Jason Greene y Harry Freed, arquitectos
Cliente: Tomás Arango
Nuestro cliente se llama Tomás Arango. Es muy listo y feliz. Tiene 15 años. Vive en el Centro de la ciudad. Le encanta skateboarding y jugar videojuegos. Le mucho gusta plantas, y le gusta verde y la playa.
La casa de Tomás es en la playa en Los Angeles. Es cerca de un parque y un supermercado. Es una casa mediana, moderno, sofisticado, y elegante. La casa tiene dos pisos. Es muy bueno para perros y gatos. En la piso primero de la casa, Tomás tiene muchos partidos.
La sala de estar tiene dos consolas y una mesa para la tele fantástica.
En el dormitorio de Tomas, hay una piscina caliente.
El comedor tiene cuatro sillas elegante y una mesa.
Hay a baño en el piso primero y cuatro dormitorios en el piso segunda.
Tiene un bidé y un lavamanos en el baño.
No hay un sótano en la casa de Tomás.
Tiene una nevera frío, una estufa, y una fregadero.
Hay muchos videojuegos divertidos.
En el piso segunda, hay un baño más, con una ducha.
Tiene un invernadero grande, también.
El piso primero y el invernadero:
La fachada (muy narcisista)
Michael & Darius Real Estate
Cliente: Pearl Jonas
Descripción De la Persona: Nuestra cliente, Pearl Jonas, es muy atlético y simpático. Le gusta colore verde. Vive en filadelfia. Le Gustaría correr y leer.
Descripción de la Casa:
La sala de ejercicios es grande.
Maestro dormitorio y cuatro regular dormitorio.
Jardin es magnifico.
Cerca de un parque y supermercado y transporte público.
Peticiones: Mediana, Antigua, Dos pisos, Divertida/Vibrante, Con jardín, Un cuarto para ejercicio, verdes.
House Blue Print
Designed by Darius and Michael from Michdars Co. Real Estate1(800)- PIMP-YO-HOUSE www.Michdarscopimpyohouse.org
Chapter 1 (Isaac)
Isaac was 6 when his father died in the 50 gallon war. What was the fight over? 50 gallons of water. His mother also fought in the war, but she survived and went on to become a scientist. She became one of the world’s most respected scientists.It was 2078 and the population had drastically gone up. The world’s population clocked in at about 12 billion and resources were running thin quickly, especially water. Clean water has become so scarce that even the fishes must huddle in together and take short breaths to not take up all of the oxygen in the water because there is so little. Aside from America and Germany fighting over 50 gallons of water found in Japan, all countries are kind of tense. Gallons are never found randomly. They are harvested. And each country has a fair share based on their population. Japan harvested and hid fifty gallons in violation of their population. They had 450. They were only supposed to have 400. Even though many people hated the war, some loved it. Some felt like they needed it. It was a sort of population control. Many people were drafted. Although, the battle ended short when the two countries just decided to split it 25/25. Not as many people died, and it was a peaceful two years. Then the discovery of “Scrups” happened. And all humans were turning against each other so quick you would have thought they were enemies even before time.
Isaac was now 8 years old and he lived in a tiny house along with his mother. He shook the black hair from his face and he walked into the kitchen.
"What are you eating?"
Isaac frowned, he knew that they were blessed with money but he wish she didn’t spend it on fresh food and eat it all. Both corners of her mouth scrunched up into a satisfied smile. Isaac had always heard "Eat healthy, you are what you eat ya know," from his abuela and he was always afraid his mom would turn into a steak. He never shared this fear with her because he didn't want to be labeled as a "dummy". She always called him that when she thought he made a stupid comment. His mother ate steak every night. Every morning. Every noon. And for snack, which was 6 times a day. And with each steak she ate, she drank a 8 ounce glass of orange juice and 2 ounces of water. Little Isaac walked up to his mother.
“Can I have some?”, his eyes went wide. “BUT ONLY A LITTLE BIT!”
His mother jumped back and her right eyebrow scrunched up, “Que te pasa?! Why the hell are you yelling?!”
Isaac apologized as his mother cut a small piece of steak. Her eyes were rimmed with dark purle, and the sea of wrinkled invaded her eyes, creating saggy bags. Despite his mom being exhausted, he loved her because she still took the time to talk to him. She flashed him a tired smile as she fixed him a small plate of steak. He was glad he only asked for a little bit, he didn’t want to turn into a steak.
“Lo siento, I forgot your fork!” Maribel stood up to run to the kitchen.
“No te preocupes, I’ll get it,” little Isaac got up to grab a fork. As he went to grab the iron handle to the wooden drawer, he bit on his lip so that he wouldn’t gasp as draw flew open as the handle pulled out straight towards his hands.
“Isaac? Are you okay?” his mother called. Worry was deep in her voice and she got up to move. Just then, Isaac came running through the door. Spoons, forks, and knives were flying through the air and they seemed to be chasing him. He ran back and forth, desperately trying to live when his mother brought a fist upon his cheek. Isaac blacked out, that’s all he remembered.
He woke up on a soft bed, screaming. He mother ran into his bedroom and held him down.
“Shhh! Shhh! Shhh! Ya cálmate!” she held his shoulders down as he panted.
“What do you mean calm down already?! Did you see that mommy?! Did you see that?!” he pointed everywhere, he quickly became paranoid as the metal candle holder on the brown wooden dresser started to shake. He screamed and his mom put her hand over his mouth.
“Shhh, the more calm you are, the less it happens. This was much easier when you were younger. I used to put medicine in your bottle just to calm you down,” she sat up on the bed and wiped the tears from his scared face.
“Your father, used to laugh. He believed that he had everything a man wanted. A wife, a beautiful child, a good paying job. He didn’t mind. We knew you were always special. Especially because his jacket buttons always stuck to your back. It was easy to peel them off of course. But it was funny to see the rainbow of colors on your back.” She giggled.
“You...you mean you knew I was a scrup?!” Isaac’s mouth twinged into a tight pout.
“A what?” her right eye brow scrunched up. Isaac knew that look, but he didn’t care.
“A screw up mom! A screw up!” he yelled, her temper came in quick and she slapped him so fast he didn’t even see the hand. Just heard a “whir” before he saw stars. She began to yell!
“You are NOT a screw up Isaac! You are beautiful and you are special!” she saw the tears in his eyes and she calmed down. She didn’t like hitting him, even for disciplinary reasons.
“We just, we just didn’t say anything because we thought we could keep it under control. We didn’t know what caused it at the time. We don’t know. But what we do know is, if people know then they will take you away from me.”
She began to cry, streams of tears dressed her delicate face and she no longer looked tired. Just devistated.
“I can’t have them take you away from me. I would die. I would just die. I wouldn’t know what to do!” She held on to Isaac and they cried together.
“W-w-what do I do mami?” he held on to her hand.
“I’ll show you,” she held up her right hand and a fork flew right into it. Isaac’s eyes went wide.
“WHOA! YOU HAVE IT TOO?” Isaac almost passed out. This was too much excitement for one day. He damn near fainted.
“Yes, come here. You can read well can’t you?” she pulled out a leather bound book. It was big, brown, and it had a metal lock on it.
“Yes ma’am,” he said proudly.
“I know you’re mature. I was waiting to give this to you, go in your room and read it,” she handed him the book. But he didn’t know the lock combination. It was a 7 slot lock and he didn’t know if he had to guess or what, and he flashed a worried look at his mother. She held out her right hand and the lock turned. The term “SOFRITO” came out and Isaac smiled. Only mami would do something like this.
“Mom, anyone whose spanish will know this! Can’t I change it?” he pouted.
“Yeah, here”, she held out her right hand again and made a fist. Something clicked and she rephrased the word into “ISAACYR”.
“There, your name and the first initial of your father’s last name and the first initials of my last name. Better?” she looked proud.
“Yes!” Isaac ran to his room and plopped on his bed. He opened the book, he appreciated the fact that his mom drew pictures for him to understand.
Chapter 2 (Maribel’s Diary)
Hello, if you’re reading this, it means you’ve finally discovered that you are special. Like me. I might be retired now, and we’re probably living low because we are “special” and I need to teach you how to conceal your powers. Because if they are found, we will both be killed. Please read this, and learn a lot. This was from the studies that I did when I was still a scientist. Ok, here we go.
Basically, we are of the magnet origin. It is ancient, and it’s just ONE of the many origins that people can come from. Not everyone in the family has it. Just you, me, your grandma, and her father. Basically, we have the power to magnetize and demagnetize ourselves. But with magic, comes science. I’ve done some experiments on myself and I realized that the reason why you are of magnet origin is partly my fault. You know how I always eat steak and drink orange juice? Well, those are my favorite things to eat and drink. The issue is, we are already born with an iron imbalance in our bodies because we are basically human magnets. You know what else has iron? Steak. And do you know what an orange has? Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron and I pretty much ate this while I was pregant with you. I’m so sorry Isaac, please forgive me for burdening you. ❤
Okay, here’s a simple diagram:
Okay honey, as you can see, we have a crap load of iron in us. Therefore, at will, we can become super magnetic. Here are things you need to know:
- Even if you want to panic, don’t. You will pull all of the metal to yourself or push it away.
- Befriend people of different origins. If you want, I can introduce you to some.
- Befriend people of similar origins. Here’s a chart of how they’re broken down.
Magnetic (attracts metal)
Electricity (Good at fighting, can summon electricity. Good for black outs)
Travelers (can fly/super speed)
Rockers (Manipulate Earth/Metal)
Aqua mages (can manipulate water)
Starters (People who can summon fire)
Pushers (Can maipulate air to create “natural” disasters)
Chameleons (once they touch the earth they can blend in)
Green thumbs (Can manipulate plants)
Melters (People who just have the abilities to heat up things)
Airlocks (Can summon air)
As people of the origins, our job is to simply keep the elements in balance and to keep the Earth safe from it’s people. We were supposed to live in peace. Now, for each origin there is a “mother” origin. The mother origins are the four elements. Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. And from these stem the “baby” origins. Such as us “Magnetics”. Now, where were weeeee oh yeah. How to magnetize! Here is a practice method:
- Sit in a calm, quiet room.
- Put a metallic object in front of you.
- Close your eyes.
- Breathe calmly in and out. In and out.
- Grab the fork. When you touch it, focus on the energy going back and forth into the fork.
- When you close your eyes, hold the fork in front of you. You will be able to see a bright blue outline of everything. Focus on the fork until all of it is light blue.
- Mentally tell it to push away.
- Let go.
- If it drops, you need to practice some more.
- Once you master that, you can mentally “demagnitize” yourself.
- Hold the fork until it’s blue again. Now, focus all the energy away until it’s faint blue again.
- Drop it.
- You won’t attract any metal unless you want to.
- What the hell are you waiting for? Go try it!
Isaac was excited. He jumped out of his bed and ran to the door and screamed when he saw his mom standing there with a fork.
“Here!” she threw the fork at him and he screamed and put his hands up. The metal flew to his hand.
“Okay, here’s one thing. As magnetics, we can only pull or push. There is no floating or suspending in the air. That’s what the Rockers are for. Now, try to pull that spoon over here. Remember the guide. Y por favor, no te grites.” she pouted.
“Okay I won’t scream,” He sat on the floor and closed his eyes. He breathed in and out. In and out. He could feel his body gathering energy and soon he could see the outline of every little thing in the room. He focused on the little spoon on the marble counter and soon it began to turn bright blue. He thought “COME” and in a flash he felt the spoon smack into his hand.
“Whoa I did it!” Isaac jumped up and down.
“Great, now, time to ea-,” she stopped in mid sentence. Isaac could see blood drip on the floor.
“MAMI!” he screamed to deaf ears. Dead ears. He saw her body fly to the ground and he held out his hand in panic. Her book flew to his hand as he backed in a corner and screamed. Tears flew to his face. He panicked, his body drenched in sweat and a little urine trickled. Four men in army uniforms started to walk towards him. The strongest one, the most muscular spoke up first.
“I don’t know Hank. He’s just a kid. Do we have to kill him? We could just collect him.”
The smallest one, who was supposedly the leader shot back:
“Orders were, annihilate any scrups. Shoot him.”
The men readied their guns and shot. Isaac screamed and put his hands up and all of a sudden the shots stopped. All he could he was four dead men who looked like bloody swiss cheese then he was whirred away. All he saw was a flash of his neighborhood and his house getting smaller and the next thing he knew he was in a room. He looked up and there was an African American kid.
“W-w-what are you DOING?” Isaac began to stand up but he fell again. He was dizzy.
“Calm down dude, that’s gonna happen. Hi. My name’s Connor and I like Star Wars. Everyone get’s dizzy when I drive them!” Connor was 8 years old at that time and full of energy.
“H-h-h-hi. My name’s Isaac. I’m a m-m-..,” Isaac couldn’t stop stuttering out of fear.
“Magnetic? Yeah. I know. We all know. You’re mom used to be one of the big guys.”, Connor stood Isaace up and supported him on his shoulder.
“We all?” Isaac looked around. They were in a little shack. Connor pulled open a wooden plank and there was a stair case. Connor led Isaac down.
“Common dude! This is so cool! You’ll get to meet my mom, Jennifer, and all my friends!”.
As they slowly walked down the dark, spiral stair case, Isaac began to whimper and cry.
“I-it’s okay! You don’t have to cry! Please don’t cry!” Connor tried his best to calm Isaac down but to no avail. The loss of his mother was too much to bare. He trudged down the stairs to a big ice door. It was frozen solid. White, frozen, solid.
Connor yelled out “Jennifer!” and the ice magically melted. A nine year old white girl was on the other side.
“Aw, why is he crying?” she pouted. Behind her, a quick “whir” and a tall slender black woman popped up in front of her.
“Connor what the hell were you THINKING?” she yelled at him as he hung his head.
“I was… I got Miss Maribel’s kid. She…,” little Connor didn’t even need to finish the sentence till his mother’s hard scowl softened.
“Oh, oh you poor baby!” she lifted Isaac in her arms and he let her. He cried on her shoulder and she held him tightly. He looked around with his tear-blurry eyes and sniffled. The room was white with blue lights. The carpet and the couches were white where as the tables and chairs were blue. There were people of all ages staring at him.
Miss Lana set him down. “Would ya like some water honey?”, Isaacs eyes went wide with surprise.
“You can have juice, but water is illegal to have! Who are you people?!.” Lana gave him a warm smile.
“We are you, and you’re one of us. Jennifer!”, Jenny came with an empty cup and drew her right hand up she pulled the moisture out of the air and poured it into the cup. The cup got frosty. She handed it to a now very thirsy Isaac. Miss Lana introduced them all.
“This is Jennifer. Her origin is Aqua Mage, Mother Origin is water. And this is Connor. He’s a traveler, as you know he can run really fast and he makes trouble. Listen, I’m really sorry about your mother… she meant a lot to everyone here as well.” Lana held on to his shoulder. Isaac looked up with red puffy eyes.
“Why did they kill my mom? We didn’t do anything!” tears were streaming down Isaac’s face. Lana picked him up gently and took him into a small white room, she closed the door behind her to shield them from staring eyes.
“The government sees her as a threat. They don’t like people like us. It’s just that, I’m scared for them.” she said, her eyes looked down with sorrow.
“Well. Have you ever heard of the term “You are your worst enemy?”” She scrunched her eye brows up.
“Yes! My mom used to say it all the time!”
“Well, they will destroy themselves eventually. But, it’s up to us to protect our people. SNS. Suspernatural Society.”
Isaac felt a sort of proudness. He quietly got up, walked to the door, opened it and looked out.
“Hi” he said, “I’m Isaac”.
Chapter 3 (2082)
Isaac was now ten, even 2 years later his mother’s death still affected him. He walked out of a medium red house. That’s where all of the members of the SNS stayed. He walked down the sidewalk to the corner of the 56 septa bus. As it arrived he read some graffiti on the side “No Scrups”. Isaac was scared, but he remembered what his mother said. Be careful, and breathe. He breathed and got on the bus. He sat near the door, that’s where he always felt safe. A strange old lady, wrinkled to the bone began to chant something. He couldn’t hear it until she started to speak up:
“No Scrups! No Scrups! No Scrups!”, by that point everyone in the bus decided to chime in, getting louder in unison.
“NO SCRUPS! NO SCRUPS! NOOOOOO SCRUUUUPS!”, Isaac was getting nervous. His palms were sweaty, his eye brows scrunched up, his face in a frown. He closed his fists and the bus stopped. People’s chants died down and gasps went all around. The old crone whispered:
“There’s a scrup in here...everyone off the bus!” everyone ran out of the doors. Scared. Nervous. Violent. The outside of the bus was crunched. People scattered in all directions, women, men, children, even the old wrinkled prune seemed to gain speed as if she were 30 years younger. Isaac ran down the street to Erie and Torresdale to catch the EL to school. He was happy to finally make it. After he got on his long ride, he hopped off at 13 street and took a trolley to 22nd. As he went up the stairs, he could hear the same chants. He walked in on a crowd who were protesting intergrated schools. He ran past them and went to greenfield. He was about ten minutes late as he slammed into the seat of his first class, sweaty, nervous. His teacher Miss Mara scolded him for being late. He tried to explain but she wouldn’t have it. She made him sit up front, and the school bully Johnathon threw spit balls at him. Isaac was young, but he was old enough to know what happens. When a fight is going on, the kid that is the most in trouble is the one that retaliates. Isaac looked at his teacher and pretended to pay attention, but he changed his focus. He instead, saw a dull blue light around his teacher, but he could feel the intensity of the metal desk behind him. Jonathon teetered back in his desk and Isaac made himself negative between himself and the desk, pushing it back. Johnathon began to cry as Isaac smiled. He ran his fingers through his hair, it was oily. He figured he could get Connor to rush him home and wash it real quick, but he changed his mind. Jennifer was in his class as well, as Jonathon fell, Jenny flashed Isaac a smile. She was trying so hard not to laugh. After a daunting 45 minutes, the bell rang and all of the kids ran out into the hallway for their next class.
“Hey!” Jennifer yelled as she ran up. “Happy Birthday!” she smiled.
“Wanna skip?” Isaac inquired. He was so tired. A friend of theirs, Harry ran up as well.
“You can count me in! Hey, did you guys hear?” Isaac and Jenny looked confused. Harry decided to elaborate. “They killed him! They took him away and they finally killed him!”
“Who?” Isaac was curious!
“That Scrup!” he pulled out his hollogram phone and showed him a picture of an Asian man. His hair was scruffy, but that face looked familiar. No. Isaac couldn’t and would not believe it. His dad died in the war. But this man looked so familiar. No. Isaac’s dad died in a war.
“D-d-didn’t he die in a war?” Isaac was in shock.
“Heck no! My mom told me they got him while the war was going on. He’s on a death sentence. But they finally killed him! Isn’t that great? Hung him in front of everyone! They said he was the laaaaaast one that they knew about. They killed his wife already. They’re just looking for the kid! Well, I gotta go!” and proud Harry ran away. Isaac laid himself upon the wall. Shaking.
“We have to go home!” and just then a “whir” came by and Connor was standing 2 inches from Isaac’s face.
“I can get you guys there!” and the “beep” of an announcement went on. They stopped to listen.
“Attention! Attention! News reports have stated that a SNS house was found and cleared out! Soldiers have eleminated the threats, along with their leader Lana Johnson!”.
Connor’s heart took no time to break. Connor grabbed Jennifer and Isaac tightly and ran with all of his might to the house. It was on fire. Wood and metal were everywhere and Jennifer held out her hands and frosted everyone’s skin.
“It helps. You won’t burn or even feel hot. My grandma taught me that”. All three of them slowly walked in.
“My father…. was alive.” Isaac whispered. Tears running down his face. He was sad, not only because he didn’t know his father. But because he heard what happened to prisoners through Harry as well. And from the bruises and lash marks that he witnessed in the picture, it didn’t look like he had it easy. Connor began to cry as well. He kneeled down and held a burnt black hand, he washed it in his never ending agony.
“Mama….” but alas, he had no time to mourn as five soldiers with masks and fire proof suits came in. They all held their guns and began to shoot. Isaac made himself negative and flew the bullets their way, killing all five.
“Connor! Take Jennifer and go!” Isaac pulled all the metal towards him. Jennifer screamed:
“No, we’re not leaving! We got to stick together. Remember?” she frowned, she had no parents and Connor and Isaac were like brothers to her. “REMEM-” and Connor whirred her away after giving Isaac a strong and lasting hug.
Isaac was brought before a crowd in Ritten House. Whipped. Bloodied. Dirty. Skin black from the ash. Through his chewed up ears he could hear:
“NO SCRUPS! NO SCRUPS! NO SCRUPS!”
He could also hear a group of women who were upset:
“NO! He’s just a child! He’s just a child!”
They brought him onto a stage in front of everyone and through him over a cold wooden block. A big man with an axe came by and made a speech.
“Dear ladies, and gentlemen. These “Scrups” are nothing but trouble. They think they’re better than us, stronger, and more deserving of life just because they have powers. We have a child here. The child of the two leaders of SNS. Maribel Rodriguez and Ichiro Akiyama. The child of disgusting scum who didn’t deserve to walk the Earth.”
A lady yelled out “They were SOLDIERS. They FOUGHT for this COUNTRY! You are the real scum!”
The man simply replied with “Shut the hell up you prune. Bring her up here.” two soldiers dragged her up to the wooden block and slammed her down as well.
The man cleared his throat, “As I was saying, as humans, we are supposed to take care of this world. And today, we will make progress. Look at this boy and his scum follower! This is the enemy! This is what we must kill! They are the reason for sickness, global warming, the pain and agony that we endure every day! It’s ALL THEM!”
And with that, he brought down the axe. The head of the old woman ended up in the middle of the crowd and they all screamed a yell of joy as her blood sprayed on the grass.
“Goodbye devil child”, the man brought up his axe and-
A ten year old girl with brown curly hair closed the book. She ran out to the living room to her mother. Her father ran after her:
“Clara, CLARA! Give me that book! JENNIFER COME AND GET THIS GIRL!”. Clara’s mother softly got up from the couch.
“Connor what’s wrong now?” she inquired. She was tired.
“Did this really happen?” she breathed in and out. She never read something so scary. Her mother sat her upon her lap.
“No honey, of course not.” She rocked Clara back and forth until she fell asleep. She gave Clara to Connor and in 1 second Connor came back.
“You tucked her in and all?” Jennifer asked.
“Yes. Was one second too long for you?” and he tried to smile but it didn’t cheer Jennifer up.
“Where did she find that book Connor? I… I hid it away. I didn’t want to remember. I didn’t want to remember being in that crowd. Seeing Isaac… for God’s sake he was only ten Connor! Only ten! How many other children did they need to murder before they got their point across? Just for being a magnetic? For being a “scrup”? We even have to hide today Connor. When will they stop hating us?” Jennifer’s face became coated in tears.
“Just because he was a child, he had a hard time controlling it. Just because he was special. They killed him. Did they have to?” Jennifer mumbled.
Connor held her frail body and hummed until she calmed down.
“I know honey. I know. We just need to keep hiding. Ok? They can’t just tell if we have powers. We’ve had a nice life so far ok? And our baby was born normal. You don’t have to worry. Even if we were found out. I’ll protect you and Clara with all my life.”
Jennifer sniffled and she smiled. “Yeah, at least Clara is normal.”
It was just then she realized that Clara had just walked in. She was scared.
“Mommy?” tears were in her eyes. Her body was shaking. She jumped into her parents’ arms.
“Yes honey what’s wrong?” Jennifer began to sweat. Hoping her daughter didn’t hear the conversation. Her daughter held up her right hand, and a spoon began to float. Jenny’s eyes went wide with fear. She whispered:
“A r-r-rocker!” Jennifer exclaimed.
“M-m-mommy, some kids at school saw. My t-t-teacher knows”. Clara couldn’t stop stuttering. She wasn’t ignorant to the world. She knew.
Jennifer and Connor looked at each other as they heard a knock on the door. As Connor stood up to hold Clara and Jennifer to escape, the door flew inwards and broke open.
“It’s your choice Susanna, said Lawrence, “It’s all up to you”.
“Choose from what?”
“If you don’t choose, you’ll face brutal consequences. Beginning with the ones you love most.”
This was the 5th night in a row Susanna was having this dream. The chills and hot flashes would wake her up everytime at 4:34 am causing for her not to go back to sleep. She would lie restless in her bed til 5:45, when her alarm clock would ring. Her day had begun.
“Sam, wake up! You’re going to be late!”
“It’s stuck again mom, I need help.”
As the aromatic smell of pancakes and coffee filled the house, so did the morning frustration.
“I told you that these don’t fit anymore mom,” said a frustrated Sam.
“Look Sam, I called Dr. Procter 2 times last week, do you want me to harass the guy?”
“Well if it leads to me getting the prosthetic legs that actually fit, then godspeed.”
Susanna hadn’t called the doctor. Her insurance called her a week prior telling her that Sam’s new legs wouldn’t be covered by their insurance and that his doctor was no longer in their network. Susanna needed to look for a new doctor that would take a new patient that didn’t have that great of a track record.
Ever since George and Grace passed, things were tough for Susanna. She knew that she had to be strong for Sam, now that he was dealing with his amputation. She didn’t cry at the funeral. She didn’t bring any of the flowers, letters, or teddy bears inside. Ever since the accident, every morning, she tells herself “you’re okay”, when she knows she’s breaking.
“Okay, finish up your breakfast, you’re going to be late. Come on let’s go”.
“Mom?” questioned Sam.
“Why are you always in a rush to send me off to school because I’m always out the door 45 minutes before the bell rings when we only live 10 minutes from school?”
She wasn’t going to tell him the real reason.
“Because punctuality is the key to success, now go wait for the bus, it will be here any minute now.”
“Okay, love you mom.”
“Love you too pick you up at 4”
As the door closed behind him, the tears began to blur her vision.
“No tears Susanna,” she told herself. “Today is the day.” Today was the day she was going to make it. She showered, packed her things, and got dressed for work. She put her stuff on the kitchen counter and began to walk towards it.
“Today is the day,” she murmured to herself. “Today I will walk in.”
As she saw the pink and purple bead curtains sway side to side, she remembered Grace’s laughter. The smile that was Susanna’s everyday motivation. The smile that was missing two front teeth.
As she stood in front of the door, she began to tremble. She put out her left hand and pushed the beads aside as she nervously reached her right hand toward to the door knob.
“On the 3,” she said to herself. “One, two-o-o, thhre-e-e”.
It had been three years since she saw Uncle Earl’s dollhouse. The vanilla essence brought back carpool, candy store visits, and father-daughter dances. The vanilla essence brought her to her knees.
“Why! Why Gracie! Why!” she had broke.
Her cries for Grace were so loud that she didn’t here the front door open.
“Susanna?!” It was her older sister, Nancy. “Oh my goodness Susanna get up.”
“Why Nancy? She was only 5! She was to be at school right now. Why Nancy?
Nancy hadn’t seen her sister cry before, this was all very new to her.
“Susanna it’s going to be alright. You’ll get through this. You need to let the past go Susanna. Sam needs you. He needs his mom to love and care for him, including his mother calling this new doctor her sister found for her.”
“No, no don’t speak about the money. It’s taken care of.”
“I can’t accep-”
“Stop. Yes you can. Now get up and go find out if this Dr. Lawrence Fisher is really as phenomenal an as they say he is. “
“Thank you Nancy.”
The doctor’s office was just 2 streets down from her work. She decided that she’d go to work and then go to Dr. Fisher’s when she was settled.
As she drove into the parking lot, something felt out of place. Everyone who was usually inside during their hours was actually outside. She parked her car and spotted Lucia, her friend.
“Is there a fire drill going on?” said Susanna.
“Um, no. We just liked how, um, nice the weather was. You know how suffocating those cubicles can be”
“Yeah, I guess. So I guess I’ll see you inside?”
“Oh yes! Most definitely!”
As Susanna walked towards her cubicle, she began to see more and more flowers appear out of other people’s cubicles. The smell of her favorite Cinnamon Spice cake grew stronger as she approached her cubicle.
“Oh no,” she thought to herself. “Martin.”
A middle aged, athletic built man jumped from behind Susanna’s cubicle’s wall.
“You bet it’s Martin! The one and only Martin. The man who’s meant for you Martin. The only Martin in your-”
“I’m sorry, did I do something wrong? Oh no, it’s the cake isn’t it? I knew there wasn’t enough powerdered sugar on it!”
“No Martin, it’s not the cake. This is so sweet of you to do all this for my-”
“Our work anniversary. But today just isn’t the day. Okay?”
“Thank you Martin, I’ll help you clean up”
“Does this mean I need to cancel the massage appointment I had for?”
Susanna knew she was not going to pass up on that opportunity.
“Oh no! I would hate for that to go to waste, I’ll just take it for now and drive there myself.”
“Oh okay, good!” exclaimed Martin “It’s two streets down, in that new doctor’s office. And Susanna?”
