TEOTWAWKI: The Long Walk Home, Ch.13 “The Fire Department”

Posted on March 24, 2011. Filed under: Fiction |

It was 0630 Wednesday morning, November 7th, 2012. I had killed two teenagers in a gun battle and seen lots of death in the last 18 hours. I felt some of the adrenaline rush effects still, but my legs were getting weak and wobbly both from the long walk in the cold night and the drama at the Tom Thumb grocery store. I desperately wanted to get home to be with my wife and son. If they were even home. The scenes of shooting those kids kept replaying in my mind, washing over my soul like a polluted wave.  Welcome to the end of the world as we know it.

My friends Liz and John, Hurst Police Officer Kurowski and myself,  were leaving the bloody mess at the Tom Thumb, heading toward the Hurst PD but we were going to stop by the Fire Department first, to inform them of the  casualties  at the grocery store. We were about 18 hours into what we presumed to be a national emergency, a war, that had started off with a Very High Altitude EMP blast, likely launched by Iran or North Korea, or both. Everything electronic or that used electricity had died immediately. Jetliners had fallen out of the sky as they were approaching or leaving DFW International, cars and trucks died all over every road and highway or would not start in the parking lots . The lights went out, likely never to come back on.

The three of us had left work at about 1:00am this morning, choosing to wait for night and the rising of the moon because I wanted to avoid the crowded roads filled with scared, angry people walking home in the cold. All of our co-workers had left work within just a few hours after the EMP hit at about noon. We had watched people die as a result of a jet crashing, and now we had participated in a shootout with a small gang in a fight over food at the the Tom Thumb. We had only traveled about 7 miles from work on our way home and I had another 21-25 miles to go, depending on my route. John and Liz both had much further. Officer Kurowski was attempting to report in to work and had offered to take us to the PD to rest since we had been traveling most of the night. I hoped to also gain some “official” information about the size and scope of the disaster.

At first, Officer Kurowski started out walking very fast; I had to call out to him to slow down repeatedly since we were burdened with our packs. I was old, fat and out of shape, with  a bit of arthritis, while the young policeman was in great shape. Finally, he slowed down to our kind of a crawl and started talking. I learned that he was a vet from the Afghanistan war with the 82nd Airborne Division and I told him that my youngest son was still in the Division, having served in both Iraq and A-stan. He had quite a bit of combat experience and had been on the PD for a few years so he was a solid, cool headed cop. We talked about this disaster and what the implications were; and we talked about our families. He had left his wife at home with their two small children, in the dark, so he could report for duty.

We passed the Calloways and finally reached Precinct Line, turned left and went up to the  Fire Station. I had a friend from church who worked at this station, I hoped he wasn’t at work when this mess started because he and his young family also lived about 30 miles away. As we came to the door of the station, Officer Kurowski opened the door and hollered into the station, “Hurst Police! Anyone home?”

A couple of voices answered so we moved on in. There were about a dozen firemen at the station lit with candles and flashlights  and the Captain came over to talk with the Officer. Kurowski informed the Captain about the several casualties at the grocery store and there being one off-duty Fireman/EMT already there at the scene. The Captain got four of his men together and sent them out with two stretchers to look for the casualties.

Kurowski asked, “Have you heard anything official about what in the world is going on? What happened?”

Captain Lewis replied, “We have had no official word from the State or National governments yet. We are asking around for any Ham Radio guys to see if any of their communications equipment survived, but no luck yet. As best I can figure it must be a nuclear blast that knocked out everything. A few people came by who saw the blast and their eyes were burned because of it. We actually have taken about 20 people who straggled in with various injuries or illnesses. A few were blinded by the blast.”

“Well, that seems to be what everyone else thinks, Captain,” replied Kurowski. “Any contact with the PD? That’s where we are headed.”

“Yeah, we have a couple of runners on bikes going back and forth with messages, but the PD is just as clueless as we are so far. They are assisting those who are stranded like we are, and were trying to contain some of the looting. It’s been bad all along the highway and the main roads.”

“Well, I was the only cop at the Tom Thumb, and if it hadn’t of been for my friends here, I would probably have been killed. That gang of 5 was intent on killing everyone that got in their path.”

At this point I interjected myself into the conversation, “Howdy Captain, my name is Ryan. I have a friend who works here at the station. Is Jake Peterson in?”

“No, Jake had yesterday off and we obviously haven’t heard from him. Good man though.”

“OK, thanks. Under the circumstances I guess it’s a good thing that he is likely at home with his wife and child. And he can use his job skills there with the Benbrook Department.”

“What’s your plan Captain?” asked Kurowski.

“Well, we have to try to establish communications better than just runners on bikes. We have to triage a lot of victims and attempt to make contact with the hospital and figure out how to transport them. We have water pressure for now, but that likely won’t last long so we will have to figure out how to fight fires without pressurized water. I think there will likely be a lot of house fires soon as people without central heat or stoves start making fires to cook with and stay warm. We have our hands full.”

“What about you cops?”

‘I have been walking for hours and without  communication so I really have no idea what is going on at the PD. But what I have seen since noon yesterday is total chaos. I helped deliver a baby last night and got into a gunfight at the grocery store. A lot of folks have stopped me to ask for help, but I could only do so much, ya know?”

“Alright Captain, we’re heading off to the PD; thanks for the info” said Officer Kurowski.

And with that, we turned around, left the Fire Station and headed down the dark street toward the Hurst Police Department just a few blocks away.

To Be Continued….



Chapter One of The Long Walk Home:



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