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Fortsette

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  • Fortsette

    I started this story for WriteMore and I kind of really loved it and I enjoy writing it, so I've decided to
    continue it! I might be changing a couple of things or just beefing them up a little bit more so if you
    read it during WriteMore, that's why it might be a wee bit different. So don't be alarmed! I hope you
    guys enjoy reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it! xoxo




    chapters
    ONE
    TWO
    THREE
    FOUR
    FIVE
    SIX
    Last edited by strobelightss; 11-01-20, 11:34 AM.

  • #2

    "Forty-seven.
    Forty-seven days left until Numaea crashes into us-- or technically, me.
    I don't really mean to be all doom and gloom; I'm just trying to accept my inevitable fate. If I could somehow control a giant cellestial body that's slowly about to crush my beautiful planet to its untimely death, I definitely would. But I'm just a tiny being who has no control over anything.

    I live on Acsmora, the second smallest planet in our solar system. The total population of our planet spikes tremendously during the peak season for tourism. We get hundreds of ships flying in and out daily filled with people from other planets who want a chance to see our lavender colored skies. Our beautiful planet is known for its many moons. Usually, you can only see nine moons during the light zone hours, but when the skies start to darken, it’s like being on an entirely different planet. The fluffy, marshmallow clouds clear out and it seems as if someone has emptied a plastic container full of silver glitter into the sky. Thousands of tiny stars speckle the heavens and almost all of the moons can be seen. I’ve lived here all my life and the sight still never ceases to amaze me.

    Numaea, our principal moon, is disappointingly not our most beautiful one. It’s a large, hazel, cratered giant. We’ve been told it’s about fifteen times the size of Planet Terra’s moon, but I’ve never even left Acsmora so I wouldn’t know. About two years ago, we received the news that Numaea was becoming unstable and might be bumped out of orbit at any moment, falling straight into Acsmora. Of course no one paid much attention to it. The Planet Terra ambassadors assured us not to panic and that this was probably just some miscalculation. About a year ago, they evacuated. Everyone left. They boarded all of the podships and retreated to Planet Terra or another planet if they had relatives or friends who would take them in elsewhere. I am the only one left. Forgotten. Abandoned. And I’ve been counting down the days until Numaea enters the atmosphere and decimates everything on my planet, including me.

    You're probably wondering who "me" is if you're listening to this recording. My name is Xyzenna, but I go by Xy because saying the entire thing every single time is just way too cumbersome. On our planet, we have this horribly antiquated practice of mashing together names in order to name children. My father’s name was Xander and my mother’s Yzen. I say was because, well, they’re not around anymore. They were both ambassadors for our planet and were unfortunate victims of an interplanetary scuffle that broke out years ago. Their podship was invaded and crashed in some desolate part of Planet Vexor. My friend Zeelee’s parents took me in, but when I was sixteen I managed to save up enough money to get my own place and stop being such a burden. Zeelee probably doesn’t even know I didn’t make it onto a podship. I doubt anyone realizes they left me behind. Besides, no one can come rescue me now. It has been strictly forbidden for any aircraft to enter Acsmora’s atmosphere seeing as it was declared a ‘NO FLY ZONE’ as soon as everyone was safely out. Well, everyone except me.

    Acsmora is nothing but a ghost town now. Everyone left their possessions knowing quite well that there was a fat chance they would ever get any of it back. Only the extremely wealthy people could afford to have entire podships dedicated to transporting their possessions to wherever they were going. Everyone else just had to settle for the clothing on their backs and whatever else could fit into a small suitcase.

    I think by now I have accepted my fate. I just hope it’s quick and painless. I imagine it might be something like how the people of Pompeii felt. We learned about Pompeii in a Roman history lecture. I didn’t think it was important since it happened thousands upon thousands of years ago. It was just another catastrophe that I was glad hadn’t happened to me. But what happened then is happening now. Except my version of Mount Vesuvius is Numaea. I wonder what it’ll feel like, what it’ll look, and sound like. I imagine it'll be beautiful. There will be millions of people watching from the comfort of their homes as two giants collide, burst into fiery flames, and cease to exist. I wish I could witness it, but not like this. Not having to be one of the lives lost in the collision. Everyone is assuming that this will be a casualty-free catastrophe. Just a small planet lost, but all the lives safe. They’ll think it’s a shame that they won’t get to take family vacations to Acsmora anymore. They won’t be able to see the fluffy, marshmallow clouds in the lavender sky. They won’t be able to eat their favorite meal at Café Cosmix. I worked at Café Cosmix. It had huge windows with a view that would blow your mind and the Solar Shakes weren’t all that bad either. During tourism season, I worked long shifts, but I never got tired of it. I loved hearing all the different stories and getting just a tiny glimpse of other peoples’ lives.

    I reprogrammed the holographic clock at Café Cosmix; it’s a countdown now. The numbers are flashing in bright neon colors: 47, 8, 32. Forty-seven days, eight hours, and thirty-two minutes. I’m recording all of my thoughts and experiences and what my life was like on Acsmora. I have a sliver of hope that these voice journals will somehow survive. It doesn’t even matter. I won’t be a hero; I’ll just be an idiotic nineteen-year-old girl who missed the last podship out. Yes, that’s right. I got left behind because I missed the very last podship out of here. I was too busy saying goodbye to my parents. Well, gravestones marked with my parents’ names since their remains were never actually found. But having those stones there was the closest thing I would ever have to them. I cried that day. Mainly because I missed them. Later on, I cried because I realized it was possible that no one would find my remains. I cried until my face got swollen and I was a complete, puffy mess. Then, I stopped. I decided that those would be the last tears I would shed. No more pity parties for myself. So here I am attempting to enjoy my last days on Acsmora. Xy, out."

