No matter his odd way of hurting me and attempts at robbing my mind, I still feared he’d snap and be like all the rest. He’d been so oddly kind, letting me sleep when he could’ve used me for his pleasure.
It’s been six years. They’re not coming back, and even if they were, look at what these real adults have let this country become. Why would they want to bring a kid back into a place like this? Where the newspaper they’ll read is filled with lies, and every step they take and word they speak will be monitored. The kind of world where they can work their whole lives, only to be slowly smothered by knowing they’ll never amount to anything and things will never get better for them.I just want them to admit that they did this to themselves, that they let Gray take their kids, but they also let him steal hope for the future. I’m so sick of having to feel sorry for these people when the rest of us are suffering, too.
I just want them to admit to themselves we’ve lost more than a few freaks.I just want us all to stop lying.There’s no gas in the old blue truck. Of course. I have to hike all over town begging people for a quarter of a liter here and another quarter there, and all the while these people are looking at me like I’ve asked them to set themselves on fire. I know the right people to talk to, though. They were the smart ones who saved up each gas ration the National Guard doled out by the old Sinclair gas station. I remember waiting under the sign—the big green dinosaur—shivering because it was five below, and the entire city was lined up down the highway, waiting their turn. About two years ago, the National Guard just stopped coming, and when they disappeared, so did the gas.
They’ve turned the old fairgrounds into a trailer park and campground. Ten years ago if you had asked me to imagine a world where thousands of people were crammed into a few miles of space while thousands of houses sat empty and locked up by banks…I don’t know what I would have thought. Probably that you were talking about a bad movie.Hutch says each kid can bring in around ten thousand dollars. Ten thousand dollars. One or two aren’t going to be enough to buy myself a real house or anything like that, but it might be enough to do one of those two-year university degree programs. With a certificate, I might be able to find a steady job in another town, and maybe that’ll mean an opportunity to own some kind of home, even if it’s in the far future. Staying here, I wouldn’t have a choice.
I triple-check to make sure the truck is locked before I start trudging through the muddy grass toward home. Already I sense the curious eyes following me, taking a second look at my truck. Considering. I’ve been there. We’ve all been there. It’s always easier to take something than work for it—but I don’t know how many people want a thirty-year-old gas-guzzler with paint rusting off in huge clumps.
And anyway, I’m not going to be here long enough for them to swipe it. In and out. I told myself that the whole drive over. In and out.What? I asked, confused by his shift in emotion.
He asks to come with you, and you say ‘sure?’ Lazlo raised an eyebrow.He has a good reason, I said. And I don’t have to spend all my time worrying about him.
So… Lazlo grinned, and I knew that I had said something wrong. You worry about me?Yeah, because you’re an idiot and you’re gonna get yourself killed. I tried to put him back in his place, but his smile only faded a little. Why do you even wanna come with me, anyway? This place has everything you need.