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Showcasing creative writing by university students around the world.

Published Sunday, September 21st, 2014

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The Revolution Is In Your Mind

Under the cover of night, the grimmest creatures come up to the surface of Hamelin. They wait for the sun to hide behind the horizon, when the skeletons of the highest buildings become invisible in thick darkness. Before the war, there were glass skyscrapers towering above the city. They illuminated every corner and every turn of Hamelin’s streets. Thanks to that, even the shabbiest, narrowest alleys felt safe past daytime. Now the city drowns in a sea of blackness, with only one faint lantern to guide the night creatures as they leave their human shells to come alive.

Under the cover of night, the grimmest creatures come up to the surface of Hamelin. They wait for the sun to hide behind the horizon, when the skeletons of the highest buildings become invisible in thick darkness. Before the war, there were glass skyscrapers towering above the city. They illuminated every corner and every turn of Hamelin’s streets. Thanks to that, even the shabbiest, narrowest alleys felt safe past daytime. Now the city drowns in a sea of blackness, with only one faint lantern to guide the night creatures as they leave their human shells to come alive.
 
These creatures are memories. Memories of what we once had and how different our lives were before the king’s brother carried out his coup d’état, killing his whole family and anyone else who could have forbidden him access to the throne. He also killed something in us – the ability to speak our minds, to be happy. Hamelin’s prosperity and well-being deteriorated, and its citizens would never be the same again.
 
When the sun is high in the sky, no one is allowed to say a word against the new king. Large fines are given to those who break the golden rule. Those unable to pay have their children taken away to work in coal mines in the mountains, which is what happens to the majority. The lower class of Hamelin, who outnumber the aristocracy almost thrice, are so poor that the fine means for them living in the streets, deep under the social ladder. They can’t afford to lose their workshops, stalls and stores, so they give their daughters and sons away, hoping that one day they will see them again. But they won’t. No child has come back from the mines. Going there is like stepping into hell itself.
 
On a night like this, however, no one can be stopped from dreaming. It is the time when stifled emotions and desires slip away from the tight grasp of common sense. Nothing can control them as they turn into wild dreams about the past and the lost happiness of Hamelin. This is the only thing that keeps people alive and gives them the hope needed to survive.
 
This is where we come into the picture. Locals call us Rats, as we come out at twilight to plunder the city, searching for those weak enough to dream while awake. Or should I call them strong enough? It indeed takes much strength to plan a revolution. And we offer it to them in the shape of a drug, which soon will open the gates of our freedom. We need people. It is not a crime to convince them through addiction. They come to us and pay for the drug themselves.
 
Its use is simple. You eat it before going to bed, then wait for a couple of minutes until the whistling sound in your ears lulls you to sleep. Immediately, you are sucked into the world you knew years ago, when the rightful king and queen ruled the country, their daughter paid visits to all the houses in the neighbourhood, and the children were there to greet her with love and flowers. When you wake up, these pictures remain in your mind, and you begin to think that you want the old times back. You come to see us more often, demanding the magical medication that lets you forget about cruel reality.
 
The aristocracy refer to it as The Flute, the commoners – The Pipe. But the name doesn’t really matter. What is important is that the addiction to these little vivid displays of memories will grant us a better future. The old future.
 
Going out at night isn’t dangerous, but I’m always in a rush, jumping from one rooftop to another. Scampering down the alleys, crawling through chimneys and catch pits, I pace the city as if someone were chasing me. But nobody does. Everyone knows what I’m doing. Only drug pushers and whores, and of course their clients, appear in the streets under the moonlight. What they do is not considered illegal by the new ruler. He lets Hamelin be, to rot on its own.
 
Although my attire is made of colourful rags and scraps of different fabrics, I definitely don’t look like a person selling their dignity. I’m almost covered from head to toe, the only visible part of my body being my emerald green eyes. Their colour and my bizarre outfit are what distinguish me from others in my business, and the customers as well. They all wear black robes with large hoods and, if they are smart enough, a mask to hide their mouths. Hiding one’s lips is the key factor to remaining anonymous.
 
There are two ways to recognise the social class the client belongs to – either by the way they name the drug, or the shape of their lips. The aristocrats’ are sweet and full, with a deep cupid’s bow, which makes them resemble a heart. The kind of lips you would like to kiss forever. Commoners, on the other hand, have lips thin and oblong. It is impossible to mistake them.
 
For me there is no difference in who I sell our drugs to. I’m pleased that I have buyers waiting for me in the dead-end streets long before the set time. They always pat my

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back, calling me a ‘good rat-boy’, and pay generously. Nobody begrudges us the money – they know we need it to produce more, to feed their constant appetite for the calming melody of our Pipes and Flutes. Even if what we give them are only butterscotches. Brown sugar is expensive these days.
 
It would change nothing, if they discovered it. The necessity of returning to what we once had is too strongly rooted in their minds. They will join us the day we carry out an assault on the castle. Then I will rip off my mask, revealing my heart-shaped lips and feminine features, look my uncle straight in his emerald green eyes, and penetrate his heart with the sharpest of daggers.
 

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