Into the Nothing Ch. 1A Chapter by DeliriousCerises
Well, it's the beginning.
“Now here are five essays on utopian societies. You have the guidelines of what a society needs in order to be balanced in your textbook under chapter four. I want you to read each essay and write one paragraph for each one stating,” the teacher pointed to her fingers as she outlined what she expected in each paragraph, “if the society described is indeed balanced, why, would it work in practice, and if not, what does it need to change to work. Remember, not all balanced societies actually work in practice. Socialism is a good example, if a bit archaic. Take into account human nature, that is also discussed in chapter four. And finally I want you to write your own essay on why our society is balanced and works. It must be two pages, double-spaced. You should all still have the essay writing guidelines I gave you at the beginning of the year.” The teacher took a breath as she made her way to the back of the class near the door.
“Please talk quietly amongst yourselves until the bell rings. Then you may go.” She sat neatly in her desk, pretending to read some assignment or another, carefully eying the students, making sure nothing happens in these last few minutes of class. Resting her eyes on a couple of boys snickering with trickery she made another announcement. “Don't forget, one essay will be selected by the Magi to read on Sunday, for our nation's name day.” The bells rang as she finished speaking, and a flood of bodies crammed through the door. “Have a great weekend!” She called after us as we made our way to the outside world. I trailed behind my older brother, Charles.
My classes ended earlier in the day, I was only in second grade. Charles was a senior, soon to be done with school. I was jealous. “What's your project for the celebration?” Charles asked me as we made our way through the learning establishment toward home. I was once told that these places used to be called schools, but for whatever reason, that was no longer used. I couldn't recall what my sister had told me, she was a know-it-all. She was in sixth grade. And what a mighty sixth grader she was. No one could tell her what to do because she always knew what was best for everyone and everything. Except Charles, she always listened to Charles. “Abigail?” An expectant tone came from my brother, jogging me from my musings.
“What?” I couldn't remember what he had said.
“What did your teacher say you had to do this weekend?”
“Oh, he said all Lower Divisions are gonna make a Celebration Chest. So Shelley and I gotta work together.” Shelley was probably already home, she got out of school the same time as Charles, but she didn't always wait for us to walk home with her. “He said the one with the prettiest chest will be the one the Magi picks. And he will read the thing inside. That's what you hafta do right? You hafta write the thing he will read.” I was excited.
“Well I have to write something, but he might not read it.” My brother explained, emphasizing the pronunciation of 'have to.' It was unacceptable at my age to still be meshing words together. I never did it in class, but I wasn't suppose to -- ever.
I watched the people on the street pass us by as we headed home. Buildings as tall as the sky surrounded us on all sides. We lived in one of these buildings, up high with the birds, but I could never tell which one. To me, they all looked the same. Maybe it wasn't just me, they were all square and grey, trimmed with thin gold around the windows and doors. Every window was a mirror, and striped each floor of each building. They were long windows, starting from the floor and stretched up tall, nearly reaching the ceiling.
I followed my brother into one of the grey and gold buildings: home. We walked passed the elevators and into the stairwell. Elevators were for special grown-ups. Stairs kept us healthy, that's what Mother and Father told me. We marched up the stairs until we were nearly at the top. This whole floor belonged to us. We opened the door to be greeted by emptiness. Charles searched the loft, his eyes were nervous, but his voice was cool. “Shelley must be with friends since Mom and Dad wont be back until Sunday.”
“How is she gonna help me with our Ceremony Chest? I'm not gonna do it all by myself!” I complained.
“She'll be here later, she isn't going to be gone all weekend.” He patiently explained, emphasizing proper annunciation once more.
We dropped our bags on a nearby chair, and Charles immediately started corresponding with his friends. I had no idea how they communicated. Such long distance devises were off limits to the Lower Division kids. He stepped away into his room and shut the door. I went to the window and watched the people pass-by on streets below us. I couldn't hear the sound of the hustle and bustle, but I could watch them, silently, from a seat in heaven, disconnected from their lives.
