The Last People XXIX – The Bear

Growing Up and More 013

Cathy’s purse, with the .357 magnum revolver, was kept in the kitchen, on top of the refrigerator. Miriam hated having it in her house, but didn’t say anything, except to Jeremiah. She knew Cathy still needed healing from her time with Lance, and she was scared he might follow them to the farm. She also knew Cathy wanted the pistol close by, just in order to feel safe.

Miriam was mainly concerned about Cory though. She was a good kid, but what if she got curious one day, and climbed up there? She shuddered at the thought.

Now that it was early fall, Jeremiah spent most of his days in the fields, getting the soil ready for next spring’s planting. He was getting used to driving the large tractors, including a John Deere 3460. He was using something called a rake, pulled behind the tractor, and he even did some plowing, in preparation for next year. It didn’t matter if the rows weren’t straight, it was all just practice.

The rest of the Pennsylvania survivors weren’t interested in using the large equipment, but they did want to start bringing in the harvest from nearby farms. They would all need food for the winter. Cathy and Cory spent two whole days harvesting green beans and brought back a pickup full, along with some late blooming watermelon. Miriam concentrated on bringing in corn and potatoes, and some of them were sweet potatoes, which she loved. She had to take it easy though, and only picked what she could.

Jennifer mostly stayed at home, but once in a while she was able to pick some tomatoes, and peas. She discovered a patch of blackberries once, and ate herself sick, along with putting some in the buckets. Jacob did very well, strapped onto her back.

One morning Cathy, Cory, and Miriam were in a potato field at a nearby farm, when they heard a rustling sound in the woods close by. They stopped picking, straightened their backs, and listened. They became perfectly still, when they saw something large, and black, break through the brush. Two eyes peered at them. They were so terrified they could not breathe. Remaining perfectly still (even Cory) they realized there was no place to run. It was a bear, and they had no way to protect themselves.

The bear sniffed the air, looked away from them, and began walking along the edge line of the woods. Cathy was trembling, but fortunately the bear kept walking until it was gone. Once it was out of site, they all ran for the blue Mazda SUV, and drove back to the farm as fast as they could.

So the question around the dinner table that night, was what do they do about guns? Didn’t they need to protect themselves? Even Miriam was beginning to think so. They needed to bring in the harvest for at least another 3 weeks, and nobody wanted to be in the presence of a bear without one.

To be continued.

     

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

The Last People XXVIII – Across Cultures

Maine and More 643

The weather in Inuvijik, Quebec was 28 degrees (Fahrenheit), with snow and high winds. As Anuniaq sat with his laptop typing to the group of survivors in Pennsylvania, the other six Inuit people sat watching him, glued to the glowing screen. They all wanted to hear about the other people still alive.

They were writing in French to a woman named Miriam, learning about each other and the farm that grew green, natural food. Miriam told them how many they were, and all about their cultural differences, that her husband was white, but she was from Eastern Africa. He was short and yet she was tall. This floored the Inuit, because they had never seen a couple married, that were of different colors. They had never seen a tall woman either.

Anuniaq typed slowly that the weather was bad today, but the electricity was still on, their town was almost completely solar, and it was working well. In the future, the issue may be the batteries giving out. The also had a fire going in their cabin (that’s what whites called their house), and it was warmer than usual indoors. It was almost 57 degrees inside!

In Pennsylvania, Miriam was typing as fast as she could, with everyone looking over shoulder. Jennifer was there too, but rocking the baby in her arms, trying to get him to go to sleep. They all wanted to hear about the Inuit people. Cathy and Cory sat at another laptop close by, looking up all they could, on Inuit culture. Jeremiah was getting annoying though, when each response came back. He could not read French, and he kept saying, “What did they say??” “What did they say??” “Jeremiah, please be patient!” was Miriam’s response.

Stringing the emails together, the Inuit had all lost relatives and friends in the biological wars, but they had managed to find each other, and they made an agreement not to leave each other, unless there was some terrible disagreement. There were three men, two women, and two children, but none of them were related, and several had different dialects. Two men found a drone one day that had crashed, probably due to weather, and they found a package attached underneath. In the package they found the information that the other survivors had been given.

