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Author's note: I just really hope people enjoy this and read my other work as well! Rate and Comment please! :)
In 2698 the Gods got angry. Humans had become so technologically advanced that they no longer believed that the Gods existed. It was the humans own worshipping and prayers that had brought all Gods into existence, making every religion essentially correct, and the Gods thrived upon their prayers. As humans began to doubt them, they grew weak. But they were still strong enough to teach the pesky mortals a thing or two about loyalty. They created famine, floods, droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and every other type of natural disaster imaginable. The problem was, there was nothing natural about these disasters. The Gods sent mankind a message: Go back to your old ways, or the world will continue to be destroyed. All they meant was to start praying again, but the humans had misinterpreted it. As well as worshipping the Gods with a new-found vigor, they did a 360, and reverted their culture to the times of giant dresses and sexism. The one thing humans refused to give up was their science and technology. So, if you were to walk to streets of an average town, you would see huge cathedrals made of intricately carved stone and right next to that, a hologram selling corsets. It was a new era for mankind. One that would change the world forever.
I stare solemnly into the black abyss, waiting for the moment I hear the harsh crack and echo of the secret password. Clack-clack-echo-echo; such a simple pattern that alerts me to when my father’s next client arrives. I slowly stand up, and drag my feet to get to the door-
And then an actual client arrives, and I need to stop writing my piece. I’m never going to get it done at this pace. I’ve already been interrupted five times! I never thought I would be upset by how successful my father is. My father would be angry if he knew I was trying to write a novel based on my life, seeing his business is in it a lot. If the imperiation ever found out… That’s not a thought worth thinking about.
I stand up to open the peek hole and muted light floods the damp, dank entryway to my father’s business. I stay here all day and all night just opening this door to let strangers in. What a life, right? Maybe I’ll get time off for good behavior. Oh yes, that would be the most likely thing to happen since the great disaster!
Opening the peek hole I see two unnaturally indigo eyes staring into my very soul… or maybe just glaring because of the horrid weather outside. “The password is what?” I mumble incoherently. I’ve never been good with the clientele, knowing why they come to my father.
“Pandemonium.” He whispered back, anger filling his words to the brink. Even the weather wasn’t that bad. Most of the time when men came looking for my father, they were excited, a hint of daring in their eyes, not pure and unbridled hatred.
I grudgingly allow him to enter; hating myself for having to usher in yet another man about to defile one of my father’s workers, or smoke some soul-sucking substances. Those poor girls. They sell their bodies after their minds have become corrupt.
(Imperiation: the law enforcement of the New Old World. Imperiator: someone who works for the imperiation. Imperiated: when someone has been arrested by the Imperiation.)
The man enters and I am shocked by how attractive and young the fellow is. Most of the clients who come in here are old or ugly or both, coming here because they can’t get what they want any other way, or are so drugged up that all they can do is try to find a place to get another hit. This one was different though. Jet black hair that would probably sweep gracefully just over his eyes if it wasn’t so wet. The fact that he was soaked from head to toe though made it so it was plastered to his forehead, almost completely covering his eyes which were, as I had noticed before, a startlingly bright indigo that had a depth to it that made me feel like I was drowning forever. He looked me over, starting at my feet, hovering over my chest, and finally reaching my face where I was blushing so much that I could feel my cheeks burning up. For a fraction of a second his lips were curled into a small, smug grin. Then his smirk disappeared and he looked extremely serious again. I can see his anger swelling up inside of him. For a moment I want to tell him everything; how I hate my job, how I hate my father, and how every day I want to kill myself, but can’t because of the armed guards at every corner of the streets outside. But I don’t. Tell him that is. I never have, and never will.
“Follow me.” I state, trying not to let on to my emotion, as I stare at my feet, avoiding eye contact.
He grunts as a response and I can’t help but feeling like he despises what’s happening. But why? Why come if you’re so against it?
I lead him down a couple of hallways, turning left and right at random moments. It’s disorienting for people who have never walked the maze that is the hallways of my father’s headquarters, but I’ve walked this path enough times that it no longer bothers me.
I hear him suck in his breath, a common sign that a visitor is about to attempt conversation with me. I don’t enjoy talking much. So, instead of waiting for him to finish asking about how my day has been or what’s it’s like being the daughter of a famous drug lord/man who sell’s women sex slaves for a living, I cut him off, “Don’t bother. Chatting isn’t my strong suit, and this unnerving silence will end in a couple of more turns.”
I look back at him just in time to see the surprise on his face, “I was just going to ask how long this usually takes. I have quite a busy schedule.”
