When I was young, I was injected with a serum. It was a test serum and my parents subjected me to it voluntarily. When I was old enough, about 11, they told me I had 6 more years until I would die. The serum they had me injected with was supposed to pause my age progression at the age of seventeen, which it will, but instead of living forever like I was supposed to, I’ll die. I was in the fourth round of trials. The government still hasn’t stopped trying to alter the serum and see who lives after the age of seventeen. Now, I am seventeen years old and I have twelve days to live. I have to reverse the effects somehow. I will if it’s the last thing I do. And it very well might be.
“Ay-lin! Ay-lin! Ay-lin!” My name is chanted, separated in two syllables. I grin at the group in front of me and speak into the microphone.
“The world is falling, crumbling around us! I will stop the effects of the serum we have been injected with, I will save our future!” I scan the crowd of young teenagers, all terrified of their fates, all facing their fate with grace and bravery. Refusing to show their fear. All of them led by me. I hand off the microphone to Lane, the second in command leader of our community. We call ourselves "The Injected Ones."
“Thank you, Aylin,” Lane smiles at me cheerfully, “Now, to the mess hall!”
We eat in the mess hall, as it’s called. We had taken refuge in one of the schools from the olden days, which were years and years ago. This school is odd to me, even though I never went to local schools because I was Injected, I have seen pictures of our schools and they looked nothing like this. This area of the world hasn't been touched by people other than The Injected Ones in over fifty years. Most of us have run away from home when we found out we were probably going to die. Others were kicked out of their houses when their families found out they were Injected. There are some who have never been Injected, but they support our cause. Lane is one of them and I chose him to lead with me, as he had information on the inside of the government laboratory.
We have mostly just canned foods, but there are a few of us who are good cooks. We can make meals from just the cans we have, even if they are usually in small portions, we eat. I'm in the Chef Committee, or C.C., as we call it. This evening we are having tomato soup, and some of the Scavengers have found herbs, spices, and bread on one of their searches from the High City. The High City throws away more than we can gather, but the Scavengers do their best. The bread is a bit stale, which is probably why the loaves were in the garbage. There are two loaves, which we divide into thin slices so that everyone can have some. The youngest kids went first and then the older ones. Everyone gets a nearly full bowl of the soup, which is good, unusual, but good. At first, I don't get any bread, neither does Lane or a few of the other kids who are the oldest. In the end, we each end up with a small portion of bread. A group of small children run up to Lane and me, plus the other older kids who didn't get bread. The small hands split their own bread and share with us.
"For you," The smallest girl says as she hands me the bread, "I want to be just like you when I get older. You're pretty and brave and smart." she smiled and merrily skipped away. If only she knew...