Ben checked the last door to the church and gave it a good spirited pull and push. No mortal man was coming through it. It was a matter of life and death. The city have been ramping up arresting of people like him and his nine year old sister Jessica. The two siblings have been living in this abandoned church for two years, since their parents were taken to the reeducation center. The last thing he heard his mother told him was to look after Jessica no matter what happens. It was a promise that Ben vowed to keep.
He was tired. It was a big day, but he managed to get a feast for himself and Jessica. She was quite the trooper. He used to leave her alone whilst he scavenged in the city for food and whatever cash he could "find" but after the incident few months ago, they go everywhere together. The rain gave him some comfort. Ben welcomed anything that gave him any form of camouflage. He walked back to his sister to enjoy a good feed. Later in the week, he was getting ready to move out of the city and got the country. The media made it worse. They were labelled "spawns of the devil". The city issued rewards to the citizens who hunted down the spawns. It was an open bounty, two hundred thousand credits dead or a life. All the bounty hunters had to do was scan the barcode at the back of the neck after the kill.
Ben walked back to his sister who was waiting for him to eat together. He sat down and they began to eat. Though rare, the city had pockets of kind people in who looked after the needy regardless of their genetic status. The punishment for those that aided the spawns was a ten year imprisonment and deduction of social credit points. The social points were more valuable than money. Every citizen were required to maintain a certain level of points in order to live in districts of their choice. Only citizens with enough points had the right to vote, travel or live in a decent district. Ben and Jessica were stripped of the points since he was exposed as a spawn and his parents were murdered by bounty hunters.
But Ben made it work. It just meant, getting the essential things through underground and black market means. He learnt to find the right people to trade with and networked with others who were in his situation. But, as of lately, he could feel that things were getting increasingly dangerous. Ben lost contact with the guy that delivered canned meats to him for over two weeks now.
The rain didn't relent all night.
On the roof of the church were ten men in tactical gear. They had the perfect view of the siblings thirty feet below aiming their scopes squarely on their heads. The voice in the mens' ear piece instructed them to hold and wait for further instructions.
"Change of plans, bring them in alive, I repeat, bring in the two assailants alive"
Few moments of quiet.
"Go" The voice quietly said.
Five of the men efficiently scaled down to the floor. The siblings were oblivious to the dangers above as they ate their meal. They haven't eaten a proper dinner in days.
Without a warning, a large black figure grabbed Ben and tackled him to the floor, knocking him out. Second man lunged to grab Jessica. She disappeared into thin air.
"I told you to be careful" The same calm voice said.
The rest of the black figures swiftly made their way inside. The rest knocked over the table and searched the rooms for Jessica.
"Forget the girl, she's dangerous" The voice said. "Bring the boy, hurry"
Outside the church, men exited two black vans.
"Where's the girl?" One of the men from van said agitated.
"She's gone, at least we'll be paid, let's go"
"That's not the contract! Find her!"
At the back of the van were two stretchers, prepared for each of the siblings. Ben was still knocked out. The man laid him down on the stretcher and strapped him in. Half of the men entered the van that Ben was strapped in and began driving away. The driver could see the other van starting to follow them in the rearview mirror.
Suddenly, the van in the rearview exploded.
"I told you to get the girl!"
The first van came to a screeching halt and the men got out and ducked, aiming their rifles, searching for the girl in their scope. The back of the van opened up like a tin can. An invisible force gently lifted Ben's stretcher out, as two men flung in to the air screaming, in opposite directions. Jessica materialised. She resembled a ghost, still floating in mid air. The remaining men opened fire. The bullets just flew through her. Jessica tossed the van like a toy some hundred feet away. The remaining men desperately continued firing at Jessica. One of the men aimed at Ben. At that moment, as if possessed, the man aimed the muzzle of the rifle at his chin and opened fire.
"Abort!" One of the men screamed.
"No, continue the mission, fulfill the contract!" The voice said.
The remaining two men desperately shot at Jessica. She floated back into the church with Ben as the two men shot each other dead.
10:02 Am Saturday
Jessica sat on the platform waiting for the ten fifteen train. Ben was still knocked out but she knows he will come around soon. She could hear the train in the distance. The sun finally broke through the clouds.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2021 EVERYONE
Written by David Kim