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Sitting on the cliff edge along the coast line of a beach I had loved since I came here, I considered going for a walk along the beach, but decided against it. I am seventeen now. A long and lonely eleven years has passed since my parents' death which I still blame myself for. Blake, the man who took me away from the bloodied scene, has been my legal guardian since. I loved him and cared for him like a father, but he, nor anyone else, would ever be able to heal the guilt and grief that had left me feeling like there was an empty space in my heart where my Mum and Dad belonged. I knew he could see the pain that was still in my grey eyes now, but he never said anything because I thought he knew that I, as well as everyone, was trying to forget what they saw that late afternoon at such a young age.
I bet you're thinking that I should've moved on by now, but how can I when I feel it was my fault? I still have no recollection of what happened that day, but I knew it was very messy. Sometimes, I still have nightmares about the whole day. They start like a normal dream; Dad running after me after I threw a water-bomb at him, then Mum telling us dinner would be ready soon and it was time for me to go for a bath. Like most young children I whined, but Mum told me I could play all I wanted tomorrow. Before I went into the bathroom, I heard Mum crying about something. Then it all goes black and flashes of images appear before my eyes. Flash. Mum's crying face as she cuddled me in the corner of my bedroom. Flash. Dad looking very scared. Flash. Blood everywhere. Flash. Two bodies lay before me in a curtain of blood. End. That is about the time I wake up in my double bed screaming.
It was late and I decided not to dwell too much on the past, but these macabre images were more true than I wanted to know. Half the time I think it was purely coincidence and seeing that I was only six years old at the time, it's hard to decipher what is real and what is pure, exaggerated bullshit. Even my room-mates think it's iffy.
I was now only ten minutes away from our temporary home at an apartment in the city. The area was very beautiful and was filled with blooming cherry blossom trees. I guess you could call us wanderers. At the moment, we were in Japan for the Cherry Blossom Festival. It was held annually around spring, and was it amazing. It seemed that they have already killed their Infected or just haven't been touched by them yet.
I opened the front door to be greeted by the luscious smell of food. By the smell alone, I knew we were having sweet and sour chicken with jasmine rice. I didn't care who was cooking, I just wanted a shower. As soon as I walked into the lounge room, I was greeted by my closest friends. Jackson; eighteen, tall, short brown hair, blue eyes, kind, and was the comedian of our little group. Jackson or Idiot, he would answer to either. Marie; seventeen, rebellious, tempered, long brown hair always out, green eyes, but she could also be very kind at times when she wanted to be. She was known was Mare for short. Shannon; seventeen, kind, strong-willed, hyper, tempered at times, and was known to be the peace-keeper of the group. She was known as Dove for her “keep the peace” attitude. Lucas: eighteen, shaggy brown hair, brown eyes, quite intelligent, and a love for dogs. We usually called him Luka. Lucas owned a black Labrador, Collie. Blake, the leader of our group; tall, muscular, twenty-six, acted as our guardian when needed, long black hair that reached to the bottom of his ears, piercings on his ears, and a double snake bite on his lower lip. Last but not least, myself. As you would probably be wondering, my name is Kaila Frostern. I have long black hair down to the middle of my back, grey eyes, a black bar in my left eye-brow, and a bad temper. I can be quite kind, but only if someone returns the favour. I am known as either Kaila or Raven. Why Raven? They were my favourite birds and their feathers were the same colour as my hair. People who have seen me fighting have said that my hair looks like hundreds of ravens when I run.
Why am I the only one with a last name? Well, that's simple. I'm the only one who remembers it. Everyone else forgot theirs at a young age. We were once all orphans, until Blake found us and took us back to his apartment in the city. At the time, he was in Australia. I was a slightly different case to the others, but no matter, that's all behind me, and everyone else now.
We wanderers, as we like to call ourselves, know of the 'evils' in the world, and have experienced most. We do not underestimate anyone, or get into fights for no reason – verbal or non-verbal. We respect everyone and put a certain amount of trust in others unless they cross us. That's when you should start running. All of us have been trained by Blake who is an assassin and thief by trade in our post-apocalyptic battle of survival. He has taught us everything we know and use today to help us survive. What happened do you ask? Well, let's start twelve years ago, when I was only five years old.
