Clairia: A World That is, Yet isn't Home
Author's note: Let's just say this is... unique! I really want to finish a book, but I've started a couple and... Show full author's note »
Dreams and Falsehoods“Clairia! Listen to me!” Charlie yelled at her friend.
“Why should I? You two know all along and didn’t tell me?!” I shot back.
Stephanie, apparently, couldn’t take it anymore, “Would both of you shut up? We’re fighting like little kids!”
And what was it that we, best friends since third grade, were getting so angry about? It was simple really; Charlie and Steph had known all along that I was getting taken out of my favorite class, Art, because my teachers thought I was spending too much time drawing, and not enough on my schoolwork. I knew in my heart that it wasn’t because of that. I didn’t know what it was about, but I knew I got straight A’s in all of my classes, so my schoolwork was definitely not the issue.
“Just tell me why you didn’t tell me. You guys know I would have wanted to hear it from friends, not the school’s guidance counselor.” Clairia whispered dejectedly.
“Mrs. Mayner told us that if we told you, she would have us put in detention for three weeks. That meant we wouldn’t see you at lunch for a month! I’m sorry Clair. I really am.” Charlie said while looking at her feet and slowly losing volume in her voice.
“I guess its ok; I just wish I had known.” I couldn’t believe that I was losing Art. Ms. Pona was my favorite teacher, and never seemed to be angry with me, like all the other teachers always were.
I was about to walk to my bus, when Stephanie grabbed my shoulder, turned me around and pulled me in for a tight hug, which Charlie soon joined. I loved my friends, they always knew what to do to make me feel better, but that was not the case this time. Nothing, I repeat NOTHING, was going to make this okay.
The ride home on the bus would have been livable, except for the fact that my ex was sitting next to me the whole time complaining about some teacher who had yelled at him for sleeping in class. I know Sky is still my best friend, even if he did dump me through an email, but something I just wish he’d learn when I was in a bad mood. Like now.
“Sky, will you please stop talking about your problems when I have plenty of my own?” I suddenly said, interrupting his rant.
“Um, sure C.” Sky said suddenly turning scarlet. He muttered, “Sorry, I didn’t know…” Throughout my friend group, I was called a few different things: C, Clair, Clairia, and of course, Lemon.
I sighed, exhausted from the day’s events. “It’s ok, I know you didn’t know?”
“Great! So what is it that I don’t know?” He replied, way too happily.
“I’m getting kicked out of art because I need to spend more time on school work.” I said using my best Mrs. Mayner impression. Mrs. Mayner has a very nasal sounding voice that makes me want to scrunch my nose like a chipmunk.
“Oh... I’m so sorry. Anything I can do to turn that frown upside down ya lemon?” He said with a lopsided smile.
“Nah Sky, I’m good staying in my own pool of lemony bitterness. School counselors suck ass,” I responded. Actually, the way I got the nickname Lemon is kind of an interesting story; I was making all of my friends laugh around the lunch table with a joke, while wearing one of my favorite T-shirts: a light purple T. with a bright yellow lemon on the center that is tied up the sides. Suddenly, the only other guy in my friend group, Euvin, spoke up for the first time since we sat down.
“Clair, you really are like a lemon, you know that? You’re as bitter as one, as sour as one, and definitely as zesty as one. You are one different girl.”
“Um, thanks? Wow, Daniel, you notice the most random things!” I remarked with a grin.
“Ugh! Stop calling me Daniel; I want to go by my middle name, Euvin. Daniel doesn’t fit me right...” Euvin ranted for a while.
Ever since that conversation, people have been calling me Lemon. Sigh, I wish it was that day again. Grr. I hate Mrs. Mayner!
I was brought back out of plotting to egg Mrs. Mayner’s car when Sky said, “Clairia? Helloooo? Are you even listening to me?”
“Umm, not really. What were you saying?” I asked.
“I was saying that all teachers and authority figures are stupid. I think that teenagers such as ourselves should run the world, we would make much better decisions.” He stated without hesitating.
“Oh yeah? What good would a bunch of 13 year olds do the world?” I asked bitterly, “We would probably set it on fire.”
As always, Sky looked absolutely flabbergasted with what I had just said. “You think we would set it on fire? Do you have no faith in your generation?”
“Sky, it is your bus stop, shouldn’t you be, I don’t know, standing up and leaving?” I asked with a smirk on my face. I loved to annoy Sky, but today I wasn’t really feeling it.
I waited the rest of the ride in silence listening to my iPod. At my stop I got up and walked down the street to my house. I felt tired and woozy for no apparent reason, and I couldn’t wait to get home.
As I put the key in my front door I felt another surge of fatigue. My vision was blurred and my stomach clenched. Was it just my imagination, or was the door changing colors? Probably just my imagination. The door opened with a hard, deep click. I walked inside, closed and locked the door, and immediately ran up two flights of stairs into the attic, a.k.a. my bedroom.
