It was a shame that no one agreed with her.
“People are missing and that is important to you?”
“How selfish can you be?”
“What were you thinking?”
“You must be an idiot!”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“Don’t you care?”
“That’s a stupid plan!”
“I’m sorry.” She said weakly. “I’m so sorry.”
“You should be!”
“Think of your family!”
“What were you thinking?”
“You are so rude!”
“You are mean!”
“You’re so greedy!”
Susie turned her head down to look at the floor. She kept repeating to them how sorry she was. Over and over, but no one listened. The hurt may be inflicted towards her, but they were talking about themselves as well. They knew that she had been right. No one wanted to admit it to themselves. Then they would be admitting that they were gone. Sadie saw her, about to burst into tears.
“STOP!” she called. They fell into a stunned silence.
“Look what you’re doing. This isn’t her fault. She’s just thinking about what we need to do. Don’t inflict what you are thinking out on her. It’s not her fault. Listen. Don’t shut her out.” Everyone looked down as she was talking. As always, she was right. Susie looked over at her friends and the boys. She bit her lip. That just held the tears back. She looked up at them. Sadie nudged her. This time they knew she was right. She was watching their backs and they should be caring for her, not hurting her. Sadie smiled.
“We need to make a list of what we need.” Began Sadie. However, before she got any further, Alexia interrupted. Sadie looked murderous.
“How do we know that they are all gone? That could be a lie. Maybe the people here have gone somewhere, like some planned place we didn’t hear about. We can’t just assume that some stupid piece of paper is right just because it makes sense.” The people listened to her and nodded in agreement.
“Fine.” Said Sadie, bristling with anger. “Come and find me when you realise I am right.” The girl strode off. Susie looked over the group. She sighed. They all had strong personalities. It would be difficult to make it work. She wasn’t planning on having a ‘Lord of the Flies’ effect this time around. They could be alone here forever and if they all died, well there would be no one left to populate the earth. She ran after Sadie as they all began to use their phones, ringing anyone they could think may be able to tell them if they were alive. She explained what she thought. Sadie shivered. She had read Lord of the Flies along with Susie last term and they had done the analysis on it. It was easy for things to go wrong and they didn’t want anyone to die. The two girls shivered once more.
Caitlin was sitting on the floor. She watched the people before her desperately try to ring anyone they loved, hoping that they would answer them. She could see that this was looking hopeless. She was getting the feeling that this was a failed attempt before it began. She shook her head. Suddenly, unbidden images of Lord of the Flies entered her head, as if put there by someone else. Caitlin’s mother had made her watch the film when she had seen the book in her bag. The images in her mind always sent shivers down her spine. She hated it. Soon even the most optimistic of the group finally admitted defeat. Caitlin got up and went to find Susie and Sadie. The two girls were in one of the classrooms on the ground floor. She smiled at them. Susie smiled back.
“Can the others come here please?” she asked politely.
“We have an idea.” Caitlin nodded almost dumbly. They wouldn’t like that. Not at all.
When the others finally arrived back, they were grumpy and irritable. Susie motioned for the chairs in the classroom and they took them. Sadie began to speak.
“Now, we know now that we really are the only people left here. This means that we need to make some form of plan to ensure that we survive. Here are our six steps that we will need.” Sadie pointed to the whiteboard. Written in shaky handwriting were the steps that they thought of.
· plumbing and sanitation
· electricity and alternative power
1. Heating- cook with and use to keep warm with
2. Lighting- see with
· supplies- medicine, clothing, temporary food supplies
· Shelter with abilities to house all of the above.
“We thought that as there are twelve of us we can each pair up and do the jobs in pairs.” They all looked over each over. It sounded like a good idea.
“First,” said Susie softly, “We need to choose a leader. They may be just until we can sort all this out, but we need one.” Everyone nodded.
“I thought we can all go up here and place their name on a piece of paper. When you have written the name on, fold over the paper so that the next person can’t see it.” Susie went up, wrote on a name with the pen and folded it over. She pointed at Sadie.
“You go next then along the row please.” She said firmly, pushing Sadie over to the paper. She nodded and smiled. When the paper was full with the names Susie picked it up. She unfolded the paper and looked it over. She made a quick little tally and smiled.
“The winner and our new leader is… Sadie. The second in command is Ben and then it is, well, me.” Sadie smiled happily, letting her past harsh words fade away. She had been chosen as she had thought she would be. Susie picked up the paper and so no one could read it, threw it in the bin. She wouldn’t say that she had switched hers and Ben’s names around.
“For water, we either need a stream of sorts we can then filter the water from or some sort of well. I know a well sounds a little foolish, but it would be the safest option.” Susie began, pointing to the word water as she did so. The others nodded along with her.
“Plumbing and Sanitation means that we can have working toilets, some form of cleaning any water we collect and having baths and showers which work.” Said Sadie, pointing to the next one down, ignoring the one that said food. That was coming last.
“Electricity would be something that we could have at some point in the future, but the easiest way to have that would be to make out own electricity from something such as a waterwheel if we have a stream, solar cells or wind turbines.” Susie said, pointing to it as she did so. Caitlin was looking thoughtful as she looked at it.
“Until we have some crops that we can eat from and we have our own medicine that we grow, we will need to survive on supplies from this time.”
