Since she was literate, she had been put to work in the fortress’s library. It was undemanding work, and she did not hate it; it gave her something to do to fill the weary hours of daylight. When she had been brought to the fortress, she had expected to be ill-treated‚ a prisoner, a slave‚ but in truth she was mostly ignored. The fortress’s masters had younger, prettier girls to take to bed; the women, cool and distant and beautiful as she had once been herself, were not interested in a ragged woman with haunted half-crazed eyes. The librarian, a middle-aged man already gone blind over his codices and scrolls, valued her for her voice. But he was the only person she had to talk to, and she blurted as she came into the library, “I saw a child.”
“On the beach this morning. I saw a child.”
“Oh,” said the librarian. “I thought we’d killed them all.”
Rated PG for feral children and the winners who write history.
This episode was brought to you by The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, out now from Orbit. You can read the first three chapters of the book at www.Nkjemisin.com.