Misty is a girl that has known death her whole life. It has been the only constant in her world. She and all those around her have been born with three purposes to work, to breed, and to die in there twenty-first year. Cursed to a world of darkness, she serves her captures in a place where the only hope of freedom resides in death.
High above the city, I looked down; it stretched for miles upon miles, too far for the eye to see. The light from the fires that litter the street gave a sinister glow to the run-down houses that we called home. Electricity is a privilege to those like us. A thing we have not earned this month. Everything must be earned, from the very breath that you take, to the bites of food you hoard to fill your crying child’s empty stomach. To live in this world you must fight. Nothing is for free, which is not the problem. The problem is no matter how hard you work, it won’t matter. For people like me, you are born, you work, you die, and there is nothing more. Our government is run by our current benevolent President Vellion, who the few Elders we have among us that have reached the ripe age of their forties say is the worst they have ever seen. He rules us with an iron fist. When women had stopped breeding, not wanting to leave their children behind as they were left, he had hundreds of women ripped from their homes and taken away. Within a month they were returned. Thrown from trucks by laughing soldiers, beaten, bloody, pregnant, and fearful of a man’s touch as a warning to all others. When weeping caregivers carried their starving children through the street begging for mercy, they were taken away never to be heard from again.
Not all places are like this. There are other cities where the rich, the soldiers, and the Loyalists live. Those who do no fight for scraps. Those who are not subject to the lottery. Those who do not have to look again and again into the eyes of those who they have raised and see the bleak, unending acceptance of their own deaths. They live there in their warm homes, their bellies full, laughing and happy, while we work unending hours to see to their comfort and needs. Pushing my anger down deep, I made my way down the well-worn path, careful to be unseen. If I’m found outside the city limits, I’ll be killed and there will be no one after today to care for my two younger sisters.
Staying to the shadows, I quietly made my way past the markings that tell you only death awaits if you dare to cross and to the nearest house. Climbing over the debris, I slid between the houses and into the streets. Careful to avoid the outstretched hands and ignore the darkly whispered words, I quickly made my way home. Coming to my block, I could see the familiar faces of my neighbors gathered around the fires as they offered their good-byes to their friends and family. Making arrangements for their young in preparation for tonight’s lottery. A lottery my cousin Rose is in. The last of my family besides my sisters. Rose has been my sister more than anything else, banding with me to ensure that we all had food. Her last older brother’s lottery was a year past and now her turn had come. Unlike others, she will leave no young behind. Even the president’s warning would not allow her conscience to give that fate to a child.