I am escorted out of the courtroom by my guards, unable to hear anything but a faint buzzing in my ears. I can hear a muffled cry from inside, but it is gone as the door swings closed. I’m surprised the door eve moves without creaking: It looks centuries old, and I doubt there’s much use for it here, when nobody breaks any laws. It’s quite difficult to even break a law in the first place. We only have three, after all: Don’t leave, don’t hurt others, and don’t kill others.
I don’t think anyone’s hurt or killed someone here; we’re not even in a warzone. Well, unless you count the ‘social war’, but words can’t kill. And even if someone else has escaped before me, they’d probably have died of starvation after a week or so. I mean, I was really hungry, maybe even hungrier than the Peasants, and I was only away a couple of days.
The guards sweep me past my cell. The darkness seems almost welcoming now, as though it is telling me to embrace it when I die. Unfortunately, I will die quite soon. Almost immediately, probably, as the guards stop. I hear a scratching sound and sick rises in my throat. What is that scratching noise? Maybe it’s the claws of death, reaching out to take me from life’s grasp. No, probably not. That kind of thing only happens in the Privates’ movies.
It does seem to be slightly intimidating, although I don’t really feel it. My guards tense, as if worried they’re going to be kidnapped by death too. Like they have to worry about death. I bet all my money (which isn’t that much, really) they’ll have a good life ahead of them, and a long one too.
Up ahead of me is the end of mine.
But suddenly it doesn’t seem so close, so near. Maybe I’m already past it; after all, the actual experience of dying is probably quite quick, and will be over and behind me, far away, in a matter of minutes.
Someone shouts something unintelligible from behind me, but I can’t turn to see who the muffled voice belongs to. These guards really are strict about facing death straight-on. They push the door open – a little too violently for my liking – and reveal my fate in the form of whiteness.
And red. Brownish red. The colour of dry blood. “What the-” I begin, but I’m cut off by a low growl.
A flash of grey streaks past me as a girl shouts frantically, “Stop! Stop, please!” That voice. It’s familiar. It’s the last thing I hear before the darkness comes, before the darkness hits me like a wave of ink. Before I am stolen by death.