My story must... -be set in the future -contain character death -feature extended metaphors of clockwork and/or machinery -contain a lyric from a song
The city burns.
The city burns, and, buoyed by panic, the people stream for the gates. Locked; manned. Even now, no one’s getting out. The City Command have guns, and the guns are firing. Onetwothreefourfivesixseven –
We push through the crowds, arms linked in a chain. We mustn’t be separated. On my right, Angel de la Rosa’s face is grim; his forehead slick with sweat. He drags us forward, unrelenting. We can’t stop, any more than we can be separated. To stop is to die.
Onetwothreefourfivesixseven. The shots go on and on. My ears ring dull and hot with the noise.
The City Command, mindless drones in grey. Minds without conscience, behind the guns. Onetwothreefourfivesixseven. More machine than man.
“We need to get to the edges of the crowd,” Angel yells over the chaos, “We can’t do anything, here. There are too many people.” Too many innocent, he means. Too many that don’t deserve to be harmed. This is war, and yet no one is expendable. Everyone has a right to be free. It’s impossible logic; hardly logic at all, but I can’t say that.
“There’s no time!” this is Dia, on my other side. Her face is flushed; her eyes dull-bright, like someone with a fever. “We need to turn back and get out while we can.”
Angel either doesn’t hear her, or pretends not to.
We push on.
A woman falls. Her hands reach up, grasping. The people surge around her. They bear down, trampling her into the grit. We cannot answer to her screams.
And we push on. We must.
“There are other ways out than the main gates,” she persists, “No one’s meant to know about them. They won’t be guarded.”
This time, Angel shoots the briefest of iron glances back at her. “No. We stay and fight. You can stand with us, or not. Maybe you’ll join your Lieutenant brother?”
It’s uncharacteristically acidic, from him. And of course, it shuts Dia up, right away.
We struggle on. It’s harder to move when I’m caught in between two people like this. I can’t use my arms to shove a way through the rabble. The night sky is incandescent.
“We’ll find the others,” Angel calls, “Regroup. Plan. Something.” His voice is steady, but I think that his eyes, cleaving a path straight ahead, are desperate. And I wonder whether he is questioning his choice, now. Is this what he wanted, his city in flames around him? Is this his Cause, the thing he has fought so long and hard for?