Authors: Everette Morgan
By Everette Morgan
All rights reserved
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious and figments of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.
Proofread and edited by Janice Morgan
Cover photo by Savannah Morgan
Table of Contents
It had been a week since Marcus had crashed in the Shenandoah National Park. Wynd still couldn’t come to terms with it. She repeatedly had Jocelyn search the area with drones and in those seven days there had not been one single sign that Marcus could be alive. Based on all the statistics and facts that Jocelyn provided for her, Wynd knew that Marcus should be dead but she just couldn’t accept that. Deep in her heart she felt that if anyone could have survived that crash it would be Marcus and she refused to give up. Kim had already stopped her twice from taking the MAV and going to check for herself.
Wynd was trying to stop but she still cried herself to sleep every night. The first time she had truly felt safe after the virus hit was when she was with him. He was her safety net. She knew he was there and would catch her if she fell… and now he was gone. As she rolled these things through her mind, instead of giving up, she became more determined to believe that he was alive.
As she went about her chores in the house in abject silence, no one tried talking to her. She knew that in part they were grieving also but they were also trying to let her work through the grief. Although they were extremely upset at first, the children were quickly getting back to their old selves. All the Christmas gifts helped with that although Little Madison would still ask when Marcus was coming home. She still missed her ‘Mawcus’.
It was New Year’s Day and some snow had fallen. Looking outside at the beautiful snow that blanketed the area, Wynd thought the snow was at least a couple of inches deep. Danielle and Lauren had taken all the children outside and they were playing in the snow. ‘Wendy’ the weather girl was calling for at least eight more inches before the end of the week. That was a lot of snow for this area even though they were on a mountain. Wendy provided historical data on the weather occasionally and her statistics said that a century ago it would only snow a couple of times a year. The weather patterns had been changing over the last century and snow was becoming most commonplace. Wynd thought about going outside but changed her mind and worked on cleaning the house. David was still resting in Marcus’ room from his ordeal and Kim was there with him. Virginia was working in the kitchen as usual.
As Wynd was sweeping the dining room she looked up and saw Virginia looking at her.
“Would you like to talk about it?” asked Virginia.
Wynd stopped sweeping, looked at her a minute, and then shook her head ‘no’.
“Are you sure? It really helps to talk about it,” said Virginia.
Wynd shook her head again and continued sweeping.
“Well… okay. I’m here if you need me,” said Virginia as she started to turn away. Then Virginia turned back and held out her arms. Wynd paused for a second, dropped the broom, and ran into Virginia’s arms. Virg just held her and let her cry.
“You know I had two girls. You remind me a lot of them. I know how bad the pain is that you are going through. I lost them both to the virus. Tom and I grieved together over them. It really helps for someone to be there to share your load. I wish you had got a chance to meet Tom,” said Virginia as tears welled up in her eyes. Wynd hugged her tighter as they both grieved their losses.
After Wynd calmed down, Virginia asked Wynd if she would like to help her in the kitchen. Wynd nodded her head yes and they went to work on cooking lunch for the household.
A few days later Kim walked into the living room and there was Wynd doing the same thing she did every morning. She had Jocelyn running a scan with the drone around the area that Marcus had crashed in. Kim had tried to talk her out of continuing the search. It had now been over two weeks since the crash. There had been nothing to indicate that Marcus might have survived. They had run hundreds of scans over the area with no luck. It was like hunting for a needle in a haystack. Shenandoah National Park was almost two hundred thousand acres.
In the process of searching, they had also found a problem that Jocelyn couldn’t identify. For some reason a large circular area covering over two thousand acres, was being jammed. All radio signals or any type of transmissions could not penetrate that area. This prevented Jocelyn from remotely flying the drone into that area. She had almost lost their best drone figuring this out.
Wynd had circled the area numerous times with the drone but never saw anything. The only footage they had of the area was satellite images. Wynd had pored over these countless times with no luck.
Although previously Kim had tried to talk her out of it, she now realized that Wynd would not be swayed and remained supportive of her and actually offered suggestions from time to time. Kim knew that eventually, in time, Wynd would come to the realization that he was gone and would finally get on with her life.
Kim walked over and sat down on the couch next to her. Wynd gave her a half-hearted smile as she sat down.
“Have you found anything today?” asked Kim.
“No. Nothing,” said Wynd.
Kim started to say something but Wynd started speaking again.
“Kim, I just can’t get over it and I have tried. I have tried hard but it always comes back to one thing. Deep down I know he is alive. I don’t know why I believe that but I do. It won’t go away. I just can’t shake it. I know you think I’m crazy but I’m not. I know how this looks and I can understand what everyone is thinking about me. I’m asking you to just trust me if you can. Please? Will you please trust me?” asked Wynd.