    I hit the stop button on the glass electronic screen and watch as the voice recording whizzes into a folder with all of my other recordings. Most of the other recordings are just rants or me blabbering on about something just to hear myself talk in order to prevent complete and utter insanity. I touch the tiny red power button on the top right corner of the screen and step off of the platform. For just a moment, I stand there. Everything is silent, except for the faint music I hear coming from Café Cosmix. The sound system is programmed to play music from opening until closing and that’s one of the things I’m incredibly grateful for. At night when I lay in my bed, when the music isn’t playing, the silence is deafening. It’s been nearly three days since I last slept. I’m exhausted, but my brain insists on thinking all possible thoughts as soon as my head hits the pillow. Today, I’m taking a hover bike out to the place where my parents and I used to stay in during summer vacation. Maybe I’ll be able to sleep there. I already packed a small bag with just a couple of spare clothes and other things. I can’t stay too long though. My life is here downtown. The café, the clock, the music, the library, everything is here downtown. But there’s no harm in going on a few small road trips. It’s not like the countdown will be gone. I’ll come back and those numbers will still be there taunting me.

    The journey to Aldigm City only takes about three hours going maximum speed on the hover bike if I don’t make stops along the way, but I want to try and enjoy this. After all, this is probably going to be my last trip there. To be honest, I haven’t had the courage to go back since my parents died. Our place was sold off to someone else, but obviously it will be vacant now. I just hope it all looks the same. Opening the small compartment in the hover bike, I shove my pack in and slam it shut. I leave the helmet behind since it’s practically useless now. I hop onto the bike and as soon as I turn it on, it lifts about four feet off the ground and hovers in a static state until I accelerate. Aldigm, here I come.

    My first anticipated pit stop is Cristulite. It’s a miniscule town known only for its beautiful garden since it’s way too small to have anything else that appeals to tourists. The legend claims that the first founding fathers of Acsmora planted and cultivated that garden. Everyone from Cristulite cared for that garden and it blossomed into one of the most beautiful wonders of our planet. One of the wonders that I never really paid much attention to since I figured it would always be there. I stop my bike in front of the gates and shut it off. After it slowly drifts back down towards the ground, I climb off and start making my way towards the garden’s main entrance. The gates are wide open as I assumed they would be. I pass through the small reception area and glance at the hologram of the town mayor explaining the history and origins of the garden. I’ve heard this spiel several times so I’m not going to waste any time listening to it again. I continue through to the garden. Some of the plants and trees were brought over from other planets as gifts, but most of the flora in this garden can only be found on Acsmora. My favorite tree has always been the cotton candy tree. When I first came to the garden, I was too young to be able to pronounce its real name, so I’ve always called them cotton candy trees. These trees have swirls all over their chubby white trunks. The small leaves are pastel blue and there’s an occasional large, pink berry scattered among them. I run my fingers through the patterns on the trunk and glance up. The leaves shuffle gently as a cool breeze passes through the garden. I spend about an hour there before deciding that I should be moving along. On my way out, I grab a couple of packets of seeds. I never cared much for gardening, but maybe these trees would somehow live.

    My next pit stop isn't as anticipated. I didn't expect to be stopping at Garudienne, but apparently I hadn't checked the energy meter on my hover bike before departing. As my bike sputters to a stop and gently drifts back towards the ground, a string of colorful curse words escapes my mouth. Like I need this on top of everything else. I manage to drag the bike to a charging station without damaging it; I'm lucky enough to have stopped near a city rather than some completely deserted patch of land along the way. I hook the bike up to a charging station and decide to walk around a bit while it charges. Well, it's not like I have much of a choice anyway and I am not about to sit down and wait. Garudienne is actually quite a beautiful city. There are tall skyscrapers which curve and spike up towards the heavens, their tops covered by the plump clouds. The main magnatrac which runs through the city is six lanes wide and the buildings are surrounded by lush, green grass and winding sidewalks. There are several dome-shaped houses with large windows lining the walls and at the center of the city is a white marble fountain with crystal clear water streaming down. As a kid, I never quite managed to understand how fountains didn't overflow if the water just kept pouring in. I force myself to look away from the hypnotic fountain and continue to walk through the vacant city. I don't want to wait the full six hours for my hover bike to charge completely, so I tell myself I'll wait no longer than two hours. That will probably get me to Aldigm just fine if I don't wander off course anymore. I decide to venture deeper into the city in order to find something to calm my growling stomach. I had managed to ignore it for long enough, but now that I have nothing to do while I wait, food is suddenly the number one thought on my mind. If the office buildings here are anything like the ones downtown, then they have AHRs (or Automated Holographic Restaurants as the pompous folks say). I keep my fingers crossed as I enter a gargantuan glass building and look around the lobby. The inside is completely white aside from the chrome desk and elevator doors. There's a massive, ornate chandelier hanging down from the vaulted ceiling. Off to the side, there are some strangely shaped white leather chairs surrounding a long glass coffee table. I walk over to the elevator and step inside once the doors open. "Good afternoon, how may I be of assistance?" The lifeless automated voices are basically the only voices I've heard since everyone else left. It's a shame they aren't programmed to actually carry on conversations with lonely people. "Oh, um, take me to whichever floor the eating area is in. Please." The elevator doors immediately slide shut and it starts to ascend smoothly. Once it reaches the tenth floor, the elevator stops and the doors slide open once more. When I step out, I'm taken by surprise. Unlike the lobby, the eating area is a complete mess. It looks as if a tornado made its way straight through here. There are empty trays and napkins strewn all over the white tables. The trash cans are overflowing with half-eaten sandwiches and bottles filled with colorful liquids. I step over wrappers and empty cans to get to the machine that I spot at the back of the lunchroom. Unfortunately, since no one comes by to stock the AHRs anymore, this particular one only has some unappealing brown slop left to offer. "I guess it'll have to do," I mutter as the machine dispenses the food neatly onto a tray. After flicking off a dirty napkin, I set the tray down on a table and take a seat. The slop tastes a little strange at first, but my stomach thanks me profusely with each bite I swallow. When I'm done eating, I take the elevator back down to the lobby. By the time I make it back to my hover bike, it's charged nearly 1/3 of the way. Deciding I don't want to stick around in Garudienne anymore, I unplug my bike and hop on.

