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“The Fall of Light” Chapter 8:
Gregory V. Boulware, Esq.
Chapter 8: “ArchLight From Below”
‘Stroudesburg,’ ‘Tannersville,’ ‘Jim Thorppe,’ ‘Big Boulder.’ ‘Big Bear,’ and ‘Still Water;’ “Mount Pocono”
On the way out of town, it was just as ‘G’ and the mountain guys said, there was nothing. And yeah, we were able to get scraps from the farmland region along the way up North, into the Pocono’s.
We weren’t the only ones, it seemed, headed in this direction. We did see and come across many who have had the hind-sight to get the fuck out of Philly while they could. The farmland fields up from “Old Stenton Road,” paralleling “Germantown Pike” had been littered with debris while the crops all along the way had been picked clean. The five of us weren’t really comfortable in the cab of the truck, albeit, a ‘Ford F-150 Crew-Cab.‘ We had to take turns in our seating arrangement(s). We were not very small individuals. ‘G’ was larger than Me and Russell. The two mountain boys, “Arch” and “Sandy” were even bigger than him. When we slept, we utilized the bed of the truck, the backseat, and the undercarriage with sleeping bags, heavy blankets, and such…
We were able to gather some grain and corn from a couple of the farms along the way. The houses had been ransacked and devoid of sustenance. The furnishings, what was left, was all but destroyed and tossed about the rooms. Windows had been smashed along with mirrors, pictures, and other household goods. Many of the families had vacated the region for higher and safer grounds. They had been beseiged by vandals and attackers who raided their properties in search of food and supplies due to the unavailable resources within the city. The hapless farmers were preyed upon by roving bands of scavengers who cared not for anyone but themselves, in the name of “self-preservation.”They invaded their homes, stole everything in sight, confiscated animals, and if they had young daughters…the violent gangs took them too. Many of the farmers and their families fought back against this form of terrorism with weapons of their own, from shot-guns and pistols to sickles, hammers, swords, and axes. The successful ones remained on site, on constant guard against invaders of any kind; man or beast.
There were also those kindly farmers who took people in temporarily… They offered overnight shelter and whatever they had to eat to displaced travelers escaping the death and horror of the invaded urban regions; the conquered city of Philadelphia and surrounding area. Hunting in the vicinity was sparse as the wild animals who roamed freely; deer, birds, etc., evacuated in great numbers to the far rural north. They instinctively were aware of the danger all about…they knew before people did. Fortunately for us, the two mountain fella’s knew what to do with the grain and corn that we happened upon. They ground the grains into what could be described as a powder, ditto for the corn. The corn was mixed with grain, water, and whatever was growing about into a sort of spongy dough…they turned the stuff into bread that we were very happy to eat. The bigger of the two brothers, “Sandy,” used some of what was left of the grain and corn, turning it into something that we could drink…booze!
“Damn, man, this shit is booze, one hundred percent get-high booze! Where in hell did you learn to make this shit…where did you get the sugar? asked ‘Dre.’ I mean, how in hell were you able to cook this shit without a “Still” or some type of cooking apparatus?”
Sandy simply smiled and said, “I can’t tell ya…it’s a family secret only known to us folk in the Mountains.”
“Aw c’mon man, who in hell am I gonna tell…you can tell me?”
The big mountain man smiled again and laughed a big hearty laugh aloud and replied, “I bet you can’t wait to get things back to normal…after what you think or hope will happen, so that you can go and tell your “Homies” all about how you survived the holocaust of Philly and got a few secrets to sell, while making a fool out of a big dumb mountain man…right dude?”
“Aw, no my man, I wouldn’t think of such a thing…now as far as making a fool out a big dumb mountain man, such as yourself…I wouldn’t do that…and I’d make a fortune just the same.” Drethought he was being funny, no one else laughed or smiled except him.
“Look you little punk-ass piece of shit…I wouldn’t tell your little black-ass a damn thing…nor anyone like you! I’d let your little punk-ass stay out here, get lost and starve to death as soon as look at cha! Now go fuck yourself…”
The camp-fire blared and crackled as we sat there in the barn of the family who allowed us to stay for the night. Our faces were all glowing and shadowy silhouette(s) which appeared to dance upon the barn walls from the after-light. We were comfortably warm and sheltered.
“What the fuck did you say man?” Shouted ‘Dre,’ as he jumped up from the circle in an attempt to confront the big mountain man. Before he could make another move, ‘G’ reached up and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck. The mountain man never moved, he simply smiled as he sat there attending his drink.
