Second Variety

up his gun, his body tense. For a minute it looked like—

From behind the shell of a ruined building a figure came, walking slowly toward him, walking hesitantly.

Hendricks blinked. “Stop!”

The boy stopped. Hendricks lowered his gun. The boy stood silently, looking at him. He was small, not very old. Perhaps eight. But it was hard to tell. Most of the kids who remained were stunted. He wore a faded blue sweater, ragged with dirt, and short pants. His hair was long and matted. Brown hair. It hung over his face and around his ears. He held something in his arms.

“What’s that you have?” Hendricks said sharply.

The boy held it out. It was a toy, a bear. A teddy bear. The boy’s eyes were large, but without expression.

Hendricks relaxed. “I don’t want it. Keep it.”

The boy hugged the bear again.

“Where do you live?” Hendricks said.

“In there.”

← Page-30 p.31 Page-32 →