The Forgiven The Fallen The Forsaken (7 page)

BOOK: The Forgiven The Fallen The Forsaken
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The driver
finished dumping the fish and said, “Enjoy the fishing!  Good luck with the RV
park!  ” 

Jim tipped the
guy well and thanked him.

Inside the
greenhouse closest to the pond he had a 100 gallon fish tank with tilapia and
another with yellow perch.  These would be kept heated, so he set up deep cycle
batteries to an inverter to power the heaters.  Charging the batteries would have
to be done by generator for now, but they would manage.  Once the fish were
breeding too much, he’d dump the extras into the pond where the other fish
would make short work of them.  In spring, he would release all but a small
breeding population into the pond. 

It was a great
project.  He just hoped it worked in the longer term.

Julie and Helen
were busy lining up more hydroponic supplies.  In the end, they took a trip
down to Phoenix and pretty well cleaned out some of the nurseries of everything
hydroponic.  Jim asked them to pick up ammo in several calibers as available,
so they hit a few sporting goods and gun stores and a gun show as well.  By the
second or third trip, they were very popular with the salesmen in both the
nurseries and gun stores.

Julie had
surprised everyone by having steam driven electrical generator systems
delivered.  They would have to build a boiler room and the fire would have to
be fed constantly when in use, but it would be a feasible backup system given
all the trees they had cut down on the property.

The larger surprise
was the five wood heated hot tubs that Helen tracked down.  There was a wood
stove actually built into each tub.  Controlling the temperature would require
some work to get the hang of it, but it was promising. 

The girls set
up the first hot tub near their RV and built a 6 foot wood privacy fence around
it, with a gate.  Just outside the fence they placed an additional 10,000
gallon water tank on a five foot tower made from rail road ties.   Julie made
three runs in the water truck while Helen finished the wood fence. 

That evening,
they took great pleasure in demonstrating the hot tub to Jim and Susan and taking
turns using the tub, two at a time.  It took a while to get the temperature
right, but once they did, the tub felt wonderful.  

"Here we
are preparing for the end of the world as we know it, and you two are out
scoring hot tubs," said Susan.

Helen shrugged. 
"Think of it as additional water storage."

Julie took a drink
from her wine glass.  "Yeah, what she said."

The next day
they repeated the set up with the other four hot tubs, including giving each its
own water tank, but they only filled up Jim and Susan's.  The rest of the tubs
would be kept empty until there were people there to use them.  The tubs were
set up at the various spots around the property to make them quickly accessible
from the RV's. 

Susan made
signs with the hot tub rules and placed them on the privacy walls.  "That
might solve some problems before they can develop," she told the girls.
"Now for more important things.  Do you think you can come up with a
couple of saunas for us?"

That night,
Julie ordered two sauna kits to be delivered to their warehouse.

 

 

NOVEMBER 22
nd

The four of
them worked for three days to clear and level a football sized area for use as
a helicopter pad and fuel storage, as well as a small private runway next to
it.  Helen was the one who was insistent about the runway, saying that it
wasn’t much more work and made sense to be able to accommodate planes as well
as helicopters.  They worked together to cut the trees down and then cut them
into logs, which they dragged over to either the firewood stacks or the usable
lumber stack.  It was exhausting work, but they were relieved to get it done.  Eventually
they would fill a couple of large shipping containers with firewood to keep it
dry and keep snakes out of it, but that would have to wait.

Jim called Mike
Frazzetta, the contractor he’d used earlier. “Are you up for another cash job?” 

The next
morning there was a crew pouring a large cement pad for two helicopters
connected to a pad for the steel hangar they would put in a couple of days,
once the cement was usable.

Mike looked at
the runway area.  Mike's thick Boston accent seemed out of place in Arizona.  “You
want this paved?” 

Jim thought for
a moment.  “That depends on how long it takes, how much it costs, and how much attention
it’s going to get me.”

“Can you give
me an idea of why you need all of this?”

