Different

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There are no stars in the sky, mainly because we don't have a sky. We have roofs, we have ceilings, we have cytoplasmic covers. No sky. There is no grass on the ground, simply because we don't have a ground. We have floors, there are platforms, even poles to cling onto. But no floor. Only black nothingness when you look up, black nothingness when you look down. Black nothingness waits outside our safe walls.

Many have tried to escape this prison we call home, to leave this hellhole. Most are repelled by some unknown force and come back to us, completely out of their minds, speaking of creatures that walk on four legs with hair coming from every part of their body. I've only heard of creatures like that in books. Other people who have tried to escape have never returned. We assume them to be dead.

But it is boring here. Everybody here goes by a schedual. The only interesting part of our lives is hearing about the escapies. So I never could have expected this sudden turn of events, this life-changing visit. This boy, this one visitor, would contradict anything anyone had ever taught me, everything i had been told. According to this boy, everything I knew was a lie. Maybe unintentional, but a lie all the same.

I see him now, standing across the school platform. He has brown hair and blue eyes with freckles across his cheeks. He must be 16. We are in the same grade. I brush my long blond hair aside, revealing my green eyes. I walk over to him, steady foot steps, counting them as I walk along. "eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen," I say to myself. I don't think about where this new kid came from. Others like him, brown haired and blue eyed with freckled faces, have come here many times. Each time we are told not to question. These newcomers look friendly, but they are different. They do not look like us. They stand out from our blond haired community. None of our people have blue eyes. Mainly brown with few green. So no one talks to them. No one but me.

"Hello," I say, speaking in our native language.

"Hello," he says back.

"I'm Tyla."

"Nave."

We stand there, just looking at each other. His blue jacket matches his eyes. "Anyone else talked to you today?" I ask.

"No. Only you. Why?" he says with a furrowed brow.

"Oh, I always talk to the newbies. I try to make them feel welcome. No one else ever does." I pause before adding, "I doesn't matter anyway, they never stay more than about a year. I mean, why not? I doesn't do any harm-"

"It's okay." There is an awkward silence. Nave slowly reaches for my hand. My eyes follow it, then they meet his. Before anything can happen, the bell rings. "Um...I guess I'll see you later?" I say.

Nave quickly retrieves his hand. He grins sheepishly. "Uh, ya...I guess so." I wave, turn, and run off towards the school building, leaping from platform to platform. Already I know that things will be different.





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