I have one green eye and one brown eye. I feel that I see a different world with both. My brown eye sees normality, but my green eye sees much more. I don’t know if what I know now is true, but who knows? I’ve changed on how I see the world we live in, and how sometimes the closest people to you are the farthest. This? This is my story.
BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. The sound of my alarm going off rang in my ears, waking me from my deep slumber. “Come on.” I groaned, slapping off my alarm. Today was the last day of senior year, finally. I groggily opened my eyes, finally deciding to get up from my heaven like bed. I grabbed the phone next to me and turned it on. I had three missed calls from Kassie. “Oh God.” I giggled. Immediately after that, there was a facetime call from her. Tapping the green “answer” button, I responded to the call.
“Althea!! I have no clue what to wear!” she said, with her hands covering her face.
“Kassie, it’s the last day of senior year! I honestly am so done with high school I don’t even care what I wear.” I muttered.
I was cut off by Kassie squealing and saying, ”OMG! I found the perfect outfit!”
Kassie showed me a gray t-shirt dress and sandals.
“That’s cute!” I replied back, agreeing with her.
Checking the time, I noticed that it was already almost 7:00! I only had 15 minutes to get ready.
“Kassie I gotta go! I’ll see you when you pick me up!” I told her, ending the facetime call.
Finally actually getting up, I walked to my bathroom and turned on the faucet. I splashed my face with water, trying to wake me up. A knock on my door made me jolt around and face whoever was there.
“Althea, It’s just me,” my brother Chase said. “Mom was wondering if you wanted pancakes or just coffee for breakfast.”
“Oh. Uh, I’ll just have coffee. Thanks, Chase!” I told him.
“No problem. Oh- and good luck on your last day!” he says, walking away.
“Thanks!” I replied back.
I turned to face myself in the mirror. My light brown hair looked like a rats nest, my two different colored eyes were dull, and I had light bags under my eyes. “If only teenagers could get some sleep,” I muttered to myself. Taking out my concealer, I put a little bit of the creamy liquid under my eyes and blended it with my brush. I then took out some mascara and put a light coat on my eyes. After finishing my makeup, I put my hair up in a messy bun and threw on some ripped black jeans, a white sweatshirt, and white Adidas. I heard another set of knocks on my door and turned around to meet my mom, holding my coffee.
“Morning sweetie! Here’s your coffee. Have a great day at school okay? Don’t worry about it or anything, just enjoy it!” my mom said, smiling at me.
I took the coffee cup from her hands and replied back, “Thanks, mom. I am kind of nervous for college this fall, but I think I'll do well. And, I will enjoy the last day!” I replied gleefully.
“Good- and you’ll do wonderfully at UNC. Now you’ve got to get going. It’s almost 7:30,” my mom said while kissing me on the forehead, “Text me when you get out of school!”.
“Okay, I will. Bye, mom,” I said while walking out my room, down the stairs, and a taking a sip of my coffee, “Love you! I’ll text you later too! Oh, and tell Chase I said bye.”
“I will!” my mom shouted to me.
As soon as I reached the bottom step, I heard a loud honk from Kassie's car. I waved to her through the window and went to open my front door. The light breeze hit my skin when the door opened; reminding me of the warm weather that was coming. I smiled and walked down the gravel path to Kassie's creme colored bug. The top was down, and she was blasting Chainsmokers on the radio.
“Kassie,” I chuckled, “Mind turning that down a little?”
“Oh yeah! Sorry!” she giggled.
“So,” I said, while opening the car door, “It’s the last day of school. I’m so fricken excited!!”
“Me too,” she squealed, “I hope this summer will be the one never to forget!”
“I hope so too.”
Kassie's car then pulled out of the driveway, making the wind sweep across my face. As my bun was flopping from the wind, she started singing to the song that was playing, making me laugh. Off to the last day of Berkley High School. You won’t be missed, I thought to myself.
The bell rang, signaling that the last day of AP Biology II was ending.
“Alright, guys. Have a great summer. Don’t forget to come visit!” Mr. O’Connell, our Biology teacher, said.
Oh please, I thought. I’m never coming back to this school again. Especially not with Rachel being here.
We all just chuckled and grabbed our backpacks, going to lunch. I walked down the hall, my shoes thumping as they hit the ground. I looked up and saw Rachel standing at my locker with her little ‘minions’ standing behind her.
