The Plummet

I wouldn’t call Francine my wife, though we’ve been together since the first winter. After the Plummet, people stopped believing in God, myself included. She didn’t speak a whole lot of English, and I didn’t speak a whole lot of… whatever she speaks, but when it’s cold, you don’t need words.

We were told by some young couple a few months back that there was an enclave of people in the South, trying to rebuild. From Alaska, or what used to be Alaska, the South might as well be the other side of the world. Judging by the increasing number of cropland, and wild corn, I’d say we were somewhere in Idaho. I keep doing that. There aren’t borders any more.

I rolled over in our tent, the moon poking my eyelids open. Francine was gone, which I supposed wasn’t wholly out of the ordinary. Still, with Marauders sweeping across the nation, one can’t be too concerned. I sat up, rubbed the dirt from my face, and shuffled outside the tent.

Spring. The night was pitch-black, pure, breezy, and dark enough for a light to pierce straight through it. Artificial light. If I could see it, then anyone else within a 15 mile radius could see it too.

I ran.

I ran hard, stepping over mounds of dirt, rotting corn husks, slapping aside hardy corn stalks, making my palms bleed. I could hear the wind picking up, the Spring chill cutting into my eyes and causing them to water.

As I got closer, I could see the light was shining through the top of a barn. Why didn’t we see this when set up camp? How did Francine find this at night?

I reached the doors of the barn and threw them open as hard as I could.

Francine was sitting in the middle of the barn, “I want to make sure,” she said, a doll in her hands, her hands combing through her hair.

I was out of breath. “Make… sure?”

“I had to see if this was the place.”

“What the hell are you talking about? You could get us killed out here!” I rushed over to her.

“My best friend, Daisy, lived on a farm like this one. She said the world would end.”

I scratched my head. “What?”

“I’ve brought you here.” She motioned to a door, uncovered, in the middle of the floor. I walked over to the door and peered down. Gallons of water reflected the light above me. I could see cans of food, petrol, dried goods, and a body, perfectly preserved. “This is our place now.”

“Our place?”

“Look around you, Phil. The world is over. It’s time to rebuild. And, we can do it here.”

Then, I heard it, the sound I’ve only heard once before. The slow rumble of a muffler, the wolf howls and yips. My heart skipped a beat, “Down. Go Down.”

Francine’s eyes grew wide.

“Now!” I shouted and turned off the light.

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