Posts Tagged ‘Dreadful memories’

May 6, 2117

(…continued from earlier post)

“Don’t say the Opposition. It’s a dirty word.” The horrid man spoke in a deep voice that betrayed the juvenile reverence with which he spoke. His words and tone were those of a toddler, but the man was well into his thirties.

Perturbed by the disconnect and already regretting her admission, Ella only shrugged her shoulders and scowled.

“Do you belong to them? To the, the Opposition?” He barely whispered as he uttered the last word.

She shook her head only once.

“The Legion, then?”

To that Ella scoffed. “I’m only thirteen.”

The man’s head tilted again as he sat forward in his chair, entranced. “Thirteen is a good age. It’s an important age. That’s when you really want to belong.”

“Belong?”

“To something. Anything. I assume that’s why you joined the Opposition. You wanted to belong. Like your mother.”

“What do you know about my mother?” Ella had grown defensive, territorial.

“Nothing.” Though still creepy, the man too became defensive, surely an emotion born of vulnerability. None of us viewers knew his story, but we could see, just as young Ella could, his story was beginning to unfold. “Just that your mother must have been beautiful.” Silence again claimed the room before the man cleared his throat and ventured, “It’s ok to want to belong.”

She didn’t respond, but I saw the sympathy. It was in her eyes, her expression, her heart. “You know, it’s also ok if you don’t belong.”

“What?!” He lashed out, crossing the room in one leap. He had his hands wrapped around her neck before she even had a chance to block him. Her air was running out as she hit and scratched at his arms, but he acted like he didn’t even feel it. Instead, he raged. “Are you saying I don’t belong? Huh? Is that what you’re saying? Is it? Is it!!”

She shook her head desperately as her tears streamed down her face.

Without warning, he let go and began to pace in front of her as Ella struggled to suck air back into her lungs.

Finally, as both their breathing returned to normal he mumbled. “’Cause I do belong you know?”

“I’m sorry.” She admitted.

He stopped to face her. “Sometimes I doubt it, and when I do, I…” He knelt before her. She tried to scramble away, but he blocked her escape and rolled up his shirt sleeve. “When I wonder if I belong, I do this.”

As viewers, we couldn’t see, but Ella’s reaction told us everything. Her face sagged and the light within her was snuffed out. She was empty, hollow, all hope diminished.

His voice was calm when he spoke next. “You see? All of you, you join the Opposition because you’re scared, because you’re lonely and want to belong. But, if you knew another way, if you knew how to make yourself feel, something to connect you, you wouldn’t have to do that.”

Ella searched his face, desperate for something, anything that could be an alternative to what he was offering.

“That’s what I’m going to do. You’ll be the first. You’ll see.”

“See what?”

“I’m going to save everyone, show them how to belong without joining the Opposition…I’m going to eliminate the Opposition.”

“Eliminate the…” she couldn’t bring herself to go on.

“It’s like I said; you have an amazing destiny Ella. Simply amazing. You and I are going to create history. Right here. In this room.” Still mindful to keep his face from the seeking eyes of the camera lens, he moved to the far wall where he pushed on a panel that dropped down.

It was a hidden shelf and compartment from which he pulled a knife and casually moved back to Ella.

“No.” She whimpered as her chest began to quake from her sobs. “Please.” She managed to squeak out. “No.”

“Sh-shh. Don’t cry. It’s not bad. Really. It just helps you feel, so you know you’re not adrift, that you’re connected. See? Pain is the same for everyone. It’s how you know… it’s what ties you to everyone else.”

Ella could do nothing more than cry until the blade brushed along her skin too and screams burst forth. First, he cut the tops of her forearms, and then his own. She scrambled, desperate to get away, but he pinned her down, matching her agony with his own, stoke for stroke. Her shoulder, then his, her cheekbone, then his.

She begged and pleaded. “Stop! Please, stop! It hurts! No! No! Please, please, please, NO!”

