The Facility.

The Facility is east of the city, near the old waterworks. Wind shrieks through the tiers of the abandoned aqueduct. It whines around our silver outbuildings and whistles through the spiked fences that surround us. Terry and I are in the yard for free time. It’s marshy beneath our feet. From our silver homecube to the silver fence the earth is spongy with radioactive groundwater. Several years ago the birds disappeared from the wastezone. And after them, the insects. Only we can live here now, the rehabilitants, because we’re decontaminated every day, and medicated against toxins.

Terry nods my attention toward the silo near the fence. A crack has appeared in its side. Smoke leaks from the fissure and the wind whips it toward the brown glow that used to be sunset. I’m not really interested in the crack, but I watch it because Terry watches it, and sometimes his interest is how I fend off despair. There are only nine of us left at Boy’s Juvenile Justice Facility Bravo. Terry’s the only one I really know, although I’m not sure his name’s Terry. One day he drew an image in the mud of a figure in a fuzzy bathrobe—or maybe it was a coat—and I’ve thought of him as Terry ever since. We communicate well without speaking aloud.