Alone Chapter 5.

Chapter 5. Alone

“There hasn’t been time for introductions so, My name’s Mark and,” he pointed at his cat who was sleeping on one of the women lap, “that is Jen, George the dog is in the back. In the camper van is Carroll, and the kids are John and Kathy.”

“I’m Gail and this is Lyn,” said the taller of the two women.” and then added, have we met before, you look formilula?”

“No not that I can remember,” replied Mark and then, “you might have seen me on TV.”

“Yes that’s it you’re the guy living alone, I remember now,” said Gail.

Gail was a tall slender woman in her mid to late twenties with long dark hair. Lyn was a bit younger and a bit shorter and had short blond hair. They were both highly agitated and anguish to get as far away as possible.

After travelling for about five kilometres they came to an intersection were Mark stoped and got out of the Land Rover to look at the map and talk about what route to take. Gail and Lyn were keen to keep moving but which way to go would be a very important decision. There were two routes to choose from, the way they came on the high way or via back road. There was risk both ways, the high way was a known route but their perusers may try and catch them that way but the back roads may be blocked by trees or land slides.

Gail and Lyn wanted to go via the back roads as they were adamant that the guys from Maryville would be patrolling the high way. Mark and Carroll agreed as it was better to be safe and if it takes a bit longer well so be it.

They continued on into the night. It was slow going as the road was narrow and twisty, it did not help that Land Rovers and camper vans were not exactly fast. As the sun was coming up Mark was having trouble staying awake so he pulled over to stretch his legs and check on Carroll. Carroll was just about dead on her feet so they both decided to get some sleep, Gail and Lyn were very keen to keep moving so they volunteered to drive. One of the kids rode in each vehicle. Mark took the kids aside and told them to, “talk all the time and make sure the girls don’t fall asleep.” Mark topped up the vehicles with fuel before he and Carroll got into the camper van and tried to get some sleep.

After about three hours of driving they came upon a one lane bridge, but it had been damages during a flood and was unpassable. Gail woke Mark and Carroll and they all had a look at the bridge and all agreed that there was no way they could get across. They turned around and back tracked about a kilometre or so to some higher ground were they could see the lay of the land. There was a farm off to one side and what looked like a faint out line of a track across the paddock that may be a way through. They headed to the farm house and parked the camper van out of site. Mark, John, George and Jen continued in the Land Rover while the women checked the farm for any thing that may come in useful.

The track that was easy to see from a distance but was a lot harder to see at ground level but they managed to follow it. It was heading towards the creek but was it to a crossing or something else like a pump house. It was both, there was a pump house so Mark and John checked it out, it contained a diesel pump, as well four 44 gallon drums of fuel. They also check out the creek crossing, nothing had been through it in a very long time but it had a solid rocky bass so Mark thought it would be alright but there was only one way to fine out. They drove the Land Rover threw the creek without any problems and continued following the track which eventually brought them out onto the main road. He turned around and headed back to the farm house.

Back at the farm house the girls had found quite a bit of useful stuff and were loading it into the camper van when Mark and John got back. Mark and John had a bit of a look around the out building and found a Land Rover that was in very good condition. So they put the spare battery from their Land Rover in it and tried to start it. It turned over for a while but then fired up, Mark drove it around a bit and everything seemed to work, so he decided to take it with them. He drove it down to the pump house and filled it with fuel, he did the same with the other vehicles as well as filling all the jerry can. This should be enough fuel to get them back to Mark’s Property.

With the day light going they decided to spend the night in the farm house. After the events of the last few days they all felt a sense of relief

to be safe. It was nice to spend the night in the comfort of a house, to eat of plates sitting at a table, and to sit in front of an open fire.

They all had a good nights sleep and were ready to get on the road early the next morning. Mark and John were in the old Land Rover, Carroll and Kathy were in the camper van and Gail and Lyn were in the other Land Rover. They drove down to the creek crossing, drove both Land Rovers across the creek first just in case they were needed to pull the camper van across. But the camper van drove across the creek without any problems but did need some help from Marks Land Rover to get up the grassy track to the main road.

Progress was slow as the vehicles were slow by nature and when added to the narrow winding roads they were hard pressed doing forty kilometres per hour. The other danger was the ever present problem of the road condition. It was surprising just how fast things were deteriorating now that no one was doing any maintenance. About two hours into their trip they came upon a wash away, where a good part of the road had given way and washed into the paddock. There was only just enough road left to drive the vehicles around the wash away which added about an hour their trip. It required each vehicle to be driven very slowly with someone in front and someone behind calling out instructions.

By the time they stoped for lunch they had only covered about one hundred kilometres.

Things did not improve after lunch as they had to deal with another bridge that had been washed away. Luck was with them this time as there was a concrete Ford next to the bridge but again it took some time to get all the vehicles threw. The water level was quite high which was no problem for the Land Rovers but the camper van stalled in the middle of the creek and had to be towed out. It took a lot of time to get it to start again but luckily it was just wet wiring and no water got into the fuel system.

