something. So I said “Alright, I can’t not let you come. Can either of you shoot a Gun?” Pam said that a few years back she had used a Shotgun but Jenny said that she had never.” I said “Don’t worry; it doesn’t take much to point a Gun and pull the Trigger.

When we get there you will have to be very strict with the Children, at least until all of this is over. Before I take you, are there any Questions?” Jenny said “Yes! Why aren’t you scared?” I said, “I am, but I can’t let it show, I now have 27 People to keep from getting killed, let’s go!  “Kevin! From now on we’ll call it Defcon 2, tomorrow we’ll rest.” I told both of them, of course, Roly was coming back with us, and he carried two of the Children. By the Time we got to our Community, it was time for Lunch. We took the New-Arrivals first over to the Clinic, it was not long before Helen, and the Newbies came into the Hall. When they got to where I was sitting, I stood up and said “Quick announcement! We have some new People and their Children here, to my left is Jenny and her two Children and to my right is Pam and her little Boy. Now seeing everything is upside-down here. Helen and I will take in Pam. Who will take in Jenny? When all this is over and things get back to normal, we will make other arrangements.” Lisa said, “Harry and I will take in Jenny and her Girls, I always wanted to be a Grandma.” It was nice to hear the Laughter that followed. I got up and beckoned Jenny and Pam to follow me.

 I took the both of them over to the Table where we had all the Weapons. The Women were surprised at the variety of Weapons we had. I selected a short Barrel 38cal Revolver and said, “This one will fit nicely into your Hand, it is easy to use and load, it makes a hell of a Noise and puts a big hole into the Object that you are shooting at.” Then I picked up a light Shotgun and said, “This has a bit of a kick, but it also makes a hell of a mess of whatever you are shooting at. You can’t do wrong with it just, point and shoot.” I showed both of them how to load both Guns and after a few tries both of them were able to use whatever Weapon they choose. Jenny said that she felt quite comfortable with the Revolver, whereas Pam said she preferred the Shotgun and as she was heavier build out of the two of them, I agreed with her. I selected a Holster for Jenny and handed her a couple Boxes of Ammo. I said to both of them that when the Time comes, they could get more Ammunition when required. Then I said “Well, this should do you until tomorrow when Harry will show you where he wants you when the SHTF” Any Questions or worries come and see Harry or me.” Jenny said “What about the Children? Where will they be?

I am not afraid for myself, but I couldn’t bear it if anything happen to my Kids.” I said, “You won’t have to worry about them, they will be in an Underground Bunker being looked after by the older Children.” They both said that knowing this made them feel a lot better. After Lunch, we took Pam back to our Cabin where Helen showed her their Room. For the next hour, Pam kept on working with her Shotgun. In her Ammo-Belt, she put the Cartridge exactly the way that she wanted them.  Next Harry knocked on our Door, I kept telling him that he did not have to knock, but he kept saying that old habits die-hard. Therefore, I said to him “Come in Harry. What can I do for you? Have you come for a Cuppa or have we got problems?”  He said, “No problems, just wanted to show you some of the Things that we got done in such a short time.” I said “Okay!” and grabbed my Hat. First, he showed me the way they had done the Barbwire, sort of Harmonic style and very effective looking. As we got closer, Harry said “Careful! Don’t forget the Nail Traps.” As I could not see any of them, I said, “Very good, I can’t see any of them.”

And then I felt around Ground to see if I could find one, but I could only feel them. I commented that they had done a terrific Job. Next Harry took me to a Bunker that they had built out of Logs and one of the Machineguns was placed inside with plenty of Ammo. He said, “The other other-one is in front of the Farmhouse. I said “Great! Who are you putting in the Farmhouse?” He said, “Don’t know yet, I thought we might talk about it tonight after Dinner.” “Yeah” I said, “Sounds good to me. How did Jimmy go with the Traps for the Channel?” “He got more done then I thought.” Said Harry “and all of the Bombs are in place and wired up. Are we going to use the Food Bunker for the Kids?” I sad “Yes. I thought that we send Molly, Tim, Ursh and MM down with the 3 Kids. That should keep them out of harm’s way.” “Yeah, it’s a bit of a worry! It is like being back in ‘nam.” He said looking at his Legs. I said, “How has Jenny been doing? She must be worried.” Harry said “Well, if she is, she is not showing it. All the while that I was there she kept on loading and unloading the Revolver until she had it off pat. I wouldn’t like to be her Enemy.” Harry continued by saying, “Rob has been very busy, he has been checking everything including the Cameras and Motion Detectors. I think everybody has been very good, I just hope that nobody gets hurt or worse.” “Yeah, me too.

At least Helen is carrying a Revolver now and she has been trying out one of the Shotguns, I think I have talked her into using “Birdshot” I told her that with this she can’t kill anyone with that.” I said, nearly stepping into one of the spiked Boards. When we went back into the Community Hall, we could see Steve and Lyn at the Control-Panel looking at the Monitors. I mentioned to Harry that the next night if the Marauders had not arrived by then, I would like to see the Monitors manned. If we can find someone to do it until 2am, I would do it from then until morning. Harry thought that it was a good idea and said that he would do it until 2am. I said to him that I was feeling rather dry and that if we went back to my Cabin, maybe we could find something to drink. Harry followed me back to the Cabin with a silly grin on his Face. Inside the Cabin Helen and Pam joined us for a Drink. Helen said, “What are you two celebrating?” “Oh!” I said, you know what they say “Eat, Drink and be happy, for tomorrow we might die.” She got really angry and shouted at me “That’s not Bloody funny! Hell Mark! Don’t say things like that.”

And she walked into our Bedroom. As I pored another drink, she came back out but I could see that she had been crying. She looked at me and said “Mark, you ought to have more sense.” I said, “OK, I apologise. So at least let’s drink and be merry.” She laughed at that and said, “You’ll never change!” After we had Dinner at the Community Hall, we had Roast Pork and Vegies. The Girls had placed Glasses and several Bottles of Wine on the Tables. Everyone was here except for Kevin who was out by the Highway. However, he knew what he had to do when the Marauders came; he was going to detonate the Bombs at the appropriate Time. I went over to the Blackboard, which had been cleaned since last used. I said, “May I have everyone’s attention please! I am now going to tell everyone’s Place and Job for when we are attacked, all the better if they leave us be and don’t attack us. But I will start with the Farmhouse. Roly will operate the Bren gun and hopefully he will not leave anyone for us, but just in case he is not as good as he tells us that he is, we have given him some back-up. Fred, Rob and Brian, will you join Roly for support? In addition, Steve you are going to be our Sniper, and remember “Keep your Head down” and that goes for all of you. Next, in the Community Hall and here you must remember that the Hall is virtually Bombproof and once you lock the Doors, it will be impregnable.

Down in the Cellar will be the three little once Molly, Tim and Lyn. Lyn, I am sending down with them for you to be in Charge, you will take your Weapon and of course your 2way, which nobody should be without in any case. Settle down please, there will be time for Questions after I am finish.” I said to everyone. Now next comes the Defenders, these are; Sandy, Mandy, Kathy, Lisa, Sandra and Donna. Helen, you and Lou of course will be our Medics, now there could be a problem and that is if you are called upon one of you will have to go up to the Farmhouse and this will be Dangerous, I would feel better if you let Harry or me go up there with you. That leaves Jimmy and as he had experience with the Bren Gun he will be out front here and hopefully looking after us. Finally yet importantly, Harry and I will be Rovers, meaning we will try to help out wherever we are needed. Now you may ask your Questions, but please only Questions that Harry or I can answer. OK, Lyn, what would you like to know?” Lyn said, “Do I really have to go down in the Bunker with the Kids?” I said to her “Lyn, we picked you for the Job, because we know you are a responsible Person. Honestly, I think you are best suited for looking after the Kids; for one thing, you were here when we built that Bunker for the Food supply and in case we had to hide in there. If the rest of us need to hide in a hurry, we will be relying on you to have everything in there ready for us. OK?” She said, “Yeah, I suppose so.” Moreover, she smiled. Sandra was next and she ask, “If we are attacked! How do you think it will go down?”

I said to her “From what Jenny and Pam have told us about the Bandits, they will charge in like a Elephant in a China Shop. First, they will send in two People to suss us out, they will report back to them and that is when they usually come to do their dirty Deed. One thing I will make sure off and that is, the two that are going to spy on us, they will never make it back to them. For us that means two less to worry about and the Bastards will still be in the dark about our defences. How does that sound to you?” She said, “Are you just going to kill them?” I looked at her questionly and said “Yes! They are going to kill us, given half a chance. Don’t ask me ask Fred, Jenny or Pam they already have suffered losses.” She thought about what I had said, and so just nodded her Head as if to say “Go ahead if you really have too.” Jimmy said, “What happen when I run out of Ammo?” Harry took this and said, “Give us a call on your 2way and we’ll cover you while you make good your escape. Will that suit you? We know that you have only 120 Rounds of Ammo. But when that is used up, like I said, call us, then grab your AK47 and we will give you cover-Fire while you move to your next Post and don’t run into any of our Traps.” Jimmy said, “So if they do what we think they do, we should be right. But what if they attack from a different Front, what will we do then?” I answered him by saying “We’ll improvise, that is all we can do. So everyone think about that and what you would do if that happen. OK?”

Now I would like to thank you all, not just for coming to this meeting and pondering on what our future may be. No, I like to thank you all for believing me when I said that one Day we would all come together here as one big Family. Well, our Family has grown by three extra Adults and three Children. If it wasn’t for the circumstances under which we met these People, who knows maybe we would not have welcomed them into our Family, but I for one am glad and I hope that you Jenny, Pam and Fred will stay as I learned that our Family needed to grow. Please look after our new Family members and help them as they will help us to survive whatever plans lay ahead for us. With having said, all that we are going to sit outside off our Cabin with our Glasses of Scotch and everyone who wants to is welcome to join us. Thank you and Good Night.”  I felt sorry for Kevin who was out at the Highway, making sure that we were safe from any surprise. Fred was going to relieve him at 10pm; maybe we will still be here outside enjoying ourselves. Well our little Party was enjoyed until the early Hours of Morning. There will be a few Hangovers I bet. I still got up at the crack of Dawn. First thing I did after I had my Mug of Coffee was to clean up the mess we had made the previous Night. We might be attacked soon, but I did not want to leave a bad impression. However, what I really wanted was to leave an impression so bad that they would never come back.  I walked out of our special enclosure, jumped onto one of the ATVs, and went for a drive making sure that everything was going all right. The boys that were going to be stationed at the Farmhouse were busy taken supplies up to the Farmhouse, enough Food and Water to last them for a Week.

