All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Author's note: We were assigned a project in my English class- to write a short Science Fiction story. I guess mine kind of grew into the beginning of a novel... If enough people like it, I'll consider writing more!
Gazing perpetually out the grimy window of a beat-up, decrepit Volkswagen, my mind was in solely one place. The only place it’s been for a while actually- thinking of home, or what used to be home. Why did this have to happen now?
“Ria… c’mon. You’ve got to stop sulking around like that! It’s really bumming my vibe. You know I don’t need that right now, this is hard on me too. And we both know exactly why we had to leave.” My sister Jasmine points out, penetrating my subconscious and bringing me back to reality. She always has had that kind of attitude I’ve desired, one that doesn’t really care what other people think, and is fine with being themselves; no matter what anyone says. I’ve wanted to be like her ever since I was little, but I’m not really sure what I want anymore. Everything’s been turned upside-down since the accident. I’m not sure what happened even qualifies to be an accident, more like a murder, a murder of an innocent woman. It was all his fault.
I guess it happened on a normal, or what seemed to be normal- Thursday night. I had been finishing up my homework on my Scribble-pad, a touch screen notepad, and Jasmine was finishing a flamboyant new hot pink outfit, that to me looked like a unicorn had thrown up glitter on it, that she was planning on wearing to school the next day. (I told you, she really doesn’t care what other people think; she has her own…”style”…) My mom was cooking dinner in the kitchen, or should I say reheating dinner since she was heating up a frozen pizza. As for my father, all we knew was that his shift at the Auto Shop, where he turned old cars into hovercrafts like the one I’m in now, had ended at 5, and it was 8, so he was probably out getting drunk with his buddies at the local bar. He did that a lot. Usually, when he came home, he’d fight with my mother and yell at her, shouting obscenities in slurred speech, whiskey on his breath. A couple of times, he’d slap her, leaving a harsh red mark on her cheek, eventually that turned into a deep purple bruise, and recently, a jagged scar. Once I’d tried to interfere, standing in front of my mother, but that only seemed to upset him more, and I left with a black eye. I felt so horrible, but there was nothing I could do. Any time I tried to help it only seemed to get worse, and he’d threaten to hurt her more. But tonight, I wasn’t expecting much to happen. I was incredibly, indescribably wrong.
He came in through the back door, which I only knew because of the screech it made when it opened and closed. I couldn’t quite tell but I believe I heard him say something I couldn’t make out. Soon after I heard my mother gasp, breathing hardly and unevenly. At that point, I had crawled into my bed, scrunched myself into a ball, and thrown the covers over my body. This was what I always did when he came home. But suddenly, the only thing audible was my mom. And she was screaming. I leaped out of my bed, and bounded down the hallway and into the kitchen in my PJ’s. There she stood, my dad holding an arm around her throat, and a gun to her head. As I had screamed, I saw a glimmer of something in her eyes- I couldn’t decide if it was sorrow, fear, or something more; something she wanted to tell me. Something I needed to know. Moments later, Jasmine came rushing in, with a sleep mask on her forehead, and a pair of bunny slippers on her feet, along with a shimmering purple nightgown she had made herself. She opened her mouth, to scream I think, but nothing came out. Standing there, mouth agape, she glanced back and forth from my mother, to my father in total disbelief.
“Wh-Wha-WHATS GOING ON? “Jasmine had asked, well, demanded.
“What do you think-k-k you s-st-stupid girl!? I’m sick of this. I’m sick-k of all of this!” He had told her, while dragging my mom out of the room, then out of the house and into the backyard. Jasmine snatched up a fire poker, and dashed out after them. I tried to reach for the phone, to call 911, but my body didn’t let me. It wouldn’t respond to any of the commands my brain was sending it. I heard the BANGGG of the gun ring in my stiff ears. Jasmine’s scream. Blood splattering. Footsteps. Faster footsteps. A hovercar leaving the driveway. And the strangest of all? I swear I could hear the life leaving my mother, right there from the kitchen. The last thing I saw were headlights gradually disappearing from view as I fell to the floor, unconscious.
