Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Tuesday, November 26

Last night we sat by the fire for quite a bit after we’d eaten. Martin said Tony had told him more while they were working in the field. I suppose it was easier for him to talk openly without fear of female tears.

Apparently, after about three weeks of hiding in the house, Brad and Flynn went out one night to see if they could siphon fuel from abandoned cars into old water bottles. Most vehicles had already been drained, but they had some success and were returning when they were confronted by a couple of thugs in a truck, who wanted to know what they were carrying. The boys split up and ran for it then zigzagged back to the house, once they were sure they’d thrown off their pursuers. A day or so later, they tried again and for several nights after that as well, slowly managing to gather enough fuel to make the journey home. Every time they went out, the family was terrified they would not return. But each night they came back with a little more fuel, breathless, sometimes shaken and sometimes bruised.

It was clearly very dangerous out there and eventually they all decided they shouldn’t wait any longer. Some houses down the road were on fire, dogs were roaming the streets and menacing cars of men drove through from time to time. They left in the early hours of the morning, hoping not to meet anyone, but as they came up to Tolworth on the A3, they had to slow down because a wrecked car half blocked the road. As they edged past, a couple of men with iron bars leapt onto the car and smashed the windows. But Tony accelerated and they escaped.

I told Martin I think we’ve got off very lightly. So far it’s been inconvenient, but our lives have not been threatened. But Martin said we should all be on our guard, because if the towns and cities cannot sustain life then the strongest will gradually move out. I know I shouldn’t think this, because it must be terrible trying to survive without the resources we are lucky to have here, but I imagined a slowly creeping horde of locusts coming ever nearer. And my hens only laid two brown eggs today.

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About Suzanne Goldring

Suzanne Goldring writes the kind of novels she likes to read, about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. Two of her novels have been placed in the Winchester Writers' Conference First Three Pages of a Novel competition. She is currently working on a novel set in Corfu and her blog is a diary, set in real time, called Powerless, The Year the Lights Went Out.

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