Felli

A Witness to the Quiet Apocalypse - A collection of Journal Entries ((ON HOLD))

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Day 10

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Morning (-17°c) Sunny

The bite aches today. After some fitful sleep I finally gave in and took a few pain pills. It helped in small measure but it's still throbbing and likes to remind me it's there when I move. The area is a ghastly Reddish purple thanks to fresh bruising. I'm just grateful any skin breaks were superficial and didn't require stitching. The weather looks to be good enough to try finishing up my exploration and heading back to the office again before I have another incident with the wildlife.

 

Noon (-8°c) Sunny

I made my way around the lake, gathering some more cat-tails, keeping an eye out for any sign of the wolf I had injured. if it wasn't dead, it could decide on revenge and I don't know how well I could stand up to another attack right now. I still have to repair these clothes but that has to wait until I return to base camp. There's less wildlife than yesterday, but I did catch a glimpse of another bear, wandering the far edges of the lake. I still find it unnerving that they're awake right now, but for now I consider the disaster the reason.

 

Evening (-3°c) Clear

I found the wolf I had injured near the office. Looks like it had fled from me and ran nearly the full length of the lake before collapsing here and dying of blood loss. Such a magnificent creature with a silver pelt bearing its characteristic black tipped fur. Somewhere inside I feel a sense of sadness for it. I was defending myself to be sure, but until I know what caused it to attack me, I can't really blame it or take pride in killing it. 

I deliberated on it for a moment, but I realized that leaving the creature here to rot would be more of an injustice than harvesting it. I carefully skinned it, doing my best to avoid damaging it in the process. It turned out well considering I've no skill in it at all. It also provided me with a good few kilograms of meat, enough to get me through a few days. What I left, I know nature will take care of. Between crows, other wolves and bears, I doubt much will be left in a few days.

 

Night (-11°c) Windy/Light snow

I buried the newly harvested meat just outside the office in a shallow plastic tub that had been inside on a shelf. This should keep the meat for a little longer and discourage visitors. I laid the newly acquired wolf pelt out to cure along with the spare gut. After checking on the supplies I had been previously curing, I found that most of it was ready to work with and I moved it over to the crafting bench to keep it separate.

My arm still aches and I think all of the work harvesting just made it feel that much worse. Ideally I'd like to have a few days to rest it, but the situation doesn't allow for it. I also spent this evening thinking about my situation less from an emotional standpoint and more from an objective one. While I can't suppress m emotional nature entirely I do realize I have to keep it in check. I need to balance that empathy with logic. The wolf decision today was an awakening for me.

This isn't a time for an animal rights debate. At this point I realize I am just a much a part of the food chain out here as it was. As a human, I am no longer the 'superior' hunter, the 'king' of the species. I am as much prey as I am predator. I must respect and fear nature, but I must also fight it without guilt. As long as I stick to my mantra of only taking what I need, my impact should balance itself out in the end. For the first time in thousands of years, nature reigns supreme.

Edited by Felli
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On 14.8.2016 at 6:23 PM, Felli said:

This isn't a time for an animal rights debate. At this point I realize I am just a much a part of the food chain out here as it was. As a human, I am no longer the 'superior' hunter, the 'king' of the species. I am as much prey as I am predator. I must respect and fear nature, but I must also fight it without guilt. As long as I stick to my mantra of only taking what I need, my impact should balance itself out in the end. For the first time in thousands of years, nature reigns supreme.

One of the more powerful things I read recently, nice job! Really puts things into perspective. 

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4 minutes ago, Wastelander said:

One of the more powerful things I read recently, nice job! Really puts things into perspective. 

Thanks, Wastelander. That's a huge encouragement and a relief! I was really nervous about putting that in, since I've been struggling with getting across how she feels. That inner conflict between the love for animals and the need to survive. :)

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1 minute ago, Felli said:

Thanks, Wastelander. That's a huge encouragement and a relief! I was really nervous about putting that in, since I've been struggling with getting across how she feels. That inner conflict between the love for animals and the need to survive. :)

You're doing wonderful! I'm a huge fan of a journal-style type of writing since I'm a Lovecraft-fanboy, and it's hard to pull off - I tried it a few times, but it always felt forced. 

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Day 11

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Morning (-16°c) Windy

This morning was uneventful. Breakfast was simple. I cooked up a little of the wolf meat I had harvested and a few more cat-tails from the nearby lake. THe wind outside was biting enough to go right through my mediocre gear so I decided to spend the morning indoors. I finished organizing my supplies and took a quick inventory of what I'd need to replenish. Mostly firewood, since you can never have enough of it.

