by Michael Morgan
All rights reserved
Authors Note: The Kirbybrook Siege is part of the “Yojimbo” series of short stories and novels. I will be posting future installments as time permits and based on reader feedback, so please leave some comments.
— 1 —
“Still watching those guys making out in the park?” Bill’s sudden words jerked Adam out of his reverie. He turned away from the window, feeling guilty, but not sure why.
“Huh?! No, I… just lost in thought,” Adam finished lamely in the face of Bill’s grin.
“Not like I can blame you,” Bill said. His grin vanished, “They’re about to take the phone’s offline, so they are letting everyone go home.”
Adam glanced at his dark monitors, and shrugged, “Curse of the modern age. No power, no work.”
“Now the bad news,” Bill scratched his nose. “The generators are running out of fuel, so they’re shutting down everything. A/C, elevators, all of it. The last elevator rides are reserved for those on the ADA list. You get to walk down. Sorry, man.”
“Seventeen floors of stairs,” Adam thought. “At least it’s not a damned fire drill.” He stood up, and grabbed his hat. The cowboy hat had appeared after his hair finally committed suicide. Now it was like a part of him. “Come in tomorrow, or wait for someone to call after power is back on?”
Bill shrugged, “Wish I knew. Cell service is out. My phone is working, but I can’t get any service. Just be ready to get back to work when you get the word. Take care going home.”
“You too,” Adam watched Bill lurch down the hall. His arthritic knees bought him a ride down the elevator today, but watching him tough his way through the pain every day, did not make Adam envious. “Just have to hope the car starts,” he thought as he tapped his pocket to make sure his keys were there. Walking back up seventeen floors would be a bitch.
— 2 —
“Crap!” The garage door refused to open when Adam clicked the remote. Twenty-four miles between the office and home, and it had taken three and a half hours. Every traffic light was blinking red. Between boiling road-ragers, and people too stupid to handle a blinking red light, it was a miracle he had made it home at all. The radio was nothing but static from one end of the dial to the other. People on the streets alternated looking at their phones, and asking each other for news.
Adam pulled into the driveway of the house he had lived in for the past seventeen years. Nothing luxurious, but it was paid for, and large enough to cover his collection of “stuff” as George Carlin would have called it. The mailbox was empty when he checked. “I guess it probably would be, considering the power at the office had stopped around 8:30,” he thought as he locked the little door again.
The door opened, and the inside air was a little cooler than the Texas summer outside. He quickly closed the door to keep it that way. The normal drone of electronics was deafening in its absence. “Hello,” he called to the strangely silent interior. No answer.
He glanced at the table where his wife normally left her purse. No purse. He went through the utility room and opened the interior door to the garage. No car. Nobody home.
Notes were normally left on the kitchen table. No note. His daughter’s book bag was nowhere to be seen. Pick up should have been at 4:00, so unless the school had gotten word out,
they are probably stuck in traffic. Give them another hour, and then…what? You really think you can find them yourself? He shook his head to clear the dark thoughts, and pulled the jug of bleach off the shelf of laundry products.
An hour later both tubs were as clean as he could get them and the water was barely trickling from the faucet. Both tubs were a bit over half-full. Enough water for a couple of days if they were careful. After that? It was not a comforting thought.
Best go put the car in the garage, he thought opening the utility room door, and flipping the switch for the lights out of habit. Ten minutes, and a fresh set of batteries for the flashlight later, the car was in the garage. Should find the keys to the garage door since the opener won’t work. Adam walked back into the house through the utility room checking his phone along the way. Still no signal and no WIFI. Phone back in the pocket, and Adam looked around his living room wondering what to do next. The clock on the mantle showed 7:42, Starting to get dark. Better find candles or something.