Tony looks bad

Marty removed the stethoscope from his ears. “Encourage fluids and keep him comfortable. There’s nothing else we can do.”

Tony was in and out of consciousness. Madie understood the situation was dire but she wasn’t about to give up on her best friend and let him die. She leaned over to kiss Tony on his forehead before firmly stating to Marty. “I don’t care what it costs this gang; I don’t care who you bribe or what you have to steal. Don’t let him die!”

Tony was dying; he would most likely die within the next day or so. Not wanting to partake in an emotional discussion with Madie, Marty simply replied, “The girls and I will go to the main library and do some research.”

Madie picked her diary up off the crate next to Tony’s cot. “I’m going to get some sleep. It’s been a long night. If anything changes feel free to wake me.”

Thoughts of slumber filled Madie’s head as she walked down the 2A hall toward her room. She walked most of the way with her eyes closed. A miscalculation in distance and position in the hall caused her to stumble into the water fountain. “God dammit”, she yelled louder than she intended. It wasn’t going to be a good day; she could feel it in her bones. Madie stopped to rub her wounded knee and caught a glance of the community bulletin board. Evan and JT had put up the new Fliers. In big red letters across the top were the words “Fall Festival”.

If she hadn’t been so tired and worried about her dying friend, she would have been more enthusiastic about the message. The Festival would be held in Liberty Park. The invite included everyone in the local area. Everyone loved the Fall Festival; it was a reprieve from the madness. As a sign of goodwill, all the local gangs and tribes would lay down their weapons. For three days, the fighting would stop, disputes set aside for another day or forgotten all together.

Madie was unaware JT had walked up behind her, she was staring at the flier has happy thoughts of last year’s event filled her head.

“Are you going?” JT said innocently as he reached to touch Madie’s shoulder.

Not hearing the question but the touch of a possible intruder, Madie spun around and threw a punch.

JT ducked and avoided the first hit. The second landed square on his left shoulder, “Hey! It’s me!” he cried out as he deflected yet another blow.

The familiar sounding voice caused Madie to stop flailing her arms in what was quickly becoming an out of control windmill. “JT, why the hell are you sneaking up on me?”

“I didn’t sneak! I’m on guard duty.” he waived his flashlight around as proof of his duties. “I noticed you were staring at the poster and stop to see if you were going.”

Madie felt foolish and a bit embarrassed. “I’m sorry”, she said apologetically. “I hope I haven’t given you a bruise.”

JT snapped his flashlight onto his belt. “It’s Ok, I’ll be fine, don’t worry about it.”

I really, really am sorry,” Madie said as she turned around to look at the flier again. “I love fall festival, don’t you?”

“Yeah!” JT replied as he glanced at his watch and suddenly realized he needed to be somewhere else. “Madie, I gotta go, I was supposed to meet Evan in the admin office like five minutes ago.”

“No problem, I’ll see you later…and JT don’t sneak up on anyone else.”

Madie walked the remaining few steps to her room and fell onto her awaiting bed for a couple of hours of sleep. It was almost sunrise, a cue for Scat to start wreaking havoc around the school. If she were going to get some sleep, she would have to do it fast.

Journal Entry 5

I Went to the market plaza today to see if I could find a pair of new shoes(old shoes). The ones I have are coming apart at the seams. I couldn’t find any I could fit my feet into. I guess I will wear these a little longer. While I was shopping I over heard some people discussing the central Bobcats. They are causing trouble all over town. I am not usually afraid of anything but the Hulk seriously worries me. He is so evil. People say he is that way because his father was always beating on him, especially if he lost a tournament. I don’t know if this is true or if it is just a rumor kids spread around to explain his meanness. I do know that he never seems to have remorse about his actions. He actually enjoys hurting people.

Madie

Journal Entry 4

I Dreamt about being home again last night. I swear I could almost feel and smell the clean sheets. It felt like a weekend. One of those mornings when you had a great nights sleep. A familiar smell wakes you. My mom was in the kitchen making her famous biscuits. I miss those biscuits. I miss the strawberry jam. I don’t know what woke me from my dream but it was a let down when I realized it wasn’t real.

Madie

Journal Entry 3

 

I take back the “I’m bored” thing. We held a meeting tonight to discuss what could be done about our missing fuel. The consensus was nothing. Asking for the fuel back wasn’t an option, taking the fuel back wasn’t an option, although two people who shall remain nameless thought we should storm central and take it back. Can you say Matt and Jonas. This was voted down because of the possibility of casualties, on our side. We decided to install a security detail during the night hours. Everyone over the age of 12 would be required to keep watch at two hour intervals. Our resources are few and we don’t need to be loosing anything else. We have strength in numbers and we can protect ourselves when necessary.

