adam-and-the-phoenix-1

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Subject: Adam and the Phoenix – Chapter 1 Nothing in this story is true. Any resemblance to actual places, persons, or events is coincidental. This is the inaugural Nifty submission by this writer. This is a complete multi-chapter story. Adam and the Phoenix, Copyright 2020 Art Carda. All rights are reserved. Do not duplicate or distribute in any form without express permission of the author. Adam and the Phoenix Chapter 1: Day 1 — late Monday afternoon By Art Carda It should have been a perfect end-of-summer day riding home from the store. The late afternoon weather was beautiful, the car windows were down and not a cloud in the sky. It would have been perfect but Adam was increasingly alarmed by the near-panic from the voices on the radio. Instead of normal programming they were broadcasting the audio feed from a national cable news channel and this only happened during extreme events. Adam was convinced those voices were not sharing all they knew about the takeover of a Russian missile launch center by terrorists hoping to nuke an American city. He wanted more trustworthy news sources and was now less than � mile from home. The high school track team utilized this lightly-used road for conditioning practice and Adam routinely slowed his driving to admire the daily flesh parade. The fall semester recently started and the number of runners was always higher before the roster was finalized but it was too late in the day for runners. No groups of boy smorgasbord to admire this afternoon. So Adam was surprised to see a shirtless, younger-looking boy with long blonde hair running alone in his direction. `The freshmen look younger every year’ and Adam thought this kid more resembled a 7th grader than a freshman. The sudden blare of a nearby tornado siren startled Adam, causing him to jump and knock his phone to the car mat. As Adam stopped the car and leaned down to retrieve the phone, the car interior lit up with an unnatural bright flash — the brightest and longest flash he’d ever seen. The voices from the radio went silent. He looked up again and the young runner was stunned enough by the siren and flash to collide with a tree and the boy was staggering around dazed with blood on his forehead. Adam realized the flash was likely from a nuclear explosion and in just seconds would be followed by a massive rush of heat, wind, radiation and debris. He recalled wind speed from a nuclear blast could reach 2,000 MPH close to the explosion and hoped he wasn’t close. He slammed the gear shifter into park and jumped out to find a ditch. Adam saw a culvert near the sidewalk and at the last second grabbed the shirtless boy and hurled them both into the drainage ditch along the road, with Adam partially shielding the smaller body with his larger body. Seconds later came the roar from an enormous explosion along with a speeding rush of hot air and a blast of debris. The reverberation from the explosion went on and on, and seemed to last 30 seconds. When it finally stopped Adam knew they had only a short time to get safely indoors before radioactive fallout would make the area dangerous for weeks or months. He looked up and saw an enormous growing mushroom cloud rising in the south behind the hill that just protected them from the full onslaught of the blast. He unceremoniously grabbed the boy by the upper arm and half-dragged him to the parked but still-running car. “Where are you taking me?” the boy cried out. “I can’t see anything! What’s happening?” “A nuclear bomb just exploded and we’re now contaminated. We’ve got to get indoors and cleaned off as quickly as possible” explained Adam. “I can’t see you. I can’t see anything. Why can’t I see? What’s happening?” Adam guided the boy into the car and it was obvious the boy was beginning to panic. Adam used his calmest voice as he turned the car onto the street to his house. “Listen to me carefully. It’s normal for people to get temporary blindness from such a bright flash. You would only be blind permanently if we were close to the explosion and I think you’re only blind temporarily. Fortunately I was looking down when it hit or I wouldn’t be able to drive us right now. In a few seconds we’ll be at my house and we’ll figure things out. But first we’ll have a short delay in my driveway. When I stop the car I need you to sit here for less than 2 minutes while I retrieve some really important things from the shop behind my house including some important medicine I’ve got to have. Don’t get out of the car for any reason and I promise I’ll be fast. We’re then going to park the car in the attached garage and get to shelter. Once we get inside we’ve got to immediately wash off this radioactive dirt and debris. OK?” Adam was thinking through the steps to take and despite sounding calm was fighting off panic himself. The boy replied with terror in his voice, “Please just hurry. I can’t see anything and I don’t want to be alone.” Adam rushed through the office with focus. He grabbed the bag which contained several months of prescription meds. He also grabbed his recently harvested personal crop from 3 marijuana plants, and on a whim grabbed his `special’ duffle bag with some personal lubes and latex toys to help pass the time during the quarantine. It should be possible to slip off alone to a bedroom from time to time even with company. He tossed all 3 items into a large trash bag to prevent possible contamination during the short trip down the driveway. He yanked the power cables from the servers but left the networking equipment running. The big battery backup would keep the network gear running for several days or even weeks if the commercial power failed, especially without the servers. Those servers were probably pointless now but the network could be important if the internet was up. Adam moved the car into the attached garage and pressed the button to close the door. He wondered again how the electricity was still working after a nuke blast. “Sit here for just a second while I set this stuff inside the door then I’ll come around and help you out. Can you see anything at all?” In an unsteady, newly-raspy voice the boy said, “No. Everything is dark and I can’t see at all.” Adam removed the items from the big trash bag and tossed them just inside the house. He also remembered to toss in his keys, wallet and phone. He hurried around the car and opened the passenger door. With a terrified voice the boy asked, “Is this really happening?” “Yes, this is really happening. There is no way to sugar-coat this and I know it’s embarrassing but we’ve both got to strip completely naked before we go into the house and then we’re going straight to a shower. That big hot blast right after I tackled you to the ditch included dangerous radioactive dirt and crap kicked up from the main explosion. We’re both covered with stuff that is radioactive. We’re going to abandon our contaminated clothes here in the garage and wash the dirt and debris completely off our skin. We have a lot to do and we need to do it immediately.” “You think we’re radioactive?” “We’re not but stuff on our skin is and it needs to be scrubbed off right now so it doesn’t hurt us. Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to take off your shoes and help you out of the car. Then we’re both going to strip and I’ll lead you to the big shower upstairs so we can scrub everything from head to toe. We don’t need to panic but we need to keep moving and not delay. Are you ready?” Adam removed the boy’s shoes and helped him out of the car. “Can you slip off your running shorts or do you need help?” “I’m afraid I’ll fall over because I can’t see and I’m still dizzy from hitting my head. Can you please do it?” “No problem. Hold on to the car door while I slide your shorts off. I know this is embarrassing and awkward but it’s an emergency and you can take time to be embarrassed later.” Adam removed the boy’s running shorts and underwear. “We’ll keep our socks until we get to the shower. I’m going to guide you by the elbow. Take small steps so you don’t stub your toe and I won’t let you walk into anything. Don’t touch the walls or any furniture and just grab me if you start to fall. We want the contaminated stuff to go down the shower drain and not stay inside the house, ok?” They made it to the large shower in the master bedroom and Adam started the water. “I’m going to get on my knees so I can remove your socks. Grab my head and hold on to my hair while I lift one leg at a time. Don’t touch the counter or anything else, OK?” Adam opened the trash can and tossed in their socks, then guided them into the shower enclosure once the temperature was hot enough. Removing the boy’s socks provided an extreme close-up of what was normally kept hidden by his pants. In those few seconds Adam decided if this kid was really in high school then he was definitely a late-bloomer who had only bloomed recently. “We’re going to start at the top. I’ve poured shampoo in your hair but I want you to scrub it yourself. Wash it very thoroughly and slowly to get everything