The Consequence of Love This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

April 19, 2017
By , Albuquerque, NM

Flattened grass trailed the pair as they trekked through the ruins. Phantoms whispered in the autumn breeze, making the pair walk just a bit closer. Above them towered large metal structures. The history books said that they were one called Roller Coasters and were used for entertainment, but it was beyond their comprehension that any human could subject their bodies to such terror. Pushing large leaves and vines away, they crept under their hiding spot.

They were an odd pair. It was unheard of for two young people of different genders to spend time together. Inter-gender relationships were discouraged and often pointless since all marriages were arranged, and all activities were separate. But the two found great pleasure in the company of the other. Although neither had experienced such strong feelings for anything before, they believed that it might have been the resurfacing of a feeling that was long gone. Love.

In school, they were taught that love was a weakness and that is why it had been weeded out of the gene pool, through careful selective breeding by scientists during the Last War. Love had caused the war. So love had to be extinguished. Scientists had removed the part of the brain from 50 individuals that felt love. They altered the DNA so that the gene could not be passed on, and that is what they repopulated the earth with.

Now all was peaceful, and to prevent any mutant feeling to arise, males and females were kept separate.

Marriage was simply for reproductive purposes, and men and women were kept separate, to prevent it from being more.

But looking into each other’s eyes, these two knew that they felt love. They snuck away once a week to meet together and plan. They were making a plan to run away. In the abandoned park with the large steel monsters, they found peace, and they could be alone.

The boy reached out and played with the thin blonde hair of the petite girl next to him. She smiled into his warm brown eyes. They were going to run away in exactly one month. They had to, because the inspectors were getting suspicious.
The inspectors were in charge of keeping the genders separate. The girl’s father was an inspector which further complicated their already difficult relationship. They also had to run away, because the boy was turning 20, which meant that he was an adult and would be paired with a female in the next few weeks.
As the sun set, and the air cooled, the large round structure above their heads settled with loud moans and creaks. Sighing, the girl stood up and turned away from the boy. Quizzically he followed suit and wrapped his arms around her, his tall frame releasing warmth into her thin body. He kissed the top of her head and she turned to look at him. She grinned and took his hand, pulling him along as she skipped to the center of the park.
Shadows crept over the tall wooden structure. This monument of the past was her favorite. It was so beautiful but it was dangerous. Whenever a rain or a strong breeze beat against it, paint and chips of wood silently fell into the underbrush. But the structure still stood. She looked into his eyes before beginning the ascent up the metal railings of the steep incline that had once caused shrieks of pleasure and joy.

Laughing, the boy followed her up, stopping every few feet to look at her. He enjoyed the way she looked, but was more concerned for her feelings. He didn’t want her to get hurt, and he didn’t want her to fall. He was ready, should she fall. She reached the top of the structure, and looked out over the sea of steel and green. Slowly, the boy joined her and took her hand in his.

Standing there together, they were both thinking of the future and their plans, dreaming of the day that they would not have to worry again about what might happen. Dreaming of the day that the two of them could be together forever. The boy looked down at the girl. He longed for that day. He longed for the touch of her lips, and the ever constant warmth of her soul.

Laws were all that kept them apart. Not only were they not supposed to feel what they did for each other, but they would have no chance of being together in a pairing because of their three year age difference. They had never more than embraced for fear of being found out. Saliva tests were taken daily to ensure that expressions of love were not occurring. But the pair still longed, and they still hoped.

The night continued to darken and the stars began to peep out. A night breeze began to whisper again, the ghosts of the park making themselves heard through the rustling of the wind and the groaning of the ancient structures. A small shiver passed through the girl and she stepped into the welcoming embrace of her love. She smiled to herself as she inhaled the smell that clung to his shirt.

Creaking and groaning of the structure caused the arms around her to tighten. The boy could see the falling wood on either side of them. He let her go, but forced her to keep her eyes on him. Slowly, the creaking, cracking and rustling in the brush below increased. As she became aware of it, the boy ducked his head and gently pressed their lips together, and embraced her. She jerked away, in shock, and stepped back.

As her foot hit the wooden structures edge, she fell with the beams. As she fell she saw the boy fall through the rotted wood beneath his feet. They locked eyes and a single tear slipped from his eye. She gasped, and hit the ground, the life being instantly knocked from her. The boy thudded next to her. With his last breath, he gently placed his hand in hers, and stared at the stars as he exhaled.

All around their bodies, the structure fell. The whispers of the ghosts continued, as they watched the two dead lovers be covered. They sang through the leaves of the park. Singing the song of a consequence. The consequence of love.

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