Friday, July 25, 2014

Part 18



Sticking to the increasingly dark shadows I made my way across town to where the warehouse district was.  That is where Lee had told me they stored all of the personal items of the people whose homes they had taken over.  He told me things had been stored by street and house number in crates hastily cobbled together from scraps at the lumberyard.

Lee had admitted that there was surprisingly little left after things like furniture, clothing, dishes, and that sort of stuff was redistributed to the homeless refugees who had crowded the town.  All I was really hoping for was that our family pictures didn't get thrown away.

I crawled into the warehouse and sighed.  I was definitely not going to find anything that night, it was too dark inside the warehouse.  The only good thing that I noted was that the place was dirty and had an abandoned feel to it that meant no one really guarded the place on a regular basis.  Hopefully that wouldn't change in the next day or two and I'd been able to find what I was looking for.

Just to be on the safe side I climbed up to the second level of the warehouse and from there to the top of the shelving on that floor.  I was in the back, darkest corner.  I heard a little rustling but it wound up being from all the accumulated dust and dirt resettling after I had stirred it up rather than mice or rats or bats.  I was tired so after a few sips of water and a bite of one of those awful calorie bars I created a little nest and went to sleep.

I woke the next day when a sun beam poked me in the eye.  Before I moved I took silent stock in my surroundings.  The warehouse still felt empty.  I didn't hear anything except for the wind as it blew against the metal roof of the warehouse.  It was cold and I shivered hard enough to disturb the dust around me and I had to hold my nose for nearly half a minute to control the sneeze that wanted to escape.

I had meant to wake up at dawn but obviously hadn't.  I climbed down from the shelf I had been on then carefully looked out the window on that floor.  Nothing.  The entire area looked abandoned.  I quickly got down to the business that I had come for.

Looking around I noticed signs with words and numbers on them.  I realized they corresponded to street names and house numbers.  Going downstairs I looked around but couldn't find my street name.  In frustration I went upstairs to have another bite of the calorie bar and then could have just kicked myself when I realized I'd been sleeping one shelving row over from where I needed to be.

Locating the approximate place the crate containing my family's personal belongings was one thing.  Locating the crate itself was totally different.  It took me three hours of hard searching to find the crate and then another hour to unearth from the stack it was buried in.  Actually I didn't unearth it so much as create a tunnel back to it.

The crate was depressingly small.  It might have made a coffin for me but only if my knees were bent.  I used a screwdriver from my backpack and finally pried the metal staples out so that I could open the crate.  Once I got it open I had to breathe deeply to keep myself from turning into a watering pot again.  Once I started to dig through stuff to try and decide what to bring and what to leave behind I had to fight the urge to stop and look through the photo albums.

When I was little Toddie hadn't turned into a super jerk yet.  One year for Christmas he digitized all the family photos.  I remember helping him and it took days and days and days straight even using one of those portable flip scanners they'd come out with, the ones that scanned at five times the speed of the fastest flatbed scanners on the market at the time.  Mom and Dad had been so surprised and grateful that they had continued the project.  I grabbed the portable hard drives that the pictures and family movies were kept on.  There was another copy in my parents' safety deposit box but who knows where that stuff is now.

Most of the digital photo frames that Mom had used were missing.  There had been dozens of them and she had them playing all the time.  I did manage to find a few hard copy photos in an old wooden box.  The box also held the family Bible that had belonged to Dad's grandmother.  I set that aside as well.  Some stuff in the crate I didn't recognize which leads me to believe that after a while people just threw things where ever they felt like.

There was a box of Mom's costume jewelry but most of her expensive stuff was missing.  Dad's gun and knife collections were missing.  Mine and Toddie's baby books were in there.  I didn't know whether to take them or not so set them aside.  I found a lot of our old school awards and in the scheme of things they didn't matter so I ignored them.  I found a box that was tightly taped up and knew they were the very special Christmas ornaments and the manger scene that Mom never let anyone handle but her.  I put it on the keep pile.  Then I found some stuff they'd obviously taken from my room.  I hardly had any connection to any of it, it was like that girl was a completely foreign person from the me I am now.  Then I saw it and nearly shrieked in glee.

I pulled out my oldest, rattiest purse that was a million years old and inside it were three glass cases.  My eye prescription hadn't changed since I was a little girl. Doctor said it was odd but not unheard of.  I opened the snap on one of the cases and slid one of my second pairs on.  I could see without having to look around a bunch of scratches.

Beyond what I had taken out there wasn't much that I could justify trying to carry.  It was like my life had been deconstructed and I was left with barely a connection to what it had once been.  I decided to take the baby books.  It was stupid but it had Mom and Dad's handwriting in it and Toddie's had our grandparents and a few other family members that I hadn't grown up knowing.  I took the costume jewelry too just because I had a little room.  Maybe I would regret it, maybe not; either way it didn't belong to whoever stole the other stuff.

I was exhausted again.  Whatever had been in that knock out drug the Committee goons had used on me hadn't worn off completely so I decided to grab a couple of hours of sleep and then hit the road.

No comments:

Post a Comment