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Gunae: Part 1
Gunae. The city of Gunae. An island, a city, Gunae. Nobody knew when it was made, nobody really knew where it was. Just that it was a city, people lived in it, and it was a dark city. A dark island that recieved its only real, pure light rarely. It came from the Orb. The Orb was a colorful circle of light in the dark sky, sometimes blue, sometimes green, sometimes black, and very rarely, white. Gunae rested on a moist, red surface. The people of Gunae mined the a red liquid that was inside the red surface, which they called Hewat. This liquid was used to heat the city through a series of pipes that ran through Gunae. The ocean that surrounded the island-city was feared by most citizens of Gunae, and mothers told their children the water would come and get them if they didn't go to bed. Very few ships even went in the ocean, as there were no places to go in it. There were two sides of the Gunae Ocean: The Drop, a gaping hole cut off from the light of the Orb, and The End, an enormous white something that just stood there.Things in Gunae were peaceful and fine... until that fateful day.
Surprisingly, the thudding of boots on the university steps could be heard from halfway across the city. Not because Gunae was small, but because there was only one school, and sixteen thousand students. One of these students was a fifteen year-old named Simon Thouse. The teachers and administrators of the School of Arts and Sciences of Southern Gunae called him troubled, owing mostly to the fact his father was a drunkard. In fact, he was quite a bright student, but teachers more than often ignored his intellect. Simon Thouse had two friends in the entire population of the city, a whopping thirteen million. One was Draccled, a boy of his same age who lived in East Gunae, about two miles away from where Simon lived near the Hewat Mine; his father worked there and was quite wealthy. The other was named- "Simon! Simon Thouse!" Simon looked up from where he was reading his book, on the steps of the university. He had a black eye that was swollen shut, and a large bruise on his left cheeckbone. His hair was a reddish brown, he had blue eyes, and an angled jaw. He spoke to the figure approaching him in a soft but confident voice. "Hello Cabes. How are you faring today?" Cabes responded in a deep non-chalant tone. "Eh, It has not been the best of days for me. My father kicked my mother out of our house, and now she has nowhere to go. At least he didn't BEAT me." It took Cabes a moment to realize his fault. "Oh, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to-" Simon waved his hand in a gesture of forgiveness. "It's okay. I should be used to that by now." As a young child, Simon would deny that his father would beat him, and it took him until his second term at the University to realize everybody already knew he did. In an attempt to change the subject, Cabes nodded toward the book Simon was reading and asked "What's that about?" Simon picked up the book and said "Oh, this? This is "Ships and Sailing". It tells you how to do just about everything on a ship. It's actually quite interes-" Cabes nodded sarcastically, pretending to be fascinated by the book. "Oooh, the ocean! How exciting! Especially the part about two places to go in it!" Simon laughed and threw a mock punch at his friend, then sighed and said "It would be better to be on a ship than in this dump." His copper-haired friend nodded. "I'd have to agree with you there. Although maybe you wouldn't be so bored... if you came with me and Draccled to the new Hewat mine." Simon looked up, suddenly interested. "Really? I thought that place was blocked off. If you two are doing something illegal, I'm not having any part of it, because-" Cabes waved his hand and said "Whoa. Slow down there. It's not illegal; Draccled's father has agreed to give us a tour. And they say this mine is deeper than the deepest one they have now, by at least TEN times!" Simon made a quick calculation in his head. "When are you going?" Cabes shuffled his feet and informed him on the situation. Well, Draccled and I are both ready to go now... if you can do that." Simon sighed and mumbled "I don't think I can. My father probably wants me home this minute." "Oh. Do you think he would really mind? I mean, he would probably be to drunk to know you weren't there. No offense, by the way." Simon put his hand to his mouth, deep in thought, and replied "None taken." After a moment, he looked up and faced Cabes. "Okay Cabes. I'll go."
