The sweat dripping down my face, my clothes clinging to my exhausted body. How much longer? How much further do I have to go? The pace of my heart getting faster by the second. It isn’t long now. They’ll find me, I just know it, any second, I’ll be gone, just like that, just like every other person who was ever in my position. Just like everyone else who spoke and still speak out about the government and their decisions. Apparently we don’t have a right of speech. All I did was suggest a simple solution to a complex subject and next thing I know I’m thrown into the brig! Forced to watch day in and day out as people come and go with no personalities, no opinions. Just walking, stuck in fifty shades of grey, with no way to colour themselves in. I wanted to end all this. To help everyone regain their colour. To get out their crayons and use the whole box, to each create their own personality just like everyone should have to start with. But I’ve failed, and now no one will ever try again because the last person who tried that was executed! I’ve come so far, I can’t just stop running now, if they catch me… footsteps! Approaching from behind. I duck into a cafe and sit myself down with a menu held in front of my face.
Where is that little brat?! She’s ruining everything. My whole schedule is mucked up now. Her execution was supposed to be swift and quick just like a blow to the head. But now it’s dragged on. I have to find her. If I don’t it’ll be my head instead of hers. I can’t let that happen. I have a family! I have three gorgeous children. I can’t just die! Leave them without a dad, that’d be the worst thing I could ever do to anyone I love. Die in their time of need. That would be the worst curse I could ever do to another person. I just have to concentrate on finding her and stopping her ridiculous ideas. Our emperor can't have people like her because they take power away from them, and then they don’t rule anymore. If the people of this community actually opened their eyes, they would realize how wrong the government is and how they have been living their lives the same for over fifty years, with no change. Where did the girl go? I can’t lose her, I just can’t! A cafe! Maybe she ran in there. I walk in trying to look inconspicuous, if she doesn’t know who’s chasing her, she won’t run.
I risk a peek over the edge of my menu. The cafe is full and buzzing with noise and people. How am I meant to know if it’s the people or person after me? A middle-aged man walks in, his eyes scanning the room. They meet mine. A glare covers his eyes for a split second before he drops them to the floor trying to not look suspicious. I pull my head down lower and put my hood over my head. Very slowly and carefully keeping my eye on him at all times, I stand and cautiously walk toward the door. I push it open. A bell signals my leaving. The man turns around, eyes glinting with anger. He spots me beneath my hood. I start to walk out the cafe faster, I look back over my shoulder, he’s following me. I walk faster and faster, each time he gets faster too. I break into a run. He runs after me yelling his revenge and capture of me. My legs pump through the town as they carry my tired body. They can’t make it much longer. Soon I will have to stop, I’ve been running all day, I can’t keep this up.
I have to catch her. I’ve been running all day, but I can’t stop. Not yet. If I lose her, I lose me. If only things were different. If only people could see things from a different perspective. If they thought of people other than themselves for once. If they thought about the people they promise to protect, instead of just their power and the money they’ll make from everyone’s taxes. I just have to keep up and keep my job. There she is. I spot a girl up ahead running for all her might. I’ve got her now. She is within my grasp. I sprint, making my legs go faster than they’ve ever gone before. Grabbing the girl from behind by her shoulders I drag her off the main street into an alleyway. She struggles and squirms, but I don’t let go. I have to be merciless, relentless. It’s my job. I signed a contract saying I would never deliberately let someone go, not once they’re within your reach.
Big hands clamp around my shoulders and neck, almost choking me, I turn around to face my captor. As I suspected it’s the man from the cafe. He looms over me. I feel like David fighting Goliath with nothing but a stone to defend myself with. He holds me tight. I wriggle and squirm, kicking and yelling. I can’t get caught! I just can’t too many things depend on me. If I die no one will ever try again, they’ll all be stuck in their colourless and dull lives, with no motivation or anything! I can’t let that happen. I bring the heel of my boot down hard onto my captor’s pinkie toe. He doesn’t flinch. What?! I thought everyone would scream and let go. It’s a reflex. Isn’t it? This can’t be happening to me. I feel his grip weaken. He lets me go for a split second, before grabbing me again and binding my wrists and legs in rope. It’s so tight that my hands start to go blue from blood not getting to my hands. I carries me like a sack of potatoes slung over his shoulder. He carries me through town, through the main street. Past everyone. The height of embarrassment, and humiliation. Everyone I know, people who used to admire and look up to me, now see me bound with no way out. Their dreams and hopes dashed away, just like their leader. Thrown to the ground like yesterday’s meat. With no value or promise. Just gone, forever. They won’t dream again. They won’t even think outside of the box. They’re too scared to stand up to the government themselves. Without me they have no chance.
I carry her along the main street with people eyeing her from inside their homes. Some people come out and point and stare, calling her rude names and making faces at her. She is still now, no longer squirming or wriggling. She has given up hope of escaping. Just like she should’ve done a long time ago. A trickle of guilt enters my gut. Should I really be doing this? Leading a young girl to her death bed? Taking away all her hopes and dreams? She has so much life to give. I can tell from how hard she fought, even before I captured her. Should I let her go? Or would that mean my head? The government’s motto is: “a soul for a soul,” If you don’t get someone or capture them, then they kill you. A soul free for your soul. Or the other way around. Your soul is safe while another’s is killed.
It’s over, I can’t do anything else. I can’t stop my own death sentence. We reach the government house. An official is waiting for us. For me. He glares at my captor eyeing him up like a cat wanting to catch a mouse. He knows this guy well, I’m guessing. Taking me inside he throws me into a cell. I sit up and start to untie my wrists and legs, grateful to have blood flowing into them again. When I’m finished a guard comes and unlocks my cell door.
“Come with me,”
I nod and follow him along the dimly lit corridor. Cells line both sides, some prisoners claw at the bars almost reaching me, others simply eye me with sorrowful eyes, knowing what is about to happen. We walk out into the sunlight. It blinds my face. A crowd has gathered. To see me die. This world is sick sometimes. The guard leads me over to the platform. I kneel down and put my hands in front of my stomach, each hand squeezing the other so tight, as I await the grim reaper to claim me. The executioner steps up to the platform. He readies his axe. I wait for the cold metal to slice through my neck, ending my life. I hear the whoosh of the axe starting to come down. I screw my eyes shut as everything goes black…
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I also really liked how the title, 'blank canvas' also referred to the young generation of society, her generation, that must paint that canvas with colour. It is their future that will paint the canvas! Amazing story! I'd love to see what happens next! char xx
WOW LILY! This story is really cool! I love how it has a dystopian feel to it, and how it has injustice that has to be fought. I love how it is a world with a 'blank canvas' and no colour and it is up to this inspiring young girl to fight the authorities. I also liked the reference to David and Goliath in the bible, that makes this society feel their education and the bible is the faith and hope that they need. It also gives a determined, strong sense to the girl as she must defy all of the struggle and hardship in society. Great job Lily! ...