Today was Tanya’s birthday. The last of the many gifts was a teddy bear. A brown one, with a red band around it’s neck.
It’s the best present of them all! She said, giving both her parents a big hug.
It’s a rat! Said Mika exited. Go ‘round, get it!
Malak jumped over the barrel and stuck his pointed stick down behind it. Got it! Proud he held the rat in the air. It was still shaking.
Malak and Mika hadn’t seen the world before the automation. Before the great war. They said people worked in the factories and on the fields back then. People were needed. Now things were changed.
They said there were other lands far away, on the other side of huge walls and on the other side of the sea. Lands where they used the things made in the factories, ate the food grown in the fields. Here there was nothing. The fields were closed in by electric fences. The factories guarded by robots and drones. The owners no longer needed even to step on their soil. Everything was done by machines.
They heard a sound. A metallic sound nearby.
Shhhh! Said Malak. Get down. They lay on the ground. A robot was passing by. It walked on two legs, had guns for arms. Grenade launchers. A killing machine, hunting humans. Malak had seen them before, many times. He would never forget the day they eradicated his family.
Humans in the third world were considered pests. They were in the way of production.
The robot passed them. They were safe for now, relatively speaking.
They got back home. They opened the little hatch to get into the underground tunnels they lived in. Sewers, they were once called. Now they were homes. Mika’s mother was waiting.
Look, we caught a rat!
Thank God, she said. One rat weren’t much food, but at least it was a big one. She started the electric oven. Lights went out.
Not again… She said, and got a torch. She went through a door and down a hallway. She came back with a dark look on her face.
A piece of the generator is broken. Your father got into the factory and stole it, but it was a lot less guarded back then. Now it’s even more difficult than when he… She stopped. Mika concentrated of keeping back his tears.
I’ll go, said Malak.
You..? You can’t, it’s too dangerous. You’re just a child.
You’re so nice to me. I want to help. And I know how to get into the factory.
Mika’s mother said nothing, just looked at the little boy who had arrived so suddenly. He had survived against all odds.
Besides, I’m not as clumsy as you grown ups! He laughed. She didn’t, but it was settled. Malak would go into the factory. Without electricity they would be doomed.
Goodnight little princess. I hope your new teddy bear gives you sweet dreams.
He will for sure! I love him. He’s the best present ever.
To be continued tomorrow.