March 3rd/2061

"My mother lost her job today. We no longer have money to buy seeds to grow our food. What we have is all we have. Grandmother is being less picky with the vegetables from the garden and the fruit from our orchard. Grandfather has started hunting at night; this scares the hell out of me. Mother has asked me to start scrounging with her every night. It is illegal to scrounge and hunt without permits from the authority. But its all we can do, forge our own materials and sell raw metal on the black market for cash".

Amy finished her journal entry and hid it away in the small suitcase of belongings she owned. A few moth eaten shirts some tattered jeans and thread bear blankets. The sun had set now and Amy lit a candle so that she could see what she was doing. As she dressed in the dancing light of the small flame that perched joyfully on her study desk. She imagined what her and her mother where going to find in the over grown forest. Wild animals roamed for food at night, dragging away farmer's livestock and destroying open gardens. She pulled her faded black thread bare jumper over her slender frame and her fade black sweater over her torso. Amy was only 11 years old. She hadn't even hit puberty yet and she was a scrounger with her mother and her grandfather the hunter. Each night after the moon had risen and the sun was out of sight they would wander in the dark collecting what they could just to survive.

They wondered out into the wilderness only the light of the Milky Way, the stars in the sky, and the moon guiding their way. Street lamps left unlit and abandoned. It had been nearly 15 years since electricity existed on planet earth, and dearly 20 years since cars were allowed to be driven freely throughout the streets. Also 13 years ago all air traffic was stopped, plains and airports were shut down and closed forever. That was when disease had struck. There is still fuel for planes but the UN banned all air traffic throughout the whole world. It didn't help in 10 years the population of earth went from a glorious 9 billion people down to 9 million. 90 percent of the planets population and died vanished of the face of the earth.

The sound of grandfather's arrow breaking through the cold air of the night distracted Amy from her thoughts. It hit a nearby cow. Amy and her grandfather dragged the heavy animal out of the farmers field and gutted it right there in the woods. The trio tore the meat off the bone, yet cutting each section with care. They left a tattered raw mess to the bones. Leaving behind the intestines, liver and internal organs, crushed the scull with care and taking of it what we needed for arrow heads, and other utensils. Ripping the legs off the beast they left the mess for wild animal to linger and distract them from Amy and her mother alone while they scavenged. The cow was in the perfect shape of a wild animal attack, so they left. Packing the meat in grandfathers pack along with the animals legs he scurried off home quick and silent, while Amy and her mother searched for metal. The two women walked for 2 long hours through the dense forest, careful not to make a sound. Stopping at every crack of a twig and every crunch of leaves withdrawing their blacked blade ready to fight, what ever beast was looking for food. Sorry for them, but tonight is not the night for a hungry beast. Finally they found what they were looking for. A 2048 Volkswagen Jetta.

Quickly Amy and her mother moved wrench in hand and started undoing every nut and bolt. Now dismantling the frames, discarding anything and everything that is not 100% metal. Amy's mother got to the engine and the computer main frame and started stripping wires and shoving dismembered metal into their packs, emptying out left over oils and gas into plastic jars for safe keeping.

Mother would refine and sift through what she could and use to forging new materials. Where grandmother's oven once lived there is now a black smith's forge. Hot and ready to use. The kitchen is now a work shop and my grandmother is the mason.

In the darkness and dead silence of night they were careful not to be to loud and they worked fast. It was known that men from the authority would travel in packs at night, roaming for scavengers and once you were caught you were never seen again. No one knows what they do with you once you get caught all anyone knows is once they got you, you're gone for good. Quickly Amy sorted the nuts and bolts into different cloth sacks and stuffed them neatly inside her pack. Her mother got the rotators out of the car and shoved it in her pack and handed Amy the belts she had gotten loose. Amy always got the lightest stuff so she wouldn't hold her mother back if they needed to run, but Amy's pack still weighed a good thirty pounds by the time their night was done.

Amy and her mother were so caught up with their jobs and keeping quiet neither of them noticed the man crouching in the trees a mere twenty feet away from us.

"You work fast." a deep voices split through the darkness like an ice cold razor blade cutting at my breath. Mother stood drawing a blade on the man.