We did not expect the Attack to last that long but it was better to be safe than sorry. Just then a horrible thought came to my mind, I could not kill the Snoopers when they came to suss as out, because the Gang would get suspicious if they did not report back. That could mean that they knew we were forewarned and would attack with caution. I think what we would have to do, is have the Place look normal, even innocent. It would also be a good idea to have the Children play happily, where the Snoopers could see them. We also would have to be nice to them and give them Food. Maybe show off some scantily clad women to give them an appetiser, so that they would have something to report. I drove back to the Community Hall as fast as the poor ATV would go. When I got there, I quickly submitted my plan to everyone that was there. Jenny and Pam were totally against the plan of letting the Children play. I told them that all of us would have our Weapons trained on the Baddies and that no harm could come to the Children. I myself would be standing right in front of them, Steve would have the Sniper Rifle trained on the left one, and I would take care of the right one if things went Sauer. The Women finally agreed to my proposal and said that they also would be playing with the Children to give the whole scene a better plausibility. I was glad that this was done. It was just after 10am Jimmy had just started his shift when he called on the 2way and said “There is a Car coming, but slowly, could be them, I’ll keep you informed.”

 I said to the Women “Showtime, let’s get you all out there and have some fun. Helen if it is them you come with me. Someone get a Food Parcel ready.” Helen said “Couldn’t you take Sandy, at least she can shoot.”  I said “OK! Sandy when they come, you will be with me. Have your Pistol hidden under your Shirt.” The 2way came on again and Jimmy said, “The Car has stopped, two People, Man and Women, The Women seem to be there against her will. He slapped her in the Face, so hard that she fell. He is shouting at her and pulling his Gun. Shall I take him? I got a clear shot.” I said “No Jimmy! Let it play out, we are on full alert.” I then took my Gun and Gun belt off, stuck the .50cal Desert Eagle down the back of my Pants and then grabbed a cheap looking Shotgun. I said to Sandy “Let’s go! In addition, be nice. Remember you catch more Bears with Honey than you would with Shit.” All she said was “Ha!” “Let’s pretend we are checking the Fences.” Next, I could hear 3 clicks over the 2way, which was a pre-arranged Signal telling me that the Enemy is getting close. Before I knew it the Man sang out to us from the Gate. I pointed to him to show Sandy that someone was trying to get our Attention. We slowly walked over to what looked like a Couple to us and I said, “Hi there, how are you? What brings you here?”

The man held the Women tight and said, “Me and the little Women came to ask for help, our Car broke down a couple of miles down the Road and I was hoping that you could spare us some Food and Fuel.” I said to him “Oh, that’s no worry. We can give you some Food and will 5 Gallons of Fuel be enough?” He said, “Yes that would be very helpful, can we help carrying some of it?” I said, “Thanks’ for offering but the Boss doesn’t let us bring anyone in, you know for security reasons. I am sure that man things everybody is out to take the Farm away from him. Oh by the way, I am Mark and this is my Daughter Sandy. She’ll get the Stuff for you; she can bring it back on our ATV.” He had a disappointed look on his Face when he said, “Yeah, I’m Bill and this is my Women Mary. Are there many of you living here on the Farm?” I sort of hesitated but said “Yeah, there are 3 Families here and believe me at times it gets crowded.” Sandy had disappeared and I could see the Children still playing at the Distance. So I said to him “How far are you going?” To which just like at Fred’s Fathers Place, he said, “We are going to my Brothers at Albany, we should be alright there as there is plenty of fishing. By this time, Sandy had returned on the ATV and we handed the Food and Fuel to them over the Gate. He said, “Thanks for that and you never know, but some Day we might meet again.” Then he waved “Good Bye.” We waved too and watched them leave. After a short while, Jimmy came back on the 2way and said, “All clear, in case you were watching they put the Fuel into their probably stolen SUV.”

Chapter 7

Sandy and I went back to the compound on our ATV, where we took it to the spot where we wanted it in case we suddenly needed it. Sandy had been smart enough when getting the ATV, Fuel and Food, instead of going to the Compound, Sandy went and got everything from the Farmhouse, so not to cause any suspicion. When we got back to the Compound, everyone wanted to know what had been going on. We told them about the man not being nice to the Women and that he had been hitting her and that we thought that she could have been one of the Prisoners. Everybody was very tense and you could not blame them as like the rest of us everyone was afraid. I had no idea how things would go, but tried to give everyone confidence by not showing that I was afraid too. Not so much for myself, but for the Women and Children. It also worried me that I did not know what kind of Weapons the Marauders would have. I just hoped that we were better equipped than the Marauders, as far as I could tell at this stage was that the odds were 4 to 1 in their favour.

The knowledge of this did not make me feel any better. In my mind, I kept going over everything hoping that I had not forgotten anything. But then like someone said “I was only human.” Helen spend every bit of time with me, afraid that something could happen to me.” There were not many People at the Lunch Table; it was hard to eat under these circumstances. I did not feel like eating either, but was told that I had too, as everyone was looking to me for guidance. Not knowing when the attack would come nearly drove me out of my mind. Harry came over to me and said, “This reminds me a bit of Vietnam.” I said, “You could be right, only this time we got all the Traps.” He said, “Got you worried?” I said “Yeah, for many reasons, one of them being that neither of us are that you were at that time and this is an entirely different Enemy.” He say’s “Yeah, are you having a drink with me?” I know that I should refuse but there was no way that I was going too and so I said to him “Why not? Let’s go!” I was tiered but I knew of no reason to why I should be, maybe after our drink I will have a laydown. We were about to walk back to my Cabin when whiles walking past the Community Hall Harry said “Hang on, I’ll get Lisa. Be right back.” Moreover, he was gone.

 I walked very slowly so that they could catch up to me, but I got to the Cabin first. By the time Harry and Lisa got to our Cabin, I had poured the Drinks. Harry said, “I wonder if we are going to get some warmer Weather?’ All of us had to laugh at Harry and his weird sense of Humour. But we all knew that our laughter was only to hide our real feelings. After another drink, Harry and Lisa went Home to their Place. Pam went to keep little Carl busy and I cleaned my Pistol for the 100th time or so it seems. But soon Night-Time was upon us and I still couldn’t get to sleep. At the break of Dawn, I was fully awake, I could not eat anything and so I stuck some Power-Bars into my Pocket. Good thing I was wearing my Cargo-Pants as they had many big Pockets. Suddenly the 2way came on and there was Kevin’s voice saying, “Here they come! Don’t shoot I am running to you.” A moment later we could see Kevin jumping over the Gate and running towards us, we could also hear the sound of many Cars and Bikes. When Kevin got to me he said “There are way more than 60 of them.” “Oh great! Was all I could think off?” Suddenly it got very quiet and I could see two people standing by the Gate carrying a white Flag or T-Shirt. I thought that something like this might happen and so I had a white Flag of our own ready. As I went to go, Harry said, “Let one of us go.

You are better of waiting with the rest of the Family.” I said “No! Because I am the Head of our Family I have to go, but who will go with me?” Every Hand went up and so I said to Helen “Feel like going for a walk?” She answered, “With you I go anywhere!” and so we went off to see the Marauders. As we got nearer to the Gate one off them sang out “That’s far enough, we can hear each other from there.” I said “OK! What do you want and I know that you didn’t just come to have Coffee with me.” He said, “Got a sense of Humour, have we? We are here to give you a chance to come out of this alive.” I said, “Oh Yeah, how will that happen?” He said, “Easy, you and your Men leave now, the Women and everything else stays.” I said, “Sorry but I’ll have to talk that over with the rest of us.” The other Fellow says, “Cut the Bullshit! You got 5 minutes, if you are not here, we come in, understood!” I turned to Helen and said, “Let’s just carefully back out of here.” Which we did and as we got about half way back to the Community I said “Let’s run into the Forrest now, I don’t trust them.” I was just finish saying it when a shot rang out and I could see a Bullet hit, not three feet away from us. “Too close!” I said to Helen as we dodged through the Bushes, being careful not to step into one of our own Traps.

I could see Steve being the first to fire from our side, two shots, two down, I said that he never misses and using a Suppressor, nobody hears the shots ring out. Marauders started to climb the Fence and as they slid into the Channel, they screamed when they trod onto the sharp Nails that Jimmy had made. After a dozen or more of the Bandits had thus injured themselves, the Bandits got more careful. Some of them were shooting at the People in the Farmhouse with their Rifles; they still did not know where the rest of us were. They did not even know about the Cabins in the Forrest, I had told everybody to hold their Fire until I or Jimmy started to shoot. The Bandits meanwhile had come up with the idea of putting Rocks into the Channel so that they could quickly get through it and to us. As soon as the first wave of Bandits came towards us, I told Jimmy to start firing. You should have seen them; Jimmy using the Bren-Gun was virtually mowing the Bandits down. Harry was standing by, at the switch for the Bombs, but I motioned to him “Not yet!” The Bandits suddenly stopped coming. Someone behind me said, “We won!” I said, “They are just regrouping and talking about what their next move is going to be.” We could also hear moaning from where lots of Bandits were laying on the ground not far from our Channel.

Some called out “Help me” but no one answered them or went out to help them. Under their Code, they were already gone. I took this chance and told everyone to do a radio check, this way I could hear that they were all right without worrying anyone. When I looked at the front Gate, I could see that the Bandits were busy again. This time they were not just throwing Rocks into our channel but also Car seats and spare wheels. There was also a Flatbed baking onto the Fence, there was something on it under Cover. Things like that worry me and I also saw that the Bandits were getting ready to attack again only this time because of the filled in Channel, they were able to spread out and attack in a much larger Force. This worried me and I told both Machine Gunners to concentrate their fire onto the oncoming Marauders. By now, I could see what was on the Flatbed and it scared the Shit out of me so to speak. What I saw was a Machine Gun on the back of the Flatbed and it looked much more modern then ours. Then I knew what they were going to do and they did. Whiles the group of about 30 men advanced, their Machine Gun was firing onto both ours. He obviously had a much better range and his Gun was Belt fed, which means he can fire many more Bullets before he has to reload. Some of their men were falling but I had to get their Machine Gun. I called Steve on the 2way and told him to get the Machine Gunner before he wiped us out.