    When I'm close enough to the house in Aldigm, I park my bike at another charging station and plug it in to let it charge the rest of the way. Then, I walk down a small pathway towards the house. Our lake house was always hidden from the rest of society. Whenever we came here, I felt like it was just my parents and I in the world. No hum of hover cars or tourists knocking on your door during the day asking for directions to wherever they were trying to go. When I finally arrive at the house, I'm ecstatic about the fact that it still looks exactly the same on the outside. It's a square house with two floors and a flat solar panel roof. The back wall of the house is covered entirely in windows which overlook the crystalline lake. There's one window which I know for a fact has never locked properly. So I walk around to the back of the house and jiggle the bottom until it slides up smoothly. Sweet. I grin and step inside.
    Last edited by strobelightss; 07-30-15, 12:19 AM.

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    • #3

      I see her long before she sees me. I'm sitting on the edge of the dock behind my uncle's lake house in Aldigm City and I see her from across the big lake. My feet are dangling in the water and my attention is focused solely on her. Well, obviously I'm focused on her. I can hardly believe if this is truly happening or if I fell asleep on the dock and I'm having some kind of oddly vivid dream. At first I don't know what she's doing, but it becomes clear to me very quickly. She slides up a window and creeps into the house across the lake. She gets in the first time she tries one of the windows. If I didn't know any better, I'd say she knew exactly which window would be unlocked. I assumed I was alone on Acsmora. I thought I was the only person who was idiotic enough to still be on a planet that was about to be wiped out. I was prepared to die alone until I saw her from across the big lake.

      Well, I wasn't prepared to die at all until that asshole pushed me out of the podship at the last minute. Maybe I shouldn't have hit on his girlfriend and punched him in the nose. My aunt always did say I do things without thinking them through 100% and I see why now. I should've been on Planet Terra with my aunt and uncle by now. I was excited to meet Terra girls, eat Terra food, and see Terra stuff. But those dreams flew out the window as soon as I did. Unfortunately, I didn't fall from a great enough height to die on impact. So now I have to live here on Acsmora and just wait until some stupid moon kills me instead. I mean, I know I haven't always been the nicest guy, but do I really deserve all of this? I'm curious and I want to keep watching her, but now that she's into the house and out of sight, I can't really do that too easily from where I am. I tell myself it's some sort of mirage or my mind just playing tricks on me.

      My curiosity is suddenly too great to stifle. Maybe I can just get a better scope of things before I pop out of nowhere and reveal myself to her. I have the upper hand here and I'm going to take advantage of it. I mean, what if she's some crazy chick? I don't want to be stuck in a "'til death do us part" situation with her if she's completely nuts. So I make my way across the lake and hide behind a bush with a good view into the house. I feel like a complete creep at this point, but I manage to assure myself that this is purely for educational purposes. The first thing I notice are her eyes. They're this piercing shade of amber and they seem to glow brighter when she smiles at something on the wall. She has bronze skin and unruly platinum blonde hair that is nearly white. When she pushes a strand of hair behind her ear, I see that her ears are slightly pointed at the tip like a true Morite's. She's fairly tall, but most of us are taller than the average human from Terra. She has surprisingly soft features and a beautiful smile. Okay, Jago, you're supposed to be gauging her sanity, not checking her out. I snap out of this weird trance and continue to watch her move about the house. Nothing she does strikes me as crazy... yet. She doesn't seem like a common thief either. So clearly this house must've belonged to her at some point before the weird Valdothan family moved in. I watch her for a couple more minutes before I get incredibly impatient and decide to reveal myself. What've I got to lose? I'm practically already dead anyway. So I step out from behind the bush and rap my fingers softly against the glass window.

      Comment


      • #4

        The inside of the house is different. I'm not disappointed because I didn't expect everything to be exactly how we left it. After all, it's been years since we did leave it. They didn't do any major renovations to the original structure, but the furniture is all completely different. My mother did most of our decorating and she would've never allowed some of these hideously expensive lamps and exotic, fuzzy carpets. I glance up at the spot on the wall where I accidentally splashed phosphorescent paint and my dad attempted to cover it up with a paint color that was two shades off. When I see that a spot does, in fact, have a different shade of paint, I smile. The new owners must not have realized it or they simply didn't want to bother tracking down the original paint just to cover that one spot. I walk over towards the stairs where I'd left my pack after I stepped inside the house. Even though the decor is different, the memories are still the same and I want to keep as many of those as possible. I shuffle around for my glasscorder so I can film some of this and add it to my collection of useless recordings when I go back downtown. Then suddenly, I hear something.

