Breed Book 3, Part 27

“How do you do it?” Cris asked Angela, as much to drown out the sounds of children crying echoing off the walls as anything. He looked back at her, and she was gone. “Is that you telling me you grow numb to it?”

“At least for little moments,” she said, as the light-bending wall around her fell away. “You steal moments for yourself, to steel yourself for the rest of the day. But really, you do it because you don’t really have a choice,” she said with a shrug.

“I mean it, though. You’ve survived here for more than a month. I’ve been here a little over a week, and it’s hard not to just burn the whole damn world down.”

“Maybe we should,” Angela said. “Maybe a world that could do this- let alone actually would- should burn.”


“Don’t worry,” she said with a light laugh. “I’m not the terrorist type.”

“Wheh,” Cris said, pantomiming wiping away sweat.

“But…” she turned, taking in the concentration camp’s nesting doll cages, every inch of space on the floor covered by children sleeping under foil sheets on thin rubber mats- those that weren’t part of a mournful chorus of weeping. “This is the kind of thing words like ‘Never again’ were meant to prevent. I guess I’d admit it’s a step or two removed from ovens designed for people, but it’s still- how the hell are they getting away with this? How the hell have we not rioted, burned down every ICE and DHS facility, and demanded better of our government?”

“I don’t think I blame ‘us,’” Cris said. “I think there’s a lot of people whose power depends on supporting people on their side, even if they’re caging children. I blame them, for being willing to trade their sacred duty for clout. And maybe, at the margins, we could have marched more, we could have chanted louder, we could have been arrested with more frequency. But without declaring war on the federal government, I don’t think we were going to move these people. They don’t have shame. Or compassion. They just have hate, and anger, and greed.”

“Then why haven’t we fought them?” she asked. “How else do you beat people who only understand rage and violence?”

“Because they’ve built this system where if we fight back, we’re terrorists, rioters, and every other awful thing they’ve ever said about us. If we fight them, we lose allies, and the protection that comes with their sympathy.”

“So it’s hopeless?”

“No. But it’s complicated. It’s not about any one victory. There’s an entire… industry of hate at this point. And it has to be taken apart, piece by piece. Some of that work can be done through voting. I need to believe, in this moment, that some of it can be done through peaceful means. But if it can’t… we might need another revolution.”

“That’s some seditious talk.” “In the face of this kind of… cruelty… maybe that’s the only kind of talk that makes sense.”

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