Monday, November 30, 2009

Comments are now open to all.

I have changed the settings to allow anyone to leave comments. Unfortunately, as I have learned on another blog I run, this will necessitate me having to moderate the comments. I have had to intercept SPAM comments and SPAM porn and other undesirable content.

We Miss You Millie

The woman woke up in a garden. It was lush, almost tropical. Peaceful and comfortable. She turned her head to take in her surrounding, expecting even as she did so for the action to bring a wave of nausea and pain. But she did not know why she expected this. A dim memory of being in pain for such a long time rose up, but it was faint and elusive. She dismissed it as unimportant. The bed of clover she had awakened was cool and sweet smelling. She almost felt guilty for falling asleep on it. She reflexively used a nearby stone bench to pull herself up on, realizing as soon as she stood up that she needed no help. Even before she had gotten sick she would have needed help to stand ... sick? Had she been ill? Again she just could not remember. She gazed in wonder at her hands now. They looked so young. In fact she felt like a teenage girl again.

She decided to explore this marvelous place. A small path meandered through the shrubs and flowerbeds. A rose bush caught her eye and she stopped to smell them. She had always been allergic to roses, but knew these would be safe, they were so pretty and smelled wonderful.

A small dog trotted down the path towards her. He was a friendly little thing and she recognized him instantly, but he had been dead for ten years now. He stood at a bend in the path and barked once at her before trotting back up the path. She followed him and came to a small courtyard. The floor was brick and there was a wrought iron table in the center with matching wrought iron chairs. A young man and a small red haired girl were sitting at the table. The man was drinking from a tall glass of iced tea while the little girl ate cookies. The girl was giggling and her laughter was quite infectious.

The little girl suddenly turned and spoke to the newcomer, "Nammaw, you're here!" she dropped her cookie, which the little dog eagerly scooped up. The child ran to her and she scooped her up hugging her, for she knew instantly who the child was. Her first granddaughter. The one that had fought so hard, but passed so young.

"She's been waiting for you just forever. We all have." her brother told her smiling. She could see her other two brothers just coming down the path into the courtyard.

She suddenly knew where she was.

A voice powerful as thunder yet gentle as whisper spoke to her.

"Welcome home Millie."

My mother in law passed away around 2 am this morning.

She will be missed here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I would like to take some time to say a few things about the Thanksgiving. Too often it is easy to lose track of what the holiday is all about. There is all the cooking to be done, the preparations to be made, not to mention holiday parades, sporting events and other distractions. So many people have begun to think of Thanksgiving as just a signal to begin getting ready for Christmas. Too few of us actually take to the time to reflect on what the day is all about.

This year promises to be less than festive for my family. We are preparing to lose a beloved member of our family. My mother in law, a woman whom I have never heard utter an unkind word to or about anyone, who always made anyone in her house feel welcome and who I actually got along with better than my own mother, is enduring the final stages of pancreatic cancer. She is not expected to make it through the week. Every time I hear the phone ring I am afraid that it will be bringing the sad news of her passing.

But I am wanting to focus on the things I have to be thankful for this year.

I am thankful for having a roof over my head.

I am thankful for a wife that I love and who loves me in return and has stood by me for 20 years.

I am thankful for my two healthy children (even when trying to wrestle them into a bath)

I am thankful for every second I got to spend with our firstborn daughter and being able to hold her when she passed.

I am thankful that the doctor who told me I had a brain tumor was wrong.

I am thankful that after 10 years of using a cane, God saw fit to heal my knee and I no longer need that stupid cane.

I am thankful that it looks like there may soon be a cure for for Multiple Sclerosis.

I am thankful for my few loyal readers and the support they have offered.

There are really so many things I have to be thankful for that I do not believe I could ever list all of them. I am even thankful for the hardships in my life because they have helped to bring me to where I am now.

I would invite my readers to comment on what they are most thankful for this year.

In closing I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Story Update - again

I have been working on the next book in this story and I think that I will be ready to begin posting again January 1st. I have already scheduled the first two installments and should have at least a months worth of posts ready to go by the time the first one is posted.

Story Update

I would like to thank my few loyal readers and assure them that the story will continue. But I will be taking my time on the next story posts. I feel that quality was sacrificed too often in this first book in the interest of getting a new post up every day. I would like to take my time with future writing and get a little ahead so I don't feel as pressured. I am still enjoying writing this and do not want that to end. I am also working on a couple of parallel stories with a whole new set of characters.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dead Land Journal April 19th 2028

Today marks the one year anniversary of the disappearance. It passed without fanfare or celebration. It was a day like any other Spring day.

Kyle flew me up to Beaver Island Monday morning. We landed in St. James Bay and tied off at a small private boat dock. Elliot Marshall met us there and I was surprised to find him in a wheel chair. He never mentioned it but really I suppose why should he? I don't introduce myself to total strangers by saying 'Hi, I have Multiple Sclerosis'. As first responder to the scene of a house fire it fell on him to rescue a girl from a second floor bedroom. Not exactly by the book, but what was he supposed to do, let her burn? The closest firetruck was still ten minutes out. She would be dead by then. As a reward for his efforts, he took a bullet in the back. He never did find out why the girl's father shot him since the house collapsed on the man seconds after he pulled the trigger. It does make his survival all the more impressive. Even before the disappearance it was not easy for a wheelchair bound person to get around. But he does not complain.

He led us back to his van, a very well equipped vehicle with a ramp, lift and handicap controls. He does not even have to get out of his chair to drive it. He just wheels up to the steering wheel and a pair of clamps engage on the chair to hold it in place. There was a woman in the van waiting for him. There was a rifle with scope leaning near her seat and I have no doubt that she had it trained on Kyle and I during our introduction. She introduced herself as Meridith and even after we shook hands I got the impression that we were still on probation in her eyes. I imagine that there was quite an argument between her and Elliot over whether or not she would accompany him down to the boat dock to meet us. She seems rather protective of him.

It was a short drive to the hotel they are staying in. It overlooks the bay on King's Hwy. They have power, water and food. We met several of the survivors and they all seemed friendly and in good health. But Elliot tells me their fuel is in short supply. Meridith looked somewhat disapproving at Elliot for revealing this to us. Beaver Island was never heavily developed or populated, so there just was not a lot of fuel on the island. And a lot of what there was on the island was lost to heaters being left on after the islands inhabitants were gone. They are in the midst of setting up a steam generator. The island is about twelve miles long six wide, mostly forested so wood is abundant.

I still have my doubts about how clean the island is of wraiths.

