Two weeks later, and Logan was getting himself ready to head off to war. They were allowed to bring a few items with them, so he was busy filling up a small backpack with some of his things. His favorite hoodie, a picture of bugs Camryn drew for him, his guitar pick, and a little card he got for his birthday that played a bit of Zero To Hero when you pressed a button. Hercules was one of his all-time favorite movies.
A small knock on his door broke his attention away from the keepsakes in front of him, and eventually he made his way across the room to answer it.
“They’re here,” it was his mother. Her voice shook as she spoke.
The past two weeks had been hard for her. Two of her children were going off to war, and she had no idea how she was going to survive not seeing them until the end of it.
“Oh, right, okay, thank you,” he picked up his bag and put it onto his back before wrapping her in a tight hug. “I’ll be home before you know it.”
“I really hope so,” she hugged back as another tear fell from her already puffy eyes. She’d been crying all morning.
The two hugged for about a minute, both wanting to pause time right there, neither wanting to let go. She knew this could be the last time she would hold her baby boy, and he knew once he let go it would start the first time he’d have to live without his mother’s warm embrace.
Once they finally pulled away, he took a second to glance around the room he was leaving behind. He hoped he would still be able to remember it once he got back - if he got back.
He hoped he would remember the blue walls him, Alex, and Camryn had painted together. He was only 11 then. Alex 10 and Camryn 9. He hoped he would remember the random objects he’d collect and show off on the walls. He hoped he would remember the jar of bugs, the shelf full of books, the unmade bed he was still too lazy to clean. He wanted to remember it all before his brain potentially gets blown to bits on the battlefield.
Now that was dark. He giggled to himself as he imagined his head exploding into a dozen little pieces of cake. Payton had always said he had nothing going on in there besides thoughts about his favorite dessert.
He made his way downstairs before saying his last goodbyes to everyone else. He made sure to rub it in his father’s face that he was almost taller than him one last time, and Alex gave him one of his books to read while he was away. Payton mostly kept her composure, and even though she would never admit it, he could’ve sworn he saw a tear slip from her eyes as she cleaned off the dining room table.
Finally, Logan and Camryn stepped outside of the house, gripping each other’s hand in fear of what was to come next. The uncertainty hung over their heads like a dark storm cloud.
Two officers wearing an Ophelia Empire uniform walked alongside them as they made their way to the three buses by the front gate. There were lines of people branching out of each one of them.
He watched as someone tried to run for the woods, only to end up shot in the skull. He gasped and his eyes widened in horror.
“Camryn- Camryn, you didn’t see that, right?”
“Good, good,” he sighed and tried to stop his voice from sounding so exasperated. He wasn’t used to seeing people killed. He’d heard it all his life, the screams from the manager’s office in the factories were hard to forget, but never had he seen it himself, and he wasn’t even on the battlefield yet.
He glanced around at the houses around them. Since the bombing, a good majority of them had been destroyed, and he was lucky their house was spared. Everyone was doing their best to rebuild, but with the expensive prices, lack of free time, and inability to get supplies from out of the country, it was going about as slow as a turtle walking across the road.
As they drew nearer to the buses, he felt a slight tug at his right arm.
“Your bus is that way,” one of the officers were glaring down at Camryn as he pointed.
“But I wanna be with him-”
“That. way.” his voice became increasingly more agitated.
“Sir, can’t we just stay together, I don’t really-”
“THAT. WAY.” he repeated, spitting into their faces a little as he did so.
Camryn wiped her face and smirked up at him. “I’m not doing that 'cause you pissed me off, but good luck trying to make me, grumpy old dude that really needs a new haircut,” she continued walking ahead, pulling Logan along with her.
Is she- is she an idiot? She has to be even more of an idiot than I am, talking to an officer like that. That is so embarrassing for her.
Suddenly, she was yanked away from him, the officers beginning to drag her along. Of course she had already managed to get herself in a mess.
Her screams pierced his ears as a spike of panic rose in his chest. He had no idea what to do, yet he knew he had to act fast.
He grabbed one of her legs and tried tugging her back towards him.
“DON’T LET THEM TAKE ME AWAY, LOGAN, PLEASE-”
Despite his best efforts, their little game of tug-of-war ended when he was shoved into the arms of a third officer. The screams of his younger sister continued to ring in his ears as he was thrown onto the hard floor of the first bus.
He picked himself up, rubbing the cheek he fell on, and sat himself down in one of the few empty seats. The metallic taste of blood filled his mouth as he looked out the window.
The bus was packed to the brim with people. He wanted nothing more than to get out of there. It felt claustrophobic with so many bodies crushed together in one space. All their body heat seemed to combine together, making it difficult to breathe. He was lucky to get a seat to himself for the moment.
Eventually, they began moving, and with that, he left life as he knew it behind.