Journal Entry 159
Most of Bear Country attended the party out at the Spurs Fort. Joshua was once again a wonderful generous host. There was plenty of food, drink and music. General Yates arranged for his soldiers to attend the party in shifts. All of the soldiers deserved a party. I’m glad they all had an opportunity to attend. Yates didn’t spend a lot of time at the party. I don’t think he was feeling well. He left shortly after eating. I wish he had stayed to enjoy the festivities. I offered to walk him back to Bear Country but he insisted I stay at the party. I think everyone who attended the party had a wonderful time. The party was a great deal of fun and it lasted well into the morning hours. Joshua shouldn’t make so much alcohol available.
I think a few people drank a little too much including Tony. Sheriff Pete helped me get Tony back to Bear Country and put him in bed. The walk back was a challenge. Tony wanted to climb everything and kept trying to fly. It was funny the first couple of attempts and then it became annoying. The walk home took forever. I’m going to have a serious talk with that boy today after he wakes up; if he wakes up. I have a feeling he isn’t going to remember much of what happened.
Journal Entry 158
Everyone living inside Bear Country survived that winter. Many of the other tribes living around Bear Country weren’t so lucky. I saw more than one dead frozen soul on the streets that winter. Each time I saw a dead body I promised myself I wouldn’t let that happen to my friends. We were going to survive no matter what I had to do.
By the time Tony and I climbed out of the basement it was already mid morning. Tony went to town and I went to check on Yates. General Yates and his soldiers were putting the captured Black Cobras into trucks, preparing to take them away so that they couldn’t cause anymore trouble. Yates wanted to know where I had been all morning. He had stopped by my room around 7am to see if I wanted to join him for breakfast but I wasn’t there. I came up with some excuse about waking up early and going for a walk to clear my head.
Joshua from the Spurs Tribe dropped by to give me a hug and to congratulate General Yates and his soldiers on defeating Cain and the Black Cobras. General Yates said thank you but said we shouldn’t get too excited. He said that most likely there were still people out there producing Bliss and distributing it in the community. Yates had a good point. Totally getting rid of Bliss in the community is probably never going to happen. Joshua invited everyone in Bear Country, General Yates and his soldiers out to the Spurs Fort for a party. He said it would help with morale. We accepted.
Journal Entry 157
It was a long cold winter. I kept Cain a secret and I prayed for spring. Each time I went to Cain I told myself I was never going back no matter how hungry I was. The kids of Bear Country continued with our daily food hunting excursions but kept coming up empty handed. After several days without eating I had no choice but to return to Cain. He was the only source of food I knew about. Each time I knocked on his door he would smile and invite me in. The cost of food kept rising. I was forced to do more and more awful things. Cain had a short temper and his friends weren’t any better. If I refused a request I was beaten and pushed out into the cold with only half the food I was promised or none at all. I explained my bruises by telling my friends someone attacked me on the street.
My nightmare ended when the snow melted and the agriculture club moved into Bear Country. Shortly after the last time I knocked on Cain’s door I heard a rumor that he was killed in a freak accident when he tripped and fell in front of a truck. Cain had more enemies than he had friends. I guess the rumor was false.
Journal Entry 156
I was feeling guilty. I had eaten the entire can and I still had no food for my friends. I kept looking at the cases of peaches stacked against the wall. I thought of stealing a couple of cans and running away. After thinking about it for a few moments I realized there was no way I could outrun Cain and his friends. I was so cold and my legs were barely holding me up.
Cain kept smiling at me. He had a nice smile and nice eyes. His voice was very comforting. He asked if I was still hungry. I said no even though I was certain I could eat an entire case all by myself. I was trying to get up the nerve to ask for some cans for my friends back at Bear Country. Cain saw me staring at the peaches against the wall. He said he was willing to barter for them. I told him I had nothing to trade. He said I had plenty to trade and what I had looked pretty decent. And so my nightmare began.
I carried four cans of peaches home to Bear Country that day. I told my friends I had found them in an abandoned apartment.
Journal Entry 155
After I showered I went down to the basement. Tony had prepared us a meal. There was enough food in the basement to last us week. Neither of us ate very much. I think we were both too tired to eat. Tony and I sat on his bed and talked for awhile. It was nice. The conversation accidentally turned serious so Tony told a couple of really bad jokes to change the subject. The jokes made me laugh. I needed a laugh.
It’s about 3 or 4am. I think. It’s hard to tell down here, there’s only one small window and I didn’t bring my watch. I thought of looking at Tony’s but he wears his watch on the bottom side of his wrist. I would have to move his arm to read it. Tony has been sleeping so soundly. I didn’t want to disturb him.
I couldn’t sleep. I kept dreaming about the winter I spent under Cain’s torment. It was our first winter after moving into Bear Country. We weren’t prepared for the cold. I can’t remember ever seeing that much snow. We were living from one day to the next and neglected to store food up for the winter. By the time we realized we had no food stores it was pretty much too late to do anything about it. We took turns going out into the cold searching for food. Most of the time we came back empty handed. The streets were pretty much deserted that winter. The cold and snow kept people inside huddled in masses. I was so hungry and desperate. If I didn’t find us something to eat my friends and I were going to die. By sheer chance I ran into Cain. He and a couple of his friends were standing around a fire barrel laughing and eating canned peaches. They had a couple of cases stacked against the building. I begged for some. Cain smiled at me and opened a can. I think I ate the whole can in one gulp.