Sci-Fi Thursday! I know I keep changing the blog format, I’ll stop. I was having some navigation issues, (that’s the phrase my real life friend Shiva kept saying) but they are fixed now and we aren’t going to change the basic layout/idea anytime soon. Here’s the quick run down, at the top are the three main writing projects I am working on at the moment. If you click on Sci-Fi Land then the menu drops down with all the parts so that you can pick up where you left off, or start from the beginning. The comment button is on the left.
Watching Shiva shake the test tubes of the dirt samples he just took, I see him glance up at the roof where he knows Sci is watching from. If I hadn’t been looking right that second, I would have missed the almost imperceptible negative shake of his head. I beckon Toby over, “Take over this class, please?”
“You got it.”
He steps in seamlessly, continuing to drill residents on self-defense moves, elbows, kicks and tiger claws. When we are short on water and food it seems counter intuitive, but keeping ourselves strong, fit and ready keeps us alive on many levels. The endorphins alone make living in close quarters a lot more bearable.
I take the stairs two at a time as I head to the roof with the medicinal and herb garden. She is standing in the middle, deftly grooming some mint. Sweat is running down her spine in one thin uninterrupted stream. Her newly shaved head gleams in the sun.
“I hope you have sun block on that bald pate,” I hear Jessica say from someplace in the back where I can’t see her.
Sci rolls her eyes, sighs and pulls out a bandana that was resting on the table nearby. She wipes her head and neck off and then dons a large floppy straw hat with gold threads.
“Very Mexico,” I say.
She grins, “I wish. Could you go get Ulysses, Toby and Shiva for me?”
“Sure. But Toby’s teaching a class right now.”
“Have someone else take it over.”
“He took it over for me, people are going to wonder what’s going on.”
“Fine. Tell him to join us when he’s done.”
As I’m leaving Jess steps out and I notice how pale and alarmed she looks. So, this isn’t good news.
We gather up and find places to sit. Sci stands, rocking slightly and chewing on some mint. She misses mouthwash the most. Clearing her throat she says, “There isn’t any good way to say this, so here it is. We have to move.”
“I don’t even see how that’s going to be possible,” groans Jess.
“Why?” I ask.
“Our soil is depleted. It wasn’t in the greatest shape to begin with, and the last two growing seasons pretty much took all we are going to get from it. I’m not even sure how great our yield will continue to be this year.
Besides, I’d rather move us to someplace more fortified than this one, someplace further from roads.”
“Are we planning on taking everyone?” Ulysses asks.
“Everyone that wants to go. We can’t force people either way,” says Sci.
“Christ, Sci, that’s a lot of folks,” whistles Ulysses.
We have about 60 people living in these buildings that all happened to be connected and facing a large backyard plot of land.
“Is there a plan yet?” Asks Toby.
“Yes, but it’s risky. I’d like to head to the Cloisters. But it’s a long haul,” admits Sci.
“How long?” Shiva asks.
“Just over 20 miles. We will have to go through some of downtown, but water will be on our left almost the entire way, which means that we will only have to defend from one side…”
“But also leaves us in the open,” interjects Ulysses.
Nearly everyone takes a sharp intake of breath.
“How do we know that it’s even empty?” asks Jess.
“We don’t. And in fact, I think it’s likely to have inhabitants, but between us, we have a lot of skills to bargain with.”
“Potentially, we could get there and not get in?” asks Toby.
“Being honest. Potentially a good number of us might not even make it there.”
“How is this a good idea then?” Toby asks.
“This is what we call the rock and a hard place,” says Shiva.
“Indeed. We will slowly starve if we stay here, I can guarantee that. But moving is dangerous, with a doubt.”
Just over Sci’s shoulder I can see the Statue of Liberty. She still stands in all of her green glory in the middle of the bay, alone and no longer visited. A taunting reminder of words like ‘freedom’ and ‘choice.’ Even after the last two years it’s still strange to think of 20 miles as being so far. But when on foot, moving gear and goods with a large group through a hazardous landscape, 20 miles may as well be 500. Shifting my gaze back to Sci, as she stands there in her ridiculous sun hat I realize that she has become my beacon, my hope, my heart and I feel suddenly the crushing weight she must carry.
“So, how do we do this?” I ask.
And she smiles.