He hadn’t meant for it to go the way it did. Things changed and he changed with them. It came upon him like a dark shadow and settled there like the wrong clothes he wore today
He was always different from the others – always wanting to fit in but never quite managing.
“Why was he like this ?”
Truthfully…He could never say…just something in his DNA.
Today was no different. He felt no different from yesterday or the day before or the week or month before that… and it didn’t matter that this was May Day …the most important day in the village – it mattered even less that he had been…
The others were glad , happy even to be selected. As happy as Northbridge would allow of course.
But he wasn’t glad …happy or what ever ‘they’ allowed.
He just wanted…out.
There was no way out of Northbridge – only the road over the Bridge and that was guarded at all times – the elders had weapons…he’d seen them…once when he was fishing…with Andrew.
Andrew …even saying his name made him feel better.
The sound of his brother’s name made him shiver, and he knew why…he knew that Andrew had found a way out of here.
“…or was he made to leave?”
The dark thought had been with him for a while now – it had taken hold of him like a crow hanging on to dead prey …the idea that Andrew had been “ended” some how.
He couldn’t say…who would listen… who would believe him?
“…who would care?”
The sunlight broke from the thick branches of a yew tree and pierced his eye and a tear began to trickle fast down his young cheek.
Greater powers were working here and he felt as if he was the only one that now questioned his existence.
The bag was suddenly heavy in his arms – the breathing inside had stopped or at least he thought it had.
He didn’t mean to do it – ‘ they ‘ made him – ‘they ‘always got their way or at least ‘ she ‘ did.
They say there is always one twin that is stronger – whose instinct it is to fight for more of everything to be shared.
‘She’ was stronger and she knew it – she always got her way and used her status to make sure of it.
“Status is my position on the top of the ladder of Northbridge” she always told him.
” …do it…or I’ll tell daddy!”
So he did. For a laugh…for a moment of passive rebellion
His status was now brown …like earth …. Like the mud and dirt on the boots of the Provost
And now He could remove him too. One stamp and his suffering would be gone.
Maybe that’s why he did it…maybe that’s why he carried the bag on May Day
He wouldn’t wear his uniform today…he felt absurd about it all. Out of place and time…weird.
“What’s the point anyway?” Andrew would say…
Andrew would say a lot of things and he liked to listen.
He didn’t feel like singing their stupid song …he didn’t feel proud – historic , cultured or any of the other stupid words they used as stupid Teachings …
“why was he chosen when he so obviously didn’t fit…?
Not like the others.
They would only laugh at him for being there, or annoy him or patronise him or try to feel sorry for him …which was worse of all.
They all played their own game with him – like ferile cats toying with a dead mouse
Why couldn’t they just leave him alone? Sometimes he wished he could just disappear. Like the people they heard about from time to time …like…Andrew.
He didn’t want to be here any more – he was tired of Northbridge – tired of the rules, the lies and the secrets.
Secrets are the enemy of the human state – honesty is its’ own reward – they taught that in chapter one.
He burned the book last night. He honestly didn’t know why.
Now he had more than just one secret …he wanted to tell ….so strongly it hurt …but the only person who would really listen…was gone.
Gone like the snows of winter that hung around too long in Northbridge.
May Day was finally here but even the sun felt cold . It’s light too false here to be believed.
He had to go now …the Others would be waiting…
He didn’t think it strange that they had to meet at the enclosure – they were treated like sheep so where better to keep them than in a pen.
” why did they ‘have’ to sing ? ”
He wondered if they were testing them for something – they were always doing things like that – watching , observing , monitoring – like rats in a maze.
He would sing if he had to …if not for himself …then for Andrew…he would sing for Andrew. A gesture only he would understand.
Wherever he was…he hoped he could hear him …even in his rambled thoughts.
Andrew knew what this place could do to you…
“I was born on the wrong side of the fence” he’d say and laugh, a big whole hearted laugh that made people feel happy – too happy maybe …for Northbridge
He loved Andrew… and now the closest thing to him… was a dead cat.