Jesyn could hear the sirens through the thicket of firs. Two. Maybe three miles. Sound traveled in the Range, echoing off the hills and mountain sides. They could be anywhere, but Jesyn knew where their various points would converge, and what would happen to them when they did.
Their hub was useless. Scrambled. The only thing keeping Jesyn from dropping it was the fear it would be used to track them. They had been running through the plantation fields for the better part of two days. Keeping to the narrow stretches between the verdant fields and winding river ways and bogs had helped to discuss their trespasses. A single clue like a tossed hub would be all they needed.
Jesyn had been resting. A short breather against the statue of an aged and slouching willow. Jesyn knew how the tree felt. Worn down, fading. Looking at the steady current in the river below, Jesyn mused how easy it would be. Stand up, arms out, and fall forward. A broken bough ripped from its home by a strike of lighting. Floating lifeless down the river, algae and pine needles clinging to its side, encasing it until no more of its skin touched the sun. Flies would gather on it, frogs would follow. Perhaps one, tired of the constant threat of bass, would hop up and catch a ride. Travel to parts of the river it had never seen. A birds would join it. A bluejay perhaps. Or no. Nothing so vicious and territorial. A sparrow, then. Or a robin. Quiet and unassuming the two would glide down the river like strangers on a bus. The frog's tongue lashing out occasionally, snatching a snack from the air. The sparrow's beak, burrowing into the bark, searching for a meal of its own. Maybe the frog would hope off first.
But where would the branch go after that? What inlet would it get caught up in? What structure would it become a part of? When would the weight of the muck overcome its buoyancy and bury it in the depths of the river?
A shiver lanced through Jesyn, raising their shoulders. Cold, viscous mud. They could feel it enveloping the branch, dragging it down with the worms and dead leaves. A long, slow digestion. Unseen and unimportant. How many branches join the river eventually? How many sink to the bottom? One of many.
Jesyn had lived that life for too long. No more.
"How do you feel?"
Her voice sounded broken. Glass with a nasty gash down the middle of it; jagged on the ends where a corner had busted off. The slightest tug would finish it. Human hands could rip them apart.
Jesyn didn't feel well.
Clearing their throat, Jesyn asked again, "How do you feel?" Stronger. Clearer. More them. It would take more than a tug to shatter them.
Pulling themself to their feet, Jesyn placed their hand on the trunk of the willow and scouted the area.
No lights. No signs of movement. Sirens continued to wail, but they felt no closer. They're a part of this place now, they thought. No different than birdsongs or cricket chirps. Here the rivers burbled, the leaves rustled, and the sirens wailed.
But no one flashed a light on Jesyn and they took that as a sign that they had rested enough.
Another two miles. Maybe three. That was the promise of Tomorrow. When they first heard about it they had laughed. In the fields, someone was always going on about a better place. Fair, gentle, honest. It wasn't until Jackson had said it that Jesyn actually believed. Something in his voice had taken a hold of them and the warmth of that embrace had reinvigorated something in them they had long thought dead.
Jesyn couldn't remember the last time they had loved someone. Families were not allowed in the stocks and any sign of love was quickly and remorselessly punished. When love becomes synonymous with pain it ceases to be love.
But Jackson had changed that. Tall and taut, Jesyn had heard the word athlete before but until she met Jackson it had never met anything. A word that didn't exist beyond the word itself. An empty notion. That Jackson was also kind meant that Jesyn began viewing the two things as linked. To be kind and caring to others, you had to be strong and tireless yourself.
Jesyn never told Jackson how they felt. Revealing emotions would get you dressed. But they had felt the Ties before. Hanson, the Prefect at their plantation, had a specialized method of torture. Cordoning off people's
The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:
Begin Start typing to begin
Event Sirens sound in the distance
Words Reach 50 words
Letter Use the letter H
Location A plantation
Words Reach 100 words
Prop Include a cellphone
Words Reach 200 words
Words Reach 300 words
Words Reach 400 words
Sentence "How do you feel?"
Words Reach 500 words
Words Reach 600 words
Words Reach 700 words
Character An amiable athlete
Letter Use the letter D
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