The gun went off a second time. “Get up and fight, damn you! Show them the real you, you wretched animal!" The shooter’s allies, dozens in number, faces masked, drew in closer, eager to see this… thing… die.
The figure grunted, slowly but painfully rising. "This is the real me. We are not… so different.” A bloody cough. “It is easier for you and your friends to think of us as… less than you, less than human…”
“Shut up, shut up!!” A third shot, but the hand shook from rage; the bullet merely grazed an ear.
A bloodied smile. “We aren’t what you think we are. Because if we truly were the vicious inhuman monsters you believe us to be…”
Suddenly came the sound of metal unsheathed, and the now-silent masked parted as a handful of figures, anonymous like the rest, but armed with hidden blades and intimidating presence, stepped forward and took defensive poses around the injured one.
“…you would all be dead now.” -- ChaosWolf1982
This is the way the world works, they were told. We are One, and everyone else is Other. But you will not learn about Other, oh no. They are too brutal. Too savage. When old One explorers found Other, they were eating people. Brutal cannibals. They only know savagery. That's enough about Them. Time to explore the long and glorious history of Us.
When One found the Other, they were naked. They were almost animals. They didn't speak proper words like the One did. They didn't know real civilisation like the One did. One took the Other in. Gave them work. Showed them new fontiers. Helped them find new opportunities and new lands and they had the gall to be angry about that. Why, before the One came along, the Other didn't even have one language to complain in. How dare they.
But the wheel turns. Those who were beneath the One rise, despite the numerous obstacles in their way. Others who are smart, who invent, who make, who create, who change the world are treated as statistical anomalies. Outliers. They are very smart, for an Other. They're very well spoken, for an Other. They're articulate. And then more and more Others rise up through the efforts of the first, and it's suddenly too many of Them coming in where Us belong. Taking Our jobs. Ruining Our neighbourhoods. Lowering the tone of the place.
When they reached too high, too often, One would tamp them down. Act more violently than they claimed the Other ever was. Of course they would. One wanted to keep what they had gained through Other's sweat and tears. One would spread drugs into Other's neighbourhoods, cultivate a trade of narcotics for Others to prosper in the face of One-enforced adversity. And then quickly made those drugs illegal, dangerous, and criminal to be near. One caught selling them would get a light sentence, whilst Others caught with small amounts in their possession would be imprisoned for life.
None of this history was known to either side. Glossed over. Bowdlerised. Sugar-coated. Or just not told at all.
"I'm just trying to get home," said the girl. She stayed down. She didn't have a weapon, but the men in the mask saw her as Other, and acted as if she were a cornered and savage beast. Some wanted to watch her die. Some wanted to best her in the only way that savage men could best a woman. Most just wanted to hear her scream.
"Show us what you really are, animal," demanded the one with the gun. His last shot had gone wide and his hand shook as he aimed it at her. But he would never admit that he was afraid of this meek young lady in a staid flower-print dress.
"Already there," she managed. The gang of One had succeeded in beating her to her knees. Now they were hesitating to strike. Waiting for a signal. A chance. The cue to take the final step towards actual murder. "I'm not less than you. We're not less than you."
There was a shuffling in the darkness, and the group of One found themselves surrounded by a larger number of Other. With heavy bludgeons and no masks on their faces. The Other didn't need masks, because the One thought the Other looked alike.
The pack of Ones suddenly began to feel like Zeroes.
"If we were what you say we were," said one of them. "You'd be dead by now."
Another one began taking the weapons off of the Ones. "You run along home and don't do any more of this nonsense, now."
They were glad to flee. But it did nothing to quell their hatred of the Other. Nothing would, bar the understanding that the One repeatedly failed to seek.
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