Below is an excerpt of the first three chapters from Freaks Episode 1. Thanks for reading!
The siren echoed throughout camp 93. I slammed my hammer into a dull chisel trying to cut out the shiny blue pyrope from the gray rock. A few pieces of stone crumbled onto the ground as my chisel began to pry the cluster out of the wall. Beads of sweat ran down my face as my arms swung the hammer striking the metallic chisel. Again, I tried to pry it from the wall.
“Move it, Freaks,” yelled a guard as he swung his whip onto the ground.
The slap of the whip echoed throughout the mine. Normals where grabbing the lanterns as they herded us out. After shoveling the rest of the pyrope into my cart, I threw my weight against the hot metal side making it slowly move out of the mine. I closed my eyes tightly allowing them to adjust to the pink and gold light of the setting sun. I pushed my final load of the day to the processing center. The guards were swinging their whips overzealously as they tried to hurry us out of the mine. It was the end of their shift; some were ready to see their families and others to get drunk and waste away another day of their freedom.
I smirked in disgust watching my people fight each other over these damn rocks. We are nothing but dirty animals to them. No, we were worse than that, we were Freaks. No wonder the Normals treated us so cruelly. We prey on our own kind. I shook my head as brown stained white feathers floated to the ground and landed next to my feet. Not mention our deformity. The Normals with their smooth backs unburden by the extra weight of our Freakish mutation.
I slowly approached the processing center. The older Freaks can be seen working their way through the mounds of rocks sorting out the precious blue gems. My body felt drained from the long day, and my mind began to ponder how good it will feel to get some sleep. Suddenly, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck rise up. Looking over my shoulder, I noticed two Freaks, a male, and a female, following me with an empty cart. The male was slightly in front of the female but appeared to be attempting to flank to my right. I swung back around and increased my pace. Panic and adrenaline began to course through my veins. I was almost there. I had to make it to the processing center; then they couldn’t steal my day’s worth of work.
A rough hand grabbed my arm firmly and yanked me around. Groaning, I looked up at the male. On his chest was a crude pickaxe carved into his flesh. He was a part of the Pickaxers. A group of Freaks that banned together claiming they worked collectively to survive in this filth. All they really do is harass us and steal our pyrope.
I glared at them. I don’t want to fight over these senseless rocks, but I will not be punished from the Normals because of an empty cart that I did fill. The male pointed at his chest, then pointed at my cart and held up his fist. Anger started to bubble up inside of me. The female smiled and grabbed my cart. I slapped her hand away. She frowned, then looked back at the male. He growled and again pointed to his chest. The female tried again. I snatched her hand, then yanked her toward me. Slamming my fist into her nose, blood splattered all over her face and my knuckles. She cried out in pain and fell to the ground. I swiftly turned to face the male staring straight into his eyes and clenching my hands into fists.
“You are making a serious mistake,” he warned.
“You are getting nothing from me today, Pickaxer,” I taunted, while I was hoping this display would show him I wasn’t going to be a submissive target.
The Pickaxer was not so easily intimidated. He jumped on me knocking me backwards into my cart, banging my head against the side, then on the ground. I closed my eyes waiting for the throbbing to stop echoing inside my head. Another burst of pain shot through my jaw as his fist connected. He started to hit me with quick strikes on my face and torso area. I shoved my hands into his chest and with all my strength pushed him off of me. He fell onto the dirt next to me. He started to get back up. I swiftly twisted around and kicked him twice in his face. His body went limp as he slumped back into the dirt.
Gulping in several breaths of air, I slowly pushed myself up. I glanced at the spot the female should have been. Panic shook my limbs when I saw that she was gone. No! She most likely went to retrieve reinforcements. Racing to my cart, I threw all my weight into it. I had to make it to the drop off station. I am not too far. Keep pushing! Sweat and blood began to run down my face from the effort that was forced from my weakening muscles. My cart slowly started to pick up speed. Almost there!
