I hunched down with a sigh onto the rotten bench beside his collection, and rested my hands on my face, “Amos, we’re late.”
He didn’t react, absorbed into his own little world with only him and his plants. He tended to a small leafy shrub as I stood up and stretched my arms behind me.
It was way past curfew now, and the sun was rising over the wall that surrounded the entire island, casting a bright ray though the holes in the wall where a window must have been.
“Amos, we need to go. Now.”
My forehead furrowed when he didn’t reply. That was the last straw. I stomped over to him, grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him, causing him to laugh under his breath.
“Julius, I get it okay!” he sniggered whilst walking over to pick up his canvas bag, containing a couple of succulents that he wanted to put on his window-sill, in hopes that having only a couple of plants would not anger the Clawed variant Leader too much.
Amos’ section Leader was a devious man; a renowned killer of Feathered variants that acted as his servants. According to Amos, he walked around with finger gauntlets over his claws that were specifically shaped to rip the feathers from the skin. I shuddered at the thought, feeling lucky to be de-varianted for once, even if it meant I was treated like dirt.
I yanked opened the wooden door of the hut. The hinges had been getting worse for a while. I stepped out into the daylight and felt its warmth against my fair skin; How I missed summer on the island. Amos followed closely behind me, beaming almost as bright as the sun itself, even though he knew that a punishment was sure to be given for our lack of punctuality.
“So, are you going to tell me what you’re smiling about?” I asked, not being able to comprehend how he could be so damn joyful when he knew we were to be punished. He pushed his messy, muted blue hair behind his ear, and pulled an orange flower plant out of his canvas bag.
“It’s the boat orchid obviously! Thank you! How did you know I wanted one?”, he inquired, with a large grin spreading across his face, his brown eyes sparkling.
I rose one eyebrow. Surely this must have been some kind of mistake? Yes, I knew he had been searching for one. I’d been the one taking punishment after punishment by taking the blame for being so late to the fields, which was usually pointless manual labor or organizing the yield reports.
“Um. No problem.” I mumbled, turning back around and continuing up the graveled path. Only me and Amos knew about the garden in the hut. At least, that’s what I thought.