“Listen fool, this ain’t the city…it’s gone, long gone. If you want to survive out here, you need to learn some brand new skills and forget about all that bull-shit from back-in-the-day! …Got It? Now sit your stupid ass down, smoke this joint, and enjoy this man’s booze. It’s a gift…It’s impolite and insulting to belittle a man’s gift…especially one that is life-preserving”
“G” released him. ‘Dre’ was more than embarrassed…he walked over to ‘Sandy,’ extended his right hand and said, “I’m sorry Sir, I meant no insult or harm, I apologize.” He was sincere in his gesture.
‘Sandy’ let loose a bellow of roaring laughter and with one heavy arm, reached up and pulled ‘Dre’down to were he was sitting. The startled young man was gasping for air as the mountainous-behemoth smothered him with a bear-hug.
“Here, let’s forget all about it…here, have a drink.”
The men felt relaxed and comforted as they ate, drank, farted, and laughed. They hadn’t had this much fun in a very long time. They joked about women and their past experiences before the invasion. They smoked some of the “Pot” that was picked up from one of the “Germantown” stash-houses on our way out of the city. We were now in what we thought was a safe zone…we were in the mountains.
We successfully worked our way up route 309 into the “Allentown” area of Pennsylvania. We continued on past “Bethlehem,” working our way into “Easton.” We stopped off at an abandoned fueling station just outside of the town. The entire region seemed to be empty of life, of people. Our fuel tank was nearing empty, just below the quarter mark on the gauge. Traveling into “Easton” we hoped to find people out and about, not thinking about the danger of the machines being here or having arrived. The danger here wasn’t the machines, it was the roving bands of gangs; on bikes, and otherwise; they who saw fit to take advantage of and victimize the citizenry of all they owned or possessed… They raided the stores, warehouses, and homes of the residents and merchants alike. The town had that bombed-out look…a surreal appearance of a city besieged with desolation, disease, death, and destruction. It was like the stuff one saw on television or in the movies.
We didn’t know what street or road we were on because the area residents ripped down the signs in hopes of roving bands not knowing, recognizing, or remembering where they had previously assailed. One family recognized that we were not the enemy and welcomed us. They explained all that had previously occurred and what was available and what wasn’t. The fueling stations were empty of gas and oil… ‘Archie’ intervened and asked where the nearest fueling station other than the one we’d passed, was located.
Arriving at the location; after a warm reception and meal, ‘Archie’ got out of the truck and examined the abandoned gas pumps. He motioned to ‘G’ to run over the pump(s) with the truck. I shouted at him, “Are You Fuckin Crazy? Do You Wanna Blow Us All The Fuck Up, Fool?”
‘G’ ordered us out of the truck. He then put the F-150 in reverse for a few yards and revved the engine to a mighty roar and charged forward into and over the fuel pumps. Fortunately they weren’t mounted on islands. The truck went straight over and through the gas pumps, ripping them from their foundations. The twin pumps lay in tattered and shredded metal upon the ground as ‘Archie’ peered over and into the well(s), down into the tanks below ground.
“Learn this, even if the tank is empty when it is pumped, there is always something at the very bottom.” He proceeded in dropping a long hose down into the wide-opened neck of the tank. I don’t know where he dug up that old hand-cranking-pump, but he was very successful in getting the last drops of fuel from the underground gas tanks, without blowing up the place. We got enough to fill the truck to a three-quarter mark on the truck’s dashboard indicator.
Continuing on our way, we changed direction and headed toward route 611 from 309. We then entered and passed through “Stroudsburg” and into “Tannersville.” We saw signs that gave directions for “Big Boulder,” “Jim Thorppe,” “Big Boulder,” “Big Bear,” and ‘Still Water Lakes; on “Mount Pocono.” We opted for “Blakeslee” on route 940. There was minimal population here. We were greeted by several of the locals and invited to stay at their place(s). We accepted the invitation from an Indian Family. We don’t know what “Nation” or “Tribal affiliation” they belonged to. And we didn’t ask. The Father of the family warned us of the local ‘White Folk.’ Some of them held a bit of prejudice for folk of Colour…especially those who are deemed to be successful in residing in this area. He said people like his family either cut them off by not patronizing their businesses or establishments; pretending they don’t exist. It works, according to “Frank-Eaglefeather,” the Grandfather. “Although, Some families have been attacked at one time or another. The racial element here, is alive and well.” It was here, at their ranch, we decided to stay.
We had forgotten to lay low… The sounds and noises carry far and wide in the mountain night(s); not to mention the smells and aroma’s. Mr. Eaglefeather brought us some bear-meat he’d cooked earlier in the day. ‘Archie,’ ‘Sandy,’ and ‘G’ accepted the meat with gratitude. ‘Me’ and ‘Dre,’ “Hell No! We Ain’t Eatin No Bear Meat!”
