Back in Hope Springs, Hyle was not having so easy a time.
Hyle felt herself swimming against the tide of reasons not to go to Haven flowing from Tuki. The backlog at the clinic, yesterday's influx of refugees, so and so about to have a baby.
And so on and so forth. It went on and on despite Hyle trying to interject repeatedly with 'But Joe told...' or 'What about the baby?'
On the other side of the room, Taioko vacillated between packing a bag and unpacking it, depending on who said the last thing. Hyle telling him to pack, Tuki telling him there was no need.
Tuki held a crying Ichiro to her chest, the argument had woken him and he added to the clamour in the room as two pig heads battled incessantly.
The two women, stunned into silence, turned to the meek Japanese man who had had enough of the noise.
"I will taker Ichiro to The Haven now. Is ah safest. If ah Spivey San say there is a danger, then there is a danger." Taiyoko said to the open mouths. He turned to Tuki.
"And ah you. You will also coming to ah The Haven. Like your Momma tell. You must respect ah your Momma. And I also agree."
Hyle and Tuki looked at each other.
"But..." Tuki managed to overcome the surprise first, but Taiyoko put his hand up.
"I expect by the mid ah day you are also at Haven."
"It's for the best." Hyle reinforced Taiyoko at last. "Look, I'll help out at the clinic with Maisie. You can do what you need to before midday then go to Haven. It'll be only a few days. Hmm?"
Tuki looked at her man and her mother. Even Ichiro had stopped crying. She handed the baby to Tai.
"I... had better get things sorted then."
By four AM the Spivey household was clustered in a little group behind the front door.
"Everybody ready?" Joe asked, hiding his anxiety so that his voice appeared calm and confident. There was a flurry of nodding heads. Joe smiled. "Good. Now, remember...
" He held his finger to his lips.
Silja held a sleeping Anneka in her arms, leaving the heavy suitcases to Joe and Kirsten. With luck, little Annie would stay asleep for most of the journey.
Joe still hadn't told them where they were going but she remembered when Joe had driven halfway around the province just to hide Tuki with her and her late, unlamented father.
Joe tapped on the front door softly. After a few seconds, there was an answering tap. Joe put his hand on the door latch.
"Okay everyone, this is it. Keep quiet and stay close."
The front door opened and the little crocodile filed past one of Joe's men and down the steps. At the foot of the steps, Joe turned to the right, ignoring the parked cars.
Of course, Silja thought. They wouldn't use their own cars, too recognisable.
Joe led them down the street in silence. However, they hadn't gone thirty steps before Joe turned right and straight up the steps to a house only four doors down from their own home.
Kirsten and Silja looked at each other in quizzical silence. As they approached it, the door to the unlit house opened and Joe led them inside.
They were met in the darkness, not by some heavily armed heavy on Joe's payroll but by an elderly man dressed in embroidered slippers and a brocade smoking jacket complete with matching cap.
Harvey and Archie had moved in about three years ago. Both were known for their flamboyant campness, both in style and manner and had soon become neighbourhood characters.
Their parties were famous, and often the whole street was invited. Kirsten and Joe were regular visitors to their soirees, although Kirsten probably enjoyed them much more than Joe.
"Soooo glad you could make it," Harvey whispered, beaming. He stretched out a welcoming arm. "Shall we adjourn to the kitchen? I believe Archie has prepared snacks."
Kirsten grabbed Joe's arm and gave him a hard 'What is going on here?' stare. Joe just grinned and held a finger up to his lips. They followed Harvey through to the lit kitchen.
Archie, considering the short notice Joe had given them, had done well in the snack department. There was tea and coffee and two plates heaped with delicate sandwiches.
When they entered, Archie was just taking a piping hot tray of miniature sausage rolls from the oven.
As the smell wafted up the nostrils of the midnight travellers they realised as one that they were actually quite hungry, even Annie woke up and rubbed her eyes.
Of course, Harvey and Archie were politeness itself and went out their way to make everyone feel at home. Harvey even took Annie so that Silja could fill her plate with sausage rolls.
After a few minutes of this conviviality, Kirsten took Joe to one side.
"Joe? What is going on here? I thought we were going to your safe place."
Joe patted her hand, reassuringly.
"You're right. I think we should get on." Joe coughed, getting everyone's attention. "Harvey? Archie? If you wouldn't mind?"
Archie put down the silver teapot and crossed to the sink. Harvey, meanwhile, passed Anneka back to Silja.
"If you all wouldn't mind standing clear of the table." Everyone backed to the edges of the room. "Thank you so much, much appreciated.
" He then pushed the large kitchen table to one side and nodded towards his partner. Archie opened the cupboard underneath the sink and felt inside under the rim. There was a click.
The centre of the red-tiled kitchen floor opened with an electric purr to reveal concrete steps. Lights came on, illuminating the descent. Joe led the way.
"I bought this gaff when we couldn't decide which house to live in. Once Kirsten made up our minds," he winked at Kirsten. "I had it all done up nice with the intention of selling it.
Which is when I discovered something the realtors hadn't mentioned." Joe reached the bottom of the stairs and tapped a code into the keypad on the big steel door.
It swung open and more lights came on, revealing the opulent interior.
"Seems like the bloke who owned it pre-Fall had built himself a nuclear shelter." Everyone filed into the first room. "He must have been out of town when the bombs fell.
" Harvey and Archie stood by the entrance, grinning like Cheshire cats while Kirsten, Silja and even Anneka stared wide-eyed at the comfortable decor.
"I was going to use it as a secret stash for er... stuff. But then Annie came along so I, well, did this instead and then moved the gayest geriatrics in the village in up top."
The two elderly men bowed as Joe continued.
"Don't let the fact that they are two old farts give you the wrong idea. Believe me, when push comes kick in the balls, you'd want them on your side. Isn't that right fellers?"
"You're too kind, Joe. We do what we can with what we have."
Joe turned to the still speechless women.
"And what they have is an arsenal upstairs and more automated skulduggery than you can shake a hairy stick at."
Harvey took over. Stepping towards a control panel by the door.
"You have eight rooms. Four bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen..."