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Light Throughout The Night Chapter 2 Desperate Measures
Posted: 2023-11-07 At: 5:30 am:   

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Chapter 2: Desperate Measures

Years earlier, before Glow dropped out of school, the area started changing. A number of large corporations opened businesses. People from other cities and towns moved in for employment. Sufficient local housing was lacking. Corporate executives paid premium prices for housing. The cost of living quadrupled, rapidly.

Many elder residents living on fixed incomes couldn’t afford to live in their hometown. Most sold their homes. Previous politicians who were also longtime residents, were voted out of office. The focus of new politicians was towards corporate growth and development. Laws changed. Some of the new laws made living off grid difficult. Others increased the cost of living. The town wasn’t the same.

Previously protected large plots of forest reserved for wildlife and parks were getting developed. These weren’t the type of developments the majority of the citizens could afford. They weren’t in the best interest of current residents, the earth or the planet.

By this part of Glow’s life, she wasn’t paying any attention to the changes. It wouldn’t have mattered if the sky was falling. She didn’t want to know about it. She just knew, she wanted to get away.

She wanted to get away from society. She wanted to get away from her past. And she wanted to get off the streets. The lifestyle Glow was living caused her many years of suffering.

Glow began reading about self-sufficiency. She gathered information from wherever possible. She read articles online and posts via message boards. She spent many hours at the library, gathering information from magazines and books.

Glow already possessed a diverse set of survival skills, partly from an upbringing where she was forced to deal with life on her own, partly from spending much of her young adult life on the streets. Beckie’s parents lived off grid. Glow learnt numerous off grid survival techniques when she visited Beckie’s house.

Glow remembered a place still out of the limelight. A place deep enough in the woods where she could find peace. A place where she could get away from things.

An older lady owned a large plot of land. Her families been living in the town since it was first incorporated over a hundred years ago. The old lady always treated Glow decent.

When their town was taken over, she was pressured into selling her property. She refused many very generous offers. After turning down their offers, the old lady received intimidating phone calls, almost daily, as part of an effort to bully her into selling her land.

The old lady still refused. She knew developers would level her land. Her properties’ been passed down through her family for generations. She wanted to leave her daughter something of substance when it was her time to go.

Glow drove to a piece of the old ladies property she visited as a kid. She got out of her truck. She sat under a tree a little ways from a river. The sky was a stunning bright blue. The air was crisp.

Glow sat under the tree watching squirrels play nearby. They jumped from branch to branch, from tree to tree, playing, chasing each other, looking for food, burying acorns. They seemed happy. They were enjoying every second of their life.

Those squirrels didn’t have million-dollar apartments or internet, yet they were happier than most people she’s ever met. They were also much happier than she’s ever been.

In the background, Glow listened to rushing water from the river and birds tweeting. She felt at ease. She felt alive. Glow yearned to turn the field where she sat into her home. She didn’t want to continue living a lifestyle killing her soul and body with each passing day.

Glow looked further down towards the river. She said to herself, “That’s a great spot to set up a tent. That’s a great spot to turn into my home.”

The old lady was very laid back. Camping on her land wasn’t an issue.

Glow camped in the field with Becky as youngsters. As the two friends reached their teens, sometimes they threw small parties by the river. Party goers lit a campfire, downed a few brews while sitting on beach chairs, chatting away. During a few of the wilder parties, they did shotguns, sang, and danced before passing out next to the campfire.

The field was difficult to find. It was located at the end of a series of dirt roads with no trespassing signs along the way. The dirt roads were long and narrow, nothing like the dirt roads seen in movies. The ones where a car whisks along as a cloud of dust follows.

These roads were filled with ditches, crevices, and large rocks. Drivers needed to maneuver their vehicles carefully and slowly, making the field an ideal spot for someone seeking seclusion. During previous camping trips, Glow didn’t see any other vehicles enter the field or travel down the dirt roads.

Glow looked at the opportunity as a win win. The cost to live in the field was minimal. At the same time, she would get a chance to experience a different side of life. A side of life she hadn’t experienced before.

The sights and sounds were majestic. Glow couldn’t stop thinking about waking up to the sound of rushing water, birds tweeting, and crickets chirping. She imagined stepping outside her tent to see squirrels playing, the forest, and water flowing down the river.

