Interviews of the Apocalypse – Chapter 10 (Peter, Natalie & Holly)

The following interview was transcribed from a recorded session.

AA – “Good morning to each of you, quite the family unit we have here. If you wouldn’t mind introducing yourselves and stating your personal details.”

PA – “Good morning to you too. My name is Peter Ahmed, I can’t quite remember my age and I’m from the North East.”

NA – “Hi, I’m Natalie Ahmed, I’m seventy-five years old and I’m from the North East too.”

HA – “Hey, I’m Holly Ahmed, I’m forty-four years old and I’m from the North East too. Also, my dad is about one-hundred-something years old.”

PA – “You’re as young as you feel…which makes me about three hundred.”

AA – “Hah, sage wisdom indeed. So I would be correct in assuming you are, in fact, one family unit?”

NA – “That’s right, yeah.”

PA – “Correct indeed, though you should never assume. Assuming makes an-”

HA – “Oh god dad, please don’t.”

PA – “Someone’s got to make the bad jokes around here.”

AA – “Well said, bad jokes are a mainstay of civilisation.”

PA – “Correct.”

HA – “Please don’t encourage him.”

NA – “Anyway, me and Peter are married and Holly is our daughter.”

AA – “Very nice indeed, it’s not often you see that nowadays.”

PA – “Tragic times alright, but we do what we can.”

AA – “Which leads me nicely onto my first question. Would the three of you be so kind as to tell me what it is you do for the town?”

PA – “A little bit of everything really, but we do have one speciality.”

NA – “We’re the closest thing this town has to a fire service. It’s what we did before…well, before, you know.”

AA – “I know very well. And you, Holly?”

HA – “I just help out around the town really. I’m handy with electronics, but I enjoy teaching in the classes with Mrs Harrison mainly. It’s nice to see a kid smile.”

AA – “I know the joy very well.”

PA – “Teaching is important now more than ever. It’s vital we don’t lose what made us human in the first place.”

AA – “I couldn’t agree more. Learning the basics of english and mathematics sets us apart from our primate cousins.”

HA – “Man, you two are serious.”

PA – “It’s a serious time sweetheart.”

NA – “Not all serious though, we have a few laughs now and then.”

AA – “Another of your jobs about town?”

NA – “You could say that, we try to make sure people spend enough time socialising with each other and spending time adjusting.”

AA – “Very kind of you. But, if I may regress a tad, you said something about a fire service?”

PA – “It’s what we know very well, may as well put it to use. We actually turned up here in a fire engine.”

NA – “It’s where we ended up when we came out of hiding.”

AA – “Interesting, but we’ll come to that in a moment.”

PA – “Of course, well we just make sure the town knows enough about fire prevention and fire safety to minimise the risk of accidents. Plenty of batteries lying about and smoke alarms are easy to find.”

NA – “Before we arrived, people just kept on the cautious side. Now, there’s a fire alarm in every home and plenty of hoses around to fight a fire if it does arise.”

HA – “We’ve also helped to modify the layout of the town a little. When we arrived, Boss was trying to make the paths and roads more stable. A main road runs straight through the town so that’s not too bad, but the streets were all mud.”

NA – “Boss was doing his best, but he didn’t know where to find or how to transport the materials.”

PA – “Luckily I did, I’m familiar with all the build sites and construction suppliers around here so it didn’t take me long to find good cement bags and flagstones to use. The colours are a bit mismatched but it’s better than packed dirt.”

NA – “I always thought after something like this happened to the world we’d be reduced to cavemen. But, we still know how to build and maintain our civilisation.”

HA – “All the houses here are made of solid wood and stone, weather-proofed and insulated.”

PA – “Yeah, Boss sure knows his way around these things. Guy’s got his head on right.”

AA – “Yes indeed, it’s an impressive refuge and growing more each week. There’s a good mix of skills here, builders, bakers etcetera. So, tell me, how did you come to this place?”

PA – “All the roads seemed to lead here.”

NA – “Yeah, like I said we first headed to the local fire station when we got out. We found food and good tools to have, you never know what you’ll need in a situation like this. We packed it all into a truck and left the station.”

HA – “I kept asking where we were going, but we just followed the roads for the most part. Ended up here after a few months of driving in circles.”

PA – “For the last time, we were not driving in circles.”

HA – “Sure felt that way to me!”

NA – “Anyway…we saw this place as a speck on the horizon. Headed for it and got lucky really.”

AA – “I’d say the town had its share of luck bringing you three here too. Linking to your previous points there, what did you do when you first came out and why leave safety at all?”

PA – “Can’t spend your whole life hiding from a danger that may or may not be there, sometimes you just have to chance it.”

HA – “Or chance it about a dozen times like we did.”

NA – “True.”

AA – “Hold on, so you tried to leave safety before?”

PA – “Well of course, never did like being cooped up in one place for too long.”

