Hadley had chosen a nearby multi-story car park to serve as HDCs fortified camp. Drying clothes festooned the lower levels of towering structure, arrogantly advertising their occupation. They’re pretty sure of themselves.
We, the inductees, enter the bottom level and are bombarded with electronic dance music blaring from stereos and TVs. The area is crowded with the faithful, and crammed with the spoils of war. High performance cars, the largest possible caravans they could drag in, and dozens of portable toilets jostle for space. These armed, sneering young men and women live in a most reasonable facsimile of comfort. They watch us file between their camps, encouraging us to move on quickly with jeers and threats.
I’m feeling decidedly disenchanted by the time we’re issued with thin rolls of foam and a blanket each from the stockpile. The fat bloke dispensing our meagre belongings is non-communicative when asked for extras. Being subjected to unnecessary hardships when an entire town is available and ripe for the picking is an unambiguous reminder of our lowly status.
The value of real estate on the parking levels is defined by the reach and ownership of an electrical cable. Jealously guarded cords become a tangled mess leading back to the roaring generators. Finding a small space to call our own, within reach of power, is a matter of taking a spot from someone weaker or moving up into the unpowered levels. As non-combatants we don’t make the mistake of expressing our lesser might while amongst the soldier’s luxurious digs.
Sheltered corners on the mid-levels are claimed with sudden releases of pent-up aggression. Fights break out. Guards watch, happy to have their boredom relieved. Then they wade in with clubs. I skirt the bloodied fighters and continue ever higher until even the old and weak are below me.
I become a latter day hermit on a lonely rooftop.
My new prison’s open construction allows for a minimal number of lookouts to watch over the rest. They have an uninterrupted three-sixty degree view. The few on duty wander around my lofty perch giving me curious looks. I stare into space and hum tunelessly so they don't talk to me.
Nightfall allows for timid exploration. The multiple exits are well barricaded and guarded. Essential goods are piled high, eliminating the need for camp members to venture outside.
And preventing the disenchanted from escaping.