66 hours 52 minutes
Human Crew tags
, their logo, along with warnings to freaks to get out.
In the distance, up the street, too far away for Sam to want to chase after, a couple of kids, maybe ten years old, maybe not even that. Barely visible in the false moonlight. Just outlines. The kids passing a bottle back and forth, taking swigs, staggering.
Grass growing everywhere. Weeds forcing their way up through cracks in the street. Trash: chip bags, six-pack rings, supermarket plastic bags, random sheets of paper, articles of clothing, single shoes, hamburger wrappers, broken toys, broken bottles and crumpled cans – anything that wasn’t actually edible – formed random, colorful collections. They were poignant reminders of better days.
Darkness so deep you’d have had to walk off into the wilderness in the old days to experience anything like it.
Not a street light or a porch light. Electricity out
. Maybe forever.
No one wasting batteries, not anymore. Those, too, were in very short supply.
And not many trying to burn candles or light trash fires. Not after the fire that burned down three homes and burned one kid so badly it took Lana
, the Healer, half a day to save him.
No water pressure. Nothing coming out of fire hydrants. Nothing to do about fire but watch it burn and get out of its way.
Perdido Beach, California.
At least it used to be California.
Now it was Perdido Beach, the FAYZ. Wherever, whatever and whyever that was.
Sam had the power to make light. He could fire it in killing beams from his hands. Or he could form balls of persistent light that would hang in the air like a lantern. Like lightning in a bottle.
But not too many people wanted Sam’s lights, what kids called Sammy Suns. Zil Sperry, leader of The Human Crew had forbidden any of his people to take the lights. Most of the normals complied. And some freaks didn’t want a bright advertisement of who and what they were.