After the Apocalypse
Chapter 43: First Letter

by Mark Bollman--> and Steve Donohue

Katie laid awake into the night, rearranging and recombining the various elements of the women's new interest in power. At the same time, she was disturbed by a feeling that things were spiraling far out of control, and she felt a need to make some sense for herself out of what was happening before she could play a part in any bigger picture.

Her still-secret pregnancy was a big part of the situation, and it became the guiding force for her next actions. She pulled herself out of bed, crossed to the empty side of the cabin, and began writing by the moonlight.

January 15, 2002
Dear Chris;
I call you "Chris" because I have no idea if you're a boy or a girl, and that name works both ways. I'm writing to you because there's a lot going on in these last few months before your birth, and I think you should know what's happening, and why so many things about your life are the way they are.
To begin with, about the world: You'll learn someday-I hope-about the nuclear war of 2001 and the destruction of the world. I'm not sure what happened, but I do know what's happening. There's a bunch of us-about 100, I'd guess-camped out at a Boy Scout camp, trying to make as much sense as we can out of what's going on, and trying to stay alive at the same time.
It sounds really strange to us, but we're used to a different world. For you-well, who knows for sure what your world will be like? This will probably be what you're born into, and it may be all you know for-I don't know how long. That's just one of the questions everyone's asking.
Let me describe the situation; try and make some sense out of it all. My group was stranded at our camp when a group of people from the camp we're at stumbled across us and offered to combine our people with theirs. They-the Winter Camp group-are a lot better prepared for survival than we were. They've stretched their resources to accommodate fifteen strangers, and it doesn't seem like we're suffering too much. It's no overstatement to say that we owe our lives to them.
On the other hand, there's some trouble cropping up now. For the 2+ weeks that we've been here, it's definitely been a case of the men running the show, doing whatever they want, and the women basically being taken care of. Of course, every other woman or girl in camp is a relative of one of the campers, so this makes some sense there, but some of my girls aren't happy with this state of affairs, and they kind of made that clear to everyone tonight.
I wasn't too sure about that earlier-your mom isn't necessarily the most decisive woman on Earth; get used to it-but now I think I see things their way. The problem then becomes what to do about this, and I don't have a clue about that.
There's so much more to say-I want to tell you all about your father, even though I have no idea what happened to him-but this isn't the time. More later.
Love, Mom

Katie folded the letter, then realized that she didn't have an envelope. She made a mental note to check with Jeff the next day to see if he had any, then tucked the letter in with her gear and tried to sleep.

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