When I was five years old my parents put me in therapy because I was drawing a lot. The therapist said it was just a passing faze, but my parents were worried. Anyone creative in this messed up world it pretty much exiled, and they didn’t want their youngest of three neglected by the world. However, apparently my parents weren’t very smart, because they started acting like I didn’t exist soon after, stuffing me in this room, where I wouldn’t bother anyone. I think they were embarrassed by me, but you never know with my parents. They always do things they shouldn’t, like only acknowledge their youngest daughter when she throws a fit, which I haven’t done since I was 7, so who knows how long it’s been since they’ve given me any attention. They have never once come to one of my art shows or school plays.
When I finally got up to my room, I smiled. It might have been cut off from the rest of the house, but I loved my room. It had a circular window over half of the wall on one end, making it the only window in the room. Also, I had painted white waterlillies with purple veins on my white walls that gave a sense of fantasy to the room.
I jumped onto my bed, which was queen sized, had a dark grey comforter, countless purple pillows that match my waterlilles, and a fuzzy purple blanket to match. I had no homework, or anything else productive to do with my life, so I closed my eyes and tried to sleep.
Still trying to sleep.
Still trying to sleep.
Still trying to sleep.
Still trying to sleep.
Still trying to sleep!
Finally, after what seemed like hours, I fell asleep. While I slept, I dreamt, but soon that dream became a nightmare. In the nightmare, I was trapped, in my room, but it was different...
- - -
There was a band. A crash so loud my ears were ringing. I saw blood, and heard a man scream. What was with all of this noise? There was a sudden movement in the corner of my eye. When I turned around I saw something that scared me, and I don’t know why. It was a man, or should I say a boy. He was around my age, with jet black hair, and stunning green eyes. His face was as pale as snow, and he had a sprinkle of freckles on his nose. His eyes were warm, soft and kind, but he looked frightened. The boy began to speak.
”The time when you will be brought home is coming. You will no longer have to deal with these insufferable people you think are your family. Come. Come away with me Clairia, for we shall be together again.”
“There people you’re calling insufferable, I care about them!” I screamed, because the noise in the distance was getting louder, “What is with all of this blood?”
“In this dream you are remembering the day they found us, and took you away. One of our men got injured... The government came and found our rebel forces; they wanted us either captured, or dead. The man who got injured, Tommy, he almost did die. You really don’t remember?” He looked hurt, and worried, like something vital was taken away from him, “Please, come away with me. We were once so happy together; come away with me.” They boy’s eyes looked sad, like he would cry at any moment.
“Although I have no idea what you’re talking about, I have more questions. Who are you? What were we rebelling? Why did the government want to capture us? How is this a dream?” I rambled.
“Shush. Not all of your questions can be answered now. But, I can tell you one thing. My name is Jakoab, but when you were with us, you knew me as Jake. Clairia, I shall see you soon… hopefully next time, outside of your dreams. For now, it is time for you to wake up.” Jakoab said with such a soothing voice, I thought I would melt. Did I really know this guy?
All I could think of to say was, “I will try. See you soon Jake.” And so I did. I tried and tried and tried. I wasn’t sure how, so all I did was think over and over again, wake up. Wake up! WAKE UP! Soon, everything went blurry, and Jakoab was gone. My room disappeared from view as well, and in its place was…
A hospital room? Where am I? Did I wake up, or did I just go into another dream? Why did I have so many questions? Oh wait, someone is talking.
“She’s awake!!! What do we do? This has never happened before!” A lady wearing white, who I thought must be a nurse, shrieked. Something was familiar about this frantic nurse; I just can’t put my fingers on it…
“Wha... what's going on?” I asked exhaustedly. I could barely say that much.
“Ah!!!!! She’s talking!” the lady howled again. She looked like she thought I was ill with a highly deadly and highly contagious disease.
“Stop screaming, it hurts my… ugh… it hurts my head.” I was still feeling rather nauseous. Hmm, this is weird. Even though I do feel nauseous, my head is clear. More clear than it has been in a long time. I wonder why I’ve never felt this awake before… Just then I realized what was so familiar about the woman, she looked exactly like my guidance counselor, Mrs. Mayner! “Mrs. Mayner?”
“How do you know my name?!” She said and then quickly put a hand over her mouth, but I could still see her eyes popping out of her head. It was kind of creepy, but rather funny at the same time.
Without warning, a man in all black came in the room. He had what looked like a tazer, but much more deadly, it was literally sizzling with electricity! I hope he isn’t planning on poking me with that thing.
Again, without warning, wow these people really need to learn how to knock, a woman came in. She was wearing an identical outfit to the man’s but her weapon was flowing with purple energy. Somehow, and I don’t know how, it called to me. I wanted to hold it, to use it.
