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To Link the Cosmos
Author's note: I read a book with a similar setting to Alec and Reese's true setting, and I really liked it. So I decided to write a different story with a different plot, characters, and everything different except for the setting. I would tell you the book, but it would give away the story. So read and find out and in a later chapter I will tell you! Enjoy and please comment!
The bright sun and the smell of wood awaken me from my relaxing sleep. I step out of my soft cotton bed and into my favorite white tunic and jean shorts. As I braid back my long golden hair, I peer out the window of my apartment to the world below. The town, the neighberhood, the farms, and then way off in the distance, the ocean that ends our paradisical island.
Quietyly, so I do not disturb my Aunt and Uncle, I slip through our front door, and into the hallway that adjoins all of the other apartments in my sector. I walk down the long corridor, and am almost out into the gardens of our shared courtyard, when I hear a door open behind me. I immediately can guess who it is by his footsteps: Adrian.
I reluctantly turn around as he calls out my name, and sure enough he is there. With brown hair, hungry, lingering, searching green eyes, a smirk, and huge biceps, Adrian is a year older than me, and always seems to be... watching.
His dragon scale eyes feast on the sight of me and his smirk grows as I look away.
“Good morning, Reese,” he says to me in his low voice.
“So, have any plans for tonight?”
His eyes search me, lingering. I fold my arms and answer curtly, “Yes.” I don’t trust him.
“Hm, I thought you might say that,” he answers with a grin. “You’ve been avoiding me ever since you turned 17 last month.”
“Well, let’s just say that I became more responsible and found that the dating age opened a window for you to take something precious from me.”
He opens his mouth to retaliate, but I don’t give him a chance. Instead, I turn on my heels and run out the door, starting a search for my best friend, Luke.
To explain Adrian’s words, the dating age is 17. Once you turn 17, you are allowed to date, marry, and interact with the opposite gender. It is the age of accountability so there is no shame, but apparently accountability and responsibility are two totally different things, because most girls are not married, but pregnant by 18. Boys start to look for more than friendship, and so once I turned 17, I lost all of my male friends except for one: Luke. And because girls cause too much drama, and I can’t stand to be around them, and boys are always wanting something more (except for Luke), I now only have him as a friend.
I arrive at Luke’s house in the Neighberhood and ring his doorbell. He answers and his face lights up as he sees me. I smile back, and he comes outside as we sit on his white wood porch swing. Luke is so respectful towards girls. He never lets me come into his house, because he is afraid that one of these days he will lose control and something will happen. And he couldn’t bare to disrespect me like that, so he takes no chances.
Luke has never done any of the things allowed by the dating age. One of the reasons is because he is not the most attractive young man in the world. He is shorter than most guys his age, but still taller than me, because I am short myself. He is scrawny and has messy brown hair and big brown eyes that are covered by thick lensed glasses. His nose is long and his teeth are crooked. But on the inside, he is the most attractive and handsome guy in the world. He is sweet, smart, and witty, and always knows exactly what to say. A true gentleman, he has always known how to treat a girl. If only a girl besides me would notice him.
We talk about life for a bit. He tells me about his recent piano recital, and I tell him about my goal in the soccer game that won the game for my team. We decide to go for a walk on the beach after a half hour.
We stroll the sand for a bit, and then sit down and eat our traditional picnic of sandwiches, plums, and lemonade. We laugh, talk, and enjoy eachother’s company for at least an hour, when suddenly Luke grows silent. He looks over at me and asks, “Reese, what do you think is beyond the ocean?” It’s such a silly, obvious question, that I simply just shake my head and laugh.
“No, Reese, don’t do that again! I’m serious.”
I look up into his pleading eyes, and answer, “Luke, you know what’s beyond there. You’ve heard the stories all your life.”
He scoffs at me. “Reese, surely you don’t believe what they say. I know that I don’t. Honestly, Reese: ferocious, man-eating water monsters, flesh-chasing, blood-drinking dinosaurs that haunt the land? There isn’t any proof! No pictures, no first-hand accounts, nothing. Nothing but old stories that our grandparents heard. Reese, things change! They could be gone, and we wouldn’t even know it! If they ever even were there in the first place...”
