Until TomorrowMature

“It’s okay,” I reiterated wearily. I really hated the repeating, ‘it’s fine, you’ll be fine’ comforting business, but I could sympathise with how Summer was feeling. “So Caitlin isn’t at her house?”

“No… I was pretty sure that nobody was there. I thought maybe they had all gone to her nan’s house - the car wasn’t there, but neither was her dad’s van, so I didn’t know if her parents had come home or not…”

I let her babble, staring at the black TV screen. Evelyn gave a loud painful-sounding cough. Summer stared at her face as she slept fitfully.

“Is it okay for us to be near her?” she whispered, the guilt at such a selfish idea obvious in her eyes. Still, it was also clear she didn’t want to get it. It was like primary school and cooties but much worse, much more serious.

“I don’t think it matters,” I said softly, still staring at the monitor as if I could still see the newsreader. “We probably already have it anyway. There’s no way for us to tell until the bleeding starts.”

Out of the corner of my eye I saw her shivering movement.

“It feels like a nightmare,” I confessed, dragging a hand through my draggled hair. Summer nodded with a drawn-out sigh.

“We can go and look for Caitlin at her nan’s house tomorrow,” I continued. “It’s too late now. I don’t think we should leave the house when it’s dark, if there’s raiders around. I can’t believe it - only one day and raids are already starting.”

“I know - it’s like something out of a blackout movie,” she mumbled, muffled because she had pressed her face into the blanket. I glanced involuntarily at the lamp. They were closing supermarkets because of lack of staff. How long before the people running the electricity production plants got sick? What would happen then?

“I think we should stay down here,” I announced, getting up and rolling out my duvet like a sleeping bag on the floor between the sofa and the table. Summer scrambled up too.

“Here - your sister should have the sofa -”

She helped me lift Evelyn onto the sofa and tuck her in with blankets, though afterwards I could see that she was fighting the impulse to wipe her hands.

“Take your pick,” I smiled apologetically, gesturing the two armchairs or the floor. She took the one by the window, the one Evelyn hadn’t been sat in, and curled up with a cushion for a pillow. I took the other cushion for myself.

I switched off the corner light, and at once it was black. I waited a few seconds for my eyes to adjust before getting into my makeshift bed and trying to fall asleep.

The End

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