When my wife Arlene and I decided that living in an apartment was getting to be a drag, we began checking various real estate brokers and the ads in local newspapers. One Saturday as we were driving through an old sub-division, I spotted a home that was for sale by owner and quickly stopped to check things out. After a thorough inspection of the property and its surroundings, we decided to call the number and set up an appointment to view the house itself.
The house was built entirely by the homeowner, who seemed quite proud of the house and just how well it was built. After only ten minutes or so I was convinced this was the house for me, but waited until we were back in the car to relay those feeling to my wife. As it turned out she was as excited as I was and we called the owner the minute we arrived home to make an offer. Three weeks later, we began to move in.
Since we packed very quickly and couldn't take the time to label each and every box with its contents, the basement was used as a staging area during our un-packing. While I was in the process of stacking some of the cartons on the east wall I discovered a door behind the old furnace that somehow I overlooked during the tour of the house. I opened the door and could see that there were more stairs leading to another level of the basement. Never in my life had I seen, or even knew existed, a two level basement. Curious, I flipped on the switch that lit up the stairway, and started on down. Forty-three stairs later I was face to face with a solid steel door. Just what the hell could be behind this door?
Later that afternoon the man who sold us the house stopped by and dropped off another set of keys for the workshop and garage. When I questioned him about the second level, he smiled embarrassingly and gave the explanation. Since he started construction in the mid fifties, it was smack in the middle of the cold war and he figured better safe than sorry, and built a bomb shelter along with the home. He apologized and explained that he just simply forgot to mention it when we walked through the first day. I figured it quite odd to forget something like that, but just let it alone. Besides, the extra space may come in handy some day.
Well twenty years later it did come in handy, but not just as a storage area. My wife and I were visiting Marsha and Jim, her sister and her sisters' husband, when the most shocking and unbelievable news alert came over the television. There on the screen was the horrifying announcement of a meteor heading directly towards the earth. At first I though it was a joke of some kind, or a movie of some sort, but the horrific news soon began to sink in. Just like the movie a few years back, the earths existence was being threatened by a large rock, and it appeared quite possible that the end in fact, was near.
The newscast was blunt and to the point. If the meteor did in fact strike, every living thing would perish with in a few months, not just those killed by the impact itself, everybody and every living thing. The newscast also stated that anything that could possibly be done to avert the collision was being implemented, but there were no guarantees of success. We all sat there stunned, and I felt I was in the middle of a Hollywood production of global disaster. If scientists were correct in their calculations, the estimated time of impact was less than one year.
The reports gave no indication of what anyone could, or should do to help survive such a calamity, and it seemed that if indeed we were hit, all would perish. Over the next few days I pondered our fate when I realized I had a shelter right below my house, and wondered if it were possible that it could indeed provide shelter if and when impact took place. Well, it was certainly better than just sitting out in the back yard as the life providing rays of the sun disappeared, and began stocking what could our home for the next few months, or longer.
I worked getting the shelter in order, and felt somewhat assured that I had the stand-by generator system along with filtration system in tip-top condition. As long as the natural gas supply was not interrupted we would have electric power, and the air filtration system would provide us with clean breathable air. I knew we could stock up enough food and water to last a very long time, but the air filtration system was by far the most important requirement.
Since I had no living relatives, and Arlene only had her sister and family, there wasn't the problem of turning away and family members. Since the shelter was not something that was common knowledge, the possibility of having a group of neighbors storm the doors at impact time was not something to be concerned with either. It was quite simple, as impact neared close the door and wait out the storm.
.... There is more of this story ...
Science Fiction /