I woke up with my little Seth beside me, his dirty blond hair fell into his face as his chest moved up and down in a peaceful rhythm. I stroked his red cheeks a couple of times walking him up from his deep slumber.
He sat straight up and rubbed his still tired eyes, "Good morning Jen" he whispered.
"Wait, where did the sun go?" He asked with his eyes focused on the darkness which surrounded us.
"Jen" he called out in a nagging tone as I rubbed the top of his head gently, "we have to leave now Seth, you know waiting in line takes most of the day" I said softly.
I got him dressed into a half torn black track pants and dirt stained long sleeved t-shirt which I had found at the dump site a few days ago.
I dragged his reluctant body through the half open tent and carried him until the sun rose, he placed a kiss upon my cheek and ran straight towards Mariah's house. I shook my head knowing the exact question he was about to ask me.
With his hand cupped around hers they both looked up and gave me a cunning grin, "could Mariah join us today?" He asked sweetly. I bent down and rubbed the top of their heads.
If only this little love story could blossom…
But I knew none of us were guaranteed that we'd see tomorrow.
"Mariah's mum would miss her terribly if we had to take her along Seth" I said.
"She's right about that little ones," she said softly from behind me. I turned and greeted her with a grin, it was against the law to take someone else's kin into town.
"I'll tell you what, the two of you can walk together until we reach the border, ok" she whispered as we walked side by side discussing the ridiculous laws the mayor had enforced upon us.
As soon as we reached the border they let go of one another's hands and rushed towards us, helmet men moved the metal railings which blocked us in and allowed us to pass through. We walked quietly and took our places across the broken road.
He cupped his hand tightly into mine as the line grew shorter, Mariah's yellow mud stained dress floated in the intoxicated air as she waved at us from across the road.
"Seth come here" she yelled. Her mother yanked her forward and continued walking towards their open doors.
Without warning she let go of her mothers hand and rushed into the broken road, Seth let go and ran towards her. Without thinking I left my line and held tightly onto the two of them waiting for the inevitable to happen.
"Be brave" I whispered down at them as the thick black smoke engulfed us.
A loud siren filled up my ears as my body was being dragged against the tar road. Mariah and Seth were being carried over their shoulders and we were all tossed into an open van like unwanted garbage.
They placed smoke masks over our faces and drove for a while before stopping at those massive gates. They pulled into a long driveway and stopped at the dead center, one goon jumped out holding onto three black material masks.
He pointed his index finger at the kids and called them over, Mariah squeezed my hand tightly and shuffled behind me while my little Seth walked bravely towards him.
He placed the material bag gently over his head and helped him off the van.
"Come-on, we don't have all day" he said softly, I walked forward with her still attached to me and willingly gave myself up. "Sweetheart don't be afraid" I whispered as I forced my hand away from her.
I stepped forward as soon as she started screaming her little lungs out only to be shoved back immediately, "what's going on?" I shouted but no response came from them, instead I was grabbed by my wrist and tossed into the back of the van.
Seth and Mariah soon joined me, her soft sobs could be heard through the thick black bags they had forced over our heads. "Buckle up" he shouted before he punched on the gas causing us to fall around.
His loud laugher could be heard floating through the open air before he let out a loud howl, "cut the crap Wallace" the man who accompanied us at the back shouted.
He soon slowed down and got out making sure to slam the door shut behind him, poor little Mariah jumped up and called out to her mother but she only received his cold hearted laughter.
He yanked her up and held her in mid air, "you will never see her again" he shouted into her covered face before placing her down. She stretched her little arms out and felt around, the man who sat at the back with us placed her hand into mine and held tightly on to Seth's hand.
"Do not be afraid little man" he whispered, I stood dead in my tracks for a few seconds trying to remember where I had heard those words before. "Move" the man ahead of me shouted to bring me out of the daze I was in.
After a few moments of walking we stopped and doors could be heard being shoved open. We were shoved inside and made to stand beside one another, Mariah's whimpering could still be heard as she stood next to me.
"You may leave" a sweet voice said as she grew closer towards us, they walked out laughing amongst one another.
"You there, stop" she yelled causing them to halt immediately she walked towards them and pulled out the helmet man who had been kind to us while we were forced here.
