Candy was hiding in the garage. I didn’t see him go in there, but Martha said he was headed there when the meteor struck, so I suppose that’s where he is now. I told Martha that we needed to wait a while before we could go out and check. I saw that in a movie once. I don’t expect that we’ll start seeing dead folks come back to life or anything like that, but the part about radiation from space seems like a legitimate concern. Even my high school science classes covered that kind of thing, so Brad and Martha deferred to me and let Candy be in the garage.
Martha worried every moment between the late warning, the inevitable impact and the “all clear,” as Brad called it. It would be a few days before Brad said he’d feel good about opening the front door. I had taped up the windows on the first floor already, getting ready for the winter, so we just stayed downstairs. I kept finding Martha sitting on the steps to go up to her room, and as time went on, she kept inching up one step at a time.
On the second day, she was probably halfway up before I had to get her and scold her. She cried for almost an hour. She said she missed her dolls, and she missed Candy. She wanted him to come inside where it was safe. I told her that only the first floor was safe, and that we’d get Candy as soon as we could. Her face was so red hot after crying that I thought maybe she had a fever, but no, it was just the crying.
I cried that first night too, after everyone fell asleep. I tried to be quiet about it, but I think that Brad knew. He kept shifting under the crocheted blankets my momma knitted so long ago. Martha was cold there on the floor, but she didn’t want to sleep with us on the couch. She said we kicked her and bruised her ankles. I made up the floor the best I could, making sure that she was tucked in nice and tight on the braided rug. I wish now that I had gone in for the wall-to-wall carpet. I was just afraid that with all the dust out in the yard, it would end up too much trouble.
Tomorrow I’ll put a handkerchief on my face and open the door, no matter what. I’ll do it just to see if Candy will come when I call. He’s probably scared and hungry. If he’s out there, though, he’ll come.