Here's a new one...I think it's kinda fun...it's still a pretty rough draft and I'm sure my fiction writing classmate will hate it. But here anyway:
“Don’t be scared Ma’am,” the young man sitting beside me said.
“Don’t worry about little old me,” I said as I patted his shoulder.
I’m not scared, I tell myself. Even if I’m old. I don’t have much time left anyway. Besides, people have been in this situation many times before me. Despite my self-coaxing, my adrenaline starts racing. Women behind me sit screaming, the men with silent fear behind their eyes. I wonder who all these people could be, and what brought them here.
I want to go back home. I wish I never left. It’s like in the stories: someone sits safely at home, when they get a sudden urge for adventure. Senselessness begins to eat them alive. They grow an urge to leave their home, and though logic tells them to stay, they don’t listen to it. I used to love adventures when I was young, but somehow, sometime without my noticing, the feeling disappeared. I want that feeling again. Is it too late to turn back?
I close my eyes and breathe. When I open my eyes, the earth comes crashing towards me. I feel my innards bunch together in my chest. I open my mouth in a silent scream, when I feel a sudden great pressure on my chest. I begin to feel dizzy as we shoot upwards. The engineers are playing tricks with our minds and bodies. Up and down we go in this seemingly never ending pattern. The edges of my lips must be touching my ears. I try to find breath, but my lungs fill with air too quickly, causing me to inhale nothing. A sudden halt jerks us all forward. I’m smiling.
Everyone passes me by like nothing happened. I carefully stand to my feet and slowly begin to walk away from the scene.
My hat, I cannot forget my hat. I turn around in a full circle in search of it, when I feel a pat on my left shoulder. I turn.
“Looking for this?” a young man, with a green referee T-shirt and a key chain with more than a dozen keys on his belt, says. He is holding out my pink, lacy, sun hat with blue flowers. I smile and take it.
“Oh thank you so much. You know, when I first got on that thing I was scared to death.” I laugh. Then I say a bit quieter, “But you know? After I find my brain, I might have half a mind to…”
“I’m sorry, but please exit the ride to your left Ma’am.”
Man...I can't wait until I get to write things I WANT to write...well, it's the second semester, so I'm now allowed to write fantasy etc.
Your stories are pretty cool! I really like the one about the girl and her cat as well as the Snow White one at the beginning.
Oh yeah? I'm glad you liked the cat one...I was going for the sappy kinds of stories my teacher likes;) I personally wouldn't read that kind of story myself, but hopefully it was well written nontheless. I'll have another one up in like...mmm...2 weeks or a bit earlier. Like I said though if you hate most of these, it's because they're my school assignments.
Oh say can you see?
By the dawn’s early light?
“That girl is quite good, wouldn’t you say?” asks Arnette.
“I’ve heard better,” I reply. That girl was merely chosen for the soloist because most other children suck. None of them can match a harmony. Kids these days probably didn’t even know what harmony was. I laugh quietly to myself.
“Well yes, obviously there would be better when you compare her to someone like Sarah Brightman, but this girl can’t be a day past twelve.”
“I personally think she’s murdering our country’s anthem. Listen to her, trying to sing it like Miley Cyrus. That’s called screaming, which anyone can do. I could go up there and scream my head off if I so wished, but no one would like for me to do that because…I’m me.”
Whose broad stripes and bright stars
Thro’ the perilous fight,
“Ha, she’s trying way too hard,” I say.
“You know, you really shouldn’t be so cynical. Can’t you just, ya know, enjoy something for what it is?” she says.
“No,” I say with an embarrassed, joking smile. I shouldn’t express my thoughts. Every time I share my feelings I am rebuked.
She looks back at me and smiles.
I look back at the girl standing in center field. She’s a brat.
And the rocket’s red glare!
The Bombs bursting in air!
What about the other people out there with talent who don’t have money or gorgeous looks? They always have the question pressing on their hearts, “Why am I not up there? What is in them that makes them better than me?”
Everyone around me sits attentively, smiling. I hear the man next to me lean over and tell his young wife, “That little girl’s going to be the next Taylor Swift.”
Oh say does that star spangled
Banner yet wave,
Suddenly, she pauses. She pauses so long you’d swear she forgot the last part. I roll my eyes.
Oe’r the land of the free,
That note quite physically hurt it was so poorly produced.
And the home, of the, brave!?
The whole stadium is then filled with roaring applause. I stand alone. I won’t clap. Clapping is only for those who have done a good performance. Arnette looks at me with her eyebrows down. A couple people around me shake their heads as they continue to cheer. As if I cared what they thought. People don’t like me whether I am kind or not. Then I hear a sudden, obsessively loud cheering. I look around and try to identify the source and realize it’s Arnette.
I am the first to sit down. Then a young handicap child enters to throw the first pitch.
“Poor kid,” I say in an attempt at changing the conversation. “Looks like he has only a few years left.” Arnette ignores me.
Play ball! The loudspeakers scream.
“What if that were you up there?” she asked.
“Well if I did poorly, I would deserve to be made fun of.”
We spent the rest of the game in silence. When it ended we were both all too eager to leave. I don’t remember who won. Unfortunately, Arnette was my ride home, so I had no choice but to spend several more awkward moments with her. When we got in the car and I immediately went to change the radio station to 103.2 LIB FM. Arnette slapped my hand before I could change it. I stared at her, she had never tried something like that with me before.
