Stories

 

Am I Alone?

By J.D. Schildmann

A bit about the Main Character of the Story

Let me tell you about my favoured character Mark. I see Mark as a Survivor and as a Rebel, He was born in London just after World War 2, he was the youngest of 9 children. His parents couldn’t control him, his Teachers had no chance of controlling him, he was expelled from School 4 times, he was Lazy and shied away from physical work, yet he had an above average IQ, at 15 years of age he run away from Home and joined the Merchant Navy, he said he wanted to see the World. After 2½ years and 5 Ships he deserted his Ship in Australia where he was hoping to spend the next 6 month. At the end of six month and 6 Jobs, he had fallen in love with Australia and its People. After 12 month the Police caught up with him and charged him with being an illegal immigrant, which got him a short stint in Jail. Even there his rebellious personality got him into trouble for refusing to salute the Flag which got him an extra month to serve. After getting out of Jail he decide to live the life of an Australian Swagman or Hobo, this suited him as he didn’t have to work. After about 12 month he was sick of this as he wanted things like a Car and Women. So he pulled himself together and worked as a Cane cutter in the Cane fields of Queensland where he made sufficient Money to buy himself a Car and live in Luxury. This got him again in trouble as one drunken night he found himself married to a women of dubious character. But no Matter what, he was going to change his ways and become a good Husband. She got him in so much trouble that he finished up in the local Lockup for fighting. Three Years later he got Divorced. Next he tried the Army but after 3 years he got sick of it and went AWOL. He travelled to South Australia, met a Girl and married her. They had 3 Children and he tried very hard to be a good provider but somehow something always happen. But to everyone surprise he stayed married for 19 years. In which time he had about 100 different Jobs. He then stayed single for about 6 month after which he got married to his third Wife. With her being a Nurse they kept shifting from one place to another, which suited him right down to the Ground. After working for most of the time in the North of Western Australia, they settled down in a place called Nullagine. This was a small place, no more than 300 People. It was just what he had dreamed off and to make it work he had 3 Jobs at the same time and he was earning good money. One Day he had to fly to Perth for a Conference where he met a Women that seem to understand his needs. He never went back to Nullagine and got divorced shortly after. This Women was also a Nurse she lived by herself and invited Mark to stay. A strange thing happen to Mark, it was unbelievable, he got civilised, this women changed him completely and after 4 happy Years together they got married. They had a House in the Country, about 300 kilometres from the Capital Perth and were very contented. By now both of them had retired from their places of work. Then Mark got sick and they sold their Home and moved to Northam a small Town near Perth. This was a good plan for Medical reasons. They soon settled down to a leisurely Life in their Apartment by the River. Mark’s Children now grown up lived in Bunbury about 2½ Hours’ drive from Northam and this is where our Story starts………..

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. 2

Chapter2. 6

Chapter 3. 8

Chapter 4. 13

Chapter 5. 19

Chapter6. 34

Chapter 1

8.30am I nearly forgot, I had to wake my wife, but I thought I would let her sleep in as she had been reading until after midnight. She loves her books and now with her E-Reader it makes it so much easier. I walked in to the bedroom, switching on the lights, I sang out “wakey wakey! “”Its half past eight” “Did you want to sleep a bit longer” I looked at her not moving. “Strange” I thought “normally she rolls over and grunts”

 I went over to her side of the bed and shook her saying “Honey” “Are you alright?” But I didn’t get an answer. I could feel my heart beating much faster and I thought that maybe she was sick. But then when I grabbed her wrist and checked to feel her Pulse I could not feel a heartbeat. Now I was getting really worried.

 I grabbed the phone and dialled 000 but much to my surprise it just kept ringing. Nobody was answering. This was the first time that I had ever had to ring 000, but I couldn’t understand why no one was answering. I hang up and rang our Police station, but here too it was ringing out. Now I was getting more than just worried, I was getting downright scared. I took another look at my wife and left the room. I couldn’t think straight, but I thought that maybe my neighbours could help.

As I left our Unit the first thing that I saw was one of our neighbours, “Rod” and he was laying on the footpath that runs between our Units. He was laying on a funny angle as if he had just dropped there. So I went over to check his pulse, but I couldn’t feel anything. By now my heart was pounding and I just stood there not knowing what to do.

I went and knocked at all my neighbour’s doors, but no one answered. I walked out to the end of our driveway and saw a car that apparently had driven off the road and crashed into a fence. I turned around and walked back into our unit. It somehow felt strange, plus my mind was filled with emotions. I just sat down and I couldn’t help it but I started to cry. They say that real men don’t cry. What a lot of bullshit! We might not cry while watching a romantic movie, but when you just have lost a loved one, unless you are made of stone “You Cry!”

So many thoughts were running through my mind, but the most powerful one was “Am I alone?” “Is everyone dead?” I kept on crying till there were no tears left. Then I walked out again and got into our car. As I was driving down the Street I noticed that there were cars everywhere crashed or just stopped. I am angry, shit, I have never been so angry before.

Why did they have to take her? Why not me? For years I had been praying that I wouldn’t wake up the next morning. That’s how bad pain can get. But that was no Pain compared to what I feel now. It feels like I have a Fire burning in my Skull. Shit! I nearly hit that Car. Shouldn’t have stopped in the middle of the Road. My Mind is scrambled I don’t know what I am doing. Whoop, Whoop, Shit I just drove over a Person laying in the middle of the Road.

There are more dead People. They are everywhere. Was I right “Am I alone?” Am I the last living Person on this Planet? I have to get a hold of myself I’ll be no good like this. When I got into the Main Street there were dead people everywhere. I still couldn’t work out how this could be.

I stopped the car when I saw 2 Policemen laying on the footpath near the Boulevard. I got out of the car and went over to them. By now I think I was starting to think a little bit more clearly. So after making sure that they were dead I took both of their Weapons, Belt and all. I thought that if there were other people alive it would be better for me to be able to protect myself. Just in case.

 “Oh my God,” I thought. “I haven’t rang Sandy yet” Sandy is my Daughter.  Seeing the Policemen reminded me as Sandy is in the Police force too. I fumbled with the phone in my pocket and rang her number in anticipation. After just a couple of rings Sandy answered. “Dad, Dad! Mum is dead, everyone is dead. What shall I do? Kat is here with Rob, they are out of their minds with worry.” Kat is my eldest Daughter and Rob is her 15 year old Son.

 I felt so terrible, she was so close to her mum. Their Mum was my second Wife. I had no real feelings toward her mum one way or the other as we went our separate ways more than twenty years ago. But I knew Sandy would be taking it hard. More so than her sister Kat. Kat and her son Rob were very close. Plus Kat was of an entirely different nature than Sandy.

I tried to think what would be best for all of us. I said “Sandy, put Kat on the phone, will yah.” After a few seconds Kat came on the line and said “Hi dad, how are you coping?” “I am fine, but how are you girls doing? How is Rob?” I said. She said “It was hard when we found out that mum had died. But then after we found out that there were dead people everywhere we had to start thinking, you know. I got no Idea about what to do and I was hoping that you could help. I said to her “It won’t be easy but I think that we should stick together. That would be the most important thing.” She said “Yes you are right. What do you want us to do? Have you got any Ideas to what we should do? I don’t want to stay here.” I thought for a moment. Forgetting that we were at each other’s throats not so long ago. Kat takes a lot after me.

“We should meet in Midland at Bunnings as soon as you can. Fill a backpack each with what you think you can’t do without. Don’t worry about clothing we will do some shopping in Perth.” She said “OK, what about mum, what shall we do?” So I said “Kat! There is no easy way to say or do this. But leave her where she is and set the house on fire. Remember you won’t be coming back there. Put Sandy back on, I have a job for her.”

 I then said “Sandy, are you alright to do a couple of things” “Yeah Dad, what are we going to do?” she asked. “Well,” I said “We are going to go to Nullagine and start our little Community there.” “But how and why there? “ She said. “It’s a small place not to many Bodies to clean up. It got its own powerhouse, and it is easy to defend in case of Badies. Not everybody is prepared for this sort of thing and once people run out of food and water they will come and try to take ours off us. Also there is a permanent water supply there. Anyway you remember what the place is like. Don’t you?” I said to her hoping that she realised the kind of situation we were in. I wasn’t too worried as she has a good Head on her Shoulders.

 “When you think about it like that, yes it is a good Idea. What do you want us to do when we get to Bunnings and you are not there?” she said. So I said to her “Here is what I want you to do.” “First go to your work and pick up the Police SUV, then grab all weapons and ammunition that you can get hold of.

If you can find a dual axel trailer somewhere, hook it up and then from your house pick up only what you need, we’ll do some shopping as we go along.

 I know it is going to be hard for you, and before you torch your house make sure all animals are out, bring Rex. Rex is her beautiful German Shepard. Ring me if you need to talk or for any reason. I’ll catch you later, love you heaps” “Love you too, see you soon.” Sandy hung up. I was terrible worried about them, they were all that I had left now. Knowing that they are alive, made me feel better, I know that I couldn’t live without them. Especially now that I had lost my Wife.

What next? I thought. There were so many things running through my mind, it was hard to think straight. Then it came to me and I knew what I had to do next. I got back into my car and drove around to the Police Station. When I got there I spotted the SES Nissan Patrol in the driveway. So after I got out of the car I looked into the window of the Nissan Patrol and saw that the keys were not in the ignition.

 So I went into the Police Station and saw utter chaos. The Police must have been in the middle of a shift change and so there were bodies of Policeman and Women everywhere. Near the counter lay the bloke from the SES. So first I checked his pockets, I had to turn him over and found his keys. Then I went on to collect all weapons that I could find and loaded everything into the Nissan Patrol as I was going to use that Vehicle for my own.

It wasn’t needed here anymore. Back inside I don’t think I had ever seen so many weapons in one Place and it didn’t take me all that long to get everything loaded. I was surprised that the Police Force had AR15 Assault Rifles and hoped that Sandy would bring some too. Next I was going to the Chemist, there was so much Medication I needed just for myself.

After having done that I then would drive back to our Unit so that I could say “Good bye,” to my darling wife. I still couldn’t believe that she was gone. I was just about to get into the SUV when I saw much to my surprise 2 women walking towards the Police Station. It looked like Mother and Daughter to me. Both of them were dressed in Jeans, a Shirt and comfortable Footwear.

They hesitantly walked up to me and ask “Are you a Policeman?” I shook my head and said “No, I’m just a survivor of whatever this is.” The older women looked at me and said “My name is Fay and this is my daughter Sue” pointing at the younger girl next to her. “Do you know what is going on here and what is happen to us?” The young one, Sue said to me “Are we going to die too?” I replied “I hope not, I would like to die of old Age” She must have liked that answer because I could see a slight smile on her face. She was quite pretty with brown Eyes and dark Hair.

 I said “Look, my name is Mark. After I am finish here in Northam I am going to meet my daughters and a friend in Perth. We will be doing some shopping there and then we are driving to Nullagine up North where we will try and build a community out of survivors that more or less think like we do.” I continued by saying “Do you have any family here and what are your plans for the future.”

Fay said “We have no family here, there is just us. “And as if to apologize Fay said “We are from New Zealand.” “Great” I said “I have, I mean I had some good friends from New Zealand. I wonder if they made it” Fay walked a little away from me and spoke to her daughter who kept nodding her head to whatever it was that Fay had said to her.

She then came over to me and said “I think you know what you are doing and I think that I can trust you. “ She seemed lost but continued “What I mean is, do you think we could come with you? I know we could help and we both be willing to work for our keep.” I was nearly lost for words as nobody had paid me a compliment like that for a very long time. “I’ll be pleased to have you both in our group and yes you are right there will be a lot of work for us so that we may survive.” I said and continued by saying “We’ll be going back to the Shopping Centre and first find you a good SUV. I’ll have to get some things from the Chemist and you may want to go to your place to get what you need. Keep in mind that we only need what is necessary and of course Items of personal importance.” Both of them got into the back seat of the Nissan and I drove off to the Shopping Centre.

 When we got there I spotted a Toyota SUV and drove over to park next to it.  The owner was half in and half out of the vehicle, only young too, I grabbed him as best as I could and carefully removed him from the vehicle. We were lucky, the SUV was a V8 Toyota and it looked like it was this year’s model. I handed the keys to Fay and said “There you are, your new Land Cruiser. If you go home now, when you are ready we’ll meet back here.”

 Fay said “Thank you, took the keys and motioned her daughter to get in the vehicle” She had no trouble starting the Toyota and drove off. I walked into the Boulevard half expecting someone to be there to greet me. I went into Woollies and got myself some strong garbage bags. Had a good look around and went into the Chemist Shop. I had a list written out with what Medication I needed to get. It took me longer than I expected to get all of the Medication on my List as I took all and not just the one off. After I got everything that was on my list I started to collect everything that I thought might come in handy. Especially everything for Wound-Care and all the S5 Medication. I kept on filling the Bags up until I could hear Fay coming back. Anyway I hoped that it was Fay. I grabbed a couple of bags at one time and took them into the back of the Nissan. Sue grabbed a couple more to help me.  When we had that finished I said to the women “I am going into Target to get myself a doona so that I can cover the load in the back of my newly acquired Nissan. If you two like, why not go into Woollies and get as much as possible of tea, coffee, sugar and salt.”

Sue gave me a mock salute and said “OK, boss,” I then wandered over to Target and once inside it didn’t take me long to find two king-size doonas. I then thought to myself that I was getting slowly worn-out and fatigued. As I got back to the vehicle I could see that Fay and Sue had been busy collecting from Woollies.

I opened both back doors of the Nissan and covered up all my stuff.  When the women got back I said “that will be enough for now. I brought you a doona too so that you too can cover everything up.” Fay thanked me and the women proceeded to cover up all that they had. When this was done Fay called me over. She had something on the back seat that she wanted to show me.

It was two small wooden boxes. As soon as I saw them I knew what they contained, but played ignorance. Fay opened both boxes and proudly showed me two automatic pistols. I looked at her questionly and she said “We both belong to the pistol club here.

 That is great, are these 22 Calibre Pistols” she nodded and said “We couldn’t get the bigger calibre yet” I said “Well, you just qualified. Do you want a 9mm Glock?”

She replied that she would love one and so did Sue. Apparently both had fired bigger calibre pistols and so I didn’t have to worry.  I said that we would be going back to my place and did they want to stop at the Jewellery Shop in the main Street. To which Fay said “Can we, really?” So I got into the vehicle, waited until they were ready and then we took-off. Next stop the Jewellery Store. I didn’t want anything.

When my wife and I first met, she bought me an Eco-watch which didn’t need batteries and it had never let me down. I only just paid a small fortune to have it serviced in the Eastern States. The girls didn’t take long, they had gotten a watch each and some jewellery. Then we drove on to my place where we parked on the Street outside the unit. I said to Fay “Would you mind staying here for a moment I am just going to say “Good Bye, I won’t be long”

I walked into the unit and took our wedding photo off the shelf and placed it by the door also I found my two handheld radios. Then I went to the shed and got my 10 litre petrol can and took that with me inside. I always kept some petrol for my small generator which I used when we had a power-failure.

I walked into the Bedroom where my wife’s body laid ever so peaceful. I sat next to her on the side of our bed and with tears in my eyes I folded her hands over her breast. I then went and kissed her soft but cold Lips. I couldn’t hold back the tears as I poured petrol all around the bedroom. At the door I lit a match and threw it on the petrol which ignited instantly.

Without looking back I grabbed the picture and the radios and walked back to the car. The women could see the smoke rising from our unit but didn’t say anything. For which I was grateful. I gave them a radio and said to go to channel 40. I got into the car with tears still running down my face and drove off leaving Northam forever.

                                                            Chapter2

Along the Great Eastern Highway we saw quite a few cars that had run off the Road or into each other. Also there were trucks and even a tractor. We just kept weaving through the obstacles. As we got near Bakers Hill I called Fay on the 2way radio and told her that we better slow down as we didn’t want an accident to happen.

I was driving dodging cars and people in the Main Street when I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was a young woman walking along the Street, just dressed in a dressing gown and bare footed. We pulled up our cars alongside her. I got out and walked up to her and said “Hi there, do you need any help?” She looked like she was in shock and said “It’s my husband, I have to get some help.”

“OK. Lady where is your husband and what is wrong with him?” I said to her, but I didn’t think that she was listening or even was quite with it. Fay and Sue came over and I said to the women “Please stay here for a moment and we will see if we can help you” I went and said to Fay “See if you can get some sense out of her.

 I am going to put the 2way radio on scan.” Fay talked to the women for a while and seem to calm her down and snap-out of it. Fay then came over to me while Sue talked to her. I said to Fay “Did you find out anything?” She said “Apparently her husband is dead and she is confused about why it has happened.” “You see, she, Fay stopped to catch her breath and continued “Oh her name is Kathy and she is a Nurse, She needs to know for why this is happening,

She called her Brother who is a Truckie on his way up North. But he only left this morning and so he is turning back to help her.” I said “Great, let’s take her Home and wait for her Brother. “ In a quiet voice I carried on by saying “I wouldn’t mind getting them to come with us. A Nurse will come in very handy and so will a Truck Driver.”

Fay than went over to Kathy ask her where she was living. Kathy pointed to one Street back and Fay said “Come on Love. We’ll drive you!” Everything seem to be working out alright so I thought I will give my Daughters a ring and find out how they are going.

Sandy answered her Phone with a sad Voice, but then that was to be expected. So I said “How is it going Sandy, Are you alright?” I corrected myself “I mean are you coping?” To which she replied “We done everything that you ask. I even got a Trailer, Rob found that his Mate Luke was still alive, he is a Diesel Mechanic about 50 years old Can we bring him with us?”

I said “Yes, the more the better, I possibly also have some more People. We will be stuck in Bakers Hill for a while, but I will give you a ring when we leave here.” “OK, Dad” and she hung up. I hoped that nothing went wrong for her.  

We got to Kathy’s House and we all went in. Fay said to Kathy “You sit down, Love and Sue will make us a nice Cup of Coffee, on second thoughts would you rather have a Cup of Tea?” Kathy looked up at Fay and said “Coffee will be fine, thank you, I am sorry but who are you again?” I thought “Poor thing, she is really taking it hard.”

So I said “Kathy, I am Mark, We are from Northam and we saw you wandering along the Road. We brought you home again, your Brother is coming. These People are Fay and her Daughter Sue and we all want to help you.”

Kathy looked at me after taking a sip of her Coffee and said to me “Do you know what is going on? This morning I found my Husband Dead next to me in our Bed. When I went down the Street there were Dead People everywhere” She started to cry again and said “I’m sorry, I am not usually like this. I am a Nurse and I am use to seeing death. But this is too much.”

 So I said to her “So far nobody knows what is going on and like you, I too found my Wife dead in our Bed and I had to leave her behind. So I know what you are going through. We are going to Perth and there we are meeting my Daughters and then eventually we will drive up North to be save. As I expect in a few days’ time there will be Dangerous People everywhere and there will be fighting.”

 I was going to go on, but I could hear a big Rig pulling up outside. Kathy sprang up and ran to the Door saying “It’s my Brother, Brad, Thank God he is here” We all got up and looked at Kathy running to her Brother and taking in between crying and laughing. When Brad came in I could see the resemblance between the two of them. He looked to be about 30 years old but could be more.

 The first thing he said was “Who are these People? What are they doing here?” I thought that I better explain us being here. “We found Kathy walking down the Street dressed only in her Dressing Gown and so I thought that we better try and help her as she looked extremely lost. I am Mark” and pointing at Fay I continued by saying “and this is Fay and her Daughter Sue.

 We came from Northam and are on the way to meet my Daughters in Perth. With all these Dead People I expect nothing good. I also think with no one to look after things like Electricity thing will get rough soon and when that happens I don’t want to be around. That is why we are going up North to start a small Community of Survivors and hopefully we can live. I don’t think things will ever get back to normal as we know it.” “Oh and another thing, I don’t think I have ever spoken this much in one breath of air.”

Brad smiled at this and said “Thank you very much for stopping and looking after my Sister. I don’t know what I would have done if anything happen to her” I said “It was no problem and I would hope that there are still good People out there that would have done the same if it was my Daughter.” He carried on by saying “Has anybody some sort of an Idea about what is happen to us?”

 “I like to run by everyone here about what I think has happen” I then said “First of all I think it is Manmade” Everyone looked at me in surprise and Fay said “How can it be Manmade?” “How is that possible” I went on “Brad! What Blood Group are you?” “Both Kathy and I are AB. But what has that go to do with all this?” He said to me.

“I got a feeling that we all are AB Blood Group. Is that right?” I ask. Fay said “Both Sue and I are that too” “And me too and so are my Kids” and there you have it. I think some nasty Nation like Korea or whoever got everyone killed-off, except it wasn’t what they were after.