A metal crash rang through my body knocking me into the side of the cart. A chill ran down my spine. A group of Pickaxers stood in front of me. Two were leaning against the cart that I had crashed into. Slowly, I pushed myself off the cart and waited. They slowly surrounded me. I had little chance of escape now. I only had two options left. Submit and be beaten to the brink of death or Fight and die.
The female had a bloody grin as she eyed me. She sauntered over to me and raised one of her hands. I noticed that her fingernails had been sharpen into fine little-jagged points. She slashed her dagger-like nails across my neck. I could feel my skin rip as I choked down a cry of agony. She beamed as she inspected the crimson liquid upon her nails. The witch smiled menacingly. Raising her blood-soaked nails to her mouth, she extended her tongue and slowly licked her nails clean. The men behind her smirked. She pushed me away from my pyrope. Wrapping her fingers around the side of the cart, she slowly started pushing it away from me.
I felt rage explode inside of me. I will not submit. I will not! I yelled out in anger causing dismay to be etched on their faces. The Pickaxers were frozen stiff stunned by my actions. Using their confusion, I stretched out my wings and jumped into the air. Flying straight into the dagger clawed hag, knocking her into the dirt. I couldn’t control my anger as I repeatedly smashed her face. I became so focused on her that I didn’t see my attacker snatch me up and toss me through the air. My body hit the hard earth with a loud thud. The group of males began to make their way towards me. I scrambled up and extended my wings. Taking a deep breath, I raised my fists readying myself for the onslaught that was about to come.
Five males ran at me. I swung wildly striking one across the chin. One of them grabbed my hand. Another jumped, wrapping his arms around my legs causing me to fall back again onto the dirt. They held me down while the others began to pummel my body with fists and feet. I struggled against them but lacked the strength to free myself.
I felt my consciousness began to fade when I heard the Normals’ whistles and the cracks of their whips against flesh. The soldiers forced the mob away from me. I sat up on my knees and spit out the metallic tasting liquid from my mouth. Staring at my red blood soaking into the brown dirt, I couldn’t help feeling a slight morbid amusement. This is a common sight for a Winged-Freak like me.
“What is going on here?” I heard Jonas’s voice boom as he approached.
I grimaced as I pushed myself off the ground. Pain pounded in my body at the sudden strain of standing. I couldn’t let the Normals think I was no longer useful. If they question my ability to be productive, then even Jonas couldn’t save me.
Jonas pushed his way through. His deep green eyes widen when he saw me. He quickly looked away. His body began to tremble with rage as he glared at my attackers.
“Again with these Pickaxers. Take them to a holding cell to await punishment. I will personally deal with them,” Jonas said harshly failing at masking his fury.
“What about this female?” One of the soldiers asked as he pointed at me.
Jonas didn’t look at me as he answered, “I will question her and make sure she still can be a productive miner.”
The soldiers saluted then carried out his orders pushing the cowering Freaks to a holding cell. Jonas looked at me with a mixture of anger and concern swirling in his eyes. I took in a ragged breath and nervously scratched at the tiny fine hairs that were sprouting from my head. He motioned for me to follow, then began walking at a quick pace to his office. I struggled to keep up. I knew Jonas couldn’t slow down or help me. There were too many eyes. Jonas was a Normal. They were not allowed to show any compassion toward us, or they would run the risk of becoming tainted. Jonas was already one of the tainted. He was corrupted many years ago before I knew him. He is always watched and tested to reaffirm that he has recovered from his taint.
