Prose Header

The Fence at Jacob’s Farm

by John Allen

The child was found on the ridge that runs east to west across sectors ZA-71 and ZA-72, the place they used to call Jacob’s Farm. We had assumed the area was secure. But he was close to the fence.

Too close.

When we found him his life signs were stable, but below 1%. You will already have been informed that he didn’t survive relocation to the Centre. Necropsy revealed a last meal of raw meat — indigenous rat or squirrel — initially ingested at least two days prior to cessation.

There were binding abrasions on the joints of the upper projections — as if he had been forcibly impeded at some time. And there were bloodstains on the smock garment that covered his torso — with some ancillary splattering on his walkwear.

He was carrying a pouch constructed from a rough textile that had been tinted with an azure pigment. The sack contained a long-bladed cutting implement together with an article which we have identified as a primitive explosive device. There was also an item of land-crop: rouge in hue, but which we have, thus far, been unable to classify ecologically.

His left lower projection had been broken, probably over a year ago, but the fracture had not mended cleanly. It is likely that he would still have been able to walk, albeit with a limp.

In the pocket of his smock was an image of an adult — a female, we think. There were no other possessions.

The gerontology team tells us that the boy was between twelve and fifteen years old: not yet fully mature but probably capable of biological reproduction.

It is the first human we have seen in ten years. You will be aware that where there is one child there will be others. And where there are juveniles in any number there will almost certainly be fully developed males and females. A nest, perhaps. Or a lair.

Maybe the start of another colony.

On your behalf I have spoken to the Sector Commander. A patrol is on its way.

It understands the importance of what it has to do.

Copyright © 2006 by John Allen

Home Page