Chapter 7

Oh my GOSH! Finally! Chapter 7 is in! It's kind of short though, so I just posted all at once... anyways, it's kind of juicy. Hope you enjoy!!!


P.S. While you're here, why don't you check out my extras over there. --->

Monday, October 13, 2008

Secrets and Suckiness

I was running through the hot flameyards dodging the piles of flames around me. I seemed to be running a lot recently. My mind was far ahead of me though. Justin? My father? That couldn’t be, it shouldn’t be. I stumbled on a burning tree trunk, falling painfully on top of it and engulfing my leg in flames. Quickly, I scooted away from the fire and put out the flames licking at my pants leg with dirt. I stood up and forced the distracting thoughts to the back of my mind, and I made myself keep driving on, even when my legs started to burn, not from the fire, but from running so much. I turned around after what seemed like forever to see if the man was following me. The ruined city had disappeared and the only thing that I could see besides the ever-burning landscape was…nothing.
I collapsed onto the ground and took a good look around myself. Patches of slowly moving fire lay scattered around me. The fires around me seemed magical, almost mythical, like hells fire. They were eating away at the already burnt debris around me. It seemed that even the flames themselves were on fire, and the fires would never be satisfied with what it was given. Even the ashes were on fire, the only explanation that I could come up with was that there must have been some ever-lasting chemical in the fire that kept it burning forever.

I wondered how far the flameyards went on and how long I would have to deal with this insufferable heat. The fire heated up the air around me, making it hard to breathe. At least it would all be worth it when I got to Raski. The clear, blue, skies, and the green grass. I wondered what it must feel like to lay there on the grass, and watch the abnormally white rain pillows above me. Suddenly, I felt my stomach drop like I had swallowed a stone the size of my fist. Justin. He had called me daughter. Why would he call me that? I couldn’t be his daughter. There could be no way. Besides, what did it matter if he was or not? Men didn’t care about their children, they did not even care enough to see them once in their lifetimes. I hadn’t even thought of who my father was or if I even had one for that matter. I could be anybody’s daughter. I had 22 siblings. Even if he did lay momma down in bed, what could be the chance that I was one that he made? Very slim. I shook the confusing thoughts out of my head and looked around. The flames had moved closer to me and were starting to lick at my skin. I needed to keep going, else I would die out here.

I moved once again to a spot where the flames seemed spaced apart, and took out the map Justin had given me. Once again, forcing distracting thoughts to the back of my mind. The map was old, yellowed, and a rather large, piece of paper. Paper was very valuable in the city. If you had some paper, you had a fortune. The practice of making it was lost long ago, so why would he give me the most valuable thing that he would have sitting in his slum? I unrolled it slowly. It was hard to make out, but it seemed like the flameyards did go on forever. It was the biggest thing on the map. I could only guess what everything else on there was. Whoever had drawn this, was a very bad artist, and some of these things I didn’t seem to understand what they were. I could only hope that I was almost done with this place and nothing was as bad as this.

* * *

I thought had I recognized that girl when she walked into my slum. After she told me her mother was my Talenta, I knew I had to help her get out of here in anyway that I could. She had her mother’s bone structure, and my eyes. No one had eyes like mine. Nobody had eyes that changed colors on their moods. When she had gotten angry at me, her eyes turned the color of a crows feather. I knew in that instant that she was mine as well as her mothers, and that only made me want to help her more. A defensive side of me I never knew existed kicked in and I decided that I would not have my daughter end up like all of the other women out here. I had felt my heart soften in a way that I never knew could happen, and I knew in the deepest part of my heart that I would protect her from anything and everything that I could, even if that meant putting my life on the line. Even if that meant killing my own brother to allow her to live.

I dropped Latimer’s body into the shallow grave I dug for him. “I am so sorry brother, forgive me, but she is my daughter. She will not live in this world of pain.” I whispered to his lifeless body. I closed his eyes and whispered a prayer to the Lord to forgive me, take care of Latimer, and let Luna survive her journey to Paradise.

* * *

After awhile, I was blackened by soot. The charred remains of the once alive green beings were smothered all over my face. I would definitely need a bath soon, but was not sure of how close another clean water source would be. Thinking of water, I realized that I was parched and pulled out my canteen. I took a big gulp from it, enjoying the way the cool water dehydrated my dry throat.

I looked around and saw that the sun was starting to disappear behind the edge of the earth. I figured this was a good enough time to sleep as any other. I had to keep my energy up for the journey ahead of me.

After awhile it got as dark as it would ever be around here. I had laid down in a spot where flames did not touch anything for at least 50 feet. I had taken my pallet and wrapped it around all of the hard things inside of my knotsack and used it as a pillow. At first, I was a little wary to go to sleep because of the moving flames, but the second that I closed my eyes, I was out.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Suprise! : Part Two

“Calm down, calm down. I am not lying to you, this is the truth. I took these pictures myself.”

“No you didn’t.” I said through the tears. “It’s not real, how could you have done such a thing?

