After the Apocalypse
Chapter 22: Expansion Continued

by Mark Bollman--> and Steve Donohue

Lori poked her head out of a cabin window. A scream of delight split the darkness as she recognized Tim. She raced from the cabin and nearly flattened him as she leapt into his arms.

After Tim made sure that their daughter was safe, his attention turned to how they had reached a point so close to D-A without actually making it.

"So how did you wind up here?" asked Tim.

"You said the camp was in Metamora," said Lori. "So when I saw the sign that said 'Camp Metamora', I just thought that was it."

Tim tried to roll his eyes, but it didn't work. He was too relieved that Lori and Melissa were still alive to be anything but deliriously happy.

"Did you see anything? What was it like last night?"

"I don't know. We got here before the power went out, so I didn't notice anything on the road in. And then when the electricity didn't come back on right away, we decided just to stay here last night and try to drive up today. But my car wouldn't start, so Katie said we could come back to Detroit on the bus with them, or they'd drop us up with you guys, or whatever."

It was clear that Tim would be of no use in explaining matters to the women who wanted answers, so Dave followed them into their cabin for a brief conference. After a round of introductions which Dave felt was totally useless-there was no way he was going to remember all the Amy's and Kelly's right now-he started answering questions.

"Do you know what's happened?"

"We're still not sure, but all of our best minds think that there's been some sort of nuclear attack." At the sound of a collective intake of breath, he paused. He quickly continued before emotion had a chance to take over, ticking off the evidence they had gathered. "We've got the power out all over the area. You've seen the cloud cover. We've got a battery-powered radio running up at camp, but we can't pick up any transmissions from anywhere. Tim and I just drove around before we found you folks, and there's no signs of life all the way down to Oxford; nothing but wrecked cars and dead bodies. Metamora is almost totally flattened."

There was a grim silence, which Dave was finding all too familiar. "Like I said, though, we can't be sure about anything. It could just be a really widespread blackout." Even as he said the words, though, he found himself believing them less. He was relieved when another question was asked.

"Where are you from? How did you find us?"

"We're up at D-A; there's a whole bunch of people there. Tim and I went out to kind of scout the area to the south of camp after things happened. Of course, Tim was also looking for his family."

"Why D-A?"

"It's a tradition-we've been camping there between Christmas and New Year's for 25 years now. Last night was our silver anniversary banquet, so a lot of guys' families were with us when things started going goofy."

"So what's gonna happen to everyone?"

"Nobody knows for sure, of course. What we're trying to do is get settled in at our camp for however long it might be. The camp seems to have been spared any real damage. We've got decent housing-no heat, of course, but we're working on that. The food supply is shaky, but I think we can manage. There's some people working on that right now. The Winter Campers are a pretty talented bunch; we'll be in good hands."

Dave paused briefly before making his next statement-while he wasn't sure how accurate it was, he knew that he had no choice but to offer assistance. "And I think we might be able to find room for all of you to join us, if that's what you want to do."

"You've got extra food for fifteen more people?" asked Katie. "I can't believe that. What campout has that much food?"

"You don't know Winter Camp," said Dave. He was surprised by Katie's response.

"www.wintercamp.com, right?"

"Yeah. How-"

"Did I know? Hey, this is the 21st century-the Internet's where it's at. I was surfing around looking for winter camping ideas for the Stomp and stumbled across your site. I didn't look at all of the pages-it seemed pretty massive-but it sounds like quite a little operation you have up there."

"Trust me, it's a lot better in real life."

"Can we get packed up and move tonight?"

"Sure. Katie, maybe you could come back with me now, and we can make some preparations for you to join us. We'll send some vehicles back for the rest of you-that'll give you some time to get packed up. And we could also see if there's any supplies we can salvage from here. Tim can direct that-I don't think he'll be leaving Lori and Melissa anytime soon."

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