12 Jan 2056 – I caught a tablet today, and dad let me keep it. You know, to have something to keep me occupied. It’s Chinese-made, but it’s one of the good ones. We’d normally sell it but things are going well these days. Our new falcon, Rebecca, learnt to listen to me when I whistle, and she managed to catch a good package. The tablet is brand-new, this year’s model. You can talk to it and it writes everything down! How cool is that? I’ll write every day.
23 Jan 2056 – I kept playing games all the time but the battery doesn’t last that long. I grew tired of them anyway. Dad won’t let me charge it all the time because the van’s batteries dry out quickly and we need them for other things.
4 Feb 2056 – A small solar panel fell, one that fits the tablet. Now I can use it more often. Well, today, dad scolded me because I fed Rebecca too much and I shouldn’t have. When the falcon is well-fed, she won’t chase drones around. And, even worse, she might not come back to eat out of your hand, and if we lose her, what will we ever do? I got a slap on the head and I learnt all these things.
8 Feb 2056 – I got dad’s old glove. The leather is too worn and Rebecca’s claws dig in and scratch you. But it’s too big for my hand, so I folded it and tied up the extra bits with a leather strap and now it fits me just fine. I showed my friend, Josef, and he called it a piece of trash. It’s not a piece of trash, it works just fine for me. Rebecca can sit on my hand and I put her hood on and keep her calm. I can feel that she’s happy. Mom died when she gave birth to me. When I keep Rebecca calm I feel as if mom is holding me back.
12 Feb 2056 – We camped out today with the others, trading things all day and night. Our fathers drank alcohol and they didn’t pay any attention to us, so we took the crossbow. Normally, they don’t let us shoot the crossbow, when you’re thirteen, they kept telling us, next year. We couldn’t possibly wait that long. We went into the woods with Josef and shot the crossbow, we had some boxes lying around from the delivery drones that nobody wanted and we used them as target practise. It helped keep the bolt sharp, it digs inside the box and gets caught there. Dad will never know we used it.
When I returned to the camp, I saw the grownups talking to three noobs, they had just come in from the city. The camp is big, nearly thirty people but I know everyone, I can instantly tell when there’s someone new around. Josef says that the noobs are fat and they don’t know anything. I’m not sure what being fat has to do with knowing things. These noobs weren’t fat, they were a family, but their dad didn’t speak at all and he kept staring at the ground, or perhaps his shoes. Their mom talked with everyone, she was friendly and smiled a lot.
And the daughter looked like she was freezing, out in the woods.
I gave her my blanket. I saw her gripping it tight, hesitating. Under the light of the fire I couldn’t see what she was doing exactly, it was as if she kept her eyes somewhere else, away from me.
“It’s a little dirty…” she said to me.
I glanced at her dress. It was indeed clean, except the mud in her shoes. She was right, the blanket would get her dirty. Her skin was clean, freshly bathed. Her hair smelled nice.
Read the rest on the Dronehunter story.