“Boy, let me tell you, when you get hungry, you’ll be glad you had this meat to eat. Your attitude tells me that you ain’t never been truly hungry…have ya?” The “Rhienstein” brothers looked at us with distain…the look(s) almost ruined the festive mood. They looked at each other and laughed. “Wait until we pull out the snake for breakfast tomorrow!” ‘Me’ and ‘Dre’ looked at each other and then at ‘Archie.’ We laughed too…only we didn’t mean it.
Suddenly there was a loud and thunderous boom from up the hill, at the family house. Then we all heard a scream…we bolted for our weapons and the door. There was another thunderous boom. It came from the south-side of the barn. The wall fell in…it was pushed in from the outside! The wooden barn-wall splintered into a thousand pieces as the humongous beast burst in on us… It was the biggest grizzly that I’d ever seen. I’ve only seen them in “the Zoo,” never up close and in person…never like this!
In what seemed like an instant, the beast was in the room and charging for ‘Me’ and ‘Dre!’ ‘Archie,’with weapon in hand, turned and threw himself in between me and the bear. His Cross-Bow had already discharged well before he became airborne. ‘G’ firing his “M-16” automatic rifle as he also moved to place himself between us and the beast.
The steel-jacketed arrow struck the grizzly squarely in the neck while bullets from ‘G’s’ automatic weapon raked holes throughout his torso and face. The animal was simply after the food it smelled. It had no idea, it would lose its’ life when entering this barn. It had no clue that these big “Jewish”mountain men where expert hunters, anglers, and all-around outdoorsmen. They reveled at this opportunity to take down a bear…especially one of this age and size. They were born and raised in the city of ‘New York.’ The family acquired real estate in the “Pocono’s.” The boys fell in love with the move and would be unhappy with any other location; the family left that life for that of the mountains; somewhere around the age of seven or eight.
The weight and forward motion of the bruin, carried it straight into the camp-fire. As it lay there becoming scorched, the attention was re-focused on the noise from the house. We all charged off in that direction…the smell of burnt fur permeated the barn as the fire was being extinguished from the fallen bear.
A body was on the ground upon our approach. It wasn’t one or the family members. It was a stranger…a white man. The front door flew open as we hit the first step of the front porch. The double-barreled ’18-gauged shot-gun was pointed right in the face of ‘G.’ The gun-holder managed to restrain himself just in time. He pointed his gun toward the ground as did his sons who were holding ‘Smith and Wesson Field Master 30-30’s. His daughters held bow and arrow, ready for launching. Knives were in every waistline sash of the Indian Men. The mother was screaming while the other children and relatives were crying. The Grandfather lay dead in the back hallway of the house, just outside the door-way of his granddaughter’s room. He had a bullet-hole in the middle of his forehead.
The window of the young girl’s room was shattered into a thousand pieces. Her bed was empty…
The remaining family members screamed to us, telling us of the exchange of gun-fire between the kidnappers and their Grandfather. They think it was four men…one in the front of the house while one came in through the kitchen. He kicked in the door. The other two burst in through the young girls bedroom window… Mr. Eaglefeather stuck him good, the one in the kitchen. He died before he hit the floor.
“Grandfather managed to stab and cut him from the waist up to his sternum. One of the men who came in through the window shot Grandfather as they carried away out sister.”
“I shot the motherfucker coming in the front door!” said the younger Mr. Eaglefeather. “Now I must go after the bastards who stole my daughter.” He and two of his sons were armed to the teeth with weaponry…light enough to not slow them in their haste. The other two were assigned to take care of and guard the remaining family members.
“Yo, my brother and I will aid you in this hunt. We cannot simply leave and know that we have left you and your loving family in such a state as this. I’m sure that my friends, our traveling companions will provide assistance as well, Brother Eaglefeather!” ‘Archie’ said as he reloaded his weapons.
“I’m coming with you.” said ‘G.’
“‘Russell,’ you and ‘Dre’ remain here and help out with the family. The brothers will help you sort out the bear in the barn. Just sit tight until we get back…I don’t think there will be any cops to worry about. Many of them are too spread out to bother concerning themselves with the troubles of common folk, especially Indian(s). Besides, with the invasion and in-flux of immigrants, they’ll have their hands plenty full. The “State-Troopers” probably won’t bother either…not until they can clear their plates as well. Don’t worry, the family will know what to do…they’ll take care of the dead bodies. You boys don’t have to concern yourselves with all that…keep your weapons at the ready – at all times!”
Til Next Time…
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