The Union Creek Journal

A Chronicle of Survival

January 17, 2015: Panic Button

OK, I’m not quite hitting the panic button yet, but I’m pretty sure we just started a war with a well-armed drug lord.

Based on Marta’s information from a couple days ago, this Fernando Hernandez guy is pretty well organized.  It seems that he also has a pretty big … army is the right word for it, I guess.  I’m not sure how well-trained they are but numbers can make up for a pretty significant deficit in the training column.  On the other hand, skill and training can be a major force multiplier.  Unfortunately, I would not describe my family as skilled operators.

Yesterday, we had another family meeting.

D.J. has all of his booby traps in place.  Man, I love that kid.  He sketched out a map of the farm and marked the locations of the different traps.  The map will be very helpful to those pulling guard duty until they become familiar with all the locations.

Ricky is patched up – minus one digit.  Laura also gave Marta a once-over and stitched up a couple cuts that were particularly nasty.  There wasn’t much Laura could do about the broken elbow and nose other than put the arm in a sling.  Laura’s a little concerned about broken ribs, as Marta’s torso was very sensitive to touch, and the prospect of internal injuries.  We don’t have any way of knowing for sure.  I do know that Marta’s fall down the stairs was pretty nasty and her color is not particularly good.

We went back to the deserted farm house yesterday and rounded up the coms equipment.  We also gave the place another really good once-over before we torched the house for a funeral pyre for the girls and the baby.  We pushed the vehicles close enough to the house that the fire eventually consumed them as well.

No one that came along to help with the funeral pyre recognized the girls.  It was good that everyone saw them, though, so they understand what these animals did to them.  I haven’t had the chance to ask Marta about the girls, but my guess is that they were holed up somewhere between here and Norfolk and that Marta and the rest of her gang discovered them on their trip in this direction.

I’m not sure I want to know the full details of what went on during that trip or after the gang took up residence in the abandoned house.  I might go off again.  My family is already on edge around me now it seems.  Must … remember … New Year’s … resolution.

At our family meeting, I debriefed everyone on what happened at the place north of the Hansons’.

Joseph related my “torture” routine to everyone at the meeting.  There really weren’t any family members who wanted to hear it, but he went ahead anyway.  His detailed description of what happened certainly didn’t help my family feel any more comfortable around me.

Right now, I’m not sure what everyone’s reactions are to what I did.  I think deep in everyone’s heart, they know I did what needed to be done.  I did what I had to in order to protect them.  Of course, now it’s looking like we’ll all have to do a lot more.  I’m not sure many members of the family are ready for that.

We also discussed our go-forward strategy regarding the Hernandez gang.

I’m guessing that Marta and her bunch reported in on some sort of regular interval.  Hernandez may not send anyone after the first missed report but two or three missed reports is probably going to bring a scouting party in our direction to figure out what happened.

When the scouting party arrives and finds the house and vehicles burned, one of two things will probably happen.  Either they will assume that one of the people in the house was cooking up some meth and burned the place to the ground or they’ll figure that someone attacked the house and burned it to the ground.

If the scouting party comes to the conclusion that the gang accidentally burned the house down themselves, their search might end there.  If the scouts are sophisticated enough to figure out that the house was purposely torched, they’re probably going to continue looking around the area until they find us.  Although they may not be 100% sure that we torched the place, an altercation will most likely ensue.

For the mean time, we all agreed that it behooves us to establish an observation outpost near the abandoned house to keep an eye on things.

We’re really stretching thin.  We need more people – people we can trust.

That brings me back to Marta and the boys.  Obviously, we can’t allow any of Hernandez’s scouts to find them here.

I made two suggestions at the family meeting.  My first suggestion was to “imprison” them somewhere on the farm.  The up-side to that plan was that no one had to do the dirty job of disposing of them.  The down-side to that plan was that someone – actually, several people – would have to take on the time-consuming job of their care and feeding.

My second suggestion was more pragmatic, in my mind.  An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth.  In some way, all three of them had a hand in the deaths of the two girls and the baby.  I’ve always been a strong supporter of capital punishment.

As I broached the subject of the second plan at the family meeting, nearly everyone gave me a look of horror.

“Eventually, we’re going to have to re-build society beyond the borders of our farm,” I began to explain myself.  “A part of that rebuilding process will be establishing laws and appropriate punishments just as those that came before us did.”

Everyone knew where I was going.  Everyone knew what needed to be done.  No one had the stomach for it.

Joseph spoke up, “Heather and I will take on the responsibility of guarding them.”

“What about your hilltop and yard guard duties?” I asked.  “What about your daily chores?  How will you keep up with all of those?”

Joseph looked defeated.  He probably thought that pulling guard duty on prisoners would relieve him of his other responsibilities.

No way.  Not in my mind.

I’m pretty sure the look on Heather’s face was one of relief.

The family tossed the subject around for several minutes.  Finally, we came up with an alternate plan.  The boys would be sent back to the Gunters’.  Jake, who is pretty well mended now, would be responsible for them.  He brought them here, we reasoned, so they were his responsibility.

