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A Fresh World (Ch 4)

Chapter 4.


The young Rebel girl I met at the Exit is balancing on a fallen light pole, laughing. Unexpectedly, I am thrown back to the Exit, to the street that I passed every morning on my way to school. Her blue, greasy hair bobs back and forth as her body shakes with laughter. Out of nowhere, she snaps her head up as if someone told her who was standing in front of her. All of the happiness that was on her face drains immediately. Her face contorts in anger and she begins screaming my name. She jumps off of the light pole and sprints toward me.

“YOU LEFT US HERE! YOU DID THIS! YOU MURDERER!” She screams at the top of her lungs. I tell my legs to run away, but they stay put. I will them to move as she gets closer but it is as if I have become one with the sidewalk. All of a sudden, she stops right in front of me. She looks up at me with a look of sorrow in her eyes. Her stench reaches my nostrils. She smells of rotten eggs. I notice the almost glowing color of her eyes is emerald green. Suddenly, I am looking up to the green eyes. Realization washes over me, that I am no longer looking at a ten year old girl, but a grown man. A man with red hair and green eyes. My father. My heart starts pounding.

“You are one of them,” He smiles, revealing sharp teeth. I mean to scream, but no sound escapes. He brings his palms around my neck and pushes his thumbs into my windpipe. I try to gasp, but no air enters. My lungs ache for air. My father is a monster.



I wake up gasping for air. My heart races and my hands immediately move to my neck, making sure a second pair of hands isn’t squeezing there. I am sweating even though my body feels chilled. I stumble to the bathroom and splash cold water on my face from the sink. My stomach roils with tension, tying and untying knots. I throw up the toilet seat and hurl what little supper I had eaten into the toilet water. I crouch there gasping, vomit dripping from my gaping mouth. I try and spit the vile taste out with more water from the sink, but it still lingers there. I dry my face with a towel and look up at my reflection in the bathroom mirror. It fills up the entire wall. I have never seen a mirror this big, I realize. I stare at my waist-long hair, tangled and slightly sweaty around my forehead and ears. My eyes are swollen from sleep and my nose is red. That means I was crying in my sleep. I sit down by the window and look at the government buildings in the distance. It must be a little past eleven. I finally make the decision on pulling on pants and going to the party.

I approach the warehouse. Loud, booming noises escape from the walls that must be vibrating with the immense noise. I pull open the door and am almost knocked over with all of the different clamor and smells. Music blares through loudspeakers, and all around there is shouting as drunken men and women practically walk on top of each other. I turn to leave but Emily grabs my arm and drags me to the middle of the floor. Elbows and shoulders bump into me from all angles. Her peircings glitter in the dimmed lights.

“Isn’t it great?” She has to shout over all of the other noise despite that she’s standing less than a foot away from me. I nod even though my head screams no. I’m still groggy with sleep.

“Want some?” She shoves a plastic cup in my face. The sharp smell of whiskey burns my nostrils and I shake my head. She shrugs and goes to jump on Kellan’s back, spilling whiskey all over his shirt.

Someone appears at my side. I expect it to be Casey, so I almost comment on the music. Instead, Jamie stands next to me with a cup of whiskey. I shut my mouth and he looks at me.

“Hi,” I squawk out. My throat is rough. I may have been screaming in my sleep too. I start to get uneasy, I wonder if it shows because he asks if I want to sit down. I nod. He leads me to a table and he sits across from me. I don’t think he’s drunk, because his words aren’t slurred when he talks, but his breath still smells of alcohol. We watch the swarm of Rebel soldiers, the noise dying down a bit. Then I speak first.

“I’m sorry about earlier.” He doesn’t look at me.

“Me too.” He replies.

“Why are you sorry?” He shrugs, taking a sip of whiskey.

“I could tell you weren’t in a good mood, I shouldn’t have bothered you.” I look away again, thinking of the dried blood on the carpet and shivering at the thought.

“It’s fine, I was being stupid too.” I say. He snorts.

“Thanks.”

“You know what I mean.” For several minutes I don’t think he’ll say anything, but he finally does.

“Why did you want to become a Rebel?” The question startles me. I jerk my head to look at him, I haven’t really thought about this. I shrug.

“I don’t know. I watched Casey do it, and I guess I couldn’t let her go by herself.”

He looks at me, thoughtfully.

“Are you sure?” He asks.

“What do you mean?”

“You didn’t do it for yourself?” I think about this for a minute. Choosing this life for myself isn’t entirely Casey’s fault. I know that. But I can’t think of a valid reason of why I chose what I chose. Then I do.

“My father.” I think of the dream I had.

“What?” He leans closer, the noise rising to an overwhelming level. Cheering has sounded towards the front of the crowd. I heard him, but I look away and choose not to repeat myself. Casey breaks from the crowd and finds me. Emily trails after her, stumbling and giggling. She’s drunk.

“Jen, Come watch! Kellan and another guy are seeing who can do the most push-ups!” She laughs and pulls me from my seat. I glance at Jamie. He looks amused.
I trip after Casey, trying to keep up. She keeps a grip on me with one hand, and pushes through the crowd with the other hand. Kellan and the other soldier are both on the ground doing push-ups. Kellan’s wormy arms are no match for the impressive muscle packed in the other soldier’s arms. The crowd keeps track of the push-ups by shouting the number in unison. Kellan drops at around twenty, but the soldier continues on to one hundred. Towards the end, he began showing off by clapping every time he came up from touching his nose to the ground. He stands up, punching the air and his fellow soldiers cheer for him.
I find myself laughing at Kellan lying on the floor in a helpless position. Emily helps him up and smacks him in the back of the head, laughing. He picks her up and throws her over his shoulder.

After a while, Casey and I head back to Marrott Suits. Once upstairs, we go straight to bed. We both lay in our beds, and I can sense that she is still awake and staring at the ceiling. I don’t really know what to say.

“Did you see my mom today?” She asks. I nod my head, but realize she can’t hear my head nod.

“Yeah,” I say.

“Me too.” She says. With that, she rolls over and falls asleep.



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