The elevator crawls up the side of Haven 46-A. I watch the hovering sun reappear over the tops of Havens 99 and 100 before the door opens behind me.
“Mina, darling, I’ve been so worried!”
My mom has never liked it when I leave our home on “safe and clean” Level 46.
“I really wish you wouldn’t visit your uncle so close to dimming, my love. If the filth were to touch you before their decontamination… Oh, I can’t even think about it.”
“They’re people, mother,” I snap at her with the same disdain that she uses toward them.
“Don’t talk to your mother that way!”
She sighs and takes me by the arm for me to lead us to our sanctuary.
“Anyway, how is your uncle?”
“Crazy as ever,” I say without conviction.
“Still going on about the Haven 100 conspirators, is he?”
She sighs and stops us in the hallway, taking me by the shoulders. The woman that stares into my eyes is my mother. I know her. I think I love her. Yet, we have become so different that I don’t recognize her anymore. How can I love someone I believe to be my enemy? And why does the enemy have to be my mother?
“Mina, listen to me. Your uncle… I love him, you understand. But his mind has been altered by the contamination he suffered long ago. I’ve done all that I can for him, but he refuses to leave Level 3. You believe me, don’t you, Mina?”
It is true that my uncle’s brain was damaged, but when I hear his mutterings, I hear intelligence—intelligence that has a hard time coming out. But it’s there.
I nod my head to appease her because that’s what she wants. She doesn’t see what is in front of her. She sees what she wants to be in front of her.
“Bless you, child,” she says through our hug.
We walk into our sanctuary, condo 46. Mom could have afforded the best room at the top, but she says the triple 46 is good luck. She paid just as much for the luck.
“Let me order some dinner.”
As soon as she’s out of sight, I pull from my bag the book my uncle just gave me and reread the first page:
My mouth is confused, but my hand is not.
Mina… Here is the truth about the Haven complex and Haven 100.
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