It’s all my fault, I thought as I ran through the forest. My greasy shoulder-length hair whipped around in my face as I dodged branches and jumped over fallen logs. Tears ran down my dusty cheeks, falling to the ground; unnoticed. My legs ached from running, but still I pressed on. The light behind me grew smaller and smaller until it disappeared.
The forest around me was a labyrinth of darkness and trees. More than once I almost ran into a tree, swerving out of the way last minute. The moon barely shone through the thick clouds that filled the sky. There were no stars visible, though I could make out several planes flying towards Kerchen, the capital city right outside of the woods. It was home to President Field and his council of “rats”.
I stepped on a rock, my legs giving away. With a small yelp of surprise, I fell onto my hands and knees. A sharp twig stabbed into my knee. I ignored the pain, beating the ground in anguish. I let loose a wail as the memories of the night began to flow back.
All the trouble had started several days ago when I’d stumbled upon a communicator, small devices that the government officials used to send confidential messages. Curiosity had won over caution as I picked it up, quickly checked to make sure no one was watching, and stuffed it into my shirt.
Me and my parents had tried to hack into it, but there was a series of passwords that needed the owner’s DNA in order to get past. We’d given up, only tinkering with it when a sudden idea came into our head.
It was yesterday that we’d gotten the message.
From President Field
To current handler…
Sent out at 18:00 from the government headquarters.
It has come to our attention that you are attempting to break into confidential material. Get rid of the communicator immediately or we will take matters into our own hands.
Message sent by the President and his council.
We’d tossed the communicator into the woods, thinking it was gone. But the next night, a fleet of hovercraft had appeared, shooting out small missiles. I was outside at the time and watched in horror as out house exploded, killing both my parents. The hovercraft had turned back to Kerchen, unaware that there was a survivor.
I’d ran, and was still running.
I was running from myself.
It’s all my fault, I began to weep uncontrollably, You brought back the communicator. You let your family tinker with it instead of doing it out in the woods.
You killed your parents.
I struggled to keep back the torrent of anger and guilt from flowing out of my mouth. Stay focused, get to Kerchen. I silently scolded myself. It was no time for emotions, I had to survive.
Night was well underway. I curled up, my eyelids drooping from exhaustion. I’d start again tomorrow.
It was close to noon when I finally caught sight of Kerchen. The tall highrise buildings reached up to the sky, both finished and unfinished. Skyscrapers were built in the middle of the city, the buildings getting gradually shorter until it was reduced to one story houses. The centerpiece was a huge white building with a dome on top. Intricate designs were carved on the side, it was the government building.
The sun was shining brightly in the sky, reflecting off a few puddles that filled small grooves. I looked at my reflection, staring in horror at the creature that looked back.
My skin was covered in rich black soil. My hair was full of twigs and mud. The clothes I’d been wearing were now rags, just hanging loosely off my body.
I was an animal.
Look at you, I thought bitterly, it’s all the President’s fault.
Overthrow the government…
Assassinate President Field…
I sat up as though electrified. Assassination had happened to most of the good Presidents. I couldn’t think of a time in history when a bad President was shot at a theater or poisoned at a dinner. It would be easy to kill the man who’d murdered my parents.
The closer I got to Kerchen, the more determined I became. Tomorrow night was Fields birthday. He always had a parade with him riding in his limo. From what I’d seen on the television, his window was always opened so he could wave and have pictures taken. I could shoot him or throw a stone at his head. The crowd would be large. They’d never track it back to me, a dirty boy.
I was soon at the outskirts of the small neighbourhoods. I could hear the sounds of children playing, smell food cooking. My stomach grumbled and I realized I hadn’t eaten since the day before yesterday.
In order to get into the larger part of the city I’d need a bus. They were pretty cheap these days, but I didn’t have any money. Besides, they’d never let someone like me on. I’d need to look clean and presentable.
You should’ve taken better care of yourself! I grumbled in my head. Why hadn’t I thought of staying clean?
I wandered around behind the walled house next to me, looking for something to clean myself up with. I spotted a puddle glistening in the bright sunlight. Perfect!
There was still one problem; where would I get new clothes? I looked anxiously at the houses, trying to find a clothesline. Most people out here still air dried their clothes. They smelled fresher than when done in a machine.
A few yards down, hanging over a perfectly manicured lawn, was a line full of large pants and shirts. They looked way too big for me, like they were for someone slightly, no, immensely fatter than me.