He ran the edge of the blade across her forehead causing the blood to run down her entire face. As he matched the stroke across his own forehead, he used his hand to collect his blood, and run it across her newest wound. Then he repeated the process, adding her blood to his. “See?” Despite the blood that coated them both and smeared the tile floor in illustration of their tragedy, his voice was at ease. “Forever, you and me, we will always be bonded.”

“Stop it!” Her voice launched into hysterics. “Stop, stop, stop, Stttttoooooopppppp!” she was choking on the emotion that clogged her throat as she spat her own blood from her mouth.

“You want me to stop?” he rolled back on his haunches.

“Pleeeaaase.” She whimpered.

“But doesn’t it feel nice to belong?” the vulnerability in his voice then caused even me to hold my breath. Every one of us who was watching on knew that her response would determine her future, but with such a fragile psyche in control of that destiny, there was no telling what was the right or wrong answer.

I watched as her eyes locked on his. Her focus was unwavering even as her mind darted back and forth between telling the truth and lying. “No.” she finally said flatly. “You’re hurting me.”

He fell back as though she had kicked him and clutching the knife to his chest, he scuttled back to the center of the room. “Not you too. Not you too. Not you too. Not you too. Not you too.” He mumbled incessantly.

“Not me what?” she was exasperated and in pain, desperation clinging to her words like a weapon as her fear expelled from her in anger. “You’re the one…” her voice quaked as more tears clogged her throat. “I didn’t do anything to you.”

“But…” now he was crying, his voice like that of a child. “”None of you, not any of my past besties I’ve picked out or even my mom… none of you want to be connected to me.” His tone shifted as he rose from the floor. “Why don’t you love me?!”

“Love you?” She cried, horrified. “I don’t even know you!”

Her words caused her captor to lose his mind. He bent forward at the waist, his arms dropping toward the ground as he screeched and bellowed like a wild animal with clenched fists.

Ella slipped and slid across the floor to the corner where she covered her ears and let the tears flow.

He screamed so loudly the camera had difficulty capturing, and the speakers had trouble broadcasting, the varying pitches and sounds that spouted from him. Finally, he dropped to his knees. “My mom didn’t want to be connected to me either.” His voice was raw as he spoke. “So I blew her up.” He spoke the words so matter-of-fact, it was as though he were a different person than the raging beast that had lost its mind a moment ago.

Ella’s hands dropped from her ears.

“But it didn’t help. I’m still alone.” He began to weep. “I tried to save her, but she refused to leave the Opposition. If she just would have listened to me, she could have belonged to me. Then, she wouldn’t have had to belong to the Opposition.” He crawled over to Ella slowly, his blood marking yet another trail on the floor which looked as though it were out of a horror movie.

Though she twisted and fought, Ella had grown weak from blood loss, and her attempt was futile. Instead, she could do little more than watch as he held her wrist, the blade just above it.

His voice was small, desperate as she spoke. “Ella, will you belong to me?”

Through her tears, she shook her head. “No.” she blubbered softly. “I’m sorry.”

Again, he roared as he jumped to his feet, stepping purposefully to the same collapsed shelf he had pulled the knife from. “What does the Opposition have on you, huh? What’s so special about it? Why isn’t it good enough for you to just belong to me?” Again, his voice broke as he was overcome. “Why doesn’t anyone want to belong to me?”

Pulling something from the shelf, he turned back to her. “I don’t want to be alone anymore.”

Terrified, Ella offered, “You’re not.”

“You don’t mean that.”

“No. Really. I do. I swear, I-”

“I TOLD YOU NOT TO LIE TO ME!” Then his voice shriveled up as he continued. “No secrets. That’s all I wanted, was no secrets, but you can’t do that can you?” He shrugged. “I’ll love you enough to make up for it anyway. I still want to give you the greatest destiny in the world.”

“What destiny?”

“We’re going to show them.” He was exasperated that she still didn’t understand as he moved to stand before her.

“Who? What?” she blubbered.

“All of them. Everyone. You and me. We’re going to show them how to belong without joining the Opposition.”