“Yes, I did.” He reached into the pile of rubbish and pulled out a gray thing.

“What is that?”

“A camera. I’m going to take your picture, don’t be scared.” A blinding flash went off inside the building and I screamed. The man with the snapmetal finally found me, and was shooting at me. I screamed knowing that I was never going to see Katlyn again. The worst thing about it was that I was going to die here with this lying bastard. Something grabbed my shoulders and shook me. “Look!” I opened my eyes and Justin shoved something into my lap. It was a picture of me. I had my mouth open and my face was a brilliant shade of red from shouting at him earlier.

“No way.” I whispered softly.

“Yes, now do you believe me?”

I believed him alright, there was a Raski, and here was the proof right in front of me, I just didn‘t want to believe it. “Show me more.” We spent the next hour or so looking at each individual picture closely. I became more amazed at the ones he pulled out, and was skeptical when he pulled out one with white rainpillows. They looked like you could float atop them. He said that was what they were supposed to look like. “Rainpillows aren’t white, they’re dark, and ominous, and you rarely see them.” I had told him when I saw the picture, but he insisted that they were like that. I saw a picture of one of the monsters my momma would always talk about when I asked her about the flameyards. “What are those monsters for?” I asked Justin.

“Some people keep them in their slums as a kind of slummate, but most of those go around and eat little things.”

“That’s disgusting.”

“Yea, I didn’t really catch onto the craze.”

I looked him curiously and asked him the one question that I had been dying to ask the entire time I was there. “Why did you come back?”

He sighed. “It’s a long story. The walls of the lifesphere are not open to men from other places. They said that there shouldn’t be scum coming in from the outside. The city of Raski is very beautiful, but they are a very corrupt bunch. People steal from each other everyday, and you can get killed at random wherever you go. You’re always open to danger from anyone and everyone, and I just couldn’t take it.”

“You said that the walls were not open to men, how did you get the pictures? How did you get in there? Are women let in?”

“There was a secret society in Raski called the Sehoe, they let me in through a crack in the walls. No man is in allowed in there from the outside, and if a woman goes in through the regular way, they become what you are now, a whore.”

I don’t know what happened at that moment, but something clicked in me, and a sudden understanding of everything overcame me. “And Katlyn took the back way in so she could be free from everything. What do they believe in? Do they give you protection from everyone?”

“All I can say about the protection is that they will do their best to protect you from the evils in Raski. They believe that a womans body should not be shared with a man unless she wants to. That it should be shared with one, and only one, man in the entire world. She picks the man, and if he wants to, then they can be together.”

Somewhere inside of me, I felt a twinge of hope, a light in the dark. “How would I go about getting there? One side of his mouth twisted up into a smile, “It’s past the flameyards beyond our city, my dear. Very much past them. Are you sure you want to go?”

I thought about it for a moment. “Yes, I do.”

Justin stood up and walked once again, to the pile of rubbish and fished out a quite large piece of paper. “Here, you’ll need this. Just follow it, and you’ll be fine.” I heard a pounding on the door.

“Justin! I know youre in there, open up!” I recognized that voice, it was the man with the snapmetal.” I know you have a little runaway in there, you best give her to me.”

“Quick.” Justin ushered me through the lookout hole, grabbed my knotsack, and said “Go past the flameyards then look at the map, don’t get yourself killed,” he lifted his hand to my face and caressed it gently, “daughter.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Suprise! : Part One

Yea, there was I once loved a man. He was the most wonderful person I had ever met. As a matter of fact, I even bore him a child, or two. We didn’t have separate mates, we only wanted each other, but the council found out about him, and separated us. They said that I needed to have more mates than one, and that if I ever went back to him, they would off us both. I haven’t seen him since.


I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. A man seeing Raski? It’s not possible, how could it be? It was only a myth, a legend, nothing real. “Prove it.”

He squinted his eyes at me, “And how do I know you won’t tell the council that I’ve gone lopsided and have them off me?”

“Because, I want out. I’m just not sure if it’s out there or not.” I said honestly.

“Ah, I see.” he stood up from his pallet and walked to the lookout hole, then outside. I started to get up to go after him, but before I could he said, “If you really want to know, then I can show you, but you must be willing to believe me. My dear, have you ever seen a photo?”

I said that I did, remembering one of the stories that my momma once told me. He turned around, his face a reddish purple, and his eyes a blackish blue, “Where? Who had that knowledge? Get out!” He pulled me out of my sitting position and dragged me to the front door. I tried to squirm out of his grasp, but he had an iron grip on me. “Get out, get out! You nasty little spy! How dare you come into my home and-”

“No, my momma, she told me. She knows a lot about the rummy days.” I was able to say.

He stopped dead in his tracks, “Your mother told you these things?” I nodded my head, hoping he would let me go. His fingernails were cutting my skin open. He pulled me to my feet, grabbed my shoulders, and looked me in the eye, “Quick girl, who is your mother.” I told him who my mother was. His eyes glazed over, and he looked like he was far away in a different world. He smiled and said “How is she?”