I did come away with a few ideas for trade. I think we could trade fuel for venison and other fresh meats from time to time. Of course I plan on restocking Door Island with deer. We just need to capture some live, make sure they're clean and release them on the island. We can also trade salvaged manufactured items since that is also something they do not have in great supply.
All in all, I think we made the right decision in founding our own community here rather than joining theirs.

We returned late afternoon yesterday. There was a large turnout for our return. Kyle put the plane down in the bay and we were met at the dock by Katherine. I was surprised when she had us submit to a scan with the ultrasound. Mike was even standing by with rifle ready to shoot us if we refused. It was very unnerving and I experienced a certain empathy for those we had subjected to this indignity. But I relented as I recognise the necessity. She pronounced us clean and Mike heaved sigh of relief.

We did mark the anniversary occasion by announcing that we were opening the town of Sturgeon Bay up for settlement. There has been a sudden exodus from the freighter as people have been gone out house hunting.

Many of the old conventional ideas of what make a good home are no longer valid. Instead looking at how many bedrooms, bathrooms and such, we find ourselves thinking in terms of 'how well can this place be defended? Is there anyplace where they can get in? And are there adequate escape routes in case they do get in?' So instead of considering the two story Colonial across the street, Beverly and I are looking at a former business location on 2nd and Nebraska. It has a large retail floor space and a huge garage. The building is of concrete block construction and only has two large windows, those have a heavy stainless steel mesh roll up gates that cover them. The three doors are all heavy steel and it would take a battering ram to get through them. There is plenty of room for us and Dee. I will be installing solar panels on the roof this spring to power the place and a wood burning stove for heat come winter. I will also have to lay in a supply of firewood. It is going to be a busy year.

It will feel strange to live in a separate house again. You get used to the sounds of other people snoring in neighboring rooms, getting up in the middle of the night and muttering on their way to the john (yes I mean you Jewels).

Of course due to events on back on the 9th we postponed our wedding. But we rescheduled it for the 22nd. That will be this Saturday. Beverly is frantically planning and has enlisted the aid of all the womenfolk.

I am beginning to think there is real hope for the future and I think now is as good a time as any to wrap up this journal. As I close the book on this year I realize that there are still so many unanswered questions, but that is life. I will continue to keep a journal but it will be continued in a separate volume. Right now I need to concentrate on my family.

By the way, one other thing I forgot to mention, Beverly is pregnant. She just told me this morning. Have not been able to wipe this silly grin off my face all day.

© 2009 R. Keith McBride

Sorry, No Story Post

I was not able to get a story post in this weekend. Too busy to sit down and write. Will get one up by this afternoon.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dead Land Journal April 16th 2028

There are a few new faces around here this evening. We got a radio call this morning from a group of people wanting to join out little community. We readily accepted.

Katherine, Billy and I met them at the bridge. There were a few uncomfortable moments as we explained the conditions under which we would allow them onto the island. Our requirements were really quite simple. Everyone was required to submit to an abdominal ultrasound.

Absolutely no exceptions.

There was one man that flatly refused on religious grounds until he realized that he would be left on the other side of the bridge alone and would be shot on sight if he crossed without permission. But it was really his pregnant wife that convinced him. She just simply walked back across the dividing line on the bridge to stand with her husband. He looked down on her eight month belly and sighed. He decided that he would not risk his wife and unborn child's safety for his religious beliefs.

Katherine has recently found an old Vscan handheld ultrasound she was eager to try out. It's rather big for a handheld unit, about the size of one of the original flip style cell phones. But it is pretty rugged. She took each person into a large van parked on the island side of the bridge and spent a few minutes examining them. Each person came back looking somewhat relieved but the pregnant woman was smiling and crying at the same time, so I guess she got some good news or at the very least an absence of bad news.

The total count was three women and four men and thirteen year old boy. He is already checking out Stacy. I am going to have to keep an eye on that. The adults seem eager to join in the community and each one has asked what they can do to help. So I have set some to patrolling and set up a guard on the bridge. The others are out gathering canned goods. The houses and other buildings we have already checked are all marked with a "X" painted on the front doors. The doors are locked up and the keys are in the mailbox. Any houses with broken windows are left unmarked as they cannot be guaranteed safe. Those foraging are ordered not to go into any building that has not already been marked or has any broken windows.

Right now things are going well enough that I am planning to have Kyle fly me up to Beaver Island. It is just a little over a hundred miles so it won't take long. Looking forward to meeting Elliot and seeing how they are set up, maybe get a few ideas.

© 2009 R. Keith McBride

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dead Land Journal April 14th 2028

We have have killed three of the wraiths by luring them into a trap baited with several dozen small, live animals in cages. We set up at Louisiana St and Co. Rd B. There are or were several restaurants in that area and with no one running them the rat population has flourished. I figured that they would be drawn to that area. They seem somewhat stupid and could not resist the easy prey. Billy and Mike were laying in wait nearby and shot them as they approached. The bodies were quickly carried away so as not to reveal the trap.

The three juvenile wraiths were immediately taken to Katherine for examination. But I suppose that terminology is no longer truly accurate. These are different from the first wraith Katherine dissected. These are the first full term wraiths she has had to examine. They eat a lot and grow very fast, but she says they will never achieve the full size of an adult wraith. She now says there are two classes of wraiths. The lesser wraiths and the Masters.

The lesser wraiths are sterile, stunted things. Their reproductive organs are virtually non-existent, their fore claws are much smaller making their hands much more useful at grasping and their venom is much less potent. Their brains are not as developed as the masters.
She is still trying to puzzle some things together. Not the least of which is Mr. Tyler. Katherine says that he most likely has a mutated wraith controlling him. If it has the ability it will look for another host and other than us there are no animals on the island that fit that bill.

I have given Billy the go ahead to blow the other two bridges and raise the Oregon Street Bridge. I will also have him take care of some small boats that are jammed up in the southeast end of the canal. I don't want them using those to cross over into our territory.

I strongly suspect that Mr. Tyler has left the island though. I really don't know what is going on with him, but if he has any intelligence whatsoever he will realize that we will shoot him on sight. I want him killed by whatever means necessary. I know Katherine will want to examine him but if it comes to a choice between completely incinerating him and letting him go I will sweep up the ashes and give them to Katherine myself.

© 2009 R. Keith McBride

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dead Land Journal April 9th 2028

I am sitting her staring at the new typewriter Beverly found for me and wondering how to even begin. It seems a shame to start out a new machine with such a tragic entry, but this deserves a real machine, not some lifeless electronic thing. It's a nice typewriter too. A burgundy Olympia portable with a rather aerodynamic case reminiscent of the streamlined cars of the early 50s. I actually like it better than my old Smith Corona, may it rest in peace.

