March 19, 2048

‘What d’you think you’re doing?’ Cara snapped.

The clock had been ticking loudly in the empty study for the last 30 minutes as Cara stared at it irritably, her elbows propped up on the desk. Paper was still sprawled across the table and she fingered it, hoping it would calm her down, but it was all in vain. She was not in any way stressed out or anxious, yet there was a feeling in her that she could not place.

She was a kid. A born visionary indeed, but a kid all the same. She was fantastic at math and all subjects, and her thought process was amazing, but she could not change one thing about herself, that was her age. She should have been fearful, or perhaps indignant as to how the ‘Cipher’ could willingly hand over this task to a young girl, but the only factor that her mind put out across was her age. And that too, she had forced her mind to say, to convince her- she very well knew she hadn’t let her age or her maturity affect her in the past, and doing so in the future would either be a blessing or a boon. Heaven or suicide.

Her father’s words seemed to be echoing in her mind as she rubbed her forehead, her eyes slightly red, not from crying but from the strange feeling she was experiencing. Hope? Excitement? Nervousness?

‘A life without honour is not a life at all.’ The words were being screamed in her head. Cara wanted to scream herself. Her head hurt from thinking.

Cara had been a scribe for many years, watching her friends being in higher posts, performing better, classier duties than stuffing papers into a locker and then sending them off. 

After years, she had finally been given an ultimatum, yet she wondered if it was worth it to go and perform the mission, for if she was unsuccessful, no one would know about her. About how a Scribe saved everyone, about a girl valuing honour, a girl with genius mathematical skills. And she would be executed if she didn’t die on mission, anyway. Wouldn’t it have been better to kill herself, given the fact at least she wouldn’t have been on the roll of the thousands whose blood the visionaries had spilled. Cara snorted. As if they kept a list.

And how would it even have mattered if she had died? In a country where blood had once covered every little bit of the ground they stood on, the disappearance of a little girl wouldn’t even be negligible, it indeed was nothing. How did it matter if she killed herself or not? But more importantly, if she died on mission, who would care then, either? Cara wished she could turn her stupid mind off.

The day passed in her mental agony as she struggled to make a decision. Till then, Lena was the only one who’d known about the offer, and it would remain so, because unlike the current plan of the Visionaries, hers wouldn’t be brutal, hers would be cunning. And she couldn’t risk anyone knowing of it.

The dawn brought with itself a light, and also one in Cara’s mind. She did not bother with anything, the first task Cara did was dial in Lena’s number and then of a few others, each time, her voice raspy from the last night’s sleep would say the same words.

‘I’ve got a plan, and I need your help.’


Cara stared at her friends who were staring at her, dumbfounded, before Lena cleared her throat. ‘You did what?’ 

‘I wrote on a wall. Big deal?’ Cara ignored the look she was being given.

Tegan clicked in irritation. ‘What’s that gonna accomplish?’

‘I told you, I have a plan, alright?’ Cara snapped.

And do she did. 

Calling her friends wasn’t all Cara had one when she had woken up. After her hygienic routine, she had indeed done what she said she had- she had written on a wall. But it wasn’t beautiful graffiti or her signature or anything pleasant, although it could be counted as amusing.

The walls were decked with the same phrase on them over and over again. To those who didn’t understand english, Cara’s handwriting probably seemed like artwork, but to her, it was the doorway to her plan.

‘Irrumator Praetor is a pumpkin eater,’ read Lena. ‘I never knew you could rhyme that well.’

Cara shrugged. Who cared.

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