        It's a very faint, hesitant knocking noise and I wonder if I'm going insane from lack of companionship. Then, I hear it again, a little bit more confident this time. I assume it's probably just a bird or possibly the breeze causing a tree branch to knock against the glass. I step out from behind the set of spiral stairs to get a closer look at the window from where I entered. Okay, now I know for a fact I'm going absolutely insane. I see someone. A guy. He has dark, sun-kissed skin and purple eyes the color of the morning sky. His ears are more pointed than mine and his features are chiseled perfectly as if he was copied from one of those Greek mythology books we use sometimes. He has a small scar right above the bridge of his nose and I see a Morite tattoo that slightly pokes out from underneath the sleeve of his t-shirt. He's "tall, dark, and handsome" as Zeelee would say and he doesn't look that much older than me. This is more than likely the product of no sleep and whatever was in that brown slop I ate a little while ago. I heard lack of sleep caused hallucinations and I never quite believed the mind could completely turn on itself until now. I squint my eyes a bit, slowly getting closer to the window. Maybe if I get closer, my brain will recognize that this image isn't real and just a figment of my exhausted imagination. But he doesn't go away. In fact, he just stares at me like I'm completely psychotic. I have so many questions I can barely even piece together a complete sentence in my mind. Who is he? Why is he still here? I can't just stand there and stare at him. So I slide the window open and say the one and only thing my mind and mouth agree on. "What the hell?"

        "Yeah, hello to you too. I'm Jago by the way." He smiles a lopsided smirk sort of thing and sticks out a hand. I take his hand in mine, squeezing it and feeling each of his fingers just to double check that he really is there. Of course this only prompts him to stare at me even more, but his judgement is the last thing I care about. Okay, so he's clearly real and he's here in front of me. So I'm not alone after all. But why is he here? My mind races a thousand miles a minute before I finally come up with a decent enough response. "How'd you get stuck here too?" I ask, eying him curiously. He exhales slowly as if he was expecting this question already. "Can I maybe come in before you bombard me with questions? I've got a few of my own to ask you anyway." I wonder if I should let him in or make a run for the door. He doesn't look like an evil villain, but my mother always taught me to never judge a book by its cover. No matter how amazingly good looking the cover is.

        After what feels like an eternity of silence with him staring at me and me staring at him, I move aside and give him enough room to step in through the window. He's taller than me so this proves to be a more challenging task for him. With very little gracefulness, he finally manages to get inside and close the window behind him. He then proceeds to lean against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest as if trying to regain his cool composure. Very slick. I try not to laugh in order to prevent bruising his fragile ego even more. After a couple more minutes of staring, he speaks up. "Long story short, I got pushed out of my podship. My turn. What's your name and how'd you get left behind?" I furrow my eyebrows and shake my head. "One question at a time; don't cheat the system. I'm Xy. How did you find me?" He chews on his bottom lip, contemplating an answer to my question. "I was across the lake in my uncle's house and you weren't exactly being discreet while sneaking in here. Again, how'd you get left behind?" I narrow my eyes at him. "Discreet? How the hell was I supposed to know there was another living person on Acsmora?" I hope he realizes how dumb that sounded, but he doesn't say anything. He just waits for me to answer the question. "Busy. Missed the last podship. Why'd you get pushed out?" He doesn't seem satisfied with my answer and simply responds, "Next question." He's avoiding my question? That's a good way to create immediate suspicion. "That's not fair. You have to answer the questions."

        "Maybe I'll answer your questions when I think you're ready to hear the answers," he retorts defiantly. I can't believe this. So the one other person on Acsmora is a petulant smart ass and I'm now stuck with a petulant smart ass. This could be worse. This could be a lot worse. That's the only consolation I can offer myself. "Oh really? Well, let me be frank with you, Jago. You come in here and tell me you got pushed out of a podship? That can mean several things so let me bounce a couple of ideas off of you and you tell me which one sounds best. Theory number one: you're some sort of criminal that they didn't want going to Terra so the officials pushed you out once they decided you were expendable or too big a threat to contain on another planet. Theory number two: you had a target on your back. Yes, a mafia wanted you dead. So they pushed you off at the last minute and now they're claiming their reward on some far away tropical island. Theory number three: maybe you're just an asshole who no one wanted aboard their podship. Any of these sound applicable?" He stares at me for a couple of seconds, then he just laughs. "You give me way too much credit, Xy." I try to seem somewhat intimidating, but it's almost impossible to do considering I have to look up at him to speak. "Okay, fine. Well, when you're ready to answer my questions, I'll be outside by the lake. Otherwise, you're pretty useless to me now." Without waiting for an answer from him, I turn my back and walk towards the door that leads to the backyard. Yeah, there's a door. I hope he feels like an idiot now that he had to come in through the window. With a satisfied smirk on my lips, I open the door and step outside.

        The backyard looks exactly the same aside from a few landscaping changes. I take off my boots and slide my socks off, setting them down near the dock. The other owners must have opted for that new, soft synthetic grass because this grass feels amazing under my bare feet, but I almost feel bad for stepping on it since it must've cost a fortune. I step onto the dock and walk towards the end. There's a small canoe tied to the dock and it sways gently in the water. The lake looks absolutely beautiful as it always did. It's so clear that you can see all the way to the bottom. I remember swimming out to the middle and trying to touch the bottom. It seemed so close since the water was so clear, but I could never do it. I lay down on the dock, my back against the smooth wood, and look up at the sky. By now, the sun is beginning to set. The lavender sky has gone darker and is splattered with dark turquoises and deep oranges and the stars twinkle brightly. It's hard for me to imagine that same sky will be gone in less than two months. Then, another thought sets in. There is one other person on Acsmora. And I just stubbornly stormed off on him.