At the meeting we also discussed the up and coming festival. Like last year we plan to have a feast, music and games. The Journal club will be putting up fliers to announce the event to the community. Everyone is invited, except for central of course. With luck they won’t grace us with their presence at this year’s event.

 

Madie

A Meeting of the Minds

Shortly after the world fell into chaos, Matt, Jonas, Lisa and Madie took refuge in the abandoned Bear Country High School. Within a few years, their little gang of misfits grew from four members to more than three dozen. As a member of the original four, Madie was elected leader. There was no fighting or posturing for the role of leader, no one else wanted the responsibility.

Madie tried to make good sound decisions. The only person who ever opposed those decisions was Matt. Madie was certain Matt caused conflict for the fun of it. Madie called a meeting to ask for volunteers to travel to Wolf Valley to replace the fuel stolen by the Bobcats.

“Thanks for coming.” Madie said as she welcomed everyone to the meeting. “I don’t want to take up too much of  your time. I only have a couple things on the agenda. The Bobcats have taken our winter fuel. We need to replace what we have lost. I need three or four volunteers to travel to Wolf Valley.

In a display of “I am king of the warriors.” Matt jumps on top of a table. “Why travel all the way to Wolf Valley. We know where are fuel is. The Central Bobcats have it. He raised his fist into the air, “Lets take back what’s ours!”

The calm silent room broke into cheers of “Fight, Fight, FIGHT!”

“Wait…Stop…Quiet!” Madie yelled. “Who hasn’t seen what the Bobcats did to Tony? He’s one of our best fighters. The Bobcats almost turned him into hamburger. Most of us in this room couldn’t fight our way out of a paper bag! You’re all idiots with a death wish”.

Madie took a deep breath. Her face was on fire. “I know everyone wants to pummel Central and take back what’s ours. I want that too but we are not strong enough. Risking the lives of everyone in this school is stupid. We don’t need to fight Central. We can travel to Wolf Valley and replace the fuel.

Marty spoke up, “Wolf Valley is 8 miles from here. Longer if we travel around the Red Hyena territory instead of going thru it.

“Look, I know it’s a pain and inconvenient,” Madie said as she jumped onto the table next to Matt “If it were any other gang or local tribe I would say ,Let’s fight and take back what’s ours!”

“Why don’t we fight?” Matt said in reply.

“Because if we fight, one or more of us will die. I don’t want to die. Do you want to die, Matthew?” Madie said stepping up face to face with her good friend.

“Why don’t we vote on it?” Cecelia said from across the room.

“Yes, why don’t we vote on it, Mad-del-line?” Matt said in reply.

Madie thru her hands up into the air. “Fine, we’ll vote. Everyone that wants to fight Central in a fight to the death to get back out fuel raise your hands.”

Matt, Jonas and few others raised their hands. JT counted out loud and wrote the number 6 on the black board.

Madie smiled and cleared her throat. “All those in favor of making a trip to Wolf Valley, please raise your hands.” Madie looked at the sea of hands. “Looks like I’m gonna need those volunteers, Matthew!”

Irritated with the vote, Matt, Jonas and their supporters storm out of the room.

 

Pete comes for a visit

Wearing his over-sized combat boots, Scat stomped up and down the 2A hall singing, “Madie, Madie, Madie.”

Madie pulled her mom’s quilt over her head and tried to ignore the noise.

“Madie….I’m hungry!” the boy yelled as he pounded his fists on her door.

“Go eat a potato!” she yelled from the comfort of her bed, “I’m not your mother!”

“But I don’t like potatoes!” Scat responded. “I want eggs!” His voice sounded pathetic and needy. Tony catered to the boy’s every need and treated the gutter-rat as if he were helpless toddler. The boy’s neediness drove Madie crazy.

Irritated with the boy, Madie climbed out of bed, flung open her door and leaned into the boys face, “I don’t care! Gutter-rats don’t get to be choosy; especially ones that enjoy disturbing my sleep. Now go away and leave me alone!” Madie gave the boy a stern look before adding, “Disturb me again and you die!”

Before Madie could slam the door in the boys face, She hears a familiar voice, “Mornin, Sunshine”, It was Pete.

Pete did his best to keep the lawlessness around Bear Country to a minimum, a difficult task considering the circumstances.

Madie glanced at the clock on the wall. It was much later that she thought. “Afternoon, Pete, How you been?”

“I’m well,” Pete said, “Sounds like  you’re off to a cheerful start.”

