After the four left to walk the miles to Janet's parents, Mason, just for the heck of it, tried his cell phone. Amazingly, it worked, for a few seconds. He quickly checked a text from Adam.
"Gone to base 2. No electricity expected until cloud goes-one year, states Rob. I am walking south."
Then, the phone went dead. Mason got up and walked over to Brandy, who was just sitting, staring at her computer.
"One year prognosis from Base Two." Brandy stared with her big brown eyes. "One year?" She could not comprehend the news. "Nothing will be alive in a year. Adam is leaving and walking south. I expect he is going to his wife in North Carolina."
"What? Walking to NC? Walking?"
"His car ran out of gas and all the stations have electric pumps. He got as far as Base Two. Well, what would you do?"
"I don't know, I just don't know. We all talked about this for weeks in staff meetings. Weeks, and none of us prepared. I mean, we laugh at the preppers."
Mason smiled. "I have to tell you something. Don't laugh at me. I am a prepper."
Brandy looked at him. "You hypocrite." Then, she smiled. "Well, what is the point of staying here."
Mason said he would break into the canteens, but the food was all spoiled by now. He would try and get money out of the machines.
"We drank all the pope yesterday."
Brandy stood up, "Let's go, now. This place is creepy, and there is not a thing we can do here. I have a full tank of gas. Where do you live?'
"About twenty-miles east, but my cabin with my stash is south of here. And, I want to avoid the metro areas. Looting, I mean people will be going crazy. Let's go now. As you know, I only have the motorbike and we are safer in a car. And, I have a gun."
Brandy looked shocked. "You are full of surprises. OK, let's go."
Within minutes, Mason was driving on back roads to his place. In the car, he explained to Brandy, that she would have to accept that he was "way more conservative" politically than he ever let on. "I belong to two gun clubs and, well, I vote far-right."
Brandy just smiled. "Well, I never thought I would be riding with a red-neck scientist." She laughed out loud. "I guess I have to set aside my prejudices."
"If you are coming with me, I guess so," Mason answered and they raced to a small state park area south of Reston. "I bought this cabin years ago, for fishing, just at the edge of the park area. I have tons of food and supplies for cooking and warmth. But, I only stocked for six months, not a year."
Brandy felt like she was in a dream. "I wish I knew how my family was doing in Arlington. I just never thought we would ever be completely cut-off."
Mason looked out his rear-view mirror. "We are being followed. I am taking a diversion. I know where I can leave this car and we can walk through the forest. Are you ready? I am not going to be killed over a car. And I don't want to shoot anyone, yet."
Brandy put her hand on his arm. "I'm scared." Mason pulled over to a housing estate and parked the car in the parking lot, They could see the edge of the woods. "I am leaving the keys in the car. Get into that open garage, Run, I am behind you."
Brandy ran to the small garage, and Mason followed with his small pistol. They hid behind some boxes. An old Buick came up and two men jumped out. They looked around and then opened Brandy's car. The one gestured to the other, they got in and drove away, fast. They move due west.
"Someone is chasing them. We need to make those woods in the next few minutes. Can you do it?"
"Sure, I was all-state runner in college. Let's go." Mason smiled, "I guess I am not the only surprised one today. Let's go."
Within minutes, the two made the woods, Mason told Brandy to lay down. He really wished she was not wearing red today. "Smear mud on your clothes." She obeyed.
He looked back and saw a police car drive into the parking lot and two men got out, in military gear. They went over and checked the car. "Move, now, Go." Mason whispered. The two were off.
Forty-five minutes later, Brandy and Mason found the cabin. Brandy collapsed at the door. "Get in, now," Mason helped her in and went out, dust was falling everywhere. Their tracks were already covered.
"Well, We are here for awhile. No one followed us. I have clothes you can change into."
Brandy fell on a small sofa. "Yea, I guess red is not combat color."
Then she began to cry. "I'm sorry. This is too much."
"Take a nap. I be on first guard." Mason went to a cupboard and pulled out a pillow and blankets.
Within minutes, Brandy was asleep. "Poor thing, She has no idea how bad this can get." And, he propped himself under one of the front windows.
to be continued...