But I guess I had better get down to business.

I was right about Mr. Tyler in one respect. There was something horribly wrong with the whole situation. I was assuming that he was molesting those kids even though I saw no evidence of it. All I had were vague suspicions and a general sense of unease. Finally this morning I decided to do something about it. We had not seen him or the children outside the house they had take residence in for three days. I dragged Katherine out of the lab she is setting up in one of the smaller holds and took her with me. I figured that if the kids were really sick she would be needed.

The bus was parked in front of the corner house Mr. Tyler had taken residence in on County Road B and 6 th Ave. It was was the type of Victorian house that looked to be the inspiration for countless doll houses and fairy tales. But I doubt that was the reason for Mr. Tyler selecting it. The house was an old house, very solidly built and had large fireplace and coal pellet furnace. Very well suited to current conditions.

And it was just crawling with red and black wraith bugs.

They were all over the big covered front porch, exterior walls and the roof. Katherine took one look at the house and pulled out a small bottle of Windex and began to douse her cloths with it. I followed her example then took out a large hand pump sprayer I had filled with the stuff shortly after Katherine had demonstrated how effective it was. I dreaded going in there but really we had no choice.

I sprayed a path clear on the porch, being very careful to spray above us as well. The front door was locked. This should have been a bit of a surprise but it wasn't. No one answered when we called or knocked so I broke the window and sprayed the area around the door knob. Once inside we found that the house was actually somewhat clear of the bugs. They seem to be leaving en mass. There was a stench in the house of rotten meat. I already had a feeling what the source would be. This was confirmed in the master bedroom.

All six of the children were upstairs tied naked on the floor of the master bedroom. What was left of them anyway. The juvenile wraiths and the insect larvae had pretty much rendered them unrecognizable. As heartless as Katherine can seem sometimes, she has a soft spot for children. I heard a small sound escape her and looked over to see her sobbing. I caught her just in time. She almost dropped to her knees in her extremity of grief. But there were bugs all over the floor in the bedroom and despite the Windex they would have bitten her in self defence. She leaned on me as I guided her from the room. I felt like breaking down myself, but was not allowed that luxury. If I had just put the pieces together earlier maybe these innocent children would still be alive. At the very least I should have demanded that the children be examined earlier.

A crash from downstairs alerted us to the fact that we were not alone in the house. There were at least six wraiths on the loose and one of them was in the house with us. Katherine quickly pulled herself together and I was thankful that I had not brought Beverly with me. I love her dearly, but I don't know if she would have been able to pull herself together as quickly. I think Jewels and Pastor Tom are the only two members of our group that would have been able to recover as quickly as Katherine or I. I'm not saying that I am so much better than anyone else, in fact sometimes I think it is the opposite. I can at times be just a little too cold blooded. Since Lisa died I developed an extraordinary ability to shut off my feelings as easily as some people flip off a light switch. Unfortunately sometimes when you cut them off it can be a little hard to cut them back on. Which is why I am reluctant to do so unless I really need to. This was one of those times when I really, really needed to and I was able to clamp them off before they could render me useless.

Katherine pulled out her gun and we quickly made our way out of the house. There was garage out back with a couple of gasoline cans and a five gallon can of paint thinner. I decided that would do just fine. I was a beautiful old house. It would be a shame to see it go up in smoke, but we had to contain the beasts as much as possible. We split up, Katherine circling the house clockwise, while I circled counter clockwise. We liberally splashed the walls and both porches with gasoline and paint thinner. The bugs shied away from the caustic liquid but since they had no wings were not able readily escape. When we met at the back Katherine pulled out a book of matches. Still holding her gun in one hand she bent one match over to the sandpaper strip and popped it back up with her thumb. The match flared to life and she tossed it to the stairs she had just doused. My dad used to do that but I never could master it.

There was a flurry of activity from inside as they tried to find a safe way out. A crash from above alerted us to one of them trying to escape to the roof of the house directly north. It made it only to be shot dead by Katherine. It would appear that her shooting lessons have paid off.

That was when we heard a man screaming behind us, demanding to know what the Hell we were doing. It was Mr. Tyler of course. But Mr. Tyler was not looking too good by this time. He looked pale and thin. His eyes were sunken and dark. Dark splotches covered his exposed skin. He had several wraith bugs attached to him. One dangled from his ear like a grotesque earring. I reacted without thinking and shot him several times, but he just got up and ran away. Katherine hit him with a flying tackle that would have made a pro football player proud. Then she started screaming and rolled off of him. A thin black appendage was stabbing into her chest from the man's torso. It disengaged and I saw a sharply pointed stinger waving at the end of it. He bounced to his feet faster than someone in his apparent state of decay had any right to. I wanted to run after him but I could not leave Katherine alone in her condition. I called the others on my walkie talkie and told the others what had happened and to be on the lookout for Mr. Tyler. I gave the order that he was to be shot on sight.

I dragged Katherine out to the Volvo. I was not able to manhandle her into the truck. The floor is almost three feet off the ground and I was not at my best. So I just propped her up against the front wheel and waited for her to wake up or someone to come help.

As I waited I watched to make sure there were no other escapees from the burning house. As I waited I contemplated the new situation. We now had an unknown number of juvenile wraiths running about the island. As much as I would like to believe that they have all been killed in the fire I know that Murphy would not allow us off the hook that easily. We only knew for sure that one was dead. There were at least six to start with. From what we have seen in the large animals, usually only two or three survive. The stronger wraiths start killing the weaker individuals before they even emerge from the host. The surviving wraiths then feed off the corpse of the host. They don't attack each other once they are out of the host. At the very most there can be twelve, but that would be a very generous estimate. The oldest child was perhaps ten.

Trying real hard not to think about that too much right now.

I think we can safely assume that there are five of these things running about the island now.

They will need food.

I think I have an idea.

Katherine has recovered completely from the sting? Mr. Tyler gave her. The effects of the venom seem to be rather mild and short-lived. We gathered up the body of the wraith Katherine shot and she is examining it now.

We still need to deal with Mr. Tyler.
© 2009 R. Keith McBride

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dead Land Journal April 5th 2028

Talked to Mr. Tyler today, tried to urge him into coming to stay on the boat with us until we are finished surveying the island, but he is adamant about providing the children with as normal a life as possible. He says huddling on a freighter is not his idea of normal. He also says the kids have come down with a case of the flu and he does not want to expose Dee and Jeanette's girl to it. It sounds just feasible enough but I still don't like it. Something is very wrong there.

