12:15

Dear Planet Earth,

The narrow window of my cell door opened with the same rusty creak it screamed everyday at 12:15. My gaoler tossed in a steel plate of “food” and asked the same questions he always asked.

“You need any water?”

“You need your bedpan changed?”

“You need your computer charged?”

I always answered him with grunts and gestures — at first out of a principle I can’t remember, though it’s now evolved into a comfortable habit. But something got to me today. I was looking at the still-drying blood where Mr. Ozawa or Carl or whoever he was got his head blown off two days ago. For the past two days, I’ve been slowly taking apart the image I had of him as the mute ally, the unlikely friend in perilous times. I know now he was an agent of the mole people — a homie, as I’ve started calling them.

The splattered blood, the memory of betrayal, and the awful, noxious smell of whatever was on that plate got to me, and I had to finally break down and ask this homie the question I’ve been simultaneous ignoring and dreading.

“What’s going to happen to me?”

He seemed to freeze in place for a moment, the way you might stop yourself if you come across a small animal in the woods. He brought his face to the window to reveal his clean brown eyes, framed by sunburned skin and tufts of facial hair.

“I really don’t know,” he said. “We gave you your chance with The Big Guy. As soon as the Inheritors remember you’re here, they’ll probably put you out to work on the camp.”

I tried to make sense of that for a while until he asked, “Are you sure you don’t need any water?”

I grunted.

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