Not much further down the road they came to a stop again. A land slide had completely blocked the road, this would require everyone to start digging. It took hours to move enough dirt out of the way to get the vehicles passed, so long that they decided to set up camp for the night.

After dinner with everyone sitting around the camp fire Mark thought he would check that everyone was on the same page in relation to the future.

“OK,” said Mark and then, “this is how I see things, I’ve seen enough of the outside world for now. I think the safest and best thing to do is to go to my place, having said that, I think the concept of mine and your, is redundant. Any way I’m going home, now you are all very welcome to come with me. As you know from the TV show the property is well set up for living of the land, it has most of the things we will need. I have a truck loaded with supplies we can pick up on our way but we will need to obtain more supplies and hardware as there are more of us now. I’m not going to sugar coat things, the facts of life are, we are going to run out of all sorts of things as time goes by. Life is going to get harder and we are going to have to learn new things and we are going to have to get very organized or we won’t survive.”

Mark looked around the camp fire for a reaction, they all seemed content except for Gail.

“So you’re appointing yourself leader are you?” said Gail, and then added, and what we will be your harem.” 

“My goodness no,” replied Mark, and then, ‘we are a group and we are going to have to work as a cohesive group or we wont make it. I’ve just lived by myself for twelve months and it was hard but I had lots of modern help like food, fuel and just so many things we all take for granted. And yes we still have a lot of those things but it wont be long and we wont.”

“Well,” said Gail, “we,” she put her hand on Lyn’s shoulder, “have an added problem, we’re pregnant.”

“OK we’ll look for medical stuff at the next town,” said Mark.

“I trained as a nurse when I was younger and I had two children so you won’t be along and without help,” said Carroll.

All right then are we heading for the property or what?”

They all indicated their approval and then just sat in silence for a moment before Gail said. “But we are not your harem?”

“No, absolutely not, I have no interest in having a harem, thank you very much,” Mark said. As he said it he found himself looking at Carroll as if it was her that he was reassuring.

The next day dawned with misty rain falling but it did not dampen their spirits. There seemed to be an air of confidence amongst the group as they set of into the gloom. After about ten kilometres they came to the intersection onto the high way, from now on the road was clear as this was the road that Carroll and Mark had used to get to Maryville. They made good time now they were on the high way averaging about eighty kilometres per hour. But as the day went on the weather deteriorated and by the end of the day the rain was falling quite heavily and the wind had increased.

They continued driving into the night due to the weather in the hope of finding a sheltered location to pull over for the night. As they crawled along at about thirty kilometres per hour they came upon a truck way station so they drove in under the roof. These way station were located every two or three hundred kilometres on the high way and were used to check the wait of trucks as well as how long the driver had been on the road.

The roof of the way station was very high and had no sides so it did not offer much protection from the bad weather but it was better than nothing. There was a small office building of to one side so Mark check to see if it was weather tight. The door was locked so he had to break in, inside was dry and clean due to the door being closed so it would be a good place to spend the night. They all managed to get inside without getting to wet except for George who ran around exploring and ended up drenched. Mark had to put Jen in a cat cage as she was getting a bit stressed. Dinner was cold baked beans on toast, without the toast but a meal of baked beans was better than no meal at all.

They were only about ten kilometres away from where Mark had left the truck full of supplies. That in turn was only a few kilometres out of town so the next morning they did not have far to travel.

Over night the weather died down and the sun came up to reveal a nice fine day. It was going to be a busy day as they would need more supplies than what Mark had collected due to there being more of them. It did not take long to travel the few kilometres to where Mark had left the small pan tech truck before they split up into groups. Each group had a list of items to look for, Mark and John with George in tow set out to fine a good size table top truck and then to hardware stores for building supplies. Carroll and Kathy would spend the day looking for cloths while Gail and Lyne had the job of searching for food.

The plan was to spend the day collecting supplies but as they needed so much they all new it may well take longer. Two or even three days to find everything on their list was perhaps more realistic. There were many problems facing them that could take up lots of time. A lot of the locations would be locked which would require them to break in and then everything would need to be loaded. At least two trucks would need to be found and got going which in its self would take some time.

At the end of this they would end up with too many vehicles and not enough drivers unless the kids could drive. John had grown up on a farm so he could drive quite well except he had trouble reaching the peddles. Kathy had never driven in her life so she would have to learn, she was tall for her age so reaching the peddles would not be a problem. Carroll would teach her to drive the camper van as it was the only automatic vehicle amongst them and therefore the easiest to learn on.

There were other problems as well, like rats, dogs and some very unpleasant things like dead bodies. None of them were all that keen on what they had to do but it was necessary so they all put on a brave face a set about their jobs.

As they drove into town, Mark, John with George the dog and Jen the cat in the old Land Rover, Gail and Lyn in the other Land Rove, and Carroll and Kathy driving the camper van, they all felt a great deal of apprehension about what the day would bring except for the kids. For the kids it was a great adventure, a chance to explore and on top of that they were going to be driving.      

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