“Oh look! It’s the ugly girl with the different colored eyes!” Rachel said, twirling her fake blonde hair.
Her so called ‘friends’ laughed at what Rachel said.
“Oh look! It’s the fake blonde who’s made out with every guy in this school and her minions!” I squealed.
“Wow. Shut up, Althea. Like what the hell. At least I’m pretty, and I’ve dated someone before. Oh- and how’s your dad doing?” she said, trying to look innocent.
I can’t believe she pulled that card. My father died a year ago, and I hate talking about it. I was always so close to him, and it was hard when he died. My dad was a police officer. A man shot my dad when he was trying to take the man to jail. I could feel tears rush down my cheeks and I tried to wipe them away with my sweatshirt.
“Aww. We made the ugly girl cry! Good job girls.” Rachel stated to her minions.
“Althea! There you are! Let’s go to lunch. I’m starving.” Kassie said while running up to me. She saw Rachel standing near me and my flushed, wet cheeks. She had a mad look in her eyes.
“Rachel. How many times do I have to tell you to stop messing with my friends! It's the last day of senior year. No one thinks you're cool or attractive. Can you not be rude for once?!”
Rachel flipped her blonde hair and said, “Whatever nerd. And at least I have more than one friend. And it’s not my fault she's ugly.”
This is what I have had to deal with since freshman year since I was new to this school. I was always the ‘weird kid with the different colored eyes,' and Rachel just always seemed to hate me. Plus, it might be the fact that her ex-boyfriend tried to go out with me right after I came to the school. I think she is just jealous.
Kassie pulled me along as we walked past crowds of people and empty classrooms. We almost made it to the lunchroom, but the intercom interrupted us. Our Principal’s shaky voice was heard over the speakers saying, “This is a lockdown. Go to the nearest classrooms and lock the doors. No one leaves until a teacher tells you to."
My heart started pounding in my ears, and my eyes got wide. Everyone started shouting and screaming, trying to rush to the nearest classrooms for safety. Kassie pulled me into room 209, our Honors Math classroom. I locked the door and turned off all the lights, rushing over to Kassie.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
From this point on, I felt dizzy. Almost that everything was a dream. I had a slight headache too. Kassie and I were hidden under the desks in the front of the room. I don’t think I processed anything that was happening until the room got quiet and you could hear muffled cries from the other classmates in the other rooms. Oh my gosh. I forgot we had a lockdown. What if our Principal got shot? What if Chase got hurt? What if someone got killed or taken? What if we die? What if-, all of these thoughts were rushing in and out of my head like a river. I pushed them away. I had to stay strong. I had a feeling nothing bad would happen to us, but I was wrong. The piece of wood that was keeping us safe from the intruder was pushed open. I could feel the presence of people step into the room.
“Althea Miller? You’re coming with us. Or someone in this room gets hurt.” a low voice spat.
Kassie looked at me, her eyes getting wide.
“Althea. Don’t move.”
My heart started beating a little bit faster. I peeked out from under the table and saw a tall, handsome man standing in the doorway. He had no visible weapons and was wearing all black, but he also had a small dog tag, silver necklace on with a fire pendant. It looked a lot like the one that Kassie is wearing. His brown hair had light highlights and was styled up. The man’s mysterious light brown eyes met my unusual ones, and I blinked. I know I shouldn’t be underestimating this man, and I should be scared, but I felt brave and intrigued. I stood up, my height comparing to his towering frame of 6’3. I was only 5’7.
“Yeah, and why would I want to come with you,” I laughed, crossing my arms, “You honestly think I would just willingly go with you?”
He chuckled in return, “Don’t underestimate me, Althea. You don’t know if I have your family or if I'll hurt anyone. Now that we’ve found you, you can’t just act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.”
I laughed again, “Is this some prank? I’m not coming with you, and I’m 99% sure you don’t know where I live. I have no clue what you want with me.”
“Yeah. Sure...” he muttered under his breath. I barely caught what he said.
Furrowing my brows, I said, “Look. I know I should be ‘scared’ of you, but I’m not. I honestly don-” I was pushed up against the wall with the man's forearm on my neck.
“Althea. Come with me, or I’m going to hurt your ‘friend’ under the table.” he whispered angrily, pointing at Kassie.
Kassie looked at me with longing eyes.
“Axton. Stay away from Althea. This isn’t the life that she wants!” Kassie screamed.
