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Monday, May 23, 2011

Story 5

Escape

Shivers raced over my skin. A long cold river flowed swiftly passed. Snow covered the land. I was on one side of the river. My friends, my family, and my heart were on the other. To them I was lost.

I climbed the dead tree that overlooked the mountains. The small boat I’d used to row over was banked just below me. I couldn’t go home ever again. My destiny was now intertwined with that of the river.

“Madge!” a voice floated over to me. I glanced down from my perch to see Parker looking lost and lonely on the opposite side of the river.

I’d said my goodbye for long enough. Now it was time to leave. I slid out of the tree and into the boat.

“Madge, please, no!”

I couldn’t look at him as I picked up the paddle, and began rowing downstream with the current.

“Madge! Don’t leave! I love you!”

The paddle landed with a clatter in the bottom of the boat. I spun around, and gazed longingly after him. He was the prize I couldn’t have. He was the only thing I wanted. But I had to leave. I had no other choice. “I love you too,” I whispered at his diminishing figure. I turned forward and picked up my fallen paddle.

A sudden splash made me turn around. Parker was no longer there. His head popped above the water, and he began taking awkward strokes in my direction as the ice cold water began to freeze him.

“Parker!” I screamed. I rapidly paddled in his direction. I’d almost reached him when his head disappeared from sight.

I threw myself at the side of the boat, and stretched my arms as far as they would go into the place he’d disappeared. Please grab my hand, I screamed in my head. Grab my hand!

Something bumped against me slightly. I clung to the hand and pulled upward with all my might. Parker came up out of the water gasping. He was only half in the boat, and I struggled with all my might to pull him the rest of the way without capsizing. When he was in, I striped him of his coat and shirt. We both knew we had to get his clothes off him quick or he’d suffer from hypothermia.

I tossed him one of my blankets, and turned around while he peeled away his wet leggings. I busied my self with taking off my own coat and shirt, leaving only my thin undershirt.

When he was ready, I grabbed another blanket and spun to face him. He was sitting on the seat, bare-chested, to one side, shivering. The first blanket was wrapped like a cocoon around his lower half. I wrapped my large coat around him and draped the blanket over it. Sitting down on the bench but facing the other way, I slipped my arms inside the coat and wrapped them around his chest. He pulled the ends of the coat and blanket around my back and held the tightly.

“Sometimes you’re so stupid, Parker,” I mumbled against his chest as we floated down the river, willing my body heat to warm him. It was all I could do to hold back tears.

“I-I c-c-couldn’ le’ y-y-you g-go,” he stuttered. “N-n-not wi’ou’ m-me.”

I felt a warmth spread over me. Maybe I wouldn’t have to go alone after all.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Story 4

This story came from my friend Emily shooting words at me as I wrote. The bolded words are the ones she gave me it you couldn't guess. I can see lots of possbilities with this one. It might be just the thing I was looking for. More posts from this one might come in the future.


Telepathic. More like tele-pathetic. I was a failure, I thought as darkness surrounded me. It was a massacre. Everything was destroyed. A feeling of malcontent permeated the air.

I felt miserable. Everything was my fault. The malicious people knew it too. They said I was a terror. A menace. I didn’t even cry out for help as the stuffed me into a bag to carry me away. The fatalities were too great for me to feel otherwise.

The remaining people dropped me on the ground. Cold rose from the hard floor, chilling my skin. I couldn’t fathom the things they had planned for me.

The door slamming closed reached me. After a bit of careful maneuvering, I managed to slither out of the bag. I was in a dark room. Not even a sliver of light existed for my eyes to use to adjust. Most likely I was underground. Most likely, the people weren’t coming back.

Ever.

I shivered and wrapped my arms around myself.

Telepathic, they’d called me after seeing my first demonstration of the power I didn’t know I had had. They didn’t know it was something much more. It was magic, pure and simple, and I had no control over it. Mostly, it manifested itself in moving objects. But lately, it showed itself more and more in displays of fire. “I wish I could create some fire now,” I thought aloud to myself. But, as I said before, I had no control.

(Branded) II

How could have been so stupid?! I had tried to erase those memories over the years, and I had completely forgotten my best friend.

My thoughts were interrupted by the door slamming again. I looked up to see who it was. It was a huge man.

He had a dark mask over his head, so I couldn’t see his face. The only part of his face that I could see were his eyes. They were a deep crimson red. They seemed to be searching my soul for my darkest secrets. With sickening recollection, I realized who this man was. He was the Seeker.

The Seeker was sent out to catch those who had rebelled against the Watchers. It was also his duty to protect the Watchers and the Perfects. This man was the figure who haunted the Unclean’s darkest nightmares.

I could feel a scream building up in my chest as he took another step closer to me. My eyes were focused on his every move, fear pinning me down in my chair. If he were to attack, I knew I would have no chance against him.

Just as the scream made it’s way up to my throat and I opened my mouth to let it escape. The seeker jumped forward.

My scream froze in my throat. I didn’t recognize this boy, but he appeared to be my age. It was with a shock that I realized he was a Perfect. As I realized this, he pulled a red contact from his eye, revealing bright green beneath.

