King of the hill (OFF THE GRID)
Chapter 1. This is an introduction. The other chapters will probably not be this long. Cool.
The first beams of light shined through the old dusty window blinds, waking Hank Hill.
He opened his eyes and yawned, slowly awakening. His arms stretched out as he reached for his prescription glasses on the bedside dresser. Peggy let out an inaudible beside him. She did not find the invading beams of light as motivating, and shifted her body to avoid the light.
Hank glanced at her, then slipped his legs out of the bed and got to his feet. A dark stain on the brown wall across from him reminded him of natures attempt to push his family down. He glared at the mold for a second, before grabbing a pair of stained pajama pants and pulling them over his boxers. He left the bedroom and headed down the hall to the kitchen. He passed Bobby's room.
Bobby was sleeping on a military styled cot in a nearly empty room, save for a dresser and a gun rack holding up several rifles, ranging from high caliber hunting shotguns to fully automatic military grade assault rifles. The windows were barred with metal, making the room appear like the inside of a prison. But the bars were meant to keep intruders outside.
Hank headed to the kitchen. The refrigerator and stove were the only generator powered electrical appliance in the house. It let out a low hum as he opened the door and reached inside for a covered jar full of cold water mixed with ground up coffee.
"Thank God for Coffee" Hank said to himself with a slight smile.
He pulled out the jar and poured the coffee into another jar, using a strainer to catch the finer grains of coffee. He then poured it into a pot and left it on the stove to heat up. Enough coffee for the whole family. The time it would take to heat up gave Hank another time to deal with other matters. He grabbed his favorite book at the moment, a near mint condition copy of Willy Nelson's autobiography and headed outdoors to the outhouse.
A radioactive sunrise greeted him as he left the house. The sunlight illuminated the barren wasteland that surrounded New Arlen. Empty plains stretched as far as Hank could see. The only points of interest was the outhouse that stood at the back of his yard, and the fifteen foot barbed wired ditch that surrounded New Arlen's perimeter.
He hummed Willy Nelson's "Always on my mind" as he approached the outhouse.
Lady Bird, who had been resting on a dirty mattress beside the house, saw him, and came running towards him to greet him.
"Hey girl, did you sleep good?" Hank asked in a slightly higher pitched voice, bending over to scratch Lady Bird behind her ears.
The effects from the apocalypse had created quite an effect on dogs. Lady Birds fur had mostly fallen off except for old patches, but Hank knew this would happen with old age, so he did not care. Her teeth become quite sharp from eating mostly raw meat. Her skin had become quite tough, and her legs had become quite muscular from having to hunt and sprint long distances. Hank loved her just the same, and in fact enjoyed these new changes. Lady Bird had become quite the companion for the Texan survivalist, and her hunting and tracking skills had only become more acute in the new environment.
"Come on ,Lady Bird, shake paws" Hank said cheerfully.
She barked, then sat and extended her paw.
"Good girl!" Hank said, shaking her paw. He looked around and picked up a large bone lying in the grass and tossed it away, "Go get it , girl!" he ordered, smiling.
Lady Bird barked, then ran after it. She put the bone between her two front paws and began chewing on it happily. The long bone was actually from an Emu's leg. They roamed in packs through out the wasteland, unaware of the destruction that had taken place. Although they were not native to Texas, the large amount of Emu's farms in the area had led to an outbreak in their numbers, especially after all the majority of the hunters had been incinerated or claimed by cancer following the nuclear fallout.
Hank reached the outhouse, admired his handiwork and opened the door. The hinge's creaked. "Guess I'll have to add that to the list" Hank grumbled, then stepped inside to do his morning business.
Peggy entered the kitchen, wearing an old and frayed bathrobe. She pulled out a frying pan from the pantry and set the stove top on low.
She smiled when she saw that Hank had already started heating up the coffee. Her smile disappeared when she saw they were out of butter.
"Guess I better add that to the grocery list" She said to herself, writing down "Butter" on a large list of items on the table. She returned to the fridge and pulled out an Emu egg, cracked it open and let the yolk spill out into the frying pan.
Thank God for the Emu's She thought to herself. Without them, New Arlen would have definitely died out long ago.
"Bobby! Breakfast in ten fifteen minutes!" She shouted. Bobby did not reply. The door opened and Hank stepped in.
"Hey Peg" Hank said smiling, taking a seat at the table.
"We're out of butter, grab some during the next scavenger hunt, please?" Peggy asked her husband.
