Friday, April 11, 2014

When Gold Means Nothing

Food, food where is all the food?
I ripped open all the cabinets that I could find.  There was nothing in them but dust.  I ripped open the last box with a lock on it.  Nothing!  A rat had gotten to its contents before I got here.  The box had torn up paper and plastic with rat droppings mixed in.
This was worthless; I had wasted a lot of time and energy to come up empty handed.
Food, food where is all the food?
I walked towards the door, out of the corner of my eye I saw something glitter.  I went towards it to find out what it could be.  It could be a bottle of some food or drink.  My heart was racing with anticipation of finding something to eat.  It was a gold coin, how disappointing.  I decided to take it with me just in case I find a use for it later.
You may wonder why I was disappointed about finding gold.  The truth is that gold is not worth a lot now days.
I left the deserted house to wander the empty streets to find my next meal.  I bent down to grab some dry grass.  I plucked 3 blades up and stuffed them in my mouth.  This should take my mind off of my empty stomach for a few minutes.  There are still a few houses that I have not checked for food as of yet in this area.  Maybe those houses will have something to eat.
You may be wondering where all of the people in this town are.  That is a simple answer; they were either killed or driven out of this place when the great gold war took place over a year ago.  Those who survived the war now wander the earth looking for food, or they have developed small communities that work together to survive.  I tried to join one of the communities once, but was kicked out immediately because I had no useful skills to offer the community.  Before the great gold war I was a gold dealer and distributor; these days that type of skill is neither wanted nor tolerated.  At first I tried to pretend that I was a farmer, but the community quickly figured out that I neither contained the skills nor the ability to grow food from the earth.  Now I just wander the world in search of food.  One skill that I have figured out is how to make a fire, when I need it.
Making a fire is not always a good thing.  It has its uses such as cooking, keeping warm, and keeping wild animals away.  It also has its problems.  One of the biggest issues is that it alerts bandits that someone is there.  If bandits show up , you hope one of the following is true or you will end up dead: you are in a big enough group to fend off the bandits, your escape route is not blocked, or you are barricaded in enough to protect yourself.  The bandits are usually interested in the following things: gold, food (including human flesh), and killing for the sake of killing.  Those who gather gold are in hopes that it will become valuable again, but it may take generations before people trust in gold again.
I looked at the next house on the road.  This house was bigger than the last.  It was a two story building with faded white siding.  The windows were barred and closed. The entrance to the house was through a covered porch.  The porch posts were deteriorated and falling apart.
At the bottom of the stairs leading to the porch, I could see something yellow.  As I got closer I saw that the yellow object was the flower of a dandelion.  I raced over and pulled the plant up from the ground.  I pulled the leaves off and stuffed them in my mouth.  The leaves were not in my mouth more than a few seconds before I swallowed.  It took the edge off of my hunger.
I went through the doors and to my surprise; the inside of this house was much nicer than the ones I checked earlier today.  It looked like someone was living here, since it was not as messy as most houses today.
The front room was large with small tables on each side of the room.  A lightly broken chandelier hung from the ceiling.  The lightbulbs were replaced with lightly used candles.  There was a door on each wall of the room.  Directly across from the entrance was a stairway that would lead to the second floor, but it was barricaded so you could not go to the second floor.  Beneath the stairs was a small door that would lead to a broom closet.  Next to the stairway was the door that would lead to the back of the house.  Everything was covered in a heavy layer of dust.  I could see several foot prints in the dust on the tile flooring.  I could not tell how long ago people had come through this front room, it could have been yesterday or months ago.
I thought to myself, "I hope they left something to eat."
I went into the room to the right of the front room.  This room had no exit outside of the door I came in and the barred over windows.  I looked around the room for food.  All that I found was dust and the broken couches that were left in the room. 
The room left to the front room was not much better than the room to the right of the front room.  I checked these two rooms first so I could stay close to the front door.
I went back to the front room and took the door directly across from the entrance.  The back room was a large kitchen and dining room.  The back door and windows were barred.  It would seem that the only escape from this house was through the front door.  This made me nervous, because if bandits showed up I would not have any way to escape this house. 
I looked around the kitchen.  I found some food in the old refrigerator that had been converted into a dry food cupboard.  I took out the food and checked to see if was still good.  It all appeared to be good so I ate some of it and placed as much of it as I could into a travel pouch that I had.
I looked around the rooms to see what other resources this house could provide outside of the food.  I had left my food pouch on the kitchen table so that I would have better movement while I searched.  There was plenty of wood that could be used to start a fire and a fire place to burn it in the dining room.  When I was about done searching I noticed another door.  I opened the door and found that it lead to the basement of the house.
I went down the stairs to see what I could find.  When I reached the bottom of the stairs, fear filled my whole body.  Before me was a pile of gold in a variety of forms.  The only way this amount of gold would be in one place is if this was the hideout of bandits.  I did not want to stay around to see when the bandits would come back.  I raced back up the stairs to get out of the house.  I grabbed my pouch from the kitchen room table.
I heard a noise coming from outside the house.  I raced to the front room and looked through the window in the front door.  I could see a small group of people gathering in the front of the house.  From what I could see, it was the group of bandits that used this house as their headquarters.  I had to hide.  If they found me I would be dead.  I rushed to the broom closet that was under the stairway.  This would be the safest place to hide in the house.  The other rooms did not provide much cover from being seen from within the house or outside the house and the basement was were they kept their loot, so that would be a place they would go.
I ducked into the closet and tried to hide my presence in the closet.  I sat down, so my movement would not create too much noise.  I could hear the front door open.
“It looks like someone has been here,” came from the first bandit that I could hear.
“Everyone, search the house to see if anyone is still here and if they took anything,” came from the voice of the bandit that seemed to be the leader, because everyone moved at his command.
I could hear the steps of the bandits searching the house.  From the sound of it, there were over a dozen people searching the house.  A thought of worry come over me, when I realized that if they followed my footsteps they would find me in the closet.
The voice of the first bandit came again, “It does not seem that anything was taken outside of a few pieces of food.”
“I guess it could have been worse,” indicated the bandit’s leader.  “Wait a minute; is that a set of footsteps leading to the closet?”  I could hear them coming closer and closer.  The door knob began to turn.
They are coming.

©2014 Brady L.B.

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