When the sun is highest in the sky, Gunther and Grace hand a cup of water to every dweller. This must last until evening, when we get another. Water is heavily rationed. It's the most precious commodity we have and everyone must have the same amount. I watch sadly as Christina gives hers to her little boy. She feels my eyes on her and looks up. Sighing, she shakes her head, a tear rolling down her cheek.
Grace hands me my cup of water and smiles. This is the first smile I've had from anyone since last night. “Are you OK, Random?” I look down. I don't want her to see how troubled I am. “I don't think I'm very popular at the moment.”
“Don't take any notice of Dan. He has fire in his belly and no patience. He wants to save the world. He believes he's the man to do it.”
“Do you think he is?” She shrugs and sits next to me on the dusty floor, wincing at the aches and pains in her elderly body. “I don't know, sweetheart, but he's going to have a damned good try.”
“He might die trying.”
She shuffles her scruffy trainers in the dust, making patterns then scrubbing them out. “They could all die. Or, they might just make it. Who knows? But I do know since all this fighting talk started my Gunther has a spring in his step I haven't seen for a very long time. He's just like he was when we first met.” She winks at me and I grin. “Grace, you naughty girl.” She laughs. “We must get our comfort where we can.” She looks over to Ethan and Lafayette. “Including you, my dear.”
“Ethan is finding his comfort with Little Miss Melons.”
“It's nothing. It means nothing. My guess is it's you he wants. You love him, don't you?” I nod; amazed that she'd worked it out. She reaches for my hand with her own gnarled, yet soft hand, lowering her voice almost to a whisper. “Then fight for him, darling. You fought a Nicor yesterday, didn't you? It makes you very special around here. Do what you have to do but don't leave it too late. You might not have long with him, Random. None of us might have very long.”