I had a hard time sleeping on the concrete of the prison floor. Even when I was sleeping under the tree, the grass had made the ground softer for me to sleep on. And my usual insomnia did not help much at all, either. Howard had fallen asleep right away, being used to cell life. He was hugging Sid tightly as he snored. In the neighboring cell, Adhit and Gabi were also sleeping soundly.
It had been quite a week. On Saturday, I had gone on a quest to help a dragon, a phoenix, a few ghosts, a witch, and some elf-children rescue the goddess Scadoosh; Sunday morning, I had arrived at my parents’ place, only to be turned out into the streets; On Monday, I had gone back to school as my non-evil self; from Wednesday onward, Blessed and Cursed Ones started vanishing; and today, Friday, I had discovered that my principal was a part of the EIS and had fled my school to avoid being captured by the EIS, only to get captured by the organization anyway while on the bus, trying to get to Eiatras. Plus, I had met Adhit, Gabi and Howard along the way.
I’d only spent one day in the cell, and I was already sick of prison life. The EIS had forgotten dinner, and lunch was terrible. There was hardly anything to do—what could anyone do in a prison?—and I was tired of talking to people, plus no one I would have wanted to talk to was awake. Was there a way out of this crappy place?
I watched a guard march up and down the aisles of our floor. Guarding a place seemed like a really boring job, and I would have felt sorry for the guy if he hadn’t chosen to join the prejudiced EIS in the first place.
“What the hell are you still doing up?” asked Jennifer, startling me.
“I couldn’t sleep,” I said. “How’d you even know I was awake in the first place?”
“I can see, you know,” said Jennifer. “I’m not blind, and I’m not stupid. You’re obviously not sleeping. It’s hard to sleep sitting up, if not impossible.”
“Oh… so what are you doing up?”
“Same reason. I just couldn’t sleep. Boy, do I hate that principal!”
“And the same to you, little abomination.” Jennifer and I gasped. “YOU? What are you doing here?” exclaimed Jennifer.
“Oh, but you forget! You do remember that I work here, right? I work for the EIS. I was one of the main people who brought it back from its grave. Ring any bells?” asked Mr. Esakon.
“About that…how did you revive the EIS? And why?” I asked. “Why do you hate us so much?”
“Well, since you all are behind bars, I suppose I can reveal some of my past.” Mr. Esakon cleared his throat. “When I was a lad, I went to school, much like you do… or did, anyway. I’m shocked we actually bother teaching you abominations—”
“Abominations, shmabominations. Don’t you have, oh I don’t know, a vocabulary that’s not that of a sixth grader?” interrupted Jennifer.
This had really ticked Mr. Esakon off. He apparently didn’t like being interrupted when giving his hate-filled diatribes. “As I was saying,” he continued, “I went to school, like any normal kid, everyday. I never knew any of the Blessed and Cursed Ones there very well, as they all just did their own thing.
“Then, one day, as I was just minding my own business, I saw a Cursed One stealing from the prize chest! That was absolutely horrible, so I told my teacher all about what had happened. She said that I was very brave for telling her, which made my little fourth-grade heart leap with joy.
“But then, the Cursed One found out, and made my life hell. He called me names, shoved me against walls, and bullied me to no end. I was told by everyone else that that was just how Cursed Ones acted, so I should stay away from them. The Cursed One ended up moving away later.
“So, even then, I had no real problem with you abominations. I became friends with a Blessed One named Karl. He had a name close to the CMN of the god of health. We were very good friends, and we were inseparable.
“But something happened. Something changed at the start of the seventh grade year. Karl started ignoring me, going away from me, avoiding me. I had no idea what was going on, so I kept after him, hoping he’d notice me again and that we could be friends, like in elementary school. Finally, I confronted him, demanding to know why he was ignoring me. And do you know what he said? ‘I can’t be seen with a lowly Regular like you. I’m a Blessed One, therefore, I must stay with Blessed Ones as noble as me. You, a Regular, are weak and can succumb to evil.’ He always talked in that affected tone of voice, as if… as if he was better than me. And that day, I realized that even the Blessed Ones weren’t any good. They were just haughty and boastful. And they treated us Regulars as though we were a separate species. An inferior species of animal. We weren’t even human in their eyes.
