The Fox and the Deer

Theta is a young man who lives in what was once known as Great Britain. Now, however, it's mainly just slums, along with the rest of the world, living off scraps of civilisation from before the Event. He and his friend, Sigma, only wanted to find the thing Theta valued the most, which had been taken, but things took an unfortunate turn for the worse. Now Theta's left with blood and his hands and turns the blame to the omnipotent Alphas, and uses all in his power to strike their hearts with revenge.

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1. What remains

Before the Event, the world was actually quite prosperous. Now though, everything's pretty much gone. I heard that London's not too bad, but where we are? Not a chance. Liverpool just wasn't built well enough, apparently, to withstand the Apocalypse. It isn't as though the people who built the place actually thought of Armageddon as a possibility, but the public still generally seem to blame them anyway. That's Britain for you, I suppose; we'll never change in essence.

Of course, they can't exactly do anything about it now, because they're dead.

There are still some remains around the place, some structures that remained intact. Most of the Houses of Parliament survived, and Stonehenge managed to stay mainly how it was. Now though, vast cities are in ruins and what remains of the population live in the Slums that have taken up most of the Country, because whatever wealth they had beforehand got wiped out and now there just isn't enough to go around.

My name's Theta. I'm a teenager, which is good since most don't survive that long, and my Mum died whilst having my little brother because there was no Med nearby. The Alphas didn't seem to think it necessary to have somebody trained to save lives there on that day apparently, so my brother Rho and I grew up alone. He's a few years younger than me, but we don't really do time-keeping any more. The Alphas do that kind of thing, they keep registers and save all their data in London, keeping the time off Big Ben and their calendars, but we don't have enough money for a watch; that's a pointless privilege, as Lambda said.

Lambda's my father, at least biologically, but after Mum died he sort of drifted away from us, leaving me to scrounge for what I could on the street. All I learned from him was that in the end, you can't trust anyone. He only came back occasionally, to 'check up on us', before going back to his mates at the Opium den, where all the rejects trying to forget their past go. I suppose I should really thank him though, because if he was there I wouldn't have learned to survive like I can. Without him I learned to read from Pi, the old man down the road. I learned to use a knife and fend of the foxes to protect little Rho. He was born different, which probably added to why Lambda left. He can't walk, but I found him a tiny little trolley from the old days that I can push him around in. It just washed up one day. Without him, I learned to scrounge and take what I can use from the streets. Without him, I found out about the books.

The Alphas are in charge. They control all of what used to be Great Britain, but it doesn't have a name any more. It's just the Country. Rumor has it that there are other countries, like us, but I've never properly spoken to anyone from outside Liverpool, never mind a foreigner. They won't look different to us though, I reckon. They'll be the same. Maybe bigger, I guess, not as scrawny, but similar. The Alphas are in charge around here, anyway. They rule from London, which is far away from Liverpool, so naturally the only Londoners we've ever been near at all are the Meds, who've been trained to look after people and, when that fails, kill them so the diseases don't spread. It was because of the Meds that I found out about the books.

I was sat with Pi learning to read when the Meds turned up, all masks and filth-ridden white cloaks, swooping in to see what had died and why. One of them walked over to a body and pulled out something small. I was only young at the time, so I didn't know what it was, and asked Pi. He explained that it was a book, a source of information. Most of them were kept in London, apparently, at the massive building called the Lie-berry. Pi said that this Lie-berry contained everything people had thought of, how to do things, what people have done in the past. Apparently that's why the Alphas are in charge; they've got the Lie-berry, so they can do whatever they want.

Naturally I gingerly stepped over the wire in from of Pi's house to take a look at this curious book thing. Immediately, the Meds saw me and one stormed over and slapped me across my face with the back of his hand, pushing me back over to Pi where curled up next to him, clutching my face but refusing to give them the satisfaction of seeing me cry. Instead I just glowered at him. Soon enough, as usual, they looked at all the bodies, wrote some stuff down, took samples from the men and then left.

The samples are taken when a boy turns into a man. The Meds take samples from the men in their trucks, and every now and then come back with a baby. Normally though the samples just go to London and never get seen again, but Pi said they use the samples to make the babies, and the Alphas keep most of them for what he referred to as their 'creepy voodoo'. Myths constantly circulate about the Alpha-baby phenomenon, such as the Alphas eat the babies or they put chips in their brains. I think it's just people stirring up trouble, but you can never be too sure these days.

 My family apparently all look similar. The picture I have of Mum that they took for the Census just before Rho was born, when she was pregnant with him, plus my vague memories, prove that. She had a kind face, sort of rounded, the short black hair that always seemed like somebody had ruffled it up. It was cut at her shoulders, but by Lambda, so it's sort of ragged. It always made her look like she could take off at any moment. Rho has her eyes.

Rho looks a lot like her, in fact. He too has the kind eyes which we use to provoke sympathy and get enough food to go by when times are rough, that make people melt in their pity of the poor disabled kid getting dragged around Widnes by his impoverished older brother. His hair sticks out around his head like a mane, so I nicknamed him Simba, which Mum says was a Lion in a film. We don't have films any more. We don't really have lions, actually. But anyway, he's got the same colour skin as the rest of us, a sort of slightly tanned caucasian. He always wears shorts, even though they show his tiny, skinny, disproportionate legs. The rest of him looks pretty average, to be honest. Basically, he's my adorable little brother and I love him like the world. Actually, the world's a bit too harsh on us both, so more than the world.

Whenever I gaze into the filth-ridden polluted waterway we call the Mersey, my warped reflection looks a bit more like Lambda than I care to admit. I've got his steely grey eyes, the complexion of everyone else in our family, the black hair, but mine doesn't poke out; it just sort of droops messily around my head. I'm taller than other people my age that I've seen, but not by much. I'm no warrior, both Rho and me are far too skinny to fight much, but I'm sort of lithe, like a runner. If I've recently had water, I can run for quite a way and at enough of a speed to catch rats. My main giftm as Pi said, is my intellect. I'm good with my words, and I think of all my options very quickly. That's my big talent, apparently, I'm what they used to call an intellectual. It's not very valuable out here to be smart, unless you use it (like I do) to build traps and catch food. I've sometimes caught things as big as foxes, and when I do, I invite Pi and some others over to eat some of it. In return, when we're running low, I can rely on them to bring use what we need, things like food and water if they have any spare.

That's how Liverpool works these days. Give and take due to mutual favours. To be honest, it's not actually too bad a system either, if you're good enough to start it off.

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