“Follow my lead,” he whispered, replacing the contact and mask. He grabbed my wrist and spun me in a circle so my back was pressed against his chest. His giant arm wrapped around me, pinning my arms to my side. His other hand came to rest over my mouth.

With his elbow, he pounded on the wall in the same place the head Watcher had prior. The door swung open, and we stepped out into the dark hallway beyond.

“You need to look as though you are fighting me,” the masked Perfect whispered in my ear.

There was no need to pretend. I started to fight back with all my might. His grip around me tightened, and he slowed down.

“No need to be that realistic,” he hissed.

The scream started to build up again. I didn’t know him. He said he was trying to help, but fear was still gnawing at me.

We were half way down the hall when two Watchers turned the corner. I started to struggle harder.

“Hey!” one of them called out.

The Perfect stopped and, once again, tightened his grip. As the Watchers came closer, something seemed vaguely familiar about them.

“Sedate her,” the first Watcher ordered. He had on dark glasses, but a thick mass of blond hair fell over them.

As my eyes widened in recognition, the other Watcher pulled out a long needle from his bag. He came forward and pushed my sleeve up. My heart rate accelerated as I felt the cold sting off the needle.

My eyes felt heavy, and my arms and legs seemed to relax. The masked Perfect lifted me into his arms, and started down the hall again.

* * *

Josh paced the hallway. Up, down, back up, and down. Impatience filled him to the very core. His eyes flitted over to the room then turned back to the imaginary line he paced.

I watched him through half-lidded eyes. I felt sick. It seemed as if the world wouldn’t stop spinning. And there was Josh. I’d see him appear momentarily while passing the door. He would then appear an instant later, walking in the other direction. He wasn’t helping my nausea any.

A small groan escaped my lips as he disappeared again. He appeared, again, in an instant, backpedaling. Seconds later, he was kneeling down by the side of my bed. Worry creased his brow. He took my hand gently and held it in both of his. Eyes the color of sapphires gleamed at me. MY mind flashed: Eyes in the forest, eyes of a child, eyes of a Watcher.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I rasped. “You knew me before.”

His eyes dropped, the last conformation I needed. When they lifted, I could see a deep sadness. “I was waiting for you to remember. After I told you my name, I thought you’d know for sure, but there was no recognition.

I thought that over for a moment. “Where am I?”

He watched my face closely. “Totus.” *

Totus! I was in the city of the Perfects! Another thought jumped at me. “Where’s my brother? Where’s Rick?”

His expression told me everything I needed to know. Slowly, he shook his head.

Tears welled up in my eyes. They had left Rick in the Waste. Sadness turned to anger. I threw my pillow at Joshua’s head.

“How could you?!” I screamed. “He is just a little kid!”

Josh ducked as the pillow flew past his head. “Hey! I’m sorry! We didn’t have enough time to get both of you out!”

My breath was coming out in hysterical sobs. “You should have tried! Do you know what they will do to him? No! Of course you don’t! You have absolutely no idea!!”

My anger faded away and my voice came out in a whisper. Josh had to lean closer to hear. “He was still a baby when we first arrived at the Waste. I was the one who raised him. He was all I had left.”

Making a sudden decision, I climbed from the bed, and headed to the door. Before I’d made it two steps, Josh stopped me. He pulled me toward him, and I collapsed against him as his arms wrapped around me.

“If it makes you feel any better,” he whispered, “we don’t think he was taken. We think he probably ran away after you were taken yourself.” He released a sigh. “I’m sorry Sam. We would have searched for him, but the Watchers were onto us. We still have people, though, hiding out in the Waste, watching.”

I rolled this over in my mind, and my sobs quieted. “Thank you,” I croaked with a voice that could barely be heard above the wind.

We sat there holding each other for a few more moments. Strangely, it felt right . . .
“Break it up!!” a voice shouted from behind. Instantly, Josh and I separated. Laughter broke out almost as instantly.

We turned around to see two more teenage boys, both our age. One had thick brown hair that cascaded right above his chocolate brown eyes. The other had strawberry-blonde hair and florescent green eyes. Both looked oddly familiar. Something in the way they held themselves.

“Hey there,” Green-Eyes greeted. “My name is Shawn, and this quiet thing beside me is Carson. We welcome you to Josh’s humble abode!”

It’s then that I realized that Shawn was the boy I’d mistaken for the Seeker. I offered them a smile of gratitude. “Thanks, you know, for everything.”

Shawn laughed. “Don’t mention it. Josh has been talking and planning to rescue you ever since I’ve known him. It’s an honor to finally meet you. In fact―”

He cut off as Josh plowed into him. Josh’s face was bright red.
The two then commenced to fight as boys do. So I turned and began looking around the room.

Everything about it was . . . perfect. Smooth walls. Nice furniture. Clean floors. It was homey and filled me with a sense of security. But I couldn’t linger long on such thoughts, I had to make sure that Rick was safe. Somehow I had to leave to make sure that Rick was safe. Somehow I had to leave Totus without being noticed as an Unclean.

I paused in thought for a moment. Perhaps if I changed my appearance―

At that moment, a knock sounded at the door. The boys stopped fighting and looked at each other.