Twelve years ago, an infection was, and still is, going around that medical scientists called the “S-Virus” was infecting many people world-wide, and it moved fast. When I say fast, I don't mean a few days, I mean about three minutes per person. It could be contracted by physical contact such as; hugging, kissing, breathing on another person, sneezing, coughing... Well, you get the idea. This “S-Virus” caused hallucinations, nausea, lengthened sleep (sometimes up to three days), violence, and eventually death if not treated. But when it evolved after a few years later into a new virus, now dubbed the “D-Virus”, people started to get a small case of the munchies. No, they weren't zombies, as some call them. I didn't think that zombies were smart enough to use a gun. They can still think of other things apart from ripping your limbs from your body. But not much. Mostly fighting for food, water and shelter from the vicious sand-storms. Food supplies plummeted, water levels got so low that people got into fights for a sip of it, land was sometimes swallowed by deserts, continents moved, and the population number decreased slowly and never rose by one number. If we were lucky it rained a little bit and filled the lakes slightly. Not much had changed since then, and we struggle to live. Fighting if we needed to, but we tried to avoid it as we didn't have many medical supplies.
For the people that weren't careful enough, we few survivors now call them “the Infected”. They have destroyed both North and South America, Europe, Asia (apart from Japan), Australia, the Pacific islands, and the general Russian area. It is much too cold for the virus to survive in the North Pole or Antarctica. Seems to me that the only surviving areas are; Japan, the Poles, Mongolia, New Zealand, and anywhere that is cold enough to keep ice frozen for more than a day. But even with the ice and cold temperatures, we still needed to be cautious after winter had finished for the year.
After I had showered, eaten and brushed my teeth, I sat with my friends and talked about anything that came to mind. We were sitting in the bedroom that was allocated to us by Blake. He got the master bedroom but it was okay, we could manage on the floor. I walked downstairs to see if the dinner dishes were washed. They were. Good boy, Jackson. I walked into the lounge room to see if there were any dishes that had been missed. None were found. Blake had a small beer bottle collection gathering at his knee, so I asked if I could take one. He didn't care the least. Taking the amber glass bottle to the sink, I rinsed it off and used the tea-towel to dry it off.
As I returned up the stairs to the bedroom that all of the teenagers shared, I was greeted by whoops and cheers for the bringing of a bottle. The bedroom was very simple and easily fit all five teenagers comfortably on the floor. There were no mattresses or bed, but we didn't mind as it was better than sleeping outside. The walls were a creamy white, the floor carpeted. I was surprised about the carpet because I thought that it would be too much of a hassle to clean with all these sand-storms and heavy rain coming from every direction. It was very loud in this room. I didn't know how long it had be raining for, but it was very hard. I thought that maybe it would clean some of the air because it was so musty. But why were we so happy about a bottle? Well, we haven’t played a decent game of “Spin the Bottle” in years, and us teenager being teenagers, we loved it. Might as well enjoy being this young. All five of us were about sixteen or seventeen years of age.
“Nice one, Kaila!” I heard Marie yell.
“Thanks, but it wasn't hard to do, Mare.” I told Marie, laughing. “He was half drunk,” I shrugged. “So what are we waiting for? Let's play already!”
Everyone sat in a circle. Jackson grabbed the bottle off me so I guessed he was going to start first. Shannon sat to Jackson's right, then next to her was Lucas. Then it was me, and lucky last was Marie.
“So, what are we going to do if we are chosen?” Shannon asked Jackson.
“Hm, I don't know.” Jackson replied. “I think they should be able to choose.
Lucas snapped something smart. “Between what, Idiot?”
“If your so smart, why don't you suggest something?” Jackson replied with just as much venom in his voice. Jackson and Lucas never really got along, but they were our best marksman, and Jackson drove the Jeep when Blake was too drunk or tired to drive.
“Fine, I will. The person who is chosen can either kiss the person who spins the bottle on the lips, or they can just hug them. Easy.” Lucas reasoned with us.
“That sounds alright.” Shannon remarked.
“Right then. Let's start,” Jackson said, spinning the small glass bottle. I held my breath, hoping I wasn't picked. It seemed to drag on forever. Lucky for me, it landed on Marie.
“Just a hug, please.” Marie giggled. Now it was Marie's turn. She gave the fragile looking bottle a good flick and it finally landed on Shannon. They hugged.
Shannon's turn. She spun it with such force, that it flicked to the other side of the circle. No matter, it just kept spinning. Slowly, it came to a halt. Pointing at Jackson. Shannon went ten shades of pink when Jackson asked her to kiss him. She leaned on her hip, and kissed his lips quickly. Shannon looked at her hands in her lap for a good five minutes, fighting back the redness in her face. Jackson gave his turn to Lucas, who said that he would skip his as he needed a drink. He got up and left. Next in line was me. “That slimy prick did that on purpose!” I thought. I swallowed hard, then gripped the bottle. My stomach was doing little flips as soon as I flicked it from the nerves. At that moment, Lucas came back and sat back down in his place next to me.
