The boat is amazing although it isn’t really a boat it is a ferry. It has three decks. The lower deck is where the horses are along with cargo. I am going there now to see Milton I have an apple for him. Rita said I had to be careful after the incident yesterday with the woman that wanted to buy me. Stepping inside I stop as the stable girl looks at me.
‘Hello,’ I smile taking in her appearance. Her black hair is in a ponytail and she has a grubby set of riding clothes on. Her boots are scuffed and need a clean. I walk to where Milton is and give him the apple, I have brought him. Stroking his nose, I talk to him softly.
‘You an Echo?’
‘Err, yes,’ I look at her closely. ‘You have met others like me?’
‘Only girls, you all have certain distinctions and similarities,’
‘Oh,’ I wait for her to elaborate, but she doesn’t.
‘That your horse?’
‘Yes, his name is Milton, you know because of his colour,’ I answer with a smile.
‘You shouldn’t be wandering about on your own. Where is your Mother?’
‘I don’t have one I have a match. She is in our cabin I just came to check my horse,’ She walks toward me her brush still in her hand.
‘I have never met an Echo boy before, never met an Adam either to be honest,’ she is stood before me looking me over. ‘You are very beautiful, where are you being taken?’
‘Erm Tribe,’ I answer a bit unnerved by her.
‘Of course, a beautiful specimen like you must be for the Princesses,’
‘What do you know about Tribe?’ specimen what the hell, bit rude I think deciding after yesterday not to voice my disgust.
‘Not much but more than you,’ she smiles and steps back. Oh, a challenge. Well I accept a grin on my face.
‘I can help you with the horses if you tell me,’ she gazes at me while thinking over my proposition.
‘You are very different,’ she says at last. ’Okay grab that wheelbarrow and spade. I do as she asks.
‘Aaron,’ I say.
‘Hetty,’ she answers with a smile. ‘What do you want to know?’
‘Will I be safe there?’
‘Well yes in that Gen-Corp have no control they do have treaties and stuff, but you won’t be sold or anything like that,’ she shovels up a pile of dung and dumps it into the wheelbarrow. ‘You will be in the city only the Royal family are allowed to breed as they are clean the rest of the population is contaminated.’
‘How are they clean?’
‘When the disaster occurred, they didn’t take part it was easy to cut off from the rest of the continent because of the geography. Sweden already had an established royal family and at the time a very political informed King. They shut their borders and limited imports. As the male population decreased, they started breeding selectively. Tested all their remaining males. No men now though the royal family are all female ruled by Queen Thelma. They then stopped people entering or leaving,’ we finish cleaning out and start on the hay racks.
‘How do you know this?’
‘Oh, when I got the job and saw where it was, I did research. The information is all there if you look hard enough,’ she shrugs.
‘What happened after that, they must have done something else?’ I question fascinated by this information.
‘I can’t tell you no one knows they closed the borders and as the populations fell everywhere it didn’t really matter and they were sort of forgotten since they didn’t join with Gen-Corp or have any communication with the rest of the world for about twenty years,’ she shrugs.
‘Do you live there?’
‘No not really I live in the fishing port where this ferry docks, and I don’t originate from there,’
‘So, what changed?’
‘About ten years ago they emerged opened their borders and sent diplomats out made contact with Gen-Corp and The United Human Federation but wanted no part in the Adam program or anything else. They wanted people, workers. My prospects were limited where I was very few jobs for the likes of me,’ she smiled.
‘What do you mean you are lovely,’ a frown mars my brow as I don’t understand.
‘Oh, you are sweet. I am dirty, infertile,’ she shrugs. They just want the likes of me to die and to be fair in another twenty years and they get there wish,’ she shrugs.
‘That is awful,’
‘Who are they?’
‘Gen-Corp, tribe, the united human federation take your pick,’
‘So how do they breed?’ I have to ask because I have a feeling, I am going to find this out in a way that is going to be personal.
‘I don’t know. I suppose with you. They are in trouble though although the Adams are clean a lot of them are infertile. As for Tribe I don’t know they don’t use Adams,’ she looks at me and I know she is holding back. ‘All I do know is it is very controlled they test anyone coming in from outside and rumour has it the only place you will see men and children is in the cities. To be fair children are rarer than men these days,’ she shrugs as we tidy up having finished our tasks. I have never seen a child even though I know I am sort of one.
‘Thank you for helping,’ she holds her hand out to me I take it shaking.
‘Thank you for answering my questions,’
‘Stay safe Aaron I will see you tomorrow when we dock,’ I walk back up to the cabin deciding to spend the rest of the day just reading maybe look at some maps.
‘Aaron where have you been all morning?’ Rita is cross. ‘You stink go and shower now and then we need another talk,’ she stands with her hands on her hips and I don’t know why but she looks so cute. With a smile I bend and kiss her. ‘Urgh Aaron you stink of horse,’ she complains but I see the smile on her lips.
Walking out the bathroom I rub my hair dry with the towel Rita is sat on the bed. I sit next to her and grin.
‘I went to see Milton and then I got talking to Hetty the stable girl she had never seen a boy before. So, I helped her with her jobs, and she told me about Tribe,’
‘Aaron you should have told me where you were going, I was very worried,’ Rita chastises me.
‘I know but I wanted time to myself,’
‘You weren’t though were you, you were with this Hetty person,’ if I’m not mistaken Rita sounds jealous.
‘Rita, sorry if I worried you,’ I decide to apologise as I don’t want to upset Rita.
‘Are you hungry?’ she asks so she must be happy with my apology.
‘Yeah I am,’ I grin as she gets up.
‘Right well I will go and fetch us some dinner,’ she grins. ‘You can put your pyjamas on I suggest,’ she stops at the door and turns to look at me. ‘Aaron you can ask me anything you know that don’t you,’
‘I know Rita,’ satisfied with my answer she leaves the room.