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The boy lay crippled and bleeding on the sidewalk. His body was in a distorted position with his arm bending the wrong way. About a hundred feet away, a group of boys laughed and pushed each other playfully. The biggest one looked back at the fallen boy and began another fit of laughter.
A teenage girl shook in fury as she knelt by the boy. She was called Pierce, true to her name she stood and ran after the gang with jagged rocks in her fists. Pierce pelted them at the group, and they ran, leaving trails of blood. They ran back to safety, they ran back to the gates.
She walked slowly back to the boy on the ground. He was gasping for air, and blood mixed with saliva fell from his lip. Pierce carefully eased him into a sitting position, hearing cracks when he moved.
“If you can, tell me your name so I can find your family” she said.
The boy coughed violently and said “Niklath, ma houthe ith on the corner.” He shuddered and went limp, his arm dangling uselessly at his side. Pierce cursed the gang and lay him back down. The corner was too far away for her to leave him on the sidewalk. Anything could get him. There were gangs, rats, and the police. Anything was better than the police.
Pierce instead walked only ten feet away and got a damp cardboard box. She carefully slid him onto the flattened box and began her trek to the corner. The house was shabby and cigarette butts littered the front porch. Pierce knocked on the front door and a tall, thin woman opened. She glared at Pierce and made a grab for Niklas.
“Give me the boy you twit! He’s mine and you hurt him! I should turn you into the police for abusing my boy!” she snarled when Pierce blocked her way. Pierce stood her ground. Niklas groaned.
“Are you his mother?” she asked “Because he needs rest, not abuse.” For that she got a slap to the face and a shove off the porch.
“Shut up you nosy little girl! You don’t understand anything, a simple child!” and with that she grabbed Niklas and slammed the door.
Walking around the city, Pierce usually found five or six gangs in a day, each one beating up another kid. She didn’t fully understand why, but she had some ideas. The first was they were idiots. True. The second was they were abusing the kids because they were poor. True. A few months earlier, there was an announcement that all families with a 350,000 dollar income or more would be moved to a gated community with all the luxuries of home, but without the poor people. They were forbidden to come outside the gates.
As Pierce turned a corner, she came head to head with a girl around her age, but at least one foot shorter. Pierce remembered her name being Tarron. Pierce was about to apologize for bumping in to her when Tarron grabbed her arm and pulled her into an alley. She wasn’t very strong, but she was fast.
“You can keep a secret, right? I mean, you’re not with the Popo are you?” she asked.
Pierce nodded and rubbed the bump forming on her head from the landing. “Who is? Of course I’m not with them and I guess I can keep a secret unless you’re killing someone. I draw the line there. Okay, that’s a lie, I’m okay with it if they deserve it.”
Tarron rolled her eyes and glanced anxiously at the street.
“Come with me. I know you have no clue what’s going on but you need to help me. I’ve seen you at school, you’re really smart and I need that for my next trip.” She said.
Pierce didn’t have a clue why, but she agreed to help this half stranger.
“I’ll help you if you tell me what this trip is.” She said. Tarron sighed and dropped her voice. She arranged herself on the ground and Pierce did likewise.

“This morning the news announced that everyone who doesn’t live behind the gates can’t go to school. They’re tearing them down. The government is acting like we don’t exist. And we won’t. They’re focusing everything on those families behind the gates all through the country. Everyone who isn’t rich is going to be left here to die, and they’re already cutting off our markets and farmlands. The gates are spreading to our lands. Anyway, I’m going to make sure we don’t starve by stealing back our food from the rich families. Don’t give me that look, I’ve done it before, those people are cocky and don’t use security systems. I need you because the best house in there is guarded by tons of security, only place in the whole community that uses it, and you can deactivate them, or at least, I hope you can.” Tarron stopped to breathe.

