Some time ago…
The night had finally arrived and he welcomed it. The citadel was as near to quiet as it ever would be. There was the hum of a TT vehicle patrolling, the sinister buzzing of BOTs still tasking late into the night; they never stopped. Then there was the sound of his mother’s breathing. Even through the walls, he could hear her. She was sleeping fretfully, plagued by her fears. She would miss him, but he knew that if he was to stay she would never see him again.
He slid from his bed and placed silent feet upon the floor. In another bed, his younger brother slept. The gap from a blackout blind allowed the moon to fall upon his face. Before leaving the bedroom, he studied the countenance that was at once so familiar and yet foreign. His brother would do well, he would do very well.
The urge to wake him was powerful yet he resisted. If he was to survive, he would have to become invisible. The first thing he needed to do was to evade the citadel’s ever present guards. It was now or never for soon they would place a BOT in their home as a reward for the long, hard service his father had done for the Family. With a House BOT, escape could well be impossible.
He eased open the door, cursing himself for not checking the alarm beforehand. Too late now, but his luck was in. The alarm had not been set. Opening it slightly, he squeezed through and out into the night. He was in the shadows now, edging the sides of buildings. It was all so unfamiliar outside of daylight. A whirr ran down the centre of the street and he stopped. A BOT moved along illuminated by its own internal workings. The boy watched it pass and then resumed his trek.
He had travelled for another mile like this, his aim to make it to the citadel’s boundaries, when a voice spoke into his ear.
“A nice night for a walk, isn’t it?”