out, especially with your long hair. You don’t want any dirt or other crap left in your hair. Once we’ve both washed our hair I’m going to work my way down your body with a soapy washcloth. After that I’ll wash myself and replace the washcloth. We’re going to repeat the process, back and forth, probably until the hot water is gone.” The kid vigorously scrubbed the long mop of fine blond hair, exposing his still-smooth underarms in the process. Adam washed his own hair and rinsed off before lathering the washcloth. “I know this is embarrassing but I’m going to wash you down several times. I was more protected because I was wearing clothes and inside a car, but you were running outside wearing only shoes and shorts. Your body got the full impact of the flash and you’re also contaminated with dirt and debris. You can’t see your skin so you can’t really wash yourself. We need to remove everything we can from your skin, especially if it’s dirt.” As he talked, he used the washcloth and soap on the boy’s face, shoulders and chest. As he glanced down the boy had become fully erect and Adam wondered again about the age of the boy. His genitals were smaller than would be expected for high-school and there wasn’t much pubic hair. The slender erection slapped Adam’s hip as he turned the boy around. The embarrassed boy choked back an emotional sob as he said, “Now you must think I’m a little pervert because I got a boner with a strange man.” “Look. We haven’t slowed down enough for me to even ask your name. You’re obviously a student, obviously a male, likely a teenager, and you’re naked in the shower with a stranger who is rubbing every inch of your nude body with a soapy washcloth. It’s 100% expected that you would get an erection and you have nothing to be embarrassed about. You can’t see it but I’m starting to get one just from rubbing your skin. It’s the way nature made men. The concern would be if you didn’t get an erection because it could mean you’re going into shock from the blast, so I’m actually relieved you’re getting a big old boner! It means you’re OK and it doesn’t mean you’re a pervert. And now that you’ve brought it up, I need to point out that I’m about to grab that nice boner so I can wash it, along with your balls and your butt crack. If you didn’t have a boner already you’d need to get one to stretch the skin so I can thoroughly wash your dick. You may want children someday and cancer down there would not be helpful so we’re going to make sure you’re clean all over. We can laugh or be embarrassed later but for now this is something important.” “I’m Ryan. My name is Ryan. And thank you for helping me. Without you I’d be crawling on the ground outside, blind and covered in radioactive dirt. I could have died out there and you probably just saved my life. Do you have any idea what’s happening? And you know my name now, so what should I call you?” “Please call me Adam. In a few minutes we’ll get out of the shower and try to learn more about what’s happening. I was listening to news on the car radio when the flash hit and the signal instantly went dead. They were talking about terrorists taking over a Russian missile control center. I just hope this was the only missile they launched and we’re not in an all-out nuclear war right now. If this is an actual attack by Russia or China our country will have already launched a massive retaliation strike and there will be all-out nuclear destruction across the planet. I hope this was caused by a small group of insane terrorists like on 9/11 because the world may still be OK and billions of people won’t die in a nuclear winter. We’ll know soon enough. Right now you know as much as I do, but I probably know a lot more than you about surviving nuclear events because I’ve read a lot about it. The good news is you got lucky with me because I’m reasonably prepared for what comes next. I’m not like a prepper who lives in a cave, but I tried to make sure I had everything necessary for survival in case something like this ever happened. I have no doubt we’re in much better shape than most people living around here. And we’ll have a lot of time to talk about details later.” Adam scrubbed them both down again and again, removing any contamination along with the top layer of dead skin. As the hot water turned cool he closed the valve and put a fluffy towel in Ryan’s hands as he helped him out of the shower. “Ryan, please dry your hair and then gently pat dry your skin with the towel. That’s good. Now we’re going to look at the cut you got kissing that tree. I’m guiding you to the toilet so you can sit while I check the cut on your forehead. This would be a good time to take care of any other necessary business. I don’t care if it’s 1 or 2 — just do whatever you need to do while you sit on the toilet.” As Adam gathered the gauze and tape Ryan ripped a huge fart as he sat peeing on the toilet. “Without a doubt this has now become the most embarrassing day of my life so far,” he said. Adam laughed and said, “Everybody pees and farts every day so don’t be embarrassed for doing what’s natural. That was a very impressive fart, by the way.” The bleeding from Ryan’s forehead mostly stopped during the shower and Adam applied a sterile bandage to stop what little remained. He probably wouldn’t need a bandage after today. “We’re going back downstairs where we can evaluate our situation. First I’m going to lead you to the bed so you can sit while we put on clean socks. Then we’ll move downstairs to the safest part of the house.” They pulled on clean socks as Ryan asked, “What makes it the safest part of the house?” Adam talked as he led Ryan downstairs to the rec room couch. “The crap kicked up by a nuclear blast is dangerously radioactive and after about 30 minutes it starts to slowly drift to the ground, initially with pieces the size of sand. Over several days more and more of it floats to the ground but some of the smaller stuff can stay in the air for months. Being outside right now could give you a fatal radiation dose. The quantity of crap stirred up is determined by both the size of the bomb and the altitude where the bomb detonates. More crap is kicked up if the fireball touches the ground, while a higher altitude detonation produces less debris and fallout but causes more structural damage over a greater distance. We don’t know the type or size of the bomb and we don’t know the altitude where it detonated. We also don’t know which way the wind is blowing and that determines who gets the most fallout. The radioactive debris will settle on roofs and the ground and we need to stay far away from it for a couple of weeks. The best place to shelter is underground. We need to stay away from windows and outside walls, and stay in the center of the lowest level of the house and absolutely don’t go outside or open any doors or windows for any reason. This house is built into the side of a hill and this part of the basement is especially well protected. Everything outside will be dangerously radioactive for a couple of weeks. We’ll need more information to know how long until we can leave.” “How can we stay in your basement for two weeks? What will we eat? How can I go home? Wait — where was the explosion?” “Well, we don’t know anything for certain right now. But given where I saw the mushroom cloud and given that the radio station broadcasts from a tower downtown and the signal disappeared when the flash hit, I’d say it was downtown Atlanta. We’re far enough away from downtown that the blast didn’t start fires or do structural damage but we still experienced the blast wave and we’re going to receive a lot of fallout. Most of downtown is probably vaporized or destroyed and many of the trees and homes inside the perimeter are probably on fire right now.” A look of anguish appeared on Ryan’s face as he slumped further into the couch. “Then they’re all gone and I’m alone.” Ryan began crying and Adam gently asked, “What do you mean you’re alone? Who’s gone and how are you alone?” “My parents are on trial downtown for being part of an illegal drug operation. They didn’t handle the drugs but they handled money, house leases and business stuff like that so their names were on everything. They were in jail downtown near the courthouse. I was staying with my aunt, who totally hates me, and she lives near here but works downtown in some office. If the bomb went off downtown then they’re all dead and I’m alone.” Tears streamed down Ryan’s face as he sobbed. “Is there any way your aunt could have come home early today?” “No. She was staying late tonight to meet with a lawyer and then was going to visit my mother at the jail to convince her to sign something. She texted me before my run reminding me she’d be back late tonight and I should find my own supper. I went running for extra practice because I was alone for a while and I want to make the track team. Now they’re all gone and I’m alone. What am I going to do? Where am I going to live? What’s going to happen to me?” Ryan sobbed as he leaned into Adam. “Ryan, first of all you’re as safe as you can be right now. You’ll be living