AFTER THE APOCALYPSE
Hard to believe, but once the burn victims were gone and those who were
going to go crazy had lost their minds, the ones that remained, the hardiest
survivors, began to rebuild. Slowly, life had been reborn. Men stopped
living in their caves and burrows and they began to adapt, to fit their
lives to their new world. They built shelters, they planted what crops they
could, but they still lacked the courage to walk over the hill, to trail
down the road to see what lay just over the horizon.
Bonner had been the first. The first to get an old Dodge motor running well
enough to venture out into the world.
He had traveled, cautiously at first, through the continent finding groups
of survivors—not many but enough to convince him that his work was worth
doing. Slowly he began linking the bands together, building a network,
trading information for supplies. Others had joined him. Leather came riding
out of the dawn one morning and said he had been all the way to New York.
Gradually people had come to trust the Outriders, they were the closest
thing to heroes the new world had. Bonner began to coax the survivors out of
their little enclaves— they were like nervous puppies—trying to get the
bands to join together, to unite, to rebuild. It wouldn't be the old
America, but it would have been a land that might have been free of fear and
that would have been a good enough start for Bonner.