Silent

In a dystopian reality where music is everything, the world is ruled by a Council of corrupt dictators. The greatest punishment possible, reserved for only the worst of criminals, is called Silencing. But one Silent proves that, even if he is a outcast, shunned from society, he still has a voice.

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6. Chapter 5: Shade

            Shade climbed onto the platform that usually held condemned prisoners. Every eye turned to him expectantly, wonderingly. What could this boy be doing, their gazes asked. Shade smiled.

            Their confusion only lasted through the first three verses of the song, then they all realized at once what he was. What he was doing. As soon as he saw that glint of recognition in their eyes, Shade stopped. In the sudden stillness, a baby wailed.

            “Let the sky blaze with fire, let the morn dawn red!” Shade shouted at the top of his lungs. Somewhere in the crowd, a few voices joined him, but most of the people remained silent. “In the name of freedom, blood will be shed!”

            The Enforcer appeared, shouldering through the crowd immediately. Shade jumped down and ran as only a thin teen could. The bulky, well-fed man couldn’t hope to keep up. But, Shade reflected, he didn’t really have to. He was just herding the revolutionist toward his comrades.

            The two men lunged for Shade, but he twisted away. Their eyes widened in awe; here he was, a skinny boy who was clearly out of his mind, and yet they couldn’t catch him. He ran in a wide circle, and this time slid under their reaching hands. The crowd was pulling back now, urging him on. Faster, faster, he told himself.

            Shade hurtled up the side of a trash heap and threw himself onto the roof of a building just in time. When he looked down, his pursuers were already climbing. Aw, shit, Shade thought. They’re faster than I thought.

            And he took off again, sprinting as fast as he could. On the uneven, molding, constantly shifting beams that made up the East End rooftops, his lean muscle was more useful than the heavy, bulky muscles of the others. That was why he was here. Even as he ran to escape, Shade made sure he never out-distanced his pursuit too far. He had to keep them coming, keep them occupied.

            Jay’s signal sounded over the roofs, and Shade ran for real. It was time, now he just had to get out. With a burst of speed, he left the others in his dust. Leaping over an alley, he skidded around a corner and ducked out of sight. By the time they arrived, he was on the street, blending into the dirty crowd.

            “You did well, Shade.” The grudging admiration in Grey’s voice pleased him. Shade looked around the little room at his new family, the small branch of the resistance he was familiar with. Grey was as menacing and unshaven as ever, while Jay looked comparatively small and delicate. Wren, still dressed as a barmaid, looked nothing like a revolutionist, which was obviously the point.

            And there was a new face. Battered and bruised and bloody, his hair matted with dirt and dried blood, the man looked on the edge of death. His brown eyes were open, though, and sparkled intelligently. “Wolf, this is Shade, my Song-Brother,” Jay said, gesturing in the boy’s direction.

            “I owe you my life, boy. It’s not a debt I will soon forget.” Shade bowed his head in acknowledgment of the praise, then glanced up again. He recognized the voice.

            “I’ve seen you. I swear, I have. You were with Ghost, weren’t you?” Shade had to restrain himself from physically throwing himself onto the man.

            “Yeah, kid, I knew your brother. Fought beside him for almost two years. He wasn’t much older than you when we met.” Wolf laughed. “Although, back then they called me Fritz. We switch names every few years. Keeps the Council confused.”

            Shade looked at the man again. Under the grime and gore, he could see the vestiges of pride. This man knew who exactly who he was, knew his place in the world. His confident, serious manner reminded Shadow of his brother.

            They talked for a while more, planning the next move. Wolf couldn’t stay there, of course, it was just too dangerous. He had to be evacuated. Finally, after Shade’s eyes slipped closed once more, Jay whispered that he should go home. It was the first time Shade had ever been truly gratefully to see the inside of his closet-bedroom.

            He collapsed immediately onto his bed, but sleep wouldn’t come. After a while, Shade rose again. It was past midnight, his mother and Inglorius were asleep. He whisked back downstairs and thumbed through the few files left out. None were tremendously important – the Council hadn’t given his mother any really critical ones in a while – but Shade passed them along anyways.

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