“I love you”
“Great, thanks for the coupon!”
Susanna had never driven as fast she did for that massage session. In less than 5 minutes, she was welcomed into a rejuvenating advanced massage center that left her mesmerized. It wasn’t like anything she had seen before. She knew she deserved this.
She walked up to the service lady and handed her the massage coupon.
“Hello!” screeched the computerized service lady. “I am Flo! I love the rejuvenation center! I feel so rejuvenated! How can I help you today?”
“One massage please.” This was the happiest Susanna had been in a very long time.
“Great! Change into a massage suit and wait in the jacuzzi until we get to your turn.”
There were already 3 ladies in the jacuzzi. 3 ladies that seemed a bit off to Susanna. Then again, since the accident, a lot of things seemed off to her. But these ladies were especially bizarre
“You’re not crazy Susanna” said the blonde lady.
“You’re not crazy Susanna” repeated the blonde.
“Yes she is, she’s psychotic” said the red heard.
“I am not psychotic!”
“Yes you are,” said the 3rd women in the jacuzzi. “You are a slimy murderer who killed her husband and daughter!”
“LADIES!” A tall man approached the jacuzzi from the steamy sauna in the back. “My kitties, this is not how we treat our new guests. Understood?”
The 3 ladies stood up in the jacuzzi and their heads flashed a beam of light at the ceiling as they all answered “Yes Mr. Fisher”.
“Mr. Fisher was Sam’s new doctor’s name,”Susanna thought to herself
“Susanna it’s a pleasure, I’ve been looking forward to our appointment.”
“I think you mean my son, he’s the one who will be your patient soon.”
“No, you. Come with me Susanna.”
Dr. Fisher walked Susanna through a glass tunnel that led to a steel elevator.
“You are to take this elevator to the UG floor. Wait there for me, do not talk to anyone. I’ll take care of Sam.”
“But Dr. Fisher-”
“Call me Lawrence.”
And with that she was off.
The elevator was something out of a haunted house. It was dented and had bullet shots through every wall. Susanna had a headache began to worry, not for herself, but for Sam. Horrid thoughts crossed her mind one after another as she got deeper into the ground. The deeper she went the more pressure she felt on her head.
Then, a light shined through the bullet holes. Susanna began to get light headed.
“What’s going on?” said Susanna
The shadow of a women appeared before her who pick her up.
“The antidote is working. Let her fall.” said the woman
Susanna began to see black and white stripes and fell into a deep sleep
“She needs to choose Lawrence!”
“Nancy, it takes time.”
“No, there isn’t time, we don’t have time. Gracie and George are slowly fading away, we need them back or none of this.”
Susanna was slowly gaining back her consciousness.
This wasn’t suppose to happen.
“Lawrence, I thought you said she wouldn’t wake up for a while!” screamed Nancy
“Nancy is that you? Help Nancy, they took me.”
“Lawrence I’ll put her back to sleep.”
“Nancy, don’t. We need to tell her.”.
“Lawrence? Tell me what?” Susanna began to tremble again.
“It’s your choice Susanna, said Lawrence, “It’s all up to you”.
“Choose from what?”
“If you don’t choose, you’ll face brutal consequences. Beginning with the ones you love most.”
Susanna fell into a state of shock.
“No,” she said.
“We can bring George and Grace back Susanna,”
“Susanna, just listen to me.”
“No I don’t want to hear it Lawrence, plea-”
“Susanna!” yelled Nancy. “This is for your own good and for Sam. Okay?”
“You’re in on this Nancy?”
“George lied to you. George didn’t work for an architecture firm. He worked for the NSA. George was working on a very sensitive sensor that if not dealt with correctly, would endanger every single person in this country. This sensor detects natural disasters to bioterrorism plots. The only person who can unlock the sensor is George. He made the sensor so locked that only him or someone with the same blood as him can unlock this sensor.”
Lawrence took over. “However, recently we got word that one of the militants in Kenya has hacked into the NSA’s system and is in the process of unlocking the sensor as we speak.”
“George knew something like this would happen Susanna. He also knew that he would give up his life to protect this country. Therefore, he made the sensor in way that only a certain person’s blood, besides his, could shut off this sensor. An arm’s worth of blood can only shut it off.”
“Then, I’ll give blood. Give me a vile, I’ll do it myself.” proclaimed Susanna
“You can’t Susanna,” said Lawrence, “we already tested you. You are iron deficient you can’t give up an arm’s worth of blood.”
“But we know who can.” said Nancy
A silence fell among them. Susanna looked to Nancy as she handed her a report.
“Susanna, I tested Sam. He’s the only one who can sto-”
“No! You won’t take another part of my son from me! He is already suffering enough from the last car accident. I won’t let you!”
“It’s the country or Sam, Susanna! Uncle Earl would laugh at you right now.”
“Me Nancy?! You tricked me into coming into this dungeon that has robot women who accuse me to be a murderer!"
Lawrence realized this was all getting out of hand.
“Look Susanna, we can calmly talk about this.”
“No you listen to me, both of you! Do not get close to my son or me every again. You guys got us here in the first place and I want out. George is dead. He is gone. He left us.
This was his problem. Not mine and certainly not Sam’s.”
Susanna pulled the IVs out of her arm and pushed her way through the double doors to where she thought led her to the elevators. But instead, it led her to the hospital wing.
Susanna saw a sight she thought she would never see again.
Nancy ran towards Susanna to stop her.
“Susanna wait! Don’t get close to her!”
Susanna ran towards Grace and embraced her in her arms. She cried and squeezed her tightly as Grace stood there. Emotionless.
“Gracie, it’s me! Mommy!”
No response from Gracie just a blank stare.
“Why did you let her run through the doors Nancy!?” Lawrence wasn’t pleased.
“What did you do to her!” Susanna looks to Grace and begins to frantically shake her. “Gracie! Gracie!”
Gracie looks to Lawrence then looks Susanna
“You must choose Mommy”.
Susanna looked taken a back.
“You must choose Mommy. You must choose Mommy. You must choose Mommy.” Gracie got louder until the phrase into a siren shriek.
“What’s going on!?” Susanna couldn’t handle the sounds or her daughter anymore. Lawrence ran across the room and grabbed on to a red lever. Once he pulled it down, Gracie turned off. Lawrence looked to Susanna.
“It’s up to you Susanna. Make your choice now or the rest of our nation’s children will end up just like Gracie.
“Fine. But I want to be in the car with him to make sure he’s not in pain.”
Nancy didn’t approve.
“It’s much to dangerous Susanna, I can’t have you do that.”
“Me in the car, or not blood.”
It was 4 pm. Lawrence’s robot driver and Susanna were on their way to pick up Sam. Susanna began to tremble again. She knew she had to be strong to make sure Sam would be okay, who she spotted limping towards the car.
“Hey sweetie, how was school?”
“It was awful, I‘ve got blisters all over my legs. Did you call the doctor?”
“I sure did. We are actually going now so buckle up.”
As Sam sat in the car, he realized his mother wasn’t as happy as she usually was to see him.
“Mom,” said Sam.
“Are you okay?”
Susanna squeezed out a grin and said “I’m fine”.
“Okay, good.” Sam turned his back to the door and began to tell his mom about how much he loved coming home to be with her. As he turned Susanna saw Nancy’s programmed SUV coming straight for Sam’s door. She clenched his legs and closed her eyes.
Susanna heard Sam screaming for help but she felt restricted. She couldn’t move to hold him and tell it was all going to be okay, that he saved this entire country. All she could see was one of the jacuzzi ladies open her claw hands and grab her unconcious son. The blonde jacuzzi lady looked to Susanna and assured her that everything was going to be okay and that she was not going to remember any of this. Susanna drifted off.
It feels lonely and cold to lock myself up like this. To hide from everyone, my entire family, all my friends, my peers, and people I love. To be unable to hold or physically touch the humans I care about..is the most unfortunate and torturing thing I have ever experienced and I believe there is no other person in this earth that goes through this conflict like I do. The fear and images that flash in my mind when I touch someone is unbelievable. To be able to predict someone’s death through a touch..is the worst gift anyone can ever receive.
My name is Kayler and when I was fourteen years old, I was riding the train to school in the morning. It was extremely crowded and I just needed to get to school on time. The train station I ride is one of the most popular train stations in my city to get to any part of the city you need to go to. Especially during rush hour, it made it worse, it was just packed, the train couldn’t hold anymore people and workers made announcement to ask riders to wait for the next train to arrive. Usually robberies do happen since I was getting on the station where most poverty exists. I saw a man in a black coat with a brief case running away from three policeman that was happening nearly a block away from me. He was running through people, shoving them and pushing them in order to escape from the cops.
The police kept yelling while chasing the man. I thought it was just a robbery, maybe he stole that brief case from someone. It was no surprise to me, it wasn’t the first time I saw a robbery happening while waiting for my train to head to school. I looked away and continued to listen to my MP3 player. Suddenly, I heard a huge explosion and the ground shook. I lost balance right away and fell onto the ground and everyone around me started screaming. People also fell and half my body was crushed by two other people and I could not hear anything after that. All I heard was faint yelling and crying, and my vision was blurry. I started to see some smoke and haze as I looked up, trying to pull my legs out underneath from someone else on top of me. I started to feel dizzy and passed out. I came to the conclusions that it was just a bomb explosion. I passed out and from that day, my life has not been the same.
It been a few months after the incident, I started catching buses to school instead of the train. My parents were traumatized by the small nuclear bomb explosion that happened months ago at my train station. It was closed for a while anyway and I don’t mind riding a few buses to school. It’s a lot less crowded than taking that train.
“Oh my god is already 8:10” I got off my last bus to walk to school, and started to speed walk and turned up my music louder. I was too busy trying to change the song on my MP3 player that I bumped into a lady shorter than me. I looked up and caught her by her shoulders. It was a senior citizen, a frail small lady.
“Sorry!” I felt bad, she looked startled even though I ran into her sofly . She just nodded and walked away.
I continued to walk the couple of blocks I had left. As I walked farther from her, I somehow had these thoughts I couldn’t control. I kept seeing images of her in my head getting hit by a car. It was so strange, why am I even imagining this happening to her? I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I couldn’t stop seeing it in my head. The exactly images was her crossing the street and a minivan didn’t break into and hit her, and she just tumbled over. Something didn’t feel right, my gut was telling to turn back around and go make sure she is okay.
As I pulled out my earphones and started to run backwards to find her two blocks down, I started to trembled at the thought. My palms got sweaty, my legs started shaking as I was jogging. I ran down the block to the stop sign and there she was. Laying on the ground in front of a minivan, passed out. A local crossing guard from the other street heard the car and went to go check. She started yelling that the senior citizen no longer has a pulse. If only I was faster, she wouldn’t had died. If only I hadn’t touched her, maybe I wouldn’t had saw that coming. It was a strange feeling,
“How did this thought come to my mind?”
“Why? how did I know she gonna get hit by a car?”
I ask myself a lot of question that day, but it just a mystery. I can't answer my own question. I got to school late that day. In class instead of pay attention to my teacher and learn how the earth orbit around the sun. I was in wonderland trying to answer these mystery question.
Times go by really fast, it had been 5 years after that crazy incident happen with the lady. I’m nineteen years old attending to a university near home now . I was getting dressed for a close friend’s birthday dinner party. I was anxious because I can’t wait to take pictures and I heard there’s going to be a really special surprise there by my best friend’s boyfriend, Kevin specifically for my Katrina. I arrived to the dinner party and we are having an amazing time. Later that night when is time for my her to cut the her cake. The light are off and Kevin slowly walk out the the crow and pull out the ring in front of Katrina.
“Will you marry me?”
At first she just cried and screamed.
It was so sweet, it was such a surprise. She was such a happy, beautiful girl at that moment. A month later, my Katrina told me that her fiancé is taking an airplane to another state for an internship for a few weeks with a big business company. I stopped by his apartment to wish him good luck for his internship because I heard it’s going to be competitive. I just stopped by and had a drink then right before he closed his door, I gave him a quick hug.
The day Katrina’s fiancé had to leave onto the airplane, I woke up from a really bad nightmare. In the dream, I saw an airplane crashing while trying to land at an airport and then I saw Katrina weeping and sobbing on the floor claiming that’s the airplane that her fiancé was on. I was so sweaty when I woke up, this reminds me of what happened to the poor old lady 5 years ago. I started to cry in bed because I had no clue what to do. My gut was telling me to tell Katrina right away but I don’t want to sound like a mentally insane person. It was 6AM and realized that his airplane was departing at 8AM. I couldn’t take it anymore, I called Katrina and she picked up and sounded very sleepy.
“Katrina I need to come to your house right now is really important” .
“What going? Are you okay?
“Is something importance, I’m on my to your house right now”
I drove quickly to her apartment. I cried so much in front of her, I had such a hard time explaining to her about the nightmare. I wasn’t able to tell her what happened with senior citizen because she not gonna understand. “Kayler is okay, stay calm and stop crying.” She hug my very tight that I can barely breath. She called Kevin and explain what happen while they were talking I took the phone from her hand
“Kevin please do not get on that plane.”
“Listen to me for once, please Kevin.”
“But Katrina I have to get on this airplane right now” He hang up the phone.
I was shaking so much, it was the worst feeling ever. I left and went back to my home. I cried in bed for hours and that nightmare kept flashing by in my mind. I knew he was arriving at his destination around 5PM. I turned on the news around the time and there it was. Breaking news, a plane crashed. I called Katrina , when she picked up, her voice was trembling, she was crying and couldn’t the words out her mouth. Her fiancé’s airplane was the one that crashed while landing at the airport.
I am able to visualize the death of certain people in my lives after I touch them. “Is it because of the nuclear bomb explosion incident when I was fourteen years old? ”
After the accident I have been isolating myself among my loved ones. The entire experience has psychologically and emotionally changed me as a person, overall. I became a fearful, depressed and mentally unstable adult. I ended up transferring to another university and moving a few states away from home. My family and close friends has questioned my sudden move out and I no longer speak to my best friend of which her fiancé passed away due to the airplane accident. My life reverted from that moment on and I just can’t look back. I would much rather move far away and not create relationships or friendships with anyone in order to keep myself from feeling guilty or hurting anyone close to me. I would rather not use this “gift” of mine. It is harmful and it only causes emotional stress upon myself and people I really love.
A new environment has made me feel better about my life. No attachments to other people meant no one nor myself was getting hurt. I spent the past two years trying to forget these terrible memories and not think about my “special ability”. But for the past month, all the memories have been flashing back inside my head, over and over again. It is all coming back and I have no clue how to stop it again. It is haunting me, day and night. Even in my dreams, I can no longer sleep well without seeing the old lady get hit by a car again or my best friend sobbing because of her fiancé death from the airplane accident. This was hurting me all over again. I have decided to spend tonight on my kitchen floor drinking until my blood streams are filled with alcohol. I’m gonna be so intoxicated to the point where I need to forget these memories. Even if it means to abuse my own body.
Continuing onto my alcohol addiction now, it has not help me at all. I have only been able to wake up with headaches and still nightmares almost every night about everything. I have decided: enough is enough. If I don’t help myself, no one is going to help me. I need to reach out to someone. I feel lonely and worthless. I miss my family and all my friends back home. I can’t return home until I get rid of this “ability” or get over my fears. It’s like a monster inside, no one can destroy it except for myself.
I have visited a local psychology clinic in my city to seek help right away. I was able to contact and get in touch with the most well known psychologist there. His name is Dr. Emeric and he is specialized in hallucinations. Although my issues are clearly not hallucinations, but there is still a lot going on inside my head and maybe he can help me out with it. Explaining this whole thought process is going to be difficult. Katrina thought I was crazy when I was warning her about her fiancé death.
As I spoke to Dr. Emeric from the very start and to the very end of my memories, he has no words but a phrase “interesting” which is the most cliché word that every psychologist usually says after he listens to a crazy person speak on their behalf. I still felt hopeless because his expression only changed a little bit. He told me to return back the following week for another appointment. I don’t really look forward to it but I will surely give it another try because I’m not giving up yet.
After I got home, I spent a few hours online researching about the nuclear bomb explosion that happened years ago. I never really looked into because every time I read about it somewhere, it made me feel nervous and it made my anxiety worse. This is just the post trauma that I have experienced. I literally went through dozens of articles online to see if there anyone else out there like me. Someone who went through a similar problem like me, someone who understands my pain of this “ability”, or someone who has this same exact ability. I was desperate to hope there was information about the nuclear bomb, maybe some other substance that it’s made out of. Because this is not a normal nuclear bomb if it has literally psychologically messed up my brain and gives me the ability to visualized some people’s death. That just isn’t normal and I am trying every way to dig up facts about this incident.
I was interviewed for a new job at a local office near my home. I decided to give it a try because I was offered a higher salary than where I was working at currently. I didn’t really like staying at one spot for too long, I started to become too friendly to my co workers and the goal of moving to this city was to stay isolated to avoid pain and harming others. Moving to this new job, there is a guy that sits across the room from me. He name is Ivan and every morning when I see him he asked me if i want a cup of coffee he voice is very polite and sweet. I have no really had interactions like this with my co workers for a very long time being able to see someone’s smile like that towards me feels very heart warming. I miss human connections and feelings. But I must keep my distance to avoid any harm.
I came to Dr. Emeric’s office for a following appointment, he has prescribed to me anti depressants and I knew that was going to happen. That is the usual for being diagnosed with hallucinations. I told Dr. Emeric that we need to go into more depth for my illness because I need to get the bottom of everything. He told me it takes patience and time and Emeric wanted to also do further research into the nuclear bomb explosion incident. I told him I already did that and I found completely nothing. Dr. Emeric sounded like he hesitated to do this but towards the end of our appointment, he told me that he’s going to have to refer to me to a scientist to talk about.
I got home that day in a very bad mood. I don't know what to do and again I want to separate myself from the world. I started to feel depressed and the only thing I can do now is to see Ivan. Ivan comforted me and the only one who understood me. He was there when I needed him. A connection between Ivan and I are becoming stronger and stronger.
I learned a lesson. Ivan was there for me. I was never independent. He was someone out there in the world and now I found him. The person who has helped me and understood me for my own illness and my physical appearance.
In the year 2100, science has advanced much more then we believed. Cancer has been cured, a new clean energy was found, even body modifications are possible. Like science, humans have also evolved over the years. Some people are born able to move objects with their mind, create fire out of thin air and other odd abilities due to being able to use all 100% of their brain power. While many welcomes such changes, there are those who oppose such things fear that it will make them no longer “human.” The story follows the life of Eli, a orphan who was adopted by Al.
“Eli! It’s time for dinner!” Al shouted
“Ok...” Eli says quietly as he walked down the stairs
it has been about 6 months since Al has adopted Eli. During this time they have grown rather close. Al may drinks a lot and sometimes do and say things he don’t mean to, but he is still a kind person.
“So how was school?” Says Al
“I-it’s fun there... I made many friends...” Eli smiles nervously
“Thats good to know, you were so shy around people that I was worried” Al said with a kind smile
Eli just nodded his head and continued eating
“ah-” Al tries to continue the conversation but also ran out of topics
Seeing how there was nothing else to talk about, Eli and Al just keep eating in silence.
Buy the time they were done, it was already dark.
“Did you finish your homework yet?” Al asked while turning on the TV
“Not yet... I’m going to finish it now.” says Eli and he walked back up the stairs
As Eli go into his room, he could finally relax.
“What’s his problem, wanting to know everything you do”
“y-you’re wrong, he was just worried about me that’s all...”
“Worried? HA! He is just like the others, he only cares for you so he doesn’t get in trouble.”
“go-go away! He isn’t that kind of person!”
“You knew as well was I that I can’t, remember, I am a part of you... that will never change...”
After that, Eli’s other half finally went quiet. He is something Eli had to deal with for a very long time. Since as long as Eli could remember, he has been adopted and abandoned over and over again. All those who adopted him became afraid of him sooner rather then later. Sometime during cycle, he was born, a split personality that is the complete opposite of Eli.
“Al is a really kind person...” Eli whispers as he continues his homework.
Some more time past by and Eli has finished his homework. Just as he was about to go to sleep, he heard the TV downstairs still running. It was Al, he was still watching the late night news.
*Studies have shown that the birth rate of mutants have dramatically increased these past few years. Since the government still understand very little of these mutants, the government suggests to report to the local officials if someone you know is a mutant. Now back to you.*
Mutants... *hic* those crazy things should be locked away in a zoo! *hic* It was Al drunk on the couch talking about how much he dislikes mutants.
Eli walks down to Al and called out to him
“eh? oh! El-*hic*i, did you sle*hic*ep yet? you have school tomorro*hic*w...”
“I’m going to sleep soon, you should too...”
Eli propped Al up against him and walked up the stairs with him
After reaching Al’s room, Eli tucked Al in and went back into the hallway where the sound of the TV was still clear.
“You know he will find out sooner or later.”
“I k-know that... but I think he will understand!”
“pft it’s amazing how you can trust him even after all the others you have trusted all betrayed you. Not to mention how much this one seem to hate people who has powers.”
“ya... but still! He may be afraid of them but if we just talk to him about it, he will understand right? r-right?
He was quiet. With that, Eli looked at the TV, turned it off and went into his room for the night.
“So! Everyone should bring these back and get them signed by next friday! Those who don’t won’t be going on the trip so remember to bring them! Class dismissed!” Says Eli’s homeroom teacher.
“Hey! Eli!” shouted Kyle
“Are you going to go on the trip!? It looks really fun!” Kyle says grinning
“maybe, I’m not sure if father has time...” Eli says quietly
“Of course he will! It’s not like he can’t take a break from writing his book~”
“I don’t know... I really don’t want to disturb his work...”
“Oh you worrywart~, just go and ask him! Here! I’ll come with you!”
Saying that Kyle grabbed Eli by the arm and run off towards Eli’s house.
“Mr. Alex! Are you home!?” Kyle shouted at the house
“Ya! wait, wait just one moment!” Al said as a big clang came out of the attic
When Al go to the door he was covered in dust
“Were you cleaning Mr. Alex?” Kyle asks
“Ya, I wanted to clean the attic for sometime now.” Al smiles
“Welcome home Eli” Al says kindly
“I-i’m back” Eli said
Seeing this Kyle laughed again
“Oh Eli~ you are just as shy at home as in school!”
“Come on in you two and get some snacks” Al waves them in
After Kyle and Eli had their share of snacks, Kyle finally started talking about the trip
“Next month our class is going on a trip to the mountains! Can Eli go too!?”
“Of course he can!” Al exclaimed
“Can you come too?” Kyle asks
“Me? hum...” Al was deep in thought
“Maybe... I would have to wait and see... But if I’m free I’ll will definitely go.
“Hear that Eli? You can go too!” Kyle jumps up and down happily
“ya!” Eli replied
It was the day of the trip. The sun was shining, clear skies and a nice breeze blowing. It was the perfect day for a trip to the mountains.
“Everyone! Get to your groups! You will be camping with the people in your group here on the mountain for 2 days and 2 nights! Make sure you bring all the supplies with you! But most importantly don’t forget the emergency flare!. In case of any trouble or injuries, fire the flare like in the instruction booklet and a teacher will come and pick you up! Any questions!?”
The teacher looks around
“Alright! Go up this path and you will reach the campsite by dusk! Have fun and be safe!”
With that, the students, teachers and parents who can come all went up the road to the campsite.
“Awwww, so Mr. Alex couldn’t come?” says Kyle
“ya... he had to go to a meeting...”
“... Cheer up!” Kyle said with a grin
“My parents couldn’t come either! So we will just have to do this ourselves!”
This made Eli laugh a bit
With all the chatting they did, they reached the campsite before long
“Wow that was more tiring then I thought!” Kyle said gasping for air
“Y-ya... it seemed... so much... easier...” says Eli just as out of breath
They both laughed at how out of breath they are
Afterwards they started to build their campsite.
“Where should be build them Eli?”
“anywhere is fine with me..”
“Anywhere?” Kyle looks about
“How about over there!” Kyle said while pointing at a giant oak tree
“sure, that looks good”
“Alright! Let’s start building!” Kyle seemed very excited
By the time they were done it was already dark. So they had dinner and got really for bed.
“Hey Eli? you still awake?” Kyle said
“ya... I can’t seem to fall asleep.”
“you too? hehe, neither can I”
“So have you told your dad yet?...”
“no... no, not yet...”
“you should really tell him... it’s not right to keep him in the dark.”
“you’re right... but how can I tell him?..”
“I’m sure he will listen to you... I haven’t seen him as happy as he did with you since his wife died...”
“I’ll think about it... I really want to tell him too...”
“Kyle?” Eli looked at Kyle and Kyle seems to have fallen asleep already
“Hey! Eli! Wake up already!”
“how can you be so loud this early in the morning... *yawns*”
“hehehe, unlike you I’m not lazy” Kyle says smiling
“Oh by the way breakfast is ready! We have having biscuits and ham today! Also we are going to pick some mushrooms later! So make sure to bring your bag with you!” Kyle said cheerfully
After they finished their breakfast they gathered their things and went off to pick mushrooms.
“...HEY!” Kyle shouted
“Are you ignoring me!?” kyle says with her cheeks puffed out like a bruting child
“o-oh, nothing... I was just thinking.”
“? Thinking about what?”
“how I should tell father... seeming how much he hates mutants...”
“... it will be fine... I’m sure of it. If it’s you I think he will accept you...”
just as Eli finished saying that the ground under them caved in
The two of them fell into the river below
“KYLE! You alright!?” *cough cough*
“y-ya! Sort of! We need to, find a way up!”
“The sides are too steep! we can’t climb it!”
“Kyle! Grab my hand!”
Eli extends his hand and Kyle was able to grab on
What can I do!? Eli thought to himself, as he looked around he saw a branch that is just long enough to reach the river.
Eli closes his eyes and concentrates, on the branch. The branch started bending as if it were magic. The two was able to grab onto the branch and climb to safety.
“well, that worked” kyle said
“... but where are we now? We got washed quite the way down stream...”
“Hey I know!Let’s use the flares!” Kyle says as she dug reached for her bag, but her bag was washed away.
“... even if you had it, it wouldn’t work... it was wet and it wouldn’t light up anyways”
“w-what should *sniff* we do?” Kyle said with watery eyes
“wa- hey don’t cry! we’ll be fine! we didn’t get washed down that far!”
*sniff* “you sure?” Kyle said as she wiped her eyes
“...let’s go then or it will get dark before we get back to camp...”
“*sniff* ok.” says Kyle
So the two of them started to follow the river up, hoping to find the campground. But what they didn’t know is that even though it was a camping ground, there were areas that are fenced off to keep the wild animals out.
Eli looks up in the sky, it was already past noon.
“hey, Eli, do you really think we can get back before the teachers get worried?” Kyle questioned
“... I don’t knew... but we should be close right? We have been walking for some time now...”
Just as Eli said that, a sound came from a berry bush.
“hey! maybe it’s someone from class!” Kyle said as she ran towards the bush
But it wasn’t their classmate, it was a bear, and it was mad that Kyle disturbed it’s dinner.
The bear chased them all over the forest, but somehow they were able to lose the bear.
“well, now we are really lost...” Eli said as he looks around
“s-so now what? are we going to die in the forest?” Kyle started to get teary eyed again
“n-no! of course not!” Eli said trying to convince Kyle
“*sniff* you don’t sound very convincing...” Kyle said looking at Eli
As Eli frantically tries to calm Kyle down, he noticed off in the distance was a trail of smoke.
“Kyle look over there! There’s smoke!”
kyle looks up at where Eli was pointing and was smiling again
“What are you waiting for!? Come on!”
Kyle grabbed Eli and ran towards the smoke.
Luckily the smoke was from one of the camps who started to cook dinner.
When they got back the teachers were worried sick and the two got an long scolding from the teachers. But, since it was all over, they just patched the two up and let them finish the trip.
As the two was going home
“I’ve decided to tell father about me...”
“really!? Thats great! He will surely understand!” Kyle smiled
However the other side of him disagrees...
“Are you really that stupid?! Do you really think he will accept you, a freak like you?”
“... Al is a good person, I believe he will accept me... just like Kyle”
“You’re kidding right? Have you forgotten what we have been through? Were they nothing to you?”
“o-of course I remember... but just this once, just this once I wish to believe again...”
“Well suit yourself... I warned you.”
“Father, I’m home.” Eli said as he walked in.
But there was no answer
“Father?” Eli shouted, but there was still no answer
As Eli walked into the living room he saw a piece of paper
“Eli, if you are reading this, I will be gone for a week or so. There is food in the fridge and money in the drawer. My parents in the First District is sick, I’m going to visit them for a bit. Be good and look after the house ok? Oh and remember to do your homework and sleep on time!
“Hahahahaha, Just as you made up your mind, that guy isn’t here!”
“sh-shut up! I trust him! i’ll just have to wait a bit longer.. thats all...”
