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Not Always As They Appear
Yet again I sit alone in at my desk with my journal and a pencil and I write. My stories take me everywhere from made
up worlds to simple adventures around my town. My stories were the only place where things made sense. The small
town I live in is supposed to be a paradise. Many people have been calling it that for years. Every house is perfectly
maintained, the roads were clear and I hadn’t heard of there being an accident for years, even the weather was perfect
all year round. I had spent hours playing outside with my friends because the weather was never too cold or too hot. I
truly was the perfect place for a childhood. Once you grow up to become a teenager it becomes a little dull. It was
nothing like the old videos that my parents showed me. I walk over to the window. There was shouting outside. It was
strange though. It wasn’t the usual joyous screams of the children at the park. It was like some of the screams I had
heard in the old videos but never heard in real life. Out the window I only got a glimpse of my father being pushed into a
car that I had seen in the neighborhood before. Someone was always being pushed into the back seat. I run down the
stairs. I turn the corner into the living room where my mother was standing with her back to me and her hands on the
wall. The wall was holding all of her weight. Her head was bowed. She pulls her fist back and punches a hole right into
the wall. I gasp. She had never done anything like that. she must have heard my gasp because she turned around. Her
face was red and wet. She immediately wiped her face and put her smile back on.
“Hello sweetie.” She says trying to mimic her usual cheery voice. “I was… uhh… Getting a sample of the wall. That’s why I punched it. I need it to… umm… check to see if it is sturdy enough to be in the house.”
I wouldn’t point out the fact that her statement was what the oldmovies taught me was a lie.
“Where is daddy going?”
I ask. She pauses and takes a breath as if it was hard to say. “He is going away on a business trip”
“Oh, how long?”
She takes a larger breath and is really trying to maintain her smile.
“Forever” she finally gets out. Water falls out of her eyes and on to the floor.
I ask in shock
“Why didn’t we go with him?” I could tell this was a hard question for her.
“You will understand in time Josie.” She turns around and
grabs a picture from the book shelf and hangs it over the hole in the wall. I run into my room. I suddenly felt funny. My
eyes were puffy and red and water was dripping out.
“What’s happening to me?”
I ask myself. How could my father leave me forever? My mother wouldn’t even give a proper answer. I cannot imagine life without my dad. I don’tunderstand why he wouldn’t explain first. Suddenly my television turns on. An image of my father comes on the screen.
“Hello? Are you there Josie?”
I perk up and a weight from my chest was lifted.
”Daddy, I can hear you just fine. Where are you?”
“I have too little time to explain Josie. You need to listen up because you will never hear my voice again.”
I nod understanding the new tone to his voice.
“Ok, life is a lot different than you know it. You will learn more about it in time.”
I can’t help but be annoyed with that phrase. My father continues,
“I just want you to know that I am not leaving you and your mother. I am being taken away by the government. They are going to have me executed after this transmission cuts out. I was labeled a disgrace to society. They took me away so I wouldn’t corrupt the citizens. I just want you to know that I love you.”
Men with uniforms grab my father. He tries to pull away
“tell me that you love me Josie!”
he yells still pulling away from the men
“I love you daddy”
I say as the video cuts to a black screen with red letters
that say “Please Disregard that transmission” My Face feels funny again. I lay down on my bed and let the water drip
from my eyes until I fall asleep.
I don’t wake up until the next morning. I felt heavy and tired. I barely opened my eyes until an hour after I woke up.
When I do open them I was not in my bedroom anymore. I was in a dull gray room with nothing but a bed. A voice calls
“Good morning Josie”
A door opens in the wall and a man walks through the door. “Wake up”
he says in a stern voice. I jump out of bed. I look down and realized I was in a gray jumpsuit. I look back up at the man. “Follow Me”
I do with out question. We walk down a long hallway. I think they made it longer so it was more dramatic. We get to a door
and we enter. The room was the same as the other except it had a desk. He sits me down and takes his place in front of
“It is time you learned the truth about the world we live in. We usually wait until a child is 16 but you have heard some things and you can never go back.”
He walks across the room never breaking eye contact.
“It is time that you learn the rules that make this place paradise.”
I kept my composer but my mind was going crazy.
“What kind of rules?”
I ask. His face turns into a smug grin.
“The reason we had to take your father away is because he was a disgrace to society. He began to grow sad and depressed and we needed to stop this before it spread to the citizens. We tried to isolate himand change him but in the end we had to eliminate him.”
He pauses for a moment as if waiting for a question. He was right to stop.
“What does depressed mean?”
He lets out a giggle.
“You didn’t learn about it in your parent’s old films?”
He looks me square in the eye like he was searching my brain for the answer.
“I guess not”
he replies almost disappointed. He pulls a remote out of his pocket and presses a button. An image of a man appears on the wall. His face was red like my mother’s was. It was wet too. His smile was upside down and he looked droopy.
“What’s wrong with him?”
“He is depressed. This is what it looks like.”
Something about this answer seemed unsettling but I knew that
it was the best explanation that I would get.
“My father wasn’t…. uhhh...”
