It has been two weeks since Ean had left Lorna alone in the cabin. Her uncle had taken a look at the food they had stocked up, and when he had noticed how little they had—and how much accursed deer jerky they had—he had declared that he was going to venture into the wilderness and find more food to last them throughout the remaining months of winter.
As soon as Lorna had gotten up that morning, she had looked out the window, and she noticed the snow layering the ground. There must have been about a foot of it on the ground, there were still fat flakes falling from the sky. The sky was a dark gray, which made the solar panels on the roof useless, even when there was no build-up of snow on them.
Lorna drew in a deep breath in an attempt to ease the tightness in her chest.
Two weeks missing was too long. In all the ten years they had been holed up together in their isolated little cabin in the woods, Ean had never been away from home for that long. It was normal for Ean to take a week to find food; that was usually the amount of time that he always promised her that he would be back, but sometimes it took longer because a creature or a person attacked him. There were so many times when he had come home covered in blood or even with broken limbs, and she had to learn some more advanced first aid just to keep him alive.
Lorna went to the cabinet in the tiny kitchen, and she took out a jar full of deer jerky. She grimaced as she ate the overly salty meat. It was all she had left to eat since Ean had left. Hunting for more food was an option for her, but she had never done it without Ean there to make sure she was safe not only from herself but the Merged creatures and other people.
With a full belly, Lorna donned her thick winter coat and pants, and she put on two pairs of thick socks before stuffing her feet into winter boots. She would first need to shovel a path for herself before she did anything outside, so she grabbed a heavy snow shovel from its post near the door. Some of the fluffy white stuff fell onto the floor when she opened the door, so she shoveled inside her home first.
Lorna made sure to keep an eye on the forest surrounding her. Merged creatures were not known for being stealthy, but they could still manage to surprise someone when their attention was focused on the task at hand rather than their environment. She had already lost a friend that way a few years back.
Ean never appeared in the forest as she worked.
After Lorna cleared a path all around the cabin, she took the shovel inside with her, stomping the snow off her feet before entering. She left the shovel leaning against the wall, and then she went to kitchen cabin again to drink some water. There were only a couple of bottles left, but that was much easier to obtain than food.
Lorna grabbed the roof rake, a flat metal thing that Ean had covered with duct tape to help protect the solar panels getting damaged. With help from a rusty ladder, she climbed on top of the roof, and she scraped off all the snow from the roof, making sure to be gentle with her movements as she cleared off the solar panels. It might not have been sunny now, but as soon as those clouds managed to disperse enough, they would go back to recharging the big battery that kept all of their important appliances going.
Neither a Merged creature nor her uncle Ean appeared in the forest as she worked.
Lorna dropped her rake, and she sat on the side of the roof without the solar paneling. She left out a heavy sighing, and she watched her breath turn into a cloud of mist in front of her face.
The forest was quiet—dead silent. Some red leaves still clung to the branches of trees, but there was not enough to make a sound even the slightest of breezes. All of the birds had gone south, and squirrels were in their nests to stay warm.
Lorna had comics sitting under her bed, but she has already read through them multiple times. Whenever Ean left, he always tried to snap new books or comics for entertainment, but it had been a long time since the last time he had found anything new for her. She was just as tired of reading them as she was eating that deer jerky over and over again.
Lorna longed for the easy ways of communication that she had read people had before the Merge. People had cell phones, radios, and walkie talkies that people used to communicate long distances. As soon as magic had poured into their world during the Merge, new creatures had run rampant throughout, and much of the technology from that time had been rendered useless.
Now Lorna had to sit alone in her cabin for days and days wondering about the fate of her uncle without being able to contact anyone.
Without knowing if she was alone in the world or not.