The bristles on the brush gently massage my scalp. I look in the mirror to see my mid-length locks of dark hair hanging behind my head in a ponytail. My brown eyes nothing like my mother's or father's. Caramel skin, like it is ready to be but on a green apple.
[[ next-> paragragh 2]] As I child I always loved this mirror. It reminded me that I had myself, when my father died, I didn't talk to many people. I talked to my sister and my best friend Mathew but that was it. I even shut my mother out, I did my school work quietly and I came home and locked myself in my room unless it was a monday or wednesday, or it was time to eat.
[[next->paragraph 3]] “It grew back,” my younger sister Emilly exclaims. I look over at her
She has curly hair armpit length. She has on her favorite yellow dress with small flowers on it. She smirks, her two dimples look deeper than ever. Here dark skin looks shiney today. She has on some slide on shoes that are red, bright red the color of a shiny new car. Not that I will ever see one.
[[next->paragraph 4]] The sun is beaming bright today. I see everyone else headed towards the rusted bus that takes us to school. I turn my back to the bus and head straight to the meadow it’s a Monday morning, on Mondays and Wednesdays I meet my friend Mathew in the meadow. I slowly begin to walk but i don’t know if I want to go the the meadow today. I stop walking i look at the path that takes me to the meadow and the bus that willtake we to school.
OPTION A: [[ Go to the meadow .]]
OPTION B: [[ Go to school. ]]
I continue to walk, I know I am close, when I'm close to our spot in the meadow I start to see small flowers, they’re primrose, small red and yellow flowers all around me with pale brown weeds and grass up to my knees. I look down at my feet I know I’m there.
[[next->continue]]The sun is beaming bright today. I see everyone else headed towards the rusted bus that takes us to school. I turn my back to the bus and head straight to the meadow it’s a Monday morning, on Mondays and Wednesdays I meet my friend Mathew in the meadow. I slowly begin to walk but i don’t know if I want to go the the meadow today. I stop walking look at the path that takes me to the meadow and the bus that will take me to school.
I need to go to school if I fail another class my mother will have a heart attack. I walk towards the bus it’s a rusted copper color like a penny. I step onto the bus seats are almost full I sit next to my sister ever though she talks to the girls in front of her.
[[next->school 2]]The bus rides over the pebbles and dirt. About five minutes later we reach the school building is about three stories high and it’s tan but the paint has faded. I walk up two flights of stairs to reach my grades floor of the building. I walk towards the doors and walk down long hallways with blue carpets peeling cream paint and rusted grey lockers. I reach my first class which I think is math.
[[next->school 3]]I take a seat in the back the teacher is standing there with her floral skirts the reaches her knees and her cream button down shirt with the ruffled collar. She has pale skin and blue shoes that match the color of the flowers on her skirt. Her hair is brunette and in a perfect bun. She wears glasses that make her eyes look huge, the glasses have a brown out line.
[[next->school 4 ]]She begins to talk about math, god I have to get out of here. I raise my hand
“Yes dear,” she says to me. Her voice is so small. No wonder I tuned her out so easily she sounds like a sweet woman, and the sweet teachers always let you go to the restroom.
“May I use the lavatory.” she nods her head yes I grab my bags and run out of the doors I leave the room and run towards the door at the end of the hallway. When I am out of the building I take a deep breath, and I raced down the stairs and head back to my house, about five minutes later reach my house so take the path to the meadow.
I slowly begin to walk the ground is filled with dirt and small rocks I kick them until I reach the grass by the meadow.
[[ Go to the meadow .]] I can tell but the primrose at my feet. I look up to see the blazing sun no clouds today. The meadow is an escape. No buildings or talk about war. Just miles of grass and primrose. The sky is cloudless, and filled with blue sky. Only blue not deep blue just a light blue. Like my favorite color. The air smells fresh like an air freshener, a natural air freshener. The grass feels dry against my legs. So pale not like a skin tone, more like a muted color of brown
“ You’re late,” I hear a voice shout. I look up its Mathew.