“I want him to be alive as much as you do Wynd. But…” said Kim as she started but was interrupted.
Wynd took hold of Kim’s hands and looked into her eyes.
“No buts. Trust me. Marcus is alive out there somewhere and I’m going to find him,” pleaded Wynd. “Help me please, Kim. I need someone to help me please. Will you do it?”
Despite her feelings, Kim finally relented. Good or bad, she was going to see this through with Wynd.
“Okay. I’ll help you. What do you need me to do?” asked Kim.
“I have a drone near the crash site. Could you look over the crash again and make sure I didn’t miss anything?” asked Wynd.
“Sure. Jocelyn, let’s do an up-close scan of the crash site. I want the drone to scan everything in fifty yards of the crash as close as you can fly that thing,” said Kim. “I know the area is heavily wooded but as long as the weather doesn’t get too rough and Jocelyn can maintain control, we will look at everything.”
Deep in the forest, a dirty, haggard looking man moved through the deep snow and threw several more pieces of wood through the slight opening in the rocks into the small cave. He had made several of these trips today. Tied to his belt were two rabbits that he had managed to snare. Even with all the dinosaurs that roamed the world, the rabbit population had continued to thrive. That was a lucky thing for him. Although he wasn’t eating great, at least he was eating.
He finally gathered enough wood to make it through the night. He slipped into the small cave and began to work on a fire. He worked and worked and finally got the fire to blazing. He took some of the larger pieces of wood he had gathered and added them to the fire. He went back to the little entrance of the cave and completely blocked the entrance with rocks and some pieces of metal he had picked up from that helicopter crash site. After that, he sat down in front of the fire. Leaning toward the fire, he rubbed his hands briskly and held them close to the fire. Letting the heat radiate through them, he glanced around the small cave. It was a small cave not much bigger than a small shed. Although small, it was just what he needed. He was able to block the small entrance and this enabled him at least some small level of protection. There were some small dinosaurs that could fit through the entrance but not many and the metal and rocks kept them out.
He set to work on skinning the rabbits. Earlier, when he had found them in his snares, he had field dressed them. Rabbits were easy to skin so it was only a matter of minutes before he had one of them roasting over the fire. After cleaning the other one, he put it in the small preservation container that he had found in the helicopter that had crashed. He was going to save it for later. He had scavenged about everything he could out of the helicopter that was useable. The thermal blankets he found in there had been a godsend.
He cooked the rabbit for about twenty minutes. Satisfied that the rabbit was well done or at least well enough done for him, he took the stick with the rabbit on it and lifted it off the fire. He burned himself several times before the rabbit was cool enough to tear off some meat. Hungrily he ate every piece of meat he could get off the rabbit. It was delicious. Satisfied, he sat back and watched the fire burn. It didn’t look like the weather was going to change any time soon. He had been in this cave for over a week or at least he thought it had been that long. A person starts to lose track after a few days. He had thought about trying to hike out of the forest but he wasn’t sure how far it was to the nearest town plus this area was heavily wooded and the mountainous terrain was hard to traverse.
Leaning back away from the fire, he wrapped himself in one of the thermal blankets he had found in the helicopter. Between the fire and the thermal blanket, he was getting nice and cozy. As the fire popped and cracked, he drifted off into sleep and didn’t wake up until the middle of the night. Around two in the morning, he poked around in the ashes of the fire and added wood to it. He could tell that the temperature had dropped even lower as he slept. After he had the fire stoked, he lay back down and slept until morning.
In the morning it was bitterly cold. He could only guess that the temperature was in the teens or lower. He got up, moved around, and worked on getting the fire blazing again. He glanced upward through the opening in the rocks and looked at the sky. As the sky began to lighten, he could tell that there was going to be more snow today. He went back to tending the fire and getting ready to cook the other rabbit he had. His mouth was watering the entire time he was roasting the rabbit above the fire. After he finished roasting the rabbit to perfection or at least what he thought was perfection, Marcus leaned back against one of the rocks and devoured the rabbit. He washed it down with some of the water he had gotten from the stream that flowed nearby.
After eating, he got up and went about his morning stretches. His body ached and his shoulder was very sore but he finally felt like he was on the mend. He still didn’t remember how he obtained all the bruises, cuts, pain, and soreness but he had an idea. In fact, the thing that puzzled him most was that he couldn’t remember anything past two weeks ago. As he continued stretching, he started going over the events in his head one more time to try and piece together what had happened.
Although he wasn’t positive, he thought he was the one that had crashed the helicopter. He awoke in this cave and he was freezing, bleeding, battered, and bruised. Using a thermal blanket and flare he found in the backpack he had with him, he had started a fire and survived the night.