Day Twenty One

Radio Shack has barely changed since my last visit.  Slight water damage spots the cheap carpet, the door having been left open in the rain.  No electricity, as usual. 

A few hours later I have a generator with a band saw’s buzz running in the parking lot.  It only took me an hour fiddling with switches to bring electricity to the right breaker. 

I take a screwdriver and very slowly pry back wires on the inside of my phone.  Over the last few days it’s taken me countless hours of searching and fiddling, reading and decrypting to understand just exactly how my cell phone works.  Worked. And I’m pretty sure I still don’t.  But I have some new ideas.  Maybe the thousandth time’s the charm. 

The computers inside the store are less helpful than I’d hoped.  Every website address I enter leaves nothing when it’s finally loaded.  The blank screen might as well be buzzing static.  I’m not sure why I expect anything different, but somehow every time I try it I think that this time it will work. 

Sometime later I give up on the machine and start yanking my phone apart.  Leaving Danton is unavoidable, but leaving with more information than none at all will put me at an advantage.  However, leaving months from now will put me at a disadvantage due to the harsh weather.  I can’t be certain that I can survive the winter alone.  I was never a girl scout, I enjoyed electricity and fireplaces controlled by remotes and hated the outdoors.  If I ran out of gas and couldn’t leave town that might be all it took for the elements to take hold.  Besides, I will want to leave eventually.  Why put off the inevitable.


Pulling my cell phone’s link to the satellite out of its plastic back, I hear a blissfully familiar chime of the phone turning on.  I flip it over and a message flashes across the screen, something my roommate Karen had programmed in so long ago:

Your phone just turned you on b*tch!

I burst into a laughter that brought tears of joy with it and my fingers are shaking as I click through to my text messages.  The last one is from Luke at 1:54AM.

Luke:         I don’t know.  I’ll always love you.  We will see what happens. 

I feel hot tears rolling down my cheeks as I flip back to the beginning of the conversation, madly switching between his messages and my responses.  There are 12 messages from him, he contacted me first.

Luke:         So, I bet I’m having a better night than you.

Me:            No.  You aren’t.  I’ve gotten 3 free drinks so far.

Luke:         Ya, but they were all dogs right?

Me:            I dunno.  IT’s been many since then.  Just Karen and Kyle heer now.

Luke:         Say hi for me.  I swam with dolphins today.  And also the weather was nice here.

Me:            You win.  What are you doin now?

Luke:         Trivia night at Trollo’s. We’re losing though.

Me:            bs, you never loose

There was a 45 minute break between this and the next one.

Me:            Come home to me.  I love you.

Luke:         Are you home?

Me:            I want to go but Karen wants to do more shotss.

Luke:         Don’t drink anymore, just get water.

Me:            I know you got that mesage.  Dont you love me still?

Luke:         You know I do.  We can talk about it tomorrow.

Me:            I want to tak about it now, I dont know when I’ll leave.  You might fal assleep

Luke:         Becks, you know all I want is you.  It’s not possible right now.  That’s just how it is.  And I don’t see why either of us should be miserable for the next four years just because that fact is hard to accept.

Me:            But I’m miserable anyway.I’d rather b miserable and be able tovisit you

Luke:         You can visit me whenever you want.

Me:            Yeah I’ll drop by when you have a girl over he he

Luke:         There hasn’t been anyone yet

Me:            Duck you Luke

Luke:         I’m sorry

Me:            Dont you think we could make it work after?  When you are done?

Luke:         I don’t know.  I’ll always love you.  We will see what happens. 


As I finish the last message I hear the sound of my own sobs for the first time. I’m gasping for air.  Cleaver tenderly rests his head on my thigh as my body is rocked by cries. 

The sun sets outside the store, rippling black too quickly enveloping the bright orange.  A breeze catches the open door, bringing frigid air inside and against my bare and shaking knees. 

After several minutes lift my head from the glass counter which has been collecting tears.  I grab a video camcorder and tripod from the back and switch it on, sitting on an uncomfortable stool I’d grabbed from behind the counter.

“My name is Rebecca Sawyer.  My parents are June and Scott Sawyer.  She lives in Sacremento, he lives in Boston.  I have been alone here in Danton for twenty two days.  During that time I have seen no signs of… anyone else.”

Like a pause in a public presentation, my own hesitation breaks my train of thought.

“I-I’m going to leave.”

I stand up and switch the view screen around so I can see myself.

“I have to leave Danton.”

The End

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