I spent the day digging up rocks and daydreaming about my life before the virus. I think it helped to take myself away from this hellhole even though it was just in my mind. I miss my parents and my bed. Please let this whole thing be a dream. Any moment my mom is going to walk into my room and tell me to wake up and get ready for school. I will suddenly realize this life was just an awful nightmare brought on by bad pizza. I am going to hug my mom and apologize for everything I have done wrong in the past.
I think I actually slept for a little while last night. I propped myself up against the wall and before I knew it the guards were rudely yelling at us to wake up. I refuse to believe this is the way I am supposed to spend the rest of my life. Today was a special day. All the slaves assembled in front of the tribe leader. I am not certain what he looked like because we weren’t allowed to raise our heads. He gave a lovely speech and praised us for our hard work. If thoughts could kill his brains would be spread out all over the rock pile. A wheelbarrow of food was brought out and each slave was given about five seconds to grabbed something edible to eat. I am so glad I wasn’t at the end of the line.
I want to go home. It has been a long awful day. This is not the new life I was promised. I keep pinching myself hoping I will wake up from this nightmare. I can’t sleep even though I am exhausted. I am finding it difficult to get comfortable in the night because everything aches and it is difficult to sleep on a cold dirt floor. The guards seem to get enjoyment in disturbing our rest period. They walk over us and deliberately kick someone. I was kicked in the shoulder, yelled at and hit with a stick because I was in the way. I apparently looked at the guard in protest and was beaten for my rudeness. I was made to kneel for the rest of the night. I am so hungry. The guards eat continuously thru out the day. They walk among us and brag about how full they are. If my thoughts could kill all the guards would be dead. We are teased with food. I have seen several of the other slaves walk away with a guard and come back later with a piece of fruit or bread. They are surviving the best they can. I am not going down that road. I think I would prefer to die.
I spent the first part of the day digging up rocks. After my midday stale biscuit, I was transferred to work on the wall.
If Yates is here, I have not seen him. I’m not allowed to talk to anyone. The guards watch over us like vultures. Any deviation in the rules and punishment is swift and painful. I know because I quit digging up rocks long enough to catch a moments breath and had a rod come down across my shoulders. Rule number 3 don’t stop working until a guard tells you to quit. I gave the guard a look and he smacked me again. I forgot about the keep your head down rule. I recognize a couple of soldiers from Ft Shasta also here as slaves but I don’t know their names. I never had personal contact with them at Bear Country. I think they are just as confused and disoriented as I am. I wish Yates was here. He would know what to do to get us out of this mess. I have been praying that Yates escaped the ambush.
I was forced to work the entire day with practically no food at all, and only two ladles of water. Every muscle in my body hurts. After digging up the rocks we have to transport them to be washed. I have bruises all over my back. I have dirt so far under my finger nails that several of my fingers are sore. I stink and I have a headache. Someone pinch me so that I can wake up from this nightmare.
Life is full of crossroads and forks in the road. Whichever road you choose to take will determine your fate in life. Sometimes there are obstacles or bumps in the road that requires a change of direction. Other times, the road gives you a choice. You can continue to go straight or you can choose to change directions. I think, I read that somewhere or something similar to that. I made a choice to change directions. I’m thinking I should have stayed straight.
I was resting when our convoy came to a sudden stop. Yates told me to stay put as he jumped out of the truck. He ordered a couple of his soldiers to run to the front of the convoy and find out what was happening. I have never been good at waiting and I hate being told what to do. I prefer to give the orders. I stayed put for about three seconds and then I jumped out of the truck. Yates gave me the “I told you to stay put look.” and in return I gave him the “I’m just stretching my legs look.” It only took the soldiers a couple of moments to figure out what the problems were at the front of the convoy. Someone had dug a ditch across the entire width of the road. There was no way to get across and we couldn’t drive around it because both sides of the road sloped down a hillside. Yates started giving orders. His soldiers were going to have to build a bridge to get us across. This was going to take a little while so I started to get back in the truck. I vaguely remember the dart hitting me and seeing a couple of soldiers fall. I think I remember hearing gun fire and someone yell to take cover. I don’t know where everyone went. I think fate hates me.
