The Run

The large screen, perched delicately aloft the grand metallic skyscraper, slowly buzzed to life. A soft green glow came from behind it to signify the event; a warning message. The colour of the screen changed from its default deep clouded grey to a lighter grey, until it glowed an almost perfect ivory white, before diming slightly. A dark silhouette of man carefully came into view. The light changed, bringing the man's features to the fore. Every wrinkle and pore perfectly defined, every hair on his head resting softly but securely. He sat there, elegantly placed.

"Attention, my shoppers" he spoke. His voice soft but commanding. The busy square, of which the extravagant building was placed before, stalled. All eyes painfully transfixed to the screen, their faces emotionless. The man smiled. It was small and discrete, but there no the less. He was showing them his power. Like he controlled them. They were his robots.

"Very good. Now I have a bit of bad news for you" His face was an erratic mix of fake emotions. "It seems two young boys have escaped from one of our House facilities. House 246 to be more precise. As most of you know, that House is located only about 20 minutes from this town. Now I beg of you, please if you come across either one, to immediately return them. You don't want filthy orphans to be polluting our air and water. Now do we?" He spoke slowly, letting every word seep into their 'below average' brains. Making sure that everyone knew what would happen if they didn't follow his words precisely and exactly. "And if you do find these boys, alive preferably, I do not want you to care for them. You don't want whatever filth they harbour on their skin or in their hair. You may give them water, but make sure that no member of your family will come in close contact or the results could be fatal. As soon as you can, bring them to the House Headquarters. They will be cared for well enough before they will be returned to their own House facility. Do you all understand? Very good. Now, you may continue your business." A sadistic smile appeared on his face.

For those who stared, they saw nothing, only a man who they had come to know as 'Sir'. He had no name, no age, and seemingly no place of residence. All they saw was the soft greying hair, combed back sharply and those deep brown eyes which were often mistaken for black, and the signature wrinkled creases around his eyes and forehead.

Most average people were thankfully unaware of what really happened behind those large metal structures that blocked every House's entrance. There were 246 Houses around the country. The last one to have been built outside the small town of Caseton. Each one had been built only a day after the last one was complete. Each one was the same off-white that the seven Administrating Headquarters, scattered throughout the country, were also coloured in. Most knew the Houses were for the children who had nowhere to go. They had no family to care for them. They were orphans, dirty, filthy, unkempt creatures who were destined to be lonely and uncared for. Most believed that if they had been abandoned as small children then they obviously weren't supposed to be treated like everyone else who had the freedom to walk this earth.

Escapees were quite uncommon. To break out of a facility, most believed you must have extraordinary knowledge of the entire area that it was built on, of the type of workmanship that had been used in the building process, of the exact materials used in both the walls, the celling and the floors and of the people who worked there. But for someone on the inside who would aid the escapees, well that was unheard of. Every person who worked in the Houses knew that they should not be helped or freed or nurtured. They should not be allowed to witness the outside until they would turn 18, for then they would be adults and would be granted permission to roam as everyone else. But as adults, they were still orphans. Still scum to those around them, to those who they ask for employment, for those who they purchase from and sell to. It was a hard life. Extremely hard, only the ones who fought their way, through blood, sweat and tears would find themselves in a somewhat ordinary life. But still that dark cloud would hang over them, of their past, always to remind them.

In the entire history of the Houses, for the last 50 years, only one other person had escaped. His name was Jacob Coles. Everyone inside the House knew who he was. Everyone knew his story. And everyone knew that they shouldn't escape, unless they would want history to repeat itself. What happened to him was unspeakable, unmentionable. It was kept locked away from the public. But yet, everyone knew, the real story was never told, for exaggeration had changed the tale from generation to generation.

Most people thought that these two young boys were mad. Mad to think that they could outsmart or hide from these people. Most didn't even understand how they managed to escape from the structure. The smooth cement walls surrounding it were almost four times their height. But even to reach that far outside the building was an achievement. But they managed, and they escaped. And promised, to each other, that they would never return.