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The Genocide of the Believers
Genocide of the Believers
Most people think that the people to break would be the religious people. You see it all the time on TV; people that would die for their religion or were shown ignorant because of their beliefs.
What would you say if I told you that the atheists were the ones to break?
The year 3013. That was the year it began. We’ve had this problem since the beginning of religions. Way before Charles Darwin and straight into the bible stories.
I’m sure you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about. I guess I should tell you. Well here goes nothing…
3013, a man named Jonah, I know ironic, started a group that would change the course of the future forever. The idea? I have no idea, but I know what it leads to. The Relinquish All Religious Believers or now known as the R.A.R.B. It all started out like the Nazis. They were a harmless group that blamed everything on the religious people. (I have a hunch Jonah’s idea came from Hitler). Or maybe the Salem Trials; it doesn’t matter the fact is, is that this group became more than just a group of ranters. To help you figure that out I will go into my story and what it leads to after.
I’m Daylen Hawke. My mom says that I shouldn’t paste my age on here but I’ll tell you anyway. I’m fifteen chasing sixteen, but enough about who I am; let’s just get to the story.
I’m in the year 3028. Fifteen years after it all started. The year I was born.
I wouldn’t have such a bad life if I wasn’t a Christian. If I had been an atheist then I would’ve been living in the sweet suburban areas. Where all the kids got the latest technology and was allowed to do anything they wanted. They could live in peace. They could play games. They could choose what they wanted to be. The atheists sure had the life. The American dream.
Everyone under every religion was forced into poverty and the group I mentioned earlier overtook the governments everywhere and came up with technology that put us in “our place” and because of our morals we didn’t do a thing to over throw them other than threaten to knock them out. Or maybe our hope was just taken away. Apparently there were more atheists than we thought.
Right now I was sitting in the Robos shop waiting for my new neck lace. It was the law to have an updated neck lace for religious people, especially for teenagers.
I guess I should explain the Robos part.
Robos were tortured people that were turned part robot. There were Robos for many different reasons. Sometimes they were dentists or doctors, other times they were mechanics or even slaves. Unfortunately, the believers were the only ones that became Robos. The way to become one? If someone with authority deems that you aren’t worthy of your life. Sometimes if you are born with a birth defect, they automatically turn you Robo once you turn fifteen. Other times you were turned Robo for punishment. It was very sad. Once you became Robo you were never the same. It was as though they lost hope and faith and broke down. I had never seen a Robo that showed any kind of emotion. The worst part was that they were forced out of their homes every year to get the upgrades for the parts they had lost. It was much worse than just being forced to get your new neck lace every so often.
The Robo shop we had here was for getting our neck laces replaced. The Robos had the professional tools to do so.
“Daylen come and sit down.”
I looked up and found one of the Robos there. The clanking of my mother’s high heels told me that she was following close behind. The Robo opened a door and I sat down on the chair like I had done so many times before.
“What does it look like now?” I asked.
The Robo straightened then turned and grabbed something.
“No answer?” I asked.
The Robo shook its head and grabbed my neck lace. I felt the skin tearing away as it ripped it away and quickly placed the new one on my neck where the previous one had been before. If I hadn’t been so used to it I would’ve balled. The closest thing I could compare it to would be tearing a Band-Aid off that had been on your skin for a few days.
I looked down where the neck lace had been. The marks of the neck lace that had been growing into my skin were everywhere. It looked as though it had been scorched into my skin.
When the Robo placed the new one down, it snapped in to place, but was much bigger than the last one I had. It was going to take some time to get used to it.
They must be cracking down on everyone here. Lately there had been up uprisings against the officers and Jonah that held us prisoner. They had kept us prisoner for fifteen years now we were fighting back. We wouldn’t allow them to make us feel inferior anymore. The only problem now was that we were getting caught. Last night there had been multiple people caught. Everyone that had been caught was still awaiting Jonah’s decision, but everyone knew that there were going to be serious repercussions. I had been there. In fact I was one of the leaders. If I had been caught, there would be severe consequences and not just for me. For my whole family. Uprisings always had severe punishments.
“Can I leave now?” I asked.
The Robo opened the door rather than just saying go ahead. I took it as; of course. I looked over at my mom who had been looking at her own neck lace.
“Let’s go.” I said.
She nodded and walked out of the Robo shop.
She didn’t look her age. Her hair was golden brown like my own, but instead of having hazel eyes I had blue grey eyes. Her hair was long and wavy with my dad’s being straight. I got my eyes from my dad but my mom’s hair. Other than those things I pointed out I looked nothing like them. If you didn’t know that they were my parents you’d guess that I was just some kid. For all I know I could be adopted.
When we got settled in on the bus I turned to her.
“What do you think would’ve happened if we had fought back; what do you think would’ve happened if Daniel Carson had stood up to Jonah?” I asked.
Her eyes went wide and she looked around.
“Daylen Hawke!” She snapped slapping the back of my head.
