“How do we know when the bomb drops?” Crystal asked.
Archie was cleaning his toenails with a knife.
“The TV will go off; bombs will mean no electricity.” He wiped the knife on the arm of the sofa.
“And then what?”
“Then, we stay put, minimum six weeks, maybe eight. The longer the better. Depends on the food stocks.”
“Can I still use my computer?” Ed asked.
Archie slammed his knife down. “No, I told you. No internet, no phones, not that they will work, but you never know, people might be able to trace us.”
“So, what will we do?” Crystal looked around the dank shelter.
“We’ll read, sleep, exercise, fuck. I don’t know.”
Jo giggled at the word fuck.
Crystal hoped the bomb wouldn’t drop tonight; she’d left her headphones up the house; she didn’t think she could stand six weeks of this drivel. She’d loved Archie, once. He was a kind, loving human being before he started on the survivalist thing. But once he’d decided the end of the world was nigh and he needed to build this damned bunker, he’d become a bit of an animal. Now they had to sleep in the bunker every night, alongside Ed and Jo, two complete strangers who’d answered Archie ads on Craig’s List.
Who the hell answers an ad on Craig’s List asking who wants to repopulate the earth?
It was madness, sheer madness, but Archie was not for turning.
With every passing day, Crystal thought about running away, of not going into the bunker at night with the other three. It was Hobson’s Choice, die a violent death, or spend the next eight weeks with this motley crew.
It was on the fourth night, right in the middle of the Big Bang Theory that the TV blinked and winked and crackled and then hissed into a blizzard of snow.
“That’s it!” Archie screamed. He almost seemed too happy. “That’s it.” They sat in the silence listening to the hum of the generator.
“Where are the explosions?” Ed asked.
“We’re soundproofed,” Archie said.
“Are we the only people alive?” Jo said in a whisper.
Archie shrugged. “Who knows who else built shelters?”
“It’s strange to think everyone is dead,” Ed said.
Jo burst into tears. “Even the dogs?” she said.
“Even the dogs.” Archie smiled.
Four days. Four days was all it took before Crystal was going out of her mind with boredom. Archie was pacing like a demented wolf.
“Archie sit down.” Crystal said.
“Polar bears,” Jo burst into tears as she had done every time she’d remembered another cute species that would have been wiped out by the bombs.
“Hey sweet cheeks, fancy a bit of this.” Since the bomb, Ed had taken to walking around in just his shorts. He got his pecker out at any given opportunity.
“Ed, I’ve told you, I’m not having sex with you.”
“C’mon love, we need to repopulate the earth.”
“Do it with Jo. Archie, tell him.”
Archie grunted. “He can have sex with you if he wants.”
Crystal had had enough. She stood up.
“Where are you going?” Archie said.
“I’m going to prepare myself for Ed. Ed come to my room in twenty minutes.”
But Crystal didn’t go to her room. She headed straight to the entrance. She’d watched Archie lock the air vault and knew the code, his mother’s birthday. She punched it in. Sirens wailed as the door slid open. She didn’t know he’d alarmed it. She had to be quick. She slammed the door behind her and ran up the steps, she felt pain in her ankle as she slipped, but she kept going. She could hear voices behind her.
“It’s too dangerous to follow her. Let the bitch go.” she heard Archie say.
She pushed open the top door and collapsed onto the ground, her ankle throbbing.
Crystal sucked in a few deep ones. The air in the bunker had been getting a bit putrid, it was good to be out in the fresh air. Except, this wasn’t meant to be fresh air, this was meant to be nuclear fallout. She stood up and looked around. The buildings were still standing where they had been four days earlier. Cars ran along the roads. Nothing had changed. There’d been no bomb. That bloody television must have been on the blink. Crystal thought about going back and telling the others they could come out of the bunker. She smiled to herself. She’d leave them to it.