(I hung on that windy tree for nine nights wounded by my own spear.)
On some days a formidable crack appears in the sky, like what one would see in old plaster walls, whitewashed in false purity. I never liked that crack. I know no one who likes it. On other days the glass shards next to the oak tree that I never bother to pick up and clean away turn into clear birds, some leaving to perch on my window, tapping crystal to crystal, small noise waking me from my slumber. Those little miracles I don't mind so much, though it is annoying to find my bed having moved from the position it had been in the night before.
(I hung to that tree, and no one knows where it is rooted.)
They called it the world crash. I wasn't alive. None of us were. Something about reality caving in on itself, something about the world fraying like an old rug. There are only a few stable zones left, and they're walled in, no freaks allowed. That includes me, of course. Post-crash, some kids ended up being born with blue skin, or horns, or leaves on their bodies. Me? I'm lucky. Some find my freakishness beautiful. But enough about that.
(None gave me food. None gave me drink. Into the abyss I stared.)
Some of us are getting antsy. Not that anything's gotten any more unstable- it's doubtful that anyone will turn into a tree anytime soon. But there's a few people wanting to go into the walled zones. Break things, scare those smug little "normals" and their pretty little organized unchaotic mess. Calling us fractured. Calling us less than human. They go out sometimes, in funny suits and ridiculous cars, to trade with the other walled people. That's when we ambush them. Hella fun.
(Until I spied the ruins.)
Peace treaties are for people who don't know any better.
(I seized them up, and, howling, fell. )
Premise: The world "crashed" 145 years ago. Most don't know the cause, but it is speculated that scientists who attempted to alter reality itself had their isolated, boxed experiments grow like vines that created fractures in in the reality of the world. And as one knows, Fractures become larger fractures, which become cracks, which become chasms.
The first thing one would notice in this brave new world is that the sky often has a literal crack above it, one of the more obvious signs of human tampering. There are also smaller blessings and curses, such as trees that grow from the sides of buildings, unaware of gravity, their fruits otherwise unharmed. Sometimes reality shifts, and one's shoes will move from its previous location the night before.
But then there are also the people. Many on the outside "unstable zones" have various oddities, from the minor to the debilitating to the actually useful. Most "powers" one can get are directly related to your infliction; example- a girl who has vines growing out of her skin can similarly grow vines elsewhere, and perhaps even have minor control of how they twist and turn.
There are "stable zones" left, and they were built in a hurry, walled bubbled cities that shield themselves from the outside, where the "afflicted" reside. They are normal- well, as normal as one can get in a world where the sky sometimes has a crack in it.
As of late there as been some discontent. The walled stable zones have difficulty contacting each other, and use heavily armored cars to transport people to other zones. Some do not come back, either due to the unstable world doing its work, or the people of the barren lands terrorizing them.
And a few of the walled zones themselves are slowly decaying into wildness, so to speak, though the mutations happening inside said cities are far worse...
You are an afflicted in the unstable zone. You have lived here for all of life, accustomed to the stark, frightening crack in the sky. It does not disconcert you; in fact it is one thing that is "stable" in your life.
You are from a stable zone, a terrible "affliction" occurring like a plague- people are slowly turning a marble white, and at the end of three months disintegrate into a fine dust. You have enough money to abandon the place, and are among the few to leave via armored car in hopes of entering another unaffected stable zone.
Your armored car has crashed. You are stranded with a few others, at the mercy of the elements.
You're not exactly welcoming. Hate or disinterest or mercy? You decide.