By Nicole Higginbotham

Chapter One

They had said that things couldn’t get worse, but the sight in front of her showed otherwise. Columba looked around at the suited men that filled the conference room. They had come from all over the world, suited and in their eyes, perfect. The world had changed drastically in the past years. Many people had lost their faith after the purification laws were mandated.

Anyone that was seen as an imperfection was thrown into poverty and outcasted. Only a small group of people were allowed the fortune of having a guarantee of a comfortable life. Those that didn’t fit in with the restrictions were taken as slaves and sometimes tortured. Even on the news, she had seen mothers willing to sacrifice their children because they were imperfect and a ‘disgrace’ to their people. Columba had seen this travesty with her own eyes. People were blinded by stereotypes. Color, race, socio-economic status, gender, and sexual orientation were all seen as weaknesses, and disability was no longer tolerated. The white, wealthy male was the social norm. It was as if time and struggle had backtracked. The men around her regulated all of the social norms and rules, and it was about to get much worse.

Columba’s cousin, David had been a part of the dictatorship for years, but he had always looked for a way to get out. Unfortunately, the sons that were born into perfection like him didn’t have a choice. If he rebelled, he would be killed. It was almost as difficult for him to accept fitting in as it was for the outcasts to gain acceptance. David still had his faith in human kind and his faith in God. He had not lost it like many others. However, he had learned to differentiate human regulations and those from above. His heart was in the right place, and he wanted more than anything to see people love each other again. David confided in Columba often, telling her about the dictatorship’s plans for domination.

What David didn’t know was that she was part of a small army of outcasts that were ready to regain their independence. She didn’t want to put him in harm’s way, and if the dictatorship even suspected that David was plotting against them, they would kill him.

Columba had taken the information that she had gotten from David and formulated her own plot against the dictatorship. She had planned the infiltration for months, and now, here she was sitting in the midst of enemies, dressed like a well-off male doctor. Her allies were planted around the conference building, ready to attack. Her plan wasn’t necessarily to kill them but to stop the charter plane that was about to land from leaving. She had found out that the dictatorship had caged some of their ‘impure’ in the conference area and were to board them on planes to a private location where they would make a public display to warn those that chose to rebel. Columba couldn’t let innocent people die.


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