A short story, that is. Wednesday is the day for a short story.
Rain in the middle of summer. What did it mean? Was there a cyclone up north she didn’t know about? Should she be preparing the emergency kit – or at least checking that everything in it was still … good.
Lila didn’t have any excuse. No one told her what to do, where to go, how to think about things. She was on her own. Now. And she’d have to deal with a storm the way any normal, sane person would.
Check the things that needed checking. That would be the roof and gutters, the top of the tank, the sumps. Unclog or clear or shove the hose in to see if things worked the way they should to get rid of the excess water.
And next? Next she’d check the shutters – when was the last time she’d used them? Check for ease of use; for solidity; what else? Why didn’t she know the routine for checking something as simple as the window shutters?
Well, it couldn’t be hard; she’d figure it out with a bit of practice. After all, he’d managed and if he could do it, then she most definitely could. And she would.
The most important thing on her list of things to check before the storm, before the unusual bout of heavy summer rain, was the new protein supply for the chooks. It needed to stay dry.
Lila slogged up the rise to the first shed, pulled the door open and waited until she could see the back wall clearly. There, that one. The spade or shovel or whatever it was – that would do. Dragged it behind her as she climbed the rest of the sloping track to the first run for the chooks.
The tin shed with the supplies had a distinct aroma. Heavy, lead-like, coppery and slippery. Salty, too. Did she salt it before she dried it? Didn’t remember. A little bit of stress and the memory just flittered the unimportant bits to an ‘elsewhere’ slot in the brain.
That’s how it had been before. Not now. Now Lila needed to remember things carefully. Like, when people asked and only then, to say he’d gone to visit his last living relative. Must remember to say they were elderly and needed care and he was going to take care of them until it was ‘over’ and that she didn’t know when he’d be back.
Oh, she knew what they’d think – that he’d left her and she was too dumb to know it. And she’d spent hours in front of the mirror practising how to not respond to the looks and sighs. Couldn’t take a chance that someone would have even the tiniest suspicion. After all, the chooks needed the protein.
Copyright Cage Dunn 2017