It was a red dusk. Tobey rolled over his bedsheets and sat up. His eyes were heavy, his limbs sore. He felt too weak to have a bath, too weak to move even-but he had to. Lex would come knocking on the door and soon.
He got up and put some clothes on; they weren’t clean but they weren’t smelly either. The doors of his pale-looking room creaked open as he laced his shoes. Walking in was Lex, he limped, his legs were bound in bandages along with one of his arms too.
Tobey nodded his head slowly in response. If Lex weren’t here, he would never step foot outside this room. He would never step foot anywhere again. He’d been prepared to do so, to die in this hollow place. 'That man' must have known and sent Lex here for him.
When Tobey was done, he stood up and walked behind Lex who led him out the room, down the stairs, and unto the streets. It didn’t take long for the people to howl at him, cursing and swearing.
Rot in the depths of Alleh!!
Tobey had barely even taken ten steps on the stone road when he felt a piece of metal smash against his head. He stopped walking and raised his hand to check for blood. Of course, there was, but there was no pain.
Listening as the shouts increased, Lex raised his arm over the little boy beside him, shielding him from the objects thrown at him.
“Come on Tobey, we’re gonna use my bike.”
They walked over to the worn-out bike he had parked a short distance away. Lex picked up an armband that was hung by the handle and wore it on his only good arm. Tobey stared at him, watching as he connected the armband's end to the receiver near the frame. Lex closed his eyes and chanted:
There was a subtle change in the air around Lex. Suddenly, the bike glowed with a yellow that surrounded it all over like drawn lines of graffiti. Lex motioned for Tobey to come forward and he did. Tobey climbed on the bike and Lex hopped on after him. The warmth of the bike came from the lines, they glided in a pattern that caused Tobey to relax.
Lex wasted no time in starting the engine and in seconds they’d zoomed off to the city square. The closer they drew to the square, the more thoughts flashed through Tobey’s mind. But that which lingered the most was that in a few moments, 'that man', his father, was going to be executed.
The crowd at the square was terrifying. There were loud noises everywhere, glaring eyes and lips spitting vile words. Tobey hid his face as he followed behind Lex and climbed to the roof of a small building. The large space before them was filled with men numbering past ten thousand, each on their knees with an executioner beside them, an axe in hand. Tobey ignored them as his eyes moved around quickly, scanning for his dad.
Several Imperial guards mounted on black horses patrolled the area in twos. The Lord of the city who stood on the Balcony of the Central Building afar off gazed at the men below. His face portrayed off the several hologram screens across the city for people to see. He raised one arm and the city square suddenly fell quiet.
The Royal Anthem began to play and the people sang with usual unison. Despite the atmosphere being so calm, it was approaching eerie. Tobey’s wandering eyes fell on his father, his long brown hair hung over his head. He knelt among the men in the front row, several of which he recognized. Uncles, Cousins, friends.
Tears began to swell around his eyes again. He could feel the air get thin as he broke into a sweat.
“Father,” He muttered, but there was no voice.
And as if he knew, his father raised his head in his direction. Tobey squeezed his fists hard as he looked into the blue eyes of his father. He was sad and angry. How could his father smile in this situation??
Death by beheading was the highest form of punishment given to those who turned against their nation. His father, the leader of the accused had not resisted when the order to seize them came. Tobey believed his father was strong. No, he knew it, just as well as he knew he was innocent. Yet, there he was, waiting to die, smiling at his son.
“Let the execution of the tribe of Vassar begin,” The voice of the Lord echoed deep. With his words came a roar from the people gathered at the city square. Tobey could feel the ground tremble.
Several men among those to be executed screamed as the executioners chopped off heads. Tobey watched as the executioner beside his father raised his axe. He stared at his father, who mouthed words at him, words he could not hear. Before he could realize it, his father’s head fell off his shoulders in a clean swing. As the hot tears fell from his cheeks, he turned his head to the side, trying to look away. His insides churned, and his throat burned.
Suddenly, Lex grabbed his head and turned it back to face the execution.
“Don’t look away.”
Tobey could feel the pain in Lex’s voice. With a glance, he saw Lex fighting to hold back tears. Tobey turned his head back to the massacre in front of him. Lex’s hand dropped down to Tobey’s shoulder, squeezing tightly.
“Never forget this day. Etch it into your soul and burn it into your memory,” said Lex.
Tobey's eyes widened. Amidst the cries of thousands, he could do nothing but stare in utter silence, as the blood of his father and the thousands of his tribe mixed with the crimson of the setting sun.