Escape from Fema Camp to Tates' Hell
No one in their right mind would come to a place like this, Tate's Hell; so named by local Cebe Tate. Some say he was a surveyor and explorer who went into this 200,000 acre area of North Florida made up mostly of flatwoods, swamp, and bayou to map it out. Others say he went there in search of a panther that had been killing his cows, got separated from his dogs, and lost. The results were the same, after being lost for two weeks, getting snakebit and devoured by mosquitoes. Being borderline insane but still finding his way out, only to die at the feet of the first men he came to! They said that his last words were, "My name is Tate and I've just been to Hell!
Here I was heading deeper into Tates' Hell towards a old hunting camp I knew of south of Porter Lake. It seemed like the only reasonable thing to do considering the circumstances, like the old Apache warriors heading to the most desolate parts of the desert when the U.S. Cavalry was after them. Since I had just escaped from that fema camp after "borrowing" a truck, going to the no man's land of Tate's Hell seemed just the ticket.
After catching just a glimpse of a campfire through the pines I slowed my pace down, hoping that's the old boys that I know and their camp up ahead.
"Incoming friendly!" I yell as I ease slowly along the trail, being ready to duck away if things don't appear right.
"Who's out there?" someone calls back.
"It's Slim, that alright?" I respond
"Yeah, come on in, hell Slim you're the last person we expected to see! Heard you got grabbed by them new Echo cops up in Georgia!" says a fella who I now recognize as my buddy Desperado. "So them boys just let you go?" he says kinda warily.
"Naw, not exactly. Don't suppose you got anything to drink, do ya? It's a helluva hike down here. I barely remembered how to find this camp, but was hoping I might catch ya here." I say and wearily sit down on my pack.
Desparado tosses me a slightly cold beer, and just gives me a grin like I can't wait to hear this crap. About then two other fellas eased in from both sides of me and took up spots around the fire, having seen that I didn't appear to be any threat.
So after several long gulps on my beer, I tell how I was picked up about a week ago by the cops, and the interrogations that followed that boy hanging himself.
"After about my third beating session, where they kept trying to blame me for beating that fella and hanging him. It was obvious they wanted me to change my story, to take the blame for his death and take the heat off themselves. I decided it was time to make a move, not really knowing what I was gonna do, just that it was time to go. Well, this Goliath of a cop didn't like something I mumbled as he pushed me back into a cell-block of twenty some men. I guess I said something like they shouldn't of beat that boy so bad if they didn't want him to hang himself. Apparently he didn't like that cause, he looked real pissed off as he demanded I come back into the cell entrance with the door still wide open. I knew he meant to hurt me some more, so I was ready for it.
Just as I got in the doorway, he tried to kick me right in the family jewels. Not thinking clearly, I caught his foot, ran him backwards and dumped him hard. Goliath must've got knocked out, cause when I looked back he was "lights out!" Most everyone in the cell-block rushed past him and me both,so I just figured I better follow suit." By this time everyone in my little audience was smiling or chuckling.
Desperado throws me another beer and another boy hands me a pint of Lord Calvert to help my story along. A good pull on the whiskey cooled the dry sting in my throat, and I gulp it down chasing it with beer.
"What, so I suppose they just got you a bus ticket down here then, to help you out an all?" says Hoss, the heavyset guy with a smile, as if to get me back on track with my story.
"No, better than that, they left the keys in an old Isuzu truck up under the search bay though. It was the third one I checked and had half a tank of gas, so I took it as a sign from God that truck was my way of escape. Before I got out of the police lot, four or five guys jumped in the back cause I wasn't slowing down with the sirens going off." I said in conclusion.
"Thanks for not bringing anyone none of us knows. I hope you didn't park the truck nearby. But ya still got it?" Hoss says while offering me a smoke.
"No way, it's stashed in the woods fifteen miles farther west, I rode back here on a bike I picked up along the way. All my fellow fugitives bailed along the way as I told them I was heading west til the truck ran out of gas, just in case any of em got caught. Contrary to the media reports, torture does work when you don't care about protecting the other guy. Most would probably give up their grandma to stay alive these days!" I said over my shoulder as I went to return the rental beer by watering the plants.
"You didn't get that new health implant did you?" Desperado continues, "They got gps trackin in them and can find you anywhere!"
"Naw, they was too busy beating me to worry about healthcare. I don't believe those going to the fema camps are gonna be needing healthcare for long. Unless they need you to fill in a special position, you're considered a useless eater and sent to recycling." I said
"Recycling, you mean they kill ya? No way!" Hoss shouts, "That's against the constitution!"
"From what I heard in jail the constitution is no longer in effect during martial law, but the cops said something about this being a "Constitution Free Zone," whatever that is?" I said as I opened the backpack I found behind the seat of the truck from police impound. "You gotta be kidding me? A brick of pot, a scale, and a 9mm with a box of shells in the main compartment! Sure glad they didn't catch me, probably would've charged me with all this too!"
"Hey let me see that brick, I'll trade you for it, if you don't want it, those kinda things are in high demand these days, prices are sky high!" Hoss states rather loudly .
Desperado pulls me aside while saying,"I know you're no dummie, but ya might not know how much things have changed! Certain things are really valuable, food, water, guns, ammo, tobacco and vice stuff, anything to help folks survive! Money isn't of much value, least not paper money, hyper-inflation set in of 1000% just in the last week. Paper bills are little more than toilet paper this week. A loaf of bread is 20-50 dollars, depending on who's it is, and how badly ya want it!
Hard coins still worth something, two or three times face value.Now if they're silver or gold, silver hit $250. an ounce and gold's pushing $3000. I know you hate messing with drug dealing and such, but this marijuana ain't like hard drugs. Some people need it for cancer and glaucoma, and can't touch it without taking that healthcare implant. For you go throwing that sh*t away or whatever, I just thought you should know. Besides Hoss and Jersey Bob are guys with lots of resources , but they wouldn't think twice about cheatin ya in a deal! Besides you're my friend and I'm sure you didn't get your personal things back from the cops during such a hurried exit! Let me deal with Hoss, and I'll get you a better price. Anything in particular you need? "
I finish with a nature call as I ponder the question, "Really appreciate ya giving me a heads up! I was about to tell him to take the brick, just to get rid of it. Knew inflation had set in, though I didn't realize things could go so bad so quick. Hell, I don't have nothin, but the clothes on my back and that backpack I found. Well, and this pistol, guess I better keep hold of it! Don't much like to carry one, but I heard people in an around the cities have gone ragingly insane; killing, stealing, destroying and burning everything in their paths. Could use a change of clothes and a jacket, good boots an maybe a good hunting knife,a sleeping bag, possibly some more nine shells".
"Com'on, let's go next door an get some chow! I'll let Hoss know on the way what ya need. One of the gals next camp over cooks some right fine food for a hunting camp set-up!" he says in answer to my puzzled look, "I'll cover you for supper, there ain't much free no more."
Considering deer hunting season wasn't open yet, I didn't expect some of the best deer stew that I'ld ever eaten. I ate in silence, thinking about all the new revelations that I now had to absorb. The food and beer bringing on a tiredness after the adrenaline rush of my escape. By the time we time we got back to our camp, it was all I could do to collapse into Desperado's tent, falling into a deep sleep troubled by dreams of a world gone mad!
Read the first installment of this story at http://slcockerham.hubpages.com/hub/Re-education-Camps
The next part to this story can be found at
- Trouble in Tate's Hell
Things seem to be going alright for Slim at the old hunting camp turned tribulation survivors camp. They prepare for a trip into the city, and while eating supper things appear to move into the twilight zone.