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My brain woke up and my heart felt like it was going to jump right out of my chest. I realized it was my alarm clock. I pressed snooze. My whole body felt like it had hibernated for the winter. My limbs were tense and I had to rub my eyes a couple times to get rid of all the blurriness. I desired to say "five more minutes" aloud to make that huge blue alarm clock set for that long so I could sleep more, but after I considered it, I remembered why my clock was set for five o'clock this morning. My great great grandma Rose's journal. This universe had evolved so much since she lived. She writes in a pretty much foreign way to everyone now; cursive. I think it's just wondrous. the way the letters twirl and twist in that flowing, gracious way. Her way of life is so different from mine and it fascinates me when I read about the green trees that lined around her house. Can you just imagine? Green trees. What an unexpected but wonderful color for something like that. It's not that I don't appreciate this planet's colorful trees... But our light pink trees will never beat green. She talked about tropical forests, getting cut down to make more buildings. She always talked about how the "earth" was running out of space. I turned the page to continue reading where I left off last night. I started at the top of the page:
September 24, 2139
Today was excruciating. The war is getting worse. Who knows if the syringe is still in America's hands! We can't sleep in fear that our house bombed while we are sleeping. I never pictured it to be like this. While I am writing, I'm looking out the window; watching the warm eccentric reds and oranges fade into brown, dried up leaves. They just float to the bottom, into the dead grass. The grass that used to be bright green, and perfectly mowed. Our troops are all disappearing. We just got word of Johnny in China; he has been captured and used for bait. But what do the states want to sacrifice for just one man? I have to convince myself that he's never coming back; because if I get my hopes up, I just might die when the news is actually said aloud. My dear older brother. Gone. I can't get my hopes up for something that will never be. This is such an inhuman, merciless war. I learned about the old world wars in school, but I never thought I'd be in the middle of one. The pages of those text books make them sound so much less brutal than they really are.
"Zaniah, it's time to get up" The intercom went off. My mother... "Good morning mom. May I please have ten more minutes?"
"No, not unless you want to be reported to Madam Lenore. Come down now... please" I let out a huff, but obeyed quickly. I hid the journal back in the slot between the walls, and then shut it. Nobody could find that journal; or else I'd be reported, and probably tortured. Madam Lenore and her Mistress hate being overpowered. They shun anyone who gets even close; even if that means burning family belongings and records of previous life. If I got caught, my head would then probably be sitting on her silver platter. I walked into my closet and held out my arms and said aloud, "navy blue, silk" In less than ten seconds, two silver mechanical arms gently laid a navy blue, silk robe on me over my bed shirts and shorts. I stepped into the clear, glass cylinder, said my password, and the glass door shut behind me. I elevated and had a conversation with my circular elevator. Every morning Darla asks me about my sleep, my plans for the day, and comments on my attire. it's always the same. Everyday her comment on my attire is: "I love your white hair ribbon! And... the yellow uniform again? I think purple would look much more authentic.” Of course she would think that. I hate these uniforms we have to wear everyday. They are fitting on top, then hoop out all the way down to the bottom. Darla was really getting on my nerves; and I felt sassy today. What right does some brainless computer get to tell me I need to change my uniform? And she has it all wrong anyway. I'm wearing a ROBE... I told Darla, "The yellow uniform AGAIN? " I made sure to drag out the 'again'. Everyone of those words were mimicked of her annoying voice, that stupid, slap happy voice I have to hear every morning.
By the time I got down to the main lobby, I was about to pull out all of my hair; but torture hasn't even started yet. As I walked in our gigantic dining room, I looked at my perfect, dainty little mother sitting at the end of the twenty foot table. Her eyes were pinned on me. an idiotic, fake smile crossed her face. "Have a seat, darling," as she pointed at a chair. She opened those thin, cracked, lipstick-covered lips at me and said, "What would you like George to get you?" our butler followed my mother everywhere and assisted to her every need. Although I have gotten used to it over the years, I've always had a high opinion about his name. George. It seemed so strange, boring, and old-fashioned... "Nothing! Thank you mother; thank you George." I yelled , and nodded toward George. But I really was starving. All I wanted to do was go read Rose's Journal. That's the only thing that allows me to forget about my own irritating life. I'm still so confused about everything. What was the syringe she was talking about? What is a War? Green trees, and now green grass too? What more could someone ask for? "Excuse me?" My thoughts were interrupted by Madam Lenore's voice. "I think I heard a voice risen! Zaniah! The first day the White Swirl moon appears you already have one report. make it three, and I will make you suffer consequences so severe, you will beg for death." Sounds really threatening, right? Only, I don't believe any of it. Even though I've never actually been reported to Madame Lenore; I think she's bluffing. Unless... "Got it?!" she snapped right back.
"Yes, Madame Lenore" is all I said to her. It's not time for getting on her bad side right now. She had to get the last word in, of course. "This civilization requires teamwork. Do your part. We need courteous, calm, people here. Sicilicaba is supposed to be the definition of Tranquility. Eat your breakfast..." and in her sweet, fake voice, "and have a great, relaxing day." What a sticky sweet line.
