UNDER A CELESTIAL SKY

PART 1: REBELS

BEFORE IT ALL

RAI

There is peace in escaping the worries of existence. Sometimes, not being there is good. Sometimes, it is necessary for survival. That is what I do. That is what I have done since were were taken to this Republic. Because this Republic is surrounded by snowy mountains and even then, even if someone could get out, all there is are more mountains and snow. There is nowhere to hide. There is nowhere to run. Only in the distance is there a chance for survival.

So sometimes it is good to succumb to fate. Sometimes it is good to let myself float deep inside the recesses of my mind so that no one can save me. Not even my twin brother. I am locked up so tight that he can't even find me. He looks into my eyes, which are are the color of , just like his, and he pleads for me to come back. But I can't come back. Not from this. Not like this. What would I be coming back to? I have to help Divade. I must bring in food and water by any means necessary. He does not understand that I have chosen to survive so that he can live.

...

I work at a very nice establishment. The outside of it is wood, and the inside is class. I wear long red dresses with satin sashes. I wait in my room. I have a very nice room. It consists of a couch and a table. The couch has furs strewn on it. The table holds books for me to read in between time. I am also given water and a hearty meal of sheep meat and mushrooms . I work from 4pm to midnight, sharp. To stay later than that would be suicide. At the end of the night I am sent home with more water, sheep meat and mushrooms. The more men that come in, the better. Sometimes they give me furs and clothes. Men who pay a fortune to drink the blood of a 15 year old virgin girl.

So I sit there in my room. I can hear talking and laughing outside. The vampires mingle in the main room, sipping on red liquid and laughing. Of course, it pays more to get what they want at the source. Normally, men who come here are looking for the thrill. The system works out for them otherwise. They could drink preserved blood that every human citizen has to give in a blood collection each month, but the taste wouldn't be as fresh. They wouldn't be fulfilling their predatory need.

And so, the rich come here and they close my eyes and then I fall unconscious as they drink. I am B-Positive, so when their fangs pierce their skin, I faint. They seem to like it. So I close my eyes. Until one day he walks in with stars in his eyes. My heart stops. He freezes. He stares at me. His mouth is slightly parted. His hair is the color of honey wheat. His skin is luminescent in the candlelight. He is too shocked to give me a smile. He is too shocked because he loves me in that moment like I love him.

He tells me I am beautiful. His voice is soft. Like birds.

I say thank you. He sits down on the couch next to me and introduces himself. He tells me that he loves my name. He tests it. Rai. Rai.

"Yes. Rai." I say. He nods. Smiles. He reaches out his hand, hesitates. "May I.." I nod. And his hand makes contact with his hair. He plays with the curls and tangles of it, and I am glad that the candle light is not strong and that he cannot see the red of my face. It just feels right.

"That is a wonderful name." We sit in silence for a moment, and he just keeps staring at me. Everything is shocking, and as we sit next to each other, breathing in each other, I am calm.

This is love.

The man comes back again today. He smiles at me and he holds me in his arms and he promises that once we fly away from here, everything will be okay. He kisses the top of my head and strokes my hair. We stand there in silence as he whispers into my ear. "I love you." He says. Over an over. A mantra of affection. A symphony of beautiful sounds. In the sweet non-silence of this moment, I realize that I have never felt more alive.

DIVADE

I knew the moment she died. It was right after midnight, and I was asleep. There was this moment when my eyes snapped open and I seized up like someone had stabbed me through my chest. I curled up and clutched at my heart and I could not make a sound. I just knew what had happened. Never had anything hurt so much. I was in a shock so deep it exceeded explanation. All I could do was lie there. I knew I had to look up. I was wasting precious seconds. Something was wrong. I had to find her.

But I will admit: I didn't react like a savior. I didn't jump out of bed, determined to get to to the bottom of the situation. I looked around the small flat we shared in the first, or residential cluster, and it had never looked so small or so dark or so lonely. Never had I looked at the window over my bed and watched as the moonlight splayed out on my sheets like jagged teeth. Never had doubted that I wasn't a strong enough brother to her. Never had I doubted that I could keep Rai safe. Until I walked over to the other side of the room and pulled back the curtain that usually separated Rai and I and saw that her bed was empty.

Of course, I knew where she went at night. I knew that whatever she did was the only thing keeping us from sleeping on the streets. I knew what she was doing was noble and necessary and selfless. But I also knew that she always came home before the midnight hour. Before the blood hour. So I threw on outside clothes and rushed out the door. The night air was clogged with bitter cold rain that rolled off me in rivulets of icy water, which numbed me.

The first cluster was quiet. The sky was dark as I passed over the slush of the third cluster. It is the one alley out of four I hate to visit, because it reminds me of the darkness of this plateau. But of course, on that day I wasn't thinking of that. I was thinking of getting to my twin sister. I approached the Drak Station with its blue chipped door. Of course, I shoved the door in and pushed through the smoke, the laughing, the drugs and the smoggy curtains in the dim light. The place was all musk. The walls were a lumpy cement hidden by obscene paintings and posters of women lying covered in blood. The captions said things like "satisfy your bloodlust." The main room was filled with mostly vampiric men, their sharp teeth glittering in the candlelight. Most wore finely tailored suits, and hair was slicked back by gel. Many figures held champagne flutes filled will sticky red liquid.

The smell of it was cloying and too sweet, and my head ached as I realized it was candied blood. Like dessert after the main meal. Normally I wouldn't set foot in here for fear of being killed, but my thoughts and rationality stopped that night. I pushed my way through to the back of the room, where there was a cramped, dimly lit hallway ending in an emergency exit door. On either side of the hallway all the way to the end, there were red doors marked with fat black numbers. There were twenty rooms in total, and they housed a new human girl every few hours that vampires could "sample," or sip from like fine wine.

Rai's room was fifteen. This I knew. It was supposed to be humorous, because that was her age. Vampires like their victims young, after all. So I raced down the hallway to her door and I stopped just before opening it, knowing what I'd find inside. I took a deep breath. I opened the door.

And then I saw her.

She was lying on the floor among the fur carpets and I ran to her and I held my twin sister in my arms and I cried. I sobbed. I , even as a boy-soon to-be-man, cried. The tears stained my skin. My eyes swelled shut. All I could do was hold her cold body that was empty of life. her body was void of blood because they drained it. They sucked it all out of her. Of all the things in the world to take from me. Of all the things that I couldn't live without.

As her body stiffens, as her skin whitens, as her body becomes almost too cold to touch, I lay there, crumpled around her as the rising sun catapults my own body into a new day, leaving the rest of me behind.

A/N: And that's all folks! I hope you guys tell me what you think/if I should continue this story. Stay awesome :)