Journal Entry 8

It has been a long day. Matt and Jonas have still not returned with Scat. I am keeping my fingers crossed the little pest is doing fine and didn’t get caught by the Central goons. Tony, he is still recovering. We are still taking turns looking after him. He is not taking in a lot of fluids but his color is improving slightly. We held elections today. Pete will take over as the man in charge of security. He has started looking for people to fill the deputy positions. I need to put a Thank you in the Bear News for everyone that helped out in the middle of the night.

Now for some good news. Casey finally delivered her baby. Her labor lasted for days. She was in labor, then she wasn’t, she was in labor then she wasn’t. I felt bad for her because she was in constant pain. Everything turned out fine in the end. Mom and baby are doing well. As soon as Casey is up to it we are going to have a naming ceremony. The ceremony usually occurs about two weeks after the babies birth which will put it around the end of the month.

Scat and Sam

Dressed in over-sized clothes she found/ stole, Sam was the Queen of gutter-rats. The girl could locate, find and steal anything. The price for her services were very reasonable considering the danger of her profession. Her friends, she sometimes helped for free.

“Ssshhh!! “ Sam raised a finger to her mouth. “Stay behind me and don’t make any noise.”

“Are you sure this is a good idea? The Serpents will kill us if they find us in here.” Scat asked as his eyes darted from one side of the rubble to the other. He had only been inside the mall plaza once before and things didn’t end well for his two traveling companions.

“Do you want medicine for Tony or not?” Sam inquired as she squeezed between the rubble.

“Yes… Are you sure there isn’t a safer place to steal from?”

“Nope, this is it. Now quit being a baby.”

“I’m not a baby!” Scat said in protest.

“Sssshhh! Be quiet. If I die today, I swear I’m comin back to haunt you.”

Scat followed Sam as closely and quietly as he could. He tried to remember the direction they were traveling thru the corridors just in case he needed to make a quick escape. Sam was his friend but he would have no problem abandoning her if he needed to.

The Pharmacist dealt in hard to find drugs and other deadly concoctions meant to kill. Most of the drugs he dispensed were to junkies looking for an escape from their sad lives. Sam knew the Pharmacist also had a supply of expired antibiotics. She also knew where he kept them but first she needed a diversion.

Scat coughed over and over again as they exited the building. “I can’t believe you started a fire in there. We could have both died!!”

Sam rolled her eyes as she tossed Scat a bag of pills. “You’re welcome…I hate to steal and run but I’ve got somewhere else to be.”

Scat tucked the bag of pills into his shirt. “Sam wait! Thanks for helping me.”
“No problem…hey meet me at the park at sundown. I know where we can steal some candy.”

Scat waved goodby to Sam and ran toward his bike hidden behind a plaza dumpster. He didn’t notice a couple of Xavier’s goons waiting on the backside until it was too late.

Xavier enjoyed the thrill of cage fighting but his collection of combatants and practice kill was quickly diminishing. Replacements were needed. Scat was a bit small but he would adequate for the warm up rounds.

Journal Entry 7

Scat is missing. I couldn’t find him anywhere this morning. He didn’t show for breakfast. His bike is also missing. He is too little to be out in the city alone. If he is caught by the Central goons it could be disastrous. Lisa took over sitting with Tony after Scat. She said he was obviously upset and mentioned something about finding medicine to help. If I thought medicine was available I would have been the first person to go and find some.

Unfortunately, finding medicine for even the common cold is just not possible. The pharmacies were emptied out long ago. You can occasionally come across something to barter but there is no guarantee that what you are bartering for is actually in the bottle. The only time medicine appears on the market is when some desperate soul is trying to save a dying loved one. People have been known to sell their soul for medicine and it turn out to be nothing at all. Some awful concoction someone has put together. Matt and Jonas volunteered to go and look for Scat. I would have gone but I have things that need my attention here.

A meeting of the minds

In the beginning, after the world had thrown itself into chaos, surviving the madness was a horrible struggle. Death was everywhere. The smart ones quickly joined gangs and made alliances.

Our gang formed when a dozen friends moved into this school. Our numbers have increased steadily over the years. We are a family even though sometimes we are loud, annoying and dysfunctional. When we first moved into the school our conference room was a blank space with a couple of tables and a few chairs. The children have decorated the walls with drawings, banners and posters of bears. When we have something important to discuss we hold a meeting in the conference room. Today was no exception.