But a week passed and Al did not return. Then two weeks, then three. The weeks turned into months and the months turned into years. Al never came back. There was no news, no letter, nothing about Al. He just vanished. Five years have passed since Al disappeared. Eli, was was only only twelve is now seventeen. During these 5 years, the villagers gradually found out that he was a mutant, but no one was really not against it. To find his father Eli thought to himself that he must become stronger. So he trained his body and his powers for 5 years. Then he wished to leave the 2nd District in search for his father.
“You better not disappear like your father Eli...” Kyle says with tears in her eye
Eli smiles “don’t worry, I will come back... thank you and everyone for these years. Without you guys I wouldn’t be here right now. So stop crying ok? I’m not that shy little kid anymore.”
Kyle nodded and joined the others waving goodbye.
As he left, the villagers bide his farewell and gave him some money and freshly baked bread.
After about 3 days of walking Eli arrived in the First District. It was nothing like the 2nd, for it was very new and everything looked very advance. There are drones cleaning the sidewalks, Self driving cars, Robots doing shopping for people, it was something Eli saw on TV before, but never seen it in real life. Instead of looking for a place to live and a job like the elder suggested, Eli spent the entire day looking about the city. So logically, when night fell, he still haven’t found a place to take shelter. He walked about the city and was able to find a park.
Since he had nowhere to go, he decided to stay there for the night.
After saying good night, Eli drifted off to sleep... but was shortly awoken.
“STOP!” Shouted a voice “ST-OP! IN THE NAME OF THE LA-W!”
The person who was getting shouted at ran pass Eli
“Stop? Are you stupid?! Who would stop if you told them to stop?”
“I-will-get- youuu *deep breathing* I will - catch you-!”
“um... officer, I think he is getting away...” Eli says as he watches this comedy play out before him.
“I-I-I know that!” The officer says out of breath
“Would you like some help?” Eli asked
“wh-what can you do, *huff puff* you’re just a civilian.”
Eli waved his hand in the direction the they who the officer was chasing went
and from the distance came a yelp for help.
“There you go~” Eli said smiling
When the officer went over to see what was going on, she found the robber suspended in midair.
She gasps “you are a mutant?”
Eli scratches his head “is that bad?” he questioned
“N-no! That’s wonderful!” the officer said amazed
Eli was sort of thrown off by her odd reaction and could only blush
“Hey come with me!”
“ok- wait what!?”
“Come with me to the police department! You’re not doing anything anyways, besides I need to take you in for a statement too”
With that said, she grabbed Eli and the robber to the police car.
When Eli got in, he thought to himself, “I seem to get dragged around a whole lot...”
“yes you do”
“So what’s your name?” she asks
“Eli? What a interesting name for a guy” she says as she let out a little laugh
“I am Marry, I just joined the police this month!” she says happily
“So what are you doing here and why were you sleeping in the park?”
“I thought this was going to be a statement for catching the thief...”
“Oh it’s fine!”
Marry jumped in her chair and turned around.
“I-i diddididn’t see you there chief.” Marry squeaked
“How Many Times Have I Told You This Is Not A Game!?” the chief boomed
The chief sighs and turns to Eli.
“So I heard that you help this newbie catch the thief am I correct?”
“uh, yes sir...”
“And that you are a mutant as well?”
“How would you like to join police force?”
“...wait what?” Eli said looking very confused
“Our previous psychic user retired, so we need someone like you. Seeming the way you look I’m guessing your new here and doesn’t have a place to live nor a job. The pay isn’t the best but you can live here. So what do you say?”
“A normal citizen can just join the police force just like that?”
“Well, no, you would have to go through training first but it isn’t that hard. It will take a month at most. So you interested?”
“S-sure! It will be my pleasure!” Eli says happily
“GOOD!” went the chief with him thundering voice
“Here is the address for training, go there and just say Chief Luke sent you. They will take care of you from there.
“I think I just got suckered into this...”
Marry quietly nodded.
It has been a while since Eli join the police force. With his powers, he was able to help many people and catch criminals that others couldn’t. But one thing still sits heavy on his mind.
Where did his father go? Also that he was still unable to tell him the truth.
One day while organizing the archives Marry found something.
“Hey Eli! Didn’t you say you were looking for a guy named Alex?”
“Ya, did you find something?” Eli looked over
“I think so, is this him?” Marry hands Eli a folder with the name Alex on the front
Eli was surprised, it really was his father’s full name.
As he opened the folder he found out why he never returned...
He was killed in a traffic accident the day before he was going to come back.
Within the folder he also found the possessions Al left behind.
There was his favorite pen he uses to write his books with, a photo of his late wife and also a odd looking disk.
“Marry, do you know what this is?” Eli said showing her the disk
“That’s a hologram recorder, are you going to listen to it?”
Eli nods and starts up the playback.
Eli, happy birthday, I don’t have the courage to talk to you face to face but, if it is a recording, I can do it. I have known for a long time that you were a mutant, but I couldn’t say it to you since you knew how much I hate them... But after I met you, I started to change, you are you, mutant or not. I just want to say, Happy birthday Eli, and I love you...”
The hologram ended and so did this story.
(In case if you are wondering why the story seem to be missing many thing, it was because I thought it was supposed to be a 25k word paper, not 2500. So the story was made around the idea that it would be 25k words. After finding out it was 2500 I had to cut out many things to make it fit the requirement.)
A giant metal behemoth span through orbit at thousands of miles an hour. Moth like in appearance, the middle was a cylinder roughly the size of the Hubble Telescope and each of its wings were thin layers of absolute darkness that covered a quarter of a kilometer.
EC21-2,750 began to warm up the laser in its central cylinder. Flying through space it was the pinnacle of modern technology*, and launching the first one (EC21-1) into space had almost driven it’s developers bankrupt. Its four large solar fans could unfold 500 meters out and 500 meters wide, and during lift off literally weighed tons. Nobody knew if the firing system would be adversely affected during lift off. It hadn’t been. It had functioned perfectly, and its 27,659th grandchild was about to follow in its footsteps.
Its large onboard battery didn’t heat at all as the orbiting stating prepared to fire its laser. That would be emitting frequency in infrared, and when it emitted a wavelength the station always made sure it was much stronger than that. The onboard computer of the station recognized the location and began firing the laser, a ray so strong that the eye couldn’t register seeing it and so tight a wavelength that it wobbled less than the nucleus of a hydrogen atom. A pillar of these threads of light punched through the atmosphere relaying the power to a station on the ground.
Energy Collection model 21 unit 2,750 had deposited its power, and mere seconds afterwards, EC25-2,483,950 also deposited its energy.
*Or it had been for about 6 months, but that was a year ago, so it was still moderately groundbreaking. Not like the EC10 class. Those guys were amazingly outdated.
Amelia looked at the the flower. Its petals were brown and slightly curled, as it lay in the garden. She packed the dirt around its base, and plucked a withered leaf off it.
The rest of the garden was in a similar state of disrepair. Plants that would normally be growing well were dying, and some plants had already assumed that it was fall and started dropping their leaves. She loyally crawled through the beds of plants, pruning and letting them devote more energy to things towards new leaves rather than those already withered.
As Amelia lay back she shuddered. Even in the middle of the day, the light felt dim. Turning in disgust she left the garden and moved into her house. Locking the door behind her Amelia moved inside, turning on the lights in every room, not because she was scared but… well, not not because she was scared. Generally she didn’t. Her parents had driven it into her that she shouldn’t keep the lights on, because they didn’t like paying the electric bill. Oh, and because it would kill the planet, but nobody liked mentioning that. Of course now she had to pay the electric bills, but if she wanted to pay a little more today she could. It was a liberating feeling.
As her computer began to download a video to watch in her downtime, its screen displayed the pre-downloaded news. More incidents of crimes taking place in the dark, of pot use changing to psychedelic mushrooms due to the scarcity of marijuana, and of a government official being bribed. No one cited the massive Energy Collectors as the reason for this, but almost all of the ads were purchased by the EC. Most ads on the net were these days. She furrowed her brow at the screen, but it quickly relaxed as the video began to play.
Amelia drove to work in her electric car. The prevalent use of smart cars may have horrified cultures of the past, but it was pragmatic after a time. ‘Gas Stations’ got discounts and bought electricity through bulk purchases, and also used a higher amperage than what was used in normal electric lines. They had no qualms that the world had switched over to electric.
As she stopped at a light, she saw a V of birds flying south overhead, preparing for the winter. 3 months early. While that was strange and unnatural, it wasn’t that surprising. It felt like fall, the days were shorter and it was colder than normal. As the light stopped, she saw one bird fall from the flock fall to the ground, crashing into a sidewalk.
Amelia looked at it again. She checked her watch. She did some math. The light turned green, and she crossed the street, pulled over to the side of the road and got out. The bird flapped a little.
She looked at it. Amelia didn’t know if she wanted to get close to it. Birds weren’t the most cleanly creatures, and if it was still alive it might bite. Or peck, since birds don’t have teeth… Regardless, she just kind of squatted next to it, looking down at its once flapping body. The bird didn’t move. Amelia moved her head closer, for a better look. The bird didn’t move. She kind of nudged it with her foot. The bird was moved, but didn’t react at all.
Finally at peace that the little bird wouldn’t somehow kill her, Amelia got down to looking at the details of what the little bird looked like. Sad was apparently the answer. Other than the fall having looked like it broke its wing, the bird looked completely starved, its little skeleton almost visible beneath its feathers.
Amelia sat there for a second, pondering of the strange events. The bird moving south early and the bird starving to death in the process was just strange. The bird had starved to death flying south for the winter. Except that the expectation of winter was a lie brought on by darker days, later sunrises and earlier sunsets.
She stopped her pondering to check her watch, and saw that she had to stop her pondering for a bit more time than that.
Taking out her cellphone, she snapped off a quick picture of the bird, and then on a spur of the moment decision she picked it up and put it in her trunk before going off to work.
“Ms. Smith!” Johnny said “Is this right?”
Amelia smiled down at him, if you could really call a smile that thin a “smile”. It was a grimace stretched out and curled up at the ends.
“Indoor voices Johnny” Amelia rebuked “But yes, that’s correct good job.”
Johnny smiled back, completely missing Amelia’s annoyance, and dumped all the puzzle pieces back onto the floor so he could put it together again. She made eye contact with the other teacher across the room. Mrs. Clifford looked back, and nodded. The kids were getting a bit too loud, and it was time to begin the next activity.
Mrs. Clifford stood in front of the class, and smiled gaudily.
“Okay everyone, it’s drawing time! Ms. Smith is handing out paper, make sure to say thank you, and today we’ll draw about the last time you saw a shooting star. Draw yourself and the star in one picture, and then we’ll draw what you wished for in the next one. Yes Daphne?”
“What’s a star?”
Amelia swooped in next to Daphne to handle the miniature crisis.
“Stars honey, the lights in the sky that come out at night?”
Daphne furrowed her brow.
“I don’t remember seeing lights at night. It’s just dark.” Daphne said.
“I’m sure you just go to bed too early for it.” Amelia replied and straightened to walk away.
“I haven’t either!” Said Johnny, “And I didn’t go to bed until ten last week!”
The other kids looked at him with slight awe. He puffed up his chest in pride.
“I’ve seen them,” floated the dreamy voice of Sarah from across the classroom “but not for awhile. I think they just don’t like coming out any more”
“I don’t know what to draw” Johnny complained, “can you show me pictures”
“Draw dots on the sky, with yourself underneath it.” Mrs. Clifford intervened, “And then draw your wish on another paper.”
The kids finally settled down and started making drawing.
“Do they really not know what stars look like?” Amelia
“I don’t know.”Mrs. Clifford replied.
“I know that they need to know.” She said, her mouth a smile. A tight smile.
Amelia had decided that a mass email to all of the parents at school over their children’s ignorance was bad idea, but she still could try and remedy the problem. She was about halfway through creating a website for public awareness when she found another website made to do the same thing, and she learned that she hadn’t been halfway done with her website. In fact Amelia might never have been able to accomplish what the Association Against Energy Collectors had with only the online ‘make your own website’ kit she had been using for free. The AAEC homepage was stark and annoyingly devoid of graphics; except it had a tiered forum system that allowed people to share information globally, super-regionally, regionally, and locally. Of course she joined immediately, and in a moment of weakness she used her actual name.
All of the forums had pictures of strange behaviors by animals, stories about societal breakdowns, and the question of why energy wasn’t free. Of course all forums had their share of mystics who hated Earth’s separation from the stars and people who complained about the economic plight of the Middle East in a post-oil world, but internet trolls were always a result of open discourse.
As Amelia followed the information, she realized that there wasn’t any single place that compiled all of the information. While of the forums had similar information, none had any real numbers, none stated things politely, and none gathered information about world wide similarities. Slightly annoyed, she clicked the email box in the corner of her screen and sent an email.
The information on the local forums included birds migration and crime rates, but the primary focus was on a local rally. Apparently there was a public relations department of the EC was close by, and the rally there was supposed to support civilian sunlight rights. It was important, but was really just a stepping stone for a larger rally that would be happening at EC headquarters themselves later in the year, which also was thankfully close. The thread was mostly about what signs people should carry. After a moment of thought Amelia posted that they should just carry birds in.
As Amelia was just about ready to hibernate her computer and start work on a lesson plan, she received a reply from the system admin.
While we appreciate your drive, we don’t have anyone to devote to that. As a mainly volunteer organization, AAEC would be happy to post your articles, if you actually write them.
Amelia checked her watch. She had some time, and she had Excel on her laptop. She could get some work done.
Amelia checked her watch and leaned on her car. It was about an hour before the rally was scheduled to start, but she was composing herself. For the last three and a half weeks she had been posting reviews of the global condition, and for about half that time she was getting global feedback. Feedback at all was more than Amelia was expecting, but she was getting enough that she had to set up a different email account for it, and she got it to be hosted by the AAEC. The local forum had started calling for her by name whenever there was a question, and she had been uncertain on how to present herself for the rally. She had taken the safest route and dressed business casual, not how she normally presented herself, but first impressions were important.
Amelia looked up startled. A news car had appeared in front of her and a bright eyed news caster was looking at her with a gaudy grin. The joys of electric cars was like constantly opening a present, surprising but not always in a good way.
“The rally’s not for an hour. This can surely wait until then.” She said straightening herself.
The reporter froze. He looked at the news car, and the camera mounted above it, and then back at her.
“Well then preliminary comments? How about your name, and how you’re associated?”
Amelia looked at him, and sighed. This is what the whole rally was likely to entail.
“I’m Amelia Smith, and I work on the-”
“You’re the one who writes the instructional part of the website!” The newscaster jumped in “I’ve read all of your posts! Is it really true that over 100 species of migratory birds are currently starving by beginning migration early?”
“Yes,” Amelia thinly smiled “otherwise I wouldn’t have posted it. I gathered pictures from across the global forums and had 5 birdwatchers and a zoologist identify them. Four more were identified, but only half could agree on them, so they were not included.”
“And you personally are interested in this because of children?” the newscaster continued undaunted.
Amelia sighed, and began answering questions. The newscaster not only seemed to enjoy every piece of information she gave him, but ask for more. She had more though, a result of trolls on the internet asking too many annoying questions, and she used her experience as a preschool teacher to say the facts simply.
“Thank you Ms.Smith for your understanding of the AAEC, we will be back later for the rally.” He grinned. As suddenly as the newscaster swooped in, he exited.
A car pulled up, and a heavily bearded head popped out.
“Is this the rally?”
The rally had gone well.
More people had shown up than she had predicted would, and they all actually seemed invested in the cause. Throughout the event Amelia had stood in the back watching and checking to see if everything went according to plan. It did, being rather simple. Most of the protest was composed of yelling and waving dead birds on sticks (She gave all of her birds out to the others. They smelled.), but to end the protest they lit sparklers that represented the stars. They aptly burned brightly for seconds and then disappeared. Then a specifically chosen group of protesters went into press release building and had a sit in. After all, is it really a protest without a couple of arrests?
At the start of the protest Amelia had decided to be amiable, and had introduced herself to the earliest protestors. They had all already known of her, and didn’t seem too offput by her actual appearance. Nonetheless, Amelia had appreciated her business suit. As more people showed up, Amelia had withdrawn to watch and to antisocially rest. However, a crowd of people followed her. Instead of introductions taking place, the new protestors would instead introduce themselves, and meet Ms.Smith. Ms. Smith would then either start a conversation or smile a tight lipped smile at them and continue her moments of isolation. Regardless of whether she chose isolation or society, she was always able to rejoin the community the moment she wished. Being able to choose felt good.
Leaning back in her chair she smiled. It had been a good day, and proof was laid out on the computer screen in front of her. The news networks and daytime TV had latched onto the AAEC protest as a way of keeping viewers awake with their sensationalist stories of countercultural warriors. Amelia guessed that conclusion made sense. They were against one of the most taken for granted companies that existed. Energy collectors had stopped wars, started wars, and prevented global warming. A group of corpse waving fanatics that went against such a superpower could really only be seen as laughable. However, at the very least it gave the group notoriety. The local thread had just become a buzz of new greetings and moving pictures from the protest.
Ms. Smith didn’t post anything about it in her section though. Her section of the website was devoted only to the most important global issues. Public forums would have to be enough for the bragging.
A pop up appeared in the top right of her screen. She had gotten an e-mail from the AAEC headquarters.
Amelia walked into the pre-school for the last time. Her smiles were uncharacteristically honest as she talked to the kids. They kind of fawned back, not saying any real full sentences, just exclamations tied together into something that made sense somewhere in their heads. The points sometimes got across. She smiled anyway.
Before the day really began she pulled Mrs. Clifford aside.
“I can’t be here anymore.” She told her. “I know it’s unprofessional, but I have leave in the middle of the year.”
“I’m not sure I understand. You’re leaving? When? Why?, unless it’s too personal.” Mrs. Clifford calmly interrogated, swapping glances between her and the classroom of kids. She kept a placid smile on her face.
“I was offered a job at a not-for-profit organization. AAEC, it does work that will hopefully let the kids see stars again.”Amelia responded.
“Not teaching... to help children... certainly shows a certain imagination.” Mrs. Clifford said, lifting the edges of her lips into a smirk.
“It’s temporary! When things change I won’t be needed anymore.”
“That’s not going to work.” Mrs. Clifford turned her full attention to Amelia “Lifestyle choices have the tendency to change your life. It may be possible for you to return, but… well you’re always welcome here.”
“Thank you. But I think the AAEC really needs me.”
It was a mess. The constant compilation of data that was necessary for her job made Amelia’s eyes ache. The feedback was a constant rush and even trying to reply to one in three email she received was impossible. An even bigger mess was preparation for protesting at the EC’s main headquarters.
The headquarters were in the middle of a megalopolis, and when they sent out a memo they received nearly two thousand replies. A march on the central headquarters would be the biggest thing that the AAEC had ever done. It just wasn’t equipped to prepare for it. The actual organization had tens of thousands of members world wide, but it only had about a hundred employees. Of these only a percentage were in the area, and of these only a small percentage was Ms. Smith, but she felt like she was burdened with all of the work.
She knew that she was actually only working on different tasks than the others, they just seemed infinitely more frustrating. Amelia had been tasked to be the PR person for the group. While other members would work towards finding housing for traveling members and locating parking for the locals, Mrs.Smith was gathering media attention. Apparently her part of the website was the one most heavily viewed by non-members, and she was lucky enough to have been featured on several TV shows. These TV shows generally ‘allowed’ her to also talk a little about her cause before hand, adding an extra layer of stress. She wasn’t exactly a talky person, and the media coverage added to her frequent blogging made her feel exposed and exhausted.
Except that she had a way to deal with this situation. Amelia opened her email and looked at all of the emails she was sent every day, and she felt supported.
“Where are the stars?”
‘Gone’ was the answer the screaming crowd tried to say, but when hundreds of people scream at once words stop working. A wave of sound hit the man with the microphone, but that was kind of how it was supposed to work.
Standing in the back Ms. Smith didn’t participate, but just replied to whoever talked to her. At first this meant responding to protesters who wanted to meet her, but it eventually became the news network. The biggest change was when the birds came out.
A whole mob of people carrying dead birds stinks. The air was foul with their stench. The crowd around Ms. Smith parted slightly and a cop walked up to her.
“The rally itself is fine, but having this many dead bodies around may be unsafe. I have to ask you to stop them.” The cop said, mindful of the protesters around him. In the path he caused in the crowd, cops followed him.
“We didn’t bring the birds, they already were here. Dead. They starved themselves flying south for the winter in the August. We’re merely displaying what was already around.” Ms. Smith replied.
“The reason behind them being dead aren’t my job. I’m just letting you know that the protesters need to be told it’s a safety issue for them to be held up like that.” the straight faced cop replied.
“If that’s what you have decided, then you should tell them.” Ms. Smith said
The cop looked at the crowd around him, and then at the crowd of thousands screaming closer towards the AAC headquarters. He looked at her.
“I think that you have to tell them.”
“I’m in no position of authority over them, I just raised awareness of the protest. I’m not carrying a bird. If you want to stop them you should.”
The cop looked at the crowd. He looked at the 20 cops behind him. He looked at the crowd. He looked at Ms. Smith. “I never said that they should stop. I just said they should know that it is unsafe.”
And then he left.
Two days after the protests began the company let it be known that they were willing to make a deal. Of course, they weren’t going to negotiate with the whole mob, but they were willing to negotiate with twenty people.
AAEC hadn’t quite prepared for this possibility, but a crack team was quickly made. Amelia and a couple of other important public AAEC figures were included, as well as more of the actual organizers and a few members who were lawyers.
The group all walked together into the building, and were met by a man with a smile and a handshake.
“I’m Greg Wharton, the current CEO of the company. I hope we can come to an agreement. But where are my manners! Negotiations will happen at a more proper location. If you would follow me…”
Mrs. Smith turned her nose up upon entering. The Energy Collector headquarters were unnecessarily opulent, made more pompous by the CEO’s constant jabbering. It was a 10-story building with a green roof, and every floor was unnecessarily packed with electronics. The floors were TV screens, windows live streams of views worldwide, and most functions in the building were automated. In spite of the constantly working electronics, the rooms were kept cool through constantly running central air.
Energy Collector was extremely proud that their technology meant that electricity couldn’t kill the planet, and found it necessary to flaunt their power as much as possible.
Greg took the group up an elevator, and the whole entourage exited onto the green roof. Bare grass was underfoot, and Greg led them to the edge of it and looked over the fence at the gathered mob. He turned around and smiled.
“You’ve gathered quite a force. Media coverage is flocking over this mess, and we don’t like it. We are willing to acquiesce to some of your demands.”
Mr. Tarn stepped forward.
“Our organization demands more equal orbits of satellites, a recognition of people’s right to sunlight, and an effort on behalf of the company to lighting our streets after dark.”
“My company is willing to create community help programs to help after dark.”
“I don’t think you understand Mr. Wharton. These are our final demands, we can’t step down any farther than this. The people have expectations.”
“The reason I brought this meeting to the roof was to be unobserved. Because we all have pressures on us, expectations, and we shouldn’t feel the need to have all of those met at the diplomatic table.” Greg turned and made eye contact with every member of the delegation. “Most people don’t know it, but Energy Collectors operate almost completely on profit. Once a satellite is reached, it’s pretty much self sustaining. What cuts in price people have seen in electricity is pretty much superficial. It costs us almost nothing to make.
“Now what to do with all of that money… Until now, we have mostly just stockpiled our billions, knowing that they might become useful. Now we see a use for them. My investors aren’t going to be willing to create cutbacks in our programs. We can create nature reserves, create lights, fund schools; all of these options are preferable to cutting our income by a single percent. However, we are willing to make a deal with you.”
“This year, our billion dollar industry is fed by most of the world. Cars feed it, companies depend on it, and we understandably get some money. We are willing to not get all of it this year. I have talked to the shareholders. If this deal works, we are willing to take one percent out of our yearly income… and give it to the twenty of you.”
The group blanched. Amelia looked at all of them in shock, and knew that the group’s answer should be clear.
“Profit or income?” Mr. Tarn asked.
Surprised, Amelia stared at Mr. Tarn and then walked to the roof and looked at the protestors below as Wharton and Tarn quibbled. The rest of the group also became embroiled in the definition of a percent, Amelia could feel the greed radiating from the group.
As the group was starting to calm down, she called out “Mr. Wharton!”
“Yes Ms. Smith?” he asked, strolling up to her “Any specific questions?”
“What about the children?”
He blinked. “What about them?”
“Will they be able to see the stars?”
“We can set up a TV station or something,” he laughed “maybe an interactive website. Is that all?”
Amelia sighed. She lunged at him.
Greg step backed shocked, and put his hands out, pushing her away. Amelia let herself be hit, and be pushed away. And Ms. Winters smiled.
She stumbled backwards, and for a moment she felt the fence on her back. Then it gave way to a feeling of weightlessness, as the edge of the roof retreated.And the mob roared.
By: Haisha Hashy y Chhievling Seng
La Casa Fabulosa
Nosotros cliente es Señorita Dunn. Señorita es muy guapa. Ella tiene alto marrón pelo. Su enseñar inglés. Srta. Dunn es sùper simpática y creativa. Ella tiene una niña. Srta.Dunn es muy de moda. Ella favorita colores es rosa y gris. Srta. Dunn tiene muchas mascota, tres gatos y uno perro. Ella tiene tres bicis y dos carros. En Stra.Dunn familia, tres personas vivir en la casa. Le gusta hacer yoga. Ciudades favoritas es Nuevo, York y London, Paris.
Esta casa está en las ciudades vive en Nueva York. La casa es mediana, moderna, sofisticada y elegante. Señorita Dunn casa tendrá cuatro habitaciones Tiene dos pisos con jardín. Va a estar cerca de en la ciudad , un parque, y unos museos. Srta. Dunn casa tendrá sala de yoga. Dentro de la casa es teatro, porque su familia le gust cine. Fuera de casa es elegante jardín. Baños en la casa es perfecto y moderna. Cocina en casa es bueno, tiene nuevo refrigerador y fregadero. La casa de Señorita Dunn es fabulosa.
Tiene cuarto mascotas casas gran pará tu tiene tres gatos y un perro
Tiene un grande garaje para dos carros y tres bicis
Tiene cuarto habitaciones magnífico para tres viven en casa
Hay un sala de yoga porque le gusta yoga
Tiene un grande cocina porque le gusta cocinar
Tiene mini biblioteca porque le gusta leer
Hay un sala de estar con espacio para grande la televisión, perfecto para viendo la televisión
Hay un teatro de casa porque le gusta cine
Tiene dos grande banos y un pequeño bano
Tiene un elegante jardín
Solo cuesta: $482,000.00
Contacto: Haisha & Chhievling
The subject of nuclear weapons is always a tricky subject to tell. If brought up in polite conversation, it could trigger quite a number of interesting reactions among the party. Nuclear weapons were first created in the 20th century when humans were looking to develop an explosive powerful enough to deal with their enemies in a violent and very show-biz like way by going out with a bang (if you’ll pardon the expression). And because of the “great” (point of view term) success that was had for the Americans when a group of middle aged men sitting around an oval table decided to drop two on different locations in Japan, the United States decided to put time, money, and effort into the development of nuclear technology that could do even more indirect self harm to their habitable space called “Earth” on the grounds of self preservation. There will probably be an added note somewhere in this story commenting on the level of stupidity that certain humans can exhibit when given too much power.
This story happens to center around a man named Ben Williams. He was just promoted to a Lieutenant, and he is about to discover something rather shocking that could affect the course of his entire life, in a very short time period. He is at an airfield in Las Vegas, and is about to meet up with a general of the military government who will introduce him to the special project that he has been assigned to. But as of right now, he has no idea what the project actually is.
“Lieutenant Williams!” The General shouted. “Good to see you again!”
“Likewise General,” Ben replied.
“I hear you’ve been assigned to our division.”
“That’s right. I have.”
“Well, that’s good. I could sure use a guy like you to oversee this project.”
“What type of project are we dealing with?”
The General laughed.
“What? No one told you?”
“No, they’ve kept me in the dark about that one. They just said it was special”
“I can see why though. You know, top secret and all that. Come on, I’ll show you the project firsthand.”
The General led Ben through a door that led to the outside of the airfield, where a large military plane was sitting outside. It looked like a giant metal tube with two wings attached to it.
“Let’s move out!” The General announced enthusiastically.
“Cool. Where are we going?” Ben asked.
The two boarded the plane, went through the pre-flight checks, and took off from the airfield.
Inside the cockpit, Ben suddenly realized that he had no idea where he was going.
“Where are we going?” Ben asked.
“Area 51,” the General replied.
“Well, that’s where the plane is headed.”
“Oh, okay… Wait, what?!”
