Be prepared

After fourteen days Brandon undid the airlock, scrambled into the entrance shaft, pushed open the outer door and poked his head through. Everything looked as it had when they’d entered. He lowered the door against the blustery wind and went to tell Melanie.

‘Apart from the weather everything’s ship shape.’ he said.

‘Fancy that.’

‘Main thing is we’re ready. We’ve proved it.’

‘Did you think civilisation would collapse because we spent a fortnight underground?’

‘Can’t be too careful,’ he said. ‘Next time it could be the real thing.’

‘Next time we’ll be on holiday in the tropics. Remember?’

‘I know, Love. Come on, get your things. Let’s go back to the house.’

There was a dull thud above them.

‘What was that?’ Melanie ran to the monitor. She rotated the camera, panning past the house, the car, the rose bushes. The rose bushes! They hadn’t been in view before. Next moment the roots of the old oak came on screen. ‘The tree’s down.’ She kept panning. ‘It’s on the entrance.’


‘I can’t see the entrance.’

Brandon scrambled back to the outer door. He pushed as hard as he could but it wouldn’t budge.

‘I suppose you’ve got something clever worked out for times like this. Explosives or something.’

His befuddled stare wasn’t the response she’d expected.


2011-Richard Holt / small stories about love (


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