Judith was eleven years old and all alone in a time when it was a horrible thing to be the world ended twenty years ago nine years before she was born. A virus spread across the globe like wildfire making both people and animal’s demented creatures spreading the virus through bites it was aptly dubbed the ‘Wildfire Virus’. Judith was immune a fact she’d discovered after she was bitten a year ago and never turned since she was immune it was almost certain that her children would be immune. She’d been captured by a sadistic group who captured immune girls, women, boys and men and when the girls were fifteen and older forced them to have children with the immune boys and men then sold the babies to the various safe havens for huge amounts of valuable supplies.
Judith huddled in her tiny room these men were monsters all of them…they just wanted them for sex they didn’t care about their children all they wanted was the entertainment of the sex. They were going to be introducing her to the future father of her children today they hardly ever paired them up to be close in age they just picked entertaining pairs. The door to her room clicked open and the guards walked in dragging a man with them god he was old! He was old enough to be her father…the man grimaced as he saw her and said, *****! I am not screwing with her! Look at her she’s practically a baby! ***********
The guards laughed and the leader a guy with a wheezing voice Judith had aptly dubbed, Wheezer said, “You will be in four years it’ll be a father daughter ***** for sure ha! Ha! Go on say hello have a little looksee at the future mother of your children.”
Judith squeezed herself even farther into the corner as the guards filed out leaving her alone with the man who swore and sat down on the floor with a grunt and said, “Hey baby girl…I ain’t gonna hurt you I promise I ain’t gonna do nothin’…that ain’t the kind of man I am I got morals. I got folks coming for me to get me out we’re gonna get everyone outta here and somewhere safe…my name is Cal I live at the Harvest Counties it’s in Maine ‘bout a month away from here on foot or horseback less by car…it’s about the size of Vermont we’ve got about 400 people living with us at the moment with room for up to 600,000. Its fully sustainable got electricity thanks to solar and wind power, we’ve got sheep, cows, goats, llamas, alpacas, horses, donkeys, chickens, geese, duck, quail, turkey, ostriches, emus if you can think of it we’ve probably got it, orchards of fruit trees both ordinary and exotic, gardens with enough food and ammo last a war. What’s your name baby girl? How old are you? You got any family left out there?“
Judith rested her chin on her knees as listened to him talk he had a calming voice she lifted her head just enough to look at him as she said, “They’ll make you…they’ll give you drugs or put a gun to your head…they have ways I’ve seen what they do if you refuse…they got guns and ammo too lots of it cause’ the safe havens give it to them…they could take a safe haven down if they wanted to…Judith…my name is Judith I’m eleven and I have no one its just me…”
Cal adjusted his position on the floor resting an arm on one knee as he replied, “Jesus…they make you watch? *************! Ain’t got no **** morals lying pieces of ****! Well, they won’t take the Counties down their too large and too strong what they’ve given these guys is barely even a scratch on the surface of what firepower they have. Judith…that’s a good name …**** just eleven? Well, you’ve got me now and when my people get here you’ll have them as well. Do these ******* feed you at all you’re skin and bones…“
Judith shivered as the ice-cold air conditioning shuddered on they always kept it on freezing just to make them as uncomfortable as possible. Cal peeled off his jacket and crawled towards Judith holding it out he said, “Here put this on before you freeze solid. I don’t get cold that easily. “
Judith hesitated before she took the jacket from him with trembling fingers she put it on it was far too big, but it was warm, but unsurprisingly it reeked of death and decay. She settled back against the wall and murmured, “Thank you…” then there was a few shouts outside the room followed by more yelling doors began slamming and a few dozen footsteps sounded past the door then gunshots began ringing out. Agonized yells and cries of pain and fear sounded out both from the shooting and from the other cells.
Cal stood up and walked to the door saying, “The hell is going on out there?“ Judith covered her ears as the gunshots drew closer and louder then they stopped and slow footsteps began to walk around. Cal bent over and let out relieved laugh as there was a few whistles. He straightened up and whistled back loudly the door to their room was soon yanked open by a group of heavily armed people. Cal looked at Judith and said, “Hey baby girl what I say? I got folks coming for me. Come on let’s get you outta here. “ Judith took his outstretched hand and let him pull her to her feet.
