His mind flashed, torrents of color and emotion searing through his brain. All around him, his home was in ruins. The streets of Geylis were filled with EPs on guard, keeping watch, enforcing the Fracturing. Screaming, sobbing, the sounds of the wounded and desperate, echoed throughout the small town. Micah could see people running, downed in the streets by gunshots. Bodies falling in gutters, dead faces completely submerged in puddles of mud, abandoned as less than human. Babies wrenched from their mothers’ arms, families separated, parents executed in front of their children. All the while, he heard two words echo through the frantic chaos.
Micah wanted to scream, but the sound wouldn’t come. As the officer dragged him away from his hometown, flames began to envelop the houses he used to know, the streets in which he used to play. The EPs were setting Geylis on fire, watching it burn down to rubble, to ashes, to dust.
In his dream, he saw Tartarus as he had for the first time, when he was forced to descend those steep stone steps beneath the earth, all at once enveloped by the cold, stale air.
The Orphanage. Constructed of thick dark brick and mortar, it looked like a huge gray jailhouse with steel bars blocking all the windows. Tall black gates surrounded any side yards, enclosing and disrupting any means of escape. He was forced inside. Akin to the front of a jailhouse, a smaller booking room was separated from a large open space by thick black bars. And behind those bars, faces peered out at him from sparse beds, sleeping bags, and a cold cement floor. Phlegm rose to his throat.
Children. Children everywhere. Children his age, some older, some even younger. Children crouched and trembling, crying and moaning. Orphans.
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