The U.S. of After Chapter 15

Ethan

McAlester was a mess.  Riots, Volos, disorder, everything went down the drain.  I lay on the side of a hill looking across the city at the black smoke rising up and wondered if I my life would ever be the same again.  I took this military uniform off a corpse because he sure didn’t need it anymore.  It helped me get out.  Martial law had become madness after that militia attacked the city.  I felt kind of sorry about having to leave that lady behind, but the building came down and I panicked.  The meteor shower last night put a big one right down in the middle of town.  What little order we had crumbled after that, and the militia took advantage.

I wondered if Stacie made it out.  I wasn’t going to stick around to find out.

I stood up and stretched my legs by walking up and over the hill and through the woods.  I figured I’d find a highway and then take my chances.  I was so thirsty.  Everyone had been taking water from the river and drinking it after boiling it over open fires.  Maybe that’s the reason the city caught.  We haven’t had rain in I can’t remember when.  With no fuel for the fire trucks I suppose the city became a big tinder box.  Like they’d be able to pump the water, anyway.

I walked for a few hours before sitting down to rest.  I was thankful those guys from Deliverance weren’t hunting me anymore.  I started looking at the patches on the shirt I wore and started wondering about the man I took it from.

“Farmer”.

That was his last name, anyway.  I looked on the right shoulder and saw a Ranger patch and my eyebrows raised.  Tough guy.  I’m in pretty good shape but not that much in shape.  I heard those guys ate snakes and squirrels.  I don’t deserve this uniform, but it got me out of McAlester, at least.

Poor guy, but a huge failure.  The army group assigned to our town wasn’t a match for those hillbillies.

It felt weird running away.  I’ve lived in McAlester my entire adult life.  I sold cars there in town.  Used ones.  My life before all this consisted of selling cars, P90X, partying on the weekends and being great with the ladies… well, not so great with the ladies.  I didn’t’ have much of a plan at that time other than getting back to Jersey and seeing if my old man was still alive.  Surely he’d welcome me back considering the circumstances.  You know, now that the world was over.

I pushed that out of my mind as I started back through the trees again headed toward the highway.  As I got closer, I heard tires screech and a thumping crash that echoed over the hill.  I came through the underbrush and saw a load of cars all parked in funny angles in the middle of a highway, probably left there from the EMP, and what used to be a perfectly good pickup all smashed up and in the ditch.  I assumed the people who were in it had just wrecked and were recovering, except that one of them, a girl, had a gun pointed at two guys who were on the ground wrestling around.  Well, the guy under the dark complected guy was just laying there taking it.  I decided to watch for a bit.  Didn’t want to surprise that girl and get shot.

She was shouting something at the two guys and then the native guy just sat down on the ground and started sobbing.  I figured it was over because the girl put the gun in her waistband and went over to him.  I could really use that gun.  It would come in handy if I got in a jam, not that I knew how to use one…because I didn’t.

It was time to put on my sales face and do what I do best.

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