“Were you expecting anyone?” Shawn asked.

Josh came and stood close to me, grasping my shoulder. His grip was tight and frightened. He brought his hand to his lips and signaled everyone to be quiet. With his other hand, he pushed me behind the bed, and motioned for Carson to open the door.

Before he even took a step, the door swung open. There stood a girl with short blonde hair. She wore dark jeans with a white shirt.

“Seriously! You guys take forever to open the door!” she said, letting herself in.

I could practically feel the tension drain from the room. Josh still seemed a little tense, shifting his weight from side to side.

“Maybe there was a reason for that, Tesla,” Josh commented irritably.

The girl named Tesla turned towards Josh and placed a hand a hand on her hip. “Well excuse me, but I received a phone call from a very hysterical person telling, practically commanding, me to sprint over here with a bag of my clothes. Which, by the way, are mine and very expensive. Whatever you’re planning on doing with them better not involve scissors or the neighbors pet dog.

I stood up while she was talking. She barely gave me a glance as she continued her rant.

As the girl continued talking, Josh had somehow snatched the afore mentioned bag away from her grasp. He face me, rolled his eyes and mouthed, “drama queen.”

I barely contained laughter from erupting, but smiled as Josh handed me the bag.

“Here, we’ll go so you can change.”
I waited for them to go, but Josh didn’t move. *** Shawn gave me a significant look I couldn’t interpret, before following Carson and Tesla from the room.

I looked into Josh’s eyes. He crossed the small distance between us with his hand until it grasped mine. Softly, he said, “I’m not sorry.”

I felt a prickling behind my eyes as his hand left mine, and he was gone.

My dead, scratchy colored clothes felt extremely uncomfortable against my skin. I snatched the bag from the place I’d set it on the floor. In an instant, my breath was coming out in short gasps when I thought about the way he’d looked at me. The worst part was, I still knew I had to go back to the Waste to rescue Rick.


As I thought of Rick, my stomach churned. I had left my brother. He had always counted on me, been there for me, and I had deserted him. All because I couldn’t pull myself away from the stupid fence.

Unwanted tears seeped out of the corner of my eyes. I quickly wiped them away, and grabbed the first clothes I touched from the bag.

I pulled out a beautiful white blouse that was light-weight and seemed to float around me. I had also grabbed a pair of blue skinny-jeans.

I looked at myself in the mirror across the room. My jaw dropped slightly. The clothes seemed to be made for me. They fit my non-curvy body like a glove. The only thing I didn’t like was my hair, but I would worry about that later.

Turning towards the door, I suddenly felt self-conscious. What would Josh think?

I shook my head at myself. I was being ridiculous. I had no reason to feel this way. So, with my head held high, I raised my voice. “I’m ready.”

Trying not to appear self-conscious as they entered, I tucked my hair behind my ear and looked towards where Josh was standing. A look of awe crossed over his face, but was quickly replaced by something I couldn’t comprehend. He shuffled his feet awkwardly, and looked down.

“You look . . .” Josh began, the same look of awe I’d seen before was prevalent.

Shawn didn’t feel the same reservations. “Hot!” he finished for Josh.

He wasn’t the only one that finished the statement, though. “Atrocious!” Tesla declared.

I looked at her in shock. She could at least try to say something nice.

“Don’t give me that look, darling. Sure the clothes are cute, but your hair needs a bunch of work before that outfit will look as fabulous as it has the potential to be. A little make-up wouldn’t hurt anything either.”

I kept my eyes firmly on the floor,

Tesla sighed and walked over to me, running her fingers through me drab brown hair. I heard her gasp, and she jerked away. I suddenly realized what she’d seen. My hand shot to the back of my neck, and I retreated to the far side of the room, away from her accusing stares. My small number brand seemed almost to burn beneath my hand. ‘I’m an Unclean,’ it seemed to scream. ‘I’m a mistake in your perfect world.

“What is going on here?!” Tesla demanded, looking at each of the boys in turn. She was wiping her hands vigorously on her jeans, trying to get my uncleanliness off of herself. Her eyes leapt to Josh. “Why is there a filthy Unclean in your house?!”

“Oh come on Tesla! Grow up,” Shawn said crossing over to her.

“Grow up?! No! I think my actions are quite appropriate for this time and place. It’s a filthy . . . thing!” she screamed.

Josh stood up straighter, and glared at her. “She’s a person, the same as me and you.”

“Ha!” she burst. “That brand on her neck says otherwise. I’m going to go find the Watchers right now!”

She turned on her heel. Shawn sidestepped right in front of the door. Tesla stopped in front of the door. Tesla stopped in front of him, and, without a word or warning, slapped him hard across the face.

As he looked at her with surprise she said with malice, “Out of my way Shawn.”

All I could do was watch as Shawn stood up straighter, glaring down at Tesla, and puffing out his chest.

“Make me,” he practically growled.

Tesla tried hard to hold onto the sense of duty she felt. She held her head up high, and glared right back at Shawn.

“Get out of my way, brother.” Each word was emphasized until she practically spat out “brother,” as if the taste of the word displeased her.

