I felt too bad to laugh at Rhu's reaction, as I normally would have. She was going to have those scars for the rest of her life, and they weren't pretty.
Although, it would be a pretty cool story to tell her grandchildren.
"FUNNEL AND ANNA, GET HERE NOW!" That was the unmistakable voice of Owen, obviously in one of his bad moods. He had those quite frequently. It was actually a matter of catching him in a good mood, rather than making sure you didn't catch him in a bad one. He told me it was because he'd been allocated leader even though he didn't want to be, and he was constantly getting hassled for things.
Anna and I looked at each other, eyes wide.
"Sorry, Rhu, gotta go," I said, and we dashed off.
Simon and Thomas, twin brothers, had just dumped about three baskets worth of clothing at our station, and it was all completely sopping with blood.
"Si... these belong to children..." Anna said, picking up the tiny little shirts and trousers with her fingers.
"I know," Thomas replied. This was the usual way it went. Ask one twin something, the other one answers. "We passed an infant school on our supply run, Jon had a strange feeling about it."
"Yeah, and there was a full class worth of children inside. Well... living ones. It was horrible..."
Anna took a quick breath and then started the hot taps running. Then she ran off to get more washing bowls.
"So, do we have kids here now?"
"Yeah, Jon's going around allocating them to people. Owen isn't happy at all, but it's not like we could leave them there, is it?" Simon said pointedly.
"I'll take a child, if you want." I turned off all the taps as Anna returned. She told me that we'd have to halve everything because we couldn't afford to go out for supplies more frequently.
I took as many shirts as could fit in one bowl from a basket, and felt a depressing mixture of sad and irritated as the water immediately turned red.