The weekend passed us by quickly. Shelley came home, as was expected, and Charles threw a party, also expected. Charles was crafty, you only knew what he wanted you to know. Mom and Dad had no idea he threw parties when they were gone. The learning establishment had no idea his friends and him got together to eat special candy. Charles wouldn't give me special candy, he told me they were only for Upper Divisions, but Elders can't know, adults can't know, only the people you share the special candy with can know, and only people who eat it can talk about it. That's what makes it special. This weekend, I was crafty too. The party was dark, there were lots of people, and lots of tiny lights. Everyone had their own tiny light, they looked like little flames, but they weren't hot. The same tiny lights littered the room, like the stars had come to put on a show, just for us.
They played music, and it was easy to get lost amongst the forest of legs. No one noticed me, and that's how I wanted it. Tonight I was undercover; I was a servant to the shadows. I was invisible, or that's what I was hoping. I was on a secret mission: sneak a piece of special candy. I crawled out of my room and down the stairs, our loft was split into two levels, the second level had a balcony looking over the first. At the bottom of the stairs I looked around. To my left was a small archway that lead to another room, and then Mom and Dad's room. In front of me and to the right was the main room, then the eating area, and the kitchen. Music played from a couple different corners. I decided to go to the left, looking around corners and hugging walls made me feel sneakier.
I guessed correct. On the table table in front of the couch lied a bag of special candy. The candy was small and white and seemed to almost sparkle from the twinkling lights around the room. I dashed across the archway and staying close to the wall, I dived behind the couch. No one seemed to notice my agent-like stunts. I slowly peeked around the arm of the couch. There's a couple of Upper Division kids talking to each other, drinks in hand. They didn't notice my tiny hand quickly snatch a loose candy on the edge of the table and quickly retreat back behind the couch. I felt my cheeks bursting with a smile. I gradually lifted the candy to my mouth savoring my victory. I finally drop it on my tongue, and for a second I thought I missed. It I couldn't feel it on my tongue, and it tasted like air. I tried to chew it, but accidentally swallowed it instead.
The room became soft looking, the light spread hazily across the room, I could see everything, but forgot it all when I looked away. Walking became a fun game. I stepped on clouds that melted into the floor. When I looked up, I was in the eating area. This was where the big window was. I sat down next to it and stared out to the streets below. The world was still moving, tiny people hurried through tiny lives. Just now it was dark in the sky and they had to see by the light given to them by the city. The ground had a soft luminosity to it. My sister once told me a story of people walking on dark streets by the light of the stars. I laughed because that was silly. No city street was ever dark and there was nothing outside the city.
I must have fallen asleep there, when I woke the loft was empty and the sun was shining brightly in my face. My brother was a mess of clothes and hair on the couch in the main room. Shelley was probably in her room, where I was suppose to be. The sun felt warm, and I felt cold, so I crawled into the sun patch and went back to sleep. A little later I got up and went back to my room. Charles was still on the couch, but Shelley was gone. I couldn't remember if she had been in here last night when I snuck out. I heard the front door open and turned around. It was Shelley, she looked nervous, maybe a bit scared. “Abby! We need to make our Ceremony Chest. The speech is at noon.”
Miss Smarty Pants finally had it wrong and I was going to tell her. “Nuh-uh! Yesterday was Friday, today is Saturday.” I felt proud, but it was fleeting.
“No, it's not. It's Sunday.” She said impatiently, and shoved her hand in my face. A light picture glowed through her skin; it was indeed Sunday. Confusion wracked my brain. I was sure the party was after school on Friday, but the tags never lied. They were all connected. They were all sewn in with the same ink. Everyone got one during the DiNatus Celebration. This was standard at the beginning of sixth grade, the last year of Lower Division. “Get some paper, maybe we could do a origami lantern chest type thing.” She always had ideas. I heard her waking Charles up as I grabbed a big stack of paper from our desk. When I came down the stairs, Charles was not on the couch.