I found a few backissues of an ice-fishing magazine in the filing cabinet and spent a few hours browsing it. I've never really attempted ice-fishing and any tips would surely be welcome. For an hour or two I actually managed to forget where I was. I've made it a personal mission to keep books on hand as often as I can. They said your worst enemy in a situation like this is your own mind. Reading, (and writing) keeps me sane. I must not forget this. I never thought my resistance to digitizing my notes would ever prove useful. It's now I'm grateful I always keep writing materials on me. No amount of geo-magnetic disaster could ever interfere with good old pen and paper.

 

Noon (-3°c) Sunny

The wind is still a bit cold, but I took the chance to take a quick look around the office and neighboring hillside for extra wood and small branches. I managed to gather a fairly big armload as well. There couldn't have been any predators about, since I noticed a deer grazing close to my shelter. Despite them being prey for wolves, I find their presence calming. A little grace and natural beauty can do wonders for a stressed mind. The longer I'm out here, the more I'm learning to take things slowly, to not exert myself over over complicate things. Part of me is still rushing to find Nick and confirm one way or the other, his fate. Another part of me has confidence in his ability to survive. He's better at this than I am, and if I've survived this long, I'm sure he has too.

 

Evening (-11°c) Clear

Dinner was another wolf steak and half of a chocolate bar. I figure I'd treat myself for surviving this long. I stacked all of the gathered wood and after lighting a decent fire, I did a little more reading of those angler magazines. I think, given a chance and a few good hooks, I might be able to catch something out there.

It occurred to me as I was writing, that I never really did explain how I came up with the temperature readings I add to each entry. The simple answer?

A mercury thermometer. A good, if not old, form of temperature measurement. As my grandmother, a maritimer, would say:

 'That thing is as old as Hodges Hills.' 

There was one at the forestry lookout  that was unattached to anything and i'd brought it with me. It's actually been the most valuable thing I've had with me. of course, once in a while I do add or subtract a few degrees for what the temperature feels like, but overall it's fairly accurate. I take small joy out of still being able to use my critical and reasoning skills in this. I suppose, like reading or writing it keeps me in touch with myself. There may not be people around me at this moment, or even in the near future, but I do know I will run into them eventually, and I still need to keep my wits about me.

 

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Day 12

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Morning (-13°c) Overcast

I slept a bit longer than usual today. Sleep was restless with nightmares of the crash that landed me here. I made myself a cup of herbal tea, though I normally reserve that for the evenings. I could use the calming effect right now. I cooked up a bit more venison and the last few cat-tails I had left. I need to make a trip around the lake to hunt a few more down.

 A cursory look outside today showed some dark clouds hanging heavy in the sky. A storms brewing which means again I'm stuck close to the camp. I've been hoping to head along further down the rail line to get a look at some overturned boxcars that can be seen from the tracks outside the office here. Maybe there'll be something useful there. I doubt I'll make that effort today though. If the sky clears early enough I may chance it but not right now.

 

Noon (-4°c) Overcast/ Light snow

I took a careful trip around the edge of the lake, as far as the first fishing hut. I gathered a small armful of cat-tails to separate later, careful to listen and watch for any indication of animal activity. The wolf carcass from the other day looks to have been dragged off, since it was no longer where i'd left it. I'd have been more nervous about what had dragged it off but seeing the deer nearby put those fears to rest quickly. The weather isn't looking much better so I think I'll postpone heading down the tracks until I've got better chances. The snow gets so heavy here in a storm it's suicide to go far from shelter with no way to mark a trail.

On the way back to shelter, I also grabbed some of the dried grass and smaller twigs sticking out of the snow around me. I need to make some extra tinder to go with the cat-tail heads and with a little work I can make a few small bundles that will be easy to carry.

 

Evening (-19°c) Whiteout conditions

The storm blew in about an hour after I came off the lake. Now I'm really glad I didn't go exploring. Sure, it's making me nervous to be constantly stuck here, unable to do more exploring, but it's better than freezing to death in a foolish venture.

I spent the evening separating cat-tail seed heads from their stalks and laying them out to dry. I also bundled up the grass and twigs into some compact bundles. A few of each in my bag will cut town on the amount of sticks I'll need to hunt for in my travels. I also took the remaining stems and roots from the cat-tails and cleaned them up for use later. Keeping them in a cool, dark place should mean I'll have fresh 'greens' for a few days at least. They don't have a lot of flavour but they do fill me up nicely.

The long, grass like leaves that remained on the counter after I was done game me an idea. Perhaps, I could weave these into a chain or a rope. It would cut down on the waste and with a little practice, maybe I could even use it somehow. Besides the practical use of handmade 'rope', it would also be another project to keep my mind busy. The more I can keep my mind occupied, the easier it will be to keep going.