with me in this basement for a couple of weeks şişli escort and I’ll help you figure things out. I won’t abandon you. We have enough food to last for months so we won’t go hungry. It will be safe to leave the basement long before we run out of food. You’re going to be OK. For now we still have electricity and running water… oh crap! Sorry but I just realized I have a really important chore to do immediately. I need to fill every container I can find while we still have fresh tap water. I’ll find something for us to eat while I’m in the kitchen. I want you to lay back on this couch and rest your eyes to help them recover from the flash. The things I need to do are crucially important. I’m sorry to do this but can I leave you alone for 15 minutes while I run upstairs? You’re completely safe and I’ll hear if you yell for me.” “OK. Do you have any clothes I can wear?” “Honestly, clothes are not the priority right now. I also want to monitor your skin for any effects from the radiation like burns or red spots and that’s easier if you’re not covered up. I’m the only one here who can see right now so I’ve got to keep an eye on both of us. We won’t be getting any visitors. And really, I’ve already seen you completely naked and even held your big old boner, so there’s no mystery left at this point.” “You didn’t hold a big old boner,” he muttered. “You held a little boy boner but thanks for trying to boost my ego.” “Ryan, you’re young and still have a lot of growing to do. Sure it wasn’t an adult man boner but it wasn’t a little boy boner either. It’s a young teen boner that will soon grow a lot. We’ll have lots of time to talk about boners over the next couple of weeks. I’ve got to do this stuff right now and you need to close your eyes for a while to help your retinas recover. OK?” Adam worked quickly in the kitchen to locate and fill anything that could hold water. That meant every pitcher, food storage container, pots, pans, and anything else he could find to hold fresh water. He even filled the bathtubs. The only safe water now was in the county storage tanks and that water would be consumed quickly. Even if the water treatment plant automatically replenished the storage tanks, the water source was above ground and already contaminated by fallout. Their equipment can’t remove radiation so treated water flowing into the storage tanks would only be safe for flushing toilets. Drinking the contaminated water might be fatal. He remembered that FEMA said to plan on a gallon a day per person and Adam believed they would have enough. While he had several cases of bottled drinking water they still needed water for cooking and basic hygiene as they sheltered. Fortunately he could close off the kitchen from the rest of the main floor and a set of stairs went directly from the kitchen to the basement rec room. He’d rather remain further underground but the kitchen was a relatively safe place in the center of the house. There were bedrooms above the kitchen so he wasn’t directly under the roof. Almost every available surface in the kitchen was soon occupied by a container holding safe water. Adam couldn’t find any more empty containers to fill so it was time to move on to the next priority. He gathered supplies like disposable plates, cups and utensils, trash bags, and some ready to eat food like bread, peanut butter, chips etc. He looked through the refrigerator to assess what food should be eaten before spoiling. He would do the same with the freezer knowing they could lose power any time and the odds were against power lines getting repaired for weeks or months. They didn’t need to worry about fuel for cooking or hot water since the big propane tank was full and they sure wouldn’t need to run the furnace. Thinking of the furnace reminded him to shut down the HVAC system. He remembered reading it was important to eliminate any potential air exchange with the outside air. Like most houses, some of his ductwork ran through a crawlspace and some through the attic making it a potential source of air contamination. He was grateful the weather was mild today although a heat wave was expected over the next several days and things would soon get very uncomfortable downstairs. He returned to the basement rec room and found Ryan sleeping peacefully on the couch. Sleep would help Ryan as he healed physically and mentally. Adam hoped the vision loss was temporary because it would be weeks before they could get medical attention. Medical! He almost forgot. Adam made his way back upstairs to retrieve all the medications, flashlights and first aid supplies in the house. He also grabbed the potassium iodine pills. These pills would flood their thyroid glands with clean iodine and prevent certain radiation from accumulating in their thyroid glands but are intended more for the type of radiation released from a nuclear reactor accident. He didn’t know what type of radiation was released by this bomb but taking these pills had no downside. He thought about the thousands of people living around him who were completely unprepared. Adam had resources to easily survive for weeks but it depressed him to think that many people he saw every day would soon be dead and their passing wouldn’t be pleasant. Despite occasional reminders from FEMA very few people were prepared to survive this. Once the essential items were moved downstairs Adam returned to the couch just as Ryan woke up in a panic. “Where am I? I can’t see! What’s happening?” Ryan was in full terror mode and Adam rushed to sit next to him on the couch, placing his hands on Ryan’s shoulders. “You’re OK Ryan. You’re safe. This is Adam and I’m here with you.” “Is it true? I didn’t dream it? A nuclear explosion killed my family and now I can’t see? What’s happening?” Ryan reached out wildly and pulled Adam into a desperate hug. Adam held Ryan and gently rubbed his back as Ryan sobbed. “Ryan, you’re safe right now. You’re not alone and I’m not going to leave you. We have a lot to discuss and a lot to do — and everything is better after a sandwich. How about a peanut butter and jelly with some chips?” Ryan wiped his eyes. “That would help a lot. Lunch at school was nasty today and I hardly ate. I’m starving and I could sure use a peanut butter and jelly sandwich — heavy on the jelly please!” Adam smiled and considered how fortunate they were to have plenty of food since adolescent boys were usually eating machines. “Ryan, before I make sandwiches I’d like to check your eyes. Can you please lay on your back again with your head in my lap?” Adam helped Ryan into position, then used a penlight to see if Ryan’s pupils reacted. “I saw that! I saw the moving dot of light! Maybe I’ll see again!” Adam gently rubbed Ryan’s temples attempting to relax him as they talked. “From what I remember, the flash from a nuclear detonation can cause permanent blindness for people close to the explosion. We were far away from the blast so I don’t think you’ll stay blind. I expect your vision will get better each day and you should see a lot more tomorrow. Let’s celebrate with some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.” They ate while Adam learned Ryan started 9th grade 2 weeks earlier. He skipped 5th grade and only turned 14 a month ago making him one of the younger freshmen in the school. Many of his classes were advanced placement so he was typically 2 or 3 years younger than the other students in his classes. A recent growth spurt meant he had outgrown his good school clothes. The legal expenses for his parents meant Ryan’s only clothes that fit were from thrift stores. His shabby appearance and young age made it difficult to make friends at a new school, especially surrounded by older students much of the day. Ryan was better after a second sandwich and the remaining chips. Day 1 — Monday — Evening “I wish we knew what was happening out there. We’re in the dark, and me more than you!” said Ryan. “Let’s try to find out. I’m not optimistic but we might have Internet. I didn’t tell you earlier but with my business I can’t be without Internet so I pay for two different connections: one with the cable company and one with the phone company. They’re never down at the same time but each was down often enough to make it worth paying for both. If we’re lucky one will have a working path that doesn’t go through downtown Atlanta. The Internet was designed to find alternate routes if the primary route is lost. That’s why they’re called `routers’. If the main route is down the router uses a different route. The Internet was designed to survive nuclear war and I hate that we’re the first test subjects.” Adam fired up a computer and found the DSL circuit was down but the cable internet circuit was still working. Slowly, but working. “All right! Maybe we can learn something.” “Could you please tell me what you’re seeing? I wish I could sit with you and see for myself. This is so frustrating!” Adam clicked to a few reliable news sites and read through the highlights. The long-range photos of inside the perimeter were horrifying — something he didn’t mention to Ryan. “Well, the good news is we’re not in