Tuesday, July 11, 2006

For as much action as we’ve had already, we’ve had a couple of days of rest.

The rest of Saturday we bunkered in and made a general search of our place. It was much more difficult to move around without the streetlights, and we couldn’t find an easy solution to this. We shut the blinds as tight as we could, and turned on the lights in rooms that didn’t have windows, and light candles. We didn’t want to be detected, but it we rationalized it was necessary for these first few hours.

The girls set up the rooms and scoured the place for food. I found some more chains in the barn and locked the gate up the best I could manage. The place was very satisfactory. There was a wine cellar in the garage, the perfect ‘keep’ of our castle. Tayva and I would have to make Molotov cocktails of them before the others found it; we didn’t want anyone drinking when we were in crisis mode. The place could be turned into a fortress. There was a considerable stack of wood in the barn that I used to barricade up windows. We moved an old piano in front of the main door, and angled a couch against the back.

Someone had been into the fridge, and it was mostly bare, accept for some cheeses, frozen bread, and condiments. They had an entire cupboard full of jams and jellies (what an old people thing), which was kind of cool. But the real goldmine was in the wine cellar, where under a blanket we found several boxes of dehydrated beans, beef, and many assorted vegetables. They had food storage! I wondered if they were Mormon.

We ate the last of our fruit that night, sitting on the carpet in a circle in front of the TV. No one wanted to turn it on and learn of new horrors. For now, we relaxed in our haven. Karol made an eggplant stew thing that wasn’t just edible, it was delicious! We devoured as much as we could, sitting in the candle light, and laughed as much as we were emotionally capable. Sharon seems to be breaking out of her shell, though I imagine she is still very depressed. I made fun of her for shying away from the idea of cooking up the sheep outside. She told us all stories of when her family had three sheep they bought from a flea market and never had the heart to give away, even after three moves across the country.

“I… don’t know what happened to my family.” Sharon said, finally, looking to the ground, setting a somber mood.

“I was angry at them when they told me I couldn’t go see Kyle Hanson after school any more. I walked out on them, went to one of my friends down the street.” Tears started dripping down her cheeks, and she spoke softly, “The next day, the… sun… it didn’t come up. I ran back to my house. They weren’t there. They were…” she sobbed for a few seconds. Karol and Angelina both put their arms around the girl.

“All I found was a note, telling me to stay there if I came back. They were out looking for me. I stayed there for two days, and they didn’t come back. They didn’t answer their cell phones… they just… disappeared. Right along with the sun.” She broke out crying.

“I think we all have lost something, everyone on the planet, and it’s not just the sun.” Karol spoke through sobs. There had still been no word from her boyfriend.

What had I lost? I was a single guy with very few connections. Worse, until this crisis I lived a lot of my day in dreams. My family, yes… but…

My family! I remembered that moment I hadn’t contacted them for a day and a half.

“Excuse me, guys.” I made my way out of the room. I think some of the girls took it as an emotional thing. It was sad… but I wasn’t crying. I was scared for my family that I had somehow forgotten. I’m a live in the moment kind of person, and it sickens me to say this, but I hadn’t really noticed my family had existed while trying to protect these three… four women. How old was Sharon?

Cell phone out. I dialed.

“Come on. Pick up, Mom. Dad. Anybody.” The phone ringed five times and I tapped it nervously.

“Michael!” My Mom’s voice came through the phone.

“Mom! Hey! I’m here! I’m alive!” I said.

“Where’ve you been?!” She nearly yelled.

“It’s okay; I’m here in a house, barricaded up, with four friends of mine. We’ve got food, water. We’re good. Except for our impending death by suffocation, we’re good.”

“My battery is running out, Michael.” My Mom began getting frantic as she usually did when she was crunching for time. “I need to tell you that the family has all met and we’re going on a caravan down to Jill’s. Except for you and some of the other tweens, we’re together, and we want you to come down as soon as you can.”

“We’re going to Jill’s place? What? Jill lives in the middle of the wilderness, in a canyon, Mother. Why?”

“Uncle Ray remembers Jill’s blessing said that her family would gather to her home in the time of darkness. We had a prayer, and we believe that’s what the Lord wants.”

“That’s… oddly specific, Mom. Are you sure that’s what her blessing said? Uncle Ray is pretty old, you know?”

“He was telling the truth, I felt it, Michael. You need to come as soon as you can.”

“Alright, alright. So you guys are fine?”

“Yes… we’re all fine. But we’re moving out tonight at midnight… and… after that I don’t know…” she began crying, “If we’ll have cell phone coverage… and… I love you, baby.”

“Mom, I love you, too. Don’t worry. I’ll see you again. Maybe not right now, but I’ll find you. Is Dad there?”

“He’s here.”

“I love you, Mom. Put him on.”

“Michael?”

“Dad!”

“I’m so glad you’re safe!”

“Dad, I don’t know how long Mom’s cell phone will last, but I just wanted to tell you, that I love you.”

“I’ve always been proud of you Mike; I’ve always believed in you, you know that? I know you’ll find us. I love you, Mike.”

“Thanks Dad.”

The phone was dead.

And then, in two hours… there was light.

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