Please excuse the crooked writing of this journal entry. It’s hard to write in a truck that consistently hits every pothole in the road. It was a lovely meal. Yates and I had a nice talk at dinner last night. He had a list of things we were going to do when we returned to Fort Shasta. It all sounded so wonderful. I made up my mind that I was going with him. I need stability and a life not so complicated. I can have that at Fort Shasta with Yates. There will be no more worrying about enemies taking over my home. I look forward to not having to make difficult complicated decisions of survival.
I packed my things and let my friends know I was leaving everyone except Tony. He was nowhere to be found. I wish I could have talked to him one more time. I left a letter on his bed in the basement. My heart hurts because I didn’t get to say goodbye to him. I hate saying goodbyes but it would have been nice if I could have said goodbye to his face and given him a hug.
I left a note with Lisa to give to Casey in case she returns to Bear Country with Aleece. Pete promised me they would elect a new tribe leader in a few days. I suggested he run for the position.
I think one of my longest goodbyes was to Joshua of the Spurs. He is a wonderful leader and a great friend. I have not known Joshua very long but he was always there when I needed to talk. He gave Yates and me a bottle of wine to take on our journey and wished us luck and happiness. I promised him I would send the occasional letter to let him know what I was doing. He said he would write in return.
The games we play. It rained just enough today to make the ground muddy in places and to make a game of touch football worth watching. General Yates and a few of his soldiers played against Tony, Pete, Jonas, Matt, Hemy, Hyatt, and Joshua. (I don’t play football but I watch). Marty and Victor were the referees. By the end of the game it was almost impossible to tell who was who. Not one person playing the game escaped being covered in mud from head to toe. I thought the whole purpose of playing flag football was so that no one gets tackled. I could be wrong because people were rolling in the mud on nearly every play. It was a close game and I am sure the rules were continuously being revised. Not one touchdown remained undisputed. The game continued until the players couldn’t pick themselves up out of the mud anymore. Yates and his soldiers made an admirable attempt at winning unfortunately the people living in and around Bear Country have a determination that can’t be beat.
Yates and his soldiers will be leaving first thing in the morning. Do I stay or do I go? I am joining Yates for dinner in about an hour. I have promised to give Yates my answer by the end of our meal. My brain is telling me life would be safer and less complicated at Ft Shasta. My heart is telling me not to leave Bear Country. This is my home. Yates is a good man. It would be insane to turn down his offer of a better life.
I think everyone knows I am thinking about leaving. I have been getting looks from people all day long. No one has come out and asked me. I think they are all waiting to see how I make up my mind. I went to the basement to talk to Tony earlier but he wasn’t there. I think he is avoiding me. I hope he doesn’t think avoiding me is going to make it easier for me to make my decision. I need to talk to him. I long for the days when making decisions was a lot easier. I either did what my parents asked me to do or I didn’t.
It has been a strange day. For one thing, it has been raining on and off all morning and the sun is shining. And secondly, I have the feeling a couple of people are trying to play with my mind. I dropped by the cafeteria in hopes of finding an apple in the food stores when I ran into Yates and Tony sitting at one of the tables. I couldn’t hear what they were saying but they were both chatting away. It looked as if they were enjoying themselves. They both acknowledge me as I walked into the room. Yates stood up from the table and gave Tony a hand shake and then walked out of the room but not before giving me a small kiss on the cheek as he passed by. I appreciated the kiss but it felt a bit odd with Tony sitting there. Tony didn’t seem upset about it.
Tony smiled at me and said he would stay and keep me company but that he had to go see a couple of people about a football game. I inquired about “what football game?” but Tony didn’t answer. He was in a hurry. He also kissed me on the cheek as he walked out. I stood there in the middle of the room slightly confused and wondering exactly what happened in my absence. I am certain Yates and Tony are up to no good.
I walked out of the cafeteria without a snack. I made it all the way up to my room before I realized I was still hungry.
