Category Archives: Tomorrow Light

Post Five Hundred

Carry On Tuesday #8 on a Thursday and Sunday Scribbling #171 Indulgence

I re-worked this a bit.  One paragraph had the word listen in it six times – that’s what happens when I write late at night 🙂

This is my FIVE HUNDREDTH post.  I have lived here in the blogosphere since March 2006.  That’s  40 months, or 160 weeks, or 1120 days, or approximately a post every other day.  Who knew I had that much to say.

This little place has changed since the beginning.  I’ve had several themes (getting bored with this one so a change is imminent) , and the focus has changed depending on where my eyes happened to be pointing at the moment.  I’ve written about my opinions on whatever.  Thought out loud, which can be a bit dangerous!  There were the dark times when Dale was so sick and I poured it all out here and held on by my fingernails.

I’ve posted little computer notes on things I’ve learned, I’ve talked about my faith, chronicled “The Great Kidney Transplant”, recipes, pictures,  thoughts about books I have read, whatever sparkled and caught my eye – it landed here.  Thanks Tony, for setting up the blog, for encouraging me to write, and for always patiently answering my unending questions.  This one is for you.

Tomorrow Light #2

It’s been a month since I crept up to the barn and saw the computer under the floor.   If it gets weird here, I’m gone. These days things are crazy.  You just never know.    Glenna and Tom had been kind and I help with  chores.  Glenna has been teaching me how to knit and a little cooking.  This week she  started teaching me how to play the piano.

There was  no lesson today though.  The house was clean from top to bottom and I was helping Glenna in the kitchen.  There were people coming and they would be hungry she said.  I thought it was crazy for others to know where we lived but Glenna smiled and said sometimes we have to trust folks or we might be safe but there won’t be much point to being alive.  I’m not sure what I think about that. I saw some pretty bad stuff happen before I came here and I’m not jumping in and trusting anyone.

Tom has been out in the barn all day putting benches out. Some, he built this morning out of logs.  He set up some sawhorses and boards to make a table to set food on.  Glenna says some folks will bring food.  I’ve been chopping and peeling all day.  We are using fresh vegetable out of the garden that won’t keep anyway.  That at least makes sense to me.

Most everything is done and Glenna said I should take a nap.  People won’t get here till after dark.  I’m not a baby for Pete’s sake.  I climb up to the loft just to make her happy.  I like it up here.  There’s a little window to let in some sunlight and a quilt that has reds and yellows in it.  Tom let me have some blocks and boards up here for a shelf, and Glenna gave me some books.  Ain’t. (I mean ‘I haven’t’, Glenna says I need to stop saying ain’t) had books for awhile and when I did they were mostly hunting and fishing books belonging to Pa.  My favorite right now is Jane Eyre.  She is a poor kid staying with rich family and they are mean to her but she has this whole other life going on in her head.  The rich kids are hateful and think they are so much better than her because she doesn’t have money.  I like her a lot more than her stupid cousins.  I laid down with my book and the sun is warm coming  through the little window.  Next thing I know, I’m waking up and the lanterns are lit downstairs.

I climb down the ladder and see Glenna setting out the bowls of food to take to the barn.

“Well hello, sleepyhead!” She says.  I’m glad you got some rest.  Do you want to help me take these out to the barn?”  Before we start loading up the bowls there is a sound at the door.

Is there anybody there?” said the traveler, knocking on the moonlit door.

My heart’s pounding and I am ready to run out the back but Glenna smiles and says “I’d recognize that voice anywhere!”  She opens the door and hugs the stranger as he steps inside.  “Come in Tony. It’s been too long!”

He has dark shoulder length hair, pulled back in a pony tail and he’s carrying a guitar case.  Glenna had told me he came when they gathered and he would play his guitar and sing. Tthe music was important.  “Hi there.” He said to me, smiling.  He had a kind smile.

“Was your trip hard?” Glenna asked?  He looked a little tired.

“I had to stay off the roads during the day.  North of here there was a group of people on foot that looked like they hadn’t eaten in awhile.  I hid out in the woods until they passed.  They didn’t look friendly.”

Glenna looked concerned. “Which way were they heading?” She asked.

