I was able to move back into my old room in the admin hallway. It was vacant. I was expecting to have to find a new room. Things were exactly how I left them except for the pink fluffy journal left on my desk. I guess I won’t go searching for a new one. A few more pages and I can switch over to the new journal.
It’s going to be a little odd carrying around a bright pink journal. I am grateful to the person that left this journal in my room. In the front inside cover, someone wrote “For Madie, my friend.” The whole thing is a little strange. I asked Pete if he knew who left the journal. He didn’t know. Pete said he didn’t think anyone had been in my room since the day I left for Ft Shasta with Yates.
Tony is acting a little strange. He has spent most of the day down in the basement in his old room. I asked him if he was going to move upstairs and share my room. He looked at me strangely and said he had a few things to put in order in the basement. I didn’t ask for an explanation I just left the basement. I am not sure but I think Tony rejected me. I swear I will never understand men.
Bear Country is not as vacant as I previously thought. The library trio is still maintaining the media center. The girls are looking well and healthy. Both of their tummies are obviously now pregnant. Marty sees after their every need. He treats Gretchen and Cecelia as if they were made of glass. The Runt and Jonas were out looking for food and needed supplies. They returned a short while ago. Arms full of supplies. I asked Jonas about his brother Matt.
He said Matt and Hemy are fine. They are still living at Central but will be moving to Bear Country in a couple of days. Central received a lot of damage during the meteor showers and the earthquakes. Their gym and part of the second floor collapsed. Lisa is also around but she has been spending most of her time at her boyfriend’s apartment. Pete said he doesn’t like him because he is rude and thinks he is better than everyone else is.
I asked Pete about Joshua and the Spurs gang. He said as far as he knew they are doing fine. Pete hadn’t had much of a chance to walk out there since I left. If I weren’t so tired and hungry, I would walk out there today. Joshua will have to wait until tomorrow.
The walk up Lafayette Blvd was eerie. It was deserted. Not even a dog or cat rummaging thru garbage. No one had been on the streets for at least a dozen blocks. In the back of my mind, I had this fear that Bear Country would be nothing but rubble, our friends would be gone and Tony and I would be homeless.
I wanted to cry the moment I saw Bear Country High School still standing. I was home. I stood on the street and prayed someone would be inside. I hoped my friends would see pass the hopelessness of the situation. Ignore the desolation and destruction of the surrounding area and stayed in Bear Country. I don’t know why I was wishing this. If my friends had remained in Bear Country this would mean they were as insane as I am. I must have been standing there, staring at the school for a long time because Tony asked me if I was going to continue standing on the street or if I was going to come inside.
I started yelling for people the moment we entered the front doors. Tony ran toward the bathrooms. The halls were strangely quiet. I ran up and down all the hallways. I had given up hope that anyone was around when Pete walked out of his room in the admin hallway. He was surprised to see me. We hugged.
I feel as if Tony and I are walking straight into hell. The earthquakes and the meteors must have hit the area around Bear Country hard. The closer we get to Bear Country the thicker the smoke is in the air. Destruction is everywhere. The earthquakes and meteors have reduced many buildings to rubble. Others look as if they are going to fall any moment.
My lungs hurt and my eyes hurt. I had to rip my shirt to use a strip of the fabric as a mask. The constant breathing in of smoke makes breathing difficult. Soot covers my body. Tony looks horrible. I can only imagine how I look. We both could use a shower. Tony and I have passed many people on the road walking away from Bear Country. The highway leading away from town looks like a refugee migration and we are going in the wrong direction.
A few people have cautioned us about turning around. We continue on our journey in spite of what we see. Bear Country is only a couple hours away if we keep up the pace. Tony is still not feeling well. He has to take numerous breaks to recuperate and go to the bathroom. I am not feeling well but my symptoms are mild and tolerable. I pray my other friends are safe and that Bear Country High School is still standing.
I am getting to the end of this journal. I only have a few pages left. I will have to be conservative with the pages. I will need to find a new journal soon. The last time I finished with my journal it was a challenge to find a new one to write in. I had to search for weeks and when I did find one, it was expensive. It cost me a piece of my past. I had to give up the necklace my mom gave me when I turned twelve. Truly, I only regretted giving my necklace up for a moment. I needed to write. I think writing my thoughts down helps me keep my sanity. Sometimes writing is more important than eating.
Our journey back home to Bear Country led Tony and me thru a farming community. It was dark and we didn’t mean any harm. We came across a barn and decided to rest for the night. The Gang living on the farm didn’t appreciate our trespassing on their land. I think they thought we were thieves. We tried to explain that we only wanted to rest for the night but they chased us off with pitchforks.
Tony and I said goodbye to Xu, Palesa and the rest of the Sequoia gang. I cried. I tried not to but I did. They are all good people. I am going to miss them tremendously. I hope they can find a home without having to travel too far. The journey will be difficult for Palesa and the other pregnant girls. I imagine traveling with the small children already in tow will also be a challenge. Palesa made Tony and me necklaces so that we will always remember our time spent with the Sequoia. I wish I had thought to do something similar. I had nothing to give Palesa in return.