“What are you talking about?” And then, Ella gasped as the air left her body when he opened his hand. There, lying on his palm was a grenade.

The pin was already pulled out.

There was a serenity in his voice as he spoke, even as Ella scrambled to her feet, slipping and sliding in their blood. “We’ll always belong to one another Ella. Always.”

There was a moment, a single fractured moment when the room seemed to fill with energy, and then, after a burst of light and noise, it was gone. The camera feed stopped. Young Ella Chang was gone. And her faceless monster? He ceased to exist.

Of course, the public went crazy as they took to the media to discuss what we had witnessed. Some tried to rationalize it. But how could you? Others glorified it. After all, he wasn’t the only monster among us. Some blamed our beloved Opposition, but we’re used to that. Still others, others could do nothing more than question. How could someone like that have so much money? What was wrong with him? Who was he? Was he truly crazy, or did something cause him to snap? Was it a conspiracy? How on earth did he live so long without being eliminated? Surely he wouldn’t have passed through school without elimination. So, who was he? Who was he related to? What makes a person do that? How did he go unnoticed? Did they know he had a bomb? Did they know he was going to blow that building up? Was anyone else killed or injured?

The questions were endless, but not from me.

I didn’t ponder those questions. I didn’t wonder who he was, who approved it, or what was wrong with him. Instead, I focused on fear.

I am terrified of whatever it was that happened to him, whatever broke him, and more importantly, who is responsible. You see, monsters walk among us, but they are not the same as you and I, nor are they victims or weak. As you know, in our world, only the best and strongest survive. So then, for an extremely wealthy, broken man to reach that point… the answer everyone else is looking for becomes clear.

Ladies and gentlemen, he is not one of us. He was created, his psyche molded to hurt us, to attack us.

To beat us.

So until next time…

We are the Legion. The Legion lives on. Harper Eckles, out.

 

 

 

April 16, 2117

Well, we’ve all seen the broadcast by now. The headline read “Innocent family slain by father recently recruited by the domestic terror group, The Legion”. Subsequent headlines suggested, “Legion recruit murders family in what can only be described as, a bloodbath”, “Legion orders one of their own to murder innocent family”… the list goes on.

Now, we could go on for days about the injustice of being labeled domestic terrorists, particularly when it is us who is working to re-establish American ideals and regain freedom. But, that is a discussion for another time. Today, we will discuss the true story behind Craig Eielson’s death.

Nearly one year ago, a concerned Elite operative began to question some of the coincidences in recent Missions within Muni Six. It seemed that somehow, somebody on the inside was alerting Legion supporters to impending attacks. They couldn’t determine any other cause for the unusually low Legion casualties on recent raids. Based upon the pattern of inconsistency, they had narrowed their suspicions down to my Premier Unit, led by Eielson. Each of us had come under scrutiny, and I had been pegged as a likely suspect. Evidently, I need to be more cautious in future alerts, though I assure you, this blog remains secure.

My only saving grace came in the form of my horror on April 5th. You may recall the events of that day,(http://cloveramerica.net/2015/04/23/the-devils-kiss/) wherein I had stood by watching fellow Legion members burn, helpless beyond measure. Well, the EIU (Elite Investigative Unit) also remembered that day. They spoke with those I had stood with on the sidewalk, and they questioned the devil who had greeted me in celebration, extensively. The devil supported my statement as to my involvement in achieving the Elite’s Mission that day, and my refusal to render aid to suspected targets. As such, I was cleared. Eielson was to participate in that horrid Mission as well, but a medical emergency experienced by his wife while giving birth to their newborn daughter had captured his attention instead. While the Elites did confirm the birth of his daughter, they found his absence suspicious and so, in the overnight hours this morning, they stole into his house immobilizing him and conducted their interrogation.

