The city’s silence during the day still stunned Cano; even though he’d witnessed it his entire life. Most hybrids slept during the day in order to mimic their family’s routine but Cano loved the sun. He couldn’t imagine his life without it.
The rooftop where he sat gave him a view of the decimated city. He tried to imagine it free of the ruins and overgrown wildlife. As the sun went down, he imagined people like his mother getting off work and racing home to their loved ones. He shook his head, dispelling the image from his mind.
“No need to dwell on the past,” he whispered. “Especially a past I never even knew.”
“You talking to yourself again?” a voice rang out behind him.
Cano smiled and turned to see Baska emerge onto the rooftop. The sun had dipped below the horizon just a few seconds before.
“You have impeccable timing, you know that?” Cano asked. His friend joined him near the roof’s edge as they watched the city come to life around them. Everyone was waking up to start a new day.
Baska remained quiet. Something was up.
“What’s wrong?” Cano asked.
Baska turned his gaze to Cano. They’d been friends their whole lives. Baska kept him safe. Hybrids like Cano were treated as a sub-class within the city walls. Some had started fighting back and tensions were now at a level where Cano wasn’t sure what would happen next. You’d think being the son of the second in command to the King would be enough to keep Cano safe. You’d be wrong.
“There’s been another killing,” Baska said, turning his gaze to the ground. “It appears a hybrid broke into a lieutenant’s quarters. Killed him and his family during the day.”
Lights twinkled on throughout the city as the weight of Baska’s words hit Cano like a ton of bricks. It was the fourth killing this month. The King had remained silent on the issue so far but a lieutenant being murdered would change everything.
“Have you seen my father?” Cano asked.
Baska shook his head. “I came here as soon as I heard. My sister woke me up and told me.”
Cano knew his father would have spoken to the King immediately.
“We have to go,” Baska said, turning and running toward the door. “Everyone knows who you are and they’ll be out for revenge tonight.” Cano followed quickly. He was only two blocks from home.
When they stormed through the door, Cano knew the news wouldn’t be good. His father held his mother as she wept into his chest. He motioned for Cano to come over. His mother tore away and embraced Cano.
“What happened?” he asked. “What did the King say?”
His father stood, placing a hand on his son’s shoulder. For a second, Cano saw his eyes glisten with tears but they disappeared just as quickly.
“The King issued an order immediately after the killing. All hybrids have been banished. You must be beyond the city walls by dawn.”
His mother wailed as Cano slumped into the chair. He heard Baska punch the wall behind him.
Banished, Cano thought.
A knock on the door surprised them all. His father pushed Cano behind him but he stayed close. As the visitors identified themselves as City Guard, Cano knew he wouldn’t be leaving the city without a fight. With a nod to his father and Baska, their fangs sprung out. Cano winced at the pain as always. His father moved toward the door and Cano prepared for the fight of his life.
In honor of NaNoWriMo coming up next month,
I thought I’d write up a character sketch for my next novel!