World of Radiation

Mixtures

Continued from ‘The Council’s Decree

“Mom!” I scream, my voice hoarse from the force of my cry. My body jerks forwards. The hands hold me fast. I yank towards the flames again, but the fingers don’t loosen in the slightest. I plant my feet in the dirt. My body leans towards my burning home, but a single tug uproots me.

Despite my best attempts, despite all my struggles, I’m weak against the men in powder-blue uniforms. I’m not even old enough to have my adaptation yet. I don’t stand a chance fighting these men, these air adaptations.

With fingers wrapped tightly around my arms, towing me away, I can do nothing but let them. My feet drag in the dirt. Tears blur my vision until the only thing before me is a red glow signaling where my house once stood. Yet, it signals so much more. My parents are dead. My life’s gone. I’m all alone. The reminder pushes a sob from my throat.

“Oh, hush,” one of the men in powder-blue uniforms grumbles. His harsh voice halts me for only a moment before another sob hiccups from my throat.

The fingers tighten around my arm. I yelp in pain. My cries grow louder.

“Oh, for the Gods-” Another man groans. “Would you just shut up?!”

The echo of his deep voice rattles in my chest, cutting off my sobs. Whimpers persist, though. Tears stream down my cheeks as my house vanishes from sight, a dark cloud blooming above it. My throat clenches. It readies another cry when a strangled voice snags my attention.

“No! Please!” A woman begs. She crawls on her knees towards another man in a powder-blue uniform. Blood seeps from her temple. Her dark hair is matted with dirt and blood.

The man snaps his wrist, his fingers aiming in the woman’s direction. Rushing wind fills the air, slamming into her. It knocks her backwards.

A young boy calls out, “Mama!”

Crumpled in the dirt, the woman lies still a moment before she picks her head up. Dirt masks one cheek. Her brows furrow and her lips tip down as sadness grips her, her eyes locking with the young boy’s.

“Mama! Please! Get up!” He struggles against the man holding him, but even in his teens, he’s no match for the full-grown man.

“I’m sorry,” the woman mumbles. Her eyes dampen with tears. They slide down her cheeks through the dirt and blood. “I’m sorry, my boy.”

The boy screams with such emotion it bashes against my ears and breaks my heart, but the woman doesn’t pick herself up. Instead, she remains on the ground. She watches the man haul away the teenager, not moving in the slightest to save him.

The boy’s face glazes over. Shock snags at him, widening his eyes and washing away his sadness. Like a sleep-walker he strides down the path with the man at his side, not even needing to be dragged along in an unceremonious fashion like myself.

How can he just give up? My eyes focus on his back until it fades from sight. His mother gave up… She still lies on the ground, but now her head is downturned. Her face rests against her arms. Her body shakes as wails of grief pierce through the air.

My lip wobbles. My parents didn’t give up. My parents tied to save me! ‘But they’re still dead,‘ the dark voice in my head says. My teeth clench, trying to keep away the tears, but it does me no good. They spill over again. A choking sound accompanies them, spilling from my throat as I long for nothing more than to be wrapped in Mom’s arms.

“Would you stop crying?!” One of the men dragging me demands. “You act like such a child!”

“She is a child,” the other grumbles. He pauses a moment, glancing back at me with a changed expression. “I can’t believe we’re doing this.” His voice is soft as he says it. Yet, he hardens his face once more and drags me along until we reach a wall.

A wall, unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Where did it come from? The city’s never had a wall. Why would it need a wall?

Even as the questions consume me, we draw nearer. Closer and closer until the shadow engulfs us, sparking shivers down my spine and my bottom lip wobbles once more. “Where are you taking me?” I squeak, barely able to voice words at all.

“To where you belong, you-” The harsher man glares down at me, his blue eyes piercing through to my very core. “You-”

“Stop it,” the other man interjects. “She’s a child. It’s not even her fault.”

The first sneers down at me as if disgusted by my presence. “Her fault or not. She’s still a mixture. She’s still not a pure element. She shouldn’t even exist.”

Shouldn’t exist? Why shouldn’t I exist?

“At least with the wall we’ll never have to look upon these… mixtures… ever again.”

Next Installment: Quartered Off

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