“I don’t know, I left her slum a few weeks back. Why do you want to know?”

He snapped out of his trance, “No reason, I was just seeing if she was real.” He gave me a once-over and said “Alright, sit down and I’ll show you Raski.”

He walked over to a small pile of debris on the floor that was once the roof. He reached into the pile and pulled out some paper. He walked over to me and handed me a piece of thick, folded paper. I unfolded it and looked at the picture on it. The photograph showed a dirtless sky with a hill covered in little pink, blue, and red dots. “What is this?”

“That is Raski. That’s what the sky is supposed to look like. Those,” he pointed at the dots, “are flowers, and that green stuff is grass.”

“Why don’t we have it here?”

“The sky doesn’t let us have enough sun. The dirt in it is greedy.”

I had never seen anything like it. “So, this is what it was like before…before…the wars?”

“Yes, it was.”

I felt a sudden and swift rage come over me, “You liar! How can you lie to me like that! This is not the Earth! This is not anything but a madman’s painting! This isn’t real! This isn’t there! No one deserves this kind of beauty, no matter what!” I felt hot tears on my face, but it didn’t matter, his man was toying with me. He was leading me into a trap. He was lying.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

And Let Me Tell You About Beauty : Part Two

“Ok, let’s start with the basics. Back in the rummy days, there was a war, and it was big. Almost every continent was involved.” I tilted my head at the word ‘continent’, and he sighed. “A continent is a big piece of land. You couldn’t imagine how big it is, even I can’t begin to understand how enormous they are. It is also surrounded by sea.” I didn’t know what a sea was either, but I let it go. “Nukies were involved, and a lot of them. The continents would bomb each other because they didn’t like the way they thought or acted. Everyone knows that one hit Zeca as well, but nukies hit everything else too. There used to be big cities everywhere, with many people, but they were wiped out. The continent we live on had a council of their own back then, and they came up with an invention.” his eyes lit up. “This invention was called the lifesphere. They didn’t tell anyone about it until the nukie hit the town that the lifesphere was placed over. It went all the way up into space, so that nothing would change in that little patch of land. It would hold everything in it, and if a nukie hit, the people and things inside would survive. Nothing could get in, and nothing could get out. The people that were inside there lived on, and still do. After the nukie hit, the lifesphere was deactivated once just let some people out that wanted to repopulate and restore the planet.”

“So that’s how we are here? The people that left are our founders?”

“No I’m afraid not. There were a few survivors of the nukies, which is why we are here.”

“But what happened to the people that left?” I asked him. I wasn’t so sure that this man wasn’t off his rocker.

“They were never heard from after that day.”

I wasn’t sure that I believed this man. He sounded kind of crazy, besides who ever heard of a lifesphere? That was just nuts, no one could have the technology to do that. “Describe Raski.” I challenged him.

He seemed to go off into another world as he started telling me this. “In Paradise, the sky is blue, the sky is supposed to be blue, actually, not this dirty brown, and there’s no dirt in the sky either. You can see to the stars. Stars are beautiful you know? They’re little white specks on the night sky, and they light your way sometimes. There‘s so many of them, you could never count them all.” This man was truly crazy, there was only one star, and you only got to see it when the sky was thin and the dirt cleared up a little. “There’s things called plants there. They’re green, and grow up towards the sky, they never move from where they’re born though. And the slums were not like this.” he spread his hands across the room, “The slums were brand new, and there were no ashes, no blackened ruins. No one would dare live in a place like what we live in right now.”

“And how do you know this?”

His eyes glittered faintly, and he smiled. “Because I’ve been there.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

And Let Me Tell You About Beauty : Part One

I ran through the alleys, jumping at every shadow, expecting the man with the snap metal to jump out and kill me. Amazingly, he didn’t, I figured that he was still at my slum, holding onto his crotch, moaning in pain. I kept my head down as I ran, hoping no one would recognize me as my feet ran along the broken asphalt. I had no idea where I was going, all that I knew was that I needed to hide for awhile. I felt like I was running in slow motion, and time seemed to come to a complete halt, but yet, my mind was racing. I didn’t know where I was going, or where my feet were taking me, but I didn’t stop going for a long time.

After awhile, I stopped in front of a building. Justin’s building. How did I even get here? I asked myself. I opened the door and stepped inside. His slum had been converted into a trade store, so I had to watch my step. “Justin?” I called out into the cluttered space before me. There was all sorts of things on the floor, on the cabinets, and even in the chairs. There were edibles, different styles and shapes of knotsacks, canteens, some old rummy books, and even some snapmetals.

“Hold on!” I heard him yell from another room. “I’m coming!” A loud clatter came from the room and a barely audible “Oh for Gob’s sake.” There was some shuffling of things and he appeared in front of me. “What can I help you with m’ dear?” he asked.

