Chapter 2:

Present day

Downcaster


BUZZZZZZ! such an annoying sound, but unfortunately for Teph he had to wake up to it every single day. Everyone working as an engine operator(which is practically everyone in the undercity) a woke minutes later. Such an unfortunate life, being sent down here was practically a death sentence.

But death, death was a common thing here in the underground. Everyone would have killed themselves, if it wasn’t for Teph. He was the reason they were alive and they were the reason he was alive. If he lost them, he lost himself, and losing oneself was a very hard thing to get back. That’s what life taught him.

He made sure to always wake up before anyone else, he made sure to never complain, he made sure to never bend down to anyone ever again. He made sure to always find the sweet in the bitter. And tried his best to enjoy what little of freedom he had left. He was commander of the engine operation team; it took such a huge group of people to operate Morshina’s engine room that they started using army titles to distinguish ranks between them.

“On your feet lads” he carefully chose a tone not so loud, yet not so quiet, something in the middle, a tone that everyone woke up to, but weren’t annoyed by. Slowly everyone got up, they shuffled amongst themselves, and in about 10 minutes lined up in rows and waited for instructions.

Teph stood up looking at the sorry faces, that hadn’t had showers for weeks. A group of people that only had two pairs of clothing's; one for the sleep, the other for work. A group of people that only got to see the sun once a week. And, it was during the hottest time too. But, what were they to do, escape? That was practically a death sentence and no one truly knew what that meant, no one but Teph, the only man they considered their superior.

“Alright,” he said in a tone that contained such charisma, that even the Purebloods envied. “Morning duty is light, afternoon is when things become hard for us”. Hard , That was a term familiar to the engine crew, that they used it to describe everything in their life. It was hard to eat, hard to breathe, hard to sleep, and hard to exist. Life was hard for an engine operator and it took new recruits(ones who survived training) months before getting used to their lifestyle.

Everyone nodded and moved out of their formation to go about their morning routine.

Someday, Teph thought standing tall between his assistants, I will get you all out of this hell. I PROMISE. But, when was he going to fulfill such a task, when he became mayor of the city? That was as if saying penguins can fly, it was impossible. By law: every citizen was allowed a chance to apply to becoming mayor candidate, but getting your application accepted THAT was a different story, not even a Pureblood's application was easily accepted. Getting your application accepted meant that you were at war with other candidates. NO, Teph had another way of leaving this messed up life behind. He was going to plan an escape - ironic what he thought about escaping.

Unfortunately for him, he has been telling himself and other the same thing, for the past 7 years. 7 years of making promises never fulfilling one of them. But, was it his fault for not wanting to lose what little of freedom he had left, was it his fault for not wanting to risk the lives of his comrades, the lives of the people who trusted their lives to him. The ones whom were ready to risk everything behind for him. He needed to make his decision quickly, it was either dedicate your entire crew into an un-guaranteed chance of freedom or to stop giving false hope to the ones he cared about most. In a year or two, he would hopefully be able to make the right decision.

****

Afternoon, Teph and a group of 20 people were in charge of the cooling room. They would stay here until the end of the day. It was hot and not even 10 minutes went by and some were starting to take their shirts off. The metallic room hallway was steamy, they were above rusted metal "bridges" that connected the main engine itself to the cool room; carrying a cooling tube - the old one exploded; taking 3 lives with it. The new tube they carried was heavier than the old one, they must want it to handle more pressure than the old one. Teph knew such a fact because he was the one who helped secure the old one in place, back when he first joined as an operator. Such hard days those were, he didn't want to remember any of them. He didn't want to remember the man he was without her- The love of his life, the women who helped him shape what he was and what he is now. Without her he would have probably died out in the frontlines, another memory he didn't want to remember.

The tube was finally secure. Teph held the Pressure meter in one hand, while managing to balance a writing board on the other. He noted down the pressure. He was given an extra task this morning, measuring the pressure of every tube that powered the engine, every single day, before reporting back. Did he care? NO, more work meant more distraction from his personal problems that he just wished he would forget. He wished he would switch lives with Jok - one his assistants. And, just looked up to himself for help.