“I like my station, when you get your license, you can choose the station,” she retorted. It was that annoying song by one of those Christian artists on 99.8 FM. Don’t get me wrong, I love God and all, but the Christian music on the radio is just awful. I turned it down. I felt her glare at me. I pretended to have something that was incredibly interesting on my shoe.
She started the car and drove out of the parking lot. Still shocked, I stared blankly at the moving road ahead. I counted all the street lamps as we passed them. Seven hundred twenty-two until I was home.
One, Two, Three
I got to three hundred sixty-four before Arnette finally spoke to me again. “I—you know—mmm—,” she stuttered.
I would normally have had something sarcastic to say about how long it was taking her to communicate, but in this case I just stared blankly at her. I revealed nothing in my face.
“This isn’t the first time you’ve done this Michelle. I mean, whenever you act like that, hating everyone. Can’t you—ugh!”
“I don’t hate everyone,” I tried to tell her.
“I don’t care. You say that, but I can’t tell when you’re telling the truth.”
“Arnette! You’re my best friend.”
She just shook her head and looked back at the road. I continued to stare at her. Finally, I returned my gaze back to the lampposts. How many had we passed? I guessed, and then resumed counting.
Five hundred seventy-six, Five hundred seventy-seven,
I cracked my neck. I knew by then it was too late, but the bomb had finally just been ignited.
Suddenly, I felt her jerk the vehicle to the right. “Get out,” she said. I was surprised. I expected her to yell at me, but never demand me to leave.
“I said get out.”
Shocked, I stepped out of the vehicle. My eyes looked longingly at her. She reached over, slammed the door, and drove off.
I stood there and stared for Heaven knows how long; at least until after her car was gone. With tears forming in my eyes, I began to walk.
Five hundred eighty-nine, Five hundred ninety
So many thoughts suddenly began jumbling into my head I got a headache. I shoved my face into my hands and roughly began rubbing my eyes.
“Michelle?” I heard a young female voice say.
I look up. In a red caravan I see Charlotte. I could tell it was her by the way she wore her hair, she looked like it was stuck in the eighties. We hardly ever saw each other. I only knew her name because she had moved in next door recently and my mom made us all go to give them a “welcome casserole.” Not that that a casserole would make them stay, everything in our neighborhood screamed, “Get out while you still can!”
“Hey! You need a ride?” she asked me. Suddenly I was deeply embarrassed. My eyes were incredibly red, and I felt my cheeks heat up.
“Uh, no thanks,” I replied.
“You sure?” she asked. “I’m heading right in the direction of her house.” I wondered how she knew I was going home. I wanted to say yes, but my pride was hurt too badly. I couldn’t.
She pulled over next to me. “Come on. Hop in,” she said pushing the door open. I looked to the side walk for only a moment before climbing into the vehicle.
She didn’t ask any personal questions, like most of my friends would, she just drove. It was nice. I didn’t look at her the whole drive and I only muttered a quiet “thank you,” when I arrived home. She smiled and drove off: away from her house.
I thought she said she was heading this way. I couldn’t help but smile slightly as I walked into the house. Mom and Dad were both at work, so I was by myself for the next few hours. I climbed into my bedroom and fell face down onto my bed. It smelled nice. After the lack of oxygen began affecting me, I rolled my head to the left and faced my alarm clock. It was flashing “8:59.” I need to fix that, I thought. After a while in the silence, I heard a slight humming sound. I realized I had never turned off my alarm clock. She’s My Girl, was playing. I reached over and turned it to 99.8 FM. I lay there for a while and listened to the real estate commercial playing. Then a song came on. I turned it up a little.
Once upon a time, there was an ugly barnacle.
He was so ugly, everybody died.
Ha ha! That was qiuite possibly my favorite story ever on SB
Here's one my fiction writing class liked a lot this time around...I liked the premise, didn't find it incredibly well written though...I haven't quite editted it entirely yet, so if there are issues, my sincerest apologies, but I ask you continue and ignore the mistakes;)
I am walking. I have walked for minutes, hours, days, years. I don’t remember how I got here, just that I am. There is only white sand, as far as the eye can see. No mountains, hills, water, not a single patch of green, just the omnipresent white. I cannot tell if the sky is blue. It all feels like one big sun. My feet are burning, bloody, and covered in large blisters. I begin to mumble something. It is an unfamiliar sound, my voice; any voice. I feel myself being slowly driven mad from the lack of life, sound, and being stuck in utter nothingness. I fear in my heart that this is Hell.
I woke up suddenly, not breathing. I reached over to my inhaler and took a quick puff of it. I lay back down for a moment and then turned my alarm clock to face me. “7:30,” time to get up.
I went over to our curtains and moved aside the two comforters and the blackout curtains to allow the blinding morning light in, then gently shake my sister awake. She playfully pulls her pillow over her head. Rubbing my eyes, I climb over my bed to our closet.
We have a ridiculously small room, and an even more ridiculous amount of stuff crammed into it. There are two twin beds that take up most of the room’s area. I’ve asked my dad on numerous occasions to make it into a bunk bed, like it was made to be, so we could breathe in there, but he was always too lazy to tear his eyes away from the History Channel.
