Thoughts of a survivor

From The Renascence
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ok - gotta assess the situation and plan for survival. Once we have stabilized the situation, then we need to figure out how to get and what supplies we need.

Search for good location for encampment, but always be ready to move on a moments notice.

Engage with other survivors and ALWAYS collaborate and help since we’re all in this together— but there is always a skeptical approach since some people are not of the same mind.

Be willing to fight for humanity’s survival — but at the lowest cost of blood possible.

Begin to establish the new normal - a meaningful and real society and community who has come through yet other side of this catastrophe.

It’s hard to sleep when you don’t know what you’ll wake up to. Still dark out— dangerous trying to find supplies now. Bad things happen when the sun is shining in another part of the world and your place in the universe is cloaked in darkness —-

What to eat. Check the supplies - not much. Some canned food and few bottles of clean potable water — have to ration

Pop the can eat some kidney beans - no way to preserve - eat them all. Good protein - fuel for the day of searching for more supplies. Do we need weapons? I guess anything is a weapon if you use it right. The line between tool and weapon is very thin.

Only drink a third of a bottle of water — have to hydrate, but supply of water is so low. That is number one priority today. Once the sun arises - we hunt for water. Either we find survivors with water and pool resources (but always be skeptical), find a river or spring — but be mindful of potential contamination. Maybe search for a pharmacy to procure iodine to clean and purify water we wind that isn’t bottled. Also - meds and other supplies from a pharmacy, drug store would be helpful! Yes that’s it. That’s the plan for today— should we all go? Strength in numbers? Who stays back to guard our supplies and camp?

Been up for a few hours waiting for the Sun to rise over the horizon. At least I know which direction East is - the sun always rises. Most note it.

So much hazy smoke. A cloudless day and still grim and gray. How long will this linger?

Ok - gotta try to find water (and other supplies), water is most important. Who should go, who should stay. I and three other strangers go out of the 10 of us. None of my family or friends is with me. God, I hope they’re alive somewhere.

I know the overwatch should be to the west of us, so we run from the sun. Segun, a 3rd year uni student studying computer coding, Mathias, a father of two who luckily has his daughters and wife back at camp with the other 3 adult males, Raoul, a government employee (I think something about double checking paper work on permits), and I set out to survey our surroundings, find supplies, and maybe catch a glimpse of overwatch and plan a trip based on distance.

Segun, Matthias, Raoul, and I pack what we need (and have) and set out. Mathias kisses his daughters and wife. Hassan, David, and Musa stay behind and promise to begin building some fortifications, to gathering fire wood in the immediate area, and to protect Mathias’s family. Mathis knows David from before the catastrophe, so he trusts him. They were neighbors and friends. Matthias’s background in the military makes him an asset for any reconnaissance mission. My background as a teacher— not so much. The first day of our new existence begins.

The smoke and haze only gets thicker. Where is it coming from. Seems to be rolling in from the north, but it really hangs over the whole area and obscures the sun. The overwatch is closer than we thought. We start going west and the overwatch gets closer and closer

As we approach there are a few soldiers (at least I think they’re soldiers) and a few other survivors who came from who knows where— maybe a dozen including us 4

They are actually giving out gas masks — but only 1 per person. We beg for 6 more for those back at camp (including Mathias’s family)… they refuse. No matter how hard we beg. They tell us we must leave NOW, but to return tomorrow. No other information. The gas masks make the trek back to camp (maybe over 2 hours? Time is hard to keep now) much easier. Lungs not weighed down by the smoke and haze. Must be toxic — why give out gas masks. Have to hurry. Sun starting to set. Bad things happen when the sun goes down and darkness engulfs our new existence

Finally back to camp. Everyone still safe. Mathias and I give our gas masks to the children. We mark the approximate location of the overwatch so we can return tomorrow. Those left behind have indeed collected firewood and Mathias (a smoker) has a lighter and we start a fire — light in the darkness that has descended.

We prepare a meal of canned beans and tuna fish… not appetizing, but necessary. The children, Axia and Polyxena reluctantly eat the meal - as do the adults.

Not water procured, so we ration severely we must find water tomorrow on our return to the overwatch—

Now sleep —- will try, but mind is racing on how to survive and rebuild and the identity and function of the soldiers at the overwatch

I pray for all of us— especially my family (mom and sister) and especially for Axia and Polyxena— the fear in their eyes inspired me to risk life and limb to rebuild

I’m awakened by the dim sun peaking through the smog and smoke. It’s getting extremely cold with the sun so obscured. Thankful that the kids have gas masks— but we need more. Tasks for today - water, warmer clothes, and a visit again to overwatch…

Today only Mathias and I head out - we take two gas masks and two are left for Axia and Polyxena - Raoul and Segun stay behind with the rest.

We first head straightaway to the overwatch. During the two hour trek, we find an elderly man by himself— without any companions. He begs for help, but cannot walk as fast as we— the best we can do is to give him a can of peas and word of encouragement and a promise that if he is still there upon our return we will help him with what we we procure.

The elderly man shouts at us as we leave that his name is Xi and that the soldier should know him — and that we should mention his name.

The temperature continues to drop as the clouds of smoke thickens. The is a electricity in the air that - surely evidence that the very air be are breathing is toxic. There are scattered remnants of vehicle that are glowing greenish yellow with radiation

Finally, with tired legs and suffocated lungs, we reach overwatch. There are even more soldiers now - at least 50. Everyone is scrambling for information and assistance if any kind

Mathias shouts in a stentorian voice over the rabble: ‘Xi sent us!’ Immediately each of the 50 soldiers cease their activity and come to attention. We are waves through by a soldier whose metallic armor is adorned with a strange symbol unlike those of the other soldiers

‘Xi!’, he shouts! That old goat— he is still alive! The gods protect the righteous!’ — he motions to us to enter the small guard house outside of overwatch.

There he gives us 6 more gas masks and two cases of water. He send us back to our camp under the protection of his soldiers in a vehicle-

Xi is still where we left him. We pick him up and give him a gas mask and water. The soldiers ask is he wants to ‘return’ to overwatch with them (a strange word choice). He decline and simply says ‘these people need me and I need them.’

10 gas masks and 11 people - the women and children certainly receive them first - everyone else receives one. I and Mathias offer our to Xi (Musa, David and Hassan gladly accept their new protective equipment)… Xi - the most vulnerable among us refuses. At least we have enough water for a few days— each of us is allotted 1/2 of one 24 oz bottle each day. — it won’t last long, but it’s enough to keep going. Xi plays with the children and tells them stories about the day before the catastrophe — an age of imperial glory! Parades! Festivals! The coronation of emperor Mehmet III… Axia and Polyxena smile for the first time in days.

Musa, David, and Hassan question Xi’s presence. Raoul is indifferent— the children love him! Mathias and I know instinctively that Xi should stay with us— that he was SENT to us. We don’t don’t why, but he exudes a comfortable and calming aura. We open two cans of highly preserved meat (a feast in these days!) . Sleep eludes me— we all sleep closer to the fire tonight. Xi doesn’t sleep at all, but meditates under the remains of a tree— charred by the still unexplained explosions that rattled this land unexpectedly and suddenly last week.

As I finally fall asleep I hear the whispered mantra of Xi over and over — ‘bastion’ bastion’ ‘bastion’ — all three syllables enunciated perfectly every time the word is uttered. I do not know if this is a dream or reality. Xi’s mantra continues ‘bastion’ ‘bastion’ ‘bastion’ — a dystopian lullaby that sends me into a dreamless and all too brief slumber

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