Martin and Susan emerge from the woods, only to be held at gunpoint by an edgy homeowner. He is convinced that the pair are the first of a wave of a 'golden horde' of starving & desperate Massachusetts residents. The man's wife proves to be the calmer head to diffuse the situation.
One Monday morning in October, the power goes out in Boston and apparently all across the nation. Martin decides to go home rather than get stuck in downtown Boston. With traffic gridlocked and no busses leaving for New Hampshire, his only option is to walk the 50 miles. He's not really ready for that.
Martin and Susan escape the carjackers by fleeing into a vast woods, playing an audio version of hide-and-seek. Martin's street map isn't of much use for cross-country trekking. As they work their way out of the woods, they get to know each other better. Although, Martin is too candid about his antagonism toward squirrels. Emerging from the woods seems like a victory until they run afoul of an angry man with a shotgun.
After waking up under the bridge, Martin observes soldiers tasked to guard the bridge. He also encounters a boisterous refugee named Kevin. The three of them continue north through Salem until they witness a brutal carjacking on a remote road. The carjackers pursue the trio into a small housing development where there are few places to hide.
Riding with Isabel, the pair manage to slip past or get around some of the official roadblocks intended to keep the populace in place. That is, until they reach the checkpoint at 495. Now, the Merrimack River becomes a barrier. Once again on foot, they follow the railroad tracks toward Haverhill. Martin hopes an interstate bridge over the river will be less guarded. Before they get there, the sky grows dark and it begins to rain.
Martin and Susan narrowly escape the would-be muggers but Martin does not escape unscathed. Walking north hits a snag when the pair run into police roadblocks preventing people from leaving the area – even on foot. A distraught Hispanic woman agrees to give the pair a ride if they can find her a way around the roadblocks.
As Martin and Susan travel north through Stoneham, they get to know each other a little better. Susan begins to have second thoughts about agreeing to go with him. She worries that Martin is one of those crazy Doomsday Prepper types. All this is overshadowed by trying to evade what they suspect are opportunists wanting to rob them.
A pause in the story to answer two of the questions sent to the author.
One: Why isn't Martin carrying a gun? A few notes on why.
Two: What's up with Susan? She has her fans, others wonder how anyone can be that clueless. There are reasons...
Listeners can send in questions too: to firstname.lastname@example.org
As Martin and Susan travel north, making their way through suburban Stoneham, they find a little food by dumpster diving. Susan begins to limp from a bad blister. This leads to an awkward moment, which leads to an even more awkward discussion about Susan's emergency housing options.
After a night of sleeping in the woods, Martin and Susan venture through Stoneham looking for food and water but find little. What they do find is a populace lingering in normalcy bias. Even though it is only the second day of the outage, the two of them wonder long will it be before complacency gives way to desperation.