They all lived in one house, and fished for food. They could not find green food anymore, but sometimes they could find canned beans. Their town of Inuvijik was on the northern tip of Quebec Province, and on the Hudson Bay.

Jeremiah was about to ask Miriam to type a question, when his cell phone rang. It was Roger so he thought he should answer. “My good man, I’m just calling to let you know I am in Bordeaux!” Roger said excitedly. Jeremiah asked, “So, have you met her?” “Yes I have and she’s a wonderful person.” Roger was smiling over the phone. “Right now we are in a café, having some tea.” “Roger that is wonderful!” There was a pause on Roger’s end, and then he began whispering, “Jeremiah, I have a problem though…..Monique is very, very Catholic.” Still whispering he continued, “She walks around with the rosary beads, and she seems to be praying all the time……..I’m not sure what to do about it…….”

Jeremiah responded quickly, “Don’t do anything about it Roger.” “Remember, you have a friend now, embrace her for who she is.” “We were not meant to all be the same, embrace the differences, it makes life exciting, and if you can’t embrace the differences, then look past them.”

There was another long pause, while Roger thought about this. Then he said, “You’re quite right Jeremiah.” “My good man, you are right – how boring it would be if she was like me!” They both laughed. Before hanging up Roger shared that he and Monique were conversing in French. Jeremiah was shocked and said, “French?” “Yes her English isn’t very good and I don’t know her language, and we both know French fluently.”

As he hung up the phone, Jeremiah couldn’t help but notice that everyone was communicating in French today. He wondered, “Would French be the language of the new earth?” Maybe Miriam could teach him.

To be continued.

      

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

The Last People on Earth XIV – The Farm

Growing Up and More 096

It was dark and raining, as they drove the last few miles.  There were no lights anywhere, and for the last 30 minutes of their journey they drove slowly, peering through the darkness, looking at mailboxes. Their left front headlight was lit, but dangling, shining on the gravel road. Suddenly, Miriam saw the right mailbox, and pointed saying, “That’s the one!”. They pulled up to the gate. They were nervous about what they would find, but overjoyed they had somehow made it.

After getting out, opening two different gates, then driving some more, they saw the shadows of the barn, and out buildings. They were both silently hoping there would be no drones to deal with tonight. Jeremiah still thought he needed a gun, but said nothing. He said, “We should sleep in the truck tonight, instead of stumbling around in the dark, and maybe finding raccoons in the house.” Miriam quickly agreed, and shook her head yes. She had forgotten how dark it could get in the country. Besides, they could also see a fog rolling in from the west, so looking around the property was out of the question.

A few minutes later they were trying to get comfy with some blankets. Jeremiah was on the front seat, and Miriam was in the back (it was a four door pickup).  They were both restless, Jeremiah twisted and turned, and was giving up hope of any sleep, when Miriam sat up and said in a whisper, “Jeremiah I can’t sleep, maybe you should come back here.” He raised his eyebrows, and wondered. Was that an invitation to sleep……or? When he opened the back door to get in, he paused and said, “Miriam I don’t think this is going to work”. She was simply too tall.

She waved him in, so he thought he would give it a try. “Remember my shoulder is sore….”, he said. “Ok turn this way” she said. He said, “Ouch! Lift up your arm…….now turn”. “No turn this way……now lift your legs”, he continued. Somehow Miriam’s long legs wound up, over the front seat, with her head resting on his chest. She was asleep almost immediately, breathing with her mouth open. He had his good arm around her as he listened to her breathing, and the rain now pouring on the roof. It was a good way to fall asleep, he thought, and he was out like a light.

When they got out of the truck in the morning, they were stunned, with how beautiful the place was. Someone had been taking good care of the farm. There were no animals, but there was still the smell of cow manure lingering. Miriam didn’t mind, in fact, it reminded her of her village in Africa, especially during the spring cattle drives.

“We need to do lots of planning Jeremiah, to get ready for planting next year”, she said, as they walked to the house. He was already seeing a great building to set up the lab in, and pointed to a large garage, “Look the laboratory……” They spent the day getting the house in order, and unloading.

They left the window open, in the master bedroom that night, to breathe in the cool, country air. It was Jeremiah that heard it first, the familiar hum of a drone, hovering just outside their window. Lights were flickering. “Miriam wake up — drone!”, he whispered.

