Sean walked out to the woods behind the house to get Quinn for supper. His boy had a fort in the trees that he played in some times. He usually just called for him, but this time he wanted to be out there. Knocking on the door, Sean called out, “Quinn, it’s time for supper, buddy.” There was no answer, so he opened the door. Quinn was sitting inside with his back to Sean. “Hey Eskimo,” Sean said, using his pet name from the Manfred Mann song, “Whatcha doin’?” Quinn turned around. His face was white. Reaching out to his dad he said, “Am I dead, dad? Why am I dead, dad? Sean watched in horror as Quinn’s face seemed to melt away leaving only a skull. His reaching hands became skeleton hands. “Why did you let me die, dad? WHY DID YOU LET ME DIE!!!
Sean woke with a yell and sat up quickly on the couch. As tears streamed down his face he put his feet on the floor. With his head in his hands, he cried. “Quinn. Oh buddy,” he sobbed. “I’m so sorry. Clair, Alex. Oh, my beautiful girls. I…I’m so sorry. Grace, oh Grace. Why? Why me? Why was I left behind?” Angus trotted up to him and he threw his arms around her neck, burying his face in her fur. She licked at him and whimpered. “You miss them too, don’t you, you big softy?” Scratching behind her ears he said, “Yeah, ya do.” Sitting back and wiping his eyes on his sleeves, he looked out the window. It was wet with rain. He and Grace loved living in the country. The window revealed their large front yard and the lake. They had always marveled at the changing seasons, watching it all together. He felt so alone. It was an empty, heavy feeling like a ton of bricks on his chest, making it hard to breathe. Angus jumped up on the couch and encouraged him to pet her more. He wasn’t quite alone after all. He had Angus. At that moment, he really felt very thankful for that.
Scratching Angus behind the ears, he shook off the remnants of the dream. Seeing Quinn’s face like that, so vivid and real really scared him. Getting up from the couch, he went to the fridge and downed about half of the water jug. Looking at the bottle reminded him that he was drinking rain water, which definitely had a different taste than his well water. And that reminded him that he would have to do something about the power issue. He was in a dire situation and had no intention of living like a cave man. He wanted electricity and the comforts he was used to, like a shower. Lifting his right arm he smelled his tee shirt. Pretty ripe, he thought. Shaking his head and arms, he cleared his mind. Some kind of solar power would be the best option, but how was he going to make that happen? Then he remembered that a friend had told him about a solar power company in the Minneapolis area. What had he said about it? The company sold solar power systems for home owners. This sounded good, but how was he going to find the place? Without his beloved Google search engine it would be like the proverbial, needle in a haystack thing.
The rain storm subsided and he and Angus went outside. Once again, the rain barrel was full so he dipped out a pail full of water for boiling later. Then he filled the gas tank on the generator and busied himself with other tasks like checking the new garden plants he had put in cold frames. They were looking good. The sun came out and warmed the air. Taking a break, he lit a cigar and sat enjoying the warmth as Angus romped around the yard. Suddenly it came to him. Blaine! His friend said the solar company was in Blaine. He was very happy that that memory had surfaced. It would make it a lot easier to find the company and hopefully figure out how to set up a solar power system. If this place sold power systems for home owners, they should have some kind of instructions on how things hooked up. Unless they did the set up for you and you just enjoyed the power. He was going to have to go to the library and see what information he could find. Going into town and entering buildings was a risky thing to do. Especially the library with all the shelves and places that could conceal a person. He was going to have to go armed. He didn’t like it, but he was going to have to do it.