a full-scale nuclear war so we’ll avoid a nuclear winter. The terrorists managed to get one missile launched and it was already programmed for Georgia. Unfortunately it had multiple warheads which split off from the main missile and hit different targets. That means there were multiple nuclear explosions. One was a direct hit on downtown near Centennial Olympic Park. Everything is destroyed down there.” Adam paused and with a voice of compassion said, “I’m sorry but that probably confirms you’re an orphan.” Ryan sighed as he asked, “What else does it say?” There were 4 nuclear warheads on that single missile each with different targets. One hit downtown Atlanta, the second destroyed Hartsfield airport, the third hit Ft. Benning in Columbus and they think the fourth was intended for Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta — which would have been really bad for us since it’s closer and we’re downwind from it — but that one apparently went off course and landed somewhere without detonating. They’re searching for it south of town, so nowhere near us. The terrorists who carried out the attack were all killed. The Russians regained control of the launch site before more missiles were launched. Our military isn’t saying which country sent the terrorists and it looks like they don’t have proof yet. A lot of people think we’ll learn who did this by the location of the big mushroom clouds America will create over their country. I completely agree that the country responsible for this should cease to exist as soon as possible using part of our nuclear stockpile. The rest of the world will bitch about us doing it but fuck them all. A surprise nuclear attack on civilians should result in annihilation of your country and your entire population should die. And how do the Russians make up for thousands of dead Americans and major parts of our state utterly destroyed for years to come? How could their security have been so bad for this to happen? Sorry, I just feel very strongly that a heavy price must be paid for this.” “Do you see anything about us and fallout? How long will we need to stay down here?” “Most state government offices were destroyed so we can’t expect quick answers. The federal government is trying to fly in experts right now but with the main airport gone it’s more complicated. We probably won’t have many answers until more experts can get in to Georgia. Hey – I see a map that shows the path of fallout based on the wind and it’s currently pointing north. It looks like we’re just inside the heavy fallout area right now so it’s getting more dangerous outside. The wind normally goes further east so I expect it to shift to the normal direction at some point, but a lot has already fallen on us. We should be thankful nobody is lobbing more nuclear weapons right now.” “Do you see anything about our area?” “No, but I hope that by tomorrow we’ll maybe have information about the water supply and whether or not it’s safe. Ryan, I’m going to send a message to let a family member know I’m OK and ask them to tell the others. Can I send any messages out for you?” Ryan dropped his head and in a quiet voice said, “No thanks. My only living relatives all died today. I don’t know what I’m going to do.” “I don’t know the answer either but I can promise you this: I’m going to make sure you’re OK. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll help find the best situation for you. You can’t see so you didn’t notice that my house is mostly empty. I sold this house a month ago and the new owners let me rent it back for a couple of months. They couldn’t move right away and my new house is being remodeled so it worked out for everybody. Best news for them is they’re still alive in Chicago and not at their new jobs in downtown Atlanta. Bad news is most homeowners’ insurance policies specifically exclude nuclear attacks. That probably means the nice people who bought this house will be expected to make payments on a house that can’t be used and nothing will be covered by insurance. Most of my stuff has already been moved to the new place and the remodeling is almost complete. I don’t think anyone will live in this house again and the entire area will be abandoned for decades. It’s fortunate my house sale closed before the nuke hit or I’d be homeless and losing fights with banks and insurance companies. I bought a great older house in north Georgia near the border with Tennessee and North Carolina and that area is far away from any fallout. So I will make another promise: when the authorities say it’s safe to leave, if you don’t have a better option you can come along with me to the new house for a while. I won’t put you out on the street and I won’t let you be homeless, OK?” Ryan was shocked and cried tears of relief. “Really? I can’t believe you’d do that for me. My aunt refused to take me in until they told her she could probably get money for foster care. I just don’t know what to do and I have no place to go. I can’t thank you enough, Adam.” “Ryan, we’ve had a stressful day and we’re not done yet. We both need to take these pills and take them every day until we leave here. They maybe won’t help us but they also won’t hurt us. These flood your thyroid gland with safe Iodine to prevent any radioactive Iodine from building up. They can help prevent thyroid cancer but are really more intended for a nuclear reactor meltdown rather than a nuclear bomb. The pills won’t hurt us and they could help us depending on the bomb design. The pills are incredibly cheap and available over the Internet but most people don’t get them. Next, I’m going to drag a box spring and mattress in here and the bed will be right in front of this couch. I’ve been sleeping on this mattress but the basement guest bedroom has a small window. We don’t want to sleep anywhere near a window so I’ll move the bed and keep the bedroom door closed. The next couple of weeks may be boring for you because you’re going to stay on this couch or the bed unless you’re using the bathroom. This is the safest place to shelter from any fallout. I’ve been around for a long time and you just turned 14 so I’ll be the only one going upstairs to cook or get stuff. I want you to stay as far away as possible from outside walls and windows. I don’t want you anywhere in the house except this room or the bathroom.” “But that’s not right. Why should you take all the risk while I sit where it’s safe? I can help with stuff.” “I appreciate that and I’m happy to put you in charge of keeping the bathroom and this area clean and organized once you can see again. But you’re not causing me to do anything I wouldn’t do anyway. My emergency plan always included use of the kitchen because it’s in the middle of the main floor and connects directly to this room with stairs. There are bedrooms above the kitchen so the roof with the fallout isn’t directly over the kitchen. If you weren’t here I’d still need to go upstairs for food. You being here doesn’t mean I’ll spend any extra time upstairs and you have no reason to go upstairs for anything. You’re younger and have a higher chance to get cancer from this. Many cancers take decades to start so I might be long dead before something starts to grow inside me while you have many more decades before you. Chances are we’ll both be OK and live out our natural lives. You might have noticed it’s getting stuffy in here. Everything I’ve read says we need to turn off the central air conditioner so the blower won’t circulate contaminated air into our shelter. Air conditioning is a great thing in the south but we can give it up so we’re safer. We also don’t want to run the exhaust fans in the bathroom or kitchen because the negative air pressure could pull contaminated air into our shelter. Our time together may be humid and stinky but we’ll survive it. And that leads us to clothes. We’re getting a heat wave for the next several days so it will be hotter than hell down here. I plan to wear nothing except socks and I suggest you do the same. We also have no clothes to fit you. If nudity bothers you I can find a bathrobe for you to wear but I think you’d be more comfortable as you are. It’s up to you.” “Well Adam, you’ve already seen me naked and it’s getting hot in here. I guess we’ll both be nudists for a while. Don’t worry about clothes for me until we can leave.” “Probably your best choice. Please just sit here for a bit while I drag in the bed.” “Before you do that, could you please help me get to the bathroom? I think that big fart from before was an early warning sign.” Adam helped Ryan to the bathroom and was removing the bedsheets when he spied a dehumidifier in the corner. Bingo! The dehumidifier would make the room less swampy and the water it collected could at least flush the toilet if they lost tap water. It would add a little heat to the room but reducing the humidity was worth it. Adam moved the mattress and found extra pillows. They were using a section of the basement that was completely underground from the slope of the land and was the sivas escort safest part of the house. Ryan finished his bathroom business and