In my next addition:
The Robertsons repair their junkyard cars and use them in battle. James and Will discover Great Granpa's arms cache and defend against the Randalls from Shenandoah. Oh, what the heck, I'll give ya the general idea for the next of my addtions: The Robertsons solidify control over Spruce County. The Randalls are almost completely destroyed. The victory comes at a cost: Pop is shot in a streetfight and Granpa dies of a heart attack. Cousin Harry becomes the leader of Spruce County. James is officially interested in the daughter of the nearby Wilkinson clan leader. A strange alliance is signed surrounded around the personalities of the Wilkinson and Robertson leaders, who are being more and more authoritarian. Using their combined strength, they are able to get what they want when they want it. As nearby counties fall under the sway of the "Grand Alliance," the militia grows and not only possesses cars but also starts riding horses. The militia departs to destroy the Shenandoah Randalls. The Randalls are completely wiped out. Now "rich," by the standards of a post-apoc union of counties, the power affects the minds of Robertson family leadership, especially Harry. Harry becomes eccentric and starts to give out "titles of nobility" in an already hierarchy-dominated society.
Well, that's enough preview for now.
Preview? I think you just told us the whole story.
Alright, my turn.
Gunner Patterson tapped the brake on his rusty Ford, and it slowed to a halt in front of the scratched, red-and-white-striped board that separated the state of New York from Pennsylvania (I use the names of these states only as mementos from a bygone age, for recognizability since the 'new inhabitants' of the old United States completely changed the names and borders). To the West, the sun, that burning yellow orb slowly faded to a dark orange as it sunk lower and lower into the sky until it was almost completely covered by a distant tree-line. Out here, there were no cities. No law, no order. Only warring clans of wily rogues who would kill simply for a chance at the honour of ridding the world of yet another one of their foes.
Yet another rusty-helmeted, faded grey trench-coat-wearing, MP40-toting, scowling Nazi emerged from the guard hut and waddled (I use this term in the utmost literacy, for this particular specimen of German-made magnificence was of particular girth) over to the window of the truck, and tapped on it. Gunner sighed and pushed the button on the door, lowering the window half-way as usual, and poking his head out intrusively, putting on the most unfriendly scowl he could muster. The guard couldn't match Gunner's, for his face was so tight with excess weight he could barely move his mouth at all. Instead, he furrowed his brow and barked in a high-pitched, squeezed voice,
"Lassen sie mich ihren pass sehen." "Let me see your passport."
Gunner was almost disgusted at the repetition that the Nazi troops used. Passport, do you speak German, birth-date verification, name, body-description, truck-check. That's the way it always went. Gunner usually liked to add his own twists to the usually boring, invasive questioning, giving the guard a hard time, and usually more than once giving a smart retort. The guard would always, always
be distracted by Liz, but it was no surprise. It actually helped Gunner think of how they would get past the Nazis if they found out that they both had phony passports, Gunner was an ex-United States Militia Rebellion Marine and that both Liz and Gunner were of Irish descent (the Nazis couldn't stand the Irish as a result of a conflict in the early nineties, just a few years after Gunner and Liz were born). Gunner fumbled once more for his passport in his tight back pocket. He thought he would at some point stop growing out of his jeans, but he was probably wrong.
After he had found it, the guard took it, and began to look over it with the same amount of care as the last border guard (which was not that much; Liz was hugely distracting, especially in this day and age when attractive women were, to be frank, scarce), then asked dully,
"Sprechen sie Deutsch." "Do you speak German."
"Sorry pal, don't know what yer sayin'." Gunner replied. He really did know German, and he knew it well. He just wanted to get the guard into a tizzy, then show his keen observation in what he liked to call "an 'I know all of the bad stuff you've done, are doing, and will do, and I can call your Kommandant any time I want with said information if you don't let us pass without trouble' diversion." He was good at it too, and that's precisely the reason for his reply when the German repeated his previous question.
"Sprechen sie--" "Do you speak--"
"Look man, I don't. I'm sorry, but I don't."
"All citizens are required by ze law to speak German. Your are outside of ze law--"
"No, yer the one who's outside o' the law, actually. See, I can actually see in the window of your shack, and I can see the Playboy on the table. Not to mention the six pack of beers in there too. And I happen to be pretty freakin' knowledgeable in the code of conduct for you Krauts. So, unless you want a run-in with yer Kommandant, I'd suggest that we communicate in English while we're talkin' here. 'Kay?"