By the time I had woken up, I had thought the night before was a dream. The look on Jasmine’s face however, reassured me it wasn’t. When I sat up, I realized gradually that I wasn’t in my house, but Eric’s. Eric has been an incredibly close friend of Jasmine and I; he’s always been there for us when we needed him. He’s known Jasmine since they were 8, and have been best friends ever since. Jasmine and him are 18- 3 years older than me- but always seemed to include me in whatever they did. I’ve always though that Eric likes her, but whenever I brought it up, Jasmine would just say, “Don’t be ridiculous! Eric would never like me…. Right?”. I guess I never really answered that question. Better to let her find out on her own… Anyhow, we stayed at Eric’s house for a while, which was fine, but I felt different. I knew I’d just experienced a tragedy, one I’d never get over, but something wasn’t right. Something wasn’t normal.
Jasmine had decided after around a month of staying at Eric’s that we needed to leave. She though that staying here, so close to the incident, was finally taking its toll on me. Apparently I wasn’t eating enough, sleeping enough, or even interacting enough. I supposed she was right, I mean I hadn’t really talked to anyone, now that I thought about it, since the incident. But that didn’t mean I wanted to leave… I’d always miss that breeze that made my long jet black hair sway back and forth, the cozy little house I had lived in, my mother’s voice… I stopped thinking about it. No need to bring up painful memories of the past. Still, I wouldn’t, and still won’t except that I have to leave the small town I’ve grown up in. It just seems to suit my quiet personality. Leaving could be the second worst thing in my life. Oh, and to make it worse, we’re moving to New York.
We pulled up to our new apartment a few days later; at around 4.
“OMIGOODNESS!!!! HERE WE ARE!!!! Oh isn’t it just amazing?!?” Jasmine screeched, shaking my shoulders back and forth, pulling me out of my deep, comfortable sleep. “ITS SOOOOO PERFECT!” she called out once more… I tried wiping the sleep out of my eyes, but I guess it had found its permanent home there because it sure didn’t want to leave. At this point, Jasmine’s gleefully bouncing up and down in her seat, squealing in delight. With a nice eye roll I think to myself- we are such opposites. Even on the way here that realization rang true, since she decided on spending some of her money on a new look. Hot pink irises, of course with some glitter flecks in them, to, and I quote, “Make her eyes SPARKLLYYY!”. Oh and to top it all off, she dyed her hair bright purple, and had the latest and greatest cell phone installed into her head. Sounds weird, but it’s this new thing, all you have to do is think of who you want to call and RINNNGGG you’re calling them. This wasn’t too shocking for me, considering it was Jasmine we’re talking about.
Deciding to at least see what kind of apartment we’d be living in, I sat up and glanced out the dirt-caked window. Oh. My. God. What the heck is Jasmine thinking? Choosing a modern, pink and red tiled building, around 4 stories, with curved flowerboxes with HOLOGRAMS of daisies and roses growing out of them? Not exactly cool with me. The front door was covered in floral patterns and gold trimmed half of the complex. Leave it to my sister to pick as girly a place as this. She gripped the door handle and skipped through the front door of the apartment, leaving me alone to bring in our bags. I turned the keys out of the ignition and sat for a moment, listening to the engine die down, and the hover decline until the car rested on the bumpy road. Clutching our luggage, I open the door and drag myself into the pink nightmare that apparently passes for an apartment.
The VERY next day- was my first day at school. A new school. In the middle of November. Who transfers in the middle of November? To top it off, I’m the weird girl who doesn’t talk much. Figures.
To start the morning off, in my frou-frou pink room, shared by Jasmine, my alarm clock was unplugged and replaced by a hair dryer, and a flattening iron. We didn’t have the new wireless ones, so Jasmine apparently came to the conclusion that my waking up for school was less important than her hair. So I woke up at 9. Jasmine ended up having to wake me up on her way to her new job- a hairstylist, surprise surprise- and I ran to school in a rush, wearing a faded pair of skinny jeans, a t-shirt ,an old backpack with my transfer papers shoved in, and my curly, unruly black hair bouncing up and down as I ran. I wrote the directions down on a napkin, and every time I looked down to see where I was supposed to go- someone would yell at me. Be it the joggers with headphones blaring, hovercab drivers, or even the occasional mom with a baby in a stroller, staring absent mindedly at a wireless screen shoved in front of them. New York was quite the place. It was a pretty prestigious school I was going to- full scholarship of course. I’m surprisingly a really good student.
