“Dad had us stock enough food and water for a year. I’ve only been down here for a bit over nine months. Power gems have replaced electricity about two years ago so things are still able to work.” He dropped his head in his hands. “Yeah, I’m sorry. I keep saying the obvious; don’t I?
TV and radio died within a week of the missile launch. I think the internet is automated. Web sites stay up, unmanned. I was able to chat with other survivors for a while. One by one, they stopped chatting with me on my laptop.”
He sighed, taking on a mournful look.
“There was only one left. Chloe started making less and less sense the last few weeks. I think she was scared of being alone. It’s not as if I could go up and keep her company either. She lives in Queensland.”
He started to sniff, his eyes growing watery.
“Her mind’s broken. She kept going on about monsters going to eat her. There’s no point chatting to her anymore.”
He vehemently wiped his tears away on his sleeve and took on a braver face.
“I’ve been down here long enough, so this morning, I’ve made a decision. I’m going to go up top and see what’s left of the world.”
Lisa tensed, afraid of what he’d find.
“I don’t know how a missile strike works. I might not be safe to go up there yet. If it is, OK, but if it isn’t, then it looks like this is going to be my last recording.”
Brad smiled and shrugged.
“Ah well; something’s got to kill you.”
His hand covered the top of the projection. The scene disappeared, replaced a moment later by the interior of the bunker. It seemed Brad now wore the goggles. Lisa’s view elevated from the coffee table as he stood.
“Come on, Ben.” he said, beyond Lisa’s view.
The room swayed with his turning. Ben ran ahead of him up the narrow stairs leading to a wheel lock door, similar to those of submarines from the 1900’s. Brad set his hands to the wheel and turned. It hissed with the release of its seal. He pushed the door open, revealing the wooden floor of a residential hallway. Lisa followed Brad’s progress as if looking through his eyes as he moved up the hallway. She caught a glimpse of his fingers pressed against the door at the end of the corridor. It creaked open as he moved inside the lounge room.
Sunlight bathed the leather lounges and large glass cabinet on one side of the room. Lisa’s view slowly revolved, taking in every aspect of the room.
What’s he doing?
It suddenly occurred to her, how quiet the house seemed. She couldn’t hear a vehicle on the street, a dog bark, or even birds.
Brad stopped in front of the glass cabinet. Lisa watched his reflection; his lips quivering beneath the goggles. Brad’s father wouldn’t come through the front door after work anymore. His mother would no longer hug him when he came home from school. Never again would he share in the warmth of his family’s love for another Christmas.