October 30th, 1962
I have been stuck under here for days.
No food, no water. Both of my parents are dead. I don’t know what kind of pandemonium and horror plagues the world above. I never will. I write this by a burning fixture. Once this bulb of incandescent light dims and extinguishes itself, I will remain.
I will be left to die alone.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Natalia Flemingbrook. I am 14 years old. My father was an American CIA agent, and my mother was an immigrant fleeing from the USSR. He met her on a deep cover operation. She was a woman of simple means, hoping to escape the oppression of the Iron Curtain. He managed to rescue her and bring her to the United States under deep cover. We lived as a peaceful family, but only for a while.
As tensions between America and the motherland began to rise, my mother came under scrutiny. Native Russians like herself – citizens or not – were being questioned under the premise that they may be “spies.” Things got worse for my family. My father’s career was compromised because to the CIA, he was literally sleeping with the enemy.Recently, Cuba had their missiles pointed at the U.S mainland. Tensions were finally at the breaking point. Our town held a nuclear fallout drill in the middle of talks. In one of these routine drills, our father grabbed a few prepared suitcases and commanded us to leave with him. He didn't believe it was a drill. Neither did my mother and I.
We thought this would be it.
My father drove us out to one of the government’s various fallout shelters. He was given the combination for this particular vault. This vault was quite large; about the size of an average living room combined with a kitchen. I still remember its name. It was posted outside of the door.
Everything inside the house looked almost new. Nothing had been tampered with. Naked light bulbs provided barely sufficient lighting for our relatively cramped quarters. Cans of non-perishables occupied the shelves while spare generators, gasoline, and c-rations lined the walls. A television that sat in the corner looped a motion picture about fallout drills. Needless to say, my father picked out a place that promised to supply our needs (or some where that was supposed to, at least).
Right when we hit the door, my father locked the outmost-facing door shut. There were three doors: the first (the one he closed), the second, and the third. Why a third? It was a last resort. Only in the case of a complete and total fallout of biological life were we supposed to hermetically seal it. But I didn't really see the purpose of that third door.
If life was that bad, did we really want to live to see it?
These were all questions I pondered the answers to as I explored my new environment. My mother was very eager to get out of there. She had anticipated that we would only be residing there for two, perhaps three days. She was questioning my father about the length of time we would be staying there, yet he kept a very guarded demeanor about the entire situation. He repeated multiple times that he couldn't disclose the details for “security reasons”.
When we were all settled, my father used the in-shelter phone to dial some government officials. He inquired about the state of the outside world. The questions that he was asking were very pointed and specific. I suppose they were important. Like if the drill was anything more than routine. If there was even a fallout to begin with.
If this entire trip was just a result of extreme paranoia.
Once he got off the phone he started helping us unpack. The suitcases that he had us bring were full of toiletries. Soap, toothpaste and toothbrush, and hair grooming equipment were all in neatly organized compartments. My mother and I grew worried at this; she more than I. My father’s meticulous packing of these items implied that he planned for a long term stay. My mother worriedly asked him when we would be leaving. He curtly told her that we would be staying the night. She remained composed. One night of this and we would be back home.
That’s what the plan was, and that’s we thought.
Kidney beans and stale water sufficed as dinner. My mother and father were nearly silent the entire time. My mother was mad with worry, and my father was just plain mad. The phone calls were getting increasingly worse. The government had long given him clearance to return, but he wasn't going to acquiesce. He kept on saying that “it wasn't safe.” My mother had discovered the true reason for his irrational behavior and series of decisions: her state of citizenship. I had primarily suspected this, but my father verified my suspicions with each thing he said and did.
Our vault had garnered a marginal feeling of a home by bedtime. My mother and I played card games and listened to the radio while my father nervously jotted down notes in his government-issued notepad. It was around 11:00 p.m. before we settled for bed. As I crawled under my sheets and kissed my mother goodnight, I wondered about this situation. I worried about my father. Was he going to be alright? Was he going to be the same after this? A nagging, more worrisome question also lingered in the back of my mind.
Were we going to get out of here at all?
A loud crash jolted me awake. I looked over at my analog clock. It was 3:00 a.m. From the other room, my father was throwing things and screaming insane ramblings. I didn't hear my mother at all. I proceeded with caution as I slowly opened the door.
Underground chaos is what I found. All of our food was spilled on the floor and mixed with copious amounts of gasoline. The resulting concoction was quite noxious. Its fetid stench pervaded my sense of smell. The television playing the pictures earlier now showed nothing but buzzing static.
None of this even closely compared to the worst sight.
My father held a pistol to my mother’s head. He looked downright maniacal. He cackled as he pulled the trigger. Her brains scattered all over the wall, the remnants dripping down the cold cement. I was ineffably numbed with terror. Retreating to the corner in fright, I watched as my father spelled out a message with the blood. When he was finished, it read:
THEY FORGOT US
After he was finished, he shot himself. He embedded the gun far enough in his mouth so the sparks wouldn't set this place afire. I ran to the door to find a horrific sight. The emergency unlock key for the door was damaged beyond repair. The level three door had also been eternally shut. At that moment, I realized it was all over.
I was forever trapped in the vault.
Static blasted from a communications radio. I wasn't aware one existed. I quickly ran over to it to find the mouthpiece’s dead wires separated from the bulk of the receiver. I adjusted the tuning knob until I heard the voices of two men speaking.
“Javelin 3, any word on Agent Flemingbrook?”
“Negative, Mother Eagle.”
“He’ll be around soon. Talks have ended and I’m sure he’s out of there. Clean up the entrance for 975. We won’t be needing these vaults anytime soon.”
My heart sank. Any hope that I had died at that moment. Upon reflection, it’s probably not hellish at all out there. It’s probably just fine. Yet here I sit, destined to die. And you know what the sad part is?
They didn't cover our existence up; they didn't need to.
They did not abandon us. They did not forsake us.
They simply forgot us.
Written by Dubiousdugong