“Why doesn’t the city do something?” Boy asked.
Father grunted. “The city is doing something,” he winked his human eye, “they hire us.” Boy tssk’d. “Mm, no? You mean city workers—instead of us—uh?”
Father glanced at a nearby pipe covered in roots. Roots trying to work their way into any crevice or crack. The battle against the rapid plant growth was ever ongoing. Each morning families had to cut back tree branches, roots, and weeds that had grown overnight.
Everything changed when the wellspring waters were found three years back. Most illnesses were cured from a single sip, hunger was almost entirely eliminated. Elderly, thought to be at death’s door, were rejuvenated and made healthy as vibrant teens after drinking the water. Those already healthy were made stronger yet, and in some rare cases granted remarkable gifts. Father and Boy were two such people. Father had the strength of a dozen men, and Boy could see in pure darkness and move fast as a cat.
The new growth gave people things to do. Beyond the constant challenge of keeping plant life at bay there was the task of what to do with all the material generated from the incessant pruning. Carpenters had more work than they could handle, the furniture business boomed. No one was cold, there were constant fires.
While most of the city was busy with tasks above ground, Father and Boy went into the sewers to battle back the other things that grew. Not plants, but strange creatures born from drinking the waters. Just as there were humans with gifts, so too were certain animals imbued with various powers. Rats, the size of dogs, with toxic claws and teeth. They roamed the sewers and were what the city paid Father and Boy to kill.
“I want ramen for dinner,” said boy.
“Mm? Didn’t we have that last night?” Father asked.
“Yes, but I like it. With meat this time.”
“Alright,” Father smiled. “Let’s go kill some rats.”