Found and Lost

Dear Planet Earth,

I found her — Martha. We were all feeling a little more at ease with the sirens and floodlights finally off, so I was understandably calm last night walking back from the mess hall when I saw something glinting near some plastic containers. I went to check it out and found my naive stupidity embodied in a Beretta M-9 pistol staring me in the face.

“Wait! Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me!” What else was I supposed to say?

I could make out her gaunt, dirty features from the moonlight. She looked like my elementary school librarian if she had been starved and tortured for a week. She studied my face for several seconds and then motioned with her gun for me to come closer.

“Who are you?” she croaked.

“Scott. My name’s Scott. I’m not a soldier.”

She nodded and lowered her gun.

“No. You’re not.” The woman rummaged through a pink fanny pack hanging loosely from her waist. “You’re just a dumb kid mixed up in something bigger than any of us. I don’t give two shits about you, but it’s not really up to me, is it?” She took out an old walkie talkie and made me clasp my fingers around it.

“What –”

“When it happens, when you get the call, do everything they tell you to do.”

She stood up and trained her gun on me again.

“Don’t think, just act. Remember what he taught you, Scott.”

She started walking backwards to the fences, to her freedom.

“‘Strength is the outcome of need,'” she said before disappearing into the darkness.

“‘Security sets a premium on feebleness,'” I completed.

It’s from my favorite book, The Time Machine. My father used to read it to me every night.

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