The Past in the Present Seeing the Future, Part 2

With this week’s post we finally confirm who it is that Ed has been watching, paralleling what he picked up from the security office in The Deeps. The difference for us is we can understand the conversations. We are watching from a distance knowing things that are unavailable to the characters within the story. In a sense by having this view it gives us the knowledge of what’s happening ahead of the characters. Still all of us who read have found times where we wanted to shout to one or more of the fictional characters to watch out, or can you not see what’s happening? After all, it is only natural to do this. Yet there is no way for us to do this as we watch someone we’ve been following walk into that unexpected, for them, situation that we are more than well aware. It is also a place where we can find that the conclusions made within the story are wrong, but only because we can see the other side and we’ve been allowed to see and understand that there’s so much more going on. We all are guilty of making decisions based on too little information or because of the pressure of too little time, so why should it be different for them? (If you’ve missed part 1, it’s available in the sidebar under April 2015) With that said and with 6 parts still to follow this week’s post, here is part 2:

Jay was really worried. He and Elsa had been here for a while now and when he had been able to grab those emergency kits, filling his pack to almost overflowing, the supplies would have lasted him a long time. But now with his sister adding to the mix he knew they would be out of food soon. Since they had been here, at whatever this was, he had searched for anything to add to the dwindling supplies, but he had found nothing. With no need to search for water, which was a relief, he felt that an important – critical really – element was taken care of. He knew they could survive longer without food than water. Yet, without food they would still perish in the end.

So he approached her, with some trepidation, since he could feel the fear, the doubt in her. Things that spoke of what had happened to her at the hands of the raiders – unspeakable things she had no desire to talk about. And knowing her condition when he found her he had a pretty good idea of what had transpired. And it was something he wished on no female, let alone his sister. Still this problem wouldn’t solve itself and he had been racking his brain trying to come up with some solution. The problem lay in the fact that they were in the middle of a desert. Well, it might not be the middle, but somewhere in this vast desert meaning that food just didn’t magically appear. He had come to the conclusion that he would have to go back to their destroyed hometown and hope those hidden supplies; those hidden emergency kits hadn’t been discovered. At this moment it was the only solution he could come up with.

The problem lay in the fact he knew he would need to do this alone. With the condition his sister was in he couldn’t, wouldn’t take a chance of her, first revealing them to the enemy, and secondly giving them a chance to get her back and finish what they had started with her. And since she had, and again he had no idea how, somehow escaped and stumbled upon and found this place, although that wasn’t accurate. She had been wondering the desert, in bad shape, naked, and with nothing to help her, with obvious injuries that had been inflicted by the raiders. If he hadn’t been here she would have died.

He had been fortunate to have something for her to wear, even though the clothing was a bit large for her. Still without it he didn’t know what the two of them would have done to cover their bodies. So he gave thanks for the small things. He figured that the edge of the desert and their destroyed village couldn’t be too far away. He knew that he had become delirious at some point in his journey and hadn’t a clue where he was and how he got here himself. Still with her arriving on the scene it seemed to indicate that their home wasn’t that far away.

He had hope that he could convince her to remain, to be strong, to wait. There was no other way. Although that brief time when the water stopped had him worried – it almost panicked him. He – they had gotten to a point where they were taking the water for granted – wasn’t prepared, and to have it stop like that was shocking. They tried through most of what he considered a day to get water to come out of those . . . spigots? He had thought briefly to head back out and see if that natural tank still held water, but thought better of it when he looked at Elsa. But eventually he heard, again they heard water flowing into something and when they tried those spigots the water had returned, although initially it was dirty, but as they let it flow it became clear once again. And since then, even though it was only a short time ago, the water remained. So whatever it was that had caused the temporary loss had somehow been fixed.

Taking a deep breath he approached his sister and said, “Elsa, I need to talk with you.” He could still see defeat and fear in every fiber of her body. He just didn’t know how he could fix this. It was so far beyond anything he had tried to do, or experienced. When she came over she looked up into his eyes with that fear riding there, but at the same time he saw trust. She remained silent and waited for him to speak. So how do I say this so I don’t destroy what little is left of her confidence? He had to admit he didn’t know. “Elsa”, he said gently, “we are running out of food, and it won’t be long until there’s nothing left. I’ve been trying to come up with some way of getting us more . . .” At this point he could see alarm flash on her face as she interrupted him.