“Don’t shoot, Ricky, let’s see how we can play this.” The woman in black said with an edge in her voice that made my blood run cold.
“Fine, Maloney. What do you suggest we do?” The man in black asked sarcastically.
The woman remarked slyly, “Let’s ask her.”
“The fugitive?!” The man asked, obviously appalled, “Have you gone nuts?”
“Um, excuse me, but when I’m dreaming, I like to know what’s going on.” I said. I knew this wasn’t a dream; something about it was way too real. However, if they were going to use me, I was going to play them like a board game.
“She thinks this is a dream! Ha, idiot child!” The man whispered eagerly. Yea, I’m the idiot. Ha-ha!
“Yes child, what would you like to know?” The woman said sweetly, although I had heard her tone earlier, so I didn’t believe it. Not one bit, but again, got to play the part.
“Thank-you ma’am. I was wondering, why am I in a hospital? Is that supposed to mean I feel like I’m in need of help? Or is it not metaphorical for anything, but just part of the major plot.” I asked dumbly. I am rocking this role! I should be an actress!
“Well, I can’t tell you that, you have to figure it out for yourself. I’m sorry.” The woman replied with a small smile.
“Oh, ok… So what is in store for me next in this dream?” I asked trying to seem dumbfounded and disappointed.
“Well, why don’t you get dressed, and then we’ll find out?” she was so disturbingly nice. I hate her already.
I had her eating out of my hand, but I needed to make her believe I didn’t think I was in danger at all. And also, if I play my cards right I just might be able to escape, “Ok, um, odd question, but can I use the restroom first?”
“Of course Ms.…?”
“Ms. Lenner's ma’am. And you?” I said politely.
“Mrs. Seffy. This is my husband, Mr. Seffy, but you may call us Maloney and Ricky.” She is really trying to butter me up, “I will take you to the restroom now.”
“Ok, thank-you ma’am.” I tried to sound like I wasn’t freaking out. She’s taking me somewhere, and I don’t trust her at all. STRANGER DANGER.
She held out her hand, and, even though it made me want to cringe, I took it. Maloney helped me up, and walked me out of the room.
- - -
After I used the restroom and changed out of my hospital attire, Maloney and Ricky thought we should go on a “fun walk” outside. If they think they are making this like a dream, they must think dreams are really boring. When we got outside the scenery was not at all how I expected it to be. Everything looked just as it always does nothing strange or different about this seemingly weird world. Maloney must have realized my confusion because she said, “What? Does this seem unfamiliar to you?”
I was hesitant to answer but said, “No, it looks just like home. This is one odd dream…”
As I was looking around cautiously I noticed a large brick fence surrounding the perimeter. Was it meant to keep the dangers of the outside world out… or the mysterious patients in? Suddenly I saw a familiar looking person walk by. Oh wait! This isn’t a familiar looking person, this is Charlie! I couldn’t help myself, I had to ask.
“Charlie? What are you doing here?” I asked completely taken off guard.
“Clairia? Are we having the same dream?” She asked, obviously as confused as I was.
“Girls, do you know each other?” Maloney asked, looking worried.
I had to think of something to say quickly, so I said, “Um, yeah. This is Charlie, from my real world.”
“Please to meet you ma’am.” Charlie said with a little too much emphasis. Did she know what was going on?
Without warning, people who looked like they were wearing ninja costumes came flying out of the sky. If I wasn’t mistaken, I think I saw Jakoab’s bright green eyes flying past in all of this confusion. But that would be crazy; he was just part of a dream!
Screaming was coming from every direction. I felt as if my ears would explode. Suddenly, I was grabbed around the waist, and heaved upwards. I could no longer see Charlie, and even though someone was holding onto me from behind, I felt alone.
Where was I being taken? I am so tired of all these questions, when all I want is answers. Now as the figure who grabbed me began to speak, I had some hope that answers were just what I was going to get.
“Don’t worry Clairia, we’ll get you safe and sound at base soon enough!” The man shouted from behind me because wind was making things difficult to hear.
I was scared, yet exhilarated at the same time. I felt like a bird, flying through the air. All I did when we were flying was close my eyes and feel the wind hit my face.
After flying for what seemed like hours we landed on a patch of orange grass that went up to my thighs. It was odd, but yet felt real, familiar. We were in front of a small hut-like building that was painted a bright aquamarine. These people don’t like being subtle!
At least one hundred people were walking into that small little hut, so I couldn’t believe we’d all fit. I still felt something around my waist, so I looked down and saw a pair of hands wrapped tightly around me. It seemed as if they would never let go, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted them to.
“We’re here Clairia. Welcome base! Oh Clairia, it is so great to have you back! I have missed you so much for the past 8 years!” The oh-so familiar man said from behind me.
