In Kineer, there’s only one rule. Fight or die.
Everyone knows this rule, not just the ones who fight in the war. In the city, danger lurks at every corner, at least for the ones who live in hiding. They’re born to fight from the moment they come out into the world. This sick, twisted world, created by a young politician who had dreamed of a world where violence was a thing of the past. Where hate and anger never existed and sorrow would never be seen. Following her dream to create a serum that once injected, could cure any sickness, and destroy any ounce of weakness in your bones. To many, it sounded like a fairy tale. But in the great city of Kineer, there was always a chance. With a powerful voice, you could be anyone you wanted. In a city, torn by war and sickness you could make anyone follow you if you gave them even a shred of hope. Unfortunately, hope couldn’t cure the greed and darkness that followed soon after. Creating a serum that only the richest people could afford, leaving the middle and poor to rot in the slums where sickness would spread like wildfire. Blocking out the sickness with a large wall, surrounding the inner city where they lived wealthy lives.
But in the slums, there once was more than met the eye. The families that had been banished there built their own homes out of the little supplies they were offered. One by one, apartments finally had electricity and for the first time ever, people of all intelligence were working together. Criminals, ex-workers in high fields working towards a common goal.
To destroy Madame President.
And they had tried just that, led by a man named Jay, they had tried to approach the wall, only to get killed without mercy. I could still hear his voice, see the light die from his eyes as I held him, tears streaming down my face. The man who had always believed in me, who had ever cared for me.
My only father.
Ever since then, the weak who dared to oppose Madame President were taken away to be experimented on.
Or in my case, hunted like prey.
Pain flashed through me as I slammed into the wall of the alleyway. I let out a grunt, only to roll to the side just in time to avoid a long steel blade, slicing the spot my head had just been. I glanced up, seeing the dark visor belonging to the mask of a peacekeeper guard, staring down at me. Thinking fast I quickly thrust my leg out, slamming it into his shin. As he stumbled I shot up, grabbing his blade and with one smooth motion thrust it into his side. The guard doubled over and I heard a muffled gasp. I dug the blade deeper, ignoring my satisfaction as he went still. Panting I rose to my feet, clutching my side as I staggered out into the street. Surrounding me were hundreds of metallic buildings, reaching far up into the sky. Neon lights decorating their rims, shining brighter than the moon itself. The road itself was smooth, and completely clean reflecting the lights around it in a brilliance of color. Shivering I took a step forward, only for an electric car to suddenly zoom by me. Shocked I just managed to jump out of the way, glaring after them. But they were the least of my problems as I suddenly heard the loud blaring of an alarm. I looked up towards a building that was taller than any of the others. Its front, decorated with the symbol of a peace sign with a bird’s wings stretched out towards the edges. To my horror I saw the top suddenly retract, releasing hundreds of drones into the sky. They flew through the air, each with a camera and laser. Panicking, I stumbled back into the alleyway as a voice suddenly spoke over a loud intercom.
“All citizens return to your houses immediately! This is code red. I repeat. This is code red.”
Anger surged through me and I let out a snarl of frustration. I went over to the man, grasping the blade and pulling it out of his body, wincing as the blood gushed out, spraying onto my lavender coat. I grabbed my navy blue fedora that had been lying a few feet away, putting it on as I limped out onto the street down the metallic street, cars and people running past me, barely paying any attention to me. But as I made my way towards an intersection something suddenly slammed into my back, throwing me off my feet. Dazed I shook my head, whipping around to see a young man, clutching his own head. But when he glanced at me, his face turned whiter than snow. He let out a blood-curdling scream that alerted the others. They too immediately started to scream, pushing others out of the way as they tried to get away from me.
You can’t be serious! But I didn’t have time to ponder my bad luck as suddenly a group of drones surrounded me. Tiny turrets appeared from their tops and I heard a voice speak again.
“Surrender now Rose!” My heart began to beat faster and I clenched my hands. I looked around, seeing the citizens watching with terror in their eyes. My mind suddenly flashed back, remembering how they watched as hundreds of agents burned. Watching the peacekeepers take them away, killing any who tried to fight. I saw Jay grabbing my shoulders, shaking me, his face ridden with blood.
“Run Rose!” he shouted.
Run! My head shot up and I let out a scream of pure rage. The fire within me shot out, enveloping the streets in a wave of heat. Screams of agony ripped through the sky. The drones exploded, their metallic shells launching in every direction. One hit a man, knocking him to the ground as others were scorched. Staggering to my feet, I saw that everyone had vanished, leaving only the burning corpses and broken pieces of the drones. Fighting back the pain, I began to make my way towards the edge of the city, where a huge wall, made out of the same material as the city, stood. But as I made my way to the checkpoint gate, I saw a pair of peacekeeper guards their guns aimed right at me.
“Halt!” One of the guards shouted, his voice muffled. But I didn’t listen, walking towards them as I felt the fire engulf my eyes. They stepped back but didn’t lower their guns as the guard shouted again.
“Stop right there! I command you to-augh!” His words were interrupted by a scream of agony as I suddenly grabbed him with my left hand, the mechanical nails tearing through his armor like paper. His friend raised his gun, but I quickly reached into my coat pocket with the other hand, throwing a pair of shurikens at his neck, slicing it clean. As they fell to the floor I let out a groan, collapsing onto the ground as the pain came rushing back.
No! You can’t give in! Get up. Gritting my teeth, I pulled out the guard’s blade, using it to push myself onto my feet, hunching over like an old woman. I limped past the gates, the ground turning into cobblestone and concrete as I walked into the broken-down streets of the slums, leaving a crimson path behind me, my back glowing like fire, reflecting the anger that burned within