Slowing my pace to a jog, I spotted the school. Crystal Ridge Charter School. That had a nice ring to it. I was in the parking lot now, and a realization swept over me… Running to school wasn’t going to make my terrible outfit look any better. I wasn’t sweating too badly- I made sure to wear deodorant- but my hair was a curly mess. After untangling it a bit, I decided it looked okay. I stooped down to tie my shoelaces, remembering the old rhyme my mom taught me when I was a little girl.
I began to recite- “Make two bunny ears, the bunny runs around the tree, into the hole, and...“
“Close up tight.” A deep voice retorted, chuckling. The voice seemed to be coming from behind me. Rising up slowly, I turned to face a tall, yet somewhat skinny figure, with shaggy brown hair covering his face. And, he was staring at me with a pair of big, golden brown eyes. Oh crap.
“Oh hey. Sorry if I scared you or anything… I’m Cam, if you were wondering…” Cam implied, offering me his hand. I think he wanted me to shake it… Man, this is not what I thought New York would be like. Reaching out to shake his hand, I noticed he must be late too. Maybe he was new, like me! But- what are the odds of that happening.
Sure enough, I was proved wrong. “You’re new here huh?” He said, gesturing to the school behind us. “I haven’t seen you before. Is this your first day?”
“I-I –I uh, I mean, well… yeah pretty much.” Wow. That was almost a sentence! Maybe I was getting better at talking. But then again, that was still pretty pathetic.
“Well new girl,” Cam said laughing, with his hair drifting across his face, revealing a tiny, star shaped scar. Weird. “You got a name? Or would you like to be forever known as new girl? I mean, that could be arranged if you’d like-“
“No!” I replied, cutting him off. “No… My name’s, well, my name is Arria. I-I just moved here from, uh, California.” Better. Not great, but better.
“Well Arria from California, shall I escort you to the front office?” He offered, sticking his arm out for me to grab, and wearing a huge grin on his face. Now that I thought about it, he was pretty handsome. I mean, if I was into that kind of thing… Anyhow, I was taken aback by his kind motion, but I did eventually take his arm, and gave him a weak smile of my own in return.
We made our way to the office, that stupid smirk still on his face. Had I said something, or was he just naturally that happy? He gently let my arm down, and held the door open for me like a- a, well, like a gentleman. That in itself was a new experience for me. I stepped into the office, a peacock in a sea of pigeons. This was going to be harder than I thought. A few groups of people were inside, blocking my view of the front desk, all of the girls wearing mini-skirts and- wait a second, stilettos? Who the heck wears stilettos to school? I mean seriously, I lived in California for goodness sakes, and the fanciest we ever got to stilettos was the occasional pair of department store heels. Jasmine would kill for a pair of those things. I heard her talking about a new line of them with a built in pedometer and wi-fi. Cause those are two things you really need when wearing them.
Apparently, Cam had seen my stunned expression because he sauntered up next to me and added “Yeah… It can get pretty crazy here. I’ve never understood why all the girls here try to wear that stuff all the time. They all look the same. Even some of the guys wear all the same brands.” He nodded to the guys that were lazing about with the look-alikes. They were all sporting baggy jeans, with various electronics I could never afford stuffed into the pockets and hoodies with headphones sticking out of the hood. Though they might be wearing different colors, there was nothing else to really tell them apart. They all looked like they had undergone a similar surgery to make their noses; eyes, mouths, and even hair too look the same.
“Why do they think ll-l-looking the same will make them look, I dunno, cool or something?” I asked, baffled.
“Because they lack something people like you and me call originality. They’re too self conscious to look different. Or to have a real personality. Some of them are really wired to not like or take any form of an interest in something ‘geeky’ in the slightest. Besides electronics to update their Twitter statuses every two seconds, or to listen to Eminem the- what is it- 4th on their I-pods.”
“That’s insane. And ridiculously stupid.” I replied, risking one last glance in their direction.
“Welcome to New York. Now lets go get you registered new girl-“ He winked jokingly in my direction, “I mean, Arria.”
We strode up to the registration desk, when a plump woman in a khaki skirt and blue shirt with the school emblem on it wheeled her way to us. Without taking her eyes off of her wireless notepad, she asked “Send me your forms Ms, Ariel is it?” she pushed her notepad to me, trying to get me to transfer my information through a device.
“Ar-Arria actually. And I have my forms with me. Not on any computer.” I fished my crumpled up forms out of my backpack, shoving them under her pointy nose. She finally looked at me, her eyes no longer glued to the screen.
