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Via Vitæ


A 3 Chapter story about the life of a wanderer named Profugus. We follow them as they leave their life as a factory worker and enter a whole new realm of possibilities. Profugus faces death, tragedy, happiness, lies, and loss.

6,558 Words in total

20 Pages

I: Praeterita

In the western part of the city lies a main road. In the northern portion of this road is a huge cage, where a robin sits upon the branch of a birch tree. It chirps away, singing a song that brings peace to the usual atmosphere of haste that the city is used to. A beaten up looking wanderer turned towards the cage and saw the bird. This wanderer was known as Profugus. Profugus watched the bird as it sang and flew around its cage with complete delight. Profugus’s eyes began to shed tears. Memories of life flashed through Profugus’s mind making Profugus sad, but eventually happy. Profugus turned right and saw it. The goal Profugus has been working towards. The corporation was well known throughout the city. Though it was recently established, it had made an impact on city life. Profugus took a deep breath and stepped inside; the beginning of a new life.

    The city was a diverse community filled with many different races, customs, and cultures; making it a wonderful place to live. There are however, sections of the city where violence happens between the gangs of the different races. The city is divided into eight major districts. The three oldest districts are known as the central, north-eastern, and northern-central districts. The central district is the oldest and is known as the residential portion of the city. The homes and apartments here are cheap, but the conditions are fairly poor. The north-eastern district is the second oldest and is a major industrial zone for the city. The northern-central district is another industrial zone, but it is also a political one. The conditions here are cleaner, a bit more refined, and usually reserved towards the middle and upper class citizens.

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The south-eastern district used to be a prison district, but has become residential as the years have passed. There is still a big portion of this district that has yet to be worked on. There is the south-central district which was the most recently established. Currently there are scientists checking to see if the area is good enough for it to be populated. The western districts are divided from the rest of the districts by a major river known as the Stagnum. The south-western district is another poor residential district, but they have a smaller population compared to that of the central district. The central-western district used to be considered part of the northern one, but due to the low quality of living and violence that takes place there, it has been separated from the northern by a fence due to safety concerns. Finally there is the north-western district which is a major political and residential district. This was one of the more recent additions to the city and it has made a huge impact on city life and politics.

    Profugus was born and raised in the north-eastern district. Profugus never really had a childhood as from a young age, Profugus was forced to work for the local factories. Around the age of five, Profugus was given a sibling, a younger sister whose name was Perierat. Profugus’s family did their best to hide Perierat from the district government, but she was eventually discovered and taken from them due to the district law. This law states that families must only have one child. This loss left Profugus heartbroken for the longest time. Eventually, around the age of eight, Profugus only worked in the largest factory in the district, known as Sinæ. The environment in the factory was harsh on Profugus, as the factory tended to be filled with smog which led to many chemical and mechanical related deaths. The head of the factory, known as the Imperator, would do nothing about the problem.

After several more years of this, Profugus desired freedom to escape. Several other workers

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longed freedom as well. Their names were Amice, Relictus, Sycophanta, Latro and Proditor. The problem was, where could they go? Profugus learned that Sinæ was trading with a major north-western corporation. Profugus had heard that this corporation offered the same opportunities for all and it was said to be a wonderful place to live. Profugus told the group about this and they unanimously agreed that it was the best place for a new life. The next day, Sycophanta told the group, “Proditor had gotten tickets for all of us on a train bound for the north-western district, but it leaves tomorrow night. In order to catch it, we are going to have to sneak out.” On the night of the escape, they all crept out of their cots and made their way quietly towards the door. Profugus found the exit and pulled the door wide open. Freedom at last.

Suddenly, the alarms went off and the group was soon surrounded by a bunch of armed guards. Proditor said slowly, “Don’t move a muscle. When I say go, you all run.” Profugus was already out the door and running when Proditor said this. Sounds of gunshots echoed behind Profugus. Profugus stopped running when the train station was within sight. Profugus turned around to see if anyone else had made it. Sure enough Amice, Sycophanta, Latro, and Proditor had made it. When asked where Relictus was, Sycophanta told Profugus that they had been fatally wounded and was subsequently left behind. They walked onto the train and sat in silence as the doors closed and the train departed.

