The oldest of them couldn’t be more than 20, though none of them could be sure of their ages. He was a wisp of a boy with spiky, dirty-blonde hair and what appeared to be a dirty upper lip. In fact, it was all he’d ever been able to grow in the way of a mustache. He wore it proudly. After all, it was the only mustache of any kind in the camp. According to a measuring tape one of the others had found, he stood six foot, four inches. The second tallest of them, a girl, was only five foot, 8 inches. The boy wore a size twelve shoe and never had a problem finding his size at the long-ago abandoned shop in the village.
Naturally, his size gave him a political advantage, but he used his power wisely. He knew that he needed the others, six of them, if he had any hope of surviving. His biggest problem was that he did not know what they were surviving. He also had no idea where the real adults or the rest of the children had gone.
So they lived their lives as best they could. They had tried leaving, but every trail, road and mindless bit of wandering had always somehow led them right back into the small town by the sea. They found comfort in the large hotels with their king-size beds and comfortable chairs. There was plenty of canned and dry goods stocked in pantries throughout the town. They even found books on gardening and had managed to grow some tomatoes and potatoes in the courtyard of The Argo Hotel.
The boy’s sister was nowhere near as tall as he, and had darker hair, but the connection was obvious. Seeing as she had no problem with public speaking, maybe to a fault, she had long ago become his voice. She had a lisp, but the others had been hearing her for so long this wasn’t a problem. She was also her brother’s number two, his most trusted friend and advisor.
The seven of them-the boy, his sister, a set of twin girls and one boy-did not know why there were there when no one else was. They had all woken one morning several years before to find themselves alone. Within days they had found each other, but no one else. When escape eluded them and rescue seemed unlikely, they had found a way to survive. Together, with nothing but instinct and basic education, and despite the odds against them, they had found a way to keep their lives and hearts intact.