“Jay, no! I know what you want to do, but I don’t think it’s safe at all. You can’t go back there. And if you go ahead and try I will come with you. And neither you nor I have any idea if the ones who attacked, killed, and burned our town are still around. If I lose you what’s to become of me?”

Taking another deep breath and slowly letting it out he wasn’t sure what to do or to say. “Look sis, if I go it will be by myself. I will not put you in such a situation where you are in danger again. I’d never forgive myself if something happened to you. At this point there is only you and me who survived this. You are my only family. But, both of us know we have to get food from somewhere, and it has to be soon. Otherwise we escaping what happened will mean nothing. We’ll die right here. And you know I’m right on this. When I grabbed these supplies the raiders never found the cache. And if one of the hidden caches has been discovered since then, there’s the second one on the other side of the village. At this moment it’s the only place I know of where I can get us something.

“You must stay, you must not worry. I don’t know why we found this place, but there has to be a reason other than chance. So please trust me on this one. I’ll be careful, and if they are still stripping the ruins then I’ll have to wait them out. I promise I’ll come back to you.” He could see the fear rising up in her, and see her breathing becoming heavier and more rapid.

“Promise? How can you make such a thing”, she screamed. “We both know that such things mean nothing, nothing at all. I don’t know why we are alive or why both of us escaped, but at this time you are all I have brother! I don’t want to hear any more.” At this moment tears were welling up in her eyes and she turned and left him standing. At which point he, with frustration riding high, headed back to the room with those windows that saw things beyond, he didn’t know what else to call them.

Elsa watched her brother leave. She could see the frustration in every step he took. She turned around went over to those chairs and sat down with the tears flowing down her face. Don’t you understand brother? You don’t know what they did to me, how they hurt me, how they laughed and joked over the pain and misery they caused me. But not only me but there were others, and I had to watch as others like me were . . . were raped and tortured. I watched as others like me died from the abuses, and then it was my turn once again at their hands.

Can you not see that they tore me up inside? And when they were through with me they threw me away like some trash. I must have passed out at some point and I think they thought I was dead like all the others. It was then; it was night when I became aware. I hurt, oh how I hurt, and I found myself piled among the bodies of our friends, of our people. Somehow I got away; somehow I escaped, only to wake up here with you. You are all I have, and right now I don’t have the strength to go on by myself. Don’t you see brother, I can’t lose you. I really can’t stand on my own right now. I just can’t . . .

* * *

Such a dilemma both of them find themselves in. Neither have very many years behind them, and both can honestly say, up until all of this happened, they had very little life experience. And while they have found refuge, a place of safety, it can offer no more than that. Without food such a refuge is worthless. Jay realizing this needs to find more, but Elsa’s needs outweighs their physical needs. But, this won’t go away or solve itself. So with the little bit of experience they have they will have to come to some type of compromise. To learn what this is please return as the story continues over the next few weeks. Have a great week and come back for part 3. God Bless! (fdbrant.com)

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The Past in the Present Seeing the Future, Part 1

We left off, at the end of “The Deeps”, with Ed viewing a young couple from one of the many security offices throughout The Deeps. After a lifetime of belief reinforced by all the records, how does one cope when there is strong evidence that these beliefs have been wrong? Maybe we panic, or possibly try to rationalize what we are witnessing. Or do we question the very thing we witnessed. So here we find Ed doing all of these things. After all when we have the proverbial rug pulled out from under our feet we have a tendency to resist and look for other explanations, or answers to what had been witnessed. And maybe we go into full denial mode. However we cope, eventually we must research and come to terms with the contradiction. And here is part one of: The Past in the Present Seeing the Future.

Ed sat frozen as he sat in the chair staring at the screen. “No! No, no, no, this can’t be right.” Yet the screen didn’t lie. It couldn’t since it only could show what the security camera saw. Looking down at the desk that ran the full length of the bank of monitors he thought for a moment, and almost panicked as his mind raced to solve what he was seeing. So how long has this light been flashing? He had to admit, he didn’t have a clue. He rarely even looked towards this particular security office, let alone took the time to look through the smoked glass to see what could be transpiring. For all he knew this light could have been flashing, well, forever.

With those thoughts he found the pressure easing somewhat. Forever, yes, as far as I know this light could have been flashing long before I was born. Nobody really paid much attention to these security offices. Why should they? After all, nothing has ever been found on the surface. And as the population fell here it was easy to keep track of the ones who remained. And when it finally reached the point of only me I had no reason to consider any of these security offices other than empty rooms. So these images could go back centuries if I want to be honest.

