Saturday, August 14, 2010

Seventeen

Day seventeen. I feel like something is about to happen, for good or ill. The number seventeen must mean something.
We’ve been stuck seventeen days. Seventeen plants survived in our garden to feed seventeen people. An unfortunate early graduate from high school, the youngest in our group is seventeen years of age.

What happened to the children, you ask, dear diary? Martha Whitehouse bussed hers to school along with the rest of the kids from our little community. They were all in Reed Walters Elementary when the slip happened. Heaven knows what the extended families did when all the kids’ parents disappeared.

Perhaps they no longer exist just as we fell out of our own time? That prospect is too horrible to imagine. I never had kids, but can’t imagine my parents not remembering their only daughter, or my brothers’ families not having me for an aunt. I love those boys.

Oh, and another thing, I still remember when it happened. The time said 10:17 AM. If my clock read military time, I suppose whatever higher power messed with us would have made the event at 5:17, seventeen past seventeen hundred hours.

Who knows? I sure don’t. I hear Kyle calling. I’m supposed to be hauling water.

Day eighteen. My optimism that this would end one way or another, even with my death yesterday, led me astray. I’ve returned to numb hopelessness.

We’ve all long since stopped paying attention to the cars that pass through our ghost town. Do the people driving them see the houses? Do they see when Joe and Marie leave their front door open during the day and then close it at night when the chill fog rolls in from the ocean?

Or do these back road commuters see nothing? Is Buxton wiped off the map along with seventeen of its formerly alive and well occupants? I don’t think we’re dead, that’s inconceivable, but we’re certainly not well. We’re saving the canned goods and the few squirrels we’ve caught don’t offer much protein to split between us.

Thank heaven, our garden produced potatoes from last season that weren’t completely rotten. It’s not easy roasting them over an open flame, though, waiting for them to cook through when our bellies are rumbling and achy.

I miss electricity. And air conditioning. Boy, do I miss that and hot showers. It seems our water got cut off along with gas and power.

Speaking of water, Mark, whom I formerly only knew as Mr. Thompson, is offering to watch for intruders while I bathe in his pond. I know he really likes to sneak peaks but he strikes me as a harmless old man. I’m more concerned about the threat we all consider. Are there others like us? Out there in the hinterlands they might wander, neither so elderly and infirm nor female and defenseless.

Either way, I could drive myself crazy. I’d rather have a bath after gathering wood all morning and turning it into useable kindling. We’ve started burning furniture, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. I only hope the varnish burning off the glossy surfaces isn’t terribly toxic. If we run out of tinfoil, I don’t know what would protect us from the bad stuff in any of that material.

Day nineteen. I treated myself to body lotion after my pond “bath” yesterday. That luxury is in greater supply than shampoo, since I’d found a sale a few weeks ago at the grocery store. Too bad Buxton never got its own mega-mart superstore. We never qualified, and Crawford is beyond our range on foot. I wish we could drive one of the cars. And we’ll never be able to cut the grass once the summer growing season starts.

Oh, who cares? Why am I worried about a manicured lawn when I can’t log onto my computer and contact my agent? Do I have an agent now? Will I ever get another book published?

I hear a train, one of the several that come through every day. This time, though, I might see what happens if I can climb the embankment and look down at the tracks in the ravine. What if some engineer is actually able to see me? I’m surely fooling myself, but a little hope is better than none. I’m gonna run for it.

Crap! Someone was out there, but it wasn’t some innocuous train engineer. They looked like thugs, armed with guns and who knows what all. We’re going to try barricading ourselves in the Jameson house. They have the biggest place. I don’t think they saw me but I can’t be sure. It looked like there were seventeen of them.

2 comments:

  1. As always you have created a very intriguing world, Darla! Thank you for sharing.

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  2. Thanks, dear! Your time is really appreciated. This stemmed from a dream which entertained me almost as much as it scared me.

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