Life is quiet around Bear Country. Matt, Hemy and the rest of the Central Bobcats have moved back to the Central Campus. They actually left right after the cobra defeat but I forgot to mention it in my journal. Hemy was so happy to go back home. Matt has decided to join her there. Matt has totally moved out of Bear Country for the second time. Matt and Hemy will be missed but I am glad they are finally getting to start a life together in peace and without distraction. I think Jonas might be a little jealous of his brother. He has not managed to find that one significant other. Although in the eyes of several of the boys and men around here he has a very enviable life. He has no shortage of girls at his door step.
My life is a bit more complicated. I have been splitting my time between Yates and Tony. I have been trying to sort out my feelings for the both of them. Currently they are both running neck and neck. Both Yates and Tony are excellent kissers and they are both so sweet. I am running out of time. Yates expects an answer soon. I think Tony is just hanging out for my answer. Both of them have been for the most part perfect gentlemen. Yates and Tony don’t talk to each other; at least if they have talked to each other I don’t know about it. I have seen the both of them give each other the occasional glance. It was a “have a good day glance” not an “I’m going to kill you later glance”. I am so confused. I think I remember my fairy tales pretty well. This is not how any of the stories were told. What ever happened to dueling and fighting to the death? I don’t want anyone hurt but it would be nice to have a little friction between the two of them. Maybe if I am lucky one of them will turn evil. Of course, he won’t be really evil, just misunderstood. I’m sure one of them has a deep dark secret he’s trying to hide. I could find out about it and feel sorry for him. I need something to make my decision easier. Do I go to Ft Shasta or do I stay in Bear country?
The library trio stopped by my room today between my dates with Yates and Tony. The grape vine is once again active in Bear Country. Everyone must know my dilemma by now. Gretchen and Cecelia brought me a book on relationships. They wanted to know if I needed any advice. I thought of asking how they handled their specific living arrangements but changed my mind before I asked. I don’t think I am willing to maintain two boyfriends at the same time. By the way, I still haven’t asked but I am certain Gretchen and Cecelia are both pregnant. Go Marty!!
It’s sad but true. People die. Before the virus struck, I used to be interested in the obituaries in the newspaper. I was curious about who died. Who was the oldest person and who was the youngest person? I really didn’t care who these people were or what they meant to their families. I was just fascinated that they died. These days when someone dies it’s more personal. I have lost more friends than I care to remember.
Tony, Victor, Pete, the library trio (Marty, Gretchen and Cecelia) and me went to the warehouse to see if we could retrieve Hess’s body from the rubble. I thought it would be nice to lay her to rest somewhere instead of leaving her body to decay amongst the rubble. She actually did a lot of good in her short life even if she didn’t end her life on a good note. There was already several Blue Monarchs searching thru the rubble when we arrived at the warehouse. The rubble was still smoldering in places. You had to be careful. I burned a couple of fingers. We searched for a couple of hours but didn’t find her body anywhere.
General Yates and his soldiers are preparing to leave Bear Country. Yesterday morning after the party, I went to see how General Yates was doing. I was worried he might be sick. He didn’t look very well when he left the party. Yates was not having a good day. He was barking orders left and right. He grabbed one of the younger soldiers by his shirt and yelled at him to do what he was told. I quickly got the feeling that he was upset with me and his soldiers were feeling the brunt of his anger. I cornered Yates in one of the trucks and kicked the other two soldiers out. I begged Yates to talk to me. It took some time but he finally told me what was wrong. Yates came to Bear Country to help me out and to ask me to go back to Ft Shasta with him.
If I had stayed at Ft Shasta after being kidnapped by Mathias and sold into slavery, I could have avoided this whole Bliss and Black Cobra nightmare. I would probably being playing house right now with Yates and his son. Yates knew about the night I stayed in the basement with Tony. Victor had told Yates where I was when he went looking for me to invite me to breakfast. Yates knew where I had been before he even asked. I was caught in a lie. I wasn’t trying to keep Tony a secret. I just didn’t think it was anyone else’s business. If I had realized Yates had feeling for me, I would have made a couple of different decisions. I can’t change what has already happened. Yates still wants me to go back to Ft Shasta with him. He has given me two days to make up my mind.
Tony and I have not made any type of commitment to each other. I don’t know how he feels about the other night. I am not sure how I feel about the other night. Tony is a good man and he is my friend.