Dear Diary, It’s Me, Jessica: Part 2

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Dear Diary,

It’s me, Jessica.

It has been a crazy, exciting week, but not in a good kind of way.

The day after Christmas, two things happened:  1)  It snowed.  Not much, a ‘dusting’ as Dad put it.  It was mostly gone by noon, except in the deep shadows.  Snow around here is rare.  2) The ‘HAM’ guy said there were reports of a ‘gang’ going around in trucks attacking remote homes and farms.  

The next day two men on a dirt bike came speeding down our street.  They had those big black rifles.  No one has heard a car let alone a dirt bike in months.  Everyone came out of their homes to see what was going on, many with their own guns.  The guys on the dirt bike turned around and sped back the way they came.  

Many in the neighborhood gathered in groups to talk about what they saw and what it meant.  Jack showed up a few minutes later from his street and asked what happened.  Once he heard what people were saying, he seemed to think for a moment.  Jack then said while he was out trading with others in surrounding neighborhoods and way down in town, a few said they saw two trucks pulling RVs with another half dozen or so trucks, one with two dirt bikes in the beds going down Old River Road.  Jack went and talked with the HAM guy to ask the local HAMs if they heard of anything unusual.  The HAM guy said the net was ‘chattering’ about running trucks and the attacks.  An old fisherman went to his favorite fishing hole off Old River Road, a remote boat launch and picnic site, to find it was occupied by two RVs, a bunch of trucks, and some mean-looking guys in ‘tactical’ gear.  The fisherman high-tailed it out of there before they saw him.  Jack did not think they would attack our neighborhood.  He pointed to all the people with guns.  If the two guys on the dirt bike were out scouting the area, the Miller farm, on the other hand, they would attack them.  

Jack, who is the leader of the militia, split the militia into two.  One group he called ‘home guard’ would stay in the neighborhood and keep watch.  The other group, he called the ‘assault team’, made up of mostly combat veterans, would set up an ambush at the Miller’s farm.  

It was early morning the next day, I was helping Mom turning over the compost pile in the back yard when we heard dull explosions and then gun fire in the distance in the direction of the Miller farm.  Mom and I stood silently, listening to the rapid fire of many guns.  Then it stopped.   Diary, I am not going to lie, I felt a little guilty, but the first person I thought of was Billy.  It was not till much later that I found out he and his entire family and the farm were safe.  

Jack and his assault team set up an ambush, using what he called ‘a few household chemicals in the proper proportions’ to make something Jack called ‘HMEs,’ whatever those are, and ‘interlocking fields of fire’ to take out the gang.  To Mom and me, the firefight sounded like forever. 

But Jack said, “It was all done and over with in less than five minutes.”

There were no survivors.  

Jack and his assault team took the two remaining functioning gang trucks and went to the site off Old River Road, where the fisherman saw the RVs and trucks at the boat launch.  They got within a mile and then ‘humped’ it in.  There were two trucks with RVs behind them, three women with rifles, and an old man with a shotgun sitting around a campfire talking with each other.  Jack gave the signal, and the ‘assault team’ quietly overtook them without a shot. 

The larger RV was empty.  Jack said it was ‘nicer’ than his own home, just a bit smaller and on wheels.  The smaller one was filthy inside, smelled badly of human sweat and had ten women and a small boy tied up in it.  Jack said the other women, the old man, and the others used them as ‘slave’ labor and ‘entertainment.’  When someone asked what Jack did with the ‘other’ armed women and the old man, Jack just said he gave those women they freed a length of firewood and let them have at it.

Justice was served, he said.

Diary, I am not sure how I felt about that.  

Then a truck pulling a RV driven by one of the ‘assault team’ members rolled up to a stop in front of us.  The RV door opened, and slowly, the women came out.  They were thin.  Mom said ‘gaunt.’  Their hair was messy and greasy.  Some had bruises on their faces.  A few limped, and one needed help because she limped so badly.  The boy was not much better.  One young, thin girl, younger than me, looked around fearfully at us.

I don’t know why, but I walked up to her and told her it was ‘okay’ and she was ‘safe’ now.  She suddenly hugged me and started sobbing, ‘It’s over,’ again and again.

A tall, big ‘boned’ woman with long auburn hair stepped down from the RV, saw me hugging the young girl, and walked over.  She put her hand on the girl’s shoulder.  The young girl looked up at the woman.  The woman told her, 

“Yes.  It is over.  We are safe now.”