The entire event was recorded by both video and in fleeting moments of terror by photograph. Both were provided to us in the briefing. For those of you unaware, all Premiers are to provide the Elites with their home keys and security codes as a safeguard to ensure that should something happen to us, our families or any National documents in our residence can be secured and protected. We watched from the home’s security feed, as well as the helmet mounted cameras of the twelve Premiers participating in the Mission as they surrounded his residence, passed silently through the gate and filed through both the front and rear doors. Wearing their helmets with night vision lenses, they stole silently through the rooms, ensuring each area was secure. As the Premiers encountered his two oldest daughters, they dinged their wrist communicator, keeping their weapons trained silently on the girls without waking them. Secured.

More Premiers worked their way further down the hall, silently entering the master bedroom. One moved to either side of the bed when the first man placed his hand over the mouth of Eielson’s wife. Her eyes shot open and a river of frantic fear seemed to cascade throughout the home. Her muffled screams couldn’t tell the story of the terror that had gripped her. So, her limbs began to flail instead, desperate to convey the horror. Roused by the motion, Eielson attempted to spring into action, but no sooner had his wife’s mouth been covered did another Premier stab a needle into the side of his neck. Instantly, his body collapsed forward, nearly folding in half on the bed as his body gave in to the toxin. Eielson watched on as his wife was easily overcome, subdued and gagged as he spewed expletives and threats, conveying his confusion. Unable to move, his words were his only weapons. “I demand you tell me what is going on! Why have I been given a debilitator? Get your hands off her!”

Hearing their father shouting, both girls woke with a jolt, the older, only nine years old began screaming and backing away from the man in her room, taking refuge along her headboard. “Daddy!” She screamed, her voice so shrill it must have carried for miles. “Daddy! Mommy! Daddy! Nooooooo!” Her voice dropped, clogged by fearful sobs as the men bound her hands and feet, carrying her down the hall. As they gagged her, the newborn girl began to wail from her crib in the master bedroom, her voice too encased in fear.

The younger daughter, who was only six years old didn’t scream. Instead, she crawled slowly toward the man whose weapon was trained on her, tilting her head slightly as she did so. Watching the footage through his helmet cam was eerie as her large blue eyes searched his face quizzically before we witnessed her entire face light up. “Uncle Peter!” She exclaimed, relieved to know her intruder as a longtime family friend. Her glance shot to the doorway, anxious. “What’s going on?” Her voice was sweet, innocent.

Uncle Peter seemed unmoved by her fragility or her familiarity as he moved in, forcefully flopping her over on the bed, binding her hands and feet. She began to pepper him with questions. “What’s goin’ on? Why? Uncle Peter?” She began to cry. “It’s me Uncle -” She didn’t get to finish her pleas as he jammed the gag into her mouth and carried her toward the living room.

She was placed on the sofa next to her sister and they both leaned into one another, the river of their tears turning into one as they brought the sides of their faces together, their sobs muffled. Their mother was plopped into an armless sitting chair near them. Their calls to one another were muffled. Though the words could not be discerned, the love, the fear, the concern were spoken universally between the three.

Quite regained control down the hall as a Premier carried the baby, also gagged in his arm, laying her on the low glass table at the middle of the room. Eielson was then plopped unceremoniously into the oversized leather chair facing them all, his body corrected to sit back against the chair as he was unable to fight gravity himself. His nose had been bloodied and he too had been adorned with a gag.

It was then that one of the Premiers removed his helmet, placing it on a side-table, facing the room. I haven’t met him personally in the past, but know him as one of our CO’s out of Muni One, or what was formally known as New York. As usual, I will not be divulging names here, in an effort to maintain the security of this blog. I share Eielson’s only because the media has issued his name.  “Evenin'” the man’s voice was gruff as the room went silent. “Beautiful family you’ve got here.” Eielson was unbound but unable to move. His response was muffled but the fury was easily deciphered. Undeterred, his voice remained level. “You know who I am?”

Eielson managed an “Hm-hmm.” in the affirmative through the gag.