If she weren’t my mom I would’ve reared back and hit her, but I knew she was just looking out for me.
“You know that’s treason!” She exclaimed quietly.
I shrugged and thought of the uprisings. I loved feeling free like that and going to the uprisings were the only way I could ever feel free. Not even at home could I feel like I did there.
Each household required an officer to live with you. Jonah thought that if we knew we couldn’t get away from his supervision that there wouldn’t be any uprisings. He was sure surprised when rumors of an uprising had begun. Fortunately, they weren’t rumors.
I remember the night when we were in school and the distraught Jonah walked into the classroom to talk about the uprising the night before. That was the first night I had seen Jonah and wasn’t going to be the last. The uprisings were a way of life for us now. For me.
The next few nights were chaotic and security multiplied. Our homes had each been ransacked searching for any evidence of the uprisings. If they had found any evidence you were sentenced to death immediately. Apparently Jonah didn’t believe in second chances.
When Jonah had found only but one perpetrator he’d forced two more officers upon each household.
The officer we had now, Jakob was a piece of work. Every time he found me he’d make sure that I was taught a lesson.
Being taught a lesson meant that he’d beat me until I begged him to stop. Jakob only got worse after two more officers were added to the mix. Once the two officers had gotten there Jakob had started terrorizing me 24/7 and I’d grown to feel mostly numb.
The other two officers’ names were Larry and Craig.
Larry was very tall, but still built pretty decently. Larry was new to the force and you could tell. He didn’t do things like the other officers would. Larry would take it much further. Apparently he hadn’t been taught the rules; still the others didn’t care.
Craig was much nicer than the other two, but when he was around them he’d act just as bad. Alone Craig would take care of us. Mainly me I guess, but he was still very much a threat. He was different.
Craig wasn’t tall like Larry or as mean as Jakob, but he was highly trained and young. You could tell by the way he walked that he had some training, but he never used it on me unnecessarily. Craig was by far my favorite officer. If you could have one.
Craig looked like a nineteen year old, but he said he was thirty. His full rich head of black hair told a different story.
I wonder where he grew up to treat me so right. The only explanation I could come up with was his family. He was just so kind and genuine.
I yawned looking around my room where Craig shared with me. Craig’s beer bottles were spread across the floor. I was assuming that he didn’t have a good night.
Craig hardly ever drank, but when he did you could tell he was depressed. I guess if I had his job I would too.
I picked up the beer bottles almost cutting open my wound from last night.
Jakob had learned a new way of torturing me last night and tried it on me. He hadn’t been very successful. In order to for the trick to work on me I would have to be afraid and untrained in pain.
Jakob hadn’t meant to train me to be resistant to pain, but after a while somewhere along the way I learned and now he was left with the task of untraining me. That wouldn’t go over so well. That would mean not hurting me for at least two weeks.
I stumbled out of my room and into Larry who had been laying on the couch a moment ago.
He glared at me looking for a fight.
“What are you doing with those?!” He snapped.
Jakob turned around from his game and smiled waiting for a fight to break out.
No one that believed in God was allowed to have extra things like beer or soda.
“You know what I’m doing with these; we do this every Thursday.” I replied pushing past him to the trash can.
Jakob chuckled as Larry’s hand shot for my head. I quickly swerved to the side and shoved Larry over.
Larry fell to the ground shell shocked.
I didn’t know what came over me. I’d never hit or attacked an officer. I guess I was just majorly Ornery today.
I glanced over at Jakob who’d been laughing a moment ago, but now he stood up just as shocked as Larry.
I had no idea where my parents went to, but I was going to be in for some trouble today.
I slammed the trash can lid down angry with the world and heading for my room. When I walked in Craig stood up looking out of it. He turned staring off into my eyes as I slammed the door and walked over to him.
“Are you alright?” I asked him.
He turned his head to stare at the door then back at me.
“I drank too much last night.” He replied with his face turning a pale green.
I stood up straight fearing he would throw up in here. The last time he threw up in here it took weeks to get rid of the smell.
“Do you need help up to the bathroom?” I asked.
He nodded standing up. I sighed opening the door and pushing Craig to the bathroom.
As soon as Craig got to the bathroom, Larry pulled me into his arms starting to rip at my wound. I guess he didn’t like being shoved.
I let out a squeak kicking out at Larry. Larry stumbled back and I clung onto the kitchen counter as Larry started to yank on my arms.
“I think you need a lesson today.” Larry said.
I took a deep breath in and turned around seeing that Jakob was eating popcorn watching us. The pig.
“Says the stupid one.” I said.
Jakob laughed making Larry much angrier.
“Your kind is stupid.” He said.
I shrugged and heard the bathroom door open.
“What happened this time?” Craig asked.
Jakob laughed again seeing Larry straightening up.
“You should’ve seen it!” Jakob exclaimed walking over to Craig.
“He beat Larry!” He exclaimed chuckling again.