“Come on Lare,” I say, “we gotta get ready to go.”
I hear her groan. After I had thrown on a blue t-shirt and jeans, she finally pulls the pillow from her head. She smiles sleepily at me and says, “It’s times like these where I wouldn’t mind being homeschooled.” I smile back at her, pulling my hair back with a black scrunchy and run out the door.
“…Because of him, we now know that carbon dating is an accurate means of determining the earth’s age.”
I snapped back into the present. My dream I had last night still shook me, though I did not understand entirely why. Class was particularly boring today, so my mind kept wandering back to my morning.
Then my favorite time of the day arrived: lunch. I usually grab a quick apple then head outside. Things were going pretty routinely, I grabbed my apple and headed outside to my favorite spot underneath the little maple tree. No one would sit there, because its branches are too small to shield you from any of the inevitable rain. I don’t sit with anyone. I’ve tried making friends and discovered it’s not my thing. I leave people alone, and they tend to return the favor. When I arrived, there was someone already sitting there. She had dark black, shoulder-length hair, and pale white skin. Altogether she was fairly beautiful, and I’ll admit that I was intimidated by her appearance. She was sitting there, reading a book I had never heard of (ironically) called, “Under the Maple.”
I was tempted to walk away, but I quickly shook the urge off. “Excuse me,” I said. She didn’t even bother to look back at me. I coughed, “Excuse me,” I said a bit louder.
“Mmm,” she grunted, looking up at me absent mindedly. She blinked a few times before she was brought back to reality.
I licked my lips. “This is my spot, and I’m going to sit here. It has been and everyone knows it, so I would greatly appreciate it if you left,” I was going to say. What came out was, “You mind if I sit with you?”
She pursed her lips and shrugged her shoulders. Hoping that was a “Yes,” I sat. After a few moments of awkward silence, she set down her book and looked at me. “Ha, I just had to read this book under here, I know this is a sweetgum, but I figured, eh, close enough.” Shows how much I know about trees. “Name’s Miranda,” she said. I hadn’t realized until now, but she had a slight hint of a Southern accent.
“Oh, uh, Becky,” I replied. I couldn’t tell if her friendliness was serious or if she was messing with me. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but somehow, we started talking.
Well, as it turned out, Miranda was from Oklahoma, I don’t remember the name of the town she was from and frankly, I didn’t care. I never intended to go there and I knew nothing about it. She had moved up here recently with her family. I listened to her talk and she listened to me. Maybe I wouldn’t have to die alone after all.
I saw her several times more throughout the day, and she even turned out to be in my Algebra I class and PE.
The next day at school, I saw her in my economics class. My heart skipped a beat when I saw her there. She obviously had forgotten me by now. Against my better judgment, I glanced her way. She smiled at me and waved me over.
“Hey,” she said when I had gotten close enough. “Think you could brief me what we’re learning up to date.
“Oh sure I said stumbling into the seat next to her’s and pulling my cluttered back pack open.
“We’ve just been going over basic terms for the most part so far,” I said, “like monopolies and such. We’ve also been given a list of resources. You’re not too late into the class, it’s only a one semester class so it’s really only been maybe a month since it started.”
“Oh good,” she sighed.
I stood up and headed towards my usual seat. “Where you going?” I heard her say
I turned back to face her, “Oh, I just-”
“Trying to sneak off huh?” She grinned.
I sat back down and embarrassedly smiled back.
She walked with me to French class. She was taking Spanish, on the other end of the school, so I didn’t understand why she’d waste time following me there. On the way, we passed by Clara. Clara was a Freshman and I was a Junior, but we still saw each other in the halls occasionally.
“Oh hey Bee,” she said smiling.
“Oh, uh, this is my--uh--Miranda. Muh-Miranda, this is my sister Clara.”
They exchanged nods and then we headed off to class. The rest of the day, I saw much of Miranda.
I eventually started going over to her house. I liked it there, and I liked her family. They were all very friendly. It was refreshing. It always smelled nice too, like baking bread and bleach. I even began calling Miranda my friend. We would go over to her house, watch and criticize old musicals, listen to music while doing homework, but I never stayed the night. Her room was always too bright at night, and whenever I attempted to stay the night, I would come up with some excuse for me to go home.
“Becky, want to watch something with me tonight?” asked my sister at the dinner table one night, when dad was trying to impress his new girlfriend by pretending that we eat together as a family.
“Oh, uh, I’m kinda tired. I would rather just go to sleep,” I replied.
“Oh,” she said. I could tell she was bummed, but I had been working hard all week and I needed a break.
When I did go to bed, after some History Channel with dad, it was well past eleven. I groaned inwardly. How difficult it is to ever get to bed in this house.
Well, one day at school, I realized Miranda wasn’t there. Odd, she usually told me when she had something the next day. Then, right as Social Studies began, she and a girl named Shelby came running in. Shelby was texting or doing some other highly unimportant job on her phone. Miranda was wearing a mischievous grin as she walked into class.
“What happened?” I asked.
She looked at me, prepared to say something, when Mrs. Fledge came in and began class. She frowned slightly and then turned to face the front of the class. I kept telling myself it wasn’t important, but the more I did so, the more the unknown itched me.