        Last edited by strobelightss; 01-04-16, 01:22 PM. Reason: oops typo

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        • #5

          Fantastic, Jago. Another thing you managed to screw up. Always screwing things up. Classic. I mentally punch myself for letting her walk away. Well, I didn't let her do anything. She's perfectly well aware of what she's doing and I guess I can see why she walked away. I didn't answer her stupid question because maybe I don't already want to give her a bad first impression. Maybe I don't want her to know that everyone else thinks I'm some low life who always tries to take what isn't his. Well, I certainly already made a crappy first impression. But, I can't completely screw this up. She's the only other person on Acsmora and I am definitely not equipped to be by myself. I had to learn that the hard way. Hell, I've been having conversations with myself for days. Here you are having a conversation with yourself now, Jago. But I can't go after her just yet. I am not going after her yet. Yeah, I'm more than likely the one who is wrong, but I can't give her that satisfaction yet.

          I wait and watch her walk outside. She's laying down on the dock now, looking up at the sky. I wait some more. It's probably only been a total of thirty-something minutes so far, but it feels like an eternity has gone by. I continue to wait. The sun begins to set and the sky darkens. I wait some more. I thought she would've come inside by now. What is so fascinating about the sky? Personally, I've tried not to look up at the sky ever since they said there was a giant moon hurtling towards us. This is nothing but a waiting game now. She isn't going to come inside and I'm not going to go out there yet. It seems we're at a stalemate. No one is winning; no one is losing. Everything is just stuck as if someone took a remote control and pressed pause during a war. I walk into the kitchen and open the fridge. There's nothing but way old milk and some disgusting moldy cheese that's more blue than yellow by now. Luckily, there are tons of canned goods in the cupboards. Apparently the Valdothans were prepared to stay cooped up and never leave this house. I pop open the can and grab a spoon out of one of the drawers. The label on the can advertises a blend of peach berries, Pitaya, and Carambola. Fruits. Gross. I shrug my shoulders and dig into the concoction. It tastes just like I expected canned fruit to taste. When I'm done, I toss the spoon into the sink and the can into the trash compacter and I look for something to do while I wait for her to come back inside.

          Obviously it seems like I've found someone even more stubborn than I am. She's not coming inside, so I guess I might as well work up the nerve and rehearse an apology before I go out there first. There's a large TV in the living area so I decide to preoccupy myself for just a few more minutes before I go outside and talk to her. I'm dreading that conversation. I've never been the best at apologies. I've never even been remotely decent at apologies. I turn the TV on and there's the same message playing over and over on each channel. The same lifeless robotic voice droning on and on. "Emergency protocol 10245 has been activated. Please find your way to the nearest podship station. Departures will be punctual. Do not be alarmed. Emergency protocol 102--" I turn off the TV and cut her off mid-sentence. I'd forgotten about that annoying message playing on every channel. I sigh and lean back on the loveseat. My eyelids feel a bit heavy. Maybe I just need to rest my eyes for a couple of seconds. I close my eyes for just a few minutes and sleep seems to swallow me whole in that moment.

          I open my eyes slowly, my throat dry and the room pitch black. I glance at the thin, black watch on my wrist. The neon numbers read 12:02am back at me. Forty-six days left now. I expect Xy to be upstairs sleeping peacefully, but when I stand up from the couch and glance outside, I see that she's still out on the dock. Wow. She's even more stubborn than I am. Admirable. I step outside and walk towards the dock. When I'm close enough to where I think she'll hear me, I finally speak up. This is it. Crappy apology time. "I'm sorry, okay? I can be stupid sometimes and I try to be a smart ass. I guess you could call it a defense mechanism or whatever. But we're the last two people here and I don't want you to be mad at me." I mumble softly, rubbing the back of my neck nervously. I wait for her to laugh at me or rub it in my face or do something, but she stays perfectly still. Her fingers are laced together and her hands rest on top of her stomach; her head is tilted slightly to the left. "Uh, hello? Xy?" I step onto the dock and walk over to where she's laying. She doesn't stir, but her chest rises and falls steadily. She seems to have fallen asleep here on the dock. She's probably in a state of very deep sleep considering she doesn't hear me calling out her name. I'm kind of relieved, but also pretty upset she didn't hear me. I'm relieved that I'll get more of a chance to come up with an actual apology, but upset because I'll have to say it all over again and it was already hard enough the first time around. But that's not even the biggest issue at the moment. It gets pretty chilly at night near the lake and I don't want her to die an untimely death before Numaea because of something as silly as pneumonia. Maybe I could just grab a blanket and cover her. But what if she rolls over at night and falls off of the dock and into the freezing water? Then it'll be hypothermia. I can't just leave her here. But what else am I supposed to do? I swear I've been standing over her for at least ten minutes trying to decide what to do and she doesn't even move a muscle. It's my fault she fell asleep out here to begin with, so this is another thing that I have to fix. I scoop my hands underneath her and try to pick her up as gently as possible so she stays asleep. Please don't wake up now. Please don't wake up now. This will be a hundred times more awkward if you wake up now. Luckily, I manage to get her up the stairs and onto the bed in one of the rooms without her waking up. I take a blanket from one of the other rooms and cover her with it. Too bad she missed my amazing apology. I walk back downstairs and leave her a note on the kitchen counter before I make my way back to my uncle's house. I'll just come back tomorrow if she doesn't still hate me too much.

