We approach the checkpoint. The rain hasn’t let up all day and the road is more akin to a river. Muddy brown water flows over the tops of our shoes as it gurgles down hill. We’re trying hard to hold our hoods in place, but the icy wind snaps at our fingers, freezing them down to the bone. Two guards watch us from the relative shelter of the gateway.
“Identification cards,” one barks from behind an unkempt beard. The other fidgets with his rifle, making it clear he’s not one to hesitate when given the opportunity to shoot. As I reach to my coat pocket the rifle is immediately raised, pointing at my chest.
“ID, yeah?” I nod questioningly. “In my pocket…” The bearded guard nods, the other readies his finger on the trigger. Slowly moving my hand into my pocket I locate plastic wallet within, withdrawing it carefully. The guard snatches it, squinting at the photo on the card then looking suspiciously back at me.
“Name.” It’s an instruction rather than a question.
“Quinn, sir. Paul Quinn.”
He looks again from the card to me and back to the card. “And him?” He gestures to my companion.
“He’s my brother, he’s only nine.” Identification cards are only provided to those over the age of twelve. Anybody under that age is not supposed to leave their zone.
“Then what the hell are you doing out here?” the guard growls.
“Zone D has gone, sir.” The fear is now noticeable in my voice. “They got in-”
“Fuck! Fuck fuck fuck!” He grabs the radio hanging from his jacket. “Code Red! Code fucking Red!”
Mayyyyybe there’ll be more to this at a later date.