One of the things that is most peculiar about the world is the greater populations addiction to military power. The world is divided up into sections known as countries. Most countries have a military. And these military groups’s sole point of existance is to attack the military in other people’s countries or defend their country from the attacks of other countries militaries. Either way ends in usually disastrous results mostly due to the casualties of the wars, especially the great ones. It could be argued that history can be defined by the great wars that took place along the timeline. With random footnotes on important assassinations, right behind world changing inventions, all tied together with time periods where the control of these countries has changed hands through instances of violent conflict. Many aliens from other planets have stated their curiosity and bewilderment over this earth’s idea of war. Their main argument is this, “if they can get along well with people from their own country, why can’t they get along with the rest of the world like they get along with their country?” So far, that question has gone on unanswered and with good reason. Honestly, the aliens just avoid earth altogether since their reasoning is that there is going to be a major self caused catastrophe if the human race keeps up its ridiculous tradition of going to war with each other every other decade or so. Even worse that they keep shoveling money into it like their life depends on it.
Meanwhile, Ben and the General have been traveling for about a 100 miles towards area 51, and at this point they’ve overshot it. Not accidentally though.
“General, we’ve overshot area 51,” Ben said.
“Don’t worry, the plane is turning around to go there,” the General answered.
The General flicked the switch to autopilot. The plane started turning around. The General led Ben through the plane to the tail end. The General gestured his hand to the row of parachutes.
“Pick your favorite,” the General said.
“We’re parachuting?” Ben asked.
“How else would you get to Area 51.1.”
“I thought the plane was taking us to area 51!”
“No, I said that plane was going to area 51. We’re actually going to a place that is so secret, you have to parachute to get there.”
“How will we get out of area 51.1?”
“That part will be explained later.”
Ben proceeded to put on the parachute along with the General who seemed to have done this a thousand times already.
“How many times have you done this before?” Ben asked.
“I come out here every two weeks for two days to oversee the construction,” the General stated
“Yep. Come on, we’re approaching the drop zone.”
The light on the plane turned red and the rear door started to open.
“Wait!” Ben exclaimed. “Who’s going to fly the plane?”
A voice spoke from the plane. “Autopilot engaged.”
“Well that’s convenient,” said Ben.
“Wait for it…” the General said.
The light blinked red for a few moments, then turned green.
“Let’s move out!” The General shouted as he jumped out of the airplane. Ben cautiously followed.
The feeling of being in the air was sensational. If felt like flying, or falling with style if you want to put it that way. The General was falling like a graceful swan that had been through this a million times whilst Ben was falling through the air like a fat pigeon that had never flown before, was attempting to fly, and had simply fallen out of a hole in a plane on it’s way to Paris. He of course had parachuted out of a plane before, but only few times and hadn’t gotten the hang of it.
The General flew over toward Ben and showed him how to position himself so he would have an easier time falling. It worked, and soon Ben was falling like a graceful brick. It got to the point where he started showing off, and the General had no other alternative but to fly over to Ben and pull his chute manually. The parachute opened and Ben floated to the ground exactly the same way that a plane without wings wouldn’t. The General pulled his chute soon after that and they touched down on the ground.
They came down on a barren desert wasteland with white sand covering the surface of the ground.
The General walked up to Ben as he struggled to untangle himself from his parachute.
“Not bad at all eh?” The General asked, a smile imprinted on his face.
“Not bad at all. Actually Quite fun,” Ben said. “Do you have any more surprises I should be informed of before we continue?”
“Well I can’t say I have more surprises for you, but-”
Before the General could finish, he took out a remote and pressed a button. The ground below immediately below them as well as the ground within a 40 foot radius started sinking into the desert sand.
“What the hell is going on here?” Ben asked.
“Were taking you to your destination,” The General replied.
“Okay then,” Ben just stood there as he said this.
Two panels closed above them, encasing them in darkness. Then a bunch of lights came on. Meanwhile, the platform was sinking ever more into the earth at a gradual rate. It seemed to keep going down inevitably.
“How long before I get the bends?” Ben asked.
“Very funny,” the General replied. “We’re not going down that far.”
After about a two minutes, the floor came to a stop.
“And disembark,” the General said as he pointed his hand to a metal wall.
“But there’s nowhere to go,” said Ben.
The giant metal wall parted revealing a very, very high tech facility.
“I see now,” Ben replied.
“Let’s give you the tour,” said the General.
The General led Ben through the facility. A very high tech laboratory with lots of important scientists running around operating various apparatuses that would make any normal person go insane from the amount of buttons and dials marked using the type of english that is confusing for a dictionary. Then Ben saw something that really surprised him.
“Oh my god, is that Stephen Hawkings?” Ben asked.
“Yep, he’s been a helpful insight into our project,” the General replied.
“What is this project?”
“This project is one of the most important projects since the Manhattan Project.”
“The Manhattan Project?”
“Is this project related to the Manhattan Project?”
“How could a more powerful energy source be made?”
“By adding more of the powerful energy sources together,” Stephen Hawkings replied.
“AH! Stephen Hawkings!” Ben shrieked. “It’s you.”
“Yes, it is me.” Stephen replied. “I’ve been helping the United States by providing my knowledge on advanced nuclear technology.”
“That’s wonderful,” said Ben.
“It certainly is,” the General replied. “Let me show you the main attraction.”
The General escorted Stephen and Ben through the complex to the ‘main attraction,’ a large Nuclear Reactor and processing facility.
“This is where a lot of our government funds have gone into. Lieutenant, I give you the worlds most powerful nuclear weapon that has ever existed. Capable of not only splitting the atoms we have in there, but capable of splitting the atoms of at least 2000 pounds of surrounding material. Enough to blow a pretty big crater on the side of our planet. We also have been developing a nuclear reactor based on the same technology. Capable of powering all of North America without having to be refueled for 50 years ”
“But, why would you need a bomb as powerful as that?”
“In case those damn Russians figure out that they can get us at any point in time, or use our technology against us. We’ve got mach 12 scramjets on this thing that’ll send it to Russia in minutes and POW! Instant crater 1000 miles wide. That’ll show those bastards they can’t mess with us” The general’s face produced a smile that seemed to match the width of the intended crater.
“These people are crazy” Ben thought to himself.
“Isn’t this power too much for any one nation to have?” Ben asked.
“Maybe,” the General replied. “But if there’s any country out there that can handle these types of nukes, it’s us.”
“Agreed, science and logic are on our side,” said Stephen.
Throughout Earth’s history there have been many instances where power and might has been grossly mishandled under the assumption that they have complete control over it. Human error more than often plays a part in it because most people underestimate how stupid and careless they can be. That’s not even taking into account the state of being of humans under various substances and liquids. Even if they do manage to control the power and human error doesn’t play a part, in a lost of cases the power is misused.
Meanwhile, you are about to witness the Nuclear Research facility experience some trouble, mostly due to when about a year ago. When in a small house in Silicon Valley, a Polish coder was coding away at the program for keeping the reactor in check. he was about a week behind and had been forced to stay up all night for about a month, only surviving on Red Bull and coffee while listening to Deadmau5. Under this hypnotically trippy state, he accidentally put in a wrong word in his code. This line of code would have the readout display that the Nuclear Reactor wasn’t overheating and melting down, when in fact it actually would be. This would cause the meltdown to go totally unnoticed until it was too late. This current scenario that would produce disastrous results if it actually happened is now being re-created in real life. And one of the technicians is pointing out the scenario in real life.
“The reactor’s overloading! We can’t contain it at this rate!” A scientist yelled.
“How the hell did this go unnoticed!” The General shouted across the room.
“We need to contain it before it reaches the critical point!” Another Scientist shouted in response.
“Get a technician in there and remove that plutonium!” Another scientist shouted.
“I’m on it!” A scientist named Bob yelled as he rushed across the floor with a device meant to remove the plutonium while cooling down the reactor.
Ben looked at a screen that displayed the new calculations coming in. He was very startled to read what it said.
“You’ve got twelve seconds before something bad happens according to this screen!” Ben screamed.
“God-damn-it!” The general screamed as he kicked a chair halfway across the design floor.
10. 9. 8. 7. the worker ran across the metal bridge to the center of the reactor that contained the plutonium. Unfortunately, the reactor suddenly shook violently in the exact same way that a regular brick house doesn’t. The scientist fell in the reactor pool along with the device meant to calm the reactor and remove the plutonium. 3 seconds left on the clock.
“Well,” said Stephen Hawkings, “We are all fu-”At that precise second, the reactor blew up. After about a minute, it was revealed that their calculations were in fact wrong. The nuclear device did not blow up and incinerate everything within a thousand miles, but it did completely obliterate the entire half of the planet that the nuke had settled on. After the dust had settled, The nuclear device left a large half sphere of what remained of the earth. Obviously this created a lot of problems for the rest of the earth to deal with. But at this point you have to admit that what Stephen Hawkings was going to say was in fact true. That we are all totally and inevitably screwed.
I’ve never had much structure in my life, I’ve never had someone to sit me there and tell me about the ways of life, telling me how to do my chores, I never had anyone to tell me to sit down and do my homework.. Hell, I don’t even think my parents would have known what grade I was going to every year if my school wasn’t constantly sending progress notes about the trouble I caused in class that day. Frankly the only thing that I remember of the days were waking up in the morning, and falling asleep at night. It’s never been something that I wanted to think about because when I was younger I didn’t think I lived the childhood that all kids lived, I’ve always had the feeling like something was different than others. Not believing that I was ever better than others, But.. Just different.
I’ve always told myself that if I were to die tomorrow, I would be content with the state that I’m in, I’ve seen everything that I want to see, lived everything I wanted to live, felt everything that I wanted to feel, Ah shit, I don’t want to turn this into one of those stories where I’m going to express my suicidal thoughts and shit like that, Because that’s not me at all actually.. I don’t want to die, and I don’t have the balls to take my own life. But I feel like I’m ready, like.. I’m not scared.. ya feel me? I don’t feel myself either. Yeah it’s whatever.
Well let me get the hell out of feelings and hop out of this bed, I can hear my grandmother’s footsteps coming upstairs because it’s 10 minutes past my alarm clock and she doesn’t “Hear my footsteps”.... Aw shit, I hear em coming.
“TREEEEYYYYY!, you awake? get it moving, pick it up, I don’t hear my footsteps up there!!” Grandmother said
“Yes, I’m AWAKE! Jesus christ” *As I say it under my breath*
What’d you say?” Grandmother said
“Oh nothing, I love you!”
Grandmother walks back downstairs into the kitchen to finish breakfast
One thing that I’ve never understood is the way my grandmother tries to teach me “Responsibly” but always feels the need to baby me. Jesus Christ I’m eighteen years old. Maybe if she was too to stop babying me, you know? and start treating me like an eight year old, but then get on my case when I start acting like one. It’s like I can never win in this dreaded house. I hate life, Ard.. I don’t have the worst life when you see me in person and you if you didn’t know me.
I live in a pretty financially stable family, my neighborhood is filled with million dollar houses where you can’t see the faces of neighbors without walking up to their front door. We have three cars.. Three cars that I can’t even DRIVE! But ... O take deep breaths to calm myself down, Okay... Let’s breath, that’s beside the point. But yeah .. it’s okay. I live with my grandparents, my grandmother works for a federal judge, while my grandfather owns his own law firm.. Yeah I live with some stuck up people, but I love them.. I think? Guess I’ll find out when they die.
You can say I live the best of both worlds.. My mother lives in West philly, down at the bottom where you can’t see the sunlight.. She used to live in Germantown before my father took her house from her in a nasty Divorce, eh, that’s a whole other can of worms. But anyways... yeah I don’t see her to often.. she’s always busy and when she’s not, I’m always busy. We make phone calls to each other when we can, but it’s mostly phone tag. But when we do get on the phone, that’s okay.. But it’s a celebration every time we link up. Haha, Speaking of the devil
My phone started to ring and immediately I knew it was her. I picked up.
“Hey son, how are you?” Mother said
Oh I’m fine, I’ve been thinking about you, I miss you, We never get to see each other anymore, I wanted to know if we could hang out sometime, If I’m not busy like always.
“Oh that’s fine with me, just give me a time a date” Mother said
Okay, I’ll talk to you later mom, I love you!
It seems like those plans.. never plan out. I actually don’t remember the last time that I’ve seen my mother longer than for a hour. It seems like it’s ALWAYS something that comes in between us that stops us from hanging out, almost like something is watching me. FBI agents climbing in the trees and keeping their close eye on me as I try to make these plans and they’re like “Noooo nigga”. Whatever.. I should probably get ready to wake out the house, I look over at my phone
LUNCH TIME AT SCHOOL
When I walk into the lunchroom, I see a bunch of people that I'm really not friends with. I seem to have trouble making the friends that I actually want to keep around, or do they want to keep me around? I actually don’t know. It’s 11:30 and I have to leave early to go to the doctors, I don’t usually go and I don’t remember making an appointment but my grandmother called me to tell me that we we’re going at 1:30, well I guess that this day is cut short. Remember when I said that I didn’t wanna live anymore? I just hope that the doctor will tell me that I have some type of cancer or something.. Like Lung cancer? Nah fuck that.. that’s a slow death.
If there is anyone that I would want to talk too in this world right about now. it would be Dovi, See .. she’s this girl that I have 2nd period with everyday, we’ve actually never even spoke, but I don’t know why I haven’t talked to her anyways.. Every time that I want to talk to her, I just start folding and my stomach reaches toes and I just want to run away.. Shit shit.. She’s coming up the hallway and I have no where else to turn.
*Scares at Dovi walk by*
Hey Dovi! *Says in his head*
*She looks at Trey like a weirdo*
Shit shit, ahh it’s whatever. she was never going to notice me anyways. I’m just glad that I’m leaving now,
*Calls on the loudspeaker*
Trey Harper, COME TO THE OFFICE FOR EARLY DISMISSAL
Welp, I guess that’s my cry for help. I’m out of this hell hole, only for the day.
As I walk out the front doors of the school, I can see my grandmother in the car with a smile on her face, but I know deep down that she’s a bitter woman, but anyways that’s beside the point.. I get into the car and we say nothing to each other, I ask her why do I have to go to the doctors again. She kinda just ignores me for five minutes then tells me.
“It’s just a check-up on your surgery” She said
Ah, that dumbass surgery.. I remember it like it was yesterday. Well I actually don’t remember it at all. It was the summer of 10th grade when I spent a week a christian camp, It was some overnight camp in the middle of bubblefuck PA, the people were too nice and the food was nasty. I remember I would wake up every morning at Six O’clock on the dot to go into the bathroom and wash my face, brush my teeth and workout.. but anyways, I was playing football with a bunch of other kids and I slipped and hit my head on a rock that was in the park, the only rock that was in the park..
I was rushed to the Hospital that day on a helicopter, I barely remember the ride, I barely remember anything that happened before the day that happened, I had lost all of my long term memory, well there goes my childhood.. I was 17 years old and I didn’t even remember my 5th birthday party. I didn’t remember where I went to school and I didn’t even know who I was. My family tells me that I came out a different person once I got out that hospital.
When I got to the doctors to have a check up on my post surgery, I didn’t have much to say, I didn’t have anything to say at all actually. I never like talking about it because I start to think about my life before the surgery, and I don’t even remember my life before the surgery. The doctor just gave me a short talk about how I can get through it and how everything will eventually get better, and that I might be able to get my memory back, ah shit.. don’t get me excited.
After the doctors appointment, my grandmother and I got into the car and drove home, quiet as usual. I started to think about my past, like .. what if? I’ve always thought it was weird that my family never really tried to tell me, or let me know about my childhood.. It was just something that I learned to let go, But what if I found out about myself? the things that I got into, Hell.. I don’t even know if I’m a virgin or not.
Once I got home, sitting on my bed, I don’t know what to think about my life anymore, I think that I pretty much went over how I’m done with life right? I just want to know my life again.. Damn I have this crazy ass headache, this is the worse that I’ve ever had in a while, or just in my life, period. I think I’m going to grab some advil or something to take the pain away.
Oh I can feel that this advil isn’t working.. I’m going to need something more powerful. I don’t think that there is anything that’s in the medicine cabinet. Maybe if I just take a nap, when I wake up, I’ll feel all better and It’ll just wash away.. hopefully.
Whoaaaaaaa; what the hell? where am I? why does everything look so different?! HEY HEY!
I look around and I don’t see anywhere that looks familiar, I woke up in a car style bed, like when did I get this? where the hell am I? I don’t think that I’m home anymore, this is some crazy shit. I don’t even know where my phone is, I turn around to my left and I see a little ass boy laying in bed next to me, Aw shit, I’m not in pervert in this dream right? this is a dream right? I keep asking myself these questions when I know damn well I don’t know the answer too. I fell to the ground as I just jumped off the bed as fast as I could, I was frantic and worried like shit. I just want to get home, I hope I don’t end up in jail. I hear the door knob moving and I just know it’s someone’s parents rushing in, aw shit.. shit shit shit..
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR TREY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!!!” Random parents.
“Mommy! Daddy!!!!! Thank you!!!” Random boy laying in the bed.
“Come downstairs, we have something waiting for you baby!”
The boy next to me, jumps out of bed so excited.. runs out of the room to go downstairs, The only thing that’s going through my mind right now is that, HOW THE HELL DID THEY NOT SEE ME, WHAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!! and those parents look really familiar, familiar to my own parents. I’m so confused right now.. what is happening. I’m going to just walk out of this slowly and try my best to get out here.. As I’m creeping out the little kid’s bedroom and I take a quick peek out the hallway and I see a group of little kids rush past the room.. I slammed that door so hard because I didn’t wanna get caught. I peeked my head back into the hallway and I didn’t see anyone. I walked down the hallway towards the front door steps. I see shit load of people sitting down, kids running around the place and I didn’t know what to do with myself. Still, STILL.. Not one soul noticed me, it’s like everyone is just looking through me like I don’t exist, what is happening right now? The only thing that I see are a bunch of people screaming happy birthday to that boy with the same name as me.. man this shit is getting weirder and weirder.
When I was weirded out in the background, I noticed that the boy was wearing the same socks that I have in my drawer at home, My grandmother use to always tell me ”These were you were favorite socks when you were younger” she always told me to hold on to them that maybe one day, They’ll help me “Remember” I never knew what she was talking about ....
Holy shit, it’s my 5th birthday party...
Is this a memory? dream? what’s happening.
The crazy part is that I don’t think that I’ve ever seen this memory, I don’t remember being here, I don’t remember my parents ever being together.. my family being happy.. I notice that I had a smile on my face and all of these people around me who I didn’t even know, knew me.. where are all of these people now? I swear after this day, I’ve never seen these people in my life again. After the accident, I don’t remember seeing these people at all.. this was really weird. But really the only thing that I remember is me... living life after 10th grade. When I look at this, it doesn’t look like I was on the route to where I am now.
As I sat down and watched all of them play and have a party... I took one blank and I ended up in my bed at home.. I woke up .. but didn’t I already wake up? I’m so confused, what is happening right now? as I got out the bed I turned to my phone to tell who texted me, I had got multiple calls and messages from my friends asking me to come workout with them.. I was only asleep for a night? it felt like forever. I have to tell my friend Shawn this when I first see him.
As I got to school the next morning, I had to run and find shawn to tell him that I think I had a dream about my first memory. When I walked into first period I saw him sitting on the other side of the classroom by the window, I walk over there and sat down with him
“Yoooo Bro” I said
“Yo, what’s up bro” Shawn said
“I think I had a crazy ass dream last night, I don’t know if it was a dream, bad nightmare or both”
“What do you mean bro?”
“ I just had a dream that I woke up in the bed with my younger self.. It was my 5th birthday party and I walked through the house and saw everyone cheering for the little version of myself” it was weird as shit.”
“Damn that’s crazy”
I decided to let it go, thinking that it was just a dream.. maybe it was nothing important.. but I felt like I was in there forever, I couldn’t leave, and that headache though? why did I get a headache and thought about that before I actually fell asleep?
When I got home, I just went to my kitchen table and I sat down and looked for advil and other pills to secure my headache. I didn’t know why I was started to have these headaches more and more often and didn’t know what to do. I think that i'm going to go to bed and just hope that nothing happens, I'm going to sleep.
I woke up in a dark room where I didn’t know what was happening. I just got straight up and looked around. I walked out the room and I was at a school.. did I just walk out the cleaning closet? The first thing that I hear on the the loudspeaker is.
“TREY HARPER, PLEASE REPORT TO THE OFFICE”
I didn’t know where that was so I just walked aimlessly around the school and I walked up a staircase and I saw this little light skin kid walk past me, he looked really sad, like he was about to get into a lot of trouble that he knew was coming to him. He walked into the office, so I followed him into the office and again.. it was like no one could see me. I saw that light skin kid sitting on the chair in the office and waiting to be called into the Principals office, I was just in the cut, watching him look like he was waiting for his death sentence..
As I was sitting down and watching everything progress. The principal called him into his office and I slipped into the office as he walked in there. Once we got into the office, he sat down and the principal and him started talking
“You have been being disrespectful lately, I can’t keep fighting for and standing up for you” said the Principal
“ I just .. I just don’t know.. I’m sorry” Trey
“ I’m sorry Trey.. but you’ve been expelled from Cedar Grove christian academy.”
As I was sitting in the background, I was thinking.. I didn’t know that I’ve gotten expelled from private school.. When I would ask about what middle school I went too, she told me that I went to Henry, she said that I transferred from some little school because I didn’t “fit in” whatever that meant. Was I always a bad child? I didn’t know what to do next.
I woke up the next morning wondering why I was going through these memories, it’s like I was jumping through. It seems like I’m getting my memory back.. every night I get a new memory every night and I get to re grow my past, to see why I’m the person I am today.. Ah man this is going to be a long ride.
Chapter 1: First Day
“Don’t be nervous Sam. Everyone is nice at this school. Trust me,” June cooed as she drove past a grey old barn that had a tall corn field engulfing it.
“That’s what you said about the last three schools,” I muttered and she shot me an old fashioned “I’ll pull over and bite you” glare.
“This school is filled with kids that are unique like you. It took some digging but I think I found a good fit for you this time. I’ve already talked to the dean and some of the teachers,” She said smiling to herself as if she had discovered the cure to cancer.
“Sure. And as soon as you leave I’ll get to really see what the kids are like. We’ve been down this road before June,” I said and sighed softly.
“I swear it’ll be different this time. Give this a chance and try it,” She said and nudged my arm that was resting near her.
“No, I mean that we’ve been down this road we’re on twice now. This is the third time I’m seeing that old barn,” I huffed pointing out the window.
“Oh! I must have read the directions wrong. Let’s see. We’ll try making a right over here,” She commented and began talking to herself as she drove.
I laid my head against the window, staring at the barn in boredom. Something looked out of place, so I sat up a little to see better. There was a boy standing at one of the big windows with his arms out in front of him as if he were telling something to stay away. His back was towards me so all I could see were the broad shoulders and light brown skin. It might be caramel. I watched closer and could see figures in the shadows of the barn. A long blade emerged from the barn and sliced at the front of the boy hitting his chest and he fell from the window to the ground.
I must have screamed because my aunt June slammed on the breaks. I undid my seat belt and bolted out of the car launching myself into the corn field. I could hear June yelling my name, but I blocked it out as I started running towards the barn. After a couple minutes I found myself outside the barn with my heart pumping in my ears with cuts all over my arms and legs from the corn stalks. I scanned the area and let my eyes rest on the bloody body of the boy that had fallen.
I quickly knelt down by his side and ripped off his shirt so I could see the wound. There was a long gash down his very muscular chest and stomach. Closing my eyes I started drawing in the energy of the sun and let it build up in my stomach. After a minute I leaned down opening my mouth licking across his wound, letting the energy come into direct contact with his gash and heal it faster.
I opened my eyes slowly as I felt a warm sensation against my skin. I stared up at the sky watching the clouds float by me. Feeling a sudden burning on my stomach I gasped aloud. I tried sitting up and ignored the aching of my back and head. Propping myself up onto my elbows I sat face to face with a girl on fire. Her hair was flowing in the wind with sparks flying off it like someone was lighting a match. Her skin was all yellow and orange with a glow that almost blinded me; and her eyes. Her eyes were the perfect shade of forest green with a ring of volcano red around it.
Her eyes widened as she noticed that I was conscious but then she put some hair behind her ear and dragged her tongue across my chest bringing back the burning sting of heat. I tried to speak, but no words would come out. All I could do was bite my lip through the pain and stare into the eyes of the girl on fire. After a couple minutes she stopped and I caught a glimpse of her tongue that was small and pink but had a yellow and orange glitter on the tip of it. Her eyes focused on me for a second and then she started touching my arms and legs to check for other cuts.
I looked down at my chest and the gash from Danny’s blade was completely gone. All that stayed was the warm feeling from her tongue against my skin. I looked over at the girl as she started poking my ankle, which was twisted in the most unnatural way. After a moment her hands caught flame and she looked up at me. A normal person would have probably screamed and tried to crawl away. But all I could do was stare at her. She kept her eyes on mine as she pressed her hands to my ankle and I let out a scream feeling the heat on my skin and bones. She gripped my ankle tighter and then my ankle made a cracking sound. Everything went black after that.
“Shit,” I said while biting my lip.
I could hear talking and footsteps in the barn as I sat staring at the unconscious boy on the ground. He passed out while I was healing and realigning his broken ankle. I tried to be as gentle as I could but the bone had to be put back into place. And now people are coming because they heard him scream.
I got up slowly and stumbled a bit feeling dizzy from using my powers. After a moment I bent down and grabbed the boy off the ground wrapping him on my back like a bookbag. He lets out a soft groan as I start walking towards my car. My cheeks flare up a bit as he breathes against my neck and nuzzles my hair like it’s a pillow.
“Where the fuck is he?! I dropped his ass right here!” A guy’s voice booms from behind me, making crows fly up into the sky.
“I don’t know. But I’m picking up the scent of someone that isn’t Lucas,” Says another voice that’s male but less intimidating than the first. I start moving through the corn as quietly as I can.
“Do you recognize it from anywhere?” Asks a voice that’s soft and angelic from a girl.
“No. I have no clue who it is Nick. Maybe it’s someone from out of town,” The second guy said.
“Damn it Jack just find them!” Nick growled and I felt my breath catch in my throat.
“Nick, relax. We’ll find Lucas,” Said the girl; trying to sooth Nick.
“You better! I don’t have time for this shit! I need to be focused on finding the Phoenix Child. That is the ONLY thing that matters,” Nick barked and I heard a car start up.
I started walking faster towards my aunts car when Lucas let out a soft groan against me. I stood still as I heard soft footsteps and Nick’s car turn off. I took a deep breath and weighed my options quickly in my head. Leave this hunk of a boy here to get hurt again, stay and fight the people who hurt him, or sprint my ass to the car. I heard light footsteps coming into the cornfield and all the hairs on my neck stood up. Sprint my ass to the car it is. I fixed Lucas on my back closing my eyes to take in some of the suns energy and bolted through the corn. I could feel my flip flops rip off of my feet as I ran but I ignored it. The only thing that mattered was getting Lucas and myself to safety. Which was away from the kill happy teenagers near the barn.
As I skidded to a stop by the car I quickly swung the door open and slid inside with Lucas sagging against the seat. My aunt June spun around in the front seat staring wide eyed at me and Lucas but I put my hand up to stop her from saying anything.
“Just drive. Now! This kid just fell and hurt himself and he needs medical attention,” I lied watching as corn stalks moved as the mysterious teenagers ran towards us, “Go!”
“Okay! Okay!” She shouted gripping the wheel and punching her foot onto the gas petal.
“Thank you. Just drive to the school. I think he might be a student there,” I said softly as I slid a seatbelt across Lucas’ body and then on across mine.
“Will he be okay until we get there? I might get lost again,” Aunt June said with panic starting to rise inside her.
“Well then I guess you better not get lost again. His life is in your hands,” I mumbled and I saw her hands tighten more on the steering wheel until her knuckles turned bleach white.
“Promise me that you’ll explain all of this to me later?” She asked looking into the rearview mirror so our eyes could meet.
“I promise. I just want to get him to a doctor right now,” I said giving her a little smile and I saw her eyebrows relax a little bit.
“Alright. Do you even know anything about him? Was there anything in his pockets? Did he say anything?” She rambled as she made a couple turns.
“His name is Lucas. I heard him say it before he passed out,” I began biting my lower lip a little. Luckily my aunt was watching the road so she didn’t notice.
I didn’t feel like it was the right time to mention the three people yet. My aunt might not take it as well as I did. She might throw Lucas out the car or think that I’m having delusions. I wanted to keep her as calm as possible so that she could drive us to the school because I had no idea of how to get there. Right now was the time to keep information on a need-to-know basis. And that included leaving out crazy people and giant swords.
Lucas let out a soft groan and his head laid back against the headrest. I touched his right cheek gently and kept it there until his body relaxed. This isn’t the day that I thought it would be. And I had a feeling that this was only the beginning of a series of dangerous events.
Chapter 2: Resting
“He’s fine Miss Daniel. I don’t see any serious wounds at all on him. Are you sure he fell from a window?” It was a man’s voice. It sounded a little like Dr. Fin.
