July 23, 2009
Acadia just sat, staring with glossy eyes at the world beyond. There was nothing really to see; just bare desert landscape covered with hair pin cracks. The world was depressing, revealing no other source of life. That is except for the inhabitants of this lonely landscape. These people were Acadia’s family. She lived with her brother, Archer, and her parents and baby sister. The ground around their tiny little dwelling made of thin sheets of metal seemed to pulse with life, with energy, just waiting to unleash and bring that desert to life. However, on this day, the horizon was normal and lifeless. The gray sky was textured like a sheet of paper oozing with watercolor, while the ground was almost water deprived.

In truth, that was what the whole life Acadia had known. Color was non-existent in this hollow place. Everything was some shade of gray, even the silhouettes of her family. Even the humans did not have any color to them; each was just a black shape that the eye had to look upon. There was not a single piece of scenery in the entire area. All had been thankfully savored by her family many years ago.

“Papa, you know that Amira is sick!” shouted a voice from the house. Acadia perked her ears. It was the voice of Archer. He was tall, or at least by her account; you could never tell unless by height. However, she guessed that he was around the age of 18 or so, like her. This information, silently, she kept secret, for it was forbidden to speak it. If any age was spoken, a beating would follow not long after.

Acadia shivered. This place cut into her heart like a knife. Its dullness enveloped her, striping her of all emotion. If she was forced to live here any longer, she was sure that insanity would soon strike the family like a plague…

“Archer, you know why we can’t feed her any more food. We are in short supply as it is!”

“But there has to be a way to save her! We can’t just let her die! Surely there is more food farther out in the land?”

The shouting suddenly evaporated and became clammy, like the water deprived land. Acadia turned away and let her eyes wander earnestly across the horizon once again. Shouting seemed quite normal by now; this feud about water supply and food had been going on for some time now. She did not know exactly how long: perhaps days? Weeks? Months? Maybe even a year? It did not matter either way. They were hungry, and her parents were starting to become more desperate than ever. To top it all off, Amira, the baby, was becoming sick and crying for food all night long.

With a long last glance, Acadia silently padded back to the metal dwelling. It was of an unusual shape, like that of almost an impartial cross. To the right were the remains of broken metal and debris, as if from some other world long ago. Shaking out all of the thoughts swirling idly in her head, Acadia let her gaze wander to the small pool of rainwater left; their water supply. The water rippled, as if brushed by invisible fingers gently across its surface, forming waves in the glassy surface that reminded her of the land that gripped her family. Acadia’s mouth felt parched, almost as parched enough to have her insides become cracked from water deprivation. Oh, how she longed to just sit and drink in all of the water, that glorious water that would bring her back to her senses and help clear her straying thoughts. However, it was inevitable that with this little water, there was no way all five of them would be able to drink until they were satisfied. This was the time they were to watch and wait, wait for the rain or until some other walk of life appeared.

It took all of her energy to pull herself away from the water lapping against the pool and turned to the even smaller food supply. It consisted of the outstanding variety of dead plants and bulky weeds covered in sand in dirt. Personally, Acadia hated those things more than anything, but she was not the one to complain; for when you are hungry, you will eat practically anything…

In that single moment, a voice called her name above the wind. It howled, consisting of four short clicks. Ac-a-di-a. It almost sounded like a foreign instrument, being played by some invisible player in a faraway city. It was like the noise of that instrument when it is being tuned to perfection, where it can play its greatest wonders known to the ear and the heart.

However, any more thought would probably end in ill. Acadia ran to the house, where the silhouette of her mother stood towering over her. “There you are!” she hissed. “I have been looking everywhere for you!”

Acadia did not respond. Mama let out a sigh. “Will you please stop crawling and cowering on the floor like that? Even Amira was toddling around on her feet a few days ago like a normal human being, while you just lie there without a worry in the world!”

Acadia nodded in reply. She knew all too well what the next answer was going to be out of Mama’s mouth: something like ‘Honey, I really wish you would answer me when I am speaking to you,’ or ‘Oh, how I really wish I could see you respond.’ The truth was, Acadia had never spoken a word to her family in her entire life. The words that they had taught her when she was younger formed in her heart, and were spoken to her mind. Those words were then transported to the tip of her tongue, but then that was where the process had its problem. No matter how hard she tried, the words just could not be spoken out loud. She was considered mute in her family. However, although it did seem like this and the conversations before had alluded to cruelty, there was love and compassion underneath the pain, Acadia could sense it.

Mama shook her head, however, and did not say anything. “Well, Acadia, here is your supper.”

A tiny plate with three sandy weeds was placed neatly in a stack beside her. “If I could, I would give all of you piles of gourmet food like sirloin steak or grilled salmon, but this is the best we can do right now.”

There was a pause. “Acadia, would you do something for me? Can you please go out a ways into the desert and see if you can spot anything to eat? I know we have looked probably a billion times, but I swear that I had seen some gray clump by the debris yesterday.”

