No World For a Child

I had not, you understand, really eaten in three days at this point. I had gotten desperate and gnawed on a piece of bark this morning just to end the sharp hunger pains emanating from the hollow core of my stomach. The last time I’d really eaten I’d stolen a crust of bread from a child who was travelling alone. She wouldn’t miss it. I ended her hunger forever.

This was no world for a child.

I squinted at the sign.

It could be a trap. Bandits looking for food or weapons. Or, even worse, Jesus Freaks looking for “converts”. Still, death might be welcome if I didn’t eat something soon. And at least the Jesus Freaks would feed me before the Wipe.

I walked closer to the sign and examined it. No further instructions. Just nailed to a tree. I shrugged and sat, my back against the tree. If nothing else, this would be a fine place to rest until my new master, be it Death or something else, came for me.

Closed my eyes. There was a ripping, shrieking sound.

Opened my eyes. The sky had split apart …

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