Axton? How did she know him? What the-
“Althea! Watch out!” Kassie cried.
My neck started to sting, and my vision went blurry.
“W-w-what did you… you do to m-me?” I incoherently muttered. It was so hard to talk. My eyes wanted to close, and I felt my neck burning. I slumped down the wall, but before my head hit the cold tiles, I felt strong arms catch me, and hold me.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
My eyes opened, blinking rapidly at the brightness of the white room. When my eyes finally adjusted, I saw a man standing across the room from me. He stood out from everything else since the room was all white. The monitors next to me were snow white, my nightgown, and even the small television across the room. He was wearing all black.
“You’re awake.” he said.
I grabbed my hair in my hands and said, “What do you want from me? Why did you bring me here? Like honestly what the hell. And my family? Are you that insai-”
“Look, Althea, I know you’re confused,'” he said emphasizing confused with his hands, “But cut the crap. We all know you tried to keep yourself from us. But we found you so. You’re busted. The choosing of the Elms is today.”
I looked at this man with genuine confusion. “What the heck are you talking about? You honestly think I know where I am? Why would I lie about this? I have no fricking clue where the hell I am right now, and I’m freaking out. So if this is some prank or something, it isn’t funny.” I spat.
The man looked dumbfounded. “You honestly have no clue where you are?”
“Nope,” I said, popping the ‘p,' “So. If you could kindly return me to Berkley Falls, that would be great, uh.”
“The names Axton.”
“Oh okay, ‘Axton’, could you please take me back home?”
He laughed, “I can’t do that- and I’m so confused as to why your family kept you away from us.”
“Away from ‘who,' exactly?” I questioned.
“This might take a while to explain but, here it goes,” he sighs. “Right now you’re in a place called ‘Idem.' Idem is the capital, or central city of Idorious, where all the people who want to start families go (they have to leave their Elm). Oh yeah, and the choosing of the Elms happens when you turn 18-”
“But I still don’t understand. My parents are probably worried sick. I shou-”
“Althea. Your parents know that you’re here. Even Kassie knows. They tried to keep you away because this is a dangerous life. Your parents were from Terra and Aqua. Kassie is choosing her Elm today, and you’ll see her. Don’t stress out about this.”
“What is the choosing of the Elms? I know it happens when you turn 18, but what happens? Terra and Aqua? What?” I said, eagerly to know the answer.
“Today you’ll be put through a series of tests to find your Elm. Once you find it, you’ll be stuck there until you want to start a family, then you’ll move to Idem, or where you are now,” he said, “There are four Elms, each having different characteristics that fit you. You only are put into one Elm, and you can’t change and can't choose what the Elm will be. For instance, I’m the head leader of Ignus. Ignus people are all about bravery, being adventurous, ‘badass,' and especially not being afraid. Ignus is the least common Elm, we normally only get 10-15 new people every year- out of 1,000. They also have the power of using fire. There are also Aqua, Ventus, and Terra Elms. Aqua is the most common Elm, and the people there are about being friendly, bubbly, kind, and calm. They have the power of using water. Terra is the second most common and those people are nature lovers, kind, caring, and just loving in general. Terra has the power of healing. Ventus isn’t as common as the other Elms but is more common than Ignus. They have the power of wind. Ventus people are very smart, intelligent, calm, and productive. Oh yeah, and all people that are in Elms have a small necklace of what their Elm is. Aqua has water, Terra has a tree, Ignus has a fire, and Ventus has a cloud. You’ll probably end up being Aqua or something…”
Axton kept on talking, but I couldn’t stop staring into his eyes. This man was purely gorgeous. I wonder if he has a girlfriend, I thought. Oh god. Althea this man could be a serial killer. Why are you trusting him? I told myself. Which was true, I honestly had no clue why I felt so calm with him- probably since he didn’t start telling me how ugly I was and how weird my eyes were. Axton finished talking, snapping me out of my daze.
“Wow,” I said, “That sounds like a lot. But honestly, I don't believe you. And can you fail the tests?”
He laughed, “Of course you can fail. Don’t stress about it, and suit yourself. There are clothes on the table next to you. Put them on and get something to eat in the cafeteria. I’ll be back in an hour. Oh, and don’t forget, do whatever they ask you to, you don’t want consequences. Be smart.”
“Okay,” I said.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
My foot was tapping the black tiles on the floor. I was in a room with about 80 other people my age, who were all waiting to be tested. No one moved. Everyone was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. There were five doors across from us, which I wanted to open.
