4. When Things Really Start To Go Wrong
I pull myself from the snow and climb back into the car. Jethro manages to get himself back into the car as well (much to my shock).
"What was that?" he says, eyes wide.
"Just a tremor. It's nothing," I reply, not looking in his direction. He stays silent.
We reach the compound and I abandon the car in the garage. The best way I had learnt to deal with a bad day is just to ignore it and push through. I stroll casually back to the residential wing and settle down for lunch.
That's when the televisions turn on. Compound wide broadcasts only occurred if something important is about to happen, such as reelections or important deaths. Murmurs spread across the wing. Tension builds so thick that it holds everyone in a frozen stance. This is a big deal.
"Greetings Citizens of Thistlewood and Merry Christmas to you all," a jolly looking man announces. Members of the Council (the people who run the Compound) were solitary people and hardly ever go out into public lest they be infected with our plebeian germs. "As you are all aware, there was a tremor not too long ago. For safety reasons, we are calling a full lockdown of the Compound from 4PM so make sure you get to the safe rooms by then. Happy holidays!"
The screen turns black. People start to shuffle about and mutter conspiracies to those around them. A migraine-inducing clamour follows and I leave the room. Hysteria wasn't a thing that I could handle.
I trudge to my bedroom and lie on my bed. Things always seem better when you're warm and in bed. I roll onto my side and open my drawer. I see a familiar glint in the shadows and I pick it up. My coin. One side emblazoned: ONE POUND with a coat of arms. The other, the production year and the queen's head. Money isn't used in the Compound and all coins were taken away to be melted down. Except this one.
I rub the cool surface of the coin with my thumb. It is calming.
A crash reverberates through the room. I open my eyes which I didn't realise I had closed. I bounce from the bed and smash my head against the floor. The room starts spinning. Vertigo? No, another tremor. I blink. Maybe a bit of both. I see a glint in the corner of my vision. The coin is rolling away. I reach out for it but before I can touch it, my eyes grow too heavy to resist and they close.