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The Riot

A certain tension hung in the air.

Like an ocean’s wave being held back, it desperately wanted to come crashing down, washing everything in its path away with violent rushing force.

Tonight, everything changes.

I dived forward, and rolling over my shoulder as I hit the ground I used the momentum to send the flaming bottle clasped in my hand soaring through the air as I came to my feet.

It flew through the impenetrably dark night, casting a small orange illumination on the canyon like skyscrapers packed close to the street. As it passed, the flittering light refracted off menacingly dark, reflective body armors and clear shields below, packed together shoulder to shoulder from one side of the street to the other, so dark they blended right into the shadows.

The bottle ended its extended arc by impacting with the asphalt and blasting into a momentary fireball behind the men, silhouetting their many ranks.
There were more than I thought there would be.

But it still wasn’t enough to stop us.

Spotlights positioned on tall stands and clinging to the sides of the towers powered on, bathing me in harsh, burning white light from every angle in front of me. Everything behind me was dark.

I stood there for a moment with my hand held out over my eyes, staring at the nameless and faceless army facing me, their shields forming an impenetrable wall. They didn’t make any move to advance forward. I felt sorry for them; sorry that we couldn’t help them, sorry that we couldn’t talk to them or try to reason with them.

I raised my arm into the light, staring directly into the mirrored visors of the men. I held it there for a moment, knowing what was to come. The lights were meant to make me feel alone, vulnerable.

I let my arm fall, pointing forward.

I was anything but.

A war cry erupted behind me that ignited every nerve in my body. It was one whole deafening, powerful, hoarse, blood curling feral scream from deep within. It cried for blood, for anger, for pain, for revenge, for happiness, for love, for loss.

For life.

It reverberated off the skyscrapers, ringing and vibrating the air itself before it melted into a dull roar of earth shaking as an uncountable number of feet dashed, shuffled, and sprinted forward, pounding the road as hard as they could.

From the darkness behind me, my friends erupted into the light, rushing past and whipping the air with their numbers and speed. Like a flood tide they surged, filling the road up from one side to the other, bodies and shoulders pressed together in brotherhood, faces steeled with determination, bodies tensed in apprehension, closing the gap between us and the men at every passing moment.

They flowed around me, leaving me an island in the chaos. My gaze never broke from the lines of men. Another battle cry rang out, rippling across the seemingly never ending crowd streaming by me. The one’s at the front where about to make contact with the first line of riot shields. I made a silence plea to fate, closing my fists.

My friends threw themselves at the riot soldiers with a ferocious hatred I’d never seen before. They hit them like a wave crashing into a wall, pounding and punching and pushing and screaming against the shield phalanx.

I closed my eyes for a moment and took a deep breath, filling up my lungs with the scents of rebellion; arid smoke, sweat, and fear. The last of my rioters surged past me. I couldn’t help but think back to everything and to how I’d gotten here.

Old friend’s faces shuffled though my head, some still among us, others not; and they ended on her. She had changed everything, for me and for our cause. Her piercing ice blue eyes stared back at me though my thoughts, giving me the strength to do what had to be done.
I opened my eyes, leapt forward, and dived into the jouncing, shifting crowd of my closest friends.
Tonight, everything changes.

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