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The Hunter

Floyd Whitaker, yrs 7-9

Is it really seven o’clock already? Slowly opening my eyes, I look around my dark bedroom. The sun won’t be up for hours.

I smile at the StarBucks girl when ordering my coffee, she always gives me a little extra. I sit down in a booth, in the corner, facing the window. I watch the cars hover by, generating low buzzes that subtly rattle the cafe. Rain begins to fall from the sky onto the street as the girl delivers me my beverage. She’s drawn my name with a heart next to it. I check my phone, the numbers at the top tell me I have 20 minutes left until I need to clock in.

I get up to leave and smile at the girl as I walk out the door. Newspapers and magazines litter the city streets, signs advertising the 2042 SuperBowl hang askew from street lamps and bus stops. It’s always raining in the city, something to do with the pollution, the scientists say. The buildings grow taller as I round a bend and start along 33rd street.

I cross the road and enter the building. I step into the elevator and press the button for the 56th floor. The elevator launches up and reaches the floor in seconds.

 ‘We’ve found one,’ says my boss, as I walk into his office.

 ‘What, really?’

 ‘Yes.’

 ‘I thought we found the last of them years ago?’

 ‘We missed one.’

I move my head up and down to show that I understand the situation as he gives me orders. 

My job consists of tracking down and exterminating the last of the androids – artificial humans used for manual labor, who decided that they didn’t want to work anymore. In 2039 they went awol, developed their own ideas and opinions. When they tried to overthrow the congress, that was when we knew that they had to be stopped. Our goal is to find them and deactivate them, by any means necessary. We are known as ‘Hunters’.

The company issued patrol cruiser hovers out of the underground lot and onto the street. The android’s address appears on the display and I floor it down the quiet streets. The screen tells me they won’t be home for hours.

I pull up at a dilapidated highrise apartment building, 5 districts across the city. The whole thing seems awfully still, too still. I wait in the cruiser. A taxi pulls over, a hooded girl in a rain jacket steps out. She pays the driver and makes a beeline for the building. My radar scanner reads that she’s an android, and she matches the description issued. I grab my trench coat, open the cruiser door and walk behind her as it begins to snow, trying not to look obvious. I enter the building as the elevator door shuts and I hear the motors grind as it launches up. I enter the second elevator and exit onto her floor, just in time to see her enter the apartment.

With my hand on my holster I bang on the door with my fist five times. I hear the metal chain rattle and come loose and then the electronic lock rotates open. She opens the door ajar. In awe I drop my firearm onto the ground and pull the door shut. I let out a long deep sigh and bury my face in my hands. ‘No, no, no. Why her?’ I whisper. She opens the door again and looks at me.

 ‘Hi?’ she says. 

I say nothing. A car goes by in the distance followed by the low rumble of thunder.

 ‘Come in, come in,’ she says and I follow her inside.

I sit down on a couch as she brings me a coffee.

 ‘So what brings you here?’ She asks. I fake a smile.

 ‘Well…’ I start. ‘Well I thought I might as well drop by while I happened to be in the area.’

 ‘How did you get my address more importantly,’ she says sheepishly. I gulp as she puts her hand behind her back as if to retrieve something.

 ‘You’re a Hunter, aren’t you,’ she says.

 I say nothing. Her arm snaps forward revealing a six-shooter and fires a bullet towards me. I jump backwards and fall into a heap behind the couch. Bullets fly past me. They stop after 6 shots. She wasn’t counting her bullets. I leap up from behind the couch and send two shots into her face. Feathers and smoke fill the air as the android falls to the ground. I mark something on my wrist display and stare down at the StarBucks girl. Her fingers twitch in small spasms as her systems shut down.

StarBucks tastes different after yesterday. Maybe it was the lack of friendliness from the staff, or maybe it was the smaller portion of coffee. Despite my thoughts, deep down I know what was done had to be done.

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