Adam helped guide him back to the couch. They sat on the couch and Adam said, “I’ve been wondering how we still have electricity. I finally remembered that several huge cross-country high voltage lines come together at the north end of this county as part of a ring around Atlanta. There’s a big-ass coal plant 30 miles west and a couple of hydro plants to the north so we should be good for power generation. The bombs went south and we’re north so we may not lose power at all. Well, we could still lose power if a tree falls on a line during a storm. If that happens we’re probably screwed because I don’t think they’ll dispatch anyone to fix it. With a little luck we might keep power the entire time. We’re not cut off from the world because we have our slow Internet connection. I just hope testing shows the water is safe enough for showers. I know you can’t see yet but behind us is an Xbox One and a Nintendo Switch, and both this couch and the bed face a pull-down screen for a projector. We can play the game consoles on the big screen so we’ll have something to do unless we lose power. The Internet is slow right now so I doubt we can stream any television. The big antennae on the roof won’t help because the Atlanta TV stations were close to downtown. We could probably pick up some radio stations later and hear local news and maybe the Internet speed will get better tomorrow. We’re in good shape for food. We’ll first need to eat everything fresh in the refrigerator before it goes bad. Once that’s gone the big freezer upstairs is packed full of food. We have a full propane tank outside and we only need it for cooking and hot water. The freezer may not have your favorite foods but it’s safe and we won’t go hungry. There’s even a stack of frozen pizzas so we’ll have a pizza party this week. Finally, if we manage to eat everything in the refrigerator and freezer I have a 60 day supply of freeze-dried emergency food for 4 people. We just add hot clean water and eat. Some of the freeze-dried stuff might taste good and some might not but it lasts 25 years and will keep us from going hungry. It bothers me that most people around us are not prepared at all and will soon get hungry and thirsty. Some will go outside searching for food and they’ll end up dead from radiation poisoning. We can survive this and we’re prepared. Nobody knows how prepared we are and people mostly think this house is empty so we shouldn’t see any unwelcome visitors. I plan to keep the doors locked and the lights off upstairs. We also have a couple of guns, just in case.” “Adam, WE’RE not prepared – YOU’RE prepared. I’m just lucky. If I was alone at my aunt’s house right now I’d have enough food for about 3 days and then I’d starve. There is no bottled water. She said the water faucet is the only beverage people need and you said the tap water would be unsafe to drink soon. I’m not just lucky. I’m damn lucky that I went running today and you tackled me or I’d be screwed. I really appreciate everything you’ve done for me.” “Well, it goes both ways. I’m happy you’re here because I wouldn’t want to sit alone for two weeks. You’re a pretty cool person and I think we get along. I’m really sorry about your parents and your aunt. Do you mind if I ask about the problem you had with your aunt?” “I feel like I can tell you anything and it’s easy to talk with you. I’ll tell you later but I’m just not ready to talk about her tonight, OK? She caught me doing something embarrassing and she brought it up every day. I’m sorry she’s dead but we really hated each other. I’m pretty sure my grandparents left me money for college when they died and I think she was trying to get her hands on it tonight. She constantly asked me questions about the money. I think that’s why she stayed in town today to see the lawyer and then to visit my mother at the jail. I would never wish somebody was dead but I think I’m better off without her in my life. God, I’m horrible for saying that!” “Ryan, we don’t need to talk about it until you’re ready. But we do need to talk about a few things involving me. We’re going to be together down here for a while and I promise I’ll keep your secrets but you’ve got to promise to keep mine. If we can’t make those promises then being honest and open isn’t going to be possible. Can I trust you with my secrets?” “I give you my word. If you tell me something in confidence I swear I’ll never repeat it. I’ve got some secrets bad enough that you might not want me around after I tell you. I owe you my life right now and if you tell me something in confidence I’ll never repeat it. I at least owe you that for saving me.” “I don’t think you could ever say anything to make me not want you around. You don’t owe me anything and you’re giving me too much credit for doing what any decent person would do. But I appreciate your promise to keep some things confidential. I have a short list. The first confidential thing is that a big part of my shelter plans include using beer for hydration. Craft beer is a hobby of mine so I have a lot more beer than water. If I let you drink all the water I’ll be drunk the whole time and that won’t work. I never expected to share my beer with a teenager but we need to balance the beer and bottled water so we both stay hydrated. It’s a legitimate part of our survival plan but I don’t really want you telling people later that I gave you beer in our shelter. You’re a long way from 21 but this is a unique and dire situation.” “No problem there. I like most beers but seldom got to drink any. I just really hate wine.” “Fortunately we only have one bottle of wine because I don’t like it either. Beer though? Craft beer is a great hobby and I have a wide selection stored in a big refrigerator down here. You’ll get to learn all about different beer types. Let’s agree right now that one of our activities will include you learning about ales, lagers, pilsners, porters, sours and several other beer types except IPAs. I just don’t like IPA beer. It will be fun, practical and educational. Every day we’ll pick several beers to split so you can learn about different beer types. We even have a book explaining the beer types so that will be your school down here. The second confidential thing is even more important because I don’t want to sit in jail. I use marijuana once or twice a month and I refuse to fund the illegal drug business by paying for it so I grow a little just for myself. I never buy it and certainly never sell it. I harvested 3 nice plants a few days ago and they need to be packaged so the buds don’t get moldy. We stopped by the outside office for my medicine but I also grabbed a couple of other things including the weed harvest. I can’t hide this from you because you’re going to smell it when I vacuum-seal it. How do you feel about pot?” “Well, my now-dead parents were on trial for trafficking more serious stuff like Meth, Cocaine, Fentanyl and Heroin, which I fortunately never saw in the house, but it was always easy to find some extra pot in a drawer or something. I’d pinch a little and smoke it once a month or so but the smoke would hurt my throat and make me cough. I like the way it makes me feel but the smoking part really bothers my lungs. I have no problem if you use marijuana and I’m glad you don’t help fund people like my parents and their friends. I loved my parents but they made really bad choices, especially with the drugs. Do you use any hard drugs, or anything besides pot?” “Never. I take a few medications prescribed by my Doctor and those are technically drugs, but the only illegal drug I use is pot. I’ve grown my own for several years now. I would never sell it and my friends don’t know I grow it myself. You’re the first person I’ve told that I grow it so I’m trusting you. We still live in a state where it’s illegal.” “Well, your secret is safe with me. I’ll never, ever tell anyone that you grow your own, or even that you use it. The important question is,” as Ryan grinned, “will you share it with me while we’re stuck down here?” “I’ve got to accept the reality that this basement will get boring fast. Without some weed I’d lose my mind and only a complete asshole would partake in front of you without sharing. You might be interested to know that I have not actually smoked pot in many, many years because my throat can’t take it either. I mostly vape but I’ve also been creating edibles. Have you ever had an edible or are you familiar with vaping pot?” “I’ve never done either one. I’d like to hear how you create your own edibles and I’ve wanted to learn about vapes. Can we try the vape?” “I can’t think of a better way to improve such a terrible day. First I’m going to make sure the lights upstairs are off. With the lights off and the sold sign in the yard people will think this house is empty and I want to keep it that way.” Adam made a quick run upstairs to make sure the lights were off — they were — and then made a quick bathroom run before rejoining Ryan on the couch. “Many people use vape pens that use a processed oil so you’re forced to trust the people processing the oil. It’s safer from licensed pot stores