Jonas stopped at one of the many metal buildings that lined the Normals’ side of the camp. He pushed open the metallic door and motioned for me to enter. I walked inside. His office was void of people at the moment. Jonas’s large metal desk sat toward the left of the room. It was full of several messy stacks of paper. Another smaller desk was positioned closer to the door. It was neat and had a few decorative glass looking items on it. A small washstand was near Jonas’s side of the room. I slowly walked to Jonas’s desk. There were two simple metal chairs in front of a large silver desk. Jonas’s chair was large and had a black cushion on the seat. It was pushed back against the wall as if he had jumped out of his chair and left in a hurry. Jonas pushed the door closed then locked it. He slowly turned around. His green eyes shone intensely in the dimly lit room. Nervously, I stood there as he walked over to me.
“What in the world were you thinking,” yelled Jonas. “Are you trying to get yourself killed?”
I shrugged. I really didn’t want to have this conversation again. It is not like I was looking for a fight.
“Sit down.” He sighed, then walked over to his washstand.
He rummaged through some cloth. Once he found the one he was satisfied with, he grabbed a metal pitcher and poured water into the bowl. I sat down, and my muscles sighed with relief from the strain of standing. I watched Jonas wet the cloth, then walk over to me. He carefully washed the scratches and bruises. He, then, began to wash the blood and dirt off my wings.
“The problem with white wings is they are so easily stained,” Jonas fretted.
I scoffed, “I don’t think it is important what color my wings are.”
Jonas smiled, “White wings are rare. You should try to take better care of them.”
Jonas threw the cloth into the wastebasket. He grabbed another cloth along with a pair of scissors and a razor. He dampened the clothed then walked over to me.
“Tomorrow is Sanitation Day. I better get you done now so you will be overlooked.”
He scrubbed my head with the wet cloth and went to work.
Jonas cleared his throat, then spoke softly, “look, I know this isn’t a decent way to live. It is….well… I don’t need to tell you what it is. You have to know there is a better life waiting for us. You can’t just throw it away. We are very close, I know it. I have done everything needed for me to be promoted to the Supreme’s Guard. Once that happens, I will get to pick my own Winged-Person to serve me. You and I will finally get to leave this monstrous place.”
“How will they ever let you pick me? I am a miner. A Camp Freak. I can’t even fly,” I said frustrated at his optimism. I could feel the reality of the situation sink in. When Jonas is promoted, he will have no choice but to leave me behind. They will never see me as anything else, but a tool to extract their pyrope. I will soon be all alone. The camp suddenly felt larger. Fear gnawed at my stomach as I looked up at my protector.
“You can fly. I have seen you.”
“Glide,” I corrected, “I can glide. Any miner with wings in decent shape can glide. I lack the strength and the knowledge to actually fly.”
“So, you will have to learn,” Jonas said smiling, “how hard can it be. Have some faith in yourself. Everything is going to work out for us, you’ll see.”
I sat there as he worked. I was unable to see that future. I couldn’t help thinking that all my life will ever be is blood and dirt.
Jonas must have sensed my concern. He squeezed my shoulder, then whispered, “I won’t ever leave you behind. I promise.”
I nodded, still unsure. He was a Normal, and I am a Freak. How can he save me from this place? How can anyone? I can’t even save myself.
We both fell silent as he quickly finished shaving my head and clipping my wings. He looked me over one more time. Satisfied that I was going to be overlooked by the sanitation officers, he escorted me back across to the miner’s side of the camp. He slowed his pace as he led me to the resting area. He pushed opened the gate to a chain-length fence surrounding a field. Hundreds of Freaks were chained together laying on the cold ground in perfect rows. Jonas walked me to my assigned spot. He bent down and placed the metal bracket on my leg and locked it into place. He stood up and looked at me. I nodded at him, then he quickly turned and left.
