A crowd was forming in the center of the Metro city.
Dark clouds blotted out the early morning sun as rain drizzled down to wet the blood-soaked earth.
The air tasted stale and heavy. A steeping mix of iron and sulphur—it reeked, burned and made acid in the rain.
Uncaring of the red-tinted water sloshing about their bare-feet, citizens stood outside their homes and marched in place, chanting the nation’s pledge once before filing behind those already heading towards the city square.
Mason was overly aware of how the wet soil stung when it got between his toes. It was a feeling he usually hated but today he was numb about it all. The sand could have been replaced with glass shards and he wouldn’t notice.
It was as though he wasn’t the one controlling his body as it marched towards the last place he wanted to be.
The streams of watered-down blood running into the gutters lining the unpaved streets were what really caught his attention.
Normally, he didn’t notice or care, but today he did.
Bile crawled up his throat when he thought about the fact that it could be his mother’s life being drained away at that moment. It could be his sister’s blood staining the soil that stained his feet.
He felt sick.
Mason pulled his blanket tighter around him and told himself that the tears threatening to fall down his cheeks were there because the air burned his eyes and throat, not because he was trying not to think about how he would throw up at the sight of his mother’s corpse when it was cut up into little pieces in a bowl in front of him.
Not because he had to live with the fact that he would need to see more of his family slaughtered as the years passed.
Not because he would have to eat their flesh and drink their blood until he was the only one left… until he would live forever.
He was crying because of the air.
He bit hard on his bottom lip until he tasted blood on his tongue.
He swayed a little, and closed his eyes, his nails digging into his bare arms and breaking skin. He wished he could die right now before he did this and couldn’t take it back.
As a lastborn, Mason knew that his family would be chosen eventually, but he hadn’t been alive the last time someone from his family was sacrificed to fuel the dying souls of the last generation—his generation.
As the youngest, he would be the only one to survive, and when he did he would become the truest and purest representation of his family. He would carry their bloodline forever, immortalize them.
A large hand landed on Mason’s shoulder, then he heard his father say, “Make us proud, son.”
Mason turned around and saw his brothers and sisters cheering and waving at him.
“Yes,” he whispered, “for the glory of cult leader Fluttershy… I have to.”