Donnie and Joan are in their late twenties have two children Mary who is 8 years old and Robert who is 6 years old. They live in the river city of Memphis Tennessee in a ranch home east of the city. Joan Joan was at work as a cashier at a Lowe’s in the suburbs of Memphis when one of her co-workers announced that a series of bombs had gone off in all of the major shipping ports in the US and other major ports all over the world. It was 30 minutes to quitting time. She cleaned up her station and left work on time. Donnie’s mother (Ruby) would be picking up the kids and delivering them home so they would only be with her a half an hour and then go to her home only a block away. Joan wondered what was happening and what this was all about. Donnie parked his commercial food delivery truck and proceeded to check out so he could go home. Donnie’s boss (Joe) approached him on the loading dock with a question about listening to his truck radio. He said: “No because it has not worked for several weeks.” Joe continued “It would seem that the shit has hit the fan. The media is telling everyone to remain calm and wait for public service messages, but it funny that the government has not been broadcasting.” Donnie clocked out and hopped in his Ford pickup for the 30 minute ride home. Joan arrived home to questions from Mary “Mom what is going on? I heard some of the teachers talking about bombs on the coast.” Joan told Robert “Turn on the TV and hopefully we can find out.” She had tried Donnie’s cell phone, but the canned voice announced “All lines are busy please call back later.” Robert had the TV on when Joan entered the room and was working on finding a news channel. They heard the garage door open and knew that Donnie was home from work. Donnie came into the front room with the question “Do we know what is going on?” Joan replied “We have just turned on the TV and are now listening to a news channel.”
The TV flashed “WTVP NATIONAL ALERT” the picture faded to a news desk with one reporter seated at a large desk usually manned by four plus reporters. He explained that the news center was usually broadcast from Washington D.C. but they had lost their feed so this was the studio for the hurricane coverage. He said “We at this network have heard a number of rumors of worldwide damage but we have not been able to confirm what has happened in the United States and all over the world. We are waiting for public officials to brief us on what has happened. We have dispatched our reporters to some of those reports but have not received any feedback at the present time. We will be breaking into your present programming with any news. Now back to your movie “Planet of the Apes” from our Golden Oldie Vaults. The message was the same on the rest of the channels or there was no programming at all.
Donnie got his family together announcing that “I think that we have a large problem with whatever has happened today.” He went on to explain what his boss Joe had told him about the news. Joan asked “Donnie what do you think we should do?” Donnie announced “We have water, canned food, and my 22 rifle. I think we should hold tight and wait for the government to take care of the problems that they should be facing. Joan remarked “should we be depending on the government to be taking care of us? I think we should load up and head to your mother’s cabin in the Ozarks.” Donnie replied “We know this area very well and all our neighbors are nice people and we don’t know what will happen on the road to the Ozarks and what we will find when we get there.” Joan asked Mary and Robert “What do you think we should do?” Mary spoke “I do not want to leave my friends to run out in the woods which we have only been to 10 times.” Robert looked at Joan and Donnie and asked “If this means I don’t have to go to school and we will be going on vacation in the woods, go to the woods.” Donnie spoke “Listening to all of your concerns and idea’s I think the best course of action is to stay put and wait for the public officials to give us some direction.” I think we should inventory our water, food and supplies of flashlights and candles and camping supplies to get an idea of how long we can stay in our home.” Joan added in “If we are not going to leave let us go down to the sporting goods store, food store, and gas station to store some supplies.” Donnie said “Let us make sure that there is a real problem before we spend money on supplies we don’t need.” Joan looked at her family and especially at Donnie saying Why not pick up some things which we can use in the future as it will not be wasted.” Donnie thought a moment and commented “Ok Joan you take the van and Mary and fill up with fuel and pick up some storable food at the grocery store, and I will also fill up with fuel and hit the hardware store and the sporting goods store for supplies with the truck. Listen to what people are saying Joan, but don’t give them any ideas as to what we are doing.”
Donnie and Joan woke up on Saturday morning after a busy night of shopping and packing material and goods into their garage as they had no basement. The newspaper was on the porch with a large headline: NUKE ATTACK. This was the last paper they were to receive. The night before had been a zoo at the stores as they were running out of everything. The paper only explained that there had been damage but did not have any other details of exactly where and what had happened.
Joan checked around the neighborhood and noticed four of their close neighbors loading up their cars and vans to leave the neighborhood. She still wondered if staying was a good idea, but in thinking about a trip to the cabin how would it go. Joan’s parents had both died in a boating accident right after she and Donnie had been married. Her father-in law had died of brain cancer three years ago which let her mother-in-law who lived just a block and a half away. She had talked to Ruby about moving in with them but she did not want to be a burden and the power was still on and would come over when she thought the time was right. The kids were watching the TV for any news worthy coverage but all of the news seemed to guessing and rumors.
