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I never knew what devotion was until I gave up everything for you. Safe thoughts, robotic interactions, a warm bed---much too warm to enjoy without being scorched, food tinged with the taste of contempt, and shelter. Shelter is what I missed the most, but a home is what I have longed for since I met Y O U. Excuse me if my words are too frank; my assigned mother has been careless. You see, when she is busy with the newborn during First Meal, I skip the Correction 15 pill that the Counsel has sanctioned for troubled offspring like me. I feed the pills to our guard dog, this ensures that he will not rip me into shreds when I slip out and return. You see, I left for you, to come and see you because you made me hope for more.

Is it silly that I love you, though you have never seen me in the light of day? I heard about you through the whispering of the tunnel as eaves of pages flipped sporadically. I followed you through dark tunnels hidden away from Counsel and the older Sanctioned. Ruth and I were among the first of our age group to decide that we were old enough to fight for something. We came to your meetings though we were not allowed and hid so that we would not be known. We were excited; there was life,real life before us! How could anyone have been so callous as to take that away from us?You see, that is why I love you because you are not like them. You have fire in your eyes, passion in your voice and you see into the distant future.

I stand here now, drenched, holding a photo of my only friend, Ruth. My wrist is bleeding, the deep cut reveals a grotesque amount of flesh and I stand in your home of trees, swaying with the turbulent wind.

One rises from the darkness quickly, my wrist spurts a fresh stream of blood as my assailant twists it behind my back. Their breath is in my ear, heavy. A cool sharp blade is at my throat. Rough, like the synthetic garments of the Unruly, the voice threatens me "What is your business here?"

I can't see much besides the varying degrees of black, grey and green. I lick my cracked lips, stained with blood, and croak, "Scholarship, history, life, and truth."

"Hmmph," I think it's a he, holds my arm tighter (I whimper) and makes my vision disappear within an instant.

Silently, frightened, I stumble in front of him. He is strong and large, I can tell from the heat radiating from him. He is heartless, though I do not mind because secrecy is important. After what appears to be years, decades, and even a century, he shoves me forward. My arm, though released, cannot break my fall because of its weakness. I fall to the ground with a crack, my knees tear through the thin material that the youth leaders require those younger than twenty to wear.

"Bruce," A disapproving voice sounds from my right "was that necessary?"

"Yes!" He hisses back, "She could have given us all away. If her Locator hadn't been gauged out, I would have killed her."

"It's not our place to decide who lives and who dies."

I press my palm against the gritty ground, fresh blood from the struggle runs down and my hand squawks between the viscous liquid and earth. I raise my head under the mask to his voice. What does he think of me? Filthy. Maimed. Wet.

Then there is air, cool air, and him. He holds the scratchy bag in his hand, pops down into a quick squat and grabs my chin with his thumb and index finger. I hold my breath and search his face. Was it worth it? Were he, his rebels, and the knowledge of archaic things worth it? Smooth brown skin, facial hair that hasn't been shaved in over a month, unkempt kinky hair, soft yet fierce brown eyes and a gap tooth smile, "Welcome to the rebellion Sister."

I smile back.

Yes, you are more than worth it.

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