“We’re close; aren’t we?” Brad said.
Teyata tore off ahead of Brad, through the corner of a park. He gritted his teeth and lengthened his stride, doing little more than a fast jog. By the time he broke through the trees, he witnessed Teyata swiftly traversing a wide lawn on the other side of the highway. A long path from the road led to a set of broad steps. Above them, sat a lengthy building made of sandstone. He should have known Teyata wanted to take him to the library. The school had taken him here before; not for the books, but for the historical interest of the building.
Slowing to a walk, he mounted the stairs as Teyata beamed brightly from the door, then slipped inside. He ignored the bronze plaque above the entrance. His teacher made sure the children had to read it before even entering the library. Basically, it went on about convicts constructing the building, first erected as a huge trading house for international merchants.
His teacher indicated the chisel marks on the sandstone blocks. Labourers worked all day for years to make them. Brad detected pride in his teacher’s tone, as he conveyed the contribution of Australia’s first residents.
Not two hours later, after lunch, he gained a different perspective. The bus stopped by the road leaving the town to let the children off. Brad, with the other children, wandered among the rows of convict graves. The true price of Australia’s birth came with the deaths of its settlers. It seemed the convicts were no more than slaves; worked starved, and bashed to death to build a nation.
“History’s only written by the winners,” Brad said absently, bringing him back to the present.
He wondered what people would write about his time; centuries into the future. Laughing to himself, he headed for the glass door, which automatically slid aside. From what he’d seen of the area; there was no one else, making any future biographies unlikely. The temperature dropped as he entered. Like all buildings Brad had seen thus far, all the electrical systems still operated due to solar cells.
He attempted to swallow, but couldn’t, due to his arduous run in the heat. With his spare drinks exhausted, he looked at the drink machine, then realised he didn’t have any money.
“Would you mind?” he asked a prone skeleton.
He hunched down and fished through the trouser pockets, finding a handful of change which he inserted into the machine. A can of soft drink rumbled out of the chute.
“Come up here, Brad!” called Teyata.
Brad managed to catch a glimpse of her head angling down at him from the central spiral staircase. He snapped open the can and headed for the stairs as the head bobbed from sight. His tired legs barely supported him as he trudged upstairs.
Teyata crouched on the rail at the top then made the impossible long leap, landing on a reading table. The mezzanine floor had rows of the tables with chairs either side. On the tables, Brad could see round, plate like objects.