Now it was my turn to be surprised. All the men who came to see my father… well they were eager to stay as long as possible. Either that or they made an outstandingly large purchase, “Depends on what you’re here for. But I’m not supposed to ask about that, so… Anyways, we’re here now, in you go.”
We stand in front of a large metal door, dead bolted from the inside, staring up at it as it looms over us. Neither one of us knocks. We stand for a while until I decide I should get back to my post. I knock.
“Who’s there?” I hear my father’s masculine, yet weathered voice shout from inside.
“Papa, it’s me. A man has come to see you.” I say, trying to ignore the shiver that crawled down my spine when I talked to him.
“Then send him in already darling! We can’t keep our guests waiting!”
I can hear the dead bolt unlock. I see the unease on the man’s face growing stronger. I truly want to ask him why he has come if he so obviously despises this place, but I don’t. It’s not my job to ask questions. Women are supposed to be seen, not heard, according to my father.
When the door opens, the hinges squeaking in an eerie sort of way, the man enters, and a sudden look of stubbornness shows up on his face. Such an odd customer.
The door closes with a slam. I should walk away, like I’m supposed to, but I’m too curious to just go and be a good girl. Then I had an even better reason to be curious than a handsome stranger coming to my father. Yelling. No one is ever angry when they come to visit my father. Except for the girls…. But this was not a feminine scream. Oh no, this sounded very much like the man who came to visit.
Don’t ask why I keep saying “visit”, even though everyone knows there’s nothing casual about what happens here. My father always says “Visits” or “Visitors” so I suppose I’m just acting the way he would want me to, even in my thoughts.
The yelling has stopped, and the gunshots have begun. The man brought a gun? This was no ordinary customer.
After a few seconds the gunshots stopped. I probably should have been scared. Scared for my father’s life. Scared for the lives of anyone in that room. Scared for myself, if the man manages to come out alive, and finds me here, sitting next to the door. But no, I was just…. Curious. Turns out, I really should have been scared.
The man came out. He had a smile of pure satisfaction on his face, until he noticed me. Guilt, or regret, or some other sort of horrible emotion flashed across his face as he looked down at the daughter of the man he just killed… or badly wounded. I have no way to know for sure.
He pulls out a handkerchief. It’s quite pretty. White, with the same beautiful indigo as his eyes creating a floral pattern with curlicues and swirls. It was then I realized I must be crying. Why though? I cannot say I loved my father, nor did I hate him enough to be crying out of joy. Although I did most definitely hate him. Maybe I was a little happy. This could be the perfect opportunity to leave.
“Thank you.” I mumble ungraciously as I take the piece of cloth from him. This man is full surprises, I notice, as he sits down next to me, leanly nonchalantly against the wall.
The man sighs, “I’m sorry about all of that. It’s nothing personal, I hope you realize. Or maybe it is, just nothing personal against you. I must admit I thoroughly hate what he is doing, but I suppose I could understand why his daughter would love him enough to look past his wickedness.”
My eyes flash to his face. It was my turn to be angry, “I do not love that man. He impregnated my mother so he could create an heir, and then sold her when I was born, completely disappointed with having a girl, but not unsatisfied enough to try again for a boy.” I began, my rush of emotion letting out faster than I could control, “I hate what he does to those women. I hate what he allows people to do to themselves when they come here looking for drugs. I hate the person he tried to raise me to be. I do not love that man.”
“Calm yourself.” The man soothed, “I can take you away from here if that’s what you want. I work for an organization that puts an end to businesses such as these. This was our largest operation in a long time.”
“First off, what is your name, mysterious stranger?” I ask, tempted by his offer, but confused and what I could do in exchange.
He threw me a grin that made it clear he knew he had won, and that I would be going with him, “I will tell you that after you come with me, equally mysterious stranger.”
I sigh, knowing it was a lost cause to voice my concerns, because I knew I would go with him anyways. I already had a great escape plan, “Fine, let’s go then.”
We both stood up, and he took me by the nook of my arm. Like a true gentleman. I had never met a real gentleman before, only imposters and perverts. I guided him back to the dark cell that is my room. Then, I told him my plan.
“All the guards outside know me,” I started, searching for the right words, “So I’ll grab a cloak and cover my face. Then, you’ll walk me out, making sure to have a forceful grip on my upper arm, as if you bought one of the women here. I’ll stumble and trip, but you won’t show me any compassion. No one yet knows my father is dead, so it should work. “
He nodded his approval, and I picked up a dirty thatch cloak off the ground. Perfect for a prostitute who got more than she bargained for. We set off, but not before I grabbed my parchment and quill’s. I will write my story. The man doesn’t say anything about my writing utensils; he just gives me a strange look.
