Connor was now standing outside on the penthouse balcony of the Denver CITYS administration building with his arm extended. He stepped forward to allow himself to look out over the crowd below. He closed his eyes for a split second and took in a slow, deep breath.
As Connor inhaled, the outside world began to slow down. It felt comforting to Connor to drown out the screams from below to execute his friend. Standing beside him was someone wanting to fill the void he was about to create, the World Vicar's daughter, Jealousy Ford.
As Connor began to exhale, he started to scan the crowd below him. Connor had a photographic memory, which allowed him to freeze a moment in time and analyze it. From theology to world history, he tried to analyze every decision made by humans to calculate the odds of their survival depending on the decision they would have to make. As much as he despised math, he could calculate down to the minute detail the likely outcome of a scenario based on history, his knowledge of the individuals, and the variables involved.
Connor had found Trent, who reminded him of his father and was assigned to be his escort, to focus his attention on. Connor felt comforted knowing someone else understood what he was going through at this moment. As Connor kept scanning the crowd hoping his father had somehow made his way into the CITYS walls, he lost hope, but one face caught Connor's attention. It was an older gentleman staring stoically at him near the back of the crowd.
His face was stern and captivated Connor because it stood out from all the other faces Connor had scanned over. The stranger's face appeared hardened with history compared to the hundreds of familiar smooth faces surrounding him.
As Connor was trying to calculate the odds of his survival, the stranger's head began to nod. At first, Connor did not believe what he was seeing. No one had ever moved before when he froze time in his mind. The man's gaze never left Connor's, and Connor shook it off as an anomaly. He was sure it was the stress of the situation or just the lack of sleep.
As he turned his attention back to the situation at hand, the man turned and disappeared into the crowd. As much as Connor tried to find him, his eyes always came back to Jess. The sight of her pulling away from the pole made her look like a madwoman. Her eyes were on fire, and her hair was whipping about her face. Saliva was flying from her mouth as her face and neck muscles bulged against the ropes which restrained her.
Connor knew how much Jess had grieved and suffered over the last couple of days. He could not predict the outcome of the predicament she got them into, but he knew what he had to do. He also knew this was just the beginning of the suffering he and those he loved would have to endure.
As he began to close his fist and extend his thumb out, he felt Jealousy nudge him in the back. She had stepped next to Connor and whispered "I love you" in his ear.
He held his arm for a brief millisecond knowing the voice was betraying someone's agenda. The World Vicar was the one who gave Connor a choice to live or die. Was Jealousy using these words for her father, or was she using them against Connor?
Connor did not have the time to comprehend the depths of madness he was partaking in, but he needed to know why he was being manipulated. This gave him the strength to keep his arm extended out. He was going to be part of something bigger than he could ever imagine, and with the microsecond of time Connor did have to analyze the situation, Connor knew he had to live another day. To honor his pledge to protect those who deserved it.
Even if it meant sacrificing one for the greater good of many, he had to abide by his father's teachings. Connor wondered if his father was watching from afar. If his father would be proud of his decision? Connor's father always told Connor he would be faced with a tough decision to make one day, but Connor never thought it would come so soon.
Connor wanted to turn and push the World Pompous over the ledge but knew the outcome. Connor wanted to turn and throw the voice in his ear over the ledge but knew the outcome. He wanted to dive into the crowd twenty-five stories down, but he knew the outcome. If he dropped his arm and refused, he knew the outcome. So left with the only outcome, which included his survival and possibly his family’s, he extended his arm fully outward.
Connor knew no outcome ended in a favorable result for Jess. He just had to figure out why he was told to do this and needed more information to determine his survival percentage. Connor looked forward to being alone, even though he knew the World Vicar was watching him. Connor had to put the memory he was about to create in the darkest depths of his mind. He would be their God, false as all the previous ones before them, yet he would be true to himself.
Suddenly Connor felt a sense of calmness overcome him. It was something he had never felt before. Connor had felt the comfort of entering his mind but never had the feeling seemingly overtake his whole body. He smiled at the warmness overcoming him and then felt a bitter cold overcome him.
Connor opened his eyes and extended his thumb.
The year is 2042 and the Covid-19 virus has mutated with the Human Papilloma Virus, sterilizing over 95% of the remaining world’s population. The PURE Party has appointed a World Vicar to lead them from the disease, famine, and natural disasters plaguing the earth. CITYS were created to house the righteous elite and to keep the remaining world’s population out. One teenager holds the key for all of humanity and he has just been captured by the World Vicar’s RAIDER police force. With the fate of humanity at stake; what would you do to survive?
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