Like this they suffered the same Fate than the rest of us. So something must have gone wrong and it cost the lives of most of the People on Earth. There are not enough People in this and many other Countries to get going again. All we can do is try to survive in small Pockets all over the Country. Bigger populated Countries like China, India and the USA should be able to recover, that is if they don’t kill them self-off as everybody wants what the other Person has.

Places like Australia have no Chance the only thing that can save some of us is that we stick together and work on the Idea of surviving. It will be much like in the 1800th In a Few Days we will find the first Marauders trying to kill everyone off. All the dead People laying everywhere will start to decompose and will bring Sickness and Diseases even the Plague. Animals like Dogs and Cats will get infected with Rabies and we will have to protect ourselves against not only Human Enemies but also the 4 legged kind.

There will be Gangs formed and they have not had the foresight that some People have and so they will come after us and try to take what is ours.” Brad said “I have read Books about things like this but I didn’t think they could ever happen.”

“Could I please speak to Kathy in private for a moment? And please don’t go away.” I said “No worries, we’ll be just outside this Door” After a while Brad beckoned us to come back inside. They both had very serious and worried looks on their Faces. Brad a bit hesitant said to me “Mark, we have talked about it and no Matter what, we came to the same conclusion. Could we please join up with you?”

I said “Is that all, of course you are both welcome to join us. I must warn you, it’s not going to be easy going, there will be one hell of a lot of work to be done. Once we get to our destination I will step back and only act in an advisory capacity as I am getting to old and also to sick.”

 Brad then turns to Kathy “Shall I go and burry Ken? I thought by the Roses out front might be nice.” Kathy just nods and says to us “Would anyone like a cool Drink? Is it me or is it getting hot? Sue said “Could I have something cold please?” Kathy went over to the Fridge and got a few different ones out.

 I grabbed a couple of Cokes and took one out to Brad. His Body was covered in sweat and Dirt. He said “Ta, it’s just what I needed, I’m nearly finish here and if you want to go I’ll understand and we can catch-up.” “Nah, it’s no worries, we’ll get there, and from now on we are Family and stay together.” I went back inside and said to Kathy “Brad is nearly finish, do you want a hand getting your Husband ready.”

She nodded and said “Yes please” and we walked into the Bedroom. Like a Family we all helped Kathy and when Brad sang out that he was finish we all carried Kens Body outside and placed him into the Ground near the Roses that he had planted. We walked back to our Vehicles while Kathy and Brad stood by the Grave and said their “Good Byes”

The first thing I did was rang Sandy. She was happy to hear from me and said that they were at Bunnings and all three Adults found themselves a Trailer for their Vehicles. Sandy also wanted to know what they should do whiles waiting for us. I said “Split up. Go into Bunnings and get Seeds as many as you can find. Dick Smith just about across the Road. Handheld UHF’s, Inverters everybody grab Batteries, all kinds. Don’t worry too much we won’t be long. Before I forget, Get from Bunning these great big Steel Boxes and put them in the Trailers and then fill them up.” “Tell Kat to leave her Trailer empty, I want her to get something else.”

She just said “OK” and hung up. I wonder for how long we will have the use of our Phones before they go dead.  Brad and Kathy got into Brad’s big “Western Star” Truck and we all took off. Brad led the Way in case there was an Obstacle on the Road that he could clear with the Truck. As we got into Mundaring I nearly had an Accident. There I was looking straight ahead deep in thought, when from the right came a Car with two Occupants. I thought the Driver might stop, but he just kept on driving. So I thought “Idiot” and also kept driving. Brad pulled up in front of us and got out. He was only making sure that I was alright.

Chapter 3

As I spotted the “Dick Smith” Store I saw that there was a SUV and Trailer parked outside of the Front Door. I stopped at the Corner of the Street next to the Shop so did Brad and Fay. I gave them a Hand signal for caution and went to the Door of the Shop. A Fellow about 50 years casually walked through the aisles and putting things into a Trolley as if he was doing his weekly shopping.

 I though I better make it known that I was there watching him. “He you there, who are you? Mind telling me what you are doing.” I said to him.  He looked at me and said “Hi, from the description I got of the Girls you must be Mark.” I relaxed and even smiled as I said to him “Yeah, I am Mark. Where are the Girls? “They are still at Bunnings, my job was here a Dick Smith” “I presume you are going there now. I won’t be far behind you and so I’ll see you there”

 At the Door I gave Brad the “All Clear “sign. We then took off and drove to Bunnings. (For those of you that don’t know Bunnings, the best way to describe it is by calling it a giant Hardware Store, where you can get anything you need for Home and Garden) When we got there I couldn’t believe my Eyes. It was so funny.

There in the Car park, the Girls had erected one of the Trestles from inside and gotten some Chairs. They also went over to the Shops and got some Buns, Butter and a big Tin of Ham. Coffee was hot and I wanted to kiss everyone for being so Kind. This was just what we needed. By now Luke had arrived and we all sat down at the so called Table with our brand-new Mugs filled with hot Coffee. Sandy had brought Rex and he was dancing around all of us wondering what was going on.

While everyone introduced themselves I thought that I better try and ring my Mate Harry at the SAS Barracks. I let the phone ring a few times and then it occurred to me that he might not be with us anymore either. Letting a minute pass I rang again and this time “Thank God” I got an answer.

 I didn’t want for him to speak I was so happy and said “Harry!” “Where the Hell have you been?” But then a strange voice came on saying “This is Sergeants William Johnson, on Sergeants Harry Boulders Phone. Are you a Relative?” “May I ask, who is calling please?”  I said “This is Mark, I have been Friends with Harry and his Father for a long time.” Harrys Father and I served in the Army Reserves together. Where is Harry?”

“I am afraid I have some bad news for you, Harry passed away in the early hours of this morning.” The Sergeants came back on saying “Mark, yes, Harry always talked about you. He and I were Best Friends. We went to Afghanistan together. Hell Mark, any Friend of Harrys is also my Friend.” He went on to say “If it is not too much to ask, but what was this call all about? Can I help you? Remember we are Friends now”

 I said “First of all. How many of you are there on the Base? He said “There were two of us, but I send the other one, a Private, Home to see to his Family and I got no Idea what to do. The Army was my Life.” So I said to him “I am going to be honest with you, I have got here with me a small group of Survivors.” We are going up North to start a Community of Survivors there and I was going to ask Harry about some Weapons for us so that in case of trouble we can defend our new Community.

The Sergeants after a moment of awful silence said “First of all, call me Bill, all my friends do, I mean did.” Then you better make a quick trip out here. The peace here at this moment might not last. There would be other maybe not so friendly People after the same thing you are. So please hurry up and get here as soon as you can. I’ll be waiting at the Gate for you. By the way, what are you driving? So that I won’t shoot at you.”  I said “No we wouldn’t want that. I’ll be in a FESA Nissan Patrol and my Daughter drives a Police SUV, both with Trailers.

 He just said “OK, I’ll see you soon.” I then ask everyone to scrounge what they think we need and find somewhere for us to stay the Night. “Kat, I got a special job for you. Take this list” Which I handed to her “and go to the Chemist down the Road and Fill your Trailer up.”

“Yes Dad, apart from the List what do you want me to mainly get?” She said. “Everything that you can think off including these feminine things, Sandy, you are with me. Has everybody got a weapon?” Luke said “We have now” Sandy and I took off in our Vehicles towards Karrakatta where the Army Barracks were.

The driving at first wasn’t too bad, but the closer we got to the City the more worries we had converting in and out through crashed Cars and dead People. Some places we got on to the Footpath and we even drove through a grassed Area. A couple of times we couldn’t help but drive over dead Bodies. I must say I didn’t expect it to be such a difficult drive. After we got onto the Road that led along the Army Barracks it got a bit easier.

When we got to the Gate at the Army Barracks we couldn’t see anyone. So after stopping the Vehicle I got out and sounded the Horn a couple of times. At first nothing, but then a Landrover with Trailer came to the Gate and stopped. Out got one of the biggest men that I had ever seen, all Muscles and no Fat. He looked to be about 34 years of age and was in Camo Uniform.  

As he got near me he extended out his Hand and said to me “Hi I am Bill, you must be Harry’s Friend Mark.”   “That’s me and this is my Daughter Sandy.” I said gesturing to her. He went over to Sandy and shook her Hand too after which he opened the Boom Gate and told us to follow him. I noticed that he was well armed and when I made a comment about it later. He laughed and indicated that he rather be safe than sorry. When we got to the Armoury Bill unlocked the Door for us and the three of us went in. I must have been staring, because Bill said to me “Just pretend it is Christmas.”

I must have been drooling something terrible because Sandy said to him “Dad always gets like that when he is around any kind of Weapon.” Bill, then said “Well, you know what you need I suppose. So go ahead and help yourselves.” I started off with MP5s and followed up with a couple of AW 50mm Guns. I found some F 88s which I really liked. I told Sandy to load only Ammunition as that was what we needed most of.

 She checked out the different Calibres that we needed. When I was finish loading I spotted a Case of Grenades which I chucked in the back of my Vehicle and covered up with the Doona too. I ask Bill, did he have some Tarps. He went inside a different Room and came out with two Tarps and lots of Rope. I sat or I should say I fell down on one of the chairs in the Office and thought to myself that I had overdone it this time.

Sandy saw me and ran over to me her Face full of concern. Bill, ask her was I alright? She told him I was sick and had to watch myself. Bill said “We got time, I’ll make us a Cup of Coffee. After I had my Cup of Coffee I felt a lot better. The trouble was that I believed that I could not relax until we got to Nullagine. Sandy and Bill had covered and secured both of our Trailers.

Bill sat down with me and said in a very serious tone “Now, you sure that I am welcome in your Group. I don’t like to be a burden but without this option I got nothing. I would stay on the Base and live here as long as possible.” “No, Bill you are very welcome, more than welcome.” “I am going to talk to the Group and tell them that I want you to be my XO. As you seen I am not well physically but there is nothing wrong with my Brain, so when we get to Nullagine I will step back and I think that I would like to see you as our Leader.”

 I think Bill was all embarrassed by my speech, he shook my hand and thank me for these kind words. “Bill” I said “Shall we torch this place and so stop any looting?” He thought that was a terrific idea and went to get a can of Petrol out of his Vehicle. He poured petrol all over everything and said “Better wait for me at the Gate this place will get dangerous with all the Ammo flying.”

I agreed saying “This might even wake the Dead.” Sandy and I drove off and waited for Bill at the now open Gate. After about a minute we could see Bill in his Landrover flying towards us blowing his horn. We took off too down towards Subiaco with Bill right behind us. After about a Kilometres we stopped to see what was happen to Bill’s Bonfire. We didn’t have to wait long before we heard Explosion after Explosion.

We drove off again only this time we took it easy and drove more careful. We stopped at Wellington Street Surplus Stores and Bill and I went into the first one, while Sandy stayed in the Vehicle, she wanted to phone her Sister Kat. I looked around for a moment and found what I needed.

 Two Crossbows and Arrows or as they are called “Bolts” We were standing in the Shop trying to find some more Bolts when we suddenly heard a male voice saying “He you! We turned around and to our surprise saw a middle aged man standing there pointing a Shotgun at us. “What are you doing here? You are Thieves.” He said to us.

I must admit I get very nervous when someone points a Gun at me, especially a Shotgun. So I said to him “We were just grabbing a couple of thing that we needed to survive. Would you really want to shoot at for that? There is so much death around us, I don’t think that deep down, that you want to kill us.”

He lowered the Gun and sat down on the nearby Chair and said “No, I don’t want to kill anybody and there are no shells in the Gun. Help yourselves to what you need I will go Home. That is very nice of you, can we help you in any way” I said. He waved his Hands and said “No” So I said to him “If I may be so rude, but would you have any more Bolts for these Crossbows?”

He nodded and beckoned me to follow him out to the Storeroom. He pointed at 3 what seemed to be waterlogged Boxes and said “I got these in a Fire sale, take them.” We said “Thank you” and wished him luck. Then carried our newfound Treasure back to the Vehicles.

After we took off, we didn’t stop until we got to Eights Avenue in Maylands. I said. “This will have to be our last Stop, I am hungry and tiered.”  As you might have guessed it was another Gun Shop. I couldn’t believe our Luck when I saw that the Vault Door was open. I knew what I wanted and so I got 2 Revolvers, Colt Python 357 Magnum Again Sandy grabbed all the Ammo she could find, which was quite a lot as it was a popular Calibre.

By the time she was finish she was puffing and going red in her Face. I don’t know what Bill found but he seemed to be happy. I also took a few Holsters with Belts. Bill ask me “Should we torch the place too?” I just nodded and he went back inside and lit a fire in the Vault.

We took off as quick as possible and as we got around the corner we heard all the Ammo blow up. The Sky was starting to look grey, so I thought we better hurry as it was going to be dark soon. When we got to the Motel everyone was waiting for us. We drove into the Car park and parked so that it was easy to get quickly out of there. As I said before, I was not expecting any trouble at this time.

When we got out of our Vehicles I said to Sandy “Please introduce Bill to everyone.” And to no one in particular I said “Which is my Room? Kat pointed to the first one and said “This one Dad, are you all right?”  I nodded, grabbed the Colt, Holster and a packet of Ammo. Locked the Nissan up and went into my Room.

Before closing the Door I let everybody know that I would like for us to have a meeting in the Lounge. I sat on the Bed and saw that someone had set up my CPAP machine, something that I can’t do without as I am suffering from chronic Sleep Apnoea. I put everything on the Floor next to the Bed and once I laid down I thought that I would go straight to sleep. But no, my body was worn but my Brain kept asking questions over and over. Have you got this have you got that is there enough and then I drifted off to sleep.

 I woke up when I heard a knocking on my Door. I called out to whoever it was to come in. It was my Daughter Kat and she carried a Tray with hot Food. I looked at my watch and I had been asleep for half an hour. My body seemed to have recovered somewhat. I swung my feet over the edge of the Bed and sat up, barely catching myself in time to keep my Face from hitting the Floor. I should have stopped sooner and rested more. The exhaustion that previously overwhelmed me, was now replaced by aching stiff Muscles that wouldn’t obey any commands given by my Brain telling me to get up.

 Kat greeted me with a smile and said “Hi Dad are you feeling any better?” “Yes after that rest I feel ready for whatever you got there.” I looked her with Pride, noting that she was worried and tiered. “I brought you some Spaghetti Bolognese, hope you feel like it.” She came up to the Bed as she said that and sat on the edge of the Bed.

I said “Come on, spit it out” “What is it?” So she said “Steve is alive.” “We have heard from him and he will meet us in Nullagine.” “That is great I said. I was getting worried about him. Steve is my youngest and somehow we don’t seem to get along all that well. He doesn’t talk much with me and keeps to himself. So I am glad that he is meeting up with us. I said to Kat “After I have eaten I would like to have our meeting in the Lounge.” Kat said “Oh yes I nearly forgot there are three People here waiting to see you about joining us.” “Give me ten minutes and I’ll be there “I eat my Spaghetti and drank some Coffee.

Then I went to the Bathroom, relieved myself had a quick wash and walked back into the room. I picked up the Colt .357 loaded it and put on the Gun belt. From now on that was part of my attire. The Glock is a terrific Pistol, but Automatics can jam when you need it most, but Revolvers will always work. Of course no Matter what, I felt a bit silly running around like someone playing Cowboys and Indians. But of course I knew that it was necessary for us all to keep our Guns with us at all times. This was the new Era we had entered.

As I walked into the Lounge I noticed how lovely and clean it looked. The walls were painted in a light greenish colour and on the Floor was a heavy dark Carped. Everyone was looking at me and so I sat down and said “What does one have to do to get a Drink” Sandy came over with my Drink of scotch and sat down next to me.

I indicated to the three People sitting further away against the wall and said “I believe you want to join our group. So how about introducing yourselves, Ladies first.” She looked at me and stood up “My name is Julie, I am 30 years old, single and work, I mean worked for Waldeck Nurseries before all this happen.” She continued on by saying “Yes! I would love to join your Group. I am alone and have no one. I just want to belong.” With an uncertain look on her Face she went on by saying “I think I could be of some use to you. There isn’t much I don’t know about growing Food and such”

 I said to her “That’s great Julie, my name is Mark and I am pleased to meet you.” I thought to myself that she was good looking and that some lucky Fellow would soon latch onto her. Julie smiled and sat down again. One of the Fellows stood up and said “Hi everybody, everyone calls me Fred, I am 38 years old and have lost nearly everyone I knew. I am an Electrician and hopefully you have a place for me in your Venture.”  I think I will get to like that Bloke, sometimes you just know. Fred was about 6’3” dark Hair and quite skinny.

The third of them was really nervous and I could see that he had no confidence in himself. But he spoke with a clear voice saying “My name is Carl Jones, I am 42 years old and I don’t know if you will have use for a Radio Technician, but that is what I do” he added “I think I am very good at it.” Carl was what you would call short and round, going bald up top.

I said “No worries, but it is not all up to me. I think we should have a vote on it.” Everyone nodded and I noticed that our three newcomers didn’t have a Drink so I said pointing at the Drinks on the Table “Please help yourselves to a Drink, nobody is going to shoot you.” I don’t know if they believed me. After a short debate I was able to tell them that they are welcome in our Group.

 I turned to the Group and said “Let’s all have a Toast to our Community of New Hope” Everyone raised their Glasses and toasted to New Hope. I went over to Brad and ask him what he was hauling and he said with the biggest Grin I had seen “I thought you never ask. I got one Trailer for Newman and two for Hedland all for Woollies and full of Food.” I said “Aren.t you the clever one”

 “Everybody, can I have your attention for a moment please.” “While we are possibly in no hurry with this I would like to nominate a couple of People for Positions in our Group, before we get to Nullagine. I would like to propose that we put Bill here second in Charge” Bill tried to say “No.” But none of us would hear of it.

 Next I said “Sandy for Sherriff “as she has been in the Police Force up until now and we need somebody that can be relied on in case needed for that purpose. Everyone else will get their jobs as they come up.” Kat sang out “What about you?”

 “I hopefully will retire into a quite peaceful Life” Which of course I knew that this wasn’t possible as we were facing lots of obstacles.  Fred said “What about us? Do we get Guns too?” I said “Thank you for bringing that up. The answer is, yes you will get Guns. But not until you have proven yourselves Trustworthy. You must understand that we don’t know you, yet. But we will give you your Guns at the first sign of trouble or when we get to Nullagine. Is that fair enough?”

 He nodded his head and before he could say anything else I said “Listen up everybody. It’s been one hell of a Day so let’s all go to Bed so that we’ll be fresh and awake in the morning.” Sandy and her Dog Rex came up to me and she said “Dad…..” “Can we camp with you to-night?” Typical Sandy I thought “Come on then grab your gear and if he,” pointing at Rex” snores, “out he goes” She gave me a Kiss and said “Thanks Dad.”                                                            

Chapter 4

I awoke at about 4am, I had actually slept longer then I do normally. Ha! That’s a laugh, what is normal. Nothing is normal or the same anymore. Am I doing the right thing, leading my Family and others up to Nullagine? The way that I been thinking everything should be fine. But have I thought of everything or have I forgotten something.

We need more People if we want to survive. Our small number is not enough. Well, maybe we find some more on the way up. I slept in my clothing except for my Boots, which I now was in the process of putting on. Rex was watching me but not moving a muscle. Sandy was breathing evenly. I hoped that Kat and Rob were alright too. I strapped on my Gun and Belt. This was something I or all of us had to get used to.

 I quietly snug out of the Room, not wanting to wake Sandy. I walked through the Lounge and saw Bill already in the Kitchen. He must have just beaten me there. He was still boiling the water. He looked up when he heard me and said “Good thing I put enough water in here for an extra Mug of Coffee. You always up this early?” I said to him “Yes, ever since I got the Fibro Myalgia I get chucked out of Bed by Pain. But surprisingly it’s not too bad this morning.”

“People read about Fibro Myalgia but they have no idea how debilitating it is. Sometimes it gets so bad that People have committed Suicide over it.” “F**k,” Bill says “I had no Idea. How do you cope?” “Sometimes I don’t” I say “But let’s not worry about it today. We got lots of work to do.”

I kept thinking about how hard it had been at times and if it wasn’t for my Wife I would not have managed. I can’t stop thinking about her and how different life will now be without her. Everyone in our group has lost love ones, this could be one of the reasons why everyone is looking out for everyone else. I am sure that we will make it.

Sandy and Kat are suffering a lot, both were close to their Mother. She was my second Wife and the Mother of all my children. After her I had two more wife’s, I don’t like being alone. I looked up from drinking and saw Rex sneaking into the Room, Tail wagging. He and Sandy are good Friends and yes she is right behind him.

 When she sees us she smiles and says “Good morning Father, Good morning Bill” “Want some Coffee? Sandy” ask Bill. She looks at him and says “You know, I used to really hate Coffee, but now I like it. Yes, could I have one please? I’ll just go and get Rex a drink of Water and find something for him to eat.”

