I agreed to have Ken and Jack stay on, trading the trading of their skills and knowledge for lodging and protection over the Winter. I have to say that this was quite the experience. All of us, young and old alike, spent time with Jack and Ken. We were now in a state of mind, after all of the weirdness going on, that left us open to the idea of shamanism an answer to the inevitable issue of our technologies becoming unable to use due to power or other expendables running out. What happened, however, was not what I expected.
Sure, the guided shamanic journeys we took to encounter and become familiar with our ancestors took some getting used to. Unlike before, now these spirits could manifest physically so we need not rely on altered states and other methods that left reasonable doubt in place. No, we saw them; all of us, all at once. Look, sound, touch- all very real to us. We learned the truths of our pasts, truths left out of the histories, and we learned of the old gods and the past of contact with North America and all of that. It turned out that my choosing a longhouse design was no accident, but instead inspiration from an ancestor who also did so, and that was just one of the early revelations.
As for Ken, he told us more about the zeds, and of other emerging unnatural threats that he encountered--he dealt with a Japanese snow monster last Winter--and warned us of the common threat these things possessed: the ability to mimic living men and women, play on our natural affinities, and use them as a path to preying upon us. I didn't know at the time (but I should have), but he did carry on affairs with some of the women; his sons, in time, would be born and raised amongst us and in time transform into thing-eaters as he was.
The real breakthrough, however, was that some of our children came to the attention of certain spirits of the wind and water. These acquired some affinity with, and control over, those very natural elements. This was something new, something that neither Ken nor Jack had any experience with, so we had to work with it using what we knew. Because this was a mark of spiritual calling, as it were, we thought of it as a form of shamanism and proceeded accordingly. The secrets of the water spirits included healing and cleansing, something we needed; the secrets of the wind gave us ears we otherwise needed a radio for, and both of them had means of fighting by wielding wind or water as weapons- applied physics would find a new home here.
We didn't have much in the way of names for what we created over that Winter. All that we knew for certain was that we were now possessed with a supernatural connection of our own, and we would need it in the years to come when the fuels ran out, the cells ran dry, the ammunition was gone, and all of the associated technologies became so much useless junk.