Chapter 5: A place to hide
It was the end of the week and the men constructing our bunker were making good progress. The hole dug, and the footings for the shelter poured within three days of the start of construction. Tomorrow the cement would be poured for the walls and the roof. The new well dug and the septic installed. The drilling for the geothermal heating system would be completed in four days.
It’s amazing what money can buy even in these times. This project was costing a cool one million dollars. Had we been in peacetime, it would only have been half that amount.
The four of us were ok in the house for now. Originally we had planned to stay above ground for the winter. Rhonda was close to her due date. Several times she had contraction like pains that had turned out to be nothing but a false flag.
Her time was very soon though, and we were prepared for it. Rhonda was under the care of an obstetrician in Maniwaki, and there was an excellent hospital in town. The little gaffer will be here any day now.
Josh and I had no intention of living like groundhogs for the rest our lives. We tried to take good care of the house, keeping it in the best shape we could. We had no idea how long we would have to live in the bunker. When we did surface for good, we wanted the house to be livable. We boarded the house and secured it the best way we could. Signage placed on the property indicating it was private property “DO NOT ENTER.” Security cameras were installed to capture every angle of the house and driveway as well as the bunker.
Trudy was with Rhonda constantly. She wouldn’t let her out of her sight, just in case.
One night, as we were listening to the news on the radio, they announced that scientists had found the chemical added to the food supply by China. It was in fish, mostly tuna and salmon. It also included frozen fish and other products, anything canned or frozen in China for consumption in other countries.
The good news is that not one of the four of us liked canned tuna, salmon or other frozen fish, therefore, had not ingested any of the contaminated food. Rhonda was relieved. It’s a good thing we like our fish bought or caught fresh.
One day after they announced the poison news, Trudy came running out of the house yelling: ”IT’S TIME, IT’S TIME!”
“Someone get the van, she’s going into labor” Trudy yelled.
I yelled back “I’ll get the van.”
“What’s all the commotion?” Josh yelled as he was running from the construction site. Rhonda had been standing at the sink doing dishes when her water broke. Trudy had started timing the contractions; they were far enough apart that there was time to get to the hospital before the baby made its dramatic appearance.
Within hours Rhonda was proudly holding a bouncing baby boy in her arms. After examining the little guy, the doctor gave him a clean bill of health much to everyone’s relief.
Josh spent the rest of the day by his wife’s side. The next day both patients were released from the hospital. Josh and I had prepared a nursery in the house and built a baby’s crib. Josh and Rhonda were proud parents. They named their newest family member Donald, after the President of the United States of America: Donald J.
Trump, hopefully, that wouldn’t be a mistake the way Trump had been acting before the war. The proud parents hadn’t thought of the nationality of their new addition. He was a Canadian!
A month had gone by, and it was now the end of November. A week’s worth of finishing
touches would complete the bunker.
Josh and I will be glad to see the end of this building project. We had a lot of work ahead of us to clean up the bunker to make it ready to inhabit.
The invading Chinese army had been virtually wiped out by the USA and Canadian forces. In Europe, the European allied forces aided by the Arabs had pushed the Chinese back. The world was finally settling down.
The most significant problem facing the world now was the fallout effect of the nuclear bombs used in the first part of the war. The worst-case scenario would be that the world plunges into darkness for as much as five years. If that happened, all life on earth would be in danger of extinction. The world would enter another ice age, and who knows how long that would last. The only thing we could do is wait and see.
Temperatures were already dropping to unseasonal lows. It seemed to be cloudy every day, and it was getting worse. Josh and I had spent a lot of money on arctic type clothing for the five of us. We had even bought a snow machine to get around in the snow. The truth of the matter is that when the temperatures reach their lowest point nothing would protect a person from freezing to death. Temperatures were expected to fall to levels twice their norm. Not even the Inuit people can withstand temperatures of fifty to sixty degrees below zero. Hopefully, it wouldn’t get that cold.
The bunker was ready to be occupied. We had the heating system on, and all the systems seemed to be working correctly. We had purchased spare motors for all the systems, just in case. We had also installed four wind turbine generators on the farm, which fed our bank of batteries. It gave us the ability to have hydro without running a gas generator. In the days that there was no wind the cells would be able to provide hydro for a week provided we cut back on the usage. The two vans and the farm tractor ready for the extreme cold. All the fluids had been drained to prevent damage to the motors. The batteries had been removed and stored. The freezing point of diesel fuel is much higher than regular gasoline. Extreme freezing temperatures won’t affect gasoline until it goes below 40 to 50 degrees below zero. Diesel fuel, on the other hand, turns into a gel around 17 degrees Fahrenheit. A heater had to be installed to warm all the fuel in the large tank. It would be capable of keeping the diesel fuel safe.
By Christmas, temperatures had fallen to thirty below zero Fahrenheit. It was cold enough outside to freeze exposed skin in a matter of minutes. We would not go back out again unless necessary.
