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Gunther drew in a deep drag, his eyes pinned to the glowing horizon. Sighing, the smoke escaped from his lips, curling along the curves of his face. He watched the purple mist disappear into the cool, evening air.
The wind brought his dark hair into his face, and he shook his head in attempt to push it back. Punching the end of the cigarette against the wall, its spark dropped to the dust covered concrete.
His solemn brown eyes moved across the shaded courtyard, his expression emotionless as he flicked the cigarette butt to the ground, crushing it beneath his black boot.
He’d been standing here for a long time now, experiencing the temperature drop as the sun slipped away. The sky turned a bluish, bruised purple, casting long shadows over the world he’d only had the pleasure to observe.
When he was younger, he longed for the day he’d be able to pack up and drive across that long, dirt road leading to nowhere. He wished for a place to call his own, his nowhere. His dreams consisted of a sleek car racing down that road, his car wheels creating thick dust clouds across the navy blue horizon.
But instead of leaving the Sanctum behind, he had left his childish dream. Now he only glared at the white line where the air met the earth, all imagination gone. He tugged on his jacket, the cold pressing against him. Tucking his elbows into his sides and hands into his pockets, he shivered.
A light flickered in the corner of his eye, and he turned to find the Sanctum’s Dining Hall opening up. His stomach growled.
A wash of dread came over him, and he sighed, “So much for on time.”
He drew in another deep breath, pulling his sleeves down over his wrists and cursing the wind before entering the back door of the Sanctum.
The Sanctum’s interior consisted of chipped walls and slanted ceilings. Apart from the creaky old floors and the sporadic barred windows, the Sanctum held a comforting atmosphere to Gunther. It was pristine, made so by the Sancter Workers, who were mainly older women who believed in keeping the old, outdated traditions of the Sanctum’s sanctuary and chapel.
The building was originally built as a church back in the Beginning Era, but due to the growth of spiritual disinterest and laws of the overruling Dozahk, it was reconstructed to fit the needs of the Sancters. Despite the mercy of the Dozahkian Government, the Sanctum has defied all influential factors of the resplendent movement. Meaning the Sancters keep to a simple and clean lifestyle. Although Gunther would disagree about the whole “simple” part; the Sancters were polished and refined, renouncing from Glitter and party nonsense, but only by strict regime and good behavior. And because most colors symbolized the Glitter production, any effervescent coloration was either minimal or nonexistent within the walls of the Sanctum. Except for the natural vibrant array of hair color. And the stain glass windows scattered throughout the rooms.
The vibrant hair color, though, was something Gunther solely lacked.
Rounding a white trimmed corner of the hallway, Gunther’s attention fell on a tall girl dressed in a high neck blouse, her pastel blue hair swirling down to her hips.
Gunther groaned. His shoulders slouched as she came bounding up to him.
“You’re late!” She stuck a slim, pale finger in his face, blue eyelashes batting angrily at him.
Throwing his hands up in defense, he looked at her apologetically.
“I know, Marcie, I’m terribly sorry; I was-“
“Yeah, I think we can all guess where you ‘was’,” she mimicked his voice.
Gunther exhaled in defeat. She wrapped a cold hand around his leather arm and dragged him into the Dining Hall.
Windows sprouted up from the floor on the side of the stage, filtering in the golden light from the sunset. People lined themselves along the walls, babbling about their daily lives and where to sit. Servers dressed in the uniformed black jumpsuits and bleached white aprons tied with a cerulean ribbons stood behind the long, distribution tables, awaiting to serve the crowd.
“I’ve just about had it with you and running off. You and I are on the Chapel Community Courtyard, and it is our job to be on time, on account, and-oh, what’s the last one?” She turned to him; her baby blue eyes filled with panic.
Sighing, he shrugged, “On accordance.”
“Accordance! Yes, that’s it. Absolutely right-oh! Head Leader Orion is speaking this evening, I forgot to remind you. He’s sharing his ‘big news’ or whatever so, prepare yourself.”
Gunther’s eyebrows shot up,
Marcie nodded, wringing her hands, “Yes. Big news. And he means it, this time, for all of us. I-I hope.” A wave of doubt sprouted over her face, and she began staring off in the distance. Clearing his throat, Gunther ushered her to her seat.
“Good evening, my fellow Sancters.” A short, bald man made his way up the carpeted stage, his white smile bordered by a styled, green mustache. “I am pleased to announce a very special offer made to the Sanctum by an upcoming phenomenon known as Kline and Co. As you all may know, the Dozahkian Government has been reminding us about the sacrifices in which they have made for us to be here.” Leader Orion spoke slowly, thinking over each word before he used it.
“It is with great relief that I, your Head Leader, informs you that Kline and Co. has agreed to support us in this drought by compliance of volunteering to test their products first-hand!”
The Dining Hall was filled with a happy applause. Gunther smiled as he clapped, watching the Head Leader wipe his sweaty brow.
“There you go, folks. Eat and drink merrily!” He stepped off the platform and nodded to the other leaders.
Leader Orion gave a strong grin to his people, but Gunther caught a minuscule waver in his smile.