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“Oh, ow, ugh. That sucked,” he complained as he squeezed his eyes shut and back open again. Light brown eyes, glinting off the sun, stared back at him. The paint clouds were still settling, but he could see that he had made it to the ground alive and well. He is pretty sure he just used up all of his unseen lives, and all thanks to this very beautiful stranger.
“Uhm…” Where did he go from here? Did he get up? Oh, yeah he should get up, this guy looked kind of nice. Pretty. Tiaan moved to get off, sitting on his knees as he reoriented up from down. Realized how dirty he was, and how dirty he probably just made that man just from being in contact with him. “I’m so sorry, didn’t mean to land on you. Also didn’t mean to fall. Also uh-” he stopped talking at that point, hand running down his face. This wasn’t the time to be awkward, he just avoided death by landing on a cute stranger. So instead he looked around for any surviving spray paint. It wasn’t easy to find, and even harder to buy. Only two survivors. He stuffed them in his bag.
The rope that was attached to his body was shorter, but he knew he could probably salvage what was left of it. It wasn’t a complete loss. And his anti-gov propoganda was there for travellers to see. Thinking of it, the mysterious stranger might actually be from the city. The one his people weren’t allowed into. He looked like it, at least. The enforcers probably looked at these differences when they were oppressing people. His stance became a bit defensive. This man, if he was actually from the city, could turn him in. Or yell for help. Or- no, he would have done that when they first got their bearings.
Tiaan was just being paranoid, but his ma was right. He should have gotten home earlier to avoid the enforcers in the first place. But if he had he wouldn’t have gotten to see what the city puts out firsthand. Aside from the usual corporation gags, of course. “Sorry again, if I got you dirty. I’d pay for it but,” he pulled out the pockets of his pants, showing nothing, “I don’t have anything.”
[H3 [#ffffff .]]
[center “You must go with them my love.”]
[center “But, what about you? They killed father and-”]
[center “That is because he fought them. If we obey what they say, we will survive.”]
[center “So then are you coming too?”]
[center “I cannot my love. I must stay here with your grandmother.”]
[center “Will I ever see you again?”]
[center “If fate is kind dear one.”]
[center “I love you mom…”]
[center “I love you too.”]
His eyes were damp when he awoke and fresh tears were building. It had been a long time since Sher had last had that dream and it was still as painful as ever. Twenty-two years had passed since he had been taken from his home and brought here and yet the memory of his five year old self being stolen from his family was as fresh as ever. He had, as his mother said, survived by listening to the men that had killed his father. In fact, he had thrived. Despite not knowing the language when he was brought to the city, Sher had picked up on it quickly. Once he could communicate he learned what he was really brought there for.
After the nukes, humanity had dwindled considerably and the city he’d been brought to needed people and his performance as he grew up would decide what he would do. If he was very smart he’d join research and if he was strong he’d join building or farming. If he was useless he would be unnecessary for development and would join menial labor or even be thrown out. Wanting to do well and be someone his mother would have been proud of, Sher threw himself into his studies and did his best to attempt to become a scientist. He did well, but not well enough for the field he wanted. Instead he was slated for another line of work entirely. He had excellent grades in not only the academic classes, but in the physical education classes as well; with the fact that he had hit a very impressive growth spurt that left him towering over most people AND he was attractive it added up to one ‘special’ occupation: Breeder. It was the hope that his capacity for intelligence and his desirable physical traits would pass on to future generations. It also didn’t hurt that he had been brought in from outside the city. That was what they said at least.
Sher had a theory that they would have chosen him to father a new generation one way or another- hell it was probably the reason he’d been been stolen from his home. Even as a teen it had seemed that they were grooming him for something- Hell they had even allowed him to grow out his hair and dress as he liked. Honestly he should have known that they were intending him to be some sort of pleasurable figure. At least it wasn’t just sleeping with random men. The first time he’d been chosen for company still sat with him in a bad way, but eventually he grew accustomed to it and was able to separate himself from the act and roll with it. That was the less glamorous part of his job. The part he liked the best was the children; specifically his. From age eighteen on he’d fathered nine children- plus one on the way. An impressive number and so far they seemed to be excelling as he did when he was younger. He loved them all dearly.
When he wasn’t helping take care of the children or entertaining some ‘company,’ he liked to go outside the walls and walk. Close to the city there wasn’t much in the way of radiation, but the air was still questionable to breathe. Thankfully his position allowed for him to have a good respirator and light, lead lined jacket to keep both the radiation and the chilled breeze at bay. It was a bit cumbersome, but a small price to pay to get a little proper sunshine. That particular day he was on his own on his excursion outside the city. Risky? Perhaps. His latest partner had warned him about going out as patrols had increased, so surely it was more dangerous. While that was likely true, he assured her that he wouldn’t run into trouble.
