The Boy

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A short piece of dystopian flash fiction.

In a grassy field a million years from another time, stands a boy. He is almost a man. He does not know why he is stood, simply watching, all he knows is that he had to get out, just for a little while.

The field is calming and with each breath he takes he can feel his anger slipping away, his racing heartbeat slowing, his mind gradually clearing. The breaths he takes are deep and full, drawing in the sweet cool air and slowly pushing it back out again. He blinks, his big eyes drinking in the colours around him; the vibrant green grass swaying gently in the summer breeze, the dark mud coloured trunk of the huge tree standing solitary in the sea of green, the bright blues and reds of the small birds flitting between the great trees branches. Life is good there.

The field is out of bounds, the high wire fence behind the boy stands as a constant reminder of this. He should be on the other side of that fence, following orders, standing in line, bowing his head, waiting to be counted. Another face, another failure. Inside he feels their eyes on him, constantly watching, waiting for him to slip up. He feels it like a knife in his chest; all the pity, all the shame, all the hatred those eyes hold for him. But outside it is different, outside it is a beautiful day, even only this far from the camp he feels alone, free, himself. He longs to run, can feel the urge in the muscles of his legs, to put one foot in front of the other and to never look back. But he knows he must wait for the right moment. He must have patience, and he must not let them break him.

Slowly he blinks, soft skin closing momentarily over deep brown colour. The gentle wind picks up his untidy hair, making it float and sway around his face. A face that has seen too much, that knows more than it should. For a moment a shield is lowered, and in the sparkle of unshed tears the truth can be seen. Sorrow, fear, and buried deepest so that only a glimmer is visible, hope. A second later and the shield is back in place, hiding all that lingers beneath it, a skilfully crafted mask.

Knowing it is time the boy turns back the way he came. Steady feet carry him across the sea of grass and strong arms pull him up and over the wire fence, away from the beauty, the freedom, and back to captivity.

 

The field feels the absence of the boy, and although it cannot understand what it senses within him, it knows he will be back, he always comes back. And so the birds continue to sing, the wind continues to push it's way through the leaves and grasses ad the old oak continues it's never ending journey towards the clear crystal sky.

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