Glow’s been working the same job for almost ten months. She earns decent money, while saving most of the money she earns. She put together a list of the items she needed to live in the field. She thought about hundreds of different scenarios.

Glow thought about how she’d fix the tent if it started leaking. She thought about different ways to cook food. She thought about how she’d wash dishes, along with plenty of other issues she needed to overcome.

After settling in the field, Glow planned to stay in the field for at least six months, without leaving for any reason. She needed to stay away from anyone and everyone for at least six months.

Glow needed to straighten out her head. The only way she could better herself, was by staying away from the life that kept her on the street. Glow also figured, she would attract much less attention if she didn’t have to take multiple trips into town after she was settled.

The same day Glow visited the field, she began putting a plan together. The first thing she did was tie up loose ends. Due to the type of life Glow lived, she didn’t have many loose ends. The only two things she thought of doing were filing her taxes and calling Beckie.

Becky moved away years ago. Before Beckie moved, Glow and Beckie each made the other promise to stay in touch. As a result, Glow and Beckie spoke every couple of months. Since Glow was completely removing herself from society, she decided to give her friend a call.

Whenever they talked, Glow always told Becky she was doing good and everything was ok. Then, she enjoyed listening to all the things going on in Beckie’s life. During their phone conversation, the two chatted about the old ladies field.

Becky was the only person Glow still trusted. She decided to let Becky know, nonchalantly, she was moving into the field. She also asked Beckie to keep her whereabouts on the downlow.

As soon as Becky heard, she gave Glow plenty of great advice. Glow diligently took notes.

Once all of Glow’s loose ends were tied up and her list was complete, she began taking trips to different stores. With six months of food and supplies needed, Glow had a lot of work ahead of her.

The first thing Glow purchased was a very large army green military style cabin tent. The tent was the most expensive item on her list. She wasn’t going to let the cost stop her. Glow found a tent on sale for a great price.

The canvas was thick, ensuring it would endure outside elements for many years. A large screened in porch was built into the front, giving her an extra layer of protection from bugs.

The inside was very spacious, allowing room for furniture and enough open space for Glow to walk around, stretching her legs during days it rained.

Before Glow set up the tent, she decided to build a foundation. The spot where she planned to set up her tent was already elevated. She didn’t need a thick foundation, just something high enough off the ground to keep small puddles of rainwater from entering the living quarters.

She filled the back of her truck with 2 inch thick, 1 square foot cement squares. Cement squares are inexpensive and very durable. They would also serve as sturdy flooring.

Needless to say, the cement squares were heavy. To prevent water from entering during the worst storms, Glow decided to stack them two deep. Due to their size, she needed hundreds of them for the base of the tent.

Laying out the cement squares was her toughest task. Even though Glow was somewhat healthier than she’d been, she was still very thin and frail. Most people need years to recover from just a few months of living on the streets. Glow’s been living on the streets for years.

She took two trips back and forth to the store, just to get them all to the field. Before Glow was halfway done setting up the first layer of cement squares, her muscles were aching, her knees were swollen, and her back was sore.

As weak as she was physically, living on the streets has a way of toughing up even the frailest of people in different ways. Their bodies adapt to pain. Their bodies learn to take more punishment. They become immune to pain.

Glow was already tough by nature. She kept going until she couldn’t possibly lift another cement square. Tired and sweaty, she stopped and sat in the passenger seat of her truck to rest. She took many rests throughout the day. The day Glow set up the foundation was hot and humid. Her body often gave in to exhaustion and dehydration. Regardless, after every rest, she immediately went back to work.

Glow pushed herself. She wouldn’t let herself permanently succumb to the pain ailing her body. She spent almost the whole day setting up the foundation.

Early the next morning, sore and groggy, while moving very slow, she put the tent together. Putting the tent together wasn’t an easy task either. Assembling a 200sf tent is usually a two person job. Glow used ingenuity. She took her time and figured it out.

Now with the tent together, Glow began gathering all the things she needed for her stay. Her list was very long. She would have to take multiple trips back and forth to the field.

First, Glow decided to pick up the items needed for inside her tent. She purchased a sleeping bag and a small futon. When she took the futon to the field, she didn’t put it together. She removed all the pieces from the box and tossed them inside the tent.

