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HomePreppingPrepper Fiction: Excerpt from Three Miles

Prepper Fiction: Excerpt from Three Miles

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An excerpt from the novella Three Miles: When a Dream Trip Goes Terribly Flawed, Who Can You Belief?

For right this moment’s weekend enjoyable, try three full chapters of my first novella, Three Miles.

As Max strolled by way of the traditional market, she couldn’t perceive a single phrase anybody was saying.

And she or he beloved it that method.

She had gone on this journey to Athens together with her coworkers to attend a “delivery summit.” May there really be something extra boring {that a} bunch of logistics folks getting collectively in a stuffy room and discussing commodities, the volatility of the market, and delivery instances?

But when it got here with a free journey to Greece, Max was able to endure by way of 7 stultifying hours of seminars and a couple of stale bagels every day. Athens had all the time been on her bucket listing, ever since she was launched to Greek mythology in grade faculty and found the locations within the tales had been actual.

The Acropolis, Photograph by Daisy Luther

The second she might make her escape, she was out the door of the Capital Heart Lodge, taking particular care to flee earlier than a co-worker might counsel they hang around. She hadn’t even gone as much as her room to shove her gear into the backpack she carried, so involved was she that somebody would pop up and wish to accompany her.

As she left the convention room within the lodge, she strode swiftly throughout Syntagma Sq., noting how the yellow neoclassical structure of the Hellenic Parliament constructing shone in distinction to the vivid blue sky and dodging the group of vacationers who had gathered to observe the altering of the guard.

She’d been right here for 3 days and visited the Acropolis, had spent hours within the Nationwide Museum of Archaeology gazing at historical relics, had seen the solar set over the ocean on the Temple of Poseidon, and had shopped within the flower-covered Plaka neighborhood within the late-afternoon shadow of the Parthenon.

As a historical past geek, she was in her glory.

Temple of Poseidon, photograph by Daisy Luther

On the identical time, surrounded by all this magnificence, she additionally couldn’t assist however discover that issues in Athens had been moderately tense. Graffiti was all over the place and regardless that she couldn’t learn Greek, the illustrations and symbols had been sufficient to persuade her that there have been a whole lot of spray-paint-toting people who weren’t followers of native legislation enforcement or capitalism.

As properly, poverty was deeply entrenched. Having no selection however to dig by way of trash cans on your supper had a method of placing even the perfect natured particular person on edge. Max stored cash in her pockets to attempt to assist folks out. Some gladly accepted the cash, whereas others politely rejected her supply of two Euros and continued scavenging.

The indicators of compelled austerity and financial collapse had been throughout, though the nation had revived to some extent. Issues like that left scars on a nation and other people remembered the powerless feeling of desperation they skilled watching their nation, with its nice historical past, fall to its knees underneath the burden of monetary strain and debt.

She paid consideration to issues like that. Max was a giant fan of survival and preparedness and had cabinets stuffed with books, dozens of internet sites saved as favorites on her laptop computer, and had even attended just a few in-person programs on her single-mom funds.

One of many subjects that she discovered probably the most attention-grabbing, significantly within the present day and age, was civil unrest and socio-economic collapse. She hardly ever left house with no bag stocked with the gear she’d must journey on foot and escape a tense scenario.  Knives, water filters, shelter, and snacks, oh my. She had all of them and never only one – a selection for each event, virtually like an oenophile knew exactly which crimson or white wine went with each meal. As a result of, as each prepper is aware of, two is one and one is none.

Nicely, apart from right this moment when she’d fled the lodge as rapidly as potential. However she was simply out for an off-the-cuff journey to the market the place she’d seize a pita and see the sights, so she wasn’t terribly involved about her uncustomary lack of preparedness.

At this time, she had gone to the Monastiraki Flea Market. The smells of recent baked bread and unique spices wafted by way of the air. Individuals chatted fortunately in a wide range of languages within the previous assembly place. Some musicians had been leaning in opposition to the wall barricading the traditional Agora and taking part in conventional devices, setting the scene because it should have been for hundreds of years with out finish.

The market was all the pieces she had imagined and extra. At this time, she thought, she would discover presents for her daughter, her dad and mom, and her finest good friend. She was decided to search out distinctive mementos that whispered Greece versus the everyday memento that shouted it in all-caps.

Monastariki Market, photograph by Daisy Luther

All over the place you appeared there was colour, all in opposition to the backdrop of the Grecian-blue sky. (The sky was positively not that scrumptious cobalt colour again house in America.) From the vivid helium-filled balloons to the deep fuchsia bougainvillea climbing up buildings and throughout powerlines to the wealthy materials displayed within the retailer home windows of brightly painted buildings, it was a riotous assortment of magnificence.

