Mercury, Passage Five
A gentle melody rang through the dingy farmhouse as Mercury prepared a warm bath for her mother. Even in the darkest hours, her mother could bring light into this world. Her voice was angelic. Mercury smiled as she listened and rubbed the silver, spherically-shaped charm that hung from her neck. It was a gift from her parents, and she never remembered a time when she didn’t have it. Her mother’s optimism kept them both going. Mercury had a more pessimistic view on their circumstances, which were rather bleak.
The farm hadn’t produced any valuable crops in two years. Her father lost his life in the war, and the Coalition now controlled their nation as well. Despite their advanced technology, the new rulers did not offer much in governance or protection. A ration was placed on all medicines because resources went to the armed forces first. The Coalition planned to take over more countries, and no other entity on the planet was capable of defeating them. However, that wouldn’t stop other sovereign nations from trying to protect their land and their people. The focus on continued war left all citizens, original and procured, with less than enough to survive. Mercury resorted to stealing medicine for her mother.
The disease was a manageable one with the proper medications, but her mother’s muscular system took a deep dive once she no longer had a steady flow of pills. Her muscles began to cramp and stiffen, which made simple household tasks impossible, and she stopped walking a few weeks earlier.
In the old world, this disease took no prisoners. The discovery of new elements led to the eradication of many diseases, but a balanced society must be in place for these diseases to be maintained. In the poorest parts of the Coalition’s new territories, many ancient diseases emerged again from the time of the old elements. Whether or not this was part of their plan, it created almost unmanageable chaos throughout the nations, which led to brute force as the main form of governance.
The Coalition’s first line of defense were soldiers that patrolled the streets in copper-colored armor that was made of a new element called rouxbodi. Although it had been discovered hundreds of years ago, the Coalition mastered new technology to mold the element, which was clay-like in its natural form, into a stiff, protective material. Unsurprisingly, these armored patrollers were called the Rouxbodi. They were one of the main reasons why the Coalition had yet to lose a war.
A knock on the front door of the farmhouse disturbed Mercury from her brief moment of bliss, listening to her mother humming. She waited, hoping there wouldn’t be another knock. A second later, another knock, louder than before, reverberated through their house. Mercury took a deep breath in and prepared herself for who might be on the other side of the door. She creeped outside of the bathroom, and peeked through one of the front windows in the living room. A Rouxbodi soldier stood at her doorstep. She took another deep breath and exhaled. They’re only doing their rounds, she said to herself, attempting to calm her nerves.
She opened the front door, and a giant, flying creature from the jungle roared into Mercury’s face.
Her eyes jerked open, and she was still straddled on a blue branch with her back against the trunk of a large jungle tree. Near the horizon, a flock of the jungle creatures flew across the sky screeching while they passed over a huge ball of light, which was now the sun. She must had spent the night in the tree. Luckily, she woke up before her pleasant dream turned into a replay of a real nightmare.
She moved her hand to grasp the silver charm hanging from her necklace, but it wasn’t there. She darted her head left and right to see if she had dropped it in the night. On the other side of the mountain plateau, she saw a glint of reflected sunlight from an object that was clutched in the mouth of a floppy-eared rodent.
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