To keep from getting on each other’s nerves, we had designed the bunker into two separate living quarters. The kitchen and the laundry areas were shared areas. Each apartment, as we called them, had different bathroom facilities and living room. Josh and Rhonda’s apartment was a little bit larger to accommodate the little guy. The furniture for the units was obtained from the house. Along with pieces we made from scrap lumber left over from the build. We even had a joint exercise room, the only real exercise we would get while underground. That would be very important.
Josh and I had shot a moose just before moving into the bunker. That should be enough meat to last for ten months or so. We also had plenty of fish in our makeshift freezer to last about the same time length. Josh and I talked of supplementing our diet with the cans of meat we had stalked up. We had good old world war two style processed ham and corned beef. Rhonda and Trudy had done an excellent job preserving various types of vegetables. We even had pickled eggs and lots of them. We had been able to buy eggs from a nearby farm in exchange for advising them on their bunker that they had built.
At some point in the future, it was inevitable that Josh and I would have to venture out of the bunker to try and shoot another moose or a deer. We were flying blind right now. We didn’t know what the future held. The radio worked, and there were broadcasts at noon and ten o’clock at night.
The cold was being felt well down into the states now. Places that had only rarely seen snow were getting hit with storms. Scientists were reporting that the only prediction they could offer was from their weather models. At best they were calling for a two-year deep freeze. Temperatures would drop to numbers never seen in recorded weather history in specific areas.
“Maybe we should have driven south instead of north.” I joked.
“But then we would be in the thick of the fighting; you see you can’t win in situations like this,” Josh said.
“I think the best thing for us to do is to be very aware of our supplies; we can’t waste any food. We don’t know how long we may have to stay down here.” I said.
“I think your right, Pete, but we will also have to look for those days that are maybe a little warmer. Maybe we could venture outside and look for some game.” Josh said.
“The game won’t be here for very long, When the temperatures get colder, the game will head south for warmer climates,” I said.
As time went on, we settled into the bunker way of life. We had to look at the security cameras to see if it was day or night. We would turn on our bunker lights to correspond with daylight outside. We were comfortable and warm, and most importantly safe.
Josh and I found ourselves watching the security cameras more and more. Occasionally we saw game traveling through the property, moose, deer, bear, fox, and other animals migrated south. There was one day we saw a convoy of Chinese soldiers moving south. Then one day about three weeks after moving in we saw something unbelievable.
Cattle from north of the farm were passing through heading south. Josh and I grabbed the two rifles that we had bought and headed for the entrance to the bunker. It was bitter cold outside. Had we not put our parkas and heavy mitts on we would have gotten frostbite for sure. We were able to shoot two steers. The problem was, as soon as they died they froze.
We were able to get around that by taking the chainsaw to them to cut them up, an unpleasant task but a necessary one. As the cows were already frozen, they went right into our cold cellar. We now had enough meat for two years, including meat like liver and kidney. That would be the last time we could leave the bunker until the warm weather came back unless there was a very dire emergency.
Every day Josh and I would check all of the life support systems of the bunker. Sometimes maintenance was required, but everything was running fine as planned.
Josh and I were also monitoring the outside temperature and relative humidity. We kept records of these statistics. That would be the only way we would know if there were any changes to our environment. We had no idea how to measure the amount of radioactivity in the atmosphere.
The two biggest threats we had in the bunker were fire and sickness. We had to take special precautions to prevent either from happening. We had a good supply of disinfecting cleansers on hand. We made a routine of washing down the living areas of the bunker at least once a week. We all felt that as long as there were no germs brought into the shelter, we would be safe from disease. We also guarded against having any open flames unattended. When it was necessary to have an open flame, there was always a fire extinguisher nearby.
The time we had together in the bunker was divided into time with our spouse and time together. The times that we spent together were fun times. Whether it was playing board games, or just in conversation. We were fortunate indeed that we all got along so well together. The time with our spouses was usually spent talking about the future. For Trudy and I, it always came back to the subject of children. We decided it wouldn’t be smart to get pregnant at this point. Trudy helped Rhonda with little Donald as often as she could.
Life in the dungeon as we started calling the bunker, was pretty good. The radio still worked, and we listened to the news as often as we could. Josh and I determined that the permafrost had reached a depth of seven feet below the surface. That was how far down the ground had frozen. Usually, permafrost would penetrate the soil to about three feet sometimes four feet in the colder areas. We could see this on the exposed surface walls like in the cold cellar of the bunker. We had to leave the doors open to the cold basement to prevent freezing inside. If it got much colder in there, we would have to rig up a fan to blow warmer air inside.
We would have movie night several times a week. It wasn’t long before we had seen just about every movie we had. Josh even had some porn movies he had brought. At first, the girls weren’t interested in that ”stuff,” but after a few months, they wanted to watch them. On those nights there seemed to be a lot of noise after the lights went out.