The eyes of Sarlissia were as large as the seventh moon of her parent's planet. Not yet five, she stood before one of the bloodied walls of the Commons, her shimmering skin almost translucent after a year of near-starvation. Hope was gone. She'd been caught.
Until now, she'd managed to survive the culling of her people, the Atramillons. Quickly, so quickly, she'd become apt at hiding from the League of Cleansing and their vicious hounds, laying low in rodent tunnels or remaining still for days in the tight, mud caves of a nearby bog.
Six times this season, she'd travel North to the city of her birth, risking execution. Praise the Maker-Being, there were those who did not hate her species, those who endangered themselves and their families by being merciful.. Many of the Others offered her small amounts of food and water, a pair of shoes, one had even provided her with a knife. Sarlissia realized what would happen to those who had helped her, and though she now faced her death, she refused to call out, choosing to protect her protectors.
Most windows of the nearby homes were dark, but she could still see several curtains lift. The Others who had cared enough to give her scraps were a mere forty feet away. But she took small, shallow breaths and accepted that she was soon to become light and join all those who had been culled before her.
"Rot, where are your parents?" one of the soldiers asked.
Sarlissia bit her lips, tried to still the quiver that had begun in her knees.
"Clip her. Then we won't be able to shut her up."
Four heads turned as a door opened.
It was Marion, kind Marion who'd given her more than any Other. Sarlissia shook her head, beseeched the kind lady with her eyes to turn and leave.
Instead, Marian dashed towards her, wailing. One soldier lifted his assault rifle, but his Sergeant pushed the weapon down. "Wait!"
"Please, don't!" Sarlissia cried. "I am ready to die."
Marian reached the child, stroked her softly glowing cheek. "We have been silent too long. And I will no longer stand by to see the slaughter of the innocents. May your kind forgive us, one day."
"Stand aside," The Sergeant called. "They must be eradicated."
"I will not move." Marion lifted her chin. "You will have to cull me, too. Son."
The Sergeant shifted. "Mother, they are not human, they are worse than vermin, capable of destroying the logic of nature, capable of-"
"What? Changing shape, healing, traveling through time? Yes. I know." Marion sighed. "What have you done, Thomas? My God, what have we all done? Can't you see that she means no harm? Her species deserved a chance. It was a mistake, one mistake-"
"One mistake that changed the course of history. Mankind cannot chance that kind of power in the hands of those we do not know and are unable to trust. Order must be restored, no matter by what means. No matter the cost. It is for the good of the many."
"Are you hearing yourself? We are the monsters, can't you see that? Marion shielded Sarlissia, her voice gruff. "Do what you must do and I will do what I should have done, long, long ago."
Sarlissia tried to move, but Marion held her fast.
Suddenly, several doors opened. Sarlissia began to weep, unable to control her fear for her beloved Others as more and more began to run towards her. Shame of jeopardizing these kind strangers consumed her. She should have stayed away.
Soon, there were dozens of Others around her, united in their want to save her. The crowd grew to be hundreds
The soldiers stood frozen, uncertain of what to do. Before them stood their friends and family, people they had known their entire lives.
It seemed like a century until the Sergeant lowered his rifle. One by one the other soldier did the same. Weapons fell to the ground. There was a moment of silence, of stunned disbelief that Law would be broken.
Then Sarlissia looked up, smiled at Marion and nodded. The Others parted and the glowing girl walked towards the soldiers.
She reached out and light traveled between her and the Sergeant, seemed to sing in the air around them. He dropped to his knees and began to weep.
Sarlissia leaned forward, pressed her forehead against his and whispered, "Hush, I forgive you. After all, you're only human"