NA – “We had ways to tell time, kept poking our heads of every couple of years or so. But it never did feel quite…right. You know? It just felt off.”

HA – “No other people, no movement at all. We kept our eyes on a few landmarks within view, but year after year nothing ever changed.”

PA – “Then one year I poked my head out and it just felt…safe again. So, we packed up and moved out.”

AA – “Did you have much with you?”

PA – “Oh, plenty.”

NA – “Before we went and hid we packed up plenty of clothes, even a few extra for Holly in case we had to spend a long time in there.”

AA – “Do you remember much about your accommodations?”

PA – “Not really…though we were there for the longest damn time.”

HA – “What? How do you not remember?”

NA – “I don’t quite recall either.”

HA – “How? It was like a bunker of sorts, running water, heating, the usual amenities a house used to have. Two bedrooms, lounge, small kitchen, washing machine, everything you would have found in a house!”

PA – “How odd.”

AA – “Very odd indeed, you are the first I’ve talked to who has such vivid recollection of their survival during the Fall.”

PA – “I wonder if it’s because of her age.”

AA – “Indeed, you are the only person I’ve seen who was a child before the Fall, Holly.”

HA -“I’m not sure what to say…I just…remember. I don’t remember much before the Fall though,  I was just a kid.”

NA – “That’s true, Holly was just a bairn when we decided to go into hiding. I can’t remember anything from that time.”

AA – “It appears no-one can, which would be a blessing in disguise really. But we’ll move on anyway. What is it like for you three, day-to-day, around here?”

PA – “Same as it is for everyone else I expect, we do our jobs, help out others where needed and make sure we relax when we can.”

NA – “There’s no such thing as a timetable anymore, at least not for most things. No currency or anything like that either, so people just help other when and where they can.”

HA – “It’s quite nice really, you know, aside from it being what could possibly be the extinction of humanity as we know it.”

PA – “Now Holly, try not to be too optimistic about it.”

NA – “Talk about cynical…wonder where she got that from.”

PA – “I wonder indeed, but-…oh…you mean me.”

AA – “Just to get back on topic a little here. What do you think of the town as a whole?”

PA – “It’s a nice place, considering. Just like a little village in many aspects, especially now with the paved streets and the beginning of what could be night lighting around the houses. We just need a corner shop and we have everything.”

NA – “The bakery is nice, Pete throws his hand in when he has the time to make sure there’s enough to go around.”

HA – “Not much for it at the minute though, there’s plenty of land around here that’s being used for farming and harvesting the basics, wheat and corn mostly. We try to get…creative with the supplies we can find. It’s mostly tinned stuff but some of it’s quite good.”

PA – “Tinned crap, full of stuff you don’t want to know about but it’s keeping us all alive anyway.”

NA – “You always were a bit of a food snob.”

HA – “That’s true.”

PA – “I can’t help it ladies, I’m a chef by trade. Still, the lack of decent cigarettes bugged me at first, but I feel so much better without them.”

NA – “The alcohol is mainly used for medicinal and sterilisation purposes here, which isn’t a bad thing ether.”

AA – “I remember the days of alcohol and cigarettes, I think it’s one of the only things that’s been improved by our current predicament.”

HA – “Never had the chance to experience either.”

AA – “Trust me, you’ll probably outlive us all. Well, most of us anyway.”

PA – “Nasty things they were.”

NA – “I remember you smoking…quite a lot actually. Not so much the alcohol though.”

PA – “A bit of lager every now and then was good for me. Tea though…god I miss a good cup of tea.”

HA – “Plenty of tea bags lying about, but, like the milk, I think they’ve all gone bad by now.”

AA – “A good cup of tea was an artform way-back-when. Highly sought for, rarely achieved.”

PA – “Don’t remind me! I had to quit everything cold-turkey but I’m still suffering from the loss of tea.”

NA – “Yes, I’m sure it’s the worst thing this planet has lost.”

PA – “Trying to keep things light my dear. Always forward, never back.”

AA – “A good philosophy to have, especially now.  Well, I think that about wraps this up, thank the three of you very much for your time, it’s been a pleasure.”

PA – “The pleasure was ours, thanks for talking to us.”

NA – “Nice to meet you.”

HA – “Yeah, this made a nice change.”

AA – “That’s what I do, my dear.

END

Not many notes here, the parents Peter and Natalie were comparably normal to the others I have interviewed. However their daughter, Holly, was quite fascinating from a scientific standpoint.

As i said in the interview quite honestly, she is the only pre-Fall child I have spoken too with such a vivid memory. It’s a shame she was too  young to remember her life before the Fall, but the details of their safe haven during the past few decades was very interesting indeed.

If I had to assume, I would was most survivors stayed in places like Holly described. Running water, heating, gas, food supplies, backup generators, all designed to encompass a range of scenarios.

However, as Peter quite rightly pointed out, it is unwise to assume anything. Especially now.

 

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