Still, he was fascinated by what he saw. Was this how he looked to his parents? He had never seen anybody young like this. The images were silent, although he could tell they were talking, and rather animated in their conversation. Isn’t there sound attached to the cameras? He was sure there had to be, which meant he should be able to hear what they were arguing about. It had to be an argument from the body language. The male appeared to be somewhere close to probably his twenties, and the female couldn’t be much younger. So were they ones who would be a mating couple, or something else? He honestly didn’t know.

Again, from the history in the archives, he knew before the shutting of the doors to this facility that it was common for a male and female to commit to only each other for life. So were these two such, or were they something else? If only he could get the sound working then maybe he would know. As he watched they walked around with the male apparently trying to make some point, and the female, well he could see fear in her movements. Was he threatening her, or again was it something else? “Damn, without sound I cannot determine anything.” Frustrated he began to look around for a switch, or a dial, or something that would allow him to turn on the sound. He had to admit he never paid much attention to these places and their operation since there was no need. Well, there is a need now.

If this female, young girl was in trouble he felt he should help her, but at the same time that male looked formidable, much more than what he could handle especially at his age. Still these images could be from the deep past and he was watching a recording that was playing back in a loop waiting for someone to find it. And if this was the case he was getting himself worked up over something that had happened a very long time ago, and whatever transpired was ancient history. So how could he determine whether the feed was in the present, or from the past? Looking around the small room, which was still bathed in shadow, he could see nothing that would help. Getting up he headed back to the doorway and flipped on the lights for this room leaving him temporarily blinded.

Blinking hard a couple of times he finally was able to see once again and began looking around the room. Initially he saw the work stations, the storage lockers that contained the equipment a security team could use. Such things as flak vests, riot gear and weapons, flashlights, the gases in the form of grenades, flash bangs, and other sundry items, all locked and inaccessible. Well, if it came down to it he was sure he could find the keys somewhere. Yet, if he remembered right, the keys were locked inside a safe. Well, he was sure that if he searched he probably could come up with the combinations to the safes, but right now it wasn’t important. Turning around towards the opposite wall he saw a breaker panel, and next to this another panel that appeared to have switches, toggles, and dials.

Going over to this panel he found a number of dials marked with numbers underneath. Turning towards the monitors, which were now on his right, he saw corresponding numbers under them. Looking at the one that presently had the images showing he turned back to the panel and turned up the dial with the same number. At first he had it too high, and it hurt his ears as the sounds came bellowing into this small space. He quickly turned it down, sat back down, and began to listen, figuring he could come to a conclusion as to what was transpiring. Only to be disappointed when he couldn’t understand a word they were saying. What’s this gibberish? Is this some foreign language or something? At least from the tone he could tell there was frustration coming from the young male, with the female almost pleading about something. Just what the discussion – argument was about he knew no more now than when he had no sound.

Finally there was silence between the two with the young male heading through the door to the security office in that building. He watched as his image shifted to a different monitor. Here he watched as the male easily vaulted the counter and headed through the hallway back to the bank of monitors, sat down heavily in one of the chairs, crossed his arms, shook his head and said nothing. It was obvious from his posture he was unhappy about something.

Looking back at the first monitor where he had seen them originally he saw the young female head for the rows of chairs sit down and begin to weep. It was obvious that whatever this was about had come off badly. He only wished he knew what it was all about. Still, this could have been the past and really meant nothing to him at all, other than something new to watch, a change from his daily routine. Somehow he needed to find out whether this was a recording, or whether what he was witnessing was in real-time.

He could feel his heart going out to what he was witnessing on the screen. Even if this, in the end, turned out to be from deep in the past, it gave him a chance to witness others, and the apparent troubles these two were facing. In a sense it gave him a personal view of the tragedies that had to span the whole globe to include the period of time when the disaster struck. Families being torn apart and destroyed – with the resulting terror, and the pain of loss – communities becoming ruins, leaving desolate vacant lands, leaving all with no place to escape, and the dashing of the ones, like he was witnessing here, hopes, longings, and future, forever. Maybe it was a good thing they were becoming extinct. Still seeing these two gave him hope that there could be others still alive and surviving in the aftermath of the worldwide destruction. But if these images were from the past it truly meant nothing.

