Author: Ellie LaTraille PM
Paige is next in line to be the community's Ritual Girl, the annual sixteen-year-old sacrifice for this perfect-communist society. She dies so the others can survive.Rated: Fiction T - English - Chapters: 39 - Words: 59,244 - Reviews: 109 - Favs: 28 - Follows: 32 - Updated: 05-14-13 - Published: 06-11-12 - id: 3031377
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
[ the reason. ]
FEAR – THAT WAS WHAT HAD BEEN ON AGATHA'S FACE, too, last year at the Ritual. Now that Paige was staring uncertainty in the face, she understood it. This wasn't the life that had been planned for her as it had been planned for citizens of this community for generations. This wasn't the life she had counted on. She had counted on a Match Assignment, an average Community Role, living to become an Age Fifty-Six. There hadn't been a reason to live. There hadn't even been the concept of needing a reason to live.
They laid in the bed for a few minutes, holding each other while the rest of their understanding of their world melted into chaos. Without moving very much, Paige smelled his neck, then his chest - it smelled salty, and a little bit like dirt.
Finally, Mott asked, "What are you doing?"
"Smelling you." She said it as if she were answering him what time it was, or what day of the week it was - six-thirty; Friday.
Mott laughed. Whatever tension was settled between them melted away into nothingness. "You're ridiculous," he said.
"I'm hungry," she said. "I really want a piece of bread."
"You should put on some clothes first, I reckon."
Neither of them moved.
Paige liked how Mott's skin felt against hers. She had never wondered what sex with him would be like, mostly because before now it hadn't even been a consideration of something she would experience for another few years. It had been sticky, and a little painful, and done in a few moments, but so warm - hot, sweaty - permanent. It had, anatomically, been exactly what they'd taught her in school, so there hadn't really been any surprises, but they'd never told her how much she would want to and how much she would enjoy it, or how terrified she felt now that it was over.
There was no reason for the fear. She simply knew she didn't want to be separate from Mott.
"So," she said.
She hesitated. "Earlier, when I asked you if you would leave with me-"
"I said 'yes,' Paige."
"You really meant it?"
"Of course I did."
"I-just-well, I don't even know where I'm going yet."
He was almost too okay with it. She frowned. "Were you expecting this?"
Mott shrugged next to her under the sheets. "A bit, I suppose," he admitted. "I overheard my parents talking to the queen last year. Something about not doing the Ritual this year. Widespread panic and preventing an uprising and that sort of thing. I knew they'd be changing it somehow, and when you said that-" He let himself trail off, rolled onto his back and stared at the popcorn on the ceiling; he exhaled. "Did they say where?"
"What do you mean, 'where'?"
"I mean, North, South, East, West. Obviously, they're sending you outside the community, but I heard rumours of there being another settlement somewhere. Totally different government style, too."
It had never occurred to Paige, before, that there were other settlements, other communities outside of her own. Granted, she knew the actual land mass of the earth was beyond comprehension in terms of size, but she'd figured it was all tainted land, an uninhabitable place. For that matter, she had thought that no other humans had survived. No one ever spoke of any other humans existing outside of their own little community.
Paige shook her head. "That can't be." But she found she had no proof to the contrary.
"Just saying what I've been told. I'm not even sure myself, I've just heard rumours and the like." Mott shrugged, looked at Paige again, rolled onto his side again. "I'm sure Queen Moira will give you more information. And at the very least, the Theorists have hidden books for decades, so I'm sure they've got one on survival skills or something." He grinned at her. "And either way, we're in this together."
In spite of all the things that had happened in the past months - the mounting emotions that she couldn't always control, the building feelings toward Mott, the terror that she hadn't the foggiest as to what the future held - Paige smiled. She was comforted by the fact that he insisted on using the pronoun we; she loved that he insisted on going with her, even if she had a hard time living with the fact that she knew it could be a suicide mission. They probably wouldn't survive long, she knew. But they would survive as long as they could together, and that seemed like it was enough of a reason to try to survive in the first place.
A short chapter, but after the heaviness of the last one, I felt a lighter one was necessary. Don't forget that I have a Facebook page ( pages/Ellie-LaTraille/159851857483978?ref=hl) and a Twitter ( ellielatraille)!
I hope you all have been well and I look forward to continually writing more. As always, let me know if you like it or hate it or anything in between.