Water

They say that in the days of our forefathers, the fields never moved. I can’t imagine what that would be like, to live in one place for all your days? Wouldn’t it get boring after a while? And how could you bring what you grew to trade with the people who have other things? They don’t know how to make the food grow, not in those cramped cities of theirs. But we do, in our caravans with the glass tops so the plants are open to the sun. I’m Farley, a weeder of age nine. Next year, I hope I’ll be fast enough that the scouts will consider me. I’m small enough for their ranks and I’ve memorized the tracking signs. I know how to spot a smudge of storm cloud on the horizon and how to trace a river’s grave. And none of my brothers or sisters are scouts. That should make it easier. They never pick more than one from a family to be scouts, too much risk. And never the oldest. That sure did sting Jarek like a thorn, him being oldest and all. He was too big anyway. He’s much better at driving the vans anyway.

When we were all still little things, not even big enough to do more than pop the seeds into the furrows someone else made, Papa told us stories about the scouts. And especially about his Mama. She was one of the best and fastest, clever and small. But once when she went out for a long run, she never came back. Papa says it must’ve been the ones who come to steal our water. She’d been running down a river’s grave to find the source when she disappeared. That’s why Papa hopes they won’t pick me even though I’m small and fast and clever, but they will. I’ll make it. And I’ll find the water that never ends, just like the stories say is out there.

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