15 | UNPRODUCTIVE
“Please… you can’t tell anyone,” the rose gold eyes that locked with sapphire blues were now crazed with desperation, every inch of the confident golden girl stolen from her trembling stature.
Eris, as usual, remained unfazed as she passed the bottle back to Brielle, who snatched it back with shaking hands. “Please, if everyone finds out—”
“Your perfect citizen life would be ruined forever and you’d become one of us,” the emotionless Error finished for her.
Brielle’s cheeks flushed. “I—I’m sorry, but, please, Eris. I’m sure you would understand, I—”
“You don’t have to explain. I never said I was going to expose you.”
“It does not benefit me in any way. Unlike the others, I don’t experience any satisfaction from exacting revenge,” Eris replied casually, locking the toilet door. “I just need you to tell me what you know, in exchange for my silence.”
“What… I know?” Brielle was puzzled. “I—”
“Just how long you’ve known you were an Error, and why you never wound up like the rest of us.”
The blonde gulped. “I… Eris, please… why do you want to know thi—”
“I may not gain satisfaction from revenge, but my knowledge of your true citizen status is still a form of leverage, Brielle. It would be best that you reveal what you know,” Eris threatened civilly, the crumpled, defeated look on Brielle’s eyes tugging absolutely zero heartstrings.
“... It could be when I was around Primary One or so… when I was six or seven. No one knew before then, but once they did, my parents managed to get me help and everything worked out fine,” Brielle finally revealed after a long pause, “Why does it matter?”
“Your medications work?”
“Yeah, they do… Should they not work?”
“I see,” Eris nodded, the gears in her head already turning. The medicines worked on Brielle. “Are you sure no one knew? How would you have escaped the scan then?”
“I… I don’t know… a glitch in the machines, maybe?” Brielle fiddled with her fingers nervously, “Is that all you want to know?”
“Yes. That’s all.”
“And… you’ll really keep my secret?”
“So long as it does not cause an issue for me.”
It was not the most reassuring response, but Brielle knew she was just going to have to count on it. “T-thank you.”
“Now pop your pills quick, we’ve got to get back to—”
Brielle jumped at the holler which echoed down the hallway, followed by outraged, raised voices. “What’s happeni—”
Without a word, Eris strode down the hallway, the blonde hurrying along behind towards the commotion. Ryn had her chin stuck up at Ethan in open defiance of whatever was going on, the two others glaring back at her with accusing eyes. In between them, Timothy stood, eyes wide in bewilderment at the situation before him.
“Why not? After all that preaching, you still can’t walk your talk? Apologise to Tim,” Ethan snarled, leaning in close to Ryn, “Now.”
“I’m sure he can speak for himself,” Ryn retorted slyly, “Unless, of course, you’ve got a superiority complex just because you got to go to the Academy and you think it makes you so much better than him.”
Loud ‘ohhhhs’ ripped through the crowd of students as Ethan seethed.
“You called him a retard; it’s just plain rude! And we don’t think we’re better than Tim or anyone, that’s a completely unrelated topic!” Eli protested.
“Well, whatever, but he grabbed me out of nowhere! I was totally freaking out, okay?” Ryn flung her arms in frustration. “I mean, I don’t know, but what if he had something infectious? What if it could be transmitted via touch or something?”
“First of all, anyone who would potentially do that isn’t allowed to free run in the CC. It was all explained that in the briefing,” Em snapped, feeling a twinge of guilt as Tim whimpered next to her. “If you weren’t chit-chatting with your friends, you would have heard.”
“Wow, Emeline,” Ryn narrowed her eyes, “Is that supposed to be a personal attack? Not everything is about you, okay?”
“Wha-what?” The brunette sputtered. Ryn just raised an eyebrow—mocking, tempting. Ethan’s fists shook by his sides, the piercing of his nails into flesh no longer registering to him as the numbers in his head lost meaning. Control it, calm down, breathe… all these anger management exercises meant nothing, they were merely the words of ignorant, foolish adults and citizens who thought they understood him and knew the intensity of his emotions. Control? It was nonsense—the emotions had been controlling him from day one and they’d never loosen their grip over his mind; never.
“Oh my goodness!” Brielle pushed her way past the crowd with Eris, “All of you, stop—”
But the Errors refused to back down, and Ryn disregarded the horror on her schoolmates’ faces and the adults returning from their discussions to the intensifying argument, the big explosion to come after the buildup of tension. “You’ve been coming at us since the day we came to the Academy and annoyed us at every available juncture—” Ethan was about to say, when Ryn delivered the final blow.
“Say whatever you like, but no matter what you do, you’re always going to be the same unproductive, retarded Errors tha—”
Ethan, whose fists were balled up and on standby for a swing, was rather surprised by what happened next, and the reason for which Ryn did not finish her insult.
It was not the anger-filled boy who’d managed to strike first—but the blond, petite Error.
Sweet, naive little Eli.
The most idealistic and innocent of the quartet, but an explosive, impulsive Error all the same.
Hollers pierced through the air as he smacked Ryn’s head to the side and pushed her to the floor. They shrieked as Ryn, shockingly, clawed back at the boy, not just in defense but in deep-set hatred and malice, others unknowingly joining the fray in their attempts to end things. It was madness; it was chaos; it was animalistic, savage war.
And as the adults and non-participating students finally tore citizen from Error and Error from citizen, seething, panting, it was evident that only fury and pain remained in the aftermath of battle.