Craig’s eyes turned wide and walked over to me.
“How?” Craig asked.
Jakob shrugged and Craig’s eyes returned to me.
“Don’t tell me you’re going to…” Craig started.
“No, don’t just let me handle this.” Craig said quickly.
I was so confused. I had no idea what they were talking about and Craig looked terrified.
“Go ahead, but next time we’re going to.” Jakob said.
Larry didn’t look too happy.
“You’re seriously going to let this go!” Larry exclaimed.
“He’s never done this before.” Jakob replied.
Craig pulled me into my room and shut the door quickly.
“Are you alright?” Craig asked.
I nodded looking behind me making sure Larry and Jakob weren’t behind me. Or worse, my parents.
“Good.” He said.
I was sitting on my bed and then I wasn’t. Craig slammed me up against the wall and whispered into my ear.
My heart raced past my chest sending me breathing hard and staring into Craig’s eyes.
“Don’t be stupid like this again; you have no idea what I’ve just saved you from!” He snapped.
I nodded feeling the pressure leap from my chest in a hurry.
Craig stepped back with the anger quickly disappearing. I bit down on my lip trying to hold back the intense anger that came over me earlier.
Craig was acting like a teenage girl on her period. I’ve seen him moody millions of times after a night of drinking, but this was worse than ever before.
Maybe his mood was affecting mine as well. I stood trying to stay standing rather than falling over.
Craig sat down as I tried to figure out what I should do. Everyone was angry with me today I just couldn’t decide who I’d rather be next to.
Craig didn’t get angry much, but when he did you’d better watch out. He was worse than Larry and Jakob put together when he was angry. That made him very dangerous. I definitely wasn’t going to stay in here with him.
My dad was just as bad as Craig. My dad loved me so much, but he had a problem with his temper; so much that he’d been fired from his low paying job. Right now we were living on a couple of dollars I’d managed to get from the street.
Good thing none of the officers had found me. If an officer found you begging or searching the streets for anything that wasn’t yours you’d be punished by whippings.
I looked up at Craig and found him breaking down. Something was seriously wrong around here.
I was snapping at everyone. Craig was breaking down and Larry and Jakob were arguing. What was going on around here?
I sank down to my knees. The pressure was getting to me. I had to calm down. If Craig was scared of what he’d just saved me from then I should be very scared.
I closed my eyes and thought back to the day before.
I had been sitting in my desk shaking myself awake. The teacher’s monotone voice had been lulling me to sleep, but I couldn’t fall asleep again. It was almost Bible study time and if I fell asleep, the principal would go livid, again.
She was lenient about my falling asleep because she knew of my situation at the house, but she was starting to crack down on me. I guess I couldn’t blame her for doing so, but it was beginning to wear on me.
I felt a tap on my shoulder. My best friend, Calvin sat next to me with a smirk.
He pointed straight ahead. I of course, followed his motion.
At first, I wasn’t able to see what he meant, but then I spotted it. In front of the teacher was a trip wire. The trip wire connected to water balloons that hung above him.
My jaw dropped. He was going to pull a prank! Not again!
The last time he pulled a prank he was suspended for a week. His parents had warned him that if he pulled another prank he would be sent to the Barracks.
The Barracks was a place for the religious delinquents were sent to shape up. That meant he would be forced to live with officers for a few months before he could come home. By then his attitude was supposed to disappear.
“Don’t do it!” I mouthed.
He shook his head grinning like crazy. I couldn’t stand it. He terrorized his parents. They did all they could to stop him in his rebellion, (Calvin was the first to attend an uprising, he thought that things should be changed). Now all they could think of was to send him to the Barracks.
I couldn’t imagine going there. The officers only got worse. The place was known for deaths and suicides.
“I’ve got to!” He mouthed back.
His grin turned maniacal. I pushed my hand through my hair. The kid was obsessed with his rebellion against his parents.
I looked around the room. We had just gotten a new teacher a few weeks ago and now we were probably going to lose him too.
He was walking around reading the textbook occasionally looking up at the class. I looked behind me. Kenny, the school’s class clown was cheering him on. No one was listening to the teacher. They were all watching Calvin and I. Everyone wanted to see Calvin’s latest.
“Is something wrong Mr. Hawke?”
I looked up. The teacher stood in front of me.
I looked to Calvin. He shook his head fiercely.
“No, I was just zoning out is all.” I replied.
The teacher frowned and raised a brow.
“You’re sure?” He asked.
I nodded. He started to walk, but hesitated.
“I know you’re a good boy, Mr. Hawke.” He said.
My throat tightened. I frowned. I so badly wanted to cave in, but then Calvin would be sent to the Barracks. I couldn’t do that to him. The teacher knew this. He knew that I wasn’t able to watch someone get humiliated.
I clenched my jaw. He stood an inch away from the wire.
“Since Mr. Hawke interrupted class he’s going to come up and read to us the passage.” The teacher said.