Slowly, I laid down on the cold filthy ground. The soreness from the day pounded in my muscles. I gazed up at the stars. The twinkling bright light in the darkness. This was a nightly ritual that began with my guardian. She would hold me as we admired the gleaming stars every night until the day she was killed. I glanced down at the feathery mutation attached to me. My white wings glowed in the moonlight. The sight of them disgusted me. I am a Winged-Person. My wings brand me as a Freak. Freaks are bred to work and serve the Normals. It has been that way since the rise of the kingdom, Eurathia, hundreds of years ago. But, when I look up at those shining lights in the blackness, I can’t help the urge to fly up and touch them. Free from all of this. Maybe someday my wings might be useful. Smiling at the absurd thought, I closed my eyes. No, I am one of the hundreds of Winged-Freaks in this camp alone. I will toil my life away digging up the pyrope. There is only one thing I can be certain of. Blood and dirt.
My body stiffened as I sprung up awakened by the cold hard water blasting onto me from a hose. Groaning, I wiped the excess water from my face. Standing the rest of the way up, I glanced at the male Freak next to me. He wasn’t waking up. I smiled at the aging man. He was one of the few Winged-People I have seen with graying hair. Most of the old were either transferred to the processing plant or moved to a holding cell to await cremation. Not Gramps. He is strong as an ox. Using my unshackled leg, I pushed Gramps over onto his back. His brown eyes shot open; then he smiled a toothy grin as he slowly stood up and stretched his auburn wings. I shook my head in bewilderment that anyone could sleep through that. Gramps’s smiled widen as he shrugged at my surprise.
The siren echoed throughout the camp, as soldiers rushed to their posts. The Major of Health barked orders at them. Every morning, he had the sanitation unit spray us down with cold water which doubled as our bath and alarm. Several lower-ranked soldiers scurried down the rows of Freaks, unlocking the metal bracket from our ankles. Once all of us are released, they jogged to their positions. Five soldiers were spaced down all the rows. Then, the Corporals stood in front of their assigned line. They blew their whistles, and we all turned to face them. Each soldier waited their turn to lead their row from the resting area to the galleys, a metal building where they feed us our meals.
Our Corporal blew his whistle; then we began to follow in a slow, orderly line. In the line next to us, a Pickaxer was already starting his day by pulling the feathers out of a smaller male’s wings. A surge of relief washed over me. I was lucky at where I was positioned. With Gramps at my back and Freckles in front of me, I was as safe as any Winged-Person could be. Well, at least in the resting area.
Freckles twitched his brown wing as it sagged on the ground. I raised my hand to his fragile appendage and gently raised it up. Taking the hint, he held it in place despite how much it hurt. He couldn’t draw the Normals attention to it even if it was broken. If they thought that it would get in the way at all, they cut it off. Freckles only has one wing left as it is. He lost the other about eight years ago in the Great Cave In when it got caught between the rubble. He was one of the few fortunate ones that survived. He only had to lose a wing. Others lost a lot more that day.
“Hold up!” I heard soldier call out to our Corporal.
The Corporal blew his whistle and held up a hand to signal us to stop. The soldier jogged up to him. He had a small child on a leash next to him. The child looked no more than 5 or 6 years old.
“We just got in our transfer from Camp 105,” said the soldier shaking his head.
“Is that the only one we are receiving?” the Corporal asked.
“The Freaks rebelled and tried to escape. Most of them were killed in the skirmish.”
“What? John are you serious? I didn’t think the Winged-People had any rebellious nature left in them anymore.”
“Well now, these ones are different,” the one called John answered. “These are not your typical manufactured Freaks.”
My eyes narrowed at the word manufactured. What is he implying? Winged-People were born in the Population Control Center. Every camp had one. Where else would a wing-person come from? Unless he was captured. Are there any of our kind that is still free?
“Are we seriously only getting one child?” the Corporal asked as he pointed to the boy.
John sighed, “he is the only miner. The rest that survived are being divided into breeders and processors.”
“What a shame. This one doesn’t even look like he will survive a week in the mines.”
John laughed, “No, he has been scared stiff since his guardian was killed. He doesn’t even seem to remember the name his people gave him. I think he’s in some kind of shock.”
“Probably for the best if he can’t remember. Major Jonas isn’t going to be happy with this transfer. I know he is trying to bolster the population.”
