by Gary Fincke
‘Your mom’s pregnant once more,’ my father advised my sister and me. ‘A shock,’ he added, just like the information was a part of a riddle. My sister was 9; I used to be practically eleven. What we have been doing, my father had simply defined, was purchasing for the longer term, searching the choices. For half an hour, we’d been following a salesman out into the nation, a spot so abandoned, I believed he had taken a improper flip. However now, although the world nonetheless appeared empty, we had arrived.
The homes, it turned out, have been bunkers practically buried within the floor. The agent, after we stood in entrance of 1, talked about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Kennedy and Khrushchev and Cuba. ‘What?’ my sister whispered to me. ‘Who?’ however I shook my head like she wasn’t purported to ask.
‘Subsequent time,’ the agent mentioned, ‘issues will probably be worse, the bombs extra widespread and lethal, however this dwelling you’re inspecting was constructed by the federal government with simply that in thoughts. It’s assured to resist an atomic blast.’
My mom spoke up. ‘That’s sufficient about that,’ she mentioned, and pointed at my sister and me. It was early summer season, however she tugged her coat tight in opposition to her physique.
‘Okay,’ the agent mentioned. ‘Simply bear in mind, the longer term will take you hostage. On that, you may rely.’ My mom glanced longingly at the place our automotive was parked close by. She took my sister’s hand and my father stiffened because the realtor boosted his voice a notch. ‘Most folk,’ he mentioned, ‘and perhaps the each of you, are extra involved about pure disasters just like the pandemic. Issues are beginning to occur—provide chains crumbling, tens of hundreds of thousands out of labor—one thing, for certain, is coming our method.’ Then he appeared straight at my mom and mentioned, ‘Relaxation assured, this space is linked by 100 miles of personal roads.’
All I may see was an empty plain stretched out in each path from the place we have been standing. Everywhere in the nearest land, in what appeared like straight rows and columns, metal doorways have been tucked into an identical grassy humps that gave away the places of the bunkers. ‘A home ought to be a sanctuary,’ the realtor mentioned as we adopted him inside one to have a look. ‘This one has room sufficient for as many as ten, extra comfy, after all, with fewer.’
Irrespective of how roomy that bunker was, even my father had points without delay, causes for hesitation and doubt. When he identified that the inside appeared like a shell, the realtor admitted that electrical energy, plumbing, and correctly filtered air have been what he dubbed ‘crucial extras.’
My father frowned. My mom mentioned, ‘We’re via right here.’ The realtor didn’t appear discouraged. He reminded my mother and father of how little a kind of bunkers price. ‘Round $40,000,’ he exclaimed. ‘About the identical as a single-wide and one million occasions safer.’ He thumped the ceiling to remind them that what they have been shopping for was the life insurance coverage of being firmly underground. ‘There may be one other website a thousand miles east of right here,’ he mentioned, ‘however most individuals choose the added worth of distant land, far north, distant from floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and navy targets. As soon as every thing is put in, you’ll admire absolutely the accuracy of the phrase ‘“location, location, location.”’
My mother and father listened a bit longer. They mentioned the difficulties of what they referred to as ‘downsizing,’ one thing, my father mentioned, ‘was as crucial as potable water.’
‘Each purchaser shares your issues about having an excessive amount of to hold, the powerful selections they should make,’ the realtor mentioned. When neither of my mother and father instantly answered, he smiled brightly and mentioned, ‘It received’t be practically as arduous as Noah had it.’
Exterior once more, the realtor made another push. ‘Look how the mounds are organized so geometrically. From far above, if lit, they’d appear like a postmodern constellation.’
My mother and father weren’t swayed by what my fifth grade instructor had referred to as ‘figurative language,’ however once they admitted they have been , however nonetheless not sure, the realtor turned excited. ‘There are extra causes to purchase than I’ve talked about.’
When my mom mentioned, ‘What else may persuade us?’ he smiled and lowered his voice.
‘When you’re inside, you want safety from those that are outdoors. The have-nots are going to go after the haves. They’ll knock in your door. They are going to be determined. They’ll get ugly. However you’ll have apocalypse-protection.’ He paused, flinging one arm again towards the heavy, relocked door. ‘Or, for those who choose, consider it this manner: Your loved ones’s security is what you’ll have in frequent with the excessive internet value households who spend hundreds of thousands elsewhere on their bunkers.’
All of us stood there among the many bunkers, the wind blowing steadily throughout the treeless plain. The realtor watched my mother and father, evaluating. When my mom let go of my sister’s hand, I knew that she was going to say ‘sure.’ That she acknowledged we wanted to maneuver. ‘After the newborn is born,’ my father mentioned, as if there was another border to cross, as if we have been refugees.
Gary Fincke’s newest assortment of full-length tales is Nothing Falls from Nowhere (Stephen F. Austin, 2021). His assortment of flash fiction, The Corridors of Longing, will probably be printed by Pelekinesis Press in October.