A future

There was this old saying before the war. Live every day like it’s your last. Must have been nice back then. No one really understood the full meaning. Just like people didn’t understand what real hunger was; or what it meant to lie down in the dark with no lights and walls and police to protect you.

I can hardly imagine a world like that, all safe and orderly. The old people make it sound like a fairy tale, when they tell us about internet and aeroplanes and machines to wash your dishes for you. I never saw any of that myself; that was decades ago. I’ve seen the magzines though. One time, old Keeley told us that people used to eat so much they had to make machines to suck all the fat out of them again. I’m pretty sure she’s kidding; she’s always telling us crazy things like that.

I hope I never get old. When your eyes go and your joints get stiff and all your teeth drop out… you’re screwed. No way you’re chewing catjackal jerky with no teeth. That’s when people ‘forget’ to tell you they’re moving camp in the middle of the night. That’s when you get left behind like dead weight. I’d sooner go down fighting than have to die old. Walk out into the Big Desert when I’m going grey, and take on a hydra or something.

That’s another thing the old people keep telling us. Back then, there weren’t any hydras and catjackals. They say there was cats, and jackals, until the Scientists put their cells together. Tinkering around in animals’ genes like they were just mixing up a new kind of stew. Guess we’ve got the mighty Scientists to thank for all those dead kids then, dragged off in the night by the catjackal packs. Until we find an old stash of morphine or diazepam or something… then we’re all in love with Medicine and Science for as long as our worries go away. Selective faith, that’s what Ben calls it. He says to believe in god, and that’s all you need. I told him that I did pray to god, once, when I was a little kid. When my dad got shot and I ran into the wastes, I prayed to god to bring him back. When I wandered around for weeks and got so hungry that my skin turned to sores, I prayed to god for a bug or a branch to eat. He didn’t care. When Ben first met me and told me to accept god into my life, I told him that god wouldn’t let a lost kid eat sand and ash just to fill his stomach with something. I told him that god wouldn’t let his world turn into this burnt ruin.

There’s shouting. Someone’s after our food, I think. Better go. If I die tonight, and you’ve found my diary a thousand years from now… just, never forget how much people can mess everything up. If you believe in gods… pray for us.

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