Jacob Pelley is a stock trader who professionally blogs over at WallStreet.io. He was inducted into the Rich Dad Education International Hall of Fame in 2012. His writing is inspired by a lifelong love of tabletop gaming and science fiction. Jacob is married with two children and resides in Fresno, California.
I was sleeping soundly in the family’s shelter in our cabins basement when the alarm sounded. Quickly I jumped out of bed to open the door for everyone. Only to find Mom at the top of the stairs blowing the fog horn. Should have expected a drill at some point here at the cabin. At least everyone was coming to me for once. My ribs ached as I made my way back to bed. Have to remember that they are still healing and sudden moves don’t feel so great. It didn’t take long for the rest of the family to make their way down here. After the events of this year it was a new family record. Then we waited for the all clear.
After a few hours the radio inside the shelter broadcasted the all clear. Colonel Rives gave instructions that this was a test and for each shelter to report times and occupancy. It went faster than I thought it would then everyone went back to bed. No cascade event this time or monsters knocking down the door. Just a simple drill which was nice for once. Mom sent everyone back to bed tomorrow was a work day. Over the past two weeks I have been slowly getting back to a normal sleeping schedule. Something I took for granted a year ago. Going to bed when the sun goes down and getting to stay there has been a luxury.
Looking back over the past year it has been a wild ride. 1 year ago I had an older brother. I don’t talk about him much but I miss him greatly. Whenever I think about David I think of a different world. To think not that long ago, you could go to a grocery store and buy as much food as anyone person could eat in a lifetime. Jump in a plane and see the world. Go on a computer and learn the entrity of all human knowledge in one place or watch cat videos. Now you are lucky to get a shower every once in a while with soap. Tomorrow is a new day though. Even if it is a world full of monsters and no showers. At least we made it home and back again alive. In the past week alone I have spotted life returning to the woods. Even thought I saw the one antlered deer munching on some of the crops in the field. The birds are building nests and crops are growing in the field. Life might not ever be the same again, but at least it trying. In the end that is all you can really do is just try to make it. Sometimes I still struggle with this new world, but I keep going knowing it will make me a better person for it. I think if Beth is up to it I will take her on a picnic tomorrow. To celebrate an end to our first year in this new world alive.
I imagine when we rolled into Daikon everyone was happy to see us. Hugs and handshakes for all. A little parade and a dinner party held in our honor for making it back. I imagine this because the next time I woke up it was in my fimlar infirmary bed at the camp hospital. Hooked up to an IV with fluids going and I think antibiotics? Mom was sleeping in a chair next to Dad. If you knew Mom that was a big deal for her to be out and not working. I gave them a short hey and then it was all hugs. Yes by the way my ribs are still broken. The sharp stabbing chest pain didn’t matter I was home. With my family once again. I missed them so so much. All of us were crying. Me mostly from the monster hug Mom gave me.
I woke up not dead in the back of truck. I woke up due to a white hot pain in my shoulder. Also in my chest from the broken ribs. Lt. Gale said your welcome for the relocated shoulder. Then a warm feeling came over me and I blacked out again. Must have been some sort of pain medicine. I didn’t wake up again until it started to wear off. Slowly I got up only to be pinned back done. My eyes adjust to the low light and seeing Lily over me. Hey they were alive and so was I. My day got a lot better until I tried to breath. Then it got a lot worse. Yep those ribs are broken alright. At least I can move my arm so it’s not all bad.
After I relaxed and stopped fighting her on getting up she told me Beth was going to make it. They had to stop for a little bit to do a little roadside surgery. She should was stable, but not going to be walking for a bit. Lily gave an order another shot of pain medicine for me. At first I didn’t want it, but she assured me I was safe. She got out of the truck bed and lowered the tailgate so I could see that there was a lot of people with us. Looks like they brought everyone that could still hold a gun with them. I gave her the okay then to give me the meds. Then it was back to sleep.
The next time I woke up I was in sitting position. In the same open top truck. We were not moving that fast. A little faster than a light sprint. It must be to save on fuel. The slower you go the longer it last. My head was still a little fuzzy from the pain meds. Every breath a dull ache. I knew if not for the pain meds it would be a lot worse. People forget how much your ribs expand with each breath. Lily was reading something. She put it away quickly once I noticed what it was. My journal she was reading my journal. They could have just left me for dead on the side of the road after that. We chatted for a bit about how in a few hours we will be home. Back where it is safeish. Then it was time for another dose and I was out. I was going to be home again soon.
So here we are surrounded by monsters. Ammo running dry, body’s broken and oh did I mention surrounded by monsters. This was the end of our journey. I remember telling Beth to make a break for it and I will distract them. She telling me you don’t leave battle buddies behind. We fought for every inch in the hopes of finding an escape route, but alas we were flanked on all sides. More of the charred kept showing up. They kept to the sidelines to wait for their chance to charge in. Every once in a while a smaller charred beast would enter the fray.. After Beth and I downed the third one my Drake blade broke. Leaving me with both a broken arm and knife to defend myself . Beth was not looking so great either. With a giant slash across her stomach. At least we put up a good fight. (more…)
It was midnight when we reach the beast. It has seen better days. The elements have not been kind to it. Thinking back though it might have always looked this bad. Hard to tell in the middle of the night. The beast rested near a small group of broken down vehicles. None of them worked I tried them all. Even the small sedan with two ghouls hanging out inside. Sliced my arm on the door frame when I noticed the two of them. Beth managed to put both of them down with a tire iron while I fixed up my arm. Before she took out one of them it let out an inhuman yell. Something we have not heard them do before. Sounding the alarm for everything hanging around that dinner was ready. Dinner being us. So much for spending the night here. The forest came alive after that. With the sound of all sorts of terrifying noises. Even one of the cars was pulled underground by something. It was more either more running after that or stay and fight. We chose to run.