We still have not checked the island out so we don't know how safe it is. All of the men, as well as Beverly and Stacy are out patrolling, looking for signs of the wraiths. Kyle is doing aerial surveys while those of us on the ground check out anything suspicious he finds. So far we have not seen anything to worry about, but it will be a week or two before we finish.

We now have all of the amenities on the freighter. While none of us know a thing about boats or life at sea, an engine is an engine and we got the big diesel generators fired up to run the on board systems. So we have power and running water. The ship is a freighter, but it does have some passenger rooms as well as crew quarters.

The ship has weathered well with only some minor cleanup needed, although there is a broken window on the bridge. I have been spending some time on the ship's rather sophisticated radio equipment. I would like to get communications with others set up and I think I could with this equipment.

Katherine has been working alone quite a bit lately. It makes me nervous when she isolates herself like that, but this morning she came to me with a bottle of something that will repel the wraith bugs. It smells like Windex, when I commented on that she said that was exactly what it was. Windex is apparently toxic to the bugs and they will not come near anything that smells like it. Avoiding the bugs will not give complete immunity from implantation, but increases the chances that the wraith embryos will not be able to survive in a human host.

We gathered up all the empty clothes and bundled them up. Tom said a prayer over them and we placed them in a metal box and dumped them overboard. It is easy sometimes to become desensitized to it. All those empty clothes are not just so much unwashed laundry. Each little pile is another life cut short by whatever caused this disaster.

© 2009 R. Keith McBride

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dead Land Journal April 1st 2028

We finally crossed the Oregon Street drawbridge over to Door Island yesterday. There are two other bridges onto the island, all three are drawbridges, but the Oregon Street bridge is the newest and the only one that completely separates the two sides when raised. The 42 highway and Michigan Street Bridge both feature a section that raises and lowers as needed. The gap is still spanned by the bridge and can be climbed. But the Oregon Street Bridge raises in two halves. If the island looks secure we are going to blow the other two bridges and raise the bridge. Billy is pretty sure he can take down the bridges easily enough. I just hope he can do it without blowing up the whole island.

There is a freighter docked at the Sturgeon Bay port. We just spent a few hours checking it out and it is clear. We will take up temporary residence there while we check out the island.

Mr. Tyler balked at the idea of sharing lodging with us. Says he could not impose. But the ship has plenty of room and an ample supply of canned and dry foods. Even after explaining that to him, he still wants to find a place for him and the kids. I am not alone in my misgivings towards him, the others are getting the feeling that something is not quite right with Mr. Tyler. But he has been very careful not to give any of us a chance to talk privately with the kids. The only thing we know about them is the names he gave us. The kids all look healthy, well fed and none of them have any obvious bruises. All we can do at this point is just keep an eye on him.

We don't have the manpower to check out every basement and every inch hiding place on the island, but over time we have learned what to look for. In large cities the wraiths feed on rats and other small animals in plentiful supply. In rural areas they look for large game for breeding purposes. There does not appear to be any large game here and despite being a port town we have not seen an over abundance of rats. Also the wraiths tend to pick a spot close to their nest to do their business and the odor from these droppings can be rather strong when the weather is warm. So all we really have to do is follow our noses.

© 2009 R. Keith McBride

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dead Land Journal March 24th 2028

Been on good old Route 66 since about middle of Illinois. Pulled into Chicago this morning. Jewels insisted that we make a slight detour so he could see Wrigley Field, probably for the last time in his life he said. On the occasions when he would visit his favorite uncle when he was a boy, they would both go to a Cubs game if they were in town. I saw no harm in it. Kyle had to set down anyway to refuel. There is a park with baseball diamonds east of the stadium. We decided to camp there. I've never been to Chicago so I played tourist while Jewels told us about the city his Momma and uncle had grown up in. The stadium long overdue for some renovations before, was now a sad sight to see. But looking at it through Jewels' eyes it was beautiful. He made a point of telling us about the scoreboard. It was pretty much exactly as it was back when it was built in 1937. No giant TV or LED displays. Just hand painted numbered cards changed by hand. The stadium lights were something of a controversy when they were installed in 1988. Traditionalists didn't like them but it did allow for the first night time game was started on August 8, 1988, but due to rain had to be finished the following night.

We let Dee and Emily run loose in the now overgrown outfield while Jewels partially fulfilled a life time dream of running the bases. He wasn't able to run them, but he, well hell, all of us walked the bases with him, as he recounted those glorious summer days he spent here with his uncle. They would eat popcorn, and he would drink pop while his uncle downed a few beers. They would cheer He would sometimes sneak a sip while his uncle was distracted. They would cheer on Dick Ellsworth, Ernie Banks and George Altman or hurl insults at the Mets if they happened to be playing. In my mind I could see the game being played out as Jewels wove a verbal tapestry. The hot summer sun, the smell of popcorn and beer and the crack of the bat. I was never much of a baseball fan, but right then I realized I would give my right arm just to sit in the nosebleed section of any packed stadium in the country and watch a ballgame.

On the way out of the stadium we made a point stopping by the souvenir stands and getting a ball cap for each of us. Yes even Katherine was wearing a cubs cap when we left. Kyle a die hard Yankee fan skipped getting a cap but did pick up some baseball cards.

Stacy was the first to notice the new bus parked next to Katherine's RV. It was an old yellow and black school bus just like the thousands of others we have seen sitting on the sides of roads or in parking lots. But this one had not been there when we parked here.

A man and six kids stepped out of the bus as we approached.
So we have almost doubled the size of our party now. The man's introduced himself as Mark Tyler. He seems quite eager to join our group.

The kids seem ok, but there is something I do not like about Mr. Tyler. Spidey sense is tingling. No wait that is just my butt falling asleep in this chair. Seriously though the guy just seems a little off to me.

© 2009 R. Keith McBride

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dead Land Journal March 23rd 2028

I have been using a laptop computer that Beverly found for me in one of the motel rooms. I lost both my computer and my trusty Smith Corona Sterling. As tough as it was, the Sterling proved not to be bullet proof. Not against a 50 caliber round at any rate. I really don't know why the computer was dead, maybe a power surge?

We still have not figured out why someone would bother trying to rob us. Anything anyone could possibly want is just lying around waiting to be picked up. Unless they are the type to just enjoy screwing with people. Lends credence to Katherine's theory that us leftovers are all mentally imbalanced or were drugged at the time.

We are in St. Louis. Even after all this time it is still eerie to pull into a major city and be greeted by complete silence. Like KC there are significant portions of the city that have burned. But we have not encountered any wraiths so far.

