Tomorrow Light #1
A lantern light from deep in the barn shone on a man and woman in the door. I shrunk deep as I could into the shadows. I couldn’t hear everything they were saying because of the wind. Then the wind let up and their words were carried through the night mist.
“Think its late enough?” The woman asked.
“Hope so, we have to chance it anyway.” The man pulled a key from his pocket and they moved deeper into the barn. The woman had a broom and swept straw from a place on the floor. She helped the man lift a piece of plywood that had been covered with the straw and together they set it aside. He knelt down and did something outside of my vision. They pulled something and a part of the floor came up. There was a trapdoor in the barn!
They both disappeared into the hole. Now what? Do I get closer? What if they catch me? Since the “New United States” had been formed people were suspicious of everyone. There were whispers of people snooping around and next thing you know, nobody is speaking about them and everything about them is just gone.
You never heard about them on the news. No sir. All the news has to say is that things are getting better everywhere since the new president. They say poverty is being eradicated, whatever that means. Seems to me that everyone I know is poor. Maybe that’s what they mean. No one is any poorer than anyone else.
Ain’t no insurance anymore either. The government news talks about medical care for all but it don’t mention nothing about having to wait so long to see a doctor that you die of old age if whatever you got don’t kill you.
I should know. That’s what landed me here in the first place. Pa got a cough that just kept getting worse and by the time he got to see a doc it was too late. Guess he knew all along because he taught me stuff about taking care of myself. I grew up in the country so I knew a lot of stuff already. Ma died when I was little so it had been me and him long as I could remember so I knew how to cook and do chores. Knew a little first aid. He showed me plants you could eat in the woods, and stuff you could use for medicine.
He’s been gone two weeks and I found this farm a few days ago. I’ve been hiding at night in the woods behind and slipping up just before dawn and stealing a little from the garden. They have fresh tomatoes, I haven’t had anything so good in awhile. Tonight I had been heading to my hiding spot when I heard the man and woman talking and eased back up closer to see what I could find out. He spoke nice to her and she smiled at him a lot.
I crawl closer til I’m just outside the door. I can hear muffled voices coming from under the floor. I’m sweating and shaking but I can’t stand not knowing. I get closer and closer trying to be silent.
I am right there now and peep over the edge. I bite my lip so no sound comes out. There in that hole is a computer. My pa told me about them. Everyone used to have one and they could read stuff and talk to each other. I always wanted to see a real one but the government had shut down the internet for regular folks. Only people that had it now were government or a group of folks the government called Downloaders. They hunted them and rounded them up. Sometimes there would be a news story about them and according to the news, they were the root of everything wrong these days. Sucking up all the fossil fuel and something they called bandwidth. They were accused of stirring up trouble and they would be taken for relocation and rehabilitation. Pa would always snort and say “Never thought the country would come to this.” Then he’d turn off the tv and refuse to watch it for days.
Sometimes when we were fishing he would talk about the old days. He never talked about ma though. I guess it still made him sad. I’m laying here just thinking and watching and the man and woman are huddled together in front of the screen. I can’t see it but there must be someone there because a voice is coming from speakers next to it.
“Good to see you, Tom. Hasn’t been much news from the south lately. Looks like you’re almost completely cut off.” The voice said.
“We’re having to be more careful. There’s been a lot of New United States Army trucks on the roads lately. No one is saying much and we’re all staying off the roads. Don’t want to attract their notice when we have no idea what they are up to. ” The man said.
“How’s Lani and the boys?” The woman asked.
“Doing ok, Glenna. Thanks for asking.” The voice said. “Our littlest has a cough, but now that spring is here he seems better. Lani misses you”
“Glad to hear they are ok. You give them my love, Wes.” The woman named Glenna told him.
“What about you and Tom?” He asked. “You holding up ok? How’s the garden?”
“Wish we could send you some fresh vegetables.” John told him. “Glenna canned some vegetable soup for next winter.”
“Lani would love that. She craves salad and she always loved Glenna’s cooking. She worries the boys aren’t getting enough healthy food but no one is these days. You stay safe and try to get word to us if you learn anymore about those N.U.S.A. trucks.”
“Will do,” John said. “Same to you and Lani and the boys.”
The screen glow changed colors so voice man must be gone. Time for me to move. I start to inch back and a loose piece of straw falls and lands next to the keyboard. The man was shutting the thing down and he and Glenna both looked up at the same time. Forget being sneaky. I jumped up and ran for it but I guess all the sleeping in the woods and eating stolen scraps hadn’t done me any favors, because fast as I was, the man was much faster. I was almost to the edge of the circle of light outside the barn when he grabbed hold of a fistful of my shirt and backpack and I went down.
I wasn’t taking any chances on how nice they were. I came up kicking and scratching and he just wrapped huge arms around me and lifted me all the way off the ground. I still fought but there wasn’t much I could do. I didn’t yell. because who was going to come? No help that’s for sure. I f anyone did come they might be worse than what I had gotten myself into with these two.
I kicked out and he let out a little yelp of pain and backed into the barn door. Soon as we were inside, Glenna shut the door and stood in front of it holding the broom like a weapon. “Don’t try it.” She said, shaking her head. My escape cut off, I settled down. Guess I was going to have to play like I was scared (which wasn’t to hard to do) and watch for my moment.
“Why Tom – it’s a little girl! What are we going to do now?”
He asked me if I was going to be quiet and not try to run. Said he would let me loose if I promised. I nodded my head and he turned loose of me. I dashed off a few feet, rubbing my arms where he had nearly squashed me. I stood there looking at them with my arms crossed.
The man asked me “What’s your name?”
“Where’d you come from?” Silence.
I just stared at him. What difference did my name make? The woman was looking at me, eyes all full of pity. I knew I had lost weight and I needed a bath.
“Tom, she looks like she’s starving. We have to feed her” She said softly. Tom frowned and sighed. “Let’s get you in the house and I’ll draw some bath water. You’re covered in mosquito bites and if you don’t get clean you’ll get an infection and I don’t want some dead kid on my conscience.” The thought of food and a bath! I can always take off later. I nodded and said thanks. Glenna opened the door and the man kept his hand on me like I might take off if he turned loose and I followed them inside.
A look passed between them and I couldn’t tell what they were thinking. Tom had a helpless look on his face and Glenna was smiling at him like she had just gotten a present. Maybe they aren’t so bad and they DO have a computer.
Cassie and Kell are telling me their new story right now – they will be back soon 🙂