Everything was happen so fast, it must seem slow in the Movies because of all the Commercials. Now everyone was shooting and the Marauder brought up another wave of about 30 men. I turned around and said to Harry “When you’re ready hit the Switch and let’s see how good a Job Sandy did with them Bombs.  I watched the advancing Marauders when Harry hit that Switch and what I saw nearly made me sick. There were Bodies and Body part flying up into the Air; it was so sickening to watch that everybody and I mean everybody topped shooting. Every Marauder that could walk or crawl did so back to their line. Steve was the only one to fire one more shot, and that shot got their Machine Gunner. Near the Gate, someone stood waving a white Flag. I said, “We better be careful, I don’t think that they are giving up. At the Farmhouse, someone made a mistake by standing up to see what was going on. Despite the white Flag, someone from the Marauders shot him. Steve called me and said, “Sorry Dad, it was Fred, he got shot in the Chest, and he was dead before he hit the Floor. Roly just dragged him in and covered him up; do you know what is happen?” I said, “Thank you for telling us and thank Roly for me. Are you alright?” Before he could answer me the shooting started up again. Harry came out of the Community Hall and said, “I heard, poor Fred. I think we should get everybody from the House to come back down here.”

When I looked towards the Marauders, I could see that they put someone else at the Machine Gun and he was the only one shooting. Right away, I got suspicious and thought “The Bastards are coming through the Forrest at us.” But I also thought that there couldn’t be that many left, but I would soon see that I was mistaken, they still had more men than us. I got onto my 2way and told the men from the Farm House to crawl along the Channel towards us and see if they could see any Marauders. Steve said that he was going to stay up there for a while, he said that he had a very good overall view of everything from where he was and he would not be much good in the Forrest with his Rifle. So I told him to stay up there and have another go at getting that Machine Gunner of theirs. Next, I could hear shooting in the Forrest up behind us and I was wondering whether our Boys were in trouble. Roly was leading the men along in the Channel and suddenly he saw one no two of the Marauders. He recognised one of them as one that he had seen through his Binoculars when he was watching Mark and Sandy as they were meeting with the Marauder and the Women. He took carefully aim with his Pistol and shot the man in his Face, the Bullet leaving out of the back of his Head making a big bloody Hole. However, at the same moment that Roly shot the Man, his Partner fired at Roly and the Bullet hit Roly in his Abdomen.

Brian behind Roly then shot the Fellow in the Head and called out on the 2way that Roly had been shot. I do not know what happen next but I could see Donna leaving the safety of the Community Hall and running towards where she thought that Roly would be. I sang out to Donna to Stop, to get back into the Hall but she kept running and most likely, because she was running zig, zag between the Trees she was only wounded instead of being killed when a shot rang out and hit her in her thigh. She went down to the Floor at the same time that Harry shot the Marauder that had shot and wounded Donna. Next I shot another Marauder with the 50cal Desert Eagle which will put a hole right through your Body, not that I am counting but that one made number 6 and yes I am counting but not just mine as I am trying to ascertain how many more we have to kill before we are safe again.

Now I heard the sound of spontaneous rapid fire and knew that at least one of the Marauders had a Sub-Machine Gun, maybe it was their Leader, he had to come out sooner than later. While all this was going on Helen and Lou had snug out with Sandy right behind them. Helen and Lou were going to look after Roly and Sandy went with them so that she could protect them from oncoming Marauders. Sandy had shot a couple that I know off and Helen had blasted one in the Face full of Birdshot, with her shotgun, which had really surprised me. Suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my Head and everything went Black. When I woke up again I was looking at the Ceiling above our Bed in our Cabin. Helen was sitting by my side, I think she was asleep I thought that I should wake her and ask her for something to drink as I was feeling very dry in my Mouth. Nevertheless, I must have fallen back asleep, as when I awoke for the next time it must have been night as the Cabin was only dimly lit. I could hear someone talking and after a moment I realised that, it was Helen talking to Pam. I went to get out of Bed but found that I did not have the strength and my Head ached something fierce. Why was my Head hurting like that? I must have knocked something when I tried to feel my Head. I could hear something fall to the Floor and the next moment Helen and Pam came into the Bedroom.

Helen with tears in her Eyes said, “You are awake!” I tried to tell her that I was, but I could only croak, as no words came out of my dry Mouth. She got me a Glass of Water with a Straw in it so that I could drink without having to sit up. Meanwhile Pam got onto the 2way Radio and told everyone that I was awake. But when everybody started to come to our Door, Helen told them that I was too weak to see anyone and maybe come back tomorrow. But of course she couldn’t keep Sandy and Steve out and so she let them in. When they came into the Bedroom I saw that both of them were wearing Bandages, I tried to ask them what had happen but found that my Mouth again was all dried up. I motioned to Helen that I wanted more Water and whiles giving it to me she ask me how my Head was. I told her that it was painful and said that it also hurt to talk. She kissed me and said “OK, no more talking. We’ll talk when you feel better.” She told me later that I was going to say something to her but fell asleep again. Next morning I found that I was fully awake and feeling better, I always know when I am better as I get very hungry.

There was two things that I wanted most, they were having Breakfast, and knowing what had happen, obviously we won against the Marauders, but what else and at what Price. But first, I ask Helen “How long had I been out to it.” She said with a smile, “You have been laying here for the past four Days and believe me I wasn’t the only one that was worried about you.” All I could remember was that Roly had been shot and also Donna and apparently me. Helen brought me Breakfast in Bed, for which she let me sit up a little and she had also brought Harry so that he could fill me in on everything that had happen. I said, “So Harry, what has been happen while I was out to it.” Well, it’s not all good news, as you probably guessed by now, we won!” and he continued “But it came at a very high price! As you remember, Donna and Roly got hit, next Sandy lost a Finger, got shot off, she also got creased by a Bullet in her side, Kevin, minor flesh wound, how do you get a Flesh wound in your Backside? That is one thing I like to know. Rob was very lucky, he lost an Ear, only a couple of inches more and it would have been his Head.”

Harry stopped talking. I said “Go on! I know there is more and why are you limping?” “Never mind, me. As you know we lost Fred to the Marauders, Well we also lost Roly, his wound was too bad, Helen and Lou tried everything, but in the End, he just did not have the strength to go on. Now promise me that you won’t try to get out of Bed, other ways I’ll call Helen.” I nodded my Head. He went on telling me, Next Sandra was shot in the Head, she died on the spot. I know how you feel about losing any of us, but please do not do anything stupid. We had four Days to think about it and it hasn’t gotten any easier.” As I choked, I said, “How did it happen, Harry?” I could see that he did not want to tell me, but after a moment, he said, “We were in the Hall where you laid on the Table out to it, when all of a sudden a Gun Barrel was pointed through one of the Holes in the Windows.” He stopped again but after a moment continued. “Sandra was the closes, she ripped her Pistol out of her Holster stepped forwards and before she had a chance to use it, she got shot in the Face.” Again he stopped, I could see this was hurting him and so when he continued by saying “In the Face!” I was unbelievable shocked.

Harry was sobbing out “Her beautiful Face!” I could not say what I felt, but it was some kind of Rage toward the Animal that had done this. Helen came in with Coffee that she had just made, she had also put a little of Scotch in it, which I knew when I saw she had brought us black Coffee. Gratefully we both accepted it. I took a couple of sips from my Cup and laid back onto my Pillow, I awoke 2 Hours later. The first thing that came into my mind was “What about Kevin, how was he coping with Sandra’s Death? What about Donna? As far as I knew all of Fred’s Relatives were dead.” I wanted to get out of Bed, but I soon found out that I was too weak. Later that afternoon Harry came back, bringing Lisa. I had dragged myself out of our Bed and now sat with Helen in the Lounge relaxing. Lisa and Harry joined us and Lisa turning towards me said, “How are you feeling now?” To which I replied, “I am a lot better than this morning, I’ll be up and running before you know it.” “Yeah, that‘ll be right.” She said, “Get as much Rest as you can, remember we nearly lost you.” I said “Sandra, Roly and Fred, when are we having there Funeral?” Lisa said, “I am sorry Mark, but we buried them two Days ago.” I kept on forgetting that I had been in a Coma for 4 Days and so I said, “I would love to go and say a few words over their Graves.” “That’ll be great, she would have liked that.” Lisa said.

So then I said to Harry “Tell me, how did we up getting rid of the Marauders?” “Well, this is what I think happen, when you got shot in the Head, I think everyone thought that you were Dead. Jimmy picked up his Bren-Gun, by now he had reloaded a couple of Magazines, he then took the Gun in his Hands and just walked amongst the Marauders and started mowing them down. You should ‘ave seen it, it was just like in the Movies when some Soldier just gets mad over something and leaves his safe position and runs up to his Enemy killing everyone. I heard it is some kind of madness or whatever that comes over you, when you get extremely angry. Anyway, he surely cut down their numbers. Steve stayed until the End at the Farmhouse, which by the way now looks like someone had said “Cut at dotted Line.” The House looks like it has been cut in half by their Machine Gunner. Steve on the other hand shot everybody that came into his Sights; eventually he killed the Gunner, who had made the mistake when he stood up to help his fellow Marauders. He did really well and so did everyone else. The Women never left their shelter except for Sandy Helen, Lou and of course Donna. We could not have stopped Donna once she heard that Roly was shot. He is going to be missed and not just by Donna.” I tried to get up out of my Chair, but did not have much luck and so Helen said “Mark!

What are you doing? What are you after?” “I am trying to get some Scotch for us to drink; I don’t think it is too early.” I said to Helen, who got up to make our drinks. I said “Did you get hit Harry?” He said, “Yeah, just a little scratch, on my side, it doesn’t stop me from doing anything.” So Lisa says “So far he has only used his mouth.” We all laughed and at that moment, Sandy came walking in. First thing she said was “Dad! What are you doing out of Bed.” “Just sitting here enjoying the Company.” I said smilingly. Then I continued, “I believe you can’t give me the Finger anymore, is that right?” She looked like she was going to blush, but kept a straight Face when she said, “Dad, I still got the other one.” Harry started to talk again and said, “Like I was saying, I think that all of us had close shaves one time or another. In the End the last of the Marauder put their Hands up in the Air and surrendered, they were nearly all Women and a couple of Boys. One off the Boys had pissed himself, I thought “You poor Bastard”. “What have you done with the Prisoners?” I said to him. “We after we interrogated them, put them in one of the Sheds.”

Harry said. I said then “Are we treating them alright? And what do you intend on doing with them?” “They are being treated the same way that I would want to be treated by my Enemy.” He said to me. “Shit!” I said, “I have to get out of here.” Lisa said, “Have another drink and then it is Time for Dinner. How is everything going in the Kitchen Sandy?” Sandy said, “Everything is good, some of it I got on Simmer.”  She said. So we had another drink, which I thought that we deserved. Therefore, after a while everybody left for the Community Hall to have their Dinner, except for Harry and me. We had our Dinner hand delivered by our Wife’s. Harry after having had something to eat lifted his Trouser Leg to show me where a Bullet from one of the Marauders hit the Artificial Leg. Then he said, “You know, we never found that Leader of the Marauders, I hate to think of him going somewhere and starting up a new Gang of Bandits. We were lucky that we had been warned by Fred and then by the Women.” I interrupted him and said, “By the way, whatever happen to the Women, how did they go?” “Oh they are going well, there have been a few changes around here, but I wasn’t involved and so we will have to ask one of the Women.”

