It was months before Horne’s radio was fixed. It was months of Charger showing the older kids the underground tunnels of Plastic Beach. It was months of letting young folk know what was going on on this planet. Charger’s numbers grew. Aya was in charge of helping folk with fighting, Ron led a small crew of people who wanted to be pilots, Sasha and another person were making maps, Ree and a team were cooking food stolen from Plastic Beach’s kitchen.
When the older children snuck back into their room, the radio went off.
“Hello????” It was Horne.
Sasha snatched the radio up before anyone else could make a grab for it.
“Sasha! Sasha, oh my goodness!”
“How are you?”
More little voices started to talk over Horne.
“Sasha! Sasha, is Ron there?”
“Did Ree make more cookies?”
“Bean keeps eating my food!”
The older kids laughed. Once Horne settled the other children down, they started talking.
“Ren is teaching us how to shoot guns.”
“Oh?????” Sasha looked at her siblings. Aya was impressed.
“Why… Are you learning to shoot a gun?”
“Because it is important,” Horne said.
“They do have a point,” Ron said, shrugging.
“Is everything okay, though? You’re eating well, I hope.”
“We’re doing fine,” Horne said. “Do you know anyone named Charger?”
The older kids huddled closer to the radio.
“How do you know about her?” Aya asked.
“Ren just wants to know if things are still on,” Horne replied.
“Of course things are still on,” Charger said, sitting in an old stuffed chair.
The teenagers stood and sat in various parts of where Charger stayed. They listened and watched Charger hold onto the radio for dear life.
“Ren, things never stopped being on!”
“…How are you doing, Charger?” It was Ren, or the old man as the children had called him.
Charger stared at the radio.
“…I… I’m scared,” she whispered, lowering her head.
The teenagers watched her, Sasha making a step to comfort her. Ree pulled her back.
“I’m talking to you… After so long… I… Are you just my imagination? Or did I finally die?”
When the sun started to rise was the best time to see the sky, before the sun bounced off the sand. The slight pink made way for purples and browns before the sky turned into a sandy red.
Horne and Ren were up, Ren walking behind Horne.
“Again,” Ren said. Horne made a movement toward their left hip.
Horne pulled out a small hand gun and shot it at a target on a piece scrap of metal. Ren walked up the metal and looked at it.
“Good job, but it’s still not close enough,” Ren said, scratching his head. Horne watched Ren.
“How close to do I have to get?”
“In his brain,” Ren said, firing a finger gun into his temple.
“Oh… I can do that,” Horne said. Ren smiled.
“I believe you can, boss. You wanna try again?” Horne nodded.
Bandie walked up an hour later, holding her head down. Horne was in the middle of aiming, but they pointed the gun down and set it on the ground.
“What’s wrong, Bandie?”
“I did something,” she said, her eyes hidden by her grey afro.
“Show me?” Horne asked. Bandie took their hand and walked them away from Horne’s assignment. Bandie went back to the scrap metal.
“Bean did something and it made me so mad!” She yelled.
“They hit me and pushed me down the stairs and I YELLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEDDDDD!!!!!”
Bandie started screaming in the direction of the scrap of metal. The sheer force of the wind that escaped her little lungs made her afro shoot back, her yellow eyes glowing like orbs. The metal didn’t stand a chance as it folded over itself. Bandie snarled and took a deep breath before looking back at Horne. She waved at them.
“So I did that and now there’s a hole in the wall, byeeeeee!!!” She took off toward the Oasis.
Ree and Sasha were laying at the pool one day, enjoying the sun and the artificial trees.
“How many people do you think are here?” Ree asked, turning her attention to the pool.
“I don’t know, why?” Sasha asked, rolling over onto her back.
“Well, it just sounds like Charger and Ren think it’s going to be a blood bath,” Ree confided, watching the tiny children play with their families.
“If things go well for Ron, they should be fine.”
Ron was a hundred or so feet underneath the docks, following one of Charger’s men. They moved swiftly but carefully as to not jostle the homemade explosives they managed to make during the months. The man stopped and pointed up. The gently placed the explosives on the ceiling above them and quickly got out of there.
“How long do we wait?” Ron whispered to the man.
“Until it’s time,” the man replied.
Horne was talking to Ree on the radio.
“And then she screamed and she nearly crumbled the metal!”
“That’s so neat,” Ree said, listening in awe.
“Are the children able to do anything?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“That’s so weird that it’s manifested like this.”
They were silent.
“Are we going to make it?” Horne asked.
Ree let out a sad laugh.
“I can’t tell the future, baby.”
It was another year before anyone had any idea with the Bucket that was starting to get covered in sand.
Ren and his gang started to uncover it, dragging it back to the Oasis.
He and Ron talked over the radio about how to update the computer and how to take out the seats and what to do with the “spare” parts. Another few months went by before Ren was done with what he wanted to do with it.
Ren asked Horne and Ron if he could just have an hour to talk to Charger.
“We are getting out of here,” he told her, pacing his room.
“You are,” she said sadly.
“We are,” he repeated.
They were quiet for a while.
“I love you,” one of them whispered.