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We Are Broken

'"Cause we are broken

What must we do to restore

Our innocence

And oh, the promise we adored?"

Because not everyone in the war fought willingly.

Written by Hazelcats for the August, 2012 Percy Jackson Fanfiction Contest.

She didn’t want to be here.

She didn’t want to be in the middle of the war. She didn’t want to be huddled in some dark, old alley, hiding from the screaming and shouting that lay just a few feet away.

The monsters scared her. The people scared her. Everything was so scary.

They had forced her to be here. Just a few months ago she had been playing outside her house, so ignorant and naive. She hadn’t known any better to listen to her mother about strangers. That when someone walked up to you and asked if you wanted to see their puppy, there never actually was puppy.

Unless an evil, demonic monster dog counted as a puppy.

She shrunk farther behind the old trash cans, praying that no one would find her here. That she could escape and never be found. That she could go back to her family and friends. That she could be happy again.

They had taught her you couldn’t pray to any god. That the gods were evil. That the kind and amazing and wonderful Titans who lead their army could always be relied on. If they were so wonderful, then why had they forced her to be here? Why wouldn’t they let her leave?

She had asked that very same question once.

After what they did to her, she learned to keep her mouth shut and her questions to herself.

She rubbed her arms, shivering. It was cold, despite the fact it was summer. The things they had given her to wear weren’t very warm. It was heavy and uncomfortable and hard to walk in. She didn’t understand how these people could run and jump and fight in them.

She didn’t understand why they had to fight at all.

They hadn’t told her much. Just that the people they were fighting needed to be taken down. Nothing more. Whenever she tried to ask the very, very few people she trusted not to hurt her (who were also taken against their will), they knew nothing that she didn’t already know.

Which wasn’t much.

She jumped, startled, as an arrow flew by, sticking itself in the wall a few feet away from her. A high pitched scream of horror and anguish rang out a few seconds later, standing out from the other shouts. She shrunk back against the wall, lip trembling. She wouldn’t cry. She couldn’t cry. If you cried, they would slap you.

She didn’t understand why they’d always be so hard on her and the other that had been taken, like her, and not those who were there willingly. Those who had volunteered to be in this army stood proud and tall, no hand-shaped bruises on their faces to be seen.

But then, she still didn’t understand why they would want to be here in the first place.

She rubbed her eyes, sniffling, desperate not to cry, because even though there was no one there to see her cry, she had to stay strong. She had to at least try.

That was another thing they taught. Strength. Bravery. Intelligence. And never hesitate to kill an enemy.

But a tear escaped, and she quickly brushed it away, glancing around her, to check if anyone had seen her, but there was no one around. It was a force of habit by many to constantly check over your shoulder for any who might be watching, who might be waiting to attack. Because even in the (somewhat) safe haven of your bed, there might be someone there.

She curled up tighter, resting her chin on her knees. She was so small, so tiny, she could easily be missed by anyone who came near.

That had been her defense in training. Her only defense. She had been able to quickly dodge her opponents’ attacks.

Of course, it did have a downside. It wasn’t like she could easily pick up a twenty or thirty pound sword and use it.

There was a sudden raise in volume of the shouting, two voices screaming horrible words at each other, and they sounded so close, and so terrifying, and why did she have to be in this horrible place with these horrible people.

She didn’t understand why they made her and all the others her age fight. What could they do? They were so much younger then all the others. They always lost fights. Was it to train them for the future? To make the enemy hesitate when fighting, even though her own side would easily kill if places had been swapped? Or just for the horrible fun of it?

The screaming stopped, and someone was laughing. She shrunk back. Who was it? It sounded familiar. Why was it getting closer? She could hear footsteps. And laughter. Why were they laughing? And how could laughter sound so cruel and mean?

But she had heard that kind of laughter before. On the ship. Laughing at enemy captives, laughing trainees, laughing at each other.

And then he appeared. Proud and tall, smug and cruel. Covered in blood. Grinning like a madman.

Which he probably was.

She knew who he was. He was part of the army. One of the top soldiers. Strong. Brave. Smart. And cruel.

He never lost a fight.

She tried to make herself disappear, make herself small enough to not be seen, or not appear as any sort of threat. But it didn’t work. He could see her. He was practically standing on top of her, he was so close. He was grinning that insane smirk, and she figured that any sanity he had had before this battle was gone.

He laughed again. “Hiding from the battle, girly?” He sneered. “Weakling. You don’t deserve to be in our army.” He knew she was supposed to be on their side. Maybe he would let her go. “Allow me to do the honors of discharging you.” She couldn’t fight back. She didn’t want to fight back. Because maybe, a few months before, when she was happy and brave and strong, she could’ve tried. But her spirit was gone, and she was broken.

He raised his sword.

She closed her eyes.

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