 

Night (-21°c) Whiteout conditions

The wind is howling out there, it's force strong enough to make the windows rattle. I lit a fire to ward off the chill and took time to heat up some water for a 'sponge bath'. Really, it's simply a pot of steaming water with some plain old bar soap in it. Nothing like home, and of course I couldn't submerge myself in water like an actual bath, but it felt nice to wash myself in clean and warm water. I'd used some of the clothing scraps I'd gathered as a washcloth and towels and once I'd scrubbed off the dirt and sweat, I used the remaining water to clean up my base clothing, letting them soak in the soapy water for a while before laying them out near the fire to dry. It won't ever be as good as modern washing system, but it should at least help me keep the clothing in good condition a bit longer.

While washing, I also removed the bandages and took a good look at the wolf bite from a few days back. It's much cleaner looking now, the ugly black bruising has faded to a dull green and it's not as tender as it was. The punctures are now scabbed over, but there's no redness or swelling or feeling of heat. It looks like I was able to avoid an infection this time. I treated it with a little more antiseptic and re-bandaged it just to make sure it stays clean and dry. Just because there's no infection right now, doesn't mean I can't get one later.

After all my effort of cleaning up, I wrapped myself up in a blanket from the nearby bed and I think I'll sit by the fire for a few more hours, this time looking over the shooting guide. It was written over a century ago, but its lessons and tips are still just as valid today. Once my clothing is dry and I'm sure I won't catch a chill, I'll get some sleep and hope for decent weather to explore in the morning.

Edited by Felli
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Day 13

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Morning (-14°c) Clear

I woke just before the sun rose this morning. I lit a fire to give me enough light to organize what I need for the day. If the weather looks good I'm headed to those train cars. I want to know if there's anything in them. The weather has been more volatile than last week, so I'm having to change my travel plans. I end up improvising more than following things to plan and maybe that's a better idea. Interestingly enough, I find that the crows are a good indication of inclement weather. They seem to fly an hour or two ahead of a turbulent front, so I've been making a note to use them as my 'early warning system' to tell me when I should be seeking shelter. They always say here in Canada:

'If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes. It will change."

I think, in the next little while, I will actually take an inventory of what I've found and what I have stored. It may help to keep a weekly tally of what's on hand. It certainly beats rummaging through drawers to locate what you need.

 

Noon (-6°c) Slight cloud cover

I thought better of heading straight down the tracks and opted to go the long route by heading up the hill by the office and along the outcroppings. A higher vantage point is my only defense against wolves right now. They're unstable and I don't trust them to keep their distance. It was probably a good idea too, since there were 2 wolves patrolling around the cars. They had taken down a deer so they were probably still guarding the kill. I waited for a while, until they were far enough away for me to slip into the open boxcar. One of them detected me at the last minute, and I prepared for a fight, but it seemed they were more focused on growling at me from outside the car, than coming in to attack me.

My findings were bittersweet. A old hunting rifle sat in one corner, empty of cartridges but still useful. I had been doubtful I'd ever find one in good enough condition and of the right type to hold the ammunition I'd picked up. My relief was short-lived however when I turned to look behind me.

Another body. Frozen solid. Looks like he froze to death in the car. It was no surprise though. The walls may have insulated him from the wind but without a heat source, the nights are bitter cold. I took his information down as best I could. The backpack beside him had a last name written in black marker on the inside of the front pocket flap. "Adams" A box of ammunition sat beside him, along with a metal box with a few belongings, none of which would help me out at all. 

Victim Information: Found inside a train car near Camp Office - Mystery Lake.  Male - approx. 18-20 - black hair - thin build - approx 6'- Seems he froze to death inside the car. Name written on the inside of backpack reads J. Adams. His clothing was light and not of suitable quality for the temperature. Blue jeans, grey hiking boots, black down jacket with red trim, Fleece sweater. grey hat, thin brown gloves. Fingerprinting successful. 

The only challenge now would be getting back to camp. I checked over the rifle before loading it aware that a jam could be deadly in a situation like this. Loading it up, I took a cursory look down the sights just to familiarize myself with it. Oh, what I wouldn't do to have Nick's aim. I'm glad I let him teach me a few things about both bows and guns, even if I'm not really much of a hunter.

By now the wolves had wandered off a short distance and I thought I'd have a chance if I moved quickly. I moved away from the boxcars quickly, only to have the wolf come streaking around the corner at me. I didn't have time to raise the rifle for a shot, so I ended up in the snow with the wolf on top of me. My only saving grace was my previous fight with a wolf taught me where to aim, and this one was much thinner than the last. I fought it off with only some torn clothing and a few bruises thankfully, and the sight of it's packmate fleeing seemed to have convinced the other wolf to also run a short distance away from me.

I picked myself up and took a quick look around to make sure I hadn't lost anything in the process.

There was another body just beyond the second car, half buried in snow. His backpack, a few feet away had been shredded by wolves. A flare, a first aid kit and a hunting knife, most likely dropped from the bag when it was torn, littered the ground. I didn't have much time to investigate, as the second wolf was heading back and I didn't want to waste what little ammunition I had. There wasn't much left of him, to be sure. Not enough to really identify at least.