Madie rolled her eyes and motions for Pete to enter her room. “Better lock me in my room now. I’m gonna kill that boy one day”.

Pete stepped into Madie’s room and sat on the edge of her desk. “The Hulk and his goons antics are getting closer to Bear Country. I’m thinking we should have an official security force for Bear Country. With your permission, I would like to throw my name into the hat as a candidate for the position.”

“Oh, Pete!, I can’t think of anyone more qualified, especially since you and your boys already take care of much of our security needs.”

Pete smiled, “I’m just wanting to make it official.”

Madie hugged Pete, “I’ll schedule a meeting. We can take care of this right away.”

Still hungry, Scat returns to Madie’s room holding four eggs he stole from the farmers market. “If you cook these, I’ll share.”

Madie couldn’t turn down the boy’s offer. She hadn’t seen or eaten an egg in weeks.

Journal Entry 2


Scat (Victor)

There’s trouble in bear country.
Scat came running down the admin hall before sun up this morning yelling at the top of his lungs.
“Get up, Get up. They took our fuel. They took our fuel. “
I jumped off the couch and tackled him in the hallway.
“Ok, Ok, Ok, we get the point.” I yelled back.
By this time everyone residing in the admin hall was awake and standing in the hallway. Sleepy eyes everywhere and no one was in a very joyful mood.
Scat tried to squirm out of my hold.
“Tony, …Tony’s hurt. They beat him up.”

TonyTony is our engineer. He lives in the basement. He has been my friend(sort of) since before the world turned upside down. We didn’t run in the same circles but we had several classes together. He always asked my opinions on homework assignments. I used to wish he would ask me out on a date. Unfortunately, he was dating a cheerleader. He isn’t very sociable these days but he is very good at fixing and maintaining what ever we break.
I ordered Scat to stay put in the admin hallway and grabbed some muscle. When I say muscle I am referring to Matt and Jonas. We headed toward the basement.

The basement was a mess and Tony was slumped against the far wall holding his stomach, bleeding from his head, and his left eye was swollen shut. Tony made an attempt to open his good eye as soon as he heard us coming. He adjusted the way he was leaning against the wall and let out a cry of pain.
“I tried to reason with them.” Tony spit out a mouth full of blood.
“They took all of our fuel. Oh Geez! I hurt.”
Tony said it was Central. I honestly was not surprised. They have been giving us trouble for ages.
The Central Bobcats were from the East end of Lafayette Blvd we lived on the west. We were rivals in football, basketball and volleyball. Our bands competed against each other in competitions before the world was turned upside down. The big difference between central and us is that we are not a bunch of thieves and bullies. The leader of the Central bobcats is a former high school wrestling champ. He is mean and leads by fear and regularly has his goons beat up people for fun. The kids call him the hulk after the comic book character. He doesn’t barter for what he needs. He has his goons take what he wants.
Matt and I leaned over to help Tony onto his cot. I told Tony he shouldn’t have tried to stop central from taking what they wanted. Just then, Scat ran up behind me holding a first aid kit.
Scat is such a tiny little guy. I yelled at him for leaving the admin hallway. He gets into more trouble.
Scat glared back at me. “Tony didn’t try to stop them. They beat him up afterwards.”
I looked at Tony and he just nodded in agreement.

At that moment, Matt and Jonas both blew a gasket and started ranting a raving about getting even. Love these guys but they get hot under the collar fast and don’t always think things thru..
We have some big guys in Bear Country but we are not a match for the goons at Central.

 

Madie

The Central Bobcats break into Bear Country

Get up! Get up! Scat yelled as he ran up the 2A stairs in his over-sized combat boots. The boy was a constant nuisance and had a bad habit of waking everyone up before dawn for the attention. Madie slid deeper beneath her blankets and tried to ignore the noise.

“MADIE…PLEASE!” the boy yelled as he banged on her door.

Expecting another false alarm, Madie threw open her door and grab the little pest by the arm. She squeezed hard in an attempt to cause the boy pain. “Ok, we get the point!”

JT and Evan occupy the room next to Madie’s. Irritated with the frequent nightly false alarms, they stepped up behind the boy holding a rope and masking tape ready to hog-tie the boy and toss him into a rat infested dumpster.

“Can we not lock him in a closet somewhere?” Lisa begs from her doorway.

A dozen others agreed with whistles and grunts of irritability. Three nights within the last week, the boy had woken everyone up before dawn.

“Tony’s hurt!” The 8-year-old sobbed.

Madie looked deep into the boy’s eyes for any indications the dramatics on display were a fake. “What happened to Tony?”

