Friday, 26 December 2008 - 10:42 pm

The assumption of hope

It’s full dark now, and we’re taking shelter upwind of the fires for the night.  We found four more people as we swept the streets.  Four people and one small, scraggly dog. 

I caught myself thinking that it wouldn’t be a proper disaster movie without a canine companion.  Because the damn dog always survives.


This is kinda extreme, though, even for a disaster movie.  I talked to Carter; I made him talk to me.  He didn’t want to.  A part of me wishes that I hadn’t been so insistent.

I asked him why the ambulances hadn’t come back.  They had run out of gas, he said, and they couldn’t refuel because there was no power to run the pumps.  The power is out all over the city – not just the CBD, but everywhere, all the suburbs, everything.

His face wasn’t telling me everything, so I pushed him.  I asked him for what he was trying not to say.  I asked him what had happened, what was going on, how bad it was.

No-one knows.  There was truth in his eyes when he said that; there was no faking that edge of despair that he was desperately trying to stay away from.  They lost contact with the system when the bomb went off; all they have for communication is radios.  Word on the radiowaves is that it’s the same everywhere, even as far as the next cities, passed back in Chinese whispers.

Carter was called away then and he seemed relieved.  He didn’t want to tell me any more.  I wasn’t done, I still have questions, and I almost went after him.  But Dillon appeared with a bottle of water for me and I couldn’t.  The kid shouldn’t hear bad news like that.


So we went back to pulling people out of the rubble – people and a stupid damn dog.  Even though we’re not sure if there’s anywhere to take them.  We do it because it’s what we’re supposed to do.  We work on the assumption of hope.

Now we’re bedding down on stolen blankets and broken buildings.  The delusion is crumbling down around us, eaten up by the flames that are crawling through the city’s belly, but we’re going to sleep like trusting children anyway.  I’m too numb to mind.