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Turning ourselves in

26 Aug

The last three shops we’ve been able to get into had nothing left that was edible.  Most supermarkets are occupied, and their inhabitants go to even greater lengths than Elaine to defend their stores.  The last time we attempted to get near to a large Tesco we passed the gutted shells of burnt out cars.  I’d just caught sight of the charred corpse in one of the wrecks when Sarah swerved suddenly and accelerated towards the exit as a gout of flame sprang up on the tarmac behind us.  We don’t go near the larger shops now.

Last night we ate our penultimate tin of kidney beans with boiled nettles, and Sue suggested, again, giving up and going to the quarantine camp.  At least they’d feed us, she said.  At least they wouldn’t shoot at us for wanting to eat.  The quarantine time period’s long past – perhaps families are allowed to stay together now.  The question on my mind is, if the quarantine period’s over, where is everybody?  You can drive for an hour on any road and see nobody.  You’d think people would be leaving the cities, if they were free to do so.

We argued until past midnight, Sue pointing at maps and reading blog testimonies from various cities in the region, me pointing out how little those testimonies mean, Sarah unusually silent, lying on the bunkbed with her headphones turned up, chewing on her sleeves.  I don’t want to lose the caravan and the car, and our independence.  Sue feels we’ve gone beyond that now.
She said we can go to the city, or we could keep raiding until we get shot, or we can watch our daughter waste away on nettles and dandelion leaves.
I said that if we can hold on for autumn, there’ll be blackberries and hazelnuts and chestnuts to eat.
And she said, it’ll get colder, and darker, and we’ll get sicker.  None of our attempts at snaring or trapping or fishing have had much success.  There are a few mushrooms, roots and berries that I know for sure are safe, but it takes a more expert forager than me to actually find enough to live on for any amount of time.  We’re almost out of iodine, too, and unlikely to find more.  There’s nowhere else to raid within walking distance, and moving on means using the last of our fuel.

Sue stayed up searching the W4 and running down the power, and this morning told us that Chester’s called an amnesty on quarantine refusers.  We could join them now, and be kept in isolation for 28 days before joining the general population.  They say they’ve got basic industries running and they’re working farms in the surrounding area.  They’ve got security, food and jobs.  They need workers.

There was nothing else I could say.

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9 Comments

Posted by on August 26, 2026 in giving up, planning, whinging

 

Tags: , , , , ,

9 responses to “Turning ourselves in

  1. Elaine

    August 27, 2026 at 12:08 am

    Another dream bites the dust, then. Make sure you let us know you’re OK once you get in there – don’t leave us fretting, like Mei.

     
    • Ash

      August 27, 2026 at 12:12 am

      I’ll try, but the journey is probably going to be more perilous than the destination. The major routes are less safe now, but we haven’t the fuel to get there by the back-roads. If you don’t hear… well, it probably won’t be good news.

       
      • Jack

        August 27, 2026 at 12:55 am

        If it’s police patrols, and they’ve called an amnesty, can’t you just let them take you to the quarantine?

         
        • Elaine

          August 27, 2026 at 12:56 am

          I got to wonder why they’d bother with patrols for the few stragglers that are left. They must be low on fuel too.

           
          • Ash

            August 27, 2026 at 12:06 pm

            The amnesty is rather localised, and anyhow it’s mostly bandits rather than police patrolling the roads now. Strange word to use, but it seems the most appropriate for gun-wielding gangs roaming the motorways looking for easy prey. Everybody on the road now is either a bandit or a scavenger. We found ourselves a little more fuel from a car that had turned off the road and wound its way into a wood before smashing into a Horse Chestnut. Not our first corpse by any means, but our most gruesome. There were some tins of tuna and some pasta in the back – possibly the haul she was being chased for, but clearly her pursuers never found her.

             
            • Jack

              August 27, 2026 at 12:14 pm

              Well that’s great! Doesn’t that mean you don’t have to go turn yourselves in?

               
              • Ash

                August 27, 2026 at 12:15 pm

                It gives us a few days’ grace, but we can’t rely on finding supplies just lying around forever. It does mean we have a bit more leeway in getting there, and can take a safer, more roundabout route. We’re expecting to arrive in around a week.

                 
  2. Fiona

    August 27, 2026 at 4:10 am

    You did really well to hang on as long as you did – and succeeded in avoiding major population centres during the height of the epidemic. Maybe things will be alright now. Good luck.

     
    • Ash

      August 27, 2026 at 12:13 pm

      Thank you – I don’t know whether I’m more afraid of surrender or defeat at this time, but our decision is made. I do hope things turn out better for your community.

       

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