Daniel’s hands shook as he read through the file, page after page, faces, names, people, all of them crossed off with a bureaucratic seal. The brick and wood house he’d called home for seventeen years suddenly felt like a prison. The barbed wire fences, the roving patrols, they’d always been for someone else.
But now he realised this was a prison and he was it’s captive.
A loud bang announced the General’s return. His footsteps drew closer and for a fleeting moment Daniel considered shoving the documents back into the drawer. But it was too late. The door creaked as the General looked at the mess that was his office. His face flashed from red to purple.
“You’re gonna pay for this one son.”
He strode up, chest puffed out like he did with all the recruits on the base. At one time, Daniel had found it impressive. Intimidating. But then he’d grown up, honed his own body. The power dynamic had shifted, slowly. What he held in his hands was a landslide.
“I’m gonna put you in the nest for a week.”
Daniel didn’t flinch at the fist. He felt his jaw twist, that familiar jolt of air as his ears adjusted to the impact and then the salty tang of his own blood. The old man stood ready, waiting for the fight. But Daniel just stood there.
“Were you ever going to tell me?” Daniel asked.
“What are you talking about?”
Daniel pulled the last sheet from the file. It was old now. Seventeen years old. The faces were unfamiliar to Daniel, he’d never seen them in person, but he saw the resemblance. Every time he looked in the mirror.
“Were you ever going to tell me?” he asked again.
The General looked at the sheet and for the first time in his life Daniel saw the colour drain from his adoptive fathers face. His hands shook as he took it from Daniel’s grasp.
“You don’t understand. The War. The Northerners had taken the Circle Mountains. Your parents… they were insurrectionists. They killed our men.”
“And you killed them,” Daniel said.
“And a hundred more just like them. They got better than they deserved.”
“Your mother,” the General said, before catching himself. “Your adoptive mother, she was a medic. She found you in what we left of your parents home. They’d never requested a birth licence, you didn’t even exist. I wanted to put you in jail for what you were.”
“A born traitor! You would turn out to be just like your parents. But Agnes, she wouldn’t hear it. She took you home, shuffled a licence and you were ours. Why do you think I’ve kept you in my sight all this time?”
“I’ve trained the same as any other recruit here. I’ve never once failed an order.”
“It only takes one act to prove me right.”
Daniel shook his head. He looked at the patch on his uniform. For years he’d looked at it and saw pride. Saw it as the chance to follow the path his adoptive father had taken. To make him proud.
He ripped it off and threw it at the old man. The General caught it, turned it over in his hand and smirked.
“I always knew you’d turn out to be a traitor.”
Daniel shook his head.
“I wanted to be like you so badly. Don’t you realise. If you’d just’ve told me…”
“Don’t give me that.”
“You walk out that door and you’re dead. Do you hear me?”
“I’m leaving and I promise I won’t pick up arms for either side.” Daniel grabbed his pack from by the door, shucking it onto his back. “But if you force me to pick a side, you won’t like the answer.”
Prompt originally posted by Mutant_Llama1 on reddit and received 2 upvotes.