- - 59 - -

14.5K 961 141

Welcome to today's execution...

"Execution, what!" I exclaim instinctively. My lips don't move an inch, and it freaks me out. Every part of myself feels more alive than ever. The crisp air shivers all over my skin, yet I can't say a word.

I turn towards my dad again, the heels of my shoes clicking on the stage. He crouched battered and bludgeoned on the ground, eyes sunken and scarred.

I can't look at my own dad without thinking of my mom. My poor, fading memories of my mom. He reminds me of her, just as beaten and broken. I don't want my family to be damaged like this.

My heart freezes up, and I feel lightheaded. What the heck is going on!

A hand touches my shoulder, jolting my heart and turning me towards the crowd. Maybe a thousand faces meet mine, ready for something that I have no clue about. All I know is my stomach is churning like I'm about to throw up.

But the announcer's voice from beside me doesn't care. "This execution ceremony starts right now."

A scream catches in my chest again, yet it refuses to crash through the air. Not my dad! Not the only person in this world you haven't destroyed yet!

"In a matter of moments, you will all witness the downfall of the nation's worst traitor. Let it be known that unlawful acts carried out by any person will always result in the harshest punishments."

The world zooms in and out of focus. They're pulling it on my dad, just like my mom: they're framing him. They're making him into some kind of a rebel criminal, a monster within their maze.

My lungs are screaming. I'm the real rebel. Don't kill someone else for what I've started. It's me you want, not him. Not anyone else.

Yet the Enhancement Project locks my lips together. My head is spinning faster and faster. My dad's bruised eyes deadpan into mine as I face him again. His emotions are gone, lost. Nowhere is the man who hugged me tight every night when I got home from school, or the mother who always kept me in line so the Screeners wouldn't target us.

All of that is forgotten now. The announcer makes one final remark before pulling my gun from my holster. Within a millisecond he shoves into into my hands.

The chaotic noise of my brain drops into silence. I blink a couple times, realizing where I am. I'm on an execution stage.

Cool wind blows, tousling the hair of the crowd. My eyes dart across every face, desperate to avoid what's coming next.

"... And that's why we have ordinary citizens complete the official execution: because every person plays a role in securing our country from traitors.

"Now it is time for Holland Renner of the middle-class to execute traitor Hybriad and his accomplice!"

The crowd cheers, a fierce roar for applause. I stare back at the happy faces in distrust, in fear. Shakily, my right hand clasps the gun on my hip. My heart is beating so fast it might burst. The metal of the gun so cold it burns.

Time is ticking for me to do something. I pull the gun out slowly, afraid of my own power to kill. The announcer sets a hand on my shoulder and leads me to the left side of the stage.

President Hybriad raises his eyebrows at me tauntingly. A smirk commands his expressions, overcoming the brutality of his bearings. It makes me sick to my stomach. I'm about to kill the supreme killer and my dad.

"Holland Renner," President Hybriad sneers at me. His voice is like a knife grazing my neck. "How nice of you to stop by and see me."

EnhancementWhere stories live. Discover now