He looked kind of middle-aged, but he was kind of good looking for a man of that age. He had short, brown hair, and was taller than I. His eyes were a deep purple, so deep that you could get lost in them. His eyes revealed wisdom, and shone with intelligence that I probably would never understand. There was something else about him, something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. “Are you Justin?”

“I am the one and the only.” he said, as if proud of himself.

“Are you sure?” I asked. I wanted to be sure of who he was. I didn’t want to go blabbing to someone that would turn me over to the council.

He squinted his eyes at me and said “Well of course I’m sure! Don’t you think I know who I am? Just because I’m old doesn’t mean I’m stupid! I didn’t just go off my rocker and lose my head! I’m not one of those forgetful idiots who just run around all willy nilly about town! Don’t you think I know my own name? My name is Justin! I swear you youth are gonna be the death of me some day. Askin’ your stupid questions like that. Are you sure?” he mocked me. “Well of course I’m sure!” he paused and asked, “So what can I do you for missy?” he asked in a more pleasant tone.

What a strange man I thought. “Well, it’s about Katlyn.”

“Katlyn? Who’s that?”

“She told me to ask about a Paradose.” I strained to get out the last word. I couldn’t remember what she said exactly, but I hoped that I was close.

He looked at me confused for a second. “What are you talking about?” he asked.

“Katlyn, she ran off to Raski, and told me to come here and ask you about..” I paused trying to remember the exact word, “about, a ‘Paradose.’”

“Oh, I see.” his eyes darkened to a black color. I’ve never seen any pair of eyes do that before. “Come with me then.” I followed him into a room smaller than the first, but it had a look-out from the bottom to the top of one of the walls. He gestured for me to sit down in one of the chairs, and he sad down on his pallet. “So, you want to know about Paradise, eh?” I nodded, so that’s what she called it. “Well then, I might be able to help you.” I opened my mouth to say something, but he held his hand up before I could get a word out. “I’m sure you have many questions, but please hold them for later. I may answer all of them with this tale.” he leaned back on the wall behind him and sighed.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Benedict Arnold : Part Two

The bulging man in front of me chuckled. “That’s right pilgrim, your little friend just happens to be a council elders son. Whatcha think about that?”

I was speechless, how could Leo reek me out like that? I knew he didn’t like my ideas and beliefs about women, but I never knew he would go crying to daddy about it. Very few people knew who their true father was, and for a good reason too. Fathers basically had control over any of their children that they wanted. The kids always wanted to please daddy, and to make him proud, but I never counted on Leo knowing who his father was. I never expected it to be one of the council elders, either. “He… told you?”

“Yes, he did. Now enough chit chat, where in Gob’s name is the woman?” he screamed at me. He still had the snapmetal pressed against my face, I needed to think, to stall.

“What all did he tell you?”

The man sneered, “He said that you lived with the little prude, and you knew where she was.” he said plainly.

That bastard! ‘Quick, quick, quick, gotta get out of here, and away from this snapmetal. You can get out of this.’ I thought to myself. “Why does she have to be offed though? She’s just one woman, what could she harm?”

“You idiot, if it’s just one woman now, it’ll be all of them later. All of you will start to think like that, then you’ll all put yourselves on a pedestal, and us men will have to knock all of you down.” He twisted a strand of my hair between the hand that wasn’t holding the snapmetal. “And we wouldn’t want that now, do we?” I realized what I could do to get out of this.

“Fine, I’ll tell you, but you have to do something for me first.”

“I will do nothing for you.”

“You know, I don’t want to end up like Katlyn.” I started, “She’s made some pretty dumb decisions that I don’t want to make too.” I moved my hand up his arm, and played with the frayed brown fabric of his shirt sleeve. “You know, I’ve never had a man either.” I said. His eyes widened. “And I want to give up my silly ideas and stop stalling.” I looked into the man’s eyes and said “I want to stop stalling now.”

He looked at me skeptically, as if he thought I was joking, but I was able to keep a serious face on. He chewed on his lower lip as if thinking about it, I was getting tired of waiting. Tired of putting myself on the line, finally, man’s horniness won out and he gave a little nod. I threw my arms around his neck and started kissing him. He pulled me close to him and dropped the snapmetal. I could feel his privates poking at me underneath his pants. I took off his shirt, and felt his muscles underneath my fingertips. He moaned into my mouth and took off my shirt. He stepped back and admired me for a second and came back to me. I threaded my hands through his hair, and pulled him closer. Slowly, I lowered my hands to his pants, undid them, and got them off the man. I kissed him again, passionately. He reached for my pants and I said “Nuh-uh.”
“Don’t tease me little girl.” he said playfully.

