They stayed in the house in northern Vermont for a lot longer than Erma thought they needed to. It was a year before Jameson would even open the door and another six months before they saw other people.
Erma was shocked at the devastation on the east coast. Entire cities looked like ghost towns, desolate and empty. People scavenged like animals and scowled when she made eye contact.
Jameson gave Erma the choice and she was glad for that. She wanted to live with other people. She wanted to be useful. Homeschool and volunteer work in New Hampshire was the best that they could do. She hoped her mom would be proud.
The abundance of caution didn’t pay off because her dad started to lose his memory seven months after the Gene Event. At first it was small things like where he put something or how to fix a problem in their massive apartment. But Erma started to notice him stammer when he was trying to remember her name and he would start to come home later and later and she found out it was because he was getting lost. She started to cook for him and do everything she could to keep him in the house.
Her dad wasn’t the only one. The younger people kept saying that their parents were becoming forgetful. A friend of Erma’s said her dad kept talking about REM sleep and about long term memory, but Erma didn’t know anything about that. All she knew was that she was having a hard time keeping her dad in the house and that she could not remember the last time she had a dream.