She then looked at me.  Her face was a mess of black, blue, and yellow bruises.  Her nose was crooked.  But she had beautiful blue eyes with a fierce determination behind them.  She winced slightly when she smiled at me as much as she could smile with her swollen face.

Diary, now I am not sure what to think.

Entry 2

Dear Diary,

More exciting news:  I have a gun.  

Nope.  Not a gun.  A rifle, as Jack would correct me.

After the gang firefight, Jack and the assault team recovered a bunch of rifles, ammo, and other ‘tactical’ gear.  They found even more in the big RV.  Jack guessed it was plunder from the gang’s victims.  

Much to my and Dad’s surprise, after seeing the condition of the freed women and hearing about the rifles and ammo, Mom walked right up to Jack and said, “Give me one.”

Diary, the thing is, we have never had any rifles.  As far as I know, Mom and Dad never had one, let alone shot one.  

Jack asked Mom if she or Dad knew how to use one.  Jack looked like he was about to say ‘no’ when Mom said they didn’t, but then the auburn woman interjected, “The world was dangerous before the lights went out.  It is more so now.” 

She looked right at me with those fierce blue eyes.  “They are going to need it.”

When I first heard her talk, I thought the accent was from her swollen face.  Nope, she just had a deep Southern accent.  Her name was Celia-Rae, but everyone called her ‘Rae.’

Jack looked at Rae, looked at me, seemed to think for a moment, then simply said, “Okay.”

Jack and the rest of the militia spent an entire week training those in the neighborhood who were physically able how to shoot.  Even those who knew went through ‘remedial’ training.  The first day, I was surprised to see how many people had firearms.  I didn’t know the difference between all the firearms.  What I did know was from what I saw on TV and in the movies.  

Now, I know the difference between a bolt-rifle, a lever-action rifle, a semi-auto rifle, a shotgun a rimfire, revolvers and semi-auto pistols.  

For those of us who have never fired a firearm, our group includes me, Mom and Dad, a few kids younger than me, and about a dozen other adults.  We practiced basic marksmanship with air rifles.  

Dad was just ‘okay.’

Mom was better than him.

I was better than both of them.  Jack even gave me a rare smile and said I was a ‘natural,’ whatever that meant.

Then, it was time for us to ‘try’ out different rifles to see which we were most comfortable with. 

Mom and Dad were most comfortable with the black rifle.  Surprisingly, Mom was excited about shooting it.  

Me, nope.  Don’t know why.  For whatever reason, it just did not feel right.

Jack was looking at the folding table of rifles for something else for me to try when Rae walked up to me, handed me a lever-action rifle with a black synthetic stock, and said, “Give this one a try, honey,” in her heavy Southern accent.

I aimed at the target taped to a tree a hundred yards away and squeezed the trigger just like Jack taught me.  I looked over my shoulder at Rae and Jack and could not help but smile.  Rae laughed, and Jack gave another rare smile.  He then told me to take another shot.  I did.  Then I said to them, “I like this!”

Jack gave me a look.  He then nodded, told me to ‘make safe,’ walked down and replaced the target with a different one.  He came back and topped off the rifle’s magazine. 

“When I say, ‘go,’ I want you to shoulder the rifle, take off the safety, and shoot five rounds at the paper plate as fast as you can.”

Diary, I shot and hit the paper plate with all five rounds in six seconds.  The paper plate was eight inches.  All my shots were well within six inches.  Jack said he had never seen a woman shoot a lever-action so well on her first try. 

Rae said, “You never met me.”

Jack actually chuckled.

“I knew she could do it,” Rae said.  “She has it in her.”

So, Diary, now I have a rifle.

Entry 3

Dear Diary,

Dad and I hiked it to the Miller farm for work, him with his ‘black’ rifle, me with mine.  

As we walked up, Mr. Miller came out, looked at us both with our rifles, and said, “Good.”

Billy said, “Looks good on you,” and smiled.  I could not help but smile back.

Diary, New Year’s Eve, I think, was better than Christmas.  But then there was a whole lot more drinking going on for the adults.  And some bad but fun singing.

Everyone did what they could for dinner: turkey, chicken, rabbit, venison, a few hams, and the HAM guy made hamburgers with homemade potato buns, onions, bacon, and mushrooms.  Diary, I never liked mushrooms till now.  Now I love them.  A few desserts.  Dinner was an outdoor traveling feast.  Mom and Dad stayed at home, handing out plates of turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes.  When I had my fill, I went back home and handed out the last of the turkey while they made a round sampling others’ offerings.  