“Fine, I won’t tease you, but I will,” My knee connected with his groin so hard that I knew there would be an ugly bruise on it tomorrow. “hurt you.” Quickly, I grabbed the snapmetal and the extra ammo out of his pants. I went and got a knotsack, put some bread in it, and a canteen for my water in it, and was out the door in under two minutes, on my way to Justin’s.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Benedict Arnold : Part One

Ah, the flameyards. They were once called forests, and had many beings in it. The beings were born in the ground, and stayed there for all of their lives. They grew up towards the sky, and were a bright green color. Brighter than any green eye that you will ever see. There were other things too. Little monsters that roamed around in the forests, and ate each other. I was told that the flameyards were once alive with these things, instead of alive with flames.


An offing-order was sent out about Katlyn. They said that anyone who sighted her should kill her on sight. No one thought that she had left the town. No one had thought that she had left me here to defend for myself, with my only help coming from an unsupportive, insensitive, slummate who didn’t get me at all. No one ever left the town, ever. It was too dangerous, you could die, you would die. The council had drilled it into our minds since birth. If you left, you would perish, and there was no doubt about it. This was all of it, we are all that’s left, and I have believed it all of my years.

A couple of weeks went by and two women were killed because the killers thought there were “sightings” of Katlyn. The council didn’t do anything to the two killers, just let them go. Just a woman, they thought we have more. I’ve never gotten the council’s way of thinking. They made us have a child at young ages when our body wouldn’t be able to sustain that kind of strain, possibly making us die in the process, and they said that women were the future for all of the world, and when two die innocently, they just don’t care. Shouldn’t we be treated like Gob’s then? If we are the future and we keep the human population going, shouldn’t we be more important than men? They don’t have to carry the baby, we have to. All they do is squirt juice out and they’re done, they have the easy part. Then, we have to take care of the babies we make by ourselves because the men just run off afterwards. This isn’t fair, we should be a highly valued part of society, but no. Here we are scraping by raising their kids.

Katlyn was right, this place sucks dorbs, but it’s all that’s left right? So I have no choice but to live like this for the rest of my life.

After awhile, the council found out who Katlyn lived with. They sent a man to my slum while Leo was working on a building. The man knocked on the door, and I let him in because you have to let a man in your home if he wants in, it’s a rule. He was tall, tan, and had muscles on his muscles. His eyes were silver and he had a stony glare. The first thing the man did was search all of the rooms in the slum. Then, he came back and put a snapmetal against the side of my head. “Where is she?” he said in a low voice.

“I don’t know where she is.” my voice was shaky. The snapmetal was making me nervous, he could blow me to smices at any moment.

He pushed the cool metal against my face and said, “I know you lied to us when she ran away the first time, and you won’t lie to us the second time. Don’t make it worse for yourself.”

“How…how did you know?” I stuttered.

He smiled at me, “I have my resources.” He said close to my face. His teeth were rotting away in his mouth and his breath smelled like the carcass of a rat. I tried to think. Who could told him? He carried on “I know she was here, at your ‘home’, now tell me where she is.” he yelled the last word at me, spraying spittle onto my face.

My eyes widened. No one knew what a house was but Leo, Momma, Katlyn, and I. Katlyn was gone, and momma didn’t even know that Katlyn was here, so that left only one choice. “Leo.” I whispered.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Later Gater: Part Two

“Look Luna, you can come with me. This,” she spread her arms across the barren landscape “this, we can get past. We can beat this. In Raski, the sky is clear and there’s grass, and it’s supposed to be so beautiful that your breath escapes you and you can’t breathe right because it‘s just so wonderful.”

“The sky is fine here. This,” I pushed her chin up towards the brown sky, “is the sky. This is what the sky is supposed to look like.”

“No it’s not.” she whispered.

“Katlyn, you’re not thinking clearly, you’ve heard too many of momma’s stories. This,” I turned her back towards the town, “is all there is. This is your home. There’s nothing else,” I looked her in the eyes, “no one else. This is all of it. We are all that’s left.”

Tears filled her eyes, “This can’t be all, I don’t want to live an outcast for the rest of my life, and I know you don’t want to either. I’m leaving Luna, whether you like it or not, I’m leaving. I won’t stay here and die, I’d rather die out there.” She pointed to the desert behind us. “You can stay here and waste away until your trial, but I won’t be offed in this hell place.” Her voice softened, “Let me have a dream, because it’s all I have left.” She turned around and went back inside.

I followed her into the slum and sat beside Leo. “What’s wrong with her?” he asked.

“I don’t know, just a lot of stress that’s all. A lot of stress. She’s really strung out right now.”


* * *

I caught her leaving that night. She was one foot out the door with a knotsack slung around her shoulder. All of her belongings were in there.

“Katlyn!” I whispered.

She turned around and looked at me, “You’re not gonna reek me out are you?”

“You know I would never do that to you. I just wanted to wish you good luck on your journey.”

“Luna, you can still come, it’s not too late. You can leave this place with me.”

“You know I can’t do that.”

She looked from side to side, and stepped towards me. She dropped her knotsack and gave me a hug. “Remember me.” she whispered in my ear. “If you ever need to leave, go to Justin’s and ask about me. Tell him you want to see Paradise.”