Then she heard it. Like a demise knell. Or at the least the demise of her solitude, she thought drily.

“Maxine? Maxine Martin!!! It IS you!”

The voice was like fingernails on a chalkboard and clearly recognizable as Ellen Perkins, one of many co-workers with whom she had come to Greece. Ellen and her husband Robert (no “Ellie and Bob” for them – it was “Ellen and Robert,” thanks very a lot) really didn’t run the delivery firm for whom all of them labored, however that is likely to be a newsflash to them.

Ellen was the sort of health fan who labored about earlier than coming to the workplace and by no means sampled something from the sweet dish. She did all the pieces briskly, from answering the cellphone to delivering delivery manifests to Max’s inbox. Her husband Robert was a salesman. She was completely sure he had been in a fraternity in school and performed soccer in highschool. You would simply inform by taking a look at his florid face, close-cropped hair, and beefy construct that was now a bit of extra pudgy than muscular.

Max was wildly irritated by each of them. She wasn’t a fan of small discuss, costume codes, or workplace soirees and she or he constantly butted heads with Ellen.  Robert naturally backed Ellen in all issues, so Max disliked him by default.

With them was Will Simms. He was additionally a salesman and fully match the profile of 1. He was the sort of man who most likely used extra hair merchandise day by day than Max utilized in a yr. He was properly dressed, sleekly groomed, and thought of himself a negotiator. Max thought he was smarmy, however the clients appeared to like him.

As Max frantically appeared for a option to escape the workplace crowd, Joan and Savannah joined the group. Joan was the comfortably rounded older girl who did the bookkeeping and Savannah was a fresh-faced younger intern within the advertising and marketing division. Since Max favored Joan and Savannah, she sighed deeply, pasted on a faux smile, and walked over to her huddle of coworkers.

“I used to be questioning how you bought out so rapidly, Maxine,” Ellen chided in a barely scolding tone. “I believed you knew we had been all coming to the market right this moment.”

“I prefer to get an early begin,” Max mumbled by way of gritted enamel. Why did it all the time look like Ellen was making an attempt to mom her? She even referred to as her by her full title, which no one did. Besides Ellen and, after all, her mom. “Anyway, we’re all collectively now.” She hoped the sarcasm wasn’t obvious.

“We had been simply deciding the place to go for lunch,” Ellen knowledgeable her. “Do you could have any suggestions?”

Max waved her arm round and stated, “There’s meals all over the place.”

Ellen gave a bit of huff and started scrolling on her cellphone, little question in search of the place with the perfect opinions and highest costs. Max turned and appeared wistfully on the colourful market. She had deliberate on grabbing a pita stuffed with one thing scrumptious and strolling round whereas she ate.

“That is so cool,” Savannah stated, trying round with an analogous enraptured look on her face.  She reminded Max of her daughter, Ariel.

“I discovered a spot,” Ellen acknowledged as she linked arms with Robert, turned on an impeccably clad excessive heel, and strode away, naturally assuming everybody would comply with her. She appeared pointedly at Max. “We’re right here for team-building.”

Will stored tempo with the couple and Savannah caught her tongue out at their backs. Joan stifled a giggle and elbowed Savannah. Max felt higher that she wasn’t the one one who was irritated. The three girls trailed companionably alongside behind Ellen and her snooty entourage, pausing right here and there to take a look at particularly uncommon objects.

They ended up close to the entrance of the market strolling right into a slender hallway. Ellen commandeered the elevator and stated, “We’re going to the roof prime. We’ll ship it again down for you because you’re sluggish.”

The door closed abruptly of their faces. “Do you guys wish to take the steps?” Max requested.

“5 flights? I don’t suppose so,” Joan shook her head. “However you two go forward, I don’t thoughts ready for the elevator in any respect.”

“No, we’ll wait with you,” Savannah stated warmly, grabbing the older girl’s hand. It didn’t take lengthy till the tiny, groaning elevator had returned, they usually squeezed in, headed for the roof.

Couleur Locale Athens rooftop bar

The restaurant they had been at was referred to as Couleur Locale Athens and from the highest, you would see the complete market in addition to Monastiraki Sq.. The Acropolis gleamed from a close-by mountaintop because the fading solar shone by way of the pillars, and domes of the buildings within the sq. seemed to be dipped in gold.

Dang it. Max hated to confess it, however Ellen had made a wonderful selection.

