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Forbidden Freedom

It was mid-summer in Paqx when the Great Breach occurred. “The Summer to Remember” everyone had called it. No one dared to even think of defying what President Senoa had to say about the outside. Things were a lot different then. Everyone was under the spell of the government, believing that beyond the force fields that protected them was a nuclear wasteland inhabitable to humans. It wasn’t until after the breach that people began to think otherwise…

~.~

It was dark as Ben and Alejandro ran towards the East Force Field. A full moon shone above, barely visible from the reflections of the half-transparent domed ceiling that covered the city, keeping the weather and toxic air out. The guard towers stood tall against the shadows of the night, keeping the bad dreams at bay.
“Hurry,” Alejandro whispered. He was already several feet ahead of Ben, his long legs giving him the advantage.

Ben thought back to their long nights of planning in the warehouse, acquiring maps of the city’s perimeter and the guards’ schedule, and the countless hours of time they put into their plan. He knew that if they had missed the tiniest detail, it would end in disaster.

The week before, Senator Portman had failed to return from his expedition to the outside. The President had run a mandatory telecast to let everyone know that he and the senate would be choosing a new senator to represent District 3.

Paqx was divided into seven districts. The Mexicans, whom were barely treated better than slaves, were separated off into District 6, known as the Warehouse District. Mexicans like Alejandro worked every day without pay, carrying boxes full of a variety of items from warehouse to warehouse. Few of the other races lived there; most of the ones who did were supervisors ensuring the Mexicans did their job. This was the main reason Alejandro and Ben wanted to escape: discrimination. Among it was the political lies, corrupted government, and all of the innocent people killed in the name of one of the President’s (better known as The Dictator by most) laws. The senate barely did anything. Anyone who tried usually disappeared; the excuse of the disappearances ranged from death from illness to a failed expedition to the outside such as Senator Portman’s case. A month before, he tried to make living conditions better for the people – he hasn’t been seen since.

Ben’s own father had been a victim of The Dictator. He had been a supervisor, always performing his job as he should. One day when Ben was seven, he didn’t come home. He had been caught in the streets by the guards during a mandatory telecast – a supervisor, of all people! – and was put to death. That was a long time ago; eight years to be exact. Now Ben wanted to know the truth. To find it, he had to find a way out of the city, even if it meant leaving his mother behind. Best not to endanger anymore lives, Ben thought.

He and Alejandro had reached the first guard tower. A lone soldier stood in the outlook, observing with near-sleep eyes. They had to make it to the third tower, where the control panel for a small portion of the East Force Field was. The blueprints said the opening in the force field would be about the size of a door.

“What do you think you’re doing?” a voice said from behind them. Both boys jumped and turned around quickly, expecting the worst

Ben let out the breath he had been holding in. It was Toni, his next-door neighbor. Her father was a supervisor, and had been best friends with his father before he died.

“Toni! What the hell are you doing here?” Ben whispered, angry. A third member of the party was not part of the plan.

“Did you honestly expect me to not figure out what you two were doing for the past few months? It’s not that hard to hide behind some boxes,” Toni said, a smile forming on her face.

“Well this is just great,” Alejandro muttered.

“Yes, it is great,” Toni said. “Now I’m coming with you.” She revealed a knapsack that she had hidden behind her back.

“No!” Alejandro said, his voice rising. The guard’s eyes opened slightly wider.

“Shh! Alejandro you have to keep quiet. Just let her come. She’s already here and she won’t go back.”

“You’re damn right I’m not going back,” Toni said.

“Shut up. If you’re coming you can’t say a word and do exactly what we do. Got it?” Alejandro replied, his eyes dancing like flames.

“Whatever.”

The two, now three, companions stealthily walked past the first and second guard towers, their feet stepping lightly, not even daring to breathe. The hard part had yet to come. The third tower had five guards, four of which were stationed in the basement where the control panel was located.
Ben picked the locked side door and slipped inside, Alejandro and Toni following closely. They were in a small front room covered in dust and filled with nothing more than a few cupboards.
“Toni, since you’re here we need you take care of the guard on the outlook,” Alejandro said, handing her a hammer. “Knock him out and then come back down here. Don’t let the other guards on the outlooks see you.”

“Will do,” Toni said, and swiftly climbed the stairs that lead to the outlook.

“Let’s go,” said Ben. He and Alejandro slowly descended the other set of stairs that lead to the basement. They planned to knock the guards out but had daggers in case things went wrong. They were both nervous – neither had ever killed before.

Three of the guards were asleep. The fourth was in the corner reading a book. He didn’t notice them. Alejandro signaled to Ben to take the sleeping guards while he charged at the fourth guard. He swung his hammer. It connected with the side of the guard’s head. He fell to the floor with a crash.

Alejandro was breathing heavily. He looked to his right where Ben was standing over the unconscious bodies of the other three guards. The stairs creaked eerily as Toni rushed down them.

“Well done,” she complimented.

“Were you seen?” asked Alejandro wearily.

“If I was do you think I’d be down here?”

Alejandro ignored her. “The control panel,” he said to Ben.

Ben walked to the center of the room where a small metal box stood erect. He opened the brass lock with a key he found on one of the guards. Inside was a red switch that had two options. On. Off.

“That isn’t very creative,” remarked Toni. “You’d think that the government would have at least invented some kind of complicated wire system and what not.”