“Paradise,” I repeated, tasting the word. It sounded strange on my tongue, like a foreign language.

“I will miss you.” she said.

“And I will miss you.”

“Goodbye Luna.”

“Good luck Katlyn.” she smiled at me and walked out the door.

After she left, her words echoed inside my head. She didn’t say them like she was saying goodbye, more like see you later.

Later Gater: Part One

Most of the old rummy buildings got blown to smices when the nukie hit the town, but some survived the blast. Most had the look-out holes blown into pieces of glass, and some of the walls had survived as well. If you found a place that wasn’t unstable, and if you would just clear out the debris, you had yourself a decent slum.

I don’t know how she was able to do it, but Katlyn managed to beat us home. We walked up the charred steps, opened the door. There she was, all fine and candy, but still out of breath. She was in the cook’s room drinking out of the waterbowl, when we walked in.

She looked up at us surprised when we entered. “Oh thank Gob it’s you!” she ran up to me and hugged me.

“Katlyn, what…I…how?” I stammered. “What happened?”

She smiled at Leo and I and asked if we wanted to know what happened. We nodded and she started to tell us the story. “Well, they started asking me some stupid questions like ‘Have you ever had a man?’ ‘How old are you?’ ‘Are you Katlyn Barle?’ and things like that. I was in this really big room, and I’m not talking about big, I’m talking about the biggest room you can imagine. It was ten times the size of this one.” she stopped for a breath. “So, after awhile they finally decided on what they would do with me, and told me.” She smiled, but this wasn’t any happy smile, it was one that made you feel like she was about to devour you. I shivered, I had never seen her smile like that, and it scared me. “And this is the fun part.” she said. “So they had me in this small room, with this… dorb, and he was all over me. I didn’t want it, so naturally I fought him, but then I remembered something.” she turned to me and said, “You remember that night you saved me right?” I nodded. “Well, I figured that if they were that protective about their privates, then it must hurt to get hit there. Leo’s mouth dropped open.

“How could you even think about doing that?” Leo asked.

“Hey, it was self defense.” she shrugged. “I stopped fighting him and let him get his pants off and all, then I took a wack at it.” Leo flinched and groaned. Like it was happening to him as she was talking. I was going to have to remember his reaction for future purposes. If it hurt to even think about it, then I would have a weapon against any man.

“So what did you take a ‘wack’ at it with?” he asked.

“Well my foot of course. I kicked him.”

“Oh my Gob,” he said. “That poor man.” Katlyn and I both turned and looked at him.

“Excuse me?” she said.

“Nothing.” he muttered.

Her mood took a sharp turn from proud and exited to glum, “Well, basically I’m screwed now because I have the whole town after me.” she sighed and took the back door outside. I followed her, closing the door behind me.

“Well, what are you going to do next?”

“I don’t know, Luna. I’m sure not welcome here anymore, so I just don’t know what to do.” she was silent for a moment. “What if I went to Raski?”

I gasped. “But Katlyn, it’s…no one has ever been there. Well, no one here. When someone leaves, you don’t ever hear from them again.”

“I know that, but it’s just, we can’t be the only ones out here. There has to be others. There just has to be other survivors.”

“But Katl-”

“Look, I’m not welcome here. I’ve screwed up, and I’ve nowhere else to go. Not my mom’s not here, and certainly not to the council. If they find me, I’ll be offed, and I’m not quite ready to die yet.”

“I know what you mean.” I muttered.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Why Can't We Just Learn To Give Up?: Part Two

He looked at me curiously as if asking “What in the world are you talking about?” but before he could say a word, the doors opened to the meet place and a young man walked out toward us. “The sentence has now been decided. She will have to carry out losing her virginity, or be offed.” he said.

I looked at him astounded. “Is the sentence being carried out right now?” Leo asked the man.

“Yes, her sentence is being carried out right no-” Before he could get the last word out, a man’s scream came from inside the building. The man in front of us turned around and ran into the building. Leo and I looked at each other, wondering what was happening. We started to go inside the building as well, but Katlyn beat us to it.

She ran outside the meeting hall going faster than I had ever seen her run before. I instantly turned around and ran towards her, trying to catch up. “Katlyn!” I managed to say. She turned around and looked at me, then she slowed down. “Meet me at the house so we can talk.” She nodded her head, understanding what I meant. Her, Leo, and I were the only ones who knew what a house was, it was a way for me to be sure that no one knew what I meant but them.

I slowed down and let her get away. She turned down a small street and disappeared into the shadows. A second later some younger council members ran out of the meeting hall and asked Leo which way she went. “Down Elm Street.” I yelled at the men down the street. “I tried to catch her and see what had happened, but she was too fast.” They nodded at Leo and I and then took off down Elm Street, even though she had gone down 51st Street.

I wondered what would happen to me in the future as we walked to our slum. I had lied to some council members, and to their faces to make things worse. I was going to have to go through a trial when I turned eighteen as well if I didn't find a sutiable mate, and soon.