Glow was looking forward to the next chapter of her life. She wasn’t about to waste time setting up something she could setup later. Glow’s been sleeping in the back of her truck for years. She could put the futon together after she was settled in the field.

Glow did the same for everything packaged inside a box, partly to ensure there weren’t any missing parts, partly to ensure she didn’t leave any unnecessary garbage at the field. With all the items removed from their boxes, Glow could drop off the boxes and packing materials at a recycling facility during her next trip to the store.

During Glow’s next trip to the store, she purchased a single burner electric stovetop. Knowing she would have to deal with rainy days, cooking inside was essential. To go with the stovetop, she bought a small stainless steel table with a stainless steel backstop, giving her a safe place to cook inside the tent.

Glow specifically chose stainless steel because of potential rust issues. Becky taught Glow about the potential dangers of steel items rusting in moist, small environments, telling Glow, “Steel can rust very quick in moist environments, especially if not properly coated. The dust emitted from rusted steel probably isn't great to breaths in”.

Glow picked up a small grill grate for outside. She planned to eat outside as much as possible, getting the most out of her new surroundings.

For her toiletry needs, she went with a porta potty. To complement the porta potty she picked up a composting bin to keep outside, well behind the tent.

From there, Glow purchased dividers to create a separate area for the bathroom. She bought plenty of biodegradable toilet paper and paper towels. TP’s something she didn’t want to run out of during her stay.

Glow desperately needed storage. Keeping a six month supply of food inside a tent required serious organization. She picked up two footlockers to keep her food secure from the elements. She also purchased a standing shelf to store miscellaneous items. Between the shelf and footlockers, the kitchen would take up the most room.

To give her tent the feel of a real home, she dropped cash on a decorative rug and a dust buster.

She purchased a portable camping sink with a faucet powered by a foot pump. The foot pump siphoned water from an attached bucket, pumping the water through the faucet into the sink, allowing Glow to wash dishes inside the tent.

Glow went with biodegradable dish soap, made from 100% natural ingredients. She was very cautious of the environment. She did the same for all the cleaning supplies. Becky always said, “Don’t return anything to the land that didn’t come from the land.”

With the purchase of the electric stove top, Glow needed power.

Becky dropped some serious solar knowledge during their previous phone conversation. She designed and provided Glow with instructions for a simple, yet sufficient and inexpensive solar system. From there, Beckie asked Glow to repeat everything she said, ensuring Glow understood the design, the parts needed, and how they go together.

With the solar system Beckie designed, Glow wouldn’t have any issues powering the stovetop. Furthermore, she would have electricity, off grid, for years, without any additional cost.

Glow purchased two 100 watt solar panels, two 100 amp hour batteries, an adequate power inverter, a charge controller, and the necessary wires and fuses.

She purchased plywood to build a vented battery box. The battery box would sit just outside her tent and also serve as a place to mount the solar panels. Glow planned to attach the inverter to the back of the shelves in her kitchen.

Glow didn’t buy any additional appliances. She didn’t buy any electronics either. Glow didn’t want to know what was going on in the world. She lived in that world for to many years. Nothing good ever came from there.

The only electronic device she took was a tiny portable DVD Player with a built-in monitor. She kept the DVD Player and a few DVD’s with her everywhere she went.

She was given the DVD Player as a gift when she was eight, the only gift she’s ever been given. Glow was in the same place she spent most of her childhood, locked in her room. She was being punished for two weeks during summer vacation.

Glow had been trapped in her room for the last two days, without anything to do or anyone to keep her company. She was sitting on her bed, looking out the window.

All of a sudden she saw Beckie’s head peering out from behind a tree near the neighbor’s house. When Beckie saw the coast was clear, she darted across the yard towards Glow’s window.

Quietly, Glow opened the window. Beckie slowed as she approached, cautiously looking down, trying to avoid stepping on any leaves or twigs. When she arrived, she whispered in a very low tone, nervously looking around, afraid she might get caught, yet keeping the courage to see her mission through. “Glow, I got this for Christmas. I already have a DVD player. Here.”

She shoved the DVD player, and a couple DVD’s through the window into Glow’s arms. Immediately thereafter, she took off running. By the time Glow had a chance to thank her, Beckie was halfway across the yard.

