‘There’s a deviant behind me,’ whispered Caitlin, ‘I thought they were all dead.’
She could hear it shuffling as if its feet in the broken shoes were bruised and blistered. But it was getting nearer nonetheless.
’The virus we put in the water supply killed the majority,’ Abbi answered, ‘but a few were immune. They’d die out in time, but we daren’t risk it.’
Caitlin picked up a stone. Turning to throw it, she saw that the deviant was barely alive: rags hanging from its haggard frame, a kind of pleading in its eyes as it reached for her. She dropped the stone and quickened her pace.
‘It looks so weak,’ she murmured to Abbi, ‘are you sure it can harm us? It’s starving to death. What can we do?’
‘Don’t worry. Daniel’s prepared.’
Caitlin squinted to where Abbi was pointing. On the roof opposite, a boy lay, sunshine glinting off his gunsight. A red spot briefly appeared on Caitlin’s shoulder then disappeared to her left. She moved to give Daniel a clear aim. There was a soft crack and then a thump.
Caitlin looked down on the emaciated corpse.
‘He looked nice,’ sighed Caitlin, ‘Like grandfathers in books. Whatever grandfathers were.’
‘Don’t believe their propaganda,’ snapped Abbi, ‘you know perfectly well the world is a better place now that it’s run by children who reproduce by cloning. There’s no place for teenagers and adults anymore. You know the rules.’
Caitlin was silent. She would be thirteen in two years time. She looked up at Daniel and shuddered.
Words and photograph copyright 2017 by Paula Harmon. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission