Jacklin's breaths created fog against the glass as he waited for the water to rise. The water pumped into the glass case was meant to suffocate them with water. Just barely, so that they would be more appreciative of the death that they'll be given after it.
'Stupid,' Jacklin thought, 'What crap.'
He was composed as the water rose. Urak had closed his eyes, Tracer was looking back at Jacklin, the woman with them had a worried expression on her face. Katelyn looked down at her feet, through the not so clear water.
"Make sure that it's exactly one minute," Jacklin heard the vice say.
'That's easy,' Jacklin thought, 'I could do three minutes.'
Unconsciously, the corners of his mouth rose a little.
"Make sure to drown that one though," The vice added. Jacklin whipped his head back towards the man and he could see a wicked grin playing on his face.
"Don't think I'll let you go so easy boy," The man snickered. Then with a wave of his hand, he added, "On with the lids!"
The lids of the case slid onto the top, blocking any escape. Now that he was trapped, and now knowing that he was going to die, Jacklin started to panic. The water now was just under his chest.
Jacklin looked around the case, looking for a way to escape. There were no holes, no gap, no pipe, no way out. The water continued to rise. It was up to his neck now.
Jacklin hurled a fist against the glass, making the whole case shudder. But it didn't break or crack under his strength.
"You won't get out of there human," The Vice cackled. Jacklin only glared back at him.
Despite the fact that Jacklin was half-human and half-daemon, the Vice couldn't tell. Half-borns looked human. They had horns too, but they only appeared in a few circumstances.
One, if they wanted someone to know. Two, if they feel threatened. And Three, if they are scared.
In this instant, with the water rising, Jacklin was troubled. It would be bad if people found out he was a half-born. His hands trembled in anger and frustration, as well as worry.
But he never relented. He pounded and pounded on the glass. By now, the water was just about to go over his nose. Jacklin took one big breath before going under.
He looked over at the others to see that they were in the same situation. He continued to bang against his confinement but nothing worked. The minutes passed the same way, Jacklin never relenting in his attempt at escape.
Soon he saw that the others had been let out. Katelyn looked at him with worry.
"Are you drowning him!?" Tracer shouted. Even though water and glass surrounded him, Jacklin could hear his voice.
"Hold him down."
The men beside the Vice grabbed Tracer and forced him in his spot.
"This isn't right! This isn't a fair death penalty!" Tracer shrieked. His eyes seemed to swirl with anger, his hands raised in fists.
The Vice only smiled. As Tracer resumed his shouting and protest, the edges of Jacklin's vision began to fray. The crowd laughed and jeered.
His eyes started to close, and he could feel water seeping into his mouth. Soon, it would fill his lungs and kill him. The raucous laughter of the crowds was the last thing Jacklin heard before he lost his consciousness.
He awoke with a sputter, gasping for air, as his eyelids fluttered open. His ribs hurt. A lot. He looked at the figure bent over him, thumping him on the chest with his fist. Jacklin sat himself up and the man stopped, backing away.
'What's happening?' Jacklin thought for a moment. The Vice stepped into his vision and grinned.
"Thought I'd let you live this time. You were in the water for a long time and yet you only lost consciousness after a while," The Vice said, cleaning under his nails. There was a pause. Then he kicked out at Jacklin, making him fall back onto the earth. Jacklin got up, dirt smeared across his face. He balled his fists up at his sides.
"It would be more enjoyable to watch you be humiliated. It'll teach you a lesson." Then, the vice turned to look at the crowds, "And they seem to be enjoying it too."
Men, who seemed to appear out of nowhere grabbed him and dragged him along where the rest of his group kneeled.
"It's a shame you couldn't show the crowd more."
The Vice faked enthusiasm and smirked.
"Let the last and final one begin!"
The crowd whooped and cheered. Men were dragging out a large guillotine from one of the smaller gates of the place and propped it up in the middle. A basket was put under one side, and someone went to sharpen the blade. The scratching of the blade against another hurt Jacklin's ears. Slowly, they were dragged towards it.
"Alright listen up!" The Vice yelled. His voice echoes around the building and the crowd went into whispered bushes. "To determine the line of order which gets to get executed first, yell louder as I walk by each person!"
"Yeah!" Someone shouted from the crowd. The rest followed suit, into an uproar.
The Vice walked slowly behind Jacklin and his crew - his steps menacing. The crowds got louder as it approached Jacklin. Jacklin smirked inside. It was a good thing that they were choosing him. It would be much easier to act on their plan this way.
"This boy is your choice?"
The crowd cheered. The Vice glared down at Jacklin and kicked - sending Jacklin sprawling on the ground once more.
"But, don't you think it's best to save him for last?" The Vice announced. The people guffawed in agreement. Then, it was settled. Jacklin was going last.
The rest of the choosing went quickly.
The woman was going first, followed by Urak, Katelyn, Tracer, and finally Jacklin.
