I’m not sure exactly what day this whole thing started. I never watched the news. I was a kid doing my own thing. I didn’t care what was happening around me as long as I could spend time with my friends. I remember my Dad saying how sad it was that a mother of three small children had died from the flu. Then someone else died, then someone else and then quarantine. Life fell apart after that.
We were told to stay in our homes. Stay away from other people. Don’t go out in the streets. Doctors were working on a cure. People panicked, they left town to get help from other hospitals. This was a mistake. Soon the news was filled with stories about epidemics, people dying by the hundreds, then the thousands.
My dad was a part of the homeland security team. He was working with the town government trying to keep things under control. Unfortunately, his efforts and the efforts of others didn’t help. The virus continued to spread. The death toll continued to rise and soon bodies began to pile up on the streets. It was awful. Our entire town smelled like death.
My mother died first. My heart hurt so bad. I wanted to die. My father was already sick. I could tell his heart was broken too. He died a couple of days later. I laid on my bed and cried for a couple of days hoping death would take me too. The only thing that took hold of me was hunger.
Children were left to survive on their own. Death prayed on the smallest children. Babies died in their cribs. Toddlers starved to death because they couldn’t get out of their homes. The older children began to ban together and form tribes. The Bear Tribe was formed when about a dozen children and I moved into the Bear Country High School on Lafayette Blvd. We survived but life wasn’t easy.
I have always wanted to be a writer. I think my Dad bought me my first journal when I was in the 1st grade. I have kept a journal ever since. This is my story. The following journal entries are a brief view of my life.
Start with Journal Entry 1
Tony and I have decided to stay a couple of days with the Sequoias. Their tribe leader Xu has graciously invited us to spend as much time as we wanted here provided with help out with the chores. Tony is out hunting with the boys. Xu’s wife Palesa gave him a grocery list of things to bring back for dinner. Palesa was very insistent that Xu find everything that was on the list.
I have been sitting around most of the day. I did help prepare breakfast and wash the dishes. This tribe has a large number of toddlers and smaller children. I am amazed their infant survival rate is so high. A large majority of the women here look as if they are pregnant and couple of them look as if they were about to give birth any day now.
Xu’s wife Palesa already has two children and it looks as if she is going to have another. I like Palesa she has a sense of humor and a very happy disposition. I asked Palesa if it is hard raising her children out here in the wilderness. Palesa assured me that it was actually very simple. Not one child has died since the Sequoia tribe was formed. This is amazing because I have seen at least a dozen girls have babies back home since the virus and only two of them delivered babies that survived more than a week. Aleece is one of those babies.
I hope Aleece and her Mom Casey are safe and happy somewhere. Aleece must be getting very big by now. I wonder if she is crawling yet.
Tony and I are taking our time returning to Bear Country. By now a new tribe leader would have been elected. I hope it was Sheriff Pete. All the soldiers that survived the ambush headed back towards Ft Shasta. Their walk was going to be a long one. I wished them luck in their journey and asked them to be safe. I again apologized for the trouble I caused.
Tony and I didn’t travel very far yesterday or today. We stayed in a hunters cabin last night. It was barely livable but it was better than sleeping out in the open on the hard ground. I have had enough sleeping on the ground to last a lifetime. The cabin was near a stream. Tony was playing around trying to catch a fish with his hands and accidentally scooped a fish out. He spent the next hour in the ice cold freezing water trying to catch another one and never came close. The one fish barely gave each of us three mouths full but it was good.
Today we went exploring. I don’t think we covered more than a couple of miles. Tony and I stumbled across a tribe of naturalist called the Sequoia. Relax they were friendly. Their tribe leader offered us a place to stay for the night. Tony’s out bathing in the creek with the men. I plan to go with the women as soon as he gets back.
It would have been a painful way to die. It wasn’t a straight drop to the bottom. Tony and I would have hit every rock, boulder and tree stump on the way down. Then we would have lingered alive for a couple of hours before finally succumbing to blood loss. It really wasn’t the way I wanted to die and I am positive it wasn’t the way Tony wanted to die.
I backed off the edge of the cliff and fell into Tony’s arms. There was clapping and whistling from the soldiers. I didn’t realize they were all standing there. I apologized to Tony for everything I had said a few moments before. Tony kissed me on the head and thanked me for not jumping.
Tony and the four soldiers that had survived the ambush led us around the woods for more than an hour trying to find the graves of Yates and the other soldiers they were able to bury. I wanted to say goodbye. We had almost given up looking for the graves when one of the soldiers that had been enslaved with me accidentally stumbled upon the grave site during a moment of rest. We held a small goodbye ceremony in the woods for Yates and the other fallen soldiers. Each of the graves had been marked with a cross made out of twigs. The name tag from the soldier’s uniform was pushed into the bark. I found Yates and said my goodbyes. I apologized for getting him into this trouble. Tony knelt down beside me and whispered in my ear that none of this was my fault. I didn’t put General Yates into this grave. I wish I could believe that. Because of me and my selfish needs there is a small boy at Ft Shasta who is now without a father.