Polly stopped in her tracks and turned to face Everett in the dim tunnel. “Caretakers?”
“Yeah, Caretakers. A stronger breed of Sluggard who could fit in better with society. You know, hold down a job, have place to live. Someone who could help take care of the weaker Sluggards while they worked on breeding more of this stronger model.”
“Your Grandmother sounds like a remarkable woman, Everett. She has quite an imagination.”
They were standing in a remote portion of the subway tunnel. Everett, ever fearful of his Grandmother’s stories, would probably never have ventured this deep into the tunnels alone, but Polly seemed to know exactly where she was going. The pretty young woman reached behind Everett to a rusty lever buried in the concrete wall. With a raucous screech, part of the tunnel wall slid back exposing a weakly lit passage.
With a hasty glance in both directions, Polly shoved Everett into the passage. She possessed remarkable strength for such a small woman.
Everett, sprawled on the dank floor and shocked into silence for a moment, watched Polly step into the opening and depress a lever, thereby closing the concrete wall behind them.
“Sorry, kid, but you know too much,” Polly said. “We knew someone had been talking, just couldn’t find the leak.”
“Talking?” Everett said. “Talking about what? The Sluggards? It’s just a story. My grandmother made it up. Didn’t she? Polly?”
A bent old man dressed in patched jeans and a moth-eaten overcoat hobbled into view. An enormous woman swathed in a garish fake leopard skin poncho and plastic boots closely followed him. Her dirty, matted hair screamed out from her head in spikes giving her a porcupine appearance.
Polly handed the box of food scraps to this pathetically deranged looking couple. They immediately tore open the carton and with grimy fingers began stuffing cold lasagna squares into their slack mouths.
“Everett, meet Mom and Dad,” Polly said to her nauseous-looking young friend. The squalid couple grinned tomato-flecked teeth down at Everett who still lay prone on the cold concrete.