Profugus admired the beauty of the city from the colossal skyscrapers to the measly slums. Profugus was fond of life and all it had to offer. The world to Profugus was an infinite amount of opportunities waiting to happen. Profugus looked out the window calm and relaxed. A small sharp pain suddenly erupted in the of Profugus’s neck. Profugus watched as they fell upon the ground and as the world slowly faded into black. When Profugus finally managed to come around, the train’s doors shut

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and continued on its way. Profugus found someone laying on the ground nearby. It was Amice. They were in the middle of a torn up part of town. They realized that Sycophanta, Latro, and Proditor had used them so they could escape the factory, and when Profugus and Amice were no longer needed, they were left to rot in the western-central district.

Profugus and Amice proceeded to walk around with hesitation. The day was the fifth of May. The time was 4:48 am. The streets were unusually quiet; but they could see that people were throwing parties in their homes. Suddenly, both of them were pulled into a nearby alley. A rough looking man asked them who they were. Amice explained who they were and the current situation they were in. The rough looking man introduced himself as Mango and said he would get the two of them a job at the company he worked at so they could earn some coin. The company was known as Conexus. Mango explained that the company is a type of pharmacy. He also said that his position was known as the Locum Tenens. This role was the seconds highest position at the company, right behind the Dominus Medicamentis. He supervised over the operation to make sure that everyone was doing their job. He made Profugus and Amice the lowest rank known as Falcones. Their main job was simple: Try to sell one of their best selling medications, known as Midia Cristallum, to local buyers and keep watch over the streets.

During the first week of their new job, not many people purchased the product. One day Amice said, “What’s so great about this product anyways?” Profugus answered, “Mango says that this medication helps treats obesity as well as ADHD.” Amice then asked, “If that’s so, how come not everyone is buying it. It could help the world.” Profugus didn’t know how to answer. Amice then had an idea and said, “How about we do a taste test of the product just to see if it still works.” Profugus didn’t

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see anything that could go wrong and agreed with the plan. They looked down at their product. It was made into a crystal form and was shiny, like shards of glass crushed into many bits and pieces. They reached down and picked up a small handful of this shiny medication. They counted down. Three, two, one. They swallowed the product sealing their choice.

    Silence. The two sat looking at each other in silence waiting for something else to happen. A drum was hit. Profugus looked to see if Amice had heard it too. Two more drum hits. Amice nodded. Profugus heard in the distance the sound of a drum being beaten continuously, yet soft. The tempo increased; the dynamics rose. Profugus felt nervous. The tempo becomes faster; the dynamics even louder. Profugus began to freak out. The tempo reached its maximum speed. A pain suddenly grew in Profugus’s chests. Profugus’s heart was beating faster than a normal heart should.

    A few minutes passed and Profugus immediately felt relaxed. Profugus looked around. So much detail and beauty in the world. An ant crawled over Profugus’s foot. Profugus stared intently at the little insect. A typical everyday army ant: hairy, six legs, two antennae, pair of sharp mandibles, and a ferocious temper. Profugus continued to stare at the little creature with intent. Profugus didn’t want the feeling to stop. Profugus turned and saw Amice passed out on the ground. Profugus grabbed the bag and ingested what was left.

    The world around Profugus began to spin. This made Profugus dizzy and caused them to lie completely still on the ground. The solid world in from of Profugus melted into a slew of different colors. A rainbow of infinite combinations and possibilities. Some of the colors floated above Profugus and merged into a single object. It molded itself into that of a child. A clock floated behind the child with the time set at twelve. The clock proceeded to run, going tick tock tick tock. The child slowly changed,

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growing older. Within three hours the child was already a teenager; a short and lost childhood. Time continued to pass, but the teenager never changed; a realm of rebellion, mystery, immaturity, and responsibility that never ended.

    The clock came to a stop. A tapping came from inside the clock. Profugus reached out and opened the clock. Out came an army of army ants. They swarmed Profugus. Profugus kicked and swatted at them, trying to keep them at bay. Some managed to crawl into Profugus’s skin. Profugus scratched and tore at at their legs and arms in order to get rid of the feeling of the ants crawling inside them. The clock filled with ants remade itself. The new object was that of a face, a familiar face. One that told Profugus to get up instantly. Everything went black.

Profugus eyes slowly opened. Profugus was laying in a bed with Mango right above. Profugus looked at the date on the calendar on the wall. It had been one day since Profugus and Amice tried some Midia Cristallum. Seeing that Profugus was up, Mango took the butt of a pistol and slammed it into Profugus’s gut.  Mango warned that if Profugus or Amice consumed that much of the medicine again, they would receive a worse beating. If it happened a third time, other Conexus workers would have to mop up the fresh blood that lay around two dead bodies. They both swore never again. Profugus managed to keep a promise.

