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This is the Prologue for the new piece I’ve begun, entitled After the End.  It is a Post Apocalyptic novel about a village that was created by the survivors of the nuclear and germ warfare holocaust.  I hope everyone likes the read and please be sure to leave comments!

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I enjoy seclusion.  It allows me to think and reminisce on how we got to this place.  It allows me to write my thoughts in my journal so that our history is not lost.

I’ve sat on this hillock everyday for many years now. Overlooking Oaktown, the ancient and majestic oak, full of leaves and branches, props me up so I have quite the panoramic view.  From here, I can look out and watch the people we have gathered over time.  I can see the houses and businesses laid out in neat little grids, and watch the hustle and bustle of the population as they mill around the town like busy little worker ants.  The farm fields remind me of patchwork quilts full of grains and vegetables.  My small sheep farm sits out there, and I can imagine my dogs, Cooper and Yoder, are pretty excited to get back to their herding duties.

Of course, my team is never far away.  They know to leave me alone unless an emergency comes up.  They know this hill is my home away from home.  The only people allowed up here with me aren’t even people.  Just my dogs.  My wife and kids even learned a long time ago, when I head up here, it’s to clear my mind.

Tyler, my right hand man, sits down at the bottom of the hill in our Humvee, feet propped up, jotting away in a notebook.  He’s probably working on another novel.  At least I hope so.  I can see Shelly coming out of the government offices, probably on her way to a staff meeting of some sort.  She makes sure everything is running smooth and true to the original ideas we set this place up with.  Couldn’t do a lot of things around here without her.

I take out my flask and enjoy a nip of Scotch, which is just too damn hard to find.  Personally, I think I have the only stash around.  Screw that potato mash.  It’s nasty.

Pen in hand, I write today’s journal entry.

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Friday Oct. 10th, 2025 (13 ATE)

Things are running smoothly around here.  It’s been six months since we’ve taken in any new settlers and we have decreased our patrols into the surrounding areas.  There is just nothing out there.

As Shelly and I predicted, the NEW Democratic Party flopped.  Big Time!  For once an existing government didn’t interfere in a rival party’s actions and they just sort of fizzled out.  Guess that’s what happens when you have so many like-minded people around.

Wife and kids are good.  Piper is taking to her training quite well and Grant has the politics genes in the family.  My wife and Jack are often with Shelly working on different items pertaining to the running of Oaktown.

Defense branch is rawkin!  We are pretty much ready for anything that could happen at this point.  I’m thinking about sending out a LRRP (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol) team to see what lays beyond the wastelands area around here.  Of course, I’ll lead the team, even though everyone will bitch.  Like Ben Raines said, ‘I’ll know when it’s time to step down.’**

Dogs are good and funny.

All is good.  For now.

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Please allow me to give you a history lesson.

It wasn’t a specific group’s or country’s fault.  Things just happen.  Anger is a human emotion which, when let out, can have devastating consequences.  It turns into hatred and that is bad.  For everyone.

Hell, things just kinda fell apart all over the world one day.  That was the beginning of the end.  I even wrote a poem about it once.  It was kinda hokey but I used to write like that.  The items I described in it were from actual headlines I read when the world began to end.

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“250,000 dead as plague ravages India.  India blames Pakistan”

“Ireland and Scotland declare independence from the United Kingdom”

“50,000 dead in riots in Berlin”

“Illegal Immigrants in US increasing by  300,000 a month”

“FARC takes control of Columbian Government”

“Cuban and Venezuelan Forces attack Guantanamo Bay”

“Terrorist blow up ship in Panama Canal”

“Worst Winter in Centuries hits Russia.  Putin blames US for Global Warming”

“Japan attacks N. Korea after fishing fleet attacked during training exercise”

“Schools of Fish Mysteriously Die in Red Tide”

“Swarms of Locust Attack Northern Africa”

“Terrorists destroy locks on Suez Canal”

“Israel Attacks Syria and Iran”

“Neo-Nazi’s take over France”

I sit at my desk

Envelope in hand

Receive message of confirmation

Birds in the air

I enter code

Press Button

FLASH BANG

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Then the missiles flew.  Not really sure who went first but I know it was nasty.  Nuke and Germ warfare all over the world.  No conspiracy, no shadow government.  Just good ol’ hatred caused the balloon to go up. 

My family and I were out in the country when it happened.  That was the only thing that saved us initially.  The town we lived in took a direct hit.  Had to be all the military contracts.

Slowly but surely we found others who were surviving and we banded together.  You can imagine, it was a lot of military folk and survivalists.  People who never wanted something for nothing.

We found an area that never received contamination.  It was weird, kinda like it was meant to be.

What?  You want more info than that?  Read my journals.  They’re very detailed about the things we found and witnessed.  How our band put things back together for ourselves.  Hope you enjoy them because as far as I know they are the only documentation of what happened after that fateful day.

Continue to Chapter 1 

**The Ashes Series by William W. Johnstone

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