Shawn stood her ground, taking a step closer to Tesla so their noses were inches apart. “Like I said, make me.”

With a huge intake of breath, Tesla’s cheeks began to burn red, and she brought her hand back menacingly. But before she could release her wrath, Josh grasped her wrist, and twisted it behind her back. His other arm wrapped around her waist, just as she began to struggle.

“Josh! Josh, let me go!” She opened her mouth to scream, but Shawn put his hand over her mouth, silencing her. Tears of betrayal fell down her face as she thrashed around. Quickly, Josh and Shawn ushered Tesla through the door behind me that Carson held open. As she passed by, she threw me a glance that seemed to scream her displeasure at having me there. Her fury hit into me, and I crumbled against the wall as my knees buckled.

“Is that how everybody sees us?” I asked the floor in question as the door closed. I knew they were my betters, that I was beneath them. But I’d never faced it up front like this before. Living among the other Uncleans in the Waste had, in a way, protected me by shielding me from people like Tesla. It was only now that I realized Josh and his friends were in the minority.

I raised my head slightly, and was shocked to see that Carson was still in the room with me.

“Not everybody,” he said softly. I remembered I had asked a question. “Just a vast majority,” he finished.

Something in the way he’d said it made me start laughing. He examined me thoughtfully for a moment before walking toward me and extending his hand.

“Come on,” he said, “I want to show you something.”

Cautiously, I slipped my hand into his, and he pulled me to my feet. He led me out the door and into the hall. Soon, we reached another door that opened to outside.

I gasped as the sight of thousands upon thousands of stars greeted me. Carson caught my attention. He pointed to the brightest star in the sky. “You see that one?” I nodded. “It’s name is Sirius. While it is the brightest star in the sky, aside from the sun that is, it’s not actually the closest. It’s over eight and a half light-years away. That one, on the other hand,” he pointed to another bright star, “is called Alpha Centauri. It is the closest, at four light-years distance.”

“What’s a light-year?” I asked in confusion.

He was silent for a moment as he pondered how to answer. “You know how when you turn on a light, the room is instantly filled with said light. When light doesn’t have a stopping point, like walls and a ceiling, it keeps traveling. The distance the light is able to travel in one year is a light-year.”

“But, isn’t light without delay? Instant,” I said, grabbing onto the word he’d mentioned before.

“No,” Carson laughed, “that was a bad word to use on my part. Let’s put this in better terms. If something was to disturb the light from the sun, we wouldn’t become aware that any such disturbance had occurred until roughly 8 minutes later.”

I was so shocked at this. For the first time, I had a glimpse of how small we really were.

“Makes you feel insignificant, huh?”

I nodded.

“Tesla and others like her are like Alpha Centauri. Through pomp and circumstance, they were placed closer to the center.” He indicated the world at large. “But you,” he continued, “are like Sirius. You might be farther away, but you are still the much brighter star.”

I felt his eyes on me and turned to look at him.

“Is any of this helping you feel better, or am I just rambling on?”

I gave a small laugh. “Surprisingly yes, it does help. Thanks.”

“No problem.” He smiled.

“Sam?” I heard Josh suddenly call from inside the house. “Carson?”

Quickly, I dropped Carson’s hand I’d noticed I was still holding onto. “We’re out here," I called back, my voice shaking slightly.

The door creaked open and Josh stepped through. “What are you guys doing out here?” he asked curiously.

I gestured toward the stars. “Just looking.”

Josh gave a short bark of laughter. “Knowing Carson, you probably did some talking to. Ever since we found that book, he can’t stop talking about the stars. I hope he didn’t bore you too much.”

I looked at Carson, then back at the stars. “No, actually it was fascinating.”

Josh laughed again. “Don’t worry about hurting his feelings, Sam. We’ve all said it to him.”

Before I could argue my position, Josh continued.

“Are you ready to come inside?”

I glanced at Carson. He was leaning up against the railing, eyes fixed on the stars. “Yeah, I am.” To Carson, “Thanks again.”

He gave me a half smile out of the corner of his mouth, but didn’t look over.

I felt Josh’s hand slid into mine, and he pulled me inside.




* Totus – Latin word for whole

*** Just for fun, insert the following to where you see the *** in the story, then read until the end of the bolded part after the ***. It takes on a whole new meaning, and teaches you something about assumption words like gone.


“Can I have a moment?” When we were alone, he continued. “I’ve had a lot of time to think. Ever since they took you away I’ve been thinking. The first week after you were gone, I decided I wanted my friend back. I was angry at the Watchers. One day I followed a supply truck into the forest to the Waste. I saw you immediately, gazing outside the fence. You were so beautiful and so . . . sad.

“I went again and again after that day. I couldn’t stop going. Sometimes Rick was with you. Most of the time, though, you were alone. Other times you didn’t come at all, but that didn’t stop me from hoping to catch a glimpse of you.

“Then yesterday when you ran at the fence, Sam, it broke my heart. I couldn’t wait any longer.”

He gazed deep into my eyes. My mouth was hanging open slightly from shock. I was trapped in his deep blue sapphire eyes.