He remained there for the longest time deep in thought. This definitely created a dilemma. Somehow there had to be some type of closure to the tragedy he had to be watching. If this was indeed from the deep past maybe they had come to seek refuge here at The Deeps, only to never get a response from the residents. Maybe what he was witnessing was the frustration of finding the Welcome and Processing center and getting nowhere. These two pinning their hopes of being able to join the only ones who had any true safety from the fire in the skies, and when getting no response of any kind lost any hope leading to this argument.

He suspected if he stayed with the video he would eventually see them leave and disappear out of the range of the cameras never to be heard from again. But he knew, in truth, he was only building this scenario from too little information, and most likely it would prove to be wrong in the end. Still, as he remembered telling himself, even if this was from the deep past, at least it is a change from the daily routine, the daily rut he found himself in. Maybe he should be trying to solve the questions he had in front of him instead of creating fantasy.

* * *

For the ones who read last week’s post you now know what you are seeing is a continuation, in episodes, of the same story from the different perspectives of the 3 main protagonists. At this point in the story there is still much ignorance, obviously frustration, and fear. As we continue on this journey you’ll have to wait as each part is revealed. Again, like the last short story, The Deeps, this will be broken down into 8 parts. Have a great week and be here for part 2. God Bless! (fdbrant.com)

Unexpected, Unplanned, and into the Unknown

With the ending of the short story, The Deeps, it would seem that I have left you the reader hanging. In truth this really isn’t so. When you read the last line there is plenty of information that one can glean from it. Although, in the end it probably leaves one with more questions than answers. Still let’s look at what we have and see what we can learn from those few words. For in the view of the cameras were two young people, a male and a female, dressed in what had to be homemade clothing . . .

First off we are dealing with a great amount of time since the survivors had moved into The Deeps, watching the destruction of their world. To go from a population that was too small to sustain itself to Ed, who as far as he knew is last of his kind, would require quite a few generations. Not one or two but probably generations that would require double-digit numbers. And for the earth to recover from the bombardment from outer space again would take time. This followed by many of the earlier generations trying to keep a positive outlook on things, such as heading to the surface to see if they could find any who may have survived the destruction. All of this requires lots of time – time for the planet to heal, and time for the known results to happen.

So, for Ed to look at the monitors and witness a young couple inside the welcome and processing center speaks volumes. First off, they are young meaning there has to be people who did survive the holocaust and create future generations. Meaning simply that when the ones who had gone to the surface to see if any had survived found what they expected – nothing. Leading future teams to come to the same conclusions, reinforcing the belief that they, in The Deeps, were it.

With the failure to continue to explore the surface they admitted to themselves, which can be self deluding, self-defeating, they were it and when the cycle ran its course humans would become extinct. All the notes, archives, and history stated this as fact. And as such why shouldn’t it be the truth? So what is fiction can be made the truth if repeated often enough – to the detriment  of all. Why would someone mess with the past,  change it to reflect how they might see it? And since we are seeing revisionist history today the answer should be obvious. It allows manipulation of the masses to their way of thinking, their way of government, their way of control. (Read 1984 to see this in action.)

Many times when we read a fictional story or stories, be they full length novels or short stories, at the end many come down to a single sentence, a few words that sums all that came before it. Sometimes countering the belief we saw in the story, such as this one, or summing it up to where suddenly it all makes sense of what appeared to be clear as mud up until this very closing statement. The interesting thing, for many such stories, is that if you had read that last line before reading the story it wouldn’t make any sense or have the intended impact. Simply because there is no history at time of this first revelation, and only when the story is read to the conclusion does it finally make sense.

If you have been with me with the previous short story, And the Sun Will Rise, followed by this one, The Deeps, one might begin to see a similarity, a continuity between the two stories, and as the writer I will admit there is. So if you haven’t read the former, I suggest you do so, or if you did maybe go back and review. Because you see, what I truly am doing here, and this is the first time that I’ve tried this method and style, you are witnessing the creation of a full length novel. And the title of this post is the actual working title of the book.

I’ve self-published 4 of the 7 books I’ve written, with a trilogy that remains unpublished because of the work that still needs to be done with the individual books. I hope to eventually reveal them to the world as I love the story and the characters. But this one, the one I’m revealing here, I plan on trying to go the traditional route. Within this goal lies some pretty heavy restrictions. First off my novels run around 115,000 to 120,000 words in length which translates to 350 to 400 pages. Most publishers will not accept anything over 80,000 words for a first novel. So I must restrict this to that word count. I must find an agent, and then a publisher who has an interest in the story. And because I’ve been the one to do all the work, to take the advise from both the agent and publisher as to revisions they’d like to see (And probably this is the most difficult part of the whole process.).

