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Chapter 1- Psychedelic Skin Tans
His body crumpled apart like the old sidewalk down the street at Jackinson’s bar. She gasped, her breath catching in her throat. She heard a scream, but she didn’t realize it was coming from herself until guards were pulling her away. She continued screaming, tears rushing down her face. He was gone in the wind now. He was gone forever. It was all her fault.
***ONE YEAR BEFORE***
Mary rolled her eyes, pushing her way through the halls of Freemont High School. There was nothing free about it. Nothing free to her, at least. She was pushed aside. Forgotten. She would never fit in. She was worthless.
She passed two boys by their lockers who were smuggling colorguts and she rolled her eyes. Losers. Colorguts were a substance that could be considered drugs here in 3010. I mean, they were kind of like drugs. Almost all the Marbles took them.
What is a marble you ask? It’s not the little glass balls that your grandmother would put in her fish tank; I can assure you that. A Marble is a person. A Marble, to be more specific, is a black and a white person. That’s not a big deal, right? Wrong. They are literally black and white. They have either snow pale or night black skin, along with similar colored eyes and lips. Nothing about them is colorful. In case you’re still confused, think of it like this. Have you ever seen a black and white film? Marbles are exactly like how you see the people in those movies, only to an extreme.
There are different kinds of Marbles. There are mixed, who are called Swirls. They might possibly have black eyes with white lips and black skin. That’s a mixed, those who have a mixture of the black and white. There are Nighters, who have pitch black skin, eyes, lips, and everything else on their body. They have no white on them whatsoever. Then there are finally the Snows. They’re like Nighters, only the complete opposite. They have eerie white eyes, white skin...you get the point.
What am I, you ask? I’m a Psychedel. A Technicolor. I have light tan skin and long, flowy brunette hair. My eyes are a dark, forest green and I have a light spray of freckles across the bridge of my nose. In 2060, scientists discovered a serum that could take the weakest person and make them Hercules. This serum had a slight side effect, though. Whoever ingested it would turn into a Marble. Over time, the extra strength, agility, and stamina that the serum gave people were gone, but the colors still remained. Well, the lack of colors still remained.
You might be wondering why Psychedels even exist. We were the ones that refused to take the serum. We were the ones that ran away. People call us rebels, but I guess that’s really what we are.That’s why the Marbles are scared of us. It’s stupid, really. I don’t get how Marbles can be so egotistical and full of-
“Mary! Get downstairs, now!” Ugh. Her again. That would be my stepmother, Lucille. I’m pretty sure she’s somehow related to Cruella De Vil. We’ll have to continue our little chat later. I’m late for school.
As quick as I can, I throw my backpack straps over my shoulders and sprint down the stairs, narrowly avoiding being smashed into the wall as I slide across the hardwood floor. If you don’t believe me when I say that Marbles are evil, just wait until we get to school. Lucille, sadly, will be driving us.
The whole drive my stepmother is bopping me on the nose or shoulder, telling me to sit up straighter and keep my legs together. Just to make her mad, I slump as far as I can in my seat and put my legs up on the dash, keeping them as far apart as I can. This nearly makes her steam. I smirk as I get out of the car and run inside. Maybe I am a rebel. Rebels don’t listen. I’ll never overthrow the government, though, and I think that’s what the Marbles are really afraid of.
I get to class just three seconds late. I know what that means. Only the Technicolors get in trouble for being seconds late. It’s because everybody’s hates us, duh.
“Ah. Miss Mary Marie Padalecki. I’m so glad that you could join us.” No you’re not, Mr. Collins. “Come hither.” Hither? Who even says that anymore?
I keep my mouth shut as I walk up to the front of the classroom, my hands shaking. Two Marble boys in the front row snicker to each other, immediately raising their hands. This is how punishment works for us. If we do something wrong, one of the Marble students are allowed to whip us. They’re all usually very eager to do so, too.
I sigh and look down, squeezing my eyes shut. It won’t be a big deal. I’m used to the pain. I just hope he doesn’t use the barbed whip. I already have white lines all across my tanned arms and legs from being whipped with that thing, I don’t need anymore. Maybe he’ll be in a good mood today. Maybe Mr. Collins will choose the smooth whip.
“Mr. Rhys Pierce, would you like to do the honors and whip this young rebel into shape?” I look up the same time a boy from the back of the classroom does. He has soft features, his snowy white hair shaggy. He’s a Swirl.
I stand up straight and splay my arms out on the desk as he comes up. Rhys? What kind of a name is that? Figures, for a Marble that he’d have a weird name. They always do.
The boy shakes his head but Mr. Collins encourages him, handing him the barbed whip. Dang it. He takes it in his hands, coming over to me. The whole entire class watches eagerly, except for the Technicolors. They look at me with sympathy. Rhys places his hand on my shoulder and a shiver goes down my spine. Of course they always have to hold us upright, but they usually pin us down so hard that their nails draw blood from our skin.