Billy quickly found a replacement van for himself. It's an old International Metro delivery van parked in front of drugstore back in St. James. The sides are painted with the drugstore name and logo and it was probably used more as advertisement than actual delivery. But the old International flathead six was replaced with a more modern 350 Chevy V8. The engine started on the first try once we replaced the battery.

I'm still looking for something. I guess maybe I'm being too picky. But I need something that can house Beverly, Dee and myself and still take a certain amount of punishment. The Uni was just about ideal, but I don't think I am going to find another one like it anytime soon.

For the time being we are riding with Mike in the tow truck. This is a new one to replace the one that was smashed up by the buffalo back in Stockton. It's a big GMC with a four door cab.
Katherine has me pumped full of steroids right now. For my knee and my optic neuritis. The stress and injuries caused a flare up and my eyes both feel like they are about to pop out of my skull at any moment. I have not been able to sleep and I feel edgy. I snapped at Dee a couple of hours ago and she ran off crying. Beverly gave me a reproachful look before going after Dee to smooth things over. I feel like crap about it now. Yes, Dee was being noisy and slightly obnoxious, but that is all part of being a kid. She did not deserve for me to yell at her like that. Katherine warned me that I would be irritable, but this goes beyond that. I am afraid that I will fly into a rage and hurt Dee or Beverly. So I am going to quit taking the steroids. I can live with a bad knee, and would rather go blind than hurt either one of them.

Looking for a safe place to spend the night because we really don't have accommodations for everyone right now. Katherine's RV is huge especially when the sides are popped out and fully extended. But the medical equipment eats up a lot floor space and it can take half an hour to get the extensions out and properly set up, then another half hour to get them back in. Experience has taught us that we may sometimes need to move in a hurry and might not have time to fold it up before we leave.

Passed something on I-44 that looked like a couple of big wire cages. Don't really know that the heck those are but we didn't stop to look. Will have to go back and look later. Looks like
There are quite a few motels in the St. Louis area so we should be able to find a place to stay.
I just saw something that might meet my needs. Will have Mike or Jewels take me back this way later.

Gotta close this up, we are pulling into a Drury Inn parking lot. Will probably pick this up later tonight.

11:13 pm

We just spent most of the day cleaning up a mess left by some sick bastard.

Jewels drove me back to look at vehicle I was interested in, a Volvo C303 painted fire engine red. It had a Mercedes six cylinder diesel in it Jewels was familiar with. We were able to get it running easily enough. It looked to be in pristine condition. but needed a new radiator hose. Fortunately this being a rather uncommon vehicle here in the States, the previous owner kept a box of spare parts in the back. Belts, hoses, brake pads, that kind of thing. I know reading back through my journal it may seem that I have had amazing luck with finding running cars, but I usually don't write about the dozens of cars I look at before finding the right one and this time was no exception. I have looked at a lot trucks, vans and RVs the last couple of days that I thought would be perfect but turned out to be duds. I was not getting my hopes up. But once we replaced the hose and coolant we were able to get it started. It is not as big as the Uni but but I think it will do. I don't intend for us to actually live in it. It just needs to last till we get to Door Island.

I know I have strayed off subject again. I guess I am not eager to recall it.

The big cages I saw back on I-44 were part of Carr Lane Manufacturing. The factory itself was flattened by a large plane, but the cages were left intact. I still don't know what purpose they served, but lately someone has been using them to suspend bodies from. They were not dead when they were hung though. They were tortured and raped, men and women alike. There were five of them. They were not all killed at the same time, but a few weeks apart. The most recent was only a few days ago. And it all looked a little too familiar.

Katherine examined the bodies and says at least one of the killers was also involved in killing Christina Tudor. I was hoping those twisted fucks had been down in Springfield, but no such luck.

© 2009 R. Keith McBride

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dead Land Journal March 22nd 2028

Every time it looks like things are going smooth something throws a wrench into the works. Or a damn road block. Yesterday morning as we cruised into St. James on I-44 a friggin tank rolled out onto the highway from under the Jefferson Street overpass. The turret pivoted around to point that big cannon directly at the lead vehicle with just happened to be me at the time. Mike was out back and catching up after ramming a Lexus off the road.

It was a World War II Sherman tank. An antique by any standard. I very nice restoration or preservation, but an antique nonetheless. But since none of us were driving tanks or any kind of armoured vehicles for that matter, it was more than a match for us.

A voice came over a large PA speaker mounted on the front ordering us to cut the motors and exit the vehicles. A warning shot knocked one of the air conditioners off the Uni. I hit the floor. Dee was screaming and crying and I ordered her into the back. Emily ducked under the table in back.

Not seeing much of a choice otherwise I cut the motor. Sitting there under the overpass, I did not even have the option of turning around and he could easily fire another shot from that cannon before I could get turned around. Dee poked her head out of the bathroom and I gestured her back in. She whistled for Emily and she quickly squeezed through the narrow bathroom door.

Shaking, I opened the door and stepped outside. I immediately wished I had taken the time to pull a jacket on. It was a cold damp morning. My cane felt somewhat comforting in my hand.
I looked back and could see the others stepping out of their vehicles. A hatch popped open on the tank and a man climbed out in military camouflage. He was carrying an M-16 at the ready. As he approached our convoy I headed out to meet him with the intent to negotiate passage. Instead the man screamed at me to get down. I hesitated but that only infuriated him more. When he was close enough he rammed the butt of the gun into my belly and kicked me in my bad leg. I went down hard. He kicked me a couple of more times. I could only lay there for a few moments catching my breath.

He closed the distance to the Uni and ordered the others away from the vehicles and down on the ground. He fired off a few more warning shots to get them to comply.

When they were down he opened the door to the Uni to check it out. A gunshot rang out and he staggered back. I pulled myself to my feet using my cane. He was shot but not down. He turned and ran towards me. Right into the steel head of my cane. I've never bothered to weigh it, but its a 2 5/16 steel quick change U-Haul tow ball grafted onto the handle of a sledgehammer. I think I mentioned it before. I was able to get just enough of a swing on it. The ball landed with a satisfying crunch dead on the bastard's nose. He went down like a sack of potatoes.

That was when I heard screaming behind me. I guess I had just assumed there was only one person in the tank. The cannon apparently took two people to man it or maybe it just took too long to load. But the fifty caliber machine gun on top was well within his ability to operate. And he did. I'm afraid the Uni took the brunt of it. I was so scared that Dee was going to get hit.

