A Perfect World

Big gated cities full of large communities of upstanding people, it's perfect...except for the "unruly and savage" tribes which travel the plains between the cities.
Perdita belongs to one of these tribes, and when captured by a city Government for an unknown reason, she finds herself hopeless and wanting to run. Alex is an Alliance citizen born and bred - raised to respect authority no matter what - but when Perdita comes into his life, he finds out his life wasn't as perfect as it seems...

Originally inspired by a writing competition called "The List", in which we had to include every item on a list - funnily enough ;) - I'm reposting it here. Mind the dust? I will be re-editing.

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1. Caught

Feet. Armoured and no longer marching in a steady rhythm, but clattering on the ground as they... No, don't think about that, think about something else. Dirt. Brown and dusty under the feet... No, no, no! How about looking up? Guns. No. Blood. No! Pain.

That's how I knew I'd been seen. A kick in the head followed by a dry laugh. My head throbbed as I rolled over and tried to get up. No use. That's me. Forget it being a second name, no-use should've been my first. A falcon flew overhead. At least it wasn't crows. I clumsily stood, grabbing my dirk from the ground as I turned to face... Forget that. I was running, if the Alliance had found us then we needed to move. But if I was useless then...

"Perdita!" someone howled. The words were snatched and twisted by the wind, but I'd recognise that voice anywhere.

"Zahir!" I screamed back. Stumbling backwards, I turned to run towards where his voice had come from but was grabbed. I quickly stabbed behind me with the dirk that was still in my other hand and was yanked back as whoever it was jumped backwards.

"Perdita! Permima! Jem...

---

"Jemima. Wake up." I grogily opened my eyes. The room was unfamiliar, all brick painted in a cream-y colour and windows covered in closed blue curtains. An old worn book on the subject of string was on the table next to some pencil shavings. Fascinating I'm sure. I looked up steadily.

"My name isn't Jemima," I said. The woman put on a big, bright, ever-so-fake smile.

"Of course it is, what else could it be?" she asked, her tone cheery and worried. The effect was kind of ruined by the threatening undercurrent. Not that I would've been fooled - did they think I was just going to forget three weeks of torture? And I still had my dreams didn't I? Every night the same one, a memory of that day.

"My name's Perdita Corell." I'd told them before of course and now I was just getting bored. I idly watched the ladybird crawling on the ceiling fan as she continued to spew crap.

"Look, Jemima, the accident was bad but you need to stop pretending now. Just look at what it's doing to your mother!" I leant forward and clutched the table as fire began to rise from my stomach and travel up my throat.

"My mother. Is dead," I said, trying to keep the reins on my anger. Lashing out wouldn't help anyone... but it would help my sanity perhaps. "You animals killed her!" 

"Jemima. The Alliance don't kill anyone, we aren't the animals. It's those anti-Alliance raiders that do that. And your mother isn't dead, she's alive and she's very worried about you. She's outside if you want to see her." I shook my head. The woman hadn't bothered to look at me though and gone straight ahead and used the intercom to summon in a "Mrs Williams".

The door opened and a boy around my age walked in, followed by a guard. The boy slowly approached me.

"Jemima? It's me, your brother, Alex." I snorted and looked away, if only to hide how much the badly covered disgust on his face had hurt. What was this place doing to me? I don't care about any Alliance scum.

"Mrs Williams is unfortunately unavoidably disposed, Ma'am," the guard said to the woman.

"I don't have a brother," I said flatly to no-one in particular. In fact, I don't know anyone called Alex, no family, friends or associates what-so-ever with that name.

"Oh good. Wrong tac Ma'am, can I go home now and not have to deal with raider scum?" Alex asked. Funny how we both identified each other the same way. The woman snapped the pencil that'd been in her hand.

"Mr Williams! Apologise to your sister at once!" she said.

"but, why...?" he asked. Bad move. She grabbed him and pulled him down, fiercely whispering at him. I don't know why she bothered; I could still hear her. Some stuff about protecting the Alliance or whatever. How she could do that by making one raider live with them for a bit I don't know. She pushed him towards the door and the guard walked across the room to lead me out.

"Now, why don't you go home and act like siblings should hmm?"

---

"I hate you," he said as soon as we got outside. I shrugged. His response was to grab me and throw me up against the wall? "Don't believe me, huh? I have plenty reason to hate you. Raiders killed my father."

"The Alliance killed my mother, I guess we're even then," I retorted back. His hold faltered a little.

"We don't kill anyone," Alex said, sounding a little unsure. Like it was all for show, like he knew it happened.

"You don't sound sure there, mister. Do you want to try again?" I asked. He straightened up.

"The Alliance doesn't kill anyone, we only kill animals. So I guess that makes you at least half-animal." He let go off me and walked on, ignoring the stares and whispers of people as he went. Devoid of anywhere else to go, I ran after him. He still hadn't sounded sure.

We carried on in silence, walking perhaps two miles before we got into a small apartment building. He walked into the bottom one.

"Hey, Al! Who's... Oh, you got left with picking up the raider? Ouch. She bite?" a female voice asked. The girl who I assumed it belonged to was pretty. Tall and thin with perfect hair, complexion and everything else. Obviously never seen a day of labour in her life.

"Yeah, ouch. And I've got to share my home with her for who-knows-how-long," Alex replied. Then he turned towards me. "Raider, your room's on the left. And not that it's any of your business but this is my girlfriend Briar. Any questions? Thought not. Bye."

He walked out and I trudged along to the room on the left. I wasn't sure what I'd expected but the room was clean and comfortable. There was clothing in the wardrobe and a few belongings in the drawers, which had fresh flowers - lilies? - in a vase on top of them. There was a painting of a *zebra* on the wall which was surprising. People in the Alliance generally didn't stray from within their big, white city walls so it was unlikely that any of them had seen a zebra in about... a hundred years?

Tired I fell back onto the bed and slept. I didn't dream.  
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