Now that the tube was secure and in place, his crew moved on to the next one. Making sure every tube was ready and in-check; it took about an hour. And they had 5 more tubes left.

They worked until 9 in the evening, most of his crew left for dinner - oat soup; a meal eaten every single day. Dinner  that others look forward to in their lives, was just another part of everyone's routine here in the under-city. He stayed behind making sure he got all of the pressure notations done and left to deliver their daily report. At round 11 he got to eat a bowl of soup, drink a cup of water in a rusty metallic cup; tasting a few metal shillings. Then he made his way towards their barrack; a room that had only beds for furniture. 50 people lived here, and it was steaming. The air was oozing with sweat from their hard working day, but who was he to complain.

At around midnight he hit the sack calling it a day, and shortly after everyone began leaving their lives as they dreamed what felt like seconds in a a couple of hours. Another day completed.

****

The heir to house Bentecko, couldn't sleep. He laid there contemplating life's questions. He felt as if he was the only one who cared. Another day completed fighting for rights and equality. Another day spent arguing with the heartless, soulless, monsters of Morshina, otherwise called his family. He spent his day preaching in today's event; an event he organized to hopefully change the minds of the brainwashed of the city that was once was known for its honor, for its freedom, for its rulers; ones that were respected in all of Mol.

He got up from bed and walked towards his windows. It felt as if he was the only one who cared. Why were people segregated based on their blood type or skin color. Who cares if you are Mixed Blooded or Pure Blooded. Who cares if you were black or white. Because it was the cycle of life, That was what mother told him. He cared for his people, sometime in the future he was going to become ruler of this country(if his family decided they couldn't brainwash him as well). Don't disturb the order of life, they said, Everyone is satisfied with the way things are, they said, Don't interfere with things that are bigger than you and us, they said.

Morshina was beautiful, or at least it looked that way from the outside. Don't judge a book by its cover, he always wanted to tell any foreigner who wished to move into this hell of a city. The city glowed with its flashy neon lights. Bars were as common as a convenience store these days. Ever since his father died; the only man The heir of house Bentecko, considered had honor. The man that during his ruling period declared Morshina, a country without homeless a country with no people begging on the street. The man whose reign lasted only 9 months because of illness or so his mother told him. He didn't trust her, he didn't trust anyone these days. He barely trusted himself. How could a fourteen year old trust himself with the future of a broken country.

Why me? he asked, looking at the skies. He didn't believe in Salchonism, who would in their right mind believe in a religion that said there were more than 100 gods, each god had a role for mankind. How is that even possible? his only explanation was one self-sufficient, self-sustaining, independent being that could rebuild the world from the ground up with a single command. He always had debates with his ardents, always argued with them as they tried their best to make him adopt the religion, but he always came out as the victor only answering them in Salchony statements that contradict itself. He believed in the one and only one true god, the god that gave him his role in this messed up society of his. He didn't want to give up religion because if he did, what would drive him in life? What would be the purpose of living. Religion, he believed was an essential source in a human's life, just as water and breathing are. Without them one could not survive.

All the pressure he felt weighed him down. Every single day ended with a fight with his family. He didn't want to lose them, but didn't want to live with their filthy hands. Hands that were guilty of murder, as they killed any of those who opposed their ideals, hands that he thought might get him sometime in the future. But, he had to try, for those who couldn't do a thing, he had to stand up for the ones silenced simply because they said the truth. HE HAD TO FIGHT, because it was the right thing, or so he believed. 

 A knock sounded from the door, he released a big sigh. Then turned to check on who it was. He opened the door.

"Mother, is that you?" he asked, "Why are you awake, late in this hour?" he followed.

"I could ask you the same thing" she replied, face backlit by the hallway. He couldn't make out her expression, Mother was quite good at hiding her emotions.

"But, since we are both awake, I wanted to discuss a few things with you, Entz" she said, locking the door behind.