He inhaled deeply and strikes, making a deep lash across the back of my neck. I cry out in pain, biting down on my lip until I feel blood running over my tongue. At least we get to keep our shirts on for the whipping. When we have torn clothes near the back, it’s a sign that no one, meaning the Marbles, could talk to us. They can’t talk to us anyway, but they especially have to stay clear of the rebels. Like me.
The boy named Rhys winced and slashed two more times before he shakes his head and puts the whip down. His hands are almost as shaky as mine and he looks over my bloody back and neck, his eyes sad.
“I-I’m sorry, Mr. Collins. I don’t think I can do this. She didn’t do anything wrong.” My neck snaps up at that and I stare at him. A Swirl boy defending me? Surely not. That’s never been done. Marbles hate us. He’s just joking around. Mr. Collins sends him back to his seat and class continues, them on one side of the room and us on the other.
The day went by as normal. The only strange part was when I was walking home through the forest, I stopped by the lake that I always went to. That wasn’t the strange part, though. I saw the same Swirl boy that had whipped me was there. He had one of those musical instruments with him, a guitar. I hesitated as I sat down on a large rock, taking my sneakers off and pushing my feet into the crystal blue water. He stopped strumming and looked up at me, staring.
“It’s rude to stare, dontcha know?” I shout over at him, my eyes not leaving the ripples in the water. He smiles out of the corner of my eye.
“I’m sorry I whipped you. I didn’t want to. You’re nice.” I squint my eyes as he says that. Is he really gonna taunt me about this? I don’t hear the sarcasm dripping from his voice, but I know it must be there. I snarl and get up, marking over to him with wet feet and all. I grab him by the shirt collar, pulling him closer. Our noses are almost touching.
“Listen here, buddy, I’ve had a long day and I don’t need a stupid Marble to taunt me! I’ve had enough of you and your buddies!” In truth, he had never even talked to me before, but I had enough of their whole race. I’d had enough of all the Marbles and their egos.
“What?” he asked incredulously, his eyes staring at my hand on his shirt collar. He frowned, a bit of fear visible in his eyes. “You honestly think that’s what I’m doing? Taunting you?” He scoffed, shaking his head. “Listen, I was trying to be nice. The least you could do is say thank you for going easy on you today in class. I could’ve made you bleed unconscious.”
I gasp slightly, my breath catching. Marbles are never this mouthy. I bring my fist back, letting it hang in mid air before I bring it forward, slamming him in the nose.
“Thank you? For beating me?” I can’t believe him. I hate these people. He yelps and holds his nose, pushing me away. We glare at each other for what feels like hours until I finally break our gaze and turn away, huffing. Crossing my arms, I head back to my rock and sit there. I glare over at him every once in a while. I can tell that he isn’t going home anytime soon, so I decide to leave. I do not want to be in the same place as this sick, sadistic person. I am disgusted.
When I finally get home later that evening, my father is comforting my crying stepmother. I grin to myself. It might be terribly mean of me that I’m happy that Lucille is crying, but she truly is an awful person. Verbal abuse is her favorite hobby. She never hurts my brothers when they visit, just me. My brothers, Robin and Sparrow, live just a few streets down together. They are both going to a Technicolor college and are splitting the rent between them and a few friends for this house. I miss them. They don’t visit often.
My dad gives me a sharp glare at my smiling and I immediately wipe it away. He rubs Lucille’s shoulders, sniffling. I frown. My dad doesn’t usually cry. What’s going on? The last time he cried was when my mother died. That was years ago.
I ignore them and flop down on our worn out, black leather couch. I frown as I see what’s on the television. There’s a public service announcement.
“Should we trust the Psychedels--more like Psychos?” The news lady is asking the screen, a bedazzled microphone in her hand. “The government has recently decided that we should execute all of the rebels. It is in debate currently. If the law is passed by all the authorities, it will be carried through. Do you think the rebels should die?” With that last sentence, the show goes to a commercial break. It was short, the announcement. It got right to the point.
I sink down into the couch, my eyes glazing over as I think. They could do it. They could kill us all. What’s stopping them, anyway? Why didn’t they kill us sooner? There aren’t many Psychedels; not as many as the Marbles, at least. I don’t get why they think of us as a threat to them. All we ever did was refuse to take the serum decades of years ago. That wasn’t even me or my parents, it was our ancestors. It’s not fair for them to do that to us. We deserve to live, too. They make me so angry sometimes.
I stare blankly over at my dad and Lucille before sprinting up the stairs, slamming my door behind me as I get to my room. I am going to die. That much is clear. No one wants us alive. We’re not trusted. We’re not loved. We are pests that need to be exterminated and we will be. This is the end.