The German blustered. He had been staring at Liz the whole time Gunner had been talking, but when he heard the words "Beer" and "Code of conduct," he knew he had been caught. He exhaled quickly, causing some snot to drip from his nose, and he checked Gunner's face with the passport.
"Born in Dallas, Texas in May of 1985?" The guard ventured slowly.
"Name Gunther Patterson."
Gunner closed his eyes.
"Zis is vat ze passport says."
"No, it says Gunner."
"No, Gunner. G-U-N-N-E-R. Gunner."
"............. Ah.... I see. Height 6' 2'', veight 193 pounds, eyes brown, hair red-brown, right-handed?"
"And ze voman's passport?"
Gunner's head snapped up, his eyes burning.
"You keep yer twisted, perverted eyes offa my girl, y'hear? She don't need ta give you 'er passport if she don't want to, an' I know that part o' the rules too. Now you gimme back my passport right now or I swear your Kommandant'll hear about what you been doin'."
The German knew he was helpless. He sighed again, and handed Gunner his passport, not even bothering to venture the part about checking the truck. The window went back up and the truck drove off, and the Nazi went back inside to crack open another beer.
Gunner Patterson had once again out-witted Germany, and he would do it again. He only hoped he could match the wits of the hill-folk out here in the open country, because out here, there were no codes of conduct, and no Kommandants. Only rifles, knives and fists. He hoped they would find somebody friendly to outsiders so that they could maybe settle down somewhere around here. Pennsylvania, it was said, was the one of the best places for fugitives, because everywhere else in the country besides Florida, parts of Wyoming and the northern tip of Washington was infested with Germans and their laws against Russians, Jews, Irish and African-Americans. Gunner and Liz had tried Washington, but they weren't accepted. Florida, but it was far too hot. Wyoming, but they could find nowhere that accepted Irish. This was their last-ditch effort. If this didn't work out, they would have to find someone who owned a boat big enough to make it across the Atlantic so they could find somewhere friendly enough to accept them.
One could only hope. --Three hours later--
Liz rolled over. The tent was big enough for the two of them, but it was getting stuffy. Something didn't feel right. There was almost.... tension in the air. She couldn't seem to relax. She just needed some air, she guessed. Careful not to wake Gunner, she unzipped the canvas door and got out. The crickets chirped over the flatland, and Liz could smell the remains of their little campfire, as well as the occasional whiff of baked beans. She breathed deeply of the cool night air, then folded her arms to ward off a bit of the nippy wind.
How had the world come to this? Her father used to tell her of a day when there was complete freedom, back when the country was called the United States. Just the right amount of laws, low taxes, no hierarchy, no war. There used to be peace, low prices, no border guards, no Nazis. You could go from state to state and city to city without a passport, buy what you wanted, eat what you wanted, drink what you wanted. There wasn't any nuclear radiation or fallout, no need to wear a gasmask in a lot of areas. There was no need to carry a gun, but you were allowed to if you wanted to. Your car didn't have to be under a certain size, and you could put whatever you wanted in it, as long as it wasn't drugs or stolen goods. What had happened? The world was going through a time of distress, and unrest. It wouldn't be long before it all simply erupted into a cacophony of.... something. Maybe that was why she couldn't relax.
Liz jumped. She hadn't heard him, but Gunner had come out of the tent behind her and put his harms around her from behind.
"You okay, Liz?" he didn't use any of the pet-names he usually called her, like 'Sweetie' 'Dear-heart' 'Honeybunch' 'Dear' or 'Darling' this time.
"Yeah... I just can't sleep." she replied.
"You're feelin' it too, huh?"
She turned around.
"That thing in the air... It feels like pure stress, know what I mean?"
"Yeah. I can't sleep."
"Neither can I."
He hugged her.
"I love you." he said.
"Gunner, how many times do you have to say that in a day?" she said, jokingly.
The big Texan paused.
"Not enough." he replied with a soft look in his eyes, and he kissed her forehead. "Come on, let's try and get some rest."
They'd only been in the tent for a few minutes when Liz spoke.
"Gunner?" she asked.
"I love you too." --Three hours later--
Gunner stiffened. Boom.
He sat up like a bolt, hitting his head on the horizontal board that held the tent up. Boom.
There it was again. Gunfire. Distant, but audible all the same. Ratatatatatatatatatatatatat.
Machine gun. M1919.
"Dammit." Gunner muttered. It was going to be a long night.