“But they are wrong, oh so wrong. Indeed, we Regulars are the only true humans, with our flaws and our strengths. The Blessed are too morally strong, so it causes them to be braggarts, and the Cursed Ones are too morally weak, so they fall into evil easily. We Regulars have the right balance of perfectness and impurities. Therefore, we are the only true humans. Therefore, I agree with the lack of the vote for the Cursed—they’d vote for evil presidents, anyway—but I think this ban should be extended to the Blessed, as well.
“I learned about the EIS just after Karl became my ex-friend—what impeccable timing!—and I realized that I wasn’t the only one who thought like this. I officially became a member of the EIS when I was eighteen, and I attended every meeting, making suggestions and trying to be as involved as possible. Later, I ran for various positions, most recently co-president. So now I am co-president of the EIS for the Rirsocet County division, and I thought of the kidnapping of the fifty or so Special Ones around Rirsocet County. It sure did bring considerable media attention to us, and now, we’re kidnapping more and more of the Special Ones, so that, sooner or later, we can be rid of you all!”
Jennifer and I looked at him for a few moments, and then I asked, “That’s… great, Mr. Esakon, but why are you telling us all this? Just because you can justify your actions doesn’t mean that your actions of discrimination and hate are any more okay with us.”
“Hah. Do I care what you ‘Special Ones,’” he made the “quote” signs with his fingers as he said “Special Ones,” “think? I think not. Why should I care about what you abominations think? You all are obviously going to think my brilliant plan is bad because you think you’re so dang special. But none of your ‘specialness’ is going to save you from your destiny. You all will be ash in a matter of weeks!” And he cackled just like the evil people do in movies.
“Oh yeah?” yelled Jennifer. “Well, you’ll become a bloody carcass in a matter of minutes!” With that, Jennifer lunged at him with knives that I was surprised she still had. I’d have thought that the guards took the weapons away from her when they took her here…
“Will I really?” asked Mr. Esakon, without the slightest bit of worry on his face. “Do go on. I’d love to have video footage that I can use to convince the fickle public that you Cursed Ones are dangerous and need to be killed immediately.” He pulled out a tiny video camera from his pocket. “I’m waiting,” he said. Jennifer glared at him and put her knives away. “That’s a good little abomination,” Mr. Esakon said, patronizingly. He patted her on the head as she growled. “I love it when you get frustrated and yet cannot do anything about it. You all are powerless, you know. Not even your powers can help you.” Jennifer clenched her teeth and growled, “Get him!” The dead prisoners’ bodies rose in traditional zombie stances and walked toward Mr. Esakon. Oh, that was right: as one Cursed with Jenisifydincneiwa’s CMN, Jennifer could control zombies. That was probably the coolest power out of all the powers that we Special Ones had. Mr. Esakon took one look at the zombies, screamed like a little girl, and ran out of the room, yelling, “You wretched abominations!”
“That. Was. Epic,” I told Jennifer. Jennifer shrugged. “It was nothing. Go away, my servants!” she commanded the zombies, who then returned to their original positions and lay back down as if nothing had happened. “Now, will you shut up? I’ve had enough distractions for one night. I need to get back to killing these butterflies while they’re sleeping. Ugh, I wish I still had my chainsaw…”
“They took your chainsaw away?”
“Duh. If they had let me have my chainsaw, I would have hacked their heads off or cut the bars of this stupid prison. What would I still be doing here, smart one?” Her words were dripping with sarcasm.
“But then… how did you have your knives and stuff?”
“I made them from the metal plates that they give the food in.”
“You know how to make weapons?”
Jennifer sighed and rolled her eyes. “No, duh. No salesclerk in their right mind would sell knives and stuff to me, a Cursed One. That’s just asking for trouble, according to them, ‘cuz they are prejudiced bastards. So, my parents taught me how to make weapons out of metal. I’ve been doing it since I was five.”
“Since you were five?” I knew Jennifer had been raised in an evil household, but I hadn’t expected her to have been handling weapons at that tender of an age.
“Yup. Why are you so surprised? I was always a bit more violent than normal.” That was an understatement. Jennifer had been hacking off heads with chainsaws before most of us had been rattling off our multiplication tables. “So, are you done blabbing? As I said, I have butterflies to kill. I wish there were more things to kill other than butterflies.” She looked at Megan. “I would kill her, but she’s my main form of entertainment. This prison would be friggin’ boring otherwise. It’s certainly entertaining to freak her out with my slaughtering of butterflies and my swinging the knives around in the air.” She proceeded to slice butterflies, slamming the knife into their bodies. “I swear, they must plant these things in here or something.”