Suddenly a small object shot past me heading for the tank. It was a radio control car. A little 4x4 really. It was moving fast and was too small for him to aim at. It lodged under the tank. The hatch popped open again and out flew another cammo wearing son of a bitch. He was able to run off a short distance before the explosive Billy had packed the little RC 4x4 with blew. It was not a big fireball, but it was enough to pop the hatches and blow the motor. The tank was dead. But that still left the second man to deal with. I had already hit the ground when I saw the RC heading under the tank. I rolled over to try to get the first man's M-16 but needn't have bothered. By this time Emily was out and after him. She caught him quickly. Dee was heading after her and I scooped her up so she would not see Emily "playing" with the bad man.

I was so happy to see her alive I was almost crying.

It shortly became apparent that there were no other threats to deal with and we all breathed a collective sigh of relief. Of course that was when the explosion rocked our little convoy. We all kissed the pavement and were looking around for more tanks. But of course there weren't any. It was just the one thing I had feared since Billy joined our group. That old Divco van loaded with explosives. The rolling Russian roulette game finally spun up to the loaded chamber. Fortunately as a matter of policy it was at the tail end of our convoy.

Mike arrived at that time and barely avoided driving into the fireball and by this time Kyle was circling overhead in a panic. On one low pass I waved him an all clear sign and jumped back into the Uni to radio him. But of course radio equipment was shot up. The windshield was gone too. I cussed for a good five minutes. Dammit I liked the Uni! Of all the vehicles I have had since the disappearance, it was my favorite. But it is not drivable. As well as the windshield being shot up, the radiator has three fist size holes in it, the ECM is shot and the water pump is cracked. It could be fixed if we wanted to spend a couple of days working on it, but in fairness to the others I will have to abandon it.

One of the others radioed Kyle and let him know that everyone, including his wife and daughter, was ok.

Kyle set down in a little man made lake about four miles back and Mike fetched him.

We are not without injuries. I have a cracked rib (again), cuts and bruises and my knee is fucked up. Katherine is not optimistic about it healing right, so now I will probably be using this cane for quite a while longer than I thought. Billy has a few second degree burns from the explosion of his van and Dee has a cut on her cheek and a black eye from the kickback from firing my .357 without really knowing what she was doing.

Pastor Tom and Jewels took the remains of Emily's chew toy, and the surviving attacker away. they came back alone. Jewels looked somber and Tom spent an hour or two alone in prayer.

This has not been a good day.
© 2009 R. Keith McBride

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dead Land Journal March 20th 2028

We are once again on the road.

Katherine seems to be making a full recovery. She refuses to talk about what lead her to take such a stupid risk.

We cleaned out the RV and we are keeping a close eye on her. While Katherine was still in the church recovering I took the liberty of installing a few pinhole cameras in the lab section of the RV. Took another trip out to Lebanon to get them. They transmit on an encrypted channel to a receiver I have plugged into the USB port of my computer. For this and other reasons I am keeping my journal locked up and my computer password protected. I think Katherine would kill me if she ever discovered I was spying on her. The cameras are indeed tiny. The lens is literally a pinhole and the whole thing is about the size of a pencil eraser. The little button cell battery is supposed to be good for two years but we will see. I have a small box of 50 of them so I can always install more if one dies.

Weather has been good and we have been making good time. We are camping in Lebanon tonight. We have been to Lebanon enough times to know it is fairly safe. Well as safe as any place.

Kyle has been flying ahead as planned and keeping us informed of the road conditions ahead. This has saved us a lot of time. And when the road is blocked by an obstacle too big to get around or be moved, he has found alternate routes. At this rate it should only take us a couple of days to get there. There is a small air field in Lebanon so Kyle was able to set down there. It was borderline, but the only other alternative was a small man made lake, really just a pond alongside I-44 on the north west side. Looks to be just under a thousand feet. Kyles says he could have made it but it looks awful short to me.

It has been a long day and I am going to turn in.

© 2009 R. Keith McBride

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dead Land Journal March 12th 2028

I think Katherine is going to pull through fine. Her fever has been coming down and there are no signs of post operative infection.

We have to relocate. We can't stay here. There are too many of them and too few of us. We don't have the manpower to patrol our territory.

I have been in radio contact with the Beaver Island community. Elliot Marshal, a former cop seems to be in charge there. He tells me they pretty much have the island clean of the wraiths. He calls them demons. He says we are welcome to join their community but says that there are other islands in the Great Lakes area that would be suitable for colonization. An island would be ideal. Elliot confirms that the wraiths can't swim. They've caught a few live ones and thrown them into the bay. They sank like bricks. Once we get the island clean then we can keep it clean.

I was considering moving to one of the Sac River islands but they are too small and life would be very primitive for a while. The only comforts would be those we brought with us. And there is a great risk of flooding come spring.

We could fly up there, but I think it would be better if we drive up there. I'm sure Katherine is not going to be willing to give up the RV and the others are going to be just as reluctant to give up everything they could not bring in the small bag that Kyle told me they could take on the plane. Plus that Cessna would not be able to get all of us in one trip. It would just be too risky splitting us up like that.

If we do make the trip, and I will do my best to persuade them to make the move, we will have Kyle fly ahead and plan out our route.

We just have to decide where we are going. There are three main choices. Manitoulin Island, Door Island or Beaver Island. The first two have the advantage of access. Both have bridge access so we can just drive up. Beaver island we would either have to fly across or see if we could get ferry boat up and running. According to Elliot the only ferry that have running could not accommodate a large motorhome.

Once we get settled we will be able to fly or boat across to visit and trade with the people of Beaver Island. The winters will be a little harsher, but that will be a bonus as the colder winters will keep the wraiths away longer. We can build a permanent settlement and maybe get more people to join.

I am leaning more towards Door Island. It's closer and a more easily defended. There are only two bridges and the Manitoulin is a very irregular shaped island with a complex shoreline and a lot of little coves, meaning more places to hide. It would be more difficult to secure and in some places is just too close to other islands. Door is really a simple peninsula that has been separated from the mainland by a single straight canal. Without swimming a great distance that canal or the two bridges are the only access to the island. I think we can easily secure that.

I honestly think Elliot may be a little overconfident in his assessment that they have their island clean. Unless they really had a very light infestation it would be nearly impossible for 50 people to search the entire island in one winter, even working around the clock. Although the island was sparsely populated and the wraiths are attracted to large cities, it is also heavily wooded and has a good size deer population. A good environment for the wraiths I think. Door Island on the other hand was a heavily developed farm community, sparse population and according to Elliot no large game to speak of. With the cold weather, no suitable hosts and isolation it should be relatively clean.

