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Memories are something I hold
“Memories are something I hold onto close to my chest. I always tuck them in closely and protect them from anything. This is one of those memories. I have the memories where I throw them into the abandonment place where I selfishly try to forget,” he whispered into my ear as I hugged him.
I grinned and smiled. My fingers danced across his tan arm. I looked into my tiny five year old brother’s face, so young, but inside he was the strongest boy. I smiled and let my kiss linger on his baby fat covered cheek. He was so beautiful with his olive skin, several shades darker than mine and his dark hair. My skin was still a beautiful tone though just not dark. His eyes were so convincing and hazel. Then I saw his face pale and his arms shake and suddenly black swept on top of both of us.
I could still feel his olive skin under my fingers, so much different from my fare skin I inherit from my father. I have my mother’s black curls, which fall down my back ,but my father’s fare skin and hazel eyes always stand out. I felt so strange, next to my own mother so much darker and more beautiful than me. I whimper as reality sweeps over me and I realize my mother and Vine are both gone. As well as my father. Forever.
Now there was an empty pit of the remembrance to wake up to with my mother’s arms not wrapping around me. I only scream into my fist until blood rises and I feel so much better. They took everything from me. My family was taken away in sickness, which I blame them, no reason I just will. They shut me away form the world thinking I was dangerous if my family had died. They thought I was dangerous and mentally disoriented because my family was killed. Who’s they? Everyone. I don’t even know.
“ Everly.” A gentle shake of my shoulder. I stay still. “ Everly.”
I push the gentle hand away. “ No.”
“ Everly, your mother’s here.”
“ Mother’s dead,” I whimper. I feel the tremble starting in my toes.
I open my eyes. White light, too much. Man, unfriendly man. Mom, walking through light her face bright so smooth like chocolate. Her face so real. “ I’m here Everly.” My mother’s hand reaches toward my clammy one with no effort.
“ No, you’re dead!” I scream. “ You’re a hallucination! Stop, make it go!”
“ The doses worked,” says the doctor calmly. “ She sees what I say. Everly, your brother is here.”
“ No!” I scream. I throw kicks into his stomach. He flinches and scowls as he feels it jab into him. “ STOP!” I’m crying now. “ PLEASE!”
My little brother smiles at me his dark curls bouncing. “ No. Vine…” His melted chocolate eyes gaze into mine. His small lips are open in words I cannot make out.
“ You will see reality.”
My brother is gone. I lie in a cellar. Damp, musty, old. My same fifteen year old self is curled in a strange position . “ Why am I here?”
“Oh, Everly, we must keep you here. The rules were clear in our authorities. Since you are an orphan with no more living family, you are now under our full control. In the law of us it says.”
“Wait what? Our president?”
“ Oh, Everly the world has far by changed. Far more. You have been in here longer than you think. A year, things change in a year. You are sixteen now Everly. We have a government still, yes but much more different. As for a president...” A smile cures on his lips. “ I am your new one.”
My arms shake.
“ We have been experimenting on new drugs that will cause frightful hallucinations and abusive. It is going to be a weapon for war. This testing was for our own ‘government’ need. As now we are called Valmaria.”
“ Wait…no president. What happened to president Ashton?”
“ Murdered by yours truly. The world was in need for change. I am now the ruler, a king…”
“ What happened to Ethio!” I scream at him. I claw at him my hands leaving scratches through his skin. “ Ethio!”
“ Still in one piece, barely. People left starving. Helpless. Ethio is in my hands but I have plans for it. It’s a great city. Far the best.”
I whimper. I think of Violet and Luck, my friends back in our small pitiful school. Probably dead. No not probably, are dead.
“ A year? Can I leave?”
“ No, I have plans. So many. We brought you company as well. A boy, trying to steal bread from our feast for his little sisters,” the man murmured. He came so close I could see his brown hair flattened with perspiration had been graying.
He walked away, his black heels clicking. I heard the shout and groan of somebody and the scuffle of boots. I heard a cry of pain as someone was trying to move.
I closed my eyes until I heard someone thrown inside the cellar. The loud bang against concrete caused me to close my eyes tighter. I open my eyes. The boy was my age and was in probably much better shape than me. He was thin with circles under his eyes. His hair was a messy black and was over one eye. He had my pale skin and eyes, but was obviously not related in anyway. I saw him spit out some blood and awkwardly wipe his bloody cuts. His eyes softened as he saw me.
“ Hey, you steal bread?” He smugly looked at me. He motioned to his bloody arms, obviously some punishment.
“ No, my family died. They’ve been ejecting drugs into me. So I hallucinate.”
“ Wow. Everything’s fine now, right? I mean no creepy hallucinations now?”
