BLISS

The world may be stricken with misery and suffering, but at least the blessed few who live inside the city are happy. With the invention of a revolutionary new antidepressant named BLISS, the Government can finally award happiness, compliance and coexistence to whoever uses it. Of course, it comes at a price - your free will.

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6. CHAPTER SIX // ONE AND THE SAME

“You’re real funny, kid, but you know what they’ll do to you? They’ll arrest you for a million different things and lock you up in a correctional centre before you can cry for your mama. I’m your one-way ticket out of this city, and you’re gonna pass it up? You’ve gotta be crazy,” the Miserable cried, her brash, irritated voice masking the fear I knew she was hiding under all that bravo.

 

“From what I’m gathered, yeah, I am.” I responded, ending the police call and shoving my phone back into my jean pocket. The girl licked her lips and backed away even further, her eyes darting wildly from my face to the open street at the end of the alleyway. She was smart, I could tell, but brains alone wouldn’t get her out of the city fast enough.

 

“Hey, kid, what could I do to make you trust me, huh?” she asked, her voice eerily calm. I scowled darkly at the Miserable, my hands balling into fists at the sheer nerve of this girl.

 

“Absolutely nothing. You’re a murderer and a savage.”

 

Her only response was another tense laugh, the silence following it filled with a static that crackled between our lips. With a deft flick of her wrist, a long, jade-hilted blade materialised in her palm, the point shimmering dully in the flickering shadows of the deserted alley.

 

“This isn’t for you, missy, so don’t worry yourself. If you aren’t gonna let me out of here before the cops come I’m just gonna have to fight them,” she muttered grimly, fastening the bandana around her face once more and running the sharp edge of the blade almost lovingly across one of her fingers.

 

“You’re sick,” I spat, blanching internally at the thought of more dead bodies littering the streets.

 

“Right back at ya, sister,” she chuckled, swinging the blade round in her fingers as if she’d grown up playing with knives.

 

“How did you find me, anyway?” I demanded, willing my voice not to break and betray any of the fear and disgust that lay coiled inside me. This girl could obviously kill me without even breaking a sweat, and getting stabbed in a dark alleyway in the middle of the day wasn’t one of the best ways to go as far as death was concerned.  

 

Her head jerked upwards as the unmistakable drone of police sirens began to grow louder, her body twitching in preparation to flee. I sucked in a shaky breath as I made out shouts and squealing tires in the distance, the multitude of voices too far away to discern any words or sentences.

 

Just as the pale beams of the flashlights pierced the darkness of the alley, police officers yelling for us to come out with our hands on our heads, the girl turned to me, her eyes burning with the kind of electricity that reminded me of storm clouds moments before lightning struck. It was the sort of wild, partially unhinged beauty that frightened me half to death, mostly because it was exactly the same gaze that had been staring back at me from the mirror for the past seventeen years.

 

“If it means anything to you, your precious momma called us. Seem to remember her saying something along the lines of, ‘Whatever you do, don’t let them get my baby girl,’. I’ll be back for you, princess - I never disobey my orders, you know.”

 

With her final gesture of parting the girl disappeared in a flash of ruby red and dull silver, leaving me to digest her words in total silence. Only then, as I could do nothing but listen to the cruel bark of the police dogs as they sniffed me out, did I realise I’d made possibly the worst mistake of my life.

 

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