Harry said. Just then, the Women returned from their Dinner and Lisa said, “Ask them what?” I said I was just wondering about Jenny and Pam and what they were doing, I noticed that Pam wasn’t here anymore.” Lisa said “Yes the have moved into their own Cabin and are quite happy now. About the other matter about our Prisoners, we have had a talk and now just wait on your approval.” I said, “What have I got to approve?” Lisa took a deep breath and said, “We talked about what to do with the Prisoners, seeing that most of them are Women and a couple of Boys we have come up with the idea that we make them an offer.” “And what is that?” I ask. Lisa said “We will tell them that the can go free with their weapon and Ammo after they have concluded three Month of Labour and maybe catch up with whoever, or they can do the three Month Labour and provided that we are satisfied they can then become honorary Members of this Family and someone said that Jenny and Pam should do that too, but there I disagree. Well what do you think?”

I thought for a moment and said, “Mm, I like it, and approve, with the exception of Jenny and Pam, they have fought for the right to belong to the Family. I wouldn’t like for them to leave, I’ll even out up with Pam’s little Monster.” Everyone had a good laugh at that. Lisa said, “Shall I go and tell them, or do you want to.” I said “No, you go, you are in charge of this one, only one thing more, I think you have done a great job, but I would like to talk to all of them individually, but not now. Whenever I am on my Feet again, we will talk about it then. I still think it is a damn good Idea making them repair what their Buddy’s did. Ha, ha.” After a while Harry and Lisa left as they got to the Door Lisa said “Oh by the way, you look terrific in a Turban.” I said, “Thanks and Get out!” With them gone I went to Bed, I was tiered. Next, Day I felt great and called a Lunchtime meeting; I was feeling good and wanted to do things. But first, I had to go and see Donna and Kevin to give my condolences; I don’t think I have ever done that before.

I walked over to Donna’s Cabin and knocked on her Door. She said “Just a minute, I’ll be right there.” I said, “Take your time!” The Door flew open and Donna threw her Arms around me and started to cry. This is what I had been afraid off; I am no good with Emotions and Women crying. I stroked her Hair and said softly “It’s alright; you go ahead, I am so very sorry about your loss.” She stood back and said “But what about you Mark? You could have been killed, I was lying next to you when they brought you in, and we all thought you were dead, but Lou found your Pulse. How are you feeling now? You must be still in a lot of Pain. At least when Roly went, I was there with him and I was able to hold his Hand right up to the End. I miss him so much, come on in I’ll make us some Coffee.” I said “Are you coping Donna, is there anything I can do?” She looked sad when she said, “Did you know his Parents, Mark?

They were lovely People; did you know Roly took me all the way to Switzerland to meet them?” I knew but I said, “No, I don’t think he ever talked about them.” She passed me a Mug of Black Coffee and when I looked at her she said “I need it Mark, I am not an Alcoholic, but I need it now so that I don’t break down in front of my Son.” I said, “Donna, your Son is old enough he would understand, hell, he’ll expect you to cry.” Donna said, “You are a good man Mark and you have been a very good Friend.” “We all are good Friends and I think that we should have a Wake, he would expect it. Yes! We’ll give Roly and Sandra a great big send-off.” I said to her. Just then Rob came in and said “Hi Uncle Mark, I was wondering if I should see you or Harry? You see I am having a bit of a problem, two of our Solar-Panels have been damaged during the Fight and I don’t know if I could replace them.” “Don’t worry about it Rob, without the Panel can we cope, how is it going to affect our supply of electricity, do we have to cut-down anywhere?” I said. Rob said, “No, we don’t have to worry, we still have more than enough electricity.” I said “Rob, shouldn’t you be taking it a bit easy at a time like this?” He said “No I can’t, anyway Dad would have wanted me to keep going, isn’t that right Mum?” he looked at his Mother for an answer. Therefore, Donna said “Yes Son, now come and help me getting some Wood.”

I said
“Thanks for the Cuppa Donna, Come around when you are ready, I am sure Helen would love to see you.” She said, “I will, soon.” I walked out of their Cabin and seeing I was having a terrible Headache I thought that I best be going home again. I knew I should go and see Kevin but my Head was getting worse. When I got to our Cabin, I saw that both Mandy and Sandy were there. “What brings you two here, are you here to look after me again?” Sandy said, “Naw, we just came to talk with Helen and I can see you are not well so we are leaving again.” I said, “Spread the rumour there is going to be a Wake held, just find out what everyone is thing about the idea. OK?” Sandy said “Yes Dad, good idea, catch you later.” Helen said to me “Headache again? You have to take it easy other ways you are going to get in trouble again. Come and lay down, I will bring you a Tablet. What do you want to do about Lunch?” I said, “I don’t know! There is so much that need doing and here I am lying in Bed. You think you could ask on my behalf to have the meeting at 2 o’clock, I’ll try to sleep, just get me a Sandwich.” I could not remember her giving me that Tablet, I was fast asleep. Next thing Helen wakes me to go to the meeting.

I did not feel much better, but went out to see if I could talk to Kevin before the meeting. When I got to his Cabin he was sitting outside with Brian “How are you, Kevin? “ I said “and you Brian. How are you coping?” “Pardon me for not getting up, but my Leg where the Bullet got me is still bothering me.” Kevin said “Shit! I did not even know that you were hit. How did that happen?” I said to Kevin. Kevin then told me the story of how whiles defending the Place, he let his Guard down when he heard the Women in the Community Hall screaming. He was going to go over and see what was wrong when he got a Bullet in his left Leg, just above the Knee. When he found out what had happen, his entire World had collapsed. I than told him that I had come to pass on my Condolence to the both of them. Nevertheless, Kevin was in no mood to hear anything about Sandra, to him she was still alive and coming Home soon. When I talked to Brian, he told me that his Father had been like that in denial since his Mother had passed away. Next Brian said to me “Uncle Mark, Dad doesn’t know what he is doing or saying. If I were you, I come back later. I do not feel much better but I will come to the meeting, but I tell you now, I will vote for them Bastards to hang. Sorry, Uncle Mark, but that is how I feel.” I said, “That’s alright Brian, we all must do what we think is right, I’ll see you at the meeting then. Say good bye, to your Father for me, OK?” I walked over to the Community Hall with a bad feeling in my Stomach. Maybe it was too early to decide the fate of the Prisoners.

However, what was going to happen was going to happen, no matter what. When I walked in, nearly everyone was there waiting for me. I really hate crowds, even when they are Family. I think I would have made a good recluse, as I am very shy, People would never know, as I am always loud and extroverted. Now I am facing the Crowd that is my adopted Family, they all stood up and started to applaud me. I did not know what to do and so I said “Thank you for being here, but why the applaud?” Harry stood up and said, “Well, first of all, this is the first time that most of us have seen you since the attack, also we thank you for being our Leader, Friend, Father and Companion. We also again like to thank you for having the foresight to build this place our home. Nevertheless, most of all, we are grateful that you are alive. More applaud, this time for Harry. I said, “Again thank you, but now we better start this meeting, which is; what to do with our Prisoners? Now I know that all of us have suffered at the Marauders Hands, some of us much more than others. However, we must not forget that we are Humans and not like the Marauders.

I like to put a question to you, what if you had no place to go when TSHTF, imagine that you were starving and would die in a short time if you did not get any Food and Water. Along comes the Marauders and offer you all you can eat or drink if you joined them. I know that I would join them to survive. I have been told of a solution, seeing these 11 People, Man, Women and Boys younger than yours. Have surrendered to us we should show them lenience and make them work for us for the next 3 Month. I think that it is only fair that they should work, especially at rebuilding what their Comrades have destroyed. The Prisoners have agreed to do so; they will work for their Freedom. Now I would like you to vote on this anonymously, there is a locked Box over there, please put your votes in there by tomorrow night. After tomorrow at this Time, we will determent the fate of the Prisoners by your vote, so vote carefully. Before I could continue, Brian suddenly stood up and started to fire his Pistol at the Prisoners before he was overpowered by Harry and Steve and taken outside. Lou and Helen moved as fast as they could trying to help the shot Prisoners who were taken to the Clinic. Harry came back inside and told me that they had taken Rob home and placed him under House Arrest until further notice.

After a while, Steve came back in and stood by the door. I ask if we should continue and the majority wanted it over and done with and so I said “Next on the agenda is the wearing of Arms at all times, we have just witnessed what can happen but don’t let that influence your decision, I personally vote for yes, but please don’t let this influence you, this is just me and I like to be prepared for any surprise that might pop up. I think this can be voted on by the show off hands. You will have time to think about it until the end of this meeting. Now if I could please have some kind of damage-report.” I sat down again and had a drink of Water, I was feeling lousy, and my Head was throbbing. Rob stood up and said, “We lost 2 Solar-Panels and some Fuse Boxed have been shot to pieces. That’s all from me.” Rob sat again and Greg stood up and said “The Farmhouse coped a terrible beating it is just about shot to pieces, if we want to use it in future we will have to do lots of repair or rebuild it. We lost a Cow and a Goat to stray bullets.”  I saw that Kathy and the Girls were sitting with him. Harry said, “The channels need cleaning out, unless you want to leave it as it is.” I said “All of you, what about it? Shouldn’t we leave the traps in there but just clean out the Rubbish that the Marauders had thrown in there?” I think everyone agreed that we should leave the Spike-Traps in the Channels.

 Helen stood up next and said, “Please everyone, Mark doesn’t look good and he still hasn’t recovered from the shot in his head, so I am going to take him Home and put him to Bed. Thank you for understanding.” She took my Hand and walked me out of the Hall and to our Cabin. I felt guilty at leaving but Helen was right. She put me to Bed and went back over to the Clinic to help Lou. I fell asleep but had a terrible Nightmare, in my Dream I saw Roly and Sandra they were bleeding continuously and they were both reaching out and then suddenly two Women without Faces joined them and they were pointing at me as if they were accusing me of something. I awoke in a cold sweat when I heard Helen coming into the Cabin. She told me that two of the women that Brian had shot at did not make it, but the other one was going to be fine after a short rest. It might sound cruel but realistically speaking I now only had 9 Prisoners to worry about. I needed a Glass of Whisky and Coke badly. Next, I got onto our internal Phone and called Kathy and Greg, when they answered, I invited them over for a bit of a Chat with Coffee and Cake that Sandy had baked under Lisa’s instructions. When they came over I asked where the Girls were and Katy told me that they were over at Jimmy’s Place playing with Molly and Tim.