Ben flicked the switch to off. “Hurry! We have to go before they notice!” Shouting sounds were heard outside as a loud siren went off. “Shit.”

“Run!” screamed Alejandro, sprinting up the stairs. Ben and Toni hastily followed. Outside, guards had run out of the towers and were dashing with preternatural speed towards the three teenagers. Escape was barely ten feet away; the door cut into the force field clearly visible.

“Hurry!” shrieked Toni, running towards the door. She reached it and dove through. Ben was next, hurtling himself just as fast. Alejandro followed through last, throwing his dagger at one of the guards as he did so. The guard crumpled to the ground, dagger in his stomach. Dead.

Outside the force field, Ben and Toni were dragging Alejandro, while trying to bolt away from the door. He whispered repeatedly “I killed him.” The guards were screaming maniacally from the inside, but didn’t follow. The escapees stopped after a few minutes next to a large tree. Alejandro sat down and curled into a ball.

“Oh my god,” whispered Toni. Ben thought she was speaking about Alejandro but when he looked at her face her gaze was on everything but him. She was looking at her surroundings.
All around them was a lush paradise full of trees, flowers, and rolling hills that went on for miles. A mountain range could be seen in the distance, illuminated by the stars. Ben and Toni had learned about trees and plants in school but had never seen any. It was so beautiful; Toni had tears in her eyes.

“I knew it,” said Ben. “There is nothing nuclear about this place at all. It’s…it’s…”

“Amazing,” finished Toni.

They turned their attention back to Alejandro, who had remained in a fetal position. His eyes stared blankly ahead. “What do we do with him?” asked Ben.

“Listen,” said Toni. “He’s saying something different.” They kneeled down by Alejandro, who now had a smile on his face, and listened closely. Toni made out the words “it’s beautiful”.

“I think he’ll be fine,” said Ben.


“I do too,” replied Toni.

~.~


After they escaped, Alejandro, Ben, and Toni found a small village a few miles from Paqx. There, they found Senator Portman and others who had been banished or had disappeared from the city. They had explained that the nuclear wasteland the government had always talked about had been gone for hundreds of years. They land renewed itself. The citizens of Paqx could have left the city long ago but the government didn’t want to lose control of their “slaves”. Any member of the senate who tried to question the various presidents’ actions would disappear. Villages spread throughout the world, and a city similar to Paqx was located in the area of Asia.

“How will we free everyone from Paqx?” Ben had asked.

“You already have,” replied Senator Portman.

“What do you mean?”

“You and your friends’ breach on the force field is the spark needed to set off a chain reaction. Soon enough, the citizens will realize the veil of lies that have been cast over them and revolt.”

Ben looked up at the sky. He had never experienced real weather before. Drizzling rain splattered his face. He watched Alejandro and Toni walk into the small building where the three of them were staying, holding hands. Only time would tell how things would play out. As for now, Ben was happy – he was finally free.





Join the Discussion

This article has 13 comments. Post your own now!

DancerBabe said...
Jun. 24, 2010 at 1:32 pm
Oh wow! That was really good very actiony, i liked it. Have you read The Hunger Games? It kinda like that, only you know whats going on. haha :)
 
jaredwriter19 replied...
Jun. 24, 2010 at 2:20 pm
Thanks. And yes I did haha :P
 
katie-cat said...
Jun. 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm
I liked this one a lot.  When I first read it I thought that some parts seemed a little rushed. However, this was very unique.  You really have a knack for coming up with new and creative things :) 
 
jaredwriter19 replied...
Jun. 24, 2010 at 2:19 pm
Thanks :) Yeah it was rushed cause I was hurrying to get it done in time for compeition lol
 
--LoveHappens-- said...
Jun. 21, 2010 at 5:01 pm
Wow intense great plot but could be developed a little better but the story was great and I was really into it. Great job!!!
 
_Elsy_ said...
Jun. 20, 2010 at 6:38 pm
Very gripping story, i liked it.
 
jaredwriter19 replied...
Jun. 20, 2010 at 8:41 pm
thanks! check out some of my other stories? :)
 
_Elsy_ replied...
Jun. 20, 2010 at 9:03 pm
I will. look at mine, i need the feedback (how are you supposed to know how something sounds when you've had your opinion to count on, right?)
 
gymbabe This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 18, 2010 at 8:03 pm
Oh, and some advice-your stories are amazing, people should see them, so when you comment on things, ask people to read your work.
 
jaredwriter19 replied...
Jun. 18, 2010 at 8:32 pm
Yeah, I just signed up a few days ago and I was like "How do I get people to read my stories?" lol, thanks for telling me, I'll have to advertise on the forums and when commenting on stories :)
 
gymbabe This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 18, 2010 at 8:02 pm
The absolute only thing I could say to make this even the slightest bit better is that it is uninhabitable not inhabitable.  Otherwise...completely amazing.  Incredible.  This piece was totally phenomenal.  Excellent job.
 
jaredwriter19 replied...
Jun. 18, 2010 at 8:31 pm
Thanks for the tip! I didn't even notice. I'll have to fix it on my copy. It sucks that you cant fix things after you submit them.
 
gymbabe This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 18, 2010 at 8:41 pm
I know!  Like in Aging Love, the minute I looked over it I realized I put waste instead of waist, but I couldn't change it.
 
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