Slowly the Room started filling with People stretching and yawning. Fred came over to me and said “Good Morning.” He went on and said “I got my work Truck at Home with all my gear. You mind if I go and get it? I thought that all the Stuff might come in handy when we get to “New Hope” Carl was standing behind him and said “Yeah, me too. I mean I have some tools and instruments that might come in handy.” I said “Yeah, go for it. Try not to be too long.” Julie was going to say something but I beat her to it by saying to her “Yes. Go! Get what you need and Grab a Car from out front. You have to get a SUV later.” Pointing at Fred I said, “not you, Fred you already got your Truck.”

Off they went. Kathy looked much better this morning. It is hard getting over someone you lost. Fred was the first to get back. He had a converted Ford F150 Ambulance V8 Diesel. He had the back and the top fitted out. Looked good. I wondered if he done it himself. I think I was jealous. My third Wife and I made a Trip around Western Australia and the Northern Territory in one of these towing a 10 Metre or 30 foot Caravan.

After about half an hour everybody was ready to leave. Carl had liberated his Neighbours Nissan Patrol and so he was taking Julie with him. All three of them had done so well, that I decided to give them a Pistol each. Fred smiled and remarked that now he felt like a member of the Group. I said “OK, we only have 8 kilometres to drive for Brad to pick up his Load and then we will travel in leisure to the next time we need to stop for whatever reason. Bill ask could we stop at Bulls Brook at the Air Base.

I said “OK that will be the next stop after the Service Station where Brad left his Trailers when he turned around to go back to his Sister Kathy. “Everybody make sure you got your 2ways on and on channel 40. That’s all. Let’s go!” We drove off like a Convoy. At the Service Station there was no shortage of helping hands and so Brad was ready in record time.

I suggested to Brad that he drive ahead so that Sandy and I could check out everybody and make sure they knew how to shoot their weapon and how to keep it safe. So Brad took off leaving us behind. “Nobody draw their Gun out until I, Bill or Sandy say so.” I though I be very firm with them on this as I didn’t want any mishaps.

 I called out to Fred first and showed him how to take the Magazine out. I told everybody else to watch till it was their turn. Next I showed him how to put the Magazine back and then let him try it a couple of times. I could notice that everyone was anxious to fire their weapon but they all had to learn how to handle their gun first. Next I showed him how to pull back the Slide and put the first Bullet into the Chamber. I dropped the Magazine out again and then ejected the Bullet. I showed him a couple of times telling him to always point the Gun towards the Ground. Next I put the Magazine back and then let him try it. After everyone had done this a couple of times I let them dry fire their Gun to get the feel of it. I told them not to pull the trigger but to pretend they are holding a Banana and squeeze it. That seem to work and soon everyone was able to fire their Weapon. I said “One last thing before we go. Always aim for the largest part of your target, then hopefully you won’t miss.”

 “OK, let’s hit the Road and catch up to Brad.” We moved out and found the Road surprisingly clear of Cars. Most of them had careered off into the Bush where they couldn’t hurt anyone. It wasn’t long and we caught up to Brad who was waiting for us outside Pearce Air force Base. Brad himself was standing on the Road next to the Truck talking to two People in Air Force Uniforms. I walked over to them after having stopped my Nissan behind the Semi. Brad said “Hi Mark, this is Pam and Frank they are the only Survivors here.” I said “Hi, I bet you two have a lot of questions to ask.” It looked like Pam as an MP was the Dominant Person here. I could also see that they knew each other quite well.

So I said “Bill! Why don’t you come over and talk to these People.” When he was finish I thought that I would say a few words of wisdom to the Group. I said “We have been lucky so far and have not encountered any trouble but today nobody knows what is going on and that probably won’t change but don’t forget by Tomorrow the Sh*t will hit the Fan. People will start looting, they have no choice. There is no Law, no Government, no Medical Service we are back in the Stone Age or I should say we are back in the 1800s.

 We will have killings, because there is nobody to stop it. Electricity and other Services will cut out. Because we have all these decomposing Bodies everywhere we will have sickness and the Plague. After all this settles down we will have Groups that either want to survive or Groups that will go on a killing rampage for Power. Having said all this “Would you two like to join our Group of Hopefuls?  We are going up North where we will start our own Community of Survivors.”

They both looked at me with open mouths. Pam was the first to speak. She said “Are you the Leader?” “Only until we get to Nullagine that is our destination.” I said to her. I know she was going to ask, what will happen then but I had to cut her short as we were running short of time, still having to drive a long way. So I said “Look Pam, I like to answer all your Questions now, but we are running short of time so are you in or out?” To which both of them replied “In.” Bill had some Questions for both of them and so I left them to it.

Then I pointed to Bill and said “My I please leave you in Bills hands here he is my XO and he will look after you.” I knew I could rely on Bill so I picked up my Mike for the 2way and said “OK Folks let’s get rolling, next stop New Norcia.”

Brad was the first to get going and we swapped places as we were driving along. Weather ways we could not have ask for a nicer Day. No Clouds in the Sky the Sun was shining down on us and the Road ahead was clear. I got my Radios set to scan, but nothing so far, but I keep hoping. 

Next we all heard Fay calling that there was something wrong with her Steering. Bills voice cam on the Radio and told us to keep going and that he and Luke would stay with Fay and fix whatever there was wrong. I told him that we were going to wait for them in New Norcia. It didn’t take us all that long to get there and we all stopped near the Caltex Service Station. There was no one in the Service Station but there was plenty of Food ad so most of us sat down outside and had some Food and Drink.

I couldn’t believe what happen next. A Monk was walking towards our Group. He most have come from the Benedictine Monastery. New Norcia is the only monastic Town in Australia. As he walked up to us he said “Good morning, I am Brother Joseph, welcome to New Norcia. I am afraid but it seem that I am the only one here.” Kathy got up and said “Good morning Brother Joseph, would you like to sit with us for a while and tell us what you think has happen.” He accepted her invitation and sat in the Grass among us. It somehow reminded me of stories about Jesus in the Bible.

I got onto my 2way Radio and called out to see where our three stragglers were. Bill came on the Radio and told me they wouldn’t be long and that Fay’s Vehicle was alright again and that they had found a Bubble in her right Front Tyre. As I walked back to the Group I faced Brother Joseph and said “Brother Joseph, I am Mark and I would like to invite you to join us on our Quest. I am sure everyone has told you what we are planning. I am sure even in the new World we are going to need some Religious instructions and we would be honoured if you would join us.” He stood up and shook my Hand, then he said “Thank you for asking me and also thinking of the spiritual needs of your Group. As I am no longer needed here and if you give me a moment to get my things and pray, I will join with you and your Group.”

By the time Bill, Luke and Fay got back and had something to eat, Brother Joseph came back to us. I ask him would he like to ride in my Vehicle with me and he agreed. He put his belonging in the back and sat in the front next to me. I said to him laughingly “You can be my Radio Operator, I like to keep my hands on the Steering Wheel.” To which he agreed. 

It was clear driving from here on and he was very stimulating Company. We started talking about Nullagine and I told him that I had lived and worked there. To me that place was home. When I think about all the beautiful places around there. People think because we are in the Desert there that we don’t have any Water. This is not so, I couldn’t tell you how many places of water there were. But it was many and this was one of the reasons we were going there. When we got to Wubin Brother Joseph told me that this was the furthest that he been along here. I told him this was where the Outback started.

Just outside Mt. Magnet we had to slow down and stop as a big Haulpack Ore Truck was blocking the way. We were in Luck as Fred told us he had driven one of these Monsters while he was restoring some of the Electrics on it. All in all we were held up for about half an hour and so we stopped in Mt. Magnet and had something to eat. At Mt. Magnet we found another Wheel for Fay’s SUV. Even so we had plenty of spares I felt better knowing that every Vehicle had a Spare Wheel.

There was nothing else here and so we continued on to Meekatharra passing through the old Mining Town of Cue. At about 4.30pm we arrived in Meekatharra. I ask Brother Joseph to call Brad on the 2way Radio and ask him to park his Rig in the Main Street outside the Auski Motel and everyone else was to follow us in.

We again parked in front of the different rooms where we thought that we would find Rooms without Corpses in them. We all found a room each with Sandy and Rex sharing with me again. I was stuffed, it’s been a long Day. After everyone settled into their Rooms, we all went into the Dining Room to Relax and talk. I was just about to get up and have a quick talk when I noticed that Fay and Sue weren’t there yet.

 Kathy motioned to me that she was going to check on them. About 5 minutes later she came back with a worried look on her Face. When she got to where I was she quietly said to me can you come outside. We both went outside and Kathy said to me “Sue has got a Fever, quite high 102°F.” I said “Yes, that is high. Any ideas?” “It could be just a 24 hour Bug, but in light of everything I just don’t know.” She said with a worried look. “Let’s try some Nurofan first, it’s better than Aspirin and then see her reaction.” That is all I can think of.

We went into the Room where Fay and Sue were. Sue was laying on her Bed sweating profusely. I said let’s go and get some Ice and see if we can cool her down. Fay got up to come with me, but I told her to stay with her Daughter. She gave me a grateful look saying “Thank you, but you shouldn’t be in here Sue could be Contagious.” “Don’t worry” I said “I had it all before, plus better me than someone younger.”

 I went and got a Bucked full of Ice and told everyone I’ll be right back and explain. As I got back to the Room I said to Kathy “Here in some Ice in the Bucked with water and I brought same Towels.” “Great” she said “Could you please cut the Towels up so that I can make some cold compresses. We got to get the Temperature down in a hurry.” Fay kept cooling down Sue’s forehead with a cold cloth. Sue was moaning and babbling incoherently. I said “Do you need me here or can I send one of the Ladies here? Kathy said “Thanks Mark, you go and if you like send someone to replace you, just in case.”

 I went back to the Dining Room and said “I don’t know what you heard, but Sue is very sick. Can somebody please go and help her.” Everybody started getting up, so I said “No, just one. How about you Kat you have had some experience with First Aid and that sort of Stuff.” Kat used to be a Member of St. John’s Ambulance Service, as a Volunteer and she was very good at it.  

Kat left and I sat down again saying to Sandy “Could you get me my usual please?” She smiled and went to the Bar to get me my Drink, Rex followed her. Everybody started to move around getting Food or Drink. After a while Kat came and said to me “Kathy wants to see you.” I put my Drink down and said “OK, I’m coming now.”

 I knocked on the Door and was told to come in. Kathy pointed to Sue and said “I think the Fever is breaking and she is looking better” I said, “That is great. Fay are you having something to eat?” She replied “Maybe later. I’ll stay with Sue for the moment.” I said “OK, if you need anything just sing out.”

I went back to the Dining Room with Kat following me. After sitting down again Sandy brought some Food over and she sat down with me to eat. Kat and Rob came also to join us and so it was really a Family gathering. Apparently the Women had teamed up and made something to eat for everyone using up whatever they could find. After having had something to eat I had another Drink of Scotch and Coke.

 Before I left I told everyone not to worry about sleeping in as we all deserved a good Sleep. We only had 400 Kilometres to go to Newman, where we would spend the next night before driving the last 200 Kilometres of Dirt Road to Nullagine. Meekatharra wasn’t very big, but I thought that we should still do some more “Shopping” in the morning.

On my way to our Room I stopped at Fay’s Room and knocked on the Door. After a moment Fay came to the Door and opened it. I said to her “How is Sue doing?” to which she replied “The Fever is still up, but Kathy said it’s not dangerous anymore” “That is good news” I said feeling a great relieve “If she is not feeling any better by morning we won’t leave. We can easily spend another day here.” But Fay wouldn’t hear of it and said “If we are not ready by the time that you are we stay and catch up.” I just let it go at that knowing that we wouldn’t leave without her.

Back in my Room I partly undressed, put the Glock next to me and the F88 Rifle next to me on the Floor. Putting on my CPAP Mask it didn’t take me long to get to sleep. I heard Sandy and Rex come in but just turned over.

Next morning we found that we had no more Power and found no electricity anywhere. But Bill came to the rescue by finding a big BBQ just outside the Door. On the side of the BBQ was a Burner where we could boil some water for our Coffee. After a short while some of the women served us with Bacon and Eggs for Breakfast. We all clapped and Cheered when Fay and Sue walked into the Dining Room. I stood up and addressed the Group by saying “I think we all agree that it is nice to see our Sue up and about again.” Hear! Hear! In the background.

“We are in no hurry, we only have 400 Kilometres to go to the next stop and so I was thinking that we could do some more shopping.” All agreed. “I like to see a couple of Volunteers that could be nominated to shop for a certain Item as a primary goal. How does that sound?” Kat sang out “What is the Item?” So I said “Let’s say it is you. So I would ask you primarily to look for Food, Clothing not to forget Footwear and so on.”  She says “Sounds good, put me down for Footwear. If everyone gives me their sizes I will see what I can find.”

She found some writing material and was about to leave when I said “Two People per Team please and turn your Radios on.” Luke said that he would look for Tools that we might need. Everybody volunteered even Brother Joseph who was going to find some Books. I stayed behind with Fay, Sue and Sandy who had it made her job to look after me. By 11am everyone had arrived back at the Motel bringing lots of Items we still needed.

They had even gone up to the old Hospital and brought back many Boxes of badly needed Items. Just to mention a few others. Luke brought back some very old Carpenter Tools even an Adze. Kat brought back 19 pairs of Boots. Frank had some 2way Radios. All in all it was a very profitable morning. For Lunch it was back to the BBQ and it was mainly Steak and Eggs.

After Lunch and before leaving I remembered my Tray of Seedlings in the back of the Vehicle also my 2 Fig Trees and so I gave them some water. Brad was the first to take off and the rest of us followed him leaving the desolate Town behind. At Kumarina Roadhouse we saw no movement despite all our Noise making. Next stop Capricorn Roadhouse.

We got there about 5pm and to my surprise found an empty Display Home which was big enough for us with some using their Sleeping Bags. We were surprised to see that they still had electricity but when I had a look I saw that their backup Generator was fed from a large Tank on stilts. Nobody felt like wandering around as the Corpse that were to be found everywhere were now bloated at started to smell.

Good thing it was still winter. Not many of us felt like eating and so must of us just had a snack and a Drink. While everyone was gathered in the big Lounge Room. I made a noise with my Glass and Knife and said, “If no one has any objection I thought that we stay out of Newman and come back for what we need in about 2 weeks when all the stench from the Bodies has dispersed.

Early in the Morning Sandy and I will drive into Newman and see if there are any People left that might need our help. You will wait here and get all your Loads ready for traveling on Dirt Road. By that time we should be back and then I will be the Leading Vehicle with Brad following.” With that said I wished everyone a good night and went to the Room that Sandy had picked out for us.

I was just about to lay down when Sandy came rushing in and said “Dad! Kat has been ringing the Public Phone in Nullagine and Steve has just answered. Have you got any Message for him? I said “Yes, get him to shift all the Corpses out of Town to morrow that is if he hasn’t done that already.” She nodded at me and ran off again. It took me a long time to get to sleep. I was thinking of my Wife and how much I missed her. I also knew that she wouldn’t have been happy up here. She didn’t like the Heat that we get up here. Anyway I slowly drifted off to Sleep.

In the morning I was the first one up. I had to step over a few sleeping bags with sound asleep People in them. When I got to the Kitchen I put the Kettle on and Bill showed up. I said to him “What’s wrong with you? Don’t you like sleeping?” “I’m just used to getting up early and it’s hard to break an old habit.” He said. We made Coffee and Sandy arrived with Rex in tow.  We had Coffee and made Toast with some stale Bread we got in Meekatharra.

People started to wake and so I told Bill that he was in charge and that we were leaving for Newman. As we drove into Newman Town site I was shocked on the amount of bloated Corpses everywhere. Having lived here in the past what made it worse was when I thought that I recognised a couple of them laying there.

Sandy and I drove around making plenty of noise with our Sirens’. Suddenly after only about 15 minutes I spotted a SUV in my rear vision mirror flashing his light and tooting his horn. We stopped and let him catch up with us. When he got out of his Vehicle I could see he was in a mess. He had three young Children with him, two girls and a Boy. None were older than about 7 years old and he looked about 40 years old. He walked up to me carrying one of the Girls and said “Do you know what is happening here? My Wife, their Mother died at the same time then all these poor People. What is going on?

 Sandy came over and picked up the little girl and ask her what her name was. She just hugged Sandy tightly and cried. I told the Fellow as much as I knew and about our Group. I also ask him would he like to come with us and he could decide later if he wanted to join our Group. He didn.t know what to do, so I told him to get their things and drive out to meet with Bill and let Kathy check his Kids. When he found out that we had a Nurse with us I think he relaxed a bit more.

While he went back to his Home Sandy and I went on. As we got near the Hospital a Women came running out waving her Hands at us to stop. We stopped and she came over to my Vehicle. As I got out she said “My name is Sally. Do you know what is happening? Who are you? Are you with the Government?”

I said to her “Whoa, back up. My name is Mark and with me is my Daughter Sandy. We are not with the Government. There is no such thing anymore. No more Police or anything else.” I continued in saying “I am not even sure if there is still a Civilisation.” “Could you please tell me what Blood Group you are?” She looked at me not sure what to say “I am AB Blood Group, but what has that to do with all this?”

 “It seems that only Blood Type AB have survived whatever this is.” I told her with an almost certainty. She looked at me a bit dumbfounded and said “So, what are you People doing here? I told her that we were looking for survivors and the rest of the Story about the rest of us. She just looked quietly at us and said “I don’t seem to have any Family left. Could you use a Doctor in your Group?”

She then told us she was in one of the Aboriginal Community about 200 Kilometres away when all of this happen and came back to Newman to find out what was going on. As we were talking a couple more Fellows came along and I was lucky as Sandy took care of them. After a short while they moved off and I ask Sandy “What is going on, who are they?” She said “Don’t worry Dad, two more for “New Hope” I smiled and ask the Doctor did she have a SUV and could she get ready to move out with us. 10 minutes later the Doc. pulled up behind me.

Sandy told me the two Fellowes would meet us with the rest of the Group back at the Capricorn Roadhouse. At this moment two Teenage Girls came running onto the Street. Sandy saw them and beckoned for them to come over to her. She sang out to me that she would catch up.

We drove back to Capricorn where we met up with Bill and the rest of the Group. As I got out of my Vehicle I told everyone could we all please go back into the House as we had something to discuss before going on. By the time that we all had gotten back inside, Sandy had arrived too with the two Girls.

When we were all together back in the big Lounge there was virtually standing room only. The Group quietened down when I walked in as everyone wanted to know what was happen. “Friends or should I say Family” I said to all of them in the Room “Please bear with me, as you have noticed we have some new Faces among us. These People are the same then us, Survivors! I’ll ask you all to make them feel welcome.

 “If at a later stage they or anyone of you want to branch out on your own. You will go with my blessing. Everyone except the two young Ladies from Newman have Transport, so if somebody can make room for them in their Vehicle that would be fine.” Sandy piped up and said “Dad, they can both come with me and Rex.” “Great” I said “Let’s go then, me first then Brad and Sandy last. Please watch out for the Dust, it will bring visibility down to virtually none. If you have to, fall back. I don’t want anyone to have an Accident.”

So we all drove off and about 10 Kilometres further on we turned right on to the Marble Bar Road. Nearly all of it Dirt Road.

Chapter 5

Three Hours later all of us arrived in “New Hope” in one piece, but covered in Dust. Dust got into everything. I was surprised to see my son Steve and three other People standing there to greet us. I walked over and gave my son a big hug. I hadn’t seen Steve in quite a while. Steve went on and introduced me to Sharon and her 6 year old Daughter Debbie. He found both of them wandering in Hedland and after picking them up they found Mike near the Airport. Mike was about 50 years or so and he looked like he had a hard life over the years.

I ask Steve had he found a place to stay, to which he replied, “As long as the Pub got Booze, that is where I am staying.” I said to him “OK the Pub is yours. We’ll get together after.” Then Sandy, Kat and Rob came to greet Steve. I couldn’t see any Bodies about and so I said to Steve “Thanks for cleaning up.” To which he replied “No sweat, Mike and Sharon gave me a Hand. Tell you all about it later Dad.”

By this time everyone had gathered around us and I addressed the Group by saying “OK, Folks!  We have finally arrived at our destination, you all have been great. For the next part we have to find Accommodation for everyone. The Pub has been taken by Steve, Bill will have the Police Sergeants House, the Clinic has a Unit in the back of it, and I would suggest that Kathy goes there. I will go in the House in front of the Hill.

There are a few more Houses I suggest that the Doc. Takes the House behind the Police Station. Everybody go for a walk and see where you would like to live. Oh, I nearly forgot the Twins are not old enough to live by themselves and so somebody will have to adopt them. Please see if you can work it out among your selves. If nobody will take them then I most defiantly will, but with my affliction it won’t be easy.” Kat said to me “Me and Rob will take the Store.” After a while the Doc. came to me with the Twins in tow and said “The Girls and I had a talk and they are coming with me, I always wanted to have Kids and this is my Chance to have a Family.” The Twins looked like typical Teenagers, both Blond, about 5’4” tall and maybe a bit too skinny. But I suppose that will change. Oh, and both of them wear Glasses.

