It’s been three months since the death of Becca Reed. Eduard can still feel the nervousness of the crowd as she fell to the ground. He remembers feeling the warmth leave her body as he ran up on the stage to grab her. It all happened so fast…
But nothing changed. Everyone still wears masks, the Maskless have died out and shrunk down to about fifty members, and Eduard has stood on the edge of giving up, daring himself to jump. Although he still believes the government is wrong on many levels, he doesn’t fight as much as he used to anymore. He’s not that thirteen-year-old boy that asked a question that shoved him into the Dark Clan.
He always finds himself wondering, What if Banshee hadn’t have shot her? Would the world be different now if she was still alive? And then he finds himself doubting her death.
But he knows she’s gone. He was there when she was shot. He was there when they lowered her into the ground, covered in black fabric, and her face hidden behind a mask for eternity. She’s gone. Forever.
The sky is dreary and gray, rain should be falling soon. The air is beginning to get cold, but Eduard doesn’t care about the cold any longer. He just cares about living another day.
I lied, saying that nothing changed at all in the city. Things had. Small things. The black masks have started rebelling against the city government and the white masks even more than usual, and there is at least one death in the city reported each day. Thirty days, thirty deaths. Another one should happen today, if all things go as predicted.
The black masks that had committed the crimes are harder to find, due to the Maskless idea of mask-jumping, which is now a crime as well, and is punishable by death. In about two days, the national government should be passing a law that all citizens must wear their ID’s on the left breast of their clothing. The ID’s have to have their face, their mask, and their name clearly printed on its surface, and if they are found with a fake ID, they will be executed.
The events of Becca Reed shook the city a little bit, and the city, Quill, had presented these ideas to the national government and explained the news. He talked about it in one of the meetings he called over the past handful of months.
But Becca Reed hasn’t been forgotten. There’s a wall on one of the buildings designated to black masks with the painting of the mask Becca wore with her name at the bottom. Becca Reed Lives On is what it says. Every time Eduard walks by it he always shakes his head.
The bells ring as Eduard opens up the Dark Clan’s coffee shop. He hears people talking about things, things that don’t matter to him, and he sits down at the counter.
“What can I get you?” A guy with splotches of colored paint covering his mask says, reminding Eduard of Twitch.
A lump rises in his throat. “A club sandwich and some milk,” Eduard sighs, the sky outside matching his mood.
The boy nods and smiles, and walks away to go make the sandwich. Eduard plays with the napkin with his fingertips absently as he stares out the window at the front of the little shop. Things seemed to have happened so fast…
“…she was shot because she took off her mask.”
Eduard snaps around to the sound of the voice.
A girl sits with a boy, pink music notes on her mask, and silver circles on his.
“What was her name?” The boy asks. “Rebecca or something?”
“Becca,” Eduard says automatically before he can stop himself. “Becca Reed.”
“Yeah. Yeah, that’s it,” the boy says, chuckling a little. “Thanks. What’s your name, bro?”
“Eduard,” he says and holds out his hand as he turns to face them. The boy takes it and shakes.
“Harlem. And this is Julie.”
Eduard nods and hears his plate touch the counter in front of him.
“Here you go,” the waiter says, and Eduard can just imagine the boy smiling by the sound of his voice. “Enjoy.”
“Thanks,” Eduard says and nods.
“Hey, you eating alone?” He hears Harlem ask and he turns back around to him to nod slowly. “Come eat with us. It’s alright. We won’t bite.”
Eduard looks at the two empty chairs on either side of the table beside them and decides to join.
“So did you know that Becca chick?” Harlem asks as he tears a bite from his burger and slides it up under his mask and into his mouth.
Eduard nods. “She was the face of the Maskless.”
“Oh!” Julie says suddenly, a little too loud. “I heard about them. Were you in it?”
Eduard chuckles a little. “I sort of started it.”
“Whoa, dude,” Harlem says, putting his hands up. “I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.”
“Why?” Eduard asks, ripping a piece from his own food and slipping it underneath his mask. He’s never liked eating like this; he can’t eat as much as he wants to because he gets fuller faster.
Julie laughs. “Two reasons. One,” she holds up a finger and looks at Eduard. “Because we’re supposed to report anyone who was in the Maskless to Quill. And two,” she holds up a second finger. “Harlem here is Quill’s son.”