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I had been prepared, or so I thought, for the coming cataclysm; I had a bug-out bag created from various books and websites, I had a shelter full of supplies, and I had an escape plan. I had learned to get along pretty well in my own company; after all, I knew there was a time coming when it would be every man for himself, so, naturally, I figured I was going to be all right when the fit hit the shan. Boy was I wrong. Being a Doomsday Prepper, having the survival guides and books, being in all the web chat rooms and support groups... it all amounted to about the weight of a hair on a tick’s ass when all hell finally did break loose. Sure, I was better prepared than most as far as supplies and equipment, but, emotionally... well, that’s another story. I mean, who can really plan ahead for that? Even when you’ve spent a lifetime expecting the unexpected, you still never really see it coming.

Anyways, like I was saying... I wandered around on my own for a while and then I started to meet up with other people I ran into who were out wandering around too, also somewhat aimlessly... probably for much the same reason. Before we knew it, we had banded together, and well, now here we are in Nouvo Eden. (NOT my idea... it was voted on by committee. The runner up was Aquarius Shiver. You probably wouldn’t even want to know some of the other “also rans.”)

The first people I met were Marta and her kids Jeff and Anna; they were in a pretty bad way. They had very little supplies, and knew next to nothing about surviving in the wilderness. At first, they were wary of me, and I can understand that. Here comes this guy, loaded down with a backpack chock full to twice the size of a bear, and armed to the teeth, when the world has gone bat shit and you need to feed your children. It took a few weeks for them to even begin to trust me. Running into the Alvarados helped with that, though. Next thing I knew, I went from being alone to being the defacto leader of a group of 9 people. Of course, after the Alvarados, the Jensens and Stewarts came across one of our moving camps, and at that point it made sense to strengthen our numbers, so we folded them in, too.

I figured by the time we were a 16-pt headcount, we had enough people to start a permanent camp, so I lead everyone back to my bug-out hideaway. Fortunately, my cache had been hidden well enough that the stores hadn’t been tampered with. I guess you could say that was the true beginning of Nouvo Eden.

(I really need to get them to change that name.)

The “hideaway” was at a lake surrounded by forest, the nearest neighbor two miles away on the side of the lake where the cabin was, and across the lake were resort cabins. The owners of the resort, the Tarvers, were hunters and fishers. We had a good relationship. Their oldest son had helped me set up the well on my property. Once we landed, the first thing I did after getting everyone settled, was to go across the lake to see if the Tarvers were still around. The old couple was more knowledgeable than I was about the area, and they even let the families stay in their cabins. No use dickering over “timeshare” fees these days. Not like money mattered anymore, anyway.

Marta and the kids lived with me. There were two farms on the lake; the Olsons had pulled through, but the Kiefers hadn’t made it. We were able to use their livestock, though; moved them onto the land around my cabin. We built a water wheel on the river entering the lake and setup wind fans and solar panels to provide some semblance of electricity. It’s meager, but we don’t require much. We keep it rationed to an "as needed" basis, and find we don't really have a lot of need for it, anymore. We live pretty simply, these days. We built up a wall around the lake properties perimeter to keep out invaders, and a drawbridge to keep marauders from breaching the lake through the river.

That was five years ago, and folks are still trickling in from all over. We have a vetting process to put people through before we can allow anyone to join our collective... nowadays more than ever it’s important to know who you can trust. But we have a community that is thriving and growing. When we got big enough, the people set up a small governing Council to manage this rapidly expanding boomtown. They elected one of their own to represent them as a Mayor, and they voted to appoint me as Sheriff. Law Enforcement was never a track I’d have sought out for my life, but we all have to take on whatever roles we’re suited to in this new world. If there’s a hat that fits you, you’re probably gonna end up with it on your head, at some point. But I can’t blame these goods folks for yoking me with that one. People here respect me, look up to me, and that’s what you need in a place like this to keep the peace.

But things here are good here. One of the new Mayor’s first formal acts was to officiate over a wedding. Mine. I would probably have been the last one to see that coming when this all started, but it just felt right, and, for the first time since the world fell apart, it felt safe. The whole town turned out. It was good for everyone to let loose and really celebrate.

And then, of course, we all got back to work.

We’re not short on able-bodied workers here, and folks in general are willing to help out in whatever way they can. Right now we’re building five new houses for the latest approved refugees.   We even have a Doctor now – Dr. Vince Gregory. People said when he came along he was a genuine godsend. The Alvarados built a greenhouse, so we can grow more fruits and vegetables year-round. And Marta is teaching the children in a schoolhouse/library we set up. I lead scavenging parties out into the surrounding areas, and some of the yields from those expeditions have been invaluable to our everyday operations. We have horses for speed, and oxen for strength, and we’ve built wagons for transporting large stores of collections.

There’s still a lot of work to do, but everyone pulls together pretty well to get it done, and what we don’t have, we either learn to do without, or find a way to recreate. We believe in one another. Most importantly, we look forward to tomorrow. We still expect the unexpected, but, now, we have a better understanding of what that could be. And, as for expecting, well, Marta and me, we are. And I couldn’t be happier. I guess you could say, my cup runneth over. Who knew it would take the end of the world to finally get everything I’ve ever wanted?

