I squint through the hazy smog trying to determine where he is, the heat of the midday sun blaring into the slums taunting my already parched tongue. Sweat trickles down my forehead, adding to the glistening layer that has been a constant appearance all over my body in these past weeks. My aroma blends in with the thousands of other deprived people surrounding me causing a perpetual rancid smell to linger in the air. I glance down at my ragged clothing, my cargo pants with tears in the knees blood and dirt caking the deep graze on one of my knees. I know it won’t be long until infection sets in, the wound getting more gruesome every day. My top hasn’t fared much better, three weeks alone in the slums hasn’t been kind to me. My appearance has aged seemingly years in those few short weeks.
I scan my eyes over the square searching for his golden curls in the crowds. He must be here this was where we agreed to meet..right? Noon by center square in the sand district. I desperately search my memory, hunger growling low in my stomach blurring my memories. I frantically try and recall our last conversation. No I’m sure this was the meeting place but that leaves the question, where is he? Seconds pass like hours, where is he? My thoughts getting more and more urgent by the second, the heat paired with severe dehydration causing panic to set in instantly. My thoughts drifting immediately to the worse case situation. No don’t think like that I mentally scream at myself urging my thoughts to not stray despite my eyes involuntary flickering down to the familiar site of officers patrolling the streets. A routine sight in every village, town and city in the Providence since the militarised state was formed. The mere sight of the officers sends my heart into a flurry of nervous beating, spiking my adrenaline instantaneously reminding me where I am and who I am. A fact that seemed to have slipped my mind in my panicked state.
I slip around the corner and attempt to scale up the building the motions causing my increasingly weakening muscles to scream in protest burning from the simple motions that I once would have breezed through. When I finally reach the top I attempt to gain control fo my ragged and erratic breathing, gasping in a vain attempt for the humid air to relieve the tightness settled in my chest. From up here I can see the whole city, the slums sprawling out into the distance a vast pit of despair and poverty where the majority of the Providences citizens live. Three weeks here has nearly pushed me to my breaking point I couldn’t imagine living here my entire life. In the faint distance through the thick clouds of polluted air I can see the towering steel walls that harbor and shelter the wealthy citizens. The wealth gap so extreme a barrier was constructed in order to separate the countries resident. The government lies claiming that the barrier is for all the citizen’s benefit separating the two classes of people in order to create harmony and peace in our society. Thinking about the lies I believed for the first 19 years of my life when I lived behind those towering walls, ignorant as to what was the truth makes me cringe. I believed they were a beneficial and integral part of society, now I know how wrong I was.
The sounds of commotion down below draws me out of my thoughts a place I seem to find myself in more and more often the longer I spend in the slums. I crawl to the edge of the building craning my neck to gain a better vantage point of the main square trying to determine where the commotion came from without exposing myself. And that’s when I see it a flash of golden curls, relief instantly pours through me. He’s alive he’s okay. I’m repeating this mantra in my head on repeat until I gain a good enough grip on my emotions to actually glance around and see who he is surrounded me. I draw in a painfully sharp intake of breath, barely believing my eyes. I scan their navy and red uniforms, and the glistening badges that lay over their chest confirming my worst fears. My eyes aren’t playing a trick on me. He is surrounded by the enemy, he is surrounded by Providence officers.
I scramble up my mind racing through what is should do, no rational thought entering my mind. I climb down the building as fast as humanly possible, pain shooting through my legs from the harsh impact of the ground. I barely register it. Blood and adrenaline are pumping through my body, allowing me to continue at this frantic pace. I’m in the center of the square in what seems like seconds, staring up at the sight that greets me. I know from the shackles on his hand and the fleet of guards surrounding him that I’m too late. I push through the crowds of curious locals, the stench of people overwhelming my senses causing me to wrinkle my nose in a vain attempt to block the odor. I’m frenzied at this point screaming out his name, drawing out a crowd of onlookers who all give me inquisitive looks but I don’t care. Only one thought is running through my mind. How can I save him?
The sight of an officer drawing out a gun causes my blood to still. No no, this can’t be happening I scream to myself, what will the cause do without him he was the brain behind this whole operation, it will fall apart without him. I push to the front of the crowd screaming my head off. His eyes shift to me for a nanosecond and in the brief glance, he conveys so much emotion in his eyes. Relief at seeing me, strength that will follow him to his grave and a final parting look that I know will haunt me for the remainder of my life.
Then I hear the trigger being pulled.
Bang. There was nothing I could do, I was too late.