Microfiction – Looters

“Lisa! Get our bug-out-bags; we have to leave. I’m going to run the livestock into the woods; meet me there.”

It’s been a year and a half since the eruptions, and the volcanic winter that ensued has turned the world gray leaving survivors to fend for themselves.

At the gate, Lisa found her husband shooing the last of their chickens into the woods, hoping the thieves would not get them all. “Let’s go,” she said, “I don’t want to reach Maidie’s after dark.”

And with that, Jeff and Lisa Wilson left everything behind to seek shelter on the other side of the mountain. Would anything be left upon their return?

“Too many to fight.”
“I know, replied Jeff as he watched looters kick in their front door. Five years earlier, he had carried her across the threshold, and it was all he could do to keep from killing the man in his crosshairs.

This piece of microfiction is a character story from my apocalyptic novella Every Yard Is A Grave. Character stories are small glimpses into a character’s life before, during, and after the book.

Learn about clouds from the National Weather Service

Have you ever looked at a cloud and saw a face or an animal. I think most of us have, but clouds are more than their shapes.

Clouds can grow very tall or appear flat as a pancake. They are typically white in color but also appear in different shades of grey or in brilliant yellow, orange, or red. They can weigh tens of millions of tons yet float in the atmosphere.

Clouds can be harbingers of good weather or bad. Their absence can be a good thing after a flooding rain or bad during a drought.

They provide relief from the heat of direct sunlight but also act as a blanket to warm the earth.

Clouds help water the earth by providing precipitation but can hinder driving by reducing visibility.

They come in infinite shapes and sizes.

Clouds can be carried along by winds of up to 150 mph or can remain stationary while the wind passes through them.

They can form behind high flying aircraft or can dissipate as a plane flies through them. Clouds are not confined to earth but are found on other planets as well.

What are clouds? They are “the visible aggregate of minute particles of water and/or ice.” They form when water vapor condenses.

There is a lot to learn about clouds, but taking the time to do it will be time well spent.

Become “Cloudwise” by learning about clouds and how they form with this free course from the National Weather Service.

20 uses for that cool survival bracelet you’re wearing.

Number 1 – It can be woven into an EDC survival bracelet containing a minimal toolset.

Number 2 – It can be used to set up a tarp or used as tent guy lines.

Number 3 – You can make a lanyard.

Number 4 – Traps can be made to catch small animals.

Number 5 – It can be broken down into a fishing line or used to make a fishing net.

Number 6 – You can use it to replace a broken shoelace.

Number 7 – Turn it into sewing thread.

Number 8 – Floss

Number 9 – Emergency pet leash

Number 10 – Bowstring for a fire drill or DIY hunting bow.

Number 11 – Use it to lash items together.

Number 12 – Create a perimeter tripwire.

Number 13 – Use it to string up a food bag to keep the critters and bears out of it.

Number 14 – Create a zipper pull for your pack.

Number 15 – Make a clothesline.

Number 16 – Replace a drawstring.

Number 17 – Tie up an intruder.

Number 18 – Use it to make a spear for hunting or defense.

Number 19 – Replace a broken generator pull cord.

Number 20 – Use it as a sling or splint broken bones.

Parachute cord, also known as paracord or 550 cord

Parachute cord, also known as paracord or 550 cord, refers to type-III paracord, a lightweight nylon kernmantle rope originally used in the suspension lines of parachutes.

A kernmantle rope is constructed with its interior core protected by a woven exterior sheath designed to optimize strength, durability, and flexibility. Its relatively smooth texture comes from the braided sheath, which has a high number of interwoven strands for its size, making it reasonably elastic.

The US military MIL-C-5040H standard required the material to be nylon. Still, there are products on the market today labeled as paracord that do not correspond to a specific military type and can differ in construction, quality, color, or strength.

The type III 550 cord is commonly found in use. It is nominally rated with a minimum breaking strength of 550 pounds, thus the nickname “550 cord,” and has a minimum elongation of 30%.

Military-specification type III cord may be slightly thicker than commercial grade due to it often requiring three nylon fibers per inner core as opposed to two fibers per core in the retail version.

The military cord will be closer to 4 millimeters (5⁄32 in) thickness, whereas commercial versions are closer to 3 millimeters (1⁄8 in) thickness.