Victim Information: Found outside train cars near camp office - Mystery Lake.  Possibly male (Not much left of the remains) - age indeterminate - blonde hair - Average build - approx 5'8" - Seems he was attacked by wolves. His knapsack was found shredded beside him. His clothing was tattered and torn, possibly wearing grey pants, brown hiking boots, white jacket. No hat, no mittens.

 

Evening (-16°c) WIndy

 The weather is getting bad again. The wind is picking up and the windows are rattling. I took the time to unload the rifle and give it a good cleaning. I'm glad I picked up that cleaning kit back at the trapper's hut. I finished off the remainder of my wolf meat, and perhaps I'll head further back from the derailment later. In the short time I was there I could see the tracks going further away and what looks like a road. It may lead back to the logging camp, and if it does that gives me a better map of the area.

I didn't stick around to find out if I killed the wolf that attacked me. I may take a look around the area again tomorrow. I could use the extra food and pelt right now. In the next few weeks, if I survive that long, I need to look at my options for the best way out of here. I can't stay here forever, as much as this little hut would like me to. Once I make an inventory and explore a little farther out, I'll make a decision. Looking over the wall map tells me there's a Hydro dam not far from here. If I follow the tracks it should lead right by it. It would probably take me all day to cross the region so I suppose when I do head out that way, I should be careful.and make sure to pack for a longer trip than I usually make.

Found Items:  Rifle, 5 cartridges, flare, antibiotics, hunting knife

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You somehow manage to write this in a way that it's immediately clear that it's TLD, to the point that I can picture it in-game, yet still make it seem like a story of it's own. Great job!

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25 minutes ago, Wastelander said:

You somehow manage to write this in a way that it's immediately clear that it's TLD, to the point that I can picture it in-game, yet still make it seem like a story of it's own. Great job!

Thank you so much @Wastelander . You've no idea how much encouragement it is to hear it's coming across how I wanted. This is the kind of inspiration that's kept me re-writing after I lost it all the first time!

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Really like reading this Felli, you have a talent in writing that's for sure. Feels like I'm right there with you as I read. Keep it going!

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8 hours ago, Drifter Man said:

Yes, please, keep writing :) You use your imagination to turn your gameplay into a credible, lifelike experience.

Thanks so much @Drifter Man! I'm so happy people are enjoying these! It's good that Ilia is connecting with everyone. I'm working on hopefully getting these out a little faster, real life permitting of course :)

 

 

8 hours ago, Arcani said:

Really like reading this Felli, you have a talent in writing that's for sure. Feels like I'm right there with you as I read. Keep it going!

You're all too kind to me! Thank you so much @Arcani. I'm glad Ilia is able to resonate with so many people so early in, I'll do my best to keep it going to day 200!

Edited by Felli

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Day 14

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Morning (-17°c) Clear

So stiff and sore this morning. The struggle with the wolf yesterday's caught up with me. There's no real physical damage other than a large bruise on my shoulder but you'd think it was as bad as my first run in with wolves, the way my body's complaining about it. Going too far from camp is a no-go for me today I guess. I don't want to make it any worse than it is now. I'll probably spend the day tidying up and moving some things out to the fishing hut. Breakfast was a can of soup and some crackers. Times like this, I wish I had some oatmeal. Nothing beats it on a cold day. You can put nearly anything in it, savory or sweet and it's nice and filling. Here's hoping some will turn up along the way. It's only early winter so I've got a deep freeze ahead of me.

 

Noon (-8°c) Clear & Windy

It took two trips to move the wood and supplies out to the fishing huts, since my shoulder complained any time I tried to pick up a heavy load. I ended up using a piece of cured gut to tie the wood into a bundle and drag it across the ice. Gut and sinew are a lot tougher than we give it credit for. The second trip was just bringing out a few extras to keep in the hut should I get stuck out there while fishing: A hatchet to gather more wood, and extra knife for filleting and de-boning the fish, should I catch any, a few tea bags, a container of water, a small bag of candy and two packets of jerky. They'll keep, even in the cold and shouldn't attract animals while they're sealed. I also left a few bandages and some antiseptic and fire starting supplies. I consider the preparations as insurance. If I get caught out here in a storm, I'll have shelter and a heat source as well as food should the fish not be biting.

 

Evening (-16°c) Windy with blowing snow

 Really tired this evening. I'm not sure if it's the amount of work I did today, or if my body is just finally coming down out of its fight or flight response to being stranded here. Taking a look around the room, I've gathered a surprising amount of things I could use to settle down here for longer than expected, perhaps even a few more weeks. With some smart trapping and hunting, I could augment the fish I catch, if I'm lucky enough to succeed. Perhaps, my physical body knows it's safe inside the cabin. Despite all of this my mind hasn't settle down yet. I have a feeling I'm missing something important.

