He escaped once. Now, twice. He might be more unusual than he knows, and his life might be one thing that people aren’t willing to lose for reasons he doesn’t realize.
It’ll all work out.
That’s what I kept telling myself. I could do anything out here. I had jumped out of the window where I had been held prison, up high almost touching the clouds, and survived. I felt real. Alive. Powerful.
Maybe I don’t know where I’ll end up, but I know that if I keep moving forward and away from the crushed world of the Reenactment I’ll end up somewhere. Anywhere is better than the barren world of my old home.
They tried to treat me like a normal person, but inside ‘mild’ threats and insults, they treated me like what I was: a convict.
I survived once. I could survive again.
The Reenactment tried to make life better for all of us. Tried to, but failed. If they had asked the people before changing their lives forever, they might be more happy. They wanted to keep the world pristine, like it was before the wars. And the peace. But there can’t be peace without dissension. That’s what I learned in my old life. But this life would be a new one. I was determine to make that happen.
I looked to my right, and a cliff looked out over the river that churned below. Moving towards it, as if in a trance, I peeked over the edge.
The river had to lead somewhere, and maybe if I follow it, I could reach my destination. But sweat was already pooling in my collarbone. The clear water seemed refreshing.
I was reckless. I jumped.
Adrenaline rushed through me, heating my blood. My chocolate-brown matted hair flew in my face and I finally felt free.
The water bubbled around me as I made impact, giving me just enough time to brace myself in case the bed was closer than I realized, but it was not to last. I lost myself in the adrenaline rush that enveloped me just like the water did. I lived for this. I felt the cool breeze touch the top of my head as I swam to the surface, kicking with my strong legs that I earned after years of running. My lungs gasped for air when I broke the surface.
I let the current carry me away from the dry desert landscape and scorching sun. The Reenactment would never be able to find me.
But that was me in the past. Not two days later, I found myself under the cover of darkness again, hiding myself from the searching lasers above. Again.
There were no forests in Acharya, the main city of the nation Ostros. Genetically engineered trees dotted the streets, designed to provide optimal air quality, but there were no substantial forests. The only forests I had ever seen were witnessed from the top of the tower at Jomol Park, the criminals’ district. The tower was where they held the criminals and thieves who had crossed the Reenactment.
I knew that the the technology the searchers used was far beyond my understanding, but that my body heat signature would give me away, so I forced myself to keep moving during the day despite the searing waves of hotness. They couldn’t use the heat tracking mechanism during this time.
I could travel to Athington, the small town located on the edge of my known universe. No one would find me there. I would blend with the crowd and no one would find me.
So I’d hoped.
I reached Athington with virtually no trouble at all, unless you count the few times they caught me in the middle of daylight and I scrambled for cover, eventually jumping into a birds’ nest. There was also that one time I fought a lone guard. Well, given my lack of muscles, I weaseled my way out of his grip, but escaping is escaping, and I’d done it.
Once I reached Athington, I realized how much I was wrong.
A rainy day, and I had welcomed the wetness after the heat. I took to an inn, The Wild Helmet, after a long walk. I chatted up some customers, who were mostly convicts like me, and went upstairs to get some sleep.
A sharp rapping on my door awoke me, then a bang and the oaken rickety door fell inward. Guards and defenders poured in. Their badges gleamed in the moonlight, and I spotted one that sported the Reenactment seal, a circle with white birch trees and a cypress in the middle. The eight silver stars representing purity, wholeness, rectification, and government circled the trees, two for each.
I would recognize it anywhere. Jumping out of bed, I put my hands up. “How did you find me?” I mumbled.
“None of your business, Alano Celìz,” one guard barked. He had on a white vest, marking him as a general. “We have more methods than you can ever dream of knowing to track a convict. Namely, you.”
“Me? Why me? Specifically?”
“You will know what the commissioner would wish for you to know. Nothing more. Let’s go.” He herded his guards out of the room, turning to let me out before him.
I didn’t bother to fight back. You might be questioning my actions, but you must know that I would never be able to get away with it, and I would end up with a worse punishment than I already have. I would only move if I knew I would be able to make it. However reckless I may be, I can usually keep it in check.
The guard led me to their parked cars, checking me for weapons. They opened up the back of the military convertible like a trunk and pushed me in.
The general used a remote and held down a button. The convertible’s cover folded downward, and a fluorescent light flickered on. The blue filled up the little alcove at the back of the car, and I could see a small glass window pane towards the front of the mobile.
A young face looked out through the window. She had curly blond hair and she perked up in a smile.
She looked to be about my age, around seventeen. “Hi,” she said.
I blinked. “Who are you?”
“The general’s daughter. Alano Celìz, correct?”
I nodded. “I thought I was supposed to be a dangerous criminal. Why did your dad let you come here? For all you know, I have a gun and I could shoot you.”
“No you couldn’t, this is bulletproof.” She tapped on the glass. “Besides, you wouldn’t hurt a poor little girl like me. I snuck in here.”
“Snuck in here?”
“Yeah. I could tell you how they found you if you want. I’m a rebel.” She smirked. Without waiting for an answer, she said, “I sneak in everywhere. They test on you, you know. I don’t know why, but they do. They don’t do it to anyone else, though, only you. They take your DNA to their labs, and the scientists are all friends with me. They didn’t tell me what they did with your DNA and RNA samples, but I heard Daddy talking to the commissioner who said that they needed you back. So they used your DNA to track you.”
She nodded. “Phoebe Griffith. She was never elected.”
“Thanks, by the way, for the information ’bout me. It means so much. You know a lot.”
“Thanks.” Her voice came out slightly muffled.
I want to publish this right now, but I’ll write more of this delightful story, maybe ending it where he finds out what he really is…