 Whiles having a Cup of Coffee, neither of them drank any Alcohol; I ask how they went during the Attack. Greg said that he was being kept very busy as he was at the Farmhouse, which the Marauders thought was our Residency. Kathy was with the rest of the Women in the Community Hall and she said to me, “Mark, I still can’t fathom how you were prepared for this; I thought it was terrible, but this is what it was getting to in Kalgoorlie.” I said to her “I read too many Books and some of the things that I read about stay in my mind, like when I read a Book about Apocalyptic and Doomsday Stuff, which was when I decided to build this place. The rest of it, when you got enough money, you can achieve anything. But let me ask you both, what are your thoughts on the Prisoners and what to do with them?” Greg said “They are nearly all women, we should let them live. I can’t see any reason to kill them that would make us as bad as the Marauders.”

I said, “I agree and I think I will have a talk with them.” Helen had not said anything which rather surprised me. Kathy said, “Thanks for inviting us over, it is always nice to see you both, I suppose we’ll see you at the Hall for Dinner?” She and Greg got up and left I suppose to get their Kids. I decided to stop for the day, my Head was aching and it would not do me any harm to go to Bed early. Nevertheless, it was not to be, I had been asleep for a while when Helen woke me and said that Harry and Lisa were here. I got up out of Bed and walked into the Main Room, I was going to call it the entertainment Centre. We greeted and I said, “Thanks for getting me up, Helen would have let me gone to sleep without my drink of Whisky.” They laughed and Helen made Drinks. I noticed that both Lisa and Harry wore their Pistols. After we settled down Harry said, “What will happen to Brian? I don’t think we can overlook that he premeditatedly killed two unarmed Women.” I said, “If I was a Lawyer, I make him plea temporarily Insanity, but we both know that it was premeditated and you are right, so what can we do?”

Harry said, “If he was not of the Family, he would get banned.” “If we ban him, Kevin would leave too. Shit! I hate this, why did he have to do it? I warned him not to do anything foolish.” I said to Harry and poured us another drink. Lisa said, “You could give him a choice.” I was all Ears and said, “Explain please.” Lisa said “What if he had a choice between, let’s say; 12 month Community Service or banishment?” I said, “The Idea is very good, I like it. Only thing is Brian works hard already for the Community, so we would have to come up with something else.” I said “Let’s sleep on it; I think I have an Idea.” “Yeah, let’s have another drink and then let these good People go to Bed,” Harry said looking at Lisa. Well we had a couple more drinks before Lisa managed to drag Harry out and we went to Bed. Next morning Helen said “Last Night you said that you had an Idea, care to share it?” I said, “I am going to ask everyone to select a punishment for Brian and then take what most of them voted on.”

She said, “So you’re passing the Buck?” I said, “No, not really as mine is the final decision. Are you ready to go to Breakfast?” We both went across to the Community Hall where we took our place at the Table. As usual, Breakfast was good and filling. As the first People started to leave I said “May I have your attention for a moment! We have a problem to solve, as Brian has murdered, yes murdered. Any premeditated killing is Murder and so we have to punish him. It is up to all of us to choose a form of punishment, as far as punishment it has been suggested to me that he should be banished from our Community, but that is only one suggestion. Maybe you could write down what you think the punishment should be. We will meet here again at 10 o’clock this morning, thank you everybody.” Helen and I left and walked back to our Cabin. I hated the whole Idea of punishing Brian as he had been punished enough be losing his Mother. In our Cabin, I sat down and started to clean my other Pistol, whiles cleaning my Weapons I came up with some of my best Ideas. I finished, as it was time to go over to the Meeting.

As I walked inside I could see that Harry was already there, he had all the pieces of Paper with everyone’s suggestion for punishment. Harry looked at me and shook his Head, but I did not know what he meant. Harry came over to me and said “The choice of punishment is about 50/50 banishment one half for and the other half against.” I said “What that most likely is, one half of the voters are the Core Family and they are against punishing Brian the other half are the People that came later and are thinking with their Heads instead of their Hearts. Good thing is that I have the final decision. Let’s get it over and done with.” I noticed that neither Kevin nor Brian were present, I suppose it was better this way, as People would talk more freely. I stood up and said, “Please may I have your attention, the decision for punishment is a tie-breaker. So I would like to have a few words, first, you all know that I am no Lawyer or have ever studied anything about Law. So let us start with a Scenario, just for the Men.

Which one of you would shoot an unarmed Woman that was just sitting in the Hall, you do not know her, and you have never met. Hands up who would shoot her or any Women that is here in the Hall now?” You could have heard a pin drop it was so quiet and all Women were looking at the Men in the Hall, but nobody raised their Hands. I said, “Don’t worry, nobody doubts your integrity, I just wanted to make a point. You might say, but he had good reason to shoot them Women. OK, if you had not stopped him then what? Was he just going to keep on shooting until all of the Women were dead? In addition, I mean all Women here in the Hall. Sound’s frightening doesn’t it? Hell, I am like you, I haven’t got the answer, but as the Leader here I have to make a decision, or please would someone make it for me? Would you help me by thinking about what you just heard and write down your decision for one more time?”

There was many People nodding their Heads, but not all of them and so I ask Harry “Would you go and get Brian please?” He didn’t say anything but left the Hall. I had to have a glass of Water which I than poured. It didn’t take long and Harry came back with Brian, who looked around defiantly. I said “Brian, sit down please.” However, Brian kept standing. I said, “Alright have it your way. You have shot three Women, 2 of them died from Gunshots inflicted by you. As far as we know these Women have never done you any Harm, their only Crime was that they were with the Marauders that attacked us. I do not even know that they ever fired a shot. Has anyone here seen these Women fire at any of us?” Nobody said anything and so I continued by saying “Brian, 13 Members of our Family have voted on the kind of punishment that you should receive for what you did.

I will now read them out, they are all anonymous. 1. Says; Banishment! 2. Says; nothing! 3. Nothing! 4. Banishment! 5. Banishment! 6. Death! 7. Nothing! 8. Banishment! 9. Banishment! 10. Nothing! 11. Don’t know! 12. Banishment! 13. Banishment! That is the lot; I abstain from voting being the Leader.” Everyone was quiet, even Brian did not say anything. I said, “Brian, you will be banished from the Community, you will be given, Food, Water, and your Weapon. The sentence will be carried out in 3 Days’ time. Do you want to say anything Brian?” Nevertheless, he just shook his Head and left the Room, so did everyone else. I went back to my Cabin where Harry was waiting for me. After greeting him, I said “Harry! What if we change Brian’s punishment, just slightly?” He said, “What do you mean by, slightly?” I said “We make it banishing for 12 Month, his time is up and he’ll be welcomed back into the Community.” Harry shook his head and said, “It’s not going to happen! He won’t come back, you can be sure of that.” “As long as his Father is here, he’ll come back.” I said, but I was not too sure about it. Next morning whiles I was having my Cup of Coffee there was a knock on my Door.

When I told whoever it was, to come in, to my surprise I saw that it was Kevin. I said “Kevin, sit down! You can’t believe how sorry I am, first Sandra and now Brian.” He interrupted me and said, “That is what I am here for, I am going with Brian and we are taking Lyn to. I saw Harry and he said that you changed the banishing to 1 Year, is that right?” I said, “Yes Kevin, one Year is still a long time and you know that if it was just up to me I would let it go.” I waited to see what Kevin would say. He said, “I am still going with him, would you let Steve go by himself if it was him and not Brian?” I said, “You are right, I would go with Steve, no Question about it.” He said quietly “Do you think we could have an extra Gun and Ammo?” I was relieved at his request and said “Kevin, we got about 60 extra Guns and plenty of Ammo that we collected from the dead Marauders.

I’ll tell Harry to give you anything you want after all some of it would be your share in any case.” He thanked me and left again, most likely to see Harry. The next Day Kevin and Brian left the Community and I had that feeling that they would not be back.

Chapter 8

Three Month later the Prisoners had finished their sentence, and when we gave them the choice of staying on as Members of the Community or leaving, they all wanted to stay. Over the past three month, we had grown quite fond of some of them, but we found that they were all good and willing workers. Not only that but they tried to fit in with us and that was good. Now we needed to find permanent Accommodation for them and so I ask them to meet with Harry and me in the Community Hall. We all sat and I said, “We have Accommodation for three of you in the same Cabin. It was Kevin’s Cabin and it has been empty since he left. It has three Bedrooms and so it would be ideal for three of you that can get along with each other.” Carol, Sue and Tam said that they would like the Cabin and the others agreed to it. Bill, George and Frank would move into the Farmhouse. When I saw Sandy, she told me that Emma was going to live with her and Mandy. Lisa said that she and Harry would take Linda, they had the extra Room and they got to like Linda. When I thought that everything was going well, Rob came to see me.

 He said “Uncle Mark! We have a problem!” I said “Oh yeah, tell me all about it.” He said, “We can’t run the Generators any more. They are all right for a short while, but if we wanted to run them longer, we are going to run into trouble. Uncle Mark, we really need new Solar-Panels to replace the ones that we lost when the Marauders attacked.” He looked at me hoping that I have a solution and so I said “Rob, I think what you will have to do is go into one of the Towns and see what you can pick up.” He said “That was what I was thinking but with 2 more Men.” I said “Let me talk to Harry and I will get back to you.” He said, “OK, Uncle Mark, I better get back to Mum.” He left and I called Harry on the 2way and ask him to come and see me. As always Harry was quick, it was also time to have a Drink. Harry sat down and took his Glass, saying, “Here is to us!”

Then he continued by saying, “So, what do you need?” I said, “Am I that obvious? So here it is, a while ago young Rob came to see me, and apparently we need a couple of Solar Panels and he is willing to go into Town to get them. The thing is, I do not want him to go alone, I like for you to find 2 or 3 more People to go with him. His Vehicle has a Roof-Rack on it, what do you think about fitting a Bren-gun on to it?” “Yes, that sounds like a very good idea to me. So what else?” He ask. “Well, I thought that we build a kind of square Cage, very light and then we’ll put that over the Bren-Gun with a Tarp over it. It will look as if he is carrying a large Box on top of the Vehicle. What do you think?” I ask, drinking down my Whisky. Harry said “Yes, can be done, shouldn’t take too long. Did you have anyone in mind to go with him?” I said, “No, I am leaving that up to you. Are you ready for another Drink?” We had a couple more drinks and Harry left, so I went looking for Helen.