 

Night(-??°c) Windy

It's the middle of the night and I remembered what it was I'd forgotten. For all my careful packing just before I left the trapper's hut, I left a pouch of belongings there inside the drawer of the workbench, including my extra notebooks and pens/pencils. I can't guarantee that I'll find more of those along the way and I can't just rely on this one pen. In any other situation I'd have simply moved on and left it behind, but not now. Not only is it my sanity in this isolation, it's also the only way to document all of the people I've come across who won't be returning home. I've decided to head back and pick it up as soon as there's enough light to set off.

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I really like this writing style! Its very human and still feels like TLD. The story so far is great and I can't wait to see how your character reacts to the more unique places in game (like the Farmstead and especially the plane crash.) 

Keep up the good work! 

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Day 15
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Morning (-15°c) Cloudy

 

It's barely dawn and I'm ready to set off. I didn't even bother to eat much, just a granola bar. I packed a few extra snacks for the trip and hopefully I can get there and back before nightfall. The sky isn't promising and it looks like a storm is brewing, but like the idiot I am, I'm still heading out. Dying in a blizzard, over a book. Wouldn't that be be ironic. The landmarks are enough for that I think i can make it there in an hour or two. If this is my last entry, you know why.

 

Afternoon (-21°c) Blizzard conditions

Currently huddled in an outcropping around a tiny fire, waiting for a break in the storm. The blizzard came howling in with little notice, aside from the dark sky. No high winds, no driving snow to forewarn me. Suddenly, within minutes I was unable to see a hand in front of my face and it was even more bitter cold than when I had left this morning. I know the cabin is just over the next two ridges, but I don't want to risk getting turned around on the way there. So far the wind hasn't changed direction, but if it does, this little fire won't stand a chance.

 

Evening (-26°c) Whiteout

A short break in the driving snow presented itself, about two hours after the storm started. I used that small window of time to scramble up the nearest slope without incident and continue my trek. Cresting the last ridge brought the trappers cabin back into view, to my relief.

Unfortunately, my relief made me careless, and just like my first few days here, I lost footing and tumbled down the hill, landing in a crumpled heap at the bottom. Thankfully, fresh snow padded most of my graceless descent and I got away with nothing more serious than a bruised ego and some wet clothing. By the time I'd stumbled through the doorway of the cabin, I was chilled and soaked through. My fingers were so numb it took nearly an hour to even get the woodstove lit. 

Nothing in the tiny cabin had been disturbed since I left. All of the wood, water and left over supplies were still neatly stacked where I had left them. I also found my notebooks, just where I'd left them. It's going to take all night for my clothing to dry so it's times like this I'm glad that I left a lot of things behind here, especially the wood. I'd have gone hypothermic if I'd tried to gather wood in this condition. I'm still shivering, even wrapped up in two blankets and I'm surprised I can even hold my pen steady. Returning to camp tonight isn't an option. I'm not about to attempt a return trip in a raging storm with fading visibility. I'm done being a daredevil for the day.

 

Night (-??°c) Whiteout

I warmed up some soup and ate a few more crackers with it, while I spent the evening reading. I'd left some books behind when I made my first trip to the lake for weight's sake and the're making for an excellent distraction tonight. One of said books was an old tourist guide to the region. It may not be up to date but it will certainly give me a rudimentary guide to the region for now. I think I'll take it with me when I go, since it's proven useful.

If I'm at Mystery Lake, then there's a Hydro Dam at the opposite end of the lake to the west. If I start where the river connects with the lake, I could possibly walk along it, long enough to reach the dam. from the dam, the guide suggests that the old railway went past the Carter Hydro Dam, and snaked it's way through Raven Falls before reaching it's terminus near the highway. If the book is right, that means the railway should take me out of the region and into a town on the coast.

Now, I say nearby, but it could honestly be miles away by foot. It also says town, but I doubt it's that large. 

Once I return to camp and take another look at the map there, I'll plan out how I want to explore the rest of the area. All that's really left to investigate is that road past the overturned railcars that I've been putting off, if only because the first time I was met with teeth. By now, if I did kill that wolf his carcass is sure to have been devoured. 

 

Edited by Felli
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Day 16

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Morning (-17°c) Windy

The wind subsided early this morning, but there's a threat of more snow. If I don't get a the move soon, I'll be trapped here again until it clears. I decided to go ahead and pack up a few more things to take back to camp, this time ensuring to take my notebooks! I really don't plan on returning here anymore. It’s time to move on, though I will always be grateful for its shelter in my first few days.

Breakfast was just a warm can of peaches, simple sugar for quick energy. Enough to keep my stomach from complaining, at least. I want to be back at camp before I end up with a repeat of yesterday.