Without missing
a beat, Jim said, “There’s a major pandemic coming within the next few months
that looks like it will be worse than anything we’ve ever seen.  We’re
anticipating a good possibility of an EMP that will take out unshielded
electronics as well.”

Mike thought
for a moment and laughed. “Greenhouses, runway, trucks…  It’s cool, man.  I
don’t care what you’re doing.  I’d be happy to do a runway for you, just
remember I didn’t do any of this work, 'cause I’m not telling Uncle Sam shit.”

Jim frowned and
said, “Look, Mike, just pack away a lot of food, water, and supplies.  Read up
on bird flu and EMP shielding.  Do it soon. Even if you don’t believe me, store
a shitload of stuff you know you’re going to use eventually anyway.  And forget
you ever saw this place because it’s going to be a large armed camp once things
start happening.”

“Okay, I will.
Not that I believe it’s going to happen, but it can’t hurt and I’m going to
make enough off of you to make it easy to do.”

They came to an
agreement on price and, though it made Jim wince, he was very happy with the
airstrip in place a few days later. 

 

NOVEMBER 28
th

Helen bought a
1968 Piper Arrow four seat plane and stashed it in the hangar. Julie told her,
“Now I see why you wanted that runway!  Just so you know you're going to have
to teach me to fly.”

Julie just
shrugged, “Absolutely!  But now we have to figure out where to store aviation
fuel.”

”Why not get
the same kind of underground tanks that Uncle Jim has been using?  We’ll put
them about 50 meters from the hangar and use 12 volt fuel pumps.  We can set up
one with Jet A fuel for the helicopter, and the other with aviation fuel for
the plane.” 

“Where the hell
are we going to get Jet A?”

“We just talk
someone into selling it to us.  No problem.”

“Why not buy an
aircraft that uses it?”

Helen paused
for a moment, “Why not buy a truck that transports it?”

“Preferably
full?”

“Interesting. 
Why not?” 

 

DECEMBER 2
nd

Jim was looking
over the supply list.  “You realize we have three
year's
worth of food
for 30 people?  We have enough firearms and ammo to fight a small war.  This is
just so far over the top that it’s difficult to imagine.” 

Susan laughed
and said, “I keep waiting for Julie and Helen to show up with a fighter plane
or something.  The two of them are the best scavengers I’ve ever seen.” 

There was a
truck horn honking down the driveway.  Susan looked up to see two tanker trucks
pulling in, with Helen driving one and Julie driving the other.  Susan said,
“Jim, you have to see this.”

Jim looked and
said, “I don’t flipping believe it!” They walked outside and the girls met
them.  Helen said, “We got the fuel!  2,800 gallons of aviation fuel and 2,800
gallons of Jet A fuel, can you believe it?!”  The two of them were ecstatic.

Jim was
stunned.  “How the hell did you pull that one off?”

Julie answered,
“We found a fuel transport company that was in trouble and selling off a few
trucks.  We offered to buy two and pay a premium as long as they would fill the
tanks for us.  In the end it was easy.”

Susan said,
“Good work.  Now we don’t need to put in underground tanks.  But what’s the jet
fuel for?”

Helen answered,
“Most of your heavy lift helicopters use it, but if Rob comes up with a gasoline
chopper instead, it’s basically a lighter diesel fuel that we can mix in with
the rest of the diesel supply.” 

Jim asked, “Do
you think you could come up with another of these vehicles for more diesel
storage?

Helen and Julie
looked at each other, and Julie said, I’d rather not push my luck with going
back there, but general fuel trucks are easy.”

Jim scratched
his chin and said, “Let’s get a couple for diesel, then.  Maybe you can work
the same kind of deal?

Helen said, “If
there is a use for it, we can certainly come up with a couple from somewhere. 
It would be nice to get them filled all at once, but worst case we can run a
pump from the spare tank to the main tank and fill it one fuel stop at a time.”

“Wait a
minute!  I’ll call Mike and see if he can’t work some magic for us.”

A few hours later
the contractor had two tanker trucks filled with diesel lined up for delivery
the next day.  Mike was starting to wonder if he wouldn't be able to retire off
of these goofball survivalists.