Finally, the lunch bell rang and I followed Miranda out of class.
She read my mind. Leaning in, she said smiling, “Me and Shelby decided to skip first period and went to Gene’s and Co. instead.” I didn’t return the smile. She curled eyebrows at me. “Oh yeah,” she said with heavy sarcasm in her tone, “You’re a geek.”
I smiled, but said nothing. It wasn’t like her to be so rebellious, a little confused, I walked with her to our lunch spot.
We sat there for a few moments and then Shelby walked up. I’m sure Miranda must have seen my annoyed look because she asked, “You mind if she sits with us?” I shook my head.
“As I was saying,” I continued on my critique of Phantom of the Opera, “Christine just portrayed the beautiful character so poorly and—“
“Oh my goodness! Have you seen New Moon yet?” Shelby asked Miranda.
“Yes! Edward is so hot!”
“You guys like those?” I asked. “I just can’t stand the whole ‘Vampire loves werewolf and human” thing. It’s like they’ve run out of story lines or something.”
“He’s not a werewolf,” Shelby said offended. Then she continued her previous conversation.
I stood up and walked off to throw my apple core away. When I came back, they were gone. My heart skipped a beat, and I stood there. I stood there for a long while, until it began to rain. Then I headed over to my math class.
I sat halfway through class, not taking my eyes of my work book. I guess at some point, my teacher had stopped talking for a moment because I suddenly felt a hand on my shoulder. I jumped slightly, and there she stood, with a concerned look on her face.
“You feeling well?” Mrs. Reese whispered.
She tightened her lips and suggested I go to see the nurse, because my face was apparently incredibly pale. I did so. Leaving the bathroom, of course, was Clara. I don’t know why, but I felt embarrassed. I’m supposed to be the strong one of the family. I only looked at her smiling face for a moment before returning my gaze southward. She walked back to her class and I opened the door into the nurse’s office. The nurse took my temperature and it revealed a slight fever. Not terribly hot, but enough to have me sent home.
I lay on my bed until Clara came home. When she came in I pretended to be asleep.
“Why’d you come home early?” she asked nonchalantly, whether she knew I really wasn’t sleeping or she just didn’t care, I was not sure.
Sleepily, I replied, “Mm?”
“You were at the nurse’s office for a bit and then left. I saw from my Mr. Jones’s class.”
“Oh, yeah,” I paused trying to come up with a better sounding excuse, such as, “I saved a little boy from a fire and the smoke fumes caused some intestinal problems.” It sounded so much better than, “I got my feelings hurt so I got sent home.” Instead, it came out, “Oh, I just wasn’t feeling well.”
“Oh.” She began digging through her backpack for something. When she came out, she had pulled out her large math book and set it on her bed. “Wanna watch Aladdin?”
I consented. It was really fun, at around eight she came in with a big bowl of popcorn, and we just sat there together. I’m sure she had pulled her math book out in vain, because I saw her look down at her notebook for a maximum of three seconds, then her eyes would always slide back up, like how a plant is always inclined towards the strongest light source. Long after the end credits had gone by, and the menu screen came back on, we continued there, talking and laughing together. After many promises to turn the bedroom light off, we finally did so. After that (and many a, “Okay, goodnight for real now,”) we remained awake and spoke.
“Ya, know, this is the most fun I’ve had in a long time. At least since,” I paused, “yeah…” My mind kept running things past me in my subconsciousness. “Clara has been really cool tonight,” I thought. “Come to think of it, she kind of has always been this way. She’s great.”
Eventually my words all jumbled together into inarticulate thoughts, and I found myself in a cool shady glen. The cool grass felt good on my blistering feet and I decided to lay down. A small pool of clear water, no more than six feet across, lay to my left. I was tired so I closed my eyes. Then I heard laughing. A sweet sounding laugh, like strawberries fresh picked from a garden. When I opened my eyes, Clara was leaning over me. She looked different. I can’t explain quite how, she appeared older, though her physical appearance hadn’t changed. She was a head taller than me at least and she stood erect. Her usual tendency was to lean over, afraid of her height, but here she seemed quite comfortable with it. She was also wearing a yellow, knee length dress, with white flowers spotting it. Reaching out her hand to me, she smiled. I grabbed it and she pulled me towards her. She looked at me and smiled, I returned the favor, and then we both started laughing. We walked off together until everything became black and melted back into sleep.
Wazzat mean? Sorry, my internet slang is aweful;)
Dirt, dirt, dirt and more dirt, Seth Florence Jove had never before noticed how much land his father owned until now. When would it end? Outside, a handful of halfies were setting up weather cylinders. It would be planting season soon, and then Dad would be busy. Maybe home after 24 o’clock, if he was lucky. Otherwise the People might take their business elsewhere. Certainly, quality was important, but it was more about quantity and speed. The People did not like to wait.
Seth felt the vehicle enter from less smooth terrain onto what felt like gravel. A large building began growing in the distance to the northwest of the truck. When the building was perfectly visible, the vehicle made a turn and then halted. As slow as his dad went, Seth took even longer. He’d never been before, and he would have honestly preferred to stay at home. Sure, he liked spending time with his dad, but this was still work.
