Shane slowly slid the cabin door open, looked at Doc, and jumped down the steps into the cabin.  Doc closed the door behind him, “we can see out, but no one can see in,” declares Doc “look at Andy when he comes around, have you seen him before?”  Shane stands motionless, watching when Andy comes walking into camp with two guys behind him, “this is Art and JR,” says Adam.  Art was an average-looking guy, not tall but not short with a shaved head. When Andy introduced him, he had a nervous laugh, sounding like he was forcing the laugh, (very fake and creepy).  JR looked like a younger version of Art, very quiet, looking around as if taking a tally of who and what was there.   According to the thermostat on the boat, the sun was high overhead, it is 94 degrees, and Andy, Art, and Red were talking by the kitchen area we built. JR was making his way around the boats when Shane gasps. He claps his hands over his mouth. Doc turns and puts her finger up as if to shoosh Shane, “that’s him. He dumped me in the desert, only he was on a razor, and there were bloody rags in the back.” Shane starts yelling in whispered tones, Doc covering Shane’s mouth and cautiously peeking through the window. JR stopped a moment and looked up at the boat window, Red catching JR in his peripheral vision, belts out, “Doc, my wife is in there changing. She’ll be out in a minute.”  Andy and Art both turn to look at JR, “oh ya, I didn’t see Doc. How’s she doing this morning.”  “I’m good, and you Andy,” says doc as she leans in and gives him an uncomfortable hug.  “Nice to meet you, Art and JR right,” says Doc as she moves a chair next to Red and sits down.  JR stands next to Art, and Andy pulled a chair over and sat down next to Doc.  “I see you guys lost a camper and his boat,” says Andy trying to make small talk, “ya, we woke up this morning, and Jerry and his boat were gone, we figured he just went fishing, and he would be back, he left his ice chest and stuff here.”  Andy interrupts, “oh ya, do you guys know where he was going? We have to check in with all the campers out here and report it to our bosses.”  “No idea,” says Doc “should we be concerned? should we go look for Jerry?” “no, no, we will look, you guys stay here, and we’ll be back, Replied Andy.  Art and JR started making their way towards the kitchen quietly mumbling and looking around, Doc holding eye contact with Andy, stumbles a little as she stands up, Red lunges over gently grabbing Doc’s arm keeping her upright, Doc giggles a little and say’s “Sorry but I believe it’s time for medicine and a nap,” Doc smiles up at Red, Andy looking around gets up “okay, well, do you guys need us to bring anything back?” asked Andy as he follows Red and Doc towards the kitchen area, Art and JR had already disappeared behind the bend.  “No,” said Mary as she was pulling a soda out of the cooler next to her “we’re good,” she stated, turning to Richard.

Doc and Red disappear into the cabin of the boat. Andy disappeared around the bend, Tammy standing over the speakers singing “call me on my cell phone” as the music softly trails on, small groups of chatter spill over the island. Shane had sat down on the back of our boat and proceeded to guzzle the beer he found in a small ice chest under the back seat.  Finishing the last of the six warm beers he started with, he stumbles off the back of the boat, landing on his face in the sand.  He lifts his beer in the air, and says, “didn’t spill a drop” he laid there still for several moments, turning over onto his back sun beating down, he softly mutters “I missed the bus” as he drifts off.

Red jumps out of his seat as a scream comes from the cabin of the boat, “Doc,” Red yells as he’s running and jumping onto the boat.  As Red throws the door open, he sees Doc sitting up in bed, her pale skin shining in the light from the window above. He stands frozen.  Doc’s, cheeks moist, tears in her eyes, without a word drops her head, Red drops on the steps into the cabin as if the air was too thick to breathe, he collects himself and crawls into the bed next to Doc, holding her hand, he softly says “It will be ok, you will find them, I know you will.”  Doc, taking a few deep breaths, looks at Red, “we need to get off this lake, Doc said, standing up, “Tuesday morning we leave, before the sun comes up, Doc starts changing into a long colorful sundress. She looks at Red and says, “we will load up all the boats, close off the river to this lake, and make our way down river to Lake Alamo.”  “We will start anchoring boats just off the river at the opening of the lake.”  “We have to be completely off the water and out of the marina by 4 am Tuesday. We will be leaving our truck and boat close to the reservation entrance, and Alo will collect it for us.”  “Premonitions have started, and I see what I need to do,” Red said as he was loading a bowl with Serious Happiness.  Doc nods without a word, slightly opening the door and sitting on the couch across from Red. Red hands her a small brown and orange glass pipe as Doc holds it to her mouth and flicks the lighter, taking in a long slow breath.  A small trail of smoke becomes visible from the crack in the door. Ten minutes had gone by, and the sweet and musky cannabis smoke billowed out of the cabin of the boat as Doc opened the door. It gave her a golden aura as she emerged from the smoke and the cabin of the boat.  As everyone watched Doc gracefully emerge off the back of the boat, she smiled and looked around.

