TITLE: Damaged Goods
GENRE: YA Science Fiction(light)
Snatchers have come to our Wastelands to reduce our numbers. Again.
One of our soldiers rides up, his face haunted, two fingers raised in the air. I peek from behind a tree. The scratchy wood cuts my chin from pressing too hard, but I let it.
My father sits on top of his horse and looks like he’s about to be sick. The shake of his head is barely detectable. “Two what?” Father asks, his face still twisted. I know he knows already, just like I do. He doesn’t want to believe it.
The soldier’s face darkens. “Children,” he says like the word hurts his tongue.
In the middle of the dry forest, about two hundred of us hide—my father’s army and me. To hide we have to go in deep; the leaves are sparse. The nearest soldiers freeze when they find me behind them, listening. So does my father. Father insists on keeping me with the group, but usually finds a way to keep me away from the ugly happenings.
I hardly have a chance to finish swallowing the lump that forms in my throat before the group bursts into chatter-prattle. My father’s in a frenzy, checking on me every few minutes. Two children snatched away instead of the usual one is the biggest news I’ve heard in my lifetime. I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve made it thirteen years. In a couple more, I’ll no longer be a child the enemy wants.