I’m worried my plan won’t work, but as soon as I step outside into the misty streets of modern day Contempfeerene, I know there’s no turning back. It’s been 300 years since the world practically ended, and in going back to old ways, we managed to survive. Women have returned to wearing huge dresses, and men have returned to treating us like objects and play things instead of human beings. Score one for the human race! Well what should I expect? It is 3002 AD after all. In order to go into the future, you must look back at the past. Or at least that’s what all the politicians are saying.
(Contempfeerene Origin (kOn-temp-fEr-An): contemp meaning contemporary meaning new, fee meaning enfeebled meaning old and rene meaning terrene meaning world. Rough translation: New Old World)
I shield my eyes from the cloud covered sun. Even though the light is dim, I have not been outside in broad daylight in over three years. I will turn eighteen in two weeks, so that means I haven’t been outside for one sixth of my life. One sixth of my life I have stayed in the darkness, and I shall do so no longer. My father is dead, and it is a brand new day, albeit a cloudy one.
As the mysterious stranger, as I have begun to call him inside my head, pretends to drag me down the street he says, “Hurry up wench, I don’t have all day to prance you around the city!” He spits on the side of the dirty street.
The guards don’t even give us a second glance.
I stumble along, darting my eyes this way and that as we walk throughout the city. After we had been travelling for ten twinques, the mysterious stranger let go of my upper arm, and I pulled back the hood of my cloak.
“Well, wasn’t that fun?” he says cheerfully as we walked down main street.
“Not precisely the adjective I would use to describe that situation, but yes, if you insist.” I say, glancing at his beaming smile.
He chuckles, “Well pardon me for trying to be optimistic, while you insist on being the pesimistian!”
We continue to walk in what my father would have called “an awkward silence of sorts”. He said “awkward silence” was a term used in the old new world. Father always had funny bits of knowledge about the old new world. After about 25 twinques we stood at the front doors to a large mansion. Father would have called this place a “palace fit for a king”. Odd how the Old-New-Worlders spoke. It seems offly difficult and complicated.
“Well here we are. This is my home. My parents will be thrilled.” He said while rolling his eyes, “They keep telling me I need to bring a woman home, I’m not sure this is what they had it mind.”
“Do they know what your current occupation is?” I inquired.
(Twinque(s) Origin: twin coming from a synonym to minute, twinkling. After the New Old World started, the human race began to completely change all of its systems of measurements. A twinque last two old minutes. It consists of 120 abetornoms, or seconds. There are 30 twinques in a fliotune, or hour, and 12 fliotunes in a day.)
(Pesimistian Origin: Slang. Comes from the word pessimistic; refers to someone who wallows in a world of sadness, never wondering outside of its depressing reach.)
(Old New World aka BCE (before chaotic end): refers to the time before the world had to be restarted in a completely different manner; reverting to old ways and customs in order to save the human race from the wrath of the gods.)
“Oh no, they do not! This is absolutely horrid! How shall I answer the questions they will ask me?” He says, putting his head in his hands, utterly hopeless.
“Look who’s the Pesimistian now.” I remark. I think I may have just made a joke, for he laughs briefly, “Why don’t you simply act as if you truly have brought a woman home? I am almost eighteen, so our age difference cannot be too large, which means it would be plausible. Say we have been meeting in secret, and that you are convinced you are so in love with me, that when my parents mysteriously went missing, you insisted I come stay with you.”
A look of sheer admiration passed on his face before he composed himself, “What an ingenious idea. How in all of the new old world did you come up with it so quickly? Well, never mind that, we must get you some proper attire if you are to meet my parents saying you are my future mistress.”
I almost told him I’m a writer, but bit my tongue. My father’s voice echoed in my head. Women are to be seen, not heard. I simply nodded, and allowed him to go ask his neighbor, who just so happened to be a seamstress, to borrow a ‘proper’ dress and underthings for me. After sitting in the seamstress’s sitting room for a twinque or so, he came out with a lovely lavender dress, with a large bow clearly placed on the behind of the gown. There were even crystal beads sewn into the dress.
The seamstress helped me get into the outfit, and some new underthings as well of course. “You look supreme!” She said, smiling largely after looking at her work, “Now what shall I do with that hair…”
She spent the next 15 twinques applying makeup to me, and putting my hair up into a complicated up do with more curls than I could count. My drab brunet hair had never looked so pretty. My pale grey-blue eyes had never looked the way they do now, outlined in black charcoal. My pale ivory cheeks had never had been this rosy. Some would say I looked lovely. I just thought it was a mask.
