5 characters set out on a mission to destroy what has destroyed their home.
Chapter 3: Tara
Tara gripped her pants, her knuckles white, sweat pouring down her head. This was the worst part of the event, the part where everything could go wrong, come crashing down around her.
At least she could only lose one person.
The other robot, the one not in the autumnal dress, came up to the podium, navy skirt swishing on the ground. The robot held an iron goblet, a goblet that held Tara's future--and everyone else's--inside.
Tara gripped her pants harder.
"We will proceed to the name drawing, in which one of you will be chosen to claim glory for your people."
Tara bit back the thousands of comments that would surely get her killed and focused on the intricate details of the goblet.
The robot reached inside--Tara held her breath--the robot swirled it around--Tara gripped her pants harder--the robot took out a thin piece of paper.
The robot opened its smooth, humanoid lips, lips the color of roses, and spoke the name that would decide her future.
Tara held her breath.
The robot said, "Tik."
Tara breathed out, breathed in, trying to become calm. Relief covered her body, her bones, everything, and she nearly collapsed.
"I'm sorry, I read the name wrong. I meant Tara."
This time she did collapse.
Someone caught her from behind, and Tara twisted her neck to see who it was. Bright azure eyes stared back at her, and shaggy grey hair fell from shoulders. A name for the girl rested on Tara's tongue, but she couldn't find it.
The girl lifted her up, steadying her. Tara nodded a brief thank you, too shocked, too numb, to do anything else. The girl leaned over, and whispered in her ear, before stepping away, " Remember, I did this for you. So you wouldn't have any more pain. Better to forget someone . . . when this might be your last day. You're going to be okay, though"
The words felt familiar, like a warm blanket and hot, sweet drink on a cold day. Tara turned around to face the girl again, but she was gone.
The robot who had called her name glanced at Tara, and she snapped back to reality. Slowly, limbs shaking, she walked towards the stage. She could feel everyone's stares on her back.
Tara climbed the stairs, numbly accepting the robot's hand to help her up. The robot brought her hand up with its, and Tara the audience, bodies sagging. The crowd's eyes were filled with relief, relief for their families, relief that they had another day.
Something at the back of her mind nagged at her. It felt like she was missing someone, like there was someone she should be looking for.
Tara shook her head.
It wasn't time to think of things like that.
The robot shook her hand in the air. "This fine young women . . . will be the one to reclaim glory for your people!"
The crowd cheered--robotically.
The robot walked off the stage with her.
A bag was thrown over her head.
And there was darkness for a long, long time.