Thump-thump thump, thump-thump thump! These were the sounds emanating from the new Hewat mine. All of the other hewat mines were mutual in sound when they were being built, but it was much, much louder here. Men in blue colored suits turned valves, flipped switches, and pushed pumps. All of these were in maitenace for the Hewat extractor. It was a massive machine, with the hot red Hewat running to and fro inside it. Beneath it was a large drill that tore up the gound, and after it had done its work, a huge suction tube would extract the Hewat. Then, an amount of Hewat was contributed throughout the city, depending on how much Silvers, the city's main currency, they paid. But this Hewat mine had something none of the other mines had: a drill in perpetual motion, a drill that would never stop. But nobody knew about this perpetual motion, except for the workers, who vowed silence about it, and soon, Simon Thouse, Cabes Beffer, and Draccled Tabae.
Mr. Tabae, a bright red-headed, towering man walked with a swinging lope, leading the tour of the Extractor. "Ye see, the mine is still oonder construction, but et will be finished soon. If yore lucky, ye'll get a spot in the parade tomorrow. That's when the enourmoos drill will make ets first rip!" said Mr. Tabae with a strong burr in his voice. Taking a quick turn, he moved very swiftly, an air of superiority emanating from him. He was, after all the Assistant Mechanical Adviser. "This would be the "Pipe", this is what sucks oop the Hewat; without this, my fine gentleman, you would be a frozen figure in yore own hoome. The Pipe will suck oop all the Hewat, then it'll be sucked through a series of pipes that..." Simon, uninterested in Mr. Tabae's droning voice, peered over the rare open section of the hole they would be using to drill in. "How far down does it go?" he inquired. Mr. Tabae flipped through a pocket-sized manual, and then answered like he had known the whole time. "Nie seventeen hoondred feet, lad. Ye wouldn't wanna fall in that chasm, by me granny's whiskers!" "You think?" said Draccled, his voice dripping with sarcasm. He did not have as much of an accent as his dad. Mr. Tabae's somber face smiled for the first time, and a more cheerful, fatherly character was displayed as he playfully swatted at his son's dark-haired head. But of course, when he noticed the other boys were gawking at him, obviously surprised he was acting "nae childish", as he would have put it; he regained his composure at once, quickly changing the subject.
As the trio walked home, there was a mutual feeling of hunger among them. Cabes finally spoke up. "Hey, how many Silvers do you two have?" Draccled and Simon looked up, slightly confused. "We're not that far from the Brickhouse, you know. We could pick up a meal." The brickhouse was a nearby restaurant, and as it turned out, a favorite of all three boys. They usually visited the gutted and then remodeled brick factory on the weekends. Today was a school day, and they usually wouldn't have gone out to eat at this time. Draccled spoke, a hint on northern Gunae accent in his voice. "I've got... seventeen." He flashed a toothy grin. "Enough to get the Krill Crumble Platter, eh Thousey?" Simon looked up at the Orb, the bright circle growing darker every minute. "I'm sorry mates, I've got to get home... and fast. My father is probably waiting for me." There was an akward silence among the boys. Draccled broke it. "See you then, Simon." Cabes smiled and nodded goodbye, then walked off with the Tabae boy.
Simon laid his hand atop the doorknob. He rested it there, then sighed, closed his eyes, knowing he would recieve a beating for being tardy. Then he opened it.
Silence. He tiptoed his way through the green-painted living room, and then through the kitchen, but Jorge Thouse was nowhere to be found. A few thoughts floated in Simon's mind. One being the possiblity his father had stepped out, or more accurately, stumbled out for a drink. Another, the thought he was asleep. Simon decided the latter was more likely. He silently walked up the single starcase in his relatively small dwelling. There were only three doorways in the entire upper floor of the house on 1599 Coral Avenue. One was Simon's bedroom, another his Father's, and the last a washroom. Simon walked sideways up the stairs like a crab, looking at the faded photographs on the wall. A family picture; himself, his dad, his mother, and his older brother, the one he never knew. A picture near the ocean showed his mother at the beach, enjoying herself. Mother always loved the beach. A single tear dripped from Simon's eye. He quickly wiped it away. If father saw him crying, he would get it even worse. He walked the rest of the way upstairs, and turned left, the direction of his dad's bedroom. He opened the door, expecting to see his father on the oaken bed, but looked to no avail. He must have gone out then, thought Simon. He turned to exit the room when all of a sudden, a sixth sense tugged strongly at his body. He cocked his head to the side, then slowly, he looked out the window. His eyes grew wide. His heartbeat escalated. He screamed. He fell.
