BANG

A firework of scarlet painted the frigid air for a split second, lightning flashing upon Pandora and Yokori's faces as they turned to see their elder brother fall dead to the sidewalk.

"POLLUX!" Pandora screamed, unable to move toward him.

The crowd of short, blonde people, who until now had been going along their routine sleep-walking, backed away yelling and squealing in terror. One tall, fair- haired woman stood still, gun smoking in her grip, black eyes moving from the body on the ground to boy and girl who stood immobilized just beyond. Yokori grabbed his sister's arm and forced himself to run.

The City's black- mirrored dome rose high above, reflecting the perfect, gray buildings on their perfect, gray sidewalks along their perfect, slate streets. The whole perfect, pure population filled the gray and slate, seas of dulled gold and white speckled with brown and black. There would be no escape in this dystopia.

Nonetheless, Yokori and Pandora ran, hand in hand, pushing aside the other pedestrians as the woman chased them. It wouldn't be easy to lose her. Pandora had long, dark curls and an uncommon height. Yokori was even taller, with a mop of jet- black set atop his head. Both stuck out like sore thumbs in a short, fair crowd.

Yokori turned to look at the woman, who, through their trail in the people, had a straight shot at either of them. And she knew it. Pandora stumbled the slightest bit, and Yokori pulled her further in front of him, just as a second shot rose through the air, threatening to shatter the high ceiling. Pandora's hand slipped from his, and she tumbled into the wall of frightened people, suddenly hidden by their stocky legs.

The boy lay in a crumpled heap on the cold sidewalk. The woman came from behind him, and seeing that he was still, scanned the crowd for Pandora. The girl sat where she fell, absolutely still, staring, not understanding, and very slightly, Yokori shifted his face to see her.

Someone ducked through the crowd, hardly bothering the shifting mass, and put a hand on Pandora's shoulder. She gasped and turned, but it was only a boy her age, lifting a finger to his lips. He silently beckoned for her to come with him, to escape. Yokori watched soberly as, with a second and third glance toward him, Pandora snuck away.

The woman saw movement and lifted her gun to the people behind whom Pandora and the boy were ducking. The people dropped to their knees, covering their heads and begging, and Yokori knocked the woman's legs out from beneath her, one hand clutching his chest. He clawed his way on top of her and held her there, only looking up to see the crowd parting for his sister as she ran. The woman elbowed him sharply in the jaw and, regaining her standing position, empited all but two bullets between the boy's silver- set eyes.