I wake up drenched in sweat and narrow my eyes, ready to take a punch and hit harder back. But after a few seconds I realize there’s no assailant around and I’m safe in the basement of our ruined house in the Aquila Enclave. My gaze shifts slowly towards the others. Everyone sits on their beds, my Lara, too. Then I let out a deep sigh of relief.
I hear our Moor (we called him Othello because of his swarthy complexion) playing with the radio again. I remember he’s been doing it for two days; I don’t know why. The radio is brand-new, plugged in, but it’s out. Besides, within a radius of several dozen miles, our Enclave, Aquila, (in fact, the ruins of several houses), is probably the only one concentration of living beings in this part of the desolated world. It would be difficult to catch the signal of some station or other Enclave.
Today, Othello’s face is more gloomy than usual as if deep down in his heart he feels all this playing with the radio makes no sense. He’s angry at himself and he turns a dial to the left and to the right repeatedly. What happens next is so unexpected that it petrifies us all in an instant. Somebody’s voice comes out of this dead machine—low-pitched, but clear and strong as if echoing behind the wall of our house. It’s the first voice from the outside in nineteen years. It shouldn’t be real. But it is. I don’t like it.
Urgent! Urgent! It’s a glorious day for the history of our globe.
I glance at the others and notice they all prick up their ears. I feel a sudden grip of unease. Who’s speaking?
Good evening, all of you who are still trapped in your Enclaves! We proclaimed a new constitution of a Global Government, which we proudly called the New Order. Soon, you will see Astrea, our shining capital city!
I swallow hard and lean forward with my fists clenched so hard that the color drains from my knuckles. Shivers course through me as I realize what I’ve just heard. Out of the corner of my eye I notice that Othello has turned to stone, cook Ayanna gets pale, and Jonathan looks at her as if trying to find some words of comfort, but he’s too shaken up and dumbfounded to utter a word.
Who’s speaking? That was quite an infantile question. Having heard this announcement, I don’t need any answer. I’m sure this voice from the radio represents . . . them. The Scavengers. Malicious vipers. Scums. That’s how we call them. They deserve it, because they’re the ones who look like people, but don’t behave like people. We know they’ve got hiding places somewhere underground and sometimes they go out with their morhogs, mysterious mutants, to kidnap children and conduct dark experiments on them. Real venomous vipers. Scums. I can’t understand their attempt to talk to us through the radio now. Why have they dared to establish a more “civilized” communication with our Enclave? In the last nineteen years they have created foundations of some hidden state and now they want to share with us this fantastic news? I don’t buy it. It’s very likely that behind their seemingly honest message there’s an ulterior intention to trap us all in this alleged capital called Astrea. They will arrive soon. Now I understand why I woke up scared. I must have sensed a real threat.
Don’t leave your receivers, please, because we’ll give you further instructions soon.
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