I stood up making a spontaneous decision. I walked into the wire.
The water balloons tumbled down simultaneously onto my head. I gagged instantly. The aroma of rotted milk spilled onto my head getting worse by the second. I was starting to think that there was some rotted blood in there too.
It was all over my face and shirt. I wiped my eyes and looked over at the teacher.
He was in awe. He had never noticed the trip wire an inch in front of him. He never noticed the balloons overhead and I took it for him.
I was beginning to wish I hadn’t. I looked over at Calvin. His jaw dropped. Everyone covered their noses and watched in disgust. I had ruined their fun so it was expected.
“Daylen!” Calvin exclaimed.
I shook my head. Here it came.
“You ruined it!” He snapped.
I ignored his comment and turned to the teacher. He also covered his nose.
“Can I go change and wash up?” I asked.
He nodded still shell shocked.
I walked out of the room plopping down the hallway. This was disgusting, but I was so glad I had my gym clothes with me. They stunk badly after this morning, but it smelled a lot better than the concoction on my head.
Once I got into the pair of black shorts and my grey shirt, I felt much better. Now that I had washed and sprayed as much cologne as possible onto my shirt, I smelled clean.
I walked into the room. The principal, Ms. Jeremiah stood scolding the students. The teacher slumped up against his desk not saying a word.
Ms. Jeremiah turned to me. She smirked a bit and walked to me.
“I’d like to see you out in the hall.” She said.
I looked around. All the kids glanced down. Calvin frowned looking over at me. He pointed his head to the door. I smirked. Oh, Calvin.
I walked out the door with the clanking of high heels behind me.
“You’re a good boy, Daylen.” Ms. Jeremiah started.
Her short blonde hair clung to the back of her neck from the sweat that caked all over her body. It was very hot in our classrooms during the end of spring and the beginning of summer.
Jonah wanted us to get us to submit to the atheist ways.
Many people had turned their backs on God, but there were a few families that were true believers. They knew to stick with God even when it got rough. They knew He would protect us. That was what He did. That was truly believing. It was part of believing.
“You act like a true young man. I hear that you took the balloons for Mr. Opal. I also know that you know who did it.” She stated.
I gulped. I couldn’t rat on Calvin. He was my best friend and I couldn’t let him be taken to the Barracks.
“I’m sorry Ms. Jeremiah. I’m not as intelligent as you think I am. I was just a klutz and walked into the wire. It could’ve been anyone.” I assured.
She folded her arms with a stern look. She knew that I wouldn’t be so oblivious.
“Daylen, don’t lie to me. Just let me know. I have to document this with a perpetrator. They won’t be in big trouble.” She professed.
I bit down on my lip. I could lie and take the blame for the accident or I could save myself and let Calvin go to the Barracks.
“I…I did it Ms. Jeremiah. The other kids kept nagging me to do so and I did, but I felt so guilty about the outcomes that I stepped into it. I deserved it.” I stuttered.
She sighed and scratched her head.
“Daylen I know you wouldn’t do this. I don’t want to blame this incident on you. Just tell me who did it. I promise that they won’t get into any trouble. I just need to know.” She convinced.
I cleared my throat. I knew she wasn’t completely telling the truth. I wasn’t stupid. She still had to punish somebody so I might as well should’ve been me. I lied to the teacher about knowing. I could take the blame if it meant saving someone.
“I’m sorry to disappoint you Ms. Jeremiah. It was me.” I said.
She shook her head and came to me at ear length.
“I don’t think so. I think that it was Calvin that did this like usual and you decided to take the blame so he wouldn’t get into trouble. I think that you tried to get him to stop, but he wouldn’t. That was why you disrupted class.” She conceived.
I yawned trying to sound bored. Maybe she would just let it go.
“I wish the truth would come from you, Daylen, but it won’t. I’ll just convince some other kid of telling me.” She sighed.
She stalked back into the room. I slid down the lockers. This was horrendous. I sacrificed myself for nothing.
I stared up at the ceiling. Why couldn’t something I did ever help? It was getting to be too much. The stress was building.
After my father had been fired, it got harder. It was always scraping for money so we could survive in the world of the atheists. The funds of our household always laid on my shoulders.
Later that day I had found out about the next uprising. I planned on going to it. I would tell my parents that I was going to Calvin’s and then we would meet up at the sewers that ran through the city. I cherished the feeling of freedom. I cherished being a rebel. I wanted to do it more often. I had to do it more often.
I looked around. The streets were deserted. The lights had diminished a few years back so there was no need to be worried of any intruders seeing us. I looked down at my outdated watch. The stupid thing never beeped at each hour like it was programmed to. The digital clock was long passed its life just barely lighting up. It was an ancient tool.
Calvin must’ve already gone in. I was five minutes late due to being confronted by Jakob. I lifted the steel lid that covered the entrance in. Phew! The aroma stung my nose. The sewers must not have been cleaned out in a while.
