Of everything that stands

When we went out of the facility, the air stung our eyes like it does when the wildfires get really bad.  We only stayed out there long enough to confirm that there were no cars in the parking lot.  We’ve both been coughing ever since.  I’ve hacked up a few drops of blood, which can’t be good.  It felt like I breathed in a cloud of sawdust and it’s now just twirling around at the back of my throat.  Putting a cloth over your mouth when you go out helps, but not much. 

The phones are dead but the computers come on.  No internet access.  Maybe because of the phone lines?  I don’t know how the internet works.  There’s no one else here.  We checked three times.  It’s not a large facility.  Someone was here for sure.  After Martialla and I went into the deep freeze, someone was here for a while.  An office next to the break room is filled with empty water bottles, wrappers, and opened cans and the break room itself looks pretty lived in.  It’s all covered with dust now.  Everything we do kicks up dust, which doesn’t help with the throat situation.  We managed to chase most of the dust out of the breakroom and sat down like we were on break from our data entry jobs to cough at each other and chat. 

Martialla poked a thumb over her shoulder “I think one of those readouts says that we were under for at least a hundred years.” 

I leaned back and put my feet up on another chair “Bullshit.  I don’t think you have any idea how to read those things.” 

She shrugged “Doesn’t really matter I guess, things were going crazy when we went under anyway, one year or a hundred it may all be over.” 

“That’s what I like about you Martialla, you’re an optimist.  For all you know we could walk out of here, flag down a car, hitch a ride to Sacramento and everything will be fine, I mean aside from being in Sacramento.” 

She raised an eyebrow “Uh, did you not find spent shell casings and see bullet holes when we were searching this place?  Not to mention dark stains on the floors and walls?” 

I waved away her concerns “That was probably from you.” 

She shook her head “No, the guy I shot was up front by the doors, this was in the hallway.  And in that other office.” 

“Well whatever, we don’t know what happened.  For all we know the people that were here got rescued.” 

“And they didn’t mention that we were on ice in the back?  I still don’t understand how that even worked, human cell membranes . . .” 

I rolled my eyes “Ugh, enough with that cell membrane stuff, we’re here, who cares how it worked.  I admit that it seems strange that if the Indian dude or blonde Keanu were rescued that they wouldn’t say anything about us but . . .” 

“What’s even stranger is them leaving their guns behind.” 

“. . . BUT we don’t know what happened.  Everything could be fine over the next hill.  Did you see any bodies around here?  I didn’t.  That means they left, right?” 

“There may be nothing left to find, after a hundred years even bones . . .” 

I smacked my hand on the table, which wasn’t nearly as loud as I wanted it to be “We have NOT been here a hundred years!” 

Martialla frowned slightly “Since when did you become such a Pollyanna?  The refrigerator is burned out, you know how long that takes?” 

“Bah, that thing was probably twenty years old already.” 

Martialla glanced over at it dubiously “Looks pretty new to me.” 

“We’re not going to find out anything by sitting here, we don’t have any way to communicate with the outside world.” 

“And what if there’s no one to communicate with?” 

I shrugged “Then I guess we’ll have to repopulate the world.” 

She couldn’t help but laugh “There are a number of things wrong with that statement.” 

When it got dark, we went outside again – the glass on the front windows was too grimy to see through and in any case, you have to go up a ramp to see anything.  We had several layers of fabric over our mouths and noses but it didn’t seem to make much difference, it was like breathing in shards of glass.  We didn’t see any lights coming from Sacramento.  We didn’t see any lights coming from anywhere.   

I’m starting to think Martialla may be right.