Dark, damp, cold. Hundreds of kids all pressed up against each other in the cellar of a factory. In the cellar of a fabric factory. Long hours of working, using the machines, till hands bled, and bones were broken. Some collapsed of exhaustion, some died. Some lost fingers, some lost whole arms. But none stayed here for long, because none survived for long.
Drifter lay in the corner, his arm aching, a long red mark extended from the wrist to the elbow; a whip mark. He knew of no life before this, all he knew was long hours in the factory, with little food and no pay. Endless pain, pain which he knew would never go away. For even if he did escape this hell-hole, he would still have the memories, scars faded, but memories didn't. He didn't have any particular way of coping with it, not like some of the people he knew. Like Silence, she coped by well, staying silent. Word was she hadn't spoken in years, ever since she gave up hope, lost faith, faith that she would ever get out of here. And that had happened years ago, many years ago. Others, like Madness, who had been driven insane, not completely, but close. It was only here, in the mere hours between shifts, that they had small grasps at life. Life that wasn't endless work. But even that wasn't enough, it would never be enough to get over the horror, no amount of time would ever be enough. He saw some people move, a rare thing to happen, most people just stayed there, sitting or lying, hoping that that would live to see another day. These were children who had no hope, no family, no life, no friends, because although they were really close, they were not friends, because friends were good things, and nothing good came out of this place. They did not even have something that was far more precious than family or friends, something that everyone else had.
They did not even have an identity.
Some chose to forget, some could not remember, and those that could, well, they kept it hidden, because it was the only thing that they owned, and to lose that, it was like loosing a part of your soul, and he supposed it was. The sound of footsteps made him look up from his thoughts, his neck hurting as he did so. Memories from another whipping coming back to him. Loud shouting, calling him a useless idiot, which he supposed he was, how could he have been so stupid. The wrong dye, a beginners mistake, not the mistake of someone who had been here, working in this factory for, well, he had lost count of the years. The people who ran the place took in young orphan children, some as young as two or three, and they were given jobs. You may wonder how they could employ children that age, well, he did not know, but they found a way. They always found a way to make children's lives more miserable. Some-one was coming towards him, limping. A girl. A girl with steel grey hair, and eyes, a cold, harsh, grey colour. She was small, and horribly skinny, just like everyone else here. He recognised her instantly. Wisdom. A thirteen year old girl, one of the ones he knew pretty well. A girl that rarely spoke, and when she did, it was words of wisdom. Hence her name. He wondered what she wanted, she rarely spoke to him. She stumbled, her limp was pretty bad, he wondered what she had done, it looked like a whip wound, a pretty bad one. She dropped down beside him, out of breath. Weary. He looked at her and began to speak.
"Its so unfair." He said for the millionth time.
She just looked at him, staying silent.
"But it is, just because we don't know our parents, it's no reason for us to end up here."
She sighed. And then she replied, with the wisest words that he had ever heard. Words that would completely change his life forever.
"A single spark to start a wildfire, a single voice to start a rebellion"