“So, do you know Zeal from his organization?” The seamstress asked as she finished up her job.
“In a way, but no, I do not work for his… organization.” I say, looking at myself in the mirror. So the mysterious stranger’s name is Zeal. Zeal. That’s fits him. The word describes him perfectly. Ever since the end of the BCE, naming children adjectives has become an increasingly popular trend.
“Hm, well, there you go! All done, go see what Zeal thinks.” The plump lady says with a charming smile.
I walk out into the sitting room, where Zeal is sitting, staring at his folded hands. “So, good enough to be your new significant other, Zeal?” I ask, attempting to be playful. It was a failure of epic proportions, but he smiled when he saw me.
“Oh definitely!” He said, jumping to his feet, and staring at me in disbelief. I’m nearly positive that my bosoms are bursting out of my dress, but I just laugh, despite how difficult it is to breathe due to the rib-crippling corset. “Of course, only if you’re fine with me being for fake beau. Though in all honesty….”
“What?” I ask, confused what he could have thought that would contradict his earlier statements. Did his notice something amiss with my appearance?
“Not only do I probably not deserve such a fetching young woman, but if the circumstances for our meeting were different, I am sure that I would have asked you to dine at the first chance I got-“
I didn’t really catch what he said after “for our meeting were different” because the seamstress came clambering down the stairs and yelled, “Go! You’re parents just pulled up their drive, and you mustn’t be later than needed! How scandalous that would be!”
I would have asked Zeal to repeat what he had said, but he was ushering me out the door, through his yard, and into his house through the back door. We sat in the kitchen, catching our breaths. “Now, Mrs. Melody obviously told you my name, but I should probably be aware of yours.”
“I don’t have one.” I said simply.
You don’t have A NAME?” He asked, completely taken back.
I remark dryly, “Father never thought it was necessary for me to have one.”
“Well we must come up with one then!” he said, still obviously shocked.
“Well, I’ve always liked the name Rose, or Melissa. How about Charlotte?”
His ears twitched as he heard the front door opening, “We will call you Mystery. My father will love the intrigue, and my mother will love that your parents chose a name that’s not truly a name, as she did with me.”
I was about to object, when who I am assuming are Zeal’s parents, came rushing into the kitchen, “Where is that daft boy?!” His mother yelled until she realized that ‘daft boy’ was standing right before her.
“Why, son, you’re home… And you brought a lady into our kitchen…” His mother said, surprised.
“Yes I am! And yes I did! Mother, Father, meet Mystery.” He said, his smile radiating warmth and genuine happiness.
His parents smiled brightly and his dad said, “Mystery! We didn’t know our son had such a pretty… um…friend.”
“Oh father, you and I both know that Mystery is not just a friend.” Zeal said with a wink, “We’ve been seeing each other in secret for about three months now. Isn’t that right, darling?”
“Um, I believe it has been closer to four months.” I said, trying to sound nonchalant, and not sure whether or not I had achieved the desired effect.
“Yes, well, four months then. Anyways, I was thinking it was about time for her to meet you, but then the most horrid thing happened!”
“What is it dear?” His mother said; worry filling her big blue eyes. Zeal had his mother’s eyes.
Zeal sighed as if the news he was about to give was grave. Well I suppose it was. “Mystery’s parents went missing two days ago. There was no way I could let her stay in her home all by herself. Although her family has plenty of money, her parents never really had a need for servants, so there was no one else at her home.”
“Oh dear!” His mom gasps, “Child, you are welcome to stay here as long as you need, you poor thing!” She runs and hugs me. I have never been hugged in all my life.
She sent me up to bed, tucked me in, and for once in my life, I felt what daughters feel when their parents show them compassion. It created a warm feeling in my stomach that I couldn’t quite name.
One minute I’m opening doors for middle aged men every day of my life, the next I’m getting put to bed by a handsome mysterious stranger’s kindhearted mother. What was happening?
I fell asleep and before I knew it, I was getting woken up by a very handsome, and fairly familiar male face, hovering just inches above my own, “Good morning!”
I started to scream and he placed his hand over my mouth roughly, “Sh!”
I calmed myself down, and the events of last night rushed back at me. My father is dead.
"Time to get up sleepy head!" Zeal said, looking at me to make sure I wouldnt scream when he took his hand off my mouth.
I licked my lips which felt oddly dry and said, "What time is it?" I hadn't slept this much in three years.