The plant was a strange place. It smelled like ear wax. The ceiling was extremely high and the ground was made of concrete that had not been well cared for. From the entrance, a small check out could be seen, and onward there were many rows of halfies behind hundred meter long glass cases, one on each wall. The walkway was incredibly wide, so much so, that the place almost looked empty. It had altogether an eerie and stuffy feel to it. Seth was disappointed. He was always excited to come here when he was younger, picturing it a million times over in his head. Now that he was here, he was ready to make a quick decision and then get out of there.
“Go ahead and take a look around, I’ve got to get some information from the clerk,” his dad told him.
Seth consented and walked swiftly to one of the nearby walls. He looked back at his dad, who was walking up to the clerk’s desk. The clerk matched the atmosphere of the place all too well. He was thin and dried out with long bony appendages. Seth shivered.
He returned his gaze back to the glass cases, the halfies all looked like zombies in a way, never making eye contact with him and standing perfectly still. The first group was composed of thirty year old males, with brown buzz cuts, bulky arms and legs, but very petite abdomens. Seth had already been taught which ones were healthy and which ones were not. Sunken stomachs usually meant they had some kind of parasite. The caption over them read, “G-36743 *Strong, hard workers, require three hours of rest nightly.” They would cost 200 utility tokens each.
The next ones, young men, some twenty odd years old, with red hair and freckles spotting their face. Called B-36, supposed to be best at plowing and running machines. Weaker than some, but highly intelligent (for a halfy,) might do well in an office.
Seth continued down this first wall. He then moved to the adjacent, and so on. There were many halfies. All of different ages, and sizes, but the many some odd hundreds were male. Seth wondered about this for a moment, and then figured males were probably the highest demand, there was no real need for women to work, whatever they could do most everyone else could as well.
He was on the final wall, when he came across something that caught his eye. It was a young, brunette girl, maybe fourteen, just slightly younger than Seth. Her lips were cherry red, not too large, but not too small either. Her hair was shoulder length, dark brown, made up of perfect ringlets. He could not find a single blemish on her except that she was very skinny. Then something startled him. She turned her head slightly and looked at him. He was afraid for a moment, unsure of what to do. Her eyes were clear blue. He felt the world begin to melt away, and only he and she were there.
“Think she’s cute?” Seth felt a hand lay on his shoulder, and jumped. Obviously high, because his dad seemed somewhat taken aback by the reaction.
“Ah-huh?” Seth stuttered.
“Oh, I was just teasing you,” his dad replied. “What do you think so far? See any you liked?”
Seth returned his gaze to the girl; she was staring blankly ahead, like all the others.
“Oh,” such beautiful eyes. “What?”
Dad groaned. “Did you find any you liked?”
“Oh yeah!” said Seth, then he pulled out his notebook. “B-78887 would be good for the pushing machines. Ah, B-62s would be good when harvesting time comes around, and H-844s had noticeably thick skin, so I figured they would work well in the extraction room.”
“Let me see that,” said Dad reaching for the notebook. He flipped through the pages and said, “Okay, come with me and we’ll see how you did.” He took Seth by the arm and went to all the groups listed.
“Good job Seth. You found some pretty good halfies, no real issues I see. You have good taste. When your brother first came here, he picked almost entirely 1/16 and back, you got some ¼s and I think a ½s even. This is why you will inherit the business.” He winked.
Seth hadn’t noticed before, but above each halfy was a small fraction. Too prideful to admit he didn’t know what that meant, he just nodded.
“Alright, time to ring these guys up I guess,” his dad said. He typed onto the blue luminescent screen, next to each of the groups, the quantity he desired of them.
They began walking up to the counter when Seth blurted out, “Could we please get the last Z-3532?”
His dad stopped in his tracks. “Which were they?”
“The girl over there,” replied Seth pointing.
“What on earth would we need a girl for?”
“Well lots of things. Like-like- Dishes for example.”
“And why can’t you do dishes?”
“Well, I can, but if I spent the time I do on dishes on school, I could get, maybe some college tokens. And-and I could learn more about running a plantation.”
“It doesn’t take that long to do the dishes.”
“I can do that.”
Seth looked skeptically at him. “My friend Ashlee, from school, her family has a girl halfy, and they all admitted how helpful it turned out to be.”
Seth was almost sure his dad would say no, but to his surprise, his dad walked over to the case, and analyzed it with pursed lips.
“I dunno,” he said.
“Well look! She’s a 1/8,” said Seth catching up.
“That’s the problem. Girls don’t live as long as men regardless and the bottom number just shortens it all the more.” He sighed, Seth was obviously confused. “You haven’t learned this yet.” He seemed disappointed. “They should have taught you this already. Ugh, schools today. Okay, basically, plants like this take persons and make a “copy” of them. Now, very few people get copies done, as the procedure is somewhat painful (from what I understand) and it is not the most well paying job. Anyways, the “copy” or clone, as is technically called, is only half a person. Hence the ½ next to some of the names. So you and me would be,” he paused, waiting for an answer which he was not to receive. “Whole persons,” he said slowly.
Seth nodded, trying to wrap his head around it. His dad continued, “When there’s a lack of whole persons, like you and me, they are forced to make half of a half person.”
“So they would technically be called a fourth person?” Seth continued.
His dad nodded.
“But how does this affect whether or not we can get her?”
