On the Inside by Cody Doorn

Holly rolled over in her bed, groggy eyes watching the alarm clock with disdain. It beeped loudly, piercing her eardrums. She pulled the plug out of the wall and closed her eyes to go back to sleep, but was woken up by her phone. She pulled her phone out of her pocket, and turned it on, scratching her wirey blond hair as she sat up, the blinding flash of screen burning her eyes in the dark of her room.

“Ah! Damn it!” She narrowed her eyes to try and make out the words on the screen.

‘Where are you?’

“Oh shit-” Holly jumped out of bed and raced to her bathroom, grabbing random clothes as she ran. After a quick, five minute shower she got dressed and quickly made herself breakfast. She cut into her food, and in her rush, accidentally cut into her finger. Holly winced in pain and dropped the knife, holding her hand close to her face to look at the wound. It was a deep cut, not deep enough to be a problem, but enough to be noticeable. “Damn it..”

Holly sighed and looked over her shoulder, as if someone could be watching her. She knew no one was; she was alone, but you can never be too careful. She touched the cut with her other hand, slid her fingers across it, and the cut disappeared. She sat there for a moment, staring down at where the cut used to be when her phone went off again, snapping her back to reality.

‘C’mon, you promised you’d be here.’

She knew what it said before she even read it. This wasn’t the first time she had been late like this, and the worst part to her was that she knew it wouldn’t be the last. Holly grabbed her bag and left her apartment. As she walked down the hallway of the rundown building, she felt a pang of guilt stab her heart. The conditions of this building were awful, just like the rest of this part of the city. The fact people were forced to live here made her sick. The stairs creaked as if they were going to break with every step.

“Ay, quiet it down out there!” Someone banged on the floor above, making Holly rush down the stairs. Outside wasn’t much better than in. The buildings were all just as rundown as her apartment if not more so. The alleyways were filled with people that had nowhere else to go, struggling to keep themselves alive.

“Halt!” Holly turned her head. On the opposite street corner a man in all white armor and helmet stood, hand outstretched at a middle aged man in rags who was clearly hiding something behind his back.

“What are you haltin me for? I ain’t done nothin!” The officer grabbed his arm and pulled, causing him to drop the food he had stolen.

“Nothing, huh?”

“C-c’mon now, I haven’t eaten in days!”

“Get on the ground.”


“Get on the ground, now!” The man looked down at the food, and back at the officer. After taking a deep breath, the man grabbed the food and tried to run. The officer responded by pulling out a gun. Electricity sparked and rippled across his armor and the gun surged blue. He pulled the trigger, and an arc of electricity shot and hit the man in the back, causing him to fall to the ground convulsing. The officer walked over to him and strapped large metal cuffs around his wrists.

“Damn Normalis, think you can get away with anything. If it were up to me, we’d purge this damn place and do you all a favor.” The officer grabbed the man and picked him up over his shoulder to take him away. Holly shuddered, this wasn’t the first time she had seen these people hurt like that either. The Donatus and the Normalis have always had a rocky relationship, but within the past thirty years, it got even worse. The Donatus government treats the Normalis like they’re inferior. The police treat them like trash, and the people treat them like they don’t exist. All because they can’t do what they can do. Holly shook her head, not much she could do about it, yet. She continued down the street.

A few blocks later she came up to a small cafe, one of the only safe places in this whole section of the city.

“There you are! Where the hell have you been?”

“Sorry, Zoey.” Zoey folded her arms.

“Yeah, you always say that.” Holly didn’t say anything as she sat down. She looked up at Zoey, who was still giving her a stern look. She had long, dark hair, tan skin, a purple tank top and ripped jeans. Her eyes were a deep amber color, unlike anything Holly had seen. Zoey snorted and smiled. “I’m just messing with you. I don’t care that much, but at least try not to be late when we meet up!” Holly laughed.

“I’ll try, no promises though.” A waiter walked up to them and took their orders. Despite the worn down buildings around them, this cafe was rather nice. The building, although showing some wear and tear, was still well kept and put together. No desperate souls have come to loot this place, and no Donatus officers have ever come knocking at its door. This place was a haven, everyone was welcome and nobody was treated poorly. Whether it was to eat, sleep on the cushioned benches or just sit inside and enjoy one of the only working TV’s for miles, the cafe was a quaint little spot for anybody to enjoy.