“Um, ok… Well, exactly why have I been gone 8 years?” I asked, confused. This made no sense!!!
I felt the hands tense up around my waist, “You mean, you truly don’t remember? How could that be? Well, we’ll figure it out when we get everyone gathered for a group meeting.”
I felt a surge of recognition, I knew that voice. “Hey! You are that Jakoab guy from my dream! But wait, you were just a dream, weren’t you?”
“No Clairia, I’m not. I was trying to convince you to doubt the world you thought you knew. I had to try to convince you to wake up! And luckily, you did!” He sounded proud of me, but I couldn’t remember a reason why he would be.
I turned around to see him again, looking just as gorgeous and vulnerable as the last time I saw him, and noticed what we had been flying in. It was like a mini helicopter that was on his back. It was black, so it matched their ninja suits, which is why I didn’t notice them earlier.
Although he never let go of me, we didn’t talk anymore until we got inside. When we did get inside, I saw how everyone was fitting in. There were stairs that led to a basement, a very large basement. There were couches, chairs and tables everywhere that people were sitting in conversing about the successful mission. Jake led me to a love seat and sat down. I sat down next to him, unsure about what to do. I am never good at being in a room full of people I don’t know. I feel so nervous that I have to cover around whoever I do know just to feel safe, and now, the only one I know is Jake. Suddenly, I realized everyone here looked like they were in their teen years, and that Jakoab seemed to be their leader, because he began a speech.
“Everyone here today was part of the successful mission that helped take back five of our rebels that had been taken from us,” He said, giving me a sad look, “However… What the government shape shifters have done to these people might be irreversible,” There was a gasp throughout the room, “Now hold on. HOLD ON! It might be. We still have to talk it over with our dream specialists. But, I know that not all of our friends have their old memories from before the dream zone.”
Someone in the crowd burst out, “Who!?”
“Everyone, I know this will be a setback and a shock for all of you, but, Clairia no longer remembers anything about this world. I have not gotten a chance to talk to anyone else about this yet, so it might not be true for all of the taken people.” Jake said while staring intently at the floor like something was very interesting about it.
A guy next to us said, “Jake, I am so sorry. We all know how much you care about Clairia, and how much it hurt you when she was taken. This must be like going through that all over again. If there is anything we can do to help ease your pain, just ask.”
“Um, I’m sorry, but am I understanding you right? I was taken away for 8 years, put in a dream, and now I’m back without any of my ‘real memories’ and might never get them again?” I asked, with a freaked out expression.
“Yes Clairia. That is the easy way to put it.” Jake said while looking sadly into my eyes.
I couldn’t believe this, but I had to ask, “And we… we were together?”
“Yes,” Jake said with a tinge of hope,” Do you remember? Please tell me you at least remember us!”
“Um not really. But I put two and two together…” I paused, and then burst out in a rush of words "I really can’t believe any of this. You’re all saying that my whole life was a lie. I went to hell and back in that dream, because I was “different” and “unique”. Now you’re saying that it was all for nothing. That my friendships and hardships were really nonexistent. I can’t, no I don’t want to believe that.” I stated, frustrated.
Jake wouldn’t take that for an answer, he looked stubborn and tired as he said, “But it is the truth, surely you see that? And if you can’t, we’ll help you see that. I would do anything for you. And I will.”
“Well, this is awkward,” I said, realizing how many people were watching us and listening to our private conversation, “How much do you know about what happened in the dream?”
“Actually, quite a lot. We could see everything that happened. We have a machine we call the dream seer. I’m sorry that’s a bit... How do Earth people put it? Stalkerish, that’s the word.” Jakoab responded, sounding embarrassed.
Well now it was my turn to be embarrassed, “So you know about me and…. Me and Sky?”
“Well,” Jake said with a frown, “Yes, I do. In fact, I’m going to have to talk about that with him later.”
“Well this is really awkward. Ummmmm. I kind of feel guilty about that, so maybe I have some of my old emotions. Who knows, maybe all of my memories will come back slowly.” I said hopefully. I probably shouldn’t believe any of this, but it feels so real, and makes so much sense. I never felt like I belonged before, and here, I do. Confusion finally settled in when I registered what he just said, “Wait! Sky is here?!”
Sky poked his head out of the crowd as he said, “Uhhhh, Jake? I feel really bad about that. But in my defense, in the dream, you don’t remember anything real. Trust me, I’m not about to do that again now that I remember you and Clairia.”
“Wait! You remember this world now that you are out of the dream?” Jake asked nervously.
“Yea…. Why are you looking so scared?” Sky said now also nervous, “Do you think that means something wrong happened to Clairia?!”
Jake nodded his head, “That might be so. Clairia, I promise you, we will figure this out!”