the dimming of the light (Part 21)
but depression again spread seeping like water across a flooding water-meadow over our tiny community
apart from Alice and I, all the other three before the electricity failed
all had family and friends who they cared much about
only my wife Alice and I, had no surviving relatives or few people we would term friends enough, to really worry about
Both Chris and Sharon had people they were concerned about but in all cases they lived too far away to contemplate any attempt to visit them always assuming the Colonel would lend them the Range Rover - their own vehicle having only a gallon or so of petrol left
but the visibly upset Colonel - was desperately, desperately concerned about his two sons - both of them officers in the army but serving at different bases
so worried in fact that a few days ago, he had filled his Range Rover brim-full from his large domestic heating tank and planned to head north to the first son's barracks then, after a moment's thought he fetched his twelve-bore shotgun from his house stowed it in the back of his four-wheel drive and covered it with a blanket
he felt better for that
'I travelled about fifteen miles without seeing anyone Then I encountered three men on the road - one of them carrying a shotgun' he said. 'They gestured for me to stop which I of course did no arguing with a man with a shotgun in his hand'
'Where are you from?' asked the armed guy who appeared to be the leader.
'I answered him' said our colonel, 'and addedI haven't seen anyone not a living soul That was the end of the pleasantries'
'You can not pass here without giving us food or some other tribute.' Demanded the man levelling the gun.
'I judged that I had store my twelve-bore too far back for me to reach it and he was already pointing his weapon at me so I offered him the jerry-can of domestic heating oil I had put into the rear as my back-up supply
I would not have had enough range for my journey without it
then immediately turned around and came back here.
A bit 'wimpish' perhaps - but retreat being the better part of valour I had no food, nothing more to offer and I realised that another two hundred and fifty or so miles would not be possible if this was the way it was going to be'
The rest of us contemplated this tale for a few minutes then; 'I think we are trapped.' Said Chris 'best to stay here, 'more safety in the five of us sticking together and we have some supplies and we can get animals and fish.
It did not soothe the pain the other three were feeling for their friends and relatives - something we would have to learn to live with was the realisation that many who meant something to us were ether already dead or in the process of dying
and most probably we would never again see or hear from them even if the power suddenly returned, life would never be the same again I opened the very last bottle of wine I still possessed, a Chilean Merlot and filled all five glasses.
We had to learn to be ruthless and selfish
it was reassuring that we had weapons
(To be continued)
Peter Hunter 2012
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