 “Sounds great” I said.

Sally, our Doctor is a good looking Women, she is 30 years old and a natural brunette. I think she would be about 5’6” tall and slim. So far we have only seen her in Jeans, but most look forward to seeing her in Shorts. Brad came over to me and said “I presume we want the Food by the Store. I had a look around the back and there is plenty of room to put the Trailers.” “Sounds good to me, can you and Kat work together on this, but please go and find somewhere to stay first. Oh, by the way the Unit behind the Clinic has to independent Bedrooms with unsuits. Anyway check it out.”

Steve said there is an old codger living about three Kilometres out near the Marble Bar Road, His name is Doug, but he won’t come and live in Town. I said that I knew him and that I would go out and see him in the next few Days .I thought it best to go to my new Home and have a laydown. Before I got back to my Vehicle, Sandy and Rex caught up to me and Sandy said to me “Dad, I think that we should stay with you, so that Rex and I can look after you.”

 I gave in with a smile. I was hoping that she would come with me. I said to Sandy “Could you please tell everybody that we meet in 3 hour in the Pub.” Sandy said she would and I drove to my new Home wondering if my Wife would have liked it here. Also there were so many things to think and worry about. But first a laydown, probably on the Floor on my Sleeping Bag till everything was sorted out.

Did I tell Luke about seeing to the Powerhouse and then I remembered that we still had our 2way Radios. I keyed my Mike in and called Luke “Luke, you got a copy? This is Mark.” “Yes Mark, got you loud and clear. What can I do for you?” “I need you to check the Powerhouse” “No worries I’m on to it “Luke called “Out” so I went into the House. The House was quiet big with 4 Bedrooms, a very large Lounge/Dining Room and a nice Kitchen. The Windows were all covered by Flywire which made it nice for when you wanted to let in some Breeze. Anyway it was Home. It looked nice and clean but hot. I found the controls for the Air conditioner and switched it on. Grabbed my CPAP and stretched out on my Sleeping bag. I was just about to go to sleep when something wet went across my Face. Upon opening my Eyes I saw Rex and his wet Tongue greeting me. I knew then that I wasn’t going to get any sleep yet. When Sandy came in I said to her “I am taking the double Bed so go pick yours and then we better get our Gear inside.”

I then realized that I hadn’t brought a lot with me and I would have to go shopping soon. When I got back inside I saw Sandy was busy cleaning out the Refrigerator. Everything that wasn’t sealed she chucked out. We had 2 Refrigerators and also 2 Freezers. When finished she said that would be alright for a while with Food. I was still bringing in my things including all of my Personal Weapons. A real Surprise came, when I looked under the Bed there it was in a Case, the most beautiful Rifle I had seen. It was an “H-S Precision .308 with a Nightforce Scope. I felt like a little Kid at Christmas. Then I wondered if we were still having Christmas. Now that the World was not the same anymore. That Rifle would come in handy. It didn’t take us long and we were finished. We walked outside and the soaring Heat hit us.

Sandy said in a sarcastic Voice “Nice Day isn’t it Dad?” I said “Yes, we’ll have to get used to it by summer.” We had a look around our little Home and found quite a bit of space for our Vegetables Garden. I poked her in her side and said “Let’s go over to the Pub. I mean drive over” I corrected myself. When we got there, some of our People were there already. It was nice and cool inside and Steve sang out to me “Are you having a drink?” “Yeah make it the usual” I answered. My favoured Drink is Scotch Whiskey and Coke.

I noticed that I wasn’t the only one with a Glass in my Hand. On a happier note, I could see Sally standing there with having her arms around the Twins. I rattled my Glass to get everyone’s attention. When I achieved that, I said “Hi Folks, I know it’s not fair to have a meeting of the Council so quick after getting here. First of all, is everybody settled in?” They must have been as I got an all-around “Yeah” as my answer.

 I continued by saying “I thought that we have a quick meeting to establish who is in what position and so let’s get down to Business. First I will step down so that you can elect a Leader for our new Community. I will also remind you that this is only for the next 3 month, in which time we will see things more clearly. So if someone will make a nomination so that we can get on with things. We also need a Scribe up here could someone please volunteer.” Sharon held her hand up and said “I have worked as a Secretary and I like to help.” “Great” I said “Would you come over here and record everything said, thank you.”

Fay’s Hand went up and she said “I nominate for Mark to stay as our Leader, he has done a damn good job of getting us here and having the foresight for this.” Bill said “I’ll second that. Without him we wouldn’t be here.” “All in favour lift your hand” I said looking around. All Hands went up. “Against” no hands went up this time. I said “I will accept but only if I can have Bill as second in charge” Brad said “I motion that we have Bill as Marks XO” Kat said “I’ll second that” “Good” I said “All in favour” All hands went up “All against” no hands. “Looks like you are elected Bill. Will you accept? Bill looked all over the Crowd and said “I’ll be honoured, I accept.”

 We all cheered. I then continued “These are all the Elections we need to take care of at the moment and before closing I like to appoint a couple of positions. First of all, Sally over there has kindly consented to be our Doctor. I must tell you also that she is a Doctor. Kathy will be her Nurse in charge of the Clinic. Luke is in charge of the Powerhouse and he will want a Volunteer that he can train to take over one Day. Sandy, having been in the Police Force will be our Sherriff. Which reminds me, Bill will also be in charge of Security. Kat will have the Store and Steve the Pub.”

 I pointed to the far wall and said “Over there is a large Blackboard, will everyone please put down their name and Qualification or what they are able to do. We will also have a large Notice Board outside on the Hotel Wall. Anybody can put up a notice. If you need Food, Clothing or other Items, see Kat at the Store. Of course there is no charge on anything. Money is not worth a damn. The Notes might be good as Toilet Paper, but I doubt it. With the Board that you are writing on now you will be able to see who has experience in what. So that if you need an Electrician, you go and see Fred. This will also help putting everyone into a position where they will do the most good.”

 I went on and said “Please forgive me, I have one more person to put in his place, so to speak. Brother Joseph will you look after our Religious wellbeing?” Brother Joseph got up and said “Will that include you?” I could only laugh and said “Get on with it” “Maybe before we leave this meeting, you could say a Prayer for all of us and bless our new Community” He said “That’ll be an honour.” He then bowed his head and said “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread

I didn’t hear anymore as I quietly snug out. When he was finish talking I walked back into the room and said “Sorry but nature waits for no man” “Is everyone still here? Can I have your attention please? I just remembered that after the meeting was closed there was Question Time for anyone that had any Question that I might be able to answer.” Fred said “Who is on the Council?” “Good Question” I said “Every Adult in this Community is a Council member with full voting rights. “What constitutes an Adult?” Someone ask. “15 years and over” I said

If you have a problem that you think can’t be resolved other ways you may call a Council meeting” That satisfied Fred. Mike said “Is everyone allowed to carry a Gun?” to which I replied “Yes, everyone is encouraged to wear a Gun, except into the Pub, and tomorrow if you see Bill, he will supply you with a Handgun, Rifle and Ammunition.” Sharon said “Why do we have to wear Guns?” another good question I said “First you don’t have to wear a Gun, but it is advisable.

As time goes on we will be in more Danger of becoming prey to roving Gangs that want what is ours. We also have to worry about straying sick animals like Dogs who have been feeding on Dead People. But it is up to you. And I went on to say “You must understand Civilisation like we have known it, no longer exists. There are to fewer People in this Country to do anything else but to look after themselves. There is no more Government, Police, Hospitals, Electricity and so on. There will come a time when we will run out of Electricity Fuel does only keep for so long and then it gets like Jelly. Eventually we will run out of everything that we not make or grow ourselves. It will be like back in the 1800s.”

I don’t know who, but somebody kept filling my Glass and I kept thinking just one more and then I stop. I sang out “OK everybody, the meeting is finish, but everyone is welcome to stay for Drinks. Thank you again” I sought out Carl and ask him if he could see me in the morning please. To which he consented and so Sandy, Rex and I snug of. It was nice to get back home.

I still can’t believe everything that has happen in the last few days. We still had to bring my Tablets in, which we did next. I was very happy with the amount of tablets we got for me. I wasn’t too worried about my Tablets I think I can make do. But my Sleep Apnoea is a different Marker altogether and that is why I brought 10 CPAP Machines, all of them capable of running on 12 volts when I have to. I said to Sandy that this would be enough, we can always do more tomorrow.

This is when Sandy sang out “Dad, we still have to plant the Seedlings and the Fig Trees.” I said “Oh shit, let’s do it now. I grabbed the Tray full of Tomato Plants and Sandy went to the Shed and got the Spade to dig the Garden. Just then Bill came around the corner. He said “Shit, you must feel energetic.” “No, but it still has to be done today, other ways the might die overnight.”  Sandy said “You go with Bill Dad, I’ll finish this and then cook something to eat. Bill, are you staying for dinner?” “Let you know when you come in” Bill said knowing that he wouldn’t pass up a home cooked meal. I said to Bill “Let’s go inside and talk over a Drink.”

Bill thought that this was a good idea and said “I’ll be in that and by the way I have pushed my Trailer into the Exercise Yard at the Police Station. Only Sandy, you and I will have a Key for the Station. Tomorrow if you give me a hand with the Trailer I thought that for now we will put all the Weapons in one Cell and the Ammunition in the Cell next to it.” “Sounds good to me” I said “When do you want me over there?” Bill said “After you seen Carl, would be good.”

“OK,” I said and topped up our Glasses. Sandy came in and said “I make a deal with you Bill, tonight we have Spaghetti Bolognaise. Just something quick and then you are invited to come back tomorrow night and we will have Pork Spare Rib. How does that appeal to you?” “I don’t mind Spaghetti any Day, but thank you for inviting me for tomorrow.” We had another Drink and talked about new ideas for the Community. Bill seem to be quite enthusiastic about us living here. He said that he would draw me a rough map so that he could explain his Ideas for Security.

I then showed him what I had found in a case under the Bed. Even his eyes lit up when he saw the Rifle. I passed it over to him and he handled it as if it was a newborn Baby. He said to me “With this you can shoot anything and we have plenty of Ammo for this Rifle. Let me know if you need any.” He passed the Rifle back to me, which in turn I replaced in its Case.

Sandy started dishing up our Dinner and Bill said “Where is the washroom please?” We just pointed and Sandy said “Hurry up” “Does anybody want a Glass of Red Wine? They left some here.” I said “If they left it, we might as well drink it.” The tree of us laughed, which was nice to see. I said to Bill “What do you think about us carrying Guns? “

So Bill said “It won’t be long before the Shit that hit the Fan will come our way and like you said, they will want what we got. It might not happen in a month or in a year but believe me, it will happen. Most likely when we are totally relaxed.” How are we of for Ammo?” Sandy ask. I looked at Bill and he said “Plenty for now, but what happen when there is no Ammo left in the Country? We have to think about the Future.”

I said “Like I said, back to the 1800s to Bow and Arrow and so on. Hopefully we can make it a bit easier for our Children and Grand Children. It’s late I think I go to Bed. Good night you two, don’t let her keep you up Bill, she can talk all night.” Both of them laughed. The Bed felt good and it didn’t take me long to get to sleep. I awoke a little bit later than usual, which was a good sign. I didn’t want to wake Sandy and so I snug around making myself a Cup of Coffee thinking what will we use when we run out of Coffee?  I went outside and watched as the upcoming Sun illuminated the beautiful red Rocks on the Hill. This was Home to me and if it wasn’t for this unfortunate Catastrophe I would never have made it here. I could hear Voices in a near Distance and so I knew that I wasn’t the only one out of Bed. I slowly walked over to the Hotel and went up to the Blackboard.

On it I wrote “Wanted! Volunteers to help Kat with the unloading of Groceries.” Under it I wrote “School starts next Monday, for details see Brother Joseph.” On the way home I saw Mike and said “What’s up Mike, couldn’t sleep? He said “Yeah, to many things still running around in my mind.” “Yes, I know what you mean, it’s not easy, try and have a nice Day, Keep busy. It helps.”

I said thinking that we are all in the same Boat. When I got home Sandy was busy preparing Breakfast. She seem to be in a happy mood, which was good to see. Rex saw me first and he jumped up on me to greet me. Sandy gave me a peck on the cheek and said that we were having Bacon and Eggs. She wanted to get rid of all the frozen stuff first, so that we could save on electricity by not using the Freezer. After Breakfast I went on to my Computer and downloaded everything that I could find on “Survival” and “How to make things.”

I didn’t think we would have the internet for much longer. In the evenings I would print everything out so that we had plenty of written material which we could make into small Books. I spotted Carl coming over to see me, I needed a favour of him. When he got to the Door, I got up and said “Come in Carl. Would you like a Cup of Coffee?” To which he replied “Yes please, black will do me. I suppose we will run out of fresh Milk in a Day or so.” Whiles having our Coffee I said to Carl “You are probably wondering what I am after, this is the situation.

 I have a spare room that I like to set up as my Radio Room and I was wondering if you could install all the Radio Equipment?” He thought for a moment and told us that he would love to do that as it was also his Hobby and not just his Job. Also he ask what kind of Radios was I thinking of. To which I replied “I have UHF, 27mhz. RFDS Radio and Ham Radio” “Can do?” I continued “What I would like to see is, that we have a UHF in every Building that we occupy. That way we can communicate even after the Electricity goes.” “Maybe rig something up with 12 volt Solar Power, if you get my drift.”

Carl had a big grin on his face and said “You never believe it, but at the Meekatharra Hospital we found an old Traeger Pedal Radio. I don’t know if it is working but I’ll find out.” “That is really great news Carl. When can you start?” He said “I’ll have to see Bill and arrange some shooting lessons and then I’ll start here.” “Fantastic!” I said. As soon as Carl left there was another knock on our Door.

Sandy said “Hi Bill, come in. Cuppa?” “Yes, thanks.” Bill said as he walked into the Room. After the Greetings got done with Bill ask me where should we have our Practise Range, remarking that I knew the Place better than he did. This he was going to remedy by spending some time driving around for a short distance. I commented that the best place that I could think of was in Town against the Hill behind us. Bill then ask “What about Guns for the 4 older Kids,” “I have been thinking about that and we have some 22cal. Pistols and I am not sure about Rifles.” “They are in Sandy’s Trailer” I told Bill.

Sandy and Bill went out to the Trailer and came back each of them carrying an Arm load of Guns. Bill commented    how dusty everything was from the Trip to here. I said “Yes, that happen to me many times driving to Newman and back on the Dirt Road.” Bill said that he would clean all the Guns and then set up the Firing Range. He also said that he would leave a note on the Blackboard to say that there was no practise with Guns to day. I thought I better walk over to the Blackboard again, which I did.

 On the Blackboard I wrote. “Attention! All Items to go to: Dick Smith Items to Carl, Chemist and Hospital Items to go to the Clinic, Weapons and Ammo to go to Bill, Footwear, Clothing and Food go to Kat at the Store, The rest: Use your Head! Right on the bottom I wrote. From now on meetings will be held in the Town Hall.

When I got Home again Steve was waiting to see me. I don’t know how he got past me at the Hotel. “Hi Dad, do I see you or Bill about getting a Gun?” He said. So I said to him “Handgun and Rifle you can get of me and if you think you need more Ammo, see Bill he is unloading sometimes To Day.” Steve finished up with a Glock, A Smith & Wesson Revolver and a F88 like mine. He also took a Gun belt for his S & W. I must say he is looking good.

Sandy and I spend the rest of the morning cleaning our Weapons. We heard and saw traffic all Day long. People with their Trailers taking their goods to different Places. Kat came over to invite us for Dinner tomorrow night. We accepted and I said to her “How is Rob doing? Are you coping or have I given you to bigger Job?” “Rob is doing fine. He misses his Mates but I think that is only natural. He hangs around with Luke and I think that this is a good Idea. He is interested in learning. I can manage the new job, in fact it is quite a challenge.” “Are you going to give him a Gun?” “Yes, I think he is responsible enough to carry one.” I said, knowing that she was worried “I am giving him a .22 calibre Pistol. I think he can handle that and at his age it might be a lot of fun for him practising on Targets.”

“Anyway” she said “Tomorrow night at 6pm, see you then!” Carl came out from the spare room “Radio Room” and said “All done, I have hooked them up to 240 volt and 12 volt Battery supplied by the small solar panel.” I said “That is terrific Carl, sit down and we’ll have a Cuppa. I am sorry but there is one more Radio that I had forgotten. The Police Radio from Sandy’s SUV.” I thought that he would be surprised but I didn’t expect him to grin like a Cheshire Cat. “It’s alright Mark” he said “I saw Sandy about that and installed it. I just need to rig up some kind of an Antenna for it. Come on I’ll show you.” When we walked into what is now called the Radio Room, I was surprised. He had done a great job of setting them up so that I could reach all of them without too much effort. He told me that he still had to build a proper antenna for the Ham Radio. First he was going to install UHFs in all Houses. I said “Great! See if Fred will give you a Hand.”

It was getting late and I had forgotten all about Bill coming for Dinner to have “Spare Ribs”. I needed an early night. Must say I am not used to such a hectic life. I already had a favoured Chair and that is where I was heading. Sandy was busy in the Kitchen and I think Rex could tell he was having Spare Rib for Dinner too. Half an hour later Bill showed up on our Door step. I said “Come in Bill, I am just about to make us a drink.” “Good idea” says Bill and so he sat down to enjoy a good meal and a quiet evening.

I ask Bill “How did it go today?” “Questions and Questions that is what I got all Day long” he said. One Women came to me and wanted her Toilet fixed. I said “Yeah, we have to make People aware of who does what. Also I like to send a couple of the Fellows back to Meekatharra where we saw all the Sheep. I thought that if we could find a couple of Trailers with Cages or even Horse floats we could maybe breed Sheep and Goats. It’s just an Idea.” “No” he said “I like that Idea, it is Food and Clothing.” Sandy called out from the Kitchen saying “There will be lots of work for the Carpenter, making Spinning Wheels. Dad, can you still download some plans for making one?” I said “I can try. How long before Dinner we are starving.” She came into the Room with a giant Dish full of Spare Rib and said “There is more.” After Dinner and a couple of Glasses more to drink. Bill went home with a full stomach. Sandy and I talked for a while and then went to sleep too.

First thing in the morning I went over to the Blackboard again and wrote on it, Council meeting at 2pm. Then I walked over to the Store where Kat was busy unloading and storing things. She had Steve, Rob and John helping her. Bill, must have spotted me as he was coming over to see me. After all the pleasantries he said “Mark I had this Idea, I like to take one of the nicer Caravans from the Park and tow it up on the Hill. That way if we had somebody up there as a lookout, in a case of having to stay up there for a while he could make himself comfortable. We could stock it up with Food, like MREs, Weapons like a Machinegun or even an RPG.

I laughed and said “So tell me, where you are going to get these kind of Weapons from?” “I already got them” he said as if that was the most normal thing. “Bill, you are full of surprises. How many of these have we got?” I said to him. He let on that he had brought 2 RPGs, 2 Machinegun’s, 12 Claymores, Box of Grenades and the rest is all Ammo, thousands of Rounds.

I told him that when thing quietened down, that I would like to see us making one more trip into the City. I sort of mentioned that there were a few more things that we would need before we were self-sufficient.  Next I saw Bill and Brad near the Caravan Park and noted that Bill, once he got an Idea, he didn’t like to waste time. I walked over to the Clinic to see how Kathy was going.

When I got there Carl was there too, saying that he was installing the UHFs into the Main Buildings first and that he was finish installing at the Powerhouse, Store, Pub and now the Clinic. The Police Station and Bills place would be next. At that moment Fred poked his Head out and told Carl he was going to start at the Station. I thought that so far thing were going well.

I walked over to Kathy and said “How are you? Are you settling in?” She said wiping the sweat of her brow, “Thank you, yes I am settling in but I don’t know how I am going to cope with the Heat when the Air-conditioning stops.” “Not to worry, you’ll get used to it in no time” I said continuing with “How are we of for Medication and other stuff?” “Yes fine” she said “But we could do with lots more.”   “In about 2 weeks we will make a trip to Hedland, I think there are 3 Pharmacy’s, we should get quite a bit from there.” I said “If you feel like it you could always come along” “That is still a long way off and I am needed here. Julie is Pregnant, and I am telling you this in strict confidence. Also I think that you should know as it might affect your thinking when giving Jobs.” She said in a serious voice. I said “Nothing like that will go any further, not even to my Family.” She thanked me and went back to putting things into their perspective Shelves.

