I want to make something for Will and Beth. I’ll give it to them when we meet. The Robinson’s are in the same town as Will and Beth. I think they are only a few miles away from each other. They have offered to take Will and Beth in. Dad insists that no one leave their shelter for at least another two weeks and all the families have agreed. The Robinson’s will be the first to open their shelter and go out.
Dad spends a lot of his time on the two way radio talking to the other families and trying to find other survivors. Besides the three families we knew of before, today he found a brother and sister who holed up in a bomb shelter at some school a few towns over. I guess the guy is the same age as David. His name is Will. His sister is 14. Her name is Beth. Even though they are both older than me they don’t know what to do since they have no survival training. They got really lucky with the bomb shelter which already had an old two way radio that still worked. Because they don’t have a lot of supplies they have gone out to look for food and water. Will said that there is fire everywhere. Many of the buildings and homes have burned down. Smoke is in the air and blocks out the sun. I feel really bad for Will and Beth. They don’t have anything but each other.
It’s only been a few weeks and already the close quarters are getting to me. I don’t think I am the only one either. Lily and Courtney seem to be extra sensitive lately. There is nowhere to go to get away from everyone. I miss fresh air. I miss sunshine. I miss . . . everything. There is only so much to do down here. Mom used the shelter as a storage so she has more stuff here than anyone else. Lily at least has her slate to keep her busy. All I have is old board games and a deck of cards. Not that I could even get anyone to play with me. Lily doesn’t want to be bothered, Courtney is taking care of the garden, and Brooke is busy drawing on everything. Mom doesn’t seem to care that Brooke drew on the walls. She actually told me it made the place look better. I tried reading but the books down here are mostly non fiction about people that no longer matter. It’s hard to care about what people did fifty years ago when you don’t know what is even happening to the world outside of the shelter.
I’m so mad at Lily! Crocheting isn’t easy at all. You have to hold your hands just right or the yarn becomes too loose or tight and holding them that way makes the muscles cramp. I’m suppose to be making a potholder but so far all I can do is a bunch of loops in a row. I keep trying to add a second row and it isn’t working. I don’t know how mom and Lily do it. Even Courtney can crochet. I guess I was doing other stuff with David while they were all inside learning to sew and crochet. I really wish I could be doing stuff outside again. It’s only because I am stuck down here that I have to learn this stuff anyway. I don’t even know what good a potholder can possible do anyone at this point. We don’t even have pots anymore. Most of our meals are not even cooked. When they are cooked, mom or Lily use the camp stove and cook in a cast iron skillet.
I was so proud of myself when my mom agreed that I could learn to crochet. I asked at dinner last night. So today I woke up ready to put away my needle and thread only to find out I had been tricked. Now I have to sew and learn crochet. I blame Lily!
My fingers hurt from poking them with the needle. Lily said I will get better and won’t poke myself as much. She is crocheting scarfs and hats for everyone. Crocheting looks so much easier than sewing. I was thinking I would ask if I could learn to crochet instead of sewing. Then my fingers wouldn’t be as sore. Plus, I could make all the stuff crocheting I could make sewing. I will be sure to point out to my mom that if I knew how to crochet i could make a blanket, clothes, and dolls.
I hate class! I thought we would be learning history or geography. Nope. My mom is making me learn to sew. Sewing takes forever and you have to be so careful that your stitches aren’t to big. My stitches were too big. My mom pulled them out and made me redo them six times. Who would have thought making a handkerchief could be so hard. I don’t know why I need to know how to sew anyway. My mom says it’s a good skill to have. She said once I learn to sew I can make lots of things. Then she pointed to the quilt I sleep under and said that it was handmade by her mother. She pointed to the clothes I’m wearing and said she made my shirt. She pointed to Brooks favorite doll and said Lily made it. It’s not that I don’t think lots of things can be made from sewing, I just don’t see why I have to know how to do it. My mom didn’t agree with me.
My mom was out of bed before everyone else this morning. She made breakfast for us like she used to. We even ate as a family. Then she announced that we would be having class today. Any other time I would have been disappointed, but not today. If mom was going to teach class today she must be feeling better. It would be nice to have a routine again. My entire life had been routine, even stuff like E.D.D’s were routine for our family. Routine meant normalcy. This past week had been anything but normal.
Brooke won’t stop asking when we can go back home. I don’t think her three year old mind can understand that our home may not even be there anymore. I am still trying to understand what happened. No one seems to know. All the talk on the two way radio only proves that everyone is as clueless as we are. So far we know of three other families that survived. We knew all of them before. They were families like ours that planned for the day something bad would happen. Although my dad hadn’t said when we would be leaving the shelter I knew we would be here for at least a month. No more than a year because there was only a year supply of food in the shelter. I know because David and I had stocked a year supply of food down here a few months ago. I miss David. It would be so different if David were here. As it is my mom seems to be in a world by herself where she wanders around mumbling to herself and crying. Last night there was a noise at the door and she ran over calling out to David. She tried to open the door. My dad pulled her back before she could unseal it. They fought. The shelter is so small everyone, but Brooke who was sleeping, heard their fight. We all pretended we didn’t. My dad told my mom David was dead. By trying to open the door she was endangering the rest of us. He told her she needed to accept that David was gone. She had four other kids to think about that all needed her to be strong right now. She hasn’t gotten out of bed today. Day Zero
It was early morning when the collapse happened. The sun hadn’t come up yet. I should have been sleeping in my bed in the room I shared with my older brother David. Instead, my mom had barged into our room and blown the fog horn. Everyone in our house knew what the fog horn meant. Emergency Disaster Drill. E.D.D. My parents ran E.D.D’s at least twice a month and timed how long it took us to get from the house into the underground shelter they had designed and built after David was born. David was 17 years old. An E.D.D. could happen anytime, day or night. It was to test how prepared we were for a disaster. What disaster I didn’t know but my parents made sure our family would be survivors. David was convinced our parents were crazy. He was just waiting until his 18th birthday when he could leave. David was still in bed when I grabbed my emergency pack and ran out the bedroom door. My dad was waiting by the door