I turned around descending the tunnel. I held on to the ladder with one arm and pulled the lid over with the other. I couldn’t let the patrol find us because of some stupid rookie mistake.
“Hey, Daylen! You’re a little late!”
I grinned. The oldest kid stood guard allowing us to feel secure enough to stay long. His name was Isiah and he was from one of the biggest religion believers. He was catholic and took everything very serious. Especially these meetings. He knew that we weren’t meant to be slaves like we were forced. He knew that God never wanted his people to be imprisoned like we were. He was actually the first that came up with the idea of the uprisings. He had organized it all. There was actually a rumor going on that he had gotten a vision from God himself.
Either way if there was no guard we would all be caught. They learned that the hard way during the second uprising.
The uprisings were the popular thing around the block. Only the kids attended, but they did it well. It was the newest popular thing to do. I had heard from Calvin, one of the original rebels, and decided to go to the third meeting. I never would have come if it weren’t for Calvin. I had to admit, though. I was hooked. I needed the feeling of freedom. The uprising was where I got it.
“I know I am. I’m sorry, I promise it won’t happen again.” I apologized.
He smirked patting me on the shoulder.
“I would never ban you from the uprisings, Daylen! You’re one of the few true rebels we have! Without you we wouldn’t have gotten the last thirty kids for the last meeting!” He exclaimed.
I grinned back. I knew I liked Isiah. He was a genuine guy with the means of freeing our people.
“You’d better get in there. Calvin is getting everyone fired up.” He warned.
I held out my hand. The secret shake. Isiah grabbed my hand going through the motions.
I pulled back and began racing down the tunnel. I was going to miss my key if I didn’t hurry. I slid across the corner almost slamming into the wall. It was amazing, but I couldn’t stay and try again.
I raced down the next tunnel turning and almost running into the crowd. I stood in awe. We had more people here than we’d ever had. There had to at least be two hundred people. All of them wore their masks like required. Only the elite members were allowed to speak without their masks during the meetings. This kept everyone from ratting on each other except for the people that had proved themselves. They would hold their tongues for anyone. That included me.
I pushed through the crowd trying to make it to the wooden platform we had constructed. Calvin stood on top of the platform with the mike in his hand. He ranted on the top of his lungs like he always did at the meetings. He brought such intensity to our group. This was only one of the dozens of meeting places that popped up around the city.
“Calvin! Hey, down here!” I exclaimed.
Calvin looked down with a mischievous grin. He pushed down the rope allowing me to climb aboard.
“The Hawke, everyone!” He exclaimed.
I shook my head. That stupid nickname. It’d been given to me at the first real conference I’d been to for the uprisings. I had been so fired up that I had jumped on top of the stage and began ranting for the first time. It got so bad that I had leapt into the crowd.
He handed me the mike. It was time to get chaotic. It was time to be free.
“Who’s ready for some freedom?” I exclaimed.
The crowd roared in response.
“I’m glad to hear that. Now, let’s get started!” I shouted.
The music started playing in the background. It was time to get down to business. Anybody was going to be able to speak about their frustrations. Anybody was allowed to share their hatred for the nonbelievers. They would be able to sing, dance and just chat with their friends. They could chill out.
I leaned back in my chair sitting only on two legs. Calvin stood next to me with our dear friend, Christian. He was another firm believer in the uprisings. He was the second in command next to Isiah and loved to rant about his hatred for the officers.
“So today I was walking home when one of them stopped me…” He said.
I stopped listening after a while. It was always the same thing. I was beginning to get tired. I looked down at my watch. 12:30 AM. My parents would be livid.
I hated this stupid watch. I stood up. It was time to go. I had my fun and rants.
“I think I’d better…”
I whipped around. Isiah gasped. Behind him, three officers stood with their favorite weapons. Tasers.
I gulped and looked back at Calvin. He jumped out of his chair.
“Run! Code Red! Code Red!” He yelled.
The room suddenly became chaotic. The crowd rushed towards the emergency exit. I could no longer see Isiah. I hoped they didn’t take him out.
I felt a grab on my arm and beat the hand before looking. Calvin grasped onto my arm looking more worried than ever.
If it weren’t for me being there Calvin would have stayed and fought with the officers, but he wouldn’t let me be caught.
“We’ve got to get out of here!” He yelled.
My heart raced. I didn’t know what to do.
I shook my head.
“I can’t leave. I need to find Isiah!” I argued.
He looked frustrated.
“You can’t! We have a secret escape for the elite members! He’ll make it there!” He exclaimed.
I frowned. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t leave him behind without knowing.
“I’m going to find him. I’m going to make sure he’s alright!” I exclaimed.
“Fine, go through there. Once you get to a fork, take the second. That will lead you to the next point into the city!” He shouted.
I followed his finger with great care. I nodded. He looked at me one last time and ran off.
