For Speakeasy #157
Here are the rules:
- Your post must be dated April 13, 2013, or later.
- Submissions must be 750 words or fewer.
- Submissions must be fiction or poetry.
- You must include the following sentence as the FIRST line in your submission: “Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold.”
- You must also include a reference to the media prompt.
Winter seemed reluctant to release is hold. That’s the way it always has been up here in the North East Kingdom. It was always one “Nor’easter” after another, sometimes starting as early as November and sometimes lasting until early May. Snowfalls of 24 inches or more were almost common. People joked that the summer season is July 22nd.
That’s why George had built his below ground home. He made the decision after the 1991 “Perfect Storm” which combined the Nor’easter with a hurricane causing severe damage. In fact it had destroyed his remote cabin. His wife Mary thought it would be an adventure to live underground. She loved being isolated as much as he did. With the population growing more and more each year, they realized that it was only a matter of time before more people started building their homes underground like Hobbits from the Tolkien tale. Mankind started off living in caves, and now we realize that “earth homes” are actually a very eco-friendly way to live. George built his home with the latest leading edge technology for underground green homes. It was a modular construction , manufactured with composites, designed to be covered with earth. And cover it he did. He had no car and therefore no driveway. If you looked from the road that passed by all you would see is a small mound. No one would ever guess that there was a two bedroom home there. Their home was 100% water proof, it was easy and fast to assemble, was highly tornado and earthquake resistant and all with an interior that featured a smooth clean futuristic appearance.
Their underground cave was unique in the fact that it had no windows or doors that were visible . Their escape was through an underground tunnel that led to a “hatch” about 50 yards from their home. When their home was first completed George had stocked it with almost six months of provisions. After the initial stocking he would walk the 3 miles to the little country store twice a month and restock for another couple of months. Their water supply was from a nearby stream where Mary would go with her old plastic containers and fill two of them which would last for about a week. George had also purchased a 5.3 gallon portable toilet (passing up the 2.6 gallon so he would not have to empty it so often) which included a sealing slide value to lock in odor and protect from leaks.
Mary had told George about her pregnancy a few days earlier. They were both ecstatic.
Mary ended her treks about two weeks ago as the child she was bearing began to move and make it very painful for her to walk. When George absorbed her duties it was his only contact with nature except for his twice monthly trip to the country store and emptying the portable toilet.
His home was very quiet from outside noise and safe from tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes. Still on March 16th, despite this insulation, they felt, rather than actually heard a horrific wind that shook their quiet little cave. This shock wave was followed by a tremendous and ominous loud noise. George dismissed the cause as a possible tornado or hurricane because it was only March. The shock waves continued and Mary found herself in labor. George, drawing on his medical training in the Marines, helped with the delivery of a tiny little girl that they immediately named Hope.
After making sure Mary and Hope were comfortable George could not resist walking toward their hatch exit. As he peeked out of his little periscope he saw what look like a huge smoke ring. A very large smoke ring as if God had blown it. He knew better.
Dropping back into his cave he did a quick inventory of his supplies and guessed they would last him, Mary, and Hope for 2 months more or less. He took his flannel shirt off and removed his white tee-shirt. Returning to his escape hatch he stopped and picked up a stray branch. Inserting the branch between both sleeves he made a flag. A flag of surrender. A flag to mark the earth to indicate that there may be life below. If there is anyone left he thought.
Retracing his steps back to the main part of the cave he observed his wife Mary and their little one.
I least we have Hope he thought.
Word Count = 736