Independence Day

Prompt: in ten years the world will have changed

Ezra slipped through the crowds, a faint frown on his face. Everyone was celebrating. Part of him was shocked by how happy the people were. They were dancing in the streets – cheering that they were free.

A faint scowl touched his lips. He snatched an apple off a vender’s cart and vanished into the crowd. Were they free? Ezra didn’t feel any different today than he had yesterday. He was still alone. He was still homeless and he was still hungry. What difference did it make whether foreigners were in charge or not?

He bit into the apple. As a shadow fell over him, he tensed. He looked up, feeling a mix of fear and guilt. The man standing in front of him was tall and muscular. He had smooth, even features that most people would consider handsome. However, something made Ezra feel just a bit afraid. “What do you want?” he whispered.

“Did you draw this?” the man said, holding up a sketch that Ezra had made on a scrap of paper.

Ezra blinked and nodded. “Gave it to someone for – for a bowl of soup,” he said. He scuffed his foot on the ground and shivered slightly.

“Well,” the man said, “my name is Johannes Keller, my boy. I wonder… do you know what a patron is?”

Ezra shook his head. He blinked when the man took his arm and guided him back through the crowd. All the while, he whispered to Ezra about his art being in the homes of the wealthy and how he’d live in a nice house, with nice clothing. Ezra’s mother would be proud of him. It wouldn’t matter that he couldn’t do magic. He could do this. In ten years, he would rich and famous and his mother would finally – finally be proud of him.

Ezra was startled out of his thoughts by the exploding fireworks. He looked up at the sparkling swirl of colors in the sky over the city. Ten years since the end of the Occupation and… his world was entirely different. He had to wonder, though. Had he ever really found his own independence?

He glanced at the tele-viewer and frowned. He turned the volume up and listened for a bit. “Deerpass, a judge of the Amerian High Court and four members of his family were found dead in their home this evening,” the newscaster said. “Shynian Intelligence is investigating. Anyone who thinks they might have pertinant information is asked to call the Agency’s toll free number.”

Ezra sighed softly. Clearly, not everyone was celebrating the holiday. He sighed and turned off the tele-viewer. As he did, he prayed that the culprit would be brought to justice. Then, he turned his attention to the light show in the sky.

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