but many people blend oil without regulations or inspections. You don’t know what’s been added or how clean they keep the equipment so it’s very dangerous. Not long ago a lot of people got very sick and many died from vaping home-brew THC oil with additives that seriously injured their lungs. The problem wasn’t the marijuana but the oil mixture used for the base. That’s why I only consume naturally grown weed that I grow myself. I don’t use fertilizer or pesticides — I only add water and I know it’s completely pure. I’m the only person to touch it from seed to harvest. I’m holding in my hand a cool little thing called a Pax. I know you can’t see it but you can hold it. Just don’t drop it because we only have one! In the bottom is a chamber where you carefully pack in your ground up buds. It’s a very smart machine and has only one button. There are 4 little lights on the front. The lights pulse pink as the chamber heats. While it’s heating you can gently shake it a few times and the color changes to white and shows how much charge is left. All 4 lights mean it’s fully charged. When the chamber reaches the right temperature the thing will vibrate once and the 4 pulsing lights turn green. It’s very cool. You then hold it to your mouth and gently inhale. You’ll still cough if it’s old or nasty pot but all mine is fresh, smooth and pure. I have the chamber set hot enough to boil off the oil and moisture but not enough to cause combustion so it never burns. It literally boils the material out of the plant and creates a vapor. Do you want to try it?” “Absolutely! Can you get it ready and show me how to hold it?” “First let’s try it empty. Can you feel a little gap here? You’re going to put that gap between your lips and draw it in. Go ahead and try that while the power is off so you know how it feels to inhale. Can you feel how much air you’re taking in? It’s the same airflow when it’s heated but the air will be heated. Are you ready to try it for real?” “Let’s do it. Except for meeting you, it’s been a terrible day and this should make it better.” Adam hit the power button to start the heating cycle for the chamber, typically a 30-second process. “I just felt it vibrate. Does that mean it’s ready and I should inhale?” “Yep. Do it like you practiced. The thing is pretty simple and made for stoners. One special feature proves the designers must be experienced stoners. When you’re sharing the Pax with people there’s usually one person who forgets they’re holding it because they’re so stoned. This thing vibrates to remind the person to either toke or pass. The designers thought of everything. I honestly can’t think of a single way it could be improved. Maybe in a few days you can try one of my incredible edibles. They’re nice and mellow, plus they last for several hours.” “Wow. This Pax thing is really smooth. I don’t need to cough at all and I’m already getting a nice buzz. Do you want some?” “None tonight for me but you can puff on it some more. I’ve still got to be the responsible adult — which is kind of ironic since I just gave pot to a minor! I want to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything and I still have a few more things to do. I also want to get online again. You, on the other hand, have had a very rough day mentally and physically. I want you to lay back and relax with your eyes closed. Go ahead and hit that thing one more time.” “This is really nice and I feel really relaxed but now I’m a little dizzy. Can I please lay my head on your lap again? It’s been a long time since anybody let me do that and it felt really nice earlier when you rubbed my forehead while you checked my eyes. You almost got rid of my headache from hitting the tree.” Ryan stretched out on his back and laid his head on Adam’s thigh. Adam glanced down the length of Ryan’s body and noted that even his boy-parts were finally relaxed. “Thanks again for helping me. I’m sorry I can’t help you with anything yet but I’ll do my share of the work when I can see again. I can already see a little more and big objects look like shadows so I’m pretty sure my eyes will get better. Adam, I had the feeling there was something else confidential you wanted to talk about earlier. Was I right?” Adam paused before he started talking, “You’re very perceptive and there was one more confidential thing to talk about. Ryan, this is very difficult for me to discuss but we’re going to be together in close quarters for a while and you need to know some things. You deserve the truth. It wasn’t a coincidence when I tackled you today. I time my afternoon trips to the bank or the store so I’m on that road when the track team is out running. I like admiring shirtless teen boys. I don’t ever touch them and never even meet them unless they bag groceries at the store. Today I was late and missed the main group so it was a nice surprise when I saw you. I slowed down to stare because you’re a really cute blonde-headed teen with a nice upper chest. The tornado siren blared as I drove by the utility pole and I knocked my phone to the mat. I stopped the car and leaned over to pick up my phone just as the flash hit so my eyes were below the dashboard and looking down, and that’s why I don’t have temporary blindness like you. I sat up and saw you staggering with your forehead bleeding from the tree. I realized the bright flash was a nuclear bomb and knew I had to get flat in a ditch quickly before the blast wave hit. You obviously needed help so I just grabbed you on my way to the ditch. Bottom line is I’m kind of a perv who likes staring at good looking young men while they jog without shirts. I’m sorry if that makes you uncomfortable. But you’re safe today because I thought you were really cute and I was staring at you right before the explosion. It’s important for you to know I could never hurt you or take advantage of you in any way. You just survived a nuclear blast, you just learned you’re an orphan, you’re temporarily blind, you’re naked and you’re very vulnerable right now. You’re even stoned on pot. I would never take advantage of your situation and never take advantage of you. You also don’t need to worry about me getting you drunk or stoned and then taking advantage of you. It won’t happen. But it’s only fair you know I like looking at you so my motto is going to be `look but don’t touch’. Honestly, I’m not bothered that we’re about to experience a heat wave without air conditioning because you are easy on my eyes and I admit I’ve been staring. Once you can see again you’ll see me staring at you sometimes. I’m sorry you’re stuck down here with a weirdo and I’m sorry if it makes you uncomfortable, but I promise I’ll do my best to keep you alive and get you into a good situation when we can leave the basement. Just be confident that I won’t take advantage of you. I’ll enjoy the view but there will be no touching. You have nothing to worry about but I thought you should know.” Ryan was stunned by this revelation. With tears on his cheeks he asked, “Would you please hold me for a minute?” Adam was confused by the unexpected reaction as he looked down at Ryan. He leaned forward and gently wrapped his arms around the slim shoulders as the boy softly cried. “Are you OK Ryan? I’m sorry for upsetting you. I was wrong to say those things. Can you tell me what you’re thinking?” Ryan grasped Adam’s hand and moved it down until it covered Ryan’s pulsing bare erection and Ryan rubbed himself sensually using Adam’s hand. “Nothing is wrong and you’ve just made me very happy. That’s what I was going to tell you about my aunt. She caught me jerking with an older neighborhood boy last week. It was the first time I ever did something like that and we didn’t even touch each other. Then she went through the browser history and found some gay porn. She’s made me miserable every day since. She said I was a pervert who was going to hell just like my parents. She hated me and I hated her, and she was only keeping me around for the money. I’m not glad she’s dead but I’m not going to miss her at all. You don’t need to worry about me keeping your secret because it’s like my secret. I don’t like girls at all and I don’t really like boys my own age. I like watching porn of younger looking boys with grown men.” With that, Ryan used his other arm and pulled Adam’s head down to clumsily kiss him while he rubbed himself using Adam’s other hand. “Adam, it’s like my best day and worst day happened on the same day. I’m glad you stopped to save me and I’m glad we’ll have time to talk. I have a lot of questions and now I have someone to ask.” Adam was stunned. He gently removed his hand from Ryan’s erection and pulled it back. “Wow. This changes a lot of things and I really need to think before I say anything else. I’ve gotten to really care about you in just a few hours. I don’t know how this is going to move forward but we both need to think through a lot of things. sıhhiye escort I’m honestly stunned right now. Let me do a few things like set up the dehumidifier and check the news again. Let me see if I can get a TV or radio signal. Let me do some responsible adult things