He eyes me. “ You’re really thin. You’re too bony and look dehydrated. Luckily, they didn’t take away the bread or water I stole. You need it more than I do. “
He pulled out a slice of bread from his pocket. Clean but kind of stale. Also a bottle of water. I clutched them fast and ate them with no hesitation. I smiled, “ Thanks.”
My voice was so hoarse from so much screaming, but with lack of use still weighing it down.
“ I’m Forest,” he says smiling. He brushes back his hair. “ I think I’ve seen you before. Buying a cake for your mother at the store.”
“ Yes. I’m Everly.”
“ Everly? So, Ever, what do you say we leave this dump?” Forest says.
I only stare at the blank walls, no window, only the horrible claustrophobic cellar. Yet, he looks like he knows what he’s saying. Forest whispers, “ Wail. It works, trust me. Pretend I’m hurting you.”
I obey. “ FOREST!” I wail. “ Stop! Please, leave me alone!” I begin to sob the realest I can. “ PLEASE!”
I hear stamping of feet. “ What is going on?”
I shriek. Forest gives me a thumbs up.
I see five men’s faces glaring at Forest with anger. They thrust open the bars and glare. They pull out a whip. Horrified I stare at Forest as they lash it across his chest. He clenches his teeth and moans. “RUN EVERLY!“ he yells.
I feel my weak legs lash out and go. They scream in protest as I fun. My bare feet hit sterile ground. I search for Forest. I suddenly hear the stamping of feet. Forest came breathless, blood coming from his chest. I gasped but he only smiled. “ Worth it,” he whispered, “ now run.”
We ran side by side, blinded by the white sterile walls. “ There’s no way out!” I yelled. I glanced at Forest who was holding his teeth as blood poured from his chest. I could see the faraway look in his eyes. I knew he was going to pass out very soon if he kept running. “ Forest…”
“ Just go,” Forest said. He ran, but soon collapsed onto his knees. Adrenaline willed me to grab him. I pulled on his limp arm.
“ Forest c’mon!” I shrieked. I heard the men coming so close.
Forest gaped. “ Go, just leave me.”
“ No! I will not leave you.”
Something brought me to lift him up. I don’t know how I did it. I started running but his weight brought me down. Forest panted and crawled from my arms. He shakily got to his feet. “ Go right to the next door if I fall behind. Keep going right every turn, but once you see a clear door with trust on the edges with Do Not Enter… enter! It’s important you go in. You’ll see a rusty latter, climb up it and you’ll see light. Go up into it. I’m telling you this, because I might not make it.”
“ How do you know where to go?”
“ It’s simple, the type of building they always have a escape root disguised with Do Not Enter so the escapees don’t think that’s the right way. I can tell just the way this stupid white building is organized it’s obvious,” Forest explained.
I raised my eyebrows. “ Wow.”
He grinned. “ Yeah I know.”
Forest made it. Somehow he did. I’m glad he did or I would have gone the wrong way. He motioned right than right. We kept going. Until we saw it of course. The door was moldy and old and clear. It was impossible to tell it was a clear door with all the dirt nasty stuff on it. Forest hurriedly opened the door, which was stupidly unlocked. It was disgusting. Ugly rats skittered across the reeking floor. My nose wrinkled up as we crossed the moldy floor. Forest ran towards an old rusting latter.
I climbed fast. My heart pounded. I looked behind me to check on Forest. He wasn’t there. “ FOREST!”
I heard a horrible yell. In the darkness below the latter I couldn’t see. “ Forest!”
“ Everly!” Forest coughed from below. “ Go! Don’t worry about-” I heard a horrible sound. The sound of a bullet pulled from a gun into somebody’s flesh.
“ Forest!” I screamed.
A mangled groan motioned to him. “ It’s nothing’…” he whispered. I heard the yell of a guy as he knocked them out. I saw Forest’s figure coming up the ladder. There was a horrible trail of blood following him.
“ It’s alright Everly. They got my leg, not my heart or head.” He was dragging his left leg behind him as we climbed. He was going to bleed to death soon.
I saw light and crawled into it. I dragged Forest up, for he was unable to do it himself. I gasped as I found us sitting in light yes, but ashes. Ashes in an old abandoned alley.
“ Welcome home. To Ethio.”
I looked at Forest who was serious. His teeth clenched in pain made me nauseous.
I tore his pant leg away and gave a gasp of relief. “ It only grazed,” I said happily. I ripped my white shirt and tied it onto his leg tightly.
“ Did you care if I died?” Forest asked. “ I know you barely know me.”
“ Yes Forest, I did care. Thank you, you saved me.”
Forest smiled. He shifted his leg and pushed himself to his feet. “ We should move. The men will search here. We can go to my mother. She’ll take care of us.”
I gave Forest my support as we walked through the ashes.