Desmoterian, a looming, desolate structure, towered over all else in Tartarus. Made entirely of unyielding stone, there were no windows to break up the thick walls. It was said to reek of stink, disease, and decay. Micah had heard the stories. Criminals died slowly within, lingering in between life and death for days before eventually being overcome — either by disease, starvation, or suicide. Many would simply go mad from the monotony and tedium, from the wailings of the ghosts that existed in the form of cellmates, of their former selves.
Since the beginning of President Tovar’s rule, no justice system had existed in Elysian. Only Tovar, and the Elysian Police as an extension of his hand, had the power to decide one’s guilt or innocence. There were no trials, no juries, no opportunities to plead innocence or beg for mercy. Only a lifetime in Desmoterian with no hope of reprieve. That was, until the Games had started.
The doors to Desmoterian stood tall and ominous, manned by two heavily-armed Elysian Policemen. It always was — there was never a moment when the doors were without guard: the prisoners inside were too valuable to be left unattended. It was a constant reminder of the length of Tovar’s arm, of the reach of the esteemed and noble government. No man was safe. No man was better than the law. All men were to submit to Tovar’s rule and obey.
Micah’s mind was silent of the typical despair and destitution he experienced near this place. Desmoterian was empty tonight. The escort would have come to take the prisoners above ground to participate as gladiators in the Games. Those who survived would be brought back, and Micah intended to be as far away as possible when that happened.
“The fuck you looking at?” one of the guards, a burly man whose face was hidden behind a black helmet and visor, snapped at him. “Keep moving unless you want to come inside and make yourself at home.” Anger. Disgust. Boredom. Discontent.
“Scrawny little shit,” the other EP barked out. “That’s all any of them are down here. Nasty and diseased, the lot of them.”
Shut them out, Micah. Shut them out. Micah’s hands balled into fists as he forced his mind to shut down against the emotions of the EPs, ignoring their jeers and walking on. Yet, as he weaved down yet another narrow alleyway, the breath was stolen from his lungs with a cloistering wave of despair. He was well inside the Yellow District now.
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