 I thought I’ll walk a bit more and see Steve on the way home. Steve was sitting outside the Pub on his chair smoking a Cigarette and having his morning drink of Bourbon. “Bit early” I said to him, but he said “No, it’s never too early. How are you?” “I am fine, you know how it is. I never tell anyone the Truth about that. Do you need anything?” I ask. He replied “Yeah, more Booze” “Whenever you are ready to go to Newman let me know and I get someone to ride Shotgun for you.” I said.

 Now I have to go home, I should have taken the SUV, maybe I can find a Quad Bike somewhere. He agreed and thought too that it would be fun. I slowly walked back to the House hoping that I make it. I was feeling rotten.

When I got there Sandy was talking to Mike. “Funny you should be here Mike” I said “I was going to see you about a Job for you and someone else” He smiled and said “I’m all Ears, what would you like me to do?” So I said to him “Look Mike I feel rotten and I got to lay down, but if you could wait I’ll be about 15 minutes.” He told me in a concerned voice that he would stay and talk to Sandy until I was ready. I knew he had a crush on Sandy.

 After a short lay down I was back and ask him. “How would you like to go and get me some Sheep?” “That might be a problem, I don’t know of any in this vicinity.” He said wanting to know more. “Oh, I know where they are. They are just past Meekatharra, all in one Paddock.” I told him hoping that he be interested. “When do you want me to go?” he ask. “Anytime you are ready and we can find another Person to go and help you. We also have to find a couple of Trailers with Cages or Horse floats. I thought there were some in Newman, but if you go there, keep your Windows up.” I told him. Sandy said “Maybe Rex and I can help.” “Yeah, that would be nice.” Mike said.

I went inside and had a laydown. After half an hour of rest I felt better. So I went into the Kitchen and made myself a Sandwich. I didn’t feel like drinking something hot so I got a Coke out of the Fridge. When finish I got into my SUV and drove to the Pub so that I could put a notice on the Blackboard. On it I wrote “Wanted! Someone that can handle Camels.” I didn’t think I would find anybody. Next I drove to Bill’s Place to see Brother Joseph. He wasn’t there, but I found him at the School. I had something to discuss with him and I hoped that he could help me.

So I sang out to him “Hi! Brother John” He looked around and when he saw me he said “Good afternoon Mark. How are you? What brings you to my kind of woods? Come over and we sit in the shade.” I walked over to him and we sat down on the Veranda of one of the transportable Classrooms. I said “I have come to pick your Brain with a subject that I will bring up at the Meeting. I went on and said “We have a Sherriff to uphold our Law, but we still have to make up the Law of our Community and maybe write our own Constitution.

 But what I want to talk about right now is punishment and what. I thought that we make it very simple. Only three kinds of punishment, first; small offence. And don’t laugh, but for this I will suggest “The Stocks” like in Midlevel times.” I looked at Brother Joseph in suspense and he said “Who is going to be the Judge? As for the Stocks, I like the Idea.” He walked closer to the Wall to get some Shade. “I thought we put everyone’s names into a Hat and draw six names and these will be the Judges for the Day. A seventh person will be on standby in case of a Draw.” I continued and said “With six People on the Bench there can’t be any favour’s given like with one Person.” Brother Joseph thought for a moment and said “In general, I like the Idea. What are the other punishments?”

I said “Now we get tough, but I am thinking of the Community and the Times we live in. For a major Crime it will be banishment from the Community, and for a Capital offence, like Rape or Murder. The punishment is Death.” On my last sentence he frowned and said “You must know that I can’t condone killing, no matter what the circumstance.” “I knew that” I said “But I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t run it past you. I hope that I didn’t cause you to think badly of me.” I didn’t want to offend him. “Oh no, I admire your honesty” he said “I am touched that you came to me first. We both have different believes and I wouldn’t hold that against you.”

I got up to leave and he said “Would you like me to bless you?” I smiled and said “Brother Joseph, hasn’t anyone told you that I am a Buddhist?” I waited to see what he would say. “We are all God’s Children” he said with a smile “Go with God”

Still smiling I looked at my Watch, it was nearly 2o’clock, time for our Meeting. When I got to the Hall I saw that somebody had placed Chairs everywhere and a Table I presume for Sharon and I. Some People were there already and the rest were coming. After about 15 minutes I declared the Meeting open. I stood up and welcomed everyone, after which I said “First of all and most importantly, may I stay seated please.” All laughed. “Now to Community business, we were talking about the wearing of Guns.

 I can’t see any immediate Danger other than from roving Wild Dogs and Snakes. I’ll remind you that this is Snake Country. So I suggest that we leave that to the individual Persons. I’ll keep wearing mine.” I threw in. “Carl has been very busy installing 2way Radios so that we can talk to each other as we have no Phones. But remember! Your conversation is not private, anyone can listen to what you are saying. To get a little Privacy you will have to go to another Channel. We have a Set here and Carl has consented to give everyone a demonstration after the meeting.

Next, Kat is doing very well at the Store and if something that you need isn’t there, we will try to order it of EBay.” This caused a ripple of laughter. I said, “I went to the Clinic this morning and Kathy has everything in hand, here again if you need a special Medication, tell Kathy and we will try to get what you need. There are still a couple of places that we haven’t been to. The Powerhouse is running smoothly, if it weren’t you have no Lights on in your Houses. Speaking of Houses there are vacant Transportable Accommodation behind the Hotel, if any of you are interested in living in one, please let Bill or me know. If you have a problem like you have a broken Door, if you don’t know who to see, look on the Blackboard and try to remember who does what.”

I took a deep breath and had a drink, then said “Now for a Subject that we need to talk about and that is our Law and Punishment. This is our Community which our Children and their Children will inhered. We need our own Law because there is no other. I have thought about this very much. We have our Sherriff, but what if she catches someone committing a Crime? At this stage we have no Punishment.

Please let me finish before you make any Comments or have any Questions. We will have three kinds of Punishment” First punishment are the ‘Stocks’ like in Medieval Times, for a big Crime there is ‘banishment’ and for a ‘Capitol offence’ there will be Death.” You could have heard a Pin drop. Then the hands shot up like in a Schoolroom. I said “Please let me finish and then there will be time enough for Questions.

We have no real way of keeping someone locked up. If we were too cleared out one of the Cells for the Offender, then we still wouldn’t have anyone to look after him or her. So the Stocks in the middle of Town would be a deterrent. Banishment would be for a very serious Crime only. Death as punishment I think would be fair for Rape and Murder I think. The whole Idea that any of this could happen in our Community really bothers and upsets me. Hope fully none of these punishments will ever be implemented by us.”

 Questions please.” Mel stood up and said “Let’s say that I had committed a Crime any Crime. What is the process? The Sherriff places me under arrest, then what?” I answered by saying “Thank you Mel, that is a very good Question. The Sherriff has the power to put you in the Stocks for a crime like Stealing or causing damage to property and things like that. For any bigger Crime you will go before 6 Judges who will be appointed by lottery like drawing 6 names out of a Hat. Their verdict will be final. Any more Questions?

To my surprise one of the Twins, I think it was Helen I can never tell them apart. “Can I ask a Question? I said “Of course! You are a member of our Community as which you have the same rights as anyone else in this Room, so go ahead.” So she nervously ask “What constitutes a Crime?” I thought that this was a very good but tricky Question “One is common sense, but most of the time we know what a Crime is and yes, you may “Dob” “Does that answer your Question?” “Yeah, sort of.” She said.

 I said “Next on the Agenda is, our Constitution. We will need one to live by. Here is what I suggest; every Person here will please write out what they think our Constitution should be like. Let’s say that in a week from today you bring them all back.” Sally raised her Hand and said “I’ll put forward a motion to accept this suggestion.” Fred said I’ll second that” To which I said “All in favour” All hands went up so I said “Carried” I said “One important thing I forgot to mention is, the Elder or Mayor or whatever you may call my position, cannot vote.”

I went on to tell them that I would like for us to have some Sheep, even Goats and that I’ll be sending someone to Meekatharra, also Brad needed to go to Hedland and get some more Fuel for the Powerhouse, we also needed to get a big Generator of the SES in Hedland. In the near Future we also needed to go to Karratha to get some Deep cycle Batteries and anything else we could find. On big shopping Trips half of the Town would go while the other half looked after the Town. Steve would look after the Booze until it ran out. Hopefully we had learned to make our own Alcohol by then.

 I said “One thing I like to stress and that is look towards the Future with everything you do. You might have Electricity now, but what about your Grandchildren. The same goes for things like Clothing. How are you going to make new Clothing in 50 years’ time? Keep trying to come up with new Ideas which will benefit you or the Community in Future and that is all I have to say.”

I turned to Sharon and said “Whenever you can make it come on over and we go through your notes. How are you settling in?” She said “We are doing fine, Debbie and I are busy gardening. I just hope that it will grow. Debbie likes it here which makes things easier for me.” I told her that I admired the way she and Debbie were handling things. Which seem to make her happy. Next Mel came up to me and told me that before D-Day he had a Mate that was into camels and he had been out with him a few times and so if I couldn’t find anyone more Qualified he said he would like to go with me.

 I knew it wasn’t fair, but I snug of Home so that I could have a rest before going to Dinner at Kat’s Place. Hers was a transportable 3 Bedroom Building behind the Store. I wonder if some of the People were going to shift into the Transportables. Anyway I was of home to rest for a little while before going to Kat’s Place. I knew the People that used to live there and the Women was very much into any kind of Telecast. I had lived here for about 2 years long time ago, working at the Clinic. That was all in a previous lifetime.  As I got to the House Sandy was there already she was cleaning her AR 15Rifle. I ask Sandy to let me know when she was ready to go for Dinner. I must have fallen asleep, something that I never do. I awoke when Sandy was calling me. I grabbed a Bottle of nice Red Wine a Merlot and we drove over to Kat’s Place. When getting out of the SUV I noticed that John was there too.

Kat came towards us and I gave her the Bottle of Wine. She said to me “Hi Dad, I hope you don’t mind but I have invited John for Dinner too. I have been very busy with the Store today and because of this we are having a BBQ.” I smiled and said to her “I don’t mind what we are having and as for John, I think you should invite whoever you want, it doesn’t worry me. It is a chance to get to know each other.” I thought that maybe she liked John “I’ll get you a Drink, if you want to join the Boys at the BBQ” she said pointing in the direction of the Barbie.  “Sandy are you coming with me?” she ask

While they are going inside I’ll go over to talk to the Boys by the BBQ. “How is it going Fellows?” I ask and Steve said “You know John, don’t you? Grab a Spatchel (Scraper) and you can do the Onions. I’ll grab us some more Drinks.” Off he went. I turned to John and said “Have you got anything on for tomorrow?” He had a piece of Meat in his Mouth so he swallowed that and said “I’ll be working with Kat tomorrow, but any time after that I’ll be yours. What did you have on?” “I want to go to Roy Hill Station and hopefully find some tame Camels there.” I also told him that I knew the Owner of the Station and wanted to have a good look around. “Ah, I would have loved to come” he went on to say “But a promise is a promise.”

Meanwhile Steve got back with the Drinks. Kat came out and ask if we were ready and did we want to stay outside. I said “I’m not worried, we don’t seem to have any Mosquitos around and it’ll be nice out here.” So we made ourselves comfortable and got stuck into the Food or Tucker as it is known here in Australia. After we were finished eating I noticed that Steve was getting lauder. That was when I decided it was time to go Home. I thanked Kat for the lovely Dinner and pleasant Company.

 I told her it was past my bed time. Sandy and Rex were leaving too. We hopped into my SUV and drove Home. Both Sandy and I sat down and relaxed with a last Drink. We had a full Moon and it looked beautiful with all the Stars surrounding it. Not a Cloud in the Sky. After what I would call a good night sleep I got up and made myself a nice Cup of Coffee.

Sandy and Rex joined me. I said to Sandy “I am going in a while to Roy Hill. Do you want to come?” She told me “That’ll be great, I just get us a couple of things and we can be off.” I had expected for her to come along, but it is always nice to find out about it verbally.  “We are going to see Bill before we go, also we go fully armed. It was nice not having to bother about locking your House up as nobody wants to get put in the new Stocks.

When we got to Bill’s House both him and Brother Joseph were up and busy. I told Bill that we were going to Roy Hill to have a look if the Camels are still there and we shouldn’t be too long. It’s about 100 Kilometre to Roy Hill. Brother Joseph said to us with a frown on his Face “You know that it is Sunday, don’t you?” “I forgot all about it and I am terrible sorry.” I said smiling.

 He just indicated for us to go. A bit further down the Road we saw a lone Figure walking along towards New Hope. I slowed down and saw that it was Mike. I stopped and put my window down “what are you doing out here Mike?” I said. “I like walking and so I do a bit every morning” He replied “When I lived here in the Past, I too walked every day, but in the Afternoon.” I would have liked to talk some more with Mike, but we had to get going.

The Road was bad and it is only going to get worse as we don’t have anybody grading it now. We went past Daylight Pool and I ask Sandy did she want to go for a swim, but she declined. We drove past Bonney Downs Station. On the way back I might have a look what is left there. You could see our Dust for miles. We also saw some Wild Dogs near Bonney Downs. If I had the Time I would have tried to shoot some. Also we saw some Emus, hopefully they would still be around on our way back.  I love Emu Stew, but it has to be young Chicks. We got to the Roy Hill turn off and for fun I went to channel 9 on the 2way and called out. Did I get a shock when a Women’s voice answered?

 I keyed my Mike and said “Gena, is that you?” After a moment an answer came “Yes, this is Gena. Who is that?” “Gena, it’s me, Mark. Do you remember me from the Clinic?  Shit I can’t believe you are alive” I said “Can we come in?” “Of course you can come in, I am at the main house, where we had Christmas Dinner. Oh, hurry up.” As we come around the corner we see Gena standing there holding Donald’s Glock Pistol.

 As I parked the SUV she came down to greet us. I got the biggest Hug and Kisses and Sandy got the same treatment. “Come in out of the Heat” she said to us with her Eyes on our Guns. “What brings you here and do you know what is going on?” I said “One thing at a time. Why we are here I’ll tell you later. As for what is happening, that is a very long Story. I will tell you the short version. Civilisation as we knew it is gone, no more Government, no Law and no Military Forces. As for us, when it happen we slowly assembled a group of Survivors and headed for what we now call New Hope.

We are hoping to establish a Community that looks towards the Future, not just the next few Month but the next Decades. We have Law, a Store with plenty of Food, we have Carpenter, Plumber, Doctor, Nurse and we even have a Clergyman. There is about 25 or more People in our Group, Family or Clan. What we really need now and that is why we are here. We need you and your Camels. Not just your Camels but your knowledge of Camels. Of course we didn’t know that you were alive, we came here to see if your Camels were still here and how can we get them back to New Hope.” When I first met her she had just come to Nullagine from Coolgardie with only 1 Camel and now she had 6.

For a while Gena didn’t know what to say but then she said “You have a Doctor there, really? I said “Yes and we have plenty of Medication at the Clinic. If you join our Community you will get your own House and whatever else you need. Brad, our Transport Officer is going tomorrow to Westfield to get Fuel for the Powerhouse. The trouble is that Fuel has a very short lifespan, it turns to Jelly and we have to build Windmills and Sun power. Sandy here is our Sherriff she is most suited as she was in the Police force.”  “So are you coming with us?

Gena, we need you and your Camels as we are trying to build up enough Camels for our mode of Transport. Horses aren’t much good in this kind of Country. We have nothing growing that they can eat, whereas Camels are used to this Country, we might have to grow a bit of supplement but that is all.” Gena looked at us and said “You are right and I will come with you. We can take the Camels in two Trips. I only have one Trailer to transport them in and I will go now and get ready. If there is anything here that you need, please help yourselves.” “Sandy, do you want to help Gena, while I have a look around.” I said “I will start with the Houses.”

Pew, the Stench from the Corpses hit me from a long distance. I did one House after another and found that we had to come back as there was too much Food here for one Trip. I also found six Rifles, two Shotguns and plenty of Ammunition. Gena and Sandy had two Camels loaded and were going to get Gena’s personal Stuff. I kept looking at Donald’s Plane and wondering if I should take it. But my better sense won, as I wasn’t sure of my flying ability’s anymore. I wasn’t that good in the first place and had never done a solo flight. As the girls came out of the transportable I asked Gena did she have any two-way radios apart from the one in her Vehicle?

 To which she replied “Yes, several, in the Vehicles used for mustering.” “We’ll see about them next Trip, let’s go back Home now.” I said and got into the SUV. It was getting pretty hot and I keep wondering how everyone is going to cope when we haven’t got Air condition anymore. There are lots of People that had never been without. As we were driving along I spotted a mob of wild Dogs and so I stopped the Vehicle and got the AR 15out and shot 2 of them before the rest of them disappeared.

We drove back into New Hope and I thought it best to drive to the Transportable near where Gena used to have the Camels. I told Gena to get settled in and then come and see us at our House. Sandy said she’ll stay and give Gena a hand. I drove back to our House and laid down and had a Rest. When I awoke Sandy was busy in the Kitchen and Bill was sitting in the Lounge Room having a Cup of Coffee.

 I said “Hi there, Are you bringing word of trouble Bill?” Bill just smiled and said “Naw, I just thought I give you a bit of an update. I got some of the Boys cleaning their Weapons and I ask everyone to do as much planting of Vegetables as possible. Rick and John would like to go to Newman, Rick wants to pick up more of his plumbing Gear. I said that it would be all right as long as they were careful. Just in and out. John is also taking a Trailer so that he can pick up anything useful. Kat is finish emptying one Trailer. We had a look in the other Trailers and there were no perishables. Brad is also going tomorrow to Hedland to see what he can find in the Line of Fuel.

I interrupted Bill and said “Who is going with him? Nobody is to go anywhere by themselves.” “I think Frank is going with him.” Bill said “I also got to meet the Camel-Lady Gena that was a real win for us.” I sang out to Sandy in the Kitchen “Sandy would you be willing to go with Gena tomorrow and pick up the rest of the Camels?” “Yeah sure Dad.” She said.

“How about a Drink Bill? It is that time of the Day again.” I said. “Just one” he said “Brother Joseph is making a Roast for Dinner.” “Oh,” he said “I nearly forgot, Carl has finished installing all the UHFs.” “That is great” I said “He is really doing a good job.” Bill said “I better be off other ways Brother Joseph will kill me” “okay I’ll see you tomorrow.” I said to Bill.

 Bill left so Sandy and I had another drink. It was nice to be home again just being able to rest. After dinner I decided to do some more writing, Sandy had been pestering about writing my Autobiography. Sandy and Rex joined me. Rex was chewing on a piece of wood. I wrote for a while on my Autobiography, but I was getting too tiered and so I went off into Bed.

Next morning I drove over to Gena to see how she was settling in. Gena was outside getting her Trailer ready. “Hi Mark, how are you this morning? She said. “I was going to ask you the same thing.” I said smiling. She said “I went for a ride on one of the Camels this morning and that way met lots of People. They seem to be a nice bunch.” I said “Yes, but we could do with a few more People here if we want to survive.” “Well” she said “You never know, you might find some more Survivors.

Anyway there is Sandy, so we better get going. We’ll see you when we get back.” I drove on to talk to Kat. I walked into the Store and said “Do you serve Coffee here?” Kat smiled and said “Hi Dad, I’ll make you a Cuppa.” I spotted Rob and said to him “Rob, do you want to come to the Range for a while and we will practice with our Pistols?” He said “Oh yes, can I Mum.” “Yes okay, but no fooling around, you do what Granddad tells you.” Kat said and sat down with me.

She told me what a great job he was doing, helping her in the Store. He was also spending quite a bit of time with Sue. I told her not to worry, everything has changed and we have to give them their space. After drinking my Coffee I was off to see Bill to talk to him about having a meeting just to talk about finding ways for alternative Power. Bill thought that instead of having a general Meeting, he would talk to some of the Fellows and see what they come up with.

After Lunch I took Rob out to the Range and I showed him how to hold the Pistol and squeeze the Trigger. After firing two 10 round Magazines he started to get the hang of it and we went from the 10 metre targets to the 25 metre Targets. We had made most of the Targets to look like Humans and others like Animals. Sue joined us and I was surprised how good she was at hitting and grouping her shots, but then I remembered that she had been shooting in a Pistol Club. After about 4 hours Sandy and Gena were back and Sandy came over and rescued me by asking me to come over and see Gena. So I drove over to Gena’s Place, which was where the Caravan Park used to be. When I got there Gena was feeding one of the smaller Camels.

 She turned towards me and said “Mark I wanted to thank you again for letting me into your Community. But the main reason I wanted to see you was, in January I was in Newman Hospital, I had cut open my Leg with our Chainsaw. As you can imagine they were short of my kind of Blood and there was this Lady. I remember her name was Karen and so I was wondering what happen to her.