 I did not see Harry again until the next evening, when he came over to tell me what he had arranged for Rob. We had the usual drinks when Harry said, “Well, we got Rob’s SUV loaded with Food, Water and extra Ammo, we had no trouble mounting the Bren-Gun on top and then we camouflaged it with the Cage and Tarp. He has an extra three men, there is Greg, and he volunteered no Question’s asked. Maybe he wants to get away from Kathy or the Cow’s for a while, I did not ask. Then George and Linda also wanted to go along, they both said that they could be relied on one hundred per cent. I think that they will be all right and reliable enough in a skirmish. Mind you, I do not know why Linda went; I think she is sweet on Rob. Anyway they all seem to be looking forward to this Trip.” I said “Ah well, let’s hope that they get what we need without getting into any trouble.”  

Next morning when Rob got out of Bed, he remembered that this was the Day. For the first time someone had trusted him to go out on a Mission. He knew that he was not going to let his “Uncle” down. By the time he got dressed and came out, his Mum was waiting for him with his Breakfast ready. Many People in the Community had stared to have their Breakfast at Home. When he left the Cabin, Greg and the other two were waiting. Greg said to Rob “Let’s go “Sleepy Head!” Rob put his Backpack on and off they went to Rob’s SUV. They checked that everything was secure and drove down the Highway towards Town. They were going to Albany, a Town of considered size. Rob thought that it was a good thing that he had long Range Tanks in his Vehicle. The Trip was fairly uneventful until they reached Demark, or just before. Greg must have had good Eyesight, as he was the first to see the Barricade across the Road. Rob slowed down and drove slowly towards the Barrier, being vigilant of People, as he had been warned about this Place.

He started to worry a bit when he saw Men with Guns at the Barrier. Everyone in the Vehicle took out their Weapon and made sure that it was ready. When Rob got close enough to the Barrier one of the Men from behind it, stepped out pointing his Rifle at the Vehicle and said, “If you want to come through here you have to pay a Toll. Rob sang out from the safety of his Vehicle “And what would that be?” The Fellow answered in a sarcastic Voice “Well, let’s see what we want?” He turned to his Mates and said something that Rob could not hear. He turned back facing the Vehicle he said, “Well, first we want all of your Weapons and then we want all of your “Tucker” Food.” Rob got angry and said, “If we gave you our Weapons and Food, there be no sense in going on, we’ll have no way to defend ourselves.” The Fellow laughed and said, “That’s another thing, we also want your nice Vehicle.” Rob turned the Vehicle around, whiles everyone from behind the Barrier was shooting at them.

He drove about one Hundred Metres and stopped; everybody got out and started shooting back at the Badies. Greg and Linda kept firing whiles Frank got the Tarp of the Bren-Gun whiles Rob climbed up onto the Roof of the Vehicle. Next Rob started spraying the Men behind the Barrier with Bullets from the Bren Gun. It took only a moment and the men from the Barrier were dead. Rob said “Shit! I am glad Uncle Mark thought of the Bren Gun, other ways we would have been in big trouble. Don’t worry about covering the Bren; we’ll most likely need it again, before this Trip is over.” Everybody got back into the Vehicle and Rob drove off slowly towards the Barrier. When they stopped, they could see that none of the Men was left alive. Then to Rob’s surprise he could hear the sound of a Women sobbing. As he looked around, he found a Women hiding in one of the Vehicles that were used to build the Barrier. Rob could see that she had been severely mistreated and so he said to her “Don’t be afraid, we are not like these Fellows here.”

As he was pointing at the lifeless bodies that were lying around where they had fallen. He continued to say to her “Are you alright? Turning to Linda, Rob said, “Linda, would you help this Woman, please!” Linda came over and took the Women by the Arm, which was like the rest of her Body, namely battered and bruised. Rob said as he looked around, “We might as well camp here.” He pointed at the thick Forrest “Take the Vehicle in there and we’ll make Camp right next to it, I’ll go and collect these Men’s Weapons and Ammo. We also better get rid of their Bodies, before we leave in the Morning.” He thought that their Weapons might come in handy and they could always use the Ammo. Frank and Greg wandered off to find some dry Wood, so that they could make a Fire. This time of the Year, the Evenings were getting colder and he was worried about the young Women.

He walked over to where Linda and the young Women were sitting. When he got there, he held his Hand out and said “Hi! My name is Rob; can you tell me your name?” She backed away from him like a frightened Child; Rob did not know what he should do. After a while, Greg and Frank had a fire going so Linda took the Women by her Hand and led her over towards the Fire. Linda was pretty old for her young Years; nobody had ask her why she had joined up with the Marauders. Greg did the cooking this evening and he told everyone that he was making “Stew”. They had brought lots of Kangaroo Meat, which was very nice when you made a Stew from it and Greg knew how to cook. Frank was sitting by the Fire and cooking Toast for everybody. Rob thought that he would make another attempt to talk to the Women; he wanted to find out from her as much as possible before they left in the morning. As he got to the two Women, he ask Linda to get them a Cup of Coffee.

While they were, waiting the young Women looked at him and whispered to him saying, “My name is Judy and I come from Albany.” She pointed at the Barrier and said, “These Bastards killed my Husband and my Son, I don’t know how many time they had raped me.  When my Husband tried to help me, they first beat him up and when he passed out they shot him. When my Son, who was in hiding saw this he came out, that’s when they shot him too. They dragged me with them wherever they went and all of them had their way with me. Can I please stay with you?”  Rob thought it over as he knew that they could be facing more danger and said “We have to go into Albany to get a few things, I be glad to take you with us, but when we get to the outskirts of Albany, you’ll have to hide there until we get back. Is that okay with you?” She said “Oh yes, I got no one left to go to, I’ll do whatever you say.” He said, “That’s good because I’m telling you now, to come and eat.”

She cracked a smile and nodded her Head. Rob thought that she was quite pretty and judged her to be in her twenties. After they had eaten, he told Linda to take the first Watch and told them that he was taking the last watch. He was an early riser anyway, usually about 4 o’clock. Next morning they drove off to Albany and they reached the Outskirts at about two hours later. Rob stopped the Vehicle and had a look around to see if he could find anything suspicious. When he thought that it was all clear, he told everyone to look around the Houses and to see what they could find. Most of the Houses were abandoned but he found one that was occupied. He introduced himself as to the occupiers and was told that this was just one Family, Peter and Gladys who lived her with their two grown-up Sons, who were out trying to find some Food.

Peter said that all of their Neighbours had left earlier, but he was staying here with his Family. When Rob told him what they were doing in Albany, he ask Peter if it was possible for Judy to stay until the evening at the latest. Rob then explained how they had come upon Judy at the Barrier and what had happen to her. After listening to him Gladys told him that, they would take good care of Judy. She had Tears in her Eyes when she told him that they had lost their Daughter when TSHTF under similar circumstances. After having a Cup of Coffee with them, we left to go into Albany and find us some Solar Panels. In the Industrial Area, we found two places, but before we could get them, we had to find a Trailer. Finding a Trailer was no trouble, the trouble was that the Owner would not accept any Money. He told us that Money was worthless, but he will be willing to accept Guns and Ammunition. We were lucky that we had collected the Guns at the Barrier and so we purchased our Trailer for three Rifles and some Ammo.  

We hooked the Trailer up and drove off toward the Place where we could get some Solar Panels. Just driving along Rob could see closed Businesses everywhere he looked. So when they got to the Solar Panel, we found that here too, nobody was working. The front Gate was locked with a big Padlock, that no one had a Key for. Greg rummaged around in the back of the SUV and found a pair of Bolt-Cutters. He got out of the Vehicle and quickly cut the Lock, having this done he proceeded to open the Gates. Rob parked the SUV and Trailer in the Yard and everyone went looking for suitable Panels. Rob all together found six that were ideal for what he wanted. All six of them were loaded onto the Trailer and tied down very securely. We then drove off with our newly acquired Treasure.

A little down the Road, Rob slowed down, saying that he saw movement up near the Cars that were parked about a hundred Meters from us. Rob kept on driving slowly, not wanting us to end up in a Trap. Suddenly two young Men came out from behind one of the Cars, but Rob saw that there were more of them hiding. The Men pointed their Rifles at us and one of them said “Don’t you know that Looters will be shot?” He must have been the Leader, well build with fiery Red Hair. Without getting out of his Vehicle, Rob said, “Why, are you the Police?” The Redhead said, “You might say that. You see we come along here minding our own Business, when you come brazenly along and steal these Panels. I think that you should pay us a small Fee, for us looking the other way.” Rob tried to get out of the Situation by saying, “What would you consider a small Fee?” The Redhead said with a big smirk on his Face, “We would like for you to get out of the Vehicle, then you can hand over your Weapons and then maybe and I mean maybe we will let you go.”

 Rob said to everyone “Battle stations” “Who do these Bastards think they are, Greg get ready to man the Bren.” Everything then happen very quick, Rob turned the Vehicle around and whiles the Bandits were firing at them, Greg climbed up on top of the SUV. Meanwhile there were Bullets flying everywhere, as soon as Rob had stopped Linda and Frank had opened their Doors and crouching behind them started to return fire. As soon as Greg got behind the Bren Gun and started firing, that was the end of the fight. Whiles Greg watched out for us, again we were collecting Guns and Ammo. Rob found that the Redhead after being Gutshot was still alive, but he could see it was not going to be long before he too would be Dead. Rob said to him whiles shaking his Head, “This is not your Day!” and then he got back into his SUV.

Rob was anxious to get back to Judy and the “Old Couple”. He thought that he should not think of them as old, as they were about the same age as his Uncle Mark. On the way there Rob had an Idea, which when they got back to the House, he wanted to talk about. It did not take them very long before they were back at Peter and Gladys Place. When they walked up to the Door, they were greeted by two Teenagers with Rifles in their hands. Lucky for us Peter came out and told his Boys that we were “Friendlies”. Both of the Boys introduced themselves to us and we found out that the older one was Ray and his Brother was named David. .

After Dinner we all sat in the Lounge Room relaxing, Peter had brought out several Bottles of Wine, which we were now enjoying. Then Rob said to Peter, “You know, I have been thinking about this ever since we left here. How would you and your Family like to join us back at the Community?” Peter looked at Gladys and said, “That is a very generous offer and I like to thank you for it. While you were away, we had been talking about your Community and how you have everything that we are missing now. But I don’t know how we can just get up and leave our Home. Also would we be welcomed there by your Friends or will we be just another mouth to feed?” Rob said to Peter, “I think that I can guarantee that you all will be welcome, my Uncle owns the whole Place and he always said that there is strength in numbers. So you will be helping us, as well as yourselves, we are short on People and this will be your Home as it is ours.”

