August 20, 2277:
After the… excitement of yesterday, today seemed positively laid back.
Last night before going to bed, Ria sat me down at the table and cut the errant piece of shot out of my arm. Fortunately, it was steel and not lead or it might have penetrated deep enough to damage muscle. As it was, cutting the pellet out did more damage than it did going in.
We let it bleed awhile; to clean the wound out, then staunched it and finally disinfected via a solid pour or three of hundred proof vodka.
That, I should add, hurt like fucking hell squared.
After bandaging it up, we went on to bed.
This morning, my headache was going again in full force. I had forgotten it yesterday what with the killing and all, but today it would not be ignored.
I’ve had plenty of headaches before in my life, but these since leaving the vault were new. It felt almost like my skull was two sizes too small for my brain.
Of course, alerted to the malady, Ria administered her favorite treatment for most of life’s ills… twice. That certainly knocked the edge off.
Eventually though, we decided to stop being lazy and actually leave bed. After breakfast, we stuck our heads outside.
The day was clear and damnably sunny. It was going to be another hot one; and worse yet our new place didn’t have any sort of air conditioning.
“You know, something’s bugging me.” Ria announced, standing in the shade next to the front door.
“That boarded-up place. What in the hell’s in there, you think?”
“No idea. Probably lots of dust and some garbage.”
“I’m not so sure…” She muttered, half lost in thought. “The place is boarded up from the outside.”
“Which, I will note, is traditionally done when one wants to keep something in.” I added.
“Come on. I want to see what’s inside.”
Stepping back inside, we retrieved weapons, armor, and several of the melee implements we had taken from the cannibals – for use as prying tools.
After a quick glance over the exterior of the nearby school to be at least passably sure no one had moved back in overnight, we set about removing the boards on the door facing away from the school.
The boards were nailed in quite solidly, and it took the better part of an hour to get them all out. By the time we were done, it was past noon; and consequently miserably hot out.
The brass hinges on the door were corroded nearly to the point of being solid; but the handle itself was unlocked. The door, unfortunately, opened outward; so simply turning the handle and giving it a solid blow or six was out of the question. We ended up removing the pins, and using our melee implements to beat and pry the halves of the hinges apart; then simply turning the handle and pulling the entire door out of the frame.
We entered with weapons raised. Inside, we found… a kitchen.
Stove, fridge, counter, sink, shelves, table and four chairs. It was a normal suburban kitchen.
The interior of the house was fairly cool; and the air smelled stale, but not as though anything was rotting inside.
Much like the other house, this one apparently still had full power, as well. Interesting that there was apparently still at least a fully functioning power plant in the area.
A doorway opposite from us led through into a sitting room; where we could see the other exterior door on the opposite side of the house.
Doorways on either side of the sitting room led downstairs. The place looked to be designed with most of it below ground, for whatever reason. There weren’t even any bedrooms on the ground floor.
Downstairs, we found that either staircase led to a bedroom off to one side.
While a central hall led to the master bedroom and a den of sorts.
At the far end of the den was another staircase. This one led to the bottom level, which contained a small medical facility, and a workshop.
In all, we found no one living or dead. There were also two bathrooms; both of which were clean-ish. The water was cleaner than it had been in the other house, at least – whether this place had a filtration setup or not we weren’t sure.
Supplies were less than well-stocked. We found a few articles of clothing, and a handful of weapons in the walk-in closet off the master bedroom, and a small stash of medical supplies in the various first aid kits, but beyond that only a few toys and some food in the upstairs kitchen.
“Seems like a serious improvement.” Ria opined, standing with me in the kitchen.
“I agree… but who’d just walk away from something like this?”
“Could well have been two hundred years ago – or any time in the interim. There’s no telling. Judging by the way it was sealed up, though, I’d say they had designs on keeping other people out as long as possible.”
“Well, I suppose we could just deal with the situation when and if someone shows up claiming ownership…”
“That’s the spirit! Come on, let’s get our stuff and move out of that damned dingy closet of a house.”
And we did. Fortunately, even after cleaning out the school, our possessions were still fairly few. It didn’t take long to move everything – though we did keep an eye out, to make sure there was no one around to watch us.
We found a half-round mill file down in the work room, and used it to knock the vast majority of the corrosion from the door’s hinges. We re-mounted the door, and got it working passably well. It still wasn’t smooth as butter, but it was preferable to leaving the doorway totally open.
Without even stowing all our loot, we locked the re-mounted door, and headed for the master bathroom; where we indulged in a long and blessedly hot shower. There was even soap and shampoo left in the bathroom.
Afterward, we found a fresh set of sheets conveniently located in the closet, and stretched out on the bed to relax.
I have to admit, neither of us had ever been a bed this large before. Despite the heat above, we were more than ten feet below ground; so it was cool and comfortable in our new bedroom.
So comfortable, in fact, that we abandoned any notion of venturing back out, at least for the day.