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.
It is taking a lot longer than expected to get to the Mills. The road is either blocked by cars or rubble. Mom, Courtney and I are on road clearing duty. Dad and Lily are still recovering, so they got out of it. We each take turns clearing a path for the beast. The ashen rain falls all the time from fires around us, so we have to stay suited up. The ash is making it hard to see far which is a blessing and a curse. Though for once we got the jump on two of those charred monsters. Courtney spotted them first. It looked like they were fighting over some dead thing to eat. I took care of them with the M95. The first shot was a clean to the head. Then once the first charred monster went down the second started to eat what they were fighting over. It didn’t even look up to see what happened just went straight to eating. My second shot hit center mass for monster number 2. It staggered up from its meal then slumped over dead. Where do these things keep coming from? These ones were a little different from the ones back home. They both had one long hooked spike coming from their left arm. It seems like we run into different types of these things everywhere we go. At least two will not hunt us like the others. After we finished clearing the road we started to find a place to park for the night.
The sun was low in the sky when we stopped. Dad parked us in a old salvage yard. At least that is what it looked like. There was enough overturned cars to fuel up the beasts tank and its reserves. Courtney found more bodies as we looked around. It has been over 60 days since whatever happen killed these people. Some the bodies looked like statues from the ash covering them. Like all those people you see from Mt Vesuvius. It was scary knowing we are spending the night in what has turned into a graveyard. After we settled down Mom radioed the Mills. Having them meet us halfway is out of the question. The air is too bad and travel is dangerous with all those monsters roaming without some forum of shelter. We should be meeting them in the next couple of days. Now it is time to finish this beanie I have been working on for Lily. It should help her hide her ear better than just covering it with her hair. I still feel guilty on what happened to her.
The sky was still that same crimson color as the last times we went outside. There was something new in the sky this time. Purple streaks that stretched from horizon to horizon. Another thing we have to be worried about. Today we leave the shelter and for once good news we didn’t get attacked by monsters this time. It did get a little intense when Dad and I opened the barn doors. The one antler deer jumped out at us. I guess it needed to see us off one last time. Dad got the beast warmed up and we drove it to the shelter door. Brooke was loaded up first and then we started moving supplies. Once everyone was loaded up Mom started the final steps to lull the shelter to sleep. It will have enough power to keep the supplies good for a long time in case we needed to come back. All that is left is to pick which route we are going to take. I pray that it is not the long way.
Tomorrow is the day we leave the shelter and head to the cabin. We had to eat MREs, and I’m not talking about the good ones either. I am going to have to get used to eating whatever though can’t be picky. This is going to be my last night sleeping in a real bed until we reach the cabin. Dad checked in with Fremont and told him the three possible routes we could be taking and when to expect us. The trip to the cabin should not take more than a few days. Before it was a one day drive, but the road conditions are likely not that great. Depending on what route we take will determine where we pick up the Mills. They are on the direct path to the cabin which would be great if all goes well. The second route takes us the long way around which is never fun. I have been known to get car sick on that detour. Dad and I will be leaving the shelter tomorrow to make a dash to the beast. We will drive it to the shelter then everyone will load up and we will head out. If it all works out I will update you from the road.
Lily has gotten a lot better. Though the scars she carries now will last a lifetime. I broke down and told Courtney it was all my fault for what happened to Lily and Dad. Courtney told mom about it which got around to the rest of the family quickly. It is a hard to hide anything when you are in a cramped space underground. Both Dad and Lily tried to convince me I did a good job outside. That some people would have just ran away and hid instead of attacking something head on like I did. Lily gave me a big hug and told me she though she did not like being beat up by some giant bug beast, but she was glad it was her instead of me. I wish I could be brave like that. I still watch Lily try to hide her scars and sometime tear up.