“ Sorry that my house doesn't have a clock,” I say walking towards him.
“ Your hair grew back,” he said slightly out of breath. His dark eyebrows arch and his blue eyes squint because the sun shines so bright.
“ yeah,” I say with a giggle. “hair dose that you know grows back,” I reply sarcastically. He looks up and shakes his head.
“ That sucks, I liked the short hair on you Ell,” we just sit in our spot and we talk for another hour. Until greyish air crafts woosh by the meadow. They release people in black uniforms and guns.
” NO!” Mathew shouts.
“It’s happening,” I say. The Outlasters have come to Inland, and I don’t think it’s to make peace with the Inlasters.
[[next->continue again]] I’m running back through the woods to my neighborhood Mathew is right behind me. My heart is racing, sweat droplets of running down my forehead, all I see are men in black suits pushing women and children around into the street I look up to see the air crafts dropping explosions. I look behind me Mathew is panting trying to steady his breath. “come” I hear a soft voice say. Look over to see a woman standing to my right, waving Mathew and I over,
“come now,” she shouts a little louder I run to her Faded orange door. She slams the door behind us, This woman has olive skin and dark curly hair, Her eyes are a soft grey. No like a muted grey. Grey like a stone. a Stone that sits out. She looks as if she is in her mid-forties. Her home is a small one-bedroom, I think it’s got colors all over
[[next->next 1]]Her house has an Orange rug with red and purple polka dots, and a yellow couch. There is a small kitchen. With teal cabinets and wood countertops. There is one window with pink curtains, a light brown table that sits in front of the yellow couch, with a half-finished coffee mug on it. The walls are painted white. The floor is mostly wood from what I can see. There are a cream refrigerator and a rusted down sink and oven.
[[next->next 2]]I still try to steady my breath as I look around. he said, ” thank you.“
“Yeah, but why did you do it.”
“call us into your home we don’t know you you don’t know us an-,” she interrupts me
“I know you, you just don't know me,” I just shake my head.
“Crazy old woman,” I whisper to myself.
“ Mathew Allbaker and Elodie Darma.” She knows my name. What how? I don’t understand.
“ you know us?” Mathew questions.
The woman shook her head. “ I know your sister to Elodie and they l took her,” she says. “they took all the kids from school.”
“ How do I get her back,” I reply.
“ I’m Tamara,” She says holding her hand out Mathew shakes it.
“ HOW DO I GET HER BACK,” I repeat aggressively.
“ You have to fight, and not just for her for everyone.” “For this city, your home, but you have to be up to the task both of you.” I glance at Mathew he glances back I shake my head, I know what we have to do.
“ We’ll do it,” Mathew says. I want to think this over, are we really going to trust some random lady on the street that just happened to know our names. I don’t know if i should do this or not.
OPTION A: [[ Do it.]]
OPTION B: [[ No think about it first. ]]
“ You have to fight, and not just for her for everyone.” “For this city, your home, but you have to be up to the task both of you.” I glance at Mathew he glances back I shake my head, I know what we have to do.
“ We’ll do it,” Mathew says.
“Yeah, we’ll do it,” I say
“Can I talk to you,” I say to Mathew he nods his head. I walk through the door and smiled at the woman on the way out. I turn my head and Mathew follows me.
“ ok Miss.Stubborn say it,” he says sarcastically
“ I didn’t know it was stubborn not to trust some random lady on the street. I’m sorry that my instincts say that she might be some strange person that might just get us killed.”
“ or she could be some lady that helps u save your sister.” I just shrug my shoulders mostly because he has a point she could help us. This could be a good decision or a bad on, but right now I think it's best to take a risk with one. Mathew stands in front of the door looking at me.
“ Fine, but If I get killed its on you” i say bumping her shoulder and walking into the door. I go back into the colorful house and sit on the couch. I look at Tamra then mathew, I take a deep breath.
