Taking Shelter

After the plague, Jenny’s father moved their family into an old missile silo on the Great Plains. Away from population centers, protected by their shelter, they’ve remained safe from the marauding gangs, but it’s a life requiring constant vigilance.

When a family in need of help stumbles across them, Jenny’s first instinct is to do what she can, despite all of her father’s warnings that people can’t be trusted.

She’s prepared to bet her home and her family’s lives to prove there are still some good people left, but will it cost her everything?

This is a novelette of ~12,500 words (41 pages)


This story started with an article I read about a missile silo that had been converted into a family home and which was up for sale. It set me thinking about a family occupying it after some sort of apocalypse.

A family, alone, didn’t offer much in the way of drama and so I decided another family would pass through their area and run into them. It was just the three of them, with a daughter, so the other family could have a son and then you had the potential for post-apocalypse matchmaking.

The original silo was based in some wooded back country (I decided to move the location to the plains, partly because I found this was a more common location when researching silos) and I wanted to show that after an apocalyptic event, the world didn’t completely fall apart and get overrun by savage gangs or military nuts, but that ordinary people could survive as well.

That idea was expanded into a different story (featuring a whole community), but the idea of the missile silo and two families meeting kept coming back and I wanted to examine how things like ‘a boy meets a girl’ might pan out.

Originally this story had a different ending and it was only late in the writing did it occur to me to switch it, which I think makes it a stronger story.

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