... the dimming of the light... (part 6) | By: Peter Hunter | | Category: Short Story - Dark Bookmark and Share

... the dimming of the light... (part 6)

… the dimming of the light… (Part 6)


Peter Hunter


Day 2 - continued

   … the sudden loud pulsing throb of a military helicopter about a thousand feet above our heads shattered the threatening silence of a day continuing without electricity. At least the royal air force and maybe the army were still operating; their bases no doubt awash with masses of fuel…

   … petrol and avgas which could be used in lace of diesel in vehicles and generators… they would have plenty of both of these …

   plenty to operate their radios, their navigation beacons and their equipment in times of emergency.

   Perhaps… perhaps if this power cut continued they would offer hope to us also… possible rescue, possible relief from the hardship developing around us…if there was not a group, politicians perhaps - or the rich and powerful. Who could…

   … would commandeer such resources for themselves?

   'You are far too cynical…' commented Chris.

   'Too old…' my reply 'seventy-two years cynical…'

   'the Doppler throb of the chopper gradually weakened having orbited the village, it departed towards the west. Silence now returned to our little valley as we slowly and thoughtfully made our way towards the village hall. Still no sign of life, no electric lights through windows - even in the middle of January there would usually be some on…

   … surely power would soon be restored. As we passed the doctor's surgery it looked so deserted, so dead and meaningless I suddenly realised that in a few days time my supply of the medications I relied on would run out… and the surgery was also the local drugs dispensary…

   … and then what… I had no experience of what my conditions would now be without them? Drugs I had taken for the last ten or so years… drugs I was led to believe were vital to my health, my very existence…

   … how quickly would I deteriorate… how quickly might I die… when, if ever would the electricity be restored…

   … would the helicopter be back?

   Would normality ever return…

   What was happening?

   … why?

   As we approached the village hall we could see a small crowd gathered outside… apparently with the chairman of the parish council holding forth. We joined them… eager for an update… eager for gossip, rumour… anything, any information.

   '… and things seemed normal in London and the south east corner,' the words were uttered by someone I did not recognise 'those in charge are hording resources for the ruling classes and most prosperous section of the population'

   A few others seemed ready to accept this information and there was and increasing sound of growing protest. But the council chairman had other views; 'I was there when that driver spoke to you… he had not been as far as London or any of the south east… he'd heard it from another driver. I would not believe the story until I'd seen it for myself…'

   Chris and I listened to all the rumours and every conflicting opinion but we could not get a clear unambiguous picture. The only worthwhile fact we learned was about the village shop; 'they are keen to unload the food from their freezer before it deteriorates… they will take cash or exchange it possibly - a sort of barter deal.'

   'If this thing lasts much longer - we might need the rest of their food - and the bottled drinks… and what's in the cartons too…' suggested Chris.

   'Fine in the short term,' I contributed 'but longer…'

   'Let's meet here again tomorrow…' added the council chairman 'It might be a good idea if we organise something… if the power is not restored…'

   Suddenly - somehow I wished the helicopter would return… something to show hope of an organisation superior to the parish council…

   … any thing…

   Walking home I asked Chris about the sate of our wood store; 'enough to last the winter.' He judged, 'but we will have to split most of the logs - and it will have to be with an axe… no use now for the electric log splitter.'

   'If no one steals them…' I added.

   He is already starting to think that this lack of electricity is going to be permanent… it is becoming a mind-set. I thought.

    So what is our life expectation… lack of food, my drugs… and water we must start to think about safe water…'

   Why does that helicopter not return - what is going on…

… why, why, why…?


(To be continued…)


©  Peter Hunter 2012


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