“Axton was right,” I muttered.
I still didn’t understand how my whole family kept me away from this world. It just doesn’t make sense- and how did I get here? I’ll have to ask Axton later.
“Althea Miller.” a tall woman said, standing out of the 4th door.
I stood up, my heart racing.
We walked down a long hallway and went into a room with the walls painted black.
“Okay Althea, I’m going to be doing a series of tests to find out which Elms you’re going to fit into.”
In the dark room, there was a white stand with four different items on it. One was a single droplet of water. Another was a small amount of sand, a handful of dirt, and a little cloud. These items were purely amazing to see, for all were floating in the air.
I noticed that a bunch people appeared behind me. I turned around and met faces with all of the people that have ever called me names. Rachel was there, and so were her minions. That was weird.
“Why the hell are you here?” Rachel spat.
“You’re ugly. No wonder your dad died. He probably couldn’t stand looking at you.”
“You’re such a slut!”
“Why can’t you be normal?”
All these things that people said made me want to break, but I couldn’t let them tell me what I was. I wasn’t ugly. I knew why my father died. I was anything but normal, but that was a good thing. I went right up to Rachel and tried to slap her, but my hand went right through her. They all disappeared. I heard footsteps behind me, and I saw my dad.
“Althea?” He said.
“Dad!” I cried out. I ran up to him to hug him, but he jerked away.
“God Althea. You’re such a disgrace to this family. Why can’t you be normal and have friends for god's sake? I shouldn’t have been the one who died. You should have.” He spat.
I closed my eyes with tears running down my face.
“Dad,” I whimpered, “Why would you say that?”
I opened my eyes, and he was gone. I felt worthless. This whole time it didn’t feel like a test. It all felt real.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
“Alright.” The women said. I forgot she was there. “Now for your final test.” she pulled out a gun and gave it to me. My family, Kassie, and people I had never seen before stood before me. They were all wearing white. The women had their hair slicked back into buns, and were wearing their pendant Elm necklaces. The men had on white pants and t-shirts.
“Shoot them.” She said bluntly.
“Shoot them? Why? I can’t do that!” I shouted.
“Althea sweetie, it’s okay.” My mother said.
Chase spoke next, “Yeah, come on Althea! Do it, ’.” But his eyes said something else. They held pain and guilt.
My hands started shaking. I couldn’t kill my family or any of the people there.
“Do you want to be in an Elm or not?” The woman spoke.
I turned to face the woman. “What? I would rather not be in an Elm than to kill someone! Are you all crazy?” I yelled.
“Sorry Althea,” She said, pulling out another gun, pointing it to me. “You failed.”
Then she pulled the trigger.
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“Althea?” a familiar voice said. “You need to wake up. ALTHEA!”
I was jolted awake from Kassie yelling at me.
“The lockdown is over. You hit your head right when you got into the room. You’re in the nurse's office.”
“What the hell?” I said, rubbing my head.
Kassie laughed while messing with her necklace, “Come on! Lunch is almost over! Then we have to take graduation pictures. It’s the last day of senior year, remember?”
“Oh yeah,” I said while laughing. “And where did you get your necklace? It looks a lot like one I saw in my dream.” I asked, talking about her dog tag necklace with a tree on it.
“Oh,” she nervously laughed, “Uh. My mom- she uh, she gave it to me for my birthday..?”
“Oh okay. I was just wondering.” I said. You could easily sense nervousness when I asked her about the necklace. Weird. We both stood up, walking to lunch after that.
“You won’t believe the weirdest dream I had.”
“Oh really? What was it about?”
I started to explain the whole story to Kassie while walking through the halls.
“You know what’s also weird? Your hair is the same in my dream as it is now. And I know it wasn’t like that before.
“No, it was! Y-you just don’t remember,” she said while rubbing the back of her neck.
“I guess what Rachel said hit me a little bit harder than I thought,” I told her.
“Well that and the fact you slipped and hit your head on the side of the table.” she said.
I just laughed in return. We reached the lunchroom, and I swear out of the corner of my eyes, I saw a man who was 6’3 and had light brown eyes. Axton? I thought. But when I turned my head, he was gone. Maybe the people that I thought I knew weren’t who they were at all. Maybe Idem is real, and so is Axton. Maybe there isn’t just one ‘earth.' But who knows? That’s for me to figure out.