 Maybe we should go back to Newman and see if we can find her. I be quite willing to go as long as somebody else is coming along.” I said “I know a Karen in Newman, she be close to my age with dark Hair if I remember rightly.” “Yes, that’s the one” Gena said all excited. “Okay, tomorrow if you are up to it” I said “I’ll be going with you, we both should take a trailer each with us so that we can fill them up with things that we need.”

I turned towards Sandy and said “No Sandy, I don’t want you and Rex near all them stinking Corpses, I know that you had experience in that Field, but I don’t want Rex anywhere near Corpses and wild Dogs. Plus you are needed here.” “Is 7 o’clock too early for you?” I ask Gena and she said “No, I’ll be ready”

I thought to myself that it would be nice if we found another Person that was still alive and if it was the same Women that I was thinking of, I knew roughly where she lived. I drove over to see Steve to see if he wanted to do a Booze run. When I found Steve he was busy talking to Fay and what made me happy was, they were laughing. As I pulled up in my Vehicle both Steve and Fay came over to talk to me. I noticed that both Steve and Fay were wearing their Guns. I said “Steve, do you want to go to Newman tomorrow? Gena thinks there could be another Survivor there and while we have a look around, you could get another Load of Alcohol.” He said “Yeah, I’ll go. What time are you leaving? I said “About 7 o’clock. Will you be up?”

 He said that he would be and that he was going to get everything ready. He also reminded me to take the small Generator in case we needed Fuel and there was no electricity. I worked out that when there was no electricity we just cut into the wires leading to the Pumps and we have enough power to use the Pumps to get our Fuel. I then drove to Bill’s Place where I got a Cup of Coffee. Bill was in a good mood, must have had something to do with the fact that I saw him with Kathy. I thought that they would make a nice Couple.

Bill, says to me “What brings you around?” So I said to him “I have had an Idea, could you get the men together? Let’s say at the Pub. What I had in mind was that we get some Fuel and go down to the “Village” and burn everything. Corpses, Houses and whatever else will burn. Than when it is all done we use the big Frontend loader and move it all to one side. Steve is about the best Frontend Loader Driver that I know, he used to work for a Mining Company in Kalgoorlie.

 Down the Woodi Woodi Road is a place where you can get good growing Soil? If we get a few Loads and spread it over the cleared Area we can start growing on a bigger scale. How does that sound to you?” “I think that’s a great Idea.” Says Bill “I’ll get on it right away.” “Better finish your Cuppa first.” I said to him, out here you get dehydrated quickly.

After that was done I drove home to relax for a while. Actually from our House you could see quite a bit of the Town. I went into my Radio-Room and did some scanning in case there was someone around. After about half an hour I gave up. Seeing Sandy had Dinner ready we sat down to a nice meal of Roast Pork with Apple Sauce. I kept thinking we were very lucky with having all that Food and with everyone being keen with their Gardens things looked good for us. Sandy and I still had a couple of drinks and I was off to Bed.

Next morning all that were going to Newman, met outside the Pub and we drove off leaving Bill and Sandy in Charge. It was a lovely and clear day but the Road was not getting any better. The thought occurred to me that in a not so distant future the Road would be so bad that we would have to struggle along in 4 wheel drive to get anywhere. On the other hands once we got everything there would be no need for us to go anywhere. When we got to Newman we had to drive around with our windows up and Air-Conditioning on. Just try to imagine about 2000 or more rotting Corpses.

I keyed in the Mike on my 2way Radio and said “Let’s go shopping first, Steve you are off to the Liquor Shop, Gena you go and get what you need for the Camels and if you still got room get whatever else you need. I’ll go and hit the Chemist once we got that done we go out and try to find Karen. Keep your Radios on and if you see any Dogs shoot them.” I drove right into the Shopping Centre over a couple of Bodies and stopped the Trailer outside the Chemist.

 I had in my mind prepared myself for the Stench, but when I opened the Door of the SUV it hit me. Believe me you will never forget the smell of Death. It was terrible, but there are no words to describe that stench. I had Vicks under my Nose and a Cloth wrapped around the bottom half of my Face, but nothing helped. Sandy once told me you just have to accept it and ignore it. Well, I must admit that it takes a better man or women then me to do that.

Anyway I started to load everything we needed, starting with the most important items and working my way down to things like Toothpaste. When I was finish there was no room left in the Trailer or the Vehicle. I could hear a Vehicle arrive outside and so I drove mine outside too. It was Steve, he was loaded up with Alcohol and he had also gone to the Police Station and grabbed all the Weapons and Ammunition he could find. When Gena arrived we took off to find Karen.

 Luckily my Vehicle was equipped with a Public Address System and so I could call out over the PA that we were looking for Survivors. After driving for just a short distance a man and a little Girl came out to the Road. I must say “They looked shocking, I had only seen Faces like that in Warzones.” Gena stopped her Vehicle and talked to the man. After a while she called me on the 2way Radio and told me that they would like to come with us. I told the man over the 2way to load everything that he thought that he and the little Girl needed into his Vehicle and that you would stay with him and we would pick them up in a little while. I also asked him had he seen any other Survivors, but he hadn’t been out of the House since Day1.

 Steve and I drove off again to where I thought that Karen lived. We were there within a few Minutes and I got onto the PA system again and we saw a Women running on the Road towards us. I recognised her right away, even with holding a cloth in front of her Face and so I sang out to her “Karen, over here.” She was surprised that I knew her name as she didn’t recognised me. I said “It’s me Mark, we met some Years ago. You bought some Pictures of me.”

She told me that she remembered me well, but said that I had changed so much she didn’t recognised me and what was I doing here back in Newman at this time of all times. I told her our Story and what had happened. She couldn’t believe that it was like this everywhere and ask could she come with us. After telling her that was why we were here and that Gena had remembered her and that Gena lived in our Community too. She quickly loaded her BMW SUV and we picked up Gena and her Survivors and drove of back to New Hope.

I think all of us were glad to get out of Newman. I knew we were coming back here soon as there were still lots of things we needed. Gena ask if we could stop at Roy Hill for a moment as she remembered a couple of things that she still needed from there. I told Gena for her to go in and we would wait on the Road. I had enough of the smell of death for one Day. When we got there I got out of my SUV and walked over to the Fellow and his little Girl.

I said to him “Hi my name is Mark and you could say I’m the man in charge of our Community.” He said “My name is Ian and this is my little Princess Belinda. We are very grateful that you came and rescued us from Newman. I was so scared that my little Girl got to see what was going on, but we played a game where she had to have her Eyes closed. So do we need to worry about that where we are going?” “No most of that has been cleaned up and there are defiantly non to see. There is a big clean-up going on today further down from us where there were some Natives living. We are converting that Area into a growing Area for some of our Food.” “Ah, here is Gena, we better get going again and we will see you and your little Princess when we get there.”

Just over a couple of Hours later we were Home again. Sandy went over to help Gena with unloading the Camels. We now had 6 Camels and that was a start. Bill and Sally went over to help Ian and Belinda get settled in. I took Karen over to her new Home and said “Well, this is it, I hope you like it and that you will settle into our Community. If you want to change anything or have some Ideas please let me know”

She looked at me and said Mark! “After the initial shock {WTSHTF} when the shit hit the Fan and everybody just dropped dead, I didn’t know what to do, or what to expect. I even though “Will I be next? Or why am I still alive? It was terrible and one of my first thoughts were “Am I alone?” I was unbelievable frightened and then out of the blue you showed up. I’ll be forever in your dept.

How did you know that I was still alive?” Looking at her I had no trouble believing her fear so I said “It wasn’t me, it was Gena, and she remembered that you had the same Blood group as her. This is what it is all about, we are all of the same Blood Group. Everyone with our Blood Group survived this manmade disaster.” She said “Oh Mark, you have to tell me all about it and how you came here to New Hope. That is the new name isn’t it? I told her I would explain everything and so I invited her for Dinner. I said “I am going to let you get settled in and we see you in about an Hour.

 I drove Home and told Sandy that we will have a Guest for Dinner. She said that she didn’t mind and suggested that we have a BBQ to get rid of some more Meat. Just then Kathy came to the Door. I said “Hi Kathy, you look troubled, what is wrong?” She said “It’s Brad, he went to Hedland to get Fuel and he should have been back by now. I am worried that something might have happen to him.” “Who went with him as Escort?” I ask and she replied that it was Mike that went with him. I said “You sit down and I see if I can get him on the 2way Radio. “

After calling him a couple of times, he came on and told us that Mike had had a flat Tyre but they were all done and wouldn’t be long. That was a great relieve for Kathy and to change the subject I ask her has she had many Patient. She said “No, it has been very quiet, just a few Band-Aid jobs which gave me a bit of time in the Garden. Well, I better get going and get Brad’s Dinner ready.” Sandy was giving me Hand signals and so I said to Kathy “How about you two come over to us for Dinner, we are having BBQ.” She said “Great, I’ll check with Brad but I can’t see any problems. Thanks Mark.”

Well, Sandy and I got the BBQ started. We were lucky that we had plenty of fresh frozen Meat. I wanted to get rid of it as the Freezer used up to much electricity. We had no worries when it came to Meat as the Cattle were walking through Town at night. Our first problem was going to be Vegetables and that is why I was so glad when I heard that the men had started on cleaning up the Field for growing. We still had quite a few Houses on the other side of the River. But when we got heavy rain you could not cross the River and at times you were stuck for weeks at a time.

Well the Town wasn’t big enough yet that we needed the extra Accommodation. Our BBQ was not the Gas Type but we had a big ¼” piece of Iron with a wood fire under it. We could easily cook for ten People at one time. Well it is Time for me to pore a Drink for Sandy and me. This is another thing that we will have to learn to make for ourselves. Now that I had my drink I felt much better.

Karen was the first to arrive, she said “I hope I am not too early?” “No, you’re not” I said “Here you just roll up whenever you feel like it. Have you met Sandy? My Daughter and our Sherriff.” Karen walked over to Sandy and they got into a conversation about Sandy being our Sherriff. Brad and Kathy arrived next and shortly after Kat, Rob and John arrived. They all walked. Hope they didn’t expect to find a Taxi to get back Home. Bill showed up unexpectedly but very welcome. Despite our difference in age we get along famously. We have something in common, we both love our weapons. Not just Guns, but any kind of weapon like Crossbow or Spear, it doesn’t have to be a modern weapon.

 Bill came over to me and said “Well, how are you, old man?” You should have seen the smirk on his Face. I just smiled and said “Why, do you want me to change your Diapers?” We both laughed and Bill told me that Brother Joseph and Frank were going into Newman in the morning. Brother Joseph was going to raid the Library that’s why they were taking two SUVs to keep the Dust away from the Books. Brother Joseph also wanted to start Adult Classes to teach how things were done before Electricity. I told Bill that this was a great Idea and that I would like to talk to Br. Joseph some more about that.

 I called out to Kathy and asked her to come and talk with me. Kathy brought her Drink over and sat next to me and said “What’s up?” I said to her “As you know it is nearly Christmas, I would love it if you could get the women together and see what we can do to give everybody a great Christmas.” She said “Mark, that is a terrific Idea and yes I’ll talk to everyone and don’t you worry we will have a great Christmas.”

Next I called John over. When he came I ask him would he like to go tomorrow morning with me on a shopping Trip to Karratha. He thought that it was a great idea, he told me that he had never been to Karratha and so he wanted to know what we were going after. I told him that I would like to find two Trailer loads of Batteries for storage of power from the Solar panels that Fred is rigging up.

 After I had some Food I did my usual Trick and snug off to Bed. No matter how much I tried but sleep wouldn’t come. I kept thinking about the Future, not 12 month from now but more like 12 years. By that time there definitely wouldn’t be any electricity, also we be riding our Camels to wherever we needed to go. I could see us not moving out of this area. I wasn’t too worried about Food and Water, I think there will be enough of that. But what about the little things like Salt, we can’t do without it and the nearest available source is at Hedland nearly 400 Kilometres away. How many Days would that take by Camel? It would take those about 10 Days each way. Good thing they could carry terrific loads. This was about the time that I drifted off to sleep.

At 5am John and I took off for Karratha.  It was 530 Kilometres to Karratha, I was hoping to get there by about 11am that gave us only an Hour to get the Batteries. Luckily I looked up how to get to the Battery Place so we should be able to make it in an hour. I was really surprised, but we made it to Karratha without any incident. When we got there I could not believe the Corpses and Stench, if I had known it was going to be that bad, I think we would have waited a few more month before going.

Anyway now we were here so we got both Trailers filled with Deep Cycle Batteries. A little further down the same street we managed to pick up 9 Solar Panels. I bet Fred will be happy. After this I said to John “Let’s get the hell out of here!” John agreed and just as we were leaving we saw some People coming towards us. I could see some of them were carrying Guns. Some of them were pointing their Guns at us and shooting. We drove down the next side street and disappeared quickly. I didn’t think that the 2 of us could handle that Mob by ourselves.

We got back to New Hope without any more trouble. We unloaded on the south side of the River as there was a big Shed that we could use. As we were unloading I showed John that he had a Bullet hole in the backdoor of his SUV. When he saw it I thought he was going to pass-out on me. Naturally he had never been shot at before. The News of this spread very quickly around Town. In a way it was a good thing as it made People more aware. What I can’t understand is, why these People were even shooting at us.

Sandy got all worried about me, so I told her that there was no need to worry as I had the AR 15Assault Rifle with me. Brother Joseph had a good Day, both him and Frank had their Vehicles full of Books.

Sandy also mentioned that we were going to have a Kindergarten. Apparently Sharon had this Idea and she was going to do it 3 times per week. Well it was time for Dinner and a couple of Drinks. Early Night for me I felt stuffed. It was a long Day. The following Days we had another Meeting, everyone had handed in suggestions for our Constitution. We studied all of the suggestion that were brought forward and shorten it to make it more suitable for our needs. We didn’t want to call it our Constitution but rather the Rules that we lived by. To this everyone agreed.

After everyone had settled down I said “If I may. I will read out the Rules that we shall live by from this day on if they are accepted by everyone. First; the welfare of the Child any Child will come first as he or she is our Future. Second; the welfare of Women is only superseded by the Welfare of Children. Meaning, let’s treat women as equals but also as women like our Fathers did. Third; you have the right to bear Arms and to defend your Family, your Property and the Weak. By the Weak we mean that it will be expected of you to protect those that can’t defend themselves. Next you have the right to practise the Religion of your Choice as long as you practise it in private. That doesn’t mean that you can’t go to Church. What it means is that in Public you are not allowed to wear a Burka or preach your Religion from Door to Door.

If you want to pray to Mecca, do so in the privacy of your home and that goes for any other practice. In case of a Crime committed by you, you will be judged and sentence by six People selected by lottery from the Community. Every able body Person in the Community has to work for the Community. Meaning No Work, No Food and in extreme cases you will be ask to leave the Community. Last, every abled body Man over the age of 15 years is obliged to serve in the Community Militia. All in favour that we adopt these Rules please rise your Hand. Nearly every hand went up and when I said against? None went up.

 We also talked about salvaging. We kept on going into the neighbouring Town and got as much as we could, but we stayed out of Karratha and Hedland. Suddenly Christmas was upon us and this year it was Special as this was our first Christmas in New Hope. I couldn’t believe my Eyes, when I saw the amount of work the Women and Mel our Carpenter had put in to make this a beautiful Christmas. They had made a Christmas tree by drilling holes into a large straight pole and then they looked for suitable branches that fitted into the holes and made it the shape of a Christmas tree. Then they put colourful decorations all over it. They spend Hours making little Stars and covering them in Silver. Somebody had even made an Angel to go on top of the Tree. I must say it put tears into my eyes. Under the Tree were Presents for all the Children. We didn’t have Roast Turkey but we had the best spread that anyone could wish for. But the best thing was that I saw happy People everywhere.

Chapter6

Well it has been just over 12 month since we first came to New Hope. Most of us were sitting in the Pub watching the Rain pouring down. It had been raining for a few days now and the River was flooded. One thing we have now and that is an early warning system. Thanks to Fred, now when the water rises to a certain level an Alarm will go off. All Fred did was he took the Idea from a Toilet Cistern and adjusted it so that it work at the River. In the olden Days when the water came up to a certain point somebody would be there and watch it. So many things happen in the last 12 month.

First there was the Paddock we had cleared down where the Village used to be. Seeing we had plenty of Food we used that Paddock to try out different things. We planted Corn, Turnips, Pumpkin, and all sorts of other Vegetables. We were lucky most of them produced good yields. The one thing we couldn’t grow was Salt and we knew that over the Years we were going to need it. So we got several Truck loads from Hedland where there was a big Salt Refinery.

Brad found some more Road Trains at Capricorn and in Hedland. We brought them all to New Hope. Bill and offsider went out and hid Guns and Ammunition all around the Countryside within a few hundred metres of Town. The also buried in each place a bottle of water. He said it was just in case. We had so many Guns and Ammunition we could easily spare what he was burying.

 We had a real Surprise in the first Birth of a beautiful little Baby Girl. I couldn’t believe when I heard that Kathy and Bill were having a Baby. They moved in together at the Clinic and Brad moved in with Brother John. It is funny, they say that every time someone dies there is someone born. This is what happen to us. Shortly after Baby Amanda was born our good friend and Carpenter Mel died. The Doctor reckoned that he died of broken Heart.

I can believe that and so we had our first Birth and our first Funeral. Steve and Fay moved in together at the Hotel. I am sure she can tame him. Julie and Fred moved in together. I think Julie is also pregnant. Kat and John moved in together which was a foregone conclusion. They were never apart. I am glad for Kat, she didn’t have much luck with men.

3 Vehicles came through New Hope at different times. Two were Survivors from Marble Bar and the other one came from Telfer. We had a bit of trouble with the one from Telfer, he wanted his Fuel for free. When he started waving his Rifle around Sandy went over and ask him, did he think he could aim and fire the Rifle before Rex would rip out his throat. He became very peaceful. We also cleaned all the Houses on the Southside of the River out. They are now completely shut and locked in case we need them at another time in the Future. Sandy is still looking after me. I build a kind of a round Fireplace outside with seating all around, the Brick wall that is surrounding the Fire Pit is about ½ metre high and about 30 cm thick. It is great for cooking in camp ovens.

I am glad we still got some Air conditioning as it is about 48°C. The Rain is not really helping and it is quite normal for tempers to fly during this period. I don’t know for how long we can keep the Air-Con. up. Before he died Mel build a Windmill at the Paddock between that and the River. It is working terrific and we will build more. We build a Shade house for our seeds and seedlings to grow. Next we have to try and build a Greenhouse.  Julie and Fay are in charge of growing Food.  We now have to find a way to grind our Corn.

 I sang out “Sandy!” “Yes Dad” she said as she came around the corner. “Could you ask Rick please to come and see me?” I ask “Sure thing” she said “I saw him down by the River crossing. I think he was measuring the dept.” “Okay” I said and went to play with Rex. We were both getting a lot older. He laid his Head on my Lap and looked at me with his intelligent Eyes. He was my best Friend, I knew that I could trust him with my Life. After a short while Sandy returned with Rick.

 Since Rick got together with Sally he became a new man. He said “Hi Mark, haven’t seen you for a while, where you been hiding?” I smiled at him and said “Been for Holiday mate. What you been up to?” “Enjoying married life” he said. “Rick” I said “I have a long term project for you.” He just looked at me as if to say “Go on” “I need you to invent a Corn Grinder that will still be in use in Hundred Years’ time. What I mean is this; whatever you make now, they must be able to make in hundred years’ time. I don’t care how primitive the whole thing turns out to be. It just has to work. Maybe you can get Ian to help you.” He looked at me and said “I’ll give it my best shot” “Thanks Rick. Maybe I’ll catch you later for Drinkies.” I said to him as he left.

You should see all the Gardens around New Hope. Everybody was growing something. I was surprised when I found the first Figs on our Trees. Brother Joseph’s School was very popular with everybody. Gena was helping him and was giving lessons in Dress making. On our Salvage Trips we had found several Treadle Sewing Machines. Brother Joseph had been teaching the art of tanning to those that wanted to learn. We also had made it a rule that everything had to be recorded on Paper or in Books.

Sunday afternoon we had our Pistol Club meeting, where we learned to improve our shooting technics by shooting for Badges and Trophies. Nearly everybody joined in. Religious Services had also been more favoured then in the past. What made me very happy was that Ian was passing on his skills. Mike travelled down to Meekatharra with a couple of other Fellows and brought back 2 Dozen Sheep and 7 Goats. So now we will have Wool and later Food also Milk, Butter and Cheese. Mike volunteered to look after the Sheep.

So now I better hurry up or I be late for the Meeting. When I got to the Hall it looked like everybody was here. Bill was running this Meeting and so I could sit in the background and relax. Bill got up and thanked everyone for coming. Next he ask if there was still anything of value to us left in Newman. Brad told everyone that in his opinion there was nothing left except that we haven’t search any of the Houses. I thought I better say something and so got up and said “If we are going to do the Houses maybe it would be an Idea for a few of us to go and stay till we had the Job done.” Mike said that he thought that this was a good Idea and if we didn’t have enough room in our Trailers, then maybe we could stockpile the rest and return in a few days.