[center And he didn’t run into trouble.]
Rather it fell out of the sky towards him. He was walking along, minding his own business, when he noticed that there was a shadow obscuring the pleasant sunshine. Baffled, he looked up and saw something- someone- falling towards him. Not sure what else to do he held out his arms and prepared to attempt and catch whoever it was. When he did oh boy did it hurt. He wasn’t out of shape by any means and it still staggered him. What’s more is he now had to dodge falling cans while struggling to hold the person and regain his balance. While he did evade the cans which were exploding with a foul smelling paint, spray paint he realized vaguely, he didn’t manage to keep his balance and ended falling backwards with the man he’d caught sprawled on top of him.
“Ugh…” This wasn’t how he’d envisioned his afternoon going. “...Are you okay..? Where the HELL did you come from?” Sher stared at him in bewilderment, eyes wide, mask askew. The picture of confusion. It didn’t look like this person came from the city. No. The clothing wasn’t like anything he saw within the walls. Then again that was judgemental. No need to jump to conclusions, but… If he was from the city why was he falling from the sky?
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/RStS14D.png]]
[center When he went out this morning, he had planned on staring death in the face like every morning. But, much to Tiaan's dismay, his morning was starting bad. No clean clothes that didn't stink of mud and shit, and no sight of his radiation gear. "There isn't a steady supply of washers in the post apocalypse, and no that doesn't count me."]
[center His ma told him that joke. He was raised after the nukes, and she was raised before. He was lucky to be able to even live his current lifestyle, skirting around radiation ridden zones and enforcers to spray anti-gov society propaganda in the rich neighborhoods. His ma, not so much. She had been disabled and scarred from radiation exposure before Tiaan had been born, fated to stay sequestered inside the UNDERGROUND with the rest of the poor sods complying with the government-society law. The radiated and sick must live underground. But she at least made sure he understood why. "Just because we are unfortunate doesn't mean the fortunate should suffer."]
[center He didn't understand, and he didn't agree.]
[center Tiaan trudged through the mess of his room, barely looking and expecting results, before he finally found a shirt that didn't smell like it had been through it and a half mask to cover his mouth and nose. It wasn't his usual gear but it worked for short trips to the surface. Half a day at most, less if you wanted to be careful. He wanted to be careful. Ma didn't need to be alone for the rest of her life. Not that she was alone, but he didn't want her living with the fact that her son went and got himself killed. There were no doors in this house, in any house, and word travelled fast down there.]
[center "Tiaan, where are you going, sweet?"]
[center "I'm going out again, ma. I have a delivery to pick up and stuff to deliver."]
[center "You be careful, Tiaan. Madame Jonie says theres more enforcers now. I don't want you to get in trouble."]
[center "Yeah, ma, I'll be careful."]
[center He picked up his bag that was next to the door and slipped outside, the tunnel stretching endlessly in either direction. He went left, straight for a mile and then up a ladder with a partially covered manhole above it. He slipped out the crack and put his mask on.]
[center Tiaan doesn't know what the world looked like before the nukes, but he's certain it was grand.]
[center [b - - -]]
[center Walking places wasn't hard when there were less enforcers but Madame Jonie was right, they had upped street security. If he had his full radiation gear he could just wait it out. But he didn't, so he had to improvise. There was no getting into the city today, but nothing was off limits to his art.]
[center He ran towards the highway, riddled with cracks and holes, and placed his bag down on the edge of the railing and pulled out his rope. He made sure it was secure on a broken light pole before making sure it was secured on every part of his body. Legs, waist, arms...and then he secured the bag to his chest and repelled to the wall of the highway. He let his feet rest comfortably on the metal railing of the highway as he pulled out a black spray can and started painting.]
[center [b - - -]]
[center Tiaan didn't know how long he had painted for, but a nearly finished anti-gov society told him it had been a while. A few more touches and he could grab ma some food and go home. Well, at least that was the plan. He remembered wanting to stare death in the face this morning, and he DID for several hours, but he didn't expect it to come back. A little tug on his rope made him look up. Staring back were two enforcers, with a hard grip on his rope. They were masked, he couldn't tell who they were, and sporting heavy duty weaponry anyone UNDERGROUND would die to have.]
[center The wind whipping his hair around seemed to still as he watched the one not holding the rope pull out a knife. He already knew what was about to happen and tried to pull to steady himself on the railing he had been standing on, but the enforcer tugged again and dragged him back off balance. He could only watch as they sliced through the rope.]
[center It was weird, people always told him that you see your life flash before your eyes when you're about to die, but all he could see was the two enforcers pulling away from the edge and his spray cans falling from his open bag. It would be a pretty picture, Tiaan thinks. The various colors surrounding his body, splattered against the broken road. And now that he's looking at it from this point of view, his anti-gov society propaganda looks fantastic.]
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