During the first and second weeks after the power went out, some people in the neighborhood loaded up their cars and tried to make it to family in other parts of the state or even in other states. None returned.  

The neighborhood made a decision to let the freed women and the boy use those abandoned homes as their own.  Rae and two other women and the young girl took a home two doors down.  Rae and some of the others were adjusting well to their new homes and the neighborhood.  Others still were fearful, mostly of the men.  The little boy, when I did see him, just sat and rocked back and forth, not saying anything or even looking up when I tried to talk to him.  There are two women who had worked as social workers and one woman who had worked as a psychiatrist, trying to work with them to help them.  I overheard Mom talking with one who said a few of the women and the little boy may be ‘lost forever’ due to the damage done to them.

Diary, I guess I have lived a pretty sheltered life.  Back in the old neighborhood, I saw some things that were not good and I knew bad things happened to good people.  Bad people did bad things.  But I had never seen it up close like this.  

Physically, all the women are healing.  Even Rae.  The bruises on her face have faded away, her face is no longer swollen.  She is actually very pretty.  But she has a presence, a strength about her that the other women look up to.  I have even seen Jack looking at her in a different way.  One day, while she was training me how to dry fire the snap shot, she said something I don’t think she meant to say, at least out loud.  Her strength and determination may have been why she was abused so much.  One of the gang members found her strength and determination as a challenge and relished the opportunity to abuse her.  But she never let him win.  Even when he was violating her, she said her only regret was she was not the one who ‘squeezed’ the trigger at the ambush at the Miller farm to ‘end’ him.  

Diary, I am not sure how I feel about that.

You can read Part 1 of this series here.

About 1stMarineJarHead

1stMarineJarHead is not only a former Marine, but also a former EMT-B, Wilderness EMT (courtesy of NOLS), and volunteer firefighter.

He currently resides in the great white (i.e. snowy) Northeast with his wife and dogs. He raises chickens, rabbits, goats, occasionally hogs, cows and sometimes ducks. He grows various veggies and has a weird fondness for rutabagas. He enjoys reading, writing, cooking from scratch, making charcuterie, target shooting, and is currently expanding his woodworking skills.

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  • Such imaginative storytelling! I remember reading the Christmas part 1 short story years ago and loving it and reading it again this year. I think I might like part 2 even better. I really enjoyed all the details and the new characters, especially the strong women including Rae and Jessica’s mom. I look forward to read part 3!!

  • Makes me wonder what the ol’ Marine Jarhead has seen that appears in this story. In Jan 2021, I saw the faces of our US military as they carried blankets of SOMETHING out of the White House while it had those fences around it. I often pray that G-d will comfort those over the anguish of seeing such horror in the tunnels below there.

    • I hope you are enjoying the story.
      Having been to a few third world countries, a EMT and firefighter I have seen some not so nice parts of humanity.
      Just a sad fact of the world.

  • fantastic story!! please continue…..the majority of people still dont see whats happening or about to come, we will be seeing much more of this. lived in mts for about 5 yrs, on top a mtn, couldnt stand the cold, so went back south. had I had any inkling what was going to happen, wouldve stayed put…..was back in woods, yes there was state maintained road, but to get where we were, you had to go thru some old trailers, mtn folk who were very suspicious of strangers, other way …..thru a creek and other mtn folk who watched out for each other. always felt safe. wish I stayed, we could shoot on our property, hunt, etc. but now…stay safe, aware folks, we’re in for a rough year……unfortunately, we could bug out from here if we needed to…..

  • I didn’t think I’d enjoy the story, but it’s pulled me in. Is this published in book form somewhere? Or are you planning on doing so if you’re still writing? Two thumbs up.

    • Thank you!
      This is a on going project.
      I was inspired by Daisy’s 2013 Christmas story. I wrote Dear Diary, it is me, Jessica as add on. With positive feed back, Daisy wanted to do Saturdays as a “Hey! Us preppers are not all doom and gloom!” and show we do have our creative, entertaining side to us and I decided to continue on.
      Once there are enough material, might be able to make it into a book.
      We will see!

      • I sure hope you do make this into a book. I’m dying to see what happens next. Keep em coming 1stMarineJarhead.

    • Glad you like it.
      Like to think it gives you something to look forward to reading every Saturday morning over your cup of coffee or tea. 🙂

  • Kinda sorta what I think it will be like when the lights go out and stay out.
    Good story, makes sense to an old retired Army guy. Well done! I’d like to read more, too.
    Old Duffer

  • Makes one think about our neighbors. Young families next door. I need to get more seeds. This cold snap nearly depleted the wood pile. You know another is coming. Child, even us old folks don’t know what to think about stuff.

