Sweetness and Light

by vegetables [Reviews - 0]

Printer Chapter or Story
  • All Ages
  • None
  • Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe, Drama, General, Humor, Mixed, Series

The afternoon’s lessons were somehow worse than the morning’s. The teacher explained the latest sugar mining techniques as the classroom scribbled away, and Chris grew frustrated as she failed to understand a thing. It wasn't just her, she now realised. She could see confusion flit across the faces of all the adults around her, and she knew their child teacher would be unable to answer the many questions they had. For the first time, she understood the survivors’ project was doomed– they would never be able to learn enough to remake their city. And if she’d worked that out in a day, the adults certainly would have in however long it was they’d been learning here: it was small wonder they needed something to give them hope.

It was curiosity about what that something was that got Chris through the rest of the day. When the sound finally hummed to tell everyone they could go home, she held back with Angles outside the school as the other adults dwindled away. Eventually, Angles led her outside the valley where the town lay, making sure as he went that nobody was watching them. It suddenly occurred to Chris that she was a child completely alone with a stranger, and that there were threats in time and space that had nothing to do with aliens.

“I think we should go back,” said Chris. “The Doctor said that where there's life, there's hope, and there's lots of life back there in your makeshift town. I don't need to see whatever it is we’re going to.”

“Nonsense!” said Angles. “What's down here is much better than anything in this crumbling old ruin!” Before them a massive hole broke the rubble like a gash, stretching its way down into total blackness.

“But there's something down in the caves,” said Chris, now very afraid. “A candied man, on a pile of bones. Who eats people, like the ones who’ve all gone missing.”

“Is that what the other children told you?” said Angles. “They do let their imaginations run away with them sometimes. A man made of sweets living underneath the city! That's absurd. But then, I suppose it’s not the silliest thing they believe.”

Chris had realised something, and her blood ran cold.

“The other children?” she said. “But I’m—”

“An adult? From¬†Ipsico¬†1? I'm not an idiot, Chris. That place is rich; it’s got brilliant schools. No one in their right mind from One would send an adult here to learn. No, you're a child, and you're a spy. You've been sent here to find out what us adults know.” He smiled an awful smile. “And now you’re about to find out.”

He grabbed onto Chris’s body and lifted her off the ground, holding tightly against his chest. Chris screamed and kicked as they went into the cave, but Angles was very strong, and the town now seemed to be very far away.