Madison was dumbfounded.
She had expected a quiet telephone conversation.. but instead, she mumbled something into the mobile phone, gaping at the massive door. Taking a moment to open it, she stepped inside, and continued her investigation, something prickling at the back of her neck.The first room when she entered was obviously a store room of some sorts; carefully organized, but absolutely massive.Half of the room was complete with food; dried rations, tinned fruits and vegetables, soups, meats, long-life foods that could last up to ten years in storage, and there were LOTS of it, the other half containing…water???
Madison’s eyes scanned the contents and noted with slight amusement that there was a full plethora of choices on offer. Stepping forward she decided to investigate closer.
Tinned peaches, pears, fruit salads, pie filling,, tinned asparagus, spinach, “boiled” potatoes, beans, lentils, chili, tomatoes.. Pasteurized egg whites, Pasteurized egg yolks, Pasteurized mixed eggs… the list went on, and on and on.
Cheeses was a bit more difficult, but this was solved with some tinned “Easy cheese” her face grimacing when she saw it. Cheese it may be, but mostly chemicals it was certainly.
Baking kits (For making “fresh” muffins, cookies, cakes etc), bread mixtures for making fresh bread, rice, Bisquick for pancakes and waffles. Jello, cool-aide, and a variety of other mixtures were also there, waiting to be prepared. There were carefully preserved cereals; some packaged so carefully that they could survive long past their sell-by date in a vacuum canister. Amongst those she noted cookie crisp, Special K, Wheaties, Chex, Count Chocula, Booberry and various other brands of fibre or sugar rich cereal she did not recognize off-hand.
Freeze-dried and dried meats were carefully preserved in vacuum sealed pouches, simply waiting to be eaten as a “portion” like beef jerky or hard salami-like sausages. Other meats were carefully preserved in tins, Spam included in on this spectacle, Madison noted with a groan.
As for drinks, the selection was similarly cared for; large and small cartons of long-life juices in several varieties including the routine apple, orange, and more exotic mixes like pineapple / grapefruit and watermelon / kiwifruit. Obviously, getting the rickets was not an option, with a hefty selection of Vitamin-C rich juice. Similarly, there was also condensed milk, long-life milk, soy milk, and powder to flavour the milk either chocolate, strawberry or a few other more hideous sounding concoctions. Also amongst the drinks were freeze-dried instant coffee, tea bags, many branded bottles of soft drinks, and a few crates of champagne – must be for the really special occasions – Madison mused silently.
She knew that Byron didn’t really drink, unless there was a reason to celebrate.
A smaller selection of herbs lined one shelf, salt, pepper, and the usual suspects; apparently it wasn’t enough just to have food, but being able to flavour it was just as important too.
Idly, her eyes wandered to the final section; junk foods. Here, carefully behind a locked glass cupboard was a veritable stash for a major party; chips, long-life dips, candy bars of various quantities and brands, candy enough to induce sugar-coma, jams, and more, causing her mouth to water.Her eyes caught something, and looked over to the tinned goods once more, carefully inspecting it. It was a small, but concise tick-sheet which held every single tinned item, along with quantity. The cans, she noticed, were arranged in rows of 10, and then five deep, so it would be easy to tell at a glance just how many items had been used up at any one time. There was no way to hide it; it was all out in the open.
Blinking, she wandered over to the water. This was most curious of all. There were many, many large office-water cooler jugs there, along with bottled water of various sizes, ranging from 5 litres on down to ½ litre. They were stacked shelf upon shelf upon shelf. Madison glanced at one wall, simply full of plastic storage tanks taller then her, going from the ground to the ceiling, with marks down each side, stating how much water there was left in each. There were seven tanks in all. For some reason, it seemed significant.
Moving on towards the door to take her to the next room, she encountered a book hanging off a small cable, bolted to the wall. Pausing for a moment to examine the book, her brows knitted. It was a full suggestion of meal plans, using the stock up from the shelves, so as to provide a healthy-balanced diet.
This was really planned out, Madison found herself thinking with slight awe.