to help keep us safe. I want you to relax and think about what you want to do with your life going forward. If it would help I’ll get you a good craft beer but we won’t be doing anything sexual tonight. I won’t be upset if I wake up and we’ve been cuddling in our sleep but that’s it. Does that sound reasonable?” Ryan smiled as he nodded. “This weed is powerful and I think it’s a truth serum after admitting all that to you. One of the things I like about you is how you always look out for me first and make sure I’m OK. One look at my dick right now and you know I’m ready to fool around with you. But I respect what you’re saying and in some ways I agree with you, but I also need to take care of this little problem soon. I’m so horny I could hump a brick.” “Well Ryan, that brings up another highly relevant topic. When we stopped by my outside office earlier I got three things. The first was about six months of my prescription medicine, the second was the weed harvest which I will package soon, and the third was my special duffle bag with an assortment of lubes, condoms and several sex toys. I intended to slip off alone with my special bag from time to time as we sheltered but from what you just said I think it might be useful for you right now.” “Really? What kind of sex toys? What are we talking about?” Adam laughed, “Let’s start with the basics. First, have you ever used lube while you jerk off?” “No. What does that do?” “Well, for tonight I suggest you try some lube and enjoy a fun new way to handle your problem. The bag also includes other things like dildos and a few special latex sleeves for masturbating. They’re great. You can’t see anything and this isn’t the night for me to give lessons but you don’t need my help for the lube. Just flip the cap, squirt a little in your palm and have fun. Be sure to close the top so it doesn’t get on the bed.” “Adam, I know I’m really going to enjoy however long we’re in this basement. Since I’ve had a really rough day and you have an unlimited supply of pot, could you please reload that Pax thing and give me a cold beer? You already said we need to drink a little beer every day for hydration! I want to get completely mellow before I try lube for the first time. It’s really for science — I want to see if pot, beer and lube can restore my vision” he laughed. “How could I deny such a reasonable request?” Adam retrieved two beers and continued, “I’m going to start you off with a nice lager called DayBlazer along with a fresh Pax. Let me tap this out and reload it.” “What do you do with the used pot after it goes through the Pax? Do you just throw it away?” Adam explained while he reloaded the Pax. “That’s an excellent question. I used to throw it away but then I gave some to a young friend who used it in his water pipe. He said it was still very potent and he was appreciative since he was unemployed at the time. I later thought about what he said and researched ways to reclaim the remaining THC after it was baked in the Pax. My first attempts were cookies and brownies. I just mixed some of the used pot in with the dough. One cookie would knock you on your ass for the afternoon but the taste was horrible. I couldn’t find a way to mask the burnt taste no matter what I tried. I kept experimenting to find a better way because the cookies got you stoned for hours from stuff I’d been throwing away. I thought about it more and did some research. THC can be extracted using an oil, like butter, or through alcohol. I tried using butter to make taffy and made a huge mess because it didn’t get firm. Funny thing though, I gave some of the taffy to friends who told me it was great as an ice cream topping after they warmed it in the microwave. They knew about the special ingredient and enjoyed getting stoned from eating ice cream. It still had a bad taste so I next tried a process using alcohol. After using the Pax I tap the used weed into a small mason jar. When I get around an inch of material in the jar I pour in something called Everclear to the top of the weed and let it sit for a while. Everclear is something you buy in the liquor store so I’m confident it’s not contaminated. It’s actually Ethanol which is almost pure alcohol and can kill you if you sit and drink it straight, but it’s perfect for extracting the THC. Every few days I swirl the jar around to keep it mixing. When it’s ready I strain out the liquid, which by now is a dark green color, and I end up with a pure alcohol mixture containing THC. I then use a little machine to extract the alcohol so I’m left with a thick liquid for cooking. It’s very potent and concentrated. It’s the same process as making essential oils for fragrance but this makes you high in very small amounts After more research and experimentation I modified a gummy recipe to make pot gummies using the THC oil. The THC is way more concentrated than I expected and it doesn’t take much in the recipe. I have some oil so we can make gummies in a few days. I want to experiment using some of this harvest and make gummies without vaping it first through the Pax. The cost to make a batch of gummies is less than a dollar. It’s really cheap so I don’t mind when my experiments go wrong. It’s also fun to eat the mistakes! The cool thing is these gummy chunks don’t taste bad like the cookies and the effects last around 4 hours or more. I don’t know how I could measure it, but I think it actually doubles the benefit from the pot plants. I figure I get about half the THC benefit by vaping it, and the other half of the THC when I make gummies and eat them. It makes my crops last twice as long and there is nothing unhealthy with it. Oh, one more benefit to the machine is that you can recycle the Everclear. You lose around 5% but that still means you’re recycling 95% of the expensive Everclear by reusing it.” “That is about the most awesome thing I’ve ever heard. Will you really show me how it’s done?” “Yes but you need to understand that I’m not a stoner and I don’t want to be around stoners. I certainly don’t want to turn you into a stoner. To me, pot is something you do on occasion hopefully with friends. Ideally that would be a couple of times a month, but lately I’ve been stressed with the move so it’s been a couple of times a week. That might temporarily increase to a couple times a day while we’re sheltering in the basement due to nuclear fallout. Both alcohol and pot should only be used in moderation. Well, under normal circumstances. Nuclear attacks are not normal. People your age are very susceptible to some permanent pot side effects that can affect the rest of your life. Once you turn 20 or so your brain has finished the wiring so pot is less risky. Until then it can permanently affect your IQ and certainly makes you less ambitious in life. It can screw with the frontal cortex of your brain while you’re a teenager. Like many things in life, Marijuana should be used in moderation only. Kids who smoke every day generally end up as underachievers in life. Just like you don’t want to be an alcoholic, you also don’t want to be stoner. Sorry. I didn’t mean to give a boring lecture.” “I think what you just said is very reasonable. I do really well in school and I want to run track. I can’t do either of those things very well if I get drunk or stoned all the time. I like the idea of once or twice a month, at most.” “I appreciate that Ryan and I hope you stick to it. Since we’re on a kind of forced vacation for the next couple of weeks I think we can forget all those rules. It’s OK with me if we stay wasted until we can leave our shelter, especially since we’re forced to drink beer rather than water. We’re already going to be drunk for two weeks so I guess we can be a little stoned as well. Anything else you’d like?” “What more could a 14-year-old want? Beer, pot, lube and I’m naked on a bed. Now I have goals!” Ryan considered his priorities with three items and only two hands. The Pax and lube were easy to find on the mattress but he didn’t want to spill the beer. His first priority was to drink the beer as fast as possible and get rid of the can. It took a few minutes to finish the beer and he determined chugging beer was an acquired skill. He was light-headed from the beer as he activated the Pax. Blindness sucked and Ryan appreciated the vibrate feature of the Pax device which told him it was heated and ready. He vaped several times until the decrease in vapor meant it was time to move on. The beer and Pax delivered a welcome sense of relaxation following several difficult weeks and one terrible day. Ryan found the top of the lube bottle and flipped it open. Adam didn’t tell him how much to use and he couldn’t see anyway. He turned over the bottle and gently squeezed until he felt cool gel in his palm. He closed the lid and placed the bottle within reach in case more was needed. He couldn’t see the gel color and was fascinated because the lube eliminated all friction between his fingers. He carefully lowered his hand to his penis and slowly applied the lube. It was nothing like masturbating with his dry hand. This was the best feeling he could remember