Ash looks sheepishly at me through his black bangs
I bought a packet of smokes.
Beetle’s always stealing mine
Don’t tell Natalie though, I’m supposed to be quitting.”
“Don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me,” I say. “Right, here’s a bit of a brain teaser.If you lived here, in this time, who would you be and what would you do?”“I don’t know this world well enough to say,” he admits, glancing up at the television
screens, which are
currently showing a football game. “I’d like to do that though. Looks fun.”
“I think you’d have an unfair advantage,” I say, eyeing him up and down. Even
he’s taller than most people are standing up
and he’s packed with muscle
“Aren’t your bones reinforced?”He grins. “You gotta make the most of what
I take a sip of my gin. It goes down smoother than the Shine I’m used to.
“So what’s your favorite thing about 2012 and why?”
“That’s easy. Democracy,” he says. “Having lived under Purian Rose’s rule my wholelife, I know what it’s like to not have any
. It’s time we changed that.”
His eyes lock on mine, meaning passing between us.
“No fear,” I
“No power,” he
replies.A thrill of fear runs through me at our open dissent of Purian Rose, expecting a
platoon of Trackers to swoop in and arrest us at any moment. But of course they don’t.They’re not here. We’re safe. I flick through my notebook, trying to steady m
I clear my throat. “So…if you could have three wishes, what would you wish for andwhy?”
“Fragg…that’s a good one.” He leans forward and grinds his cigarette out against thetable. “Okay. My first wis
h is that Natalie will live a long and happy life
I smile. “Well, that goes without saying.”