The grey sky crowds in on the houses. The trees prop it up but still it weighs down on them. The darkening sky promises heavy rain. Not that we need it. It’s been damp and cold for months now. When did we last have a sunny day? Was it last year? It seems all our summers have failed now. The harvests are barely worth the trouble. We are slowly starving.
At least the beet crops still. Even in the middle of winter the bloody beets grow. We eat their leaves and the root. At first we used them to bulk out other foods. Now it’s mostly them we eat.
Some people have taken to eating the slugs. I am not yet that hungry. They seem to thrive on them. Earth oysters they call them. But they are not for me.
The weeds provide us other food. The dandelions I once despised so much are not my friends. Saucers and pots cover them in the garden as they’re sweeter when blanched. They’ve slowed down though since we started eating them. Finally we have found a way to kill dandelions, just when we need them to stay. Not that there’s much lawn left. We have dug it almost all over over the last few years. As food prices soared we needed to grow more. I’d got quite good at drying peas and beans. Quite good at growing them too, as the summer’s red blooms on the bean poles showed. This year they didn’t do well. There are few bees left. We need to plant oats I think next. They don’t need the bees to pollinate them, but it’s hard to get hold of the seeds.
Even the pigeons are wary of us now. We know they’re the last source of meat available. The rabbits in the brook valley have all gone - Over-killed. Even the fox has been snaffled, or maybe it sensed starvation coming to the streets and left. There’s no seed to feed the birds and we’re fighting them for the hedgerow foods too now. It’s only the comical pigeons who visit now. My neighbour shoots them if we can lure them in, then we feast on meat. Well, hardly feast. The scrawy beasts are barely a meal but the stock is warming and nourishing and helps to dilute the beets.
Who’d have thought we’d be slowly starving to death in suburbia and the government would be powerless to help. There’s not even a government now. The bombings took care of that. The most amazing co-ordinated attacks the world had ever seen. The planning it must have taken for the thousands of bombs taking out hundreds of people in one day. They took weeks to clear and bury the dead. Some buildings in London were left as they were. They’d collapsed into the tube lines beneath and were too dangerous to try to enter. I’m sure scavengers have since.
On a local level they took out half the hill when they cleared away the politicians and beaurocrats. It shook the ground and we felt it hear, and the moments later the one from the town on the other side. The panic that followed was like nothing I’d ever imaged before. When you see third world countries rioting on TV you think that you’re safe here in the UK, but this just wasn’t the case.
Shops were looted, the fires burned for days. Violent mobs toured the streets looking for people to take on. We stayed inside. Frightened and alone, it’s just us and the neighbours at this end of the street. We were ready to hide under our fake floor, but in the end we never needed to. They didn’t stop here. We were not a threat.
You can go for about five miles now without seeing anyone. Most people have left. So we gently loot the houses and take any remaining food and water. We take the blankets and bedding too. It’s the only way to get clean things. We can take water from the canal, but it’s an effort and you’d rather get enough to drink. We collect the rain water too now. Having collected enough rain barrels to keep us going for months we can store the cleaner water. We forage in the hours before dawn; it’s when we think it’s safest.