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By @Val


53 seconds since banishment

Gratis is no different now from how it has been every day since I turned fifteen, only darker. It is beautiful, even, as the final hues of color fall from the sky and long shadows turn into holes of darkness in the landscape around me. Familiarity begins to morph into the unknown as Gratis becomes the night I have been taught my entire life to fear.

Fear. It should have taken hold of me already, but instead I feel only shock. My trial had been short, yet there was time enough to become numb to the inevitable banishment. I will be dead soon, as the stories of the night made clear. And so will the seven people I managed to **** along with myself.

Guilt. I have been feeling this since my arrest. Were I not momentarily detached from the chaos erupting among the seven, my shame would be crushing. If benevolence has ever been shown to me in my twenty-five years of life, it is now, as whatever god there may be grants me a moment of serenity before inflicting my doom.

It is hard to hear the cries of my companions, the pounding on a metal gate that will not open until the sun returns in its sky and we are all dead-or worse. I do not weep at this thought. I should. Instead, my eyes remain dry as I stare into the shadows of Gratis. We will have to run soon.

Run, and maybe we make it to morning.

Stay, and we only die faster.

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