“I’m sure. I watched him fall myself,” Said a young female voice and a shiver went down my spine as she spoke. I slowly opened my eyes as I kept listening to the voices.
“Well then he’s one lucky laddy. I always knew him to be a durable little tot,” Said the voice with a laugh.
Yup, definitely Dr. Fin. No one else calls me a little tot or laddy. The female voice let out a light giggle that made my heart skip a beat. It was so relaxed and soft but it could bring any guy to his knees. I turned my head slowly and saw Dr. Fin standing by his desk with a small girl that had long walnut colored hair and cocoa toned skin. She smiled up at him with dimples digging into her cheeks creating their own little happy faces on both sides of her mouth. She wore a light blue tank top with a kitten curled up around yarn on it and jean shorts that had loose tassels on the bottoms. My gills protruded from my neck as I looked at her perfectly shaped legs and waist. She was gorgeous and my animal side was going berserk. I turned my head away forcing my eyes shut and took deep breaths until the gills went back into my neck and my nostrils flared.
This girl was dangerous and she would be the death of me. I could feel it in my bones. I opened my eyes back up as footsteps came near my bed. My gaze was met by forrest green ones that looked giddy with happiness. She smiled looking at me and said something but I didn’t hear it. I was lost in my own head with my thoughts swimming with all the things that made her look attractive. And her eyes; they looked so familiar.
“Is there something on my face?” She averted her eyes from me as she wiped her hands over her face.
“N..no. Your face is perfect,” I croaked and began to slightly blush, “I mean uh. Your face is fine. I’m sorry for staring.”
“I’m glad,” She said giggling and covered her mouth with her hand. Odd.
“How are you feeling Lucas?” Dr. Fin stepped closer to me and checked my forehead.
“I feel great now,” I sat up slowly and watched as Miss Daniels eyes glided over my bare chest where my tattoos were.
“That’s good. Can you tell me what happened?” Dr. Fin sat in a swivel chair while summoning a notepad out of his pocket with a small black pen.
“I don’t remember everything...I was told to go to the barn for some meeting for the most talented students here. But when I got there only Nick and his posse were there and they tried to get me to sign some contract..” I shook my head trying to process everything as I said it.
“I don’t know of any new club for just the most talented students. Or of a club that requires students to sign a contract. Did you sign it?” Dr. Fin scribbled on his notepad so fast that the point of his pencil went from being sharp to a nub in a matter of seconds. He stopped writing and looked up at me.
“No I refused to join. I don’t really like clubs,” I scratched my head softly and there was a leaf in it, “I don’t really remember anything after that...”
“They attacked you Lucas. I watched you fall,” Miss Daniel clenched her fists seeming to become angry that I got hurt, “I wanted to hurt them but I had to get you to a doctor...”
“Samantha I’m surprised you were able to carry Lucas away. He’s almost twice your height,” Samantha smiled a bit.
“I work out and do sports a lot.”
“So your name is Samantha Daniels?” Damit. I said that out loud.
“Yes it is,” she giggled and put some hair behind her ear, “Oh um..what’s a Phoenix Child?”
“That is a very good question,” A voice boomed as the infirmary doors swung open. The Dean of Students comes in with Nick Pitella behind him, “A Phoenix Child is a rare person on the Earth that can harness the energy of the sun and technologies around them and use it. Another name for them is an “energy being.” This person has never been found though, which is why it’s somewhat of a myth now.”
All the hairs on the back of my neck went up as he spoke. I remember why Samantha looked so familiar now. She’s the Phoenix Child. I saw her when she found me outside the barn. I looked at Samantha as the dean spoke and noticed that the tips of her hair had started to flicker between its regular shade of brown and a glowing gold. I quickly leaned forwards without thinking and yanked her ponytail pulling her down onto my lap in the bed. She let out a high pitched yelp as she fell into me and everybody stared at me in shock.
“What are you--”
“Saving your ass. Your hair is glowing,” I whispered in her ear and then looked up at everyone’s wondering eyes, “Sorry about that. I just wanted to give her a hug. I haven’t seen her in so long.”
“So long? You know each other?” The dean arched an eyebrow at us.
“Yes. We met a beach a couple years ago. I really liked her in the bikini she wore. What design was it again Sammy?”
“Oh um..It was a black bikini with rainbow butterflies on it,” She blushed a bit and her cheeks flared a bit.
I pinched her cheeks with my thumbs and pointer fingers to cover the glow, “I missed you when you left that night. And then I lost your number while we were swimming.”
“Well since you know Miss Daniels so well then you can give her a tour of the school. She’s our newest student. How’s that sound to you?” The Dean gave a smile that didn’t reach his eyes and Nick kept his eyes locked on Samantha.
“That sounds fantastic,” I slid Samantha off my lap as I got out the bed stretching.
“Good. And maybe stop at your dorm room for a new shirt,” He motioned his eyes to my chest and turned leaving the infirmary but Nick stayed rooted to his spot.
“What’s wrong Nick? Cat got your tongue?” I smirked while watching as he blinked and let a glare form on his face.
“Screw you Lucas. We still have business to discuss later,” He glanced over at Samantha briefly, “Bring her with you.”
“I go where I want to go. Don’t make plans for me,” Samantha got up putting her hands on her hips and glared at Nick with her eyes flickering red and he took a step back.
“I...I wasn’t talking to you. Just bring her to the gym later Lucas,” Nick spun on his heels and practically ran out the room.
I sighed running my hands through my hair and sat back down on the bed. Dr. Fin walked over to Samantha looking at her eyes and gave a little smirk. She blushed and looked down at the floor with her cheeks glowing a dull yellow. He tilted her head back up and nodded as if coming to a decision in his head.
“You are the Phoenix Child, daughter of Diana Samantha Isle. I knew I’d meet you one day,” He smiled and took a step back to look at her.
“How do you know my mother?” Samantha’s body shed its hard demeanor and she sat next to me on the bed.
“She was my cousin from my dad’s side. We grew up together,” He gave a slight smile but then it faded as he thought about something, “You shouldn’t be here. If the Dean realizes who you are he’ll put you into the experiment.”
“What is that supposed to mean? Damnit Dr. Fin you said you didn’t know anything about the special group,” I got up grabbing Samantha’s hand suddenly not wanting to be anywhere near Dr. Fin right now.
“Wait! I can help you,” He stepped between us and the infirmary door, “I couldn’t save my cousin, but to make up for that I’ll save you both. We have to hide you until you get a grasp of controlling your powers. Glowing cheeks and flickering eyes will get you found out sooner or later,” He walked over to his desk grabbing a small satchel and a hat.
“You may be right about that. But Before I trust you completely. Tell me what happened to my mother,” Samantha planted her butt on the bed and crossed her legs at the ankles.
“She was put into the special group. The group is supposed to extract the special powers of students and then use them together as cures for the diseases in the world,” Dr. Fin went over to his desk fumbling around for something.
“That doesn’t sound bad. I don’t mind being apart of the cure and saving--”
“Shut up!” He snapped at her and grabbed a ring of keys out a drawer, “If your powers are extracted you will die. I am not losing my cousin’s only daughter. Let’s go.”
Samantha stared at him in shock as he marched out the room through the back door. I crouched down next to her and patted her knees. She looked at me with eyes getting watery so I lifted my hand wiping them gently. She blinked pulling away and looked away from me.
“All this time...I thought she left me to go be with my father. I hated her for leaving me and this whole time she was dead,” She started breathing faster and sniffling.
“I know...but come on. Make it up to her by staying alive. Keep her legacy going through you. Let’s go and find out what you’re really capable of,” I gripped both her hands pulling her up onto her feet.
Chapter 3: Protectors
“Sit here and close your eyes. Try to relax,” Dr. Fin said and closed a big metal door locking it.
“Relax? After finding out that my mother is dead and someone is trying to kill me as well as other students? How am I supposed to calm down?” I replied with heat building up in my whole body.
“Easy Sammy...calm down. You’re glowing again.” Lucas said from his chair in the corner of the room.
“He’s right Samantha. And this is exactly why I brought you here. You have no control over your powers once your emotions flare up,” Dr. Fin said walking past me and patted a chair in the opposite corner of Lucas, “Now sit.”
I sighed heavily while running my fingers through my hair and sat in the short blue chair. Dr. Fin smiled a bit and then walked over to a yellow chair at the center of the room sitting down. He put a briefcase on his lap opening it up and pulled out small daggers. He laid them on the floor while then pulling a lighter and bottle of alcohol from the case.
“What is that for? Are you gonna teach me how to fight drunk or--” I let out a scream closing my eyes and putting my hands out in front of me as he threw a dagger straight at me.
“Samantha...open your eyes.” Lucas said.
I opened my eyes and there was a glittery yellow bubble surrounding me with the dagger on the floor. Lucas got up from his seat to get a closer look and I just, stared at it. I never made a shield before. I didn’t know that I could make one. I looked up as Lucas tried touching the bubble. As his finger tapped the shield it electrocuted him and he dropped to his knees holding his arm. I slid out my chair making the bubble disperse.
“Lucas are you okay!? I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to..” I said reaching for his shoulder but he pulled away from me with his eyes looking different.
“Don’t touch me…” He said with his voice hoarse and skin pale. His pupils had changed from the circular shape to a large rhombus with two little ones on either sides of it. And his irises were cyan blue instead of the usual sky blue.
“Here Lucas. Take this,” Dr. Fin walked over giving him a small blue orb.
“Thank you…” Lucas said taking the ball and it started glowing as soon as he touched it.
The orb’s glow started to shine in a pulse like a heartbeat and gills sprouted out from Lucas’ neck. His hair became a midnight blue as his skin flushed to a normal color. I sat back on my butt and pretzeled my legs while keeping my eyes on him. I knew he was special, but I didn’t know it was ocean special. Kane looked up at me with his eyes wide and gills flaring.
“I um..I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you...” I said and looked down at my sneakers feeling ashamed.
“It’s fine. You don’t know your own strength. And that’s okay. I don’t mind getting shocked if it’ll help you become better,” Lucas replied and my cheeks glowed a dim yellow.
“Alright Lucas. You ready to show Samantha your powers?” Dr. Fin said picking up the lighter and alcohol bottle.
“Sure. Hold this Samantha,” Lucas got up passing the blue orb to me and it sent a chill through my whole body.
Dr. Fin took a swig of the alcohol grinning a bit and flipped the lighter open. He exchanged a quick nod to Lucas and then motioned me to move out of the way. I took a couple steps back with the orb starting to freeze the tips of my fingers. Dr. Fin lit the lighter and inhaled the flame closing his eyes. When he opened them his eyes were red and then he open his mouth shooting a giant wave of flames at Lucas. Every hair on my neck went up as I watched Lucas just stand there without trying to block it. Right when I was about to say something, Lucas lifted his hands in a fluent motion and shot a blast of water at Dr. Fin meeting his flames in between them.
Lucas’ eyes widened and his blast increased pushing Dr. Fin’s flames back. So Dr. Fin puffed up his chest making his flames increase. After a minute of the back and forth pushing, Dr. Fin’s flame started to falter as he became hit with fatigue. I could see that Lucas wasn’t lightening up and that it would probably be bad if a fire breather was hit with water. I needed to do something but I didn’t know what to do exactly. I looked down at the orb and noticed that it had completely frozen my hands into a block of ice.
“L..Lucas?...” I said and walked over to him holding up my hands.
“Oh shit!” He replied and dropped his hands to grab the orb out of my hand.
“Watch out Lucas!” Dr. Fin said as his flames came spiraling towards us.
“Lucas move!” I said pushing him out of the way and felt the flames blast against my backside.
“Samantha!” Lucas got up to grab me but stopped as the flames started to spin around my body like a tornado.
“Lucas don’t touch her,” Dr. Fin walked over watching as the flames just kept spinning around me and melting the ice from my hands, “You are truly the Phoenix Child.”
“I guess she is,” Lucas replied while staring at me.
“Stop looking at me like that,” I felt my cheeks burning red as I blushed and I turned away.
“Look at me,” He said and I could hear him walking over to me.
“Don’t come any closer or you’ll get hurt again,” I replied turning to look at him.
“I don’t give a damn about getting hurt,” Lucas stepped closer grabbing both my hands and the flames dissipated, “See. I’m fine.”
“You’re so that lucky my powers stopped working when you touch me.” I said and looked down at his hands that were still holding mine.
“Samantha I was trying to wait to find you your Janshi,” Dr. Fin said while going inside his briefcase, “But I think you already found him.”
“The only person on the planet that can disable and calm your powers. Each Phoenix Child has one somewhere on the Earth. It seems that Lucas is your Janshi.”To Be Continued…..
Ever since he could remember, Tanner loved being outside. He enjoyed playing by the creek, climbing trees, running through the barn and purposely tripping only to land in a pile of hay. Naturally, he was Mother Nature’s child. He loved the sound and feel of rain, he loved wind storms, and large waves; there wasn’t one thing in nature Tanner Boyd was not fond of. Sometimes, however, he got a little too carried away and began acting as the nature. He would go toward his mother, and try to blow her off of her feet by pretending he was the wind, or he would zap his long fingers over her head and scream, “BOOM,” and say he was thunder and lightning. Now, it seems normal for a kid to be imaginative, but he started to become obsessive and would spend hours sitting in one spot in the forest, just staring at tree trunks. One time, his mother stepped outside to call him in for supper, but he wasn’t in their backyard garden. She wandered toward the forest and noticed him by the large pine tree. She called for him, “Tanner, time for supper!” He did not respond. She called for him again, this time louder, “Tanner! Let’s go!” He quickly flung his arms in the air, and swung his head toward her and screamed, “Psshhh.” He was pretending to be the tree. His mother was aggravated because the supper she cooked was getting cold, so she went to get him. Tanner walked home normally, but made nature sounds under his breath.
Tanner Boyd did not have many friends. He had some acquaintances that admired who he was, but they never wanted to get too close. During his time in the 7th grade, Tanner decided that he did not need to go to school any further after that year. He was advanced in science and never cared for money. He sometimes said, “I don’t need to finish school because I don’t need money to live, I can just live with my friends in the woods.” So many people were convinced that he was not coming back for his 8th grade year, even a few of the teachers, but his mom did not tolerate it. He was there for part of 6th grade, then unexpectedly disappeared. The entire community was looking for him. His mom, his peers at school, the trees were even rapidly moving.
About 5 months of time had passed, and Tanner was still not found. His mother had gone insane, and started smoking a lot of marijuana, but she still had some hope that he was out there. For the longest time, Tanner’s mother looked out of her window toward the forest, hoping to maybe see him pass by, but she never saw anything. She never wanted to go back into the forest either, she thought it was possessed and maybe it ate her child alive. One day, when Tanner’s mother was really high, she walked into her garden, stood in the center on the cobblestone pathway that splits the land of grass down the middle, and screamed toward the forest, “Do you have any type of this leaf?” The forest responded with wind brushing through it’s branches. Tanner’s mom stumbled back inside. She cried every night after that for 3 weeks.
Tanner and his mother lived in a small town in the south-western part of Nevada. They lived in a quaint home that had solar panels and a large yard. With just three main rooms on the ground floor, and four rooms upstairs, the Boyd home was Tanner’s kingdom. His mother, who is in her late 40’s, loved to cook. She had a major case of OCD and always kept her house exceptionally clean. She hated when Tanner would track dirt from the forest through house. Tanner would always reply back to her expressions with a, “It’s all natural, just like your organic cleaning stuff.”
Tanner loved to mess with his mom’s emotions like that. He would purposely make her anxious by stepping in large piles of mud and leaves, then vigorously walk toward the house. He sort of felt bad though, so he would run quickly on his tippy-toes from the doorway to his bedroom upstairs. In his bedroom, he would strip, take green, yellow, and orange Sharpies and draw a landscape on his stomach. Usually, the landscape would be of tall trees, large bushes, a bright sun, and chirping birds. His drawings were always so detailed. His mother rarely sees his stomach art, but when she does, she asks what he wants to be when he’s older. Tanner says, “I want to be someone who plays with plants.” His mother is not surprised, since he does spend every minute of his free time sitting in/wandering the forest.
About 7 months after Tanner’s disappearance, the local police heard word that a young boy was spotted walking from the south-western border of Nevada toward the Eastern border of California. Police officers immediately rushed over to Tanner’s mother’s house to inform her. She opened the door with droopy eyes, asking the officers why they were there. “We have news about your son, Mrs. Boyd.” Her eyes widened as she grabbed the one of the officer’s ties, and pulled him toward her. “Where is he? Did you find my son?”
“We currently have the state police on the way to the south-western border of Nevada. We believe that he’s trying to cross over into California.”
Tanner’s mother was confused. Why would my son want to go to California, there’s nothing there for him, she thought. “I’d like to be driven to where the police are going. I want to be there when they find my son.”
“As you wish, but there is no guarantee that we’ll find…” one of the officers said.
“I’d like to be there.” Tanner’s mother firmly spoke out.
The two officers escorted Tanner’s mother to their car. They turned on the siren and lights, and rushed over to the border of Nevada. When they arrived at their destination, other state police were already there surrounding the entrance to California. They waited patiently for Tanner to be noticed, but nothing was happening. About 3 hours passed, and still no sign of Tanner. The State Police Director ordered for the job to be postponed due to the amount of time they waited. Tanner’s mother was devastated and said nothing. As she turned toward the police car door, however, something came over her and she ran toward the Director with anger. She began hitting him and yelling, “You son of a Bitch! I just want my son back! Bring me my son back!” Other officers pulled her off and contained her fury, but the Director understood why she reacted like that and let it pass. He compromised with her and said that he would contact California’s State Police Director and have him order officers to be on the lookout for Tanner Boyd. She calmed down, got into the car, and cried until they left.
Tanner had this crush on a girl in school, her name was Tabitha. She loved arts & crafts, and riding her bike. Tabitha lived down the street from Tanner, but only Tanner knew that. He would sometimes watch her walk to the bus stop, right before he would run out into the road to get someones attention - no one ever noticed him when he did that.
Tanner thought Tabitha was a jewel. Her chestnut hair, green eyes, and golden skin created some of Tanner’s deepest lusts. He tried to ask her out one time, but he ran away before she even turned around. Tabitha was gracious, but she knew that she would never date someone like Tanner. She often said to her friends, “He’s too weird for me to like.” She knew who he was, but had no interest in him.
One time, Tanner was just staring at Tabitha in class. He sat in the back, and she sat in the front. She turned around to speak with her friend, and mid-conversation, she noticed him looking at her from the corner of her eye. She turned toward him and told him to stop, but he continued. When she turned back around toward the front of the class, Tanner yelled, “Why won’t you talk to me?” Tabitha felt embarrassed and kept her head down. He yelled again, “Why won’t you talk to me?” She wanted to tell him that he was an odd child, but she decided not too.
California’s State Police Director reported back that they found Tanner 2 months later. The park rangers of Sequoia National Park called in about a young male wondering the grounds by himself. When Tanner’s mother heard where he was, she immediately knew why he wanted to go to California. He crossed the border, walked through Inyo, and reached Tulare County, where the park sits. Sequoia National Park is home to the largest tree in the country - The General Sherman. When the State Police arrived at the park, they found him sitting in front of the tree, staring at it. An officer tapped on his shoulder and said, “Son, do you know how much trouble you're in?”
“I just wanted another friend, sorry I caused so much trouble.”
Tanner followed the police officer to his car. They drove back to the border of California, where Nevada’s State Police Director and Tanner’s mother were eagerly waiting. As soon as Tanner’s mother had sight of a California state police car, she began jumping with joy and relief. Tanner got out of the car and ran toward his mom. She cried, and held him for thirty minutes in one spot on the road. Tanner apologized again; his mother accepted it. They went home, and Tanner said nothing the entire way back.
Four years had passed, and Tanner was still obsessed with Tabitha and staring at trees. It was time for his high school graduation and Tabitha was the valedictorian. When she went up to the podium on the stage to give her speech, she tripped and fell up the stairs and the first one to jump to help her was Tanner. He held her hand, she pulled back and said “I’m fine, I can help myself.” Tanner sat back in his seat in the front; he was sweating profusely and his hands were shaking. In the middle of her speech, she looked down toward the area in which Tanner was sitting in, and paused in her speech because Tanner was staring at her again, smiling. The entire crowd was staring at her, but Tanner’s staring was so familiar, and so distinct. She remembered the last time this happened and what she did. She couldn’t look down this time, just up and forward. Tabitha continued her speech, then left the stage and sat back in her seat.
After leaving high school, Tanner decided to move away from home. He thought he would never see Tabitha again since she moved away, so what’s the point of staying there. He moved to a large and populated area on the East coast of the country - New York City. Tanner got into Columbia University with a full scholarship for a major in Cytology and a minor in Botany. He did exactly what he said he would, become a scientist, but no one ever thought he would go to such a place for it.
Tanner lived on campus in a door by himself. Everyday at lunch, he would go to a local store, buy a sub, gummy bears, and a water, and go sit in Central Park. He would usually be found on a bench near the oldest trees in the northern part of the park. Tanner never took his lab coat off because it made him feel important. After lunch, he would rush back to the lab at Columbia and study plant cells for hours. At night, he stayed in his room with his desk lamp on, and his laptop open. He would spend several more hours researching facts about the oldest living trees in the world. Old Tjikko, the oldest living tree in the world, located in Sweden, was what pushed Tanner to do well in school. He decided that after college he would take a plane to Sweden to stare at Old Tjikko.
Six years passed and it was time for graduation again. Tanner Boyd was graduating at the top of his class with a PhD in Cytology and a Botany. He was also his school’s valedictorian. As he gave his speech, he began to think of how much he wished he was a little more social in high school and college. He shrugged it off, finished his speech, and left the stage. Immediately after his speech, he left the grounds of Columbia and moved into his new apartment. He then packed his suitcase and boarded a plane on its way to Sweden. Approximately 8 hours later, Tanner landed in Sweden, then took a train to Dalarna. It was late, so he waited until the next morning to get a fresh look at Old Tjikko.
The next morning he climbed up the mountain on which Old Tjikko sat on. When he arrived at the tree, he stood in amazement. Tanner sat next to it and stared for a long while. After about 3 hours, he got out a kit full of scalpels and needles; he was taking samples. What he was about to do was illegal, and he knew that, but he wanted to research the trees chemical make up. Two days later, he arrived back in New York City. He was staring a new job at a lab in Manhattan that was testing the reactions of certain plants to certain medicine. Tanner did his job, but then stayed after to conduct his own experiments. He found that the tree had a certain chemical that came from the antennas of roaches. This chemical gives an endless amount of lives to largely rooted plants, like Old Tjikko.
Tanner Boyd had this brilliant idea of testing this chemical on humans. He thought, What if humans could be immortal? He he was onto something… Tanner spent months concocting a serum to experiment on someone. He finally created a product. He named it T2.
There was not one person Tanner found great enough to test T2 on; he searched for months. He would sit in his usual spot in Central Park and stare at humans for experimentation. Tanner would go back to his apartment after people watching and write what he absolutely wanted his “lab rat” to be. She should have long hair, a slender body, beautifully colored eyes, and golden colored skin.
After writing in his journal, he would sit and cry at his desk for hours. Tanner was describing the type of girl that got him aroused. He was a lonely man that desperately longed for a woman’s attention.
The next day, when Tanner was walking to work, he accidentally bumped into someone. When he saw who it was, he was astonished. He had bumped into Tabitha. Tanner didn’t know what to say, so he just said hi. “Hey Tanner! How ya doing?”
“I’m.. I’m alright.” He replied.
“I’m just on my way to work, lets chat some other time. Here’s my card. Nice to see you!”
The card read:
Assistant to Editor-in-Chief of VOGUE
He turned around to see where Tabitha was headed. Tanner followed her for three blocks until she went into the VOGUE Magazine HQ. He remembered how pretty she was; beautifully colored eyes, golden skin. Tanner knew that Tabitha Luck was the one he had to test the serum on.
Tanner began following Tabitha. He would wait for her outside of work, he would spy on her by her apartment; he was everywhere she was. One day, Tabitha noticed Tanner. She went up to him with a friendly face on. “Hey, what are the odds? You never called me! Let’s set a lunch date.”
“Okay.” Tanner plainly replied.
“Does Tuesday work for you?”
“Alright, I’ll meet you at Warm Breads at 1. See you then!”
Tanner was excited that Tabitha Luck asked him out on a date. He creepily smirked as she walked away. He waited until that Tuesday to see her face again.
Tabitha had already reserved a table for the two and was sitting inside of Warm Breads waiting at 12:30. Tanner walked in, noticed her, and walked over to sit down. They both ordered coffees and started to chat. “So what have you been up to, Tanner?”
“Are you still into nature?” Tabitha hesitantly responded.
“You know, you’ve been very reserved ever since we bumped into each other. Is everything alright?”
Tanner paused for a minute to think. He looked down at the table, then quickly looked up at Tabitha. He said, “I think I left the water running in my bathroom, and I can’t afford to pay more for my bills. So I’m just worried.”
“Oh… I’m sorry. Would you like to go back and then meet me later?” Tabitha suggested.
“Why don’t you come with me? I’d hate to cut our date short.” Tanner suggested back.
“Okay, why not!”
They walked 5 blocks to Tanner’s home. It was a bright day, with clear skies. When they arrived at his apartment, Tanner unlocked the door, and let Tabitha in first. His home had a scarce amount of furniture and almost no art on his white walls. There were few windows, a small kitchen, and only one closet. Tanner didn’t leave his water on, but he pretended he did. He went into his kitchen, and turned the faucet on and off. Tabitha looked exceptionally stunning that day. She wore a large sunhat, a low cut V-neck dress, and her hair was curled to the side. Tanner was staring at her for a long time before either of them said anything. “Can I use your bathroom?” Tabitha said.
“Sure, but you have to walked through my bedroom to get it.”
While she was freshening up, Tanner had gone into his bedroom, locked both of them in, and placed the serum on his bedside table. Tabitha came out, she jumped back to see Tanner sitting in the room. “You frightened me.” Tabitha laughed.
“I’m sorry, why don’t you come sit down over here?”
“But, there’s only one chair…” Tabitha responded, confusedly.
“That’s alright, my bed is comfortable.” Tanner kept trying to persuade her.
“I think it’s time for me to go actually, we’ll do it some other time.” Tabitha rushed toward the door.
“It’s locked.” He was waving the key around in his hand.
“Let me out, Tanner, or I’ll scream so the neighbors can hear me.”
“I’ve sound proofed my room.”
Tabitha knew she was getting out of this room unless she were to attack Tanner for the key. She tried to punch him, but he grabbed her other and twisted her around before she did anything. “You thought you could get the key, huh? You have no chance.” Tabitha tried to break herself free, but Tanner was too strong. He began to run his hand down the side of her leg, then up around so it could land right below her backside. “I’ve been waiting for you, Tabitha.” He stuck a needle in her back and put her to sleep.
When Tabitha woke up a few hours later, she hardly had any clothes on. She had all of her limbs strapped to all four corners of Tanner’s bed. She began to yell for help, “Can anyone hear me? I’m trapped! Someone, please help me!” Tanner walked in and stared at her. She felt so ashamed that she was half-naked in front of him. He ran up next to her and lied down. “How are you sweetheart? You’re looking really good.”
“What did you do to me?” Tabitha softly said.
“Oh nothing, I just did… a little exploring.” Tanner walked out of his bedroom laughing.
When he returned a few moments later, he was holding the serum. He walked over to his bed, kneeled next to Tabitha and said, “Open up.” She squealed and kept her mouth closed.
“I’m not going to say it again. Open up.” She still didn’t do it.
Tanner had to use force. He pried open her mouth with his hands, and took out a drop of the serum from it’s bottle. Right before he dropped it into Tabitha’s mouth, they stared at each other. He smiled, she cried. He dropped the serum in and said, “Thank you for your cooperation.” Her eyes shut.
“They walk, they talk! They look just like real humans, but can do so much more!” The announcer proclaimed. His voice projected clear words but the audio itself was muffled like an old fashioned radio. My Proyo was old and hadn’t been cleaned in months, so the projected images came up electric blue and blurry, while the audio was just understandable. I glanced back at the Proyo from under my glasses and set my pencil down.
“Choose from a wide variety, or customize your own!” The Proyo then projected a 6 inch tall, 3d image of female robot onto my coffee table. The projection looked up at me, smiled, and waved, as it walked on a loop. “Pause,” I said aloud. The audio stopped, but the projection continued. I shivered as its lifeless eyes followed mine, endlessly smiling and waving at me.
“Hey, Cyril, you there?” I turned back to my papers and pressed my glasses up to rest on my nose. The sound of someone approaching their mic echoed in the room. “Yeah, pretty good commercial, huh?” Cyril replied. I made a face of disagreement he could probably picture over the phone. “The prototype is a bit....unnerving. The menacing smile may scare off clients.”
“Menacing smile?” A chuckle came from over Cyril's end of the call. “Well, we’re still working out the kinks. It’s in the work’s, you know?” I scribbled down part of an equation I had just remembered onto my papers, then turned to switch off the Proyo. I subconsciously nodded even though Cyril couldn’t see me, and muttered “Yeah.”