Tony and I have been walking towards home most of the morning. We have to stop often and rest. Tony is not feeling well. He has an upset stomach and the runs. He is off in the woods taking care of business. I am currently resting beneath a tree waiting for Tony’s return. I have a feeling I am getting a touch of whatever Tony has. My stomach has recently started to feel icky and bloated with gas. The sky is an awful shade of gray. I wonder if whatever we are breathing in from the air is causing Tony’s difficulties. Depending on how far we travel each day our journey back to Bear Country shouldn’t take that long. I kind of wish we had a truck to travel in. I wish I had a roll of toilet paper.
Xu and Palesa have decided to move the Sequoia village to a new location. We have stopped rebuilding. Our new focus is packing up the needed necessities into manageable loads. This area is no longer habitable. The creek has stopped flowing due to the earthquakes and meteor damage to the surrounding area. Even the waterfall has stopped flowing. What a shame is was a beautiful waterfall.
The Sequoia’s cannot survive without fresh water.
The nearest water source is too far to travel on a daily basis. Fires have damaged a considerable amount of the forest in this area. Many fires continue to burn. Smoke still fills the sky.
My lungs hurt from breathing in bad air. I think most of the animals have moved to a safer location. Tony and Xu climbed to the top of the mountain today to look out over the surrounding area. Their journey took most of the day. I was a nervous wreck the entire time they were gone. Tony said the forest to the East looks like it received the least amount of damage from the meteors. The Sequoia’s will be looking for a new home in that direction.
Tony and I have decided not to follow the Sequoia’s to their new home. We have decided to return to Bear Country. My heart is pulling me home. I only hope that Bear Country survived the meteors and the earthquakes. I am feeling sad about having to leave Palesa. I was hoping I would be around to see her deliver her new baby. Palesa assures me her delivery is still weeks away. I am wondering if her baby will be a boy or a girl. Palesa has been a good friend. She is a strong woman. Xu is a good strong leader. I will miss them both. I will miss everyone here.
The sky is dark and gray. The air is thick with smoke and the ground keeps shaking. I am tired of trying to survive. I want to live and enjoy life. I feel as if I am carrying a black cloud over my head. No matter where I go, disaster follows me. The earthquakes started about the time we decided to leave the cave and return to the village. Everyone made it out of the cave safely. I don’t know how we all made it out but we did. The first quake started suddenly and seemed to last forever. It was difficult to stay standing. Tony and I were standing at the entrance of the cave when the first quake started. I don’t know how long we stood there (tried to stand there) looking at each other. I think it took me a moment to realize what was happening was actually an earthquake. At first, I thought maybe a large meteor had struck the ground nearby. If the world is going to end, I wish it would hurry up and do it.
The meteors and the earthquakes have destroyed most of the Sequoia village. Only a couple of the huts are still standing and they have major damage. We have been trying to gather supplies to rebuild but it is going to take time.
The smaller children cling to us and beg to be held constantly. When a baby fills your arms, it’s hard to do any work. Xu, Tony and a couple of the other senior gang members went out hunting but came back empty handed. They couldn’t even catch any fish. The stream that was wildly flowing a couple days ago had dwindled down to practically no water at all. We have a few supplies left but it will only last a couple of days. It would be nice to put some meat on the table instead of just berries, mushrooms and wild onions.
It has been nearly twenty-four hours since we noticed the last meteor cross the sky. I fell asleep last night sitting up, and leaning against Tony. I was hesitant about lying down. I hate bugs. I hate the thought of them crawling all over me. Tony said he would keep the bugs off. I told him I would only sleep a couple of hours and then he could sleep. I promised to keep the bugs off him too. Tony let me sleep the entire night. At least until a nightmare woke me (us) up. We have decided to stay in the cave until this evening. If no more meteors cross the sky, we are going to move back to the village.
I had a weird dream last night. I dreamt aliens had taken over the earth. They had snuck down to Earth during the meteor shower. Everyone was trying to hide by blending in with the aliens. Everyone seemed to have the proper clothes. I was stuck in the cave without my clothes. All I had was a blanket. All my clothes were gone or too small. I had no bra, no underwear and no shoes. Everyone could speak the alien language but me. I couldn’t understand a word they were saying. I couldn’t blend in. I must have been crying in my sleep. Tony woke me up just as the aliens prepared me as dinner. The aliens were going to eat me. None of my friends could help me because they were trying to blend in.
We barely avoided a disaster early this morning. A meteor fell within about 50 yards of the cave and started a fire. We were lucky the wind was blowing away from the cave and not towards it. We stop the fire before it climbed any of the bigger trees. Fires are everywhere. The air smells like smoke. I think we will be fine as long as the wind doesn’t change directions.
I hate this cave. It is dirty and smells. There is bat poop everywhere. I have never seen so many bugs in one place. I tried to clean a place for Tony and I to sleep but the bugs keep invading our space. I had a horrible time trying to sleep last night. I woke up several times with bugs crawling over my face. I don’t even want to think about the ones crawling over the other parts of me.
I think the worst of the meteor shower is over. I haven’t heard anything big hit the ground in hours. We see the occasional meteor crossing the sky. They are getting smaller. Xu and Palesa are not ready to let us go back to the village. I understand their concern but I hate these bugs.