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Joseph Rowe walks up and sits down beside me on the park bench. His dress is much simplier than Jessica's, wearing a bottoned white shirt and blue jeans with black shoes. His dark brown hair neatly combed and his brown eyes welcoming. I decided to wear a T-shirt and jean shorts with sneakers. A last minute change since I concluded dressing up like I did with Jessica would look silly in a park.
I would've interviewed him in the same office as I did Jessica Hatfield but he wanted to be outside. He's the other protagonist in The Choice, book 2 in The Sacrifice Series. This novella has an October/November release. Tomorrow I'll be doing an interview with the protagonist and antagonist from Sacrifice Her (book 1 in Sacrifice Series) which has an August release date.
Me: Hello Joseph.
Joseph: Hi. I guess you have some questions for me. (He brushes back his hair nervously)
Me: Yes but I'd like you to introduce yourself first. What would you like me to know about you.
Joseph: Heh, I'm a teenager living in the most prosperous part of Chance City. Music is my favourite thing to do and I'm to be sacrificed for the good of Chance. Me and a girl.
Me: Okay. I'm just a twenty-seven year old woman performing an interview. Much less dramatic.
Joseph: That's lucky.
Me: (Pauses) Um, first question. Why does Chance City have these sacrifices?
Joseph: That's quite a history lesson. Chance City is a beacon of hope on a earth ravaged by man's greed. Few places are highly habitable and a lot of the world is divided into good and badland. The badlands are the wastelands and the death spots. Wasteland is barren space with areas of pollution. It's hard to survive. Death Spots are just that. If you hit that area you're dead. Poisonous chemicals and other elements have made those areas uninhabitable by any source of life. Chance City in it's former days was less glamourous and things became so bad among the few haves and the many have nots that talks of burning everything down became dangerous talk. One day a teenager named Gamon stepped out the safety of the compound and went to the starving people below. He asked what could be done for them to live in peace. The poor said that first they wanted to have equal shares and second they wanted to punish those who left them to suffer. He returned home with an idea. Use the poor to slowly build up their area and meet their demands for compensation. Over the next three years a system was developed and the poor were asked what they wanted from those who had better fortunes. The order was shocking. Sacrifice. At first those of better standing refused but the outcry from the poor forced them to go through with it. In the beginning it was older men and women and their deaths were grizzly at the hands of a hateful mob. But as things became more structured the sacrifice model changed. By the time I was born it was teens who were sacrificed to keep the peace. Two, a boy and girl after living fifteen years in luxury.
Me: It must be hard going to your death so young.
Joseph: It's that or the wasteland. I heard you interviewed the girl I'm supposed to go with?
Me: Yes she's very nice and pretty.
Joseph: That's good I guess.
Me: Do you have any dreams for yourself?
Joseph: Honestly I'd like to learn how to paint. Right now I do mostly abstract but I'd like to learn more. Also travel around playing my music. I know in the old world they were musiciand who travelled everywhere. It would be a dream come tru...who am i kidding?
Me: It's not bad to dream. Next question, What is your daily routine?
Joseph: I get up, get the assigned stuff out the way then I go exploring for as long as I can. It's interesting what you find when you're looking keenly.
Me: Jess... I mean the girl who'll be with you when the sacrifice is carried out said fifteen years seems longer thanks to the sacrifice. What do you think?
Joseph: Fifteen years is not nearly enough. She's nuts.
Me: (notices a guard frowning a few trees away) Could you defy being sacrificed?
Me: The Chancellor allowed me that question. Long as I don't encourage Joseph into mischief.
Joseph: I'm not... (his eyes fell on the guards spread out in civilianclothes) next question. Please.
Me: Sure. Are you hungry (Joseph sakes his head)? So, are you allowed to have relationships?
Joseph: No, it was decided being with someone when your life's to be extinguised would be too painful for both sides.
Me: Do you love Chance City?
Joseph: (sighs) I don't hate the citizens. The common man.
Guards walk towards us.
Me: (urgently) How were you chosen?
Joseph: My mother was chosen to give birth to the next sacrifice. Some volunteer but she didn't.
Me: How do you feel about the ones who refuse to be sacrificed.
Joseph: Honestly, they're braver than me. The guards are pissed. This interview is done for.
Me: I guessed that. (Guards hover over us in a circle)
Head Guard: Wrap it up Sheena, he's going home.
Joseph: But I want to go see....
Head Guard: Not after some of that talk I overheard. You're on lockdown as soon as you leave this bench.
Joseph looks at me with fearful eyes. I want to help him but know I can't. He's only visiting, anything I do against these guards will be taken out on Joseph the second he's out of sight.
Me: Please sir, give him one chance. I know he's different but he's a nice boy.
Head Guard: Did I ask you anything?
Guard: Joseph come on. Don't make this harder than it has to be.
Joseph resists as they force him to his feet. I have to get up to keep myself from getting a hard kick.
Head Guard: Have some pride and behave. Boy if you don't shape up...you'll be out in the wastelands before I blink. The barren land alone could have you starving to death and oh, the animals mutated by our mistakes.... even worse.
Me: Stop scaring him. He's already going to die. Stop it!!
Everyone goes silent. I nudge the Head Guard aside and take a teary eyed Joseph's hand.
Joseph: I don't want to die. I can't be like the other one you interviewed.
Me: That's okay. You're having the natural reaction most would towards this. Don't be ashamed.
Another Guard: He was raised to be stronger than this. The day is nearly upon us. He better be ready.
Joseph: (sniffles) I'm fine. I'm better guards, we can go. Thank you for talking to me Sheena.
Me: You're Welcome. (Sigh as he's led away)
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