He gave an elated, “woop” and grabbed a tree branch. He swung forward several feet and landed on the opposite side of a huge log.
“You’re gonna kill youself, Zephyr!” Tiffany shouted. I gave her a sly little smirk. “Oh, don’t you even.”
“I know. I know,” I said trying to suppress a laugh.
“Who cares!” he shouted back and grabbed a new branch. “At least I’ll die happy-y-y-y…” He flew of the branch and disappeared in a pile of dead leaves. “Ow.”
Tiffany and I cracked up. “You know,” I said between breaths, “I think that may be the most hilarious, stupid thing that guy has ever done.”
“And that’s saying something,” she said, trying to catch her breath too. He walked over to us pulling leaves out of his hair.
“Not a word, you two,” he said.
Tiffany and I tried to hide our laughter by twisting our facial expressions into polite concern. “What would we say?” I asked. He stared at me with the most ridiculous face I couldn’t help but crack up again. This time he joined us.
I was in the woods where we had our first meeting. All around me people were lying on the ground wounded or dead. Then an Imperial walked up to me and spoke in a monotone voice with a sneer on his face. He told me that I was under arrest for conspiracy against the government and for committing mass murder. I looked at my feet. All of those people were lying there because of me.
He clicked handcuffs on my hands and forced me to my knees. He pulled a gun out of its holster and held it to the side of my head. I watched as his finger squeezed the trigger. I knew the gun was about to fire. I knew it. It was going to happen any second and I would be dead. I would be just another person in the woods that died because of a stupid protest for a stupid law.
The gun fired.
Unlike most kids my age, I had experience with providing for others. I had a little sister named Ariadne and a mother and father who could never make enough to provide for us.
My family was the only one in faction 38C with more than one child. Multiple children were strictly forbidden by the government. Nobody knew about Ariadne.
Ariadne was six years old and the sweetest, most beautiful thing the world had ever seen. We both inherited dad’s chocolate brown hair, but she got the big brown eyes to match. I got mom’s gray ones. Ariadne brought a smile out of everyone. I wish I could have shared her with everyone.
To help my parents I would hunt. I had a bow and a dagger, and I taught myself how to use them. Rabbits were easy for me. They trusted humans too much.
Responsibility didn’t scare me. For the other fifteen year-olds, though, nothing scared them more. When you turned fifteen, you were considered an adult. You had to contribute to your household by holding a full job. You were punished as an adult if you made an infraction.
No, none of this scared me. I was too busy trying to keep my family fed without getting caught by the Imperials, the government officials.
I am starting work on a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel. Here is the first paragraph. Just a little introduction of my usual writing style.
I don’t remember the dark days. That was before my time. My great-grandparents were the ones who witnessed those. They used to tell us stories about the day the government imploded and law enforcement shredded itself to pieces. Stories of how chaos in every form ruled the streets for months before the most horrible, violent, power-hungry men and women rose up and took over. I don’t have any memories of this transition into hell… but I do know of the hell I lived to experience.