Friday 17 April 2015

'Consequences' by Charlotte Donnelly

"Mom? Mom!"
A sigh. My hand gripped the phone tighter. "Bailey. What?"
Well, not my full name - and I was glad. I only had two minutes on this thing. "I need you to come bail me out. Please."
I stuffed one hand into the pocket of my oversized shirt. There was blood on the sleeve. Fantastic.
The sigh came again, clear even over the crackly speaker. "I'll be right there."
Forty-five minutes later and I was out, boots still shedding mud all over the floor. The cop who gave me back my stuff looked younger than me and he eyed the gun and knife I took from the box warily. Mom waited as I laced up my shoes and stuffed the gun in the back of my jeans – and then we were gone.
"Which one?" she asked in the car. I stared out at the passing wasteland.
There was a long pause and the air got tighter around me. "Bailey," she said slowly and carefully, a way to stop herself getting so angry. "Which one?"
"Rosenheim," I said quietly.
Mom cursed and slammed on the brakes. The car behind hit the brakes too and honked - but when it was clear she had no intention of moving, they drove around. I could feel her glare.
"Bailey Wilhelmina Eleanor Parker! What in God's name were you thinking?!"
I shrugged. We'd had this spat a thousand times. I was thinking of the next few weeks. I'd have to go before a judge, if they could find another one. They might tag me but they probably wouldn't.
"Are you even listening to me?!"
When I looked at her she let out a strangled noise before resuming the drive.
The thing was, I didn't understand why it was illegal now. A few years ago, it had been a free for all, but now – now they were pretending everything was fine again.
We pulled up outside our run-down house, the only one inhabited on the street, and I slammed the car door shut behind me. I waited for mom to unlock the door. Inside, she turned to me.
"You hungry?"
I glanced to the kitchen, which was overflowing with tins. The perks of surviving this long. "Yeah, alright," I replied, taking it as the peace offering it was intended. "I'll come down when it's done."
Mom nodded and walked into the kitchen. I raced upstairs.
The view from my room, through the cracks in the boarded-up windows, was a large stretch of open land. I think there were trees out there, once.
I put the gun on my bedside table, in easy reach. Gramps had been buried at Rosenheim, until he wasn't. The same had happened to a lot of bodies – and though everyone was pretending it was over, I knew better.
The sun started to dip, shadows lengthening and deepening. I could smell food from below.
Mom would be asleep by the time the moon came up. I'd go hunting after that.

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