“The lot that survived weren’t promising. Even General Michael didn’t pick any out.”
“Wait…what,” shock echoed on our Corporal’s face, “The General of the Messengers came to inspect your transfer?”
“Yes, he did. He even shook my hand,” John replied as he tugged on his belt and rocked back on his heels. “But none of them were suited to become messengers.”
“I wish I had your job, instead of being stuck with monotonous routine every day.”
I smirked at our Corporal’s comment as I glanced back at Gramps. He rolled his eyes and made a gloomy face mocking him. I had to cover my mouth to suppress the sound of my laughter.
“What is the holdup?” Yelled the next row’s Corporal.
Our Corporal sighed, “right, we better get this little Freak a spot.”
John nodded as they began to walk down the line.
“Whoa,” John uttered as he stopped next to Gramps. “Look at that!”
The Corporal frowned, “what?”
“This Freak’s wings,” he said as he turned around and grabbed my wing.
Shock and fear stiffened my body. I took a deep breath and forced myself to allow my wing to be stretched out by this Normal.
“Does Father Conrad know about this one?” John asked.
The Corporal shrugged, “What difference does it make. She is just a miner.”
“Oh, you don’t know?” John questioned as he released my wing.
“What?” the Corporal whispered.
“Father Conrad collects Freaks that are unusual or rare to form his own personal bodyguard unit,” John said in a hushed tone.
“Would you hurry up!” the Major of Health shouted as he glared at the men.
“Put the Freak here for now,” the Corporal spat out as he frowned at the major’s back.
John pushed the little boy between Gramps and me, then took off his leash.
“I will see you this evening, Ben,” Jon said as he waved goodbye to our Corporal.
The Corporal ran back to the front of the line, then blew his whistle. The line slowly returned to its’ normal pace.
I felt a small tug on my left wing. I glanced back and saw the small boy holding a cluster of my feathers in his hand. Shaking my head annoyed that my wings were drawing this much attention, I tried to dislodge my wing from his hand. He tightened his grip. I sighed. Gramps chuckled. I glanced backward and shot Gramps a dirty look. The boy squeezed my wing to his chest. Looking down, two wet blue eyes were staring up at me. Grief struck my heart. Surprised by the sudden rush of emotions, I quickly turned around. I knew what it was like to be alone in this nightmare of a place. I took in a deep breath and resigned myself to allowing the boy to hold my wing this time. Next time, I will have to force him to let go. He is going to have to learn how to control his emotions, or this place will eat him alive.
Chapter 3 Jonas
I rubbed my eyes as I took a moment from my endless paperwork. The Population Control has sent a request for me to inspect a new group of five years old. I had to approve which child was strong enough to enter the mines and which should be sent to a holding cell to await cremation. I needed to speak with them about upping the production of Freaks. Our population in the mines is down, and so are the profits.
I glanced at the letter from Father Conrad sitting open on the side of my desk. This is his second letter reprimanding the camp for its’ downward spiral. There wasn’t much I could do. I already bought a shipment of Freaks from Camp 105, a camp which specializes in breeding, capturing, and training in the lower species of human. Our camp is going through a low breeding cycle, and we have experienced a lot of deaths, not to mention we have had to cut out a lot of the old and weak from the population this year. These cycles happen every so often in a camp that has been around as long as this one. Typically, this wouldn’t be a problem. All one had to do is buy a new shipment of Freaks to bolster our populace.
Unfortunately, over the course of three years, Winged-Freaks have become more popular among the masses. It has become a sign of class for families to own a Winged-Person. They are now not only trained for labor camps, but to be tutors, run shops, and to manage Normals’ households. Some camps, not owned by Father Conrad, have sold all of their wing-people. They have used the profits to capture and train a new species of Freak to work in their camps. Father Conrad is one of the few remaining Fathers that have held on to the classic supply of labor. This adds to the difficulty of my job.
