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…I will admit I forgot to do one of these last night. And almost didn’t have the time to make a post tonight. I had family visiting today, and therefore have been busy. I reworked the prologue for Seize the Day and have completed 2/3rds of the first chapter, which is all entirely new material. I have just over 3000 words and 10 pages completed. Only roughly 27000 words to go/40 pages to go. 🙂

Because I’m feeling nice, the prologue:

Ryin pulled his cap down over his eyes, ignoring the stares he kept getting from his classmates. Those weren’t unusual. In his short eighteen years of life, he had received thousands of similar stares. But today — today they unsettled him. As was mandatory every year, they were subjected to one piece of propaganda after another about the Disease, how it targeted those with weak genetic makeup, how they had engineered humans to be resistant to it — how they still engineered humans to be resistant to it. Only a select number with certain genetic traits were allowed to breed, and only if done entirely in a lab. Everyone knew that.

And yet, there were couples who defied this. Who found ways to circumvent the laws in place, to give birth to children naturally. Children like Ryin — children who stood out, but somehow managed to blend in with the crowd. Until days like today, when everyone was reminded that differences could be deadly. Or were deadly, however many years ago. Ryin seriously doubted those differences were deadly now.

Giving himself a little shake, Ryin continued towards the buses. Continued to avoid the eyes of his classmates — to ignore the way his palms began to sweat. Just a normal day. Just like every other fucking day, he told himself. It was always like this.

Except it wasn’t. Even the girl who liked him had been avoiding him — had kept her distance whenever he tried to approach her. His mother had warned him of this thousands of times — that people might treat him differently, because he was born different. Because he looked different. In a sea of black and brown hair, his was a flaming, coppery color. His skin was paler, too. He even had freckles — something most people didn’t have anymore. At least his eyes were brown, not blue or green? Did people even have green eyes anymore?

Just as Ryin walked up to his bus, he stopped. Maybe he should walk home, instead. Teenagers were cruel. It didn’t matter that his uncle was the most powerful man in the Empire. His hair and skin had given him plenty of grief. Always have.

And on Disease Remembrance Day, Ryin wasn’t sure he couldn’t handle another classmate asking him if he was a plague rat. If he was Diseased. Couldn’t handle hearing another threat to alert the Natural Born Elimination Alliance of his whereabouts — of what he was.

Except his classmates didn’t have proof. Couldn’t prove it, either. Even Ryin knew his birth records were perfectly falsified, that his uncle Francis has done all that he could to ensure Ryin’s safety as a child. But what if that wasn’t enough? What would happen if enough people reported him? Would the NBEA investigate, anyway?

Shaking his head, Ryin turned away from the bus. Started walking down the street. His backpack weighed heavily on his shoulder, the strap digging into it. As he switched the backpack onto his other shoulder, he kept his eyes to the ground and his pace steady as he walked. These shoes weren’t exactly the best for walking — but he’d manage.

The walk was uneventful. Relaxing, even, as Ryin approached his home. Relaxing, at least, until he could hear the sirens — until he saw the large crowd standing out in the street, their attention focused on one singular point.

His house.

Ryin felt his chest tighten, his hand wrapping around the strap of his backpack. Men in uniforms littered his front yard, his parents standing on the porch. News crews held cameras and pointed them at the house’s front steps. But those weren’t the only things pointed at his parents.

Rifles. All held perfectly still. All waiting on a single command. His mother squared her shoulders, her arms hanging loosely at her sides. His father stood next to her, appearing less intimidating as he clung to her.

“I will not tell you where my son is,” his mother said. She crossed her arms over her chest — the fact that Ryin could even hear her from where he stood impressed him.

But then her words sunk in. He pushed his cap back a bit, trying to peer over the edge of the crowd — he knew getting any closer wasn’t a good idea. Those men in uniform — he couldn’t read their backs, not quite. Not at the angle they were standing at. But deep down, he still knew who they were.

The Natural Born Elimination Alliance. The NBEA were really standing in front of his house. Were really pointing their weapons at his parents. Demanding to know where he was.

He needed to turn around. Needed to go back the way he came — no, wait, he couldn’t go back towards the school. They’d look for him there, next. They’d look for him at his friends’ houses, too. Not that he had many friends.

“This is not the Empire I envisioned for my child — this is not the Empire anyone should want for their children! Just because he was conceived the way human beings were meant to be conceived, doesn’t mean he is dangerous. Nor does it mean I am dangerous –”

He couldn’t move. Rooted to the spot, his feet felt anchored as the weapons moved in unison — as his parents crumpled to the ground. Cheers. The people in the street were fucking cheering.

His stomach churned as he pulled the cap as far down over his eyes as he could. He gripped the strap of his backpack so tightly his nails were digging into his palm. They were dead. The NBEA moved past their bodies single file, no doubt searching the house, looking for him.

And he couldn’t do anything about it. Couldn’t even move as the crowd continued to cheer in front of him. As they cursed his parents, as they cursed him. The reporters were already standing on the porch, microphones trained in front of their faces as they waited for the NBEA to clear back out. To see whether Ryin had been found or not.

He couldn’t still be in the crowd when that happened. Couldn’t still be in plain sight anywhere. He needed to move. Needed to stay alive — contact his uncle, somehow. But not now. Not yet. They’d be waiting for him to do that, too.

He didn’t know when his feet had started moving, but eventually he started backing away from the crowd, avoiding the eyes of those all around him — not that they paid him any bit of mind as he turned the corner.

As the tears began to fall, he hoped his cap hid more than just his hair.

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