“Luke, stop! You know that the only man who ever went into the ocean died!”
“And he didn’t live to tell the tale, so where did the stories come from?”
He’s got me. I had never even thought of that reasoning before. I had just accepted the rote stories being drilled into my brain, so consequently I don’t have an answer. I’m just gaping at him like the ignorant idiot I am.
“Reese, I’m going to take a boat into the ocean. You can come with me, but there is nothing you can say to stop me.”
He’s serious. I need to protect him. I have no other choice.
Deep breath, “All right then, Luke. I’ll go with you.”
This is going to be one hell of an adventure.
Walls. Always surrounded by those cold, dark, metal, unforgiving walls. My world is made of walls. They are all I have ever known. My colony and I are trapped inside these walls because of the extreme weather conditions outside. We are all closely monitored by heavy-set humans in identical uniforms, and if one of us tries escape this hell, then that person is immediately taken to the mental ward just down the hall, and are never seen again.
We are prisoners in our own world.
We all live in the same room on gray beds. We feel the cold and harsh wool of our fabrics. We hear the churning of the gates when our food arrives from Outside, ready to be processed. And we see walls. Forever trapped by walls...
My eyes snap open, and I am jolted from my nightmare again. I look around at the other 523 people in the colony, all crammed together in this room, fast asleep. Inside walls. Neverending walls-
I shake my head. I have to stop this, this obsessing. It’s getting out of hand. I just need to accept that I will never leave this place. That I will spend the rest of my life behind these walls. But I know that it is in my blood to try to escape, and that I will never truly be at peace no matter how many drugs they pump into me to calm me down. I’ve had each kind, but to their dismay, never get addicted. Everybody else does, though. We are all a bunch of drugged lab rats.
My parents were both sent to the ward, so I suppose that that is where I am destined to be headed also. Behind bars, then.
I crawl out of bed and the next thing I am conscious of (They must’ve given me more of those drugs in my sleep) is standing in front of the wardrobe. I decide that I don’t feel like wearing a shirt today, one of the options one has of being under 30. The majority of my friends and I are 18, so we can still enjoy the beauty of a youthful body. Besides, the wool clothing is so itchy and warm, it is simply better to go without a shirt. How strange we must seem to our ancestors from 100’s of years ago, where it is now acceptable for a young man or woman to walk around totally topless without feeling any shame.
I peer into a nearby mirror, and flex, admiring my muscular and lean body. I work hard, and take pride in how I look. I smooth down my black hair, make my blue eyes smile, and feel as if I could take on any challenge the world throws at me. That is, until I see Lila in the mirror, sitting up in a bed behind me, watching. I feel my face flush, and attempt to cover myself with my hands.
She laughs because I am acting so ridiculous in my underwear. She’s seen me like this countless times, and I’ve seen her the exact same way. It’s just that we’ve never seen eachother acting like this, unprepared and basically alone. She smirks, and let’s her short dark red (like a red velvet cupcake) hair cover her freckled face.
Lila is gorgeous. She is slender with appropriate attractive curves, fair with a few dark brown freckles, big blue eyes, and short, artsy, dark-bown hair that she occasionally dyes a dark red. Like today. She keeps watching me, but covers herself up with her blanket.
“Good morning, Alec,” she says to me in her spunky voice.
“Hey, Lila.” I walk over to my bed, pull on some trousers, and go to sit at the edge of her bed. As I sit, she inhales sharply. i am aware that I am shirtless, and so is she, but she is covered, and I am a boy. No harm, right?
She looks up at me with her big blue eyes and says, “You were moaning in your sleep. Nightmare again?”
I nod. She always knows, and always understands, and never judges. Lila has been my best friend for as long as I can remember, but lately I have felt different feelings towards her. More feelings, wanting more. And I want those feelings to stop.
Sizzling erupts on the stove as tender mushrooms and fragrant spices hit the hot pan. I stand next to my Aunt Alison as we prepare dinner, side by side. We make small talk about the day, ginish cooking, dish up, sit down, and call Uncle Andrew to come eat.
In the five minute span before Uncle Andrew enters the room, I decide to bring up the topic with Auntie that has been gnawing at me all day long.