Shuffling my papers, I stood up and carefully walked to the drapes on the other side of the room. My condo was small but spacious enough to house it’s modern victorian interior design. Large, cream colored drapes concealed the moonlight shining in through oblong windows, causing the victorian chandelier to be the main source of light. It’s warm glow quickly filled the dark room automatically at the absence of light.
“By the way, did you consider our offer?” Cyril asked. I peeled back one of the drapes and peeked outside. The moon was full that night, large and hanging low, outshining the small stars speckling the royal purple night. “I have....” I said eventually. Cyril could hear the hesitation in my voice and sighed. “ It won’t be a replacement for Nally, Ez.”
Nothing could replace Nally, my ex wife. I had been more passionate about her then for my passion for science, and for awhile, I thought likewise. I was still a robotics engineer at the time she began her work with quantum mechanics. She had made breakthroughs with shrinking atoms, which had never before been thought of as possible. By gaining control over the spin of electrons in atoms, she was able to control their density, and in the end, size.
After successfully shrinking our pet cat, she decided to test the procedure on herself and her lab assistant. Contrary to my protests and the Councilmen of Human Sciences, she secretly conducted the experiment in her lab. The following morning, I discovered a note by a telescope that read:
I decided to go on with the experiment. No matter what you and the councilmen claim, this procedure is safe, and for the betterment of mankind. You’ll find this note next to a telescope with a slide on it. I selected our target destination (after being shrunk) to this slide. If the experiment is successful, you’ll be able to view us once magnified to x2,000,000. I realize I may be killed from this, or I may never be normal size again. I just want you to know: I love, and will always love you.
I paused at the last sentence and looked over at the slide. If she truly loved me, why hadn’t she listened to me? Was her love for science greater than her love for me? I grabbed the note and rushed to the TEM microscope. Before looking inside it, however, I frantically unfolded the letter and continued to read for further instructions:
But, in the case that this experiment somehow fails, I need to tell you a few things. In the lower left drawer of the desk by the door I’ve locked most of my scientific discoveries and notes in various cards. The key is beside the microscope.
I’ve also not been very faithful, Ez, and I feel that you deserve to know that.
My heartbeat quickened as my hands trembled and tried to hold onto the paper as I scanned the rest. An aching pain grew in my chest as it became hard to breath; I could feel the veins in my forehead swell as a headache formed. A burning sensation stung my eyes, a single tear escaped my tear ducts.
The letter went on to say how she had cheated on me with her lab assistant. For a few moments, I simply was shocked, almost to the point where I couldn’t believe I’d read those words. After a few seconds, however, reality sunk in and transformed my innocent confusion to blinding rage. How could she betray me like this? I had given her everything she had ever wanted, yet she rejected me for a young scrub of a boy?
Mindlessly I crumpled up the paper, neglecting to read the rest of the letter. I had no interest in reading an explanation for her actions, so instead I took revenge. Without a second thought I grabbed the slide, not looking to see if my wife was indeed on it, and broke it in two. I ripped the note to shreds and discarded the evidence on my way out.
My wife, the only one whom I had truly trusted, instead created an empty void in my chest; the feeling of sorrow would always remain. Literally, my wife was dead to me. After the incident, I hadn’t told anyone about the letter and she and her lab partner where deemed dead from the “failed” experiment.
“I know,” I answered. “It’s not that....” I dropped the curtain from my fingers and walked towards the mini-bar beside the window. I poured myself a drink, and sat down on my red, fainting sofa.
“Then what is it?” Cyril asked. Placing a hand in my pocket, I swirled my drink around, the ice clinking against the glass. “The whole thing seems...unnatural, I suppose. Who’s to say these machines won’t malfunction?”
“Every machine malfunctions, Ez. That’s why it’s your job to make a note of any problems.”
Yes I remembered. It’s my job and the only thing PAX still needs me for. I had been retired from robotics for almost 5 years, moving on to become a Chemist. Cyril's company, PAX, needed someone to test their newest robot. Model EL-3 was due to hit the market in a month or so, and they needed to test it in a home environment-last thing PAX wanted was a major lawsuit because of a minor mistake in EL-3’s build. Given I had some extensive knowledge with robots, Cyril recommended me.
I personally hadn’t work with robotics on that level, creating whole, human-like machines. I had constructed and designed robotic arms for factories, and helped invent the Proyo, a home projection screen. I was totally uncomfortable working with such advanced machinery, but the compensation was good, and it was for science. Like my wife once said, it was for the betterment of mankind.
“Right....so when are you dropping the model by?” I took a sip of my drink, then spoke to the room’s speaker phone. The wall’s trembled as Cyril shuffled papers on the other side of the line. He cleared his throat and settled back into his seat a moment later. “Tomorrow? Fill out the form I sent you, and we’ll create it based off of your preferences.”
“Okay. ‘Til tomorrow.” I raised my glass to the walls in a toasting gesture, imagining Cyril doing the same, and hung up. “Desktop.” I said aloud to the room. In an instant, a bright flash filled the room and a projection of my desktop appeared before me. The desktop was a flat square about 9 inches in length and 1/2 cm in width, a bit transparent but I could still see icons. I selected the form that Cyril sent me, a ping! noise bouncing around the silent room.
The first part of the form was simple, asking only personal information like my name, age, and address. Getting to the details about the actual robot was the difficult part. The section “Appearance” projected a robot without an exo-skeleton below the desktop. Quickly, I selected female, with fair skin. The projection updated to a female robot, bald, with no eyes. After finishing up in the appearance department, came “Personality”. I paused at this section. This robot wasn’t truly mine, and I hadn’t even wanted it in the first place, but here was an opportunity to make it everything Nally wasn’t.
She wouldn’t be a replacement, I told myself, simply an experiment.
The shrill sound of an alarm went off, making me jump out of bed. “Damn,” I muttered, rubbing my face. “Forgot Cyril’s coming early.” I looked at the time displayed above my bedroom door, it was 9, and rushed to put pants on. Then, with toothbrush in mouth, I pulled on a simple white blouse and black vest. After brushing my teeth, I rubbed my chin, scratching my the stubble. I contemplated shaving, but decided against it. It was just Cyril arriving, so my appearance for the moment didn’t matter. 5 minutes later, my Proyo announced “Cyril Bodkin is at the door, Ezra.” Briskly I walked to my apartment door, my cat Noral treading closely behind.
“Ez! Was wondering if you were awake...” Cyril greeted me, as I opened the door. He was a bit too enthusiastic for 9 in the morning, so I simply grumbled a reply. I was still a bit dazed, as my brain was transitioning from peaceful dreaming to the complicated consequences of being awake. Cyril, on the other hand, always seemed avid. Even though he was an old time friend, I still was adapting to his eagerness and fashion. His clothes often reflected his mood- he would always sport extravagant victorian jackets or vests, tight pants, with tall buckled boots. I rarely saw him without a pair of brown leather goggles that rested on his forehead.
I rubbed sleep from my eyes, and invited Cyril inside. That’s when I noticed his companion. I heard it before I saw it, it’s parts softly humming and squeaking as they rubbed together. EL-3 awkwardly jerked it’s way into my living room, stumbling about like a fawn just learning to walk. I shot a look of disbelief at Cyril, who shrugged in reply. “She’s fresh off the belt, so she’s still getting used to walking.”
“Getting used to walking?” I asked, stepping back as the robot jerked some more. “I thought this was a robot, designed for immediate use? That’s how it works, isn’t it?” I turned to examine EL-3, who at this point had stopped walking. Unlike traditional steam powered robots, who looked like......., this one looked extremely human like. It’s skin was made of pig’s skin, a pigmentation similar to a fair-skinned young woman. It’s hair was thick and a chocolate color, and was pulled back into an elegant bun. EL-3’s face was almond shaped with thick eyebrows to follow its frame, while her bubblegum pink cheeks matched the color of her full lips. I paused for a moment as we locked eyes. EL-3’s appeared to be unrealistic, yet intriguing. They were large and doe like, a light hazel color. It had a tall, slender body. Surprisingly, it came up to my chest- I was a fairly tall man.
It cocked it’s head to the side, likely trying to pin-point face recognition, and blinked 2 times. Strangely, it was able to make a face of innocent confusion, which I couldn’t help but stare at. It was dressed like any other young woman, in a nude colored corset dress and brown buckled heel boots. It held a small cream purse in it’s hands, it’s fingers creepy moving around it.
“It’s an adaptive bot, Ez. It learns as it lives, like you and me.” I glanced at Cyril and frowned. “No, I wouldn’t say like us. These things will never be us.” The mere idea of these machines seemed like an abomination, as humans tried to play god and create a daugther species. Instead, PAX had created a monstrosity of metal and gears, dubbing it a perfect creation. The problem with humans playing god, was they themselves were imperfect. Anything they could make would only be a reminder of their imperfections and limitations.
EL-3 blinked as I said this, but it’s face remained emotionless as it cocked it’s head to the opposite side. I shivered and placed my hands in my pockets, trying to ignore it’s unnerving stare. “Well, anyway,” Cyril said, turning to the robot. “This is EL-3, or Ellie, for short.” I couldn’t help but chuckle at the idea that Cyril had actually named the thing. It was pathetic but cute; he was acting like a parent naming their child.
“EL-3,” I held out my hand to it, waiting for a returning hand shake. Instead, EL-3 stared at my hand for a second or two, and began to extend it’s arm. Clumsy, it dropped it’s purse onto the floor, and jerked back, startled. “Oh,” It said in a feminine voice that had a slight echo to it. I bent down to pick up the purse just as EL-3 did, and ended up hitting heads with the thing on the way back up. “Shit...” I snapped, rubbing the back of my head. The robot frowned, and stepped back, realizing it had made a mistake. It eye’s met mine as it appeared to nervously twitch it’s fingers by it’s side’s.
“Sorry sir,” It managed to say after quickly blinking twice. I shot EL-3 a look and sighed. “Here.” I reached out to hand the purse back to the robot, who seemed tense. It looked back at Cyril, who was finding the whole situation amusing, and gave him a worried face. It’s facial expressions were extremely human like, perhaps the result of having artificial muscles linked and laid under it’s skin. Hesitantly, it took the purse from my hand and held it close to it’s chest, protectively. “Thank you, sir.”
“Yeah, whatever. Think I already found a problem with it, Cyril.” I chuckled. Cyril laughed as well, before placing his hands in his vest pocket and taking out a pocket watch. “ I should get going, you two have fun.” I walked Cyril back to the door, as EL-3 stood silently watching us from the living room.
“How long does it have to stay?” I asked Cyril softly. He opened the front door but paused to answer. “5 weeks should do it. We have 7 until the release date, let’s hope all goes accordingly.”
I nodded and leaned on the door, looking outside. “Oh,” He added, placing his watch back into his pocket. “If you anything goes wrong, call.” He then grabbed the doorknob and closed the door behind him.
I walked back into the living room to find EL-3 staring down at Noral. Noral returned it’s gaze, cautiously trying to sniff it’s foot. Slightly bending it’s knees, it reached out to touch him, but froze when it heard me approaching.
“What’s this?” I said, walking over to pick Noral up. He nestled deep into my arm and turned to stare back at EL-3. He was a tiny black cat, that was almost concealed by my muscular arms and vest, yet his tiny head still peeked out from over my shoulder.
“Sir?” EL-3 said, standing up. I glanced down at Noral, who began licking my ear, and stroked his back. “Cat, EL-3, it’s a cat.” It cocked it’s head to the side like before, it’s large eyes locked onto Noral. Slowly, it leaned forward to touch him, as if unsure whether I’d permit it to touch him or not. I turned so that it could reach him, and its long, feminine fingers gently stroked in a line. The vibrations of Noral’s purring traveled down my arm.
“Cat.” EL-3 repeated. The corners of it’s mouths lifted slightly, and for a moment, I thought it smiled. I chased this notion out of my mind and pulled away to set Noral down. EL-3 stopped mid stroke, confused, but then turned it’s attention to some old frames by the window. Jerkily, it walked over to them, and silently stared. As Noral scampered away, I turned to notice EL-3 looking curiously at a photo of my wife.
“That’s my wife,” I said approaching it from behind, hands in pockets. “Well, ex-wife.” I couldn’t help but look away as the feeling of despair returned to my chest. It was as if a heavy weight was being balanced on top of my ribs and lungs that would at any moment crush me. EL-3 didn’t notice my distress, but continued to look at the photos across the dresser. “Wife?” It eventually asked, turning to look at me. I shrugged, and looked down into it’s eyes.“Yeah, you know...a wife’s someone a man cares for and loves.”
“Did that... ‘wife’....love you?” EL-3 struggled to say, in a chilling voice. I paused, a bit taken aback by this question. Why would EL-3 want, or need, to know that? What had caused it to ask such a question? I looked at it suspiciously until I realized it’s question was one I had asked myself countless times before. Had Nally ever truly loved me? Had I been so blind that even a robot could see it just by looking at her?
“That doesn’t matter, EL-3. Clean up around here, would you?” I rubbed my hand across my face and started to walk away for a drink. A soft humming sound came from behind as EL-3’s part’s slid across one another, and it opened it’s mouth to say something. “Right away,” It paused, as if trying to continue, but couldn’t develop the words. I raised a brow and waited for it to finish, as it blinked at me. “ Call me Ellie, sir.” It eventually said. A bit confused as to why it named itself, I realized it must have caught onto Cyril’s pet name for it.
“Alright, Ellie.” I sighed. Ellie’s eyes squinted as the corners of her lips pushed up her cheeks once again. This time, I was certain, Ellie smiled.
It had been almost 3 weeks since Ellie’s arrival, and she was showing noticeable progress. She had gotten used to using her legs, and walked much more gracefully. Her parts made less noise as she glided and strutted across the apartment silently. She began showing more emotion and expression, and had gotten into a habit of calling me ‘Ezra’ instead of the programmed ‘Sir’. At first I hadn’t picked up on this glitch, put it soon began to bother me after a conversation one evening.
“Do you have a ‘wife’ now, Ezra?” Ellie randomly asked, setting the food she had cooked onto the table. She had made grilled salmon, my favorite, which was also a step up from the simple pasta dinners she had been serving when she first arrived. Distracted by the food’s aroma, I didn’t answer at first. We hadn’t discussed that topic in weeks, so I had mostly forgotten it.
“What?” I said finally, just as I was about to put my fork into my mouth. The question had finally reached my brain and I froze, not knowing how to react to such randomness. “ Do you have a wife?” Ellie repeated. She sat across the table and looked down at an imaginary plate. Ellie didn’t need to eat food to get energy. Instead, I plugged her into a powersource every night in the living room, while I slept in the next room.
“No,” I said abruptly. “I don’t, and I don’t intend to have one anytime soon.” I set my fork down and examined Ellie. Her head hung after this answer, and she stared at the cotton table cloth, as if searching for words. I watched her silently as I ate, expected her to clean, play with Noral, or just do something. But she remained quiet, mindlessly getting lost in the black patterns before her.
“I,” She softly said, slowly looking up at me. “I see.” Not expecting much more of a conversation, I began to stand up to leave the dining room. The curtains were drawn, so the room was dimly lit, shadow’s dancing across Ellie’s face. “Have you...thought about offspring?” She asked timidly, the echo in her robotic voice bouncing off the walls of her metallic throat.
I knew where this was going. Tired, annoyed, and a bit vexed, I angrily crossed my arms and glared at Ellie. “What? No... of course not. Why is that a concern of yours anyway? You’re a robot, nothing more.”
She scrunched her face up as if hurt, and looked down at her feet. Her eyes seemed to be glazed over, but no tears came out. She blinked twice, distraught about something. “But,” She said, her voice shaky. “Isn’t that the same thing as you? You take commands from others, you often repeat the same task everyday, we both want to be something we’re not.”
I gasped, surprised by EL-3’s sudden display of consciousness. Had she known about Nally after all? It was true, I wanted to be everything Nally wanted me to be, I just wasn’t. Ellie wanted to be everything I wanted her to be also, but she just wasn't.
Ellie waited for my response, but I simply scowled at her and walked to the next room. She stood, staring at me as I walked away and whispered:
“We’re made for each other, Ezra. We are the same.”
That night, I had numerous nightmares. My body felt like it was being cooked inside an oven, my muscles became tense and a headache formed. I endured the unusual pain until morning, waking up in a cold sweat.
“What...” I murmured, as I gasped for air. My breathing gradually slowed as I looked around the room. No one was there, but it felt like someone was watching me. Cautiously, I leaned over to the side of the bed.
“Agghhkk!” I cried as I leaned on my arm. A sharp burning sensation jetted through my arms and jolted my body, and I swung my arm around to see the damage. Below my shoulder, on my upper forearm, was a large, blue-ish purple bruise. Looking closer I noticed the center of the bruise had a tiny hole the size of a pinhead. It appeared to be from the sting of a bug or maybe even a needle. I touched the skin around the sting mark and winced. It was soft like a rotten orange, my fingers leaving indentations after pressing too hard.
Applying cold cream on the bruise did soothe the pain a bit, but I was more worried about how I’d gotten it. It wasn’t there last night, and I was sure I hadn’t left my room. As I wound the bruise in a bandage, Ellie watched quietly. The eerie silence of the room chilled me. It was rare that Ellie hadn’t spoken to me yet; she normally at least greeted me with a “Good morning, Ezra. How did you sleep?” But that morning she just observed my arm while cooking breakfast.
Her strange behavior only pointed at the fact that she had made the bruise. By trying to act conspicuous, she was making herself look obviously suspicious- oddly enough, a human characteristic. As I wrapped the bandage around my arm a final time, I pondered on whether to ask her about it.
No, I thought. She won’t admit to hurting me.
Instead, to act as if I wasn’t on to her, I sat at the table as she served breakfast, my thoughts racing around my head. I had to keep a calm composure or else Ellie would lose it. Why’d she hurt me? Is she dangerous now?
I looked down at the food in front of me, my fork covered in eggs and hashbrowns. What if she poisoned my food? Ellie stood near the kitchen arch, her arms folded and eyes glued to me. I swallowed, goose bumps forming across my body.
“I’ve... got to make a call.” I stood up suddenly, the chair screeching as the legs rubbed across the floor. Ellie cocked her head to the side, something she hadn’t done for weeks, and glowered at me. “Aren’t you going to finish your breakfast?” She said in her signature metallic voice. Her spindly fingers twitched by her sides.
“In a moment. I forgot I had to make an important...uh, business call.” I replied, not trying to sound nervous. Ellie didn’t bother to ask what the business call was or to who, but a look of suspicion grew on her face as she watched me exit the kitchen.
“Call Cyril,” I said to the walls, locking myself into my study. The room was sound proof (no sound escaping in or out) so I was safe to converse without Ellie eavesdropping. A low dial tone made the room tremble until there was a quick click! and a “Hello?” on the other side.
“Cyril, it’s Ez.” The heels of my boots clacked against the wooden floor. “I think it’s time you come get Ellie.”
“What’s wrong with it?” Cyril asked, as he walked into the living room and set his top hat onto an arm chair. Ellie was in the other room dusting, not aware that her creator was here to take her away. I gestured to the coffee machine, to which Cyril politely shook his head no.
“It’s been...asking things about Nally....and if I want kid’s.”
“That’s interesting...” He placed a hand over his clean shaven face and furrowed his brow, pondering. “Sounds like our EL-3’s developing a crush on you.”
Mortified by his joke, I turned away and crossed my arms. My cheeks burned from embarrassment as I broke eye contact with Cyril and looked at the ground. “That’s disgusting, Cyril. You know how I feel about those things.”
“I guess, but is that it? Otherwise those are just a side effect of EL-3 adapting to it’s environment.” Cyril explained. I fingered the bandage on my arm and turned to look back at Cyril. Slowly, I unpeeled the bandage to reveal the bruise. “I think Ellie did this.”
His eyes grew wide, and he slowly inhaled. He gently unpeeled more of the bandage and examined it closely, his burly fingers somehow massaging the skin. “That’s not good. We’ll have to take you in to get you checked. As for EL-3,”
“What about EL-3?” Came a softer voice from behind. I glanced behind my shoulder to see Ellie, duster in hand, with a face that looked betrayed. Her parts softly whistled as she looked from Me, to Cyril, then back to me. For some reason I felt the feeling of guilt rising up from my stomach, as if I had just been caught in the act of cheating. Had Nally felt like this?
“EL-3,” Cyril sighed, acknowledging her presence. “I’m taking you back for dismantlement.”
Something that sounded like a soft whimper came from Ellie, as her eyebrows shot upwards. She stepped back a bit, her arms defensively placed in front of her. “I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
Cyril and I exchanged confused looks as I rubbed the bandage material between my fingers. “And why is that?” Cyril asked, slowly stepping forward. I readied myself as well, in case I had to tackle Ellie.
Ellie herself seemed distressed, as she struggled to answer. Her fingers twitched more then before, her eyes dancing across the floor. “I’ve successfully conceived Ezra’s offspring.” She whispered.
Cyril paused, horrified, then turned to look at me. I choked on some air, placing a hand on my forehead. “You what?” Cyril seemed like he was about to faint, so he leaned onto the arm of an arm chair. “She’s pregnant?” I jerked my head to look at Cyril. “Is that even possible?”
Ellie folded her hands together, and stared at her buckled boots. Cyril placed a hand over his head as well, gasping up at the ceiling. “Yes,” He managed. “ Female EL-3’s are built with artificial wombs.” My brain just couldn’t seem to understand what was happening. It was if I were outside of the situation, looking in through a cloudy window. I wish that was the case- I’d do anything to be the neutral bystander. I didn’t want anything to do with this.
“Couples who can’t conceive put their DNA into EL-3. They create the baby, El-3 carries it.” Cyril took out a hanky from his pocket, his watch noisily falling to the floor. Ellie started to bend down to pick it up, but retreated when I shot her a look of disgust. “There’s two problems with this. One: Ellie needs a females DNA to create the baby. Where did she get that DNA? And two: You actually had sex with the thing?”
The burning sensation returned to my cheeks, this time the result of anger. “Of course not!” We both turned to Ellie simultaneously. “Well? How’d you do it?” I barked. Ellie flinched in response and batted her eyes innocently. “For the past week I’ve drugged your food.” She admitted. I swallowed, realizing that that was why I couldn’t sleep. “Then, when you slept, I would take your DNA through injections and stimulation.”
She’s gotten out of control I repeated over and over. But Ellie continued, as Cyril wiped his face with his hanky. “ I reverse engineered your DNA to create a female version, then combined the two. The result has taken up nearly 10,000 gb on my 1,000,000,000 gb drive. I have been able to speed up the pregnancy process by 3 times. I am currently 2 months, 16 days pregnant.”
“Do you know what this means, Ez?” Cyril peered at me, bug eyed. I shook my head, still in shock. My brain just wouldn’t accept the news, but I knew the shock would settle in soon. A numb feeling had enveloped my body, as if preparing it for the blow from the announcement. For this, I was grateful.
“EL-3’s has been able to create life without female DNA apparent. EL-3 created life on it’s own.” Cyril wobbly stood up, and gently grabbed Ellie’s arm. I stood a safe distance away, retaining a disgusted look on my face. “I’ll have to take some tests to see if all of this is true, but still. The result of this union would create a perfect human.” I knew this to be true. Ellie, who was a robot made to remove errors, would have removed all “imperfections” in my DNA. This child would never be sick, this child would never die.
“It will have blue eyes, black hair.” Ellie announced, as Cyril lead us out of the apartment. “Just like you, Ezra.” She offered a strange and familiar smile, and I froze. For some reason, this robot’s reminded me of Nally’s.
Would I accept this hybrid baby? Would society accept it? What would become of Ellie, the rogue robot? As we stepped out into the daylight of day, the warmth washed over my skin and washed these fears out of my head.
“Two imperfections make an perfection.” Ellie whispered.
Nuestra cliente se llama Kia DaSilva. Tiene 15 años. Su cumpleaños es el segundo de agosto. Ella vive en Filadelfia con sus padres y dos hermanos. Le gusta la musica de los años 40s, especialmente Frank Sinatra, y muchas obras de teatro. Ella juega sófbol, también.
¡Es la casa de sus sueños! La casa está en Lancaster. ¡Es una ciudad magnífica! Está cerca de un parque, el transporte público, un banco, un supermercado, museos, una escuela y muchas tiendas locales. Esta lejos de la ciudad. La casa es enorme y elegante. La casa tiene un jardín y un garaje. La casa es hecha de piedra. Tiene una biblioteca, una cocina, una sala y un comedor en el primer piso. Dentro de la casa es rojo y azul. La casa tiene nueve dormitorios. En el segundo piso hay tres dormitorios y dos baños. En el tercer piso tiene tres dormitorios y dos baños. La casa tiene una “cueva de mujer” en el sótano. Tiene una pecera de dos tortugas.
¡La casa es enorme y elegante! Tiene tres pisos y nueve cuartos!
¡Hay cuatro baños elegantes con duchas espectaculares!
¡El jardín tiene flores bonitas!
¡La casa tiene nueve habitaciones espacios!
¡Hay un garaje para un carro y muchas bicicletas!
¡La casa tiene una biblioteca súper moderna y diferente!
Hay una cocina y un comedor. ¡Son hermosos, ideal para toda la familia !
Una sala es azul. Tiene tres sillas.
Contacto : Ona Brown y Liam Hart
"A Poem About Nothin'"
"Bird in a Nest"
"Ode to Whales"
"Bill the Brook Trout"
Sixth and final POEMART installment:
"Unhappy man on lap of God"
"Bed's Gotta Grip"
"A Strong Breeze"
"A Glimpse of the Mind"
Insightful Flower Series first installment, continuation of series below. The below photographs were not captured by me, but were composited to create the images.
"A Midwestern Cloud"
"The Sulking Cloud"
"A Heavenly Cloud"
"Cloud Behind Lamp"
"Clouds through Canopies"
"Cloud Framed by Foliage and Interrupted by Building"
"An Invisible Cloud"
"Loud Clouds and Quiet Bridges"
"Clouds Through the Eyes of a Prisoner"
"A Friendly Cloud"
"City Livin' Cloud Lovin'"
"The Lone Bison"
I turn on my television and see Bradsworth Deacon making a speech about how everyone should be treated with as much dignity and respect as the next retus:
“......regardless of wealth, skin color, sex or age. I know you may not understand why I wear my milk colored skin with such pride. You may not see the beauty in anything but bronze. But I tell you, this is the body I was born into- free of melanin, knowing that I am due to be free of oppression!”
The sea of milky people go into jubilant uproar. I only get sad and quickly turn off the program.
Whenever I go into the bathroom to look at myself, I get even more disgusted at my complexion from the bright lights that drown out any color I may have. My mom is scared of the dark and insists on putting the highest wattage light bulbs in here so she can spot anything that may be lurking at night. This house has not even had an ant march through it once in my 17 years of living here, but you can’t always understand people’s fears. I fear that I will be white and poor my whole life. At least my skin doesn't flake and chafe like Ursula’s. I have buttery smooth skin, without the golden buttery color. I guess I’m the color of plain movie popcorn, not even with the salt. My mom is the exact same way. She’s never excited about anything. When I told her that my school was letting us have pen pals she didn’t even glance in my direction. She just told me “I hope it’s not a black person who’s going to make you feel bad about yourself.” I understood, but God, does she always have to be such a pessimist? I guess she doesn’t really have a choice but to be that way. She saw her dad beaten on the curb by black policemen for being out too late and looking “suspicious” when she was just six years old. My mom said he was just wearing a red T-shirt and cargos with beat up tennis shoes. He could not afford to buy tailored suits, the usual attire for people of color. They told him to cut his stringy hair to get his bangs out his face. He didn’t have beautiful thick wavy hair like the policemen that brutalized him. My mother is terribly protective of me because she doesn’t want to ever be in danger and withstand the torture her father did.
“Nothing this exciting has ever happened for me before. I’ve never even been outside of my town of Honon. Now I get to actually interact with someone outside the country. I hope they’re nice to me. I could use a friend.”
“I know precious. I just always wants what is best for you.” My mom grasped my face firmly. “And I need you to always know what is best for yourself. Now go to sleep. Good night.”
“Good night mommy.”
All heat on my planet Jupitron is artificial. I heard on others planets they have something called Sun that shines on them. We don't have that luxury so it's always cold. My best friend Ursula and I walked to the hot cream shop to warm us up with a treat on the freezing day. So cold that if you spit, it would turn into an icicle before it hit the ground. The shop was a hole-in-the-wall rinky dink place that allowed white people. It was nothing special, but it felt like a second home to the both of us. It was only place that we always felt welcomed at.
“Do you like your pen pal so far?” Ursula said with a mouth full of sia flavored hot cream. I had grown to comprehend her muffled words that came along with her grotesque table manners. “Did I like him? Like was an understatement,” I thought to myself. He was perfect. You could never find a boy like him walking the streets of Lindus.
