Ok, for my Spanish class actually, we had to write a 'what if' scenario about what would happen if our town suddenly became a military state. Rules: can't escape, and military cotrols everything. This is my life. My house is described, my school, my familly, theses aren't fictional characters, just a fictional setting. So this really creeps me out when I read it because I keep seeing these things actualy happening at my house...ugh. I probably shouldn't have followed the assignment so exactly.
Oh, and this is also my poetry, rewritten and moved about to mix in with the story. Tell me what you think, whether I should keep it in or not. And the stupid asterics and poetry should be centered, but this format won't let me do that. Stupid thing.
The light is just beginning to curve around my house, lighting up the world beyond the glass. When I was little, my parents adored joking about how quiet our neighbors were. They never bought loud dogs, never complained when ours barked, and never threw loud parties.
The dead don’t dance.
I used to love living across the street from a cemetery. Watching the flickering light from street lamps slide across the tombstones was both familiar and comforting. I grew up unafraid of death, dead, and dieing.
That was until 5 years ago. No, for the first two years death was still a hop, skip, and a jump away from my doorstop, but never any closer. It was only after the Wall was done did I feel death in my bedroom.
Only then did the groans of the dieing come from across the street instead of the silence of feasting worms.
The Regime hates us. It hates everyone, but it hates my family a lot. My dad has always been loud about his opinions, and like me, doesn’t know when to shut up. He’s been ok up till now, up till we heard the news. My sisters, who lived three hours away and had escaped being captured with us, had tried to free us, then disappeared…three months ago.
No one’s heard from them since.
My father has been yelling for news ever since we learned. His mouth has pulled so tight that two lines have connected the corners of his lips to his chin; they make him look like a wooden dummy, and it’s the Regime whose hand is hidden inside him.
I fear he will kill us all.
My mother still prays for their survival, convinced that she would feel it if they died. I have never seen her delude herself like this. She has always been a realist, but now she just refuses to see the truth. Then again, I’ve never been a mother, only a daughter and a sister.
I love them too, but I hold no fantasies as to their fate.
My brother’s room has always been a sanctuary for me, whether hiding from a broken heart, or cowering from parental wrath, I could always crawl into his room and simply be. Only now, the Regime has taken all his books away, burning them in the streets. His swords have been stolen off the walls, too dangerous for a citizen.
And that old sense of safety has left an empty spot on a shelf in my heart.
Yet there is still something nice about having his stolid weight beside me, just holding me in silent love, telling me that everything is going to be all right. He is an immutable part of my life, a great fortress for me to rely on. I know that I will always be able to lean on him in this newly dark world. I call him the Great Wall of Kenneth…well, I used to.
I would never hate anyone enough to call them a wall anymore. To those of us trapped inside the unmoving, unbreakable claws of the Regime, a wall is an evil appellation of horrendous magnitudes.
When we had to run the mile in gym, we would joke about how the cemetery and football field shared a fence. We would laugh when someone said that anyone who couldn’t survive the run was just tossed next door. We rolled when someone accused the staff of hiding the remains of their human sacrifices in the new graves.
I remember waking up in the morning and trying to talk my mother into letting me get out of school. I swore I would die if I had to spend one more day in that bureaucratic prison. I was tired of being trapped in those hideous classrooms. I didn’t want to spend another day avoiding the Hall Nazi.
Back then it was funny. That was before they converted my high school into a real prison, and the lines of bloody corpses flowed into the cemetery to await cremation.
Now I really would die if I went to school.
Silver droplets of angel’s blood,
Fall to mix in human waste,
And slick our supposed freedom down against the pole.
Sweet berries of shadow’s glimmer,
Glisten in the firelight beneath their encasement of life,
And slide down into the acid pits of hell through my doorway.
Pain lances through my heart, and flesh,
Two different pains and yet one form,
Making it impossible to tell if the drops on my face,
Are made of storm wracked inner ocean spray,
Or the freezing cold despair that falls from an expanse of gray.
My father finally did it. The soldiers attacked this morning in the depths of predawn. I had been watching the shadows of what some would call men and women flit about the cemetery, taking what they could from those that had already died when I saw the guns. The dark blue uniforms would have blended in perfectly with the sky if the militia had only been an hour earlier.
I shuddered and slunk to the warmth of my parent’s arms to tell them what I had seen. I had gone to them for comfort; I didn’t want to see fear in their eyes. I knew then that they had come for us.
As my parents swiftly dressed, a flash of fake gold caught my eye from the dresser. It was a necklace my sister and I had once bought for our mother, gleaming in a place of honor in the dark light. Without thinking, I picked it up, clutching its coldness in the night.
My mom had just whispered my brother’s name to wake him when the first grenade exploded.