 

Noon (-6°c)

The fog rolled in shortly after I left. For the first little bit, I could still make out trees and landmarks, but It got to a point where, rather than push on, I stopped by an old burned-out cabin. The only thing left of it was an old potbellied stove and the two walls that met behind it. Just enough protection to shelter me from wind and wolf sight, while I lit a small fire and set down my bedroll.

Despite the unsettling thickness of the fog, the forest is calm. The crackling of the wood on the fire is the baseline of a chorus around me. Several species of winter bird are singing, despite the mist, a delicate song only rarely interrupted by the raucous laughter of a passing crow. I can hear the deer just to the side of me, as they paw at the snow, searching for treats hidden below the surface. I find myself closing my eyes and simply listening. They say that taking away one of our senses makes the others stronger, and this experience may just prove it.

when I am able to see clearly, I have never thought to focus my hearing as well. Like most people who possess all senses, my eyes tend to dominate what I pay attention to. I think, at this very moment, I understand how missing a sense changes everything. With my eyes closed, I hear the more subtle sounds easily missed. I can smell the burning wood and its pungent smoke. However, I can also smell the dampness of the ruined cabin, the fresh citrus-like tang of evergreen needles and the unmistakable under-note of the dark earth I'm resting on.

I'm not one for poetry or prose at the best of times, but for a moment of serendipity like this, it's worth the extra ink to record it.

 

Evening (-12°c)

The fog cleared a few hours after it rolled in, and realized I was closer to the rail line than I thought and the walk back to camp was uneventful. A lone stag was grazing on the opposite side of the tracks from where I was walking but he paid me no mind.

The sky is still overcast, but the weather was mild, so I spent an hour or so putting away what I'd brought back before feeling the need to light the fire. To be honest, after the last two days, I can barely keep my eyes open long enough to write this. I think I'll sleep early tonight and plan my day in the morning.

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Day 17

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Morning (-15°c)

I woke up to a glorious sunrise over the lake this morning. Possibly even more colourful than the one I witnessed on my first morning here. I've decided that today, rather than exert myself exploring, I'm going to take a chance and try fishing. I've been through so much in the last three weeks and survived, if fishing is worse, I'll be surprised.

Breakfast was a few more cat-tails and the last of my meat. I'm hoping tonight will bring some grilled fish. I haven't had fire grilled fish in so long I've almost forgotten what it tastes like. With the day being so clear and hopefully mild, a good fire in the stove and a closed door should keep me warm enough to get a few hours in at least

Noon (2°c)

It took nearly an hour to break through the ice covering the fishing hole, but with a little extra force (and an angry shoulder) I managed to clear it out, and set out my line. Now, it's a matter of waiting. As long as follow what I've picked up from reading those fishing magazines, I should be okay. I've got plenty to occupy myself with while I wait.

I can hear wolves across the lake, not too far from here. If my guess is correct, they're most likely over by the lakeside cabins, beyond the small island. I hope if I do catch anything, I can get it home without alerting them.

 

Late Afternoon (4°c)

So far, there's been no sign of fish activity on the line. In the lull, I read through an old newspaper that had been left as kindling by the previous angler before me. By now, it was quite a few years old by now, but it still gave me glimpse back into daily life on the island.

The region was popular with mainly the outdoor adventure crowd, from fishermen, hunters and hikers, to climbers and boaters in every type of vessel imaginable. The accompanying pictures had long since faded, but what remained filled me with a deep sadness. The past was reaching out to me, telling me the story of a region now, eerily silent.

Even pages of advertisements, told a story, like the old fisherman who sold handmade nets, using a time honoured tradition passed down by his grandfather before him. A local farmer, selling fresh produce at the local farmer's market, and inviting anyone passing through Pleasant Valley, to stop by his farm any time for a tour and chance to taste apples and sweet cherries, right from the tree. A small service station, Quincy's Quonset, offering full-service repairs and convenience store items, as well as the newest edition of the farmer's almanac.. The ad also carried a friendly reminder to those travelling to drive safely and watch for animals. A tiny restaurant, no more than five tables, assuring us that no one on Great Bear Island made a better smoked salmon. A forager, selling her freshly picked berries, herbs, and mushrooms, gathered on her daily trips into the island interior. As of this issue, she'd announced that soon, late season blueberries would be available, along with a large selection of homemade preserves and jellies. I imagine everything offered would have been delicious.

A snapshot of the island as it was then, preserved on paper, but only until nature herself erases it through fire or flood.

 

Evening (-6°c)

The fish never really started biting until near sunset, but all things considered, I ended up with three whitefish and two bass, broke a line, lost one fish and a good pen.

Yes, pen.

I was writing in the Journal, when I noticed a fish on the line. In my rush to haul the fish in,  I kicked the pen, and could only watch in comical horror as the pen skidded across the ice, bounced over the lip of the open fishing hole and disappeared into the murky water with a splash. It figures it was also the fish that got away and broke my original line.

