I'm awakened by a rustling very close to me and then a small sniffle. I look around to see what appears to be a small dog, possibly still a pup, wrestling with my bag. I see a lot of things during the Darkness, but a dog was not something I ever expected. They were banned long agoany pets were taken and shot, those that weren't owned were caught if possible and killed. There were always the sly ones, though, and traps filled with poisoned meat were set for them. It was thought impossible that any would survive, but this one clearly did.
I didn't want to scare it, but I wanted it out of my bag, so I reached my hand out slowly. The little thing didn't seem bothered by my presence, but it backed away slightly nonetheless. I took my bag away from it, but decided that if it had survived this long on its own, it could be of use to me. I worked for quite some time to gain its trust because it'd be nice to have a travel companion, even if it couldn't talk back to me. I continued to throw it crumbs from my bread until it came close enough for me to touch. I reached for it, & although it recoiled just a tiny bit, it didn't move away from me this time. At this point I've lost a few precious hours of sleep, but I've gained a travel companion, at least for a while. I know I won't be able to keep it safe, or fed, for long but I'll make do as best as I can. At worst I'll leave it at a Traveller's junction. They may be able to hide it a little better
I heard the soldiers coming before I saw them, that's the one positive side effect of the soldiers. The pup and I have to move, quickly. I grab it up in my arms and swing my pack onto my shoulders as I run. I don't know where I'm headed, but I'm probably going off course. I decide that I can always find my way again so I keep running in whichever direction takes me away from the thundering footsteps of those awful things.
I've heard they can't see you, if you don't move, but they have an intensely keen sense of smell and I don't want to take my chances against them, especially in those numbers. I run harder, my feet barely touching the ground as my mother taught me. Suddenly out of nowhere I realize my feet aren't touching the ground at all. I looked up, expecting to see some trap set to catch vagabonds like me, but instead I see two huge, graceful, shiny, black wings. Apparently I can fly. In that one second, multiple things happened: first, I realized I could fly; second, the soldiers races right under me in pursuit of something, or someone, they thought was still ahead; third, it hit me why my mother forced me how to learn all those things I believed would never be of any real importance to meshe knew that one day running alone wouldn't be enough to keep me safe. She wanted me to be ready for that day so that when I needed it, my instincts would kick in and do everything imaginable and then some. She did it all just to save me.
As I'm reminiscing on the past, I somewhat gracefully float down and land on a branch a few feet below me. I sit there and think of my wonderful mother until I can't hold back my emotions anymore. I hope that against all odds I will one day see her again. Until then, I will have to learn how to operate these wings
The last thing I need is to be caught with my wings showingthat will really get me in trouble with the Superiors.
I've heard that they like to do experiments on those who have Flaws. I don't know of anyone like me, but there are many who are blind, deaf, mute, brain dead
The list of horrible defects goes on. The Superiors take all of those people and do nasty experiments of all kinds on them. Those are the people they use for the Soldiers, but only if the experiments work. The Superiors don't believe in eliminating pain, in fact they seem to enjoy it. That's what makes those experiments so awful. Deaf people's ears are literally torn off and new ones are attached. No one outside of the Society is privy to what goes on inside so I'm not sure exactly how these things are "attached", but obviously they are. You'd think this process wouldn't work, but the Superiors have their ways.
By the time their Experiments are ready to go as Soldiers, they are almost inhuman. But the Superiors have their tactics and make sure there is always at least one key feature on each individual that looks very human. Believe it or not, this actually makes it more difficult to kill them. They do this because most people aren't as hardened toward the world as I am. Most people would kill to save themselves, but not when it's another innocent human being whose life is at stake, not when it could be that same person's brother, sister, mother, father, or even best friend. These things don't look like innocent people, but they never asked to be what they've become. They just can't hide from the Superiors, though. The Superiors have their soldiers do routine searches of homes so they can find all Flaws, and even traitors or vagabonds that some people have agreed to hide away. But traitors and vagabonds are rarely hidden because the People are afraid of being caught.
All of a sudden my pup began whining and squirming. I didn't know what do so I jumped down off the branch I'd settled on and put the pup on the ground so it could do whatever it needed. Instead of doing its business, though, it ran away. It just ran. I tried my best to follow, but I lost it just as quickly as it had left. In the next minute of my life I found myself surrounded by a group of dogs just like the pup I'd lost seconds earlier. Without even thinking about it, I followed them when they began to move. I doubted the Superiors would actually use animals to capture vagabonds, but I knew I had to be careful. Even with this knowledge I still knew I had to follow them. Somehow, somewhere deep in my brain, I knew somethingunderstood something-- that was quite unspoken as of that moment.