Author's note: My AP Lit teacher gave us an assignment to write a story based on the events of Remains of the... Show full author's note »
EndThe maps came in handy, though. I am glad I finished them that awkward night. We travelled through the woods with our dozen most loyal followers to the gate of the capitol city. It towered over our heads and our spirit. The buildings were higher than the mightiest tree, and the gates surrounding the capitol were full of agony and wealth. I knew they were bewitched to make any intruder miserable and want to commit some act of self-punishment. I had discovered a way to get past the gates, but did not let it on to Marcus. He didn’t know about the pain the gates made one feel. I didn’t want to show him how awful humans could be. I whispered the incantation and everyone was safe.
Through the streets of stone we walked. Lights all around us shined brilliantly; they gave me a sense of hope. We marched through the city with our chins held high. A part of my heart gave way to the thought of changing. I didn’t want to change, I realized. It was too late for that, though. I glanced down at the maps I held in my hands. I rubbed my old coat between my fingers, taking comfort in the familiar smells. Despite the many years since living on the lake my jacket had not lost its scent of that beautiful place. It would not mix with new smells of the woods or the gas ever present in the House of Huse. Smiling, I took Marcus’s hand. He stiffened at the touch, but relaxed. The stones in the streets turned into gold; the capitol building was close. Marcus shouted an encouragement to our followers. “We will bring change!” They believed him—they always believed him. I didn’t dare doubting him.
As soon as we made it to the front gates we were arrested. Our followers couldn’t fight back, for we did not have the power. The police officers had guns. All they had was the spirit for change. Screams and cries for mercy hung over our heads as I caught Marcus’s eyes. He looked at the papers in my hands and bit his lip, like he so often did. He was the one meant to be a human leader for the Service. I could never be, I admitted to myself. The smoke of guns was encircling us, trapping oxygen and making it impossible to breathe. I shoved the maps into one of my hidden coat pockets and took it off. I breathed in the scent of the coat again. An officer grabbed my arm, but still had not recognized Marcus as the leader. I threw the jacket at Marcus and told him to run. He gave me a last look, his eyes filling up with tears—he displayed his emotions too often. He dodged the officers and ran into the capitol building. I watched his long, white braid swing behind his head. Such determination in his stride, I thought.
The officers dragged us miles away to prison and threw us into cells resembling the rooms in the House of Huse. The government kept the followers in there for five years. I was supposed to be set free after nine years because I admitted to being the leader so no one else would suffer. They were not terrible years, though. The prison guards treated us well and with dignity. They were also Service people; they seemed to take pride in the fact we fought the government. I never tried to explain how I didn’t want to fight. It never seemed worth getting Marcus in trouble. If anyone ever found out that he was the one who had ignited the Servants’ pride and spirit, he would get arrested for treason and put in jail. All of our hard work and suffering would be in vain. He visited me near the end of my prison sentence after all the other Servants left. One of the guards told me I had a visitor. They led in a large, imposing man with short, brown hair and skin as dark as it used to be. His eyes were green, which was unusual for a black human. Maybe that is what set him apart from others of his species…
“Hello, Anna Louise,” he grinned at me through the bars. I couldn’t help but smile back at those bright, white teeth. “I am Mark Silver and am here to get you out of here.” All emotions left my face. He was too different. My smile melted into tight lips and I turned from him. I sat on my hard mattress and stared at the floor. Mark banged on the bars, begging me to look at him. He told me he was sorry he hadn’t come sooner, but he had to wait many years for the surgery to settle. Becoming a human was hard work and frowned upon in most societies. After he was accepted as a true human in society, he travelled around the world to preach of the Service and its necessary freedom. Years past, and he had gained enough influence in the world he could come back to save me from prison. I blocked his voice from my mind. A couple hours passed. I heard him walk away from me. I fell asleep on my hard, cold mattress. My last thought was that he didn’t come back to me soon enough.
The next morning I woke to find my old jacket on the ground. It still smelled of the lake, even after all of those years. There was a note in the pockets, along with all the old maps I had gathered in my time with the great Marcus Lee. I read the note and allowed myself to feel sorrow. Marcus Lee, right before his alteration, had written his last words to me: My dear Anna Louise, I do wish things could have gone differently for us. I’ve often imagined a world where you would be with me, but I know you could never be happy living that way. You will want to be a Servant as long as you live. You are pure. I know you have always doubted the power of the Service and wanted to be left alone in a home of kind people. I will arrange for you to be sent to a new house after I’ve gained some influence in the world. They will be much kinder than the doctors. After the surgery, everything will have changed for me—except how I feel about you. Yours truly, Mister Silver.
Marcus Lee kept his promise. I was sent to a house in the capitol city called the House of Gorbe a year and three months before I was supposed to be freed from prison. The Gorbe family is extremely kind, though not as influential as the doctors were. I was accepted into the house through the recommendation from Mark Silver, the leader of the new world. He visits often and wink at me from the corner of my eye, but never speaks to me personally. He faded from my everyday thoughts a while ago. Every once in a blue moon my mind drifts back to him and the way he looked at me long ago—like I meant everything to him. His dark, green eyes fill my vision in the middle of work sometimes; I have to sit down at these moments. The Gorbes never yell at me for resting on the job, though I do think they get annoyed. They believe I am getting old. They don’t know all the adventures I went through. Mark Silver can never tell, and I will never betray him to tell my stories. He makes the most of his life, and I made the most of mine through him.
Sometimes, I dwell on him and my life in the woods. They calm me down when life becomes a bit overpowering. The trees tell me their ancient stories, and in return I divulge to them mine. Their skies weep with me as I do. They sob when I don’t have the strength to. In the forest, I remember all the memories while I was on the run from humans. They are good ones…they allow me to get through what remains of my existence. I can also remember the lake. The scents are all so similar, so they comfort me. I can feel the water as I fall asleep in the undergrowth, waiting for something—anything—to take me back home.