Moon was rummaging through the container, looking for that last bottle of wine she had hidden. Did someone else find it? She grunted and pushed a box of noodles to the side. There was a bottle of rum there, possibly hidden by someone else. It would do. She grabbed a couple of apples on her way out and closed up. The doors were heavy, creaking steel. She shoved the latch in place and started for the hut she and Justin shared. They neighbored Allison and Marcus, which seemed to make Justin constantly uncomfortable, but did not bother anyone else. It was not like there was a lot of room to put distance between them anyway. Continue reading
Moon pushed aside a branch and maintained a smooth stride. Justin did his best to keep up. It was amazing how quickly she moved; he had been thinking of her as slow and thoughtful, but Moon propelled herself forward as if she were gliding. She dodged every bramble and pushed through the tall grass and tangling weeds without a pause. Was it growing up on the commune or sheer force of will that helped her navigate? Continue reading
The door opened on seven people moving as if to conceal something. When they saw Moon standing silent and calm, they relaxed. She stepped in and Justin followed. “What is he doing here?” a hoarse, but feminine voice accused.
“It’s fine, he’s on our side.” What side is that? Justin wondered.
“We know that, but he’ll draw too much attention.” A man about his sister’s age said.
“Hey guys, I’m standing right here you know.” He had never seen sixteen eyes roll in unison before, it certainly did not instill self-confidence. Moon had lead him to this room, holding his hand tightly as they walked. He expected to be lead to a private room somewhere. That assumption was not wrong exactly, but this is not what he was expecting for the rest of his evening. This group was visually indistinguishable from the typical Open Acres resident: long hair, tattered clothing, and a pallet of facial expressions that mostly consisted of consternation or disconnection. For some reason, though, they were meeting in secret and Moon thought he might fit in. Continue reading
“Justin… Justin! Where are you going? Dinner is in the big house.” Moon had been following him around the moment he stepped foot in the place. The first time he saw her he did not know if he was afraid or intrigued. Her figure was imperial and round. Under dusty black hair was an observant and unkempt face. Her gold eyes were piercing. Moon appeared ageless, but after inquiring around, he learned that she was born a couple years before himself. Her features suggested a boldness, but she was soft spoken and usually found in corners and shadows. “Are… Aren’t you hungry?” She looked like she might collapse in tears at any moment, but that was just her neutral expression. Continue reading
It never occurred to Justin that the experiences of his that had value were the ones before he left home. For the New St. Louisians, his lifestyle was morbidly interesting. Beyond that, it was motivating. Everyone knew generally what American culture was like and how people lived, but how had everything become so stratified and isolated? It was not the facts that were shocking but the extremity. An outsider’s perspective of his old life revealed a disconnection that made no sense in a world so electronically connected. That the citizens of New St. Louis were looking at the situation from the other extreme was not a part of the conversation. Continue reading
Marcus sat in the boarding house, not exactly abandoned, but feeling excluded. He figured Helen, wait not Helen, Allison. He figured Allison had passed through New St. Louis before. She had to have to meet up with Earl and stowaway the way she did. He did not expect her to have personal business here though. He especially did not expect private business that she would not talk about.
She almost ran out of the door without saying a word. This was becoming a kind of habit, skipping out. She was pushing through the doors before Marcus could process her departure. He ran out and caught up with her walking briskly towards the center of the city. Continue reading
After two days of managing the store, Allison was developing a sort of rhythm. She learned from which customers to expect a problem and what it took to satisfy them. She found that assigning herself the title manager automatically garnered an air of authority. From some people anyway. The population of the island being what it was, she was looked down upon by many. Forget the fact that she held the resources here, many could not forget how wealthy and powerful they were at home. They were still wealthy in a way, but now their fortunes rested on the good will a few states felt towards Links. Continue reading
For two days, Justin had seen nothing but water and waves. There was some aquatic life now and then, but his surrounding were overall homogeneous. He adapted quickly to life aboard a boat, the ocean was alien yet comforting. Though they had a definite destination and Simon pointed out the direction every few hours, Justin was unprepared for the sight on the horizon. Even the descriptions Simon gave were inadequate. There it was, a place of obscurity and legend. So he was told anyway, this was the first Justin had heard of New St. Louis. Continue reading
<Mark> no response. <Hello, Mark> Marcus rolled over in bed, the place where he had taken refuge against the disgruntled bourgeoisies at his door. How strange, he thought, an inversion of the French Revolution. The rich beating down the doors to demand resources from the, well he was not exactly poor, but not of their class by any means. He looked around. He always found himself looking for a woman’s shape when he heard Connie’s voice. It was a reflex; he knew she was not really there. He faced the speaker. Continue reading
It was hot. Unrealistically hot. When Simon opened the hatch, Justin could swear hot air penetrated the shaft before sunlight entered. It was a short climb out, maybe ten rungs up the ladder. They emerged in the middle of the desert with the tower some distance away but still visible. Somewhere in that tower Herman was searching for him, surely growing angrier by the moment. Perhaps not, perhaps he would not even notice. Either way, the train would be leaving soon without Justin. Continue reading