Year 28 of the Addergoole School
Hunter-Hale was just barely fourteen, and all his sisters and one of his brothers had headed off to school, when the man with a face like his rang the bell at the front gate.
(The world had started ending more than ten years ago, but his mother was a doctor and both his parents rather clever, and in their little corner of the city, the electricity still ran, most days.)
It was Hunter-Hale's turn on the gate, so he answered it, his gun ready but not aimed. Standing on the sidewalk, rucksack over his shoulder, was the face he saw in the mirror every day.
"Hi. I'm here to see my son, Hunter-Hale?" He even had the same sideways smile Hunter-Hale had borne his entire life.
He did not shoot the interloper, although it was tempting. He pushed the intercom button, instead.
"Dad!" He hollered. "There's a guy at the gate who says he's you!"
While he waited for his father to show up, he stared at the stranger. The stranger, clearly confused, stared back.
"You look like me." The other man broke the silence. "But you've got Ora's eyes."
Hunter-Hale coughed. "Look. I know, reasonably, that my dad can't be my biological dad. I remember meeting him, sort of, when I was a baby. But even if you look like me - that's a pretty simple Working, isn't it? - you're a stranger. Who happens to know my name and my mom's. Which makes you a creepy stranger."
"And your mother taught you not to talk to strangers?"
"My mother taught me not to invite strangers over our threshold, and to shoot if threatened. Actually." He grinned, because it felt good. "My father taught me that part."
"Sit tight. My dad'll be here soon."
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