Marta was a bit more of a problem.  First, she was an adult.  The family held her fully responsible for her actions.  The boys were both under the age of eighteen and, as such, were granted a bit more grace by most of the members of the family.  Second, Marta had quite obviously been directly involved in killing one of the two girls at the abandoned farm house.  She was covered in blood.  When she attacked me she was still wielding the knife that was most likely used to slash and stab the poor girl to death.

Guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Perhaps not, but certainly the preponderance of the evidence suggested so.

No one but me was willing to execute Marta.  I had seen, first hand, what she had done to that poor girl so I had no qualms about putting a 10mm round in the back of her head.  The rest of the family was pretty uncomfortable with that.  Joseph adamantly protested against killing an unarmed individual that posed no immediate threat.  He went on for several minutes about the lack of a justice system and the lack of unequivocal evidence proving Marta’s guilt.

I got tired of listening to him after a while and started cleaning my fingernails with my pocket knife.  He bears watching.  Too soft.  Too much of a sympathizer.

Ultimately, the family decided that Marta would also be sent back to the Gunters’ but that she would have her wrists and ankles zip-tied at all times.

I sort of liked the fairness of Jake having to take care of Marta and her boys after bringing them to our doorstep.

Time to draw up the schedule for the remote observation post and continue our defensive preparations.  It’s starting to snow again but I don’t think that’s the only storm that’s coming.

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11 thoughts on “January 17, 2015: Panic Button

  1. Prior to the meeting I would have suggested dragging the dead mexicans to the outskirts of their farm for 2 reasons.

    1. Easier for the coyotes to find.
    2. Harder for the scouts to find.

    At the family meeting, if I were there, I’d have suggested interrogating Marta further (the finger removal seemed quite effective) about how often the boss checked in, if there was someone he usually talked to, what they talked about, etc. If the boss could speak to anyone, we could just have Marta check in. If she was giving too much info, or saying something we didn’t want her to, then one of her boys might lose another finger…or something more important. If we knew what info was generally given when the boss checked in, we could basically prepare an outline or rough script of things she was allowed to report. This could buy us some time until they get suspicious as to why she’s the only one checking in.

    If the boss normally only got a report from one person…it would get more complicated. We’d have to have one of the mexican boyfriends try to imitate the voice/mannerisms of the one the boss expected to talk to. If that failed, the family’ prep time would be cut short instead of lengthened.

    Either way (prep time being shortened), I’d want to have 2 or 3 watching over the burned down farm at all times to either give the family a head’s up on what the scouts find, or….if drastic measures need to be taken, the lookouts could ambush/dispose of the scouts…could buy a little more time…they might send more scouts…the dead scouts might have more coms…maybe we could buy more time, and try to report back for them using the mexican boyfriends plan mentioned above.

    Problems with setting a watch on the burned farmhouse include:

    1. more work for the rest of the family at the home farm.
    2. risk of frostbite for the watchers.
    3. risk of discovery of the watchers, and possibly death…depending on how good or how numerous the scouts are.

    I might not mention all of this at the family meeting. Might only mention it to Dave, and maybe Sam.

    • woops…that was a bit long.

    • Maybe I can get you to write a couple chapters for me. LOL

      But to address your post …

      David might not be making the best decisions right now. He just had to kill six people, see a girl and her baby killed and see the horrific scene where another girl was stabbed and slashed to death.

      You’re right about the remote OP duty. The family is already stretched thin. Putting two or three people at the remote OP would mean some pretty long shifts.

      Interesting thoughts, though.

      • Maybe Dave should have taken the family to see the handy work of Marta and her sons. Let them see the new world as it really is and what lay ahead if they fail to prepare and do what is necessary. In the situation they are in, failure to react/respond could be deadly to all. I feel the same is true in America today, many don’t realize what could/may happen here. Without sounding like a complete ass, Dave took on the role as leader, he needs to keep his head screwed on right. He needs to ask them just who the hell they think they can call or rely on in their new world! Two young girls and a baby brutality killed, no mercy.

      • Preach it, Mike! 🙂

    • All good and valid points. I was about to suggest an OP on the Hanson place as well. Not constant overwatch, but random intervals for random periods at the least. This could be handled by one individual. Ample reason to except the scarcity of manpower.

      I might also throw this on the table: I’ve always been the one guy in any circle with no aversion to distasteful tasks. I’ve always been the one who would do the work no one else wanted to simply because it was unpleasant. I’ve always been the one to take on extra work because something needed doing and no one else was willing to. At some point, I usually do toe the line and make it plain that others need to pull their weight. Does David have one of these people? I understand he IS one of these people, but one or more others would be handy in a situation such as the current one.

      • Someone like that would be handy, indeed. Although, as of yet, I don’t think we’ve seen any members of the family really shirk their duties.

      • Neither have I. I’m not saying that at all, simply remarking on it. I was pointing out that there are unpleasant things David is forced to deal with that most, if not all, of the family members are unwilling to deal with. I can see DJ or perhaps Sam developing as characters to take on this trait that allows David to do what needs to be done where the rest of the family would rather not. I’m not asking if or making the suggestion that either of these characters develop so, but I see the glimmer thereof in them.

      • You’re not the only one looking for further development of some of the other characters. While most fiction has a single main character, it’s not unheard of for more than one character to be more deeply developed. I have plans for some of the characters you’ve already met and … a new character or two who will figure significantly in the story.

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