Amy sat perfectly still hardly berthing not even daring to move a muscle. Mother always taught me. If we get caught stay low, stay quiet, and don't move until the men are gone and then run home as fast as you can. If you have to, leave your pack behind. Amy, you are more important to this family than any stupid amount of metal and oil.

"Who are you, what do you want?" Sophia's stern voice was the next to sound as she stood her ground blade in hand and using her body to block Amy from the mans view. With every move she made Amy took another silent step into the shadows of the car, just as her and her mother had rehearsed.

"Well, I am not the one illegally scrounging for metal am I?" the man retorted in a cold ruthless voice. Amy could tell he was smirking just by the tones he used to enunciate of each syllable in his phrase "I am not the one illegally scrounging now, am I" she mocked silently to her self.

"What do you want?"

"To talk with you Miss. Err, what was your name again sorry," he paused for a minute while he and my mother had a staring match. "Ah right your name is Sophia"

"How did you kno-"

"Dear little Sophia, and her family, her daughter Amelia, and your parents Clarissa and Jonathon"

He was circling Sophia now, pacing around her looking her up and down, he was a fox, stalking his pry an animal with no contains. He wants to devour his food, and destroy it just so he can survive, Sophia is his food, and there is no one who can stop him.

"I would like to offer you a job." He stopped in front of her, not smiling, not smirking, not teasing, nothing he had no expression he was serious.

"What kind of job?"

"Working for the authority, just some personal business."

"No."

"I could arrest you"

"No"

"No, no , no, you don't understand do you, Either you work for us, we pay you and give you protection, or I will kill you and your daughter, Yes hello Amelia, I know you are over there so come on out."

In shock Amy walked out from behind the car and stood her ground beside her mother weapon in hand as well.

"oh dear little girl put that away, what are you going to do, stab me, You haven't killed a single thing, I highly doubt you could hurt a person"

"I am scared, holding a knife and you are threatening my mother, sounds like a good combination to me."

the man backed up a little bit and continued to pace. He stood erect and walked erect and firm, tall and intimidating.

"Amelia, How's about you take your mothers pack and run along home, I need a word with your mother go on."

Amy looked at her mother for approval, with a nod Amy grabbed all the packs and hurried off home as fast as she could under the weight of all the metal. By the time she reached the house she was in pain and crying. Amy opened the door to the rancher and dropped the heavy bags on the ground with a thud before bursting into tears.

"Where is your mother?"

"She's gone." A tear fell down Amy's cheek and she started to wale, she couldn't contain herself anymore.

The skinning knife hit the floor and John ran to his grand daughter and embraced her in a hug, his eyes blue eyes filling with salty water as he was trying to stifle his own cries.

"We got caught, A man was there, I couldn't see what he looked like, He had been watching us for a while." He knew our names. Where we lived he knew everything about us." he words were choked as she spoke red splotches forming under her bright green eyes, her black hair eschew and falling down from its tight bun.

"Wha' did eh look like! Where is Sophie's bod'eh!" John demanded.

"She's not dead grandpa, he offered her a job, and she left her pack with me, I don't think he saw me but mom is gone!"

There was a knock at the door.

John went to the door, and answered it slowly, letting the night seep through the crack. There was a man standing there. Neither of the two men spoke. After a long amount of awkward silence john spoke first.

"who are you."

"I have your daughter with me."

"Sophia!" John opened the door all the way and embraced his daughter before dragging her inside the house. The man follows.

The man war a custom-made suit. And shiny black factory made leather shoes. He was young maybe 25, and his blond hair was long and styled into a neat flowing whips. He bangs free from his face, relieving his features. He had a narrow nose, and dark brown eyes. His high cheek bones sat solemnly on his stone cold face. Gold stubble litters the contours of his mouth and squared chin. He stood erect and still, his hands folded neatly behind his back, chest pushed out and he was tall.

"My name is James. I work for the Authority; we call ourselves the silver hand we are offering your family employment. You see we need scavengers like you, quick silent and efficient. Sophia here will come work with us in the factory. While we send a runner to your house once a month to collect your goods, you will be allowed to keep ten percent of everything you scavenge and the rest will be for us. John we also need your hunting skills, we will give you all licences and in return you will supply us with raw goods. We will give you seeds you will produce crops for us, we will give you, protection, safety, and a seat when we are ready."

"A seat for what?" john asked if furry.

"That information is confidential but you will know soon enough."