I'm Not Alone - Chapter 5
Check back every week for a new instalment of the online exclusive by Richard Cozicar The Ice Racer.
January 23, 2046
In a meeting held among the remaining officers we were left with no choice but to gather our decimated troops and retreat back to help protect the Bakken oil reserves in Northern Dakota. The ever-expanding climate army has over run our positions in Northern Alberta. There are thousands of civilians willing to join them and fight on their side in exchange for heating fuel and food and these extra bodies are reinforcing the climate army’s troops now.
This winter is especially cold and we’ve been hearing rumours for months now about people either freezing to death or dying in fires that they have started in unsafe conditions to heat their shelters.
I honestly can’t say I blame people for choosing the side of the climate prophets. They are the ones controlling most of the remaining fuel reserves in the world now and can at least offer the freezing masses some sort of help. Our united armies are constantly retreating now and the minute amounts of reserves we fight to preserve are by no way enough to help even a fraction of the large masses of people.
January 30, 2046
For the past week now we have had our men load and fuel up our transport vehicles in the dead of night to avoid prying eyes. The plan is to move our convoy of vehicles out before dawn tomorrow morning and try to slip out of this post to travel to North Dakota.
The forecast for tomorrow is calling for severe blizzard conditions, which I hope, will mask our retreat. Most of the climate army’s troops have little if any winter gear so the cold and snow will work in our favour. The big four-wheel drive transports will lead the way, breaking trail through the snowdrifts that cover the roads. There is no spare fuel to be wasted on road clearing.
Sergeant Griffins came to talk to me earlier this evening. He has been away from our camp for the past few days on a scouting mission. He explained that conditions away from our camp are desperate. Small towns are overrun with transients seeking shelter from the cold. Very few towns have any wooden buildings left as the materials have been scavenged for heating and cooking. Several communities are now sending out caravans of men and wagons into the forests to cut trees for burning.
Months ago when I was first sent to this post you couldn’t turn around without bumping into the forest. Now, as far as I can see, only the odd stump sticks up through the accumulating snow. It’s just stumps and paths packed in the snow from the wood gathering caravans as they make their pilgrimages back and forth.
Buildings of brick or steel are mostly what remains as community shelters with large fires burning on the inside resulting in a staggering amount of deaths. This is one of the coldest winters I can remember and there is no fuel or electricity to help the masses make it through. If the cold weather persists the water supply will freeze over bringing only compounding these problems.
February 5, 2046
We have been on the road for almost a week now. The going is slow because we have to stop often and clean the roads by hand. Even the largest, heaviest trucks in our convoy are getting stuck trying to break a trail through the snowdrifts covering the road. Every man is taking turns wielding shovels, myself included.
As the week ends, each and every man is dragging from fatigue caused by clearing the roads and the lack of sleep brought on by the cold. Even we don’t have near enough fuel to continue running the vehicles and providing heat for ourselves. I am having doubts as to whether we will make the long journey to Minot, North Dakota.
February 6, 2046
We have stopped just off the highway near what was once the middle of the Alberta city of Lethbridge, located in Southeastern Alberta, an area that we thought had been deserted for some time.
Once all the wood and paper in the city was burned for fuel there was no reason for any one to remain here. This part of the province had very little in the way of trees to begin with, the small supply disappeared quickly, so the people who lived around here joined the massive exodus west for the mountains.
The Rocky Mountains to the west provided shelter in the way of caves, animals for food and for now an abundance of trees much sought after as fuel for heat.
One thing I’ve noticed on our trek from the north is the vast open spaces. Areas that were not long ago covered in forest lay bare with only the odd tree stump protruding from the ground. The wind is ceaseless now as it blows across miles and miles of barren land.
As we drive I spot farms and small towns lying in ruins, any building materials that weren’t burnable are left in shambles. The lack of fuel has caused ordinary people to resort to any means possible to stay warm and cook the now dwindling food supplies.
February 7, 2046
I am sitting down to write a few words before our camp is broken down and ready to move. It’s a cool morning, the sun is starting to rise, the sky is clear. The day promises to be cold.
Gun shots. Our scouts reported that they had not seen anyone in this area when we stopped last night. I can hear the sentries scrambling, yelling at each other...
I power down my reading page. The mixture of air I’m breathing is making me a little dizzy but overall I feel fine. I grab a couple food pouches and remove my visor. The grumbling in my stomach exceeds my need to be cautious. The food has no taste but it serves its purpose.
Setting my visor back in place I stand up looking for some ice to melt for a drink. I will need to walk farther away from the river of red molten lava that flows through this large cavern. The area around it is free of ice, the ground soft and muddy.
Clambering over mounds of soft earth and boulders I walk away, my back to the heat thrown off by the lava flow. The ground firms up as I put some distance behind me. Walking around a pile of boulders I stop. A noise startles me. Almost sounds like voices. People talking.
I crouch in the darkened shadow of the rock pile and slowly creep around looking for the source of the noise. In the dim light I stare, struggling to peer into the distance darkness. Not far from my hiding spot I can just barely make out the silhouettes of movement.
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A new Canadian Author with too many ideas in his head. Surprising even himself with where his stories go.