"So, Auntie, Luke and I are going to go for a boat ride off the island tomorrow..."
I say this casually, as her mouth is full of mushrooms and meat. Her eyes bulge, she chokes, and quickly swallows. As she regains her breath, I hastily add, "Actually, it hasn't been decided yet... just an idea..."
"Are you mad, Reese?"
I raise my eyebrow at my Angry Aunt Alison in an attempt to show her my seriousness. But she continures anyways, "you know what's out there! We would never see you again!"
"What's that?" Asks my Uncle as he steps into the room.
"Reese is planning on leaving the island," Auntie quickly says before I have a chance to. He also raises his eyebrown, as if in a question.
"It's not what it seems like." I quickly tell them. I relate Luke's and mine conversation from today, and Uncle seems to soften a bit, but Auntie is sill a stone statue of stubborness.
"No." she states curtly.
I can't help myself, "Yes, and you can't stop me. You pretend to be my parents, but you're not! I can do whatever I want."
Auntie stands up and leaves, tears forming in her dark eyes which are so different from my hazel ones. Uncle leans across the table and grasps my hands in his as he looks deep into my eyes.
"Reese, you have a fighter spirit. Like your mom, actually. But that is how she got, well," he chokes, "killed." I grasp his hand back in comfort. He continues, "You need to be careful, and remember to think about what you do, and how it could affect you or somebody else. We may not be your real parents, but we love as if we were. Remember that." He then stands up to go find and comfort Aunt Alison in our small apartment.
Later that night, I phone up Andrew, and tell him to prepare our supplies. However, all the while I can't get rid of that piercing, stabbing, dragging weight of my conscience on my back.
What am I getting us into?
All day we give. At least that's what we are supposed to call it. It's really forced manual labor. Each day, one is forced to either carry, grind, entertain, please, lead, teach, clean, or invent to their ability and beyond. I am a carrier. I have to build and move heavy objects for no obvious reason. Lila is an entertainer. Every day, she must dress in an outlandish costume, and sing or dance for the officials and people who pay. Sometimes they will ask her to perform a little more intamitely or privately, and she must obey or be sent to the ward. What a terrible job. We don't get a chance to choose our jobs. They look at us and choose accordingly. For example, Lila is beautiful and smooth, so she became an entertainer. I am strong so I became a carrier.
I remember back, ten years ago, there was a man, an inventor, who refused to work for a day to take care of his dying wire. So they killed his wife, but the man seemed relieved, for it put her out of her misery. So what they did instead, they took an invention he had been working on, a micro-flashlight, and they literally hammered it into his brain. They took his strength and turned him into a vegetable with it. To not create a martyr of this man, they erased everybody's memory of this incident- everyone, that is, except me. I had hid my 8 year old body underneath a food pipe, and before I knew it, they forgot about me and I was spared from that bright red light. So if I rebelled, they might make me do something dreadful, like carry my family members for so long or they would be killed or I collapse from fatigue. And Lila might have to dance on hot coals or let some old man have his way with her as she is slowly being killed... what a twisted society we live in, and I seem to be the only one who think that.
Our officials never let us live our lives. And even if these are the only lives we've ever known, we still can feel that it's not supposed to be like this. One human shouldn't have this much power over another.
So later today, when Lila and I talk at the edge of her bed, I will tell her my thoughts and the martyr memory, and we will find a way to stop this twisted tyranny together.
Friday night. Midnight. Or would that then be Thursday morning? Either way, what's done is past, and there is no way to change the fact that in the present, Luke and I are here, on the beach, decked out in lifejackets, and in a boat the size of a bed. We load our 3-day supplies box into the boat, hop in, and push off into the water. I have been in a boat multiple times in my life before, but as our guardian glides the glossy surface, going further than I've ever dreamed, I feel as if I've never really been alive until now.
The wind picks up, and we soar across the black and blue abyss. Luke and I are silent, when I suddenly feel his eyes on me.
I look at him. His eyes look bluer than worry.
