Chapter 3: Random

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Chapter 3: Random

     The Secretary General stood frozen in front of a life-sized monitor that showed photos of teenagers selected as part of the Random Project. She was alone in that room, and was already on her third glass of wine. The sides of her mouth shuddered as images of the teenagers, flashed across the screen, including descriptions and other information about them.

     She was about to go back the table to have her glass refilled when the door gently flew open. A not-so-tall but strikingly handsome man, emerged, and walked toward her direction.

     "Marcus" she said, her eyes glued at the envelope the man was holding. Cautiously, she sat herself on a chair beside the glass table, waving at him to have his seat.

     "I now have the complete list, Madamme" Marcus said, handling the envelope. Heartfilia, who just filled her glass again, opened the envelope. There were some pauses as she started pulling the papers out, her hand stiffened.

     "Thank you. I just saw the faces of these teenagers and..." she began scanning through the papers.

     "President Impaler has requested your presence at the assembly of Head of States tomorrow to have all—

     "Wait a minute..." Marcus was cut off. She handed a page to him and pointed something on the paper, her eyes inquisitive and confused.

     "Why do we have 101 young men on this list?"

"There was this boy—he was with one of the potential Randoms when the abduction happened Madamme. Apparently our men accidentally shot him and...well, I guess they were left with no other choice" the sides of his mouth twitched, his shoulders shrugging.

     "We have to send him back" she declared, taking the page back and scanned through it again.

    "Impaler said that can't be done without ending this kid's life first, Madamme. The mandate was not to let anyone outside the organization know that this project exists"

     Heartfilia shook her head, and for a moment she cast a glance at Marcus, blind terror flashing across her eyes.

     "So we're letting this kid undergo the training and transition in spite of the fact that he wasn't even included in the shortlist submitted by member nations?! What chance does this kid have to survive the process?"

     Marcus just gave her a quiet response, barely shrugging his shoulder, and yet his eyes bore a hopeless expression.

     Heartfilia gaped at him quietly, still shaking her head as she slid back the papers inside the envelope.

    She let silence make its way between them and brought her eyes back to the screen. Her eyes riveted at the photos of teenagers, sifting from one face to another as if memorizing how they looked and trying to assess their chance of withstanding the fatal test. She shook her her head several times as she realized only few among those teenagers could possibly survive the transition process.

     Marcus had his eyes fixed on the screen as well, his brows furrowed.

    "Those people who initiated this project were crazy and heartless, don't you think Marcus?" she spoke at last, her tone declarative and bitter. But in her heart, she knew she was part of it, and that made it even feel even worse.

     Marcus nodded an obscure response. He opened his mouth as if to say something but held the words back and let his eyes speak for his answer.

     "Maybe this was the reason why I never wanted to have a child in the first place—out of my fear for that child to be chosen in this sick measure that nations of this world resorted to. You know what's crazy? Mothers would try to raise kids as best as they could, only to find out that in the freaking twist of fate, those children would be chosen to be one of them-the Randoms"

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