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Total Blackout STEPHANIE LEMOINE - DAY 246

Author:Super_nugget Category:urban Update time:2024-06-11 09:26:59

They were more than a dozen people gathered around a table, serious as generals discussing a battle plan. In a way, that's exactly what they were doing.

There were Mathieu, Stéphanie, Marie, and Olivier, but also several unfamiliar faces. Unlike the strangers, Stéphanie and the others looked tired. The last few days had indeed put their nerves to the test. They had been victims of numerous attacks on the farm, likely from people in a neighboring district encouraged by what their neighbors, friends, or others had brought back.

They had come armed almost every day since they had decorated the living room of Mathieu's little house. They weren't surprised by these looting attempts; it was actually surprising that they had been spared for so long. With so many displaced people, it was a miracle the farm hadn't been destroyed in a raid and that they hadn't been killed for resisting.

Following the alarming increase in looting and violence, which fortunately had not gone beyond injuries, they unanimously decided to leave. Put some distance between them and Paris.

Hence their meeting with these people, among whom were members of the Josselin family. Mathieu knew all of them from before the blackout. They had worked together as partners.

Please let this go well! Why isn't anyone talking?!<

/em> Stéphanie screamed internally, nervously playing with her nails under the table.

The Josselins were what you would call a milling family. In the past, they were referred to as millers, those who produced flour from raw grains. This profession had become quite rare in France, as a large company could do as much if not more than an army of millers from the last century. The same could be said for farmers, in reality.

Locally, they were an influential family, though modest compared to the large industrialists in this sector. They had been present in Précy-sur-Marne, a modest and pleasant village, for four generations, soon to be five.

Since the establishment of the great-grandfather Josselin, things had significantly evolved. The installations, on one hand, and the yields on the other. Thanks to modernity, they had gone from producing two tons of flour per day to nearly fifty tons! This yield would have made the large French groups laugh, who aimed for quantity. However, that was not what this very family-run business sought. Here, and it was a point of pride, the goal was to produce quality by working hand in hand, as equals, with local producers.

It was with them that Mathieu did business when it came to selling his wheat because they were close and sought high-quality grain. As a small local producer, Mathieu met their criteria even though he did not meet all the necessary standards to be classified in the highly valued organic sector.

Everything collapsed last April, at the very end of the month, when the blackout struck. The machines were working fine just seconds earlier, and then everything stopped. There was even a small fire, but luckily the employees intervened in time.

The Josselins had lived—or rather survived—all this time thanks to their reserves of flour and the bread they made on-site. Indeed, they didn't just make flour! They produced sourdough in a brand-new lab and employed a team of bakers to transform these raw materials into delicious loaves and baguettes.

The bakers employed by the Josselin family were very competent and did excellent work. Most had been trained on-site after a career change. There were over thirty different varieties of bread made there: country bread, rye bread, multi-grain, sesame, corn, cheese... The list was as long as your arm so everyone could find something they liked.

They had even won a national competition!

Their premises were located near the Marne, less than half an hour's drive from Mathieu's farm. In other words, it was right next door. But this last point was much less true since the blackout, as one had to consider the number of kilometers between the two. Roughly speaking, the mill was twenty-five kilometers away, or more than five hours' walk!

Despite the distance, the cold, and the thick layer of snow that had accumulated on the roads in recent days, they had made the journey to plead their case. Their future was at stake.

The Josselin family was not the element likely to jeopardize the deal, as they had nothing to lose. The same could not be said for the others.

There were landowners from the region present. Only those who had land near the village of Précy-sur-Marne were present. All displayed the same closed expression, as if they were being asked to make an immense sacrifice. Mathieu, as a farmer, knew this was the case.

There was Bertrand Gérard, a broad-shouldered man with a well-groomed mustache; Yves Montreux, a thin man with a fine, drooping nose and a depressive look; and Joseph Martin, a perfect look-alike of Jean Dujardin, the famous French actor, but bald.

The first crossed his arms over his chest, the second whispered things into the first's ear, and the last tapped the wooden table rhythmically with his finger.

We've done everything we could! Say something! Anything! And that guy! Stop that noise! It's driving me crazy!

Finally, Joseph Martin spoke when his finger stopped moving.

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