“Well, a half person deteriorates about twice as fast as you or me would. And a fourth person would about three times etcetera.” He paused and puzzled his eyebrows. “But she is young, maybe she’ll last a while anyways. She’s only 50 utility tokens, so if you promise to work really, and I mean extremely, hard on your studies, I will buy her.”
Seth was ecstatic. Unsure why, he glanced over at her, like one would at a baby kitten they knew was soon to be theirs. Then he realized she had been watching them. Her head was facing directly in front of her, but her eyes were on them. Seth felt his heart beat quicken.
At the counter, the clerk checked his computer and ran the order by him. He was a frightening man, very tall, and lean, with a long nose. Everything about him appeared stretched. His eyes, hazel, were bloodshot. He spoke emphasizing his “s’s” and “t’s.” His voice was also thin and stretched. “That will be 10,050 utility tokens,” he said emphasizing the “50” for no apparent reason. “Would you like the K-vaccination?”
“No thank you,” replied Dad.
“Are you sure? They ensure that your workers live at least three months longer.”
Dad sighed, “How much are they?”
“Only 35 Utility tokens per halfy.”
“I suppose,” replied Dad pulling out his pay card once more.
The rest of the day was like a dream to Seth. He had been to the plant, chosen almost all of the workers for a year, which his dad was clearly proud of him for it…and he got her. But it would be a couple of days before the shipment would be made, so Seth would be forced to wait.
Everyday, on the bus ride from school that week, Seth would keep his eyes on their land to see if the halfies had arrived.
He saw nothing for four days, on the fifth day, it was raining and late. He saw no one new in the fields yet. He walked through the door to their house, carrying his computer in under his left arm, and exclaimed, “Dad, I’m home.” There was no answer. Maybe the halfies had arrived. Quickly, Seth ran to his room and threw his computer on his bed. Then he ran out the door to the work house. It was about a seven block walk from their house, but Seth ran the entire way.
“Are you able to hold him still for just a moment?” came a strange male voice from inside the work house.
“Ugh,” his dad’s voice responded.
Without a moment’s wait longer, Seth opened the door wide and entered. He saw his dad, and a stranger with short cropped brown hair and dark skin. By his apparel, he was obviously some kind of doctor or nurse. In between the two, was a brown haired halfy, with a terrified look on his face. Dad had a firm grip on his arms and was holding them back. His knuckles were red from an apparent struggle.
The doctor held an abnormally large syringe, with an equally large needle. He appeared to be attempting to inject it into the halfy’s neck.
“Seth! You know not to disturb me when I’m in here!” his dad yelled at him.
“Uh--Oh--” Seth stuttered.
“Go!” his dad said motioning towards the door.
As he headed towards the door a small figure shot out from behind a nearby wall, and hid behind him. It grabbed his arm tightly, its fingernails cutting him.
“Grab her!” Dad yelled. Seth didn’t like the tone he used. “She hasn’t had her vaccination yet.” Then, another halfy, only ever so slightly smaller than an orange tree, came out from the shadows and grabbed her by the arm. She held on for only a moment longer, and then with pleading eyes, released her grip.
It was her. Seth’s heart began racing, as it had at the halfy plant.
“Go back home Seth, I’ll be there when I’m done here,” his dad said. Seth looked one last time at the girl, then he left the room.
On his way back to the house, he heard a loud, undistinguishable scream. Try as he might, he could not erase the faces of the girl and the other halfy from his mind. The more he tried, the more he thought of them.
At around 20 o’ clock, he heard the door to the house creak. He lifted his eyes from his homework. His dad’s eyes were dark around the edges. He plopped onto the couch and began rubbing his forehead.
Seth waited for a moment, until he gathered up courage to speak, then he asked, “Where’s--?”
Seth’s dad just gave him a cold hard stare, causing immediate silence from his son. Embarrassed, Seth turned off his computer and went to his bed room. He planted his face into his pillow, and did not wake up until the next morning. His final thoughts were of confusion and slight fear.
The next morning, he was up earlier than usual: 5.30 o’ clock. Unable to fall back asleep, he got up and headed for the kitchen. Dad wasn’t there; he had to work extra hard now that planting season had begun.
The smell of bacon met his nostrils and caused his mouth to water. In the kitchen, a small plate had been set with two slices of bacon, an egg, and some toast. A brown headed body stood above the sink washing dishes. Seth’s heart rate took off, and he had to take several deep breaths before he was calm enough to enter. She’s just a halfy, quit getting so worked up, he reminded himself.
He sat down at the plate and coughed, somewhat unsure whether to eat it yet. When he was met with no response, he said, “Eh-excuse me?” She turned toward him. He noticed a large bandage around her neck. “Is this,” he gestured, “mine?” She nodded and turned back to dishes.
After a long silence, he smiled at her and said, “What’s your name?”
She looked at him. “My number is Z-3532.”
He was surprised by the sound of her voice. He hadn’t really thought of halfies with voices, and didn’t expect her to reply. Not that he had spent much time with them before. “Kind of a mouthful don’t you think?”
“Can I call you,” he paused and thought a moment, “Laila?”
“I cannot tell you what to call me.”
She kept his plate constantly full. After his orange juice was emptied, she came over and poured him a cup of coffee. When he was full, he wiped his mouth and leaned against the chair with his eyes closed. Then he opened them, and she had gone.
