“Survival of the Chosen, 12”

by Brianna G. Harte

Weighing my options, I yearned to groan aloud. Muscles cramped within my arms and blood boiled in their veins. The instructors, though this I could call them less and less with each passing time the word passes my thoughts, likely hid smirks beneath their queer mustaches. Alternatively with my contemplation of helping Reen, I wondered what stopped them from sending her into the mountain like they had easily done to Herold not long ago. A sick thought arose. As disgusting as the list that was slowly killing my mother. The overseers – yes that seems more accurate – they could be using her as bait. Luring us all into the mountain that shuddered with my body.

I grit my teeth and continued with the fence in front of me, though I never let Reen out of my sight. She struggled with the overbearing mass of the fence. Though her strength outmatched many in our community, even she could not overcome ten lengths of connected fencing.

In the corner of my eye, something flew. At the time, its origin evaded me, but the target didn’t. Not even seconds later, Reen grunted loudly as the wood slanted at a much steeper angle than before. The top of the fence reached her shoulders. Knowing that once it dropped lower, she would be done for, I rushed over to her.

“Estan! Help!” I called as I took over a section a few poles away from Reen. I could hardly imagine how she had managed to keep it at bay for as long as she did. Though I surely wasn’t the strongest of my age, I wasn’t exactly weak, and the fence put much more pressure on my body than I was accustomed to.

As Estan came over and assumed a position a several lengths from me, he and I enlisted the help of others nearby. In less than a minute, there were seven of us pushing against the fencing, and it took all of our efforts to put the fencing back in place. Not crooked, like the way Johanna was making them, but in line.

We all smiled, bent over to catch our breaths.

“Thanks,” Reen said as soon as her breathing returned to normal. “You really saved me.”

“We all did,” I told her, motioning to the others. After moments in silence, I stood upright, noticing the laughter among the overseers. “I wonder what happened.”

Copyright © 2016 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.

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