Hopefully, in another five years, this will be a new center for what’s left of humanity. But, until then, we’ll work with what we have, and we’ll make the most of what we got. More than anything, though, what we’ve got here, is each other. And when it’s all said and done, how could we ask for anything more?

(for another perspective on this post-apocalyptic world, please see my partner's companion piece to this entry:
Lighthouse Signal: Message In A Bottle)



( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 30th, 2014 10:30 pm (UTC)
This is a great story. It's amazing how many things we currently "need" that in all reality we can just do without!
Jul. 2nd, 2014 12:15 am (UTC)
Thank you, I am glad you got that from the piece. you should also read Lighthouse Signal: Message In A Bottle This is a partner piece to this story.

Edited at 2014-07-02 03:04 am (UTC)
Jun. 30th, 2014 11:45 pm (UTC)
The Lighthouse Signal
User karmasoup referenced to your post from The Lighthouse Signal saying: [...] new world from the primary character’s perspective on this theme: HOW IT ALL CAME ABOUT [...]
Jul. 1st, 2014 05:25 am (UTC)
I liked this—I find myself wondering how the world ended, and what comes next. :)
Jul. 2nd, 2014 03:09 am (UTC)
Maybe I will write that one another day, however if you want to read more about this world read my companions piece Lighthouse Signal: Message In A Bottle
Jul. 1st, 2014 03:48 pm (UTC)
This is really tightly written and made for an enjoyable read. Despite the tension with the post-apocalyptic setting.
Jul. 2nd, 2014 03:11 am (UTC)
Thank you I may dabble in this world a little more later.
Jul. 2nd, 2014 06:14 am (UTC)
I enjoyed both parts of this, and the perspectives are so different. Your character is surprised by the goodness in life, and just keeps plugging forward on his own continued competence-- drawing others along, even if he never meant to. Your partner's is more about the inherent worth of humanity, regardless of what tangible things a given person might offer. Between the two of them... we have what makes us create and succeed in community.
Jul. 3rd, 2014 08:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you, we felt like doing companion pieces this week and ths topic kind of spoke to us. We might have different perspectives but in the end it is all about community for both of us.
Jul. 2nd, 2014 07:05 am (UTC)
I agree with halfshellvenus here..:) Loved both the entries and they are varied and yet connected.
I liked the inherent goodness of this character here and that's what made him a leader..:) A nice read! enjoyed it! especially the happy ending..:) Good work!
Jul. 3rd, 2014 08:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you
Jul. 2nd, 2014 07:31 am (UTC)
I like this -- there's a great sense of rebuilding and what it means to be a community. :)
Jul. 3rd, 2014 08:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you, that is what I was going for.
Jul. 15th, 2014 06:22 am (UTC)
You're welcome.
Jul. 2nd, 2014 11:48 am (UTC)
(I really need to get them to change that name.)

Love this detail. I'm kind of with the narrator on this one.

Back in the late nineties, my roommate was one of those Y2K Doomsday Preppers who was pretty sure this was going to be it. And he clearly had a very "What's mine-is-mine" attitude that would have led to a lot of unpleasantness and probably violence.

The contrast between that and what you've written is something I really like a lot. There is a lot of selfishness being broadcast into the world right now, and even a little story about cooperation and hope is a really, really good thing. Thank you.
Jul. 3rd, 2014 08:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I believe in ordr fo r humanity to survive a catastrophic event what is needed most is community and sharing. Glad I could bring a little light into world.
Jul. 2nd, 2014 02:59 pm (UTC)
Both pieces were very enjoyable to read. I like how he is expecting exist alone and ends up forming the basis of a rebuilt community.
Jul. 3rd, 2014 08:16 pm (UTC)
Thak you I don't think anyone would survive long on thier own, no matter how prepared they are.

Edited at 2014-07-03 08:16 pm (UTC)
Jul. 3rd, 2014 08:55 pm (UTC)
Well, we didn't accomplish exactly what you were going for, but I feel we came pretty close, and I love the story... I can totally see the lead character from Stargate Universe in this piece... that sort of unexpected antihero archetype... didn't see it coming, but not reluctant about it... I think this works well. And I do hope if the world were to fall apart, that people like this would find each other. I think you've created a beautiful possible alternative to the hate and cruelty that we so often see in tales such as these. Thanks for bringing that out.
Jul. 3rd, 2014 09:16 pm (UTC)
I am just glad we managed to wirte a positve piece about a post apocalyptic world, there are too many negative stories about human nature out there.
Jul. 3rd, 2014 09:31 pm (UTC)
Jul. 3rd, 2014 10:22 pm (UTC)
This was a wonderful story that held me until the end. I'm glad you never explained what caused the end of the world.
Jul. 8th, 2014 07:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you I am glad you enjoyed it, I intentionally left out how the world ended I may come back to that later date.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )