Author : TJMoore

Sam squinted into the dimly lit cupboard, the all but extinguished ICL held out in front of him like a jar of fireflies.

With a sigh he gave up on the fading lamp and began searching for the rye seeds by hand. He did like a good seeded bread and if he didn’t get it mixed up tonight, he’d have to wait another day to bake it, which may be the case anyway if it was cloudy tomorrow.

Seeds found, he turned the ICL back on to use the last possible lumens to measure out his ingredients. He’d have to mix and kneed in the dark, but he was skilled at that by now.

Fondly, he reminisced on days gone by when he could simply drive to the store, any time of the day or night, to buy whatever he wanted from wherever it came from. So many things had been lost.

The war for fossil fuels had been fairly brief once all the combatants came to the conclusion that the fight would destroy the prize. But the technology to support the population at the time did not exist without it. The war for survival lasted much longer and was more brutal than any war fought in recorded history. The survivors who didn?t live near the oil were few and hardened. Sam was such a person.

He and his neighbors, the Andersons and the Downins, worked every minute of every day just to stay alive. It took acres of land per person to produce enough food and all of that land had to be worked by hand. The Andersons had a horse which helped some, but the horse itself required several acres and a lot of additional work to keep it through the winter. The horse was also a valuable commodity that required constant protection from raiders. Sam was an exceptional shot had earned a reputation for keeping marauders at bay.

In the now dark kitchen, Sam carefully covered his bread dough with a clean cloth and set in the old gas oven to rise. The oven could be used occasionally when he had accumulated enough methane from his generator, but during the summer he used the solar oven exclusively. He groped around and found the cradle for the IC Light and plugged it in to recharge when the sun came up. He had five solar collectors on the roof that provided a few watts of electricity on sunny days; an acquisition he had made just before the wars when he could still drive to the city. A hand crank weather radio sat on his repair bench, waiting for the day when he found some spare parts to fix it. There were no radio stations broadcasting anymore, but the radio also had a light and a power outlet for recharging cell phones back in the day. He wished it was working now so he could take it on his scouting trip in two days. He and the Downin boy were going toward the city to look for glass.


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