I used to shake my head at old war movies, the one’s where grown men would fall, screaming, when something blew up twenty feet from them. How could such a tiny blast hurt them from so far away? I knew what the word ‘shrapnel’ was, but it didn’t make much sense. How could tiny, flying pieces of metal fell great soldiers?
Now I know better. Those pieces are flaming hot, like tiny stovetops, only you can’t pull your finger away. And you don’t have the luxury of stopping to cry and pull it out when more, always more, are seeking your tender skin.
It’s amazing how silent gunfire can seem when you’re surrounded by it. Some mixture of sickly dread and pain killing adrenaline blocks it all out until all you can hear is the thundering of your heart, the rasp of your lungs, and the pounding of your feet abandoning all you once knew. All you can taste is the tang of the salt from your sweat, the frigid blast of morning air freezing your breath, and the charcoal ash that floats from what used to be your home.
When you’re running for your life, you can’t hear your family’s screams, or taste their blood.
I shiver and gasp in the damp, cracked corner of what used to be my neighbors basement, trying to stay quiet so they won’t find me. Please, whatever deity is left in the heavens, don’t let them find me. I don’t want to die.
It’s been three years since they finished the wall, five since they took over. I can still remember waking up under a mountain of pillows and wondering if I’ll open my eyes to the scent of roasting bacon or frying pancakes. Now I only smell burning men and women. It’s a stench that clings to your clothes, your skin, your hair…your soul.
Even if I escaped from this hell on earth, everyone would know where I came from. They’d send me right back, if not for the crackling sickness of death on my breath, then for the cloyingly sweet dance of despair in my eyes. It’s the kind of look one can only get from seeing their life destroyed and tasting the blood of their family in their tears.
There’s a sudden silence in the popcorn gunfire, then men begin shouting. They want me dead. Why, I’m not sure; because I’m young, because I’m smart, because I’m not afraid to stand up for myself? Maybe because of my journals, which laugh at them. Maybe they discovered that I’m a member of the Young Writer’s Society, which criticizes them.
Most likely because they just can, because no one else will stand up to them, because no one will help us.
There’s a crack, the breaking of a twig, the breaking of a bone, a breath of fetid air across my memories, and I’m off. They shout again, and popgun death sails around me. Fire lances my flesh and suddenly I’m falling. In the deep shroud of midnight darkness, I smile. At least they will not have the pleasure of seeing the fear in my eyes.
At least I won’t feel my own death.
No matter how much I,
Brush, floss, rinse,
My mouth still tastes like,
The day that won’t,
I don’t mean the day,
At school where,
Soldiers marched in with guns.
It was normal.
Not the day my,
Spoke without me.
I couldn’t see past,
Not even the days I,
Held sobbing strangers in,
Arms gone numb.
I couldn’t breath past,
The incinerated flesh.
It’s the day my life,
Had it’s own personal,
Black Thursday and,
Crashed through my skin,
That stays in my mouth,
Coating every word, breath, tear,
In chocolate sauce pain.
Then there are some days,
Where everything tastes like,
I’d heard about places like this. Deep underground cities where caring people who knew what loss was sheltered the lost ones. Then again, we all know what it is to lose and be lost. They shelter the orphaned children, the bereaved mothers, the wounded elderly…me. The soldiers left me for dead that day, the day that I believed the same thing. But Tia found me.
Tia isn’t her real name, but that’s what everyone calls her. We all have labels like that here. ‘Here’ doesn’t even have a name. It’s so if anyone gets caught, they can’t tell. My new name, word, calling card, if Hope. They gave it to me the first day I came out of the dust of resignation.
They never even asked what my real name was.
Secret agent man, secret agent man. They’re giving you a number, and taking away your name.
I heard some small children singing that outside the cloth flap that stands instead of a door over the opening to our hole in the ground. That’s what we all live in. Big holes dug into the walls of an even bigger hole. It feels so very third world. It feels so very much better than above ground.
All we have for light are low, smoky fires, but these burn clean. They burn wood. I can’t remember the last time I heard a fire and the only crackling came from sap bubbles, not exploding blood vessels and disintegrating flesh.
As I allow myself to fall back into unconsciousness, I realize that I can breath. For the first times in years, there is no ash in the air, there are no corpses burning, no people screaming. It’s as silent as the womb, and we are the seeds, the ones who will rebuild when the military has killed itself and, we can emerge back into the sunlight.
Tonight, when the tears come, Tia’s gentle hands have already washed away the blood.
I’ve been here three days now, and I’ve almost stopped slinking in shadows. My heart doesn’t stop every time a twig snaps. I can almost keep myself from flinching when someone raises his or her hand in the air. I don’t imagine bullets in every flash of light in the corner of my eye. I keep breathing when there’s a shout in the air.