A tall pale woman with buzz cut brown hair saluted them both and said, “Man are we glad to see you in one piece Cal. You got a friend? You were right about this place being a bad seed we’re getting everyone out to the trucks sorry we took so long had to take a detour or two because of hordes. These ******* got 18-wheelers full of supplies not even touched. Come on lets get the two of you to a truck Aaron, Luke, Toby, Riley, Jenna and I are taking the rescued back to the Counties now everyone else is going to stay to strip this place clean and do some looting in the city then they’ll come back. “
Cal shook her hand pulling Judith close to his side he guided her from her cell to freedom…that was something she hadn’t had in almost a year….he said, “Not as glad as I am to see you lot took you long enough…yeah…this is Judith. They just gathered the supplies to have it I think the only stuff they touched was the booze and cigarettes. It’ll be good to have all that stuff back at the Counties bet Miranda’s been having a fit that I got caught didn’t mean to I just walked a little too close to a ***** trap I guess… please tell me Riley and Luke brought some med supplies with them a lot of these guys are gonna need some form of treatment. Guess we know where all those babies came from now…if we’d known how they came into the world…where they came from sooner I would’ve been here sooner with more people and fire power. These girls are forced to start popping out babies as soon as they turn fifteen sometimes their not even fifteen yet…“
Judith let out a scream as she spotted the blood-splattered walls and the mangled bodies littering the ground. Cal pulled her closer and scooped her up into his arms and held her as he whispered soothingly, “Shh…it’s okay…it’s okay…close your eyes baby girl close your eyes…I got you, I got you…” Judith pressed her face into his shoulder and squeezed her eyes shut keeping them shut until they stopped moving. She lifted her head cautiously peeked around.
There was at least a dozen or more army trucks outside the compound all getting filled up with the freed prisoners. Cal looked at Judith before saying, “Hey, hey Judith look at me it’s okay alright? It’s okay no one’s going to hurt you all these people you see are my friends they live with me at the Harvest Counties they’re good people they won’t hurt you. You see this lady here is Ariah she’s badass as they come keeps idiots like me in line those two other there are the twins Riley and Luke they’re doctors they are going to make sure no one’s sick or needs medicine. Come on in the truck you go sweetheart we are going to start heading home to the Counties you’ll be safe there…“
Judith reluctantly let go of Cal to climb in the truck she settled herself in a corner in the back Cal joined her a while later watching her as they began to move. The movement of the truck and sheer exhaustion lulled Judith to sleep she slept fitfully waking with a cry a several times and waking to the cries of others on the truck. They didn’t stop for a long time and when they did they stopped only long enough for everyone to get some water, use the bathroom and have a few saltines as well as fill the tanks of the trucks before they were on the move again.
Cal kept them entertained talking about the Harvest Counties, “The Harvest Counties is a fully eco-friendly sustainable living county running fully off of solar and wind power it has been up and running for fifteen years before the end and still going strong. We are about the size of Vermont, but we’ve only got a population of about 400 people. We’ve got room for over 600, 000 people don’t know if we’ll ever get there, but we’d sure like to try and help a lot more people get to safety. There are three entry points for the Counties from the city, through the mountains and from the other side of the mountain. We are growing our own food, animal feed, building our own electricity free appliances and creating blueprints for them. We have a school going with several teachers for the infants, preschoolers, middle schoolers and high schoolers. We are also teaching everyone how to sow, plant, care for animals, make weapons, how to build and how to fight. We have several doctors and nurses some are stationed at the greeting committee stations at the three entrances and others are of course in the community. “
He paused to think and let them ask questions before he said, “We are along the coastline so we have access to fish and we are working on fine tuning a way to make sea water drinkable on a large scale, we collect rainwater and we are learning a lot from books we’ve collected from bookstores, libraries and schools. We’re finding natural herbal remedies to treat injuries since most of the medication left is out dated and most likely not effective enough. We do a lot of hunting for meat and fur we use the fur for clothing and we’re using the bones as handles for utensils and knives as well as arrowheads. Everything we don’t use we find a use for we live in a world now where nothing can go to waste. We’re working on trying to turn all our vehicles into solar powered ones so we don’t have to worry about gas. We’ve got a Gristmill to make flour we’re making flour out of Wheat and nuts and sunflower seeds and we are also making milk out of the nuts as well as nut butters. We have pigs, cows, goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits, horses, donkeys, mules, turkeys, pheasants, quail, pigeon, ostriches, emu, beefalo, which is a cross between a cow and a buffalo, alpacas, llamas, sheep, geese, guinea fowl as well as squirrels, frogs, fish, turtles, mink, guinea pigs, cats and dogs. Any kind of crops you can think of we’re probably growing it you’ll all get a list and a better description of things once you’re in the isolation centers.“
Judith was excited to see what the Counties looked like after hours of listening to Cal’s stories it sounded like paradise in a world where it was not possible to have paradise…Cal talked about the people there, the buildings, the types of crops they grew, the fish they caught and the game they hunted and he told stories of the world before the end and a few of the older folks piped in with stories of their own while the children listened enthralled with the stories of a world they’d never know. It took them two and a half days to reach the Harvest Counties a long and taxing journey for the rescued who’d never had such a long journey especially those pregnant.