Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wyre-rat (part 21)

What a life. "In other places, it's not like that." I glanced at the window, the first hints of dawn showing above the buildings beyond. "So if you could leave, would you?"

He didn't have to know that the decision was already made. I couldn't let him go back to the Center.

"I don't know. This is my life." He made a small gesture beside one knee, as if his whole life was constrained in that tiny circle.

"Would you want to? Leave and start over somewhere else where people don't care what you are?"

"You're trying to trick me," he snapped, but he still spoke quietly. Then his head dropped. "But it doesn't feel like a lie. I don't know what to believe." He shuddered. His head fell back against the wall.

"When I was a kitten, I remember the whispers that would go around in the dormitories."

I stared at him, stunned. Kitten? They'd been dehumanized to the point where they didn't even call their infants children?

He didn't seem to notice. "Rumors of wyre captured. Of those who tried to escape being killed by the people outside. We always knew we were being watched, that nothing we said could be safe." He flinched at some memory. "Those who spoke of other rumors, of those who lived their lives outside the Center, they disappeared."

He dropped his head. "No one believed them anyway."

I stared at him, trying to understand. No, not to understand but to assimilate where he was coming from.

It sounded like something out of a previous century, some medieval King deciding who should live and who should die, telling people what to think.

It would make our escape that much more dangerous, and also far more important.

I didn't want to have to kill him.

"Will you come with me?"

His eyes widened a little and turned toward me in the half-dark of the early morning. "Come with you where?"

"Back to my home. I think I can get us both out." This was one of many danger points that I could see in the future. If he came with me because he felt he had no other choices, if he came because he was so used to obedience that he would follow any instruction, chances were very good that he would change his mind later.

It would have to be his decision. Instinctively I stretched my hands, as a rat would do to expose its claws. He glanced down at the movement.

Part 22

If you want to start at the beginning: Wyre-Rat episode 1

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