The DVD’s were filled with Saturday morning cartoons from the 80’s. Glow always enjoyed watching Saturday morning cartoons when she visited Beckie’s house. The cartoons were in addition to a couple DVD’s Glow already owned. Glow owned a DVD with two of her mom’s wrestling matches. She also owned a couple episodes of G.L.O.W. Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.

What she didn’t have was a DVD player. She rarely got to watch her mom wrestle. She was absolutely thrilled at her friends jester. She couldn’t stop smiling the rest of the time she was punished.

Glow ducked down real low on the other side of her bed. She put on her headphones, keeping the volume low, allowing her to hear if someone was walking down the hall. Then, she began watching the DVD’s. She must have watched the episodes at least fifty times each. Now, every time she thinks of that week, she smiles.

Next, Glow hit up a home and garden store. A vibrant, healthy garden was essential for her long term survival in the field.

She snagged a bunch of fence stakes and screening to build a fence around the garden. The screening would prevent even the smallest critters from getting to her veggies and fruits. Extra fence stakes would serve as supports for taller plants. She also tossed a mallet and shovel into the cart.

From there, she entered the greenhouse. The second Glow entered, she took a deep breath, inhaling the scents from the plants, knowing she would wake up to those very same scents every morning. She couldn’t wait to arrive at her new home.

Glow shortened her list with the purchase of a variety of different plants and seeds, including Watermelons, Squash, Green Beans, Garlic, Corn, Onions, Potatoes, and Carrots to name a few.

The climate where Glow’s located is very mild. Due to the variety of plants and seeds, she would have a sufficient harvest during all four seasons. The seeds from each harvest would keep Glow’s garden growing for many years, without any additional cost. With a year-round food supply, she could stay in the field indefinitely.

Glow dropped off multiple carts filled with gardening supplies at the front of the store. Next, she headed to the lumber section.

The lumber section is where Glow stacked a modest supply of lumber, bolts, and screws onto a large dolly.

Before leaving, she found a steel barrel with an airtight lid to serve as a trashcan. Other than a few plastic food wrappers, Glow didn’t anticipate having much garbage. The size of the barrel was adequate, while keeping garbage safe from racoons and other critters.

Glow also picked up a couple gallons of paint, paint brushes and a vintage style manual push mower. With the mower, she could keep a landscaped yard in front of her tent.

By the time Glow finished her latest shopping trip, it was late, she was tired. She drove to the field, then passed out in her truck almost immediately after her arrival. Early the next morning, she unloaded all the supplies.

The shopping trips were taking much longer than Glow expected and they were wearing on her. Nevertheless, she stayed focused on her new life. After each shopping trip, the excitement at the thought of a new, better life, kept building.

Having already purchased all the larger items, Glow began shopping for food. Shopping for six months’ worth of food isn’t an easy task, especially on Glow’s budget. She didn’t want to spend more than a grand, about five dollars a day for food and drinks.

If Glow stuck to her budget, she would have enough money remaining for the following six months, if needed. Eventually, she hoped to get all her food from her garden. Luckily, plenty of different types of food last at least six months.

Aisle after aisle, with tenacity and diligence, Glow began filling her cart.

She purchased cases of oodles and noodles, peanut butter, soup, tuna, pork and beans, cans of veggies, boxes of cereal along with a number of other food items. She bought a large cooler and filled it with bags of rice.

While making her list, Glow tentatively put together a menu of what she would eat each day. Next, she figured out how much of each item she needed for a six month stay. If her shopping list wasn’t sufficient, within a couple months, her garden would provide plenty of extra food.

Glow didn’t need water, the river provided an endless supply. She just needed a way to carry water from the river to her tent and jugs to store water inside her tent. Glow purchased a couple five gallon buckets as a method to fetch water and airtight jugs for storage. Before consumption, she planned to run drinking water through a filter for purification, then boil the filtered water.

Coffee was a different story. Coffee was one of the few non-essential must have items on her list. Glow purchased a six month supply of instant coffee. She indulged with the purchase of a couple cases of beer. Even though the cases of beer wouldn’t last six months, she figured, what the heck, why not.

She was about to move off the streets into a new home. She had a good reason to celebrate.