Doc sat down at the table with a notebook and a pen. She wrote a few sentences on the paper and walked away.  Instinctively one by one, each camper walked over and read the paper. Some wrote short sentences after her. The note read:  We are leaving early Tuesday morning. Over the next 48 hours, slowly start compiling the things you absolutely need and keep it close.  Red and I will let you know what we are doing at that time.  Don’t discuss plans openly for now, as we don’t know who the enemy is, keep the music playing and acting as normal and happy as possible.  Shane sobering up, reads the note, looks around “really, I told you there were bloody clothes in the Razor with those guys, they are killer’s, bad people, don’t you understand that,” as Doc gently put her hand on Shane’s shoulder, he turns to face her, “Shane we need to stick together and not freak out just yet, Doc calmly states, “We will make it out of here, but I need you to trust me,” proclaims Doc “I know where we need to go from here.”  At that, the fear in Shane’s eye’s started to fade. As he looked at Doc, she forcefully announced, “Shane has had his last beer until we leave here.”

Red and the men started tinkering on Tom’s boat. Tom had decided it was time for some fishing. He wanted fresh fish for dinner.  Doc started wrapping potatoes in tin foil, then tossing them into the fire. Tammy turns up the stereo, and everyone just danced and sang along to the music. Tom fished off his boat in the middle of the open water just in eyeshot of the island, evening comes quicker these days as we move into winter. The days are shortening meaning less time in the day to get what we need to be done.  Essentials were loaded back onto boats quietly and slowly as to not to give Andy’s crew an idea we knew who they weren’t, Shane slept most of the afternoon and is still passed out on the sand by the fire pit, like normal for him.

Tom had returned with 5 fish as the sun was setting, and the women decided they were going to cook dinner while the guys were going to clean up and check the boats and tidy up.  For dinner tonight was steak and fish if the world was coming to an end we were going to go out with a bang one good fun night.  Red set up the smoke station as we lovingly called it. Everyone smoked or enjoyed an edible at their leisure.  Shane woke at the first smell of food and this time in a much more stable condition, “Doc,” “Doc,” cried Shane, “There was a lot of blood on those clothes I found in that dude’s and son’s razor.” “I told you not good people.” “I know,” replied Doc “it’s cool. Just tell us your story.”

Shane starts, “OMG, I missed the bus, you see there is a bunker, well several bunkers and our families paid for a spot, they paid millions for a spot. No one told  the public, but we were told the bunkers were by invitation only, and other instructions, however, I was fussing over the elections and Trump being president that when the shit hit the fan, I go and miss the fucking bus.” Shane’s voice trails off in his sniffles and tears.  Doc starts, “Shane did you guys know this was going to happen? Were we the United States responsible?”  as Doc says.  She knows those are not good words to say, those weren’t good words to think.

Shane sat staring at the fire and picking at his dinner like someone had killed his best friend or like his best friend had killed the world.  Doc knew pushing him any further tonight wouldn’t help matter’s, so she relaxed and smoked with everyone dancing and singing a little here and there, close in mind that they needed to get out of there very quickly and quietly.

The party had started to wind down about 11 pm, the dishes were done, and everyone broke off into groups, getting settled in for the night.  The guys decided it was Red, Matt, and Nathen would stand guard for the night, we set up a place for Shane to sleep on our boat on the back couch, but he decided to stay awake with the guys and stand guard.

Red walked Doc back to the boat when Doc stopped suddenly. “I need recharge time”.  she explained.  She entered the cabin of the boat and immerged a few minutes later with a long flowing bathing dress. It was a beautiful satin white flowing cloth that covers a white bikini.  Doc slowly entered the water, kicking her feet around a little to get used to the temperature of the water, walking into the water up to her knees the white satin flowing dress floating in the water like a white ribbon, now waste deep, Red sitting on the bow of the boat keeping watch out towards the water.  As Doc submerged deeper in the water, the campers gathered closer as if watching a movie unfold in the water. As Doc rolled and turned underwater, there was a glow that started to brighten around her, the white flow of her dress and the long golden brown hair swirling around as if telling Doc’s very tragic tale.