They were on the east road that heads out of town. Soldiers passed in a truck and I didn’t see them any more after that.” He said.

A look passed between them and then they looked at me and got that look grownups get when they remember I’m in the room.

“If you want to clean up a bit, you know where everything is.  We are going to take these to the barn and we’ll be back for more.” Glenna told him.

“Sounds good! I’m hungry and those look like vegetables from your garden.” He said.

“There is plenty. We’ll see you in a minute.” Glenna said as we went out the door towards the barn with bowls and serving spoons.

The barn was transformed! There were lanterns hung around the walls and people were all smiling and hugging and talking at one time.  There were already plates and bowls on the makeshift table.  People took the bowls from us and put them on the table and there were kids giggling up in the hayloft. They were all hugging and greeting each other.  Finally we headed back to the house for the rest of the food.

“Do you remember everything I told you about tonight?” she asked me.

I nodded.  She had told me that we didn’t ever mention the computer but that tonight was important because we would get a new password.  I had heard about the internet and how before everything changed, anyone could talk to anyone else and pass information back and forth.  Now the N.U.S.A. had control and when people can’t talk to each other, they have no way of knowing if what the government tells them is true. No one says it out loud but everyone knows they lie.  You don’t need a computer to figure that out.

Glenna told me that now they had small groups of people that could only talk to each other and then only if they had the password.  There were a bunch of these ‘darknets’, she called them and each group could only talk to the people in their network.  When I asked her how they could connect to each other she smiled and called me ‘one smart cookie’.  She said before the world lost it’s mind, cables were laid all over the place.  If you had to dig a hole and put one cable in, it wasn’t much extra trouble to put in several cables.  There were thousands of fiber cables that were never used and mostly forgotten. They were being used now.

We went back to the house and got the rest of the food and Tony walked back to the barn with us.  When we set the food on the table, Glenna smiled at Tom and he put his fingers to his mouth and whistled.  Everyone stopped chattering and Tom said a blessing, thanking God for letting everyone get there safe, for providing food, and good friends, and asking Him to keep blessing us.  Everyone said Amen and started filling plates and passing them around.  I got me a plate and found a seat on a box back in a corner so I could watch.

The flickering lantern light threw shadows around the barn and reflected in smiling eyes. Men talked about weather and traveling. Women talked about their kids and food and health as they ate.  Kids finished eating first and ran around the barn or hid behind mothers who fussed at them to settle down It wasn’t mad kind of fussing because they would smile indulgently. I didn’t run with them but it was nice to see them having fun  Kind of made me sad about my own mama.  Silly, how can I miss someone I don’t even remember.

Empty bowls and plates were stacked in a metal washtub for later and Tony pulled out his guitar and started to tune it.  Everyone settled down and got quiet as he strummed a few chords.  He played a few songs that some of the older folks must have known, because they sang along.  They asked him to play one of his own songs. I watched Glenna sit quietly as  he began to play.

He picked out the first chords and I heard the word ‘dark’ and my ears perked up.  Glenna sat quietly with her head leaned toward the music and  as he sang the chorus  the second time through she sang it with him.  She had  explained how  the password would be in the music.  I was just beginning to learn but I knew there were eight notes in an octave.  At some point the lyrics would mention the word  ‘dark” and those who knew what to listen for would memorize the chorus and later transcribe the notes in the chorus as numbers.

Just a group of folks getting together, eating and enjoying some music. No law against that.  Tony played a few  more songs after that as families loaded up and started  home.  I helped Glenna start cleaning up and Tony packed up his guitar.  I was walking next to him going back to the house.  I looked up at him and said “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure” He said.

“How did you figure all this stuff out?” I asked.

He smiled. “Music is just math out loud.” He said.

Glenna asked him if he could stay but he said he had to move on.  There were others to sing for and miles to go. He looked at me and grinned. “I think I’ll be seeing you again.”

I hoped so.  I wanted to learn more.
To go back to the beginning : Part One

Sunday Scribbling Vision and Carry On Tuesday #5

The italicized text in the first sentence is the prompt for Carry On Tuesday. and Sunday Scribbling prompt #168 is Vision

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 🙂