I looked around. The room cleared out fast. It cleared out fast enough for me to spot the officers. And Isiah. He laid on the floor face down. As far as I could see, he was the only one that they had captured.
One officer stood guard while the others tried catching the crowd. I bit down on my lower lip. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t let them see my face.
I scanned the area. A mask laid down on the floor. Someone must’ve dropped their mask when they were running. I ran to it pulling it over my head. A few feet away a pipe lay slumped against the wall. I picked it up. Now it was time to become suicidal.
I ran at the officer catching him off guard. He didn’t have a chance to arm himself before I got there. I gripped the pipe tightly swinging it as though it were a bat. The pipe connected to his jaw and knocked him off his feet.
He didn’t stay there long. A few seconds later, he hopped back up smirking.
“I didn’t think your kind fought.” He said.
“Maybe we should.” I spat.
He lunged for me. I kicked out shoving him to the ground.
He got up once more.
“You seem as though you have experience fighting.” He said.
“Never.” I replied.
I leapt up smashing the pipe into his head. He instantly collapsed. I dropped the pipe turning to Isiah. He moaned. Just in time.
I quickly ran over to him. We had to get out of there. Only a few more dozen rushed out the door.
I pulled Isiah up and wrapped his arm around me. He threw all his weight onto me.
I turned slowly. An officer glared at me.
“Don’t move or die.” He spat.
I gulped. I had never been in trouble like this with the officers.
“So when you say don’t move does that mean I can’t talk either?” I mused.
The officer raised a brow.
I quickly through the pipe at him and dashed behind a wall. He wasn’t able to see me. I let go of a breath. No more running.
I watched as more officers ran past. Isiah groaned again. I pushed him up against the wall. He opened his eyes fixating them on me.
“Shh! If you don’t be quiet we’re going to be caught!” I hissed.
He nodded and stood up. I motioned him to follow.
We ran past the fork in the tunnel, turning on the second.
My heart filled with relief. The ladder was within arm length. I started climbing it when I was pulled back.
Isiah shoved me against the wall.
“Who are you? I must ask who my savior is.” He questioned me.
I grinned and pulled the mask off.
He smirked and shook his head.
“I shouldn’t be surprised. Of course, it was you. You’re either the dumbest person I’ve ever met or the bravest. Two officers.” He marveled.
He released his grip on me.
“I’m voting for bravest.” I joked.
He shook his head again.
“I didn’t know you could fight like that. I didn’t know you knew how to fight.” He said.
“I didn’t either. I’ve never actually fought before. It was just instinct. It isn’t too hard when you analyze.” I replied.
His jaw dropped.
“You went out there without knowing how to fight?” He wailed.
I nodded. What was the big deal?
“That’s just luck.” He marveled.
I grinned sheepishly.
Now his face turned serious. I guess he got back on track.
“Do you know if the other members got away? Calvin? Christian?” He asked.
I thought back. Christian had run off with Calvin.
“Both left. I watched them.” I replied.
He folded his arms.
“Hopefully no one was caught. We’re going to have to gather at one of the other bases.” He sighed.
I felt the same way. This was the easiest place to get to where we could just chill out, but now they found it. It wasn’t safe anymore. I loved the place. It was the first place I had gone to.
“It’s sad to see it go away. I like the place.” I moaned.
“Let Calvin know, Ramon’s Reach.” He ordered.
I nodded. You never disobeyed Isiah. He was the leader. What he said went.
He looked up frowning.
“We’d better go. The whole place will be swarming with officers in a couple minutes.” He warned.
I climbed up the ladder after Isiah. We had to leave. It was sad, but true.
That must’ve been what had caused my outburst. I was angry because yet another thing had been taken from me. I was angry because I was fired up. I was angry because Isiah wasn’t able to show his face again. I was angry because this was genocide.
I stood up. I had finally figured out what had gotten over me, but I had to hide that resentment. Jakob and Larry would exploit it.
“Daylen come here.” Craig commanded.
I walked slowly to him. I would go to him with no argument. He treated me human. He was different from the others.
“You know of the uprisings, yes?” He asked.
I nodded slowly. What could he possibly get at? Did he know?
“You know that Jonah is cracking down then?” He asked.
I again nodded. What did that have to do with anything?
“You must know that every officer is being forced to remove all the rebellious kids. It isn’t anything taken lightly. They plan on forcing all the kids into one building. The ones that are troublesome are taken to another place, a camp. There the kids are forced to either fight to the death with others or they are burned. They are burned to a crisp in a furnace.” He said.
I already felt the tears rush to my eyes. How could they do such a thing? How could they kill off thousands of kids like that? Everyone is rebellious at least once in their lives. They couldn’t kill all these children.
“That’s not fair! They can’t!” I hissed.
He shushed me quickly. I didn’t think that I was allowed to know.
“They don’t care about being fair. There is only one issue for them. The planet is becoming too overpopulated. With the religious being the minority, they have decided to kill offspring or the young.” He said.
