Wednesday, 16 September 2009 - 8:48 pm

Not the fish

Tonight seems to be a night for discovering unpleasant truths. I’m all tangled up now.

Keeping this laptop a secret is proving to be more difficult than I had anticipated. As if hiding to write posts wasn’t enough, now I have to figure out how to power it.

I thought sneaking power out of one of the outlets would be easy enough. In those dim hours when the the sun is sinking behind a veil of acid, the generators run to extend our days with electric light. It’s a window of only a handful of hours and I thought they’d never notice if I plugged the laptop into the circuit.

Apparently, they keep a close eye on the power usage. A paranoid eye. The laptop had only been charging for a short time when I heard them coming around, stomping footsteps punctuated by the opening and closing of doors. I was quick to pack it all away and be busy with restacking a medical cabinet by the time they got to me, hoping that they couldn’t tell how quickly my heart was racing.

The pair of cutouts did a quick check of the room and I get the feeling that they didn’t miss much. I keep the laptop’s little metal case under my jacket; so far, no-one has noticed it. Tonight was no exception. I’m so glad that it’s still chilly enough to wear my jacket inside.

I asked them if everything was all right and they assured me that it was nothing to worry about. I can’t help but wonder why a tiny blip in power usage prompts such a thorough response, but they didn’t mention it so I couldn’t ask. Feigning ignorance can be a pain sometimes.


They were turning to leave when I had to stop them. The pair exchanged a few muttered words that caught my attention and sent the rolls of bandages I was sorting onto the floor.

The reason I was repacking the cabinet was that we’d had patients in the infirmary today. Five men of varying ages, all with similar injuries – bruises and scrapes, mostly. They said there’d been an accident and a stack of equipment had toppled over. Simon and I exchanged a glance and agreed silently; we both know the signs of a fight when we see it. We’ve treated too many fist-marks to believe that boxes did it. At least they were original enough not to include doors or stairs in their story.

After they had been patched up and sent back to their duties, I asked Simon why they would lie about the fighting. He shrugged and said it happened sometimes. There were punishments for disturbing the peace of Haven, so the smaller altercations were often allowed to fly under the official radar. When I asked him how often, he said it happened maybe once a week.

That seems like a lot to me. Simon seems to think it’s minor, and until the cutouts came to try to find my power leech, I had no reason to disagree. Their comment was innocuous enough – one said something about groups with animalistic names bringing all the troublemakers, and the other replied, “Sharks aren’t animals, y’know.”

I went cold all over, as if I’d just tumbled into icy waves and there was a fin heading my way. Bandages bounced on the floor when I rushed to snag one of the cutouts.

“Did you say ‘Sharks’? There are Sharks here?”

The soldier looked put out by my intensity, or possibly my grip on his arm. “Yeah. Not the fish, though. It’s just–”

“I know who they are.” I remember tearing my friends out of their jaws. I remember how long it took him to get his grin back. “Were they behind the fight today?”

“Probably. One of them’s usually involved.”

I was cold and my heart was beating all wrong. I didn’t know what to say next, so I let the guy go and muttered a quick thanks. Sharks, here. Somehow they’d made it all this way. All I could think about was whether Matt knew, if he had seen them yet. If they’d found and turned on him again.

If it hadn’t been raining, I would have gone to find him straight away. After the rain, it was too dark and I didn’t know where he would be in the dorms. I don’t know how safe it is for a girl to be creeping around in there at night; I think that would be asking for more trouble than I could handle on my own.

I have to find him. I have to find out where he’s working, or hang around the dining hall until his eating shift comes. I have to see him, talk to him. I have to know if it’s as bad as I fear.

The General may have segregated us, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe. I’ve never hated being separated from my friends as much as I do right now. I just want to know he’s all right.