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Cloud 6

Homeless Clay Evander sat on the corner near the local Starbucks, gazing at the dull New York City sidewalk. His head leaned against the cool metal of his musty shopping cart. Clay’s brown eyes were jittery and restless. He barely blinked. Clay brought his grungy jacket closer to his bones. His rotten teeth chattered from the frigid air. As Clay scratched his unkempt beard, he felt a pang of hunger. He got up, slowly, aching from his archaic hip bones, and began to stride towards a reeking trash can. Rummaging through the garbage, Clay began to whistle through his corroded teeth. It was an old tune from a commercial that he used to hear as a young boy. The melody was simple and staccato, consisting of six different musical notes. The lyrics were almost inscribed inside his mind, “It’s my money, and I need it now.” The melody triggered clear memories that flooded into Clay’s head. These memories resembled a sort of aged black and white film. In his head, he saw the moment when he was watching the commercial with naive eyes, repeating the words softly. He then saw a drunk kill his mother again; right before his eyes. The memory when his family got robbed in the middle of the night lingered in his mind once more. He recalled the moment when his uncle, hit him with powerful blows. He remembered seeing his abused sister, fingering her sore bruises. He saw in clear perception his dad walk away from him, and never return. He commemorated wishing to himself he was the bad guy because he learned the good guy never won. He remembered himself killing the drunk, letting go of all the pain in one big blow. He reminded himself robbing an innocent family, he needed someone else to feel what he felt. He saw himself beat a young boy again, with thick, bloody swings. He saw himself again cheating on multiple women, stealing their food for their children as they slept. He was horrified when he re-lived the moment when he abused a chaste girl, as someone had abused his sister. He saw himself giving up, and resigning to the streets from desperation. He then finally saw himself swearing that he would never hope or love again. That part played over and over as if the black and white disk in his head was scratched. The stench from the can then halted the memories so suddenly, Clay reminded himself of his hunger. Out of the can he fished a soggy banana, a half-eaten twix bar, and a cracked snapple bottle. He stumbled back to his corner, and began to peck at his feed. He swallowed with regret, realizing the banana was rotten. To balance the dewy taste lingering in his throat, he swigged the snapple. As a young boy he always loved to collect bottle caps to educate himself. As he read the inside of the cap, his dry eyes widened, as he saw; Congratulations Bottle Number 666 You Have Won A Vacation to club and resort Cloud 6. His promise crossed his mind, “I will never hope...” So Clay was incredulous to the news. He got up anyway, his hands shaking as he went to the payphone, using the spare change he had in his disheveled styrofoam cup.
“Hello? This is Cla-”

“CLAY EVANDER.” said the voice confidently. “You’ve won the trip, haven’t you?”
Clay recognized the voice as familiar. For some reason the voice gave him flashes of déjà vu.

“Y-yes. How did you know?”

“Does it matter? You won!!”




*******************
The first class plane of flight number 666 smelled like plastic and dry oranges. Clay sank into the seat, a comfort he had never felt before. He had never in fact been on a plane. On his tray, there was champagne in a diamond glass, spicy filet mignon, ham and melted brie on hot bread, fragile pink cookies in a heart shaped jar, and juicy cocktail shrimp. These luxuries made him feel strange and uneasy. He tapped his foot. He felt his toes touch an object beneath him; a pair of expensive sunglasses. He tried them on, it made a strange tingling sensation on his nose. Clay noticed there were precisely six passengers on the plane. They seemed to be incredibly focused on reading a silver pamphlet that read Cloud 6: Rules and Obligations. He questioned to himself why there were rules in a rejuvenating resort. He thought to himself that it was a “rich” thing. Six escorts for each passenger circulated the halls, each wearing a silver uniform. Their faces had no distinction. They all looked conventional. Their smiles seemed to be lingering and painted on, their eyes still and empty. They had some sort of uneasiness from the way they cocked their heads randomly.