We started packing up the shelter. It might be a long time before we are back here. Our home has been destroyed, David is gone and monsters are roaming outside. I wish I could just go back to complaining about homework again. My parents did the best they could to prepare us for the worst, but never asked if we wanted to live through it. How much easier would it have been just for us to stay in bed? When whatever happened outside, happened and we slipped away in our sleep. Most of my friends are probably gone. I also think about Brooke growing up in all this. She may never know what a world without monsters was like. I know I am sounding dark, but writing this helps me cope. Maybe the trip to the cabin will not be so bad. I mean it can’t be the end of the world twice right?
Lily was able to walk around a bit today. She still looks like a mummy with all her bandages. I tended to her the best I could over the past couple days. Even gave her all my turns with the slate to keep her distracted from the pain she must be in. Some of the wounds got infected and had to be cleaned out. Mom had her on some painkillers and antibiotics, so she has been sleeping a lot. Dads has been resting as well. I guess his arm was not the only thing that got hurt. Who knew getting thrown into the air by a giant monster could injure you this much. Once Lily gets better Dad said we will be leaving for the cabin.
The plan is to meet up with the Mills family and head out together. Dad talked to them last night about it. They wanted to leave sooner, but their transport was destroyed. I don’t blame them for wanting to leave sooner rather than later. Without a vehicle though it would be dangerous. The Mills have two daughters. There is Megan who is 16 she was David’s girlfriend. Unless you asked him about it and then he’d get all red faced around Mom. Then there is Olivia she is my age. Olivia likes to tinker and is a big cosplayer. Courtney and Olivia were part of a geeky club in town. I have been dragged to more than my fair shares of D&D nights with them. Mom would not let Courtney go unless David or I went with her. David went so he could sneak away with Megan which always puts the group a man down. Then David got his own car and stopped going. He could see Megan whenever he wanted to then. Courtney got me to go by doing my chores for a week. Most of the time it was fun and you get to meet some interesting people. I can’t stop thinking about going outside again though. At least I will finally get to meet Will and Beth, so that is something to look forward to.
Lily and Dad are hurt bad. A group of those charred monsters ambushed us while we were outside. I wish we had the warning of the animals to help us like last time we were attacked. They used the ashen rain as cover. Dad’s arm is broken and he needed staples from a large gash down his chest. Had it not been for the helmet on her suit I am sure Lily would be with David. I managed to get away with only a few scrapes and bruises. I should have been watching the tree line better, but it was so hard to see anything outside. Lily needed a blood transfusion, a lot of stitches, staples and bandages, but should make it… I hope. Courtney and I are 0 negative so we donated to help save Lily. Mom had a hard time closing some of Lily’s wounds. There was so much blood and used medical supplies on the floor when Mom was done. I guess I should go back and explain what happened outside a few days ago.
Dad was finishing up setting the sensors when the charred monsters attacked. He said they appeared out of nowhere and took a swipe at him. Lily was able to down it quickly when the others charged in. Dad was recovering his footing when he was picked up and flung into the air, and broke his arm on the landing. I moved to see what was going on. The comms were a lot of roars, yelling and gun fire. When I got close I saw that Lily had downed two more of those things and was helping Dad back up. I switched to heat mode and saw more where coming from the forest, I took aim and fired. I hit a couple of them or at least drove them off. That is when something new came out of the ground and attacked Lily. It looked like its first attack took off Lily’s head and then it appeared to tear into her body. Dad managed to pull his knife free one handed and stabbed the beast. It knocked Dad away then reared up to let out an deafening roar. I knew I had to take the shot, I took aim and fired. I hit center mass and caused the beast to stagger back. I shot two more times. The first shot went wide. The second blew off its head from the neck up. I ran over to help Dad to his feet and we went over to where Lily was laying.
Lily still had her head, well at least most of it. There was a large claw mark that went from her left cheek to where a ear used to be. She was bleeding in so many places her suit was in shreds. Dad had to lead me through bandaging her wounds best I could. Usually you are not supposed to move a injured person until trained personnel gets there, but there was no help to call. We were all she had and we didn’t have time. More of those things were coming. We had to move her back to the shelter fast to get her to Mom.