Two years passed. Amice had changed in those years after consuming little doses of the product every few weeks. Amice had pale skin, some torn hair, scars on the arms and legs, and one bloodshot eye. Thanks to their hard work and careful stealthiness, Profugus and Amice made enough for them to take a train into the north-western district. There was one small problem though. The previous owner of the company ended up being gunned down by the police a month ago and the

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second in command, Mango, was made the Dominus Medicamentis of Conexus. One of the laws he enforced was, once you join Conexus, there was no leaving it. Profugus and Amice talked about this predicament for several days and finally settled on a conclusion. At night, they would sneak from their stations and head towards the train station.

On the night of the escape they first made sure that most of the workers had gone to sleep before they began to sneak out. The time was 5:49 am. When they seemed to be in the clear, Amice's foot accidently hit a can therefore knocking it into the street with a loud clang. Profugus and Amice soon heard the world stir awake around them and with that, they ran. They saw the train station ahead when they suddenly stopped. Mango and his Custodes had beat them there. With that they ran towards the fence.

Profugus was first and managed to make it to the top. Barbed wire scratched the arms and legs of Profugus When Amice hopped onto the fence, a sound of various gunshots echoed through the still night air. Profugus looked down and saw the bullet wound that lay in Amice's back. Profugus reached down to help Amice. Amice looked hastily behind at the impending doom. Amice turned around and without hesitation, pushed Profugus to the other side of the fence, saving Profugus’s life. After the fall, Profugus turned around and saw a worn out and bloodied Amice staring back in sadness. A few shadows appeared out of the alleyway. Gunshots echoed throughout the silent night. Profugus watched as Amice swayed around in a weakened state for a few seconds before collapsing to the ground, dead. Profugus stared in horror at the limp body of Amice before being snapped back to reality after another bullet was fired. Profugus ran further into the district of hope in the darkness of the night.

Profugus slept under an overpass for the night, or at least attempted to sleep. Troubling

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memories haunted Profugus’s thoughts every waking second. By the time the first light of day came, Profugus was up and heading into the city. To everyone else, Profugus appeared to be homeless and they did their best to avoid crossing paths with Profugus. Profugus was fine with this and kept walking straight in silence. They were alone in an unknown territory, alienated by everyone around them.

Profugus eventually came to a halt. A noise had caught Profugus’s attention. Profugus turned into the middle of the road and saw it. A robin singing while perched upon the branch of a birch tree in a cage. Profugus’s mind was reminded of the torture of the life Profugus had. Profugus was reminded of the loss of Perierat, the treachery of Sycophanta, Latro, and Proditor, and the sacrifice Amice made for Profugus. Tears streamed down Profugus’s cheek. Profugus was then reminded of the effort put in, the sacrifice, and finally the freedom Profugus now had. Profugus smiled and was happy.


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II: Mendacia

Profugus turned to the right and saw it. The goal that Profugus had worked hard to get to. The corporation known as Civitatum Foederatarum. Profugus looked at the front doors with nervousness. Profugus took a deep breath, and walked in. The smell is the first thing that hit Profugus. It was a mix of lemons and that of a beach. It was a smell that indicated cleanliness. The lobby was a magnificent site to see. Marble tiles made up the walls while the floor was made out of a sort of fancy tile. After studying the tile a bit more, Profugus figured the tile was made black onyx, a pearl, and diamonds. On the side of the wall was a gold trimmed clock. The time was 8:37 am. In the center of the room stood the centerpiece of the lobby; a shiny copper statue of a woman. The pedestal listed the woman’s name; Libertatis. Profugus was overwhelmed by the beauty of the room. A few tears fell one by one onto the ornate floor.

Profugus eventually, approached the front desk and rung a bell. A person came out behind the desk wearing a white collared shirt with a black vest on top. On the vest was a golden name tag which read: Clericus. They asked, “How may I be of service?” Profugus proceeded to ask if there were any jobs available at the moment. Clericus asked if Profugus had any resume, identification, or references currently. Profugus answered calmly, “No, I do not have any.” Clericus spent the next minute typing information into a computer. Clericus looked up and told Profugus that there was one job available that fit those credentials. Profugus accepted the job on the spot.

