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Monday, 28 February 2011


That night, we're exhausted. We do nothing but make up a couple of beds in the living room, eat a quick meal from our supplies and fall asleep. It's the quietest, easiest night we've had in a very long time.

The next morning the work begins. We clear out the bedroom where the corpses were, throw out the sheets and bedding and air out the room. Then we clear out all the rotten food from the kitchen and clean and dust the rest of the house. I refill our bottles from the water tank and--after almost an hour--give up trying to capture the chickens and instead hunt around and find all the hidden little places in the sheds and shacks where they lay their eggs. Lisa finds a small vegetable garden at the back of the house, and we clear that up and put the rows of beans and rhubarb and lettuce back in good order. I set down a couple of mouse and rat traps I found in one of the sheds, make sure the chimney is clear, fix padlocks on the front and back doors, bring in firewood and a hundred other small tasks to make the place liveable.

Finally, when we're done, it's beginning to get dark. We draw the curtains and light a small fire, and over it cook a meal of rice and beans. It's the first hot food we've had since we left the city, and it couldn't possibly taste better.

"It feels good here," says Lisa. "Safe, you know? Like a home."

I nod agreement and then, since I've been waiting to all day, I ask her: "How come you know the Lord's Prayer?"

"Oh," Lisa smiles shyly. "It's not the most appropriate thing for a funeral, I know, but it's all I could think of. My uncle taught it to me when I was a girl. I was never very interested but...well, right then it felt kind of right." She frowns at the floor, as if thinking hard. "I think maybe it's good to have things like that, now. Things from before. Because if we don't keep those words alive, nobody will, you know?"

"I know what you mean," I say. And then I say, "I was thinking about Sharon. While we were out there."

"I was thinking about Luke," she says. She laughs sadly. "Perhaps that's rude, to be thinking about someone else at a stranger's funeral."

"It's not," I say. "There're so many people out there who never had a funeral. We did the best we could for them."

"We did. My uncle used to say that funerals were for the living."

"Well then, we've had ours now. We've had our funeral, and we've got to keep going."

"I know," she says.

We move closer to the fire as it dies, savouring the feel of warmth. Savouring the fullness of our stomachs, the safeness of our house. Something like happiness, maybe, though it's different from any happiness I've ever known. I put an arm around Lisa's shoulders and she lays her head against me and we sit like that for a long time, drifting towards sleep.

Eventually Lisa stirs. "David?" she says. Her voice sounds small in the dark.


"There's something you should know." The hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

"Tell me," I say.

The longest pause of my life, and then Lisa speaks. "I'm six months pregnant," she says.


Gottfried said...

Wow, it sure never gets boring! Won't you give them even a little brake? ;)

Kitt Moss said...

I like to keep them on their toes :P Thanks for reading!

leroy miles said...

Man I love children, but now would be a real bad time to bring one into the world. Good thing for them they are in a well stocked semi-safe location. Maybe the baby will have a chance to survive.

Unknown said...

Got to admit, of all the things wasn't expecting that one.