After the Apocalypse
Chapter 121: A Bridge-Too Far?
by Mark Bollman--> and Steve Donohue
As he crossed eastern Michigan with passage to Ontario still his goal, Steve was amazed by the nature of the devastation he saw. For no apparent reason, there were no signs of other survivors for miles. On the one hand, that enabled him to augment his supplies when he needed to-indeed, he'd had to limit his foraging for fear that the toboggan would become too heavy for the snowmobile to tow.
On the other hand, the starkness and quiet of the countryside had an unnerving effect on him. It made less and less sense, as he pressed eastward, that Winter Camp and Lapeer had been spared while literally every other trace of civilization in an ever-widening area had been destroyed. He had hoped, at the start of his trek, that he might find other survivors in Port Huron, but what he continued to see made that seem less and less likely.
As he approached the end of I-69 on the western outskirts of the city, Steve noted that things were looking different. Clearly there had been a massive fire here-possibly even a direct nuclear strike, he guessed.
"But why Port Huron? That makes no sense. Aside from being close to Canada, it doesn't seem like there's anything here that the Russians would want destroyed."
Close to Canada? Maybe that was it, he thought. Maybe the Blue Water Bridge itself-his target in coming this far, of course-was something the Russians were looking to take out. To destroy a possible escape route, possibly. If they had succeeded-and all evidence pointed directly to that conclusion-what would he do next?
Steve forced that question out of his mind as he passed a battered sign marking the city limits. He hesitated briefly to survey the landscape.
"If it took a nuclear hit, it's been a month. The radiation ought to have died down by now," he thought. Confident that he would face no invisible danger, he continued into the remains of Port Huron, Michigan.
"If there's no radioactivity here to speak of, that probably means that Detroit's safe to explore. Radioactively speaking, of course." He, of course, had no idea what other kinds of danger might be present in metro Detroit. "I wonder if they've made a trip down that way."
Thinking about the Winter Campers set Steve's mind wandering over a host of other questions. What was going on in Lapeer, and how had that affected what was happening at D-A? He hoped fervently that there hadn't been any retaliation for what he'd done. While his initial instinct was that the Winter Camp crew could handle anything, further reflection cast doubt on that thought. No telling what the townspeople of Lapeer might be able to mount in terms of an invading crew, after all.
He forced the issue of possible violence out of his mind and turned back to Winter Camp itself. No doubt the influx of about a dozen women was forcing changes in the camp's intricate social structure. While he was sure that Winter Camp would evolve to meet this new challenge, exactly what form the camp would morph into wasn't possible to predict.
"We predicted once that Winter Camp would have a woman attend," he recalled, "but we were saying only by Winter Camp L. Once again, Winter Camp's ahead of its time-this time, a quarter-century ahead. But I don't think anybody would've predicted a dozen of them."
Steve had never been to Port Huron, so was unfamiliar with the layout of the town. Taking it as given that he'd come more or less from the west, he tried to continue in as straight a line as possible, with the hope that he'd find Lake Huron. From there, he figured, he'd be able to locate the bridge, if it was still standing. If it wasn't-well, that was a different matter.
"I'll cross that bridge when I don't come to it," he said, laughing to himself.
Laughing...for the first time since the shootings.
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