“Good.” He lowered to sit on the glass table before Eilson, only a foot from where the baby rested as he pulled a gun from its holster at his waist. “Ground rules. I remove your gag. I ask you questions. You answer. You lie or you say anything that isn’t a direct answer to the question, one of them dies. Clear?”

“Hm-hmm.”

“Very good.” The man nodded to another standing behind Eielson who succinctly removed the gag.

No sooner had the gag been removed did Eielson say, “What the hell is going on? What’s this about? I -”

He didn’t finish his demands as the man before him simply raised his arm and pulled the trigger, firing a bullet directly into the forehead of Eielson’s eldest daughter.

“Noo!” Eielson commanded as though he could turn back time even as his wife screamed through her gag. The younger daughter grunted and cried as she scooted away from her sister to the arm of the couch which prevented her retreat. Because the older sister had been angled to comfort her sister, as the younger sister scooted away, the elder’s body continued to tip in her direction until her head landed on the sister’s knees, covering them in blood as it cascaded down the young sister’s legs to pool at her bound feet. The little sister continued to cry in panic, watching her sister’s blood cover her. Whether the commotion, the shot of the firearm or the anguish bursting within the walls, the infant stopped crying.

The man returned his attention to Eielson as Eielson readied to speak again. The man simply raised his weapon and uttered, “You speak out of turn, I get another shot. You’ve only got three more warnings left living.”

Fearing for his family, Eielson said nothing.

“Very good.” Chirped the man as he holstered his weapon. “Now to the questions. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Sir.” Eielson responded, his nostrils flared in hostility, but the debilitator denied him further forms of physical protest.

“How long have you been a member of the Legion?”

Eielson’s eyes shot from his daughters to meet the gaze of his interrogator. His mouth opened to speak twice, but his eyes began to search about the room, his wife, his daughters, his own feet, contemplating the best response. Finally settling on an answer he said levelly, “I don’t.”

With a snap of the interrogator’s fingers, Uncle Peter moved to the front of the couch and pulling a blade from his sleeve, slashed the flesh of both the younger daughters legs. More muffled screams burst forth as she shouted “Daddy!” through the gag.

Desperation compelled Eielson to shout, repeating “I DON’T!”

The blade was swiftly planted in the girl’s shoulder. She gave way to the pain, slumping to her side, choking on her pain.

“Damn it!” Eielson raged. “I don’t belong to the Legion!”

The blade was yanked from the shoulder and instead planted in the young girl’s cheek. Her face went pale at the shock of the pain as her eyes searched the man in front of her, betrayal washing over her in a violent wave.

Elites in the briefing room snickered at her reaction as we watched on. I wanted to shout, to scream, to cry… to kill every last one of them. Instead, I relied on the same tactic that got me through my training as an Elite Premier. I swallowed the fury, the putrid disgust and went hard, rigid as stone, bearing witness to it all, just another boulder in the mountain of revenge I will one day unleash in a landside I hope swallows them all.

Shocked to see the blade’s handle jutting from the side of his daughter’s face, Eielson’s demeanor changed. He grew submissive, supple. “Two years.” It was a lie. He was never a Legion member, not even an Opposition supporter.

Accepting the admission as truth, the blade remained where it was.

“Where are they located?” The interrogator continued. Receiving no response he persisted. “Where is their Base in Muni Six?”

“I don’t know.” Tears welled in Eielson’s eyes as his fears were confirmed. The blade was removed from the small child’s face amid more muffled screams and instead slid along her neck, freeing a torrential rain of blood. Both parents wept freely as the lifeless child’s body was pushed to the back of the couch, the blood from the two sisters becoming one shared pool of life robbed on the couch cushions.

Unaffected, Uncle Peter returned to his post behind the couch amid cheers within the briefing room. I was biting the inside of my cheeks so hard, I tasted my own blood as though I were there in the room with them, amid the fear, the stench of murder.

“I’m done playing games!” The interrogator shouted as he scooped the newborn into his arms.

Fear hushed the parents as Eielson eyed his superior suspiciously.

