“A flower, dear. It’s a flower.”
Ollie is squatting over it with the fabric of her simple dress bunched between her legs. Her bare skin is bruised and scraped from jumping off storage crates and anything else she can climb. The wounds are little trophies, and she wears them with pride. Such wonder fills her eyes. Her lips form a tiny circle as she studies that flower. It’s small, with a scraggy stem and jagged leaves. On the other side of the settlement’s drab, electrified-barbed-wire-topped stone walls, the fancy houses stand. If it had dared grow through the cracks in the pavement or in a well-curated garden there, it’d have been pulled up and killed. There’s no room in the perfect world of our genetically modified—and therefore supposedly superior—masters for things that grow out of place, nor for the beauty of the natural world and natural people.
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