Mom was a Veterinarian a long time ago. She gave up her practice when Courtney and I were born. She was waiting for us in the airlock. There was no time to decontaminate Lily needed help now. Dad was not looking good either. The slash wound on his chest was bleeding from all the running. Mom and Courtney worked on stabilizing Lily. I held pressure on Dads wound until Mom could look at him. It was a intense few hours. I have never seen Mom work so fast. Lily still moans in pain at night. It is all my fault she got hurt, I don’t think she will ever forgive me.
It has been raining ash for a few hours now. A thin layer is starting to cover the ground. Where is all it all coming from? The sky is still crimson even though it is noon .It’s eerie how quiet the world is outside. Only a few more hours until we can go back into the shelter where it is safe. Dad has been walking around the property setting up sensors to collect data. Lily went with him this time and I have door duty. Instead of the plasma gun we went out with the heavy firearms. Bullets take up a lot more space than las packs, but they pack a big punch. Dad set me up with the Barrett M95. It has a custom scope that can switch from day to night filters and even a powered heat sensor. The ammo for this thing was expensive; at least that is what Mom complained about. David, Lily and I were all a part of a local gun club for teenagers. Lily was voted the chapter head this year. David played it off like he wasn’t upset about not being picked. Anyone with a sister knows he was. To be fair Lily is amazing with both close and long range shooting. Courtney is part of the club to, but is not really interested in it .Dad has been checking in every couple of minutes to let me know where they are if I can’t see them. What was that noise………..
Having a slate tablet is nice. Finally I don’t have to knitted, sew or crochet everyday. My sisters and I take turns with the slate which is fair. Dad has been looking over the results from his test a lot. The daily routine of packing and working out has not changed, so we are still leaving the shelter in a few weeks maybe? Mom got the new radio working and most of what they are saying is not good. They keep talking about a cascade failure and people disappearing. It got bad enough that Mom turned it off. Mr. Robinson called reporting in on what is going on around him. Dad didn’t put on the headphones anymore. They talked for a long time about how they should be seeing more people and weren’t. The monsters we ran into where not the ones Mr.Robinson was talking about. Which is great because now I know there are more of them out there. Another reason not to leave the shelter. He finally closed with he got into contact with Fremont over at the cabin. Fremont is the tech guy I was talking about. I guess other families have been showing up talking about monsters to. I sure hope we don’t run into any if we do leave.
Courtney said I was shaking in my sleep last night she laid down next to me. I know both Courtney and I are getting older, but she is my twin having her close calms me down. Is it strange that my best friend is my twin sister? Dad said he has to take another round of readings to double check the first results. Depending on how the next set comes out we may be leaving a lot sooner than expected. Tomorrow I will be heading out of the shelter with Dad and Lily again. We went over the plans. This time we need to stay outside a lot longer to get better data. Mom was not happy at all about it. I am not looking forward to going out again. I gave Courtney my turn with the slate and worked on my knitting. I am starting to get used to not having a good night sleep.
Day 47 Part 2
After we got back into the shelter Dad, Lily and I started the decontaminate process. First dad put all the tech in a waterproof bag and it went through some weird looking machine. Then we started the decon shower. First with our Biohazard suits on then off to make sure nothing got past the suit. Those shower are like standing under a pressure washer. Then we dressed in the airlock and headed into the shelters living area. Mom was right there at the door waiting for us. She was not happy with Dad. I have seen that look before and if we were outside the shelter still I would be hiding in it from Mom. On a scale of 1-5 Mom was at a grounding level of not leaving your room till your married. Brooke broke the tension little kids are so good at making things worse or better. It must be a super power that we grow out of. Mom relaxed and wanted to know all the details.
Dad gathered the entire family and told them what was going on outside. The house was gone. That the beast was ready to go if and when we needed to. Then talked about the monsters. Dad said we might be leaving the shelter sooner than we thought to get to the cabin. He has to look over the readings he got while outside. Also some of the tech he brought back will let us hear normal radio chatter. Dad and Mom went into the airlock to talk some more.
