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I have one green eye and one brown eye. The green eye sees truth, but the brown one sees much more. The naive see this as a most extraordinary gift. The wise know the burden I carry with me each and every day.
Getting up every morning and looking at my mother, I see her full potential. This is the power of my brown eye. Before me, with my right eye closed, I see a smartly dressed business woman with a leather briefcase, and a half-smile. She is undoubtably happy. Quicky opening my eye, I see reality: my mom in an oversized shirt and sweat pants, hair in curlers, and an apathetic expression.
“Morning Abby,” she groggily says. Seeming satisfied that she did her morning duty of acknowledging her only child, she slides back over to the couch and plops down, the sound of potato chips crunching underneath her. I put on my backpack and grab a jacket off the hook in case the fall air is bitter and head out the door. With the next step I take, my foot doesn’t hit the ground. Instead it drops into what I realize as I look down, a purple sky. Panicking, I look up to see I have lost sight of the stairs. In fact, I have lost sight of my house...my valley...this world.
All around me, the purple sky seems to be turning even more and more brilliant in hue with every passing second. The surrounding wall of violet memorizes me, and in the process, almost makes me forget I am ripping through sky at a deathly rate.
I am somersaulting through the air now, gaining speed, and finally I jolt out of my daze. My screams vibrate low in my chest, going up my throat, and filling the air around me. I am shaking now, and I can hear my heartbeat. This is it. My heart is going to explode with terror. I can see the ground now, and on it, a large white square. What is that?
“Ow!” The wind is knocked out of me. As I attempt to put more air through my lungs, I lift my head up. Slowly, the realization hits me: I have just been saved! Twenty people are surrounding me, holding the giant white sheet that I am now laying on. They are all wearing matching white pants and long-sleeved shirts. The pants have no pockets, and the shirts hang from their tiny frames, accentuating their perfect posture. Their faces are serene, but their eyes are scarily blank looking as though their minds are filled with no thoughts. I shut my right eye with curiosity. Now standing around me are twenty, proud, beaming firemen. Slowly they lower the sheet to the ground, allowing me to stand up. Before I can give as much gratitude as possible to my saviors, they turn away and begin walking in a single file line, disappearing into the woods filled with towering redwood trees.
What now? Since there is no set destination that I can seek out, I decide to just start walking. The land shows no escalation or declination as far as I can see. To pass the time, I imagine every possible reason there could be for me to be here. Going through many theories in my head, I see no other reason for me to be here other than someone has found out about my ability and wants to use it.
What feels like days later, my foot catches on a log and I trip. I flip over to my back and look up just to see the sun lowering behind the horizon. Deciding I have had enough hiking for the day, I lie down, head resting on my backpack. My body relaxes, finally giving into unconsciousness.
This is when I feel a canvas bag come over my head. Jolting back to consciousness, my heart speeds faster and I give a blood-curdling scream. My legs are now flailing and I am upside down, my entire body in the bag. My head rolls over and my neck bends in an unnatural position. I feel at least six hands lift the bag up and start walking. I can smell the damp cotton sack against my face and I begin to hear my breathing speed up. There are no noises outside, no voices, no rustling of the trees, no animals. Just pure silence.
What seems like an eternity later, I feel the steps growing slower, and finally I can feel the bag being lowered to the ground. Near my head, I feel hands untie the bag, and two more hands pulling the bag off. Slowly opening my eyes, I am too in shock to scream, to move. Surrounding me, are five women, again each wearing white. The oldest women there by at least ten years kneels down to my face.
She then whispers this: “Our master knows of your gift. She does not want you to tell us what you know. She has ears everywhere.”
At this point the shock is finally wearing off and my brain is functioning enough for me to talk. My voice cracks from being out of use for so long. “Who is your leader? How does she know? Who are you? Where are we? Who are her ears?” The questions begin spilling out, words overlapping each other, most of it coming out as nonsense.
