Whelmed By D.I. Jolly

There is beauty in the in-between. The twilight of life. Not the end but the stage between night and day. The confusion as one thing starts and another ends. A time of change, and a time of wonder. Boy-4772-AB Positive had no frame of reference for likes and dislikes, but he often found himself standing outside during those times, looking towards the sky. Not thinking, not speaking, simply looking, basking. In the morning it would be the warm rays of sunlight that would wake him from his stillness, and in the evening the cool breeze of night.

He had been born on a farm, but where some farms grew crops, and others kept cattle, this farm grew people. Some were bred for work, some for organs and blood, and some for violence, but all were bred for loyalty. That was The Farmer Masters true obsession, his drug. The root of the mania that allowed him to justify every other action he took, and Boy-4772-AB Positive was one of his favourites. As a small child, he’d been tested by having an older child present an escape plan. Boy-4772-AB Positive immediately turned that child in for insubordination. The Farmer Master was so pleased that he let him watch that boy’s execution. It was the last time Boy-4772-AB Positive ever experienced a fully formed emotion. He’d always gravitated towards that other boy. He had no reference for why, but in another life, he would have said that he liked him. Neither of them knew it, but they were genetic brothers. Both born from the same stock parents and bred to be guards. The other boy was good, but The Farmer Master felt him too eager when discussing escaping the farm.

Watching the execution had caused a strange reaction in Boy-4772-AB Positive that he was not familiar, nor comfortable with. His throat felt tight, he battled to breathe for a moment, and something made his vision blurry. The whole experience didn’t last long, and he came out of it feeling colder, feeling less, a more comfortable form of numb.

From any normal perspective Boy-4772-AB Positive led a violent and abusive life, but for him it was normal. He’d never known anything else and had been heavily indoctrinated into believing that it was everything. The small uprisings that happened, which weren’t often, made no sense to him. Where were they planning to go? The whole world existed within the farm.

In the same way he hadn’t known that he watched his brother being executed, he didn’t know that his first execution was his younger sister and father. One bullet through both of them in a shot that any marksmen would have been proud of, but he didn’t know what pride was and felt nothing.

But still, somehow, he found himself standing outside, in almost the exact same spot at the start and end of every day, facing the sun, watching the sky change from day or night into twilight.

It didn’t take long before he was given the job of The Farmer Masters bodyguard. A position that to him was more akin to priest work than security. To stand at the right hand of God, but it was also a duty like any other. There to be done without question or feeling. It was there where he first encountered the idea of loss, of missing. He stood by day in and day out doing his duty and as a result was most often indoors during sunrise and sunset, and he began to feel the absence of that time alone watching the sky. He hadn’t realised it at first, but when finally free one evening standing outside, for the first time since witnessing that execution, he felt his throat get tight, and his vision blur. The sky was an explosion of golds, pinks, corals, and lavender. It stood in his mind as the most precious and valuable thing he’d ever encountered and as it faded to grey and then black, and as he was called back to duty, he felt for the first time, desire. It wasn’t a rush, or a shattering realisation, but the faintest whisper. A single raised hair on the back of his neck that made everything different.

Time passed and with every opportunity he had to see the sky change, that voice, that shift, that change grew until eventually, he understood something. He could realise that being outside was something different to standing guard by The Farmer Master. He realised that something could be greater than The Farmer Master. As the words formed in his mind, his heartbeat turned into a hum, and for an instant darkness crept into his vision. What thought there was left him and when he regained himself he found he stood over the limp form of a man, no longer a God. Just another dead body like so many others, no more or less special. He then walked out to stand in his favourite spot and watch the sky change.

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