It was cool on the moor today, despite the sunshine, blue sky and spring singing in the air. I hadn’t meant to go out for a walk, I had too much to do but all day the moors had been calling me like an old friend begging for a visit.
The evenings were growing lighter now, so I thought an hour before the sunsets around seven, would be fine. Some fresh air and exercise might be good, it would help to clear my head and make me tried enough to sleep.
I changed into warm and waterproof clothes and boots, I packed a bag with a few supplies, made sure my phone was changed then set out. You never knew when things might change on the moor or if you might fall on a boggy patch of ground or trip on a rocky edge. I knew from experience what it was like to be stuck out there with nothing.
I walked straight, no direction in mind, just going where the first path took me. There was low cloud cover over some of the higher hills in the distant, the clouds were all ready turning dark with the evening light. There too where dots of sheep with early lambs nesting in the bushes. There was purple heather coming up and a few wild flowers but nothing much else grew out here.
At one high point, I stopped for a breath and some water. The air was turning colder, threatening a frost in the night. I was glad I had wrapped up. I played with the gold chain around my neck then moved on to the multi-coloured shell that hung from the links. I could name all the colours on the shell without looking; red, orange, yellow and green.
It had been a present. The last birthday gift my son had ever given me. Then a few months later, he and my husband had died in a car accident. I had barely escaped the wreak and had no memory of what had happened.
The moor helped me forget, that’s why I had moved here. It was so easy to lose yourself either staring and walking upon the moor. The seasons and weather were ever changing and there was all ways something new to see or smell or hear.
I had my escape on my doorstep and I was grateful for it.
I want to lock it away. I want to forget. If it’s locked away I might forget. I want things to go back like before. I want it to have never happened. I want to forget. I will forget, I must forget….
Lock it away, lock it up well and lock it all away forever. It can never come out again. No one must ever know nor find the door or the key. Keep it all hidden, keep it safe. Help me to forget. Lock it away. Lock it away!
Throw the key into the sea. Throw the door after it and IT too! Let the sea claim it. Or, bury the key and the door in the ground. Deep in the ground as deep as the dead. Never to return again. Never to be seen again or thought about. I must forget….
Out of sight, out of mind. Lock it away. Melt down the key, put the door through a wood shredder and blow up the walls. Reduce it all to ruin, wipe it off the face of the Earth. Let me forget it, let me go! Go far forever!
‘Space station to control? Can you hear me, over?’
‘Hearing you loud and clear, space station. How are things today?’
‘Everything is great. No problems and we are all well. What about there?’
‘That’s good to hear. Well, things are not going well at the moment, The virus pandemic is really spreading. We are having to work with a skeleton crew only and have stopped or scaled back a lot of things.’
‘That’s tough. Is there nothing to be done?’
‘Not much. Accepting joining you out there. You guys are the safest people right now.’
I was too old fashioned but I didn’t care. I liked typing my food and restaurant reviews on an 1950’s typewriter. Kept in good order, cleaned and ink ribbon changed as needed, the ‘old tech’ had lasted longer then any computer device I’d had throughout the years.
It was satisfying to press down hard on each key and hear the clonking noise. There was the mechanical rhythm of continual typing and the ding bell at the end. I loved sliding the feeder roll back and hearing that click into place again.
Someone had painted the pill box on the beach again. I signed and let my dog, Teddy, sniff one of the corners. At least the “art work” didn’t look that bad this time but still, some respected might have been nice.
Once a solider would have sat inside, his only light coming through the gun slit and he would have had to watch the shore for signs of the enemy. A boring job, maybe but a crucial one to slow the enemy down when they landed.
I tugged Teddy’s lead and told him, ‘we’ll have to go back to get the whitewash again.’
Tank looked up at the statue of a sliver car with the words ‘Rock Rogers’ scrawled across the side whilst his breathing echoed in the protection filter mask.
The earth’s ground air was too poison to breath and the humans that had survived through the V-Plague of the late twenty-first century now lived underground and the sky. Tank and his crew came from one of the sky communities and their mission today was only a close visualisation one.
‘They worshipped some strange Gods in the past,’ Tank muttered.
Isolation. Everyone was recommending it, everything into lock down and slowing.
Crowded streets and places were empty. Traffic lights changed colour but no one stopped and started before them. Signs hung in shops declaring the stock that was no longer available though most of those shops were shut for good. Life continued from behind closed doors.
On the research island it little mattered. I was the only one here, researching the puffins as they made nests and mated. I had two months worth of extra supplies in case of emergency as standard. Though, I had ordered more, as much as they could send me as I heard that panic buying was causing shortages.
I was far too busy outside, distracted enough with my recordings to eat or drink much. It was keeping warm at night that was the problem because even though it was spring, it was still cold and sometimes a bit of snow glittered in the morning light.
My boss had suggested I return home. Be with my family and stay safe because if anything happened to me out here there might not be no one to my rescue me.
I had thought carefully then answered, ‘no. I’m not at much risk here. The delivery people can leave the supplies and I can disinfect things. If I go home to the mainland I’m bound to catch the virus. We should keep in regular touch though. Two to four times a day fine with you?’
Laying on my stomach, I watched the sun rising and the puffins waking up. I couldn’t help but think about that idea of isolation. I imagined everyone complaining about it, becoming restless and fed up. I though, thrived on solitude. It was needed to become one with nature, to do the work I loved and never did the sense of boredom creep into my mind.
The couple on the top floor had been arguing again. I could hear their voices echoing through the apartment. I poked my head out of the door and looked up the twisting staircase, not that I could see anything other then the fancy design of the stairs and gold brass hand rail.
Just as I was going back inside, a large house plant in a clay pot came sailing over the railing down towards me. I jumped back as soil, broken pot and snapped off leaves flew everywhere.
I looked at the mess in wonder then up again towards the arguing couple and their door slammed shut.
‘Poor plant. It wasn’t your day, was it?’ I spoke, ‘well, we can’t leave you like this.’
Slowly, I searched out a new plant pot from my balcony and scooped as much as the soil up as possible. Re-potting the plant took some effort as it was heavier and taller then me.
‘There. That’s better now,’ I said and patted a leaf, ‘come into your new home now, safe away from those too. I hope they move out soon, worse neighbours I had for awhile.’
Carrying on my muttering, I took the saved plant inside.