30 minutes after the lift.
"I'll see you tomorrow then?" Shane asked.
"Yes, thanks," Hannah replied having only half listened to his question.
"Hey, are you okay? You've been quiet all the way home, like somethings on your mind?"
Hannah looked at Shane, his face searching hers, full of concern. Could she tell him, should she tell him? She thought back to Zeke, the man in the lift and shuddered.
"No, I'm fine, just tired. Think I'm coming down with a cold." Hannah just couldn't tell him. She had no idea if she was being watched or not and the fear of 'what if' was enough for her to feign illness and head off to bed and hide.
"So I'll come round just after midday then. Mum has me running errands for her first thing". Shane leaned forward and kissed Hannah tenderly. Pulling away slightly, he looked down into her eyes. "I love you, you know that don't you?"
Hannah's eyes began to fill up. It was the first time he had ever said it. She tried to swallow the lump which had formed in her throat. If Zeke was right, she would soon be forced to move away from Shane. Would they let her see him still? She already knew the answer to that.
She grabbed for him and hugged him hard and whispered, "I love you too." The front door opened behind her.
"Hey kids, sorry to interrupt but you do realise it's nearly curfew?" Hannah's mother interrupted.
"It's okay, Mrs Green, I was just leaving. See you tomorrow Hannah." Shane lent forward, gave her a peck on the cheek and ran off home.
Her mother went back inside and Hannah stood at the doorway watching Shane disappear into the distance. The power was out again and the moon was hidden by thick, dark clouds. The night felt darker, more ominous than it ever had before. Whether it was just the dark or paranoia, she increasingly felt as if somebody's eyes were on her. Someone hidden in the shadows, watching and waiting. She backed away moving into the hall, closed the door and turned the key in the lock. She turned around and looked at her home. To the right was the sitting room, down the hall was the kitchen and bathroom, and upstairs, there were two bedrooms. She wondered where the bugs were, if there were any, that is.
"Hannah, come and drink your tea before it gets cold," her Mother called out. Quickly she removed her coat and she made her way to the kitchen.
"Hey, there's my girl," her father said. "Young lady you look tired! How was your day?"
Mindful of someone listening in, she walked forward and landed a kiss his forehead. "Not bad Dad, I got finished pretty quick tonight. Got paid too!" She handed him a brown paper envelope.
"Hannah, we talked about this. These are your wages, your Mum and I don't want them."
Every time Hannah was paid they had the same argument. She offered, he refused, she then insisted mentioning new expenses that the family had incurred that week, and finally he relented.
"Dad, take the money. I've taken a small amount to spend; the rest should go towards getting the boiler fixed. Mum shouldn't have to wash our clothes in cold water."
Her father lowered his head, embarrassed he had to rely on his teenage daughter to make ends meet. "Thank you, sweetheart. This won't be forever I promise," and he took the envelope and put it in his shirt pocket.
Hannah felt his words cut right through her. He had no idea that forever was right around the corner. Drawing on what little strength she had left she turned to her Mum.
"I'm not feeling too good tonight, Mum. Think I'll head to bed and get an early night."
Her mother placed a hand on Hannah's forehead. "You do feel rather hot."
YOU ARE READING
The NumberedScience Fiction
Imagine the second you're born, a consultant removes you from your mother's grasp and runs a battery of genetic and physiological tests on you. Thirty minutes later they give you a score out of one hundred which denotes your level of perfection. If...