the dimming of the light (Part 4)
Unsurprisingly I could not sleep
perhaps not even want to having spent the long dark evening talking to Chris, Sharon and the Colonel in front of the log burner - Alice and I had retired to a very cold bed deprived of it's normal hot water bottles as we had not yet worked out a way of boiling water indoors and so far were not prepared to build an outdoor fire on such a cold dark night
We still all hoped it was temporary and by morning the power points and the light bulbs would all gush reassuring life-giving electricity
but almost the worst thing was the 'not knowing' - the total lack of information what was happening what was going on. In a land of power stations and horrendously expensive wind turbines what could possibly be happening? Was this power outage local, across the county or was it national?
How could we even think it might be national? How could the whole grid network fail simultaneously and without warning?
and the other consequences - things like aircraft high above in the night air guided to their destinations only by ground based navigation beacons probably now only powered by their backup generators
their pilots praying that the runway lights at their destination airport also had similar adequate generators
So many considerations and possibilities - too many really to consider - it did not seem at all plausible without more information. It was something too final to contemplate and maybe tomorrow all would be back to normal and this day just a terrible dream?
and others? How were Sharon and Chris coping - and the Colonel? What about the rest of the village? Tomorrow - tomorrow if the situation hadn't changed I would talk to some of my other neighbours - perhaps organise a village meeting. Go to the shop and see what was going on there? Lots of things lots we could do
But tomorrow would probably be back to normal
Maybe it was just a dream a very, very bad dream?
In bed Alice and I cuddled closely not just out of habit and the affection of over fifty years, but for the almost reassuring warmth. On the bed, on top of us, slept our three cats - also for affection and warmth
and as my thoughts grew wilder and wilder I often found myself sweating despite the cold outside the bed clothes
a sour sweat of unrestrained fear. Was this the end of the World or just the world as we knew it? My brain, my intelligence said 'no' - tomorrow would be fine
it had to be some anomalous situation that would soon be explained or normalised - the alternative was too horrendous to contemplate
have some sleep, wake up, and everything would be all right - but sleep itself was treacherous the dreams, the unconsciously absorbed horrors
it was perhaps better to stay awake, at least that way I could control my thoughts
although their loyalty might grow a bit thin if we stopped feeding them if the power cut continued - leaving their tinned food as possible sustenance for us after more acceptable supplies ran out. The thought of eating cat food, possibly uncooked did not attract me - but ultimately we do anything to survive
we might even have to eat the cats
The cats themselves did not worry me. They were fully capable of fending for themselves. Our nine acres and the adjoining countryside were well stocked with vermin and game animals. They often brought us a partridge or young rabbit as well as numerous voles, mice and even fully-grown rats
the occasional partridge was a welcome lunch, as was a young rabbit but a rat? Could I bring my self? I decided that rather than starve - of course I could eat it
My repulsion was merely cultural
the cats why did I worry so much about them they could revert to the wild animals their ancestors once were. Our problems might be bit more real?
I was having a bad night, what little sleep I had was punctuated be the almost unnatural darkness, the lack of sound such as over flying airliners - my constant churning brain and endless escalating speculation
The repeated visits to the bathroom using valuable battery life in my torch - and then the undignified nervous peeing into the bucket
it was already starting to smell did we have any chemicals to put into it?
Why what was happeningwhat if?
Somehow I felt our world was falling apart but surely it will be all right in the morning?
Surely these thoughts during the long sleepless night were mere diversions
in the morning the power would surely be restored ?
To be continued
Peter Hunter 2012
If you enjoy suspense try Peter's Time Of the Spider on Kindle or the paper version from Amazon