"It's time to get up Mystery," he whispered, "We're going into town with my parents to get a few things. So come on, get up. The shower is downstairs. Can yo ube ready in about 30 minutes?" he asked nicely
"Yeah sure." I said quietly. I walked out of the room with a new dress that Zeal's mother had left on the edge of the bed for me. When I lifted up the heavy covers, I felt a blast of cold air hit me. For the first time I actually took in my surroundings.
The room I was in was a light purple color and was very plain but tidy and pleasent. It was a decent size, not to big but not to small. I looked down and saw that there was shaggy carpet and on the other end of the bedroom there was a oak dresser about a foot shorter than me. The covers I was just under were a creamy white with lavender colored sheets and the pillowcases were also lavender. I noticed the slightest trace of perfume. This must have been someones room, not just a spare.
I made my way over to the oak dresser, yelping quietly when the floor squeaked. I was so used to the cement in my father's quarters it scared me to hear the noise. The dresser was smooth with two cabinet doors and two drawers under them. When I opened the cabinet doors and found several nice, but not overly decorated, dresses. They didn't seem new but they weren't old either, that means someone had worn them.
"Zeal?" I call, which makes him enter the room again.
"Yes, my love?" He replies, with just a hint of mockery etched in his lovely, lovely voice.
I turn to look at him and ask, "Who's room is this? From all that I have observed, someone obviously lives here. I sincerely hope I haven't stepped on any-one's toes and made them leave."
Zeal smiled, and that smile made his whole face light up, "My sister. No, she didn't have to relocate while you're here. She's out of town on a..." He poked his head out the door to make sure no one was around to hear, "top secret mission for the organization we both work for. My parents think she's in Burgundy with her Fiance."
"Oh." I mutter. "When does she get back?" I ask, wondering how long I will be allowed to stay in Zeal's warm, kind household.
"This morning actually! We are picking her up on our way into town! You shall love her instantly! I am positive you two will become friends."
"Splendid!" I say, trying to pretend to have the enthusiasm I have lacked my entire life. I must have done so rather well for Zeal just nodded at me encouragingly and said I should hurry and shower. I have never used a shower before.
I quickly finish getting ready and rush into the kitchen, still attempting to put my curls back up.
"Good morning!" Zeal's parents said simultaneously. "Helga is making us some delightful french toast sticks, would you like to have one?" Zeal's mother asked, a smile beaming on her kind face. Everything about this house is just so... loving. I can't help but wonder, is this how all average households are? Pity my mother wasn't kept around long enough to make me french toast sticks in the morning. I do believe I would have liked that.
"That would be terrific." I say, trying my best to smile and act greatful for their generous hospitality. I was greatful. Truly!
I sit down at the table, and soon find myself laughing at Zeal's father's jokes and sharing smiles with Zeal's mother. They were both so charming.
Then Zeal came downstairs.
"Mystery! I would have thought it would take such a stunning lady such as yourself longer to become ready in the morning!" He said cheerfully.
Him mother looked at him with an odd combination of love and annoyance, "Well, darling, it doesn't take everyone as long as you to get ready for the day!"
Zeal just rolled his eyes and sat down. We all began to eat breakfast, and my tongue was amazed by how delightful these french toast sticks tasted.Hints of cinnamon danced on my tounge and Superb! It was nothing like the bowls of mush I have for every meal, everyday.
I think I like it in the real world.
We were done far too soon, and all got prepared to leave. Zeal's father led us out to a vintage 420 double x vendeta hybrid. Or at least that's what he called the shiny, sleek black sportshovercraft as he explained how he got it. Apparently he won it gambling with a bunch of his friends from Dublin. How interesting. It took only a matter of twinques to arrive at the tele-p station. Supposedly these small, titanium, circular indentations on the ground could teleport a person from one location to the next in three abeternoms. As it happens, Zeal's sister, Harmoney, was coming in through one of them.
As soon as she appeared, I knew she had to be Harmoney. She had the same unfathomably indigo eyes as Zeal, and her fathers light brown hair, although hers was a little more thick and went down to her waist. My father would have called it "sex goddess hair." He would have known seeing half of his business consists of forcing girls to have sexual intercourse. He would have loved to have her in one of his showcases.
“Zeal!” She screamed as she through her arms around his shoulders. “Who’s this?”
“My name is Mystery.” I said with a grimace. Mystery? Why in heaven’s name did Zeal pick that?
Harmoney smiled and we had a nice chat on our way back into the hovercraft. That was until we found someone waiting for us.