"I was right. There's nothing bad out here," he says with a slight smirk. Like Adrian's smirk. Stop... he's not like Adrian at all. In fact, he's the exact opposite. Adrian is attractive, hot, and tall, while Luke is short, not attractive, and awkward. Adrian is sly and seductive, while Luke is open and sweet. Even their names our opposite. Adrian means of the night, whild Luke means light.
I focus back on his smirk, but I am not yet totally convinced of this peace to override the lifetime of horror stories I have heard. So instead I give him a wary smile, and he grins back.
"You're my best friend, Reese," he says after a bit. I answer him, "You're mine too, Luke." I look away and gaze at the waters. I am totally captivated by the view and the wind soothes my face, and I feel like Luke's eyes are still on me.
I feel his warm hand slip into mine.
I jerk my hand back as though I'd been stung by a bee. I harshly look at Luke.
Why would he do that? He just shattered our entire relationship! Is he that ignorant? The main reason I hang out with him is because he doesn't (didn't used to!) do stuff like that!
His face bleeds a crimson shade as he looks down at his rejected hand.
He mumbles something inaudible.
"What?" I snap.
He looks up at me as he says, "I just said that I am sorry. I don't know what I did that for."
"Yea, well, guess what? You promised me you would never try anything like that!"
"I know," he sighs. "But as I said, I don't know what came over me. Please forgive me, Reese; you're my best friend!"
"Best friends don't make moves on eachother, Luke!"
He starts to get angry. I can see it in his chocolate brown eyes. Just like how Luke couldn't control himself, I can't seem to control my temper. It's almost like something in the universe doesn't want us to get along. Fate has cooked up the perfect recipe for disaster in Karma's kitchen.
"You know what, Reese? You're overreacting!"
How dare he!
"No! You know what?"
"You're just like all the other boys! All you care about it... that!"
And that's when we start it. A full scale shouting match with the occassional slap from me and wrist-grabbing from him.
I have boiled over almost to the pint of attempting to push him overboard when we hear it.
The sound of death, itself. A banshee scream and the sickening sound of cracking wood. Our wood. Of our boat.
We both stop immediately and look over he side. Something is moving beneath us: something big. It lifts its head out of the water as we scream. Transparent thick skin with the texture of leather, but the appearance of cyran-wrap covers a titanic circular head with sunken black shallow holes for the eyes that do not exist. Two slits account for its nose, and a wide ed gash reaching from ear t ear serves a mouth with shark-rows of long thick teeth. As for its ears, protruding fleshy tubes. Its half submerged body is hunched and bony, and shows every single thing inside this creatures twisted body. IT lets out the banshee wail from its grinning mouth, and Luke and I struggle to cover our ears. This is the devil's dog that chewed though its chain of devoured lost suld and escaped into our path.
I feel overwhelming terror as the true horror of this reality takes me in. We are skinking, going to be devoured by this beast.
The monster lungs down, and to my horror, goes right into attack Luke. He is in shock, so the creature is about to bite him with his sword teeth. However I lunge forward, seize Luke by the waist, and we both go barrelling into the dark sea. We plunge into its depths as the creature scrams in rage behind us. We have escaped, but not for long. The monster is closing in again, and in a couple of seconds, he will be upn us. Knowing that we don't have any time to spare, I grab Luke again and pull him under the water with me. He immediately understands, and in seconds we are so deep e can't hear the monster any longer. We start swimming forward instead of down. I feel as if we may have escaped and are safe to come up for air, when I hear it behind us, in the water, chasing us. I know that we are running out of air and have to escape. But if we go up, we will slow down, and it will catch us.
We keep swimming and I can feel us starting to lose energy as our brains hunger and starve for oxygen. I sense myself starting to fade...
I awake from my watery grave, and look at Luke, who is shouting my name and pointing at something in front of us. It look slike a trap door floating in mid-water all by itself. But then once I focus my muddled mind, I see not just a door, but a whole wall that extends in all directions, camoflauged with paint to appear as its surroundings.
I understand that he wants us to escape from the monster through this mysterious door. So, pushing all worries and questions out of my mind, I use my final burst of energy to make it to and open the door. Luke and I succeed, and go tumbling through into darkness, leaving the wailin monster behind us, and slipping off of the icy surface of...