We made a break for it. Running blindly into the night. Only to be stopped by one of those horns charred and a swarm of ghouls. I drew my drake blade and las pistol. Beth already engaging them before I could draw my weapons. Firing every shot she had left in the shotgun at them. She managed to score more hits than I thought even pushing back the horn charred for a bit. Until her gun clicked empty. I scored a few good hits as well. This wound to my arm making it hard to aim well. Somehow knowing that I was injured the Horn Charred choose me as its target. Charging straight for me.
I barely managed to dodge it in time. That thing was faster than it should be for being that large. Pivoting around it make a second go for me. This time slowly making its way to me. I managed to dodge a few of its blows, but it scored a solid hit sending me flying into a tree. I hit the tree hard and felt something pop. it has dislocated my shoulder. Leaving my uninjured arm useless until it can be set. This is was it there was nothing I could have done here. My Year of awfulness was going to end here. Eaten by one of these monsters. The Horn Charred knew it had me after landing the blow and made its way to claim its prize. Lowering its head for another charge to impale me on one of its jagged horns. I only had one chance to make it out of this alive. The moment before it made contact I fainted to the left of the tree and dug my baslik blade deep into its skull. Sending white out flames from its head.
The creature fell and did not get back up. I wanted so badly for this to be the end of the battle, but alas it wasn’t. More ghoul kept showing up. Beth was doing her best to take them out using the shotgun as a club. Then when reloading it with the few shells she had left firing into them. I joined in to help her the best I could with one arm. My drake blade slicing through them with ease. Clearing a small path to run into the night. Only to be stopped once again by another swarm of them. It seems like them where intenaly leaving us openings to run into. Slowly driving us to a place we could no longer escape them. We ran and fought as long as we could. Knowing this noose was slowly closing around our necks. There was no hope to escape tonight. It was at sunrise when we found hope.
The path of the judge has been real trail. Since we left the last shelter it has been one long battle. Every trail and alternative path has some sort of monster on it. At one point we tried to turn around to head back to the shelter only to find it blocked. Ammo is starting to run real low. Unless we run into something big and bad it is melee weapons and running from here on out. At least most of these ghouls are not in the best of shape. Though even with them being in bad shape does not make them any less dangerous. We have to rest at some point they don’t.(more…)
Once we leave this shelter there will be no turning back. There is only 1 hideout left then a straight path home. We are headed to “the beast” our family’s bug out RV. There will be no need to hold back on using our weapons anymore. As we get closer to Daikon the shoots will only help us this time. Soon I will be back with my family back where it is safe. Back to Daikon safe at last. Well that is the plan anyways. First we have to get there.
Now this last shelter is not called the Judge, but this last path home is. Either you are worthy of making it or not. It will also be the longest trail without a shelter to hide out in. Yes there will be a few temporary places, but nothing that could withstand an attack. We are walking on a path full of monsters, slicks roads and no help. I know if we made it this far we can make it the rest of the way. What is the end of the world to stand in our way back home. It would have been nice to stay here for a little while longer, but that is not in the cards for us. (more…)
We made it to the judge late in the night. I could barely work the lock on the door on the small cabin. My whole body shook from pain and exhaustion. Once inside we headed to the small bunker down below. It was an old root cellar convert to be a temporary shelter. The large steel door will give us some protection. There working water in here I have no clue how. I think it has a water storage tank somewhere nearby the collects rainwater and snow run off. Once I get back to Daikon I will ask Dad about it. Also no need to worry about borrowing beast here. They would have to dig through solid rock and thick walls to get us. Which should make enough noise for us to hear them coming. What was odd is the power was up and running when we got here.
It does not take a lot of power to run a few lights and a fan, but the batteries were charged and topped off. Someone must have been here recently. If the others made it here why not leave a note? There are MRE wrappers and trash all over the place. Not like what an animal makes, but from people. I hope it was at least Lily that made it here. If they made it here there is hopes that they will be back. Unless they started the last leg of the journey to Diakon without us. Why would they not wait for us?
After we cleaned the place up a bit and made warm meal. It was time for some rest. Beth and I are still taking shifts on watch. As always I took first watch. Giving me a chance to look through some supplies and look for a radio beacon to Daikon. Once I found it, though it was already switched on. The Lily and the others must have been here. Why didn’t they wait for us? Something must be wrong from them not to stay here. What could it have been? I will have to ask them when I get to Daikon. Which will be so much more difficult with just the two of us. Beth and I have made it this far I know we can make it back.
Well so much for not firing our weapons out here. During the night something found us. I guess we could only hide out for so long. A group of ghouls found our cave. Once we dispatched them and made it out the whole forest came to life. There were more thing looking for us out here than I thought and knew just where to find us now. It would have been nice to rest a little longer. My legs were still sore from yesterday. Now we have to move or lose it.
Yesterday was another full day of running for our lives. After my nap two days ago the monsters found us. I haven’t even had a chance to figure out if we heading the right way. Just making a break for the Hill I think is right. At least I got my compass out and got our heading due west. If I am right, we should make it to the judge in a few days. Though can our bodies hold up? During the last rest stop Beth pulled her boots off to find that two of her toe nails have just come off. I didn’t even know that could happen. She handled it way better than I did. She said that it happened to some of her gymnastics friends before. Still yuck I could have gone my whole life without seeing that.(more…)