Greatma | Teen Ink


April 12, 2018
By Anonymous

     “I am so getting too old for this,” I mumbled under my breath. Even though the arthritis in my hands was getting worse with every punch, my attacker definitely couldn’t tell. He was a member of the Assembly, but more importantly, had just been left reeling after I landed a jab straight on his nose. He stumbled against the beige wall on the other side of the dim hallway, one of the many in the huge warehouse. The lights that lined the hallways glowed a dull orange, illuminating the whole compound. Despite the unnatural color of the lights, I had been in awe while walking through it. It had been three years since I had last seen any type of electric power. After the Zoen shut down all the power grids outside of D.C., no one had been able to use any electricity.
     A moan of pain sounded to my right, bringing me back to where I was standing. I whipped my head around and, seeing another moment of vulnerability, I got one last kick in on his side and power walked away. Hey, running gets harder as legs get older. Maneuvering back through the facility was tougher than it should have been, I could tell my memory was already beginning to fade with age. Not only did I already want to get out of this creepy building quickly, but I also knew that more of the Assembly would be coming after me. They wanted vengeance for breaking into their headquarters, attacking a member, and above all, plotting against the Zoen, not only today but for countless years in the past. The Zoen are the bosses, not only of the Assembly, but also of the entire country. They had overthrown the government and converted the United States from a democracy to an autocracy. The Assembly was just the messenger for the Zoen, carrying their orders to manipulate or attack. I was in their headquarters, stealing their plans for taking over the western states, their next step on their path to gain complete world power.
     Recently, I have been haunted by moments of doubt that question my purpose. They usually occur in the middle of the night while I plan different operations to eliminate the Zoen and regain control over our country. I wonder, while I’m sitting in my gloomy basement, why am I going through all this trouble just to help citizens that don’t even know I exist? I have kept myself hidden from the rest of the population for so long that most have never heard my name. After these thoughts though, without fail, my mind violently flashes back to hearing the screams of my friends and the thick, black smoke suffocating my lungs. Many years ago, I was a student at a secret school, affectionately nicknamed Haven. It taught kids like me, who didn’t understand their powers, how to protect ourselves. My skill was, and still is, high level combat. For a while, we were able to keep the institution hidden from the rest of the world, whom we knew would not be as accepting of gathering the most skilled warriors in one place and training them to fight. At this time, the Zoen were still in the early stages of expressing their desire to control our country. We hadn’t begun to grow suspicious of their goals that threatened the safety of our lives as students and the United States. That was why it was such a shock when the first bomb hit.
     I was in weapons class and had just been laughing about what some girl had called out about our teacher. Suddenly, a low rumbling resonated and the entire room shook. We all turned to look out at the window and saw smoke rising from a distant building. Then, a large, dark object flew past us and exploded into the yard less than forty yards away. We all rushed out of our chairs and into the hallways, panicked and confused. The alarms began to sound at that time, further disorienting us. My ears were ringing; I couldn’t tell if it was the alarms, the screaming or the explosions. My thoughts were hazy and unable to recognize what was going on through the chaos. I was forced back to reality when an older student ran past me, knocking painfully into my shoulder. The clarity of pain made me realize that I needed to get out of those hallways, so I began to run, looking for an exit. As I was running, another bomb detonated to my right, flinging me against an opposite stairwell. I crushed the back of my head against a step but got up and kept going. By now, most of the students from nearby classes were running with me, all of us coughing through the smoke from the last bomb. I finally spotted a back door and sprinted ahead of the others to open it. We all shoved through the opening and ran into the forest that lined the school. I darted through the trees for a few minutes but finally stopped when I couldn’t run any longer. Looking up into the sky, I could still see smoke overhead rising from the ruins of the school. No one wanted to move any further so, a few hours later, a teacher found our group sitting in the forest. She told us we had to find somewhere else to go, Haven had been invaded and taken over by some radical organization and we couldn’t stay there anymore. The group had heard about how Haven had fostered the impressive talents of the kids attending and they wanted to eliminate us. We never went back to the school. I found out a few days later that the group that attacked us called themselves the Zoen. Since the attack that destroyed the life I had, it has been my primary objective to stop the Zoen and protect as many people as I can from their destruction.
     The flashback to the devastation the Zoen forced upon my school distracted me and I momentarily forgot where I was headed. As I redirected myself back on the path to get out, the similarities between my escape from Haven and how I was once more escaping, this time from the home of my enemies, amused me. I made the mistake of laughing, letting out a low chuckle. Down another hallway, a man called out, “Who’s there?” I froze. Footsteps began to sound, walking closer to my position. Staring straight ahead of me, down the long hallway, was the door to leave the building. I could hear him walking, right about to turn onto my path. Making my decision, I spun and, for once, ran as fast as I could to get to the door. I only had a few more steps when the man shouted, “Hey guys! I found her!” I shoved the door open and natural light from outside nearly blinded me. I fumbled for my keys, before getting on top of the motorcycle that I had left behind a dumpster, right next to the exit. I forced my helmet onto my head and wheeled the motorcycle around right as the door flew open, releasing three members of the Assembly. Tires screeching, I sped past them and down the road that led to a highway, never turning back.
     When I eventually got back to my secluded house in the country, I was finally able to look over the Zoen’s plans for control of the west. It was so clear how they were going to do it, I had to look twice to make sure the papers were real. “This never gets old,” I whispered, as a grin crept across my face, wrinkling my eyes a little more. I knew exactly how to stop the Zoen once and for all.

The author's comments:

When prompted with the question "What do you want to be like when you're a senior citizen?" most people imagine a simple retirement and calm life.  This old lady, though, is completely blowing past those expectations by living a life of secrecy and espionage.  She is attempting to collapse the cruel government that destroyed her life when she was a young woman.

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