The two months went by agonizingly slow. Trina spent the time mostly dreaming up new stories, sleeping, and she had thoroughly explored the root cellar finding 17 jars of canned goods that her mom had canned a year before she had died. There were four jars of green beans, five of pickles –bread and butter flavor, two of corn, three with tomatoes, and the last three had peaches in them. The seals were still intact so she ate them. Although she was careful to eat just a little of each first in case the food was bad; but she didn’t get sick off of them.
Each time she went out to get water she would spend about ten minutes exploring the basement as the bucket filled with water. It took a long time since there was no pressure, but she remember how her dad said something once about the actual well was up hill from the house and that this part of the well was something or another….she couldn’t remember exactly what he said let alone when he meant. She had found more batteries for the flashlights and even a small AM radio that still had good batteries in it. The drawer she found it in had more batteries for that also. So she spent time listening for any sounds on the radio. She didn’t hear any stations but figured it was because she was below ground.
She tried real hard to keep track of the days but she found she was sleeping more and more and sometimes the clock would wind down and she was never sure just how long it had been since it stopped. So she would simply just wind it back up and go from the stopped time. She found herself talking more and more out loud to herself and was alternately grateful and upset that she had no dog or anyone for company. She even began to do some simple exercises each day, mostly sit ups and stretches just to pass the time. She felt like she was slowly going crazy is because of the constant dark and silence. Then one day, she realized that she was getting use to them and that worried her even more.
When her calendar was marked with two months, she ventured up the stairs to the kitchen. She had been out of food for almost three days and had been drinking a lot of water to feel full. She was weak and could tell she had lost quite a bit of weight but it wasn’t as bad as she had feared.
The tape came off the door easily and Trina came back into a dark house. It was night which was weird to her since she thought it was 9 AM. “Well, I did miss winding the clock a few times so that must be it” she thought. “Let’s see if there is any activity going on in town” and she headed to the front door. Everything looked fine in the house. It was all still locked up tight. Opening the front slightly, she peeked out of the crack and sniffed. “Everything smells ok, not that I know what radiation smells like”. She opened the door just enough to slip out on the porch in the shadows. Looking around, most everything seemed normal except for lack of lights. Trina didn’t hear any sounds except the breeze that was moving through the trees. The moon was full and bright and hurt her eyes. The warm air seemed a bit too warm for June. (It actually was not June but mid July, Trina had stayed in the root cellar for almost 3 months)
Trina decided to go back in and sleep in her bed. She tried the shower in the bathroom first but the water just came out slowly. She put the plug in the drain and let the water run. It would be a cool bath but it would be a bath! She took her bath by the moon light coming in the windows and then fell into a deep sleep in her bed.
The next morning the sunlight woke Trina up and she stretched while still in bed.
Pain shot through her stomach and reminded her that she was hungry. Her eyes still had trouble with the bright light so she fumbled in her drawers in her night stand and came up with some clip on shades for her glasses.
“Well, I guess I’m going to have to go out and see if I can find any food. And people!”
Twenty minutes later, Trina was locking up her front door from the outside and setting out into the neighborhood. She had her comfy sneakers on and an empty back pack on her back. She was already warm in her now fairly loose jeans and a T shirt that was now also loose on her but she thought that they would provide some protection. She had been able to keep her jeans on with an old belt.
It was to the neighbor’s houses that she went to first. Banging on the front door, she hollered loudly “Mr. Granville? Mrs. Granville? Anyone here?” She then tried the door handle but it was locked. All the doors were locked and no one answered her calls. The second house was also locked up tight and no one answered her calls. Then she got to the last house on the road. Here she found the back door unlocked and she tentatively went inside as she called for the owner.
“Miss Rose, are you home? It’s me, Trina. Hello?” She called as she made her way into the kitchen. There was no answer. Trina made her way through the house and found Miss Rose dead in the hallway as if she simply fell on her way to her bedroom. She had been dead for a long time. Trina was glad she had an empty stomach. She wondered if the pacemaker that Miss Rose had malfunctioned.
Miss Rose had lived alone and Trina felt bad about raiding her cupboards but not so bad that she didn’t take all she could fit in her back pack. She didn’t open the refrigerator but did look through all the cupboards in the kitchen and set all the food on the counters. And she cried through the whole thing. It ended up being about a dozen trips and after the second one; Trina found the garden cart in the shed in her backyard and used that to move things to her home. She emptied Miss Rose’s house of all the food, paper products, and anything else she thought she might need.
It was when she saw Miss Rose that the gravity of the situation hit her. No electric for over two months and no one had come and found Miss Rose. These two things really made Trina stop and think that she might now be entirely on her own. She began to realize that the government would have already sent help, if there had been any help to send.
When she made the last trip, she locked up Miss Roses house and went home feeling really sad. Her first thought was to turn to junk food but there was no junk food to be had, so she ate a jar of peaches that she had taken from Miss Roses home. She was only able to eat about ¼ of it since her stomach had shrunk so much. At least she was no longer hungry.