Stories from Refuge – 65 – “All of us probably knew what we were getting into.”

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Refuge: an underground city built to save people from an apocalyptic world. But how will its people save themselves? Read the stories in any order, or start with the introduction at part 1.

Reconciliation Council report B-56, dialogue between T.L. and Luke Baron, recorded by James 72A
RY 100.10.10

I was one of those third kids, the ones you pretended not to know about, the ones who weren’t supposed to exist. We hid out in that tunnel that wasn’t supposed to exist either, the one between Sec 9 and Sec 21, the one where people smuggled things they weren’t supposed to have. Stuff to sell for a lot of money, drugs maybe, weapons I guess. It must have been weapons, right? They wouldn’t have sent bots down to kill people if there weren’t weapons in the tunnel. That’s what Jimmy kept telling me, he kept saying it was kind of dangerous to hide out down there in the tunnel, and all of us probably knew what we were getting into. He wasn’t a third kid, though. He was just a runaway, didn’t like his family instead of the other way around, it’s not like they got rid of him because they couldn’t have another kid, not like the rest of us. He had a damn choice. But he kept talking big and he said whatever Slide was doing was really gonna get us in trouble and the bots would show up any day and sure enough they did. People started running and screaming and tripping over each other and the bots were clanging and firing at us and kids couldn’t get away, and the Commanders were shouting too, big loud grownup voices I didn’t recognize at first, couldn’t figure out why there were grownups in the tunnel. Jimmy found me as we were running, said the Commanders were shouting at the bots to stop, said he was sure of it, said they didn’t want to kill kids, but I said no one ever gave a shit about us so I kept running. Never saw Jimmy again. Sometimes I hope he got stomped by a bot just to shut him up but I guess I shouldn’t say that. It was a long time ago anyway, I’m not a kid anymore and no one cares if I was a third one, but it’s funny, I still keep hiding.

[Recorder’s note: I read despair and reluctance in Baron. I almost signal the Councilors to end the dialogue when he speaks.]

Look, I know there aren’t many people who worked for Government who want to come out and do this. I guess you have a couple of people who did a bunch of dialogues already and you want to give them a break, so I said sure, I’d come out and do another one. I didn’t really like doing the first one but I’ll do my part, right? But you didn’t tell me we were going to talk about kids. You didn’t say this was the incident where kids got killed. I remember getting H company back, having to do repairs and clean them up. There was so much blood on them. I’ve never seen bots come back with that much…

Look, I can’t do this anymore, okay?

©2017 Michelle M. Welch

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