“Yeah, we’ll do it,” I say
[[next->log3]] We sit there Mathew walks over to the couch along with Tamara. “ You need to change both of you I think I have something in the back,” She says walking to her room.
Has she been waiting for us? I just do n't understand I touch Mathew ́s arm. He looks at me, and for the first time, I see the fear in his eyes, A look that says I don’t want to do this.
“ you okay,” I whisper. He just shakes his head. I give a brief smile. Then Tamara drops a bunch of black gear on the table. She looks up and hands me a black tee-shirt, leggings, a black jacket not that I will need it, an earpiece, and some back boots.
“ The restroom is on the left,” I get changed and come back out the shirt is so soft it warms my body. Mathew goes to change he comes out about 2 minutes later. The shirt shows his mussels and all the black brings out his deep blue eyes. Then we sit and Tamara tells us that they have the kids at the main building and that we need to be very careful, that there will be outlasters and traps everywhere. We listen for another hour, and then we are sent out on our way.
[[next->log4]] It is dark out, buildings are wrecked. Almost every light is out. There is no bus, no kids, and thankfully no outlasters are out right now. The city seems so quiet which is funny we are known for being very energetic. NO people roaming the streets. Just a deserted city. There are fires that burn brighter than the sun. The sky is grey filled with smoke, the sun is setting and it’s not even a pretty sunset.
“What has this place become,” Mathew says with the gun hanging in his hand. We both stare at the buildings.
“Invaded,” I say in a rough voice as I start walking towards the city. We walk for another hour we don’t even get close to the city. There are fires everywhere. I sigh. We eventually reach a bridge the walk under it and when we are about to reach the city
“Maybe we should set up camp here,” Mathew says.
“No, we need to get into the city,” I reply
“ If we go now we might be too exposed”
“ but if we stay here we are most likely going to be exposed and set on fire,” I say as a take another step.
“OK you might be filled with energy but I'm not can we set up camp here” he shouts
[[next->log5]]There is water dripping from a crack in the bridge that Mathew wants camp under. It splashes hard like hail sounding splashes. The ground is hard it is built of brick, I look down and trace the pattern of the bricks, they are red and brown. The curved part of the bridge is grey. It’s built of stone like. Not like Tamara’s eyes, this stone dark, like ones near a lake, the big ones that you tried to throw into the water when you were younger. There are puddles that reflect the light of the poles with lights on top.
[[next->log6]] I nod my head and set down bags, even though this is a bad place to set up camp I’ll stay. I am tired but, I want my sister back. To be honest, we are going to be exposed regardless, what were we thinking coming into the city to fight out lasters. We aren't going to make it and I think I'm the only one who knows it. Mathew is too optimistic, he sees the good in every situation. Even the dark ones.
[[next->log7]] Mathew eventually falls asleep so I guess I'm on the first watch. It is so dark and stinky under the bridge. What do I do when I'm on watch, I can’t sleep, we don't have any food, No one is up to talk to me, and I smell smoke. Wait I smell smoke. If a fire is lit nearby, I start to shake Mathew we grunts.
“ Hey get up,” I say in a worried tone. I look over and I see the fire spreading. “ GET UP,” I yell. The fire is getting closer and closer “ MATHEW GET UP THERE IS A FIRE.” his eyes widen, we grab everything and start running. We both breath heavy as we run. We get closer to the city. Then we hear men talking, I look to my left and men in black uniform, Outlasters stand to chat with large guns. “ Stop” I gasp. I look over at him and nod my head towards the men.
“Go that way, it’s close to Mani’s house he might be there,” Mathew says. Mani is Mathew’s cousin but he went to school today, I doubt that he’s there. WE run in the direction of mani’s house every time look over I see a fire. We run another mile or so and we reach his house. It's not secure here I want to tell him that but he has hope, as usual.
“They’re not here, Mani went to school he probably with the others,” I say. “ Plus its not safe there are about fifty thousand guards swarming the area like bees, We have not weapons besides that one gun that u have and we could die at any moment,” I say panting out of breath
[[next->log8]]“ ok, we can go but wait here,” Mathew says and breaks the door down. I stare wide-eyed and we run into the house. I stand there alone unprotected with no self-defense. 5 minutes later he comes out of the house with 2 guns and a bow.