I also took the liberty of blaming it for the pen too.

I suppose though, if I was really determined and still alive in the spring, I could always fish it out of the lake once the thaw came. I have to say though, because of that little incident, my madman’s run to the trapper’s cabin the other day is now justified. If i hadn’t, that lost pen would have meant the end of my journaling. Providence?

Maybe.

Edited by Felli
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((Apologies in advance for the formatting wierdness. Sometimes the forum doesn't like to accept my document formatting from GDrive.))

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Day 18

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Morning (-14°c)

I spent most of the evening yesterday gutting and filleting the fish I'd caught and I'm happy to say that I gorged myself on grilled fish before bed. I ended up making more for breakfast if only to break the monotony of meat/cat-tails. I need a bit more practice but I think fishing is a viable option for me. I've decided that I'm going to head out to the small clearing across from the office and lay out a few snares. I’ve seen a lot of rabbits congregate there and snaring one or two shouldn't upset the balance too badly. Hopefully a few more pelts will give me enough to attempt sewing them into pouches or even mittens.

Speaking of hides, I took a look at the rest of the skins I had gathered so far: the silver pelt from the first wolf that attacked me, two rabbitskins, several scrap deer hides, along with enough good deer hide to attempt crafting something. The leather working book I'd been reading suggested a good amount of patterns, most far too advanced for my skill. The pants however, might be feasible if I'm careful and don't waste anything.

That will have to wait though. Today I'm going to head out past the derailed train cars and investigate the logging road. It’s one of the last places to visit here, and I'm curious if it leads back to the lookout and logging camps like I suspect it does.

 

Noon (2°c)

There were no wolves at the railcars for once, so it was a quick hike from there to the intersection of the logging road and railway line. Following the road for a few minutes pretty much confirms my theory. The logging road does lead back into the logger's camp and the forestry lookout trail. I'm not sure if I want to follow the road too much farther. The sky is darkening and bad weather is incumbent.

 

Evening (-11°c)

On my attempt to return the way I came, I noticed a wolf skulking about in the wood piles just a short distance away. To avoid it, I made a wide arc around it, giving the animal a wide berth. Rather than tangle with it and risk another bite, I made my way up the slope behind me. A small stand of silver birch caught my eye farther up, and I figured if I could get up there, I could wait for an opening to escape while having the chance to collect any bark, pulled from the trees in recent winds.

No sooner had I reached the trees, when I heard a low, rumbling growl. A second wolf had seen me and was now descending the slope to my right, teeth bared. If it hadn't let out that growl, I'd have never seen it coming, given it was maybe twenty metres away. I was sure I wouldn't have time to fire at it, so my only other option was to uncap a flare and attempt to dissuade it from lunging at me.

With a violent hiss, the flare lit up in an angry shower of reddish sparks. Deciding to try my luck, I straightened and yelled back at it, swinging the burning flare in an arc. The wolf paused, as if trying to discern just what was happening at that moment. Its ears flattened and it growled again. I stepped forward, still swinging the flare, and I must have looked a lot more menacing than I felt, because after a final brandish, the creature took off down the embankment, yelping loudly.

It bought me time, but not much of it. There was no way I could get back onto the road without being assailed by one or both wolves below me, and I had doubts the flare tactic would work a second time. I turned to head back down the hill, and my boot hit metal with enough force to trip me up and leave me sprawled in the snow, the flare sputtering angrily beside me.

It was a hatch, not unlike the type seen on a submarine or a fallout shelter. Impressively heavy and long-neglected, it took a humongous effort on my part to force the hatch open. A gust of damp, musty air washed over me as I peered into the dark hole. I hesitated a moment, unsure that if I went in, that I would ever come out alive. Howls, growing uncomfortably close told me that my flare was no longer a threat and made my decision for me. I threw my backpack down the hatch and followed quickly, deciding whatever awaited me down there had to be better than being mauled by wolves.

 

Night (-??°c)

Turns out, I wasn't far off in my observations. This place looks to be an old bunker. I can't tell how old it is or how long it's been abandoned, but by the look of it, this place was built to the same specifications as a nuclear fallout shelter. Even the old metal signage on the wall suggests radiation protection if the large yellow symbol is to be believed. It's a small, nearly claustrophobic space, with only a single room, attached to the entrance by a narrow hall. The space allowed for a small cot, a small storage dresser and a desk. a few lockers and some metal shelves occupied the rest of the space left. By the condition of the supplies and items left behind, it's possible this bunker was in use up until a few months ago, perhaps at the beginning of this apocalypse. Much of the stock had since been depleted, taken by the owner, most likely. This place is so well hidden, I doubt anyone else would have known where to look.

A few months ago if you had asked anyone about the 'prepper community’, you'd have one of two responses: a blank look, or some derogatory comment about crazy people who think the world is ending.

