“Noah!” I scream and catch the back of his collar, choking him to a halt. “Those pennies’ll be hot.”
“Ow,” he whines.
“Well try thinkin’ for once in you life.” I’ve gone too far. He’s sniffling and smearing his runny nose all over his new ground suit. I sigh and my helmet fogs up a little. Putting a gloved hand on his shoulder, I try to pull him towards me, but he shrugs me off. “Just wait a few minutes, all right? Grandma’ll be mad if you burn your gloves.”
I walk off a couple yards, kicking rocks as I go. I like how they sound bouncing off the rusting metal of the old scrap yard. Howie and I found this place a couple years back, before he left for the mining colony. The sky is an impenetrable brown haze. I can’t tell where the sun is, but the info screen in my helmet says Noah and I have ten minutes before we need to high-tail it home for dinner.
There’s all sorts of things in the scrap yard. Some I recognize from school like cars and refrigerators, others I just guess at. It was a game Howie and I used to play.
“Hey, Howie,” I’d say. “What d’ya think that was for?”
And he’d say something like, “Honestly, Clarabelle! Can’t you tell? That is a tarfunkel. Obviously.”
I’d laugh and ask what it did. He always knew.
I hug myself as best as one can in a ground suit. It didn’t help. If I could see the stars, I still wouldn’t be able to find the rock Dad shipped Howie to. At the time I was grateful for Howie to have a job. I thought it meant we would have a life together.
A whistle reverberates through the yard, echoing against the walls of metal. I turn around but I’ve wandered far in the yard. My feet send clouds of dust pillowing into the air as I push myself as fast as I can. The whistle sounds again, closer. I skid to a halt before I run into a large metal cylinder. I’ve turned the wrong way.
“Noah!” I scream, but the whistle drowns out my voice.