I will present it to the group tomorrow. It should not be too hard to convince them. We are now down to two cows, a bull and one calf.

I think we all knew that Stockton would be temporary anyway.

© 2009 R. Keith McBride

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dead Land Journal March 10th 2028

I think Katherine is dying.

We found her this morning on the floor of the motorhome. She was unconscious and running a fever of 103. She had been locked in there for few days and was refusing to see anyone unless it was a life or death emergency. When she didn't answer this morning I had Billy open up the RV.
The place was a mess. The normally pristine clinic was littered with food wrappers and other trash. Medicine bottles were everywhere. There was a horrible rotten meat smell coming from the back section of the RV. Katherine had closed that off some time ago when she had dissected that first wraith. Back there we found several dead animals in cages and five living juvenile wraiths in cages and one dead one. Stacy shot two of them and Billy shot the other three.

It only took us a few minutes to determine what was wrong with Katherine. A tell tale puncture wound and severe abdominal distension indicated that she had infected herself with at least one wraith embryo. Aside from Katherine the only one of us that has had any medical training at all is Pastor Tom. I assisted Katherine while she removed the buggers from Dee back in August but really neither of us is qualified to perform surgery. We hauled her up onto the exam table and Tom operated the ultrasound. What we found was a bit a surprise. There were several wraith embryos all right, but they were all dead. There were eight of them, each one was about 4 centimeters long and looked shriveled up.

What the Hell was she thinking?! How did she plan to get them out by herself?

Tom said that due to the placement of them no vital organs were in danger, so they could be removed. It was really risky, but between the two of us we were able to remove them. I was only there because I had watched her remove them from Dee and was able to tell him what to expect. It was that or she would die from the infection. We carefully preserved each one as we removed it. As much as we disapproved of what she did we both knew it would be a shame to waste the opportunity to learn something from this if Katherine survives.

She is still running a high fever and has not yet regained consciousness. We found some instructions typed out on Katherine's Underwood. She was very specific on the dosage of the antibiotics and post operative care. We think she passed out sooner than she anticipated, she planning on calling us over with the walkie talkie but it was just out of her reach when we found her.

I had a bit of a talk with Billy a few minutes ago. He has been closer to Katherine than anyone these last couple of weeks. He says he knew something was wrong with what she was doing, but Katherine was so persuasive. Billy will do just about anything for her too and she took advantage of that. I have instructed him not to bring anything to her from now on without clearing it with me or Tom first. If she lives that is.

Damn her!

© 2009 R. Keith McBride

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dead Land Journal March 4th 2028


We have been fighting an uphill battle here this last week. We have been shooting two or three juvenile wraiths a day, and double that at night. The bodies have to be disposed of. We have to constantly patrol the perimeter. We have lost three cows. Nerves are on edge. Everyday we have to check the livestock for those damn bugs, check each other and keep the windows and doors closed at all times.

But we now know something very important about the things. The bugs and the wraiths have more than just a slight symbiotic relationship. Neither one can exist without the other. The venom secreted by the bugs suppresses the immune system, allowing the wraith embryos to implant successfully. The waste products secreted by the embryos begin to break down proteins in the host that can be absorbed by the bug's simple digestive system. There are also hormones released by the embryos that allow the bugs to lay their eggs. The eggs are left on the dead carcass of the host after the wraith embryos mature.

Katherine has sequestered herself in her motorhome for most of the last week trying in order to give us this information. Twice she has sent Billy out to the hospitals in Lebanon for equipment and supplies. And of course Billy is all too happy to comply. I am not sure I like Katherine spending so much time alone in her motorhome. She is becoming more and more reclusive.

Stacy is out patrolling now on one of the ATVs. Jeanette protested sending a child out on patrol, but Stacy has a good head on her shoulders and we are dangerously shorthanded here.

We cannot maintain this. There are too few of us.

As soon as Stacy gets back it will be my turn.

Kyle, Jewels and I were having a bit of a theological discussion yesterday during a rare quite period. Kyle stated that he would sell his soul for a single boscaiola from the Co. Restaurant on 9th. He pronounced it "company" but said the name on the sign read simply Co. nothing else. The boscaiola is a pizza smothered with mushrooms, tomatoes, sausage and spicy peppers. Aside from the mushrooms it sounded good to me, but Kyle assured me that even if they forgot and left the mushrooms on you could pick them off and he would be happy to eat them of course if Jeanette was in the room she would make him fight for the them.

Jewels told him it sounded good, but then if he sold his soul he probably would not be able to enjoy the pizza too much. So we got to discussing what it would take to get us to sell our souls to the Devil. What would tempt us so far that we would turn our backs on everything we held near and dear. This went on for a few minutes and Jewels was becoming a bit uncomfortable with the line of conversation. I asked him his opinion and he quite simply stated nothing could make him do that.

"What the fuck would make me do a damn fool thing like that for? I mean you two white boys arguing back and forth over this like you were discussing fantasy football teams. You don't realize what the hell you're talking about. You sell you soul you got nothin, ya hear me, Nothin! They don't call Satan the Prince of Lies cause its got a nice ring to it. Shit Kyle, as a lawyer you should know anything can be hidden the fine print. You think if your woman or child was in danger you'd be helpin them by sellin your soul? Shit no. First the Devil don't keep his word. And second even if he did save them from whatever you was feared of so what. Now you sold your soul to the Devil, you are his, you're essentially gone. Bye Bye, no return service. That leaves this souless thing walkin around with your face. You have become Satan's Sock Puppet. He done rammed his hand up your ass and workin your head like a ventriloquist's dummy. And that is all you are. Now you may have saved you loved ones from death only to have them die anyway, only this time they die cussin your name. Is that what you want?"

Well, needless to say this sobered us up some.

People casually offer up their souls in exchange for the most mundane items. They are rarely serious but still it makes one wonder.

I hear Stacy pulling up on her ATV. So I guess it's my turn to go out.

© 2009 R. Keith McBride

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

20th Wedding Anniversary. No Story Post Today

I would like to apologize to my handful of loyal readers for the absence of a story post today.

Today marks the 20 years of marriage to a woman that has made my life joyful and complete. Twenty-one years ago I found myself homeless. She offered me a couch to sleep on and a roof over my head till I got back on my feet. I left Kansas City carrying everything I owned in an old airmail bag. I walked from downtown KC to Independence with that bag slung over my shoulder because it was a Sunday and the buses were not running out to Independence. I somehow got the address wrong so I got lost and ended up walking all over town trying to find her address. By the time I finally arrived at her doorstep, my feet were blistered and the cord from the airmail bag had dug furrows in my shoulders. I was filthy from being repeatedly splashed by cars passing me on the street. Inside I found a hot bath waiting for me followed by a hot meal. I think that was the moment I realized I was in love with her.