"Have a good day boys" she said cunningly as she held the door open for them to take her leave. She slammed the door shut, both Mariah and Seth flinched.
"My oh my, what do we have here?" She said as she circled the three of us.
"They are farmers who stepped out of line Miss." He said softly.
"Is that so?"
"What makes you have so much interest in these ordinary farmers?" She hissed at him.
He cleared his throat and gently removed his helmet, "it's nothing Miss. They are just kids, I was trying to show them kindness" he whispered. She laughed loudly beneath her own helmet, something about the two of them was familiar yet I could not put my finger on it.
"Unveil your precious kids for me" she said as she stood directly in front of us.
He gently removed Seth's then Mariah's before stopping behind me, his shaky hands held tightly onto the black material bag. "Can't we just…" she cut him off by yelling "now!"
"I am sorry I could not save you from whoever hides behind the helmet" he whispered as she slowly removed the bag. My eyes flickered continuously as they tried adjusting to the bright lights which surrounded us.
She hummed as she inspected every inch of me, "what shocks me is that fact that you have a dress shirt on little girl, where have you gotten it from?" She asked as she stayed focused on the dumb founded expression I had upon my face.
"Uhm, I-I'm not sure" I whispered.
She pointed at the familiar man who stood behind me and ordered that he leave immediately. He sighed loudly and walked towards the door, he stared at me for a couple of seconds causing my heart to go into an immediate lockdown.
"Shut the door behind you" she said loudly as she walked towards her big black chair. "Take a seat on the sofa little ones" she said as she pointed at a huge black sofa placed perfectly against the white wall.
"Why is everything in here so different compared to out there?" I blurted.
She tapped her red fingernails against the top of her white helmet and just stared at me for a few moments.
"I do not know when was the last time I heard myself say that" she whispered.
My patience was wearing thin and I could feel my frustration build up as my foot started tapping on the cold tiles.
I stood up immediately, sending my chair a few feet away from me "just get this drama over and done with so that I can take my Seth and Mariah back into that god awful line." I shouted.
She found it to be extremely entertaining, she tossed her head back and let out a loud laugh which caused the kids to stare.
"We both know the reason you are in that line" she said.
I rolled my eyes at her, of course the reason was that I came from a makeshift home and wasn't in control of a whole nation…
"You're more than welcome to leave, without Seth" she said as she tapped her fingernails against the wooden desk.
There's no way I'm doing that…
I calmly walked towards the chair and pulled it against the desk, "what do you want from us?" I whispered.
"Seth" she whispered as she pointed in his direction, "give me Seth and you can have whatever your heart desires" she said softly.
"No" I whispered back, "Seth was entrusted to me by our parents, I'm sorry I do not want nor need anything."
She hummed and stood up immediately and walked towards me, "you do know I could just take him if I wanted too?" She whispered into my ear. "But I will not do that because without you, there is no Seth" she said calmly this time.
My mind filled with rage and I stood up once more only to be shoved back down by her. "Calm down, the kids are watching" she said with her teeth clenched together.
A slight knock came from the other side of the door, she turned herself around and sped towards it only opening up a small portion.
She opened wider and pulled in a ginger haired lady, as soon as I got a closer look at her flashbacks of her overgrown breasts being shoved into Seth's mouth when he was an infant came flooding in.
She gulped down hard as she placed a brown envelope onto the desk.
"Uhm, Hi" she whispered as she pushed back her ginger hair behind her ear.
"I'm so glad to meet you at this age" she said as she inspected me from head to toe.
"Quiet Clara I haven't informed her yet'' the lady in the helmet shouted. She took a seat on her throne and pushed her chair back a bit making sure that she had a full view of me. "Could you have the kids taken to the playroom?" She asked politely.
"No" I answered on her behalf.
She placed her hand upon my shoulder "Relax my dear, there's nothing to be afraid of. I promise I will take good care of the two of them" She said.
Even though I was reluctant she had a calmness about her that could be trusted. I cupped the back of her hand as approval and she squeezed my fingers as reassurance. Mariah put up a bit of a fight but my Seth followed without saying a word.
What could be so important that we would be kidnapped in the middle of town in front of dozens of people …?
Why were we being tortured to such a harsh extent…?
All these questions would be asked today…