Dates are writing dates; story takes place in late fall.
March 2020: Protagonist Ross, with his dog Ace, drives from his house into pre-apocalyptic and war-ridden Windsor to bid goodbye to friends. He has received word that his ex-wife has died of the virus, leaving their 12-year old daughter Amber alone in Chicago. Because of the virus, the war, and the lack of electricity and complete infrastructure, he plans to make the journey by car, hoping to find scare gas where he can.
As he leaves, an infantry group advances into town, a common experience across small towns. He flees, but on the way out, comes across a boy, alone, in danger from the intruders. He stops to pick up the boy, shooting one of the "boogies" in the process. He discovers the boy has lost his family and is alone.
April-May 2020: They pack the car and head for the next town, Sanford.
May 2020: I cut the idea of fleeing in the car. Replaced it instead with:
They flee to his house to pick up the rest of his stuff for the trip. But at the house, he finds it ransacked, with evidence of it being occupied by boogies. While determining the next steps, several boogies appear outside, blocking their car. With only seconds to make their move, Ross and Nick take what little they can grab, and run into the woods.
June 15 2020: With the shortening days and increasing cold, their travels start on a dire note: they only have a small pack with a cookstove, a single sleeping bag, a box of matches, and the clothes on their back.