 

DECEMBER 4
th

Julie and Helen
had kept the warehouse so that they could keep making purchases online with
prepaid credit cards.  Jim and Susan soon got into the swing of it as well, as
it was mostly a matter of click and forget.  It was convenient as much of the
shopping was done at night after the day’s work was completed and they could
pick up the deliveries from the warehouse at their convenience. 

Julie and Helen
ordered books on any skills that would come in handy.  They also ordered
anything within reasonable limits that would help make life at the ranch more
bearable in case they were stuck there longer than they anticipated.  Helen
wasn’t sure how several boxes of western novels fit into that, but Jim seemed
to think they were necessary.

The two of them
made good use of the NAU campus, getting to know the library and making a
number of purchases in the book store.  Julie looked up Samantha, a friend who
was finishing her B.A. in photojournalism there and talked to her about the
possibility of coming into the group when things started to move. 

During the days
they worked on projects or took trips to buy supplies that they couldn’t order
online or that were heavy enough to be worthwhile picking up in a semi. 

Helen started
bringing in trailers of bricks, mortar, rebar, lumber, roofing, and other
building supplies on the assumption that it would give them more flexibility
later as needs for walls or more buildings became apparent. 

Julie had developed
a fascination with aquaculture systems after helping Jim with his pond.  She
developed a plan for a system using duckweed to feed yellow perch.  She wasn’t
sure if the idea would work for them, but she started lining up books and
equipment, just in case.  
We might be very glad of it one day,
she
thought. 

All four of
them worked to equip one of the steel buildings as a mechanic’s garage to work
on vehicles as large as the semi trucks.  They tried to anticipate parts needs,
but knew it could very well be luck of the draw.  In the end they stocked tires
and electronic parts most likely to fail, knowing that they would not be able
to cover everything. 

DECEMBER 8
th

It had been
snowing for two days and it was getting old. So far there were drifts of up to five
feet in places, thought most areas were more like three feet.  The propane
heaters in the RV’s functioned well, otherwise it would be miserable.  

Jim suspected
that Susan and the girls were more than happy to take a snow day.  He knew he desperately
needed some genuine downtime.  The fifth wheels were comfortable enough with
the propane heaters and he had the small generators for power when needed.  Jim
was enjoying a good book and Susan was busy writing in the log she was keeping
of their projects and supplies. 

He had talked
to the girls by the two way radios they like to use in camp.  Both of them were
delighted to put their feet up and take a day off. 

Jim was
surprised when the satellite phone Jim had sent them rang.  He answered it to
find Denise on the line.

“Hi, Jim just
wanted to see how you were doing with all the snow.” 

They chatted
for a few minutes, and she told him about how the teens would be taking a
camping trip to Mammoth a few days down the road.  When he got off the phone,
he said to Susan, “It looks like we’ll have the boys here in a few days.”

Susan looked up
from her computer, “You know, I keep waiting to find out that it was all a
false alarm and we just over reacted.  Having the next step right around the
corner now isn’t very comforting.”

He kissed the
top of her head and said, “However it goes, I’m glad we’re here together.  I’m
sorry there hasn’t been more time to enjoy the various projects.  Can you
believe we have an
airstrip
?  How did
that
happen?”

“That’s crazy,
isn’t it?”

“Ever wonder if
Rob isn’t doing this to line up his own private vacation spot and we’re just
caretakers for it?” 

“I’m sure
that’s part of his plan.” 

“Oh, well. 
What can you do?  How about some breakfast?  My treat.”

 

DECEMBER 8
th
: AFTERNOON

Helen and Julie
were enjoying the day off.  They were at the kitchen table working on their
laptops and drawing schematics of the aquaculture system they wanted to build. 
The satellite TV was on in the background with cable news with the sound turned
up just loud enough to hear.

Julie looked up
at the news coverage of Christmas shoppers, and said, “Most of these people are
going to die of the flu or starve to death.  Helen, we have to save more.” 

BOOK: The Forgiven The Fallen The Forsaken
8.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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