Saturday, February 14, 2015


Traitor, William.  Age 17.  Brown hair, yellow eyes.  Citizen Level: 3.

They changed our name to Traitor when my great-grandfather defected from the City in the Great War.  He was never captured, but his family didn't receive his coded warning letter until it was too late.  The police stormed my great-grandmother's house in the pre-dawn of a frigid winter morning, seized the family, and burned the house to the ground.  They were taken to the refugee housing, where traitors' families were re-programmed into the City files through blood tests, fingerprints, and eye scans.

In the years after the Great War, the refugee camps were slowly converted into Citizen Level 3 housing units.  My grandfather shared a small bedroom with his younger brother and three sisters while their mother slept in the living room on the couch of their tiny apartment, which they were granted seven months after the Peace Treaty had been enacted.  "It was a blessing," Grandfather would grumble, nodding to himself, "We got the rooms just before the year's first snow.  Maddelena would have froze to death."

There used to be Traitor Families all over, especially in the Level 3 neighborhoods.  There are still about twenty kids who carry the name in our Village school.  But most families have been able to change their names back.

Traitor Families are required to send their male heirs to the front, until three of them die in service.  Once they have made their sacrificial contribution to the City, their surname is reversed and they can work towards advancing their Citizen Level.  My grandfather was sent to the front along with his brother.  He was almost killed in a skirmish on the Outer Borders, but the rescue teams reached him in time and revived him from his coma after three days.  He was discharged for injury, though not with honor like the rest of the survivors.  His brother was killed in the same skirmish.

My father met my mother when they were sixteen, here in this same Village.  They wed in secret, an hour after his eighteenth birthday and with a foraged note of permission from her parents, who never would have approved of a Traitor marriage.  He was drafted hours later.

Traitor or not, all draftees are given a week before they are required to attend basic training.  A week after their wedding, he left her, pregnant and nearly penniless. Six months later, he was dead.

I grew up without my father.  I am my mother's only child - my family's only male heir.

I am the last Traitor of our line.  Tomorrow is my 18th birthday.

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