I didn’t sleep until quite late, I think. This is what ensured upon returning home…
I picked up the dog mut for a walk down by the river. It was dark and dog mut was unusually wary of others. He lived in this town a long time and is a good read on the creatures that inhabit it - few can be trusted. Judging most citizens as overwhelmingly not up to standard, he preemptively barked and leaped at them, giving the startling impression of a viscous hell hound and causing most people to preemptively move far off our path. I would offer an awkward apology, but did not reprimand him, as I had to acknowledge that Rambos judgement was, in general, reliable.
When we returned home, it was far darker than it had been at the river. The electricity had again failed, so we fed the kitty by candlelight, smoked a cigarette under the moon, and resigned to bed. All the pets were placed in their prospective beds to avoid any unnecessary stumbling or squashing of beasts underfoot. They were disquieted and jockeyed for superior positions. I settled them and lay down. I felt myself passing through the floorboards and falling at a nauseating rate of speed into the basement. “■■■■! Were dying!” I said to Rambo.
I leaped to an unstable sitting position - Rambo was on his feet, ready for action. I crawled up the stairs that I could feel, despite my black surroundings, swirling wildly around me in maddeningly tight, unbalanced, circular motion like something about to topple over. I was organizing many wisps of thoughts into one concrete one - the idea that I had to get halfway to somewhere, and quick. The pitch black around me constructed an ominous air. Having lost my phone - I was overwhelmed by the feeling that I was left without ability to see or talk to another human being. I would need to reason through this in order to survive. I felt sick and decided on two probable events that explained my circumstances - either my house was filling with poisonous gas or there had been a nuclear explosion that had severed communication with the outside world.
I took hold of what I perceived to be the most immediate and rectifiable threat - noxious gas, and set forth to remove the animals and myself from the house. If gas was the cause of my delirium, then once outside, I was likely to regain my faculties. I crawled about, sometimes making it to my feet, other times simply knocking things over and falling to the floor. I heard glass breaking and felt an accumulation of obstacles in my way. Outside, I put Rambo on his rope and lay on the concrete driveway in my underwear. The cold air revitalized my senses and sharpened my mind. I returned to the house on my feet to fetch a bed and a bone for Rambo, a blanket for me, and called to the kitty. Communication with my kitty solider failed. I looked for her, but was unable to see her through the pitch darkness. Piles of obstructions fell in my way as I tried to navigate to her preferred bed on the second floor. There was no reassuring meow in response to my calls to her. I left the front door slightly ajar - “Your gonna have to get yourself outta this one, kitty solider,” I thought. Things were deteriorating. It was every man for himself.
Rambo and I lay in the cold moonlight in our underwear. By this time we were both wet. Part of my blankets and one of rambos feet was sopping wet. From what? Poisonous fluid? I called to him and tried to coax him onto his feet. But, he was weak and disinterested. He lay on his bed. “Get up, Rambo,” I shouted. “You have to get up!” I tried to lift him to his feet, convinced that he had been overwhelmed by the gas. This was not the dog solider I knew. He was dead weight. We lay there, hoping that in time, the effects of the gas might wear off. Outside I could hear cars driving all along the country roads that surrounded me. If there had been a nuclear attack, then they were trying to escape. Perhaps we should drive to safety, but we would never make it - not in our current condition and not without leaving kitty solider behind. We waited. Where was kitty solider? Perhaps the smallest creature had been overcome by gas.
There was little improvement in our condition outside. We waited. There were no sounds of mayhem from the road. No cars were crashing - just the sullen, rhythmic sound of late-night traffic. Outside there was light and a sense of normalcy. I could hear night time animals going about their normal nighttime business. This was NO nuclear attack. Thank goodness. There was still hope of survival for me and my dear friends. We waited.
There are juice boxes next to my pillow. The thought came. The candle that I had lit on the front step now seemed the greater threat of fire when dog or I tipped it over, a greater threat than even the poisonous gas, from which we had experienced little relief outside. That didn’t make sense. I entered the house in order to feel my way to the juice boxes, confident that I could. Dog followed and upon hearing the unwrapping of cellophane, became his normal self. He came running with high hopes of receiving food as reimbursement for his trouble. I drank two juice boxes and went to bed with the lights on. Kitty curled up beside me. I awoke with exceedingly high blood sugar, but completely free from any side effects of poison gas or nuclear attack.