Long-winded girl, but she has a point Pierce thought.
“Okay, I have no idea why, but I’ll help you.” She said and put her face in her hands to mull over what she had said.
“Excellent.” Tarron said and gave a wild grin that convinced Pierce that Tarron was insane. “We’ll meet tomorrow night at this alley, bring anything you think might be useful.”
When Pierce got home that night she checked the newspaper. It was only out of habit, but she was glad she did. There was a man who was about who twenty committed suicide because he had been constantly mauled by gangs that had escaped the gates. While this was an entirely disturbing subject, it also empowered Pierce. If they stole food, they could also better prepare the people out on the streets to fight back. It was a big idea, but it was possible. Pierce went to bed with her head screaming thoughts.
The next day Pierce spent hours planning with Tarron in the same alley. They decided Tarron would be the one actually stealing while Pierce would deactivate the system. When Pierce said it was too dangerous for Tarron to go into the house alone, Tarron replied that she was quick and lethal in defense, plus Pierce would chicken out. So Pierce prepared herself to mess with the security system.
That night they sneaked to the gates. The gates were at least fifty feet high with spikes and made of solid concrete that divided the city in half. Pierce and Tarron had some trouble getting through the gates at first. But fairly quickly Pierce found the hole where the gangs escaped. It was hidden by foliage and probably three feet wide and two feet tall. They had to crawl on their stomachs to get through, but it wasn’t a tight squeeze.
Inside it was a suburban heaven. All the houses looked the same with one car garages and small front yards. There was one long road that divided two rows of these houses. At the end of this toad there was a mansion. As they walked through the eerie homes and came steps closer to the mansion, everything was silent except for the sound of a dog barking somewhere ahead of them.
They arrived at the mansion. Tarron didn’t have to tell Pierce this was the house they were robbing. It was massive, but Pierce found the security system instantly. The entire front yard had fox traps, the kind that closed around the leg of anything that stepped on it. On the front porch there was a camera and what looked to be a heat sensor at knee level and a motion sensor light.
“Tarron, find a really long stick, preferably two.” Pierce told her. Tarron found a tree in someone’s front yard and took some fallen branches. She came skipping back with them in her arms.
“I got them! Are these for the traps?” She asked after setting them down at their feet.
“Yeah, just break them in little pieces and start activating the traps while I set up my equipment by that big bush over there.”
Pierce arranged her laptop, earpiece, and camouflage all the while hidden by the foliage. Tarron came to check it out once she was done.
“Nice job!” she said. Pierce handed her a small flesh colored bit.
“It’s an earpiece, so I can tell you where to go once you’re in there.” She explained. “Once you get to the front porch, use this.” Pierce handed Tarron a white bed sheet. “It absorbs the motion searching waves. And put this on by that tree over there. It’s a heat disguising suit, don’t worry I’ve already deactivated the camera.” Once Tarron was changed Pierce handed her one more thing. It was a tiny camera that attached to Tarron’s collar. “I think that one is self-explanatory.” Pierce said.
So Tarron began the nervous walk to the front porch. The sheet worked perfectly, to her surprise. The door was locked, but it soon was picked by Tarron’s lock pick. Inside she really started shaking. Everything was dark and every footfall echoed.
She heard snores upstairs and held her breath. Silence. Tarron let out her breath just as an elderly women stepped out only five feet from her. The women stopped and looked around, then directly at Tarron. She reached out a hand to where Tarron was.
Tarron slowly backed up, praying the floor wouldn’t creak. The women shrugged, probably thinking Tarron was just a weird shadow and walked away towards the stair case. Tarron hardly breathed.
Halfway up the stairs the women shot back around and darted down to the main entrance. She was incredibly quick, and was now only inches away from Tarron. She was examining the area where Tarron was cowering with immense concentration.
“Who is it? Who’s gotten into my place? Huh? Do you want a shot in your neck? Where are you?” she was terrifying.
Please let her be blind, please, please, please. Tarron thought. Then the old lady reached her hand up towards the light switch on the wall.
A loud snore erupted from upstairs. The lady glared in Tarron’s direction and turned to go up the stairs. This time she actually went all the way up the stairs and Tarron watched her disappear behind a corner. Tarron gave a shuddering breath and tried to rub away the knot building in her stomach.
“My Gosh, that was really close. I think we should call this off and go home. I’m scared out here.” A voice sounded in her ear. It was Pierce on Tarron’s ear piece. Tarron made a gesture in front of the camera on her chest that shut Pierce up.
Tarron turned left towards the living room. Most valuables in her past thefts were in this room. She crept carefully into the room and discovered she was right. Next to the fireplace was a table with a jeweled box on top. Tarron opened it up, and it squeaked. Inside were rings. Dozens of rings, all with gold, ruby, silver, or diamond. Tarron scooped up all of them and put them in a sack across her torso. Now onto the kitchen. The fridge was full of fruit, and the pantries stuffed with canned food. Tarron grabbed as many as she could.
T here was a creak behind her, and more creaks, then whispers. Tarron whirled around, a deafening bang, and a bullet past not six inches from her skull. There was a huge man, no smaller than a grizzly blocked the doorway. He flicked on the light. Behind him stood the old lady. The giant yelled and shot another bullet. This one landed a few feet off. Tarron only noticed his bloodshot eyes before making a dart for the second door.
Then a chase began. The old woman grabbed Tarron by the arm and Tarron clawed her. The lady let go of Tarron and cradled her wounded hand. Tarron sprinted for the door, but the man shot at the handle, breaking it off. Tarron ran wildly upstairs. Pierce was shouting orders at her but they were so loud Tarron couldn’t understand. Somehow Tarron ended up at a window. It was one story up, but Tarron opened it and jumped just as the man shot at her. He got her hand and Tarron screamed horribly. Blood was oozing out of the hole when Tarron landed. Pierce was shouting something at Tarron, but she was losing consciousness from blood loss.
Pierce grabbed her by the waist and hoisted her up. The man was coming around the corner, shooting wildly. Pierce went as fast as she could, all the time thanking Tarron for being so small. Pierce somehow found an extra burst of speed and sprinted down the street. Bullets were hitting the ground around her. She somehow made it to the hidden entrance without getting killed. But the man found the hole and took something out of his pocket. He ripped off a small part of it and rolled the round object through the hole to where Pierce was collapsed with Tarron.
Pierce lifted her head at the sound. And then white hot pain covered her entire body, and then blackness and numbness.
Pierce awoke in a hospital two weeks later in a full body cast. Tarron wasn’t awake yet, but she was in the same condition. Everything was hazy, but Pierce had a conversation with the doctor. He said that this event was brought to the president’s attention and the law was being revoked.
“The President? Why was this brought to his attention? I thought he passed the law that separated us.” Pierce asked in a strained voice from her cast.
The doctor nodded. “You’re right there, he did pass the law. But it’s possible he didn’t fully understand the effect it would have, or the way it would be enforced. It seems to me he thought separating the poor and the rich would even things out. So prices wouldn’t be so high that the poor could buy, and so low the rich would live in luxury.”
“Shouldn’t he have thought things through? It’s a pretty big mistake to make on a national scale. “
The doctor nodded and hushed her, telling her something about rest. Tarron fell unconscious again. Over the course of several weeks, Pierce heard the whole story.
The president wasn’t elected for the next term, but he did start a fund to clear up his mess. They didn’t need to knock down the gates, because the man’s grenade did that. But in the process burying him alive in concrete and killing him. The people were integrated and life went back to being relatively peaceful, or, as peaceful as the world can get. And in one year Pierce and Tarron could see what this changed world looked like.



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