The past year….was hard, to put it simply. Too simply. Filled with anger, hatred, and death. So much death and not just from the disease that tore through town like an Egyptian cuse. We had been happy a year ago. A nice family in a nice neighborhood. Now going outside without at least three knives, a pistol and a mask over my face was unthinkable.
“Jake are you coming down? I made breakfast of sort. Man we really need groceries. Glad mom went to the store.”
Jake froze. Slowly he slid his now favorite daggar itno the shealth on his right leg. Nothing about Cindy’s voice made sense.
“Cin?” Jake called cautiously as he made his way down tthe hall to the kitchen. Over the past year little inside the house had changed – outside the home was chaos. Jake actually hated it. He hated that the house was a constant reminder of before….Cin however was loathe to change it and Jake would never deny his little sister what little comfort she could find.
In the kitchen Cin was toasting bread on the stove. He wondered what she was making without butter or eggs or even milk. Such things ceased to be available months ago. Jake had treid to keep a chicken from the Robert’s farm after they died but it ended up just attracting too much attention so they ate it.
“Cin? What are you making?” Jake asked still walking cautiously as he entered the room.
“Toasted peanut butter and jelly . But we don’t have any butter so it might be a bit dry. I’ve never seen the fridge so empty.”
Jakes hand went to his daggar. The short raggedy cut blonde bob definitely looked like his sister. The clothes were hers but the couldn’t remember the last time she had picked to wear a skirt over pants But his sister had definitely seen the fridge so empty- she had seen it everyday for months. There wasn’t even power going to it anymore. Didn’t she notice it wasn’t cold? He was actually surprised there was even gas to light the stove.
“Cin…what is….is that you?”
She turned around and cocked her head to the side.
“Of course? You think someone would break in just to make you breakfast?”
She smiled and handed him a plate. On it was a sandwich loaded down with peanut butter.
“I thought we were rationing the peanut butter? We don’t know when a supply truck is coming.”
Cindy took a plate herself and sat down at the table.
“Supply truck? Is that what you’re calling mom these days? Yikes. Her note says she’ll be back soon. I think we’ll survive until then,”
Jake looked at the fridge. The note was still there. Their mom had left to get groceries 11 months ago – before things got bad- back when groceries stores were still open. She never made it home.
“Cin are you feeling okay? You know mom’s been dead for almost a year now. It was a car accident remember?”
At least they thought itw as ast the time and police said she had slipped on the black ice. But as news of just how bad things had already gotten in the poorer districts were the virus had first spread – Jake wondered if she had been run off the road for the food in her car. After all it was missing when they found her, but maybe the police had simply helped themselves.
“Jake! What a terrible thing to say! Why would you wish such a a thing on mom especially after she was up half the night working out how we’ll manage paying for your state tuition next year.”
“I already told mom I would manage – ” He stopped himself. School was cancelled at all levels, his graduation and acceptance to state on permanent deferral. “Cin that was a year ago. Neither of us have been to school for ten months. I never graduated.”
Cindy put down her sandwich and looked at him for a long moment. Jake’s mind was running in circles. Had she just decided the past year didn’t happen? He couldn’t blame her. He’d like to forget it too – but it wasn’t possible.
“Jake is the stress getting to you? Do you want to call Dr. Ventril and talk about it? Maybe the anxiety over heading off to college is getting to you.”
“He’s dead too Cin! The virus wiped out most of the town. There’s hardly anyone left there’s no where to go that’s any better. We’re stuk all we can do is survive until they find a cure and maybe we can go to school and have stores again.”
There was no hope for them really. There were safe havens for those who hadn’t been exposed to the virus and who’s blood tested clean. Jake and Cin had not been so lucky. While not showing symptoms they had been determined to be carriers.
“Jake I don’t know what game you are playing but it’s quite morbid and I don’t like it.”