  • This was very good. It’s so very sad to read of child characters who were abused, but this is a realistic approach. I am eagerly anticipating the next chapter, and your writing is great! Thanks for this.

  • I need to try to find part One of your writings here. This was super interesting and I loved reading it! Thanks! I’m finding myself feeling very on edge lately with all that’s going on in the world- in my state of AZ. This story kind of took me away for a few min from my real reality to a story reality that will likely happen in the future. We gotta all stay strong physically and mentally for the days ahead.

  • People read fiction as entertainment, yet it can be an effective teaching tool. Your writing is accomplishing this. I hope the plot isn’t prophetic, but I fear it may be.

  • I do hope that when the last chapter is revealed that we find Jessica’s granddaughter/grandson is reading her words from the trials of her youth to her/his children. I hope those words written by Jessica have a profound and enduring affect. The trials of my great grandfather and the stories retold to me by my grandparents certainly did. And I retold those same stories to my kids.

    Real life history matters. How will our children and grandchildren speak of us as preppers? Will they sing of us or will they deny us? Did we arm them with resolve or did we confiscate their courage by offering a sense of security instead.

    I’m sure my post will be a downer today, but I like to use serials as a mental exercise in between times as the story unfolds.

  • The HAM operator obviously has a source for his electricity—doesn’t he also have a way to recharge batteries for flashlights and such? Or do the people living there not want lights to attract attention? I notice that there are several different AA, A, AAA, etc. battery chargers available on Amazon that can run off 12 volt sources.

    From the description, I get the picture that they live in a suburb, not out in the country. In how many suburbs do the houses have wells and septic systems? Nobody in our suburb has a well, and the water system has a well only a few blocks away, but will it work without electricity? The sewer system is well built out. There are no nearby farms. I would move out of here, except I have family obligations.

    There are many veterans around here who are armed. As well as many others who are armed. Then my family … like Jessica’s. Afraid of even sharp kitchen knives.

    As far as the electricity—it won’t be a simple nationwide blackout. Indications are that we will be subject to a nuclear attack. Tens of millions will die from the attack. The CCP has said that they want Lebensraum. The main area that they want to take over is the Midwest with its fields. I live only a few miles from a main route from the West Coast to the Midwest. New England may be spared because it’s off in a corner. But the Midwest will suffer.

    The question is not if but when? Some indications are that it will be this summer. Other indications are for next summer. But our enemies can’t wait much longer.

    But I enjoyed reading the story. Thanks for posting it.

    • There are laces that a suburban area is near a farm. Where I grew up there was a farm next to the playground with cows that I would go pet. Not sire if its still there or not. But, there is also a farm in town where we currently live as well. So, I would say it does happen.
      And wells can be drilled if you have the parts.

    • I have also read that the CCP would like to take over the midwest and all its fields. They want the crops and the future use of the land. An EMP would be the preferred method, as it would kill off millions – using the least number of their resources. The land and most infrastructure would remain intact. They could just wait until after the die off and then send in their military. A nuclear attack would contaminate the land and render it useless for many years.

    • I live in rural southeastern PA and most folks, unless they live in the small boroughs, all have wells and septic systems. It’s wonderful, but since our wells mostly rely on electricity, we have big problems when the power goes out. Our generators are mostly gas powered so we can only stock-pile so much gas since the gas stations are run by electric as well. Some of us home can our produce and meats to some degree, but luckily we have many Amish neighbors and small produce stands and markets nearby. Recently we purchase as much of our needs from our local shops, both to support them and our local community. However, we do have a Walmart 10 – 12 miles away, that I try my best not to frequent!

  • My first thought after reading this was “predictive programming”, to use their term.
    Let us sincerely hope that is not the case.
    I am going back and reread part one.
    Some time ago there was a similar story line that I followed. Unfortunately after chapter three or four it stopped. Never could find it again.

  • Thank you for continuing with the diary project. Could you, in some future installment, discuss the will to continue in the face of a personal tragedy? My daughter called me in tears the other day after she learned a dear high school friend had died over the weekend, and not knowing the circumstances. A “heart related” issue was all she knew; was it a heart attack, or a Covid/vax death, a drug overdose, or suicide from depression? How do we cope with loss close to us in the midst of general social breakdown?

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