One of the things I missed the most: Music.
Silence is a two-edged sword: For one, it comforts you, it tells you you're safe, it lets you sleep. On the other side, it's also a reminder that you are alone, that there is no cavalry that will help you whether you're surrounded by gangs, starving, or worst yet: Thirst.
Which leads me to this entry, which, after the last one, is probably one of my happiest entries so far.
We started looking for supplies near the market: Obviously it was empty. The hospital near it just as well, but the most eerie thing was the silence: Heavy, long, and frightening silence. It kept you on you feet, but it also let your imagination a wide space for it t play with your head: Every corner was a possible ambush. Every building could very well be at the point of falling apart. Karen and Lisa were there to keep me from going paranoid, and my dogs helped us to confirm that, in fact, we were alone.
We looked everywhere in the old hospital (which kept most of its modernist feel, despite decades of lack of maintenance, and the chaos of the Fires) for any scraps, but there wasn't any medicines or food supplies. Even pieces of metal were ripped and torn open. We did, however, found something that would later on be the most useful find.
In the supplies section, near the well-decayed corpse of a possible looter, was a portable generator. The thing seemed to run on diesel, and it looked very heavy, but this thing would help a lot in the museum. I told the girls to stay there and keep an eye for anyone. I got out and started looking for a car and stuff to help us move. I found an old truck -still with fuel- that wasn't damaged (very), some rope and a few pieces of cloth to help us haul the generator into the back of the car. It took us about a couple of hours and a lot of noise (I swear I was nervous all the time), but we were able to load it. Lisa had found a single diesel container still full of fuel, so that was more than useful. We moved slowly, due to the cars smashed and stalled in the middle of the street, but we finally made it.
None of use knew how to install it, though, and it took us a few solid hours of moving it through the stairs. And it took us about two or three days (not to mention several diesel runs in case we ran out) to figure out how to use it, but we did.
The first thing I did -And I learned it back a while when there was still the internet- how to connect my mp3 player. I always had it with me, for some reason, but it never occured to me to play it. The slender metallic square was there, charging, along with the power lines we found, and to my surprise, it still worked. I let it charging for a while with some wires, and I was happy as a clam. I looked around for some working speakers, but no luck, the Fires fried most of the electrical and electronic equipment in the museum. What was left in working conditions was under a EMERGENCY section in the basement, protected in a security cage that, in my opinion, could've acted as an impromtu Faraday Cage. So, what was left? A HAM radio transmitter (after all, this was a government building), a couple of flashlights, and a flare gun.
We took it all and installed the radio. Karen, to our surprise, actually knew how to use it, since her dad taught her the "radio hobby"and in less then a few hours, we had a working radio. It was a pleasant day, that one: The warm sun against the cool wind, Lisa playing with the dogs, the stillness of the city against the gentle sound of the nearby trees below us, and Karen, with her headphones, trying to get a signal.
There was only silence, and the only actual signal we received was an emergency broadcast. We were alone.
We had some expertise with the basics of electrical instalations, so we managed to rig some of it to the generator, We made it work, and we had lights, and a working fan. It all semeed as if the Fires never happened. We slept well that night, and Karen snuggled with me, and I hugged her back.
The next day, I figured that we needed to grow food if we were to use this place as our own settlement. I knew of a seed bank not so far off, closer to the market, but this time I needed to go alone. Too much of a risk to be along the girls and the dogs. Karen understood and assured me they would be alright.
I went along the street, but avoided to be in the open. There were charred bones, almost everywhere. Police cars and military cars crashed and burned in the sidelines, and several concrete barriers torn off by civilian cars. Weeds started to grow out of the cracks of the roads and the streets. I knew well most people would raid the supermarkets, the grocery stores, but very little people, at least city folk, would go for seed banks.
I headed over, and... Interesting things, would happen.