Writing Prompt: This Fractured Society

Artist: Thomas Korpi | Prompt from writeworld.tumblr.com

A picture says a thousand words. Write them.

Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a critique about this picture. Write something about this picture.

The sight of the city made Jem stop in her tracks. She’d heard stories, seen pictures, but having it here in front of her was a different thing altogether. The eery blue light lit up the sphere, almost harsh on the eyes. Inside the glass, the observatory was a fortress, the stone worth more than her life, the people living inside oblivious.

Villages and settlements outside the observatory were lit up with fires and lanterns. They had their own mini societies, Jem heard, separate from the observatory, as they all were. Marriage rituals, law enforcement, markets. People waiting for the doors to open, for any sprinkling of generosity.

Cam and Kylo stopped, too, ahead of her.

Cam said, “We’re going to tear this fucking wall down.”

It seemed so simple, one driving mission that sent them across the swamps and the valleys and through the lakes of fire. But standing here, Jem doubted. She wouldn’t admit it to her companions, who stood a few feet in front of her, just silhouettes, symbols of defiance.

Kylo had his spear at his side, and he was turned to the side like he couldn’t even face the observatory.

Cam’s gun was slung over his shoulder, and he was already moving forward again. “We’re gonna tear it down. When we’re done with this, it’ll be fucking rubble.”

Kylo looked back at Jem. Their eyes met. A grim determination had colored his expression for weeks, but now, she saw a glimmer of something else. Excitement in the form of a grin. She hadn’t seen him smile like that since his mother got sick, even if the smile was a hint at the storm brewing inside of him, begging to be released. She’d seen that smile: when he stripped off his clothes and jumped into the water where the women were bathing; when he hunted and caught sight of his prey; when he attacked to wrestle her to the ground and tickle her into submission.

Jem moved forward. She’d already lost sight of Cam, who’d walked down the hill.

“They’re not ready for us,” Kylo said, hoisting his spear up so it rested on his shoulder.

“I’m not ready, either,” Jem said as she passed him.

“You’re ready. We’ve been planning for weeks.”

Jem readjusted her pack, its fragile contents a weight on her shoulders she was tied of carrying. Weapons of war and destruction, a message from the outsiders.

Kylo nudged her shoulder. “We’re ready, Jem.”

She looked over at him. “I don’t know. But it doesn’t matter either way. We’re doing it.”

Kylo laughed. “That’s right, we’re doing it!”

Come morning, they would either be dead, imprisoned, or they would have accomplished their mission. They’d have the medicine for the plague wracking their village. They’d be racing back home, running from those who knew what they’d done, away every step that people were dying. They’d be wounded from their mission, but they’d push on. They’d lose Cam when his leg wouldn’t stop bleeding. They’d have to escape the ones after them, the elite members who had hid in their sphere of protection for so long. They’d reach home, and it’d be too late to save Kylo’s mother, but they’d save his sister, and Jem’s best friend, who wouldn’t stop yelling at her for risking her life.

They’d change the world, and they wouldn’t be able to change the tide of war and revolution after their actions tonight.

They’d tear these walls down, and only rubble would be left of this fractured society.

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