Last Train to the Waterfall (Chapter One)

Chapter One


I sigh as I look out at the section of land that was once flourishing with crops of all sorts. I can still remember the times when I was a child where I’d run in the fields of tall, swaying grass for hours and hours then stop to rest until my brother would creep up from behind, scaring the life out of me.

But those were the good old times, now is different. Way different.

The world isn't getting any better. There are wars being fought and wars to be fought. Under the utter chaos and disaster is violence, bloodshed, and nothing pretty. Even with all the technology springing up all around, everything is turning out wrong. Politicians from different countries turn their backs against one another, quickly leading to war. Greedy officials do anything to get money.

I think about my brother and wonder if he’s doing all right with the war and all. He’s out in the field tending wounded soldiers, probably firing the occasional bullet. I can only hope for his weekly phone call to tell if he’s doing fine or not, easing my worry for a while.

But those phone calls aren’t always the best. I remember when that phone rang about two years ago. I thought it was my mother calling to ask if my siblings and I were doing all right, but it was the head of the police department for my city, Officer Thurber. He was a good family friend and made sure to deliver the news as soon as possible. It was not good news. Both my mother and father had died. They were both at the grocery store buying a few necessities. He had said that the man at the cashier lashed out at my mother, grabbed a gun he had close by, and shot both her and my father: pointblank. Then he turned the gun on himself, evidently committing suicide.

Unfortunately, my father died on the spot. My mother, however, managed to survive until the paramedics came, which gave her just enough time to share what had happened. “She refused the paramedic’s help just so she could tell us what happened. You’d expect her to be extremely angry at the man who killed her, but she wasn’t angry at him at all,” Officer Thurber had said in an almost confused voice. “In fact, she almost sounded sorry for him. She said that he acted as if he was being manipulated by something as if it just hit him—like lightning.”

Since that, I’ve always wondered what she meant by that. Maybe she was just stretching it. That couldn’t have been true, but either way it’s confusing. A year after they died, the war began, leaving me with the question “Why?”

But what does it matter? There is no spark of hope left for any of us, though. It’s just a cloudy world with people who can’t see past the fog that their own faults have caused, whose hearts have turned so hard that they can’t learn to love. Almost as if they were already dead.

“Dude, are you okay?” my brother asks me as he crazily waves his hand in front of my face, snapping me back to our current crisis.

My brothers are everything to me— Reese, the one who stays at home with me, and Troy, who is out there in the battlefield. Reese, who is sixteen, only a year older than me, is a bit of a nagger but nonetheless he’s one of the few people who actually care about me.

I slightly lift my head, nod, and try my best to smile. I don’t even ask him why he’s here. I can’t let him see my tears, but his shimmery eyes are almost hard to miss so I manage a real smile. The one thing I hate is when I disappoint my brothers in some way. They’re all I have left.

“Uh, well, just come with me, sis,” he says, taking my hand. “It’s kind of important.”

Quickly, I swipe my sleeve over my face to wipe off the remaining tears that are still coming from my eyes then take his hand. He grasps it tightly and leads me back to an unfamiliar path.

“Reese, why are you in such a hurry? Is there something wrong?” I ask as I begin to run to catch up with him since he is still holding my hand.

He doesn’t answer but continues to lead me to the meadow. Letting go of my hand, he stops in the middle of a crowd of people who are all hushed and trying to concentrate on something.

“It’s that,” he says under his breath.

A government official surrounded by about twenty bodyguards stands in the middle of a podium. He’s a middle aged man with piercing blue eyes and has a constant frown on his already wrinkly face. He gestures to something behind him, speaking about our food loss. I just stand there, bored, leaning my head a little on Reese’s shoulder while fiddling with my new tablet. The speech is dull and monotonous until I hear a train’s whistle from a distance. The official, who calls himself Senator Esau Horvath, continues on his food shortage speech.

“That whistle you just heard is what will bring an end to our insufficient amount of food,” he smiles eerily. “Wait and see.”

Behind him, a train comes into view, and I immediately stop playing the game on my tablet and sense that something must be wrong. I slip the tablet back into the pocket in my sweater. Inside the train are some elderly people who look delirious of their surroundings. The train is open at the sides, with the driver boxed in as if he were an animal at the zoo.

Murmurings begin, and questions arise from the mob. Senator Horvath raises his hand to calm the crowd and continues to speak, while the train continues to move.

“This train, as you may know, leads somewhere. These are our elderly, the sickly, the dying, and mentally unstable. If we feed them, will it really benefit them? Of course not. They’ll die sooner or later. So that’s why we created this,” once again, he gestures behind him.

My stomach turns in knots, and I grab a hold of my brother’s arm as we watch. The train chugs faster and faster, jerks a little bit and heads for the waterfall. Then it disappears. Weak screams are heard, and soon after that, I hear splashes. All of those people are gone, just like that.

A slight stirring comes from the crowd, but no one dares to speak up to the senator. It irks me to see all these people overcome by fear of the government.

“What did you just do?!” I yell angrily. “You shouldn’t kill innocent lives!”

“Stop it, it won’t do you any good,” my brother scolds then lowers his voice into a harsh whisper. “We can’t afford to lose you.”

“Let me handle this,” I retort as I hand him my tablet.

“Child, don’t be so quick to be angry,” Senator Horvath begins in a nonchalant tone. “We are simply doing them a great favor. A wondrous idea!”

“That’s not doing anybody any good at all, sir. That’s wrong. If they’ll die in a few days, can’t you wait? Can’t you give up just a little amount of food for them?”

At least I said “sir,” right? I suppress a smile when the senator’s face turns red.

Big slap in the face for him. Ha.

“You dare insult the government!” the senator growls. “Take her away to the next train, men.”

My brother whispers harshly, “Run.”

As soon as he says that, I run as fast as I can to escape the subjugators. They’re all after me, I know it. If I stop they’ll kill me, but if I keep going they’ll still come after me. In either case, I can’t do anything about it. They’re all armed while all I have is nothing.

God help me, I pray to a higher power.

The thudding of the footsteps gets louder and louder, almost sounding like a mini earthquake. And I know I’m on my way to the next train. At that moment, a rope causes me to trip and drags me backwards, and I can feel a serum run through my body.

In an attempt to break away from the rope, I dig my fingers in the mushy soil. It helps only for a little while, but whatever kind of serum the rope had ejected, it was already slowly making me less and less aware of my surroundings. And I know that at this point, I have absolutely no way of escape.





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