With a population in the millions, Eira was one of the largest cities in the country. Somehow, every resident knew she rejected the world’s code. They could smell it on her.
The rules of this world were for the pleasure of the citizens. Moral was a curse used against those you wanted disgraced or dead. Those with a sense of dignity were gone. Temptation held their hands in its fervent grip and led them into iniquity. It offered her its hand. Mom and Dad stood in front of her— tall and immovable— and smacked that hand away again and again. Sometimes, it was hard not to hate them.
They had told her stories of the days when laws protected people. When forcing yourself on someone meant imprisonment. Death awaited those who committed murder. Schools used to fill children’s heads with enlightening knowledge. It didn’t teach them the best places to find drugs and alcohol or the most effective ways of getting revenge. Now, people learned to read and write because it made them a master cheater. Daylight had been a time to hide all dark deeds. Mom and Dad were gone and buried with them were Jade’s dreams of seeing that world return.
The street’s chaos put steel in her spine. Cars packed the road. No one moved. People danced on tops of the vehicles while others dove in and out of cars. The sidewalk was just as congested. Jade couldn’t walk two feet without rubbing shoulders against someone. Hands reached through the pack. They pulled her clothes. Put their hands in places they didn’t deserve to touch. Not everyone wore clothes. Sometimes, Jade bumped into a slimy naked person reeking of beer, sex and filth.
Jade kept her head up, weaving through people without breaking her stride. Even if the world didn’t pay attention to her, she was proud of who Mom and Dad raised her to be.
Her bag shook her backside. She slowed her pace. It uprooted unpleasant memories. Each vibration seeped through her bag, spreading from her bottom, up her spine and across her chest. Jade’s legs shook as though a foreign substance ate her bones. Were they going to fail? She couldn’t show weakness here.
The vibration wrapped around the steel she encased her spine in and turned it to cardboard. Jade leaned on a store wall. The vibrating stopped.
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