Sunday, June 21, 2015

Midnight Delivery

Midnight Delivery

    I opened the book. The small movement danced the candle flame on the table.  Flickering it's shadow across the the walls, I imagine the book's cover hovering close to my face. I had meant to read this book on more than one occasion. Always put off or forgotten. Then remembered and put off again. After I read a few pages, I was brought over and over to the movie. That I had seen many times. 

    Restless, I placed the book down on the bookshelf and went to the window. Careful to peek only through the very corner.

    Across the street, the large park looked like a scene from that movie. The snow, blowing and dark, reaching out as far as could be seen. Of course Zhivago wasn't there searching for his Tonya. But still, the cold seeped in and he was there in my mind. 

    I remembered the visions of the frozen house Zhivago and Lara took refuge in. Ice and snow glittered and filled the rooms. The houses here weren't that picture pretty. They were just old every city kind of houses. 

    The wolves were there though. Circling and crying out to each other as they patrolled each neighborhood. Their flashlights sparkling on the snow drifts that hide the cars. Cars stilled and dead for over a year now.

    The Tea Party Regime swooped in on a wave of fear and promises five years ago. Gas and fuel were taxed so only the richest were able to buy it. For those that joined the party. 

    Those that refused to align themselves were imprisoned. Their wealth and property confiscated and absorbed for the country. Soon news stories about a senator, congressmen or other such official dying unexpectedly started becoming more frequent. Some were sick, others involved in an accident, sometimes they simply took their own lives from the pain and weight of regret. Regret that they themselves didn't know they had.

    There would be stories of 15,000 reservists killed in freak fires that would leave only smoldering rubble and bones. No one was ever left to question. But plenty to spread the fear. The middle class took the highest classes and the rest became even more of what they were. The poor were now poorer. The elderly and sick lasted as long as they could without medicine and shelter. The luckiest had family to help them, but those were few.

    It was around then that the patrols started. They were there to protect. To keep looters and thieves at bay.  And to keep the streets, houses, allies or dark sheds where several groups had secretly met, safe from those with any lofty ideas.

    I dropped the curtain and knelt down as the light worked it's way up the street. Once it passed I blew the candle out. The smoky tendrils drifting in the darkness. Unseen. Do smoky tendrils tendril in the dark if it's unseen? Or is it absorbed immediately by the instant darkness? Does a falling they say. 

    I worked my way down the hallway to the back of the house where the kitchen was. Lighting several candles, I set to getting ready. Stew and biscuits were placed in a bag and set in the fridge. I found my mind wondering in the simple actions of wandering and checking.
   "Will he show up? The wolves are out in force tonight. Are they looking for him? Or someone else?"

    I set the power timer that controlled the rationed electric to start in the  morning and went to the bedroom. I looked at it for a moment. Small. One old fashioned window. Dresser and a full size bed all made up. The small bag was behind the closed closet door. Only the essentials. A tiny 100 gig flash drive with my pictures, music and writing on it. A favorite book; The Chronicles of Narnia, some clothes. Toothbrush. Everything else stays.

   A noise from the back caught my attention and my heart skipped. Thump, thump, thump, click, click. I went to open it. He was here!

   He filled the doorway. The dark shadow of wool coat and knit hat let little light from the moon in. He came in quickly.

   " We have to go. Now. The wolves are prowling for a senator with a soul turned guilty. We'll have to go to the second bridge. Are you ready?" I could only nod. 

   I quickly locked the doors and windows, grabbed my bag, took the small bag from the fridge, left the candles lit, and turned out the door. 

   Once in the car we started off. My chest crushing with fear and sorrow. No tears. I wasted those for three days. Now was the time for focus. Taking my hand, he reassured me, 
    "It'll be okay. Your mom's waiting on the other side. She said she got you guys a couple of cats."

    "That means six." I said and smiled. " How is she?"

    "Good. Been waiting for you to get there. Took a while, but here we are. Are you ready?"

    " Yes." 

    "When we get close you do exactly what we planned. There's a blanket to keep you warm enough till I'm across okay?

I nodded. I had practiced getting into the little chubby under the front seat a few times so I was ready. It would be tight, but it was only for a little while.

    " You have the papers?" I asked.

    "I gave them to your mom a few days ago. Id, social cards, birth cert, the works. I had to set up a meeting with the Prime Minster to get over there tonight. Needed to get a free trans for the bridge. Everything is in place. We're a go. "

   "Okay. Okay." I relaxed a little and looked out towards the river.

    We rode in silence for a while.

    It's been two years since my mother escaped to Canada. But for whatever reasons I was denied each time. Thank goodness for shady friends with high connections.  The Tea Party Regime was getting ready for something. Harry wouldn't tell me what. But he got everything together. Fast. There was a sense of importance and fear in his actions. But I trusted him enough not to ask to many questions that are best not answered.

    The ground crunched as the car rode over the snowy edge of the road.

   "Alright. Here we go." he said.

    He pulled the front seat forward and lifted the floor mats to open a little latch. A thin door of metal pulled aside and down into the cold darkness I went. A long narrow metal box had been fitted just right. I took just a second to get as comfortable as possible with my heart starting to race.

   "See you soon darlin'." He smiled and closed the metal door and I could hear and feel the weight of the seat being placed back over me. 

    In the dark I could feel every bump and rock in the road. The vibration of the tires on asphalt made my head hum to the point of a headache. But I lay quiet. Squeezed in the small space. Then the car stopped. Muffled voices could be heard over head. I felt him get out of the car. More talk. The trunk was opened and then closed. It seemed to go on forever while I kept a chant in my head "Please let us through please let us through please let us through..." Then he was back in the car and we were moving again. 

     I breathed again and thought of all that could that could still happen. What if he's stopped for speeding? Or a light? Or just because? I thought of mom and myself, sitting in a garden, (is there a garden?) drinking tea, cats sunning themselves in the grass. I thought of being happy and at peace because we would be at home. A new home. But home.

    The drive went on for a long time. Finally I heard snow crunch under the wheels once again. Then the seat was moving, the metal creaking. the door went back. 
    "You okay in there? We're here. Your mom's just up the road." He smiled.
     He was smiling and lifting me out of the cubby. 
    "What'd I tell ya? Tonight was the night. Jake was working the bridge. Thank God he's a lousy card player. Makes things go so smooth." 

    Soon we turned into a driveway where an older woman stood waiting. Just standing. Watching the driveway in the moonlight.

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