“No, Dove, you’re doing it wrong” my mother exclaimed. The wrinkles between her dark brows forming into a frown as she snatched the rag from my hands and proceeds to show me the correct way to wipe the household windows. The gold bangles on her wrist clanked together with the motions.
Do it right or find something else to do she mutters and tuts while handing me back the rag and continuing to mop the hardwood floors.
The life of Class society was what everyone hoped to achieve, the men are the bread winners, typically working for High Class under Sir Walter Hunt while the women were to stay at home and keep the house and children in order.
If the lifestyle was unachievable, you were to be thrown to Lawless on the other side of the fence and banished from ever returning to Class.
Looking past the rag and my hand wiping the window, the fence that divides the two worlds sits at 12 foot tall, wrapped in barbed wire and goes on for as long as the eye can see. It also sits along the back of our house, just a hundred meters from the backdoor.
There have been countless attempts of Lawless citizens climbing over the fence to Class, although they never make it far before the armed guards shoot them dead.
“I need to get a start on dinner, you go get the groceries” Ma says. I nod as she hands me a couple of dollars.
I dropped the rag and wipe my dirty hands down my sides before leaving the house. It’s windy and the skies are grey, my brown hair flies into my face and eyes. The walk to the town center isn’t far, only a few hundred meters along the gravel path that follows along the fence. I look through and am met with the forest of trees, not seeing anyone but knowing a lot of unknowns rest on the other side.
“Look who it is” I turn my head and am met with the dark eyes of Jace Hunt, the only child of Sir Walter Hunt, Classes leader. I speed up my walk, not interested in what he has to say.
“Where are you going in such a hurry, wifey?” he continues and jogs to catch up to me. Jace is set to take over High Class as leader after he marries. Unfortunately, it was me that's promised to marry him on my 21st birthday; its been in the cards since the day I was born, when dad and Sir Walter agreed it'd be the best decision for Class.
“Leave me alone, Jace” I mutter knowing his well aware that I have no tolerance for him.
His hand reaches from behind, grabbing my chin hard enough to leave bruises. I’m pulled back into his chest as he mouths moves towards my ear, his blonde hair hanging over his eyes and tickling my forehead.
“Don't be like that, princess” I can feel him grinning “only three months before we play house” the thought makes me physically ill. Jace is the last person I’d ever want to intertwine my soul with. His arrogance and disregard of human life, especially those of Lawless, is beyond belief.
I hold back the tears that well in my eyes while my heart pounds in my chest as I try and wiggle out of his grip. My eyes look around frantically for anyone in sight, searching in the hope of help.
My eyes lock through the fence with deep green eyes. The shock of them freeze me in place, my mind going blank and the fear disappearing, I knew they were on the other side but I’d never seen anyone, only heard of them.
The eyes are hard and full of hate. Strands of dark, curly hair falls onto his forehead as the rest is pushed back into a mess of curls. Ripped and dirty clothes hang onto a thin but muscular frame.
“What are you looking at?” Jace lets go of me and looks in the same direction. The figure steps behind a tree and out of eyesight.
I shake myself out of the trance.
“Those hoodlums need to stay on their side, hear the shots last night? Got a boy” Jace exclaims loudly while smirking and making guns with his fingers, still searching through the trees, making it known to whoever's out there.
I pull the most disgusted face I could muster and continue on; almost jogging in the hopes Jace follows me and doesn't see the Lawless behind the tree. It works; he sets off in the opposite direction without a goodbye.
I look back through the fence and don’t see anything, only hear the breaking of a branch as whoever was there leaves back towards Lawless.
I shake off my nerves and continue on to the town center. I quickly pick up the weekly groceries from the grocer before racing home, wanting to be in the comfort of my room.
“I’m home!” I call through the house. I hear the click of Ma’s heels as she hurriedly walks from the kitchen and into the hallway that connects to the front door.
“What took you so long? Your father and brother will be home soon” she appears flustered. She takes the groceries out of my hands and continues running around, preparing dinner.
Dinner is silent. The clinks and clanks of silverware hitting the plate are the only sounds heard. The tension and anger rolling off Dad and Max fills the room, their hands in fists, while their jaws are hard and clenched.
“They’re getting more daring” Dad explains. It’s unsaid but everyone knows he’s talking about Lawless. “Third one this week crossed the fence” the snarl on his face sends shivers up my spine.
The slam of a fist on the table causes Ma and I to jump and a glass of water to fall, the silverware clanking loudly.
“Those dirty bastards need to stay on their side of the fence. Trying to bring their filth to Class” Max fumes red in the face. He’s definitely his fathers son.
I had never understood the hatred towards Lawless, there had never been any evidence of them being bad people, just all talk. But then again I’m kept in the dark about them; only High Class really know what’s going on, the rest of us are just trained to believe what is told.
Dinner finishes up quite quickly after that, Dad and Max unable to sit simmering in their anger while Ma and I wanted nothing more than to leave the table.
I’m lying in bed unable to sleep, between the curiosities of Lawless and waiting to hear the shots that have already rung out three times this week. Everything is silent, except for the creaks as the house settles and the trees blowing in the storm outside. The moonlight shines through my window and onto the floor, the occasional lightning strike lighting up the room.
I’m awoken by the alarm of the fence going off; I quickly bring my hands up to cover my ears and wait for the gunfire.
The footfalls of guards echo outside my window, their radios going crazy over the heavy sound of rain.
“Where is he? He’s gone!” they shout. Dogs start barking and guards start shouting. I crawl to the window and peak my eyes over the ledge. Dogs and guards are running back and forth along the fence line, mud splashing up at their feet. The sound of Dad and Max’s feet run through the hallway, past my bedroom and outside the house. Torches shine through the window making me duck before crawling my way back to bed.
I lay awake for hours listening to the chaos outside. It’s four am before everything quiets down, I never heard any shots, meaning whoever set off the alarm either made it back to Lawless or they’re trapped somewhere in Class. For the sake of them, I hope they made it back.