as he coated his dick and balls with the slippery substance. He experimented with different grips, positions and wrist motions. Everything felt different without friction. Ryan wondered if Adam would watch him masturbate. The possibly was arousing and erotic to Ryan as he fantasized about further sexual contact. Ryan was developing deep feelings for Adam, of both love and lust and it fueled his current sexual fantasy. He was frustrated by no visual image. Adam’s appearance was a complete mystery but Ryan didn’t care. The man saved his life and cared about him. Adam promised to make sure he was OK and even offered to let Ryan move in with him. Ryan finally found the perfect grip and tempo. While he couldn’t visualize Adam’s face, he fantasized about Adam whispering in his ear as his adult penis plowed Ryan’s slender ass. Ryan’s sexual excitement soared as his hand became a blur of motion. He sensed an epic orgasm approaching. Adam used the slow Internet connection to get updates on their situation and was mostly happy there was little new to report. The Internet at this speed was a throwback to noisy dial-up modems in the 90’s. At this point the connection speed didn’t matter — he was just happy to have any connection at all. His wind shift prediction was correct and the fallout was now tracking to the East. The web site graphic resembled weather radar and was disturbing because the blobs of color on the map meant likely death for anything alive outdoors. His neighborhood received enough initial fallout to be dangerous but changes in wind direction sent additional accumulations in another direction. What should he do about Ryan? Fate just dropped a lonely, cute, smart, horny gay orphan into his life. This bomb caused death or misery for millions of people and Ryan the orphan was one of the younger victims. Adam’s new place would be ready within a couple weeks and he may get an unplanned roommate for a while. He vowed the boy would have a safe place to go. He was sure of one thing: He would never coerce or pressure Ryan into any kind of sexual relationship or situation. Adam wouldn’t initiate any sexual activity with Ryan. On reflection, Ryan already initiated things by placing and rubbing Adam’s hand on Ryan’s hard penis as he admitted he was gay. Adam didn’t want Ryan trading sex in exchange for a place to live or to thank Adam for saving him. Maybe the answer was to formalize Ryan’s living situation so he didn’t feel a need to `earn’ a place with Adam through sex. Too much to think about in one day. Adam glanced at the bed after hearing Ryan moan. `Wow, that kid can really flog it. Good thing it’s lubricated or all that friction could start a fire!’ thought Adam with a grin. Adam watched as Ryan’s hand movements became an energetic blur until his hips rose from the bed and he emitted a loud moan. After a short pause, the flogger spoke in a contrite voice. “Um, Adam, can you please help me? I didn’t plan ahead very well. Can you please bring me some paper towels or something so I can wipe off this lube and stuff?” Adam chuckled as he tore off some paper towels. “So, if there’s `stuff’ besides the lube does that mean you have wet orgasms?” Ryan blushed. “I’ve been jerking off for about a year but I only started squirting a month ago. It feels a lot more intense now but it takes longer to recharge until I can do it again. It’s mostly pale and not a lot comes out when I squirt – not like in porn videos.” “I’m handing you some paper towels. Life is nothing like porn videos. Most men are not hung like horses and their orgasms don’t gush out like a fire hose. Remember a lot of that is edited. You have pubic hair and wet orgasms so I’m sure you’re constantly horny. Everything with your body is progressing as it should and I think you should stop worrying about it. Let me guide you to the shower down here. You’re kind of a mess from the lube, you’re sweaty from the heat and a second shower might wash off any remaining contamination. Another shower will also help you cool down and sleep.” “I didn’t know there was another shower down here. Why not just go upstairs again?” “Well, this one is part of our shelter and far away from outside walls and windows. It’s safer to use this one. Besides, we already used the upstairs shower to decontaminate and this one is still clean. We won’t be using the upstairs shower again because it’s now contaminated.” “Can you help me take a shower again?” “I’ll help you but the purpose is to take a shower. Only a shower and nothing else.” The walk-in shower could easily hold two people but doing so now would be awkward after their previous conversation about not being sexual. Adam planned to stand outside the shower but keep the shower door open. Adam helped Ryan into the shower when the water reached a comfortable temperature. Ryan needed help with the shampoo bottle but could do the rest himself. “I’m seeing a lot more light and I’m seeing shapes better. I can’t see your face but I can see your head on your shoulders.” “That’s great news. I think things will look a lot better when you wake up tomorrow.” “Adam, I really appreciate everything you’ve done for me and I’ll never be able to repay you.” With that, Ryan reached up and pulled down Adam’s head for the most passionate kiss he’d ever given. “Ryan, our relationship can’t be based on you trying to pay me back because I was just being a decent human being. I do nice things for people and I did something nice for you, but you don’t owe me anything for doing it. You needed help and I was there so I helped you. I just want you to become the best person you can be. You owe me nothing but I’d always appreciate your friendship. Please don’t try to be sexual with me because you think you owe me something. You don’t.” “That’s not it at all. You don’t get it. Sure, I’ll always be grateful because I know you saved my life. I’ll never forget that. You’re the first adult to accept me as I am — a skinny little gay boy with criminal parents and no friends. People at school made fun of me or just ignored me once they learned about my parents or saw my second-hand clothes. I know it’s weird, but you’re the kind of man I looked for when I jerked off to porn. Maybe it’s because I wanted a better father figure but I’ve always been attracted to older men. My favorite videos were teen boys with mature men — just like us. It’s not that I’m trying to pay you back — it’s that you’re what I’ve always wanted. On top of that you’re kind, very smart and you care about me. Nobody has cared about me for a long time.” “When you start school again nobody will know you. They’ll know you survived the bomb and your parents didn’t make it but they don’t need to know anything else unless you choose to tell them. You won’t be wearing second-hand clothes anymore because you’re getting a new wardrobe with new clothes.” Adam looked at the emotionally vulnerable boy and said, “Ryan, you just told me about some very private things and I’ll bet it wasn’t easy. Thanks for telling me about your life.” “It’s such a relief to talk about it with somebody else and you’re the first person I’ve ever told. I had a lot of things bottled up but somehow I can just talk about anything with you. I think I need to get out of the shower before I shrivel up. Let me try to get back to the bed on my own. I’m starting to see shapes a lot better.” Ryan got dry and managed to navigate the path on his own before flopping down on the bed. Adam shut off all but one small light and moved to the other side of the bed. “I think I’ll put off that other stuff until tomorrow. We both need some sleep after a very challenging day, and I’m serious about the sleep part of that.” Ryan grinned in the dark and replied, “I’m tired too, but I think you forced me to drink beer and smoke pot so you can take advantage of me while I can’t see! Earlier today you were even grabbing and rubbing my hard dick with your soapy hands while we were naked in the shower together. I think you just want to get your hands on my hot little body.” “It’s a good thing I know you’re kidding and I can hear you snickering or I’d be pissed. I think you know that I won’t take advantage of you regardless, but the fact that you’ve had beer and pot is even more reason not to. As you move through life, remember that you never, ever take advantage of someone when their judgement is impaired by drugs or alcohol, and never when they’re vulnerable like you are right now. People deserve the right to make big decisions when they’re alert, safe and sober. When you add to that the loss of your family today, the fact that you can’t see and having just survived a nuclear blast, no, nothing will be happening tonight. But if I wake up with you cuddling with me in your sleep I won’t push you away — even if it’s hot. Good night Ryan. Everything is going to be OK.” Ryan grabbed Adam in a fierce hug. “Thank you again for saving my life and making me happy again. I just hope you don’t get tired of me while we’re stuck down here together! Good night.” — End chapter 1 Please contribute to Nifty.

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