Why Can't We Just Learn To Give Up?: Part One

Momma didn’t like the idea of Katlyn being at our slum. “I want her our of here within a week.” she told me the day I brought Katlyn to our slum. I decided that she was right, and that I should probably leave as well. I was 16 now, I was way overdue to go out into the world and get a place. We decided to go around the city and look around for somewhere to live. We looked at all of the old rummy buildings that were still usable, but the only ones that we could live in were too far away from the main road. There were very few buildings still available though, so we had to scrounge around. We finally found somewhere safe, manageable, and in a very good location. It was on the main road, and was not hit as bad as some other slums. There was a problem though, someone already lived there.

His name was Leo, and he was taller and older that both of us. His hair was brown, and his eyes were a bright red. The red eyes came from a genetic mutation though. Momma once told me that there were no red, purple, gold, silver, or pink eyes before the nukie hit this town. She said that our human bodies were not supposed to have those color eyes. He was really friendly, and seemed like he wouldn’t mind sharing the place. More and more people were starting to share their slums because of the building shortage.

“So ladies, are you sure you want to share a slum with a man?” he asked us when we started to look around the place.

“We don’t mind,” I replied. “As long as there isn’t any funny business around here.” I eyed him suspiciously, hoping that he would get the jest of what I was talking about.

“Nah, there won’t be. Not if you ladies don’t want there to be.” He winked at Katlyn, who then tried to make herself smaller.

I said goodbye to my momma a couple of days later, we were both pretty sad. I wouldn’t be able to hear her stories anymore, wouldn’t be able to hear her voice anymore, or see her every day. I packed my few things and left her slum forever.

* * *
A meeting was called about Katlyn a few days after we moved into our new slum. She was 18 now and hadn’t had a man yet. Usually, if they called a meeting like this, the outcome was one of three choices: they made her have a man, they sent her to do labor duty, or they offed her. The offing one was kind of extreme, but it was used in some cases. The labor places were starting to fill up recently because of all of the old women who couldn’t have anymore babies, so they would have to rule out putting her in labor work.

The day of her meeting, Katlyn broke down in our lounge room. She was laying on the floor, sobbing at what was about to happen. Leo and I comforted her while she was having her nervous breakdown. “I don’t want to die, Luna, but I don’t want to give it to a man, either.” It was hard for her, and for me. I would one day have to go through the same thing as well. I hated the fact that we had to have one than more mate in this world. It wasn’t that I had an objection to having sex, it was that I just didn’t want to just yet. I mean, the act should be meaningful, like you care about the person. Not all about just having a baby. I wanted to need the person, not to just do it because others say I should.

We walked her to the meeting spot that her trial would be held in. IT was an old run down place that was once called a “courthouse”. No one, not even momma, knew what it was.

No one was allowed in the meets when the council was deciding the fate of someone. Leo and I waited for her outside the building. “What do you think will happen?” He asked me.

“Well, they’ll probably make her give it to a man.” I said feeling crestfallen. I hoped that she would be smart and just take it like a woman, but secretly, I hoped that she stood by what she believed. We both believed that women shouldn’t be treated like this.

Leo rolled his eyes at me, “Honestly, I don’t know what you two girls have against men. Why can’t you two just do what you’re designed for?” I stared at him, appalled that he would say such a thing. Didn’t he realize what women were going through? Most women would have a child as soon as we were able to, and a third of them died in childbirth. I remember stories that momma would tell me. She would say that before the nukies, and the psychos, women didn’t die when they had a child. That humans used to have the technology to keep a mother from dying while giving birth. I stood up off of the concrete and walked some feet away and sat back down on a patch of dirt with my back to Leo. I didn’t want to die, not yet, and he didn’t realize that. There was so much for me to do, and I wasn’t going to let my life be extinguished by some thing that I didn’t even want, not yet. I wanted to wait. He stood up and walked over to where I was and sat down beside me. “I’m sorry Luna. I really didn’t mean to offend you, it’s just that I don’t get you two. I’ve never met a pair quite like you.”

“Exactly,” I said “we are different. I don’t want a man to dirty me before I am ready. Women should have the right to wait. I don’t want to die just yet.”

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Life In The Fast Lane: Part Two

Thinking quickly, I picked up a glass shard from one of the abandoned buildings as he picked her up and slammed her hard against the wall. I lunged at him, taking him by surprise, and slicing a nice, deep cut on his arm. He looked a little stunned that I was there. I jumped back from the bulging man, prepared to attack again if necessary.

"Leave now," I said through clenched teeth, "or lose it." I pointed the shard at his private area. He slowly backed away. "Alright, alright lady. Just let me get my clothes." he picked up his pants and took off to the main street, naked. I walked over to the girl, and looked at her. She wasn't that bad looking. She was a little taller that I, with blue eyes, and black hair. I took off her gag for her.

"You can have what I have in my pockets, just don't cut me." I looked down, and realized that I was still holding my makeshift knife, defensivley. I dropped it and went and grabbed her clothes.

