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Another World's Time: Where The Useless Go

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"There goes another one," Hunter mumbles to me, under her breath.

I look over. A small girl with dark hair is being haled off by two female guards.

"Where are they taking her?" I ask, still gazing after the girl in awe.

"Where all the other 'defected' ones go."

My head snaps up to her. Her eyes seem scream at me, emotion clouding them. Sorrow swims in their dark depths.

"What do you mean, the 'defected ones'?" I say.

Hunter bits her lip, thinking hard. She straightens up, lets out a hurried breath.

"The Others took us because they needed workers, workers to rebuild and help along their planet's production. They need earth for it's resources, but we are simply slave labor. We are expendable." She shakes her head, sighs again. "And because we are not perfect-- because you know, we are human, after all-- those who are sick, or disabled, or.. aren't obedient enough for their taste get... sent away."

My mouth audibly flaps open, shaping it's self into a big round "O".

"I know," Hunter says, "I know, it's terrible."

"Do The Others kill them?" I demand.

Hunter shrugs helplessly. "I don't know. But I do know, that once you are marked 'defected', you never return to this colony. Ever."

"Hey, Leona!"

I look up, see it's Syris, back from patrolling. I can feel a smile lighten up my face at the sight of him.

"Hi," I say once he's reached us.

"You guys working, or talking?" he laughs.

I try to smile again, but this time I can't bring myself to fake it. The memory of the previous conversation ruins my brighter mood, and my heart sinks. I turn my attention back to the ground, the dirt I'm suppose to be planting squash seeds in. I kneel down and continue the planting pattern we were instructed to follow.

"Hey, sorry if you guys can't take a joke," Syris says. I can feel him kneeling down next to me in the dirt. He grabs a handful of seeds, noticing the pattern they follow, and continues it.

"I'm sorry," I tell him after a minute.

"It's fine, Lee," he says, and I can see him smiling out of the corner of my eye. He's forgiven me.

"So," I say, trying to lighten the mood, "how was the patrol? See any wildlife?"

"Ha-ha," Syris snaps half-heartedly. He and I both know there is no wildlife on this deserted terrain.

"Nothing of interest, then?" Hunter prompts.

"Nah," Syris sighs. "No one has tried to escape yet. No dead bodies."

I can't tell if he's joking or not. It's hard to tell with Syris because he's just so good at putting up a front.

"Did you see the girl?" My voice is almost a whisper, like I don't want anyone else to hear. I look up and around me, just to make sure we're out of immediate hearing range. Everyone else in the field is intent on planting.

"The girl?" Syris's eyebrows knit together. "You're going to have to be a bit more specific, Leona."

"She means the girl the Others dragged off a few minutes ago. You would've crossed their path. There's only one road," Hunter says.

"Oh." Syris makes a face. He did see her. "Yeah, I remember. Poor girl."

"Do you know where they took her?" I ask.

"No idea," Syris says. When he looks up, his eyes are too intense. Their normal, light blue color is iced over and dark, like a sapphire. "No one knows where The Others take the useless ones."



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