He met her on the way to his death. Technically unwinding wasn't death at all, merely a way to keep on living while your body parts were spread everywhere. It wasn't his preferred way of death, he had envisioned other means of his demise, but if it were to help people, so be it.
His family neither wanted nor needed him. When Unwinding became an acceptable and suitable option, his mother sought it fit for him to be unwound. "You'll make a difference in someone's life," she said. "Better than what you're doing here." One of the few people he felt honestly cared about him, his father, tried to intervene. He fought for it. But once his mother has a goal in mind, she'll accomplish it.
Did he truthfully mind his fate? Not really. If there was one thing that he could readily give up, it would be his life. Not that he was one of those "I hate my life, kill me now" types. No, he was more one of those types who simply had nothing to live for and no one to care about.
It was her who changed his mind.Her eyes caught his attention first. Many girls changed their eye color into something exotic and fake but something about her eyes were real and natural. They spoke of fear and distrust but held a fire inside them.
"I'd rather be killed now than have to go through the process," she whispered. Thoughts like these were forbidden and he was rather shocked by her words. Unwinds had thoughts like these of course, but they usually kept them inside.
"How about you?" He jumped slightly; surprised that she was still talking to him.
"It doesn't kill you," he replied, stating the lie that had been played into his head.
"Liar," she retorted, picking up her knees so that her feet rested on the seat. He'd never seen such rebellious behavior before.
"What do you really believe?" The question echoed in his head. All his life he had been asked questions, but never had he been able to reply with his own thoughts and opinions. His answers were scripted, made for the person asking him.
"I don't know. No one's ever asked me before," he answered frankly.
"Now's your chance." His heart pounded and his palms began to sweat, creating an adrenaline rush. His own opinions.
"I think it's rubbish," he said feverishly. He had done it! A smile graced her lips, and he saw a slight sparkle in her eyes.
"Now that I can agree on." She pursed his lips, deep in thought.
"Why are you here?"
"Oh," she replied quietly. It seemed that she wasn't good at serious talk.
"How about you?"
"Oh." This was the first time he had ever seen this girl nervous.
"I was sent here." He knew better than to ask why. All unwinds, except for Tithes, were send to be unwound.
"Join the club," he said, smiling. For more his advantage than hers, or so it seemed, she turned the corners of her lips upwards. They spent most of the trip in silence, nerves overriding anything else.
"Wouldn't it be wonderful if this bus turned around?" He shrugged. It wouldn't matter anyway.
"What? You don't care?" she asked.
"Not really. I mean, it's going to happen anyway, right?" he replied anxiously. She pointed her head towards an incoming accident. It looked like a kid, an unwind most likely, tried to run away. Police were parked around a van and he could see the tranquilizing guns, blurry objects from a distance. Fear surged through him and he wanted nothing more than to crawl into a ball where he'd lie until all this was over.
"I wouldn't count on it." Suddenly he saw the kid, dressed in a grey sweatshirt, race past the truck. The driver braked abruptly, causing the bus to overturn. Everything was wrong, or sideways, he couldn't exactly tell. One thing he knew was that his stomach wasn't happy about all this.
"Come on," the girl whispered, motioning towards the escape exit. This was his chance. Run or stay. It was either being unwound or taking the chance of escape. But this girl, she seemed so hopeful and eager couldn't help but follow her.
With all the chaos, no one would notice a girl and boy leaving the truck. Her hand clasped his and he swore he could feel a tingling up his spine. Her hands were steady despite the surrounding disorder and callused from some sort of labor. His hand fit there perfectly.
She was must faster than he, a leopard in her own right, stealthy and swift, he clunky and slow, more equivalent to an elephant. As she held his hand running, hers rough, his sweaty, he allowed himself to hope and dream of a better future, free from unwinding where he could run with her forever.