Countless days, endless nights.
The slow click of the Geiger counter.
Awkward, stretching silences.
The flicker of electric lights, the hum of the generators.
The stink of diesel, of unwashed bodies.
We opened the door onto snow – snow, in Brisbane! – and had to fight the urge to run out, into those wide-open spaces. Who knew what waited for us, out there in the snow. The little ones had never seen the sky. They sat, terrified, huddled inside the fallout shelter.
Their fear was infectious.
The second day: Hoarfrost lay in the doorway, the Geiger’s voice shrill, chirruping. Deformed trees cast stunted shadows, skeletal fingers reaching out to snatch away our shelter, our security. The corpses of cars and collapsed houses, long ago picked clean by drifting looters.
We had heard their cries for help as they bang bang banged against the heavy steel doors.
We raised our voices, to drown out theirs.
To drown out the past, and sing in our future.