Peter said, “Do you mind if we talk this over for a few minutes and then we will join you again with our answer.” They left the Room and Greg said to Rob, “Don’t worry, I agree with you and so will anyone else.” After they had another Drink, Peter and his Family came back in. Peter looked serious, but said, “Well, if you are sure we like to go with you, we have a 24” Caravan, which we will take with us so that we have somewhere to live. Now before we load that, is there anything special that we can bring, we have a Generator if that is of any help.” Rob told Peter to bring anything that he can fit and that he would have a look in Peters Shed to see if there was anything that was useful at the Community.

Everybody helped Peter to load his belongings into the Caravan after which we all went to sleep, with half of us falling asleep in the Lounge room. Early next morning we were up and away. Before we left, Gladys was standing there looking at her Home and crying. Peter put his arm around her Shoulder and led her to their SUV, which was now hooked up to their Caravan. Rob was driving in the lead with Peter following him and the Boys and Frank on their Tail to watch out for Bandits. As they were driving along, they kept in touch by CB Radio. As they got within range, Rob called Mark on a secure Frequency, which he had previously installed for this purpose. Rob keyed in his Microphone and called Mark. When Mark answered the 2way, Rob said, “Hi Uncle Mark, we were in Luck and got everything we wanted and a bit more.” Mark said, “That is great Rob, but what is the bit more?” Rob felt a bit uncomfortable, but said to Mark, “Well, we met these nice People, they were really good to us and so we invited them to live here at the Community.

I hope I have done the right thing by you and I know that I should have ask you first. But you weren’t there and so we all agreed on asking these People.” Mark thought over what Rob had said to him and then said to Rob, “No, that’s alright, but where are we going to put them? I will see Harry and then we will work something out.” Rob answered by saying, “They are bringing their own Caravan with them and so you don’t have to worry about that.” Mark said, “That is good, I will ask Harry to get everything ready so that they can cross the Canal with their Caravan.” He added, “You done a good job Rob, I’ll see you when you get Home.” There was no more talking until they got to the Gate where Harry, Donna and Jimmy were waiting for them. Donna could not wait to see her Boy again, she had been terrible worried while he was away from the Community.

With some difficulties, they managed to get the Caravan through the Forrest. The hardest part of the journey was still to come, as they had to manoeuvre the Caravan across the narrow Steel Girders when crossing the Canal. Rob drove across first, thereby showing Peter that it could be done. AS Peter drove, the SUV onto the Girders Harry stood up front and directed him. After he safely crossed the canal, Harry ask Peter to stop and they all introduced each other. The odd Person out was Judy, but Rob went up to Mark and explained to him how they had rescued Judy and then as she had nowhere to go ask her to come with them to the Community. Mark said to him, “Don’t worry about that, we will find somewhere for her to stay. You go with your Mum and have a rest and later you come to see me, I would love to hear all about your Trip.” Rob said, “Okay Uncle Mark and thank you very much. I just had an Idea; I am going to ask Mum if Judy can stay with us. Bye for now.”

When I got back to our Cabin, I found Helen sitting there and I could see that something was wrong. I said to Helen, “what is wrong? Are we having more problems?” She looked at me and said, “Mark, Jimmy is sick, Lou and I think he has got Parkinson Disease. Lou is devastated and Jimmy is in denial. What are we going to do?” Putting my Arm around Helen’s Shoulder I said, “What about Medication? Can it be treated? I don’t know much about it.” Helen said, “We don’t have that kind of Medication, I don’t know what we can do. The Medication we need is called ‘Sinemet’ but I do not know where we can get it. Most Chemist will have it stocked, but now, I just don’t know.” I said, “Go and tell Lou that we are going out to find some. I will give Harry a call in the meantime.

Don’t worry we will find a way.” Harry came over as soon as I called him and when he saw me poring us a Glass of Whiskey he said, “Well, it must be bad, when you are poring Whiskey.” Harry sat down and I told him all about Jimmy and that I was going out to find the Medication but I needed a Volunteer to go with me. Harry said, “Yes, I am coming. Who else do you think? There must be at least three of us.” I could not think of anyone and so I said to Harry, “Lets sleep on it; I rather lose a Day than go unprepared. Helen came in and said, “Lou wants to go with you Fellows.” “Yeah, over my dead Body!” I said. I continued by saying to Helen, “How soon before Jimmy must have the Medication?” Helen said, “The Medication will control the Disease and Jimmy will be able to live a normal Life. Shall we go for Dinner and Harry and Lisa could come back with us and we could have a quiet Evening.” I got up and said, “Okay, let’s go!”

After Dinner, we headed back to my Cabin where we indulged in Finger-Food and Wine. Over Drink’s we decided to take two Vehicles on our Medication Run and in total six Persons. We thought that if we had to be away for more than one Day it would be best if we were fully prepared. Harry said that he would organize the two Crews and that everything would be ready by Ten o’clock. We said “Good Night” and after Harry and Lisa had left, we went to Bed.

Chapter 9

Next morning I started taking everything we needed by ATV to the Gate and as I was doing so, I passed many others who were doing the same thing. Harry said that he would take Rob’s Vehicle as it still had the Bren Gun affixed to the Roof. The Crews were, Harry said, Mark, Peter and Emma in Vehicle 1 and in number 2 Vehicle, Harry, George and Ray. It was a lovely Day, warm and not to windy. We took Food and Water for one Week per Person, we all carried Handguns and spare Magazines full of Ammunition. Harry made sure we had plenty of extra Weapons like, Bren Guns, AK 47s for each Person and plenty of Ammo. In addition, we had a fully stocked First Aid Kit in each Vehicle; we were ready for almost anything. Nearly everyone in the Community came to see us off and to wish us, “Good Luck!” It felt almost normal driving along the Highway except for all the abandoned Vehicles littering along the Road.

We saw nobody in the first Town that we had to navigate through, except for a few stray Dogs. I knew the next Town would be bigger and so I told Harry that we would approach with caution and be ready for trouble should we find it. As soon as I spotted the first Houses, I got an uneasy feeling and slowed the Vehicle down to a crawl. Peter climbed into the back of the Vehicle and got ready with the Bren Gun, I told Emma to duck down but be ready. As we approached the Town Centre we could see a Gang of about a dozen Men and Women beating up on a Man they had in their midst. They seem drunk or high, as they were staggering around occasionally discharging their Weapons. We split up, Harry drove around into the side Street and I went directly for them and stopped only a short distance away from the Crowd. They stopped what they were doing and some of them moved towards our Vehicle, I could see Harry had snug around the side and had us covered. I left the Vehicle Engine running, but got out and stood behind the Door for cover. One of the Gang came a few paces towards me and sang out, “What are you doing here?

What do you want?” I stayed behind cover and said, “We are just passing through. Would you have some Fuel to spare?” He looked like he was going to discharge his Pistol in my direction but said, “No Fuel here, get back to where you came from!” He staggered a little so I said to him, “No can do, we haven’t got enough Fuel to get back. Can’t you spare just a little?” I could see that he was getting mad at me when he said, f**k off, or we will shoot you!” He looked at me and then back at his Gang Members and said, “Ah, F**k it, I‘ll shoot you anyway!” He and his Cronies then started firing at us, not knowing that Harry was positioned right near him under the cover of a big Bush that was growing in the Streets Roundabout. As soon as Harry heard the first shot being fired he and his Crew started firing upon the Gang, making sure that they did not hit the beaten Man. It was all over in a matter of seconds the two People that did not get hit threw their weapons down and surrendered. The Fellow that had been beaten by these Rogues, was slowly staggering to his Feet. Harry and his Boys started to collect all of their Weapons and Ammunition, meanwhile Emma was helping the poor Fellow to his Feet.

The two that had surrendered were standing there with their Hand above their Heads. Peter said to Mark whiles pointing at the surviving Rogues, “What do you want me to do with these two?”  Before Mark could answer, the beaten Fellow grabbed of of the Pistols that were on the Ground before him and shot the two Rogues saying, “There, Problem solved!” I looked at him and said, “True, but it wasn’t your call. What happen here anyway?” He said, “My name is Paul, and like you I came here trying to get some more Petrol. I was at the Service Station trying to see if I could get some Petrol.” He stopped and pointed at the now dead Leader and said, “When he came out and told me to get lost and when I tried to get into my Vehicle, these other People came out, drunk and laughing. They pulled me back onto the Street and held my Arms, I could not move. That shithead of a Leader then told me that I could go, but my Vehicle was his now.

He laugh at me and said that he was repossessing it. When I tried to get out of their Grip, they forced Alcohol down my Throat. Then one of them pissed on me and I got mad. I got one Arm free and punched him in the Face, which was when everybody started on me. Every time I got up they got stuck into me again and last time I got up seeing I was on my Feet, I tried to get away from them, but they caught me again, I was too weak. Just as they started to beat up on me again, you arrived and whoever you are I am eternally grateful to you.” I said, “My name is Mark, we come from a small Community west of here. We have a sick Friend there and so we came out here to find a Pharmacy where we could find the badly needed Medication, but we haven’t had any Luck so far. We might make Camp her outside of Town and then continue our search. Where were you off to?” Paul said, “I don’t know, just trying to find somewhere safe. I lost my Wife before TSHTF and since then I have been wandering around from Place to Place. If it is not asking for too much, maybe I could come with you. I am not scared of hard work and I can take orders. Look all I want is to belong somewhere, plus if I don’t find anyplace soon, I’ll starve.”

 I turned to face Harry and said, “What do you recon?” Harry shrugged his Shoulders and said, “You’re the Boss, it’s okay by me.” So I turned to Paul and said to him, “We won’t be going back to the Community until we got the Medication and if you want to come along, you are welcome. If you proof yourself over the next Days you’ll have a Home for as long as you want it.” When he agreed I assigned him to Harry and then we drove off to find a suitable camping spot. As it was, we found a nice spot just outside of Town by a narrow River. The Nights were still warm and so we laid out our Sleeping bags, we build a small fire for cooking, which Emma volunteered to do. We put someone on watch, as after today’s effort I thought was a good Idea. Peter took first watch, Harry second and I took the morning one. After having eaten, we discussed our plans for the next Day; I was hoping to find some Medicine by then.

 I talked for a while with Paul and found out that he had served in the Army for three years. I thought he might come in handy if we were to run into trouble. Later I found out that he was a Storeman in the Army. The Night went uneventful, much to everyone’s delight. For Breakfast, we dug into our supplies and so Emma made us a hearty meal of Bacon and Eggs. The smell of the freshly cooked Bacon must have awoken Paul, I have never seen a Man as fast as him to get his Boots on. When he arrived at the Group he said, “Where in God’s name did you get fresh Bacon? I have not seen Bacon since just after D Day.” I said to Paul, “Well, it is like this, we grow our own. We have several Pigs and other Livestock.” He just starred dumbfounded and said, “That is incredible!” Soon after Breakfast we drove off, we had quite a long distance to go to the next Town on my List. As we were driving along the Highway, I got that ominous feeling that something was going to happen. The wind was getting stronger and the clear Sky had grown darker with heavy-laden Clouds.

