Destruction Aftermath, Book 2a
Chapter 3

Copyright© 2012 by radio_guy

Janice here. We will report by radio but I'm keeping this diary, too. Poppa Jack and Momma Shirley worry too much. Bennie and I will be fine. We like to travel and enjoy being by ourselves. We left in early October with a little harvesting yet to be completed that Poppa could handle easily. We farmed but really aren't farmers. We both want to travel and explore. Poppa knew that and now he's heard it from us, too.

We left on horseback with a packhorse for radios and other items. We traveled lightly to allow us to cover more ground and give us mobility. We were horsed for the same reason. Roads are limiting, as are vehicles. Besides horses eat grass and trucks need gas or diesel. Power outages were now the rule rather than the exception so pumping fuel could be a problem. There were plenty of empty houses and buildings though we had a small tent if we wanted or needed it. We had dried food and would kill fresh meat and harvest a little volunteer crops as we went along.

We had breakfast at Mom and Dad's, which accomplished two things. It got us on the road and saved us having to cook and clean up. Bennie and I headed north over the hill at a comfortable pace and traveled steadily until around noon when we stopped for a quick lunch. We were in territory that we knew and around people who we knew and who knew us. After lunch, we crossed I-20 out of direct Preservation territory. This outlying area was friendly to us but was neither part of our community nor our protection. If the stag had attacked them, they would have been on their own by their own choice.

We talked with the farmers there who told us that all was quiet but deer were a problem. Bennie suggested that perhaps a deer hunt with some of our folk participating might help them. They were interested and I said we would broadcast it on the net this evening so they should expect contacts asking about a hunt.

We had offers to stop but went on north further to where the town of Cedartown is or was located. It is pretty country. We found one family that no one was aware existed. We reported them that evening along with their location and the possible deer hunt.

Cedartown was far enough north and a bit higher in elevation that it was a little cooler than home. A cold front must have come through and we were cool the next morning until we had a fire going for coffee and a light breakfast. We headed east toward Rockmart to look at it. It was a pretty little town in which the buildings used lots of rock in their facades. We were making no effort to mask our travel. We are wary by nature but would welcome old friends or new friends if there were any.

We had a quick, light lunch and moved on toward Dallas. Dallas was on the outskirts of Atlanta and considered part of the metro area before the Day. Bennie and I took an early halt to make a nice dinner and to review our maps and determine how we wanted to proceed around Atlanta. Since there were just the two of us, we wanted to avoid the troubles that always seemed to center around Atlanta proper since the Day. The middle of town seemed to attract people and problems. When they found nothing useable and no power there, then trouble resulted.

After talking about it, we decided to head around on the south side. Experience had shown that there were fewer people on the south side than north or central. We had been into Atlanta a lot and weren't really trying to find out anything about the Atlanta area. We just wanted to safely and quietly traverse the area.

We mapped out a route that would take us close but not too close. We would come to Powder Springs and then go south through Lithia Springs and then to I-285. We would take it south and east hoping for no trouble. We could pick up I-20 on the other side of town. Then, we would drop up and down from I-20 to look over the land.

We did just that and didn't see a soul. It was strange for me to see Atlanta empty. We saw smoke a couple of times but it was distant. Once, we heard a dog bark. It made for a long day but we got through Atlanta and headed out east only slowing for a quick lunch. Bennie and I agreed that we felt watched though probably weren't. It was such a big, empty city that you just felt that someone had to be there. We stopped on a golf course east of Atlanta just off I-20 and made camp with the tent. We didn't want to find an empty house since it was a clear night. We were both happy to see deer after we bedded down because that meant there were no overt signs of men.

In the morning, we left heading east at a more moderate pace. We didn't wander off I-20 much until we were beyond Conyers. We had had good weather and were enjoying the trip and our time alone. It gave me a chance to be an exhibitionist to the extent I was willing which was a fair bit.

When Bennie and I became serious, I had a long talk with Momma Shirley about sex. I was more experienced sexually than she but didn't know much about lovemaking. She helped me understand that the relationship between a husband and a wife was special and a wife could be a lady in public and a wanton hussy in private with her husband. I had enjoyed teasing boys before the Day though they got what they wanted most times. With Bennie, I teased him but let him get nowhere until we married. After my talk with Momma Shirley and my marriage to Bennie, our lovemaking when there was no one around to hear or see could be almost violent and quite noisy. He loved the differences that could occur. Some times, we would be quiet and loving. Other times, we would be hard and loud. I bore a few bruises and he some scratches and bruises from those sessions. It wasn't often but was intensely fantastic when we were in that mood.

I was in that zone today and was riding topless. There was no one but us and I enjoyed showing Bennie my body knowing that the excitement would carry over into the evening. It did and I hope we didn't scare the horses too much. The next day found me more ladylike, which turned out to be a good thing.

We had just stopped for lunch and saw smoke in the distance from a cooking fire. We got on our horses and rode north toward the smoke not trying to hide our presence. We entered a clearing with a house that was being kept up and which had a hearth in front of it for cooking. I could see a windmill a few hundred feet away and before us was a farm. There were four grown people standing around the fire as we came up. None of them were armed! This was different, as the world had become more violent just with animals not to mention occasional bad people.

Bennie and I rode up and I said, "Hello, I'm Janice and this is my husband, Bennie."

One of the men looked up and said, "I'm Charlie and she's Teresa, she's Marissa, and he's Harry. We are farming here. Where are you folks from?"

"We're from Preservation, a new community close to Carrollton. Bennie and I are on an exploration trip to look around on its behalf. We're headed eventually for Augusta and then will turn south. I'm surprised you aren't armed. We have had troubles with wild animals on our farms."

"We try not to carry arms. We're peace loving people and just want to farm our little piece of land and be left alone by the world."

"Well, there's not much world left in the way of people any more. We're also farmers though some of us have started some basic iron working and the like. Many of the members of Preservation were engineers before the Day. We have electrical power for most of our community though not from the old power grid. We are trying to live peacefully with all we meet though are prepared to protect ourselves. We recently had to confront an animal with strange mental powers. I don't know what or who else is out in the world but we have found both good and bad people and animals."

The lady identified as Teresa said, "Why don't you join us? We were preparing lunch."

"Thank you." Bennie said, "We saw your smoke as we were stopping to eat." He dismounted. I dismounted and we took the horses over to a shaded spot and gave them food. There was a creek close by. We hobbled them after removing their bridles and saddles. They nickered at us as we went back to the fire.

As we ate together, they told us their stories that were like many others. We reported them in later by radio. I recorded them in this diary.

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