Catalyst: Aden Rose

June 10, 2008
By Arielle Henry, Houston, TX

The excitement, the rush-adrenaline pumping-nothing feels so addicting than living on edge. Aden Rose's life is a living example of that feeling. Her life, twenty-four hours and seven days a week, breathes adrenaline; but with such excitement, danger is sure to follow. A risk Aden is willing to take.

On a moonlit night, no clouds or stars present, only one sound can be heard. The sound of a motorcycle, breaking through the speed barrier, whispering to the wind behind, but nothing can complain. Only an empty city, a training field perhaps, for one individual to play within.

The coughs from the motorcycle's engine scream in agony, it needs repairs; the owner is aware, of course, but can not fix her beloved machine until she finds the part it needs to survive. A girl, the rider, is no older than 19 years. She, alone, is the only source of population within this ghost-city. Left behind, at the age of 17 years, this girl survived many great odds-from easy to dangerous-she, alone, survived.

Soon after searching around the ghost-city this girl calls home, she found the part she needed to aid her helpful machine, her companion. The dark night soon grew darker causing a familiar sound to ring from the clock tower, signaling a certain time. "Looks like it's time to go home." The girl says, only for no one to hear. She hopes her friend, the mechanical device, can make it in time. The screams can be heard, louder than before, but, now, screeches sound in the background. "Come on. Come on!" She pushes her friend further. "Go faster. Go faster!" She says to it. Her friend screams louder than before, but eventually speeds up to a steady 150 mph. The screeches can still be heard. Closer, closer, and closer the screeches sound. Although the screeches do not sound in pain, the girl knows they are in agony. A single tear escapes her hazel eye.

It was in this city that her family used to live, a happy carefree life. Her father, a business man-the CEO of a large international company; her mother, a business woman-a spokeswoman for a fashion industry, and a model for a company many women can only dream for an interview; her older brother-a business man, as well, who works with their father; her younger brother-the top student at an elite grade school; her baby sister-the cutest little thing you could ever lay eyes on; and her...herself...a loving, as well as loved, daughter and sister who worked alongside her mother. Unfortunately, that past life is only a memory-a dream-never to return again.

What happened to her family she does not know. One minute she was sleeping on a bench behind her brothers school, waiting for him to call it quits for the day, the next...well...the next she woke up to find nothing. No life whatsoever; the city streets burned to a crisp, and her once called home-an apartment building, of which her family owned 2 floors-looked now like a pile of rubble and dust. She walked along the streets; looking...looking for anyone or anything...something that could explain what had happened. At last she found something...

Her friend started to cough violently, slowing down. "No! Come on...please speed up! Go...just go!" She yelled over the screaming coughs that echoed from that mechanical device, but to no use; the harsh machinery quit...right there in the middle of the ashy road. Her hands shook on the handle bars as the motorcycle just stood there; its life now gone. She lowered her head, tears escaping and running rivers down her face, landing on her dead friend. The tears of sorrow and agony shed onto the cold metal of her once moving friend slid downwards dropping on the ashy road birthing a small puddle of mud. The screeches could be heard better, they were gaining on Aden Rose. Aden’s head shot up, determination covered every inch of her features, no longer did her hands shake; she was going to…no, she will survive.

At last she found looked like a small boy. His looks, however, scared her completely. His hair was gone, it looked like he was burnt all over his body, but there were no scorch marks. His skin looked a bit pale, a discolored tint-an abnormal tint-and he was all curled up in a ball. It seemed he was protecting himself from something; he was shaking too. Such an action indicated to Aden that he was indeed alive. Upon this sight, Aden said the first thing that came to her mind. "Don't worry...” she said as she reached out to his shoulder to help him stand up. "...I won't harm you.” Aden continued, “Could you possible tell me what happened here?” The shaking boy slapped her hand away and said, "Don't touch me...go...go away! Save yourself!” Confused at his remark and instant reaction, she stayed and asked him again what had happened to the city; it's not like she had better things to do or anywhere else to go. Instead of his last remark, this time, she got a straight answer. "There was an explosion...a bomb of some sorts. It hit miles away from here, but...still caused damage...” She immediately recalled feeling an earthquake when she was painting her nails with her friend. A tear formed upon the thought of her friend. Her friend, Bonnie, she had found in the kitchen...burnt to a crisp; a statue of ash. "...and there was a gas...” her thoughts returned back to the boy, his shaking started to die down. "...a gas that hazed through the burned bad...people...the people screamed...” The boy's shaking started up again, worse than before. "...the people started to change...” His skin started to boil underneath the sun's rays. "...there were sounds...horrible sounds...” The boy started to cough, vomiting blood in the process. " long nails against a chalk board...” The boy's body violently twitched. "...I watched as my parents changed...I didn't know what was going on...” The girl stood there watching in horror as the boy started to change; he stopped talking, and screeched...just like he described-long nails against a chalk board. "...then they...they...killed me.” The boy then jumped at the girl, but she stepped back to dodge his attack; at that time the sun emerged from behind her, blinding the boy and burning his skin. Her head had been blocking most of the sunlight, and when she had dodged the sun had showed its true self. She watched as the boy screeched and burned into ash. A vivid nightmare that will haunt her for eternity. That was the day she changed; the day she decided to...survive.

The screeches neared the corner as she got off her bike, ready for the attack. Aden, determination engulfing her very essence giving off a confident glow, gripped her guns on either side of her body; she was ready...ready to kill those haunting screeches. Her tensed figure stood straight as she stared off to the end of that ashy road where the owners of the harsh screeches would be in a matter of seconds. Aden’s mind took a turn for the worst when she saw those screech owners come into view, she recalled past memories; the happy memories of her and her family. Her thoughts invaded by those smiling faces of those she loved since her birth, her determination as well as concentration faded away quickly. Aden’s strength to survive died as she saw the owners of those harsh screams: her family.

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