I pant as I bring the last bucket of water from Strong Current stream that is down the hill back up to my cabin. I fill the water tank and hook the bucket on the side of the opaque container that will hold the water I need for the next few days. I look at my watch and sigh happily. It’s not even 11:30 yet, which means there is plenty of time to check the traps and everything else I need to do for every day off the grid living.
Well, not technically off the grid. Using the olive green jeep that was my mother’s before she passed, every month I drive the 143 miles to the nearest town to restock on supplies. I stay in town for two days to make sure I have absolutely everything I need. I also see if there are any sales that I can buy in bulk. Sometimes I go to the little internet cafe and check in with the world.
I’ve been alone for a very long time. My mother was Mary Millican, the late wife of George Millican, who raised me as his own for as long as he could. I only lived with him for three years and seven months before they both decided it was dangerous for me to live with them. I was nine when that happened. I am now seventeen, in four months I will legally be an adult.
I always check my email and physical mail for any contact from George. Our line of communication stopped two weeks ago. I have to wait two more weeks before I can check anything. I know that there are still people out there who want to find out about David Elster’s work. I know he succeeded in something more than regular synths. For that reason alone, they sent me here.
At first I lived with a relative of my mothers who taught me what I know now. I called her Aunt Cara. Before she died, she left me a sum of money to pick a spot in the Montana woods and settle down with a cabin of my own. She died when I was fourteen.
I grab the tough canvas bag that I call the game bag, it’s only purpose to hold the animals that have been caught in my traps that I have in the area. This alone takes an hour and a half. I come home with a few rabbits and other small animals. The cabin faces east. Standing in front of the cabin, the Strong Current stream is to the left of the cabin and the cellar is behind the cabin tucked into the side of the slope which leads to Strong Current.
I skin the animals by lunch and cook some of the rabbit with some vegetables. After lunch I store the rest of the meat in the root cellar and check on the solar panels that take up most of the space on the roof. The rest of the day goes by smoothly and by the time dinner rolls around I’m tired from the day’s work.
I trudge into the cabin, leaving my boots by the door and shuffling up the stairs one of the two bedrooms in the house. I fall asleep before my head is on the pillow.
As we all open our eyes in the Saint Mary Magdalene church, I feel something in my grey pea coat pocket that I had noticed before. I turn away from the others and quickly take it out. It is from George to me. I scan over the words and my mouth opens and then sets into a firm line.
I wait for Beatrice to leave and show the others.
“I didn’t see any pictures and he didn’t mention this supposed daughter of his. What if it is a trick?” Leo says after I share the information.
“He didn’t harm you, either of you. Even his synth covered for you. Niska, he took a bullet for you. Didn’t he also say that he would do anything to help you?” Mia adds.
“Well he’s dead now. How are we even going to get to the location? We don’t have passports and Hobbs will be scanning everywhere for us.” I tell her.
We all turn to Leo, who has spaced out on us, he is thinking hard on this.
“Let’s go in two days. That will give us plenty of time to figure out passports and ways to get out of the country undetected.” He announces.
Mia and Max nod. I shake my head.
“I want to go my own way.” I tell the trio.
I hand Mia the letter with the information in it. Three hugs and I’m gone, off to a new place. I hope they survive.