Chapter 12:


The Pill That Killed Romance

Ekko was all smiles after her speech to the class. With how bold she was, she had every right to express pride and joy. As human beings, we all had that right. Her fight wasn’t for something selfish, it was for all of us.

But that joy would be cut short, because a frantic student came knocking on the class door with bad news.

“Ekko!” He ran in, then took a moment to catch his breath. “Government men are on their way here! We can’t stay.

I was shaking so bad, I felt like the very Earth was quaking under my feet. A swarm of government agents would snuff out any chance of our revolution from catching flame. 

“Don’t worry,” Ekko assured, clearly concerned by the news herself, but keeping up a strong front. “We were told that once they showed up, there’d be a vehicle to take us away.”

She let me check the message log on her phone. It said that this vehicle would be inside the gymnasium. That wasn’t a long trip, but there was plenty of room to run into trouble. We’d need to leave ASAP.

To gather up all the like minded students, I made an announcement. “Listen up, everyone! We’re getting out of here now! Whoever wants to feel good, follow us!”

That got a few of the student’s riled up, but others looked pretty timid. Those that didn’t feel like leaving did what all the rest would. They sat down, kept their eyes forward and pretended like nothing was happening. They were lifelike mannequins, posed to appear as students in a classroom.

As for those that wanted a change in the world, they followed our instructions and lined up at the door. Funny enough, our teacher came too.

“We’ll need to move quickly, so no falling behind,” Ekko said, then she started whispering to me. “Whatever happens, I’m responsible. If we get caught, just tell them I forced you into this.”

She had to have lost her mind if she thought I’d let her take all the blame. We were in this together.


Everyone followed our lead, heading for the gym. The path was mostly clear, bar a few teachers who helplessly watched us blaze past their classes.

Just when we thought we might get away with this, a few men in black finally revealed themselves at the end of a long hallway. We all stopped, sensing their silent intention to catch us.

“Rehab officers!” A boy shouted.

Many of the students behind us scattered like roaches. Some took on aggressive poses and prepared to scrap it out.

Nonetheless, it was a battle we couldn’t win.

The rehab men started sprinting down the hall, heading our way. But a door opened off to the side, and a child walked out into the hallway.

Who was that kid…? Wait, it was my sister!

She was carrying a full bucket across the hall, seemingly oblivious to the man charging forward at us.

“Opps…” she spilled the mysterious liquid, scattering it across the floor.

Conveniently, it happened to splash right across the path of the rehab officers.

Their shoes weren't able to keep traction as they slipped all over the place, finally falling on the floor, unable to get back up.

My sister took the moment in stride and skated gracefully across that oily liquid to us.

“You saved us,” I said.

“Saved you?” her head tilted. “I just accidently spilled cooking oil all over the floor.”

I could tell by her smile that she knew exactly what she’d done, the little devil.

“You wanna’ come with us?” Ekko asked her.

“Oh dear…” my sister put a hand over her forehead, faking anguish. “It seems these rowdy people are going to kidnap me. Whatever shall I do?”

She was small enough for me to piggy back, so I let her climb on.

Luckily, those were the only rehab men we saw before getting to the gym, but others were no doubt hot on our trail. 

We barred the gym door before checking out the promised government truck. It was big, ready for us to load in.

“Did someone steal that thing?” I asked.

My sister replied, “This was how those rehab officers got in here in the first palace. They’re gone now, so you can use it to escape.”

A teacher from a different class was already inside, hotwiring the truck.


The engine roared. Then the teacher stuck his head out the window.

“Hey! Pile in the back!”

Getting into a government vehicle really didn’t sit well with me, it felt like a trap. But it was our only way out of here at this point. It might not even attract much attention on the street.

The only way this thing was getting out of the gym was through the big garage door, but that was shut. No matter how many buttons we pressed, it wasn't parting open.

“The school’s in lockdown,” the teacher in the driver’s seat claimed. “the doors won’t stay open unless someone holds it.”

It was going to take two people to keep those doors apart. Nobody was stepping up though, since it meant they wouldn’t have time to get on the truck.

Ekko’s hand raised. “I’ll do it!”

She was brave, but this was suicide. Even more so then her little speech earlier.

“That means I’ll do it too.” My hand raised as well.

She wasn’t going to be alone, not while I’m here.

Almost everyone was already loaded onto the truck, so there wasn't any time to debate who was staying or going. Our volunteering would save everyone, minus us, that is.

“Wait! You can’t stay!” My sister argued, but she was loaded onto the truck and locked in tight. The truck door slammed shut.

Ekko and I bravely ran to the big metal doors and pulled them apart. We managed to get them open long enough for the truck to peel out right into the courtyard and escape. The doors slammed back together the moment we let go, so we couldn't slip past.

The gym doors on the other end of the room were about to be forced open by the agents in the school. It was only a matter of time before we were caught. But at least everyone was free.

Ekko and I both ran as fast as we could to the front of the gym. We sat down on the stage and held each other tightly.

“This is it, huh?” she said, nuzzling her head into my chest.

“I…” but I didn’t want to answer.

“It’s all my fault…all of it! I’m so sorry…”

“Ekko…” I pressed her further into my chest.

“I don’t wanna die…I’m sorry!”

She kept repeating that over and over. I wanted to join in on her fear, but I had to stay strong and keep her comforted as much as I could.

Were we really going to die? We’d done worse than simply just stop taking our pills, we’d started something of a rebellion. The punishment surely would be severe.

Whatever happened, I just wanted to be with Ekko. If it was our fate to die today, then we'd be together in the afterlife.

Mario Nakano 64
Taylor J
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