“Food is the most complicated. We need heat to cook any food we have and light to be able to see what we are doing. We will also need to plant crops to eat with and use. We will have to raise animals such as cows and chickens to eat and have the eggs and milk.” The two of them finished and smiled to them.
“The shelter we will have needs to be able to cater for all this and not just what Susie was talking about earlier. We need to choose a shelter now so we can work on those instead.” Sadie finished and looked at the people before her.
“We need places to live.” She said again.
“Why can’t we live in a house?” asked Megan, a little foolishly.
“We could. But would you want to live in a house, knowing that people used to live in here and were happy? That they had grown children here and now you were invading their territory?” said Susie confidently. As she knew all these people (sort of) she had no reason to be afraid of them. They looked at her.
“Do we have to?” asked Ben. She nodded. He sighed. They all looked at each other and sighed.
“I’m so glad that I’m stuck here with you lot.” Said Susie sarcastically. “You’re obviously the cleverest people chosen.” They all looked at her.
“You haven’t come up with any ideas!” said Ben angrily. She pointed to the board, filled up with writing. He sighed and glared at her. She gave him the evil eye and stuck out her tongue. Suddenly Hannah sat up.
“I suppose we could live in the pavilion like Susie suggested.” She said vaguely. Everyone turned to her and many of them looked at her strangely.
“Think about it. We have the building already there and the Astroturf area has a large area surrounded by fences, perfect for the job. The field is easily big enough for us all to live in it comfortably. We would easily have enough space. Think about it, there is the area which used to be a farmhouse since the medieval times. The walled garden, perfect for a medicine growing area. There is even a well which had those filters put in years ago when some kid drank the water and got some worm thing. It could be perfect. Please?” she looked pleadingly around at the others. The boys were looking very unimpressed. Sadie stood to her feet.
“As leader I ask for a vote. All those in favour of living in the pavilion and updating our school, raise your hand.” Slowly, every single person in the group raised their hand. She smiled and clapped her hands.
“Perfect.” She said eagerly.
A few hours later and they were in the pavilion. Everyone had worked together to remove the benches and coat pegs that were put in the walls of the place. Now it was time to move in everyone belongings. George had been ‘inspired’ with the idea to collect items from everyone’s houses and put them in the rooms so that they could sleep in the house. No one had objected and they had managed to carry items from Susie and Sadie’s houses easily to their new room. The other people had been harder however, seeing as Caitlin and Hannah lived two miles away from them. It would take forever for them to walk there and retrieve any belongings. Instead, James, Caitlin and Hannah had gone off in one of the vans to collect everyone’s things to bring back. Susie was very worried about that and had made James promise he would drive slowly. That had made her feel a little better. While they had gone off, Ben and Luke went to open up the well. They hoped that it worked seeing as it was their water supply. George had gone to collect his Aga from home. The small cooker would work for a while and would be cooking their meals. Susie hoped he would bring back some food too. She was starving. Sadie had gone to the library. She had decided to find some books on plumbing to help someone improve it when they returned. That left Susie on her own at the house. Their new home.
She sat down at the kitchen table (collected from her house) and looked down at the oak table. She traced in the wood the words she had written in it years ago. It said ‘hello’ in small uneven handwriting. She smiled weakly at it and then began to cry. A fat tear rolled down her cheek as she looked at the small writing. It was funny, but now she could remember every little detail about that day. This morning, it hadn’t seemed so important. Not something she should remember.
When George returned he felt victorious. The brave warrior returns home, laden with bags of food, cookbooks and even the Aga stove on a cart he had found. It was perfect for carrying home the object it. He whistled as he walked through the school, past Ben and Luke who were fixing the well and up to the pavilion. When he arrived however, he didn’t feel so happy. Slumped across the table was Susie. She had broken down and was now snivelling as she lay, stretched out on the wood. He dropped his cart down on the floor and came over to her.
“Shh. It’ll be alright.” he comforted as best he could. That method always seemed to work on Eva, his younger sister.
“No it won’t.” came the shaky reply. “It will never be ‘alright’ again. Didn’t it get through the thick skull of yours that everyone is gone? I hated my sister while she was alive but now she isn’t here anymore, I miss her. I want her back. This isn’t one of those times where you can wipe away my tears and everything will be ok again. It won’t ever be ok again. Now, what were you going to say?” Susie looked up at him. She didn’t have a face that made crying look beautiful. Her cheeks were stained with tears and had gone slightly red and blotchy. She frowned at him and her thin eyebrows arched downwards. He couldn’t help but smile. She glared at him.
“It’s not funny.” She said angrily. That made him laugh even harder. It was as though the floodgates had opened and there was no holding him back. After a while, even the angry girl managed to smile a little. He scooped her up in a big bear hug.
“It will be ok one day Susie. You just wait and see.” He said mysteriously, tapping his nose with his finger. She glowered at him and he laughed again as he walked away, knowing that she would be fine soon, if she was the Susie he remembered as a child, often scraping her knees on the floor as she tried to fight him and win. That only happened very rarely, and he could normally contest the victory as he had ‘back pain’ or some other complaint he blamed it on. That had never softened her as she danced around his garden, doing some crazed victory dance. He smiled to himself and began to set up the Aga. It would be a while yet for it to be needed, but it was better to have it set up than not ready later. Back over at the table, Susie began to dry her eyes. She sniffed a little and then straightened. It was time to get ready for school.