The arm reached forward. An oversized thumb gripped the edge of the screen and tilted Lisa’s view upward. When the young man sat back down, she saw a youth, not a man, as she first supposed.
Orange numbers showed in the bottom right hand corner of the holographic scene. According to the date, she saw a boy of 15 years. In the background, she could make out the blurred images of weights on bars. They had to have contributed to his physique. She took in the green eyes and dark-brown crew cut hair.
He would have appealed to most women; not her. Lisa took an instant dislike to him. Boys like him often made suggestive remarks to her as she passed on the street. No doubt he’d presume to allure any woman with his over inflated confidence.
He picked up the cat and hugged it fondly, kissing the top of its head. That seemed out of place. Boys like him refrained from open affection. The cat curled in his lap and purred loudly.
Clearing his throat, the boy began.
He trailed off muttering something under his breath.
“My name’s… ”
He cleared his throat, looking down.
Suddenly, he looked up. “I’m Brad Morton.”
Lisa began to feel guilty. This boy barely had the confidence to say his name, let alone make any advances on females. Despite his athletic frame, he lacked any real emotional strength. It seemed she had grievously misjudged him.
He sighed. “I don’t know what to say. As we all know… well according to my laptop it’s been about 9 months since the start of the war. I happen to be in the family bunker. ”
He laughed sheepishly.
“That’s right, the family bunker. I spent a lot of afternoons after school, digging it out with my dad. Then I had to mix concrete with him. My dad’s American; one of those gun nuts.”
He picked up the goggles and veered them at a wall. A series of gun racks supported almost two dozen rifles. The view returned to his face. That’s why he made me build this bunker with him. He said we might need it one day if the third world war ever struck.”
“It looks like he was right. Australia has been at war with America for a while. Because of that, the government put him in an interment camp. I don’t know how he got the information… but he called me after school one arvo. He said that America was sending missiles in our area, and that me and mum had to get in the bunker. I couldn’t find mum, so I came down here on my own.”
The cat rubbed its head under his chin.
“Dad told us that we all must have two things ready to take into the bunker that we couldn’t do without. He had his weights and guns down here; ready. Mum had a Bible and her knitting. I only had Ben.”
He hugged the cat again, bringing a fond smile to Lisa’s lips.