"It's a bright purple sunny day; a good day to die."
Jim heard his inner voice softly whispering like a withering daylight at the altar of night. He shook his head, glanced around him while not moving an inch. "I can't run, they will kill me if I do!"
'You will die if you stay-run!'
The voice came again, clearer than before. It made his entire body stiffen; not knowing what he should do.
He was standing inside the most sacred place, not only in this large city that was flooding of ancient pride and history, but in his entire nation. The heartless empire that people used to call fate.
He was fifteen, just one hour or so away from his coming to age ceremony. Unlike other kids in the city, in the empire, in the entire world, his coming of age was destined to be bloody-with his own blood!
He glanced at the tightly closed doors before deciding to head to the rear window and check things out. It was such a nice warm sunny day, typical of midsummer of the fourteenth month. The hour was early, with no one walking on the streets; leaving them empty like a bitter wife.
A cold wife for others was a warm mistress lover for him; he desperately wanted to jump over the rail of this two stories height window directly into the embrace of the warm street, directly to the warmth of freedom; away from here.
'Run, you fool!'
The sound came much clearer that it jolted him awake with a scare; turning around himself to check if he was alone or not. He was alone, with his malnourished thin body that defined all the careless care given to him by his own blood parents and own beloved family.
He was tall, making his height with such a body look like a toothpick, with a curved neck and slightly arched back. It was a sign for his body's failure in enduring all his length without good muscles.
His clothes were random; collected from the leftovers given to him by his family. Or the ones they would prefer to throw away, as garbage, by giving them to him.
And despite that ill treatment, this rarely occurred to him. This made his pants shorter than his legs, showing off his odd thin long legs that gave him the impression of having two claws of a crow instead. Even crows were treated with much respect than him! Even some towns here took them as their sacred totem, not their cursed symbol.
He glanced, with his light brown hair, dark brown eyes, and face full of freckles to the window, to the streets, to the distant looming walls in the distant vision, blurred by the early dim fog of this day. And whispered:
"Trust me, I want to, but I can't. I will die from such height."
'You are tall, you are old enough to know how to jump. Don't stand here like a fat pigeon waiting to be slaughtered for dinner. For one, you aren't a pigeon, and you aren't fat!'
"Thanks for the compliment, I don't know without you what I would have done."
He just opened his mouth for a bit, showing off his incomplete teeth, with some missing as a normal sign for someone younger than his age. He wasn't brave at all. In fact, through his entire life he felt lonely, leftover by others, even his closest kin, treated like garbage; and as garbage, he became one.
'Run if you want to live, do you want to die?'
The sound asked him a question he knew the answer for; he didn't want to die. But he didn't want to live this worthless pathetic aimless life, a life of a leftover!
"I can't live like this anymore, what should I stick like a glue to life for?" he whispered, as he gave his arched back to the window, leaning on it, hoping for his balance to slip off and fall, to get over such a life.
'Run and I will give something new,' the sound promised.
"Who? You?!" Jim laughed as he patted his own leg with his palm. "Mate, we knew each other for what? Five years? And you chose this day, this particular morning, to tell me this? Can't believe you, sorry."
His voice rocked in the entire empty room full of frames. It was ugly, as if a blind had decorated them with dark pictured portraits of callow youths, around his age, showing his misery, ending up in his awaiting fate.
'It was not time for me to help you, but today is different.'
"Yes, I can't agree more."
Jim then walked in the room, where it had a wide, so lavish bed, made entirely out of dark silethem. He passed his fingers, feeling the strange power emanating from this dead piece of ore. Despite being warm, it felt creepy and sad, an odd thing hated by most and seen as an omen of bad luck; just like him.
On its two sides, stretching from the height of his waist down to the ground, oalked wood covered the silethem. A very skilled engraving took place from end to end, showing off an epic story that he; like everyone else in this fate loving empire, knew by heart.
"The tale of the heroic leftover," he said while glancing for a while at a very particular scene; the guidance day. Or what he loved to describe as his judgment day.
It was five years back, at his tenth birthday, when he went there; to the same place pictured in this masterpiece. Despite the outstanding skill of the artisan who did it, Jim was positive that he failed to capture the real thing, the hidden secret, the utter rubbish truth; this was all an act!
He glanced at how the maker tried to lie, twisting the facts and the actual scenes he personally experienced there, before strongly kicking the place of his own death trial with his leg with all his might. The bed didn't break, and he felt sore on his bare toes.
"Ouch, this oalked wood lived to its fame,"
'You are just weak, no offense.'
"And who was the one asking me to jump two stories high?" Jim replied while leaving the bed alone, limping from pain, while heading towards these paintings scattered on the two walls of this room.
"Twenty thousand leftovers were killed till date, and none even thought of running. Do you know how ridiculous I would be if I just be the first to run away? I would be the first one to break this long successful streak of shame; shame on me!"
'No shame to prefer living over death. Besides, didn't you think of running away all these past years, even planning to do so from this same window in the past month?'
"Let's say I got a cold foot."
'A cold foot on the only opportunity to live?!!'
"Shh, why are you so noisy and energetic today, huh?" Jim returned to the window, looking through it towards the warm rays of the bright purple sun shining over the world this day. "Last day to marvel at such beauty," he said.
'You know you have the chance to see it every morning.'
"I told you, I have nothing to live for, don't be this stubborn."
'And I told you I will give you something interesting.'
"No, you don't, liar, you said new," Jim grinned as he laughed over his silly joke, and a bitter, desperate laugh of a man who lost everything came out of his emaciated lips.
'I'm not joking here, you are a gifted one.'
"Say this to those who tested me and said I was trash."
He then lost any interest in watching this scene, moving his legs like dragging two heavy dragon limbs instead. He had no desire to do whatsoever here; having no desire to do anything at all.
'I'm telling the truth. You are gifted, born with a special gift that you only can wield. A power with no equal.'
"And you waited for five whole years to tell me that now? C'mon, pick another trick, will you? I'm no child anymore, old man."
He didn't believe the soft voice's words at all, as he stood in the middle of the room, not knowing what he had to do.
This wasn't any random room in the city, the capital of this huge and mighty empire, but it was one of the sacred places acknowledged by people.
"It's funny how people can be strong and majestic while fearing things so ethereal and non-existent."
'Dragons existed for real, you know that.'
"I know, don't forget I actually saw one the day you popped up inside my head for no reason." Jim went to check a small desk in one corner of the room, with many decorations, picturing small dragons breathing wooden fire and ice. "I almost got myself killed out of fear that day, sigh. Why didn't I die and got freed of this misery?!"
'Dragons aren't that scary!'