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Amanda’s mother had not been happy. “You know you’re a hypocrite, don’t you? You know they’ll put that medicine you’re mining right into the water.”

“I’ll be mining it, not drinking it,” her father had replied. “They’ll do what they want with or without me. I plan to build a house with a well.”

And so their arguments went. But in the end, her father got the job, they bought ten acres of land, and, five weeks ago, they moved in.

They had lived in the new house just over a month when Amanda discovered the crumbling house. “Why do they call it the Undiscovered Foothills if people lived here before?” Amanda had asked at dinner that night.

“People never lived here, Amanda,” her mother had said. “Not in my lifetime.”

“They did live here once though. I found a house.”

Her mother had become visibly nervous. “Don’t go near it. Terrorists might have lived there. There might be bombs, chemicals, and who knows what else.” She’d glared at Amanda’s father. “I told you it was a bad idea to move outside of civilization.”

Her father had shrugged, “It’s probably harmless, Julie. There were lots of people who lived in rural areas before the terrorist attacks. And most of them were just normal people.”


“Don’t worry, Mom,” Amanda had learned that it was sometimes easier to just go along with her mother’s worries than to argue with her, especially since they’d moved. “I won’t go back there. It’s too long a walk, anyway.”

Of course, Amanda had gone back. There was nothing better to do. She had three more weeks before she could enroll in school. That was the rule when you moved out of the safety net – seven weeks of quarantine. It was the same way going back inside. That’s why most people who lived in the cities never left. Who could stand sitting at home and doing nothing for seven weeks?

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