The girl with the tangled hair sat on the cliff face overlooking the ocean, and dangled her feet into the expanse. A ragged doll made of socks and cast-offs sat beside her. Every so often, the girl would adjust the doll’s slumping posture.
She saw the man’s strange ship land, but she didn’t recognize it anymore than she recognized him. So she stayed where she was, watching for signs from the sea. She didn’t even turn to look at him when he crouched next to her.
“Hello,” he said. “Whatcha doing?”
“I am waiting.” she said. She motioned to the doll. “And so is Petunia.”
“Waiting?” said the strange man. “I know a bit about that. What are you two waiting for?”
“Mommy and Daddy. They put me there,” she pointed to a steel hatchway embedded in the earth. Her eyes never left the water. “They told me not to come out until they came back for me, but Petunia got bored, so we came out. We go back in for peanut butter, but only sometimes. We used to have a house up here, but I don’t know where it went.”
“How long ago did they leave?”
The girl counted on her fingers, though kept her eyes straight ahead. “Four.”
“No,” she said. “The other one. Months”
“I don’t think they’re coming back,” the man said. “I’ve been all over this entire planet. You’re the first survivor I’ve found.”
The girl with the tangled hair turned away from the ocean to look at the strange man, confusion all over her face. “Of course they’re coming back,” she said. “Why would they leave me?”