“Catch!” he yells. Throwing me a bow and arrow “ You’re a fast learner right” he says and starts to walk.
“what no, I have never used this in my life” I exclaim. He stops and smirks at me. “ what now,” I say frustrated. “ You want me to build a house or something.”
“ No,” he laughs “ shoot”
“What!” I say
“Shoot,” Mathew says leaning his eyebrows. I turned around, I can feel my hands shaking.
The streets are on fire I see one person in black. The buildings are on fire, burning like the sun. the streets are burning up its flames. I take one deep breath in, I aim an arrow at window, deep breath out and release the arrow. It strikes straight through the window.
[[next->log9]]“Eh, good enough,” Mathew says. I see the man again, he slowly pulls out a gun Mathew doesn't see him. “ Let's keep moving,” he shouts. I focus on the man in black, he held the gun up pointed straight at me. I swing an arrow and aim it directly at him. Deep breath in, I won’t make it, deep breath out the arrow hits him directly in the chest. Oh my god, I just did that. “ hey, you okay,” Mathew says. He touches my shoulder. “ We gotta go, right now.” I nod my head and snap out of my trans. We walk, and walk, and walk. All I can think about is I just killed someone.
“ We can set up camp here if you want to stop and get some rest.”
We are by a group of trees they will cover us so we won’t be exposed. But it will be uncomfortable. I'm sure he is right we should probably stop I don't want to but we need it. I say, “We should probably check in with Tamara grab the walkie it’s in your bag so,” I say. Mathew removes the walkie talkie from his bag.
[[next->lake1]]Hey, Tamara,” he says in a low voice
“Mathew thank god,” Tamara replies. “ I thought you guys were dead,” She says.
“Why would we be dead,” I say.
“ Your sister she sent a note,” Tamara answer. “It says they know, as in they know you guys are coming.”
We are exposed, if they know we are coming we are exposed. I snatch they walkie talkie and throw it into the street, It completely demolishes. “ why would you do that” Mathew shouts.
They know where we are, we are too exposed, and with that thing they can listen to our conversations, but instead of saying that I just shrug my shoulders he won’t get it. That’s just going to make him even demented.
the arrows on my back are heavy so I just start walking. Towards the tree that we have, and grab everything that’s there “ we have to go” I say “ NOW!” I just keep walking the sun is down for a while then eventually it starts to rise.
“ Hey, ” Mathew says as he touches my shoulder. I give and aggressive look, he removes his hand.
“I think the main building is this way. “
I look over I see a tall silver building with lots of windows. Though they are not see through.
“ yeah,” I reply. I here marching, loud clear marching. “ They’re here.” I swing a bow out and get ready to shoot, its 2 men.
“ put your weapons down” I hear a voice from behind there is are 2 more men in black. “ I won't ask again,” I look at Mathew I shoot one of the men in the chest. He falls to the ground the other fires his gun at Mathew.
[[next->lake2]]He shoots him in the leg, and I shoot the man on the side. They both drop to the ground.
I see blood dripping on his pants. I take out the sweating from my bag, I rip off the sleeve and tie it tight around the wound. “ You’re gonna be ok,” I say. tears began to roll down my cheek. “ you’re gonna be okay,” I whisper again.
“ Elodie,” Mathew grunts he tries to open his big blue eyes he dark hair just laying there. “ You have to go, Tamara,” he pauses “Tamara is dead, it’s up to you Ell.”
“ No, because we are going to get you help an-,”
He smiles “ I won't make it, it is up to you,” He says.” It’s up to you the stubborn, kind, warm-hearted, Elodie and I believe in you.” I don’t want to go I don’t want to leave him here.
“Get up,” I say. “You are going to wait in the meadow while I call for help because I am not going to leave you,” I say “ I am not leaving you.” He smiles at me.
