The date was hard to tell, but it was definitely a far enough flung future to change what remained of the human mythos. I saw tiny bands of nomads drifting around tight circuits from one derelict building to the next, each handful of people retaining its own survival code and belief system, all hardened away from the soft before times, no longer talked about, barely remembered.

I was one of the nuns, a human shepherd specialist, trained in Ways and weaponry. My job was to keep my band of people Pure at any cost, any price. Survival was the One Religion, and knowing the Ways helped me steer them past one disaster after another unscathed. Families fell apart into survival gangs, continually dying off and replenishing, mixing and remixing with other small groups. Nuns became the only hope for some.

My band had mostly children in it, 3 boys and 4 girls, plus a few adults, none of them related. Adults were more difficult to manage. They became obstinate and headstrong, or fell into despair. Children were more likely to cooperate and work together for the whole group. Through every foray and every migration to capture another building, I taught them the Ways.

The Ways were mostly about water safety, food poisoning, toxic metals, and restrictions. No one was allowed into a room of entrapment. Several bugs had mutated to a size that no longer allowed them to creep under doors and out cracks, so they were easy to trap into rooms to hold back as a food source. The scary animals in this neighborhood were the macaques. No one knew where they'd come from, but they'd survived and grown into vicious marauding tribes, much like some of the human tribes that only had adults in them. They would kill and eat us if they could, so the children were sternly trained to leave them alone to starve after entrapment. Except they didn't seem to die off like they should. They lived in rooms from one generation to another, eating their own until they escaped again, wilder than ever.

We got lucky one day and found a water source, still a little radiated but clean to drink. We had to split up, so I had the children hunker down in one end of a building, braced doors holding macaques in the other end, and a band of adult marauders spotted not far away. I was the biggest and strongest by now, one of the other adults had died, the last wandered off to be alone with the hallucinations of a personal insanity. I had to risk crossing open areas between buildings to fetch enough water for us all to last a few days. It was easy enough to get the water, but I had to hurry timing my return so I could fling open the braced door and let the macaques out onto the marauders closing in right behind me. They would still see the direction I'd go and find the children later, so we would have to leave some of the water to be able to move quickly. Leaving the water increased the risk of strengthening all those who found it and then come kill us, not leaving the water would slow us down until we were found.

And that is what nuns do. We protect, guide, lead, and keep our people Pure.

Such was my dream last night. I'd write it into a book, but you guys know I'm already swamped. Maybe some day. There was a lot of detail I didn't tell.