Like a bolt of black lightning, Acadia’s silhouette disappeared to the outdoors. It seemed like this was to be another boring chore, but this was what was to change her fate forever…

It was that pulse, that energy, near the house that seemed to draw Acadia in to a dawning world. She climbed tediously over metal slabs and rocks until she suddenly just stood, planted to the spot. She could not escape; her limbs were ebbed of all strength. The only strength left was in her eyes. She gazed at the rocks, as if expecting something spectacular to be waiting just on the other side. Before her mind had time to react, her body seemed to come to life with new energy. She grabbed the dirt and starting digging with a vengeance that she had never possessed before in her entire life. Years of dullness, years of fatigue to slip from her body like raindrops. Her digging became more furious until the grayed dirt was becoming like a sandstorm. The debris flung in her face, stinging her eyes and pelting her limbs. However, none of this mattered. This action was like instinct. She knew somewhere, deep in her heart, there was something of importance just out of reach.
Then, when her sanity was starting to take her in, it happened. She hit something. It was neither the heavy and bulky feeling of the rocks around her nor the feeling of weightlessness like the food she ate. This thing was light, airy, and easy to carry. It was a mixture of both elements, of both hard and light. Within seconds, time seemed to unravel and memories unfurl as it reached the surface.
Many years later, Acadia described it not as a texture, but a color. A glorious color, not with a single inch of gray in it. Yet it was more than a color; it was a hunger, a hunger even stronger than the hunger in Acadia’s stomach. It was the hunger for knowledge. However, with every second of staring at the object, Acadia’s memories spilled out of her mind like a rock slide as the gray fog in her head started to clear. Everything was becoming more vibrant, more distinct. The world was no longer a gray haze; it was coming back to life with the wonderful hues of the object by her feet. There were millions of dazzling pieces of light, illuminating the rocks: the colors of azure, of velvet, of amethyst, of emerald. More colors, more hues, more textures. With each second, more and more was being revealed, just like the memories that had been locked in a cage for all those years.
Acadia felt as though she could breathe in the color. It was honey to her eyes, soothing them and giving her one thing she had never felt in this place: contentment. The vibrancy could do that; it captivated her, comforted her. And then the light. It splayed across the abandoned cracks of the desert with a warm brilliance all of its own. Acadia smiled. The memory of the object beside her had emerged. It was a lantern. A lantern from the crash. The plane crash that had happened many years ago.
Everything was falling into place. Her home was not a house at all; it was a crash site from some long forgotten voyage to a nice little city by the ocean. However, the crash had NOT been forgotten. They had all been survivors of it: Mama, Papa, and Archer. Amira had been born only a few months after the crash. The humans had been looking for survivors from the crash, as if in a frantic attempt to save a life. Little did they know that they were the only ones, the only three that had survived. Everyone else had died instantly.
On the other hand, that meant that Acadia had never been on that plane. She used the lantern to reflect off of the tiny pool that had erupted beneath it. Acadia crouched over it in amazement. She was staring back at who she had known she was all along: a lioness. Yes, she was a creature of the wild, covered in beautiful golden fur and rounded ears. She had claws, and ‘crawled’ on four feet all day long. She was a meat-eater, a carnivore. She let out a growl. Oh, how she wished her foster family could understand her. She tried so hard to gain their trust, to try to break the language barrier. However, she knew it was never meant to be. Over the course of the years, she had been accepted, been loved by the humans that had taken her in, figuring that she was one mute survivor from the crash.
They had looked at her silhouette for all these years and had not known. At times, they had gazed at her, thinking that their eyes were playing tricks on them, and that their little Acadia did not have a long furry tail. She had been beaten once or twice before, but it was out of discipline, out of love for their ‘child’. None of them could have imagined how a lion cub could have shown up at their crash site the same day as that horrible day.
You are probably asking the same question, yes? Acadia closed her eyes, to remember her past, the pain, the horror, the fortune that bestowed her…
It was the pride. They were in the same predicament as the humans are at this very moment: short of food, water, and yearning to see the light of day. The grey skies were starting to become dull and plain, while the ground was nothing even close to a provider. They were searching for meat, a decent meal. However, they had known from the beginning that there was definitely not going to be enough food for all of the mouths to feed, so they abandoned her: Acadia. They abandoned her in the lonely desert, the same exact place that was to be a crash site and a home only a few hours later.
A distant roar interrupted Acadia’s thoughts. She lifted her nose to the air, scenting for intruders. The truth lodged itself in her throat with more pain than her past: it was the pride, her cruel family. They were stalking in the direction of the plane, where her human family was now innocently pining over the meager food pile. Horror intertwined itself into her thoughts. How could she stand back and let her family die?
It was the battle of sides. She knew she had to make the choice: was she to side with the pride, her real family, or her foster family, the humans? The issue practically tore her heart to shreds. Her stomach was about to tear her insides apart with hunger, while her heart pained for the love of the humans.
Whatever her choice, Acadia had to act soon. She grabbed the lantern in her jaws and started running at a speedy gallop towards the metal dwelling. Within each step, the world in her paw prints seemed to come to life with color, growing with plant life and small insects. Even a bluebird landed lazily on her head, calmly maintaining balance between her ears. The ground beneath her became a blur, as she ran faster, faster, at a greater speed covering a greater distance. The looming shape of the plane became dramatically closer with each step. Her heart beat faster than that of the wind that was howling in her ears.
At this present moment, even the sky itself is regaining its color, its definition. It became a brilliant sunset, honed together by many colors and shades. However, Acadia did not have the time to gaze lovingly at the sky; she had a family to save. After what felt like an eternity, Acadia bounded with light feet into the dwelling. It was a madhouse. Chaos had been unleashed within those metal walls, tearing all peace apart. Her foster family was surrounded by open jaws and sinister growls. Even Acadia’s belly started rumbling in unison. Before she could stop herself, she let out a hungry growl as well. Instinct was starting to take over her body again, and it was telling her to eat to survive.
Her foster parents recognized her immediately. Mama gave a shriek, while Papa quickly tried to calm down a wailing Amira. Acadia lowered her eyes with shame. She could not do this to the humans, who had spared her life all of these years. Even when she had been hungry or angry, they had always kept and comforted her, even if she was something of the wild. She could not go back on her promise to them. With a roar, Acadia back-fired her attack, even against the will of her stomach. She charged, claws unsheathed, at the pride. It was a vain attempt to stop the peace, but she bleakly accepted it. Deep within her heart, she knew that she was to die.
However, that was when the strangest thing happened. The lantern that had been between her teeth dropped to the floor. Time seemed to slow as it landed with a clunk. Strangely enough, the second it hit the floor, the entire desert seemed to come back to life. Color was restored; in the plane, the desert, even the humans. The pride, however, was not so lucky. The second the vibrancy struck their pelts, they disappeared into thin air. All that was left was their roars across the newly awakened jungle.