At this point in the video, everybody in the briefing room leaned forward, almost jubilant. It made me sick.

Regaining his composure, the man bounced the newborn in his hand lightly, testing her weight. She reached for him and grabbed his thumb, the expression on her face serene despite the gag. “This is one cute little potato you’ve got here.” he said sweetly.

Knowing the direction this was headed, several within the briefing room laughed heartily and leaned back comfortably in their chair even as my resolve weakened.

“You know my favorite thing to do with potatoes?”

“No.”

Accepting his omission, the man responded simply with “Peel ’em.”

Eielson steeled himself for what was to come, his jaw clenching, his gaze hardening but as the question passed through the man’s lips, Eielson was at a loss.

“Where are they?”

No response.

“Where?”

“I don’t know!” He shouted as the man dug his knife below the skin on the infant’s right foot. He moved the blade, peeling the skin from the body, working up the leg. “Noooo!” Eielson roared, drowning out the wails of the baby and his wife. Though he still couldn’t move, the debilitator was wearing off and his fingers gripped the arms of his chair in desperation, his toes curling and uncurling as well.

“Where?” The man demanded.

“I don’t know!” The question and answer continued to repeat as the man continued to peel the skin from the helpless child. Subhuman roars and screams sought relief, reaching out from the television in the briefing room, but they couldn’t reach me. In a futile attempt to remove myself from the devastation I closed my mind down, hearing none of it, seeing none of it though both the images and sound will always haunt my nightmares. I was aware of cheering, hooting and laughing within the room, but abhorrence cloaked my psyche and even those calls couldn’t reach me. Instead, I focused on the eyes.. the little girl’s blue eyes who had seen so little but known so much pain. I watched as her body registered shock, fragmenting her experience, shielding her from the torture. I watched as the eyes went still, her life leaving the remnants of her body behind.

Eielson’s face was contorted in anguish when I again tuned in to what we were witnessing. His eyes streamed tears though his jaw remained set.

The man carelessly tossed the newborn onto the bodies of her older sisters on the couch. “You’ve only got one wrong answer left. How can you belong to the Legion and not know where they are?”

Eielson kept his gaze on the murderer of his children. “They come to me.”

“Who?”

“I don’t know their names.”

Without delay, another man moved to Eielson’s wife and began strangling her, the view from his helmet-mounted camera highlighting her desperation. Another round of repeated questions and answers replayed until the life had been drained from her blue eyes as well, eyes so similar to the baby’s.

“You bastard.” Eielson managed before the man’s next round found its way through his skull. the blade was placed in his left hand, the pistol, his right.

The video was shut off and our briefing concluded with a reminder which was given to those who had been cheering the demise of Eielson and his family. They were told to remember what they witnessed, that Legion allegiance runs deeper than expected. If not, he would have caved during that interrogation. We were told to acknowledge the strength of supporters’ allegiance to the Legion and never underestimate it. Well, at least they got that part right. Our allegiance should never be underestimated.

The death that befell Eielson’s family was my fault; I had been sloppy and they had paid the price. However, despite the media’s report, that catastrophe was not at our hands. The blame was placed with us to reignite the fire within all Patriots to the Nation and tell them that it is us who are evil. The atrocities they committed were not against our own, but the message they sent with it is clear. They are out for blood. Our blood. They will stop at nothing to end the Legion. But, their acknowledgement of our allegiance is the first signal of fear I have seen in some time. We are turning the tide and it is more important now than ever, that we continue this path. So, until next time…

We are the Legion. The Legion lives on. Harper Eckles, out.

April 5, 2117

Powerless. This feeling, this helplessness, this raw emotion is one we all battle on an everyday basis, isn’t it?

Though there are times when we each step forward, take action and help fellow citizens in opposition of the Elites’ evil, such action is not always possible. There are times when to do so, is to jeopardize not only our lives, but our beloved Legion, the entire Opposition. I encountered one such scenario earlier today.