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          • #6

            My eyes open slowly the next morning. Day forty-six. It would be so easy to just sleep for the rest of the day. I hadn't realized how exhausted I was until I was laying down on the dock and my eyes refused to stay open. Then, I just gave into it. The dock. It isn't breezy enough and I'm not staring up at the morning sky. I don't hear the wind softly whipping the water around. The dock. I reach my hands out and run them over the soft duvet on the bed underneath me. The bed. The bed? I sit up immediately and look around. I slide the covers off and swing my feet over the side of the bed and stretch the sleepiness away. Waking up in bed after falling asleep on the dock is something that used to happen frequently. My father used to carry me back and my mother would tuck me in. They would always joke about how I could fall asleep anywhere if I tried hard enough. At some point during the night, Jago must've found me on the dock and brought me inside. Okay, so maybe he's not that bad a guy after all. I run my fingers through my tangled hair and make sure I don't have any gross crusties hanging around my eyes. I should at least try and make myself somewhat presentable. I exit the room and slowly walk down the stairs expecting to find him raiding the kitchen for food or lounging around in the living area, but all I see is a small, folded up piece of paper on the counter. I open it up and read it.
            across the lake if you need me
            please don't need me before 1
            -j

            There's a tiny winky face at the bottom of the note that's been scribbled over. The sight of it makes me laugh. I haven't even known this guy for more than a day, but I'd expect something like that from him. I glance at the small clock on the wall. 2:03pm. Perfect time to go bother him. Maybe I should bring something over just so I have an excuse. I rummage through the cupboards and find two cans of pumpkin. I guess this is going to be breakfast. I grab two spoons and walk outside towards the dock. The walk around the lake doesn't take too long and before I know it, I'm in his backyard.

            I make my way towards the open back door. I'm assuming he left it open because he'd be expecting me. Wrong. The house is empty when I walk inside. "Hello?" I call out, waiting for a reply. "Jago?" I call out once more. I hear some shuffling sounds upstairs and then he's at the top of the stairs. He's tugging on a shirt over his head and he's sporting a disheveled bedhead look. "Is it after one already?" He asks me, yawning loudly. "It's past two." I point out, holding up the cans of pumpkin. "I brought breakfast. Peace offering?" He stares at the cans with an intrigued look on his face. "Canned pumpkin? For breakfast? How about..." He trails off, his eyes lighting up as if he's just had a sudden revelation. He walks over to the kitchen pantry and pulls out a pie shell. "My aunt loved to bake pies. I'm sure we've got pie stuff around here. If this is your peace offering, let's turn it into something better." He concludes with a grin on his face. I admit it's a pretty good idea, but I've never made a pie in my life so I wouldn't even know where to begin. I guess he notices the momentary silence and the way my cheeks flush and he adds on, "We've got cook books." Either this is a success and we get to eat pie or it completely tanks and we lose our cans of pumpkin and a perfectly good pie shell. "Okay, fine, let's do it." I finally reply.

            He pulls out a cook book that boasts "Over 200 fantastic Thanksgiving recipes!" I'm not sure why his aunt would have a cook book for a Terra holiday, but I don't question it. He flips through the pages and finally finds a recipe for classic pumpkin pie. Then, he scours through the pantry and pulls out all the ingredients he needs. I place the pumpkin cans with all the other ingredients and pull myself up onto the counter. I sit and watch as he glances from the ingredients to the book and to the bowl. Something tells me he's done this before. Possibly with his aunt. He begins to mix ingredients together and in no time, he's popping the unbaked pie into the preheated oven. "Now we wait." While we wait for the pie to bake completely, Jago shows me around his uncle's house. Well, it's technically his house too since he's lived with them all his life. The layout of his lake house is similar to mine, but his family chose to clutter all the surfaces with pictures and other small mementos. There isn't one bare surface and that makes it feel so much more like a home rather than the tacky, minimalist furniture back at mine. He picks up another picture frame and shows it to me. In the picture, there's a man and woman and a little boy with an enormous smile on his face. The boy is definitely Jago and I'm assuming the man and woman are his uncle and aunt. "This is when we went to that water park they opened down in Jobak. The floaties were way too big on me and I couldn't maneuver properly in the wave pool so I ran face first into one of those glass barriers. I swear to you that my nose was bleeding the rest of the day. I had to get stitches too. That kind of ruined the trip." He points to the scar on the bridge of his nose. "I never tell anyone that story though. It's much cooler to say I was wrestling a manobear or something equally dangerous." I laugh at that, completely picturing him telling people he got that scar while wrestling one of the deadliest creatures on Acsmora. "I don't know. You seem a little wimpy to wrestle a manobear and escape with nothing but a tiny scar. Do people believe that one?" I tease him mockingly and he feigns a look of indignation. "Of course they do!" He laughs and sets the picture frame back down. He looks at the watch on his wrist. "We should check on the pie before it burns." We walk back into the kitchen and he takes the pie out. We can hardly wait for it to cool, so he cuts two slices and hands me one.