“We video chatted last night.” I tried to keep my voice even and inconspicuous. I didn’t want to gush over him today just to find out that he’s a jackass tomorrow. “He seems nice. He lives in Geniha.”
“Geniha!” Ursula said with eyes so wide you’d think they would burst out of her skull. “Home of the pond of melanin. Has he taken a dip?” She chuckled.
“No, no. No need for that, he was born brown.”
Ursula’s face straightened immediately. “He not like...colorist right?”
“He’s really the farthest thing from it. He even went to jail for joining in an anti-colorism protest that turned violent. He said if I ever needed him to handle someone bullying me because I’m white, he had my back.” I laughed a flirtatious laugh that confirmed all of Ursula’s suspicions.
“You love him already….I mean I expected you to like him but wow, so soon.”
“Aw stop it! I do not love him, he just a really good guy.” I said it with a genuineness that her know that’s how I really felt.
“Hey Joshua.” Daniel teased as a greeting to our email conversation. I told him I hated when people called me Joshua.
“Here we go..Hello Dan.” He hated that nickname much more than his actual name.
“Are we done with picking on each other?”
“I guess so….for now. Your voice is different than I thought it would be.” I wasn’t trying to flirt, it honestly was. His voice sounded stuffy, but not horribly nose-oriented like mucus was draining from his nostrils. Only enough that you would really have to focus on what he was saying to catch everything. I liked it. I knew it would require him to be the center of my attention when talking.
“Well it’s not typical.” Daniel said it with malice in his tone.
“You’ve got it all wrong, I like your voice. Go on, talk some more.” I said with confidence to let him know I was nice, but not weak.
Daniel went on to tell me that his family was considering moving to another town. “Yeah my mom is doing really well and he wants to move us to a better neighborhood.”
“Well what does she do for a living?” I said curiously. I never personally knew someone wealthy.
“She….is a famous model. Have you ever heard of Henna Dejore?”
My heart stopped for at least five seconds. “Are you still there?” Daniel sighed. “I really don’t want you to turn out to be one of those people that only likes me because I’m the son of someone famous.”
“I don’t care who you’re related to. I’d like you even if you were dirt poor...like me. I just never saw myself being friends with someone even remotely close to fame. I’m sorry if people have used you in the past because of it.”
“My ex was the last person I would have ever suspected to try to profit off of my fortune. We had been together for 6 months when he started to make me feel guilty for not spending more money on him. He said I was selfish. He said I was ashamed of him because I didn’t show him off as much as he desired. I was just 16 and dumb so I believed him. Then crazy stories started coming out about us in tabloids. I could not understand why they were spreading these lies. One said that I was cruel and hot-headed and used a picture of me yelling at him. I was mad that he was being friendly with the paparazzi. He was using my fame to make him famous. When I figured this out I broke up with him. But he told stories about me being an out-of-control spoiled brat who got mad whenever I didn’t get what I wanted. His sob story still has him posing for magazines today.”
I let him know I would never do the same thing. “You’ve got a friend in me. That’s all I want from you, is to be a good friend too.”
“Not even an autograph too?” He asked sarcastically.
“I mean if you’re offering…..” I said letting out a long laugh, so long that it made Daniel laugh along with me. The mood was light for the rest of the night.
My mom heard me on the phone every night. Of course she had to inquire who I was so ecstatic to speak to. “So uhhh...it seems like you’ve got a new friend. I hear you guys on the phone every night now.” She accompanied the assumption with a huge Grinch grin.
“Sure do, his name is Daniel. He lives in Geniha.” “Really now?” my mom said with a sly look on her face. Everyone knows you have to have a few dollars to live in Geniha. She looked off to a random spot on the ceiling with slightly squinted eyes like she was trying to reading something in a small font. “What I would do to dip in that pool of melanin.” “Pond, mom.” “You know what I mean.” “Well you’re perfect as you are and we’re doing just fine so don’t worry yourself with such thoughts.” “Yeah you’re right. Well I’m guessing he’s a nice guy.” “Yeah mom. I’m glad he’s my pen pal.” My mom scruffed my hair playfully and walked toward my bedroom door. “I’m glad he is too. Good night sweetie.” “Night, mom.”
The next morning I headed to an in-town urban swimming pool in relatively comfortable weather. There was no wind blowing cool air in circulation, the kind I hated because it messed up my hair. The sky was particularly purple. “That’s the color of Daniel’s blush.” Just thinking of him made me blush bright red, I’m sure even without being able to see it. The bus ride was an hour long but I knew I would get the job as lifeguard. I’m an amazing swimmer.
I showed up to the interview with full confidence. “Hello, I’m Joshua Sigon. I’m here for the lifeguard job interview.”
“Oh, oh no. There’s been a terrible mix-up.” The burly brown woman sat there with a frustrated puzzled look across her face.
“What do you mean a mix-up?”
“Well, you sound….different over the phone. Honey, this is a Browns only job. You don’t qualify.” “It’s my fault. I should have asked your color.”
I went home and cried for hours. What was I to do? My mom was depending on me to help her with bills. Her housemaid job pays her nearly nothing. I didn’t know what to tell her when she got home.
“How did the interview go?” She jumped her tall slender frame back and forth in front of me.
“It was a browns only job. I couldn’t have it.”
My mom collapsed to her knees. I ran to make sure she was okay.
She lifted her head with tears in her eyes.
“Josh, I don’t know how much I can stay at my job. The man that lives in the house keeps coming onto me. I know if anything happens, I will get the blame and I’ll be called scandalous and might never get another job. I didn’t want to worry you so that’s why I didn’t tell you sooner. But I have a plan.”
“Well let me hear it mama.”
“The family is fiercely wealthy. If I can steal some jewels from the house, then I would have enough money to send you to dip in the pond of melanin!”
“Are you insinuating that you want Daniel to be in on this?”
“I’m glad you can keep up baby. All Daniel needs to do is to have a way to get you to Geniha without spelling trouble.”
“Mom I really don’t know if he’d be up for this.”
“If you tell he what we’re going through and he doesn’t have mercy on our soul, he is just as bad as the rest of them.”
I thought about it long and hard the next day. I decided I would ask. It was for the best.
“Mom, you home?” I would usually smell fuku cooking when I came home at 6 g’no and heard her harmonizing her favorite tunes. But this night, I was welcomed with no smells, no sounds. Just as I was about to start searching for her, the phone rang. “Josh,” I could tell it was mother’s voice immediately, although she sounded way more frantic than she usually would. “I’m in jail. Mr. Johnson’s wife started insinuating that I was having sex with her husband and we got into a fight. They are talking 25 to life. Please take care of yourself and GET OUT of that house. Retus services is looking for you. I gotta go. I’m sorry baby I love you.”
I was sure that was the last time I would ever hear from my mom. I dropped the old fashioned glass phone and it broke. It was probably for the better. I did not want anyone else calling. My mind went blank. I could not process what just happened.
That night I got on the phone with Daniel was the first time I wasn’t particularly excited to speak to him. I had no idea how the conversation would end- with me feeling secure and me not, or vice versa.
“I have favor to ask of you.
“What, do you finally want that autograph mailed to you?” he joked.
It would be even better if I came and...got it.”
It fell silent for a few seconds.
“What do you mean?”
My tone got low and serious. “Daniel I need you to help me get to Geniha so I can dip in the pond of melanin.”
“Do you know how much it costs to get in the pond of melanin? Where would you get that money?”
“I need you to pay for it. I am NOT trying to use you. Just know I need to be brown immediately or else some bad things will happen to my life.”
“I just don’t want you to become brown and start treating bad and abusing your power as revenge. I know you carry anger in your heart for brown people. But you can succeed without being brown. I love you as you are and I know one day others will too.”
It was the first time he ever said he loved me. I couldn’t fully appreciate it because I was fuming in anger from his ignorance.
“You don’t get it. You don’t know the torture I endure day in, day out. Daniel, my mom went jail for assaulting a black woman. They’re talking about giving her 25 years. You KNOW how this country is. I can’t be an orphan or my life will be hell. Last week I tried to get a job and they turned me down because I’m white. I was poor before but I have NOTHING now. I just really need this favor from you. I’m begging you.” The snot now clogging my nose made “I’m begging you” sound like “I’m bugging you.” and if Daniel had any heart he would not take that as what I was doing. If he couldn’t understand, there was no point in associating with him at all.
Now Daniel was sobbing. I thought he was laughing at first, but no, bawling. “I wish you were here with me right now. I wish I could change this world from being so goddamn ugly and unfair. But since I can’t, the least I could do is end your agony when you need it most. So, what’s the plan?”
Daniel told his parents that I was going to be his personal servant. He said had been lonely and feeling neglected and since we had been communicating for three months, Daniel knew he could trust me. His parents agreed nonchalantly.
I had to sneak out of the country under an alias. Otherwise, Retus Services would have captured me. Daniel and I agreed on Forye Iton. The man that picked me up from the airport was quite condescending. “So Forye, you’re okay being a servant for this young man?” I almost didn’t answer, but then I remembered that was my name from now on. “I really don’t have any other option.” “Young man, let me tell you something I realized a long time ago. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. It is fine if you work for these people in order to stay alive for now, but you have to also get an education and make a difference so that your sons and daughters don’t have to do the same thing you are doing. You have to speak. Do not stay quiet. You have to be the voice for those who cannot speak. I look at you, and I see something special. I see a revolution in your eyes. But you did not know it until now. You must go no longer without knowing your worth and power.” My mom had always told me to guard myself, but never told me I was as strong as this man just said I was. “Thank you. No one has ever told me anything like that.” “And is why I had to let you know.” The rest of the ride was silent.
I knocked on the doors that were at least 5 times my height. A very fit, beautiful brown woman answered the door. “Ahhhh, you must be Josh.” “I am. Nice to meet you madam.” I bowed my head as I said it. “Daniel’s right upstairs.”
I knocked on the open door. Daniel turned around with all of his illuminating 32 teeth in his smile. He quickly said “Well hey buddy ol’ pal!” before pulling me in, slamming the door behind me and kissing me. I happened so fast my head was spinning. I came back down to Jupitron when I realized he was hugging me. “Well, hey there.” We both laughed at my attempt to be cool.
For the next week I cleaned his room, got his food, took care of his pets, even washed his feet. He loved it. “Having fun, aren’t you?” I said playfully to hide my hint of anger. “A lil bit, but I’m most excited for you to get what you need.” I dried his feet and he lead me to his bedroom, which I had became all too familiar with over the last week.
“I have a present for you.” “Awww you remembered that it’s my birthday.” 18th to be exact. I was an adult. “Of course, but one question before I show you what it is. Are you sure you want to brown?” Daniel looked me straight in my eyes, trying to make it sit in that I could never go back to being white again. “I have never been more ready for anything in my life.” Daniel scrounged through his junky nightstand drawer and pulled out a bar of platinum. He held it like a sword. “Okay, we’re ready to go.” He said laughing. “We’re going right now.” I couldn’t speak I was so happy, so I just hugged him.
The pond was so hot because it had to open my pores in order to let the melanin seep in. I let my body curl up and touch the floor of the pond. I cherished my last moment of being white. I never hated the color my skin. I hated what other people thought of it. When I was finished with my moment I swam upstream to the ice cold water that would close my pores. The more I swam, the clearer the water was. I was floating on my stomach and looked up and saw Daniel. I lifted my head, grabbed my face, and wrung the water off of it.
“Hello my beautiful brown man.” He held up a pocket mirror. “Woah.”
When we got home, he said I would have to leave because my parents might be able to tell that I was still Josh but brown. “I thought about that. Yeah that would be best. I wish I could have more time with you though.” Daniel grabbed my shoulders and looked me. “We have the rest of our lives.” One last kiss and I was on a plane to a small town called Jeno.
I knew I needed to call Ursula as soon as I landed. “Helro?” She's stuffing chips in her mouth. Typical. “Guess who!” “Josh?! I’ve been worried sick about you! Where are you?” "I’m in Jeno. I can’t give you too many details still but I’ll be back in Lindus soon.” “Okay, stay safe.”
I quickly got a lifeguard job and was able to buy an apartment with a shady landlord that didn’t ask for any background information. I started going to the library and reading to educate myself. I joined anti-colorism groups in Jeno. Things were looking up for me. I talked to Daniel every night. I'm working on visiting my mother once I learn what prison she is in.
I sometimes still have an internal fight with myself if it could be seen as betrayal to my people that I decided to be brown. But then I remember the man who picked me up from the airport. I have a divine purpose to end oppression, no matter what means I had to go through in order to be able to use my skill. If I would have stayed white, I might have died and for sure would have been held back from fighting colorism. It is not about the tricks you play to get ahead, it is about what you do with your privilege.
Journal Entry May 5th, 2050 Age: 9
The Flash People, that is what I see when I wake up. Only for a few seconds though, before they fade away into nothing, but what do they mean? What do they want? Do they have others to speak to? I told my mom about it once and she said that its all in my head, or it was just a dream. Can you be asleep and wake up into a dream? If so, does that mean you were in a dreaming about sleep?If not, then was I then that means in my dream, I wasn’t dreaming at all, but thats means I couldn’t be asleep. I don’t know. Maybe she’s right, maybe it is in my head, but that doesn’t explain the zaps I always feel. I learned in school that when you rub your feet against a rug that you would create static electricity, but even when I’m not rubbing my feet against the floor. Maybe I’m a superhero, like Static Shock. I can’t tell anyone though, can’t let my secret identity be discovered by my enemies. I need to make a name… how about... Lightingbird. Yes! Because I have lightning powers, and my name is a bird, genius! I will defend New York City and rain lightning down on all evildoers.
From the new hero,
Eagle Waynes aka The Lightningbird
Journal Entry March 2nd, 2058 Age: 17
I wake up to the typical engine sounds and birds yelping back and forth to one another like an endless conversation held by the beloved. It wasn't until my eyes reveal to me the world that I am reminded of my divergence. The beaming flashes that pulsate in and out of my peripherals seeking attention before I can understand them. After a few blinks I come to terms before fear takes its hold. Then I begin to sense the world around me. Energy surrounding me in hope that maybe I may provide a purpose to their meaningless endeavors. The visions, the senses, all branches to the tree of my existence. I can control electro-magnetic impulses within myself and the world around me. The pulses of electricity that freely go about our bodies control our movements, however, its more than that for me. My body works like a generator, greatly increasing these pulses to god-like levels. I’ve learned to control such energy, but as far as the vision, I’ve yet to decipher their meaning or relevance. I cannot make out any faces, except one. A man, maybe in his late thirties, he says something, before everything fades into my current existence. I do not speak to my mother about this, I’ve heard what they do to people like me. A life of hiding, fearing imprisonment and the sacrifice of my own humanity. I know this because they wouldn’t consider me human, therefore a non-human doesn’t deserve humanity. No one must ever know of this.
Journal Entry March 2nd, 2058 Age: 17
School today was much of the same, much isolation without much conversation. I understand that it is for the good of me and my family but I wonder how for how much longer. The one girl, Jennifer, is the only person I consistently find myself conversing with. She is an extraordinary individual, strong, smart, and beautiful. But bigger things are at play at the moment other than lust. I walked in the door to find my mother, crying in a corner with a picture in her hand. On closer inspection, it was the picture of a group of people. I ran to her side and asked, “Mom! What’s wrong?”
Sniveling, she replied, “Nothing sweetie I’m ok.” My mom had shown me the picture before, her and my dad were both in it, everyone was smiling and celebrating but my mom never told me who the other people in the photo were. I asked, “Who are these people?” My mom then took to the kitchen in such haste not even the the new sound speed Lamborghini's could keep up. I evaluated the image some more and have taken it to my room, what does the picture mean, who are these people in it, and why is my mom so upset about it? My mom has been acting very strange lately but why? I only wish I knew, maybe I could do something about it.
Journal Entry March 7th 2058 Age: 17
These past few days, these visions have seemingly become more vivid. I can almost make out faces to these Flash People, as what I called them once before. Men, women, and children all seem to be the people in these visions. The visions also becoming less broken up and more detailed and sensible instead of halting randomly. I see people tripping over each other, running, falling, dying. But what chills me the most is… I feel like I can feel what they feel. Fear, desperation, pain, and misery. I’m not sure what is going on. Am I going crazy? I feel like I’m in a large box, conversing with my own echo to provide the illusion that I’m not alone. Maybe that’s the case, maybe I am in this mental box with just my journal as an echo. Can I even really control electricity, or is that yet another trick I’ve fooled myself to believing? I don’t know, I’m so confused, I’m so lost, and no one seems to be able to help me.
Journal Entry March 9th 2058 Age: 17
I’ve hit a bit of a crossroad these last couple day. Jennifer and I have gotten really close recently. I don’t know, there’s something about her that hibernates this ravenous animal I feel inside. Why just yesterday I used the holographic facetime app on my phone for the first time to talk to her. I may not be a normal person, but who ever said that I couldn’t try to be normal. All my life I’ve been expecting the worst but hoping for the best, maybe its time for me to stop sitting around hoping I find my purpose and go out and create one for myself. With any luck, I may no longer need to write in my journal to cope with this longingness. Hopefully, I may finally find peace within myself. then in helping myself, I can help the world around me.
Journal Entry March 29th 2058 Age: 18
It’s my birthday today! Been a few weeks since I wrote in my journal. I’ve just been, happy for the first time in so long. I finally feel like for once in my life, I don’t view the world from a barren moon, decelent and alone. Me and Jennifer have been spending a lot of time together, both in and out of school. I finally ditched that one lonely table in the back of the cafe at school, now sitting with Jennifer and her friends Sammy and Brian. The Flash People visions happen a lot less frequently now. Even when I do see the Flash People, I don’t think about them as much and I can just continue my life. I feel like, maybe life doesn’t require all the answers, sometimes you have to just accept what reality and not question it. You’d think the world is perfect but… it’s still the thought in the back of my mind that if they knew who I was, they would reject me. I’m still not sure if I can trust Jennifer, or anyone at that to reveal who I am too. I finally feel like I’m actually a part of society, instead of an undercover agent among humanity. I’ve also gotten into poetry a little bit since me and Jennifer been hanging out. It helps me cope with the part of me that different. I fear that I cannot hide from who I am forever. Eventually someone will know, whether I tell them or not, and it will be my responsibility to bear whatever comes next.
Poem: Day Time
Is the sun ever really gone?
does it set off?
In cloud cover,
does it cover up?
Even when stars dominate the sky,
the sun never dies.
Even the moon borrows its light to become bright and illuminate the night.
No matter what,
the sun cannot hide from who it is.
It is everything.
Poem: The Underworld
I lived my life in the underworld,
digging deeper and deeper like a mole,
trying to find a deeper meaning.
However, I am blind,
feeling my way through the darkness,
unaware of what I’ll find.
The world above is but a mystery,
a forbidden landscape for which danger lies like the stench of a dead animal.
Yet even in my sanctuary of darkness,
I long for the light.
what it feels like,
what it sounds like, What it looks like.
Journal Entry April 3rd 2058 Age: 18
A dark cloud has been thundering in my head, lashing out on whatever bit of sanity I had left. The vision are back, but not only in my sleep, I see them constantly through the day as well. With every flash, it feels like another part of me is consumed, even in class today I had to shock myself a few time in order to prevent a breakdown. For some odd reason, I long for Jennifer. I haven’t seen her these last few days and that too is driving me mad. Is she ok? Did something happen? Could I have prevented it? Why? Why do I feel like this? We cannot be together, if she knew who and what I was she would reject me. Not only that but I will not include her in this curse I’m forced to bear, knowing someone could come knocking on your door and snatch you up to never be seen again. Yet, I feel like without her, I truly am a pariah. Forced to walk and stand alone in the emptiness of my mind. Anyways, whether I like it or not, my mom has to find out about this. I fear that without someone to tell, I will fall further and further into this pit of despair that is my mind. Maybe this secret I’ve been forced to pair all this time is why I’m experiencing this. Clearing my conscience may be able to clear my mind, and inturn, clear up this madness.
Journal Entry April 4th 2058 Age: 18
This morning, I told my mom everything. About the visions, the powers, and my own thoughts on it. I also showed her my journal, with everything I’ve wrote over these years about these things. She lashed out at me, “Why have you waited so long to tell me something like this!?”
I replied, “My own paranoia won out, I felt as though if you or anyone else knew, you’d reject me, or worse, I’d put you at a certain amount of danger.”
“Danger how!?” She said.
“You’ve seen the movies mom, even the nature programs. Whenever people find something or someone who’s different, that individual is destroyed either physically, mentally, or both. It’s just human nature mom, to destroy radicals.” Her face then went from anger and frustration to a great deal of sadness. She ran into the other room, leaving a river behind where she stepped. I feel bad now for dragging my mother into this. She has dealt with so much, having to be a single mother raising a child like me. Maybe I should’ve just kept this to myself but…
Journal Entry April 5th 2058 Age: 18
I think I finally understand. I understand what the visions are, what they mean. They are flashbacks of the last time I saw my father. My mom showed me a picture, the same picture she was crying about last month. She pointed at a man and asked me, “Did you see this man in your visions?” I I observed the man closely and then it hit me. It was the one man in the vision whose face I could clearly decipher. I replied, “Yes.” She took a hard sigh and said to me, “I hoped I would never have to explain this to you Eagle.”
“Explain what?” I said.
“(Sigh) Remember when I told you your father died in a car accident with an astroid on his way to pick you up from Cosmic Playhouse?”
“Yes.” I replied
“Well, that wasn’t at all true.”
I paused for a second then asked, “My father is the one I see in my visions, isn’t it?”
A single tear fell from her eye and she answered, “Yes.”
I paused again to take in everything, then I asked, “What happened?”
“Your father and I had were like many others, we opposed the law set by the Higher Family to send children of age to live on the new one of the three new planets chosen by government in order to graduate college. The idea is to use the carbon dioxide we excrete to fertilize the plant sanctuaries on those planets until the plants produce enough oxygen to support life on the planet. We formed a radicalist group called The Birds, to stop children from being sent to hazardous conditions in order to be a graduate and make a choice of will. Though our movement was peaceful, the Higher Family was notorious for opposing opposition with violence, therefore we were more than willing to exercise our second amendment. We marched, we rallied, and we occasionally had conflict with the Higher Forces, but we never needed fired shots. It even got to a point where your father sold our weapons and gave money to poor communities. Your father… was such a great man, always putting himself last. Eventually, he lead us as far as a meeting with the Higher Family. We were overjoyed, finally, The Higher Family sees wrong in their ways on the graduation system and are willing to hear us out. But…”
“Let me guess, it was a set-up?” I asked. My mother chuckled a little. “You’re as sharp as your father you know.” Then she continued, “Your father was suspicious when it was requested that the entire Bird movement be at this meeting, however he didn’t want to risk losing this opportunity, so he agreed.”
“But what does this have to do with me?” I asked. She paused a minute to gather her thoughts, and then spoke, “Because you had to come.” My eyes widened like two ripe tomatoes. “Me? Why did I have to go?”
“Your father thought it would be safer, then to leave you at home with the hologram.” She said. “When we arrived, we were put in a room with a large stage and one door. The floor creeked from deterioration and there was a somewhat earyness to the place. I asked him, why have a meeting of this scale in a place of this scale. He answered back, I have a bad feeling about this. He directed us to the side of the where the floor seemed to be more stable. Then out of the blue, all you heard was a large boom and the crackling of broken wood. Your father then yelled, Birds to the door! As we made our way to the door we realized that the sound we heard was the floor exploding beneath us. Then we started hearing gunshots ring from the direction of the door. We stopped, the your father guided us a the hole. As we reached the bottom, we stumbled over broken wood and dead bodies. Your father turned around and said that he needed to guide what was left of the Birds to safety. (Crying) I didn’t want to leave you, but I needed to get you to safety. As I ran, I felt a large burst of energy, then nothing.”
“So what happened after that?” I asked.
“We woke up in a hospital. The doctor said I was lucky to survive, but you… you were in surprisingly great condition. I asked where you and the doctor said you were in the playroom now. I always did ask myself, why weren’t you affected by the blast, but I never realized you absorbed its energy somehow.”
“I guess we know why now… Mom, can I ask you something?”
“What is it?”
“Why didn’t you ever try to bring the Birds back if you felt so strong about its purpose?” She paused for a minute, collecting her thoughts, then she spoke, “Because I spent all these years waiting for the day that he would come home and do it himself.” She answered as tear started draining off her face like a downpour in the forest. “Your father was so strong, and so devoted…. I just wish I could have him back.” She said. I sat silently for a few seconds and watched the emotion spill from my mothers face. “Mom.” I said.
“Theres one more thing.” She said while wiping her face clean. “Your father told me that you were destined to one day be a symbol, which is why he named you after the Birds. I never knew what he meant by that... but Eagle, you owe it to the world to use your gifts for good. That’s what your father would say.”
“Mom, I need to know, where is my dads grave?”
“It’s down on 55th avenue.”
“Can I go there?” She paused for second and replied, “Yes.” I left the house and walked to 55th avenue. All could think about was what my mom told me. The Birds, my father, this mysterious weapon, and me. What made me and my mom so lucky as to survive this weapon where others have perished to it. I arrived at the cemetery. It took sometime but I finally found the grave, Jonathan Waynes. The engraving was hard to read, but its message was clear. It said, “Fight for what is true, live by what is right, die for who you love.” I dropped to my knees and stared into the stars. I saw the Aquila constellation and then my moms words started to echo in my head, “You were named after the Birds.” Then I spoke, “I am The Lightningbird.”
“Crixus! Crixus! Crixus! Crixus!” the crowd cheers.
I close my eyes as I hear the gates open, and walk towards the sunlight as the announcer says my name over the speakers.
“Get ready everyone as he approaches...the fresh, the young, the quick, the cunning...Atticus!!!!”
The fans are fired up. Yelling their tonsils out as I breathe it all in. They love me now but I know they’d love to see me in pieces by the time the match is over. I turn and look at my opponent. Crixus the Creator. He was given this name due to the way he demolishes his foes with flawless victories. His matches never last more than 5 minutes, he’s surely one of the Gladiator Gods. Standing at an opposing 6’3” with a built wrestler body that appears to have no weaknesses. I need a plan if I’m going to make it out of here alive. I circle the ring as I stare him down scrambling to find an achilles heel. I determine I can’t find one as the bell rings.
“Do not fear death,” was all I’ve been told through training. Right now, I’m pretty frightened.
“Fuck, I’m done for!” I think to myself as I make a break back to the gates.
They shut right in my face. There’s no way out. I clench the metal and press my face on the gate with my eyes closed as I pray to god and start my repentance.
Maybe he couldn’t understand me though, since I was bawling my eyes out so hard I stopped breathing for a couple of seconds.
I muttered “p-p-pl-please god forg-forgive me for all my sins,” as I broke down.
I’m cut short by the sound of moving chains and Crixus’s battle cry “Ahh!!!”.
I turn around to see Crixus swing his smart disc at my face, I immediately fell to the ground, dodging the frisbee of spikes. I scramble to my feet, gripping my flaming sword so hard my fingers began to lose their color.
“Ha, ha, ha, ha. You look scared boy! Why don’t you make this easier on both of us and just give it up. I’ll make it nice and quick.” I lift my fiery sword in it’s fighting position. “Have it your way!” Crixus charges at me at full speed. I swing my flaming sword back and forth, up and down but surely miss all of him. He laughs again as he swings his smart disc to attack.
“Get down! Dip! To the Left!” my brain tells my body as I dodge the spikes. After playing defense the whole fight I close my eyes and swing my pyro sword towards Crixus’s face as I feel myself connect. I open my eyes to see him standing there shocked. I cut his cheek and drew blood; something that’s never been done before; something that made him angry. As the crowd got louder, Crixus got angrier and charged again, this time with harder, faster, and sharper blows. Knocking me to the ground with a punch to the gut, the wind was knocked out of me. After a few seconds of laying in the dirt, I flip over onto my back and only see the outline of his body as the sun behind him blacks him out.
“Fin-ish him! Fin-ish him! Fin-ish him!” the crowd chants.
On my last plea I reach for my pyro sword and he steps on my wrist, reassuring me that this fight is over. Crixus then grabs my sword and cocks it into the air above his head, ready to strike for the kill. I stare into the sky and await for the world around me to go black. In the last couple of seconds my life flashes before me. The training sessions with my dad where he used to pull me close and apologize profusely on how this was his fault that I was in this situation, my mother’s smile, and most importantly the times I shared with Augusta. Damn, I know she misses me as much as I miss her. At that instant, I look to my soon killer and a tear rolls down my eye. It’s really over.
In the crowd I hear “Atticus! Atticus!” just as the blade is coming down.
“Atticus get up!!’ I lift my body up, look around and see my room, feel my arms and chest to make sure this is real.
“It was just a dream?...” I say to myself confused as I wipe the night sweat off my forehead.
Right then my mother barges in the room
“Atticus! Wake up! Now!”