A gentle breeze blew past my face. I looked up into the light purple shaded sky, and admired the White Swirl moon... We call it that because of all the clouds swirling above it all the time... A huge gasp escapes my mouth when my brain calculates what that meant. Being outside while the White Swirl moon was out is the worst rule to break. My only chance was to run. My legs started to pick up the pace. The closest shelter to me was a shed. The adrenaline had already started in my body which made me run even quicker. I finally approached the tattered, beat-up shed, yanked on the door, and my heart stopped. The door wouldn't budge. The beads of sweat that had formed on the top of my forehead now dripped down onto my frantic, red face. My whole mind was blurred. I didn't know what to do. I banged on the door, threw myself at it, but it wouldn't budge. I could already see the light rays coming from the monitors. I'm doomed. Then, all of a sudden, I felt a tug on my robe; and my feet fell from under me.
Before I could acknowledge what happened; I had landed in a dark ditch. I looked up and saw my rescuer. Tall, broad shoulders; and dark skinned. I fell to my knees and bowed to whoever this was. I didn't recognize his face int he darkness of the ditch; but his skin color was just enough to need to bow. After he saw me bow, he raised his voice and told me to stand up. He said something about us being all the same, and why he escaped the Plaza. He probably said more, but it must have came through one of my ears, and out the other, because I was in some kind of haze... My brain couldn't analyze his meaning. Chocolate skinned beings are the most well-known, and well respected people in this whole planet. That is one of the reasons Madam Lenore was so 'respected'. She has dark skin. And since she's so 'special' everyone of the same color is treated like royalty. I think he asked me a question... His voice was like velvet that escaped his mouth.
Warmth heated my left cheek. It felt nice, until I realized I was exposed to the monitors. The monitors contained cameras and facial print information. They are how Madam Lenore discovers people who are outside. All I needed to do was stay underground in this pit. I crawled back under quick, and I couldn't hold in all the questions flooding over in my head, so I decided to ask him. "Excuse me, Mr.... Chocolate-" he cut me off and raised his voice at me,
"Please, please just call me Kenzel. I hate that formal name." I was a surprised at his attitude toward his label. It was required for me to call them formal names. "Alright, Kenzel," his scowl immediately disappeared when I said that. "Why did you run away? your life is so glorious. You'd be a disgrace, and get reported. Are you not aware of that? His answer sounded like a rehearsed speech.
“ My family is a disgrace to me. And since I know you will ask why, I'll just save you the trouble. I questioned their power, our way of life, and I am ashamed to say, I questioned planet Sicilicaba. I found an old documentary hidden in boxes my Mother Lenore kept, and read it. She found out and punished me. This was like nothing I'd ever seen before. It was written in some different writing; cursive. Mistress Teresa told me that one day. She knows a lot about books... Being the librarian at the Plaza and all. Across the dark purple book, was written, Journal." My hands were cold, and shaking. There was a big lump in my throat, forcing my words to stay captured in my mouth. Like Rose's? I felt the urge to tell him about it, but then a thought crossed my mind. What if this is a trap? What if Madame Lenore set this up to make me confess? I stuck to that feeling. But two minutes later, he pulled out the purple journal he described. It was real. My heart rate raised to an unhealthy level. I thought it was just me that had one. Goosebumps formed on my arms, and my teeth started chattering. Kenzel noticed, came over and asked if i was alright. The beeping started up again. The monitors have found me. us. My tongue felt like leather. He stared into my bright green eyes, and said, "Follow me" It's not like I really had a choice at this point. I did as he said, and he led me into a camouflaged tunnel. We walked through, and I started to feel a little claustrophobic; but I didn't say anything, he kept looking back to make sure I was right there behind him. I've never done well in tightly closed in spaces. Then I got light headed... When we turned the next corner, Kenzel forgot to look back and see if I was there. He kept going on without me. I had lost too much oxygen, and blacked out; because of how far underground we were. The next thing I knew, I was in a musty smelled room with not a drop of light. There was one lantern and a shadowed figure sitting in the corner.. "...Kenzel?" I moaned out. The figure stood up and started toward me. Madame Lenore. I knew it was a trick. She looked at me, and held out her hand. For some odd reason, my hand outstretched and embraced hers... And then her perfectly painted purple fingernails started to grow... I watched them and they started to wrap around my hand, then I looked up at her eyes. Red with fury. She was going to hurt me. And one more thing... Kenzel... Standing next to her, helping her. I started to sweat... suddenly I heard this big noise that made me jump. My eyes opened, as well as my mouth. An earsplitting scream flew out of it. Someone ran over to me, this just made me scream more... Then their hand clasped around my mouth... Kenzel. He looked at me with concern. My face started to heat up, and I just felt like crying. I blurted out, as well as I could without stammering, "sorry. Just a dream..... Where are we....?"
"We are safe now, and I have thought of a plan." I gave him a reassuring nod, and let him continue; blinking away my fearful tears.
"We will go against Madame Lenore and her Mistresses. We will leave and go to the White Swirl moon. I know what is there. I read it in this journal. It was once called earth... until a bloody World War III took over, and from the technology we had; Madame Lenore... first known as Lenore Lanbury; took off to find more space, and peace. She became the leader like she is right now, but there is no peace. And you and I, are going to find it. I read that you made peace with what you had on the "Earth". Not everything was perfect; but there was freedom of so many things, and just imagine no monitors or required attitudes. We will be happy. Will you please come with me, Zaniah?"
I was speechless. I felt like a five year old learning trigonometry. How could an innocent sixteen year old go on such a journey with one other person? It would have seemed impossible to me yesterday, but it seemed like today anything could happen. "I'll go." I agreed, and a real joyful smile stretched across his face. it gave me a sense of relief. I hadn't seen a real smile on anyone, not even me, for years. It was time for a change, and this is the perfect time to understand my great, great aunt Rose. To understand myself. This was my chance.