"Here, put these back on. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you, I don't want your money, and I don't mean any harm to you." I handed her clothes back to her.

She took them and put them on silently. "Did he hurt you?" I asked her.
She shook her head. "Did he um..." I trailed off hoping that she would get what I was asking.
"No," she squeaked. She cleared her throat, "No, he didn't. Thank you."

"No problem," I said, and stuck out my hand. "My name is Luna, do you need a place to stay?"

"Yes, I do. My name is Katlyn." She shook my hand.

I took her back to momma's slum, and that's where she told me why she was out there in the first place.

* * *
"Nani's been telling me lately that she's done waiting, that I'm done stalling. 'It's your time, whether you want it to be or not.' She told me this morning." Katlyn looked down at the metal table that we kept in the kitchen in case we had company. Although I really didn't worry about it with only 85 people in the entire city.

"I didn't think she would really do such a thing. I thought she cared about what I felt. I guess not though." Her eyes teared up, and she went into the cooks room to get a drink from our water bowl. "She told me to go to Justin's, and get some honeyfruit to eat with dinner. On my way there, that...that.......that man..." she started sobbing, and put her head on the counter. Slowly, she slid down the counter and onto the floor in despair. I stood up and held her for a few minutes. No one should have to go through this.

"It's O.K., it's O.K., you won't ever have to see her again." I rocked Katlyn back and forth until her tears subsided. "You don't ever have to give yourself to another man unless you want to."

Life In The Fast Lane: Part One

"You can't have just one mate." my momma used to say this to me all the time. "After the wars, everything changed, you have to help repopulate." she would go on to say. She used to tell us such wonderful stories about how everything was before the wars happened. Like, how you didn't have to deal with all this heat all of the time. You could just go into your slum and be cool in an instant. It wouldn't be a hundred degrees in there. Momma has always called slums "homes". It's a rummy word, she says that's what a slum was called before the wars. I think it sounds kind of nasty, who would want to live in a "home"?

I haven't ever been cool inside a slum, unless it was the cold season. Momma told me once that it was called "winter". I really don't think it was called winter. Winter sounds kind of inviting, but when it's "Winter" here, it isn't inviting. It's cold, and it's rainy, and ice falls from the sky, chilling us all to the bone. I think she has her names confused.

Great grandma heard all of the stories from her grandmother, and she passed them on throughout the generations. That ancient old woman was there when the nukies went off. She was even there before the war turned bad. Once, I was even told that there were more of us. A million more, whatever that means. It sounded like a big number by the way my momma would always say it. It doesn't really matter what happened back in the rummy days. It is interesting to hear about it and all, but it doesn't really matter. The only thing that mattered in this world right now was mates, unfortunately.

"If you have only one mate, you can be offed," my momma was saying. "As women, our job is to make children. We must all do our part to help repopulate the world. If you don't, you can be offed." Offed, I hated that word. It's what adults used to scare the children. I was 16 now, an adult, she couldn't scare me with those empty words. "Don't have that look on your face, if you don't have a baby soon, then a council meeting will be called, and they'll view you as less than useless. 'What kind of woman doesn't want to have a child?' They would say." She kept on about it until I told her that I would do as she says and have a baby as soon as possible. She had been at it for three years now. "When are you going to give me another grandchild?" Why did she have to have another already? She already had ten with three on the way. My sisters had made momma proud of them, and ashamed of me.

Honestly, I didn't want to share my body with any man, not yet. I kept trying to make her understand me, but she kept on nagging about it. I should be happy though, momma was more understanding than other mothers. I was just glad she didn't set me up with a random pub man to teach me the hard way. Some mothers did that. It was how we lived, how we survived, how I met Katlyn.

* * *

It was the rainy season, or Spring, as momma told me. The sky was darkened by the clouds, and I couldn't see all that well. Momma would also say that before the wars, the sky didn't get this dark when the water fell. She said it only got a little dark, not like this. She said that night wouldn't fall when a storm came, she said you could still see everything.

I had finished working my shift at the Hansom. It was a dreadful place where men came after work before going to their slum. It resided in the metal carcass of some old rummy building. (The whole town had gotten hit by one of the nukies.) Since I didn't feel the need to mate yet, I served the men their drinks, instead of going on the stage, or finding a man in the crowd.

I was walking to my slum quickly, trying to beat the water fall. There was an alley to my right about a few steps away from me. I heard a clatter, like the junk lid falling off the can. As I approached it, I looked down the alley and saw a girl and a man down it. The man had bulging muscles, so I figured that he was a labor worker. He was holding her down, and he was trying to take her top off. She had a gag in her mouth, and was struggling against him. He finally succeeded in getting off her shirt, and started to play with her. Her eyes widened, and she screamed from behind the cloth shoved in her mouth. He slid her pants off, stood up and said "This'll teach ya to be a little snob." He sneered at her, and took off his pants.