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The world was not this world, but was this world. Religion was not the same, but rather the same. Everyone was either the same religion, or not religious at all. Because of this split the Utopian Alliance made a decree when I was eighteen that separated the two groups. This made sure that no battles would be created now that the world was to be pure. That meant that the religious were not allowed to fall in love with the non-religious.
I was standing outside the beaten and worn down walls of what had once been the Holy Roman Empire upon the planet that had once been Earth. No one was supposed to be standing upon the Earth anymore, seeing as it was considered un-pure for the religious fanatics. The sun was just above me and made my shadow hide beneath me while I died of heat. I was here to meet someone, but he was nowhere to be seen.
The note that had brought me here had arrived weeks ago, along with an apple that made me remember of the days where the schools had not been split yet:
I had met a man there that had been of the non-religious faction. His dark sapphire-like eyes, pale white skin, and dirty blond hair had stood out among his dark haired, brown eyed friends.
“Here have an apple,” he had said when he had caught my gaze upon him. “They say it’s the forbidden fruit of knowledge that the religious fanatics hate.”
It was more than just a forbidden fruit which was offering me. Feeling insulted, I turned away from the apple and stalked off. An apple meant that he wanted to be with me in ways that were not appropriate for one of my kind. I looked back at him angrily to show my distaste for him, only to find that he was looking at me with confusion. He did not seem to know what he had been offering me. My anger had instantly disappeared. It was too late to talk though. He walked away before I could even apologize for my rudeness.
I had been coming down from the celestial cities every day since the not had arrived to meet the person that had given me the note. All it had said was: meet at the gates of the Holy Roman Empire of old at noon. I’ll see you there soon.
Of course soon must have meant never. The person that had sent me the note was never there. In fact, he might have been making fun of me. Or maybe he was rude and had decided he wouldn’t go. It reminded me of another time in High School when I hadn’t been very punctual myself:
I was running late for class, and was sure to be in trouble for it. I had a huge pile of papers in my arms, balance so that they wouldn’t fall, that didn’t allow me to see. I knew the hallways though, and was sure that I wouldn’t get lost. Of course I didn’t think I would crash with someone going the opposite way while I rounded the corner. We both knelt on the ground, rushing to pick up the papers.
“I’m so sorry, I didn’t-” a man started but stopped.
I looked up from the papers and looked at the person helping me. It seemed that he had stopped talking because he had seen me. Then I noticed that he was the one that had offered me the apple the other day. His crystal clear eyes looked at me the way a person would look at an enemy. He must have learned that I was a member of the Religious Order.
“I’m sorry about the other day, and for crashing into you,” I said.
That snapped him out of it. He smiled at me, but still didn’t seem to like me.
“I don’t think you were capable of watching me. Therefore I am the one that is sorry. Now excuse me, I am late for class and I have already lost .25 attendance credits.”
He stood up and left me to pick up my papers alone as the bell for class rang.
I smiled as I remembered the way I had watched him as he walked away, the way I couldn’t keep my eyes off him. He was so good looking, and seemed to be the type that let his emotions show more than his thoughts. I had met him again, that same day, when I had gone out with my friends to watch the sunset from the edge of the city. It was the only time the police allowed anyone to be close to the drop without someone watching.
Me and my three girlfriends laughed as the police let us through to the edge. He had asked for the oldest of the group’s number. It was funny because not many police officers would have the courage to ask the police chief’s daughter for her number.
We sat on the floor of the edge of the drop and wrapped our arms around the bars so that we wouldn’t fall. We heard someone come up behind us and stop a couple of feet away. I didn’t care to look back as my friends did. My eyes were glued to the sun as it met with the planet, creating the most romantic shade of pink, red and orange.
“I wish people were as easy to understand as a sunset,” I sighed.
“Isn’t that the guy that offered you the apple?”
I looked away from the sunset for a moment to look back. I froze. It was the guy that had offered me the apple, and instead of looking at the sunset, his icy blue eyes seemed to melt on me. Yet his face showed nothing of the emotions that were reflected in his eyes. They showed none of the lust I was sure he was hiding. I also felt that he wanted to talk to me.
“I’ll be right back,” I told my friends.
I stood up and walked over to him. I expected him to walk towards me as well, but he just stayed put. He even scooted away from me as I stopped two steps away.
“Are you following me?” I asked.