By the time Glow finished shopping for food, she was way under budget. Food prices were much lower than she expected. She didn’t know why and didn’t give the lower prices a second thought.

Glow’s next stop was a local department store where she notched off a variety of different items from her list.

Glow grabbed flashlights, a small desktop light, a miscellaneous supply of rechargeable batteries, battery chargers, two extension cords, bungie cords, zip ties, slider bags, garbage bags, rope, duct tape, and a Swiss army pocketknife.

To alleviate potential moisture issues, Glow snagged a few bottles of mildew remover and a fan.

She didn’t forget about kitchen utensils either. Sluggishly, as the length of the shopping trips wore on Glow, she pushed her cart to the opposite end of the store to purchase a coffee cup, a pot, a pan, a couple forks, a couple knives, a couple spoons, a can opener, sponges, and plenty of towels and washcloths.

The department store was also where she purchased backup and emergency supplies. Her list called for a variety of miscellaneous tools, a fishing pole, fishing lures, an ax, matches, a lighter, lighter fluid, biofuel cans, a first aid kit and a few tarps. She intended to use the extra tarps to keep firewood dry.

With thoughts of her truck sitting in the field for at least six months, Glow purchased an automotive battery charger and an air pump.

After shopping for over a week, Glow was as determined as ever to finish her list without forgetting anything. As the end of her list neared, she began to get a second wind.

She found a sleek looking table and chair for her porch. She also tossed a set of Christmas lights in the cart to serve as lighting inside the porch.

Glow purchased a beach chair to use during the days she wanted to sit outside in the field. Glow picked up a can of mace and a stun gun. She didn’t think she needed either of those items, however, she figured, better to be safe than sorry.

With Glows reprieve in the field, she planned to take better care of her health. She purchased a few toothbrushes, many bottles of toothpaste, mouthwash, flossers and multi vitamins.

To go with her healthier lifestyle, she picked up plenty of womanly beautification items to help her feel good about herself. She bought nail clippers, nail polish, perfume, hairbrushes, and shavers.

After making several trips between different department stores and the field, Glow stopped at a local farm. She purchased a couple hens and bags of grain to feed them. Fresh eggs in the morning sounded delicious.

Lastly, Glow desperately needed clothes. For the first time in years, she went clothes shopping.

Glow only owned a couple items of clothes. They were old. They were dirty. There wasn’t any cleaning them, regardless of how many times they were washed.

Glow spent money on a new pair of sneakers and a pair of hiking boots. She dropped moolah on jeans, summer dresses, leggings, tees, sweatpants, sweatshirts, shorts and plenty of undies. She snagged a few thick sweatshirts and wool socks for the winter months as well.

Before Glow broke up with Logan, her style was cultish casual. She usually wore 80’s style gym shirts. The type where one of the sleeves hangs off the side of the shoulder. She wore sweatshirts or tees with either sweatpants, jeans, leggings or soccer shorts.

Her style was influenced by her birthmother and the 1980’s. There wasn’t any doubt about that.

Now, she’ll look a little more like herself. And when she moves into the field, she’ll feel like the Glow for whom her mother gave birth.

Naturally, Glow was adventurous. She was a free spirit. She liked to explore, experience and learn about life’s exciting intricacies. She was born like that.

The adventurous, free spirited Glow disappeared. She disappeared when Glow was very young, before ever having a chance to live. Now, Glow could enjoy a little part of her natural inner being.

Glow’s absolute final stop, before disappearing deep into the woods, was the gym. She wanted to shower and change into some of her new clothes before she arrived at her new home.

The instant she finished, showered and clean, wearing new clothes, Glow immediately walked to her truck. She opened the door, climbed into the driver’s seat, shutting the door as she sat. She took a deep breath, sat back in the seat and smiled. A genuine smile. For the first time in years, she felt somewhat good about things.

Glow started her truck and headed towards the field. As Glow slowly drove down the dirt road towards her home, she felt like a new woman.

Keywords:  Light Throughout The Night, Chapter 2, Desperate Measures, Glow, Escaping The Streets, Homelessness, Off Grid Living, Self-Sufficiency, Survival Skills, A New Beginning, Fiction Story, Free Book, Preparation, Malnourishment, Lack Of Sleep, Shopping Spree, Bulk Purchases
Category:  Light Throughout The Night Book


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