“I’m up! I’m up mom. Chill out, no one wants to hear you yelling this early in the morning,” I mutter to myself.
“What was that?” my mom replies. I don’t respond.
As annoying as my mom is, I respect her enough to never disrespect her to her face. When I’m alone though, that’s another story.
“Good. Now go to the store and pick me up some milk, we’re going to need it for our Cream of Wheat.” she orders.
I look out my window into the city and daydream what it’s like to live down there. No one I’ve ever known has ever been downtown. Our kind isn’t allowed there. I roll off my mattress and pick up my old flip flops, throw on my dirty tank top, and slide into my dusty shorts while leaving my room. I hate it here. Calling my room modest is a stretch. I have an old hand-me-down mattress that is on the floor, a bookshelf that’s just collecting dust (what does someone like me need to read books for?) and I only have enough clothes to fill one drawer. 5 pairs of underwear, 8 pairs of socks (half of which are ripped), 3 pants, 4 shirts, and about 10 cockroaches running around my house floors. I run down the steps and kiss my mom on the cheek goodbye as she hands me $1 and I head out the door.
“Augusta! Augusta!” I scream out at the top of my lungs to her 1st floor bedroom window.
She then replies “Atticus! Shut up! I’m trying to sleep!”.
“Aw c’mon! I’ll be out here screaming all day if you don’t come out!” “Ughh fine! I’ll be down in a sec,”. There she is my best friend Augusta. She lives across the street and we’ve been best friends our whole lives. Her dad died in a gladiator fight just like mine, which only made us grow closer. Her luck is better than mine though, since she’s a girl she doesn’t have to fight, she just cooks and cleans. Unlike me, on my 16th birthday I have to register to be a gladiator to bring money home for my mom. After technology took over the world, the U.S. decided to invest most of it’s money into the “new age”. One day the cloud that controlled all forms of technology became overloaded and broke down. Leaving not just the U.S. but the majority of the world broke. Most large countries decided to re-introduce gladiators to cut down some of the population and to bring in some revenue. The problem is, that every 16 year old boy living in poverty must register. I’m not too threatening, 5’8, 130 lbs. Athletic build. I’m more on the small side. So I’ve been training vigorously on the tree in my backyard so when my time comes I’m remotely ready.
When she finally made it out the house she went on a rant “You’re crazy. You can’t just yell at the top of your lungs in the middle of the street like some crackhead.”. .
“Well good morning to you too!” I replied.
She rolled her eyes and said “What’s the rush anyway?”.
“Oh nothing I just needed some company to the store,” I said.
“You got me out of bed for this? You know I’m not your bodyguard right Atticus? You’re a big boy now. You can walk yourself to the store.”
“Ouch. That cut deep,” I chuckled as I picked up the milk.
As we made our way home it hit me that I am turning 16 in a couple of months. I wasn’t ready. I wish there was somewhere for me to run away from all of this.
When Augusta saw my face she nudged me and asked “What’s wrong?” Since Augusta was always a tomboy, I always saw her as a brother and nothing more. She’s tougher than most guys I know. She’s not afraid to fight and not afraid to get dirty, two traits that I wished would rub off on me.
I walked her to the door and said “Nothing. It’s just the big day is coming up and I’m just nervous as all.”
“Oh yeah...I’m sure you’ll do fine. You’re still practicing right?”
“Training Augusta! It’s training! But yeah, speaking of that, I gotta go train right now. See you tomorrow!”
“Bye!” she replied.
On my way back across the street my mind was swirling: “How do I get better?; I’m so small they’ll beat me to a pulp; Stop Atticus. You’re great you can do this!” I negotiated with myself. So I dropped the milk off and went outback to train. “Let’s start with some cardio” I said to myself. 100 jumping jacks and 100 jump ropes. Next up was lower body “50 squats, 50 lunges” then I finished with 100 push ups and 100 crunches. After my gruesome workout, I was beat, so I fell asleep on the grass.
I awoke to the screaming of my mom “Atticus! Time to eat!” said my mom. “You shouldn’t be working out so hard in this heat, you’ll drop dead!”
“I have to, I have to be ready for the registration on my birthday,” I replied.
Then she said “I know, I just hate to see you end up like your father. I can’t lose you too.”
She began to cry and I didn’t know what to do so I assured her that everything would be alright, even though I didn’t have the slightest amount of hope in myself. After Dinner, I made my way back outside and practiced my poison dart accuracy. The darts consists of Komodo Dragon saliva extract and enhanced to kill it’s victim within minutes. At that time, I was new to this, so I practiced throwing darts at a target over and over. I never hit the bullseye. Most times I missed but sometimes if I was lucky, I hit the outer ring. I gave up and decided to just call it a night and head to bed. I had to get up early tomorrow for school. I attended Spartacus Secondary School. It’s a pretty big school even though it’s only from 8th to 10th grade and only boys are allowed to attend. Boys from around the city come here before they’re sent off to the camps for their fights. I have less than a year. Less than a year to live my life before I become someone else’s property. In less than a year I’ll be transforming from a good kid who wishes there was a way out of the system, to a cold-blooded killer, a warrior, a gladiator.
I woke up the next morning and was so late that I almost missed the school hovercraft. I chased it for blocks when it finally stopped and let me on. As I walked down the aisle, everyone was laughing at me and throwing paper balls at my head. If you can’t tell, I’m a wimp here. I get no respect and I’m constantly pushed around by my enemy, Leonidas. When he catches me in the hallway he calls me names or he knocks all of my stuff on the ground. But today he took it too far.
“Augusta! Augusta!” he mocks as he laughs at me with his friends. “How’s your little girlfriend short stuff?”
“That’s not my girlfriend Leo, what do you want?”
He became serious, “I want your money. Give me everything in your pockets,”
“C’mon Leo stop playing, I have a class to go to.” I said while trying to walk away.
“No you don’t,” He said as he moved closer menacingly. Then him and his friends suddenly pushed me to the wall and started jumping me. Bang, bang, boom, the sounds my body was making while they punched me in the face, eyes, stomach and ribs. Even though my body was killing me, I attempted to raise my hands and fight back but my body wouldn’t let me. I was weak and fell to the ground and curled up like an armadillo. During this time, all I could think about was how much I hated being smaller than everyone else, how much I hated being bullied, and how much I hated Leonidas.
Before I blacked out, I heard my savior. “Stop! Stop! Get off of him!” as the bullies scrambled away.
It was Mr. Petrus. He ran over and helped me stumble to my feet.
“You got quite the beat down there kid. Good thing I came over when I did, I don’t know how much longer you would’ve lasted!”
“Thanks for your help Mr. Petrus. Beat downs like that are starting to become routine.” I said as I spit out blood from my mouth.
“I used to be like you, so I want to help you.” he said in a friendly voice. “Something like a mentor,” he added.
“Like a trainer?” I questioned.
“Exactly. I’ll just have to talk your mom and run it by her. Also, I have to be sure you’re dedicated to this. I can’t waste my time on a pupil who doesn’t want to learn.”
“I promise I’ll be dedicated I promise!!! Just teach me how to fight so I can stand a chance.” “Alright, just let me take you home and we’ll work it out with your mom.” he said assuringly.
“What happened to your eye!?!?” my mother said.
“Nothing mom. But Mr. Petrus is here to talk to you about training me for the registration.”
“Training? What kind of training?” she asked.
“Well Alexandra, as you can see your son Atticus gets bullied quite frequently. I would just like to help him get better, faster, and stronger; since you know his big day is coming up.” said Mr. Petrus.
“Why does he need your help?” she retorted.
“Well ma’am Atticus’s registration date is soon approaching and he needs a lot of work. I was once in training for Gladiator fighting and could be of great help in the survival of your son. I see my younger self in young Atticus and would only like to push him towards reaching his maximum potential.” he said heartwarmingly.
As I looked at Mr. Petrus I could see the vague description of a former Gladiator. Wide Shoulders, big arms, muscular frame. He was probably one of the best; I thought to myself.
“The training would be every day directly after school, and I promise, if Atticus gives me his maximum effort you’ll see a change in him. Physically and Mentally.” he reassured.
“Please mom please? I need help! I’m always getting pushed around and the registration is only a couple of months away!” I pleaded.
“I don’t know Atticus…” she argued.
“Mom! Please!” I groveled once more.
“Ok! Ok! Fine! Just keep my son safe Mr. Petrus. He’s the only thing I have left.” My mom said as she started to tear up.
“He’s in good hands Alexandra. We start tomorrow bring your A-game kid. I don’t need my time wasted.” Mr. Petrus said seriously.
“I will!” I replied.
Then he looked at me with a smirk and said “Good, that’s what I want to hear. I’ll be over here around 4 tomorrow so we can start.”
then he walked away. I couldn’t wait I was so excited. I called Augusta outside.
“You’re looking at a soon to be gladiator,” I said cockily.
“What are you talking about?” she asked.
“Well I’m gonna start my training for the registration starting tomorrow with one of my teachers.” “Well it doesn’t matter what training you do. I could still kick your ass.” she retorted.
“Ha. Ha. Ha. I could whoop you with my right hand tied behind my back.” I said.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I can’t wait to see it with my own eyes.”
After school the next day I rushed home and got ready for training. Mr. Petrus was already there waiting. “You’re late Atticus.” he said seriously.
“I’m sorry, I got home as quick as I could.” I responded.
“Well let’s start with an overview of your weaponry.”
“Okay, I have my poison darts, flaming sword, and my ray gun. I need some help in learning how to use them. I’m not confident in them.”
He looked me in my eyes and said “First lesson. You should always believe in yourself and if you do, a sling shot can become a deadly weapon. What’s a gun without a confident shooter behind the trigger?” We started with the poison darts. He got behind me and fixed my form and showed me other ways to improve my accuracy. Next we practiced my sword fighting. Mr. Petrus brought his sword from his gladiator days to help me. Finally, I had target practice for my ray gun, hitting bottles of a gate 10 yards away and gradually getting larger. After months of training I could see a change in myself. I became confident, faster, stronger, a better fighter, and an actual contender.
The day before my birthday, he told me it was my last day of training and that today was the final test. I had to fight him. “Are you sure Mr. Petrus?” I asked. “I don’t want to hurt you,” I continued.
“I’m your enemy now, he’s not worried about your wellbeing so why are you worried about his? I’m trying to hurt you. Hands up.” he said calmly.
“But Mr. Petrus I d-” he punch me in the nose. I fell to the ground, surprised, and confused. “Get. Up.” he said angrily. “You better fight back or I’m just going to beat you down,” he swung again. I dipped to the left then dipped backwards to avoid the combination of punches. Then I swung and hit him in the mouth. His emotion didn’t change, he just pulled out a sword and charged towards me. I pulled out my flaming sword as I got in my defensive stance. “Mr. Petrus, I don’t want to fight you!” I replied.
He replied calmly “You have no choice.” he struck his sword towards my legs as I parried his attack numerous times. “Click, Clank, Clank” the sounds of the swords clashing together under the sunset orange sky. Until an elbow to the chin disarmed Mr. Petrus and knocked him to the ground. I stepped on his chest and put my sword to his neck.
“Stop. It’s over.” He gripped a handful of soil from my mother’s garden and threw it in my face. I rubbed my eyes and before I knew it he had my ray gun to my face.
“No. Now it’s over. Bang. You’re dead. You lost.” He put the gun down. “You never show mercy to your opponent,” The most important lesson he told me was to “kill the opposition before they killed me.” “Atticus. Everyone has a reason and a drive to keep them in the Gladiator Battle. Yours is your mother. Without you, she’s done for. She needs you to bring money home to live. Now these other guys on the other hand, will either be slaves fighting for their freedom or poor, desperate boys like you who are in the battles to bring home money for their family. There’s no room for nice guys here Atticus. Remember that.” He helped me up. “You’ve grown so much in these last couple of months, physically, as a fighter, and as a man. I can almost look at you as a son. It’s been a pleasure to train a wonderful young student like yourself. I only wish for the best of you on your registration day.”
“Thank you Mr. Petrus, thank you for believing in me and saving my life. I don’t know how long I would’ve lasted without you.” We started to pack everything up.
“Night kid, I’ll see you at the registration,” He waved and walked off into the sunset.
The next morning I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror, I didn’t see my former self. The small, fearful, young kid was now gone. He’s been replaced with a confident, walking tall, lion hearted man. Before I left for the registration, I had to talk to Augusta. “Augusta! Augusta!” I called out like I used to.
“Hey Atticus, long time no see.”
“I gotta talk to you,” I called out.
“Alright, I’m on my way down.” she responded. “Wassup?” She said.
“No Happy Birthday? You’re the worst.”
“I was getting around to it!” she laughed. “Besides, it’s not much of a happy day. But, I got something for you.” From behind her back she pulled out a dog tag that said “A.A. the dynamic duo. Together forever.” I stared shocked.
“How could you afford this?...” I said, with my eyes still wide open.
“Don’t worry about it! Just a little saving,” she smiled and laughed.
“You like it? I bought it so you’d know, during the registration and during your fights I’ll be there fighting with you.”
Still in disbelief I said. “I love it. I’ll never take it off. Shit. I’m almost late!” I gave her a long, tight, 5 20 second hug before I ran off. When I got to the registration there were hundreds of boys already there. Most looked ready but some of them looked frightened like me before training with Mr. Petrus. I felt bad for them, I knew how they felt. When it was finally my turn to register, they asked me my name, my weight, where I was from and my weapon preference. I told them what they wanted and received a number and waited for my number to be called.
After waiting for some hours I heard “#773 and #821 report to your respected locker rooms.” When I got there a man was waiting for me.
“Today you will be put up against another contestant in a fight to the death. The winner moves to the next round and will travel to Camp Sparta for further training and battles. I’d advise you to make yourself appealing to the fans to get your name out there. Okay? You have 10 minutes to prep.” and he left, just like that. I sat in the locker room and thought about my mother’s smile and cry when I left, and most importantly the times I shared with Augusta and our last moments together. Finally, I tried to remember everything Petrus taught me before I put my gear on.
“5 more minutes until showtime Augusta.” the man said. I took a deep breathe as I walked to the arena tunnel. I could hear the crowd get pepped up as I moved closer to the end of the tunnel. I closed my eyes and kissed my necklace from Augusta and then traced a cross on my chest before my name was called. “Hereeeeee comesssss Atticus!!!!!” The crowd roars as I grip my weapons and walk towards the light at the end of the tunnel.
The walk to the dull, grey building was routine at this point. Surrounded by all the other stain glass skyscrapers, the building looked unimpressive and out of place. “One would think that the juxtaposition between the exuberant scenery and the rustic building would be cause for suspicion but no one ever seems to notice.” These were Claris’ thoughts as she approached the building, as she did every morning, at sharply 8am. Claris’ sharp 5 inch metal heals stomped into the ground as she continued thinking about the obviousness of this “secret” location and the uncanny lack of attention it seemed to draw. She eventually chalked it up to the ignorance and self centered nature of the wealthy that inhabit this part of the city and continued about her morning ritual.
After passing through the retinal scanner and full body search, Claris made her way to her office. But of course, not without the usual whistling and unsuccessful mating attempts by the front office clerk. She knew that she could always report him to human resources but she knew that that’d probably result in his mouth being seared shut, which admittedly was a bit harsh, but was the penalty for on-job sexual harassment in the 30th century. Plus, deep down she was flattered by the gestures since he wasn’t necessarily unattractive, although, there was an extreme unattraction to the man-parts hugged up in his size 28 tapered trousers.
With a seat in her office chair, Claris called her partner to find out her whereabouts, to let her know it’d be a late night and to find out her plans for the night.
“Hey Chels, it’s Claris.”
“Shit!”, “That’s my favorite shirt!.... Just so you know.... I was drinking my coffee.....now my shirt is enjoying it a lot more than I am.... thank you for that.”
“Ohh I’m so sorry! I thought I’d timed it so that I’d call you as soon as you were done.” explained Claris.
“Welp... you were unsuccessful. And why don’t you ever just call me like a normal human being?”
“See I would.... but physically telling my computer to call you is so much more work than me just thinking about you and ending up in your head.”
“Psh, I’m sure it would have been soooo much work! And you know how I feel about you being in my...”
“Anyways!”, interrupted Claris. “ I called to let you know that I’ll be home a little later today. My boss just gave me an urgent project and wants me to stick around late so that I can get it done tonight. I hope that isn’t too much of a hassle.”
“Again?!” exclaimed Chelsea. “If I wasn’t the amazing person I am, I would swear you’re out doing something behind my back.”
“Well, you know I’m not, which is all that matters. Well, I have to go so I’ll talk to you later tonight babe.”
“Ok, bye. But if you need to talk to me again can you at least ACTUALLY call me next time so that I don’t ruin another shirt or have a heart attack.”
“Ehhh... no promises.” responded Claris.
We watched the waves together. It’s what we did every Sunday morning during the summer. We would go down to the pier and watch the waves. I enjoyed this moment more than any other. This was the only time when my mother and I were able to be completely alone, simply enjoying each other’s presence.
I was only 5 at the time, but I distinctly remember the happiness I always felt within this moment. Then the flash happened. What happened during that flash, I to this day don’t understand. All I knows is when the flash died down and she regained vision, my mother was dead. Blood slowly running down the back of her head from her ear.
Staring out the window of her 7th floor office, Claris noticed the lackluster nature of her view. She thought that considering she made upwards of 6 figures per year, she would at least have a decent view of the city from her office window. But, due to the CIA refusing to be anything less than inconspicuous, she instead had a plain view of the dark street, from a meager 7 stories.
“Hmph, wait, what?!” said Claris. Turning to her assistant, Charles, who had apparently been standing there for an excessive amount of time, shouting his bosses name.
“Oh, hello Charles. What is it?”
She could tell he had been trying to get her attention for longer than one would normally have to by the redness of his cheeks and the sweat forming above his brow.
“What is wrong with you?!” said Charles. “ I’ve been standing here screaming your name for the past 5 minutes without even the slightest response!”
“Calm down Charles. I’m fine. I was just thinking about my mom’s death is all.”
“Again? Why do you do that to yourself? Replaying it over and over again in your head. You were only 5, she died of a brain hemorrhage, it was nothing you could do. Simple as that.” He approached her cautiously, knowing better than to break her 1 rule; no physical contact under any circumstance.
“I know I was young, but I have a strong feeling her death wasn’t natural. I mean, she was perfectly healthy, no history of brain trauma in our family, it all just doesn’t add up. And the flash. None of it makes any sense.”
Charles sat down at the chair across from Claris’ desk.
“I know it’s hard. But it happens. Bad things happen to good, innocent, healthy people. You know first hand about that. Just let it go.”
“I can’t “just let it go” Charles. It’s not that easy….. What if it was me? What if I tried to read her mind or something and killed her. I mean, like you said, I was only 5. I had no control over my powers back then. And look at me now. Look at what I do for a living. I’m a murder.”
“Claris, I’ve known you for 4 years now, and if I don’t know anything else about you, I know that you’re no murderer. Anyone that dies by your hand now, simply deserves to die. They’re the bad guys. If not them, then it would be some innocent person. And I know you didn’t kill your mom with your powers. You can’t even kill anyone now with your powers and you know how to control them.”
“I guess you’re right.” She sighed. “I’m just stressing since it’s 2 days away from the 25th anniversary of her death. I always get like this around this time. Don’t worry about me.” Wiping away the tears that were beginning to form, “Anyway. What’s my schedule for today?”
“Ok then.” Charles stands, “You have a mission across town. Something about a man named Vlogdon. He’s been on the company's radar for a while and they think now’s the perfect time to take him out. All the info is in your phone.”
“What’s the password for today?”
“Chicken Strips….. What? I was hungry this morning.”
“Are you serious?.......Next time, let’s try to keep this professional Charles.”
“But…….” Seeing the look in her eyes, he decided against making the smart remark he had thought of. Then quickly after, realized that he had thought it, which meant that she probably already knew. He wondered if she heard it…
“Yes. I heard that. Now go. Do whatever it is I pay you to do.”
She opened the file attached to the message Charles had just sent to her phone. Scanning through the mission report, everything seemed the same. It was a usual, search and take out mission. The problem was, normally “take out” meant wiping the person’s memory or bringing them into headquarters to inevitably never be seen again. This time around it was different. There were clear and direct instructions typed into the message:
It’s not as if Claris had not killed anyone before. In fact for a period of time, she was instructed to kill every target she received. But eventually, the company decided to wipe the memories of the assigned targets in order to be more “humane”. This was the first termination assignment Claris had received in 2 years. It was clear to her that Vlogdon wasn’t any normal target. She examined the picture attached to his file. He was a stocky looking man, about 5” 8’, very broad shoulders, a balding head although his profile said he was only 30, and a beer belly. His skin looked thick, greasy and extremely pale. Claris was extremely unimpressed. He seemed like a random couch potato who lived with his mom in the basement, reading comic books all day while eating Cheetos. But she knew better than to underestimate any target that she received. If the CIA wanted him dead, and thought he was important enough to have Claris herself handle him then he had to be an extreme flight risk. Like Charles said, the report located Vlogdon on the outskirts of the city.
Claris left her office and found everything she needed for the mission laid out neatly on the table outside of her office.
“Oh yeah. That’s what I pay Charles for,” were her words to herself as she examined her tools. A PDW handgun (her gun of choice), a penetration proof vest, combat boots to replace her heels and her specially made gloves that allowed her to climb walls and regulate the temperature of her entire body.
After saying her goodbyes to Charles, Claris was on her way, being sure to not be interrupted by the office clerk and his sly remarks.
I was 4 now. I vaguely remember what occurred that strange evening. My mother and father were arguing. About what, I was too young to know, but I could tell it was about me. They kept pointing at me throughout the argument. I hated when they argued. Partially because of the screaming, but mostly because when Mommy and Daddy argue, Mommy would hit Daddy. He would never do anything back though. I didn’t understand why he would never just hit her back. I mean, she deserved to get hit back. But he never would, until this instance.
After it happened, he kept saying how it wasn’t him. How it felt like he was possesed. He said he watched as his hand came across Mommy’s face but he couldn’t do anything about it. Of course she didn’t believe him. Mommy just screamed even more and went to her room, being sure to slam the door behind her for added effect. That night Daddy cried. I had never seen Daddy cry before. I didn’t think Daddies could cry, but why was he crying? Mommy got what she deserved right? Right?
Claris found herself in front of Vlogdon’s house without much trouble. All it took was a few blocks of searching and questioning. If he meant to remain hidden, he wasn’t doing a very good job at. She was surprised though; he didn’t live with his mother. He actually had an entire family. A pudgy wife, a pudgy son, about 15, and even a pudgy rottweiler to match. These were the hardest targets for Claris. The ones who seemed normal. The ones who had an entire family that would miss them. But it didn’t matter, business was business and orders were orders. Vlogdon had to die. But before that could happen, she couldn’t help but wonder why she was assigned to him in the first place. She decided to read his mind to find out, knowing that one could be really good at hiding who they were on the outside, but that no one could hide who they were from themselves.
“ Hmm…. I wonder if I should get some ice cream… I know I should watch my figure,” Vlogdon thought, “but what does it matter. Helen’s fat. She doesn’t even try to hide it anymore. At least I still suck in my little gut when I take my shirt off. She’s just fat and proud of it… Whatever…..I think I’m gonna get the ice cream. Hell, I deserve it.”
Claris grew impatient fairly quickly. It was her worst quality, but it was the one that saved Vlogdon’s life. Within her short time reading his mind, she found nothing of interest that would grant the death of this innocent looking man, so she decided to go against the missions details of killing him. Instead she planned to simply wipe his memory in hopes that whatever he was doing that caught the CIA’s attention in the first place, he would no longer do.
Waiting until Vlogdon and his family were asleep, Claris climbed through his bedroom window in order to grab a hold of his head. “That’s the one downside,” she thought as she climbed into the bedroom. “ I actually have to touch him just to wipe his memory.” Once in his room, Claris grabbed his head in her 2 hands and began the process of wiping his memory.
In order to wipe one's memory, Claris has to first go through the person’s entire memory, from birth, to that particular second. Once done, she could clear out any and every memory that she desired. 30 seconds into going through his entire memory, Claris ran into a strange situation; his early memories were almost identical to that of Claris’. The day when she was 4, watching her parents argue, her mother’s death. Vlogdon was there for it all. He lived it right along with Claris. He was her brother.
My brother Vlogdon and I were 7 and 4 at the time. We vaguely remember what happened that evening. Mother and father were arguing. We don’t remember why though. We were too young to really understand. We watched as they yelled at each other while pointing at us. Mommy hit Daddy. She always hit Daddy, and he never did anything. Until that night. We watched Daddy hit Mommy, but he didn’t want to. Vlogdon made him. Vlogdon made him hit Mommy back because she deserved it. She deserved it didn’t she? Just like she deserved to die.
We were watching the waves. It’s what we did every Sunday morning during the summer. We would go down to the pier and watch the waves. We enjoyed this moment more than any other. This was the only time we would be able to be completely alone with our mother. Simply enjoying each other’s presence. Vlogdon enjoyed it more than anyone. He had been waiting for this day for the past week. He planned it all out so perfectly. He mastered his powers. He knew exactly what to do to make it look natural. And he did. He killed her. He killed her and partially wiped my memory.
After going through all of Vlogdon’s memories, Claris knew what happened to her mother. She knew why her father killed himself that night too. She knew why she grew up without parents. It was Vlogdon. He caused it all. He killed their mother. He forced their father to kill himself. He wiped Claris’ memory in order to keep her innocent. He ran away to live alone and deal with what he had done. He put it all behind him. He made an entire new life. He did it all. All out of jealousy.
He hated when Claris was born. He felt like she would take over his mother’s attention and he did. She became the object of his mother’s attention. Everyone forgot about Vlogdon, except his father. He was still there for him. But he was weak. He let Vlogdon’s mother hit him repeatedly without hitting her back. Why didn’t he ever hit her back? Because he was a man? That wasn’t good enough. He needed to defend himself, and since he wouldn’t do it, Vlogdon would do it for him. But even after being hit back, Vlogdon’s mother continued to hit his father. So Vlogdon took care of her. But his father was weak. He couldn’t live without her. He didn’t want to live without her. So he killed himself.
Claris didn’t know what to do with the information. Should she just wipe Vlogdon’s memory like she originally planned to? Should she carry out the original mission and exterminate the target? But he wasn’t just a target anymore. He was her brother. Her brother that killed their mother and forced their father to kill himself. It didn’t matter anymore. He was awake.
“So you found me. After all these years. You’ve found me,” said Vlogdon. “So I’m guessing you know who I am,” he continued, “Well, how ya been sis?”
“How could you? How could you kill our mother? How could you leave me to grow up with strangers? How could you wipe my memory? How could you allow me to believe that I possibly killed our mother? How could you allow me to believe I was the only one left in our family? How could you?!” Claris was sobbing now. For the first time in her life, she was vulnerable. She cleaned herself up immediately.
“I should kill you. But I won’t. That’d be too easy. I’ll let you live with what you’ve done, and knowing that I’m alive and remember everything should make you guilty enough. You’re pathetic.” Claris turns to exit the bedroom.
“So you don’t even want to know why I killed her?”
“ I already know why. You were jealous.” replied Claris.
“No, that’s just what I put into my memories just in case anyone like you ever came around and tried to snoop around in my head. The real reason is a lot more complicated than that…….Actually……. it’s pretty simple now that I think about it…. She was a target. Simple as that.” said Vlogdon.
“What? What are you talking about?” replied Claris.
“What I’m talking about is the CIA. I was a child spy. No one knew, not even mom. But one day, I get a target for a mission and it was mom. Of course I say I can’t do it and question why she would even be a target considering her innocent nature. They said she had to go. She apparently was a secret project created by the CIA. Through genetic manipulation, they attempted to take a normal women, and give her telepathic powers. She was a test subject. The problem was, it didn’t work. Nothing ever happened to her, so they just let her go. That is, until she had her first child, yours truly, and I came out with telepathic powers. Then she gave birth to another telepath. They couldn’t risk her having any more telepaths so they wanted her gone.” explained Vlogdon.
“But why? Why wouldn’t they want more of us?”
“Because they don’t understand us,” explained Vlogdon, “They don’t feel safe around us. So they made sure that no more of us could be produced. And they made sure that they had complete control over us, which is why we work for them. But I left a few years back and they’ve been chasing me ever since I left.”
“Which explains why you’re my target…..But you didn’t have to do it. You could have saved her life.”
“No, I couldn’t. It was either her, or you, and I chose her.” replied Vlogdon.
Without responding, Claris left the bedroom. She immediately went to the pier where her mother was murdered. There, she reflected on everything she had just learned from Vlogdon. It was in this moment that she made a vow to never use her powers again. She didn’t feel as though she deserved them if her mother gave them to her, and her mother was dead. But she would wait until she got her vengeance on the CIA. From that day on, she would do whatever it took to avenge the death of her mother.