The pepper community, in general were all about being ready for an emergency. They were advocates for always having a stock of necessities, from extra food and water, to first aid supplies, survival tools and the safe places to store them. They were also the first to suggest making clear plans well in advance, and urged their friends and family to look into survival training. Most were regular people, many with backgrounds in emergency response. Sure, a great many people saw them as pessimists or doomsayers, always worried about disasters, but no one could argue that now.

There were a few that took the idea of prepping for a disaster to an extreme level, whether out of paranoia or simple worry, building intricate, underground bunkers and complexes, complete with airtight seals, radiation proofing and air filtration systems. These 'doomsday’ type preppers lived in fear of everything, and kept years worth of supplies hidden in these bunkers. Some even went so far as to trade in their money for bars of gold and silver, convinced that it could be used as currency when governments collapsed.

Even though both types were part of the same movement, it was the latter that earned the negative reputation. That distinction doesn't matter now. The end came for all of us, and I honestly think most of them were more ready than any of us.

Was this place one of those extreme bunkers, or simply an old bomb shelter someone discovered, and converted to a safehouse? I'll have time to ponder it all later. For now, the storm has rolled in and since I'm here for the night, I'm going to get some sleep.

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Day 19

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Pre-Dawn (-??°c)

The storm's still raging outside but I'm not really tired enough to sleep more. There's about three hours until dawn, but I'm not about to go out and check. I haven't had the chance to really rummage through what's left here, but from what I can see from here, it's mostly fall and winter clothing. Maybe some of it will fit me and I can replace some of this tattered gear.

Morning (-13°c) Cloudy

I spent the last few hours picking through each drawer in the dresser and though most of it was either too damaged or ill.fitting, I did find a heavy wool sweater in near pristine condition. A little too big but enough to keep me warm. I also found several pairs of heavy wool socks that had never been worn. I have never been so happy to see socks and I was even happier when I was finally settled into a fresh pair. I think I'll take the other pairs with me, since I tend to end up with wet feet a lot.

There were also several scarves and hats, all in much better condition than my own. I think I'll take one of each with me, since I have a feeling they'll be first to wear out. A pair of mittens also caught my eye, being much warmer than what I had.

There was also another parka, but I have no use for it so it can stay here. A few of the more ragged items,I turned into scraps for repair, making sure to focus on keeping the heavy wool and wind-resistant fabric over synthetic and cotton. I also found two pairs of boots, badly neglected that I broke down for leather.

Searching the desk and cabinets netted me some more newspaper and a few more packets of jerky. Also, a fire striker in fairly good condition. Moving onto the lockers provided nothing of real value aside from a packet of matches.

The shelves held a decent amount of food, though by now the majority of it had spoiled. I picked up a few canned goods, mostly beans and soup, along with two cans of peaches. I also found some decent crackers, along with a few energy bars and cans of soda. Overall, my finds were more than enough to fill my bag.

 

Noon (1°c) Partly cloudy & calm

The weather seems to be clearing, and I don't hear the wolves outside. Once I pack up these supplies, I'll make my way back to camp, hopefully without running into the wolves from yesterday. If I can get all of this back to camp, I should have enough food for the week at least.

 

The only place left to really investigate is the Carter Dam, once I find it.


 

Evening (-9°c) Clear

I almost made the trip back to camp without incident.

Almost.

I had just stepped off the tracks and into the clearing that housed the camp office, in fact, I was no more than twenty-five meters away from the door when I saw the shadow of the wolf just behind the building. It hadn't noticed me yet, so I dropped down into a crouch, backing myself up against the nearby outcropping. I drew my rifle and bringing it up to my shoulder, looked down the sights. I could have simply fired on it that second, but I didn't feel confident. No point in taking a careless shot and wasting a bullet.

Instead, I stayed crouched, rifle drawn, watching the wolf wander closer. The closer it came, the more nervous I became. At fifteen metres, I was starting to sweat, and I'd have pulled the trigger long before now, if it weren't for what Nick taught me when I first learned to shoot.

Take your time.

Never rush.

Take a deep breath.

Don't shoot until you're certain.

Re-adjusting my position, I took aim once more. Taking one last deep breath I drew the wolf's attention with a sharp whistle. As it made its advance, I pulled the trigger and at the same time braced myself, just in case my shot was less than perfect.

 

The wolf made no sound as it dropped into the snow with a soft thump, blood pooling near its muzzle. My shot must have hit it in the jaw or ear area. I'm just glad the poor beast didn't feel much.

After a quick trip to drop off my bag, I returned to harvest as much of the carcass as I could, mindful to remove the smoky grey pelt as carefully as possible, before cutting the flesh up into easier to transport slabs. I also took the gut before dragging the remains to the opposite side of the tracks, that way if any other scavengers are attracted to the remains it won't bring them onto my doorstep.

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