 We all shared the same thought, “We were in for a bad Storm and judging by the Wind it could even be a Cyclone.” We had to find shelter fast, but where, we just had to keep driving until we found somewhere. By how small Trees and Bushes were thrown onto the Highway. So far, we had been lucky that none had hit us. I could see a worried look on Emma’s Face, but there was nothing I could do against the Wind. A few miles further down the Road, I could see a Dirt Road branching off to the right and in the distance was a Farmhouse. I swung right into the Dirt Road and hoped that we could make it there before the main force of the Storm hit us. When we got there, it looked like the Place was abandoned and so I drove straight towards the big Barn. Luckily, there was enough room in there for both of our Vehicles to fit in. The big Doors were banging in the Wind and so we closed them as quickly as possible. We grabbed a few necessary things and headed for the Farmhouse.

 As we struggled against the Wind, poor Emma lost her footing and started to roll uncontrollable on the wet Ground. George, who was most likely the fittest Person among us, raced to her rescue. Without further ado, we made it in one piece to the House. Inside the House everything seemed to be undisturbed by Man or Nature and so we settled down in the big Lounge Room. I went and ask Emma, “Are you alright? Have you been hurt?” To which Emma replied, “Don’t worry, Mark, I am fine and I am going to the Kitchen to make some Coffee.” Meanwhile Harry and Peter were racing around trying to Duct Tape the Windows to stop them from breaking. George and Paul went around the Rooms checking that there was no one there in hiding. I was sure that now we be spending at least the rest of the Day here. The Wind was howling and trying to get under the Roof of the House. There must have been a loose sheet of corrugated Iron somewhere as we could see it flying through the Air. Well, Dinner came and we were still here, we all put our Sleeping Bags down wherever we could find a vacant space.

It was near impossible to get any sleep as the noises from the outside got louder and louder. Suddenly one of the Windows in the Lounge broke and a piece of Glass from it embedded itself in Harry’s Arm. Emma and Peter both crawled over to Harry to help him, whiles George and Paul braved the violent Storm to get our Medical Kit. When they came back, Paul was bleeding badly from a cut in his Forehead that also possibly needed stitching. Meanwhile whiles all this was going on I was trying to staunch the Blood flow from Harry’s wound. Ray took over bandaging Paul’s Forehead so that Emma could attend to Harrys Wound. I had put a tourniquet around Harrys Arm and now the Wound looked even worse than before. I was worried that Harry could lose his Arm as we could see right down to the Bone. Harry must have been thinking the same thing as he was white as a Sheet, but of course, that would have been mainly from the loss of Blood. Emma was terrific; she had cleaned out the Wound and in no time was ready to stitch it up.

Whiles Peter held the Wound, together she proceeded to sew up the wound, during which Harry passed out. With him unconscious, it made it easier for Emma to finish the stitching. Paul’s Forehead was not as bad either and just bandaging would do fine. Still, the Storm was not letting up and I could hear that some of the Roofing Iron was flapping in the Wind. I was sure that it would not take long for the Wind to rip it of the Rafters. Just then, a piece of Wood came flying through the open Window and embedded itself into my Thigh, making me squeal like a stuck Pig. Emma crawled along the back Wall to get to me and I could see that she was wounded too. Her Arm was bleeding and I could see that it needed stitching too. I motioned for her to get back as there was more debris coming in, but she would not hear of it and kept coming, bringing her First-Aid Kit so that she could attend to my Wound.

The Storm was making such a noise that we did not hear the approaching Vehicles and by the time, that we noticed that there was something wrong other than the Storm, it was too late. The men had gotten out of their Vehicles and surrounded us. That done two of the Men came in and told us to surrender or face the consequences. As their Leader stood there in the middle of the Room, I noticed for the first time that the Storm had died out as quick as it came upon us. With his Gun resting in his Hands and pointing at me I knew that we had no chance of doing anything to get out of this situation.

 So I said to him, “Well, you got us! What do you want?” While I was talking Emma just kept on cleaning my Wound, she had just tied a piece of cloth around her Arm to staunch the flow of Blood. I kept watching the Fellow with the Gun and winced as Emma stitched the Wound in my Thigh. The Leader watched and said, “Well, for a start I want your Vehicles, Weapons and Food. After that, we will decide what to do with you. In the meantime, Bill here will tie you all nicely up. Any resistance on your part and you will die, thus making it your choice if you live or die.” I motioned to everyone to do what they were told and not resist. I thought that I would try to get out of this situation once things had settled down and we knew more about these People. One thing in their favour was that they let Emma finish attending to our Wounds and he himself stitched up the Wound on Emma’s Arm.

He then introduced himself saying that his name was Flynn and in his former Life, as he called it, he had been a Teacher at the Primary School in Bunbury. For the rest of the Day we were pretty much left alone with one Guard watching us. What surprised me was that all of them were polite and did not try to harm us. When evening came I ask our Guard if it was possible for us to get some Food and Water as it had been several hours since we had anything in our Stomach’s. After a short while Flynn came in and had brought a couple of Women with him, who were carrying Food? Flynn told me that if I gave my word that we would not try to escape that he would untie us while we were eating. I knew that if I was hungry the rest of our People would too be hungry and so I agreed to his condition. The Women carefully placed the Food on the Floor in front of us with the men watching us carefully. I was too hungry to try anything, plus I was intrigued by their behaviour. One thing was in my favour, when they had searched us they didn’t find my “Undies-Pistol.”

When People search you they don’t pay too much attention to your Crotch and that is why I have always kept a Derringer type Pistol there. It only had two Bullets, but that was usually enough. I also carried a very tiny Knife in the Lining of my Trousers, right at the back, so that I could get at it to cut my bonds. The Knife would have been no good in a fight, but I kept it very sharp in case I had to free myself. After we finished eating our Food, we were tied up again and were told that we would be leaving in the morning. Next morning after we had eaten, one of the men took us one at a time to the Restroom while the other watched the rest of us with one of our automatic Rifles. One of the Women took Emma to do her freshen up. When I ask Emma had she found out anything, she told me only that they were from Bunbury.

We were marched to different Vehicles; I suppose that was a precaution that we did not try to escape. The drive back to Bunbury was without any incident. As we had not been told where we were going, it was a great surprise to me when we pulled up at the Gates to the local Prison.  It had not been a Prison for a long time, in fact it had been used as a Tourist Attraction for the past decade. At a prearranged signal that had been given by our lead driver the giant Steel Doors were pushed open by four armed men. We drove in and came to a halt at what must have been the Administration Block. We were told to get out of the Vehicles and to go up the Stairs into the Building. As we got out, I could see the giant Gates being closed again. The Room that we were brought into was large and void of all Furniture except for a couple of wooden Benches along one of the Walls. The Leader of the Bandits told us to sit down and that someone would come in and see us. When I ask him, what was going to happen to us? He just shrugged his shoulders and left. I turned to Emma and said, “Are you alright? Have they hurt you in any way?” Emma smiled at me and said, “Don’t worry about me, I can take care of myself.”

After a short while a Guard and one of the Women that we had seen before came in and took Harry and Paul away. Next a man in Camo. Clothing came in and told us that he was the Leader of the local Militia and that his name was Ryan. He ask us if we needed anything and I replied to him that we would like to be let free, so that we could continue on our Quest to find Medication for Jimmy. He laughed and said that he would like to talk to us first before making a decision. After he left us again, one of the Guards came in and took me upstairs into an beautiful Room that seemed to be Ryan’s Office.

The Guard told me to sit on the Chair at the Desk and that the General, meaning Ryan would be interrogating me shortly. To me this didn’t look much of an Interrogation Room, but then I saw the plastic sheeting on the Floor and thought that looks can be deceiving. I didn’t have to wait to long before the General came in and sat in his plush Leather Chair behind the Desk. With a wave of his hand he dismissed the Guard, who didn’t seem to sure about leaving. Ryan pored us both a drink out of a very expensive looking Decanter and said, “Let’s talk!” I said, “So, what do you want to talk about? Is it maybe the way your men came in and overpowered us whiles we were battling a force 5 Storm? Or what could we possibly have to talk about.” He looked at me and said, “Easy now, I don’t mean you no harm. I have been talking to your People and it seem that you are quite a Myth among your People. They told me that you came back from the Dead and how you beat the Marauders, which was quite a feat.

 I believe in the old saying that you should keep your Friends close but your Enemies closer. Seeing that I am not sure which you are I will treat you like my Friend.” I said,” Does that mean we are free to leave?” Ryan came around the Desk and held out his Hand for me to shake and make Peace. While doing this he said, “Yes you are free to go whenever you like, but I would advise you to accept my hospitality and stay the Night as it is getting dark and it won’t be safe out there in the Streets.” I sat down again and said, “I’ll have another Glass of that smooth Whisky if you don’t mind and can I see my Friends please?” He smiled and said, “Yes, to both of your questions.” He pointed at one of his men and said, “I’ll get Bob here to fetch your Friends and then all of us can have a drink. I also would like to talk to you and your People about a proposition that I have got for you.” I said, “That sounds interesting, but let’s wait for my Friends to get here.” Ryan pored me a drink and shortly after Harry and everybody else arrived. First thing, Harry said was, “What’s up Mark? Is everything OK?” I said, “Yes everything is fine so please all of you find a Seat, Flynn here wants to make us a proposition.” Flynn took his Glass up of the Table and said, “Okay, here it is but please let me finish before interrupting, “I have a Ham-Radio here and I was thinking that it would be nice if we were to stay in touch. I am thinking that maybe could help each other out that way. In addition, if one of us had trouble the other may want to help.

 I am open to suggestions there are possibilities in that. What do you all think?” I looked around and was about to say something when Harry said, “What sort of trouble are we talking about?” Flynn said, “The kind of trouble we all can do without, like Marauders. We can come to each other’s aid before the Marauders get out of Hand and cause trouble for both of our Communities.” I thought that I had better answer that and so I said, “That sounds very good Flynn, but do you mind if we think this over?” Flynn must have thought that we would give him a positive answer and so he said, Oh no, take your time and remember whilst you are in my Town you are my Guest and just let me know if there is anything I can do to help you. Please finish your Drink and Ryan here will show you to your Quarters.”  So we emptied our Drinks and followed Ryan down the Steps. Once outside we turned left and walked a short distance where Ryan pointed out to us that this was our Accommodation for the Night.

This, was a lovely four Bedroom House which must have been meant for visiting Dignitaries. 

And they all lived happily forever after………………………………

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