Use what resources you have… I thought, remembering the quote my dad used to say to me. I ran over and grabbed the pants closest to me. They flapped back and forth violently and I feared that someone would look out the door and see me hanging off of them. I gave them a sharp tug and they fell on top of me. I then pulled down the white shirt next to it and looked at them both with a sense of triumph.
I ran back to the puddle and pulled of my dirty clothes. My body was well tanned from working in the sun. I splashed water over my arms and legs, rubbing off the caked dirt. My hair was also dusty so I dipped it into the water and scrubbed it ferociously.
Once I was done I pulled on the huge clothes. The pants were way too big. Three of me could have fit in them! I held them around my waist, looking for something to hold them up with. There was nothing handy so I just held them up with my hands.
The water was cloudy with dirt. I waited for it to calm down, watching as the dirt settled and changed the dirty water crystal clear. I took several long drinks to hydrate me until tomorrow. After I killed the President I could move back to the forest and live like a hermit.
“Hey, kid!” a snarly voice called. I turned around and saw a young teen. He was dressed in black jeans, a black T-shirt and gray running shoes. He had a chain necklace around his neck and spacers in his ears.
“What?” I tried to sound confident, but how confident could a boy look who had to hold his pants up?
“You’re on my territory.” he growled, showing me his white teeth.
“I’m outside a wall!”
“Yeah, my gang owns this “outside wall”.” he imitated my voice, sounding high pitched and bratty.
“I don’t see them…” I looked around for a group of boys.
“They’re not here yet.” He shoved me back. “Leave, before they come and beat you up.”
I landed hard on the ground. He grinned deviously, his dark eyes flashing with amusement.
“I’m going!” I stood up and ran. Behind me, the boy laughed. I ignored the jeering, veering to the right and ending up on a paved road. The sidewalk was almost abandoned, just two ladies walking on the opposite side. I began to walk towards the small shack that served as a bus stop. The sign on the wall said that you needed two dollars to ride the bus.
Where am I gonna get two dollars! I thought angrily.
I shook my head as the thought entered. I wasn’t a dog…
But I did need money…
“Could you spare two dollars, ma’am?” I asked an older lady walking past.
“Go away, dog!” She gave me a shove before running away.
“I need two dollars.” I mumbled, leaning against the wall. The door opened and a young couple stepped in. It was a young girl with tanned skin. Her hair hung down on her shoulders in straight, brown waves. The boy beside her had black hair, sea green eyes and angles cheekbones.
“Could you spare two dollars?” I asked in the nicest voice I could muster.
“Sure.” The girl dug into the pocket of her jeans and pulled out a coin. She threw it at me. I caught it in my lap.
“No problem.” She turned and continued to talk to the guy.
It was around an hour before the bus finally came into sight. It was a shiny silver oval that hovered in the air. The sleek body was made so it could slice through the weather. A tinted windshield filled almost the whole front, showing the driver, a young guy who looked about twenty.
I watched nervously as it pulled to a stop in front of the bus stop.
Please let me on!
I stepped onto the stairs and handed the money to the guy. He pocketed it without even looking up.
Don’t bother checking who’s entering your bus… I bet the dude didn’t know how many times killers could be lurking behind him. It would literally take three seconds to kill him.
Luckily for him, he wasn’t my target.
The bus continued on its flight path. We sped past houses, shops and, soon, two story buildings. They got taller until we were passing massive buildings that seemed to disappear into the sky. Skyscraper was an appropriate name. They looked like long fingers that were stopped just a few inches from space.
I tuned in to the conversations flowing around me. Excitement for the birthday, news of deaths and other tragedies, ideas and new inventions. I envied the people who sat at home and got everything given to them. The ones who never lifted a finger but were so rich they could afford anything they wanted.
“This is the last stop!” The bus driver called. He pulled up beside a fancy looking bus stop. It was empty, but the place had signs of use. The glass walls had computers built into them. I saw websites and newspaper articles that people had been browsing through while they waited.
The last few stragglers got off. I followed them, slipping away as they all went their own ways. The sun was sinking below the horizon, painting the world in a picturesque scene of colorful hues reflecting off of buildings. A few light were on inside the windows, I watched as a few flickered off.
The alleyways throughout the city were few since the world was starting to run out of space to build. Buildings were pressed right beside each other, the only spaces parking lots or roads. I finally found a space between an apartment and a five story mall.
The small space was littered with trash and knocked over garbage bins. I curled up inside one of the bins, cringing at the filthy smell. It would protect me from the elements that could occur during the night. With all the pollution, the weather forecast was impossible. It could be thirty degrees and start to snow.
