“You all stay in the henhouse. I’d hate to see anyone take you and run off.” Delores latched the henhouse door, then ambled over to the top of the stairwell to sit in her comfy padded chair, the one with the pretty floral pattern. The chair sat behind the steel armor plating she’d assembled as a barricade across the top of the staircase. It wouldn’t do to stand up every time she had to guard her home from intruders. She waited and listened, ready to shoot if it was those blasted thugs again.
“Hello?” It sounded more like a young girl than a thug. “Is anyone there?” Maybe a teenager.
“I…I heard you had food up here.”“Unless you have a power inverter to trade, I’ve got nothing for you. Go back where you came from.” Delores couldn’t go around taking in strays. The garden had allowed her to build up a little store of dried vegetables for a rainy day, but the rooftop garden and the chickens were hers. If she started sharing, a dozen beggars would appear before long, and she couldn’t support so many.The girl’s voice echoed back up the stairwell. “I can’t stay where I came from. The canned food ran out. I don’t dare go to the settlement after I saw them out hunting. I saw how they treat people there.”“Did they see you? Did they follow you?” Delores knew better than to care what happened to the girl, but she didn’t want trouble with the thugs from the settlement if she could avoid it.“No, I don’t think so.”“Good. Then go away, like I said.”