Courtney told me that the whole time we were out that they listened to our comms outside. She asked about the monsters more. Brooke wanted to play so we all colored with her while we chatted. Lily talked about all the animals she saw running out of the forest. She even saw the one antlered deer that had been eating our garden. Mom and Dad really disliked that Deer it ate all of Mom violas. It also ate all the roses, crab apples and Sunflowers. We talked until Mom and Dad came back into the Living area. Mom walked right to Lily and I and gave us a huge hug it looked she had been crying. Dad spent the rest of the day setting up the gear from the beast. I surprised my sisters with the slate tablet from the beast it even had a data pack attached! I gave my sisters a turn with it as I snuck away to write what happened down. They looked so normal bunched together watching The Sound of Music while above ground the world was a different place.
There are monsters outside and we almost died today! After what I saw today I am okay living in the shelter for the rest of my life. I guess I should start from the beginning. Dad woke me up early to leave the shelter. Mom made a light breakfast and afterwards we geared up. Mom helped Lily suit up and Dad helped me. We then went over the plans again. Mom kept hugging Lily and I telling us everything will be okay and to stay safe. I told her I would watch Dads back and will be home soon. Got an extra hug for that. I was nervous and I knew it showed. There was no way to know what laid in wait for us outside.
There are two room you have to go through before you leave the shelter. The first room was the airlock. The second is the anteroom where you decontaminate. Dad lead us into the airlock closed the door then we did a comms check in the anteroom. Each one of our suits has a radio to communicate with everyone. The comms don’t have a far range. After all our gear was check and plans double checked Dad opened up the door to the outside world.
The sky was red and the air thick with ash. It looked like it was raining outside. There was no noise outside except for the buzz of the comms. No birds, no cars, nothing. It made the hairs on the back of my neck stick up. Lily took position near the shelter door and waved us goodbye. At least I would have Dad on this trip out. Lily will be all alone. It did not take us long to get to what was left of our house. All that was left was a pile of smoking debris. Dad and I carried on to the barn. The barn was dug into ground and was mostly intact when we got there. Dad had me watch the tree line as he tried to open the door leading down. I thought I saw something in the forest and turned to tell Dad, but just then he also got the barn door open. We both hurried inside and closed the door. It was dark inside until Dad turned on his flashlight and lead us to the beast. Dad pulled out some strange tools I have never seen before and started taking readings of the area. Lily checked in on the comms and made me jump. She told us that animals were coming out of forest quickly and that we should probably make our way back to the shelter. Dad said we will be heading back soon. Dad opened the door to the Rv and we headed in. Again he took more readings inside the beast then started it up. I looked around for something that I could use for entertainment and found Davids old slate tablet, even a charger! Dad also took some tech we kept inside. Once Dad was done with his work he headed back to the shelter. We were having trouble with the barn doors again it seemed to take forever to get them closed. The whole time Lily was telling us to move because she saw something. She kept saying we should be heading back. I have never seen so many animals on our land all running out of the forest. It was so quiet not to long ago. Now it was almost deafening. Dad had me unholster my firearm and let Lily know we were heading back. That is when I saw what the animals where running from. Out of the tree line came three very large looking things. They stood taller than a man. Their skin was cracked and burned with angry red lines. On their hand where claws larger than my head. The eyes glowed a sickly green and their mouth frothed like a rabid bear. Dad told me over the comms to take position and walk slowly back to the shelter. One of the monsters eyed Dad and I then charged us. I didn’t think, I just reacted. I shot it.. All the blast from my gun did was make it charge faster. The closer they got the more I could see just how nasty they where. There was no chance dad and I could out run them, so we fired until the guns charged drained. We downed two of the three but the third was on us. Dad dove and pulled us both out of the way. The monster stopped. It started moving in a wide circle around us. It stood again and I saw just how large it was. It looked like it was going to charge us again. Before it got the chance its head twisted sharply spraying green blood out and it dropped to the ground dead. I realized Lily had shot it. Any other day she would have gotten a talking to from Dad about gun safety for firing too close to us, but not today. Not waiting to see if more of them showed up we all ran back to the shelter.