My minds began to stray away and I found myself trapped in a dream.
“Mom! Dad!” I screamed, looking at the small dots coming closer. They were planes, they were bombers, they were killers…
“Son?” The window opened and my mom looked out, Her face were tight with stress and her blond hair was unkempt, wrapped hurriedly into a bun.
“It’s the government!” I ran towards the house. My mom turned as pale as a ghost. She disappeared from the window and I heard her calling for dad.
Beep . . .
Beeeeeep . . .
It was the sound of a tracking missile. It would fly out of the plane and blow the house into a pile of ashes.
Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep . . .
I saw a flash of light streaking towards me. My arms wrapped around my head protectively. I dropped to the ground, feeling the heat as the missile passed right above me.
There was a blinding flash.
I looked towards my house and saw an empty spot.
“No!” I yelled. “Nooooooo!”
The planes turned and disappeared, turning into the thin air as they bolted back to
I woke up tired. It was still dark, so what had woken me up? My face was covered in tears. I’d been crying through my dream.
Bang! A gunshot rang through the air. I jerked back in terror. Footsteps drew near and a figure darted past. There was another shot and a bloodcurdling scream. The black figure fell back, his hands on his chest. The darkness cloaked my eyes but I could make out the blood pouring from his chest wound.
He lay on the floor, gasping for breath. I heard him cough, his frail body shaking violently. Another shot. He stopped moving, this one hitting his head.
More footsteps came up and a group of five or so boys walked up. They poked him before walking away, satisfied that he was dead. I stared at the lifeless figure ahead of me. Just moments ago he’d been alive, thoughts running through his head, family, emotions running through his body.
Now that was all gone.
I crawled out of the garbage can and inspected the body. He looked like he was fifteen. His gray hoodie covered his shirt. Though the material was soaked in blood. His pants were white and really tight. There was a lump in one pocket. I reached in my hand and pulled out a small contraption.
It was a semicircle, hollow in the middle. I placed it around my fingers and pushed against the one side. There was a shrill squeak and a blue ray shot out. It caught on a rock, blue electricity streaking around it for a few second before vanishing.
It was an electricity gun.
My dad had always wanted one since you could kill animals without actually piercing their skin, Unfortunately they’d been way too expensive.
You have a death tool in which to kill Field with My mind thought gleefully. I grimaced at the morbid thoughts racing through my head. What was wrong with me, thinking I should benefit from the death of this boy?
No one else knows it’s here I was urged on by counter thought. I tucked it into my pocket. It would be easier to get the president with this then a stone.
Tomorrow couldn’t come soon enough…
Crowds filled the streets the next morning. The city had transformed during the night. Huge posters filled the side of buildings. Pictures of Fields smiling face with the words “Happy Birthday, President Field!” were shown everywhere. Electronic screens, billboards, a news helicopter with it streaming out behind it.
I took my place among the cheering clouds and waited for the limo to roll into view. I imagined the expressions and reactions I’d get when Field died. Would people truly miss him? Or were they acting out of expectations?
Several security guards were stationed throughout the crowds to keep people from running out to the car. They had huge guns strapped to their backs and walkie talkies tied to their wrists. I heard their radioed voices ringing out to one another.
“He’s coming!” Someone screamed. The crowd was whipped into a frenzy. People began to wave streamers and hold up balloons with Fields face proudly stamped to it.
“Stand back.” men holding metal rails pushed back the crowd as the limo drove closer. Huge floats followed behind, dancers and singers giving entertainment after the president had passed.
I held the gun at my side, my hands shaking nervously. Should I do it? Would I do it? Was I brave enough?
The car began to drive past me. I looked into the opened window at President Field sitting inside. His face was caked with makeup to make him look younger. He was clad in a dark blue suit and a black tie. He waved to the crowds as the limo began to turn.
It’s now or never.
I pulled up the gun and, without a second thought, pulled the trigger. Field arched his back as blue tendrils of electricity swirled around his body. He uttered a quiet grunt before going limp on the seat.
The people around me began to scream. I turned to run, but felt a hand on my shoulder.
“Murderer!” an old man was grabbing onto me. He reached down with his cane and wrapped the crook around my leg. I jerked free but stumbled and fell onto the pavement.
“Move aside!” the guard ran through the crowd. I was left in the middle of a ring of people. They yelled words that were inaudible. The world swam before my eyes and I struggled to stand.
There was a gunshot.
I felt sharp pain in my forehead before everything went black.