Stories from Refuge – 66 – “She was sure they tossed her out in the trash.”

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-57, interview with J.P., recorded by Mary 80C
Refuge Year 100.10.11

You gave me a last name. A last initial, at least. I like it. Jimmy P. I went a lot of years without a last name. It’s fun to have one again. Sure, it’s not my real last name. I haven’t used that in a long time. Probably never will again. Anyway, Jimmy P. is good.

Did you give Trish a last initial, too? She never had one. Never even found out what her parents’ name was, that’s how little she was when they got rid of her. Always really mad at that, Trish was. She was sure they tossed her out in the trash. I kept trying to tell her that’s probably not what happened, most third kids were confiscated from Medical when their moms gave birth. Some of them even grew up for a few years with their moms, in hiding, until neighbors ratted them out or something. But Trish was too busy being mad and she never listened to me.

She talked about that thing where the bots attacked us in the tunnel, right? The tunnel between Sec 9 and 21, what was it – ten or twelve years ago. She probably didn’t tell you Slide was building a jammer, did she? I kept trying to warn her, that it was gonna be a big mess if he used it. I kept trying to get her to leave, really. Didn’t think it was too safe down there, hiding out. If Government didn’t come down to clear out the place, the drug runners were gonna kill us in crossfire for sure. I kept meaning to leave myself, but I stayed for some reason. Maybe because I thought I had to keep her safe, I don’t know.

So yeah, Slide built a jammer and he was gonna use it on the bots, mess them up so they couldn’t hear the orders the Commanders were giving them. I kept telling him that was a bad thing, bots are pretty stupid on their own and that’s why they need a person giving the orders, or they’d just keep shooting at us instead of stopping when the riot was over. Slide kept calling me stupid. I don’t think he realized that Commanders are people, either. He thought they were more bots. He hadn’t seen one of them take off their helmet.

He never did, either. He was one of the first ones who got killed when the bots started firing into the tunnel and the Commanders couldn’t get them to stop.

I heard the Commanders shouting. There was a man at the one end and a woman at the other. They were shouting at the bots to stop firing because us kids were in the tunnel, but the bots couldn’t hear it. Trish ran right past the woman Commander and never even heard what she was shouting. I tried to tell Trish when I caught up to her but she wouldn’t listen to me. Screamed at me to leave her alone and kept running. I never caught up to her again. At least we were out of that tunnel, though.

Did she really say she hoped I was dead?

©2017 Michelle M. Welch

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