Neither I Nor You
By Jeff Baker
“Close the door! Hurry!” Mick said.
“Wait! Alex isn’t here!” I said.
“Screw Alex! He’ll have to…”
“Hold up! I’m here!” Alex said, almost running into the steel door.
We ducked into the building, crammed into the small hallway and I glanced back at the street with the blueish tinge of light and papers whipping around in the air as Mick slammed the door and slipped the bolts in place.
“We should be okay,” he said. “This building’s stood for about a hundred years.” Nonetheless, we could hear the roar of wind picking up outside.
“Let’s get upstairs before the power cuts out,” Alex said.
“We have a generator, thankfully.” Mick said, heading up the stairs.
Alex and I followed up to the third floor. The building was reinforced; nonetheless I was glad there weren’t a lot of upper floors.
When we finally reached the room, I felt a little better. The walls were thick and so was the glass on the window. There was a steel plate that could be lowered over the window and I could barely hear the wind through the stone walls. The room wasn’t that big but Mick had a couch, a monitor screen and a fridge. Anyway, the lights were still on, so I figured we’d be okay.
“I hate these things when they come in late summer,” Mick said.
“I hate them, period,” I said, sitting on the couch next to Alex. “I just hope it’s over soon.”
“I checked on the WeathaView about an hour ago, this one sprang out of nowhere.” Mick said. “That’s when I called you guys.”
“What’s it say now?” Alex said, pointing at the blank screen.
“Nothing,” Mick said. “It went out a few minutes ago.”
“Must be a big one,” I said, glancing out the window at the bluish glow. We’d all seen the videos of the icewinds ripping the paint off of a car or doing worse to an animal or a person.
“It ought to die down after a bit,” Mick said, pulling a beer out of the fridge. “Until then we have food, water, working toilets…”
“But what if it doesn’t die down?” Alex’s eyes were wild. “What if we’re stuck here and the food runs out and the power kicks off and our air supply with it?”
Mick and I exchanged glances; Alex was on the verge of hysterics.
“And what if we just ran outside and kept running and let that wind get us, like that lady up in Portland last month? Or what if…if…”
Alex broke down sobbing. I moved over to his side of the couch and put my arms around him. Mick sat on the arm of the couch and did the same thing. And we held him through the evening as the wind roared outside.