“Sally,” I said as I turned to face my secretary, “has the shipment from Camp 105 been processed yet?”
“Yes, sir,” she said in her musical voice that grated on my nerves. “But it wasn’t fruitful.”
“What do you mean?” I questioned.
“Sergeant John filled me in briefly on the situation this morning when he checked back into the camp. He wanted me to inform you that he will have his report submitted to you by noon today.”
“What situation? What happened, Sally?”
Her red curls bounced as she hurried over to my desk and sat in one of the chairs across from me. She leaned over and before she spoke, she scanned the empty room. Forcing myself to suppress my disdain for her exaggerated actions, I nodded for her to continue.
In a hushed tone, she replied, “They rebelled!”
“What?” my tone betrayed my calm appearance with utter shock at the news.
Her painted red lips curled into a smile, obviously happy with my response.
She eagerly nodded, “Yes! A lot of the Freaks were killed, and several soldiers were injured. John”, she frowned then cleared her throat, “Sergeant John said they must have planned it.”
I sighed as I glanced at Father Conrad’s letter. How am I going to explain this? That transfer cost the camp several hundred pounds of precious minerals.
“What are you going to do, sir?” asked Sally, as her face frowned with worry.
“I will need to have Sergeant John’s report first before I can decide what actions I must take. I am sure Camp 105 will reimburse us or send us a replacement group. No one would want this to get out. Especially since how popular a commodity the Winged-People have become.”
There was a slight knock on the door which caused Sally to practically jump out of her seat.
“I’m sorry, sir. Freaks, Winged-Freaks, rebelling are just so disconcerting. What if the Camp Freaks find out? Would they rise up and kill us in our sleep?”
I swallowed trying not to laugh at Sally’s ridiculous statement.
“That will never happen,” I said trying to reassure her.
Again, there was another slight knock.
She nodded, then swiftly went to answer the door.
“Oh!” she shrieked.
I half stood up as I glanced towards the open door. I saw a winged messenger in his green uniform. Sighing, I sat back down. The Freak stood in shock at Sally’s response to him. He waited patiently for her to allow him in, but she seemed to be frozen in the entrance gawking at him.
“Do you have a message for me?” I asked raising my voice so it could be heard from across the room.
Sally, finally having recovered from her fright, quickly hurried him inside. He kept his eyes diverted to the ground as he walked over to me.
“Major Jonas, I have a message for you,” the messenger said as he extended his hand.
My eyes were drawn to the thick white envelope with the golden crown seal on it. My heart began to race. Here it is. The answer to my promotion to the Supreme’s guard. Trying to keep my composure, I took the letter and laid it on my desk.
“Thank you, messenger.”
He nodded as he handed me a confirmation paper to sign. I quickly signed the paper and returned it to him. The messenger placed the paper in his satchel, then quickly exited my office.
My eyes fell on the letter. I could feel all my hope resting on the response of one of the Supreme’s Military Advisers. I donned my jacket as I stood up, then pocketed the letter in my coat. I walked slowly to Sally’s desk. She had returned there after the Freak had left the room. She was now looking through a stack of requests on her desk.
“Sally,” I said in an even tone, “I am going to inspect the mines early today. Tell Sergeant John that I want to discuss with him in person the details of what happened during the transfer.”
I turned and exited, but instead of walking to the mines, I made a detour to my quarters. I swiftly entered a three-storied metal building. I continued up the stairs to the second floor and ran to my room. Once I was in the privacy of my living room, I tore open the letter.
Dear Major Jonas,
Your application to the Supreme’s Guard has been denied. You are not what we are looking for. We want someone who has impeccable service and has never been tainted.
A heavyweight of disappointment fell into the pit of my stomach. The weight of my despair pulled me down into the chair. Tainted. That is what I am. Tainted forever for the compassion I had shown once. Never will I be able to purify myself from it.