For those who may be new to this blog, if you go to my webpage, which I write at the end of my posts, you will find the list of my self-published books there. When this one is complete and ready to submit it will be book 8, and my original goal. Back at the beginning of this, right after I retired, I truly had no idea if this was a realistic goal or not, but now 9 years later I can honestly say it was. What’s neat about this, for me, is this works out to about 1 novel a year. And truthfully it is, since that first year of retirement I didn’t write. I honestly do not know how many I still have inside but plan on continuing until the well goes dry.

So, what you will see here is a unique opportunity to watch a book being written. Although I have to qualify this by saying this is only a partial opportunity since you are not seeing the first draft. Instead what is presented is a revised and edited portion. This is not to say that even what I present here will be the final edit, but it should be close. In a sense this isn’t a chapter book. Very few have chapters that run 40 plus pages. I’ve been running this as episodes, and in a sense it is episodic in nature with each complete episode having its own unique title.

And with the close of The Deeps, we will have 28,000 of those words written. And presently I’m basically 2 (complete episodes) ahead at this time (and well into the next one), adding another 30,000 words (In actuality I’m well over 65,000 words at this time). Which means simply even with the story I see ahead of me that I must wrap it up within another 15,000 to 20,000 words. And before this year is out you will have had a chance to read the whole thing. And with this stated, next week I begin the next short story or episode inside this book. Have a great week and God Bless! (fdbrant.com)

The Deeps, Part 8

Sunday is Easter and is celebrated throughout the Christian world spreading the good news that Christ has Risen. May it be a good day for all! And on to this week’s post.

After his failure with his first attempt with the environmental suits, Ed decides to use them anyway. He is unable to come to terms with the real world. He knows the problem must be fixed so he will try to do it on his own terms. This week concludes this short story dealing with a single individual as he lives out his final years. (As an exercise in writing I would personally suggest you try writing about a single individual. I found this 40 plus page exercise to be a lot more difficult than I imagined. How do you keep the tension, the interest, the conflict required in a story when there is only a single individual and no action or interaction with others? Especially when the place where this individual lives is within an enclosed environment where it is relatively safe.)

So we have been following Ed and are coming to the conclusion with this episode, and as we drift off into the sunset we find that like Ed we, in our own lives, are moving towards our own sunset. The surprising part of this is just how quickly that sunset arrives. Because, like this fictional character who is in his late 60’s, this writer is in the same decade in his life. I have to admit it arrived much too quick for me, and my yesterdays are traveling further into my past than what future days are left to me. So we watch Ed as he knows the same thing. Only a few years are left to him, and as far as he knows this is not only the end of him personally, but of mankind. And for your enjoyment is the conclusion of The Deeps. (If this is the first time here, in the side bar under February 2015 is parts 1-3, and the rest under March 2015.)

He wasn’t sure if it was his imagination or whether he was truly feeling the difference. Especially since he was in one of the environmental suits and completely separated from the outside air. He wasn’t brave enough to go outside without it. He was going to try to use it anyway. If it failed he could still remove it and go the way it had appeared he had to back when he tried to use the suit earlier. He hadn’t seen anything living from the few times he had watched the feeds coming from the outside. As far as he knew the air wasn’t breathable (although in his heart he knew it was just an excuse). And even if it was he wasn’t going to take that kind of risk. He knew, with his isolation inside The Deeps, if there were germs out here, he could be vulnerable to them. Yes, he had been inoculated for everything one could catch, but that was from what they knew. No one had sampled the air to know how much had changed or mutated, so as far as he knew and even with all those preventative measures, in the end, it could mean nothing.

So here he stood inside the vast structure that housed the useless broken vehicles, the repair shops, supply storage areas for most of what was here, including replacement pipes, valves and such, welding equipment, fabrication shops for repairs to the structure, and whatever the original builders and planners thought such a place might need. He knew north of this area was the original gathering point, the welcome and processing building where the chosen were supposed to enter, but it had never been used, and if the truth be known, pretty much forgotten. In fact the building never received the supplies marked for it. Items such as food and drink dispensers, and while there had been plans for a kitchen area, it was never completed. And while he wouldn’t need to go inside of the reception and processing area the pipes ran by and then over the sides with a trunk line that ran into the reception area so it would have water to supply the bathrooms, small dining areas, and drinking fountains. It also fed a small natural tank so that any worker out in the real world could refill their containers and not have to return inside.

