I’m going back out there.
Jenna and Arlene are gone. If they’re still alive, maybe I can find them. If I can’t, I don’t know what I’ll do.
I’ll take the laserprod for all the good it’ll do.
If I don’t return, which I suspect will be the case, this log will explain.March 18
Arlene was gone when I awoke. She left the portal open.March 17; 21:25
I return to the Bastion. Arlene is as I left her, her eyes still staring at nothing.
I try talking to her, but she doesn’t respond. I want to lash out at her, to hurt her for making me go out there, for blaming me about Jenna.
I want to tell her about the rancid air. About the stinking, decaying bodies of the men and the woman who broke into our house. How much worse it is outside. How there are bodies lying on the road: adults, children, animals. Unrecognizable.
No sign of Jenna or Rowders. Only the dead.
I don’t say anything. I just let her be. I want to sleep.March 17; 11:25
I can’t take any more. When Arlene isn’t crying, she’s shrieking. Telling me it’s my fault Jenna left. Keeps yelling, “she’s only eight years old and she’s out there.” I try to calm her. She tells me she’s going out there. “I’m going to find our baby!”
I tell her no. I’ll do it. I’ll go out there and find our daughter. She tells me to go, then sits at the edge of her cot and stares.
I’m going out there for the first time since the Rowders came. I try to kiss my wife. She turns away.March 17; 8:17
Arlene screamed me awake. “Our baby’s gone!”
Jenna’s gone. The portal to the Bastion is closed and Jenna is gone.
Now I understand what my gifted little girl’s been doing all this time. She’s been hacking into the exit code for the Bastion. She opened the portal during the night and snuck out. She even activated the timing module so that the portal would close again after she left.
Arlene is hysterical. She’s cursing me, hitting me. I let her.March 16
No change. Arlene is ignoring me. Jenna is at her console. When I come by, she minimizes the view or switches to something else. Probably playing those vidgames I don’t like. I let her. I still feel rotten over what happened. I don’t want to make things worse.March 13
Tension unbearable. We hardly talk to each other. Jenna stays at her console all day. I ask her what she’s doing and she says “Stuff.” Arlene is on her omni-pod, reading, listening to music, doing mindless puzzles to keep her mind off things. I stay on the main console trying to find other survivors and get the latest news.
Surely there are others who have homes with Bastions. Why can’t I reach them?
I try reaching Kevin. I don’t succeed.
When this is all over, maybe we’ll start being a family again.
C.I. Kemp was born in New York City. A product of the fifties and sixties, he was enamored of horror, fantasy, and science-fiction from an early age. He is a former English major who has never lost his passion for good books of all genres, but his first literary love is dark fiction. He counts as his influences Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Arthur Machen, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, T.E.D. Klein, and a host of others.
Visit his author page at http://www.ci-kemp.com/index.html.