The boy ran up to me weeping and grabbed me around the leg. I asked if he was sad because it was time to leave. He couldn’t speak he was crying so hard but through his sobs he shook his head yes. I could only tell him to be brave. I had only known him for a short time. He was quiet and frail for an eight year old but confided his fears to me for some reason. I guess I was his only friend.

When you arrive here you can stay a maximum of twelve weeks. During that time one of three things can happen. You receive a pass from the Federation to continue to the next camp (closer to safety) and are provided transport. Or, if twelve weeks expire with no pass, you are safely escorted out for two kilometers, at which point you are left on your own to survive. Finally, the last option is euthanasia. This is mandatory for people over eighty, people with any illness or injury that requires serious care and for children ten or younger that are unclaimed after their allotted time here. With nearly a zero percent survival rate for them outside the camp, it would be beyond cruel to release them alone. Many who are simply tired of trying to survive request it.

Euthanasia is comfortable, quick and done with dignity. Everyone knows most of us will not survive long anyway, so it is rare to have anyone resist. If they do, we are compassionate and have "mercy therapists" to aid them in their existential crisis.

Each week we are able to transport a maximum of fifty people. Not nearly enough. If you receive a pass to proceed it isn’t a guarantee you will leave though. Even on the day of departure, if a scientist arrives or an agriculture expert, an electrician, any person with a specialized skill that will aid in survival overall, they get priority seating on the soonest transport. No–one is spared the loss of transit for these people. The old, the young, children and infants; all will lose to the skilled.

I looked at the boy and put my hand on his shoulder. I made it a personal rule not to hug anyone, though it is perfectly acceptable to do so. As he looked into my eyes, my hatred towards the men and women of the death cult, whose actions lead to these moments, outraged me yet again. You’d think it would have died down after thousands of these interactions for me, but it hasn’t. The boy had stopped crying and asked if I was scared. I smiled and told him there was nothing to be scared of, that there was only beauty and happiness ahead. I told him it was time for him to go, to be brave.

Fred Vee