Let's check up on Atria, and get another glimpse into her past...

P.S. As is often the case with Atria flashbacks, this one deals with some dark/heavy themes. Just so you all know in advance!


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Scene 4: Never Forget

A.D. 2015


Why was she even doing this? She wasn't sure, of that or of anything else anymore. Tonight's events had summoned demons to the surface, from the shadows of a heart she'd always struggled to suppress, but now she had to face them even if it killed her.

And she had to face them on her own. Couldn't talk about what happened, not to either of the men who mattered most to her — she had shut herself up in a room all alone, as soon as she and Axel had come home. Eldor had somehow found out where they were and had stopped by to see her, some hours ago, but she had told Axel to tell him to go.

While she festered with her issues all alone, she wasn't crying, curled up in a heap as any normal girl would probably be when grappling with such woes — no, she was sitting at a desk and working on a fυcking essay. Why? Hell if she knew. The prospect of law school admission could not have been farther from Atria's mind. And at any rate, these controversial and emotionally charged scribbles and scrawls should never see the light of day. There was no purpose at all in writing this essay. But here she was writing it anyway.

After causing the gunman's death, by use of this power that seemed to be some morbid form of mind control or telekinesis, or whatever, she had just felt irrationally compelled to do this. Maybe it was an act of what shrinks liked to call catharsis.

Her pen, which stupidly kept leaking and staining her hand, assailed the page, through every so often her blazing train of thought would crash into a dead end. But even when the words came to a halt, she sat and stared until new words emerged, and never once stood up. Felt no need to find another pen. The stains upon her hand were only fitting, the ink as dark and damning as the blood of slaughtered men.

Atria told herself that they deserved it. That because of all their sins, they'd had it coming. But the words that spilled onto the page attested otherwise, confessing what her soul more honestly believed.

She wrote about the first night she had killed, at eight years old, not in self-defense, but for a far better reason: to protect someone she loved, whose life had been threatened. And about how this traumatic incident had influenced her views on the value of life, her notions of justice, her stance on crime and punishment and the lines between the guilty and the innocent, which to her mind were never well defined, and in conclusion her position on the death penalty: that it was never just, for anyone, not even for those who might seem irredeemably guilty.

Maybe the wicked of the world, the criminals, the sinners, sometimes had it coming. Maybe in some situations, such as to defend the lives of innocents, killing such persons might be the best or the only solution. But that didn't mean that they deserved to die. That any guilt could ever be so great as to outweigh, to override, the value of a human life.

Death was a very final thing, leaving no room to redress or to regret the fatal punishment; and in truth, no matter how guilty or innocent, every soul had it coming. But every life had meaning. Death was often necessary — ultimately always necessary — but Atria knew, as she wrote: 'one of the darkest and most dangerous perversions of justice in this world is the notion that death could ever be deserved.'

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