She doesn’t know she’s waiting for him until he appears.

They caught you, then, she says, and he smiles that same smile.

Couldn’t keep running for ever, he shrugs. His face is mobile, his speech free. She always admired that about him. His blatant disrespect for the rules that governed their lives.

They worked together twice in their time - that alone was unusual, more than recommended. Repeated exposure to a single unit increases risk of fraternization. They didn’t like it when you made friends.

She struggles to remember his designation. S4-232?

She asks.

Mattias, he replies. Call me Mattias.


He shrugs again. They can’t punish us for that anymore, he says.

Maybe he’s right. But still.

Her name is a secret, a word she savours in her mouth when she’s alone, tasting every consonant, sucking on the vowels, running it over her tongue and through her teeth. It feels like the colour yellow, like grass and paint and ceramic jugs on wooden tables.

She swallows her name and gives Mattias her designation.

The End

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