“May I get you anything Mr. Evander?” said a female escort vacantly.

“Just some water.” He slurred.

The woman’s lips barely moved as she replied, “Of course. Please buckle your seat belt. We will be taking off in six minutes. Make sure to pay attention to the orientation video.”
The plane lurched along with Clay’s stomach. They were up in the air in exactly six minutes. He secretly wished he had the safety of the sidewalk pavement underneath him again. As the moonlight flooded the small windows, The lights of the plane dimmed, and the orientation video began. There was a figure wearing dark sunglasses speaking with thin, dry lips. It was almost impossible to determine whether this person was a male or a female. He or she said, “Congratulations. You have won this extraordinary trip to Cloud 6 beach and resort. We hope you enjoy your incredible stay here on the island. We want you to have an amazing adventure throughout this process. Please do not go wandering anywhere farther than the Laguna Waterslide. Do not I repeat DO NOT go in fog to the east of the island. We do not want you to encounter any unpleasant experiences such as dismal weather that the fog causes. To ensure a pleasant stay, you must always wear the glasses that have been distributed at the bottom of your seat. If you follow these rules, our staff will promise you will have a very good time. Enjoy your stay at Cloud 6 beach and resort.” Clay and the other passenger’s sunglasses now were airtight on their faces. They all felt dizzy and lightheaded. They saw flashes of purple, red, black and white in random places. They were officially hypnotized.

*************
Clay awoke in a gorgeous room, full of oceanographic designs. He felt a tingling on his nose, and realized his sunglasses were still on his face. He felt the impulse to go outside. When he walked out of the doors of the resort, the view was breathtaking. Soft seagulls floated across a rouged sky, as gentle blue waves kissed the sand. Delicate palm trees embroidered the sand along with seashells, and dried seaweed. Luminous water slides poured peacefully around the sand. Water skis gently grazed the surface of the ocean, creating white foam. Every thirty minutes or so, a conch shell would blow to signify the wave pool being activated. Immediately many people jumped in enthusiastically. Majestic Spanish horses were kept in a luxurious stable waiting to be mounted. A crowd of people gathered around the coast to learn how to surf the tide. A silver cliff protruded out of the island. At the top of the cliff, silhouettes of people prepared to sky dive into the satiny air. Golden straw huts surrounded the resort, the aroma of food and the faint sound of tribal music leaked from the doors; perfecting the visuals. Essences of floral oils came out of the spa, along with freshly cleaned customers. Around the island, the people (all wearing sunglasses) mainly seemed to laugh and engage in conversation, and enjoy the activities provided in the schedule. Clay’s sunglasses tingled again, which gave him the idea to go to the wave pool. Later on he felt another tingling, which lead him to the waterslide. The glasses lead him to the skiing, followed by the horseback riding, the relaxing spa, and the surfing lessons. Suddenly the glasses vibrated furiously. It gave Clay a really strong sensation this time to go skydiving. Clay couldn’t wait to feel the wind through his aged hair. He couldn’t wait to experience the rush of freedom. Sky diving would release all his experiences with poverty, hunger, and even his guilt. His toes sank into moist sand as he walked to the cliff. His toe unexpectedly hit a jagged rock, which sent him piloting through the air and onto the ground. Immediately his glasses shattered, and a wound on his head gushed blood like a hole in a dam. He felt more alert now that he had hurt himself.