 Bill was just about to say something, when young Debbie came out of breath running into the Hall and said “Rob told me to tell you there are People coming on the Marble Bar Road and to bring Doctor Sally” As everybody got up to go Bill said “Hold it, Hold it! Just the Doc and a couple of us will go. Sandy, Mark you coming? I got up and grabbed a couple Bottles of Water and so did Bill. When we got past the Store we saw, a Man, a Women and a small Child staggering in they were just out past the Cattle Grid.  

The Women was carrying what seem to be a Bundle of Cloth. Upon getting closer I could see that it was a Baby she was carrying. Rob was passing a Bottle of Water over. The Man sat on the hot ground and passed the Bottle to the little Girl. He made her drink very slowly and then had a drink himself. Rob had also given a Bottle of water to the Women. When we got there Sally ask the Women to let her have the Baby but the Women wouldn’t let go until Sally told her that she was the Doctor.

We helped everyone over the Grid nearly having to carry the Women. Once we got them across the Grid we took everyone to the nearest Building which was the Store. Sally said for everyone to have a rest and then come up to the Clinic. Sally said she and the Baby would go ahead so that she could check out the Baby. When I looked at her questionly, she looked at the Baby and shook her Head.

While Bill ask the Man what had happen, Sandy took the Women and the little Girl aside and ask the Women what she could tell her about their situation. Between them they found out that their Names were Eric, Jill and the little Girl was Margaret. They hadn’t named the Baby yet. Apparently Eric was the Neighbour of Jill and when her Husband had died that fateful Day Eric had offered to help Jill and eventually he had moved in with her and they became an Item. After managing until now Eric said that Hedland was becoming a dangerous place to be in.

 There were lots of different roving Marauders who were giving People a hard time and in some instances there were cases of Rape and Killings. As the Trouble got closer to where they were living they decided to come here to New Hope as they had heard good things about our Community. Half way between Marble Bar and here their Car had broken down and knowing there would be no other Cars they decided to take the Chance and walk. They ran out of water yesterday. I ask them if they were up to walking around the corner to the Clinic. We all walked out and Sandy carried Margaret.

When we got to the Clinic Sally ask Eric and Jill to come with her into her Office where she told Jill that her little Boy hadn’t made it, that it had been too much for him. He had died late Night in his Mother’s Arms. Jill said nothing, I think she knew but then she fainted, I think more from exhaustion than anything else. We left her in Sally and Kathy’s care and waited in the outer Office as there were other Clients in the Waiting Room. Kat and Rob took Food and Drink over to one of the vacant Transportables where we were going to take them, when finish in the Clinic. In the meantime Brother Joseph came over to Comfort Jill.

 I felt quite proud of our little Community. Bill decided that it would be best if we finished the Meeting tomorrow. I saw Eric by the Transportable and went over to talk to him. At a time like this there is not much to say, you just support whatever they want to do. I offered Eric the Transportable as their own if they wanted to stay. Which he gratefully accepted but said he had to talk to Jill about it. He also wanted to know if we had a Wood Workshop as he wanted to make a Coffin for the Baby. I showed him where everything was and told him that he was welcome to use anything that he needed. If he couldn’t find something one of us would be able to tell him where to find it. Later I found out that Gena had volunteered to make the inside of the Coffin in Satin and Lace.

At times like this I find it easier to disappear.  I took my Quad bike out and drove around trying to make myself look useful. A Death like this hit’s everybody hard, we all had lost someone not that long ago. Thru Bill I found out that there were at least a hundred People left in Hedland. We had no Idea that there was so much trouble in Hedland. Gangs going around killing and raping People even Children was so hard to believe.

 Bill said to me that he would come over tonight and we should talk about this situation. I agreed and said we’ll talk over Drinks and maybe we could talk to Eric tomorrow as he would know more about it. So I drove Home in an unsure frame of mind. I didn’t know what to do so I went for a lie down. After having slept for about an hour somebody knocked on the door, it was Bill. I said “HI Bill, what brings you over? Ah yes I remember we were going to talk about the trouble in Hedland.” Bill said “Let’s have a drink first.” I pored us a drink and we settled down in our Chairs.

Bill saying to me “What are your thoughts on the whole situation?” I had been thinking about this all afternoon and so I said “The thing is, what are we going do? Do we get involved? If yes. Then how? I honestly think, this thing could get out of Control. When these Bastards are sick of Hedland will they come here? Lots of People have heard about this place and what we got here. If we take the fight to them we will hopefully keep them away from our People, but we be fighting on their home ground.”

Bill said “Yes, one thing for sure and that is we can’t let them get to here, but fighting them on their Turf is not so good either.” I pored us another Drink and said “Maybe we could lead them into an Ambush. I think we should first find out a bit more from Eric.” Bill scratched his Head “What kind of Weapons could they have?” “My guess is Small arms and Rifles, at the best AR15s”

I said Sandy came into the Room and said “We should hit them like the Rebels do. In and out, get them mad enough to chase us and then catch ‘em in an Ambush, which we set up out of Town. Somewhere where it suits us and catches them by surprise.” “Sounds great” both of us said at the same time. I said “I still like to know what strength they are and can we get People like us from Hedland to help us?

 Sandy! How are Eric and Family settling in?” “To sum it up, they are upset, grateful, confused and so on. Why?” “Oh, nothing we just would like to talk to Eric a bit tomorrow.” I said Sandy gave me a dirty look and said “Dad, not tomorrow or the next Day, let them get over their ordeal.” “Okay” not for a while then, I said. “Bill! I am going to Bed” and having said that I took off for my Bedroom.

 After good night’s sleep, I awoke at the usual time. Even so we don’t have an internet anymore I still like to use the Computer for writing. I wrote down what need doing that day, with number one priority being, talking to Eric. At about 9am Sandy brought Eric over and said that Bill was on his way. Eric looked a lot better this morning and I said to him “How is Jill doing? And little Margaret?” He said “Both of them are fine, Jill is still in Bed and the Nurse is with her.” He looked at me as if to say what am I doing here? “Don’t worry” I said “Kathy is very good and knows what she is doing. Have you talked to Jill about the Funeral? I mean there is no hurry, it is just, and as you can imagine the problem we are having with the Heat. I suppose she still is very upset.” He said to us “I have been listening to her crying all night long. I don’t think she has slept as yet. Anyway I have been wondering why you wanted to see me.”

I said “I hope that it is not too inconvenient but we would like to learn a bit more about these Gangs that you were telling us about.” “No I don’t mind I like to help as much as I can” he said “It’s just that I don’t know much. They live in the Port area and usually come roaring down the Street on about six Harley’s and a big SUV following them. They have Pistols, Shotgun and the Leader has an Automatic Rifle of some sort. Sorry I don’t know much about Guns.”

I said “That has been a great help, more than you think.” Bill was making Coffee and ask Eric would he like one and without waiting for an answer he passed a Mug of Coffee over to Eric. Just then Sandy came back out of my Room holding my AR15. She said to Eric “Is this what the Rifle looked like?” Eric said “I honestly don’t know, I was never close enough, but it could have been.”

Bill said “Don’t worry Eric you have been a great help and we hope that you will stay in our little Community.” “Yeah, he said “I hope I can talk Jill into staying. I for one feel safe and wanted here.” Sandy said “If you are ready I’ll take you back to your place.” Eric smilingly said “My Place. That sounds lovely.”

Once we were alone Bill and I got started on finding a Map of Hedland. After a while of searching we found one and spread it out on the Table. I pointed to a part of the Road between Hedland and the Port. “Somewhere along here is where we should hit them.” I said “I have been along that Road many a times and there are a couple of places that are good for an Ambush.” Next question is what and who do we take? Bill grinned and said “Don’t forget when?”

Sandy came back and Bill reminded me that it was Lunch time and so he left. We had some Lunch and after I had a lay down Sandy said to me “I’m coming with you!” To which I replied “No Way!” She left and said “We’ll see” Later that afternoon Karen came over for some company, we had been doing this for a while. Both of us enjoyed each other’s company and at our age no one saw any harm in it.

 I found out later that Sandy and Mike had discovered one of them Trucks, which you use for shifting Transportables. Her and Mike were going to put a Transportable in our Backyard. She said, it was for me to get some privacy and for her still to be close to me. Karen thought that this was a really good Idea. She would. After 4 Wife’s I was trying to get away from all that and be by myself.

 Anyway they put the Transportable in our Backyard right next to the House so that we had a Breezeway in between both Buildings. Every abled body man and his Dog helped setting it up and we had a big Housewarming Party. So much for Privacy.

 Karen and I drove over to see Eric and Jill. When we got there I could see Eric and Jill had been talking about staying in New Hope. So when we got out of the SUV little Margaret came running at us shouting “We are going to live here! In a more serious tone she said “Mummy has been crying.” She gave me a Hug and grabbed my Hand, leading me into the House.

Jill, wiping her Face on a Cloth said “Please come in, I, we don’t know how to thank you for all you have done for us. Margaret has already made Friends with other Children and Bill told Eric he has a Job for him.” “We are so grateful” I answered by saying “We were here to help you. Anyone in our place would have done the same thing”

She then made us all a Cup of Coffee and we talked about having the Funeral for the Baby the next Day. Apparently Brother Joseph had been earlier over to talk to them. Eric told us that if we were willing to have them, they would love to stay and have a fresh start here in New Hope. Jill and Karen talked about how to do your shopping in New Hope and what Service were available. Margaret sat on my Lap while Eric and I were talking more about Hedland.

After spending some time with them Karen and I drove back home where Sandy and Mike were cooking our Dinner on the BBQ. We were sitting there eating our Steaks, when Karen suddenly pointed at my Revolver and said to me “Do you wear that thing to Bed?” I laughed and said “There is only one way to find out!” “Ha, you wish!” she said to me smiling.

 Early next morning we had the Funeral at our Cemetery up on the Hill. I was surprised that everybody from our Community had turned up, even the Children who had little Baskets with Flowers that they strew along the Way. Brother Joseph gave a beautiful and moving Eulogy. Mike had brought his Guitar and we all sang “Amazing Grace” The rest of the Day went along without any incident.

Next morning Bill, Eric, Brad and myself drove to Hedland. Bill drove to the Bridge with the rest of us staying behind. Our Job was to find 3 Cars that were old or Rusted but with working Engines. Which we had no trouble in finding them in South Hedland. When we got the all Clear from Bill we drove the Cars towards the Bridge. Some distance before the Bridge we stopped and put a Car on each side of the Road and disabled the Engine. A bit further away from the Bridge we placed the last Car on the middle of the Road, tied the winch cable to it and rolled it on its side.

We left the Vehicles like that hoping that the Bandits would get used to seeing them there. We also counted on them being too lazy to shift the Car from the middle of the Road. Eric took us over to a Family that he was Friends with and we talked about them moving up to New Hope too. Actually the Family consisted of 2 Women and 5 Children. Both their Husbands had passed away on Day zero as we sometimes call it. Both Women decided that it would be safer to live in New Hope and also they could see a better future for their Children. Well we had the 3 SUVs so there was plenty of room for everybody, plus the Women own a Trailer and Brad put that behind his SUV.

 About an hour later we were driving back to New Hope. As we were about to turn into the Marble Bar road we saw a Car stopped by the side of the Road with a Fellow standing by the front waving his Arms so that we Stop.

Bill’s voice came over the 2way saying that he would stop and that we should go on a bit further and wait there for him. We drove past Bill and stopped a bit further on down the Road under a giant Tree. A while later Bill pulled up next to us, he had the Fellow with him in his SUV. Bill said to us how this Fellow, Paul had left Hedland this morning to find New Hope but his Car had broken it’s timing belt and he had been stuck there for a few hours. I said “Okay, let’s take all of them back with us and we will have to see then what we can do.”

When we got back to the Community we took everyone to the Hall. Sandy and Sally joined us, Eric went home. There were drinks and Sandwiches waiting for everyone. I told the Newcomers that we would like to learn a bit about them before we found Accommodation for everyone. The Women and the Children were a bit undernourished and so Sally ask them to come with her to the Clinic for a Check-up. The Women were very happy with this and left us to ask Paul some Questions.

 Bill said to Paul “So, Paul, what did you do in Hedland? I mean what kind of work did you do?” “Why do you want to know that?” ask Paul. “Oh no special reason, it just makes it easier to assign jobs to new People.” Bill said “Ah well, I haven’t been able to find work for the last few years. You see, I hurt my Back and I am not allowed to lift more than 20 Pounds.” Paul said to us. I said to Paul “There we could have a problem as everybody that lives here has to do some kind of work.” “Why is that” he ask. Bill started to grin.

But I didn’t feel like it at all thinking we had picked up a Bludger that wanted a free ride. So I said “Do you think it would be fair for everybody to work for their Food and general Living and you would get yours for Free. How do you think everyone would feel?” He says “I think you are picking on me because I am too sick to work. Some Disabilities can’t be seen, you know.” Just then Sandy and Rex came in and she said to Paul “This is very easy solved. We live by Rules here and one of the Rules is that if you don’t work you move on.” Paul had an Answer for this too “I am too weak to move on and I don’t have a Car.” Sandy gave him a dirty look and said “Come on we are going to the Clinic”

 As they left the Hall I couldn’t help myself any longer and burst out laughing. Bill just said “He is going to be Trouble, mark my words” I got up and said “Come on Bill let’s have a Drink and relax.”  On the way to my Place we stopped at Carl’s place so I could ask him to put 2way Radios into the Transportables of the Newcomers. As usual Carl just said “No Problem” I said to Bill “In lieu of what is happen in Hedland I like to get the new People onto Weapon practice.” “Good Idea” Bill said “What about Paul?” I laughed and said “Let’s not talk about him to day”

So we drove back to my place and before doing anything else we put some wood on our oval outdoors Fireplace and lit it up ready for Sandy when she came Home. We were still on our first Drink when Karen and Kathy arrived. Of course they brought Kathy and Bills little Girl which they had named Amanda. Bill and Kathy were the perfect couple and with their little Girl they gave us all hope and confidents that there is a Future. Next Sandy and Mike came with Rex in tow. We all helped getting our food ready and while it slowly simmered in the Camp ovens, we enjoyed the evening. After everyone left I crawled into my bed with Karen’s help as I had a little too much to drink. Next morning I paid for it with the Hangover of all Hangovers.

 They say life must go on, but for me it was my Day of rest. Since finding out about the Bandit’s in Hedland it had become just about mandatory to carry a Weapon. Our peaceful existence had been somewhat shattered by the News from Hedland. More People were attending Gun practice and we were generally more aware. Bill undertook it to train the new comer’s Ian, Eric, Lynn and Jill. He kept telling Paul that he needed a clearance from the Doctor before he could risk teaching him how to handle and shoot a Weapon.

Next Day Bill chose his Men for Hedland. Brad and Frank as F88 shooters that would fire from behind the two Cars we had placed near the Bridge. Ian and Rick would be their Backups. Bill would fire from 800 metres at the SUV that was following the Bikes, for this purpose he had a 50 calibre Sniper Rifle that could penetrate the engine block of a Car. All of us went out onto the Road to Woodi Woodi where we setup and practiced.

For an extra surprise Bill had found an old empty Paint Tin and filled it with C4 and Nails. He said if we put that Tin in the middle of the Road he would set it off by firing upon it with his first shot. My Job would be to be his Spotter. Well we drove out along the Woodi Woodi Road till we found a long straight stretch of Road similar to that in Hedland. Bill was a hard taskmaster, for the next week he made us practice daily till we were in his opinion good enough. I was amazed how Bill fired that 50 cal Rifle with such an accuracy over that distance. He hit that Paint Tin with every shot.

 At the end of that week he said that we were ready. The following Week Bill spend his time getting the Town defences ready. He said that in the event that we could not stop the Bandits, the obvious thing for them to do would be to take out New Hope. He even had old Doug helping. He gave Doug some Flares and told him that if he heard Bikes on that Day he was to fire all the Flares so that the People of New Hope would be warned. Hopefully it would never come to this. Sandy and Gena were in charge in our absence.

The following Friday night Bill said “This is it, tomorrow morning we are leaving for Hedland.” We packed our Vehicles with enough Food and water for one Week. Each of us filled our Backpack with Food and Water for a Day, extra Ammunition Torches, First Aid Kits and other things. We all carried extra Clips of Ammo in Pouches that we wore. All I took was an MP5. I had my Revolver as usual and a Glock in the small of my Back. Bill decided to take one more Person. He said we needed a Lookout. Carl volunteered for this saying he was not too old. It was still dark when we arrived in Hedland. We drove as close as possible and parked in a Garage of an abandoned House. Poor Carl he had the longest walk as he had to get across the Bridge and into the nearby House. It was Radio silence except for Carl being the Lookout.

 We got into position and waited, and waited. The Day got hotter and hotter. About 11am I was busting, I had to go for a piss. Bill told me to piss in an empty Bottle. That worked for me. We finished up waiting all day till 8pm when Bill decided to call it a Day. We all went back to the abandoned House where we had our Vehicles. First thing for me was a shower, I felt so hot and sticky. Everyone had a shower after me and we had some cold Food. We didn’t want to risk a fire or Light. After that it was off to sleep till early morning.

We had some more to eat and went back to our positions. At about 1pm Carl sang out over the 2way radio “Here they come!” Well I was amazed how quick the whole thing was over. Everyone waited till the SUV came over the Bridge too. Bill fired his Rifle at the Paint Tin which exploded with an enormous Bang. Bandits were falling of their Bikes ripped to shreds. As soon as that happen Brad and Ian started firing their weapons at the Bandits that were still moving. Their SUV Driver slammed on his Brakes and as it stopped Bill fired again and again till no one was left standing. Both Brad and Ian were all right except for the fact that both of them lost whatever they had eaten. They both vomited into the tall Grass. There were eight of them on Bikes and five in the SUV. They should have known that 13 was an unlucky number.

 Bill said we should leave everything and everybody where they were as a warning to all. None of our People got hurt. In fact none of the Bandits had a chance to fire their weapons. We collected our things and walked back to where we left our Vehicles. Before we drove off, Bill congratulated everyone on a Job well done and then he said “Everybody, Party at Mark’s place tonight.”  

We drove home without turning around. As we drove past Doug’s Place we told him that everything went all right. Bill was going to tell him to come to our Party but I told Bill “No”, and said I would tell him later. I still remembered Doug from when I was working here and I knew that he was a Paedophile. When I was here, there were about 3 Paedophiles hiding out in what is now New Hope.

 I remember one of them had native Kids coming to his place to take showers. In the Native Village they didn’t have hot showers. One thing we didn’t need in New Hope and that was his kind. That evening we had a big Party at my Place. It was nice to see everyone happy and relaxed. Karen finally moved in with me saying that it would be easier this way. I still felt guilty when I thought about my Wife, but I was told that we all must move on.

The following week a Party of 4 People arrived from Hedland and explained to us that there were over 100 People still left in Hedland who would slowly perish if we didn’t take them in to our Community. Their Leader Jason ask if it was possible for them to have a look around our Community. We agreed to this and Bill took them around showing them everything that we had achieved. Leaving out our Defence System. The week after they had been we had a General Meeting of the Community to find out everyone’s thoughts on letting them move in with us.

They were to come back to us in 2 weeks’ time to find out what we had decided. Well we talked and talked till we were exhausted until finally we got the vote to let them come here. But we had to have a Trial period so that we could find out all about them. For all we knew there could be a gang of killers hiding among them. When Jason came back we told him what we expected of them. Also they be living south of the River, making it clear that the River would flood and they be cut off from the rest of the Town. They also had to live and abide by our Rules, just like we did. Until the next Election they also obey the decision of our Sherriff and any other Person of Authority.

I told Jason that we were lucky that a big mining company had come here and they had brought extra Transportable Homes. Steve had used the Frontend Loader to level out the Foundation. If they could come in about 2 weeks’ time we would try to have everything ready for them. It would be even better if half of them came in two weeks’ time and the rest of them in about 3 weeks’ time. Also if it was possible could every Person try and find as much Food as possible and bring it back to New Hope. On their side of the River we have a big Shed which would come in handy for Storage. I explained to Jason that sometimes the River was up for 3 weeks or more and the extra stored Food would come in handy.  We would also appreciate any useful Item they could bring. He said that sounded all good and he was sure that his People would be only too pleased to comply with our Laws and Rules. After having a Mug of Coffee with us they left again for Hedland saying that the first lot would arrive in 2 weeks.

 I was thinking we have to try to rebuild the old Flying-Fox that went across the River. That evening when Bill came over I told him that I was having time off for relaxation. All he had to say was “About Time too.” I said “How do you think this will play out?” “We’ll have a few hassles with People that no matter where they live they have something to complain about.” “Even so there is no reason, there will be a lot of jealousy.” “It’ll be lots of bickering over nothing.