OPTION A: [[ GO! .]]
OPTION B: [[STAY. ]]
“GO” He whispers “save your sister, and your mother, do it for me, do it for inland, do it for Tamara, do it for your father, Because if you don’t do it, who will?” I smile and grab the bow. “ I'll be okay,” he whispers.
I go on my own I start off walking then I begin to jog, The sun is setting and there are grey clouds do I find a place to settle for the night. There are dirt and a tree. Also a soft bed of grass. I sit there and think, I have no one now. I destroyed the only connection we had with Tamara. SO now I have no one. I start to tear up I blink and I can't help but cry. I feel the teardrops roll down my cheeks one by one, Then I let out a sob and I can't help but just sit there and cry. Sob after sob, tear after tear. I lost my best friend, my sister, my mother, my father, my adviser, and people think I’m just some strong warrior when I know nothing about war. My father died in a war for God's sake. I can’t do anything but sit here in this corner by the tree. I hear thunder strike, great and now there is a storm coming. “Wait there is a storm,” I whisper to myself. When storms hit inland the power goes out, and if the power goes out…… the guarantee system goes down.” the system goes down,” I tell myself. I can get into the main building as long as the storm keeps going.
I stay I can't leave, If I leave I would be a bad friend. I reach behind my back to make sure my arrows are still there in case of another attack. I only feel about 4 of them behind my back. I bite my lip thats not enough. I wait crouched on my knees Mathew passed out 10 minutes ago but I can still feel his pulse so heś ok. I see a grey army truck ride up, In my head I feel like they are medics but I know that they aren't. I pull an arrow out, I shoot but I miss there is another truck with the same grey color and big wheels. It comes up from behind us my hds are trembling and I couldn't shoot another arrow if I tried. The men come up behind me and scoop me up. They tie up my hands and throw me in the back of the truck. They open the back of the truck 10 minutes later and we are at the main building. The men take me down stairs to an empty room with nothing but concrete floors. They throw me in a room all alone with no food or water. They make sure the lock the door behind them. I eventually pass out and I never saw anyone again.
[[next->lake 4]] I move out of my corner. I should move the light. So I set down the backpack all I plan to bring is the bow and arrows and this jacket. I swing on the jacket put the arrows across my back and carry the bow in my left hand, I finally rise and begin to run, I run in the cold dark storm. I start panting, I want to slow my pace but there is no guarantee the storm will last long. I feel a combination of sweat and water running down my forehead, my hair is soaked, dropping water and swaying all over the place.
I finally reach the main building the lights are out, and it’s quiet way too quiet. No outlaster footsteps, no explosions, just emptiness. I begin to walk towards the door, I grab the metal bar and swing it open.
[[start over->]][[start over ->start over ]] When I get inside the building it has this sense of warmth. There are windows everywhere, shiny glass that you can only see through if you are inside. The floor has marble tile on it like a glossed over bathroom floor. I see some wooden doors. I look straight up there has to be more floors to this building. when you stand outside it looks like at least 15 stories high.
[[next->lake6]]I look above my head and see a sign, west staircase, ballroom, meeting area. Is what it says with an arrow pointing to the right. I pull out an arrow and line it up with the bow as if I am ready to shoot. I walk in the direction it points me in and then, I walk a couple of feet down the hallway I begin to see some stairs I look to my left and saw a plain wall then to my right and I see a door it is half-cracked open.
[[next->lake7]]“ Sir, I believe her name is Elodie” I hear a voice say “ Elodie Darma” I lift my eyebrows. Why would they want me? “ The boy said that was her name.”
“ You are dismissed Canden” I hear a deeper voice say
The boy? what boy I don’t know any boys except for. Oh my god, he’s here.