The meals was wonderful, though not the normal fare Max had been planning on consuming. She completed earlier than her dinner companions and wandered over to take some photographs together with her cellphone.

She bought some nice pictures of the Acropolis and the traditional Agora because the solar started to dip additional within the sky, but it surely was the Sq. that actually caught her consideration. She heard the slamming of sliding doorways and appeared down. The retailers had been closing in fast succession. She checked out her watch, puzzled. She had learn that the retailers had been open till later within the night.

Then she noticed the rationale why.

Within the sq., a bunch of younger folks wearing black with bandanas over their faces, stood with indicators. Max couldn’t learn the indicators, however she might learn physique language, and these guys weren’t blissful.

“We’ve bought bother,” she stated, turning to the others. “We have to get out of right here, NOW.”

Chapter 2

Ellen bought up and strode to the aspect so she might look down. “That’s not a giant deal. Simply protesters.”

Max replied, “Protests can flip unhealthy in a rush. We should always return to the lodge.”

Ellen shrugged and stated, “I’m having one other drink. Who’s with me?”

Robert summoned the waitress and ordered one other spherical. Max shook her head in refusal.

“You see doom all over the place, Maxine,” Ellen lectured smugly. “It’s essential to study to dwell a bit of.”

“I’m going to go seize just a few issues,” Max stated. “I’ll meet you again right here in half an hour after which I actually suppose we should always head to the lodge.”

Of all of the instances to be with out her bug-out bag, this was most likely the worst one she had encountered, she thought grimly. Max wanted provides and she or he wanted them rapidly. She wouldn’t be capable to change all the pieces, however she might most likely put collectively an affordable, if considerably uncommon, equipment from the distributors of the market.

She hurried down the steps – no method did she wish to get caught in that rickety elevator – and headed to the little kiosk that bought drinks and magazines. There she bought 3 liters of water, a map of Athens, some single serving bottles of vodka for cleansing potential wounds, and an armload of small snacks like nuts, sweet, and Pringles.  She additionally discovered some disposable rain ponchos, folded into tiny squares. They weren’t concept however they had been higher than nothing for a barrier in opposition to the weather. She paid the seller and popped the provides into her backpack.

Then she went to the financial institution machine and took out the utmost quantity on each card she had together with her. She appeared round to see if anybody was watching however all consideration gave the impression to be on the sq.. She left the ATM when her final transaction didn’t undergo – she had drained it of money however had 950 Euros. She separated the payments into completely different pockets, her pockets, and her backpack. You by no means needed to maintain all of your eggs in a single basket, and the identical philosophy utilized to money.

She rapidly walked down the aisle to see if any distributors had been nonetheless open. She picked up half a dozen scarves, 3 baseball caps, 2 pairs of sun shades, and 4 extra-large black hooded sweatshirts that learn “College of Athens.” It’d pay to have some safety in opposition to tear gasoline or different irritants, and in addition to not look fairly a lot like vacationers. She discovered a retailer that bought knives and selected a big folding knife with a stable blade. She folded down the perimeters of the bag and put the knife in her right-hand jacket pocket. It was inside straightforward attain if she wanted it however with the bag, might additionally appear like a memento she had simply bought if she was questioned about it.

Her purchasing full and her backpack full, she hurried again towards the restaurant. The gang of protesters had grown, and their chants crammed the air. You didn’t have to talk Greek to know that they had been pissed.

“Are you aware what’s occurring?” she requested a shopkeeper who stood, arms folded, within the doorway of her retailer, watching the spectacle within the Sq. unfold. Max hoped the lady spoke English.

“They’re protesting capitalism,” stated the shopkeeper, rolling her eyes broadly. She was an ageless girl who spoke English in a delightfully unique accent, with unlined brown pores and skin and thick darkish hair generously streaked with silver. “The protesters imagine that greed and revenue are ruining our society. Perhaps they need to attempt to work as an alternative of ready to have issues given to them.”

“Does this occur so much?” inquired Max.

“It occurs,” replied the shopkeeper. “However normally not this many individuals and never fairly so offended. At this time will probably be harmful.”

“Keep protected,” Max stated politely. “Thanks for the knowledge.”

The woman squinted at her. “You appear sensible. Don’t simply fear about protestors. The astynomía – the police – should not your mates both.” With that, the shopkeeper turned and abruptly closed her door, locking it behind her.

Chapter 3

As Max hurried as much as the restaurant, her coworkers had been simply exiting the constructing. Ellen was laughing and leaning on Robert, and Will appeared flushed and barely raveled. Which for him meant there was one strand of his impeccably groomed hair misplaced.