Clericus told Profugus to follow. After going through a few security checks, they were both

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allowed into the the main building. The main building was even more astonishing than the lobby. The carpet was a soft red velvet. There were beautiful pools and luxurious atriums. Meeting rooms for the staff were made of marble with a macassar ebony wood flooring. There were also a few different types of chapels that were in the building. Profugus continued to admire the beauty and luxury of this new home. Eventually, Profugus and Clericus came across a set of double doors. These doors were different from the rest of the building. They seemed to be old, dirty, and worn down. They didn’t seem like they could stay up much longer. Clericus told Profugus that the section of the building they were about to enter, was the largest portion of the corporation. Profugus was taken through the doors and Profugus’s eyes lit up in fear at the sight.

The room was the size of an atrium with many balconies from the other floors showing. A giant glass dome made up the top of the atrium; made to show the view of the beautiful sky. At least that’s what it was made for. Now all Profugus could see was a grayish cloud of smoke blocking all view, yet still allowing light to pass through it. This however, was the least of Profugus’s problems. The atrium was crowded with people. There were hundreds of them moving from level to level and from one side to another. Located on all the walls of every balcony, were different stores and industries that helped support the corporation. Clericus told Profugus to follow. They entered the sea of people and began making their way slowly along, inch by inch.

As they were making their way, Profugus noted different advertisement papers stapled to the wooden columns that supported the different levels. Some of the advertisements were for either job openings or deals on different products. A good handful of papers stood out in particular from the rest. Profugus focused real hard and read the paper. “Deus, bless us, our patriae, and our newly elected

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Praeses.” Profugus began to wonder, “Who is this Praeses? Is he or she the leader of this corporation and if so, how come there is huge portion of the corporation that is unrefined compared to the rest?” Profugus wasn’t able to contemplate on that thought for very long. Clericus announced they had made it. This factory that stood in front of Profugus was known as Chalybs Trabes. Clericus said that this was where Profugus would work, making steel beams for future city buildings. Clericus said, “Now if you will follow me to your room.”

The door to the room was cracked in many spots and appeared to be old. A steel number was nailed into it. The number read 027. Profugus reached down, turned the knob, and opened the door. A musty smell and dust spores flew into Profugus’s nose, attacking the nose hairs. Profugus sneezed. The room was a simple one. There was a kitchen, a bathroom, and a bed. Most of the room however, was dirty and a mess. Coffee stains and even a few blood stains appeared in parts of the rug. The fridge had eggs, bacon, and other assorted lunch meat. The freezer was filled with ice and frozen meals. The restroom seemed pretty clean, until Profugus found the cockroach nest. Profugus went to the dresser. Work clothes filled each drawer, each subsequent one dirtier than the last. Profugus looked at the time: 11:22 am. Even though it was early in the morning, Profugus had gotten no sleep the previous few days. Profugus took two sleeping pills, swallowed a glass of tap water, and passed out on the bed.

Profugus woke up late. The clock read 1:46 pm. Profugus didn’t care though. The utopia Profugus had hoped for was crushed into bits and pieces the previous day. Profugus got up and made a cup of coffee. After washing up, Profugus stared into the mirror. A face grown old so quickly, filled with loss and despair. Profugus got dressed in the work uniform. The coffee finished brewing. Profugus poured a cup and set it to the side. Profugus stared at the coffee machine. A pot heating a liquid of pure

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empty black. A world of hope lost. In a sudden ensuing bit of rage, Profugus grabbed the coffee pot and chucked it across the room. The glass pot shattered on impact leaving a mess of broken glass and coffee stains all over the disgusting mold filled rug. Profugus drank the cup of coffee and checked the time one last time. It read 2:27 pm. Profugus left for work.

Profugus had to complete a medical examination before going into work. While waiting in the reception, Profugus noticed a young woman crying. A nurse came out and called out for a Mothet.The crying woman stood up and went with the woman. Not long later Profugus was called in. After a series of many tests, Profugus seemed to be in a good physical condition. When the doctors took Profugus’s blood test a weird thing appeared. The scanner originally scanned the blood as AB+, but the scanner appeared to have glitched and changed the blood type to O-. The doctors said that they will try to figure out what went wrong. Profugus was worried about the price of the examination because Profugus had no money at all. It was a surprise to Profugus when it was revealed that the examination was already paid for. It was all being covered by the healthcare system of the corporation known as BOCura.

