Vegetables (working title)
This is a horror (long) short story/novelette, depending on where the final word count ends up. A snippet is below:
Christa pinches the blanket more tightly around her throat and shivers against the cold March wind, silently cursing the Lieutenant and the NuNature agribusiness representative atop the Barrier. The NuNature rep is particularly harsh, staring down at her with calculating, unsympathetic eyes.
“It is imperative that you all remain isolated, Christa,” she is saying. “We’re working in concert with other leading agribusiness companies to find a cure. Until then, we can’t be certain all of you won’t infect the rest of us.”
What bullshit! Christa thinks.
The Lieutenant follows up. “I’m afraid that your request for additional provisions has been denied. You can come back in two weeks, for your regular monthly allocation.” He shrugs and looks away, and a flicker of remorse may have crossed his face.
“But, our numbers are growing!”
“The Federal Government decided several weeks ago to shift resources, devote more to finding a cure. I’d think you would have heard that.” The NuNature Rep again, condescension dripping from her words and cutting Christa like small knives.
“Uh huh.” Christa says. “Let me guess—this decision came about during a cozy meeting between the Feds and the Agribusiness reps in the swank NuNature headquarters. Or, maybe you flew everyone to Hawaii for a nice retreat?”
The NuNature Rep smiles down at Christa, showing her perfect white teeth. She wears an impeccably tailored dark blue trench coat, lined with fur. Christa could feed her encampment for the month with what that coat cost.
“Your attitude does not help your case any,” the Lieutenant says with a voice somewhat softer than usual. He glances at the Rep, then down at his highly polished black combat boots. Christa’s telepathy senses something like regret coming from him, but he is a bit too far away for her to be certain.
Christa gives them all—the Rep, the Lieutenant, and the troops flanking them—a look of pure hatred. But she pitches her voice to sound properly subservient and says, “Perhaps in two weeks.” She turns away from them to begin the four-mile long walk back to the encampment, her mind already calculating how long the current supplies might last.
She puts space in between herself and the hated Barrier. Right foot, left foot. The walk is uncomfortable, because her boots don’t match and the left one is almost two sizes too large. But she is used to such minor annoyances.