He shook his head and motioned the sunset behind me.
“I come here every day to calm down and watch one of the most beautiful occurrences of the world. I was actually surprised to see you in my usual spot,” he said. “I was thinking about you actually,” he added.
“Really?” I asked. “Why?”
He took hold of my hand and kissed it the way a gentleman would have done during the time of kings. I felt myself blush, but didn’t pull away. It was sweet of him, if not daring.
“I’m sorry for not helping you. I feel like such a jerk.”
“You’re fine, you were in a predicament. One of the Religious Order, such as myself, is taught not to feel anger towards the people that hurt you unintentionally.”
“Pfft, the Religious Order. What’s so good about your God? He isn’t the one that keeps the floating city in the sky. It’s my people’s science that does that. Of course, Dante, the great daughter of the Head Priest wouldn’t think like that.”
He knew who I was? That meant that he had done some research on me. That was an unfair advantage. What made an Atheist think he could make condescending remarks about God? It made me wonder if this guy was a gentleman, or the lowest of the low.
“If you’re going to bring in my status, then I must know who you are to speak to me in such a manner?”
He laughed and released my hand only to scoop me up in his arms. I made a surprised sound, and then screamed.
“I see the lady has been upset,” he said. “Yet she has chosen to acknowledge the threat to her position. Shall we take her to a hideaway and tell her some secrets?”
“What are you-? No! Let me down,” I shouted.
“Okay, I’ll take that as a yes.”
He looked over to the edge and judged the distance between him and the edge. Then he judged the distance between him and the police officer that was now coming to see what was going on. He began to run towards the edge before I could fight or even protest. I screamed as he jumped over the edge. I closed my eyes.
We had ended up on the underside of the floating city, a portion that the Religious Order had not known about. There, I had been taken hostage by the very frightening and charming Atheist, and had learned a lot about him.
His name had been Vincent, and he had been studying the ways of the Religious Order so that his people could have a better time understanding each other during political conferences. He had kidnapped me so that he could learn things that he could not learn while he was in school. For three long months, I had taught him the ways of the Religious Order, and slowly fallen in love. Our parting had been the most painful thing in the world.
“I love you,” I said.
He hugged me within his warm arms as he took me back to the topside of the city through an elevator that led to the Atheist Society's main lab.
“I love you too, but we can’t be together,” he murmured.
“We could if you converted to the Religious Order.”
He pushed me away and held me at arms length.
"Why don't you become a member of the Athiest Society?"
"You know I can't Vincent. My father would kill himself if he thought he had bred a non-religious member of civilization. I'm in line to become the next Head Priest as well, I couldn't do that to my society."
"Your society? Do you love your society more than me? Why should you even care what your society says about you?"
We arrived at the lab and took a step out of the elevator.
"At least I know what's stopping me. Why can't you become a Religious?!"
"Because I would never become one, not even for you!"
He seemed to regret the words as soon as he said them, but I didn't care. He didn't love me as much as I thought, that was obvious. At least he was honest, I thought as I turned and stomped away.
"I'm sorry Dante, I didn't mean it!" he called to me.
I never turned back.
I regretted that day so much. It was a day I wish I could have done all over. If I had stayed and talked to Vincent I'm sure we could have worked something out. Because of my encounter with him I had become a Neutral Member, one of three in the entire world, and lost my position as next Head Priest. Yet it had allowed me the chance to marry anyone I wanted, so long as I converted into their order.
In fact I was hoping beyond hope that the person that had sent me the note was Vincent. It had come with an apple for God's sake! Only he would have thought of that. Yet in my heart I felt that it wasn't Vincent. The note paper was of the kind the Religious leaders used. There was no way Vincent would have become a Religious, let alone a Religious leader. He had said so himself.
Then came a carrier ship that brought down people from New Rome. I watched expectantly as it set upon the ground and allowed its passenger to get off. Then my heart sank. The person was wearing the white gown of a Religious Order Priest. Upon his head was a small cap that didn't allow me to see the color of his hair, and his face was covered with a veil that made it impossible to see what he looked like as well. It was a stranger.
"Sorry for being so late."
The priest removed his veil to reveal a pair of radiant cyan colored eyes. It was Vincent!
I looked at him shocked that he had become a Priest. He seemed shocked that I had become a Neutral Member. Both of us noticed what the other had lost. But then the shock slowly faded away, an we both smiled.