Profugus came across the woman again when leaving. Profugus walked up to her and asked her what was wrong. She explained how she had become pregnant on accident and because of this, the father of the child and her entire family ditched her to fend for herself. She came to get the child aborted, but people all around kept making her feel that what she was doing was sinful. Profugus made Mothet relaxed and encouraged her to be strong in this new environment. When Profugus asked if Mothet was feeling any better, she nodded. Profugus also told Mothet to meet at the heart of the atrium around midday the following day in order to check on her. They said farewell and split away.

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The time was 4:31 pm when Profugus made it to the factory and by then it was already at full speed mode. Profugus watched as scrap metal was thrown into a vat of molten steel, as the molten steel was given a shape into a beam and subsequently cooled in water. Profugus’s job was to make sure the casing came off easily from the steel beams. While Profugus was working a person nearby asked, “New huh?” Profugus turned to them and answered, “Yes.” The person introduced themselves as Mendax. A person yelled at Profugus and Mendax from a balcony, telling them to get back to work. Mendax told Profugus to relax because the person who yelled at them, Umbo, is a nice guy, but they could get temperamental at times while managing the factory. Profugus and Mendax shared a few more laughs before getting back to work on the beams.

An alarm echoed throughout the factory. Profugus asked Mendax what was happening. Mendax explained that the alarm is to let everyone know that the Praeses was coming in soon. Sure enough, all the workers formed an aisle leading from the door. Profugus thought, “I can finally see who this Praeses is and why they have created an environment that is horrible for nearly everyone.” A shadowy figure filled the doorway. Profugus smiled to be polite. The figure walked down the aisle, growing more visible with each subsequent step. The figure had a big smile on his face. Profugus’s smile slowly faded into nothingness as a feeling of anger rose. Profugus recognized the person. The smile and the eyes were unforgettable. The person was full of lies, deceit, and treachery and Profugus hated him for this and all the harm that he had caused Profugus. At the end of the aisle the figure turned around. Praeses Sycophanta was ready to address the workers.

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III: Finem

As Sycophanta looked throughout the crowd, he caught site of Profugus. His smile faded into obscurity. Sycophanta turned to the rest of the workers and addressed them. He said, “Thank you all for choosing to work as this fine establishment. You all have an important job in the city. For those of you who are new to this job, you are making steel beams. These beams will be used as the framework for any new buildings in our district or in the northern-central district. This will help us expand our city, help increase our capacity, and expand our influence on the world. You all work hard and have a nice day.” With that said, Sycophanta exited the room through the aisle. Everyone proceeded to go back to their stations and recommence their work.

    Profugus was fuming mad. Anger and hatred for Sycophanta filled their thoughts. Profugus thought, “Of all the people who the Praeses could’ve been, why him? Has the world not shown me enough torture by Sycophanta?” Mendax saw Profugus acting a bit strange and asked if something was the matter. Profugus glared at Mendax and asked, “How come Sycophanta is the Praeses here. How come that piece of shit rose out of the slums to that level in just a handful of years.” Mendax said, “Well it’s because he’s deceptive. He’s a filthy liar, that’s no surprise to anyone. He managed to cheat his way up to the top. He used his “friends” as support to that level and when he didn’t need them anymore, he cast them away. His two supporters, Latro and Proditor, both met unfortunate fates. Latro is locked in solitary confinement for life while Proditor faced the electric chair. Many people want to do away with him, but he’s untouchable. He’s made it so the elected assembly can’t overturn his rule. He’s made himself a dictator. All we can do is just sit and wait.”

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“That’s not the only way,” said Profugus, “If we gather enough supporters, we can manage to overpower him and destroy his reign of power.” “Sounds risky,” said Mendax, “Many of us thought of that already, but too many were afraid of getting captured in the end and executed for treachery against him.” Profugus said, “I am not.” With that Profugus and Mendax agreed to work together to defeat Sycophanta. They came up with a small idea of a plan where they would get as many supporters as possible while keeping it under the radar. Then when they get enough supporters they will break into the office of Sycophanta and destroy him and his career.

