Mommy says no one remembers the world before it ended. Everyone here is New and those before them didn’t like to talk about the past. So, this is all they’ve ever known. We don’t have any books, either. They were burned a long, long time ago, when the trees were too young to cut down for firewood.
It gets awfully cold since the sun is covered for ten months out of the year. But those two months when the sun isn’t covered brings everyone to a halt. It’s simply too hot to go outside.
Right now, there are four months until the Sweltering begins. I was born at the end of the Sweltering. Mommy wanted me to know what the sun was, so she took my tiny self to a window and pulled back the curtain. The sun was so hot, I developed a blister on my left leg very quickly.
Satisfied, she closed the curtain, and now, fourteen years later, a bruise remains where the sun marked me. Mommy calls it a blessing, says I’ll be one of the Worthy to bring our world into a new age. She thinks I’ll rise up and become a leader, but I don’t know if I’m ready for that kind of responsibility.
Anyway, we learned to read using stuff that was left over, things the Old hadn’t found and couldn’t burn. It’s stuff like Menus and Maps and Flyers. I keep asking Mommy and Papa why we are forced to learn this stuff when there’s no world to use it in.
They just get this sad look, and talk about how these things used to be so important and that it is important for humans to know them. That’s another thing: my parents seem to know more than all the other ones. Every time I try to ask them about it, they change the subject.
I didn’t even notice until my friend Mo pointed it out, but Mommy and Papa are older than all the other parents, too. You can’t see it when first looking at them, but their faces are more weathered, eyes more experienced.
It makes me wonder, just what happened to end the world?
And how much do they really know about it?