He went to the north end of this vast area and climbed the ladder up to the entrance to the tunnel where the water pipes ran. He brought a flashlight to compliment his headlamp since he wasn’t sure if the solar lighting would still work. It hadn’t been tested in forever, even though it was one of those things that were supposed to be done on a regular basis. Somehow once people quit coming to the surface, the inspections were never made, and even the large garage and supply area, while somewhat sealed from the outside, was never visited. And the vast amount of dust from the ages that seemed to lay on everything reinforced this point very well.

He grabbed and with some effort forced the handle that locked the door, to turn and open, listening to it complain and screech with each movement. It was a simple quarter turn handle since the door was a simple inspection and repair door leading one into the inspection tunnel. Dust also fell off the door and when he finally got it to open, again with the hinges protesting, the lighting came on. Unfortunately not all of it and because of this there were dark areas, and shadows everywhere, creating pools of light and shadow. At least there was some light.

Taking a deep breath he headed into the manmade tunnel and with each step raising small clouds of fine dust which hung in the air further shadowing the tunnel. And even though he couldn’t be sure it seemed to be warmer. Still this was more enclosed than that large working area and he felt more comfortable here. So carefully he worked his way down the long tunnel, past a turn and slowly over his breathing he began to hear the running water. It continued to get louder. Checking his position from the map he carried, he thought he had to be over the natural tank. There should be a window here so he could inspect it. Since things hadn’t been checked in forever he figured there was a good chance that the tank was dry.

He began searching for the inspection window and almost gave up when his headlight reflected off the glass. It was heavily covered in dust and he had to brush it off to be able to look through it. When he did, and to his surprise it appeared to still contain water. That was good news especially if he ever decided to go exploring. This brought a smile to his lips, exploring right. Something I might have done, oh forty years ago. Now . . . not. The sounds of that running water was pretty loud now and he headed down to where the water pipe split and at that connection he could see that the “Y” piece had cracked and leaked. And it had been long enough that the leak had enlarged and was putting out a pretty good spray. And it had been this leak which finally had become large enough that the sound sensing equipment had finally heard it and made a report.

At least there was a valve just a short distance back and he could temporarily shut down the water. Now he had to head back, get the necessary replacement part, and if there wasn’t one in storage or stock, to fabricate it on the equipment, come back, and because of the time that had passed since it had been originally installed, fight removing and replacing the part, turn the water back on, test and flush the system, and head back inside. Yet, before he went back inside he felt he should at least go back to where the tanks were and make sure all was okay with them. If this pipe had developed a crack, maybe there could be issues with the tanks themselves.

* * *

He had forgotten, well not exactly forgotten, how large those tanks were. Since that one aborted attempt years in the past of entering this area he had only used the cameras, the video system to monitor the tanks. Well, one thing for sure the vids made the tanks appear smaller, much smaller than their true size. All 6 of them were set on large concrete slabs that were set with a lip, and then filled with a combination of gravel and sand to give some flexibility to the supporting surface. After all both the weight of the water, and the expansion and contraction of the metal due to heat and cold would lead to small changes in the size of the tanks.

Taking a deep breath he realized that this would have to be another project at another time. So he did a quick cursory inspection looking for signs of leaks, and obvious cracks or split joints. He knew the tanks were lined to give them as long as life as possible. He could hear water entering one of them as the pumps attempted to keep it full. Since water use was generally small he suspected under normal circumstances the pumps would barely get a workout. But the leak required more usage which at some future date could lead to a failure of the pumps. Yes, like everything in the deeps there were replacement parts, and replacement units. In this case it would take more than him to do it, so if the pumps failed it would come down to the water in those tanks.

Once finished with his inspection, he headed back into the storage area and began the search for a replacement part. It took him a few hours to do this because of the size of the supply and storage area. While the planners had tried to keep it as simple as possible there still was a myriad of different sizes and too many different plumbing supplies to just be able to walk in and grab one. He knew that most were inventoried on the supply computers, but they hadn’t been used in forever, and when he tried to boot one up nothing happened. It meant he was stuck having to use the inventory books, and even locating them took a while.