“I couldn’t stop myself.” His eyes darkened with need as he drew closer. His next sentence was hardly above a whisper. “Just like I can’t stop myself now.”

His lips met mine. All the air escaped from my lungs as I melted into his embrace.

There was a sudden gasp from the direction of the door. Josh pulled back and looked over. Tesla was standing open mouthed in the doorway. In a flash, her shock transformed into anger, and she had a gun in her hand. With a smile that a Watcher would envy, she pointed the gun at me, and pulled the trigger. I barely had time to see it happen when something slammed into me. My breath rushed out of me as something landed on top of me.

I pushed it off and realized it was Josh. I gasped and reeled back. A bright spot of red blood was blooming across his left shoulder.

Tesla growled from the doorway, and aimed the gun again. “Josh was mine!”

Carson’s arms were suddenly around Tesla. He pulled her from the room. Shawn looked shocked.


Now you see what I’d meant about gone. The first time you read it you probably assumed it meant he left the room. In this version, however, we see that gone meant death. You now know the power of the words of vague.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Story 3

Betrayal

Betrayed. I felt myself collapsing inside. He had betrayed us all. And it was my fault for giving him the secrets.

I raised my head and looked out the window. Men in body armor were standing down below. They were the Enforcers. In quick fashion, they prepared to storm the building. Behind me, all the other Resistors were crouched low in deep, agitated conversation. I was set on watch. They didn’t want to talk to me at the moment.

The expected flurry of activity ensued in the courtyard. “They’re coming,” I said quietly.

Brad, our leader, stood up slowly. “Time’s up,” he commented sadly. “Scatter,” he commanded, and was gone.

I stood and ran deeper into the building. As if on their own, my feet carried me to the room. A hand tightened over my heart, but I had to hide somewhere so I stepped inside. This was the room he had first kissed me. The whole time he had been planning the betrayal.

As I backed away from the door, a hand slapped over my face from behind. An arm wrapped itself securely around my waist.

“I knew I’d find you here,” Damien whispered dryly.

My heart beat began to race.

“Trust me,” he whispered.

That set me off. I pushed his hand away from my mouth. “Trust you? What reason have you given me to trust you? You betrayed us!”

His hand was covering my mouth again. Footsteps went running beyond the door. “There are bigger things happening than you understand.” He turned me around in the circle of his arm and looked pleadingly into my eyes. “I need you to trust me.”

I couldn’t break away from the chains his eyes bond me with. I knew what I had to do. Slowly, I nodded.

Relief broke out across his face, and he pulled me into a tight hug. “Follow my lead.”

He held both my hands behind his back with one of his. After opening the door, he put his hand on my shoulder, leading me down the hall.

We passed by Enforcers searching the building, but the paid us no mind. I began to fell nervous as we reached ground floor. Damien could sense my agitation. He leaned close to my ear. “Be still. Trust me.”

I clung to his words.

We stepped outside. I blinked as my eyes adjusted. Damien walked me over to a man who appeared to be in charge. My nervousness increased. Damien’s hand tightened over my wrists.

“Is this her?” the man asked.

“Yes,” Damien said, and my heart crumbled. “This is their leader, as promised.”

“What?!” I exclaimed.

The man signaled, and Enforcers seized me from either side.

“Damien!” I called as they dragged me away.

He looked me straight in the eye. “It’s what has to happen.”

My crumbled heart wrenched in half as the men threw me into the back of a truck, and drove away.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Story 2

Playing with Fire

Flash! She couldn’t see. The light filled her whole frame of vision. It seemed to burn her from the inside out. She couldn’t breath. Amid the flames, a voice seemed to call to her.

“Lauren!” The voice seemed vaguely familiar. She released a rasping cough as she tried to call for help. The building shuddered beneath her. She heard a crash.

Another shout rang out. It seemed to be getting farther away. Then it disappeared entirely. The fire seemed to be growing dimmer.

Suddenly, she seemed to rise into the heat. She was being lifted up, pressed against something. Her eyes fluttered open to see an alien looking down at her. It placed something over her head and began moving. Lauren lacked the energy to be scared. She wanted the flames to snuff her out as she would the flame of a candle.

The heat seemed to grow more and more intense. Then in a moment, it was behind her, like a distant memory. Or not-so-distant-, she decided as a wave of heat rolled over her. Even that, though, was fading away.

Shouting assailed her ears. The alien lowered her to the ground. Soft grass brushed her cheek. Smells of warm summer evenings caressed her. Her sore eyes blinked open.

The alien, or fireman she now realized, was speaking to her frantic parents. Some dropped down beside her. Worried eyes floated over her. “Chris,” she mumbled with a raspy voice.

Her best friend was covered head to toe in soot. “What happened, Lauren? Where did go Bryce? I thought you were supposed to be on a date.” He looked over at his house next door. Firemen were pouring water on it to prevent it from catching fire as well. Her house was a total loss. “I was home when I noticed the flames. I ran over immediately and saw Bryce leaving. I went inside to find you, but . . .” He raised his hands in a helpless gesture.

I closed my eyes against the pain: The pain of the burns and the pain in my heart. “It was Bryce,” I rasped. “He set fire to the house with me inside. He said he’d gotten everything he’d wanted out of me.”