Join the Discussion

This article has 20 comments. Post your own now!

Bandana56 said...
Jan. 11, 2012 at 7:32 pm
I really enjoyed this. Your use of descriptive words comes of quite well. A job well done through and through.
leafy This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 10, 2011 at 12:32 pm
the descriptions and the idea are wonderful and creative, but from the transitions are a bit fuzzy. that, and the ending super-sudden
Jul. 19, 2011 at 2:30 pm
I love it! Absolutley amazing , descriptions were good , it felt like I was there with the characters!
harrypothead said...
Nov. 19, 2010 at 9:30 am
very nice peice of writing.  I was very impressed by the amazing descriptions and use of literary devices.  You definitely kept me wanting to read more.  Keep up the great work!
Blue4 said...
Aug. 23, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Amazing story, I cannot come up with a good enough adjective to describe it! Everything perfect!

By the way, would someone read some of my stories, rate, and critisize? I'd appreciate it.

TheRoseAutumn said...
Jul. 30, 2010 at 9:50 pm
Wonderful job! I love your use of description, and your ending was absolutely beautiful.
Eilatan This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 10, 2010 at 8:12 am
I like this a lot. how can it only have 13/14 comments? it's so good!
Megaphone1927 said...
Jun. 25, 2010 at 11:43 pm
Geez, I'm impressed. The ending was so nicely intense. It was truly incredible.
thatguy said...
May 4, 2010 at 8:09 am
Cool story bro
FussyCashew said...
Apr. 13, 2010 at 7:28 pm
This was really good! I loved the ending, although it could have been longer. But one fault -just being critic here- is that the transitions where a little blury, but that might have been what you where going for.
BleedingRose said...
Mar. 21, 2010 at 10:03 am
OMG! This is definitely one of my favorite stories ever on teen ink! I love your descriptions! Absolutely amazing, you're so talented! Keep writing! Would you mind commenting on some of my work? (missing identity) Thanks!
T3on0y said...
Jan. 15, 2010 at 1:16 pm
Michaela S. replied...
Jan. 15, 2010 at 1:19 pm
Thanks! If you liked this one so much, you should probably check out my other articles on this cite :)
Tangnefedd said...
Nov. 10, 2009 at 7:10 pm
I really appreciated the fascinating world that you brought to life in this story...and your imagery and ideas are captivating. In a reader I want more!
At times I felt a little bit lost (especially when Acadia becomes a lioness, or rediscovers herself)...transitions and perhaps fleshing out the backstory of the crash could help.
Also, the ending wrapped up very quickly, maybe a little too quickly (a lot of concluding information about the lantern and its effects was deliv... (more »)
Michaela S. replied...
Nov. 11, 2009 at 10:48 am
Thank you so much for commenting! Yes, I can really see where you are going with the ending. I'll definitely keep that in mind in future writing pieces. Thanks again!
RLJoy This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 19, 2009 at 12:22 am
this was written very well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 your an amazing writer.
Lostinbooks This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 5, 2009 at 12:15 am
Nice job...It sounds very mature and your choice of words helps add to the effect. There were a few spots where transitions felt a little rough, or words didn't quite fit, but overall, this was really impressive. Kept me reading!
karywashere said...
Jul. 30, 2009 at 4:04 pm
idk i like both of them i cant decide wich one i like better :DDD good job! :]]
Frank1 said...
Jul. 28, 2009 at 5:33 pm
This story shows quite a maturity for a teen ager, and is as good as any professional writer I have read.
Michaela S. said...
Jul. 27, 2009 at 1:35 pm
If you read this story, please please comment!!! Thanks!
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