Sally’s story 2-16-11
From Tales from the Future
Sally was a widower of 35 years. She lived alone out off a dirt road. Her “farm” had shrunk in the last 30 years. Pieces of the farm had been sold off to pay for the property taxes on what remained. Also, Sally lived off of these funds. As the property shrunk she had to rely more and more on cultivating her own rations from the nearby woods and the gardens she kept.
She knew the ebb and flow of the seasons and had eventually developed the rhythm of gathering, growing, canning and drying what she needed to survive. When the power went out for good she took it in stride and used her old wood burning stove to do what needed to be done. She was alone but not particularly lonely. She had her chores and the memories of her husband and the local wildlife and farm stock to keep her busy.
She was 85 years old and the electricity had been out for just over a year when “people” started showing up.
At first it was people in a hurry, looking like they were in a rush to get somewhere. She shared what she had with them. She was more generous to those with small children. She had taught First and Second grade at the local school all those long years ago, and they reminded her of those past wonderful times.
She had reused her canning lids so often that they were beginning to fail at an increasing rate. This worried her a bit but dried fruit, when reconstituted, was almost as good as the canned.
Over the next year the character of the people changed. They seemed harsh and hard, more desperate. They also didn’t seem to have any destinations anymore. She still shared what she could to those who asked. More often than not she got no recompense for her generosity. Those that promised to work usually shirked and skipped out early. Some of these that shirked and skipped returned to ask again for help. She knew that they were camping nearby. Dutifully she contributed again to their needs.
After a while she realized that she was going to be short of food during the coming winter. She tried to get out into the forest to gather more of what she could find. She was surprised and shaken to discover that the people moving through the hills had pretty much denuded most of the edibles throughout the forest, hills and streams.
Dejected and alarmed she returned to her farmhouse exhausted. While she was resting up she heard footsteps on her porch, usually a prelude to someone knocking on her door. She got up to find that there were three men already in her kitchen. They were big and rough looking. Unlike most of the others passing through they looked well fed.
“Can I help you?” she inquired.
They whirled around to face her and then started to laugh. “We came for some food.”
“Well, I don’t have much anymore, but I can share a little I suppose.” She replied.
“No, you don’t understand, we’re taking all the food.” The big one said.
In spite of her protests, they started to scoop up all of her hard won foodstuffs. The full canning jars, the dried fruit and vegetables. They even killed her chickens. They took everything.
Sally was standing alone in the kitchen by her sink. She looked so small and vulnerable. “But what will I eat now?” she asked, a tremble in her voice.
“Nothing.” The big one said, pulled his pistol and shot her in the forehead.