Author's note: (I was writing this in 2011 as well) Well, this I have been writing since I guess a little before... Show full author's note »
"Mom?" I sat up startled by the sound of my mother's voice. No reply. I looked out my window as the waves rolled in and out of the bay. I sighed realizing it had been all a dream. Of course it couldn't have been her. She had died when I had turned 5.
"Citric?" I heard someone say my name again but this time it was from my best friend Luke. His blonde hair fell into his sea blue eyes. He didn't have a shirt on which was usual and stood in just pajama pants. Which these were from our favorite movie, A Christmas Story. We had not seen it since movies had been banned.
"Citric?" He said my name again.
"Oh, yeah. Sorry just thinking."
He came and sat next to me now, "What you thinkin about?" He had a strong southern accent just that I did.
"Nothing much. But I heard her voice again."
"Your mother?" He looked at me slightly worried.
I nodded. Lately, I kept hearing my mom's voice. I don't know why. Maybe since I also lost my father.
"Well its past eight," He began trying to get my mind off of things, “we need to get outside and help the others." We lived in South Africa. I had moved here leaving behind the states and my beloved small town. I chose here because I had always been fascinated. I'm not sure why. But the ocean fascinated me and this place was one of the prettiest to me. My mother and father used to travel here all the time. I'm not sure why. I'm pretty sure they had the same love I did for the ocean.
"Citric? You listening?" Luke looked at me knowing I had begun thinking again and could care less about going out to help fish. He knows I would rather be in the ocean all day surfing. After The Wave came that had wiped out half of the population on earth surfing had been banned just like movies. Along with music. Even though we all had secret stashes. Just like I had my father's old surf board.
"Come on." He smiled down at me standing and leaving me alone in my room to gather my thoughts. Also to get ready for the long day ahead. I walked over to my calendar and crossed off another day. July 22, 2014. I am sixteen. I was thirteen when The Wave had come. I remember the day so clearly. It had not been a title wave. It had not been aliens. It had not been robots. It had been a virus. It took my father, my grandmother, my older brother, basically anyone older than twenty. I and my brother had been eight years apart. So he was 21 when the virus took him. It came with no warning.
The whole world was ruled by a group called The 5. The oldest in the world. The head was a man named Michael Duncan. He was 17 when The Wave hit. Now he is 21. The oldest. Next is his wife Tabitha Cross, 20. Then Tabitha's twin brother, Lance Cross, 20. Next, Michael’s Sister Alexis Duncan, 18. Last but not least the middle child of my own family my other older brother, Brett Thomas, 17. Brett and I had not directly spoken since he had become a part of them.
"CITRIC!" I heard my friends, Brianna and Caitlyn, yelling from down on the beach. I opened my window. The breeze was cool today and blew my curly bright red hair around my face. "What?" I yelled back knowing they were waiting for me to come with them to get food. Did I forget to mention grocery stores were not around these days? "Come chick we ready to go! We also have a little surprise!" Brianna yelled. Caitlyn gave me a smile. "Give me fifteen minutes." I closed the window shut and went over to my closest.
My closet was plain. Didn't have much of anything. So I grabbed a loose t-shirt, some shorts and a bathing suit. I knew most likely we would go spear fishing. One of the things not banned. I changed pulled my hair into a side braid, brushed my teeth and ran down the stairs onto the beach where Luke and my other friends stood. "You’re going to love your surprise." Luke spoke first and I could tell he was also excited. We began walking down the beach to the dock.
"So what is this little surprise?" I asked. "You will see." Caitlyn said in a soft voice full of mischief. She was a year younger than me with thick black hair that stayed in a ponytail most of the time. Brianna gave me a smile and wink as if I knew what she actually meant. She had blonde curly hair which was most of the time frizzy and in a side ponytail. She had earned the nick name poodle back in the eighth grade only months before The Wave. About a hundred yards before we reached the dock Luke stopped me. "Put on the blind fold." I looked at him puzzled. "Why?" "Just do it." "Fine." I snatched the piece of cloth from his hand and tied it around my head. I felt his hands rest on my shoulders to guide me the rest of the way there.
We finally stopped walking. "Take it off." They all said in unison. I obeyed and when I took the blind fold off there stood Brett. I gasped. Shocked to even see him. Since The 5 did all of their work from England. "Hey Citric." He said with a smile. "Brett!" I ran over to him tears now falling and I was not sure why. He hugged me as tight as he could without hurting me. He was a foot taller than me. I was only 5'5, while he 6'6. "What are you doing here?" I looked up at him still in shock he was even standing there.
"Well, how do I explain this." I looked at him confused now so did my friends. Another person cleared their throat. A guy stepped forward from behind Brett. I recognized him immediately. Lance Cross. He had blue black hair that fell to his shirt collar. His eyes were a piercing emerald green just like mine. "Why is he here?" Brianna spoke up. "I don't remember inviting him." Caitlyn said a little harsh. Had they known each other? Luke studied him. "Hi Citric. I'm here to see you." I looked at him and laughed. "Me?" I stopped laughing when I realized both my brother and Lance weren't laughing along. Brett spoke again, “We need you to help us."