    After another night of restless sleep, Profugus walked towards the center of the atrium. Up ahead was Mothet, not as sad as she had been before. Mothet saw Profugus and smiled. The smile slowly deteriorated when she saw Profugus’s expression. She asked why Profugus was making that face. Profugus dismissed this and asked how she was doing. She explained that she has gotten better, managed to calm down, and even discovered different things she could do that would keep her happy. Mothet was still concerned for Profugus and said, “Something is troubling you. What is it?” Profugus explained the plan to her from beginning to end. Profugus asked if she would like to be a part of the plan. After a minute of hesitation, Mothet answered, “Sure. It would be another thing that would help me get out of my depression.”

    Days passed in the factory. Profugus grew more and more tired of the conditions. The number of group members slowly grew bit by bit. The group had regular meetings to discuss issues as well as plan the future for the corporation when they take it over in the future. One day Profugus called an emergency meeting. The last people that showed up arrived at 7:36 pm. While looking into the sea of members, Profugus noticed something; Mothet was not there. Profugus told Mendax that if either of

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them encounter Mothet, they tell her the information told at this meeting. Profugus made sure that the audience was silent before giving an announcement. Profugus said that they have enough supporters to overthrow the Praeses. Profugus continued saying that on the next day, March 15th, they would attack at exactly midday. Everyone in the audience cheered. Mendax told everyone that the meeting was dismissed and that everyone should get a good sleep. Profugus went back to the room. Profugus got ready and fell into the bed. Profugus looked at the clock. It read 8:38 pm. Profugus smiled for the first time in a while. Profugus’s eyelids dropped and Profugus fell into a deep sleep.

    There was a knock at Profugus’s door. Profugus got up and looked at the time; 10:00 pm. Profugus went to the door and asked who it was. Mendax answered with haste and explained the situation. Mendax said that the police seemed to have been getting a bit fishy about the whole group and just an hour ago, they arrested seven of their members. Mendax finished by saying that the rest of the group has already gotten together and are planning on overthrowing Sycophanta within an hour.

Profugus immediately got up and got dressed. Profugus opened the door and walked into the hallway. Profugus asked where the group was meeting to which Mendax said, it was in the usual meeting room. They ran as fast as they could through the building. Profugus saw the room up ahead. On top of the room was a clock. It read 10:23 pm. Profugus opened the door and rushed inside. No one was there. The room was empty. Before Profugus could realized it was a trap, Profugus was hit in the back of the head with a blunt object. Profugus fell onto the ground, unconscious.

    Profugus awoke in pain, trying to figure out what happened. Profugus had a tough time getting up, but eventually managed to. Profugus was in a dimly lit area, just outside an alleyway in the city. Profugus looked at the three people that came out of the darkness. One of them Profugus didn’t

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recognize, another was Mendax, and the last one was Sycophanta himself. Sycophanta looked at Profugus and said, “Ah, the swine is awake. Let the fun begin.” Profugus asked, “Why am I here?” Sycophanta explained, “Well because you were going to overthrow me. I surely cannot allow that. Oh, Profugus I forgot to introduce you to each other. This here is my assistant known as Adjutor. While we are on this subject I believe this here is one of your close friends.” Sycophanta grabbed a tied up woman out of the darkness while Profugus stood staring in fear. “Mothet was it I believe,” said Sycophanta, “No matter, she is of no use to me anymore.” Sycophanta pulled out a pistol, placed it against Mothet’s temple, and pulled the trigger. Mothet’s body was relaxed on the ground mere seconds after the trigger was pulled.

Profugus looked up in anguish and charged at Sycophanta. Profugus fell onto the ground. A pain filled Profugus’s abdomen. Sycophanta looked at Profugus disappointingly. Profugus looked at Sycophanta and said, “Go ahead and kill me, you will soon face your downfall. My group will destroy you.” Sycophanta smiled and said, “Oh no they won’t. They’ve forgotten about it entirely. They have even you.” Profugus inquired how. Sycophanta said, “I may or may not have some offered them some new technology and better housing, if they all forgot about the group. Profugus said, “That’s bribery,” to which Sycophanta responds, “I know it is, but what does it matter. Either way I was never going to be defeated. I will never be defeated.” Profugus looked at Mendax and asked, “How could you have done this?” Mendax said, “Sorry, but a deals a deal. I am out of here.” Sycophanta stopped and grabbed Mendax by the throat. Mendax said, “Let me go. You said if I brought Profugus here you would let me go.” Sycophanta explained, “Yes I did say that. I did not say how I would let you go. I require that

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those who were closely associated with Profugus be dead. Goodbye.” Profugus watched as Sycophanta pulled the trigger of the pistol and dropped Mendax causing their lifeless body to hit the ground with a thud.

