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We had always agreed that if anything bad were to happen, we would go to my in-law’s place near Chama. It was a large log cabin located on a ridge overlooking the Brazos River and completely off the grid: solar panels for power, rain catch barrels for water, and cast iron stove for heat. Low population density and the remote location in a densely forested area made the cabin ideal for withstanding any number of natural or man-made disasters.

So when the news began airing information regarding a rabies epidemic and then went on to report about a strange outbreak sweeping across the east coast, we had a plan. The wife and I loaded the kids in the car and headed to Chama.

It took a bit longer than expected. Her parents and grandmother decided they were coming too. We also had to wait for my dad to drive up from Albuquerque. All told, I think it took us about four hours to drive from Bernalillo to Chama. We ended up going the back way through the Llaves Valley. It was probably a smart decision given traffic along Interstate 25, but really I just chose the route because I liked the drive.

We had stocked up on canned goods, camping gear, and warm clothes. These were all things, we typically brought with us when we went to the cabin, but considering we were not sure how long we’d be gone, we took a lot.

We also brought with us an assortment of firearms. My father-in-law taught security and conceal-carry permit courses, so we had an assortment of weapons and then there was the hunting gear. Total, I think we brought with us two dozen firearms: rifles, shot guns, pistols, and even a couple hunting bows.

The canned goods didn’t last long, but that wasn’t a big deal. There was a lot of game in the woods. It wasn’t just the deer and elk. We hunted the cattle and sheep too. You would be amazed at how much livestock was left to graze in the forests. The domesticated animals were the easiest to kill. A lot of the time they sought us out. I think they thought we were ranchers coming to feed them.

It took some getting used to. After a while, we didn’t have grain or fruit, but there was an abandoned raspberry farm a couple miles down the road. We could go there and get berries seasonally. There are always other foods in the forest, if you know where to look. Believe it or not, just about every portion of a prickly pear is edible.

Zombies? Never saw a one. Really, never saw much of anyone. Now don’t get me wrong, we had our moments of danger. There was a blizzard which hit us pretty hard and a couple wildfires that came close to burning down the cabin at one time or another, but we ended up alright. I think like a lot of westerners, we managed.

About the Author:

Matthew J. Barbour is a South(west)ern Gothic Speculative Fiction writer living with his wife and three children in Bernalillo, New Mexico. When he is not writing fiction, Mr. Barbour manages Jemez Historic Site in Jemez Springs, New Mexico and writes for a number of regional newspapers, including the Red Rocks Reporter and the Sandoval Signpost.

About the Story:

Managing the Zombie Apocalypse like most zombie stories is less horror and more magical realism/social commentary. It was inspired by a simple question. What would you do?


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