Hank nodded, "We're all heading out today, I'm sure we'll find something."
"You boys be careful out there" Peggy said, "BOBBY! Breakfast in ten!".
Hank looked over the list of supplies. The bare necessities were all there, food, water, clothing (or any material to make clothes), ammunition, fuel. A few tools were added to the list , and any scrap metal or wood for Bill's shack. Hank had a list of personal items that was always running through his head, including old Texas relics, propane accessories, a new grill, Old records and guitar strings. These were not life essentials, but he would enjoy to have them.
He glanced over at the old grill outside. It was basically scrap metal, and any grill he found was in no better condition. It hurt his heart, though he never mentioned it, that he could not grill steaks anymore. He missed the backyard BBQ's, and he knew that one day they would have a new grill, even if he had to make it himself, and then they would have a big backyard BBQ, with all of New Arlen in attendance, and he would grill up the best grilled Emu breasts in the world overtop of propane fueled gas burners. Someday.
"Bobby! Breakfast in five! Get up!" Peggy shouted, not taking her eyes off the frying pan.
Bobby entered the kitchen, "Alright, mom, I'm up, whats the big idea?" He asked, rubbing his eyes.
The apocalypse had changed Bobby's appearance significantly. Gone was the chubby young boy growing up in a cozy suburban home. While he was still husky, his arms were more muscular, and his shoulder more broad. While he still kept his hair buzzed short, he had allowed a short two inch tall thick Mohawk to grow, giving him a tougher appearance. A stick and poke tattoo of a skull with an X on the forehead was on his upper arms. Underneath it, were six small lines, one for each kill. His pajama's were very old, and had become torn in multiple places and discolored, but this did not bother Bobby.
"Time for breakfast, son" Hank said. While he did not approve of Bobby's image, he was very pleased with how well his son had coped with the complete and utter destruction of society, and liked that his son had developed muscles.
"Alright, what're we having?" Bobby asked. His voice still had a bit of squeal in it.
"Emu omelette" Peggy said, reaching into the cupboard and pulling out three cracked old plates.
"Again? Oh... great... yeah" Bobby said disappointingly.
"You better show some appreciation, your mothers whats keeping this family afloat" Hank said firmly.
"Right... thanks, mom" Bobby said with a slight hint of sarcasm, accepting the plate of Emu omelette.
Hank sighed and looked up at Peggy. She sighed, then handed Hank his plate and sat down herself.
"So what's going on today?" Bobby asked, poking his omelette with an old fork.
"Going scavenging" Hank replied.
Bobby's face lit up, "Can I come!? Last time Joseph went, he brought back this crazy sniper rifle! Please Dad! Can I come!?"
Hank shook his head, "No, we need you here on watch-" "But..." "-Joseph's isn't coming either this time" (Because he's way too out of control Hank thought to himself), "I'll be out all day, and we're going out tomorrow too. Now don't give me that look, we need you two on watch" Hank said firmly.
"Fine, watch sucks though" Bobby said, looking down at his plate.
"Watch duty is very important! Just remember the service you're doing for the community!" Hank said.
"Do you really think you need to go out today and tomorrow? You're not staying out overnight?" Peggy asked with concern.
Hank shook his head, "Nah, we'll be back by evening."
Peggy smiled, "Alright, be careful out there". They finished there breakfast.
Hank left his home and walked down New Arlen, getting the old gang together. New Arlen was not very big. It was about the same length as Rainey street, and the only buildings were the homes of the residents. With Hanks carpentry skills, they had managed to rebuilt most of the homes, but they were always on the look out for supplies in the ruins of old Texas. He walked down the dirt road, going from home to home and rallying the men.
The first home was the Gribble residence. Hank knocked once, before the door opened. A native teenager opened. Josephs image had also changed ever since the breakdown of society. He had always been muscular before hand, but his hair had grown out much more wildly, similar to John Redcorn. He was only wearing shorts, revealing his bare chest that was covered in first nations tribal tattoos, that ran up and down his arms and on the sides of his face. John Redcorn provided the tattoo's, and Dale approved of it. After seeing the first tattoo, A large hawk with its wings spread across Joseph's back, he said "Jesus, John Redcorn, these are badass! Can I get some!?" which lead to Joseph eventually covering the majority of his body in tribal tattoos.
