Holston knew this was his last time to walk these spiral stairs. After a lifetime of speeding down and lumbering back up the silo steps, he possessed no will to ever do it again. His knees ached as he moved up the treads automatically. His tin badge burned in his right hand as he no longer wore it over his heart.
He made the decision while he tried to sleep that night. His wife, Allison, became a cleaner three years prior, and Holston still did not know why. He missed her so much and the white dot on the hill far away no longer looked like her but a piece of granite shinning in the sun.
Why did she think there was life on the outside of the silo? The place was brown and the wind kicked up great toxic storms, but not once had he seen life or even a green plant. The silos past the hill were ragged and rusty. Again no life, but Allison swore it was a lie. She had found old computer language that proved it was verdant and teaming with life.
Holston walked into the silo’s police department, passed his Deputy’s desk and into his office. He looked down at the files on his desk and felt a pang of guilt knowing he was about to hand down unfinished business to his deputy and best friend, Marnes. He picked up the heavy ring of cell keys and headed down the hall.
Marnes ambled in and watched his friend open the cleaning cell. He walked the opposite way to make the coffee and turn on the lights. They had worked so long together they knew each other’s boot shuffle. Holston pulled the cell door shut and threw the keys towards the scratch of heel on the linoleum. Marnes felt the keys whack his heel and put the coffee pot down to mosey towards the cell.
“You cleaning the cleaning cell, Holston?”
Holston smiled at the joke as he sat on the bench and looked out the view to the hill. His badge laid on his right knee. Cleaners had a full view of the outside to remind them how important the job was to others. There were so many years between cleanings that the view was hard to see with all the muck stuck to the lens.
Holston looked up at his friend and pushed the badge towards the bars. “Sherriff Marnes, I surrender.”I am reading an engaging story titled Wool by Hugh Howey. Howey wrote this in the morning before work and during lunch while working at a bookstore. He did an excellent job for every chapter pulls you to the next.