He stood up, and got ready for school. A clean uniform had already been pulled out for him and placed gently on his bed. At 7 o’clock, he took one last glance into the house before heading off to school.
The next few weeks were the same, he would get up, eat breakfast, sometimes he would speak to her, unsure whether he just wanted to hear her voice or whether he really wanted to know where she did the laundry, or slept, or ate. Sometimes, she would reply, more often she would look at him and remain silent. Then she would leave. He would in turn get ready for school and do the same. Every day, on the ride to school, he would scold himself for talking with her, persons don’t talk to halfies. If anyone caught him doing so, he would be greatly mistreated. But when he came back, and she handed him something small to eat, he couldn’t help himself.
On People’s day, there was no school, and Seth had decided to sleep in. Suddenly, he felt slightly uncomfortable, and his dream became dark and clouded. He woke from his rest and standing directly above him, was Laila.
“Bwah!” he screamed as he sat up, limbs flailing. She jumped back and cringed. She sat there for a while, eyes closed, hands in the defensive. Slowly, she lowered her hands and opened her eyes.
“I’m not gonna hit you,” said Seth. “You just scared me.” He felt really bad about the way he reacted, not because it was his fault, just because of how badly he had frightened her. “What were you doing in here?”
“Come on, you know, now-Now tell me,” he demanded. The silence was agonizingly long.
“You didn’t come out,” she whispered.
“Huh?” said Seth,
“You didn’t come out,” she continued louder. “I made food. Came to see you were okay.”
Seth was touched. He chuckled slightly. “I was just sleeping late, it’s People’s day. Ya know?” She stared blankly at him. “Persons, well, most persons, get to take People’s day off if they want. So I decided to sleep in.” He had forgotten that halfies don’t take days off.
“Oh,” she said. Then she left the room.
It was 10 o’ clock. May as well get up, Seth thought. He dressed himself then headed out the door.
He came to the kitchen and sat down on a chair. Sleep was still in his eyes and he yawned. Suddenly, he heard scurrying feet run past him. He looked and saw the girl pulling numerous food items from various storage spots. She seemed panicked.
“Woah, woah,” he said. “Slow down there.” She obeyed, but the look on her face was still urgent. “Here, come sit down, I’m not hungry yet anyways,” he said. She looked uneasily at the chair he had motioned. He nodded. Carefully, she sat down, as if she thought the chair would collapse from under her the moment she sat.
“Would you like me to make you something to eat Laila?” His words did not sound like his own, people don’t make food for halfies. She shook her head. “Well I feel like cooking,” he lied. He stood and began pulling out several ingredients. All the while that he cooked, she eyed his hands suspiciously. She smiled widely as the plate was set before her. It was a lovely smile.
He had a lot of fun with her. Having usually spent People’s day alone, with Dad at work and a dislike of the kids in his class, she actually made good company, in a distant kind of way. When she finished, he said, “Now, come on, I want to go for a walk, and you are going to come with me.” He smiled.
They walked around almost the entire plantation, and she was silent for the entire way. Any attempts to get her to speak were refuted by nods or shrugs. They went so far as to a charging station, and there he pulled out a handful of food tokens and bought a small chocolate for his new friend.
When they arrived back home, Seth noticed the lights in the house were on, so he ran inside, thinking his father was home early. He was met with a surprise. In place of his dad was his brother, Malachi. He had grown his facial hair stubbly since the last time Seth saw him. This made his features almost undistinguishable. He would have been quite handsome if he cared so much as to put on clean clothes or bathe.
Malachi worked at one of the halfy plants as a trainer. He never talked about work though, and ever since he started working there he had changed. Working there seemed to get rid of his good qualities and enhance his bad ones, He rarely stopped by, but when he did, he always had some negative news, or as it seemed, a desire to burden Seth’s life.
“Since when did we get a female halfy?” he asked.
“I got her a while ago, that way I have more time to study,” replied Seth.
“Well, she may as well make herself useful. Go make us coffee,” he commanded.
Seth didn’t like him talking to her like that. But she didn’t show to care.
“So,” said Seth, “How’s-What-How are your-?”
“Learn to speak!” said his brother, he was joking, but it wasn’t particularly funny. Seth showed the lack of humor in the comment by crossing his arms. “Sheesh, can’t you take a joke?”
Just then, Laila came in carrying a pot of coffee and two mugs. She first poured Malachi one, but the extra cup in her hands proved too much for her hands, and it began slipping from between her fingers. She tried to catch it, but as it shattered on the floor, she spilled the hot coffee on Seth’s brother’s lap.
He gasped in pain, and Seth bounded to his feet. “Why you,” began Malachi raising his hand in the air. Quickly, Seth threw himself in front of her and deflected the blow with his arm.
“Leave her alone,” said Seth slowly.
Malachi had a shocked expression on his face. Seth was scared, but he held his ground.
His brother laughed, and lowered his hand. Through clenched jaw he said, “Ah. I see, can’t make any real friends? You’re lucky halfy!” He continued in a more irritated tone, “Go grab a towel!”
She returned swiftly, and as he wiped his wet legs he said, “May I tell you what I came here for?”
“I remember already trying to find that out,” replied Seth. He resisted the temptation to rub his sore arm.