After reporting for duty this morning, I received my directives and had implemented my orders no more than twenty minutes before I smelled it: a bitter heat, the warm stink of chemicals. The scent of burning dust and dry wood registered in my mind even as my ears identified the loud crackling, snapping sounds of hate. As I turned the next corner, I saw it, an angry wall of flames engulfing the shoddy frame that remained of a dilapidated apartment building. Sharp bursts of fire shot out of the building’s open holes that decades ago had housed windows, the flames biting at neighboring rick shack dwellings, running along the roofline of the one most near. Because of the impromptu craftsmanship of dwellings that deep into the Middle, residents ran for their lives, some bouncing off me as I walked against the steady stream of their fear. They’ve seen the news reports over the years. They know how quickly flames can spread in the Middle.

Gauging the size of the inferno, it was clear the flames had begun some time ago. Yet, there were no sirens approaching, for surely, they had been ordered to stand down. As I drew nearer, my suspicions were confirmed. I saw that the doors had in fact, been boarded shut, as had the lower window casings. For those inside, there would be no escape. I considered rendering aid, wrenching open one of the doors, searching inside for anyone who might still be alive despite the fire’s fury. These thoughts were quickly dashed as I remembered my transponder in the radio. Today’s mission was only a short journey. As such, I would never be out of range of the Capital, and thus, was unable to disengage or shut off my signal on the tracking beacon.  If I were, they would know I had interfered. The signal had clearly tracked me to this point. Any deviation would instantly be reported. I could only pass by in horror.

My heart grew heavy as I continued toward the fire. As I neared, I could hear the pops of small explosions inside and could actually feel the temperature rise with each step. The sound was deafening as the fire roared, the heat drawing sweat from my pores as it radiated off my skin. But the red and orange beast wasn’t what caused my skin to crawl. No. The fault for that lie solely with what I saw just a hundred feet in front of me.

The throng of fleeing civilians had thinned to allow me to see three men standing on the sidewalk, watching the blaze from across the street in awe, horrid smirks plastered on their soulless faces. The one nearest me turned as I approached and I watched his face brighten.

I knew the man who had been pointing and laughing at a woman desperately screaming from the top floor window. He and I had been in the same class. He had considered me a friend, and though we both received similar posts within the Capital, our allegiances could not have been more different. He grasped me by my shoulders as I approached and kissed my cheek briskly in greeting. I felt my body go rigid as the devil brought his lips to my cheek but fought the steeling urge to knock him to the ground and take his life as retribution. Instead, he introduced me to his comrades.

As I shook the third man’s hand, motion caught my eye. It had been a flash of light separate from the dark plumes of smoke pumping from the inferno. As I turned to face it, my ears were assaulted by the men’s raucous laughter even as my heart swelled into my throat. I will not use a name, but the younger brother of a fellow Legion member was hobbling toward us. It appeared he had jumped from a third floor window. He dragged his right leg behind him, his voice twisted in agony even as he extended his right arm toward me, flames dancing along his back, his arm, his hair already gone, the left side of his face seemingly melted.

The men behind me began to cackle, letting out gleeful whoops and cheers as the boy dropped to his hands and knees, hanging his head as he was overcome by the fire. I steeled myself against the urge to rush and render aid. I knew there was nothing I could do. He was too far gone, and helping the innocent little boy who had celebrated his ninth birthday only one week prior would only risk my cover, make the Legion vulnerable to exposure.

Instead, I stood by idly, unable to help, to save… powerless. Once he stopped moving and his entire body succumbed to the flames, I finally turned back to the men. They were still watching their handiwork, be it the child or wall of flames across the street in awe. The screams from the woman had abated. The smell of burning flesh encircled me even as I feigned a smile at the men and scurried down the street, my tail between my legs.

I was an accessory to what happened today. I was powerless to alter the death that took place. Surely, you’ve seen the broadcast by now and know that a message was sent to the Legion today. They suspected Legion members lived in that building out in the Middle. True. Some did. But, they took forty-seven lives, only three of which belonged to us. I regret to admit I stood by today, but I will not let them die in vain.

