Couldn’t he see he’d just ensured my normal beating would be ten times worse? He’d undermined Master A, and no one should ever, ever do that.
Because I’m not super into the idea of having a couple thousand little freaks running around the country blowing shit up.I take the clipboard and squiggle on one of the empty boxes, hoping it’s enough to get her to leave me alone. What’s really amazing to me is that despite the fact that they managed to grow their numbers, it seems like they’re doing less. Even with the addition of the spin-off group, Dads Against Camps, I know for a fact they haven’t gotten any information out of the government.
They have to know how pathetic they all look, right? They stubbornly gather here like cat hair to a black sweater, but there aren’t any politicians in City Hall these days—they just bus folks up from Phoenix every once in a while to make sure the town hasn’t dissolved into chaos or to barricade it off if it has. The parents just can’t bring themselves to break the pattern. Every day it’s the same scene of them standing around and talking to each other, hugging and crying and cupping ragged-edged photos of their freaks between their hands. These people—the real adults, my mom calls them—they sit around looking for forgiveness from the guilty. But if they really wanted to accomplish something, they’d be down in Phoenix. They’d be in D.C. or New York, trying to find whatever hole President Gray dug for himself, to make him answer for what he’s done.They don’t even seem to notice every last bit of their freedom has been stripped from them, from all of us; they just care about the kids, the kids, the kids.I want to tell Mrs. Roberts to stop being such a damn hypocrite—to tell Mr. Monroe, and Mrs. Gonzalez, and Mrs. Hart that they did this to themselves. They sent their babies to school that day and then stood around the playground fence with the rest of us, watching as the black uniforms ushered the freaks onto the buses. They regret it; now they see what most of us suspected all along. Those buses were only going one direction: away from them.
Here’s the thing I don’t understand: The government tells you over and over again, through the news, through the papers, on the radio, that the only way these freaks are going to survive is if they receive this rehabilitation treatment in these camps. They even roll out the president’s kid to prove that it works, parading him around the country in some kind of celebration tour that’s clearly designed to soften people’s attitudes about sending their freaks away. Okay, sure, fine.But after a year or two passes, more and more freaks are affected. More are sent to these rehab camps by desperate parents. But in the meantime, we’re not seeing any cured freaks coming out of them. Not in year three, or year four, or year five. If these parents had been paying attention from the beginning, not running around like a band of panicked chickens, all of them scrambling for the last scrap of hope, none of them willing to be the one to stand up and question it, they would have seen the lie a mile away. They would never have registered their freaks in that online database, the one the government basically just turned into a network to help skip tracers and PSFs later collect the freaks that weren’t sent willingly.
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.Yeah. He’s eight. He’s just a little kid.
Hmm, London said, but then nothing more. There wasn’t anything judgmental in his eyes, but I could tell he’d figured out there was more to the story than I was telling.London didn’t know any more about the quarantines, and he didn’t have any other insight into the evolution of the zombies. He did explain a little more about the compound. They were made up mostly of people from the town. Since it was so isolated, they had been one of the last to get hit with the virus and had a chance to prepare.
Unfortunately, the town split into two camps; London and his people trying to live quietly, and the marauders who wanted to live out some kind of Mad Max fantasy where they robbed and murdered at will.The people in the compound survived on canned goods and hunting. A water filtration system in the basement kept the virus out of their drinking water. Kerosene lamps and wood burning stoves allowed them to have heat and cook food.