I don’t shy away from every sudden movement. I’ve almost stopped growling over every bit of food handed to me. I can talk above a whisper without checking for uniformed death in the distance.
I keep hoping that if I repeat these things, maybe they will come true.
I was helping Tia wash clothing when it happened. My arms where shiveringly slick with detergent and dirty water when the sharp bursts erupted through the air. With the smallest of gasps, I swallowed my scream and ducked down, my eyes wide with terror.
I knew it couldn’t last, that no good would come of hiding down here. They had found us, trapped us, like rats in a burning building. They were finally coming and there was nothing we could do. Still shaking with terror, I turned to search for Tia, hoping to see her pointing toward some back exit. If not, I was doomed. At least my grave was already dug.
I wondered if I would still burn.
Tia sat just where she was, her eyes filled with more sadness, loss, and agony than I had ever seen at once. She had always been a source of strength, ever since I got here. She was always smiling, always in charge. She only cried when she thought no one was looking.
“Chiquita, sit up. You have nothing to fear.” She said as she reached out her pruned, wet hand to my trembling shoulder.
“How can you be so calm? They’re here! Didn’t you hear the retorts?!” Only then did I realize I was the only one cowering, the only one who felt fear as the demonic noise sounded again. It raced along my skin, skinning me with terror.
“No, chica, that wasn’t gunfire. That was laughter.” The tears in her beautiful eyes spilled over as she reached out again, and this time I fled into her embrace. Our tears mixed and rattled over our protruding ribs as we both mourned the life when laughter was common, and no one ever forgot what it sounded like.
They found us. They really found us. I was napping in the flickering firelight, once again bathing in my brother’s blood as he blocked those first bullets with his mass, as he saved my life with his own, when Tia shook my arm. The fear in her eyes flung me deep into a nightmare every bit as gruesome as the one she had woken me from.
“Run. Run and don’t look back.” She whispered, placing my mother’s necklace in my hand before she gasped, and collapsed to her knees. Only then did I notice her blood rolling down my arm.
I turned and ran, blinded by tears, and loss. No matter how many I lose, I will never be numb to the pain.
The ash falls as thick as snow after they raid a neighborhood, so I knew as soon as I emerged from the earth’s womb into the chokingly thick smog of fried flesh that I am not alone in loss. My eyes clog shut with a mud made of baked people and terrified tears as I race into the darkness of noon.
In my hand, the necklace that sweet Tia had been so brave in ensuring I had is no longer golden, and it clinks with a terrible rhythm. I can still remember buying it for my mother at the Grand Canyon, one stick figure pendant for each of her children; one boy, three girls…one alive.
Distracted by the music of death and blinded by dry falling tissue, I do not see the brick before my heads cracks against it. Looking up from the soft, gray blanket coating the earth, I see the wall. The hated wall that keeps us in, that keeps the world out. They spent nearly a year building this rocky Cerberus, filling it with stone and bone, mortar and blood.
Overhead I hear the thwack-thwack-thwack of helicopter blades, bringing my vision from my stone prison bar to modern day vultures. It’s a news copter, building up its ratings by getting dangerous footage of the military state within the democratic nation. Yes, they know about us. The world watches us, watches the government that does nothing as we are slaughtered.
Bombs burst, bullets fly,
Parents weep as children die.
"Civil blood makes civil hands unclean,"
Terrorists and nuclear submarines.
Guns in schools, pedophiles,
Suicides and murder trials.
Bloodied knives, broken dreams,
Trying hard not to scream.
The world just yells, no one laughs,
No one fights, you do the math
The future's ruined with one bad year,
And nothing's left but our blood red tears.
With a bestial howl, I fling myself at the wall, clawing and scratching as my fingernails shatter and bleed desperation. I want to be free! I want to live! I want my mommy and daddy to be alive, to hold my dogs in the sunshine, to breathe without bringing death into my lungs! I want to read my journal and be appalled at any violence that happens, instead of being amazed when I write of peace.
I’m already numb when the bullet finds the place where my heart used to be, but I have my prize. Embedded in my flesh, bound to me with the golden chain of my family, slivers of stone bring my blood to the air. I broke the wall. I hurt it. If only a little bit, but if one more person, and one more after that, break themselves against this stone, maybe it will fall.
It happened in Berlin.
As I fall into the frost of ash again, I look at the sky. The helicopter is still there, the camera is still blinking its red light at me, filming as my blood mixes with the remnants of the dead. On the wall are long bloody scratches, and fragments of my fingernails.
Before the darkness claims me, I see the dark blood marks painting the wall. I see the thousands of bloody scratches from other hands that reached out in the end to tear themselves to freedom.
I see the blood lines connecting us all into tomorrow.