"Hey Hank" He said, "Dad's just about ready"
"Alright, just tell him i'm here" Hank said. He found it uncomfortable being around any man who wasn't wearing a shirt, let alone his best friends son.
Joseph nodded, but didn't move. Hank looked up at the sky for a moment. A cloud was lazily drifting across the sky.
"Uh... you can just go tell him i'm here... right now" Hank said.
"Oh, alright" Joseph said, then walked away. The Gribble home also had mold stains on the wall. It was nearly impossible to prevent. Unlike Hanks home, the outer walls of the gribble home was just reinforced plywood. Dale did not care as much about having a pretty home, now that 99% of the population was incinerated, zombiefied, or dying of cancer.
Dale walked into the room, "Hey Hank!" He said. He was a balding skinny man, with awkward tribal tattoos going up his forearms. Hank cringed a little when he saw them. They did not look good on Dale, but no one had the heart to tell him. Dale grabbed his hat and sunglasses off a hook, "Keep an eye out for smokes, I only got enough for three months" Dale said.
"Sure thing Dale." Hank said.
Dale pulled out a cigarette and brought it to his lips. He was about to light it when Nancy shouted, "Dale! No smoking in the house, we got enough damage as it is!"
"If this place can survive after the apocalypse, i'm sure it can survive smelling like smokes!" Dale shouted back.
"No smoking in the house, Dale!" Nancy shouted.
Dale sighed, then stepped outside the house before lighting his smoke.
"Thanks sug!" Nancy shouted.
"Women..." Dale said, shaking his head, "Alright, you get Bill and Boomhauer, I'll get the radiation suits and guns" He said. Hank nodded.
Boomhauer was sitting on a rocking chair on the sheet of plywood that counted as a front porch. His house was in the same condition as Dales. The rusty remains of his Chevrolet 1970's Camaro was rusting in front of his house on the lawn. It had somehow functioned enough to get from Rainey street to the middle of nowhere, before breaking down a week after they 'settled' New Arlen.
"Yo" He said, looking up at Hank.
"It's time" Hank said.
Boomhauer nodded. He reached over and picked up a rifle leaning against his wall and strapped on an ammunition belt. Hank continued down the street to Bill's shack.
He passed Luanna's and Lucky's trailer. Lawn ornaments and broken garden gnomes littered there yard. Hank could hear them arguing through a broken window in the trailer.
"Lucky! We need more eggs! We're running out of food!" Luanna shouted.
"Don't worry baby girl, we'll just talk to Hank" Lucky said back.
"I don't like borrowing from everyone! I can't handle this! I just wish things could go back!" Luanna cried out.
"We can't do that no more , baby girl, but we're doing fine!" Lucky tried to calm her down.
"NO! I can't handle this... I can't live like the others! I want food... and electricity! and to look pretty!" Luanne began to cry.
"Don't worry Baby girl, you'll always be pretty to me!" Lucky replied.
"That's not enough!" Luanne was crying.
"Baby girl, you're the most beautiful girl in the wasteland, no joke" Lucky said. Hank could see them embrace inside the dark trailer.
"Hows this, I'll go out scavenging today, and I'll get you some old makeup, and a new dress, and we'll look like one of them old timey couples!" Lucky suggested.
Luanne cried a little more, before managing to get out "I would like that."
Oh no, Lucky isn't coming with us... Hank thought, but was interrupted when the trailer door swung open and Lucky came running out. "Hank! I need a favor to ask you, as you're son in law... and as a good friend, I would like to come scavenging today, to help the community" Lucky said.
Hank opened his mouth to argue, but Lucky kept talking, "I know you've got to be quiet out there, and I know what not to do, I heard what happened when you brought Joseph out! And I want to come! I even got my own guns and rad suit!"
Hank wanted to argue, but thought better of it. "Alright, you can come along, but you'll be sitting in the back"
Lucky smiled, "That would be nice"
If Lucky was with them, there would be no way for Joseph to come along. The two of them headed towards Bills shack, which was the last home on this side of New Arlen, with only the wasteland stretched out in the distance.
Hank knocked on the door. It opened, releasing a pungent smell. Bill stood in the doorway, looking the same as always, overweight and wearing dirty clothes. The only difference was slightly more muscle, a do rag of the american flag on his head, and a couple tattoos. On one arm, a nuclear bomb falling from the sky, and the other was a poorly drawn image of his ex-wife's face, and her name, Lenore under her face. Bill had found out that she did not survive the Apocalypse, which on one hand made him feel terrible, but also brought feelings of closure, knowing that now he could never get back together with the women, who despite ruining his life, he still felt feelings for.
