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“Son of a b****” he mumbled. The words bounced back at him. His small whisper echoed off of the windshield and smacked him in the face. It was 12:31 a.m. Curfew was at 12:30, and he was in the middle of breaking the law. He had a lot more to worry about than just the time though. Thoughts shot around his skull faster than the speed of light; tomorrow, work, lying, hiding, and not to mention: survival. How was he supposed to survive in a world that monitored every aspect, every hour of his life? How was he supposed to live?
Andrew had been only ten years old when the Exemplar Party came into power. They had slowly worked their way into the heart of the nation. And as soon as they had total control, they struck fear into that same heart. Grenades with the letters E.P. on them were launched into homes. Sleep was regimented with a strict alarm system. Children were taught how to be exemplary citizens. Ten years old is the end of childhood and the beginning of truly understanding the world. And when his world changed, Andrew had understood.
Slick with rain and barren due to the curfew, Andrew flew down the streets. He had to reach his apartment soon, before the wardens caught him. How would he explain being out after curfew? What if they searched his car? Project paradigm would fail and he would be murdered without doing his part. He had to succeed, at all costs. Death didn’t scare him, not one bit. But, he was terrified of breaking the promise that he had made seven years ago…
Bright blue eyes stared up at him. A small smile in the shape of a crescent formed right above her pointed chin. He stared; trying to remember every inch of skin, every freckle, and every strand of strawberry blonde hair. Ignoring the blood that was smeared on her cheek, he let his fingers glide across her face.
“Andrew” she murmured.
He could taste the salty tears as they spilled from his eyes.
“Mom, don’t leave me. Please, don’t leave me.”
Pleadingly, he put his head on her chest. Her warm hand began to stroke his hair.
“I will never leave you, Andrew. I will always be with you” she said. Under his pointed chin, Andrew felt his mother’s hand. She lifted his face up and their eyes locked.
“I am always with you.” Her warm hand fell away. The harsh wind blew through him. He couldn’t stop shaking. Raising his head, he saw the man; the head of the Exemplar Party, the man that everyone was ordered to call “Father.” Andrew’s jaw locked as he tightly squeezed his mother’s cold hand.
“Son of a b****” he mumbled under his breath. The man spoke.
“Dear child, I hope you will learn from this example. Sometimes, murder is the only way to save people.”
“You’re right, Father. I will save us all by killing you…”
BOOM! A grenade went off in the distance. Over the blast, Andrew could still hear the sound of the man who was inside his trunk, struggle. He turned into his apartment complex’s parking ramp. Slowly, he pulled into a spot right below the surveillance camera. He knew that the camera wasn’t able to see him, due to its angle. Before he exited the car, he turned the radio on and turned it all the way up. He walked to the back of the vehicle, placed the key inside of the lock and pulled open the trunk. Looking down at the squirming man, Andrew greeted him: