Scenario: Celebrating a holiday
Disclaimer: ‘Survivors’ isn’t mine, pretty sure it belongs to the BBC
Notes: Thanks to obsessedmuch and minim_calibre for some vital *technical* details. *g* I didn't have a beta reader, and so any mistakes are completely mine, and probably result from not actually having *seen* the show in some years. Memory can play tricks.
Info about Survivors can be found here.
This was written for the first pre96 ficathon, on 9/30/05.
Jenny had finally finished the sewing. She tied the last knot, put needle and thread away, and sighed as she set the shirt on the table next to her. Normally she would have laid it on her lap, but she hadn’t seen her lap in the last month or two. Gently Jenny caressed the full arc of her belly and saw an answering ripple of movement. At least he wasn’t kicking tonight.
The light in the room flickered, and dimmed slightly, and Jenny looked over at the fireplace to see that the last log had crumbled into a soft crimson pile. With some difficulty, she rose and went to the woodpile by the kitchen door, bringing back two small chunks of oak and a hand-full of old paper. She made a mental note to ask John to fill the wood-basket next to the fireplace in the morning.
As quietly as she could, not wanting to wake the rest of the folk sleeping in the Grange, she dropped the wood into the basket, and then sat on a stool by the hearth. This process took even longer than standing up had, and Jenny felt her child do another tumble inside her as she settled down. She waited for a moment, but that seemed to be all for now, so she picked up the old newspaper, and began to crumple it.
It was such a routine task that she barely noticed what her hands were doing, and the first two sheets of paper were tossed on the coals before she even looked down. As the paper caught, she added a few small branches and one of the pieces of oak, and then the room began to brighten. In the rising light, she glanced at the next paper before crumpling it, and the date caught her eye. It was from last year, of course. The printing presses were all silent now, made mute by the lack of electricity. The date though, November twenty-second, was as familiar to her as the routine of making a fire. It was her birthday.
Frowning in thought, she looked up at the calendar hanging above the mantel. Hardly anyone kept track of the exact date anymore, there just didn’t seem to be much point. But the calendar page was November, and after some calculation she realized that today must be the twenty-third. She had forgotten her own birthday.
Yesterday she had plucked three chickens, trimmed John and Lizzie’s hair, and begun the task of repairing Greg's clothes, which she had finished tonight. Not exactly a party.
Jenny looked up at the calendar again, and then down at the old paper in her hands. Both were remnants of the former world, and she wondered if birthdays would soon share their fate. Oddly enough, she didn’t care so much for herself, but she didn’t like the idea of her child growing up without birthday parties.
She finished rebuilding the fire, setting aside the sheet of paper from the twenty-second. Slowly she stood up, and taking the pen from the mantel, she carefully made a note of her birthday on yesterday’s square, and then drew a line through each of the previous days, finishing with today. She stood back, thinking that she must find out Greg's birthday, as well as the childrens', and then she suddenly wondered where the calendar for next year would come from. They would have to make their own, as so many things were made now.
Again her child rolled over within her, and she smiled down at the visible ripples under her sweater. In some ways, this was the best birthday ever, even if she was realizing it a day late. She carried life within her, a light against the darkness of the new world, and no one could ask for a better present.