Terminator: Attack of the Drone

Mohsin Hamid in The Guardian:

Terminator-007Ma doesn't hear it. She's asleep, snorin' like an old brown bear after a dogfight. Don't know how she manages that. 'Cause I can hear it. The whole valley can hear it. The machines are huntin' tonight.

There ain't many of us left. Humans I mean. Most people who could do already escaped. Or tried to escape anyways. I don't know what happened to 'em. But we couldn't. Ma lost her leg to a landmine and can't walk. Sometimes she gets outside the cabin with a stick. Mostly she stays in and crawls. The girls do the work. I'm the man now.

Pa's gone. The machines got him. I didn't see it happen but my uncle came back for me. Took me to see Pa gettin' buried in the ground. There wasn't anythin' of Pa I could see that let me know it was Pa. When the machines get you there ain't much left. Just gristle mixed with rocks, covered in dust.

I slip outside. Omar's there waitin'. “What took ya so long?” he says. He's a boy like me but he's taller so he acts like he's older. “Ya got it?”

“Yeah,” I say. I take it out from under my shawl. It's a piece of mirror from the white pickup we found all flattened next to the stream. Truck looked like a giant gone stepped on it. I'd asked Omar how big the machines were and he'd said not that big. Not the ones we had 'round here. But he'd said talk was there be bigger machines out there. Out in the southlands. Machines that could walk. So big each step sound like thunder.

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