Tomorrow is launch day for my publisher, Finch Books, and Abomination will be available for purchase from the Finch Books website. This is the last excerpt before the big day.
“On that pallet over there. A few big cans of beans left. Bring one.”
“Have you all forgotten how to speak, as well as how to wash?” Carla snapped.
Carla staggered over with the ten-kilo can of white navy beans to where Kat was opening a much smaller can of frankfurters. She opened the beans and together they tipped the contents into a stew pot of dubious cleanliness. The sausages followed.
“How many is this for?” Carla asked. She had seen at least a dozen men and boys and nearly twice as many women.
“All of us.”
“Then those sausages won’t go very far.”
“Just for the men.”
“I might have guessed,” Carla sighed. “I suppose we ought to be grateful to get a few beans.”
The girl heaved a world-weary sigh. “If they leave any.”
Carla was about to ask why they let themselves be pushed about by a bunch of macho brutes who thought they were living in the Middle Ages when she took a good look at the girl. Carla had taken her for a skinny kid, but a closer inspection revealed the bony shoulders, scrawny breasts and haggard look of a woman, but under-developed and emaciated. Like Tully, Carla was beginning to put together a picture of their new environment.
“There’s not much to eat, is there?”
Kat just looked around. The warehouse was three-quarters empty. “You see much?”
“Can’t you get food somewhere else? Find another supermarket, I mean.”
Kat sighed. “This is Flay territory. Other places like this are in some other tribe’s territory. Not enough warriors left to fight over food.”
“What about hunting?”
Kat forced a wry smile. “Hunt what? Rats? Crows? Drax?”
“Why not, if that’s all there is?”
“Rats and crows eat corpses, drink poisoned water. Drax eat rats and crows and corpses. They are all sick, rotten. If we eat them, we become like drax. Drax used to be dogs.”
This was the longest speech Carla had heard from Kat. It had been a real physical effort for her, as if she had to drag the words from her memory, as if they were so rarely used they had almost been forgotten. Carla asked one last question, though she dreaded the reply.
“So, what will happen when the food runs out?”
Kat’s expression was dull and hopeless and she did not reply. She didn’t need to.
Carla bit her lip, trying to hang onto the strange, obscene ideas that darted like cockroaches in and out of the shadowy places in her mind.