After the Apocalypse
Chapter 59: More Decisions
by Mark Bollman--> and Steve Donohue
With its three new members, the first action item for the Future Society that night was Steve's continued absence-the hydrological engineering project was set to go the next morning, and so required little discussion. Ron had assumed the chair, no one dissenting, for the time being.
"We went around and checked all the cabins in camp today," said John. "Nothing. Not even any snow on the floors or any indication that Steve had been there."
"Of course, that's also a good thing-there's no one from the outside anywhere on camp property," said Doug.
"True," said John. "Which leads us to the conclusion that he's really not trying to be found. If he were in trouble, he'd have found a way to let us know where he is. The 'he needs some time alone' theory seems to be winning out."
Ron had suspected as much all along, but it was still a relief to have that idea confirmed. "If nothing else," he thought, "there's no proof that Steve's not alive. Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence, of course-but there's something to be said for uncertainty on that point."
"So what now?" asked Carrie. "Can we do anything beside search and wait?"
"Truth be told, I think all we can really do right now is wait," said Jeff. "There's not really any point in continuing to search camp grounds-we've been everywhere where Steve might reasonably be and we haven't seen a trace of him. It seems a safe conclusion that he's either taken shelter somewhere well away from us-in which case we probably shouldn't disturb him-or he's left camp completely. We'll probably have reason to venture into either Lapeer or Metamora occasionally on other business, and we can certainly keep our eyes peeled there, but that's not safe as a regular practice. He knows where we are, and when he wants to come back, he will."
"How can you guys be so calm?" asked Katie, somewhat incredulous. "I mean, as near as I can tell, one of your closest friends is lost in a hostile world, possibly suicidal, and you're sitting around talking about this like it's happening twelve thousand miles away! How can you be so bloodlessly analytical?"
"Actually, an old girlfriend of mine used to call me 'Captain Analytical'," said Mark, "so I think I can take a shot at that. One, we all know Steve pretty well, and we know that he can handle himself in the woods. We've all had various amounts of outdoor survival training-including winter survival-over the years. Two, he's not exactly lost in an uncharted wilderness-he knows the terrain here as well as or better than anyone. Three, Steve's a bright guy-he's not likely to take any unnecessary risks. Unless he's really mentally unbalanced-and again, we have no evidence for that conclusion-he'll guard his own safety. Four, and this is a little tricky, in light of what's happened to the rest of the world, and particularly to our own families and friends who aren't here, this doesn't quite measure up on the critical scale. Not that we're not concerned about Steve, but a lot of other people we care about are missing-probably dead-and never had a chance to decide their own fate."
Ron knew that Mark's fourth point didn't apply to him, but he quickly moved to clarify that issue. "Right. Except for me, that is. But I think Mark makes a good point. Compared to what might have happened to everyone we know outside Winter Camp, this doesn't really rate as a tragedy yet. Steve has a chance to control what happens to him-no one in metro Detroit did. I have no doubt that he'll do a good job and that we'll see him back here before long." He paused for a second. "Okay, so what other issues do we have to face right now?"
"Snow Soccer tomorrow afternoon, right after lunch," said Tim. "Let's get out and get some exercise, try to take some of the pressure off everyone."
"A good idea," said Tom. "By the way, I'd like to start working on some nighttime entertainment options as well. It might be nice to have some additional distractions up here, some sort of organized activity."
"Like what?" asked Melissa.
"I was thinking we might start out with a talent show," said Tom. "Maybe a good old-fashioned campfire program one of these nights. It would help with the icebreaker stuff if we could see what you girls can do and you can see some of our other talents on display."
Tom was drawing on Winter Camp history with his suggestion. The Gong Show had been another one-time Winter Camp activity, one that predated his involvement at camp, though he had certainly heard about it. Everyone who remembered it from Winter Camp IX recalled only one thing-a stirring performance on air guitar by Rich "Beef" Kuhn. Though no one could remember any details of his act, or even what song he was pretending to play, he had achieved Winter Camp immortality during those few minutes in 1985.
The design and content of this page Copyright (C) 1997-2000 by Steve Donohue for the Winter Camp Future Society
If you believe we are using copyrighted material, please contact the webmaster
All rights reserved