The woman whispers, “Not now. Right now, we need you to put these clothes on.” The woman hands me a pair of white pants and a white shirt. I quickly slip into them, too afraid not to obey. “You will be able to blend in among us. Do not speak and never show any sign of emotion. This is how they know who is aware and who isn’t aware.”
“Aware of what?!” I almost yell.
“Quiet!” The woman sharply whispers. “We will explain later. Now follow us. Walk with your hands by your side and look straight ahead.”
As though the four women were given a silent command, immediately they line up. I line up after the four women, and the old woman follows behind me. I focus on looking straight ahead, mimicking the women in front of me, keeping my legs as straight as their steps, not moving my head. Not long later, we come upon seven windowless buildings, all at least twenty stories high. They are built in a perfect circle. The woman behind me whispers so softly that I think for a second that it was just my imagination. She whispers, “Straight ahead are the women’s sleeping quarters.” I nod my head a fraction of an inch to show I heard her. The first two women in the line now walk in a straight line between two buildings, straight back into the woods. My mind burns with curiosity, but I know not to ask now. The old woman walks straight through the doorway and into the first floor.
Remembering to keep an emotionless face, I hold in my gasp of shock. The cylinder-shaped building is made to look like the inside of a hollowed out tree. Everything is made of wood. Every few feet up the wall is an indent five feet wide, eight feet tall, and jutting into the wall seven feet. Within each indent is a bed. Little divots up the wall lead to the indents, serving as ladders. The woman points to what must be my bed, so I climb up the 30 or 40 feet to get to it. Once there, I see a note.
You are in grave danger. Our leader knows of your ability to see one’s potential. Though it may seem insignificant, your ability could lead to the downfall of our corrupt leader. Generations of people have been lured here and made to do her will. If you told any of us our actual potential, our leader would no longer be able to control us. Meet me in the 20th indent up from the doorway in this building.
Counting twenty indents up from the door, I begin my climb on the divots. I weave up over beds, peering in on the sleeping white-clad people inside. A few minutes later, I am just above the 20th bed. Bracing myself, I swing into the cubby, quickly standing up. Sitting on the bed, dressed in a sapphire colored dress, is a bone-chilling woman. Her translucent skin glows in the dark. She sets the lantern in her hands on the floor, never taking her icy blue eyes off of me. “You have almost caused me a great deal of trouble, Abigail,” she says in a cool tone. “If the word of your ability spread throughout my colony, my empire would crumble.” It sunk in then. She intends to kill me. “Now, you can join me or be my enemy. But I will warn you. If you will not join my ranks, you will not live to see another day.” The beautiful woman is right. I could stay here, having an entire civilization serving me. I would finally have pow- A jolt hits through me and knocks me down. This woman cannot be trusted. She has captured numerous innocent people. She needs to be stopped. I look at the woman again and see her lips form a malicious smile. Again I stand up and make my face blank of any emotion. “My abilities are open to you. I will sit at your right side,” I say. “You have made the right decision,” she says. “Let’s go.”
The woman in the sapphire dress crosses the cubby and stand at the opening, peering out. “All of these people belong to me...to us. We can build greater civilizations than ever before. We will build a bigger, better-”
The corrupt leader never finished her last sentence. Now looking over the edge, I see the woman on the floor of the building, legs curled under her.
I quickly climb down to examine the body. After confirming that she is dead, I turn around to see the old woman in tears. “The curse is broken! We will finally be able to live our lives how we want, under no one’s rule. Your bravery will be rewarded.” she happily exclaims.
“A ride home would be nice,” I say. The old woman smiles and says, “I think we can arrange that.”
The woman now leads me outside, to the courtyard between the buildings. “We are eternally grateful, Abigail. I am sure we will meet again. Now, just jump through here and you’ll be home in no time.”
I look down at the large tube going into the ground and see nothing but pure blackness. As I jump in, I think What’s the worst that can happen?