Story 1

This is the first story in a series of stories I find fun to write, and will maybe someday add to. If you really want to, feel free to use them as writing prompts for yourself.


Ghosts

Kya cried out in alarm as the hulking figure rose up before her. She backed away until her foot caught a root, and she fell to the ground. It was over. She knew it. She was going to die in the forest by the hands of a stranger. Kya should have known better than to wander off alone in the woods. The stranger had been popping up everywhere for the last week. She curled into a ball and closed her eyes as the stranger stepped out of the shadows toward her. Tears were streaming from her pinched shut eyes.

“Kya?” the stranger asked softly.

The voice haunted her. She hadn’t heard that voice in years. Blinking her eyes open, she peered out at the stranger. She couldn’t speak.

He pulled her off the ground and hugged her tightly. “I had to be sure it was you.”

Kya’s voice cracked out. “Trevor? But . . . but . . . you’re supposed to be dead.”

Thursday, May 5, 2011

(Branded) I

Here is a little something me and my friends have been working on. We don't really know what's happening so some of the details clash. Nikki Melanie Heather


I rounded the corner only to find a chain link fence blocking me. But I didn’t have time to pause. With a ferocity I didn’t know I had, I threw myself at the fence. As I did, a melancholy thought struck me. Why was I there? What did I expect to find? I’d known my time was limited. But that didn’t make me feel any better. Just a little more time, I pleaded silently. Just one more solitary hour.

But alas, no. I was stuck inside. I’d been able to pretend I was a normal person living a normal life. Pretend I wasn’t one of the “Unclean.”

“What are you doing?” a voice called from behind me.

I spun around quickly, expecting to see the Watchers, but it was Rick.

“What are you doing? You aren’t even supposed to be here!” I snapped angrily at my little brother.

“Oh, and you are?” he countered. I turned away in shame, thinking of how I could get away without involving my brother. It wasn’t him that had a problem with the strict schedules and so-called life that all of us stuck within the chain fence were forced to live by. There was nothing wrong with us, and yet they insisted that there was.

“Don’t leave.”

I turned back to Rick only to see his eyes glassed over with unshed tears. With a sigh I walked up to him and pulled him into a hug.

I put my hand on his shoulder and made as if to go with him home. Something caught my eye. Two bright blue eyes were watching me from the foliage. My fantasy was over. Time to get to reality. Accept my “uncleanliness.”

When I glanced over my shoulder, the eyes were gone. I released a shuddering breath. He was gone. It was for the best.

“What’s wrong?” Rick asked.

“Nothing,” I said with a sigh.

I hated that place. Eyes always watched. No privacy. No secrets. Someone must have let it out that I was leaving again, or trying to. But who would let it loose? Josie, Kyle, Eric? None of them would, but someone had to.

‘I have to get out of here,” I thought after Rick had gone to his room. There had to be a way. With a heavy heart I sat down on the chair closest to me. My eyes wandered around the place I’d called home ever since I was seven. Plain cement walls were devoid of any imperfection. A rule we were forced to live kept all pictures or personal belongings locked up in a chest at the foot of a bed —my bed to be precise, so the floor and table were completely clean.

Everything was regulated. The Watchers made sure of that. Every choice that should have belonged to us didn’t. That privilege was taken from us after the war.

I pushed myself off the couch with a shove. “I’ll be back in a sec,” I called to Rick as I walked outside. I went a few feet in front of our home and closed my eyes. If I was like this, I could almost pretend I was outside. I released a sigh and began to turn away.

A sudden commotion down the road brought me about. A group of teens my age were running up the lane. I immediately knew what they were. They were Perfects.

Behind them I could see the Watchers giving chase. I couldn’t move. They began to flash by me. I met the eyes of one of them and was startled to see that they were the same eyes I’d seen outside.

The boy met my glance, and last second, snatched my hand, dragging me along. “Come on,” he laughed. I felt panicked. Rick’s face peered at me from the window. His shock matched mine. And I was gone, with the strange group of Perfects, and the even more strange blue-eyed boy still holding my hand.

The group ran on, Blue-Eyes dragging me behind him. The group was laughing as the distance grew longer between them and the Watchers.

Blue-Eyes darted around a building with me in tow. He pushed me up against the wall and covered my mouth.

I heard the Watchers run past the building. Blue-Eyes smiled and then released me, but stayed close, his hand resting on my shoulder. He was a full foot taller than me. So I found myself staring at his chest. I took an interest in his shirt. Not only because it hugged his torso in a way that showed off his muscle, but the color was a shockingly warm brown. It was nothing like the dead scratchy color we Unclean had to wear almost every day.

“I think it’s safe to leave now,” the boy’s voice pulled my attention up to his face, “don’t you think?” I recognized the tone he was using as sarcasm, yet another thing I’d been robbed of.

His laughter rang out again as my face turned bright red. Sadly, it was probably the only thing about me that had any color. My drab, nearly colorless, brown hair fell limply on my shoulders. My ugly brown eyes matched it perfectly. I dropped them in embarrassment. What was he doing here? Why did he drag me here with him? Wasn’t he afraid my uncleanliness would rub off on him?