“ Candon broadcast my message if she wants to get the boy back she has to surrender,” the deeper voice says
“ what about her sister,” I think that is Candon he sounds about my age
“ If she doesn’t surrender,” The deep voice pauses “ We kill them both.” I don’t know what to do bust into these doors and surrender or keep kill these people. I keep walking, I go to the staircase and run up to flights of stairs then I run into a man in a black suit. I launch the arrow and grab another to but it into the same position. But before this man is completely dead I ask him one question.
“ Who is your leader?” I ask
“ Crotch,” the man says with a grunt. Then his eyes are shut and he stops fighting. I climb up 3 more flights of stairs then I hear whispering. It sounds like kids maybe my sister is with them. OK, this is not the wisest thing but I walk towards the door, it ́s cracked open.
“1,2,” I say breathing in and on three I force the door open. “ Elodie” I see her I see my sister standing there. “ Emilly,” I say with a sigh “Where is Mom? “ I question.
“ The fifth floor,” she replies
I nod, “ They have Mathew”
“I know “
“Are you here to take us home?” She asks
I want to take them home but it isn’t safe
“ NO,” I pause “ I’m here to kill Crotch,” I say. I am, I won’t surrender but he is going to with he did.
“ Stay here,” I tell here. “ I’ll be back”
[[next->lake8]]I sped down the stairs but there are two guards by the door where Crotch is. I aim one of the arrows threw the metal bar that is on the stairs. Deep breath in and I release the arrow it, soars threw one of the men's shoulders I aim another at his chest. The other man runs, what a coward. I check to make sure the man but the door is dead, it looks like he is. I give a good tug on the door, it's not even locked. It's got to be a trap. I walk in and it's evacuated.
[[next->lake9]]I drop the bow and run up to my sister. She sits there with some other girls. She stares at me and then stands. She runs to hug me, I hug her back and I feel her curly dark hair brush across the surface of my arm.
“Do you want to go get mom?” I say she just shakes her head. I smile and we walk up stairs. My mother is in a similar room with other women. She smiles at us and gives us hugs and kisses.
“ I'm gonna go find Mathew,” I say
“ Room 205,” my mom tells me she winks at me
I roll my eyes and saunter down to his room, He sits there on a bed. He sees me and stands
“you’re here,” he says
I just smile and hug him. Many others in the building walk to find their families. Many inlaster soldiers come up to the fifth floor.
“ Excuse me Elodie Darma we would like to speak with you.” I go I follow the men in black.
The young boy Crotches grandson sits in the room were in a small office-like room on the first floor. I had a desk with two chairs. And one small bookshelf with no books. There is one wall the is made completely of glass and the rest of the walls are plain white. The rooms in this building are plain.
I think the boy's name was Candon. He sits at the desk in a suit and tie. He has bronze skin, and hair like crotch but not as grey it is light brown. It looks gelled down and shiny. NOt a natural shine, like an artificial shine.
“ Elodie, right?” he asks
“Yes,” I reply “ That is my name.”
“ OK good sit,” He says in a demanding way.
“ My name is Candon, it’s nice to meet you.” He tries to greet me by holding his hand out, But I just stare into his eyes.
“ Well, I'm sorry that this all happen to you,” he says, “ I understand my you killed my grandfather,” he says. “ Although my grandfather wasn’t a very peaceful man he did want unity between inland and outland and if you are willing to bend some rules I would love to make some kind of treaty between the two”
“ Yes, I think that would save us another war,” I say with a small laugh.
“ That sounds splendid,” he says with a smile.
We go on talking about a treaty and we eventually make some rules none that need to be listed. But we said that both places should come together at least once a year to celebrate, the birth of a peaceful era.
“ And because of all of the damage we have done we can help you rebuild your land,” he offers.
“ I think that we can restore its purpose on our own but thank you for offering”
[[next->loophole1]]I leave the room feel somewhat at ease, I walk out of the building to see other families walking to their homes. I see my family and we all walked back to our house. Over time we rebuilt most buildings and when inland visits it's always a treat. But today is Monday and I will go to the field and have my usual chat with Mathew and until the next legend has to rise. I saved my home and that's all that matters to me.
[[next->the end]]THE END!!