 “Thanks for coming! I said. “I don’t want to take up too much of your time. I only have one thing on the agenda today. As everyone knows, the Central goons have taken most of our oil. We need to replace what we have lost. I’m looking for volunteers. I need four or five people to travel to Wolf Valley. “

Matt jumped on top of one of the tables. “Why travel all the way to Wolf Valley?” We know where the oil is. Xavier has it. Let’s take back what’s ours!”

To my dismay, the silent room suddenly broke into rumbling chaos with most of the people agreeing with Matt.

“Wait… QUIET!” I yelled. “Did anyone here not see what the Central goons did to Tony? He may not survive.”

I took a deep breath “I know everyone here wants to pummel Xavier and take back what’s ours. I want that too! However, we are not strong enough. Andre came by earlier today. He promised me, he would take care of Xavier and his gang.”

Jonas leaned against the back wall. “What’s the pretend Sheriff going to do? Slap Xavier on the hand and say play nice with others?” Everyone in the room laughed. 

I looked around the room and spoke slowly. “I don’t know Andre’s plans. He didn’t say, but risking the lives of the children in this school, to fight Central, to take back the oil, we can simply replace with a short trip to Wolf Valley is stupid.”

Marty spoke up “It’s not that short of a trip, it’s nearly 12 miles from here; Longer, if we travel around the Red Hyena territory instead of going through it. “

“Look, I know it’s a pain and inconvenient.” I jumped up on the table next to Matt. “If it was any other gang I would say, “Let’s fight and take back what’s ours.”

“Why don’t we fight?” Matt said in reply.

“Because…if we fight one or more of us will die. I don’t want to die. Do you want to die, Matthew?” I said as I stepped up face to face to my good friend.

Why don’t we vote on it? Cecelia said from across the room.

“Yes, why don’t we vote on it, Madeline?” Matt said in reply.

I stepped away from Matt. “Fine, we’ll vote.” “Everyone that wants to fight Central and possibly die a horrible painful death raise your hands.”

Matt, Jonas and a few reluctant others raised their hands into the air. JT counted aloud and wrote the number 6 on the black board.

I smiled and cleared my throat. “All those in favor of making a trip to Wolf Valley please raise your hands”

I looked at the sea of hands. “It looks like I am going to need those volunteers.”

Sleep, not happening

I keep dreaming of home and my mom’s cooking, unfortunately, someone keeps waking me before I can take a bite of food.

Wearing his oversized combat boots, the Runt clomped up and down the 2A hall singing my name. “Madie..Madie..Madie.”

I grabbed my blanket and pulled it up over my head. I had been up late taking care of Tony. One more hour of sleep was all I needed.

“MADIE…I’M HUNGRY!” the boy yelled as he banged on my door with his fist. There are a couple dozen teenagers hanging around. Why do the little ones keep pestering me?

 “Go eat a POTATO!”  I yelled from the comfort of my bed “I’m not your MOTHER!”

“But I don’t like potatoes!”

I climbed out of bed, flung open my door and leaned into the boy’s face. “I don’t care! Gutter-rats don’t get to be choosy; especially ones that enjoy disturbing my sleep. Now go away and leave me alone!” I gave the boy a stern look before adding, “Disturb me again and you die!” 

Before I could close the door I hear a familiar voice say “Morning, Sunshine.” It was Andre. He is a good honest man. Andre and his Posse do their best to keep the lawlessness on this side of town to a minimum, a task that is extremely difficult considering the circumstances.

“Morning Andre, How you been?”

“I’m well. You’re off to a cheerful start.”

I rolled my eyes and motioned for Andre to come in. “Yep, a great morning! I’m gonna kill that kid someday. Maybe, a few others also. What brings you here?

Andre stepped into the room and sat on the edge of one of my desk. “JT stopped by my jail, said you guys had some unwanted visitors.”

 “It was Central. I hate those people and everything they stand for. They beat up Tony and took most of our oil!”

“I heard. Stay away from Xavier and his goons. Don’t confront. Don’t retaliate. They are too big and too dangerous.”

I rubbed my eyes in frustration and ran my hands through my tangled hair. “I know I’m holding a meeting later to discuss the issue with the rest of the kids.”

Andre stood up and gave me a much-needed hug. “Well, I’ll get outta your way.” he said as he patted me on my back.

Andre walked toward the door. “Madie, if you don’t mind I’d like to visit Tony.”

“Sure, we put him in room 240 at the end of the hall. He looks bad.”

Andre walked out the door and then turned back around. “Madie, tell the kids, my Posse and I will take care of this.”

The Central goons are a powerful force. I hate their kind. I waved goodbye to Andre as random thoughts of killing Xavier flooded through my brain.