The time was 6:00 in the afternoon when the power went out to their area. Donnie and Joan got the flashlights ready for the dark night. Donnie was able to talk his mother to move in with them. He took his pickup truck and picked her up with her traveling articles. Mary was unhappy to give up her bedroom to grandma but she gave in quickly and even helped her move in. The water stopped flowing about 10:00 due to no electric to pump the water up the water tower which gave the pressure to fill the mains. Donnie had filled the tub and all the sinks and a 500 gallon tank in the garage so they could flush the stool and have wash water. They had 14 cases of drinking water total with all they had picked up the other Friday night.
Sunday morning was steaming though the windows at 6:00 in October the third day after the bombing. Mary was scheduled to work her cashier job but had decided to call in but no phone service of any type was available. Donnie woke up and wondered if he should go to his other job at the trucking company loading trucks for the coming week. He loaded up his trusty 22 kissed the wife and kids and headed out. When he was leaving the house he noticed that not to many of their neighbors were staying the neighborhood. The only car that he saw was the renters at the end of the block Calvin and Lily. They had been living in the area with their two daughters Lucy 13 and Joy 11 years old. He had met the family at a barbecue thrown by one of the neighbors. Calvin and Lily had been Army brats who had settled in Memphis to raise their daughters. No one in their family seemed to warm up to the neighbors so they just kept to themselves and worked their jobs He a garbage truck driver and she a truck dispatcher. He thought about stopping in on the way home and see how they were doing.
Sunday in Memphis was usually quiet but this was strange. None of roads were even busy at all and nothing was open due to the power outage which looked like it had hit the whole city. Donnie arrived at the company pulled out his key and unlocked the gate. He pulled his truck inside the compound and relocked the gate behind him. Joe came out of the office and met him on the loading dock. He was dressed in camo and carried a sidearm. He asked “Donnie what are you doing here? “ Joe answered “I usually worked on Sundays but could not call in so I came down to see what was going on.” Joe commented “Nothing is going to be going on here because of the bombing. I was going to load up my truck with the supplies and head down to uncles hunting camp to get out of this city.” Donnie asked “What has happened.” “We have not been able to get any information on anything as the TV and radio or seem to know nothing and we have not heard from the government at all.” Joe thought a moment and spoke “I have a friend who is a ham radio operator. His information is that small bombs went off in all the main ports in the world within a period of one hour. This took out all of the cities close to the ports. The reason that you have not heard from the government is that congress was in session when a larger bomb than most went off in the Baltimore harbor which of course took out most of the government officials. The word my friend got was that the undersecretary of Transportation is the new president. The whole world including China have had the same thing happen to them. The word is that an unknown cult did all this damage with cargo containers and box trucks. He also said that if you were a member of the United Nations you were targeted. “Donnie was in a daze, he could not believe what he had just heard. Joe continues “Donnie I will help you load supplies in your truck too, but you need to get out of this town as it will soon explode with gangs and violence.”
Donnie was thinking on the way home that Joe was right he needed to get the family out of town. He stopped by Calvin and Lily’s home and was greeted by Calvin at the curb. Calvin asked “Have you been out shopping, it looks like you have a truck full of supplies.” Donnie answered “Just a few thing we might need a gift from my old boss. How are you and your family doing?” Calvin answered “We are OK as we have some food and water. I do have to work on the car as it is not running right. We would have already left, but I have the parts so we should be out of town by Wednesday.” Donnie said “That is great, I will check in with you later in the week.” Donnie thought Joe was right about getting out of town. His discussion with Calvin had made him very uneasy as Calvin looked a little like a man who was looking for any way out of town with a car that did not run. He would get the truck and van loaded and head for the Ozarks.
Calvin walked into the house with a smile on his face. Lily looked up and asked “Were you able to get the car going so we can get down to my brothers in Kentucky.” Calvin asked “Lily where are the girls?” She answered they are in the bedroom listening to their music.” Calvin motioned Lily to follow him into the garage. He begin to talk to her in whispers “I have found a way out of town and supplies to go along with us. Do not ask any questions, but be ready to leave in the early morning.
Donnie finished packing the truck and followed Joan into the bedroom. The kids and Mom were already gone to bed. The idea was to get several hours of sleep and then take off for the Ozarks in the early morning. He was hoping they could find a small town to settle in.
Calvin waited for the last light to go out as he was in the vacant house next to the garage. He had watched Donnie and Joan load the truck and van. A half an hour later he eased into the garage after silently breaking the window in the garage door. He opened the garage door twenty minutes later as no one in this house would hear the noise they were all dead. He drove the van and truck to his house. He woke his family, loaded them into the van and truck and headed for Kentucky. The semi truck was across the road blocking the lane from side to side seven miles out of town this one of many they had to traverse. Calvin got out of the lead truck slowly to see if there was enough room to get by. A single shot rang out catching Calvin in the forehead. The leader signaled his gang to approach the car and truck with caution. Calvin or any of his family would not make it down to Kentucky. Calvin’s death was fast compared to his wife and daughters. Their bodies were there in morning after the gang had left taking the loaded van and truck with them. The women were raped and abused until t all the gang had used them, then shot in the back of the head. They did not want witnesses.