The Lake – Entry 6

The Lake is a supplemental serial novella to the Anisakis Nova series by Eloise J. Knapp. It comes after the events of Pulse: Genesis and Pulse: Retaliation and sets the stage for Pulse 3.

thelake

The first tendrils of baby kale sprouted up in the hoop houses today. Linda planted pak choi, too, which was sprouting. All of them seem delicate and insubstantial. It’s hard to believe it could produce enough food to make a difference. I’m still used to the idea of an unlimited food supply from the grocery store. I find myself craving something and my brain says, go to the store, and then I realize there are no stores anymore. This puts everything into perspective. Even when we were getting all our food from rations back in the cities, I was removed from it all. Knowing we have only as much food as we brought, can hunt, fish, or gather puts a lot of stress on everyone’s mind.

It’s getting colder. Jim said it can snow up to two feet here in the winter. I have a stack of printed instructions on how to build a fireplace and chimney for log cabins in addition to my other book. We’ve all reviewed it and are gathering the right shaped stones for the job. Work on that starts tomorrow.

The food we brought is becoming scarce. Magnus is concerned we’ve been overfishing the lake so we’ve reduced it. Beth stretches each catch out by making huge batches of fish broth flavored with wild thyme and one or two cans of vegetables. You’re lucky if you get a fleck of trout. Cat harvested all the cattails from around the lake. The root system is safe to eat. We get that in the stew sometimes.

For breakfast we eat whatever berries are left mixed into oatmeal. There are still six or seven tubs of dry oats left. Every morning we drink cupfuls of tea made of fresh rosehips and pine needles. It’s actually very good. The kids have a mile perimeter they wander and always bring back enough for the next day.

Anthony spotted deer on one of his hikes and declared it would be a good time to start hunting. He plans on taking what ammo we have to try and get a few. If we dry the meat it’ll help out during winter.

Every day I think about Chelsea. I think about how she said this was going to be hard, much harder than I thought. She was right. There are too many mouths to feed, too many people looking for direction. My life before this doesn’t seem like my own.

I do what I can. I keep a smile on my face and work my fingers to the bone so they have someone to look up to. God that sounds vain. Like I’m some shining example they should look up to. If they knew how often I wanted to drive down the mountain and see what civilization was like, if maybe the uninfected regained control, they wouldn’t like me so much.

We saw a plane fly overhead today, that’s what makes me bring it up. It’s been so long since we’ve been here without any sign of life from the outside.

It was a jet, like a military one. Everyone saw it. There was an open conversation between everyone about it. The final decision was that it didn’t indicate anything one way or another and we’d keep pressing forward at The Lake.

That night I had a dream. Beth opened the lid to one of her big pots of fish stew. Swimming around in the broth were hundreds of tiny worms. They climbed over the rim and onto the table. No one moved. They stood there like statues and let the worms crawl into their mouths and noses. I tried to shake them, to get them to move, and no one would.

The worms got me last.

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About Eloise J. Knapp

Eloise J. Knapp is an author and designer living in the Pacific Northwest.
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