My stomach churned. They weren’t even giving us a chance for redemption. They were killing off an entire group of people! That was evil! God didn’t want that!
“Aren’t we even given a chance to live?” I squeaked.
“A very slight chance. Have you ever heard of Rome?” He asked.
I shook my head. Was that a famous person?
“Rome was a very ancient city. In Rome, people were separated by the different classes, high, low and middle. High class meant that you held the most money. Low class meant that you were dirt poor and middle class meant that you were in between. The low class was a very bad place to be, but there was one worse. That class was being a slave. In Rome, they were famous for games to the death where they fought to win back their lives.” He explained.
Okay, Rome was a place divided by four classes. There were slaves that fought to the death for their freedom.
“What does that have to do with the chance?” I asked.
He held a grim face.
“We have taken that idea from Rome. If you choose to fight to the death you are given the chance to live again. The catch is that you have to fight more than just one person. You have to fight many. Once you do this you go back to your old life.” He said.
I gasped. Rome was my least favorite city; because of Rome, they got this idea.
“Your life will be determined on how well you do. If you get applauds you continue. If you get boos you die on the spot.” He said.
I gulped. That could’ve been my future. I could’ve been killed.
“Why children? They don’t know any better! They are kids!” I fumed.
He shushed me again.
“Children will grow old enough to make more children. The adults will have already spent their lives past producing offspring.” He explained.
Evil. Evil! Evil! Evil! I disliked these people very much! How could they kill kids? How could they commit genocide? It looked as though Jonah was taking ideas from Hitler’s journal! The burning. The different “species”. The camps. The mass murders!
God wouldn’t let this happen to us. He would do something about it. He would stop it. He would at least send someone to stop it. He always watched over us. He would help us.
“Don’t you guys feel remorse?” I spat.
He looked a little hurt.
“Of course we do. We aren’t heartless people. Everyone just looks out for themselves.” He replied.
That summed it up pretty good. Everyone was out for himself or herself. Unless of course you had morals. In other words, the religious people. I had never met someone that didn’t believe in God that had morals. It saddened me. Everyone deserved to be given the chance to shine. To see the shine.
He picked up another beer. I shook my head.
“Oh no! No! No more beer today!” I scolded.
Craig glared at me. I shrugged. He was going to be drunk with a hangover if he wasn’t careful.
“Just keep this in mind. I don’t want you going there.” He pestered.
I nodded. Craig might’ve been an officer, but he was a kind man.
“Daylen! Get out here!”
I looked at Craig in response.
“Dismissed.” He declared.
I opened the door then halted. I had something to say.
“You’re a good man, Craig.” I said.
His face morphed into a sulking face. He shook his head.
“No I’m not. If you’d seen what I’ve done you would disagree.” He replied.
With that thought, I walked out.
I grimaced as I scanned the area. Dad was home and Larry and Jakob stood next to him. None of them looked happy.
“Jakob tells me of your behavior. You and I must talk.” He said.
The tension returned to my shoulders. I knew what that meant. Another lecture.
“In my room, now.” He demanded.
I moped to the other end of the small house. That could only mean one thing. He was furious. Only when he was fed up or upset he would make mom or me to go with him to their room.
I could already smell the stench. Their room was right next to the bathroom and since the believers weren’t allowed to own any chemicals such as cleaning products, it always stunk.
“What were you thinking?” He questioned.
I looked around the room trying to keep my eyes from connecting to his. I couldn’t handle the death glare.
The room hadn’t changed much in ten years. My parents had always wanted for it to be the focal point to the house, but they never managed to get to it. The walls were once white, but now a days, it was more of a stale yellow from the years of cigarette smoke. The once pretty red velvet sheets laid on the ground jumbled into a ball and the dark oak dresser was missing nobs. Their bed lost a leg long ago so it wasn’t a surprise that it was lopsided. The nightstand sat opened and covered in thick stacks of job applications for the believers.
“Are you listening to me?” He snarled.
“Yes.” I mumbled.
“Of course you are. You’d better. As I was saying, if you ever do that again, you won’t be seeing Calvin again. He’s had a very bad influence on you and I’m tired of it. There’ll not be any more of this rebellion!” He exclaimed.
I gasped. They couldn’t make me stay away from Calvin! He was my best friend! I was my own person! I could choose whom I hung out with!
“You can’t force me to quit being friends with Calvin!” I snapped.
Dad’s eyes nearly popped out his head. There was his rage. The rage that almost got him sentenced to death.
“You’ll do whatever I say! You’re fifteen and I am your father! That boy is a hooligan and if you think I’m going to let you become just like him you’ve got something coming to you!” He shouted.
I was dumbfounded. How could he do that to me? He knew that Calvin was everything to me. He knew that Calvin had done everything for me.
“I will never quit being friends with Calvin. Go ahead and ground me. Do whatever you want, but I will not abandon my best friend!” I challenged.
