Ideas, commonly known as 'Visions', are no gift.
Visions are dangerous.
Visions are only to be used under careful government supervision as decreed by our Commander and saviour.


10. Kathryn's Revenge

Kathryn stands in the only green part of the compound. Surrounded by yellowing tents, the garden contains anything you could imagine.

Every type of flower, mainly fake but a few living, sit around the entire edge of the square. The walls are painted with rainbows of colour, paintings of everything imaginable dotted amongst the never-ending swirls.

There’s always someone playing a kind of instrument in the corner, and today it was a young boy, banging ferociously on drums made of pots and pans. His giggles dance around the make-shift wooden stage at one of the sides.

It was pretty empty here today.

Standing in front of the memorial wall, Kathryn squints as the setting sun rays bounce off of the wall’s golden sparkles. She must have memorised the names scribbled on it by now over the past year she had been here.

Written together, her parent’s memories are engraved just to the left of the centre. She strokes her mother’s name, imagining her laughing. Her fingertips go on to brush her father’s name, remembering his last smile to her.

“They’re going to be so proud of you today; of us all.” Ryder comes across the square to stand by Kathryn’s side.

She offers her a smile, but Kathryn can’t bring herself to return it.

“Do you think everyone will be proud of us today, though? I mean, like, all those people in the town. It’s their way of life. It’s all they’ve known and we’re gonna just take it away.”

“You think you’re the only one that was hiding?” Ryder lets out her usual loud laugh from her belly, “There’s a hundred or so of us here alone that managed to escape the College over the years, but I bet there’s double that number still in the College suffering. Plus the town is full of ‘em. They think they’re wrong, they’re scared. But once they do know they can be free then they will understand.”

“We’ll make such a mess.”

“It’s not like we’ll just leave them with nothing. We will band together, go back to the old ways. Something called democracy I’ve read in the library sounds like what we need.”

Ryder almost loses herself in her own thoughts as she tries to remember her history, but Kathryn’s small sigh brings her back to the now.

“We’ve got this, K. We’ve got this. For them.”

Stepping forward, Ryder strokes her hand over the memorial wall. Kathryn looks down at her feet.

“We won’t lose anyone today. But we will gain everything.”

An alarm sounds from inside the closest tent.

Ryder grins. Kathryn jumps. Her face doesn’t give smile but more a grimace.

“Just imagine a better life. A better life without limits and without hiding. Without being controlled. I promise this new world will be so much better than the last.”

Ryder moves towards the stage. The little boy had abandoned his drumming. She tugs the tattered curtains back, revealing a snivelling, shaking man.

Seeing the Commander, all pathetic and tied up in the corner, fuels Kathryn’s anger inside of her.

From the corners of the garden, a few people started trickling in.

“Stop your whining.” Ryder had moved over to the stage and started pulling at his ropes, “You’re the reason for this mess. You’re going to fix it.”

The gag around his mouth comes loose and he starts coughing.

“Me? I cured this place.”

“Oh shut up. Visions made you come up with this whole idea of how to run our town anyway.”

The Commander lets out a shriek. He screeches through his crying.

More and more people enter, creating a crowd around them.

“The show’s about to begin.” Ryder smiles wider than Kathryn had ever seen her.

The last few people filter into the limited gaps in the garden. A large white projector screen had been placed over the memorial wall and a film camera flashes on.

All eyes are transfixed on the screen. Kathryn, Ryder and the Commander have the best seats on the stage.

An image flickers onto the wall. There’s no noise and the picture’s all grainy, but the blurred figures are in colour. The crowd can see the front entrance of the College from a hacked security camera just outside of it.

Kathryn recognises some of the rebels from the camp. A selection of them had headed out this morning.

From what news they had received on a machine called a “Radio”, it had taken them minutes to take over the College, having gotten more and more spies into the compound over the past year.

Few remained there that actually believed in the system anymore, and most of them gave up as soon as the rebels got hold of the Commander yesterday anyway. Now, it was nearing night time and the tension Kathryn had tried to get away from all day had started building with the masses coming.

It’s as if the whole camp is holding their breath. Even the Commander has stopped his whimpering.

One of rebels, holding a large black gun, shoves out a doctor in a lab coat in front of him. You can just make out a nod from him.

“It’s empty… They’ve done it.” Ryder breathes.

The next five minutes feel like they last hours as the image just stands still.

Then there’s an almighty explosion.

There’s a flash of orange and dust erupts in front of the camera. In Kathryn’s mind, the smoke twists and contours almost into the form of a dragon. It roars and claws down the bricks of the College as it climbs higher into the sky. As the dust disperses and the dragon spreads its wings, the small flickers of flames from its breath are all that remains in its shadow as it takes off.

A moment of stillness.

The screen blacks out.

Then cheers and screams and shouts all erupt at once.

Kathryn looks down on the shoving crowd.  It takes a moment for her brain to process what has just happened. To process that a new reality will now be born.

She tilts her head up to look at the sky.

Finally, she allows herself to smile.   

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