“Nice,” Max thought to herself. “These a**holes are drunk.”

Savannah and Joan didn’t look like impaired, they usually had the widespread sense to look involved in regards to the protesters.

Then she heard a cacophony of vehicle horns and noticed {that a} bus stuffed with law enforcement officials had stopped in the midst of the street, infuriating the drivers behind them. When the cops disembarked, she realized with dread that they had been laughing, strapping on their helmets, donning physique armor, and holding clear shields. The law enforcement officials had been having fun with this – reveling within the anticipation of violence.

A few of the officers turned their backs to {the marketplace}, making solely a minimal effort to cover what they had been doing. She was shocked to see that these males seemed to be snorting one thing proper out within the open. Excessive fives had been exchanged, and you would see by the repair of their shoulders that they had been about to escalate the complete scenario. The ambiance was charged with their anticipation of a combat.

“Guys, we have now to go NOW,” Max insisted. One thing in her voice appeared to be a focus for the group. Their heads swiveled towards the cops and again to Max virtually in unison.

However they’d waited too lengthy to behave. With what might solely be referred to as a battle cry, the cops and the protestors rushed towards each other, and it was sport on. The perimeters got here along with a crash and a refrain of shouts.

Max dashed to the door of the restaurant and ushered the group again inside. One of many waiters got here to the door shaking his head and scolding them in Greek, making an attempt to maintain them out, however they ignored him. Savannah was the final particular person to come back in and Max reached previous the waiter to seize the youthful girl by the arm and yank her into the slender hall.

The noise of the combat crept into the hallway, the place Max and her coworkers had been packed in with just a few different vacationers and the workers. Different workers got here down from the rooftop and sat on the steps. It appeared like there was no possibility however to attend out the chaos.

Max wiggled by way of the group to see if she might safely get to a glimpse of what was occurring exterior. She averted the massive plate glass home windows and located one tall, slender window that appeared out onto the sq. that she might peek by way of whereas retaining most of her physique behind the concealment of the wall.

The combat was heated and in contrast to something she’d ever seen in particular person – it appeared like one thing out of a film. She might hear the meaty thunks of police batons hitting human flesh, the screams of the injured, the cries of rage. By means of the glass, she might scent the fireplace from the petrol bombs that had been flung. She checked to see if her cellphone had service. To date, the web was nonetheless working within the Sq.. She went onto Google Information to see if she might discover out any details about what was occurring exterior.

Photograph: AP Information

She felt a sinking feeling within the pit of her abdomen as she learn. The protests weren’t simply confined to this space. Syntagma Sq., the place their lodge was positioned, was stuffed with an estimated 5000 protestors. Dumpsters had been burning all through the town. Automobiles had been being set on fireplace. Authorities had been barricading the principle streets to visitors.

The sound of shattering glass jolted her away from her cellphone. One of many massive home windows of the restaurant had been shattered by somebody throwing a brick by way of it. The brick was adopted by a whiff of gasoline and a flaming bottle. Max was on the transfer as she acknowledged it for a Molotov cocktail simply because the bottle shattered. Flames unfold quickly throughout the eating space and Max yelled, “Go, go, go!!!! Go now!”

The particular person closest to the door fumbled with the lock in a panic. One of many waiters pushed him out of the way in which and bought the door open as smoke started filling the hallway.

Max grabbed Savannah and Joan by the arm and yelled, “Come on!”

Individuals had been pushing, shoving, coughing, determined to get out the door. Once they bought out, they stopped, not sure which course to take. A few of the folks speeding out of the restaurant headed towards the battlefield within the Sq. the place the principle entrance to the market was.

Max was completely sure which method they need to go – she needed to go in the wrong way from the chaos.  She appeared round for her coworkers. Ellen appeared scared, for as soon as not making an attempt to take management of the scenario. “Come on,” Max stated, nonetheless hanging onto Savannah and Joan. “This fashion.” She turned proper, away from the Sq..

“However our lodge is that method,” Will argued.

Max let go of the ladies’s arms and whirled round.  “Do you wish to undergo that riot? I’m not arguing with you. Include me or don’t. It’s your selection.”

She turned and headed down the alley to the proper, not trying again to see if anybody was following her. She slowed her tempo out of consideration for Joan, however the older girls confirmed no indicators of being winded.  No person spoke as they made their method by way of the darkish, uninhabited walkways. The one sounds had been the ridiculous clomping of Ellen’s excessive heels on the cobblestones and the distant din of the riot behind them.

If you wish to examine the remainder of Max’s escape from Athens, title your value for the novella right here.


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