posted on Dec, 6 2012 @ 04:40 PM
Conclusion story, please read part 1 first
While moon gazing, we sip on our coffee for a few more minutes out on the deck. We go back in to warm up. We spend the next hour reminiscing about
our youthful days. We have twenty years worth of memories to share, so kicking them around for an hour didn’t take a Herculean effort.
At this point I tell her how terrified I am about letting her and the kids down.
“What if I fail you, what if I can’t protect you from the dangers we face?”
She leans in and gives me a gentle kiss on the lips. “I have faith in you,” she says. “I woke up this morning to a nightmare. I was
terrified, and you’ve already made me feel so much better. I know you’ll do whatever you have to do for me and the kids.”
God, she's so beautiful.
“I love you, Jill,” I say. It’s all that needs to be said.
The light of day enters our windows, yet our candles are still needed. It’s a dark sunrise. We walk back onto the deck to see.
The wavelength of light from the sun is being diffracted from the ash clouds, which causes a visual display that’s simply breathtaking. The clouds
swirl across the sky, and behind those clouds we see the great ball of fire. It’s darkened so that we can look right at it. The spectacular
sunrise is filled with bright gold, fiery orange and blood red hues.
“It’s beautiful,” Jill says.
“Yeah,” I agree. An unexpected awareness overtakes me. Suddenly, it isn’t the fear of dying that worries me anymore. It isn’t the
president’s death camps. It isn’t the marauding gangs. It’s isn’t the helpless, powerless feeling one feels to the awesomeness of the sun.
No, it was my family that mattered and nothing else.
All the signs of the apocalypse from the bible were being fulfilled, and now I told myself that if this were God’s plan, then so be it. All that I
needed to do now was embrace my wife and kids and stay close to them.
Many signs had come to pass in the weeks leading up to this morning. There were the freak super storms, meteor fireballs falling from the sky, waters
of the oceans turning blood red, nations uniting in war against Israel, and now, earthquakes, volcanoes, the moon turns to blood and the sun turns to
darkness. It was becoming more and more clear that this was biblical.
It’s chilly so we decide to go back inside. It had been so warm for this time of year, but with the ash cloud, temperatures are falling.
As we turn around I glance out to the corn fields in the west, the direction of the Cities, and I see what appears to be a family. They are walking
“Oh my gosh,” Jill says as she notices them. “It’s a family, Jack. They have children with them.”
“Yeah, there’s five of them,” I say, the same size family as my own. She looks at me like she’s waiting for me to say more.
“What?” I ask, but I know what she’s thinking.
“No, Jill, there isn’t anything we can do,” I say. “It’s dangerous. We don’t know who anyone is out there and what they’ve been
“Jack, they have small children.” The kids look like they are all between the ages of five and ten.
“What do you think we should do,” I ask.
“I don’t know, maybe check on them and make sure they aren’t hungry at least, or freezing,” she says.
We decide to wait and see how close they come to us first. I’m not willing to take a chance on approaching the man and startling him. He’s most
likely in the same mind set I am…protect the family. He won’t have any idea what my intentions are. He may have a gun. I also have no intention
of inviting him into my home. We don’t know how long the power will be out, we don’t even have enough food for ourselves if we have to bunker
down for the rest of the winter, but Jill is right. We can’t just let those kids go hungry if we have something to offer. We have plenty of winter
clothing, so we’ll offer them something if we need to.
Jill rummages through the cupboards and comes out with a box of granola bars. Good enough.
They are a block away as they leave the field into the set of homes just east of us. I holler out to them asking if everything is alright. The man
doesn’t answer but looks, so I wave him over. Reluctantly it appears he heads our way.
The Finstead family, we learn, told us how they drove out of the Twin Cities the day before and driving on back roads ran out of gas about two miles
from here. He tells us they slept in their car until just before dawn and then started walking.
Yes, they greatly appreciated the granola bars and no, they didn’t need anymore warm clothing.
It’s what he tells me next that drops the bomb. About ten miles before they ran out of gas, they encountered a gang of about 20 men, all carrying
guns, and headed this way.
I jam the family in our GMC Envoy and head down to Tim’s to let him know. Tim lives just off the highway that runs along side of Crawdad. It’s a
small town and all we have is our gas station and a saloon next to the highway.
I pull up and decide to give a toot on the horn. He peeks out the living room window from behind the curtain. Paranoia has taken over this town. I
jump out of the truck so that he see’s it’s me.
He comes out.
“Tim, I gotta tell you, there was a family just came by from the Cities. They ran out of gas two miles out on the county road. They said they
passed a gang on the road about ten miles out. The man said that they were off the road in a field and as he was coming up the road, he noticed them
all start running to the road to intercept him.”
“He said they were heading this way,” Tim asks. I nod. “Hell, there are a lot of roads out there and Crawdad’s just a small town, they could
end up anywhere.”
We hear two gunshots off in the distance coming from the direction of the highway as it comes into Crawdad from the Cities.
We both sort of duck in quick surprise. Instincts take over and I run back to the SUV. Tim starts to head back into his house but instead follows
“What do you think?” he asks as I climb into the vehicle.
“Gunshots,” I say. “They’re coming and that’s not good. Has Patch been on duty at all?”
Patch is our local police officer. Crawdad is a one-horse town void of a single stop light. Patch is our only police officer and works directly for
the village board. When Patch isn’t on duty, we depend on the county sheriff’s department. I’ve been living here for a year and I’ve never
seen a county squad in town.
“I don’t know. I haven’t seen him since the day after the lights went out.”
“I have a little bit of gas left, enough to get my family out of here,” I say.
He looks at me for a moment before asking, “What about the town?”
I have no answer. I’m not prepared for any of this. I don’t even have a gun. I feel so helpless.
“I have my family, Tim,” I say. “I just don’t know. We don’t even have time to organize a response of any kind. I think its best at this
point to hide out.”
“No, I have guns. I’m not letting these thugs come and ransack our town.”