we were children once, prologue

Several years ago, I had a dream that has stuck with me since, knowing that the plot and concept of the dream were perfect for adaptation into a novel, movie, screenplay–the whole deal. But it has sat waiting for me to touch it, to begin the long process of writing, for seven years now.

We Were Children Once

The moment I see his face, I know him. I don’t know where I know him from, or why I could possibly know a prisoner, but his face is burned in my memory. Deep set brown eyes, brooding, rich brown hair streaked with gold, a strong square jaw—I seem to think he’s always had it—framing a beautiful straight mouth. Pale, even against the white lights and barren white walls of this place, the sign of having been here for a long time. But his cheeks are still pink, and there are still faint freckles across his nose and cheekbones. I know that face.

There is recognition in his face as well, and although I should think little of someone knowing my face, this is different. He stands up and walks to the glass wall between us, his eyes taking in my every feature before quickly returning to my eyes. He utters something, two syllables, but no sound comes from his thin lips. No sound comes from the other side of these glass walls, I know this, but this time it bothers me that he will be able to hear me, but I won’t be able to hear him.

He’s a criminal. We do not listen to the pleas from them, the lies their treacherous voices spin against us. Against Them.

And yet I want nothing more than to hear his voice. Somewhere in my mind, I think I’ve heard it before, but more than heard it, listened to it for hours on end. For a second, I can almost hear his laughter, and it is then that I know for certain that I’ve heard his voice before. But the voice in my head doesn’t seem right for him though, like how Alpha’s voice is different now than when I first met him all those years ago when we opened our eyes for the first time.

I want to tell this man that I know him, I want to know why I know him, but I can’t hear him. And just as he can hear me, so can They. To admit that I know a criminal wouldn’t go over well. I back up a step, being inches from the glass, and see the expression on his face change. The hope and awe in his face gives way to something deeper. Desperation, maybe, but I know there’s something else in that look that I don’t understand. A Seer would know, but even the idea of asking a Seer feels wrong.

His mouth moves in the same way as it did before, the same two-syllable movement. And then I see the sadness in his face. I know sadness, and I understand it. When Tracer was killed by rebels a few months ago, I was heartbroken. His jaw muscles are tensed, and I can see that he’s in pain because I’m here. I want to leave, want to look away, but something is holding me steadfast to this man, my eyes glued to his face.  Swallowing against something welling up inside my chest cavity, I am ironclad in my decision to leave and never return to look at this man again. It is then that his hand reaches up and presses against the glass, his sleeve sliding down to reveal a small scar on his wrist. It’s a circle with three lines coming off one side of it, like a meteor.

I have the same scar.

With a hundred questions racing through my mind, I flee. This man knows something about me, some truth They keep hidden. I can’t help but think there’s more than that to this. It’s only a moment before I have the answer.

He knows me, and not as Arrow.


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