As the buff woman was led to the guillotine, Urak watched wide-eyed. He was shaking, his hands making noise as the handcuffs clattered against each other. His bony wrists were thin, frail. It seemed as if his wrists would snap at the slightest movement.
Tracer shot Jacklin a look. Katelyn did too.
Jacklin bit his lip. He nodded slightly and started to strain against the manacles that bound his wrists. He had worked on the puzzle the day before, making it easier to get out. Not to mention everyone else's when the time came.
Tracer - with whatever Urak managed to snag and keep through the many years he was kept in the prison - he was able to make a small smoke bomb. Not to mention, Tracer was good at making these things. He had grown up doing this exact thing. All Jacklin needed was time to break the cuffs and throw the smoke bomb for their escape.
Jacklin snuck a glance around to see all the guards and men focused on the guillotine and the nearing death of the buff woman. He started to pull them apart, feeling the cuffs straining against him. Bolts fell onto the floor in silence, covered by the yelling of the stands. Then with a final pop, the handcuffs broke apart, leaving his hands free.
Jacklin swiveled his head here and there - just to make sure he could do his task without being forced into another pair of handcuffs again.
No one had noticed yet.
He started to pull something out of his pocket, using only the slightest movement when he looked up at the crowd and saw someone pointing at him, his voice drowned out by the rest of the people. He didn't have time to just sit there. He had to act. The man in the stands will soon alert the others and the guards would soon notice.
Looking back up, Jacklin saw the buff woman with her head in the guillotine, the block of wood placed firmly over the back of her neck. The noise went up to a deafening volume.
Then with a final graceful sweep of his hand, he threw the bomb onto the floor and it erupted; covering the dome-shaped building with smoke in every corner.
Jacklin didn't know it would be this powerful. But he had no time to think about that. He raced over to everyone else and helped those who were human to break their cuffs.
"Follow Urak! We got to get out of here!" Jacklin heard Tracer yell.
"The other woman!" Katelyn yelled, just loud enough for those around her to hear.
"I'll get her!" Tracer shouted over the noise, "Just follow Urak and don't lose him!"
Then without a moment's hesitation, Tracer disappeared from view beside us. Urak was already running along, his thin sandals crunching along the gravel like floor.
Jacklin looked into the fog with worry.
'Tracer won't get hurt... he's strong,' Jacklin tried to reassure himself. Then shouting got him out of his trance.
"We got to go!" Katelyn shouted. Jacklin turned to look at her. Her face was stricken with worry and fear, looking at Jacklin with some sort of desperation. He couldn't blame her. She was scared, just like he was.
Jacklin nodded and followed her, willingly letting the other girl pull him along. They ran for another minute or so before Katelyn suddenly stopped, making Jacklin crash into the thinner figure.
"Nothing's wrong. Just follow the people running out of the stadium," Urak said, barely audible. Then with a sudden jerk from a bony hand, all three tumbled into the throng of people, pushing and shoving each other to get out.
Despite Urak's thin and frail bony hands, his grip was strong - never letting go of Jacklin or Katelyn. Once they were outside, Urak directed them into an alley of sorts, pulling them along. Jacklin had almost tripped a couple of times.
"Where are we going?" Jacklin asked, finally managing to take a breath as they slowed down. They had been running for a while now, and they were standing in another alley, surrounded by stone walls. They had a darker sheen to it, making it seem as if the walls could come in any second and crush anyone who happened to be between them.
"No, bother. We need to keep going. We can get to the forest just at the border of the city. We-"
"What about Tracer?"
There was a short pause.
Urak inhaled sharply before turning to the younger boy, "We leave him. If we want to make it out alive that is. They'll come for all of us. In the city, we'll put ourselves in danger."
"We can't just leave him."
"We have to. We don't have a choice-"
"Yes, we do."
Silence dawned on all of them and Urak soon understood what he meant.
"You can do what you want. But I'm going to go. I won't die or let myself fall into the hands of the wretched minions of the government again," Urak said, taking in another breath of air. With a final look at them, Urak nodded his head, "You know where to find me."
Then he fled, leaving both Jacklin and Katelyn in the middle of the alley.
The two sat side by side, hidden behind a green dumpster. The smell was terrible, but what else could they do? Where could they go?
Katelyn was filled with worry and her eyes seemed to show exactly that. Jacklin was too, but more so about his father's friend - his uncle - as he knew Tracer as. Neither of them had spoken to each other after Urak had left them. Katelyn was slowly dozing off. Jacklin fiddled with his fingers, realizing how imperfect fingers were. It was a strange thought had come at that moment.
Then there was a thud on his shoulder. He turned to look at what it was. Katelyn's head had fallen and was now resting on his shoulder. Her hair was tousled and dirt smeared across her skin. He smiled slightly. This girl before her had brought more excitement in his life than it had before. And he'd even found his uncle. He looked away and leaned his head back, looking at the sides of the alley tower above him.
I'll find a way out of this, Jacklin thought as he yawned, I'll find Tracer and my dad, and I'll help Katelyn with her dad. And when this is all over, I'll go home, wherever that'll be...