"You mean The 5?" Luke spoke up for me which I was speechless. Me? Citric Alexandrea Thomas help The 5. "Yes, you would be next once were gone. You’re the sixth oldest in the world behind me. Here's the catch though. Michael won't let you join unless," My brother trails off. "Unless what?" Caitlyn, Brianna and I all say at the same time. Luke stays silent waiting for the rest of the story. Lance speaks up for my brother, “Unless you become my girlfriend. Your brother knows you’re the best for what we need you for but Michael said unless you are dating or married to one of us you may not help," my brother cuts him off and speaks, “so I figured you and Lance could pull it off."
"Are you serious?" Luke speaks a little bit of anger in his voice. "Wait, am I hearing y'all correctly?" Brianna says looking at them curiously. "Are you serious?" Caitlyn glares at Lance. "Me act as a girlfriend to Lance?" Lance nods, "Yeah basically." I sigh, “Fine, I'll do it. On one condition. "What?" Brett says. "My friends come." "Michael would never allow it." Brett replies knowing one way or another they are coming. "Who says he has to know?" I smile knowing I have won the battle. "That's not such a good idea." Lance looks at me. I give him the puppy dog face,"Aw please." "Fine." he says not giving up much of a fight. "Good." I say. "Good luck with her Lance. Looks like she already has you around her finger." Luke doesn't smile. Brianna and Caitlyn laugh though.
"Come on. Let's go back. And Brett I wanna show you my house. I think you would like it." I say walking back towards the beach.
We get back to my little shack that I call my house. It's one bedroom, one bath. Brianna lives to the right, Caitlyn to the left, Luke a few yards away. The rest of our friends or what we call family now scattered around the beach. "I'm sure it's not what y'all are used to. But this is home." I said digging out a suitcase from my closet. I forgot I had a few band posters hung on the walls and those were forbidden. "Skillet." Lance said smiling. "They were my favorite band." I say still trying to get the suitcase out. "Let me help." Lance says noticing my frustration. He tugs on it once and it comes out. "Same old Citric loves the color green." Brett says. My walls and bed spread are green.
I began throwing some clothes in my bag. Then I realize I had gotten rid of all of my nice clothes when I moved. My closet was full of t-shirts and shorts. I only had one dress and it was my mom's wedding dress. Brett laughs apparently reading my mind, "You won't need any nice clothes but jeans would probably be better than shorts." "I like her in shorts though." Lance laughs. I roll my eyes and throw a teddy bear at him. I continue to pack and notice old photos from when I was little. One shows my mother and father standing on the same beach that I live on today. Another shows my two brothers and I on our first trip to South Africa.
Brett looks over at the scattered pictures in my closet. "You were always a slob," He says with a grin, “maybe Mr. Neat freak over here can straighten you out." "I am not a neat freak." Lance says defending himself. I raise my eyebrow at him. "Sure. Let's see your hair is perfectly straight your pants were ironed, and those white Vans not a speck of dirt on them." "She is good." Lance says looking at me. "Told ya." Brett says beginning to help me pack. Lance looks around my room. A Skillet poster hangs next to my bathroom door. A LMFAO poster over my bed. Ke$ha on my bedroom/front door. My walls a light green. My queen sized bed one of the things I brought with me from Florida. The bedspread a darker shade of green with a flower design.
"You really do like green don't you?" Lance asks me. I even had a green lava lamp. "Yeah. It reminds me of an emerald stone." Emerald has disappeared after The Wave. No one is sure why. "It reminds me of your eyes." Lance whispers not realizing I heard him. How much had my brother said about me?
As we got done packing my friends stood at my door. All except Luke. "Citric!" Brianna called knocking. I ran over to the door and opened it. Caitlyn and Brianna stood in jeans which I wasn't even aware they owned. For once Brianna's hair actually looked tamed and Caitlyn's hair was out of a pony tail. "Y'all clean up good." I said letting them inside. "Why thank ya darling." Caitlyn said mocking my southern accent. She had lived in New York, New York. Some place I never got to visit. Brianna had lived a few towns over from me but her accent was a lot stronger.
"Caitlyn when you say darlin. You don't add the G if you want to be a true southerner." Brianna said serious. "Well if you wanna mock do it right." Brett says with a laugh. "So Lance where did you grow up?" Brianna asks. "New York. Right above Caitlyn." Lance says. "So y'all do know each other?" I say. They both nod. "Nice Kit-Kat." Brianna and I say. Kit-Kat was her nickname we had given to her a few weeks after we all met. She had come back to this beach because her mom had once lived here.
"We ready?" Luke asks coming through the door. "I guess." We all respond in unison. "Do y'all have a car or something? I am pretty sure we aren’t going by plane." I say. "Better. Train." Brett says.*