A couple were shot dead, not far from where we were sitting. There was a commotion first; a struggle. The woman’s angry screams were being stifled by Patrolmen, armed, and padded as if ready for a new war. She was irritated about something to do with the fact that she was prohibited to enter a certain part of the Division that she had always crossed before. You could tell she was a real rich kid before the takeover; demanding, spoilt, childish. It’s not a nice feeling to get such a negative vibe from someone who should deserve a better rap after their death, but it was clear she was an elite who got what she wanted. Then The Oligarchy settled in and cut down rations, stripped elites of their power, made it harder to demand things. Demanding turned to begging, pleading, and then silence. You could tell that she tried dealing with it at first – getting her head down, continuing to live, doing as she was told. But soon enough, the fuse lit within her. She couldn’t hold it in any longer, and she decided to confront one of the Devils’ demons, right in front of everyone. Her partner intervened, it seemed mainly to pull her out of the mess, but it got worse from there. More Patrolmen were called, possibly via telecommunication of some sorts, and this caused a ruckus within the Square. People were all watching in shock, murmuring, stood stock-still, or rushing out of harm’s way. Hugo and I stayed right where we were until the first gunshot went off.
People screamed, and it was like being transformed to the first day of the end of the war. The first day of Hell. More shots went off, and as I bolted out of my seat, I saw the blood. I saw the rich girl, tall, slim, animated, and infuriated, turn fall into a leaking heap. Her partner was next. You could see the fear in his eyes before his demise, right after Rich Girl went down. He knew it was over. The line had been crossed.
I was so paralysed by the situation that it took Hugo tugging me back to snap out of it. I realised that this could be me. I could be the girl dying. I have the same kind of passion she did – maybe one day I’ll die that way. All of my fury will rise, and it will cause chaos.
For a second, once Hugo and I had found a ‘safe’ place to hide, I felt a deep panging in my chest. If anything, I wish I could have been with the girl in her last few moments, telling her that she’s going to a better place. Cliché, I know. But I’m sure it would be more reassuring to hear a soft cliché than die with the sound of more shots and screams and the last vision of Patrolmen hovering over you.
“I don’t understand how it had to get that violent,” Vera says as we sit in a small group on a patch of grass in one of the HDSS parks. New friends have since joined our group; Andre Maxton and Lane Ridley, both Second Division students that were granted a place here after the war. Despite most people being made to return to their own Divisions, the breakdown of the takeover means that soon, there will be not much difference between the privileges and accessibilities of a Second Division citizen or a H.D. citizen. There will be no more ‘elite’, no more famous politician with power, so it doesn’t really matter who lives where. It will be The Oligarchy– a class quantity of rich men including possibly their lucky family members. The Higher Division will just be the Fifth Division - as it was always supposed to be. Nobody here is better than anybody else – except Christopher and any other chosen affiliates.
“It’s the first time that has ever happened. Ever.” Clementine says. She rests her head on Eric’s crossed legs as he toys with her hair. “When has anybody ever been practically executed in public? For everyone to see?”
“It wasn’t an execution,” I argue. “It looked more like an overstepping. It definitely wasn’t planned and there wasn’t really an offence, unless you would class resisting arrest.”
“It was an execution. Don’t try and defend It.” she snaps. And I never really realised how much I do still try and defend the new city, like it’s not too bad. It’s just an overstepping. It’s more of a line being crossed. At least we have equal rights; no more snobby ignorant elites to walk all over us! I begin to feel ashamed. Ultimately, it was an execution. And I have a feeling it will be the first of many. If this one altercation was enough to cause gunfire, I’m sure overtime the causes will get smaller and smaller, until looking at an officer the wrong way will end in a firing squad.
“I think it’s just a matter of keeping our heads down,” Andre calls. “It will be hard, but it’s better than nothing. No point in causing uproar so early on, anyway. It’s only been a month. And yes, this poor girl died just a week ago, but we’ll need to leave time for more blood on their hands.” And by ‘their’, we already know who he’s referring to. He doesn’t have to spell it out.