It stopped at Lucas. I looked straight at him, going twenty shades of pink in the process. I saw him smirk and I feared the worst.
He was silent for a moment, then: “Give me a kiss, Raven.” Luka said, leaning back on his hands. He never called me Raven, it was always by my name. Before he looked very serious, now he was grinning madly. I got up on my knees and shuffled over in front of him. He leaned forward and held my face gently in his hands with were surprisingly soft considering all the guns he always used. But then again, I didn't know what he did half of the time, so I can't judge. Before I knew what was happening, he had his soft and warm lips planted on mine. My usually calm eyes went as wide as a fish's with shock before they fluttered closed. His kiss was deep and passionate. I could hear the others wolf-whistling and howling but I didn't care and I just flipped them off. Just through the kiss alone, I could tell that Lucas has been wanting to kiss me for a very long time. For the first time, I knew I did too, but I never delved that far into my emotions. The emotion coming through it was shocking, but I sent it all back at him by kissing him back.
We parted after a lengthy kiss and the longing returned and, once again, my stomach did flips.
I sat back in my place and glanced Lucas quickly. He was smiling softly. A real smile. I haven't seen anyone have a real smile on their faces for a very long time.
“Nice kiss, Raven.” Shannon said from behind me.
“Thanks,” I said said softly, managing a small smile.
“Ooh, you like him!” Shannon winked.
“No, I-” Shannon covered my mouth with her hand.
“Yes, you do! That kiss said it all, Raven.” I went red.
“Fine. I do like him. Happy now, Dove?” I whispered.
She grinned. “Yeah, I guess. Only because you admitted it!” Shannon giggled, then shoved my shoulder.
“Your so childish, Dove.” I said smiling.
“I know. But that's why your best-friends with me.” Shannon poked her tongue at me playfully.
I rolled my eyes at her and let the subject go. Standing, I walked out of the room and down the stairs. I could hear foot-steps behind me. At the bottom of the stairs, I turned to see who was following me. It was none other than Lucas.
“Hey,” He said.
“Hi, Luka.” I said quickly.
“Look,” he placed his hands on the tops of my arms, “Are you angry at me? I was my idea for the kiss anyway.”
I shrugged him off. Was I angry at him? “I don't know...”
Lucas looked hurt. “Okay. I understand now. You don't feel the same way, do you?”
“Luka, I-” He cut me off.
“Don't lie to me. I know you have never lied to anyone unless it was to protect something that you didn't want any of us to know. We all have our secrets” He seemed angry.
“Please, listen to me.” I was begging to be able speak to him.
“Okay. I'll listen.” Finally! He had given in.
“Luka, I... I do like you, a lot. I know that you think I don't but I do. I know that you have liked me for some time now, and I feel terrible for not telling you how I feel.”
He was stunned. “Uh, how did you know that I liked you before tonight?”
“I-I have this thing, it's like a sixth-sense. I can read emotions and sometimes alter them. You think that's odd?”
“N-no not at all! I'm just surprised that's all.” I could tell he wasn't lying.
“Oh, okay.” I started to walk off. He grabbed my arm before I could reach the kitchen.
“Yeah?” I waited for him to say something.
“Nothing, it's none of my business to ask anyway.”
“What isn't?” I was curious now.
“I wanted to know if it was you who slaughtered you parents.” Very upfront I'll give him that.
“I can't remember but if I did, I wouldn't tell you because no one would trust me. I can't remember that night. It's bad enough I'm still getting nightmares from that afternoon, let alone remember how they were killed, and if it was me who did it. If I was in a trance then I wouldn't remember it, anyhow. Please, I don't want to talk anymore of it.” By now, I was looking straight at my feet. I wasn't lying to him, it was just a touchy subject.
“Okay then. I won't talk of it anymore to anyone, unless you want to talk in private...?” He wanted to know the whole story, not just how Blake had found me and the carnage he had seen with his friends.
“Maybe, I don't know. Depends where you were thinking.” I like to know where I’m going with guys. It's not that I don't trust Lucas, and it's not because I'm trying to be cruel by excluding him from my life, which I don't want to do.
“I was thinking of a little spot in the gardens. No one would be there this time of night anyway so we will be alone and you can tell me everything.” Lucas said.
“Okay then. Make sure no one follows us. I would also like to know all about you as well.” I said giving him a cheeky smile.
“Alright. You got yourself a deal, Raven.” I got shivers when he called me that. He was the only guy that called me that. I told Blake that we were going for a walk, but didn't tell anyone but Shannon via text that we were going for a walk. She sent me back a winking smiley face and that it would be good for me to talk to someone apart from her just as I was walking out the door arm-in-arm with Lucas.