He awoke. He was in the same place he had fallen unconscious, only, it was morning. He did not bother to look out the window again. He knew he would see the same horrific sight he had seen the night before. His father, lying dead on the grass in his back yard, stabbed by his own hunting knife. In a drunken fury, he had killed himself. Simon made his way through the house, and opened the back door a tad. He walked on the wet red surface that was the "earth" to all citizens of Gunae. Up close, his father's corpse seemed more "alive". Irony. Simon almost laughed. Then he realized he was looking at a dead body. Strange, what death can do to a person. It was like knocking at an empty door. Knowing the person was there, and had been there, but was just not opening up.
Simon threw his shovel aside, having just finished the last scoop of earth on his father's grave. He looked at it, strangely satisfied. He knew he should be sad, but right now that was an unnafordable luxury, like a diamond ring in a pile of Hewat. The grave was simple. Just another lump of earth in the back yard. It needed no gravestone, Simon thought. It wasn't like anybody would come to his house to mourn.
The Morning Parade. At the Mine. He was going to to miss the parade. He walked inside, wiping the dirt off his orange shirt. He walked into his clean bedroom and picked a pair of jeans and a white polo shirt from his dresser. This is just like a normal day, thought Simon. And it was. Except for the death of his father, the prospect of Simon having to move to an orphange, and the fact the Perpetual Drill would make a 1700 foot hole in the red ground for the first time. He exited his house, and began the half-hour long walk towards the new mine. He couldn't hear anything in the direction of the university; most likely all the students had got the day off for the parade. The word had spread about the parade. As Simon walked further, he recognized more and more of his classmates, all of them in a bee line, aiming straight for you-know-what.
When he arrived at the parade grounds, Simon was stunned at the number of people. Nearly seventy percent of the city's population had gathered for this epic event. He stumbled through the bulge of the crowd, looking for his friends. After a while, he finally found the joyous pair, smiling and laughing, about twenty feet from the barrier surrounding the drill. From their vantage point, they could see down the mine, the mayor's podium, and Cabes' personal favorite, the food vendors.
"Hello, Simon! Great day, isn't it?" yelled Draccled. Simon did not smile. "What's wrong?" The only Thouse child dropped his head and mumbled "My father. He's... dead." Both Draccled and Cabes' smiles faded in an instant, and were soon replaced with somber semicircles. "I'm sorry," said Cabes. "We're sorry." Simon quickly gave an attempt at a smile, then turned his face towards the chasm-like mine. "That's okay. Nothing to be sorry about anyway." Cabes grinned, and patted him on the back. "That's the spirit, Thouse!" The roar of the crowd suddenly dulled as the mayor stepped up to the podium to speak a few words. He was an unusually thin, pencil of a man, with a pencil mustache to boot. "My people," he started. Simon groaned. The mayor always used those two words to start off an exceptionally cheesy speech. "Today, we, the people of Gunae have joined, to see the first incison into the earth with this fine machine." The crowd's roar was like nothing Simon had ever heard. "As the mayor of this fine city," he continued, "I have been appointed as the "onner", the one who turns the switch on. Millions are gathered today to see this excellent piece of art do its work. And ladies and getlemen... you had good reason to come." It was then that the builder of the the drill stood from his chair on the stage and walked up next to the mayor. "Mayor Krillfield, will you do the "onners"?" The crowd roared again, this time at the awful pun. The mayor nodded, hanging the edges of his mustache off his face. He sauntered over to the booth that was heavily guarded by the police and walked in. The crowd grew silent as the Mayor's hand moved toward the control panel. He placed a finger on the breaker switch. And flicked it to ON.