You are invited to read Marcus of Abderus and the Inn at the Edge of the World, a fantasy adventure novel available at Barnes and Noble Online.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Survival Minimalist-

Jackson Quill was not an ambitious man. He wasn't a strong thinker. He was just a guy who tried his best to get by. He hadn't been one of those who planned and put things aside and got ready for the collapse of society. Survivalists were inherently paranoid, resourceful, and willing to work hard preparing for what might well not happen.

It happened, and it caught Jackson a bit short. Indeed, he had made only one preparation for the apocalypse, and had not even exercised that option. Not yet.

The first weeks weren't hard. Scavenging the stores for what he needed, keeping on the move, maintaining a low profile as he moved out from the town to more rural surroundings. He had an idea where he would go. He was aware of one of those extreme survivalists out there, living alone and probably snickering in his sleeve about being right.

A lot of people died those first weeks. The haves, as in those who had guns, were killing off scavengers and each other. Jackson figured the ones that thought bigger than "have lot's of guns" would be the eventual winners. They would eventually become the leaders of feudal colonies. The few who had cultivated anachronistic skills would find themselves valuable craftsmen. The rest would be surfs, peons, even slaves.

Jackson had another plan. His one provision. He was almost there, and would put his plan into action. It was pretty much a one shot option. He would succeed, or he would die. It seemed fair to him.

His target was ahead, a carefully built compound held by a retired gentleman with some funds and a hobby of preparing for the end of civilization. Jackson move to the edge of the clearing around the compound and found himself a suitable stick.

To the stick he attached a large white handkerchief, which he immediately began waving as he stood and stepped out from the cover of the brush. He tried to look dumb, desperate and innocent. Two of those were close to the mark, so it wasn't a big stretch.

"Come forward and talk." he heard from a high point ahead. A glint at the corner of one building indicated a likely location of his hoped-for benefactor, looking through a rifle scope. Jackson tried to be unafraid, but the prospect of a high velocity round passing through his head made the hair on the back of his neck stand up.

He moved forward, hands in the air, and waited.

"What do you want?" came the voice from the building. Jackson assessed the perimeter fence ahead, noting that it was serviceable for defense of the small compound. The high point on the building was not bad, but covering the whole compound with only one gunman was not possible.

"I want to serve you." said Jackson. "You need hands to help. You can't be watching for invaders and do the work necessary around your place all at the same time. I am tired of running and hiding. I want to serve you."

There was silence for a time. "Come forward to the gate." Jackson sighed in relief. This might just work.

He waited several minutes in front of the formidable gate. Iron and heavy wood, not impervious to explosives but still formidable in most foreseeable scenarios. The gate slowly opened. A voice from within called out, "Come in."

Jackson stepped through. His benefactor stood a couple of yards away, a large caliber hand gun trained on Jackson. It was steady in the man's hand, and Jackson figured he practiced quite a bit with the deadly thing.

"Turn around and bar the gate." the man said. Jackson did so, noting that they were in a sally port. Behind the man was the inner gate, a large affair in which a smaller door was hung. Having barred the gate, Jackson stood where he was with his benefactor at his back. He held his hands high and sought a quiet frame of mind. It was hard to find.

He could hear the man approach and felt the one hand carefully begin patting him down. He checked carefully, wrists and arms and legs and ankles. He patted every pocket, checked the tops of shoes and socks, and gave his crotch a nudge or two with his one hand. Jackson noted that the other hand probably held the gun close to his kidney. The gun did not touch him, which raised Jackson's estimate of this man a bit.

Not knowing just where the gun might be prevented Jackson from confidently spinning and blocking the weapon as he might fight for control of the deadly thing. Not that Jackson even considered that idea. Such a move would be dangerous and require some combat skill. Still, the man knew better than to touch him with the weapon during the search.

"Not even a pocket knife." the man said. "I guess you are safe enough. Let's go inside and discuss our situation."

When the man stepped around in front of Jackson he had already holstered the weapon. "Put your hands down, and follow me." The man stepped toward the door in the inner gate, pulling a ring of keys from a pocket and sorting through them. He was just reaching for the lock when the shot rang out. He probably didn't hear it, since most of his head was now painted on the inner gate.

Jackson kept the two-shot derringer pointed at the man as he collapsed in front of the inner gate. Leaning forward he put the second round through the man's heart, even though the level of damage to his head was probably sufficient to insure he was already dead. Jackson scooped up the man's handgun and the keys, and opened the inner gate.

The rifle he had expected was leaning against the wall just inside. Jackson locked up the gate, leaving the body where it lay. He figured it would serve as an object lesson when petitioners came to seek service in his compound. He picked up the rifle and hung it by the sling over his shoulder.

His compound. Minimalist survival-ism seemed to be working. He had planted that little .44 derringer behind his belt buckle a long time ago, figuring to simply take the wealth of some more enterprising survivalist if the need should arrive. Need had arrived, opportunity presented itself, and now he was indeed wealthy.

Jackson kept his handgun ready, just in case. He had followed this guy and several other locals on the Internet, watching them share and develop plans to create safe compounds against the eventual fall of modern society. Jackson knew that this guy was alone and a loner, and so there was probably nobody else here. Still, he proceeded with caution.

As he explored his new home Jackson reviewed the recent events. He wanted to get to a vantage point, soon, after learning his way around. He had to watch for invaders, and potential servants to help run his little kingdom.

"One thing is sure," he mumbled as he continued his exploration. "Anyone I let in gets strip searched. I can't be the only one with this idea."

1 comment:

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Very uplifting story, Mike ;)