... The Dimming of the Light... (Part 11)

by Peter Hunter

the dimming of the light (Part 11)

Peter Hunter

Day 10

  but things were no all doom and gloom

  Despite the ill omens - the threatening gang of youngsters barring the council Chairman's attempt to ferry the dying old lady to the District Hospital - despite the Colonel's recollections of the violence he'd watched grow in other parts of the world

  there were still some signs of goodness and humanity to be seen starting perhaps here in our little village

  not every one was bad

Impatient whilst waiting for the Colonel to rig up the aerial and bring his old two-way long range radio back to work- Chris and I had again attended the daily meeting now held inside the village hall.

There we listened fascinated to an extraordinary tale It seems that a girl in the village had two days ago given birth to an illegitimate baby not an unusual event in an area where we used to joke that the last vehicle in a marriage procession was an ambulance

  in case the bride went into labour during the wedding ceremony

However, perhaps to the lack of medical facilities, mid-wifery help, or even hot water the child died within hours of being born because of the crisis we were all suffering - her grandfather was sharing the parental house in the now prevailing 'huddling together' of families or groups to share resources, such as food, light and heat

The grandfather - old, frail and in indifferent health was fading fast possibly due to under nourishment and lack of medication. His family thought he would benefit from some easily digested food such a as milk

  but the only milk available in the village was from a woman who kept two goats and she was not interested in parting with even the smallest amount the area not being one with any dairy farming.

Perhaps from a combination of grief, sorrow, family loyalty or some new social instinct

  maybe even a resurrection of some very ancient, prehistoric urge - the sixteen year old girl, her breasts heavy and aching with maternal generosity had offered her nipples to the old man, her blood grandfather and let him feed

Shades of John Steinbeck I thought a rerun of The Grapes of Wrath not California in the Great Depression but England 2013 in a winter of darkness as we all slowly died

  but it made sense some sort of sense in a world that had no longer any sense

  but still it gave the villagers something to gossip aboutan insane story in an insane world

Irreverently I wondered if one might class it as a variant of incest and I wondered whether, in these fifteen hour nights that this historically local vice might now increase again amongst families huddled together against the cold and primitive darkness

Impatient with waiting for the Colonel to get results, if any -

* * *from his radio venture I decided to check on my archery equipment, which I had not used for years. Every thing was in good order, including the arrows and accessories such as the leather bracer to protect my left forearm from the impact of the bowstring.

Aware of my lack of recent practice I decided to rectify the situation and with Chris's help I manoeuvred an old straw bale into a position by the lake where I could use it as a target

  particularly - as its size equated to that of a deer

Like 'riding a bike' the skill soon returned. The only problem was my age my lack of strength in consistently drawing the powerful hunting bow back to its most effective arrow length of twenty eight inches

  but it soon returned to me and I was sending the shafts into the straw bale at the useful distance of fifty or sixty yards

  and before I tired I shot several 'broad head' hunting arrows into my target

I now felt equipped to supplement our fish diet with meat we wanted to preserve tinned food and not use to too quickly. The warmer weather was rapidly spoiling the remainder of the stuff from the useless freezer and the dried packaged food was limited

  soon I would have to hunt and whereas my high powered air rifle was fine for up to rabbit or hare sized animals - and birds including swans

  I would need at least my shotgun for deer unless I could hit one close range with an arrow from my powerful hunting bow

  as my instincts said that I might need to keep those precious shotgun cartridges for defence

  thus passed an afternoon waiting for the Colonel and his radio

(To be continued)

Peter Hunter 2012

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