Friday, September 24, 2021

Microstory 1720: Lone Resident of Cepheus

I’m in a small town in Central Kansas called Cepheus. It’s Northwest of Hays, and Southeast of Great Bend. When I was born, there were only eleven people here. Now that my father has died, I’m all that’s left. I know that I’m supposed to contact someone about this. The county sheriff knows our situation, and is aware that I have no family elsewhere, as far as I’ve ever been told. I’m fifteen years old, though, and after some careful thought, I decide that I can take care of myself. What would it accomplish, being around other people? I only ever cared about my family, and the one other family we knew, who are all gone too. I bury father in the cemetery, for which we were already permitted to do so. For practical reasons, though he was young and in fairly decent health when it happened suddenly, we were prepared for the eventuality. He even already picked his casket. It was in the barn waiting for him when his time came. Once I’m done with the ceremony, I return to our home, make what was his favorite dinner, and go to bed. The next day, after breakfast, I return to my studies. Just because my teacher isn’t here anymore, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t continue to get an education. He gave me the tools I would need to go on without him, including ultrafast satellite internet. All my friends are on here, I have access to infinite entertainment, and I see no reason why my lifestyle should change. He won’t be able to go fishing with me this weekend, but I can still go by myself. I’ll even take a case of beer to sit between our seats. I never touch the stuff, but I’m sure I’ll find it comforting. It reminds me, as I’m making sure a case is still in the fridge, that I’m going to run low on certain supplies soon. The last remaining residents of Cepheus stayed for a reason, because we didn’t want to interact with the world anyway. Still, we couldn’t ever produce everything ourselves, like shaving cream, and medicine. For that, we waited for the Hercules wagon.

The next wagon won’t arrive for another few days, but I’m not sure if it’ll ever come now. We receive regular resupplies of certain items, which we use up monthly, but we send for special requests as well. I failed to do that yesterday since I was so busy taking care of my father’s final resting place. We always have special requests, and if we don’t, it usually means we’re on a long camping trip. That’s okay, I have plenty of produce from our little garden, homemade dairy from our goat, Mr. Milks, and enough nonperishables to survive in a doomsday bunker for five years. It’s going to be the little candies that I’ll miss the most. It’s never on our list, but the driver always comes with them anyway, free of charge. I shrug off the worrying about the wagon, and get back to my book, A Tale of Two Cities for my classics assignment. In fact, it’s the last assignment my father gave me, which means I’ll have to begin testing myself once I complete the report. I can always call the driver later if I do decide I want him to come after all. When I’m finished with the chapter, I head for the kitchen to treat myself to a bowl of Mr. Milks’ ice cream. It’s not the easiest thing to make, so we don’t do it often. It makes more sense to stick to the milk, cheese, and butter. Like an idiot, I drop the bowl on the floor, and worse, I don’t notice that one piece of porcelain slid far from the spill. I slip on it, and bash my head against the corner of the counter. Unable to move, I watch the blood from my head wound mix with the dessert, and now I realize why father told me to leave town when he was gone, and join society. The driver doesn’t find my body for four days.

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