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Monday, September 9, 2013

Siren pt1

It started very slowly
It's tone very low
Raising its pitch until it was a full bellow
Seemingly unending ear piercing sound
And just when it seemed the whole town would go mad

It stopped

Just as slowly as it started
Lowering in pitch until it simply petered out
After having gone on for at least four turns of the Mayor's hourglass

It might come back later this evening
Or again tonight
No rhyme or reason to it's sounding off periods
Until someone came up missing

This is how it went every month or so
And it was perfectly  normal
Just a regular event in this post Impact world

After the sound finally trickled off
Life in Blind River resumed

The bustle of loading and unloading the boats at the dock
The candlemakers and tanners
Blacksmiths and grocers
All wrapping up the day's business
Ready to go home to a meal
Whether it was hot or not

For my part
I lit the streetlamps
Turning each one on with its little brass knob
Touching my long lighter stick to hissing outlet
Watching the small blossom of flame appear
Insignificant in the remaining light of the day
Though that would change with the quickly setting sun
As it disappeared over the next twenty minutes
Which gave my just enough time to finish my rounds
Leaving the two main roads of the town with a friendly flickering golden glow

My work made me happy
It kept me busy maintaining the town's gas lines
Cleaning fixtures and fixing leaks
Knowing how lucky we were to have a source of gas to tap into
So useful for so many things

I did dream sometimes of electricity
Of having that to light the streets and homes
But that was just a historical footnote now
Known to everyone living in Blind River
Only through books at the library
And the small electricity exhibit at the City Hall museum

On a small enclosed shelf display was a faded picture of the old town powerplant
Along with a few lengths of copper wire
And a white plastic receptacle
Which had two short parallel slots with a round hole center offset to them

In the more than one hundred years since the Impact
All the copper wire had been salvaged to the blacksmiths and artisans
The old powerplant next to the river had collapsed into itself
Most of it's bricks taken for other uses

I ended my rounds at the docks
Where I took a few minutes to sit down
My legs hanging off the old wooden edge
Looking South out paste Susanne Island
Across the North Channel to Manitoulin Island
And imagining the endless waters of Lake Huron past that

But I'd never seen that big water in my fourteen years so far
Though someday I planned on doing so
Despite my family's wishes

Just then the siren cranked itself slowly to life again
Slowly working itself up to speed somewhere North of town

I listened to it
And wondered on it
Counting it as another of the things I knew nothing about
But wanted to find out about someday