I glanced up at him before dropping my eyes again. His golden blond hair gleamed in the sunlight. He had a small dimple on his cheek when he smiled. That was another thing. He was smiling. It’s been so long since I’d seen genuine happiness. He really was a Perfect. I was an Unclean.

“Sure,” I mumbled in response.

I tried to walk away, but his grip only tightened. His eyes bore into mine, as if he was searching my soul.

“Let go of me,” I said casting my eyes down. “I need to get back to my little brother.”

He sill failed to let go of my shoulder. I panicked and did the only defense move I knew against a boy. Soon he was on the ground moaning and I was running back to my “home.”

I opened the front door, flung myself through the opening, and slammed the door behind me. My back was facing the main part of the house so I didn’t see Rick as he walked up to me.

“Are you okay?” he asked, his voice tired. When I turned to face him, I could tell that he’d been asleep before I’d so rudely woken him.

I kneeled down in front of him and took his hands in mine. “I’m sorry. Were you sleeping? I didn’t mean to wake you.”

A knock sounded through the house. I felt a nervous sweat break out on my back. The Watcher’s must have seen me with the Perfect. The consequences of such a thing would be disastrous. They would take me away and Rick would be left on his own. I couldn’t move.

The knock resounded again. I knew I couldn’t ignore them. Slowly, I shuffled to the door and eased it open.

I leapt back in shock. Blue-Eyes was standing there, casually leaning against the frame. I went to slam the door closed, but he’d lodged his foot in the way. He reached out a hand and easily reopened it.

I backed away in fear as he sauntered in and closed the door behind him.

“You know,” he said smugly, “you have pretty good defense.”

As he crept forward, I grabbed Rick and put myself between Blue-Eyes and him.

“Please, just leave us alone,” I begged, my voice quivering.

Blue-Eyes stopped and looked at me with surprise. Slowly I started to back away. What did he want? I considered calling for help, but I would be the one in trouble for being with a Perfect. I was on my own.

“No, no, no,” he said putting his hands up. “I didn’t mean to scare you. I just wanted to talk to you.”

I stopped, but didn’t drop my defensive stance. “Why would you want to talk to me?” I asked. “I’m just one of the Unclean.”

The pain that appeared on his face after I’d spoken made me want to walk up and comfort him. But I didn’t. I still didn’t trust him. I couldn’t. His kind were the ones that had locked the Unclean away. At least, that is what I kept telling myself. The Perfect took a step closer towards me and Rick, and in response I pushed Rick into the next room. I made to follow him, but a hand on my wrist stopped me.

“Wait, I’m sorry. Whatever I did, I’m sorry.” He slightly tightened his grip on my wrist to keep me from pulling away. When he spoke again his voice had returned to the same teasing tone he’d used before. “Besides, where would you run off to anyway?”

I turned to see a smile on his face — a smile that made his blue eyes shine in a way I’d never seen.

“My name’s Joshua.” He slowly released my hand, as if being on a first name basis made me feel comfortable. “What’s yours?”

I did not feel comforted. There was no way I was going to tell him my name. But before I could catch my mouth up with my brain, I heard myself blurting, “Sam.” Would somebody please kill me?

His blue eyes glittered. “Sam? Isn’t that a boy’s name.”

My cheeks flared and I felt very self-conscious. “It’s short for Samantha,” I mumbled. I felt a sudden flash of irritation. “What is it you wanted to talk about?” I asked curtly.

Josh stood for a moment, thinking.

“I’ve been watching you,” he said quietly.

At first I wondered why, but then I felt my guard go up. What would a Perfect want with me?

“Sorry!” Josh said quickly. “I probably shouldn’t end a sentence like that.” He shifted awkwardly. “Like I said, I’ve been watching you for a while now and well . . .there is something different about you.”

Now it was my turn to shift awkwardly. “What do you mean?” I asked.

He sighed and said, “I don’t know. You’re now like the other Unclean. You seem perfectly . . . well, perfect.”

“Should I take that as a compliment?” I asked, looking down so he couldn’t see the blush on my cheeks.

He took a step closer, and I took a step back when he reached his hand to touch mine. “ I don’t know why you seem different, but just watching you . . .,” his voice faded away. When he continued his brow was furrowed in concentration. “You always look outside the gate. Your behavior isn’t like the other Unclean, and after hearing that the Watchers could have made a mistake—.”

“Wait! What?” I interrupted, “The Watcher’s made a mistake? When? How?”

He paused and watched me before continuing, cautious now. “It’s been found out that the Watchers have locked up Perfects and made them Unclean. No one knows why. But rebellion forces have started showing up here and they’re attempting to free the Unclean.”

“But . . . but . . .,” my mind whirled around in search of something to grasp onto in the chaos of my thoughts. “How could there have been a mistake?”

I was an Unclean. It was one of the only things I was sure of. I knew it surely as the sky was blue and the grass green. I couldn’t breath.

Joshua must have seen it in my face. He caught me as my legs gave way. He led me gently to the couch and sat me down. I took deep breaths as my brain tried to overheat.

