Sunday, 12 April 2009 - 4:25 pm

What’s best

Since the cause of our malaise was discovered, the Rats have been regaining their courage around us. They visit us in twos and threes, siphoning themselves off to speak with Dillon and Alice. Some of them talk to me, but for some reason I intimidate them more than the men do. They speak to Thorpe more readily than they do to me and he’s the scariest one of us.

Maybe it’s something to do with what they’ve heard about us. I couldn’t get much out of them about that, just shrugs and offhand comments about how we weren’t mean or cruel, and how we would give people supplies if they needed something. It’s not all true – we’ve never given supplies away, not willingly – but it’s better than the tales of murder and violence that are circulating about other groups – the Stripers, the Pride, the Sharks.

Now that the Rats are visiting us more often, we have to be extra careful about our gear. Pieces have been growing legs and sneaking away – with some Ratlike help, of course. I don’t know if I’ve been careful enough with the laptop to prevent them knowing about it, but it’s always within my reach now. They might be growing comfortable with us, but that doesn’t mean I trust them.


Dillon and Alice seem to be getting on with them better every day. One of the Rats heaved Jones into the store and gave him to a suddenly perky Nugget. I watch our youngsters and I can’t help but worry that they’re becoming closer to these kids, these peers of theirs. I’m afraid that they’ll want to stay here, that they’ll leave us.

It’s selfish of me to hate that idea. I know that. But that sad, sick feeling gnarls in my stomach when I see them laughing with a couple of Rats. It’s a ghost of how I felt when I found out about Bree and Cody, a pale twist of jealousy. Someone I thought was mine wants to be with someone else.

Maybe it would be better for them. Maybe they could make something good here with these kids. Maybe they’d be safer here. These thoughts try to move in with the rest of what’s chasing around in my head, but right now it’s hard to make them mean anything. I don’t want them to go; I don’t want to leave them behind. And besides, would it really be safer?

More than anything else, I know it’s not my choice, and I think I hate that more than anything else. There’s always something else that wants to take people away from me, something that I can’t do anything about.

We’re staying for another day or so, gathering strength and supplies. More time for the kids to make themselves at home here.

I want to do what’s best for them. I’m just not sure what that is; I just know what I want it to be.