Doc was born to a very sick woman, and instead of her mother seeking professional help, she self-medicated, leaving Doc’s childhood hard, and as a healer, Doc had the power to heal others but no clue how to use it.  Doc healed several by accident but really had no real control or clue how to use her power or really that she had any power at all, just a regular girl next door type until she had turned 40.  That birthday was definitely an eye-opener. It started with the premonitions, little things at first knowing the phone was going to ring and who it was, then healing small things with other people Doc came in contact with.  There was, however, 1 condition, for every aliment Doc healed she would also suffer.  Water was the one true balanced medium.  Doc could submerge in fresh or saltwater for up to 30 minutes at a time to rejuvenate her mind and soul to help keep her balance.  Doc can never be healed of these ailments. She repairs slowly, and water can only rejuvenate her body to keep her on her journey, but her journey will have to be completed before the sun breaks over the new century.  Everyone quietly watched as Doc slowly arose out of the water, the water gliding down her golden-brown hair down the satiny white trailing dress. She slowly walked back onto the beach, with the white cover hugging the curves of her body and everyone slowly and quietly making their way back to their space looking at her as inconspicuously as possible.

Red tucked Doc into bed, kissing her softly on the forehead. “I love you,” said Red. “Love you more,” said Doc.  It’s going to be a good night; he said as he was closing the door behind him.  Red settled into one of the chairs for the night. Shane looks up to Red and asks, “she ok” Red nods, and the guys chill there for the night, talking softly about anything from cars to baseball.  Red being diligent, saying everything is done in pairs because of the night before.  I don’t care if you have to take a shit, Red Said very sternly. We stay in pairs, got it!  everyone nodded.

The night went off without a hitch. Red and Shane went into bed around 4 am, Matt and Nathen went into bed after breakfast. Monday was a quiet day, and we didn’t see Andy’s crew until almost 11 am again.  The guys were up the hill a short way and saw Andy’s crew coming through the lake entrance from the river.  Shane was already sleeping in Doc and Red’s boat.  As Red could see the patrol boat better, he noticed only 2 people in the boat, Andy and JR.  Red told Matt and Tom to keep a lookout, and he took off at a steady pace back to camp. Arriving just in time to meet Andy and JR’s boat.  Hey hey, said Red, a little out of breathe.  How is this beautiful morning for you two?  Where’s  Art not joining on rounds this morning? Asked Red.  No, no, you know Millennials these days don’t want to do shit except sit around and play video games, as they all started laughing.  Na, he’s back at headquarters keeping an eye on the radio and making sure we don’t have any unexpected visitors, Andy chuckles.  We brought you some ice said JR, as he’s holding the bag in the air.  Do you guys need anything else? It looks like we’re going to be here a few more days. The cities are being locked down, and you can’t get through the small towns without worrying about the infected that are still alive violently attaching people.  These things aren’t like the zombies on TV. These fuckers can think, plan, organize and manipulate people until it’s too late.  Be happy you are in this paradise because the world is falling apart.

Matt and Tom had been sitting on the hill for close to half an hour.   Andy and his companion were still in camp, but across the water on the closest beach to our camp, someone was standing there just inside the tree line.  Matt pulled the binoculars out and started scanning the shoreline until yep, that’s their buddy, Art, said Matt.  Do you think he’s been out here all night, or did they drop him off on their way in?  A cool feature of these binoculars is you can take a picture on your cell phone while looking through them, so matt did.  Matt and Tom watched as the lake patrol boarded their boat and started putting away.  Andy and JR pull up to the beach that Art was at. They get out of their boat “to piss” and it looked like Andy started talking to someone just outside of eyeshot and inside the tree line.   Matt watched very carefully for a glimpse of Art to no avail.  Andy and JR loaded back onto the boat, looked around, meeting eyes with Red, Andy tips his head, loads up the boat, and off they went to the next camp, we assume.

We had everything cleared off from breakfast. Doc and Beth were working on the dishes dancing and singing into a spatchala and wooden spoons.  In trying to erase some of the stress, anxiety, and bullshit we’ve been faced with, today is the day to listen to music, eat some good food, drink like tomorrow doesn’t exist, and have a good time. I will keep an eye on Art.  Have fun!! Doc said with a big smile, you guys deserve it.  Get it all out because our new journey begins soon, and I need your help to win this war.  Doc stood and watched everyone for a few minutes before getting pulled onto the dance floor by the love of her life, Red.  They held one another close, knowing this may be the last party for all of them.

The road ahead is going to be rough, and sadly we may not all make it, but in the end, it will all work out, Doc said quietly as she boarded their boat to take a nap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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