            When I fork a piece of pie into my mouth, I expect it to taste amazing since he really looked like he knew what he was doing. Wrong again. He spits his piece back out as well. "Wow. I thought you were supposed to know how to make pies?" I tease, sticking the fork into my slice and setting it aside on the counter. "Well, that was disappointing. It looked nice so I assumed it would taste nice too." He complains. "You nailed the form and appearance, but the taste is lacking. I'm going to go with 5/10 since I'm feeling exceptionally nice today." I jokingly critique him as if we are on one of those popular Terra cooking competitions. My mother always used to pay extra for the interplanetary channel package since she loved those ridiculous competitions. I smile sadly, remembering how she used to get so into those that she would yell at the TV when one of the competitors got a bad score for a dish that she loved. He probably picks up on my slight change in mood because he suddenly gets down from the counter and stands in front of me. "Come on. We're going to the falls." I look up at him, furrowing my brows and cocking my head to the side. "To the where?" He looks at me as if he's insulted that I just asked that question. "To the Ib." I still look at him with a confused look on my face. "The Ib Falls? How can you say you've lived around here before and never been to the Ib?" He pretends to be ashamed before the gears in his mind start turning in another direction. "Do you have swim gear? Wait, the Valdothans had a weird daughter around your age maybe. And we can take that little canoe that I saw tied to your dock too. But we should find some food somewhere along the way because I'm still starving and you probably are too and that pie is just not edible in the slightest." I watch his mind work so quickly that I think smoke might start coming out of his ears. "Go change and meet me at your front door in a few." I don't really have much of a say in the matter since his mind is already made up that we're going to this Ib place. So I hop down from the counter and exit through the door I had just come in through a little while ago. I walk around the lake and back towards the house which I now know, according to Jago, belonged to a family called the Valdothans. I see the little, bright orange canoe tied to the dock and gently wading in the water. There's no way I can lug him and a canoe around on my hover bike so if he wants to take it wherever we're going, he has to find a way to do it himself.

            I go back into the house and take the stairs up two at a time. I slightly open all the doors and peek into each bedroom to see if I can find the girl's room. And I know which one it is as soon as I open the door. Wow. Weird daughter for sure. I think to myself as I step inside and start to rummage through her drawers in search of something to swim in. The walls of her bedroom are painted a weird color; I'm not sure if it's brown or green and it makes me feel kind of uncomfortable. She has a small twin-sized bed leaning against one of the walls and it's covered with oversized pillows and tiny stuffed bears that seem to be staring at me as I move about her room. The walls are covered in posters of boy bands and Zeero Tobit, Acsmora's finest celebrity boy toy. Barf. I open one of the drawers towards the bottom and find all her swimwear. I pull out a simple, black, two-piece suit that's made of neoprene. I switch into it and dig out a pair of ripped shorts. The only tank top I can find has Zeero Tobit's huge face on the front. Great. But it'll have to do. I put it on and find a pair of flip flops. I feel kind of weird wearing all of her clothes, but I didn't really bring anything of my own that I could wear to go swimming. Yes, I admit that's kind of dumb of me since it is a lake house. I take the stairs back down two at a time and step out through the front door. Jago is already waiting for me at the front of the house. He's leaning against a huge, clunky vehicle and I see the canoe already strapped to the top of it very haphazardly. "Okay, don't tell me. Let me guess what this is." I say as a I step closer to him and the vehicle. It's tan and has four huge wheels. There are supposed to be four doors, but it seems they've been ripped out of place and only the doorframe was left behind. I shake my head and shrug my shoulders. I have no idea what I'm looking at. "It's an old-school humvee! My parents discovered it buried underneath the sands while they were excavating a site. I think it's one of the first manned vehicles the Planet Terra people successfully landed here. It runs on that gas or diesel stuff or whatever it's called, but I managed to get it to run on solar energy instead. It's what I've been doing with the tons and tons of spare time I've had." He's so excited to tell me about this huge thing that he probably doesn't even recognize that he said it. My parents. I hadn't even heard him speak of them ever. Obviously I knew he had parents; I just didn't want to seem nosy and ask what happened to them. I didn't want to poke and prod now either since he seemed so excited about this hunkering scrap of metal and going to the Ib. "Okay, let's see what this thing does." I shoot him a smile as I hop into the right side of the humvee.

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            • #7

              As promised, Jago stops at the first store we find along the way. Luckily, this seems to be a holographic locally owned grocery store so everything is guaranteed to be fresh since the owners of these small stores always abided by laws for the safety of the consumers unlike some of the larger store chains. We both exit the Humvee and walk inside towards one of the machines. Jago selects several bags of chips and other enticing junk items and, soon, they come whizzing down the electronic conveyor belt. He begins shoving things into his pack and once he decides he's had enough, he zips up the bag. I select a couple of things and slide them into my own bag as they come down. Once we're both stocked up and ready to go, we head out once more. I must admit this hunkering scrap of metal is much more fun to ride in than any hoverbike or car. Because all of the doors are missing, I'm able to stand up and stick half of my body out while holding onto the sides. As he drives down the abandoned road at tops speeds, I can just enjoy feeling the wind in my face, whipping my hair in all directions. I'm probably going to have disastrous knots in my hair, but that's actually the last thing I care about at the moment. I was hesitant about this complete stranger at first, but now I'm kind of glad I have to be stuck with him.

              "This is about as far as we can go in the Humvee. We've got about a two mile hike South to get to the falls," Jago says after parking the vehicle under a cluster of huge canopy trees. It feels like we are suddenly in a small forest rather than the town of Aldigm. Although it's still quite hot, the sun is shielded by the trees and there are several birds chirping happily as if they don't know their lives are soon coming to an end. We grab our things and I walk alongside him as he leads the way down the trail. Two miles seemed like forever when he first told me we had to walk that far, but the whole walk there he was telling me stories and making stupid jokes that I didn't even realize the time pass by. "So why exactly did you get pushed out of the podship you were in?" I ask cautiously. I don't want him to freak out on me again, but the curiosity is still eating me up inside. He looks down at his feet as he continues to walk for a second like he was expecting me to ask again. "To tell you the complete truth," he starts, looking over at me, "I haven't always been a model citizen or son or guy or anything. I'm kind of a jerk and I've made more mistakes than good choices in my whole twenty-two years of life. I was having this stupid thing with a girl who I knew had a boyfriend and, unfortunately, he caught me. Then, we proceeded to fight on the podship and I sucker punched him and he kind of just pushed me out. I think I definitely learned my lesson though." He said with a small, bitter laugh at the end. I listen quietly and when he's done, I'm not entirely sure what to say. I'm glad he's being completely honest with me though and that mattered so much because, after all, we were kind of the only two left. After about two beats of slightly awkward silence, I decide to break the ice. "Well that's certainly a relief. At least I know you're not some abominable convict." I joke and nudge him playfully. After that, he's back to all smiles and lame pun jokes. After walking for a little while, I finally hear the faint sound of a waterfall and realize we must be arriving.

