What follows is an unedited and unrevised beginning to a short story I am working on.
I never wanted to be inside their walls. No, that’s a lie. Like many of us, I was curious as to what their utopia was like. Their shining cities are a great mystery to our tribes and now that I am here, I want nothing more than to be back home. My harsh life in the wilds never prepared me for the awful wonders that fill every inch of this place. The overwhelming perfection that surrounds me is absolutely sickening.
Sitting beneath this enormous tree it becomes evident that I am not of this world. Never have I seen leaves as vibrant as these. Various hues of green on a single leaf which number in the hundreds above my head seem to balk at my intrusion. Quite unlike the dark branches of the Darkthorn trees that surround our home, trees which beckon a weary person into their cold embrace. The horrid vegetation that I am accustomed to, only serve to quicken death for all of the tribes. Yet here, I can feel the life given off by the trees. The purity of their existence scares me. The stench of decay replaced by an assault of sweet flowers at my side, nestled among the large roots.
Beyond the cover of leaves, a slight drizzle is falling. Miniature water droplets sparkling in the sunlight. Even their damn rain is perfect. The few gray clouds lazily drift among the spires of their metropolis, evenly coating every inch with the exact amount of water needed to properly sustain life.
Life? Is that what they think this existence of theirs is? A prison of perfection, trapping their souls within a false idol of freedom.
The pounding in my head is near unbearable. If not for the feeling that my skull is about to crack open, staining the pristine grass with its contents, I would still be running. Instead, I find myself here cowering among the extravagant foliage.
A hazy image of colors cause me to jump as I catch it in the corner of my vision. Brilliant colors erupt from the droplets of water as sunlight catches them falling towards the ground. With monumental effort I force my head to turn so I may attempt to catch a glimpse of the rainbow. A brief glimmer of red and purple haze fade into nothing before my eyes. I should have been quicker. I would have if not for this constant banging, continuously clouding my thoughts. I wish I could have gotten a good look at the rainbow’s full glory. No one from my tribe will ever believe me when I tell them I saw part of a rainbow.
Who am I kidding? I’m never going to see home again. This hellish paradise in which I’m trapped will be the end of me. I don’t belong here. This isn’t my world. My dark blood will stain their pristine paths for generations before they let me leave.
I almost saw that rainbow. The air was purple and red. I am sure of it. There might even have been a hint of green also. Of course how could I be expected to pick out green while surrounded by all these lush plants. Never would I have suspected there could be this many healthy plants in one spot. Anne will believe me. She’s a dreamer. Once I tell her about it, that brain of hers will start churning images faster than her mouth can spew them forth. She will retell the story with a perfect blend of exotic colors, so bright the grass below reflected the rainbow into a cascade of colors filling the air. In her fantastical version the rainbow will probably be solid enough to walk on, so she can climb to the sky and ask the clouds why they refuse to let the sun shine on the tribes.
“Order the technydrones to search every inch of the park.”
The hollow voices of my pursuers are distant. My hearing is far more keen than theirs, evading them on the outside would be simple. But in their sunlit city I do not have the shadows to hide me.
Sunlight. The Elders tell us the sun left because our imperfection was a blight upon the planet. Imperfections don’t shine, we hide them away in the shadows of dark corners. Corners littered with the scraps of our faults. Pieces of despair jumbled among the refuse of our fear. Misery is liberally sprinkled across the emotional trash in our dark corner. Large heaps of anger, hate, and jealousy crush everything around them, as they make space for newer faults to accumulate. Faults such as our greatest sin. The sin that steals the oxygen from our corner, as we stand diligently choking among the refuse of our tainted souls. The sin that first set them apart from us, that proved their superiority over us. Lies. The simplest fault paved the path towards our eventual extinction. Lies drove the sun away, or so the elder songs tell us.
The swelling in my right hand is increasing. I can feel the heat from it creeping toward my elbow. The pounding in my head started not long after they punctured my hand. Through the noise in my brain I can hear their heavy footsteps growing closer. I can hear the humming of their floating machines that seem to hover near every one of them. If I could think straight I might be able to run again.
In the seconds I sit here, waiting to be captured again my hand has swollen to the point I can’t bend a single finger. I wish I were back home so an Elder could fix this hand. I am sure a curative salve and a medicinal chant would make this swelling stop. Perhaps it would even stop this greenish puss from seeping from the hole their needle put in my hand. This ooze smells putrid, worse than the hottest day working in the burn pits. Although the green does look a little like the green I saw in that rainbow. The headache is growing so fierce my vision is starting to blur. I definitely saw red, purple, green and perhaps even a little yellow floating perfectly in the air.
“The bioform scanners have found it. Move in slowly.”
I can’t hear their footsteps anymore, can barely hear their words. The greenery around me is spinning too quickly, making my stomach churn in revolt. Green like in that rainbow. You would think by now I would learn that chasing rainbows only gets me in trouble.
More to follow soon 🙂