The loss of life I witnessed is the perfect reminder that the Legion must press on. So, until next time….

We are the Legion. The Legion lives on. Harper Eckles, out.

April 4, 2117

I’ve been asked why I started this blog, why now? Was there an event that triggered it? Is there something I saw that I had to tell the world? In truth, my answer to these questions is yes. But, it wasn’t any one item. It wasn’t something I encountered recently. Rather, these evil atrocities have been happening throughout my, and all of your, entire lives. As an example, please allow me to describe something that happened when I was just a child, nearly ten years ago.

In school, I had a very dear friend, Colton. He has asked that I use his name, as he wishes to participate in this blog. For now at least, I will use only his first name, though he pushes for full disclosure.

As children, we were both naïve, both having always thought what we’d been told, that those in the Underbelly were trash, disposable, that they were savage, ungrateful beasts to be avoided at all costs.

Back then the Elites had grown more brazen as the Opposition had seemed to disperse under Braden James’ guidance, unaware that it was to allow us an opportunity to regroup. Because of the Elite’s bravado, the students were allowed field trips, armored buses that ferried us into enormous fenced-in lots so we could see the Underbelly residents up close. Our classes had been grouped together and Colton and I shared a seat, peering through the barred windows at them. There were hundreds of emaciated, dirty, rotting people. Dark circles ringed their bloodshot eyes and their joints were little more than knobs along their limbs.

Since then, we have come to learn that those people had actually been fenced into that dirt lot, and others like them. They had been selected from the medical testing facility and were out of their minds. They were starved, occasionally sprayed with water from a fire hose that they surely drank to stave off dehydration. Some still fell victim to the desert heat, and when they did, their bodies fueled the food source. The people were caked in mud, and to our young eyes were monsters. Horrid, filthy creatures. As our busses pulled into the lot and the gates were secured behind us, the live corpses clamored over one another, their words incoherent, the stench unbearable as they pulled and climbed the bars. Each bus had a turret atop it and the busses parked strategically, out of the line of fire from one another.

I remember the silence within the bus, before the desperate howls of those outside became unbearable. As their bloodied fists punched and broke through glass, most kids shrieked, and shrunk toward the center of the bus, some plopping into the center aisle.

And then, only death.

An explosion of heavy shell machine gun fire burst from atop the busses, the vibrations jarring each of us in our seats. Colton was the only child who maintained his position by the broken window, while I tried to calm the mass of screaming kids inside. I saw our instructor, the driver, watching me in the oversized mirror, but I ignored him. I worked to quiet the children which must have seemed resilient and strong, but in truth, I needed them to stop, to maintain my own sanity. Once they quieted and the sprawling bodies outside the buses outnumbered those that were still upright and running toward the fences, I returned to the window behind Colton, kneeling on the seat. A group of kids remained huddled between our bus and the bus closest to us, their knees knocking in fear, in hunger. A voice came over the driver’s radio. “Clear. Now they know who lives in the Underbelly, that they’re not like us, just animals. The rest have no sustenance. They are of no concern. Return to class. Lesson complete.”

And another eruption of noise, a cacophony of cheers and elation burst within the bus. Children cheered the demise of those horrid beasts, what they believed a righteous end to a rotten existence. They reveled in the Elites’ poison that day, but not Colton. Instead, he scrambled into gear, and I quickly moved into the seat in front of him, blocking him from view of our instructor as he gathered the snacks we had been munching on and plastic water bottles. He took a cautionary glance my way and I nodded, seeing the instructor’s attention was elsewhere as Colton pushed the snacks and water out the hole in the window. They fell amid the bodies, and though we know those shaking children too had died, it had been Colton who had taken a stand against the Elites that day.

All of you reading this post, you belong to the same Legion as I. This is unacceptable, and fighting to ensure such field trips become extinct, fighting for human rights, for human lives is our calling. Until next time…

We are the Legion. The Legion lives on. Harper Eckles, out.