“Yes. He wasn’t depressed. He was always happy and smiling” the man smirks at me again.
“That is the number one rule. Don’t let the children know the truth. Your father would have been taken away a lot sooner if he looked depressed around you.”
He pauses almost to wait for me to confirm but I remain like stone.
“In order to implant the children with the idea of perfection we allow them to see nothing but it. We tell them as teenagers to prevent rebellion.”
He hands me a sheet of paper. It said all of the rules and the punishment for them. I looked down the list to where it says littering. The punishment was death. I look him in the eye “what’s littering?”
He laughs at me again.
“This is why we don’t tell the children the truth. You are so innocent”
I look at the list again. Nudity condoned death. So did yelling at children. And being angry. Everything required death penalty. I stand up.
“This isn’t right!”
I crumble the paper and throw it across theroom.
“You can’t kill my father because you want to fill the children with lies! I refuse to follow this cruelty!”
The man’sface turned cold he grabbed my arm hard.
“I would watch yourself Josie. This kind of talk will get yourself killed”
He says in a harsh tone.
“That is why we had to take your mother too. She could not keep her composer around you. Your family was lucky that we didn’t that them because of the films.”
I ball my fist
“You took my mother?!”
I yell out.
“I would stop the yelling or we will take you away.”
I pull my fist back
“I dare you!”
I punch him square in the jaw. The door opened and 3 more men march in.
he says as he throws me on the ground. The other men all grab me as Istruggle. My strength was no match for theirs. They take me into a small gray room and push me into a chair in front of a screen.
“You have one phone call”
the one man barked leaving the room. The door slammed behind him. Without thinking I call my mother. Words pop up on the screen. They say “household terminated”. I stare in shock.I didn’t want to believe them but they had taken my entire family. The men burst in again and grab me.
“But I didn’t have my call!”
they didn’t stop taking me. I continue to struggle.
“You dialed the phone, didn’t you?”
They didn’t speak another wordto me, I was just drug into yet another dull room and shoved into another chair, this time I was strapped down. They hand me a pill and they pulled out a gun. ”It’s your choice. You have 30 seconds to take the pill”
I rub the small pill in my fingers. I raise it to my lips but I don’t put it in my mouth. The time was winding down. I throw it in my mouth but Ican’t bring myself to swallow it. I take a deep breathe saying goodbye to the world. The man tells me I have ten seconds.I swallow the pill and down my throat it went. The man pulls the gun away.
“The pill will kick in two minutes. It will kill you in ten.”
He says as he turns to one of the other men. They both leave me alone in the room to die. I was too afraid to even try to move. My feet suddenly felt funny. They tickled and stung both at the same time. I look down and thousands of tiny fire ants were climbing and biting my feet. I scream and kick my legs but not a single one comes off. The door opens but I was too occupied with the ants to look. My hands couldn’t reach my feet to brush them off. I look back up and facing the wall was a woman wearing a long black dress. There was no breeze but the light material flowed any way. She was tall but skinny and her dress covered her so no skin showed in the back. “Help me” I say almost in tears. She turns her head slowly and then her body followed just as slow. Her head was bowed so I couldn’t see her face.
I cry again. She looks up at me. She had to eyes but thick, dark blood dripped from her eye sockets. Her skin was dry and cracked and her lips had black lipstick on them. I suddenly forget about the ants.
“Of course Josie”
the woman says in a calm voice. She doesn’t move though.
“Of course Josie”
She calls again in the same high pitch voice turning her head sideways.
“Of course Josie”
she calls yet again this time taking a step towards me.
“Of Course Josie”
She calls her voice deeper this time. She takes another step and she was directly in front of me now.
“Of course Josie”
she calls again wrapping her cold fingers around my neck her voice was even deeper and scratchy. “Of course Josie” she
said tightening her grip on my throat. Her voice was now demonic. I close my eyes gasping for air. Suddenly shedisappeared and I was in the room alone, still gasping for air. Each breathe became more difficult than the last.Eventually I lay my head back and let the world fad away from me as my eye lids lowered I murmur my last words just before the world turned to blackness
“This… is what… I think of… paradise.”
The life slowly drains out of me and theworld became cold and dark.
Suddenly I stand up still cold as ever but it wasn’t dark anymore. In fact it was very bright. I look around. I wasn’t in thegray room any more. The walls were white and far apart. There were beds every 8 feet along the walls and quite a few
were covered by a curtain. I see a man in a white lab coat walk past me. He was a doctor and I was in a hospital. My eyesturn to a bed that was right in front of me. It was weird that I didn’t notice it considering there was a lot of yelling. There
were three doctors standing over a patient. They were preforming CPR and the one doctor had a set of paddles which
belonged to the defibrillator. A family was standing a couple of feet away from the bed crying. I look harder at the
family. It was mom, and Dad, and my aunt. I yell to them but no sound would come out of my mouth. The doctors stop
CPR and back away. I look at the patient. It was me! I look at my family who began to cry harder. Other than that there
was only the sound of my flat lined monitor with its lifeless beeeeeeeeeep.