You’ll see we will have our Hands full, especially Sandy” he said as he was smiling at her. “We should tone down the carrying of Guns. We haven’t got enough Guns for all of us. We could ban bringing Guns into Public Places except for Special Deputies and People on Guard Duty.” I said “Who appoints these People?” Mike said “Sandy of course.” He was holding Sandy’s Hand as he made that statement. “She can appoint the Deputies, but I think Bill has the Authority over the Guards.” I pointed out to everyone there.

Karen said “I just hope that there won’t be any trouble, we don’t need that.” She had a worried look on her Face. “We probably worry about nothing, after all they are Survivors just like us.” I said.  “But we will handle every situation on its own merits.”

 I got onto the UHF Radio and called Brad over. He was with us within a short time of me calling him. I also called Fred, Ian, Rick and Eric. While we were waiting Karen mad us all Coffee. As soon as everyone had arrived I said “Gentleman, getting a dirty look from Karen. And Ladies of course. We shall call this an Executive Meeting. Oh, I forgot! Has anyone seen Sharon?” No answer. “I take that as a no! Karen would you please ask Sharon if she could join us.” I explained to everyone what this meeting was about and that we didn’t have much time to get things ready. Karen arrived with Sharon in tow. I ask Sharon could she take notes please. She said yes and she had brought her Notepad in anticipation.

 “All right People, let’s throw a few Ideas around and see what we come up with.” I said “First, Brad can you drive down to the Mining Base and see what Transportable Homes you can find.”  Brad said that there were quite a few down there at the Base but didn’t know how many we could use. He would drive down tomorrow taking the Truck that they had been using to pick up Transportables. He thought he might ask Rob if he wanted to come along, saying that he might learn something.

Sounds good just make sure that Kat is okay with him going. Fred! Could you check out the existing Homes for electricity and then get ready to hook up the new Transportables to our Grid. Fred ask if there was a possibility for us to make another trip into Hedland because we really could use some more Solar-Panels and Batteries. I said “I couldn’t see why not and also Ian, Rick and Eric I like to put you Fellows in Charge of Building a new Flying Fox. But so that it can be used by young and old. See if you can come up with something and then come and see me. Ian as if I wanted the Flying Fox at the same place as the old one.”

 I said “What does everyone think? I think it is in a good spot and I have never seen it get wet, not even in 2000 when we had the highest Water mark in over Hundred Years. I also made a very rough estimate and I think we can accommodate everybody. If there is nothing else we will meet again after tomorrow, same time same place.” Bill said “Maybe a little bit earlier.” I said “OK, how about 4pm would that suit everybody?”

 Everyone agreed so I went and pored myself a drink and Karen said “Where is mine?” I made her a drink too and ask “What’s for Dinner?” She said to me “I don’t feel like cooking, how about Scrambled Eggs on Toast?” Our Family including Sandy and Mike had 11 Hens and 1 noisy Rooster. Gee, I hated them. But I liked their Eggs. We had a lovely quite evening without interruption.

 Next morning I told Karen that I was going to stay in and do some writing in my Journal that I had been putting off. After lots of writing and several Mugs of Coffee I got fidgety and went into the Radio Room. As per usual all Radios were turned on. I had them running separately on a small Solar Panel. It was very effective but I wasn’t happy with it. I wanted something Wind driven and so I started to build a small Windmill several Weeks ago. I just played with it whenever possible and so I had tried out several different Car Alternators but so far I wasn’t winning.

I was also too stubborn to as Fred to help me, but I knew that I would have to eventually. It was a lovely Day outside but I didn’t feel in the mood for going out or seeing People. Then to my surprise and everyone else that was listening to the UHF Radio. My Radio which was on scan mode picked up a signal.

 Somebody was calling on channel 5 “Can anybody hear me, please answer me!” I keyed in the Mike and said “Hallo, the Person calling on Channel 5, who are you and where are you?” The answer came right away “This is Henry calling and we passed a place called Bonney Downs about 40 kilometres ago” I said “OK Henry, my name is Mark and when you travel another 10 kilometres you will come to our Community “Silence. “Can you hear me Henry?” I said listening to my Set “Yes, I can hear you Mark, 10 kilometres to the End of the line. I can’t believe we made it” said Henry. “We will send someone to meet you at the edge of Town.”

Sandy took the Quad Bike and took off. After a little while we heard the Quad-Bike and a very noisy engine that could only be a VW. As they drove into the Main Street we all cheered at the smoking VW Kombi came to a halt. A hot and dusty looking Fellow climbed out of the Vehicle being followed by a Women and 2 Children. They looked like they had been in a war. There were People everywhere handing water to the Newcomers.

 As I walked towards him and he said “You must be Mark, I am Henry and this is my Family” he said pointing at the Women and Children “This is my Wife Connie and my Children Walther and Molly.” I said “How did you find us or did you hear about us?” I said “Hang on, everybody back, give these People some Room” and that was when Connie fainted. Henry quickly picked her up and looked around as if to say “Where do I put her?” Both Kathy and Sally were there and so took all of them into the Clinic. Kathy said “I’ll call you Mark.” “Okay, everybody back to business or Home.” I said and went Home to.

 Karen was waiting for me with a cool Drink. I thought how will we get our Ice 10 years from now. There were so many Questions and so few answers. I really shouldn’t worry me, but it did. After Lunch I had a rest from everything and just enjoyed the moment. Sandy came over to tell me that they had put Henry and Family into the Transportable that Karen used to live in. I ask Sandy could she arrange for us to meet with Henry as his place around 3pm. She said “Okay” and ran off again. Next I got a visit from Fred. When Fred came to our Place he always took of his Boots before entering. I thought that this was very thoughtful of him.

I said to him “Come and sit down and tell me your Problems.” Fred said “No Problems, I just wanted to tell you that the Houses on the other side of the River are all good and ready to be occupied.” Before I could say something Karen said “How nice to see you Fred, would you like something to drink?” Fred said “No thank you, Karen, I have to get going again. Lots of work to be done.” I said “Anyway thanks for letting me know.” Fred grabbed his Boots, put them on, and was gone again. Next thing Sandy calls me on the 2way and tells me that we can come over and see Henry now.

So I told her to get Bill and meet me over there. I got onto the Quad Bike and drove over to Henry’s where I met up with Sandy and Bill. When Henry saw us he opened the Door and ask us to come in. Henry said that the Kids were having a lay down in the last Bedroom where we wouldn’t disturb them. I told Henry we could have come back later. We sat in the main room and Connie offered us drinks which we readily accepted.

 I said “First of all let me welcome you officially to New Hope.” Both Henry and Connie said thank you. Henry said “I suppose you want to know all about us.” I said “Yes, but first let me introduce us. Next to me you have Sandy, she is one of my Daughters, but also she is our Sherriff. Sandy used to be a Police women in the real World and she keeps Law and Order here.” Next to her is Bill, he is ex-Military and so is in Charge of Security, Weapons, Defence and so on.” “Sandy, did you bring the list of Rules that we are governed by?” She passed a couple of sheets to Henry and Connie and said “If you have any questions about these just ask away.”

Bill ask what we all wanted to know “How on Earth did you found out about us?” Henry held Connie’s Hand and said “Let me start from the beginning. After Day Zero as we call it Connie and I met. She had lost her Husband and I had lost my Wife. To cut a long story short we moved in together and I tried hard to look after all of us. The longer we stayed the worse it got. At first you just occasionally heard about somebody being killed.

Then it was Gangs fighting each other over territories. Next came Rape they just grabbed any women of the Street and if their Husband objected they shot him. If she had children and they screamed or tried to help their Mother, they shot them to. They usually took the Women back to their Headquarter and then passed her around and if she was lucky, she died quickly. It all got out of hand, if you were old and didn’t move out of their way, you got killed. Perth is in absolute Chaos. It is not safe for anybody.

 There were always Stories about this “Shangrila” that was supposed to exist up North but nobody really believed it. One Day about 2 Month ago we met this old Fellow from Bullsbrook, we were living up in Swan and he told us that he on the Day after Zero. He wasn’t really too sure about which Day, but he said that he had seen a large Convoy of Vehicles going up North. We ask him some more about it but he didn’t know anymore. We were getting desperate, we were worried about the Children and ourselves.

So we decided to take a Chance. We had Fuel with added Stabiliser and so we filled the VW up, we put extra Jerry cans on the Roof rack. Put everything that was essential in the back of the Vehicle, but it didn’t work out. So we took our Trailer put all the Fuel in it we even traded for some extra Stabiliser, then put all our Bicycles on the Roof and tried again. This time everything fitted.

 At Night time about 2 weeks ago we snug out of Perth, we knew we had enough Petrol, but Water was going to be a problem. I had heard about the North, but had no Idea how desolate it was. We ditched the Trailer when it got empty. Many times we thought of turning back until we passed the point of no return. When we heard your Voice we thought that we were delirious, but we all heard it. That is our Story.

Next Question is of course; can we stay? I took a deep Breath and said “Of course you can stay, we would never turn anyone like you away.” Both Henry and Connie laughed and the Kids came running saying “Can we stay? Can we?” There was a lot of laughing and crying going on and Henry brought out a Bottle of Glen Fiddich Whiskey and said “Is it too early? We have been saving this for this occasion.”

We told them it was never too early. Connie couldn’t get over it that we still had electricity and that here she had a Washing Machine. They had a lot of Questions and we had lots of answers for them. We decided to leave them alone and headed for Home again. At Home I thought that they were nice People, but Perth sounded scary. I am so glad that I made the decision to come here.  I sat there quietly with my Drink while Karen made Dinner. As much as I love cooking, I do like it when someone else makes me a nice Dinner, just for a change. I was deep in thought when Rex came bolting at me and gave me a wash with his tongue.

Karen sang out to me saying “I forgot to tell you that I invited Sandy and Mike for Dinner.” Sleepily I said “That’s fine. I’ll be out in a Minute.” To be honest; I just wanted to go to Bed. But I went out there with a smile and joined everyone for Dinner. We had “Leftovers” and when I say leftovers I mean from the Cow that we slaughter last week. Big Steaks, Baby Carrots from our Garden and Potatoes also from our Garden all that topped with a lovely Gravy. For Dessert we had Bread and Butter Pudding. I can’t remember the last time I had that. We all had some very nice Merlot Wine to finish it all off.

Next morning it was Hot again and I thought to myself that if it was going to be like last Year I didn’t think our Powerhouse would make it. Our Fuel for the Generators was much worse and despite Stabilisers it was becoming jellified. Most of us had given up using our SUVs as they were using too much Fuel. A few of us had Quad Bikes which were only used when necessary. Brother Joseph was our last hope for fuel, he kept on trying to clarify the fuel also by using a Still he kept, trying to make a new Fuel that we could use. On Thursday it was hottest and by 2pm the Community went quite, as the Powerhouse had stopped.

Luke came out of the Door sweating and wringing his Hands in desperation. I went up to him and said “Is this it?” He wiped the sweat from his Brow and said “I don’t know Mark, maybe if everyone turned off their Air Conditioning maybe and only maybe I could get it going again” I nodded my head and said “OK Luke, we’ll get all the Air-Cons turned off and I’ll send Fred to you and maybe he can help you.” “Go and have a cool drink, I’ll be back”

 I went over to see Fred, who smilingly said “I thought it would be you. Having trouble with the Power have we?” “How about “Good Morning Mark” before we get sarcastic.” I said in jest. “Good Morning Mark, how may I help you?” he said.

So I ask him how he was going with the Solar Panels and Power Supply. I was hoping for some good news as the first lot of people were arriving on the weekend from Hedland. We would need Power badly. Fred explained to me that he now had enough Panels and Inverters to light up a small City. He said that they would be cutting it short but we would all have Power from the Sun by Saturday and hopefully Luke could hold out till then.

 He then looked as if he had forgotten something and said “What about the Backup Generators we brought in from Hedland” I said “I could kiss you Fred, I’ll get on it right away.” It was too hot for me out there and so I headed back to Home. At home I got onto the 2way and called Bill and ask him to get the Generators organised. I then put out a General Broadcast to all, asking them to turn off their Air-Cons for the next 30 minutes.

I then called Carl and ask him how many more UHF Radios we had. Carl said we had been lucky in both Newman and Hedland and we had about 30 Sets left. So I ask him to install them in the Houses south of the River as soon as possible. I stayed in and enjoyed my Air-Con, as I ran my own Generator.

I made myself comfortable at the Table and started to clean my Weapons. Something that I found very relaxing. By this time Carl called me back to tell me that he had only 26 x 12 volt Power-packs, but he was going to get some out of old Computers, he said they were 12 volt too.  Next Sandy and Mike came in and Sandy said “Dad, we are going to Beaton Pool for a swim. Do you want to come?” I said “No I rather stay here in the cool, my swimming Days are over. Is there enough water in the Pool? They were gone, probably didn’t hear me.

The rest of the afternoon went without any more trouble. I was sitting there Glass of Scotch in one Hand stroking the Hairs in my Goatee with the other. Watching Karen and thinking of my Life and what might be left of it. I wasn’t scared of dying, what I was really scared of was being a Cripple and not being able to do the things that I wanted to do. Especially now, I had to be able as these People looked to me for some sort of Leadership, which I couldn’t give them from a Wheelchair.

I knew how sick I was, but being one of these Invisible Disabilities others did not and that was how I wanted to keep it. Like with everything else sometimes the Pain got so bad that People would notice. But when ask about it I always had some excuse. When the pain gets real bad I think of dying and how nice it would be not to suffer anymore, but then I think about the People that still need me and are counting on me.

Enough of this self-pity I’ll go and make another Drink for Karen and me. A few Days later Jason and his adopted Family arrived. When he pulled up I said to him “Aren’t you a bit early or are they using a different Calendar to us in Hedland?” Jason smiled trying to look innocent and said “Don’t worry, my old Friend I am going back. I just wanted the Family settled in so I didn’t have to worry about any of them when we were leaving Hedland.”

 So I said to him “Firstly, none off this old business, but otherwise you are welcome to move into your new Home to day. The Question is do you want a House this side of the River or on the other side? We have a couple of Houses on this side, but a lot more on the other side of the River. Look, I’ll leave it up to you Folks, have a look at some of the Houses and then make your decision. On the other side of the River you will find the best House is the 4th from the top of the Street.” Jason followed Bill around to find the right House for his Family. In the End Jason and Michelle finished up moving into the House across the Street from me.

Kat and Sandy went over and told them everything there was to know about New Hope. Jason ask me what I thought of the Idea of letting his People come as of now, or from when he got back to Hedland. I told him seeing everything was ready I couldn’t see any Problems with that. We would assign a Guide to take the People around to their new Accommodation. I would have loved to have said “As long as they leave me alone.” But I knew better than to say it. For me, the whole thing was getting to big to cope with and I decided that I would resign at the next General Meeting.

Over the next week or so we had 117 more People arrive and they were now all settled in. Carl did manage to get UHF Radios into all Houses. Thanks to Steve’s fast work he got the Foundation Platforms made. He would be our best Frontend Loader Driver. Him, Brad and Mike went out again to get more Soil for planting. Along the River towards 5 mile Creek Steve was making another Paddock for growing Food. There also were plans in the making, to grow more Food at Garden Pool, which was 4 Kilometres from Town but it was very good growing Soil.

 Brother John’s School got bigger and bigger and so he needed more Teachers to help him. We were lucky as there were 3 more Teachers to be had from the “Newbies” To morrow we are having our first General Meeting since the arrival of the People from Hedland. This evening we are having a small Party consisting of Family and their Partners. Steve, Mike and John were at the BBQ cooking our Meat.

The Ladies had made plenty of Salads and Steve provided the Alcohol. I sat back in my Recliner Chair and enjoyed being waited on. All in all it was a great Party and we all enjoyed ourselves. As usual when I got tiered I snug off to Bed. The General Meeting was held in the Community Hall which was really cramped with People. When I thought that we couldn’t fit any more People into the Hall, I got up and declared the Meeting open.

Before I could say anything else, a Fellow in a Red Holden T-Shirt sang out “Who can vote?” To which I replied “Anyone over the age of 15 years. And please People let’s do this in an orderly Fashion, there is time for Questions after.” First on the Agenda was my Resignation, nobody wanted it and so it was suggested that I stay in the position of Elder, but in an inactive position where I was only consulted in an Emergency. It sounded okay to me and so I stayed on.

 Bill and Jason fought for the next position, but Bill won. Sandy also stayed on with the proviso that she would have at least 2 Deputies. Jason was put in charge of Food production. Then the Question about the Militia came up, did everybody have to be a member? We decided that it would be a Voluntary Position with Bill being in charge off. Gena of course stayed in charge of training and breeding Camels. Brother Joseph would continue to hold a religious Service and run the Education of our Children with 3 extra Teachers. The one good thing that came out of this meeting was, that it was decided that all work must be voluntary, but everybody must work. The meeting continued on but without me I had excused myself as being sick. I always did that when I wanted to leave a meeting. We still never had anyone break our Laws, but I had the feeling that was about to change as things often do with the arrival of lots of new People. When I got home I got down to sit in my Recliner, when suddenly a shot rang out.

That was nothing unusual here but it was coming from the other side of the River. I thought seeing nearly everybody was at the meeting maybe I should go and have a look. Karen said “No, stay where you are it’s probably only somebody practising.” But then more shots sounded in the distance. Next someone sounded the Alarm, which we had pinched from the Fire station. I grabbed the AR15 and Glock and took of telling Karen to stay inside. As soon as I got outside Sandy pulled on her Quad Bike and said Bandits south of the River. More shots were coming across the River and my first thought was that we had to protect the Clinic and then get a Foothold somewhere. Bill came screaming down in his SUV shouting orders to the men running around with Rifles. I drove towards the River and got my Windscreen shot out, but not before I saw a Big Bus sitting proximally to where we stuck our Nail Trap just in case this kind of thing happen.

I drove quickly back out of there wondering how many of them were there. I caught up with Bill and said one of us should go on top of the Hill with the 50mm Rifle. He agreed and told me to go, the Rifle and Ammunition were already up there in the Caravan. When I got to the top of the Hill I grabbed the Rifle and Ammo out of the Caravan and made myself comfortable behind the Sand bags.

 I lined up the Rifle with its Leopold Scope and thought to myself “Crafty Bastard Bill!” he send me up here to be out of harm’s way. I got onto my portable 2way and told Sandy to get someone onto the other side of the River, but the back way, from behind the Grid. From up here I could see that she got my message. All I could think off, was how lucky we were having the Meeting to-day and nearly everyone was at the Hall especially all the new People from the South Side. There were only a few left over there and they seem to be busy fighting for their lives.

I finally spotted a couple of Bandits move about. The first one that I shot, my shot went to high and took his Head off. The next one got it right between his shoulder blades. Then I moved my Scope to check on our Boys coming from the other side of the River. They were getting closer to the corner of the Road, when I spotted about 5 Badies going towards them. I didn’t have a clear shot at any of them, but Bill must have snug across the River on Foot and he was firing at them from a fairly open position.

He kept firing short burst of Bullets at them and shot 3 of them across their Bodies. I could see our Fellows everywhere, Mike was creeping closer to the other side when suddenly Mike went down. I couldn’t see where he was hit, but as soon as he went down 4 of our Fellows went down to him. Two grabbed him by his Arms while the other two kept firing short burst at the Enemy.

The Bandits decided for some reason to do a frontal Attack which got four of theirs killed and about another six wounded. After this it got Quiet for a while, they must have been regrouping. Next I could hear the unmistakable sound of Bill’s M16, he just kept firing and firing at the Bus. So I thought the Bandits must be either inside or around the back of the Bus and so I thought I give Bill a helping hand. I lined the Bus up in my Scope and like Bill fired round after round into the Bus. I noticed that some of the Women had joined in and were firing from this side of the River. Sandy and her men couldn’t get any closer for fear of being hit by friendly Fire.

After a while Bill stopped firing and called “Cease Fire”. It was over, the Bandits, had 18 dead, 6 wounded and 3 walking. We had 3 wounded but luckily no one died. Mike had been shot just below his Shoulder, John had a Leg wound and the other man was Hank from the south side who was very lucky in getting his right Ear shot of. A little more to one side and it would have been curtains for him, like this he had something to brag about. Bill went up to Steve and ask him if he could take them all to the Rubbish tip and bury them there, he then went over to the wounded and shot each of them in the back of the Head. We all looked at him when he came back, he just said “The Law for Murder or attempted Murder is death.”

 Which was true. When ask what to do with the other 3, he told them that they could go Home. When they started winging he told them that the alternative was to join their Buddy’s at the Rubbish Tip. For us, Life would never be the same. There were Guards at all times, down the Roads leading to New Hope we put Traps, we didn’t have to leave our Town for nothing, everybody was happy to be there and try to build a Future for our Children and hopefully their Children.

For more Stories go to “Home”…………………

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