“Well then. Here’s your schedule Arena.” The lady replied, handing me a schedule muttering something I couldn’t quite make out under her breath.
“Arria… actually” I began to say, but she was already wheeling away. “Well that was interesting.”
“Yeah. I guess that’s just how high school is huh? Weird old office ladies, plastic faces with insides as shallow as their outsides, y’know.” Cam joked, grinning again. “At least here at the prestigious Crystal Ridge Charter School,” He began again, with a terrible British accent, “our classes and teachers are better than the people that run our offices. I think you might like them.”
“Thanks.” I expressed, smirking.
“Here let me see your schedule. We already missed first period, but we still have half of second to look forward to.” Cam plucked my schedule out of my hands. “Cool! You’re a sophomore. Same here. And looks like you have…. integrated science next. Perfect. That teacher never cares much if you’re late.”
“And why would I be late?” I inquired, one eyebrow raised.
“Because,” There goes that smirk again. “You need a tour of the school.”
We walked together through the pink halls- YES, more pink for me- hooray! Not. At least they were near completely covered in screens that changed wording every minute. They read “HOMECOMING DANCE! BUY TICKETS NOW!!!” and other school events that were coming up that I didn’t really care about. Then, this really weird thing happens. Weird? Or should I call it mind-blowingly freaky? Either works. Because one second, I’m just wandering around with Cam, having a grand ol’ time, and then all of the sudden, he drops to the ground, unconscious. I fell to the floor to make sure he was alright as any decent person would do. I felt his pulse, to make sure he was y’know, alive. When I knew his pulse was fine, I called for someone, anyone to come help. But it doesn’t just end there. In the corner of my eye, I saw a blurred figure dart past one of the stone columns holding up the building. Maybe someone had heard me. But still, no one came forward to help. What was happening? The figure moved again. It had to be a student right? Who else would be here? And then, it was behind me. Directly behind me, I turned around as fast as I could, and began to jump to my feet, but a masked man pushed me back down to the ground. There was a needle full of a greenish liquid in his hands. That couldn’t be good… He reached for his face mask, and began to peel the black material from his face. Restraining me, the needle embedded itself in my now numbing arm, and as if the medicine (it was medicine right?) knocking me out wasn’t enough; the face I saw was enough to do the job. The man injecting a NEEDLE FULL OF WHO KNOWS WHAT IN MY ARM was none other than the man who ruined my life. My father.
I woke up in a room so freezing; I think Jack Frost would have fled to the Bahamas. Anywhere warmer than here. My eyesight was totally blurred, so I felt around me. All I could sense was concrete- the walls, the floor, everything. I blinked a few times, when my frantic fingers felt something. With eyesight clearing a bit, I stared towards the form. It was… a foot? CAM’S FOOT! I backed away quickly.
I don’t know how long I sat there, staring at Cam until I could see right. But no matter how long I sat there and stared, thinking about what happened, I couldn’t piece it together. What was going on? Finally, I decided to try and wake Cam up, after what seemed like a few hours, to tell him the plan I’d developed. Let’s hope he’d wake up…
I shuffled over to his limp body, finding relief when I saw his chest moving up and down. He was breathing. At first, I gave him a gentle push on the shoulder. But, that wasn’t enough to wake up a drugged teenage boy. It probably wasn’t even enough to wake up one without the drugged part. I gave him another shove, this time hard enough to get my sister Jasmine out of bed. Let me just tell you that, is pretty hard.
Suddenly, I saw him scrunch up and try to pull the covers over his head. Only there were no covers. Groaning, he mumbled “C’mon moooommmmmmmmm. 5 more minutes ……”
“I’m not your mom! Get UP! Off your lazy butt!” I yelled, shoving him one more time. Now that was outgoing for me. But give anyone a long time in a walled up room, with no one to talk to, with no idea where you are, and I think that even the nicest of people would be pretty ticked off.
“Wh-what? Where am I? What happened? WHATS GOING ON?” Cam screamed frantically. You can understand his confusion. Wait, no you can’t. I don’t think you’ve ever really been in this situation before.
“Calm down. I have a plan… I’m not sure how it’s going to work, but I think it’s worth a try.” I said, trying to persuade him to listen to me.
“What are we going to do?”
“We’re going to get out of here.” I replied, flashing him the same kind of grin I was growing used to seeing.