Before he retired for the night, Morgan was struck with the urge to climb one of the watch towers. The night grew colder with every step up the ladder he took; by the time he reached the top, the wind and the time of year conspired to make things chilly. That same wind made things clear, though. The moon was half full, and looked odd to Morgan’s eyes. In a moment, he realized why: the faint pinpoints of light on the dark half were gone. It was if the vast solar arrays once on the far side of the moon had never existed in the first place. Perhaps they never did, thought Morgan; and his shiver was not from the cold.
The world in front of him was no brighter. The faint outlines of the Parkway and Rte 66 dimly shown in the half-moonlight, but to the west there was not a single light to be seen. And it was quiet, too, this far up. Just the wind, and the sentry keeping warm and trying to keep out of the officer’s way.
Morgan looked back, south and east, towards the salt-towns. Before the apocalypse, he would have said that it was dark there, too: there were no electric lights illuminating the streets and the billboards were all dark. But the darkness was broken by a host of pinpoints of light, scattered through the landscape. Torches, or firepots, or indeed a remaining electric light, wired into a generator small enough to avoid notice by madmen. And each dot of light represented somebody still hanging on. Morgan remembered again that impromptu tomb he had robbed that first night in Trenton, and shuddered again. The despair that poor bastard must have felt, at the destruction of civilization! It must have seemed intolerable.
But civilization was still there. It was stuffed into a space too small for it, and constrained from expanding further, and possibly even under threats both known and unknown, but Morgan’s home was still there, and his family, and his people.
And somehow he knew that it would end up being his job to protect them all. Possibly even save them. He didn’t know how, of course. But what he did know was that when you say that ‘Somebody should do something:’ well, you’re somebody, right?