Once located, he realized that there had only been an overview placed inside, with notes stating to refer back to the computer, which didn’t work. He suspected he could go back inside the facility and with some effort find a system that dealt with the supply storage system, but he wanted to get this job done and not have to return to the surface any time soon. Even though he was getting used to the differences, it wasn’t enough that he had a desire to remain out here more than once. Eventually he found what he was looking for, put it on a cart, grabbed the necessary sealant and gaskets, and with his portable battery operated tools headed back to the ladder and stopped.

He realized there wasn’t a way to climb and carry the replacement part at the same time. (The tools and sundry other items were in a backpack.) So he had to go find a rope which cost him more time. And when he had climbed the ladder and followed this by pulling up that part he wished he was about 20 years younger. He had to lean back against one of the walls, once he had it up with him, to catch his breath, and let his shaking muscles settle down. This wasn’t going to be as easy as he thought. Then came the difficulty of moving everything to the work site, setting up, and doing the job. And with skinned knuckles, a broken nail or two, even through the suit, and a bump on his head that left him with a headache, he finally finished the job.

He was exhausted. In fact so much so he didn’t have the energy to move. He sat there staring at the finished job and knew he needed to turn the water back on and head back, but that took energy – energy he didn’t seem to have. He must have fallen asleep for a brief time because his snoring awoke him. Taking a deep breath and shaking out the cobwebs in his mind he pushed himself up, went back to the valve and carefully turned it back on, easing it open so the water wouldn’t hammer the pipes and possibly lead to another leak or break. He left the damaged part there in the tunnel and slowly made his way back to the facility. Once inside he removed the suit, and headed back to his room where he went to his bed and fell instantly asleep.

It was hours later when he finally awoke, realized he was still in the work overalls, got up long enough to change out of them before climbing back into bed and falling into a deep dreamless sleep. He didn’t know how long he slept since he didn’t look at the clock when he fell asleep, only now after all this time he felt better and somewhat refreshed. Although he had to admit he was sore. He needed a shower, and found he was really hungry, besides needing to head to the bathroom to take care of nature. Sitting on the edge of the bed he looked at his clock and the date, and realized two days had passed, Must have been really tired, he thought. Sighing, he pushed up and went to the bathroom, took care of the nature call, showered, and once out felt better.

Once dressed in clean clothing he headed out to go to one of the kitchens and get something to eat, passing one of the many security offices along the way. For some reason he glanced into the darkened room through the smoked glass windows and saw a red light flashing. He didn’t think anything about it as he continued on. His stomach was growling, and he needed food. And once there he grabbed something he could throw into the microwave, made some coffee, and ate a quick meal.

That red flashing light kept bothering him. This particular office monitored the unused above ground areas and the welcome and processing center, not The Deeps itself. What could it mean? Well, when I finish here I’ll go see – probably just letting me know that something has failed. No surprise there. Nothing new down here, let alone outside, heck even I’m old! This brought a chuckle to him because it was all true. So he cleaned the kitchen and headed back to that particular security office, looked through the windows to see if he had actually seen what he thought he had, confirmed the light was still flashing and entered the office, headed over to the desk, which had the bank of monitors, sat down and turned the monitors on.

He figured that one of the monitors would show nothing other than snow, identifying a failed camera. But to his surprise all of them came on clear and sharp. The ones on top row were showing the desert, and the second and third rows showing the processing and welcome center, and security office that was part of the building. These second and third rows duplicated the monitors in that other security office. Being that he expected the cameras to show nothing, he really wasn’t paying too much attention, and was about to get up and go back out, chalking it up to a faulty light. Then movement caught his eye. There shouldn’t be any movement. Wonder if some small creature found its way inside? He rotated back around in the chair and stared. No, it can’t be! He was immobile for a long time as he watched in shocked silence.

For in the view of the cameras were two young people, a male and a female, dressed in what had to be homemade clothing . . .

* * *

Belief is a strange thing. If one truly believes in something then even things that can counter that belief will not necessarily change it. Many times it takes quite a while and many counters to the belief before one will begin to admit that maybe they had been wrong. And in Ed’s case, not only did he have the belief that the ones who lived here in The Deeps were the last, but all the evidence gathered and logged into the archives supported those views. Yet, suddenly, for Ed, the evidence before him stated this long-held belief was wrong. Now what? Yes, now what indeed. I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey into the fictional world of Edward Carson. Have a great week and come back for a new post and a little more insight into The Deeps next week. God Bless! (fdbrant.com)

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