Moving onto the next room, it appeared to be a lot smaller, cosier. Several couches, bean bags, chairs were scattered around the room, with a full entertainment system in place; CDs, records, cassettes, DVD player… it was all there. To Madison’s surprise, she noticed one section of a wall divided into two categories; one for music, and one for movies / entertainment. The music selection was fantastic, a bit of everything, appealing to all tastes, with quite a few slots left blank. Madison assumed these were for any future selections to be added in. The entertainment side of things however left her sorely rubbed the wrong way. It was quite clear from seeing looking that most of the movies were horror films, though a tiny section at the end was left for Disney classics, romance titles, action titles and comedy, though the selection was severely limited, and again, there were a few more empty spaces for future additions. She left the entertainment room, and proceeded to a small room off to her right. An.. exercise room? Blinking, she stepped in. Reading on the wall, she noted that if people were to be in confinement for the maximum duration, it was important to ensure regular exercise for health and welfare of those inside. It suggested a routine repeated two to three times a week, using a small treadmill, a bicycle, rowing machine, punch bag, a mat for stretching and other exercises, and a weight bench. Madison was taken aback by this, but shrugged it off as she began to explore the compound further.
Stepping out of that room, she went into another small series of rooms, or more adequately described; pods. Byron was inscribed on the door. Stepping inside, she noted it was an extremely basic room. A queen-sized bed, a closet, a chest of drawers, a side table, and a lamp dotted the room, which was carpeted. It was plain to the point of almost being a movie set generic.Stepping out of the room, she noted several other names on doors. Her name was on the door directly next to Byrons. Melissa was there as well. Sadly, Byron’s mother and father had a room, and their names were scratched out and a sticker placed over them, blank, but it couldn’t hide fully what it had said underneath. Madison ran her fingers over the sticker and sighed softly, sadly.After checking out the various rooms, she went into section: this room was carefully divided into two, not unlike the restaurant male and female bathrooms, with a divider… except this was one side had a bathtub marked on it, the other had a shower. Each would hold one person, and she noted with amusement, that the water was using a special storage tank nearby, that cleaned and recycled the bathing water.She hoped and assumed that the waste water they produced would be carefully removed, and NOT reused. That idea was revolting in the extreme. But then again, if they had to use this, she was sure that a shower was better then having nothing at all.
Stepping out of the bathroom, she went into a third section, obviously three small toilets. Three toilets seemed a reasonable number, considering most houses had at least two.
Moving away, she came to a dining room, where everything was all set out to eat, with plates, cups,
etc being there. Next to the dining room was a kitchen, complete with several tin openers. Byron must have been paranoid that the tin opener would break and they’d all starve she noted with a bit of amusement. Everything seemed in place, and nothing that she wouldn’t expect to find in any kitchen. And, she noted with amusement, there was a pasta maker, a bread maker, and an electric coffee maker.It was a random thought that popped into her head.. if they would have to use this, what guarantee would there be that there would be any electricity at all? That thought unsettled her a bit at first. Moving away from the kitchen, she came into another room, a small library and what appeared to be a desk in the corner child-sized. And a blackboard, like a school house. It didn’t make sense. She’d have to ask Byron about it later on.
Coming to another section, she noted this seemed to be a general provision store; it amazed her. Everything she could possibly think that she might need to run a home was here, carefully packed onto shelves, awaiting usage. There were all nature of stationary,pens, light bulbs, toiletries, tissue, blankets, clothing repair kits, a sewing machine and thread, extra cloth and stuffing, just in case, matches, it was exceedingly exhaustive. There was a second room, exceedingly small, off of this room, which she also investigated. This room held a medical supply cabinet containing all sorts of things, from antibiotics to a bulk container of daily vitamins, to first aid kits, to pretty much something for every emergency and contingency needed.
It was exceedingly clever.
Along one wall, she noted carefully stored clothing, in a range of sizes and styles, but the bulk being comfortable jeans, tshirts, and jogging suits. It was apparent that this was replacement clothing, to be worn when other clothing wore out. It was almost magnificent in it’s ingenuity.. until Madison’s lips twitched. She’d noticed several of her garments that she’d given up as lost and missing years ago. Her favourite sweater, a comfortable sweatshirt, pyjamas.. stuff that had disappeared from her house over the years.. but still nonetheless fit her. A small smile touched her lips as she realised that Byron had been slowly moving them to this place, in anticipation that she may someday actually need to live down here.. and she’d have clothing that she personally liked, rather then some generic outfit that everyone had to wear, further wearing down their individuality.
Finally, she explored the last, large back door, which was carefully shielded in a sound proof room. This was the “heart” of the complex she noted. Within, there were several generators capable of ensuring there would always be energy, light and warmth in the place. Her eyes scanned along the machines and noted that one was in charge of filtering and cleaning the water system. Another, to purify the air, another, to regulate the waste and carefully / safely disperse of it. Row after row of machines, each a vital part and role within the small self-contained community. Making a mental note of all this, and all the questions she wanted to ask Byron, she made her way back through the complex, getting ready to leave out the “front door” when she noted Byron was there…waiting for her.
Her eyes widened and she stammered slightly.