2 – Sam

Sam was a street kid. He came from an impoverished family with no farther and a mother that had to work every hour of the day just to put food on the table. He grew up on the streets of South London in areas that less than a Century earlier had been the haven of the Yuppie boom, but now was slum dwelling.
A wide variety of odd people and events had shaped his life. When he was ten an explosion in a gas main had demolished the building were his family lived, killing twenty-seven people; among them his Mother, his two sisters and his four brothers. The only people who took any official interest in this tragedy where the investigators from the insurance company and they were only interested in whether or not the landlord had set it up to claim the insurance money.
So Sam was left to find his own way in life at an early age. Most kids in his position would have fallen foul of the numerous perverts that haunt the streets or been co-opted into one of the gangs of kids that roam the slums. But he was lucky. He found a hideaway in the basement of a deserted, run down building. A place he could hide from danger and call his own. From there he could scrounge the streets and scrap yards for what he needed, and return to sleep safe at night. He has learnt over the years a way of making a honest but meagre living scrounging the waste heaps of a large and half decayed city. Mostly he searches through the cast offs of what he considers the rich and some times he finds something he can sell. Some day he hopes to find something so valuable that it will catapult him out of the rubbish tips and into something better on the streets of London.
Then one morning on the city dump, as he was scavenging, alone as usual, he came across a group of kids standing in huddle. It was not unusual to find gangs of kids scouring the dumps, and he had good reason to be wary of any he came across. But to find them close together and standing, instead of spread in a line searching was strange. Sam’s first instinct was to continue, after all if he was to stand any chance of finding anything before the Ruckers sucked in this section he needed to be fast.
But still those kids would be in just as much a hurry and if they where standing huddled just before the men who worked the Ruckers started them up, it could only be because they had found something. That they seemed to be standing around looking at it, rather than shifting it as quickly as they could, meant that it was something that they did not know what to do with. And if they did not know what to do with it meant that it gave Sam a chance to do something.
Summoning up his courage he approached the group from the side. He got quiet close before one of the younger kids on the outskirts of the group noticed him.
She turned towards the centre of the group, jumping up and down. The high notes of her voice where carried on the wind to Sam, but he could not make out what she said.
The group turned as one to watch him, And a tall, thin, mean looking boy pushed his way through them towards him, but stopped a couple of steps beyond the group.
Nobody said anything and Sam ignored them as he climbed to the crest of a mound of rubbish so he could look down at what they had found. It was not until he approached the top that he realised that the mound was a part of the wall of a shallow crater about 150 meters across.
He stopped and wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. He looked down into the crater but kept a watch on the kids from the corner of his eye. At the centre was the remains of a large camp fire and beside it was a body. He remembered a story he had heard of a guy who had gotten fifty for a body he had found in the dump. But then Sam noticed another body, but this one wasn’t whole and fresh its head and chest had been blown up and blood and entrails spread across the ground.
It was not a pretty sight. Then Sam noticed another body between the first and second. This one even more mutilated. He was almost afraid to look for more, but he forced himself to complete his scan of the crater floor and was relieved to see nothing else unusual.
Then the first body rolled over and tucked its arm around its head. Sam realised that what he had originally thought was clothing was a blanket and that the scene he was looking at was a naked girl lying asleep beside two mutilated bodies, in a remote corner of the Greater South London Dump.
Now he realised why the kids where standing around arguing.

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