ASHES: It’s Nothing Personal… By Josh McMullen

Word: Ashes
Word Count : 498

It’s Nothing Personal…
By Josh McMullen

The president hadn't been in power for more than a day before instituting sweeping reforms all over the
country. His fist act, citing the ever-widening gap between the upper and lower classes, was to basically
sever the bond between them altogether. They would no longer be able to fraternize outside of fiscal and
other essential responsibilities. He handled the backlash with aplomb, citing the mountain the media was
making out of the figurative molehill.
He had even instituted an agency (The Pay Grade Integrity Commission) to make sure his baby never
came into question. Penalties were swift and severe, going so far as lifetime imprisonment and even in the
most severe cases, death.
That was the situation Farley and Dahlia found themselves in on that freezing-cold March night in
Farley's apartment. She had rushed through the office when the PGIC came through on their weekly
sweep, taking Farley's hand and dragging him out the door. No place was really safe, not under the new
regime, but if they could just hold out for a little while, they might just be able to make it.
Farley had just kissed her; that much Dahlia knew. Outside of that, her brain was completely cloudy. She
crawled to the window and peeked outside, where PGIC agents had given up the battering ram and were
preparing to reduce the whole place to ashes. She had heard of this, and it was only the worst case
scenarios that brought out the flamethrowers. If they couldn't make them come out quietly, they would
just smoke them out, and to Hades with the rest of the commons displaced.
Farley remained near the door, the joy of the reckless act he just performed turning into ashes in his
mouth. He leaned his head against the door, wondering if it was all worth it. He could have just went back
to work and left Dahlia alone, no muss, no fuss and certainly no government agency to chase him all over
creation.
“You know they're just going to chase us until we can't run anymore,” he said dejectedly.
“I know,” Dahlia groaned, hanging her head resignedly. “I couldn't help myself. That's what this does to
you: when you want something but can't have it, it just makes you want it all the more.”
“You…you honestly wanted me? I'm nothing special…” Farley said, with nothing suddenly making sense
anymore.
Dahlia responded with a kiss on the tip of his nose, which sent chills down his spine. “You were to me,”
she whispered. They looked out the window; PGIC agents were everywhere; there was nowhere to run
now. She sighed, hanging her head. “Maybe we should just give up. There's nowhere to run.”
Farley suddenly found newfound confidence. Maybe that's what this does to you too, he thought. He
stood up and took her hand. “I'm not giving up, not as long as you're alive.” Without hesitation, they
disappeared into the night, just as the flames began licking the building…

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