238 Days Until Deliverance and The Uncertain End (part 1)
From what Heia understood, there were formal and informal entrances into Valaria. Most of the informal ones had been blocked off due to what happened in Arcadia with the Tower rising up. The other “informal” entrances were sewage and air exits. Most dealt with amazing feats of strength and dexterity that most of the children would never be able to attempt in the small allotted time that they had. In general, most people would not be able to enter through the methods. However, it was through these “informal” entrances that the others could move back and forth, getting the DNA of the children, their names, their pictures, and more details to add them into the databases of the city.
They were creating all new identities for the children.
Or at least that was how Evester explained it when they had all gotten to their new temporary home at The Limit.
Their apartment was cramped for the amount of children that were staying there, but with their cover as being kept her unwillingly, they had been able to rent it for a bit of time. Heia looked out the window of the room that was not her’s. She was to watch over their adopted siblings to make sure they were not causing any trouble in their quiet. Instead she had found them asleep.
The Tower was as bright as day, despite the false sky that said it was night. The lights glowed and the ever present music and repeated announcements never disappeared. While on the road up the Tower, she hadn’t noticed due to the sounds of the traffic. Now? Now it was clear and the ever present “tax day” notifications had Heia looking out to the Tower’s people feeling their anger in her bones.
Constantly exploited. Constantly abused. Constantly hated. It was no wonder her people had rebelled in other Towers. It was obvious as to why they were discontent. With each passing hour, Heia was growing in irritation herself. How was it that the others had found it okay to abuse the masses like this? Evester and his friends joked about it like it was an easy and well accepted fact. A status quo.
Yet Evester also told her that the Yasloughve Project had separated them for a reason outside the one that they thought. Kony was a Circle, and possibly a Star. It was in his blood. The statuses were not designed the way they were abused now. The testers no longer cared to keep to the protocols issued by the project’s initial separation. They wanted to keep her people oppressed, making them never question it.
“Heia?” Shawn spoke to her as he sat sitting across from her on the window sill. “You okay?”
“I’m angry.” It was the only word she had to describe how she felt. She’d never been permitted to learn more, to understand more, to read more, to be as learned and as free as the Circles her age. All to control her. To control her people.
Was this why she was chosen?
“Evester said we should get in within the week.” Shawn tried to comfort her, even though he had no idea what he was comforting her for. She figured he had a clue.
Shawn, the boy that had got to the military to save his family and get them money to survive after The LowerLand’s Night of Destruction. Shawn who had begged her to go with him, to save them all. Shawn who had lofty goals to save the world, and had come with her after he had fought for their people when the government had given up on them. Shawn was Heia’s best friend and the one she had relied on before The Catastrophe. He would know what was bothering her.
She should have trusted him more. “Yes, still… That is time. Two Hundred Thirty One Days or less”
“You are keeping the date too?”
“We are the only ones who can. We are the only ones who know.” Heia looked over the sleeping children in the room, who snored and cooed in their sleep peaceful and in a place that was unknown, but far safer than LakeLost. “We need to remember so that we can save them.”
So they could save everyone.
Heia looked back to Shawn who stared at the children, his skin glowing blue in the lights of the city. His eyes relaxed as he spoke, “Remember when we used to sneak to the LowLands and dream of climbing a Tower? Just the two of us. We’d thought we’d survive at any cost in this world where anyone could be anything.”
“I’d be a fight instructor and you’d be my assistant.” Heia remembered those days. “Working on technology on the side.”
“There was never opportunity for us here.” Shawn looked to her and then to the kids and then to the outside world. “Nothing we would have been able to grasp for ourselves.”
“No.” Heia knew the dream had shattered for her when she’d seen the Tower as well. A part of her had always hoped until she saw it.
“Remember to pay your taxes. It is tax season and everyone must do their part.” The intercom began her hourly messages. Shawn’s brow furled at the words. He too had the anger, and thus he must have known her’s.
“Do you believe we can save the world?” Heia asked him to distract him from the message, as she needed to be.
“I believe that if anyone can you can.” He accepted the distraction, for himself, for her.
“Why was I chosen Shawn? Evester was the son of the scientist and some high classed council woman. The star makes sense, for magic. But why me? Was it just because I fit as an X? What am I meant to do?” She had finally let the words that were circling her mind for weeks, out to the one person she knew would never tell another soul in the world. “Why me?”
“Because if anyone is going to be able to do it, it will be you.”
But she wasn’t the best fighter out of them anymore, not with them training and her training in other “important” things. Now there was EverDanger who could protect Evester. She wasn’t the smart one. She wasn’t the fastest. She wasn’t talented.
Shawn’s eyes held words that he would not speak and instead he looked back out to the sky. “You will be the one who never forgets that everyone matters. And that is why it was you. I believe that.”
Heia looked back out to the world of neon and flashing lights, music, and suffering.