Friday, November 21, 2014

The New Barbarians-08

The last of the Winter chill faded by the time we arrived. We were well into the northern wilderness, where the border--such as it was--between the United States and Canada used to be. This was once the Boundary Waters, and deep within it we would settle. We followed a known path deep into the interior, eventually leaving our vehicles behind and going the rest of the way on foot. Because we had little concern of the zeds catching up to us, especially since I switched destination sites after the last turning, we concentrated on getting things to the settlement site. Our vehicles we used as an outpost at first, and then build camouflaged shacks to hide them from others once we shifted entirely to the site.

The site had a clear build plan: first we set up yurts, following a plan I got from Bob, and a pallisade around a lakeside area. We cleared paths to nearby clearings which we repurposed as farming plots and built up wooden frames so we could easily keep them clear in the Winter. Clothing lines would also double as the basis for food drying racks. We set up solar cells, water purification and storage tanks, sheds, and everything we needed right away within the first few weeks. After that we began a longhouse, following a historical model I knew from the old days. That would take felling some trees and adapting classic log cabin methods, but we did it anyway.

We managed to get the frame of the longhouse ready by high Summer, but we had to get some distance above the lake to do it lest we get flooding in the basement--and we did not need that--which would ruin its value as a storm shelter and low-tech storage area for stuff needing some degree of climate control. It took a good amount of work on the inside, using old-time methods, to make the log cabin style of longhouse complete and ready for all four seasons. It was, truly, a long house in the ancient style; one big room, with some of us shifting to making smaller things like chairs and tables after that while the rest of us moved most of our work back outside.

Everything was done, in terms of the preliminary work--the stuff we needed to do to get settled properly--by the end of Summer. We had food in the plots coming up, supplemented by the fish we took from the lake and what grew in the wild. So much of our daily life revolved around preparing for the Winter now that the zeds shifted to the back of our mind; it was something we thought of only when we dealt with health and safety, rather than as a clear-and-present threat to our lives. I was far more concerned about our site's long-term viability by this time, to be certain, but the zeds never truly left my mind.

We hunted and scavenged widely in the Autumn, and we again filled our larders and kept the women and children busy with preserving and cataloging all of our resources while the men and I prepared our Winter provisions for getting around the land we claimed as our domain. Our migration was now complete; this is now Anderson Hold, and I am the chieftain of the Anderson Clan.

As we decided to mark the occasion with a well-earned feast, we had a visitor. A man, a single solitary man, with the skin as white as a blizzard and sunken yellow eyes as well a hairless body. He said he was a man named "Ken", and he tracked a bunch of zeds coming this way- and ate all of them. This got my attention, for certain.

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