By Astra Crompton
We were orphans, Dana and Allison and I, but in the post-revolution days, we weren’t an uncommon occurrence. The new government, having wrested power away from the old-blooded families through fire and bloodshed, were eager to install some modicum of control. One of their first acts of social benevolence was to scoop up as many of the orphaned children and place them in homes across the Nation, often two or three in a single house with those who did not have children of their own. While there were some who had been as yet unlucky in the creating of babies, many had not wanted or could not afford children, others were too old or infirm to take care of them, yet others had already lost theirs in the revolution to fighting or disease. Creating loving families for the health and prosperity of the Nation. So they said.
It was in such circumstance that we three were dumped on Agustav Czernovitz one cold winter night, despite his protests, by two of the Nation’s obedient citizens with nothing in our possession but the clothes on our backs. We were afraid, understandably, but Agustav seemed as unsure as us. He was unmarried, had never had any children – his own or otherwise – under his roof. And that was why he’d been graced by a party of three poorly matched children (surprising they did not force more on him, what with the space he had to fill): Dana and I then eight years old, Allison only seven.