Miriam did wake up, heard the noise and saw the lights, but she was more concerned about Jeremiah. As he lay on his back, she moved over, and placed her long upper body over his. She whispered, “Shhh!” Peering into his eyes, she said, “Let’s not think of drones and guns Jeremiah……” She placed a single finger on his lips, and shook her head no. “Let’s think about us…….. instead……..” Then it was her lips that found his, and they tangled in a beautiful warfare…….

    

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

Selling the Farm

tractor and wagon

Contemporary Microfiction

Note: There is a scene in this story which some would consider scary. Please do not read it if you think it might disturb you.

It was over now, tomorrow was the big day. All of the machinery, the land, the house, everything would be up for sale. He was crushed. Farming was all that he knew. Tom and Sara Jackson had spent what seemed like an eternity talking about it, praying about it, and crying, sometimes all in the same conversation. They were also one of the few African American families still farming in Iowa. There was no other choice, they simply could not compete with the huge corporations that owned most of the farmland now, especially the biggest, Conglomerate Industries. They hired people to farm their huge tracts of land (the smallest farm was 2,500 acres) and they drove down the price of the crops, due to the huge quantity they produced.

They used robotics mostly. Farming for them was almost entirely automated. The jobs they offered came at a terrible price. They used a lot of chemical fertilizers, and pesticides, and now everyone was concerned about their drinking water.

Tom lay awake, weeping silently, as he looked up at the ceiling. It was midnight now. His wife lay next to him, snoring softly. It was not easy on her either. Would their daughter, Melissa, be able to go to college? It depended on the prices they received tomorrow. He also wondered if he would have that strange dream again. He wasn’t surprised he had been having the dream, night after night. After all, he had been depressed for weeks. light and dark

As he drifted off, he came to that familiar place of shadows, and foreboding. In the dream, it was night and he was out by the barn. There was a single light coming from the barn, and the figure was just out of sight, in the dark waiting for him. The thing was a horrible creature, he could smell it before he saw it. It smelled of death and rotting flesh. It came partially out of the shadows, and pulled it’s sword from the sheath. He couldn’t see the sword at first, but he heard the sound of the blade scraping, as it was pulled.

He grabbed the first thing he could find, a club, a large piece of wood really, from off the ground. The creature said, “I’ll finish you tonight!” Tom responded with, “Never, you are a liar!” The sword flew at him with the speed of light, and Tom used his club to protect himself. Metal struck the hard wood. They fought back and forth, and sometimes Tom was able to take a swing at the creature. At other times it seemed hopeless, and the thing was so close, Tom could smell it’s stinking breath.

He did not give up, he swung his club time and again, even though the thing began laughing at him. Finally the creature knocked the club out of his hand, and Tom prepared to die. Do it and get it over with, he thought. It was always at this point that he woke up in a cold sweat. Sara would always stir, and he would tell her, “Shhh, go back to sleep.” Then he would hear the creature’s voice, even while he was sitting there awake. “I am despair”, it said.

swordOn this night, the night before the farm sale, he decided to get up and go downstairs. He looked at the clock, which said 4:00. He was hungry, and decided on some bacon and eggs. Besides he would need strength for this battle.

Somehow they would get through this. He would fight despair the only way he knew how. He was not a religious man, but he needed better weapons, to fight this thing. After eating, he sat right there at the table, and began to pray. He would fight this thing until the sun came up and beyond. Whatever it took, he would do it. Nothing was going to drag his family down. They would sell the place, move on to the next chapter of their life, and Melissa would go to college, to study engineering. Is that what they meant by having faith?

He prayed for what seemed like a long time. Just before the sun came up, he felt he was ready. He opened the back door, and slipped silently into the darkness. The light was on at the barn. He could sense the creature hiding in the shadows. Tom boldly declared, “I’m not afraid of you anymore!”, and he meant it.

From inside the house he heard Sara come down, into the kitchen, She stood in the doorway. She whispered, “Are you alright?” Tom hesitated, as he looked out at the night beginning to fade. Finally he said, “Yes…… just getting rid…… of a liar……”

 older couple

 Blessings to everyone and PEACE!

Writing © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

images from google