              I used to watch several documentaries about Planet Terra's most amazing places, but Ib Falls beats them all by far. I always have something to say about everything, but this time I find myself completely speechless. The waterfall itself is huge and beautiful, but the water pours down gently rather than beating forcefully against the rocks like the monstrous waterfalls I've seen before. I take a moment to stop and take it all in and, before I know it, Jago walks through the waterfall and disappears behind it. When I look back down to where Jago was seconds ago, he's not there anymore. "Jago?" I call out loudly over the sound of the waterfall. All I hear is the water pouring down. After what feels like forever, I hear his voice from a few feet ahead. "What are you waiting for?" He calls back at me. He's already shirtless and standing underneath the fall, the water soaking him. I walk down a thin path towards where he's standing and notice that his things are resting behind a large rock that sits off to the side. His pack lies on the ground and his shirt, turned inside out, is tossed on top of it. I throw my own pack next to his and quickly undress, tossing my shorts and hideous Zeero Tobit tank top over it. He takes my hand and, without warning, pulls me through the waterfall. Don't get me wrong, the falls are amazing, but the real beauty lies in the cave beyond it. It can best be described as a sort of secluded swimming hole: fairly damp and cool, yet pleasantly warm because of the sunlight radiating down from the large, open hole in the cave ceiling hundreds of feet above. From that cave opening above, long and thin slivers of moss hang down, creating almost a sort of canopy. The water is a piercing dark blue color and a radiant light turquoise where the sun illuminates it. The canoe sits off to the side at the bottom of a thin set of stone stairs against the left side of the cave wall. He leads me down and stands there for a moment while I take it all in. There's moss and vines and bright, green leaves sprouting all along the cave wall from all directions. The rocks are weathered and green from exposure to water and small amounts of algae. There's one large wall with several names carved into it, probably from all the teens who spent their days playing hookey or just the ones who vacationed there and wanted the place to remember them for a little while after they left it. This is kind of like a secret spot and I'm suddenly so grateful I am getting to see it before it's gone forever. "So are we going in or did we just hike two miles to gawk at everything?" He asks me jokingly and starts making his way towards the top of the stone stairs. I watch him climb all the way to the top and grab ahold of a thick, knotted rope hanging down from a broad tree branch that dips awkwardly below the opening above. That's the only thing that seems slightly out of place and I figure some kids must've knocked it over in order to get a rope swing installed. "Numaea, you suck!" He yells from above and jumps off from the highest step, swinging about halfway before letting go of the rope and cannonballing into the lake. I laugh and take the stone stairs up two at a time before diving into the lake from the highest step to join him at the bottom. The water is slightly chilly, so we both swim towards the center of the lake to bask in the warm sunlight.

              "What about you?" He asks, "What were you so busy doing that you missed the last one?" He looks at me expectantly as we both tread to stay afloat in the deep water. I debate whether or not to tell him the whole story in its entirety, but then I realize I really have nothing left to lose. "My parents are, or were, ambassadors for Acsmora and were sometimes away traveling for conferences or peace treaty signings and negotiations. Whenever they left for extended periods of time, I stayed with one of my close friends Zeelee and her parents practically treated my like I was their daughter too. I always thought being an ambassador was one of the safest jobs you could have because, well, they're basically all about keeping the peace, right? Well, four years ago on a return mission from Vexor, they weren't aware that they had stowaways on their ship. The government didn't tell me much when they came to bear the news, but I gather these 'stowaways' were probably some rebel Vexorians who didn't agree with the negotiation terms. So they invaded and my parents' ship crashed somewhere on that grimy planet. Unfortunately, their remains were never found so all I had to remember them by were these two gravestones in their memories. I was saying goodbye to them and I guess I lost track of time. Or maybe I couldn't imagine leaving them behind. I really don't know to be honest." He's quiet after I tell him, probably just taking everything in. I'm proud of myself for finally being able to say it all out loud. Ever since they died I was never really able to talk to anyone about it, not even Zeelee. We tread quietly for a few minutes before he finally responds. "I'm sorry you had to go through that. Your parents probably accomplished so many great things and you're probably so proud of them. Believe me, I know that no one should have to live without their parents. And if they were still here today, they'd probably be proud to see who you've become. I haven't known you for too long, but if you're strong enough to survive out here on your own and not be a complete mess with the impending doom and all, you're doing a hell of a job already." He smiles lopsidedly. "Thanks Jago," I crack a smile. "Now how about we decimate some of that junk you packed?" I offer and he nods in agreement as we begin swimming back.
              Last edited by strobelightss; 01-02-16, 03:36 PM.

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              • #8
                wow Steph!! this was so well written and very descriptive. you are an excellent writer. incredibly talented. i love both characters already <3

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by muchlove View Post
                  wow Steph!! this was so well written and very descriptive. you are an excellent writer. incredibly talented. i love both characters already <3
                  tysm bb! This was honestly one of my fave stories to ever write. I will eventually pick it up and finish it I swear! haha

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by strobelightss View Post

                    tysm bb! This was honestly one of my fave stories to ever write. I will eventually pick it up and finish it I swear! haha
                    please notify me when you do! i really enjoyed reading it so far :]

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