“I love this place.” Zoey looked up at the sky. “I just wish we weren’t forced to be here.” Holly looked down, guilty. She wanted to take her out of here, but she would be stopped by the police. On top of that if Zoey found out she was a Donatus, she’d probably never speak to her again. “Hellooo? Earth to Holly?”


“You distracted by something?”

“Nope, why?”

“Mm, now you won’t even talk to me? I’m so hurt.” Zoey snorted. Holly chuckled with her, but secretly she wanted to scream inside. She opened her mouth to talk, but was cut off by a radio on the table next to them.

“This just in, the Normalis rebellion known as the NFF, or the Normalis Freedom Fighters, has struck again. A Donatus city center has been attacked, it’s said over thirty people were killed in the attack, and fifty more were injured. The Donatus government has announced that they will be responding to what they call ‘terror attacks’ by sending armed forces to Normalis city sectors.”

“Martial law? Do they really think that’ll fix the problem?”

“They aren’t worried about fixing the problem, Holly. Just solving it.” Holly twiddled her thumbs, not sure what to say. Zoey put a hand on her shoulder.

“Hey, let’s not worry about that right now, don’t forget what we’re here for, remember?” Holly smiled at her.

“Yeah, thank you.”

Holly and Zoey usually just came here to talk, rarely did they actually order anything, but this time was special. It was to celebrate Holly’s birthday. It might have been small, but it was nice. The waiter walked up to them and handed them their food, a small slice of birthday cake for Holly and a muffin for Zoey. They were about to dig in, when a loud boom down the street caused them to jump up from their seats. It was silent for a second, a cold dead, ominous silence that sent a chill down Holly’s spine. Then, a low rumbling shook the ground beneath them, cups fell off the tables, and the windows cracked as the large metal tank rolled down the street.

“What the hell are the Donatus doing!?” Zoey said as she clenched her fists. A loud speaker on the back of the tank rang out.

“Attention all Normalis! As we are sure you are aware, the terrorist organization known as the NFF has been active in this area, if you know of the wearabouts of any idvaiduals envolved with this group, report them immediatly. Anyone found harboring these individuals will be treated as accomplices.” Zoey scoffed.

“Didn’t realize they were sending them so quickly.” Holly grabbed her hand.

“Maybe we should get inside..” Suddenly, a small round object fell from the window of a building by the tank, and rolled underneath it. The tank stopped, and then was consumed by a fiery explosion. The shockwave knocked the girl to the ground, and multiple soldiers in white armor came out of the tank. In response, multiple men and women popped out of the woodworks, guns at the ready. It wasn’t long after that the fighting started, bullets and magical projectiles started flying overhead as Holly and Zoey tried to run into the cafe. Another explosion consumed the cafe and made them stumble back. Zoey screamed in pain as a glass shard from the cafe window pierced her abdomen.

“Shit!” Zoey stumbled and almost fell, but Holly managed to drag her away behind the building.

Oh no, no, no, no.” Holly looked down at Zoey’s wound, there was more blood then she had seen in her entire life.

“Holly, you need to run.”

“What? But what about you?”

“Don’t worry about me, I’ll just slow you down like this.” Holly looked down at her hands, tears filling her eyes.

“No.” Holly pulled the shard out of her friend’s body and placed her hands over the gash.

“AH- what the hell are you doing!?” Slowly, the blood retreated back into Zoey’s body and the wound closed.

“There, you should be good to go!” Zoey looked up at her, speechless.


“Donatus, yes I know. I’ll explain later but we have to go-” A young man grabbed her shoulder.

“Are you two okay?” Zoey spoke up.

“We’re fine! Is the coast clear?”

“Yes ma’am!” He helped them to their feet. Holly looked over at Zoey, confused.

“Dismissed.” The soldier ran off.

“Zoey, your-”

“Part of the rebellion? I know, I’ll explain later.” Zoey smirked. Holly opened her mouth to say something, but nothing came out. Zoey grabbed her hand. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone about what you are, I’m sure you have your reasons.” Holly nodded.

“Thank you.”

“Now come on, we have to get somewhere safe, fast.” Zoey turned around and began to walk. “Welcome to the rebellion.”

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