She took me in when I needed shelter and has continued to be my refuge from the trials of life as well as a source of happiness beyond measure. I know that I do not deserve a woman as wonderful as her.

Today we will be renewing our wedding vows. A lot has changed since the first time we stood before a minister and said our vows. Friends have come and gone, family members have passed on. Five presidential elections, terrorist attacks and a war that is still keeping American soldiers away from their homes even after 8 years. We've buried 3 dogs and 4 cats, have had seven changes of address, twenty cars, ten job changes and even a new set of wedding bands in 1999. We have been through sickness and health, car fires, flooded apartments, financial security and poverty. Rolling pennies for gas and eating nothing but rice for a month. We have experienced the heartbreak of miscarriage, the loss of our first daughter Jordan and the joy of the births of our twins, Bailey and Noah. Today we will again exchange wedding bands. The new rings are titanium to represent strength and durability, because amidst all the change around us, one thing has not changed, our love for one another.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dead Land Journal February 26th 2028

Woke up out in the pasture by the tractor repair shop. I came to just standing by the rear wall where the fence meets the corner of the wall. One of our cows was standing nearby chewing its cud and staring at me with those stupid watery brown eyes. My hand was on the power switch for the electric fence we have put up around the pasture. This is not the standard electric fence farmers and ranchers use. This is prison grade. The goal is to fry any wraith that tries to get to the cows.

There was a wraith on the other side of the fence. It was just watching me. I stood there for what seemed like hours staring into those eyes. I felt sure that the sun would be coming up any moment and I would be seen here holding the switch about to let this abomination in. I could feel that something inside wanted me to, but my arm seemed locked into position. The ground was cold and wet on my bare feet, my sweat pants were soaked all the way up to my knees from walking in the sodden grass. I looked over at the cow again. It was showing no fear of the nearby wraith. My leg was feeling weak and stiff and I was afraid that at any moment I would pitch forward into the electric fence. My bad leg was hurting from my heel all the way to my scrotum which felt like it had the time I had been hit in the crotch by a baseball in high school.

There were several of those red and black bugs on the cow. Each one attached as that one had been on the deer. But the cow did not seem to notice, just as it did not seem to notice the wraith either.

I could feel my finger pushed on the switch. At any moment I knew that the spring inside the switch would reach that tipping over point and the toggle would pop down triggering the solenoid that would break the circuit. The wraith would be through the electric fence in an instant and I would quickly resemble an extra from a sci-fi horror flick.

Suddenly bright light blinded me and I thought merciful angels had swooped in and taken me to save me from the horror even then being done to my corporeal body. Then the lights turned away and a phosphorescent streak shot across parking lot and hit the wraith. In the sudden headlight glare I could see shadows of several more wraiths. the first one exploded in a shower of blood and gore that seems to be Billy's trademark method of dealing with the vile beasts. At this point my leg had the good sense to finally give up and I fell, thankfully backwards away from the high voltage electric fence. Several more missiles streaked across the parking lot, each one hitting a wraith.

A sharp pain stabbed into my low back. I reached back thinking that Billy had accidentally hit me too. My hand came away covered in blood and clutching a red and black bug. A long silvery proboscis tried to stab into my hand, but I crushed the bug in my fist before it could.

Beverly was already running across the field towards us as Billy helped me back towards the church.

Billy gathered up several of the bugs off the cow for Katherine to examine. She thinks there may be some indirect symbiotic relationship between the bugs and the wraiths, but admits that it could be years before she fully understands it.

In the meantime my leg still feels like there is a white hot steel rod piercing the entire length of it, terminating in my groin as a result of the bug's bite.

The scariest thing is that I was not in control there. I was fighting, sure, but I was losing that fight till Billy showed up.

© 2009 R. Keith McBride

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dead Land Journal February 24th 2028

Just heard back from Billy on the radio. He thinks Springfield is empty. He circled around and came up from the south. He breezed into town unmolested, no shots were fired or alarms raised. But there are fires burning all over town. He says it looks like a damn war zone. There are dead animals all over the place. He said it looks like they were shooting anything that moved. The Marine Corps Reserve training base was abandoned and in flames. He found one dead body, gutted like Scratch had been and a few patches of blood. Billy says Springfield is unnaturally quiet so he will be headed out tonight. He will not even stay the night in town.

We were right about them stockpiling weapons and food. The had enough food and ammo to supply an army for a prolonged siege. Personally I am not interested in the weaponry, but in the absence of large game animals we might need those food supplies.

In light of Billy's report I am eagerly resuming my radio broadcasts tonight. I have been recording some radio chatter with a community to the north. Someplace called Beaver Island. Google Earth shows it's an island on the far north end of Lake Michigan. From what I have been able to gather from the radio chatter, there are about fifty people on the island. They had a rough winter but that far up north they are used to it and the houses are built for it. Plus being on an island they are probably more self sufficient.

After what happened last time I am reluctant to even consider sending Kyle out again. He has already found a replacement plane to his liking though. Of course it is another Cessna. I think he said it was a TU206 made in 1977 with turbos removed. He said the turbochargers made very little difference on this model. The only thing they really did was just make it noisier when the turbo's were engaged. Kyle will talk your ears off about planes it you will let him. The important thing in my opinion is that it's an amphibious plane capable of water landings. This is important because no one is taking care of these airstrips now so the ability to land on a lake or river could make the difference between Kyle making a safe landing or circling around till he runs out of gas and crashing.

It was floating out on the lake. Don't know why or how it got there. There was an empty set of clothes in the pilot's seat and judging from the fuel on board it had recently landed when the pilot disappeared. He and Billy hauled it ashore shortly before Billy went to Springfield. Kyle has it almost ready for a test flight.

Beverly has been helping me so much lately. Just been so damned exhausted. I've been waking up tired in the morning by afternoon I am just dragging ass. This morning, if it had not been for Beverly I probably would not even have gotten out of bed. She laid out my clothes and got me breakfast and coffee. She even went out and found me some energy drinks at a local convenience store a few days ago. Those seem to help a little. They taste horrible though, way too sweet.

Going to go take a nap then talk to Kyle.

© 2009 R. Keith McBride

Sorry, I am running late on my story post

I am running late on my story posts. Started out this weekend with the best of intentions, but was not able to complete a story post for this morning. I will try to have one up by this afternoon if not sooner.