The outside snowfall caused weird shadows inside the dome, making the inhabitants appear jumpy in the moonlight. Noirish. Tim watched as the few walking the streets sporadically clutched their stomachs, as if that acknowledgment of hunger was itself nourishing. He closed the curtains to his bistro and got ready.
Six boys waited outside. They’d been hand-chosen by the council, each a greedy mix of street smarts and cunning. He led them in and through his basement, down a secret corridor where knives hung and echoed as they tapped the brick wall when they passed.
The drop in temperature signaled they were nearing dome’s perimeter.
“So, where we goin’ man?” asked Micah, the shortest and the leader. “If there’s a backdoor to the dome not snowed in, why’s it so secret?”
Tim impatiently smiled. “It’s a special supply entrance. We’re getting food for everyone.”
The other boys snorted with relief, but Micah quickened his pace. “Ok, cool. So why so secret? And food from where?”
“Somebody answered our SOS, simple as that.” Micah gave an empty nod, taking the hint. He’s sharp, Tim thought. He’ll keep the others in line.
It took all seven of them to push through the snow-blocked entrance. They made the trek to a collapsed bridge, its remains scattered with the wreckage of the intended rescuers. When they reached the bottom, the boys rummaged desperately, cursing when they found no food, only bodies.
Tim decided to wait before telling them what came next. From across the ice Micah only stared.
Yeah, he’s sharp. Tim wouldn’t be surprised if Micah had figured out the bridge was intentionally compromised, that there was no SOS, that the travelers had in fact been responding to the promise of food and shelter.
But Micah was as hungry as everyone else, and food was food. He’d keep the other boys in line.