Profugus asked Sycophanta, “Why me?” Sycophanta responded, “Well you were just in my way. You’ve been a special case, being in my way twice in my life. I left you in that district to rot, but here you sit, staring at fate. My power extends far and wide throughout this city. People look up to me and beg me for mercy, but I show and give little. I don’t need people like you attempting at taking that power from me. Your plan would not have worked anyways as I am a very good convincer. Your people have managed to become easier to manipulate. New technology helps this as well. The spread of a product throughout the market to distract people from the true horror works wonders. I will never fall. I have never fallen since the very beginning. I now stare at my opponent and wonder why they have come to face me. I won’t be convinced, I won’t lose. I control the city. I have for the longest time and there is nothing you can do stop it. Every citizen is unimportant and will all die eventually and be forgotten. I have won.”

    Profugus stared at Sycophanta with intent then said, “No, that’s not true.” Profugus stood up and continued, “You are the leader of a corporation, one that you have declared allows equal opportunities for all. Yet you, a citizen full of power, stand to the side with a glass of champagne in one hand and a handful of money in the other just watching your citizens as they struggle to make one percent of what you have.” “Why must everyone do this? Why must there be rulers who lead us who care for only themselves and no one else? Some leaders go so far as to make themselves a ruler under divine right. Some leaders do know their status in society and place the people before themselves, but

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there are so few of them. Why, why, why?”

“We as a race are equal. We’ve all been the same from the very beginning. We’ve evolved from single celled organisms to multi-cellular organisms. We have hunted when were just apes in the forest. We’ve learned from mistakes and have grown smarter over time. We’ve discovered fire, an important tool for survival. We’ve continued to discover more helpful tools and even invented items ourselves. The phone, the computer, the television, the microwave, plastics, and medication are just some of these inventions. We could continue and progress if we just worked together, yet even though we all are equal on so many levels, there are those who control us. We need leaders to help guide society, but we need ones who allow the society to think and decide for themselves, while their leader is a person they can look up to when something goes wrong.”

“You are the example of a corrupt leader! You need to help your citizens out! You must let them make their way through life with your help as a guide. For if you don’t, their hopes and dreams will be washed away. Humanity can’t do it on their own so you need to do it. Do it for your citizens. Do it for your country. Do it for humanity. Decide, is your life more important, or the lives of others. I stand my ground firmly and beg you. Make your choice!” The clock struck midnight.

A single toll of a bell echoed loudly throughout the silent night. Profugus and Sycophanta heard it and stared at each other. A second toll rang out. Sycophanta stood firm and put the gun to Profugus’s forehead, while Profugus stared back. A third toll. Profugus looked to the ground in despair. A fourth toll. Profugus looked up and said, “Dios, por favor, ayúdanos.” A fifth toll. Profugus continued speaking, “Shàngdì a, qǐng bāngzhù wǒmen.” A sixth toll.“Bozhe, pozhaluysta , pomogi nam.” A seventh toll. A blinding light lit up above Profugus. “Gott, bitte, helfen Sie uns.” An eighth toll. Three figures

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appeared from above and descended. “Dieu, s'il vous plaît, aidez-nous.” A ninth toll. The three figures landed next to Profugus. “Dio, ti prego, aiutaci.” A tenth toll. Perierat, Amice, and Mothet extended their hands out towards Profugus. “Deus meus, exaudi orationem meam.” An eleventh toll. Profugus took their hands with a firm grasp. “God, please, help us.” A final toll rang out through the silent night.

    A single gunshot destroyed the silence. A body could be seen from a distance swaying for a second, before ultimately collapsing to the ground. Sycophanta looked away in disgust. He turned to Adjutor and said, “Dispose of these bodies.” Sycophanta turned around and walked into the darkness. In the early hours of the morning, a splash could be heard in the river. A sack floated down the river tossing and turning every few seconds. The contents would eventually decompose, causing the crime to vanish away. In the nearby city was a cage. In the cage was a birch tree. A robin was perched on it, but silent. It tried to cry for help, to warn others, but the bird was ignored. The robin gave one last cry and fell. It landed on the ground, reaching the end. The cries were heard by few people, people accepting of their perfect society, who were unwilling to change and rebel. The cries were stored in the back of peoples minds and were forgotten in the pages of history over the course of time.


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