"Bill, we're heading out, you ready?" Hank asked.
Bill nodded, "Lets get it done, lemme get my stuff" He went back into the shack, which was nearly pitch black compared to the lighting from outdoors.
"You can come sit inside, if you want" Bill offered. Lucky looked at Hank, who shook his head, "No Bill, we can wait outside, I wouldn't want to bother you" He said.
"No, it's fine, come on in!" Bill said warmly, looking through belongings.
"No, we have to be going pretty fast" Hank said. Lucky stepped away from the doorway, unable to handle the smells coming from the shack, despite his redneck upbringing. Hank had more tolerance, but even he had his limits. He could see that mold dominated the inside of the shack walls.
Eventually Bill came out, wearing an old ragged army jacket with an American flag sewn onto the back. He had a belt of ammunition and a rifle strapped over his shoulder.
"Alright, let's go" He said, closing the door behind him, but the smell of his shack still lingered.
The trio walked back to Hanks house.
"Lucky here coming scavenging?" Bill asked.
"Yep" Lucky replied.
"Not worried about leaving behind Luanne?" Bill asked.
"She can look out for herself, but I want to get her something special from the ruins" Lucky said.
"Must be nice, living with a woman... all together... nice and cozy" Bill said, with a slight whimper in his voice.
"Alright, lets stop talking and focus on the task at hand!" Hank said, cutting off the conversation.
Bill and Boomhauer were already suiting up in there radiation suits beside Hanks red pick up truck. The truck had also changed following the apocalypse. The only vehicles that remained in New Arlen was Hanks Truck, Dale's dead bug Van, and Kahn's SUV. Each vehicle had been upgraded, and Hanks truck was no exception. The sides had become armor platted, with spikes and barbed wire running along it. The windows had been bared with iron beams, and a large machine gun had been welded onto the back. During one scavenge, Hank found a top quality suspension, and spent a day installing it, adding the finishing touches to his ultimate survivalist truck. His only disappointment was that he could not wash his truck as often as he liked, due to water being a precious commodity, so the sides and front were coated in a fine mixture of dirt, mud and dried blood.
"Alright boys, we're going out for a long run, but we're going to jam tonight when we get back, so lets all make it back!" Hank said.
Peggy snuck up behind Hank and kissed him on the cheek.
"Peggy!" Hank shouted, embarrassed. Dale, Lucky and Boomhauer laughed. Bill looked away uncomfortably.
"Stay safe , Hank" She said, smiling , before walking away.
Hank stood silently for a moment, but was interrupted when Lady Bird ran up to him barking.
"Alright girl, you coming with us? Awh, whose a good girl!" Hank said, scratching her behind her ears.
"That dog don't look right" Dale said.
"Shut up, Dale" Hank said. He pulled down the back latch of the pickup truck. Lady Bird jumped in, followed by Dale and Lucky.
"Boomhauer, you're riding shot gun, Bill get in the back middle."
"Yo" Boomhauer acknowledged.
Hank closed the back hatch and climbed into the drivers seat. Fuel was three quarters full. Dale took his position at the machine gun, making sure it wasn't rusting or jammed. "All good back here!" He shouted, knocking twice on the top of the truck roof.
Lady Bird barked.
"Alright, let's go!" Hank said, switching the keys into ignition. The truck engine roared to life, and they drove off down the dirt road.
"Be careful, rednecks!" Kahn shouted from in front of his house. Kahn's home was nearly as pretty as Hanks. The challenge for having the most beautiful home that most American's living in the suburbs participated in now only consisted of a never ending battle between Hank and Kahn to have the nicest looking lawn, which in this case meant having a barren yard devoid of grass and garbage.
"Don't get eating alive!" Kahn added, laughing.
They drove past the very last home of New Arlen, two old trailers owned by John Redcorn. One was used for living in, while enough housed a grow op. John Redcorn was the only source of marijuana in New Arlen, something Hank did not approve of, but everyone else took full advantage of.
John Redcorn stood in front of his trailer, and put his hand up as the truck drove by, wordlessly wishing them good luck. A slight breeze, a rare thing in the wasteland, blew across the town, making John Redcorns hair dance in the wind for a moment.
They drove by, past a flag pole waving Old Glory, and across the small wooden bridge that was built over top the protective ditch, and into the wasteland.