Scat wiped his tears and runny nose on his shirtsleeve several times, “The Bobcats beat him up!”

The Davis brothers could read Madie like a book. Before she could say, “grab your weapons” Matt and Jonas were at her side.

The Bobcats were gone by the time the Madie, Matt and Jonas arrived in the basement. Tony’s neat and tidy work-space resembled the aftermath of a tornado. The Bobcats broke what they could, threw tools around the room and knocked over benches. The winter fuel stored in the utility shed, stolen.

Tony was slumped against the far wall, beaten but in good humor. “It’s the Calvary!” he said coughing up a mouthful of blood.

Madie squatted down next to her broken friend to assess his injuries “You should have ran, one person can’t fight an army of thugs.”…….

 

Journal Entry 1

 

 

I finally found a new journal to write in. I found it at the plaza. I paid a hefty price. But I desperately needed something to write my thoughts down in. You would think that a person living inside a school building would have access to paper. Not in this school. Except for the stash the journal club keeps under lock and key, the only paper in this school is the student records. This paper of course is already written on and serves no useful purpose to me.

Not a lot to tell about Bear Country except that things have been quiet for weeks. I am a little bored. Actually really bored. Everyone is off doing there own thing. I was hoping maybe I could get someone to play a game of cards. Spades perhaps. It is a fun game but no one was interested. I even asked the library trio Marty, Gretchen and Cecelia. Day in and day out they sit in the media center and read. Surely, they could use a diversion. They weren’t interested. Marty said they were doing research. This sounded somewhat interesting so I asked if I could help. They all three looked at me and in unison said “No”. Before I knew what was happening they pushed me out of the media center. And they locked the door. Those three are a wealth of information. A little odd and secretive and they are rarely seen alone but they can be very helpful at times. I am only a little hurt that they didn’t want to play with me. Oh well, their loss.

The agriculture club is trying their best to supply us with a variety of fruits and vegetables but an unfortunate accident with a bug infestation has damaged much of their crops. In an effort to keep us from starving to death the agriculture club has asked for volunteers. They need people to help with the crops that are left. I will be spending much of my time next week helping in the fields. Oh joy!! It’s not that I mind helping out. I just hate manual labor. Better to help now than to starve later.

Madie

A New Diary

The mall plaza was crowded. Every gang and solitary drifter from who knows how far away had gathered to trade. Madie stood on the edge of the blacktop and stared at the once prestigious two-story shopping center.

Rundown and dilapidated gangs still used the plaza for commerce but you entered at your own risk. It was well-known, a weapon and fighting skills were necessary or you didn’t come out alive.

Makeshift kiosks and tables line the rows of the adjacent parking lot; the less adventurous shopped in the open. Madie had always been one of the less adventurous. Her objective for the day was to search the tables of junk and with any luck find a diary or notebook worthy of her thoughts.

As she stepped into the crowd, the putrid stench of gutter-rats attacks her nose. The little thieves were everywhere. Cunning and sneaky they stole in well-organized packs. The sight of their sad dirty faces and filthy fingers made even the strongest of people cringe. Madie had been the recipient of their pilfering more than once over the years. She hated the little thieves.

As she browsed thru the junk, a disturbance catches her eye. At the end of the row is an overturned table and a girl on the ground holding a crying baby. Madie slips her hands into her pockets to protect her meager possessions and backs away. “It’s the gutter-rats,” she says to herself. Misdirection was one of their favorite tools. Their dirty fingers slip into the pockets of several unsuspecting bargain hunters.

Several rows of tables lined with junk later, Madie sees a diary among the useless garbage. Her first thought was “Oh, my God!” then she wipes her eyes and stares for a moment. Shoving people aside, she grab the book from the table with more zest than was necessary to assure a fair trade. “How much?”

The boy behind the table adjusts his baseball cap and prepares to play hardball, “Whatcha, gotta trade?”

Madie retrieved two batteries from her pocket. “I’ve got these!” She tried to act as if the batteries were made of gold.

The boy looked at the batteries and rolled his eyes “Two batteries? You’re offerin two batteries? “He snatched the diary from her hands. “No deal!”

Madie took a deep breath and pulled out a small bouncy ball, “How about this? She bounced the ball on the ground and caught it a few times. “You could bounce this thing all day and never get bored.”

The thought of not getting the diary sent a sharp pain through her stomach. “Please…! What’s a boy gonna do with a diary?”

The boy thought for a moment. It was true he had no use for the book. He couldn’t read or write. “Fine..take it!”…………..

 

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