by The Shloo
Shoot to kill and can ‘em up.
That’s it in a nutshell. There are few philosophies smarter because when the world’s getting its apocalypse on you have few other choices. Best you get your head round that from the get-go.
I started shooting when I was eight years old. Air rifles mainly, but by ten I was shit-hot with a bow and arrow. Mum always said they’d make the best weapon anyway – when the bullets run out, who’s going to be making new ones? Arrows, on the other hand, are relatively easy to make. I can shape a bow out of a piece of willow – or pretty much any tree with enough bend in it – in less than three minutes. A clutch of arrows will take me another five, tops. Robin Hood would weep at the skill in my fingers.
And I never miss.
Our bunker’s pretty sweet. There’s a room full of bunk beds that are more comfortable than they look, a pretty well-equipped kitchen, a library, a bathroom, a canning room – my Mum’s mantra is ‘waste not want not’ – and a big communal living area. Dad and Zeke worked hard and it paid off. Speaking of Zeke, my brother and I were both trained in and for almost anything you can imagine: hand-to-hand combat, gas attacks, nuclear fallout, weapon making, foraging, first aid – you name it, we went over it. Sewing’s my weak point, truth be told, but at least I’ve stopped sewing stuff to my jeans and Mum says I sew a pretty strong stitch. That’s what matters.
Of course, I’ve not had what you might call a normal life.
Hardly a surprise, is it? Survivalists? Maybe, but we call ourselves “sensible” – what else would you call those not blind to the inevitable? I was picked on sometimes at school, but after the suspension – and the scrum half’s snapped wrist (thanks Dad, for those self-defence drills) – I was left alone. I didn’t go to dances, never been for a sleepover, never even sat with anyone else for lunch. I didn’t get to do any of that ‘normal’ stuff. Getting attached to people only makes it harder in the long run. It would have made me sad once (I’ve got hormones and hopes just like anyone else), but you’ve got to focus on what’s important.
To hell with normal anyway!
Is it normal to sit and wait for Johnny Mutant to come eat your brains? To wait while the nuclear fallout burns through your guts and your brain spills out the bottom of your spine? To pretend there’s hope, that someone out there’s coming to save you? They’re not, y’know. If you don’t want to end up a splatter-fest of ex-human, then you’d better get wise.
There’s no time for frills and fancy, there’s only one prize and that’s life – or at the very least dying on your own terms. I’m old enough to know that. The future is about survival. It’s all it’s ever about. I wised up to that the day I heard Dad telling Zeke that me and Mum were the weak link, that we were the ones who would most likely slow them down and that if he needed to get rid of us, he wouldn’t hesitate. I didn’t understand. I was a good learner, better than Zeke who was a lazy crumb. I was better with a bow and arrow and I could climb a tree in half the time he could. Just because he could dig earth for longer, I was the dead weight? Like digging a hole and carrying heavy stuff makes the difference when the chips are down? As far as I could see, the difference that marked us out in Dad’s mind was that I was a girl and Zeke was a boy – his boy. I was eleven years old and from that day on I hated my Dad, hated him for marking me out as mattering less because I’m a girl, for seeing me as an albatross and not an asset. It was also the day I decided one thing –
I wasn’t going to be left behind. You shouldn’t be either.
Ironic really that Dad was the first to get bit. I had to shoot him; Zeke froze like he’d learned nothing all those years. Typical. So I shot my Dad in the head and then when Zeke got violent a couple of months later – the isolation got to him bad – and went all frothing-at-the-mouth crazy, I shot him too. If he hadn’t tried for the door I wouldn’t have had to do it. We don’t know what’s out there. Still, at least his death won’t be in vain. Mum can pickle anything and what’s left goes in the cans.
So that was the last of our bullets. Mum and me? We won’t need them, we’re prepared.
The gang from The Girl’s Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse trooped by Pornokitsch to share our thoughts about why we do what we do. Drop by and say hello and see what we have to say. Among the highlights:
When Adele invited women writers and bloggers to contribute to The Girls’ Guide to the Apocalypse there were mountains of women bursting at the seams to talk about this stuff, not because women are suddenly going apocalypse crazy, but because there have always been women who were interested in this stuff who haven’t been given the same platforms to talk about it that men have. ~ Apocalypse Womble
Possibly the reason it appeals to women so much is that the end of the world is a great equaliser. ~ Cathy
Pretty is all very well and good (we can be pretty and still kick-ass) but when it comes to genes that count towards replenishing the population, we have a lot more to contribute. ~ Foxglove
Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice.* And that’s before you get to the aliens, zombies, dragons and mad fairies. We don’t know quite what’s going to do it, but one thing’s for sure — it’ll be interesting finding out. ~ Battleaxebunny
It is interesting to explore the changing dynamics within a family during the apocalypse. Parents, used to being firmly in control, may not be able to cope when everything they know collapses, while children may be required to take on more adult roles. ~ Geri
More unusual skills
It sounds ridiculous but the simple fact any number of types of apocalypse could make traditional farming methods almost impossible. Dragons will burn up a years hard work in seconds, an ice age will make ground unworkable, if the machines rise a farm is far too risky and in a nuclear winter you aren’t going to have enough light, even after the ground recovers enough not to poison you. You still need to eat.
Mushroom farms are often located in dark, damp caves. Wonderful fireproof caves, not visible by machines or dragons from the air. Mushrooms don’t need much light, they don’t require all that pesky chlorophyll to grow. They are a good source of protein. Personally I hate them, but come the apocalypse they may well become my new favourite, indeed my only regular, source of food.
Assuming you have zombies or something similar to deal with, it seems likely settlements of survivors will gradually appear within high strong walls. The old Amish tradition of raising barns will be a useful skill to provide shelter and storage for your number, especially in the early days when simply getting under cover takes priority. Remember, the Amish may seem quaint to us with our iphones and our sky tv but come the apocalypse they are already self -sufficient while those of us who have become dependent on the walmart family are going to have to learn all over again. Not so amusing now are they?
Country Music/The Blues
Ok, lots of people can play the guitar (I can’t, but lots can). But what will you play to your ragged group of survivors? You need something that says ‘shared pain’ but can also say ‘we are still alive so let’s dance’. Country Music is the music of pain but can be easily turned to cheerful stompy dancing tunes. You may not like it, but this is the music you will need to keep everyone going after the apocalypse.
It’s also worth nailing the old 12 bar blues, for when a member of your team buys the farm, or you find yourself facing certain death alone. It may seem frivolous, but music is important to any society and both these genres are suited to lone acoustic guitar and the end of the world as we know it.
Yup, it’s the apocalypse folks, time to get medieval! A forge can provide weapons, protection, tools and a lot of heat as it goes. It’s a useful thing to get going if you are able to settle somewhere at least over winters. Yes it’s a risk, staying in one place, all that smoke, but still, all those cars are just scrap metal now, maybe it’s time to do something useful with them.