June 8, 2011
No stars lit the sky that night. Even if there were any, they'd be clouded by the dirty smog. Mattie wrinkled her nose as she stared at the dark, starless sky. She hated this city, but there was nowhere else to go, nowhere else to hide from the horror of the society she lived in. She may as well stay here rather than go out and worry... or worse.

Mattie wished there was fresh air in Angel, but the city was too polluted, all you got was a hacking fit of gas and smoke if you inhaled too deeply. Long ago, Angel passed a few reform laws cutting back on gas usage, but the damage was done, and the laws were repealed six years later. Mattie's great-grandfather, lovingly called Grandpa Stephen, often loved to speak of a time back in the days when Angel wasn't called Angel. Although the city was still polluted even back then, you could still breath freely, since there wasn't a strong weight of an oppressive government on your back.

Grandpa Stephen liked speaking of old Angel. It was the powerhouse for glamor, he'd say. Starlets, company hotshots, millionaires with mansions the size of small palaces, you could find them all there in old Angel. If you wanted to make it big time, you had to go to Angel. No exceptions, unless you wanted to go to Liberty, it's sister city, instead.

Of course, Angel wasn't so glamorous now as it had been. The most luxury you could get now was probably a nice, decent meal or a working A/C unit. Crime filled the streets. Graffiti marked every wall. Smog cloaked the entire city. Nearly every family in the entire city was dirt poor and living in poverty, struggling to sustain themselves. Angel, glamorous? Not a chance.

As Mattie lay in the humid air on the roof of her apartment building, she thought of her great-grandfather's ramblings. He wasn't senile, but the nonsense he talked would've made you think he was.

One word always got to Mattie, though, one that Grandpa Stephen always used describing the country's government around the time of old Angel. Democracy. Mattie didn't know what it meant, and Grandpa Stephen never cared to explain it to her. That, or he didn't remember the definition. Mattie tried looking it up in the old dictionary at Will's pawn shop, but it wasn't there at all. Figures.

Then again, Mattie's great-grandfather had only been a boy, a teenager around the time of old Angel. In fact, he didn't even live in Angel; he lived in a suburb of The Star, the capitol of the country, on the other coast. When he had been sixteen, the government had changed drastically, and not wanting to get caught in the middle of it, Stephen moved away to Angel. Now, he was around ninety years old. How many years had gone by since then? How much had the government changed even more?

Grandpa Stephen raised his family here, with Mattie's great-grandmother, who passed away from a heat stroke before Mattie was even born. No one talked about her, it was too painful. Before she died, however, the couple had two children, one who would be Mattie and her sibling's grandfather, and a great-uncle who died in the Second Civil War. (There had been a First Civil War, but it was forbidden by the government to speak of it for some reason). Mattie couldn't have escaped Angel if she tried; she was born and raise there, and besides, you needed a permit to enter and exit the city.

Mattie sighed, and stood up, figuring it was time to go inside soon, even though it was hotter in her room that outside. With all the rolling blackouts, power was limited, so that meant the A/C was limited too. At night, all power was shut off, so that didn't help the matter.

The stories of old Angel made Mattie wonder where the government went wrong, and what cause it to be sent into a state of destruction and chaos. Of course, these stories of Angel were nothing more than myths and legends now, stories from the past. They would never be relived, for the damage had been done. Old Angel was forgotten, and in it's ruins, the new Angel was already starting crumble.

The past was the past, and Mattie was living in the present. She couldn't back in time and change the way things were now. Even though the old saying goes “history is always repeated,” that time was one event that couldn't be copied.

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