Dad looked ready to flip over things. He looked ready to backhand me. I didn’t care at that point. The stress of cleaning up his own mess was too much. The loss of good friends, the thought of the genocide about to happen. All of it.
“I outta whip you boy! You don’t disrespect your parents like that!” He spat.
I clenched my jaw and wrinkled my nose. I was giving him the glare from the pits of the underworld.
“Don’t you lecture me about respect! You were just fired because of your disrespect! If you want me to start listening stop being a hypocrite! Stop leaving messes for me to clean up! I can’t take it anymore!” I shrieked.
He took a step back as though I had punched him. Tears came to his eyes. He was hurt. I had hindered his heart, but it had to be said. This was the second time he had been fired because of his temper and I had to keep cleaning it up. I was tired of it.
“Just go to your room.” He commanded.
My heart pumped with the boiling blood. I was ready to burn down houses. No one would listen to me!
“I will, but not because of you. Because I don’t want to be around you anymore.” I retorted.
He moved out of the way. If he hadn’t I would’ve plowed him over. If he hadn’t mentioned Calvin I would’ve been fine and left under normal circumstances, but he had to push my buttons.
Jakob, Larry and my mom all stood in front of the door listening intently. Once I walked out all of them backed away. My mom looked a little upset, but she wasn’t going to say anything. She was the link that kept us in check. She didn’t like to confront people.
“It seems to me that you need an attitude adjustment.” Larry roared.
I gave him a look of disgust, but thought of Craig’s warning. I didn’t want to be put to death. I couldn’t fight worth anything. That would leave me to burning to a crisp. I shivered at the thought.
“Let him be. He’s had enough today.”
I peered behind Larry. Craig stood there solid with a stubborn look. He pushed past Mom and Jakob.
“Why are you protecting the boy? He’s Christian!” Larry snapped.
Craig glared right through Larry’s tough act.
“Leave the boy alone. It’s none of your business for my reasons.” He warned.
Larry looked ready to hurl he was so scared. It was almost comical.
“Go on.” Larry mumbled.
Craig pulled on my sleeve ushering me to the bedroom. He was really moody today. Good thing for it.
Once he slammed the door, I looked around.
Craig had cleaned the room up real nice. Both my bed and his were made perfectly. The TV was sparkling with the lights’ shine. You could see the floor. Nothing was on the floor and the trash had been taken out. Even the closet was organized with my clothes and his.
What happened here?
“Wow. Looks brand new.” I stated.
Even the white walls looked washed.
“It took me fifteen minutes to do so, so it better’d be.” He replied.
I cleared my throat.
“Why did you save me? You’ve never done this before.” I questioned.
If it would’ve been any other officer I would’ve been beaten for questioning their motives, but like I’ve said, Craig was different.
He opened his mouth, but nothing came out.
“You remind me of my little boy. The boy’s my life.” He reminisced.
He frowned suddenly.
“Was my life.” He corrected.
I almost cried. Not only had an officer trusted a piece of information with me, but he also trusted me with a dramatic piece of information.
“He was so much like you. Bright and kind. Helpful, genuine.” He told me.
He looked up at me. Tears already poured down his face. I sat down next to him.
“He sounds wonderful. How old is he?” I asked.
More tears spilled down his face. I had never met an officer such as him.
“He was twelve, but…he was murdered yesterday. He was shot.” He cried.
That was terrible. The poor boy died at twelve. I didn’t care if he was atheist. He was still a little boy.
He suddenly turned on me with fury melding over.
“If you ever tell anyone of this I will do much worse than Jakob has ever done!” He snapped.
I now understood his anger. I understood why he drank so much last night. His little boy had left him and he slept in the same room with a boy similar to him.
I never thought of what Jonah had done to the families of the officers. He had pulled them apart. Craig’s boy died and he wasn’t even there to see him go. He wasn’t there to see his son’s funeral. He didn’t even hear it from his wife’s lips. He got it by someone else. That was worse than being beaten everyday It was worse than being humiliated in public. Craig had opened my eyes.
“I promise I won’t. I’m sorry for your loss.” I replied.
He nodded and stood up.
“You know, you’re not so bad for an officer.” I confessed.
“And you’re not so bad for a Christian.” He replied.
He yawned and looked down at his watch.
“It’s ten. You’d better get to bed before nightwatch comes out.” He warned.
I yawned too. What could I say? Yawns were contagious.
“Thanks for the help out there. I appreciate it.” I thanked him.
“If you want to pay it back then keep your behavior under control and go to sleep.” He replied.
I stuck my hand out. I could do that. I would even shake on it.
He grabbed my hand and shook it.
“I will do so much better to keep my behavior under control.” I promised.
Unless it came to the uprisings. I wasn’t giving those up.
“Good. I don’t want Jakob and Larry on my back all the time.” He said.
I climbed up the ladder to my bed. The bunk bed was a little unsteady, but it still held together.
I closed my eyes and waited for the next day to arise.