Storytime: Plans (Blur #9)
Some more new folk
Hi folks! Welcome back to Storytime. Today, some people we already know get to meet some new people, and the threads are starting to come together…
Eleanor frowned in her sleep, the noises coming from above more than enough to invade her dreams and pull her awake.
Glancing at the clock, she saw it was a little past 4am.
Her wife, Kaitlin, and the twins, Dani and Amber, all remained fast asleep.
Eleanor pulled on her jeans and a hoodie, reached for a torch, hooked the gun holster onto her belt after checking the load and safety, and crept across the basement.
She took the stone steps quickly, her bare feet chilly but quiet, and listened at the door.
She heard people talking quietly, perhaps two? And a child.
They were…cooking? Yes. She could smell it. Canned stuff most likely, there wasn't fresh food anymore. They must have found it elsewhere though, because they kept everything they had in the basement with them.
Eleanor knew the upstairs was still pretty welcoming, especially for people wanting to hide out the day. They'd covered the windows as soon as the creatures showed up, before grabbing everything they could and going down to the basement.
Eleanor had made sure to make the house look ransacked. She threw furniture, opened drawers and emptied their contents—which had the double effect of hiding what they had taken with them.
Slowly, they'd transferred their existence to the basement. Food, clothes, all the essentials. Eleanor and Kaitlin took turns going to the world above to find things they needed: water, more food, blankets, more clothes, a camping stove, wind-up lamps. It was pretty pleasant down there by now. The walls were covered with blankets as well as the ones they kept for themselves. Mattresses, rescued from above to sleep on. It was as good as they could manage, anyway.
And the creatures had seemed fooled by the mess upstairs. After a token rattle at the basement door handle, they'd been left alone. Aside from a few close calls when they had to go out, they were as safe as they were likely to get.
Eleanor quietly turned the key in the lock and opened the door a crack. She slid out and closed the door, creeping forwards and crouching at the corner which led to the kitchen.
Gun out, safety off, she peered around with one eye.
Two adults—one male and one female—and a male child. Cooking what smelled like beans and chicken on a camping stove not unlike their own.
Eleanor stood, maling the gun safe and putting it away. There was no danger here.
She stepped into the doorway, hands held up to her shoulders, showing them empty.
There was an initial bout of scrambling as first the man jumped to his feet, pulling the boy behind him.
The woman took another couple of seconds, first seeing the man's movements then looking to the door, and leaping up to stand beside him.
"You're in no danger here. This is my house, me and my family, we been livin in the basement. They're still asleep, but I heard you and came to see what was going on. I'm Eleanor."
The man and woman exchanged a glance, and a few quick flickers of hand movements. Eleanor frowned. Code?
"Hello Eleanor. I'm sorry, we didn't expect anyone. Every other house has been empty, and this place looked ransacked too. Guess that was on purpose, huh?"
Eleanor inclined her head to confirm.
"With the windows and everything, it just felt like a safe spot for the day. I'm sorry. Oh! Shit. I'm Allen. This is Kat, and behind me here is Blake. We escaped from one of their prison camps a couple of nights ago."
Eleanor, watching carefully, saw how Kat closely followed the mouth movements of her companion.
"Your lady there deaf?"
"Not my lady, very much her own, we just escaped together. But yes, she is."
Eleanor nodded, "Well hey, don't let me keep you from stirrin that pot there, don't want your food burned."
Blake crept out and used the wooden spoon to stir, smiling up at Eleanor.
"Hi," he said, shyly.
"Hey little man. I've got two, probably about your age."
Blake brightened, "Can I meet them? When they're awake?"
"Blake!" Allen touched the boy's shoulder.
Eleanor laughed, "Don't worry yourself Allen. I think my girls would like that. Hell, me and my wife would enjoy company from you all. It's been a long and lonely few months, and much as we love each other it's damned hard to be stuck down there with nobody but ourselves."
Kat touched Allen's arm and signed to him. He nodded.
"We'd like that very much. Perhaps exchanging stories and info might even get us somewhere towards figuring things out."
"You might be right there. You finish your breakfast there, I'll just go write Kait a note so she knows where I'm at when she wakes.
Eleanor went down and placed the note on her side of the bed, held down with a book, so Kait would see it right away, then returned to her house guests.
They were eagerly eating the chicken and beans, like they hadn't been properly fed in some time. Eleanor figured they probably hadn't, not inside those camps.
They'd done recon on them. Both her and Kait being military vets worked at least somewhat in their favour. The military part was a crock of shit, they'd joined out of desperation, with no desire to actually hurt anyone and the resulting trauma had fucked them both up for a long time. But the training had at least proved useful for this, easily returning to them as they worked to keep their small family safe, and try to figure out what was going on.
Once the rest of her family was awake, Eleanor brought the three visitors down to the basement. It was no squeeze, the place covered the length and breadth of the house, and all of them felt safer down there.
The twins were, as predicted, excited to find a new friend, and the three of them were kept well occupied; board games, and their collective imagination proving far more enticing than boring grown-up talk.
The four adults exchanged stories, and any information they had, which, by the time they were done, was quite a lot.
They broke off for more food, then moved on to what they might do next, and if they were to do it together or apart. All of them had young children to keep safe, and all of them knew that in the long term, this had to involve more than living in a basement or sneaking around the city.
In the end, all of the information they had between them simply wasn't enough. Not to change things. Not to find an escape. Not to find anyone else who might be looking for people like them.
So the two ex-soldiers settled down over a city map to assign people, times, and sectors. And the others pulled together what equipment they had.
Somewhere out there, more people must be resisting. They just had to find them.
That's all for this week! Email also about to arrive with the last podcast episode! And I'll have the Supernatural Shenanigans previews for you asap.
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