I turned on moderation for this blog for a while. I do not, and I mean emphatically do not, want the comment field to become a partisan slug fest between ideologies, as seemed to be happening in my blog post from yesterday. I will turn off the moderation again when I’m confident that this danger has passed.
I am fairly liberal with allowing comments, but there are enough boring political blogs out there which will confirm any particular –ism biases, and questions like whether there should be abortion or not is something that I feel that women should decide, and which I feel that are far out side the subject scope of this blog.
I was listening to Marilyn Manson’s cover of Sweet Dreams when a whole sequence of a story popped into my head. This is my first out-pouring, a first draft thing. It needs work, but damn. I sat up until four o’clock in the morning writing this.
Light bloomed when the match scraped against the side of the match-box, and a small wobbling flame burst into life. When Dev cupped his hand around it, to protect it from the wind that blew in through the broken walls and the door-frame, the light revealed the grime and dirt on his fingers and under his nails. He really needed a bath.
“Careful,” Dev told Kall who slid closer toward the little mound of twigs and paper. “This is the last match. Don't blow it out."
Kall put his heels in the cracked floor and pushed away again. Gently Dev lowered the flame to the side of a large ball of rumpled paper. The flame grew as it took to the paper, turning it black. As the flame grew, it crept under the twigs that had been built over the paper. Soon a thin line of smoke rose toward the part of the roof with the hole in it.
“We'll have to go that town tomorrow,” Dev said. “And get some more.”
“Do we have anything to trade?”
"Us", Dev wanted to say, but he didn't want to think about that now. Now he only wanted warmth, and only wanted this fire started. “Bring me the other wood.” Dev motioned toward the pile of thicker, larger pieces of wood that lay about three feet from them, at the side of the opening to the house.
Soon both Kall and Dev sat as close to the fire as the could, staring into the centre of it. They had their arms wrapped around their knees. The moist in his jeans and his sweater steamed off him as the warmth streamed like electricity into him through his outstretched hands.
“Do we have any food?” Kall asked. Dev shook his head. They'd eaten the last of the bread that morning. There hadn't been much. The berries in the forest had kept them from starving, but they hadn't brought any back here.
“We can't do this.” Kall then said after a few minutes silence. “We can't go on like this. We'll die. If we don't starve, the others will take us.”
“We have to.”
“Look at me. We're not doing too well.”
“Better than before.” Dev felt the old fury rise in him. There was no way he was going back there. To see the smug face of the Administrator as he was lead into the cellar would be enough to kill him. And the Administer would punish him by making him work to death.
“We just need to go further west,” Dev said. “We just need to reach that compound.”
“What if there's nothing there?”
“There is. There has to be.”
“What if there isn't?”
“It's better to be dead than be back there.”
The next day Dev and Kall came over the ridge, and looked down on the town. The sun was shining from its highest peak, and unlike the day before the two were sweating. Dev had tied his sweater around his waist, and Kall just pulled his coat around hanging over his arm.
The town had a palisade, and there was a tall wooden watch-tower to the east, by a wheel-less rusted old blue car. A couple of sturdy, strong horses grazed in a pen next to the town's gate, and Dev could see a man sit on the fence.
“Let me do the talking,” Dev said. He took Kall by the arm and forced the other boy to look at him and nod. With that agreement, Dev pressed past Kall and moved toward the man on the fence.
As they came closer, the man jumped down. Now Dev could see that he held a shotgun. The man shouted something in past the gate, and soon two more figures appeared above on the walkway on top of the palisade. Those figures were adult; stout men that gave Dev a stern and fierce appraisal.
Their guns levelled toward Dev and Kall. Dev raised his hands – no way that they would mistake them for a couple of the others now. The others didn't make signs like this.
“I suggest you two turn around and march back the way you came from,” the man on the fence, who wasn't a man at all but a sixteen or seventeen year old boy. Just a couple of years older than Dev or Kall. But he was big, and strong, and looked well fed. There was food here.
“We could use some food, Sir,” Dev said. “We're willing to work.”
“There's nothing we need that two runts like you could help us with.”
Dev persisted. “Kall is real good with machinery. He's got a gift. Can fix anything, if you've got the spare parts. Hell, he can probably fix them even if you don't. I'm pretty good with an axe, and don't quit until I'm done, if you've got any wood that needs cutting. Anything you'd like to not do yourselves.”
“Well, there is the veggie plot...”
“I'll plough it, till it, hack it, and be ready quick. Whatever you want.” Dev pounced.
“Like I said--”
“Hold on boy,” one of the figures said up on the walk. “Can you handle a shear, son?”
“Yes, Sir. Used to cut fields back east.”
“You two runaways?”
“Can't say I blame you. We've got a field that needs clearing. We'll give you some supplies if you do the work.”
“Consider it done, Sir.”
“Open up. With two of you, it shouldn't take too long.”
“I'll be doing the field,” Dev said. “Kall here can't do that kind of work. Bad leg. But if you've got machinery that needs fixing, like I said, he's got a gift for it. Try him.”
“We don't have any that needs fixing, but I am not paying for anyone to sit around lazing.”
Kall pulled Dev's arm. “I'll help. Don't refuse.”
“You can't do--”
“Don't be fucking stupid, Dev. We need those supplies.”