Malachi stared at him for several minutes through slit eyes and then said, “Dad told me to come over here, and let you know that he was going away for a while. The stupid lazy halfies,” here he glared at Laila, who was staring at her feet, “got to planting too late. They waited, claiming the weather wasn’t right yet. Well, they waited too long, and now the People already got a provider. He has to go to a meeting, and try to convince otherwise.”
Seth still glared angrily at his brother, he knew that meant Dad had to lower his prices, which also meant a tight year for them.
After too long, his brother stood to leave, and as he was just about out the door, he called back, “Oh, and I’m sure dad will love to hear you’ve made such a wholesome friend.” The door slammed behind him.
Seth dropped into a chair, emotionally and mentally exhausted. His brother’s threat to tell his dad about this was in vain, Malachi knew dad liked him better. That’s why he hated Seth, and also why Seth would inherit the plantation.
“You okay?” asked Seth to Laila. With tears in her eyes, she suddenly streamed out. He didn’t blame her. Suddenly, she returned, she went directly to him and lay something on the table in front of him. “What’s this?” he asked.
“I am sorry,” she said fighting tears.
She had laid down the chocolate in front of him. Suddenly, Seth felt very angry, “No,” he said. “I wanted to give you something. You couldn’t refuse, I told you to accept it. Here,” he put it back in her hand.
She gasped. “No! I cannot take this!”
“Yes you can, I’m telling you to,” he said.
She just stood there, holding the unopened candy. Finally, Seth could bear it no longer. He leaned forward, and took the chocolate from her hands. Carefully, he tore it open, and handed her a piece, then he took one for himself.
“Here, we’ll eat it together,” he said.
He raised the piece slowly to his mouth, suggesting she do likewise. Then they both took a bite. A look of shock appeared on Laila’s face.
“What?” asked Seth. Suddenly it dawned on him, “Have you--ever had this before.”
She shook her head.
From then on, he would give her new kinds of food to try, relishing every reaction to every new kind of food. He was surprised how much she had never tried before. When he looked at her, he no longer saw a halfy, he saw a friend. Someone he began to love deeply. Every movement she made he savored. He spent every free moment with her.
For a couple of weeks this continued, then one day his dad came home. He was always stressed.
One morning, Seth noticed a change in Laila, she was very pale, and she became out of breath very easily. He enquired many times to the way she felt, and she would always reply, “Fine. I am okay.” But Seth was not encouraged. Every day she appeared to be getting worse. Once, while doing the dishes, she began trembling so greatly, and he grabbed her hands to calm her. They were freezing. “I’m fine, I’m fine,” she insisted.
“No you’re not,” he cried. “You’re sick! You need help.”
“I’m fine,” she said again quietly. Then she collapsed into his arms.
Seth felt his adrenaline start racing, and he picked her up and carried her into his bedroom.
“I’m fine,” he heard her mumble one last time before he raced out of the house.
Help, I need help, where can I find help, he thought to himself. With extreme hope in his heart, he ran for the nearest building on his father’s land. When he got there, he threw the door open wide and yelled, “Help! I need help!” Out of somewhere, his dad suddenly appeared with a look of great concern on his face.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Come on!” yelled Seth and he ran out the door. Without looking back, he ran the entire way home. He was surprised, his dad had kept right up behind him the entire time.
“What’s wrong?” he asked again. Seth did not answer, he just looked around like a wide eyed police dog, and ran to his bedroom.
“She’s-she’s sick,” he said pointing to her pale figure. Her eyes were open, and she was breathing, but her eyes appeared drained of life and were dark around the edges.
“I see,” replied his dad slowly. “Go to the shed, and grab me the orange box on the shelf.”
“Don’t you want your phone?” asked Seth. “She needs a doct--” He was interrupted by his dad raising a hand for silence. Slightly frustrated, but still immensely worried, he ran to the shed. He retrieved the box and was back in under five minutes.
“Here,” he said handing him the box, and he took a few deep calming breaths.
“I want you to wait in the kitchen,” he told his son.
“But--” again he was gestured to silence. He walked out slowly, taking one last look at her before he left. Against his father’s wishes, he waited leaned up against the door. His hands were around his knees as he clenched his fists tightly together. After a while, he was tempted to peek in through the door to see how things were going. He resisted for a short while, then he finally got up and slowly cracked the door.
His father stood ominously above her, his hand on her wrist looking at his watch. He released his grip and then sighed. Seth then noticed Laila. Her eyes were closed, and she wasn’t breathing. Without remorse, he shot through the door and ran next to her. There was a needle in her arm.
“No,” he said quietly. Then with tears forming in his eyes, he turned toward his father and began punching him with all his might. “No! No! No!” He cried.
Seth’s dad grabbed his arms and held them down. “Son,” he said. Seth ignored him, attempting to escape his grip, but his dad unfortunately strong. He just kept crying, “No!” over and over.
“Son!” his father yelled. This finally caught his son’s attention. With a concerned look in his eye, he said, “She was just a halfy.” Then he released his grip.
She was just a halfy. The words rang through Seth’s head, blurring his vision, causing a great headache. Over and over again it was said. They were the last words he ever heard his father say again. As he ran out of the room, and soon to be out of the house, he took one last look at Laila, and the memory of her lifeless body remained engrained in his memory from then on.