STARS *Catching Paper*

In the future city of Circino, there are no stars, no specks of light in the full place. Publics and Peasants are forced into work as the Privates live their lives of luxury. They say no one can escape, no one can see the stars. No one can see the stars. Aro wants to prove them wrong. Aro wants to escape. And together with a Private, Alene, and a Peasant, Jarmina, he sets out to do just that. But at what cost does the real truth come? Cover Artist: Crown of Shadownight



I am pushed roughly into a dark room, forehead still throbbing. I search the place frantically, breath catching as I spy the bars. A cell. “Let me out!” I yell, shaking the cylinders of iron. My angry protests have no effects, and after many furious shouts – and threats – I retire to a reasonably warm corner of the room.

It seems the city sewer is emptied outside my cell, the entire square metre stinks of human waste, and irritated voices outside discussing ‘the idiocy of the Government’ tell me I am not the only experiencing dissatisfaction. Although, I’m not sure we have a Government. If we did, surely things would be a little fairer.

One thing I am sure of is that I am the only prisoner here. I passed nobody else as I entered, and although the voices in my head are wild and angered, I know they don’t belong to anyone here. I opened my mouth to speak once, and was hit. 

But I can’t silence these voices like the guards silenced mine. They claw at me, cruel, sharp, and torturous.  I want to scream, plead for mercy, but I know it will only make matters worse. There is a faint scratching noise somewhere, though I don’t know where. Perhaps it is a rat in the sewer. Yes, that’s the most obvious suggestion, and is probably right. Still, I feel slightly uneasy about it. There it is again, the scratching. My guards turn around, narrowing their eyes in suspicion. My palms are sweaty, worry washing over me as the one on the right moves. “Stay there,” he says gruffly.

I slightly incline my head, glaring at the man, and hoping that he can’t see my eyes through the darkness, just like I can’t see his. I hear a scream in the distance and tense. It sounds familiar. The guards tense, too, and one sprints off in the direction of the sound.

I search my mind for some idea of where I have heard the sound before, but I can’t put it together. The guard returns, shaking his head. “Mr. Hunter,” he says, staring directly at me. “Follow me.”

I gulp nervously, and straighten my stiff spine. Just a short while in the same hunched position can have such a painful effect on me.  The cell door is open, and I leave, presumably to find my fate.

The door at the end of the corridor is open.


The guard takes me by the arm and pulls me in to the courtroom. “Sit,” he commands, and I obey. The Judge’s dark eyes are hard and cold, looking me up and down with such scrutiny I begin to feel slightly nauseous.

“Mr. Aro Hunter.” His voice matches his eyes, and the sickness I feel increases. 

“Y-yes?” I stammer, sounding annoyingly unmanly.

There is a shuffling of paper behind me, and I crane my neck to see the sudden flurry of action. “Face me,” the Judge says, grinding his teeth. “We are here to discuss your fate, Mr. Hunter, and you would do well to maintain our respect.” I nod slowly, silently urging him to get it over with. Oh, how I wish I could just know what will happen, rather than having to go through this pain of not knowing. “Now, as I said, we shall discuss what to do with you. Mrs. Carrow, present us with your evidence.”

Many dull speeches follow, and though I know they are important, I find I can’t listen. I am too nervous about the outcome.


“Does anybody have evidence for Mr. Hunter’s case?” Silence greets me as I groan inwardly. “No, okay, then. Mr. Aro Hunter, I hereby sentence you to death.”

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