A knock on the door echoed in my eardrums. Seconds later it slammed open. In walked a Watcher.

He signaled behind him and five more stormed the room. They couldn’t do anything to Joshua; he was a Perfect. But I had broken the rules.

Some of the men grabbed me and dragged me towards the door. Joshua tried to get to me, but the other guards held him back. The last thing I saw as they pulled me outside was Rick’s horrorstruck face peering through the door.

“No!” I heard Rick scream. The sound pierced my heart. Rick was going to be all alone. I knew what happened to the Unclean when the broke the rules.

Joshua ran to catch up with the Watchers. The guards held him back, but did not hurt him. He may be breaking the rules, but he was still a Perfect.

“What has she done?!” he shouted at the Watcher leading the way.

Simultaneously the group stopped. The guards holding me gripped me tighter. The leading Watcher turned towards Joshua and walked slowly up to him.

“She,” he said, “has tried to escape. Such actions are not tolerated here at the Waste.”

Joshua stared the Watcher down. Anger and hate seemed to radiate from his eyes, but he said nothing.

The Watcher turned back to me. “Samantha Grey,” he said calmly. “What do you have to say about these accusations?”

My mind tried to wrap around the situation at hand. I knew I had to respond fast otherwise I could be punished for not speaking when spoken to. Without thinking I blurted out, “I never planned on escaping.” I had meant to keep my tone calm, but it came out more hysterical.

The leading Watcher took a menacing step closer to me and I shrunk back as far as I could as he leaned closer to me.

“Plotting were we?” He practically hissed, “a much worse punishment than escaping.”

My hear thudded in my chest. “I was just looking,” I whispered weakly.

He gave me a malicious smile. The men started dragging me away again. Joshua demanded they let me go as he hurried along beside us. The Watchers wouldn’t respond or make eye contact with him. Why would they want to? He was their better. He was what they were trying so hard to become. I would have joined the Watchers myself if the thought of being one of them didn’t make me ill.

Ignored, Joshua became increasingly angry until finally, he stopped walking altogether. I looked at him anxiously over my shoulder, and saw him turn and run in the opposite direction. My breath caught in my throat as my only ally disappeared.

Looking forward again, I saw the Watcher’s headquarters looming over me.


The cold iron doors creaked open. A burst of blistering cold air rushed through me. As we walked through the dimly lit hallway, the doors closed with a resounding thud.

I could feel the darkness all around me. Our footsteps echoed down the hall. My heart sped up the deeper we walked. Soon the lead Watcher stopped and opened a door. The guards walked to the door and then threw me through the door. As I struggled to regain my balance, I heard the door slam shut. As I turned to look at my new “home,” I was the lead Watcher. I stood my ground, but my hands shook with fear.

“Please, have a seat,” he said calmly.

I spun around to see what he was talking about, and saw the table and chairs. Cautiously, I took my seat on the far end of the table. The Watcher took the other chair opposite of me.

“Now,” he began, “now, we can talk.”

I could feel my hands sweat as the Watcher stared at me, waiting, almost willing me, to speak. My throat felt dry and each time I tried to swallow it felt as if I had to cough. Trying to disguise my fear as nonchalance, I looked around the room.

The walls were made of a silver metal that seemed to absorb all the light in the room and reflect it at the center of the table. There were no mirrors, windows, or doors. In fact, the only d├ęcor in the room was the table and two chairs.

The Watcher cleared his throat and sat back in his chair, placing his hands behind his head.

“As you can see,” he explained, gesturing at me with his hand, “you aren’t tied up. You can freely move about the room, but you will never be able to escape this building . . .,” he paused, “you will NEVER escape, unless you cooperate with me and tell me what you were doing by the barrier.”

Still, no words could escape my mouth. I could feel the Watcher’s impatience as second after second ticked by. Eventually, he stood, so abruptly that I jumped nearly toppling over my chair.

“Very well,” he hissed, walking over to the wall, “we’ll see how you fare after a few days in quiet solitude.” With this, he knocked on the wall, and a door was pushed open, materializing from the smooth metal. The Watcher gave me one last hate filled glance before stomping out of the room.

I rested my head on the table and my breath came out in a short hiss of frustration. I knew I shouldn’t have lingered by the fence.

My emotions and thoughts swirled through me as if I were a blender on high. I was surprised they hadn’t been angry at me for talking to a Perfect. I was worried about what would happen to Rick because of my stupidity. I was also angry at myself.

Amid the blended mess, my mind kept returning to what Joshua had revealed before the Watchers arrived. There had been a mistake. How could there have been a mistake?

In my head, I clearly saw that fateful day all those years ago . . . The war was lost. Father was dead. Mother was missing. I could hear Rick crying in the other room. I wanted to comfort him, but I lacked the energy to do anything. The door crashed open and soldiers poured in. Our parents were deserters. We were being relocated to somewhere special. Somewhere they could keep a close eye on us. As they put us into the truck, I looked out and my eyes met those of the small blue-eyed neighbor boy next door.

I gasped and came back to myself. Only now I remembered my best friend from before. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner. I closed my eyes, and floating before me was the one and only, blue-eyed Joshua.