My phone pinged. The game had posted an alert: FIVE SURVIVORS. "Don't rub it in," I muttered. But then I looked more closely. Every one of my surviving villagers had the location tag COTTAGE: ROOT CELLAR. Which: huh? I mean, obviously I knew what a root cellar was, but last time I checked it wasn't among the available cottage-upgrade features. I mentally filed it away under "further research warranted" while I did what I could to help my survivors recuperate.
Several hours later, my five precious villagers were still hanging on. Keeping them around had taken a lot of sideways thinking, repeated use of the ROOT CELLAR trick, and a heap of utter bloody-mindedness, and even so a sense of futility was growing on me. Five is not a viable village population. I should have hit the reset button. But I'd been developing this village for the last three weeks; I wasn't ready to give up on it just yet.
I was starting to investigate strategies for attracting travelers to settle down with my survivors when the siren went off....
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for January 12, 2018. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1534 words) from Patreon as an ebook or audiobook depending on their pledge tier.
Cover art incorporates public domain image sourced from Pixabay.