It was getting dark when we heard the first explosions. I looked at Karen and we shared the same worried look.
I went out to the garden and went to where my daughter was.
“Prissy! Quick, get inside!”
Priscilla looked at her rag doll, hesitated for a moment, and came in holding her dangling by one hand.
“Is dinner ready, Dad?”
“Soon will be, dear,” my wife interjected and led her to wash her hands.
I went to the basement and checked the supplies: water, flashlights, batteries, canned food. I put my short .38 revolver in my waist, grabbed a box of ammunition, a hunting knife in its sheath, and returned upstairs, in time to sit down at the table with my family.
Karen saw the knife and ammunition I had left on the counter and hid them under some kitchen towels.
“Just in case,” I told her.
And I showed her my gun, trying not to let Priscilla see it.
We dined in almost absolute silence. Only Prissy wanted to talk.
“Today I played with Tina in the swings,” she proclaimed proudly, looking at her doll, which was sitting in what had been her high chair less than a year ago. “I was her mother and she was my little daughter. She likes to swing very much. She is not afraid of anything.”
Karen smiled and finished her beef and potato stew. I barely tried mine.
After putting Priscilla to bed with Tina, I checked the doors and windows to make sure they were secure. Anyway, I thought, if they intend to get in, it won’t be too difficult for them.
We were left with Karen standing guard. It was going to be a long night. We hugged, we cried, we encouraged each other by speaking in whispers. Maybe we were exaggerating after all.
At midnight, the power went out. The silence was absolute.
“It’s starting,” I told Karen.
She frowned, took a deep breath, and squeezed my hand. In the other hand, I had my 38 cocked.
We just had to wait.
Marcelo Medone (1961, Buenos Aires, Argentina) is a fiction writer, poet and screenwriter. His fiction and poetry have received awards and have been published in magazines and books, both in digital and paper format, in various languages in more than 30 countries all over the world, including the US.