I pulled out a dented silver ring attached to a gold chain around my neck. I had bought this for her. We were to be married. She was one of the Winged-Freaks. I was such a young fool. I was barely eighteen when I first saw her. As soon as I laid eyes on her my life was forever changed.
She was a breeder. She had become barren and was declared too weak to be put back into the mines. They placed her in a holding cell with the old to await death. I will never forget the moment our eyes met. Her deep blue eyes immediately held my heart captive. Her golden blonde hair had grown out and wildly hung around her small shoulders. I did in that moment something that was unthinkable and unforgivable by my people. I released her.
Before my act of treachery, I had moved up through the ranks swiftly. At that time, I was the Major General of the Mines. I had a nice apartment and pay to go along with my rank. I used my position to change records and forge documents so I could move her in with me. I did everything I could to make her happy and as the months passed our love for each other grew passionately. I had bought her this ring and promised her we would marry as soon as we were free from our prison. I had given her the name Lily because that seemed to be the flower she favored.
We began to plan our escape. We decided that we would leave the kingdom and settle in the unconquered lands of the Blue. All we lacked was the funds. So, we waited as I started to stash my income away. During the downtime, we began to dream what our lives would be like after we were free. We decided that we would buy an orchard. We would grow all kinds of trees from apples to peaches and anything else that caught our fancy. Of course, she would grow a beautiful flower bed full of lilies.
Unfortunately, Lily was still addicted to that horrible drug. We struggled to break her free from it. The drug was becoming stronger than her. One day, she became so angry at herself that she threw all of the drugs away. She had declared that she would never take it again. The days after that were hard and painful. I felt so helpless as I watched her fight her addiction. I knew the best way for me to help was to take her away from this place.
I had finally saved up enough money for us to make a new start. The plan was set. We were to make our escape that night. I closed my eyes as that dreadful evening played in my mind. I had just got off my shift. I wasn’t really paying attention as I ran our escape plan through my head. When I entered our apartment, I was surrounded by darkness. Suddenly a lantern lit up the room. The light burned my eyes for a few moments as I called out Lily’s name. The voice that responded, however, was my major. My vision slowly began to clear as I saw my Lieutenant General of the Mines and several military police surrounding him. I was dragged to an empty cell in the camp’s prison. Every hour several different colleagues of mine would express their disgust for me as they beat me unconscious.
The next morning the lieutenant general came to inform me that I was found out by my own sweet Lily. She took all the money that we had saved to buy the drug. She was discovered by the Military Police and taken into custody. Lily was beaten and bribed to give up who was helping her for her safety. And she did.
Like a fool, I was more concerned with her well being than my own. I had committed several of the worst crimes in my kingdom. I had freed a Freak, lived with her, and was going to marry her. I risked tainting the pure bloodline of the Normals with her dirty genes. It didn’t matter that she was barren; it was an act of being in love with one of those animals that they consider horrendous as well as punishable. I had become tainted, and for that, I had to be punished.
Later that day, I was sentenced to be sent to a Reform School for six years. I had to be re-educated to think how all Normals were supposed to think. Freaks were not human. They are animals. A tool. A resource. Something to be used, not loved. The Reform School taught me that by forcing me to spill the blood of many Freaks, Freaks of all species, age, and gender. I went through unspeakable horrors in that place. The atrocities that I had to commit to survive ate away at my humanity.
Six years later, I had been assigned to this same camp. I was forced to be in charge of the mines and the miners, but only have the rank of major as punishment. I never knew what happened to my Lily. I always assumed that they either put her back into the mines or executed her. I searched for her every night, but to no avail. I did, however, find a precious little girl that needed my help. That little girl is the only reason I have held onto my sanity.
I quickly wiped away a tear as I remembered Lily’s sweet, radiant smile. I kissed the dented ring, then gently placed it back inside of my uniform. I was a fool to have loved her and an even greater fool for continuing to love her. Now, I am forever trapped in the mines with her memory.