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I’ve had the first lines to this little story in my head for months, but I wasn’t sure where I wanted it to go. As I began I realized I was writing an off shoot story, set in a novel I’ve been writing. These are not characters in the book, but rather people who are only eluded to in the story. Some part of me wanted them to have a voice. Interesting how the mind works. As always, this is just a rough draft.

The Evaluation


“That’s what you miss the most?”

The bright eyed girl with a head full of mats couldn’t be more than eight years old, too young to be a trainee. Every year they seemed to get younger. There hadn’t been any raids in over six months, but people are different now. They don’t forget.

“No, wait,” she said. “Batteries!”

“Better answer. Why?”

“Because, batteries are like electricity. We can use them to power machines, like flashlights and the defibrillator.”

Great. They sent me an eight year old with a brain. The smart ones are always more difficult. You can’t lie to them.

“Next question. You’re on the wall. You spot Leuks. What is the first thing you do?”

“I confirm with my binoculars. If there really are Leuks, I ring the bell four times.”

I pretended to make a few notes, but it didn’t take a genius to know I needed this girl on my watch. Tomorrow could be the day. A raid now would obliterate this settlement. Maybe we were fighting the inevitable.


For the first time during the evaluation she looked fearful. I hadn’t seen it before, but now the jagged nails and torn cuticles were obvious. We all dealt with the stress in our own ways. Some of us took it out on our bodies. I took it out on the Leuks.

“What is it, Maggie?”

“Ma’m, are we are going to make it?”

©  Amanda Makepeace