Clay was in fact more alert, he was AWAKE. As he opened his eyes he saw that he was not on a beach in fact at all. The sight he saw was quite petrifying. The sky was somber and eerie. The lightning seemed eternal and peculiar. The whole island was pitch black, not including the dull gray fog that lingered to the east. He realized that the sand he was sitting on was excrement and mud. He heard blood curdling screaming in the background which had a faint resemblance to the island music he heard not too long ago. He looked through bloody eyes, and saw through the darkness that the screaming people were chained, and dragged by the hotel staff across the excrement. Looking right and left Clay saw the activities were not made for fun, but torture. The ‘waterslide’ was liquid lead. The slide landed in a hot pool of blood and sharks. The ‘spa’ was now a place where people were forced to be whipped as they lay on their backs. The ‘surfing’ lessons consisted of an electrical board in water. ‘Skydiving’ consisted people being set on fire, and pushed off a cliff. He realized the flawless beach vacation he was so in love with, was an awful illusion. Clay trembled and felt his already weak knees weaken incredibly beneath him. Acid rain now streamed on his face, from the questionable sky. He concluded that all the activities he had been experiencing were trying to kill him. He looked down at his body. He was covered in blood, urine, festers, wounds, pus, and vomit. He had survived the island.

Scrambling to his feet, Clay began to run. Flying like a bullet, he ignored the pain flowing through his veins and replaced it with adrenaline. Occasionally slipping in the excrement, Clay was very noticeable. A hotel employee, now sallow and ghoulish, furiously spoke into his walkie talkie; “CLAY IS AWAKE.” Clay ran faster and faster until he reached what he thought was safe. The fog. Clay heard a loud; “SALUTATIONS.” in unison. As he swiveled around on his heels, there before him were the faces of his past, in hotel uniforms. The little boy he beat, the chaste girl, the innocent family, the women, and the drunk. He started to run, but immediately these figures stood in front of him. When he turned around again, he realized he was surrounded in a tight circle. “This is the Island of Torture and Misery, the Land of the Abandoned Sorrow, The Everlasting Death,” they said in sync. The fog hovered above them. A figure stepped out of the circle. “Do you remember me?” asked the little boy. The little boy was wearing a hoodie over his hotel uniform. He slowly removed the hoodie, and revealed his now disheveled face. “You did this. You took away my happiness.” He stepped back. Drowsy, heavy, ashen fog entered the circle.

Next, the chaste girl stepped forward. Her trembling lips spoke, “You took away my love.” She stepped back. More of this fog entered.

Five figures stepped forward. The innocent family. The dad spoke in a monotonous manner. “You took away my family’s hope.” They stepped back. Lots of fog had now entered the circle.
Seven women stepped forward. They spoke in acoordance, “You took away our faith.” Fog now streamed into the circle. Lastly, the drunk stepped forward. “I know I have hurt you in the past. I suffered for that. I wanted another chance at life, but you took that away from me.” All the fog was now in the circle. The hotel employees started to elevate along with the sphere shaped fog. The little boy said confidently, “You must pay the consequences. We will give you the choice of your death along with all the sufferers on this island, or a favor that you must pay.” Clay Evander was now on his knees in disbelief. “What is this favor you ask of?” Clay beseeched, rasp entering his salty throat. The women said together, “You must return all that you have taken away from us. Our happiness, love, hope, faith, and chance. You must do all these things or die.” Clay’s life flashed before him. He had seen the memory film again. He reflected on how he took his pain, and caused pain. He destroyed what life was worth living for, for not only him; but for others. He realized he did not deserve to live; than to die along with other sufferers of pain. Tears now moistened Clay’s placid face. “I will repay your favor.” Clay repented. He crawled into a fetus position as the dark fog entered Clay’s body. This was the torture, misery, sorrow and everlasting death that was now within Clay’s soul. As he exhaled deeply, a stream of blinding light shined through his eyes, nostrils and mouth. This, was the happiness, love hope, and faith that he owed. It then entered the figures. The people of his past exhaled deeply as their lost emotion was restored. All the pain and the physical damage they had endured was now healed. The sky had stopped storming, and the island was restored to the previous utopian scenery. The figures of Clay’s past seemed to disintegrate along with the fog, and the rest of the people. Clay Evander was left to experience the misery in a beautiful world.




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Trevor23 said...
Jan. 8 at 1:08 pm:
trevorrr we balllin boi
 
jdaniels1779This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jan. 8 at 3:38 pm :
? lol you ball?
 
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