Most people today are familiar with the cord due to the popularity of prepping and its use in survival bracelets that are meant to be unraveled when one needs to use it for a specific purpose.

Crafters also weave it into lanyards, belts, dog leashes, rosaries, key chains, and more.

Paracord can be used in survival situations to make bowstrings for hunting or fire drills. It can also be used to make traps and fishing line. The list of uses for this cord is endless and should be a part of your EDC (Everyday Carry) kit.

Who is responsible for your survival during a disaster

Who is responsible for your survival during a disaster?

You are, each of us is responsible for our own survival before, during, and after a disaster.

If help is needed, your neighbors would most likely be the first on-scene to assist.

Next in would be your local emergency workers, so it is essential to make sure your town has a robust emergency preparedness plan.

Relief agencies would also begin to help out at this time.

During a major disaster, your county would be called in to help as well.

State emergency management resources would step up if the county was unable to stabilize the incident.

And finally, your state’s governor would make a request for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) if they became overwhelmed.

As you can see, there is a lot of help out there for you, but you don’t want to be that person whose only preparedness plan is to wait for help. GET PREPARED TODAY!

The gray man theory, a fancy name for blending in

You can find long articles, books, and courses online that will teach you how to blend in when it all goes to hell, some free, some for a price. But the truth is most of us already blend in. Every day people buy trendy items to look like the cool kids. Even the supposedly individually minded prepper blends in at a survival expo wearing the latest survival clothing.

The real trick to the “Gray Man Theory” as it relates to preppers is to blend into unfamiliar high threat areas during a disaster in which you stand out. This will not be a problem in your home territory because people tend to live around people that act like themselves. But get caught outside that area, and everything changes. Get caught in a different part of the country, and it really changes. No matter how hard you try to blend in, your voice, mannerisms, and expressions will be noticeable to anyone from that area.

So what’s a prepper to do?

1 – Use your common sense
When dealing with others, trust your instinct. If you get a bad feeling about someone, avoid them at all costs; don’t make eye contact, don’t get anywhere near them.
2 – Don’t buy tactical clothing or backpacks
This is a no-no in my opinion unless you want to project that “I’m a badass, don’t fuck with me” look. A typical laptop backpack will blend in better in most places. People of all walks of life carry them, and will not suspect it to be a bug-out-bag.
3 – Dress in dull colors without logos if you can
The eye is drawn to bright colors and logos, so don’t wear them if you want to go unnoticed.

In the end, the goal of the “Gray Man Theory” is to get you home safely and maybe your best option for avoiding trouble along the way.

The 3 U’s, Upkeep – Update – Uncompress

You’ve got your basic survival, bug-out, vehicle, and location kits, so you’re done, right? Wrong! You still need to schedule The 3 U’s because disasters don’t strike every day, and your survival kits are likely to sit for months or even years unused.

Upkeep your gear. Cleaning and making sure your equipment is in working order will ensure it stays usable.

Update your gear. Things expire, batteries, food, MEDs, etc. all go bad at some point. Making sure they are up to date will eliminate any surprises when disaster strikes.

Uncompress your gear. Things tend to get a little squashed when packed in your kits. Sleeping bags fill this effect the most. Make sure to take items like this out of your kit from time to time and let them uncompress.

Bugging-out, how do you know when its time to go

Leaving your home or bugging-out during a disaster should be a last resort, but you may have to if things become life-threatening.

So when should you go?

Obviously, you should go when a disaster is about to wipe out your home; after all, the number one way to survive a disaster is by moving out of its way. But what about a tragedy that leaves your home intact?

What then?

Here are a few signs to go by.

Power is out

The disaster is local; crews are working to restore power, and neighbors are working together.

This is not the time to leave. Work with your neighbors to protect your street.

Power is out

The disaster is widespread, crews are not working in your area to restore power, but neighbors are working together. And relief agencies have set up supply stations for food and water.

A situation like this is a toss-up. If you have a retreat location, you could go. Or you could stay and work with your neighbors.

Power is out

The disaster is widespread; crews are not working in your area to restore power, neighbors are not working together, and relief agencies have not set up supply stations for food and water.

This is the time to leave if you have a retreat location. But it may be better to stay home if you do not. Moving to a hidden safe room will be your best bet if you have one.