The whole day was a blur of rushing. Rushing to make the chest. Charles rushing to write his essay. I watched him scribble quickly onto paper, and then on other pieces of paper that had stories written on them. I didn't watch long enough to read them. I had to help Shelley. Then, we were all out the door and racing to the Name Day location: a tower on the edge of town, in view of the Magi's shield that protected the town. Our chest looked like a plain white cylinder box with a triangle roof. The whole thing looked very delicate, like us. As we ran, Charles slipped his paper into our lantern through a slit in the top, like a mail box, but the top could lift off for the Magi.
We were suppose to meet Mom and Dad at Name Day. We got there just in time. A big platform was lifting all the Ceremony Chests to the Magi at the top of the tower. Charles grabbed the lantern from me and ran to drop ours amongst the rest of the offerings to the Magi before the platform got too high. We stood on the hard dirt ground that covered the edge of the city and stared up at the high tower that held the Magi.
I looked to my left and stared at the beautiful light and vapor that made up the Magi's shield. I probably shouldn't have. For I don't know what caused this next thing to happen, but it must have been something terrible. Maybe someone wrote something bad about the city, or even the Magi himself. But whatever the Magi read must have upset him a great deal because suddenly everyone around me began panicking. Fire started to rain from the sky. I heard my brother shouting. I felt like a rag doll as he grabbed my hand and lunged to the side. I could hear him yelling “Run!” over and over. It took awhile for me to understand; I guess it took my sister even longer. We were running toward the shield. She trailed behind us and there were a few others with the same idea farther behind. We had been on the edge of the crowd.
As we got closer to the shield the ground beneath our feet began to ripple like the ocean during a storm, and
we were simple fisherman's boats. I barely heard my brother shouting
above the chaos “Jump at the top!” He meant the top of the wave. Like
stealing someone's bounce on a trampoline, I went soaring into the
sky. My landings were surprisingly soft, it felt natural. The raining
fire still surrounded us. I jumped off a wave as fire mixed with earth behind me and a gust of heat and energy pushed me forward.
I flew through the shield and landed harshly on the other side. My brother scrambled over to me and pulled me behind a crumbling rock, cradling me in his arms. I squirmed away and looked back at the chaos that for some reason seemed to stop just short of us: just behind the shield. It reminded me of looking out the window down onto the tiny people. A little ways off I saw something shiny. I ran towards it and my brother ran after me. He immediately pulled me away and back behind the rock, tightly pressing my face in his chest.
I saw it though. He knew I had. I saw my sister's big bright bracelet, melted and scorned, but no Sister. She wasn't with the tiny people either in the midst of anarchy. I quietly whined into my brothers skin, “Where's Shelley?” He didn't respond, and I began to cry. “Where's Shelley!” He still said nothing, he just held me tighter and we cried together. I didn't know I would never see her again. But I was afraid.
We sat behind that rock for what
seemed like forever, but was probably only a few minutes. Charles
seemed rushed as he tugged at my hand. Urgency read all over his
face, and his voice shook. “Abby, we have to go. Come on.” I was
still in shock, so he picked me up. I looked back over his shoulder
at the city, but he never looked back once. I felt disconnected from the tiny people still panicking, disconnected from the Magi's hands and eyes. I was beyond the shield, and outside of the
Magi, the city, and life. I watched the burning utopia and waved
goodbye in my head as Charles whisked us away into the 'nothing'
that resided outside of Home.
© 2012 DeliriousCerises
Added on May 4, 2012
Last Updated on May 5, 2012
Into the Nothing
AboutYou can call me Cherry. I love all forms of art, they are like therapy for the soul. I used to write, stories and poem and such, but then I stopped for a long time. All I did was journal, but recently.. more..