written into a world where fossil fuels cease to exist, the sky grey with solar panels
Dante was farthest from the barrier, pacing steadily on the coarse earth. He threw a small stone at the fencing to see what would happen; and consequently watched as it shattered upon making contact. The four wanderers stared up in awe, hoping that the entrance gate would open by willpower alone; anything for a closer look. Dante's blue eyes contrasted softly with his curly dark brown hair which was pulled into a small bun at the nape of his neck. His mother had the colours of the ocean in her eyes just as he did, flecked with sandy hazel grains and warm as summer afternoons. Something like fate had her surroundings end up blending in with her eyes.
Digging his shoes into the soil and pushing the memory from his mind, he gritted his teeth,
'Electrification may bind us to the spot'.
'They do not wield us,' opposed Sam quietly.
'That they do not, and yet, I am afraid to say that they have stunned me none the less,'.
Sam did not reply and instead took a step farther from Dante, closer to the brass gates. Even without directly touching the bars, their energy could be felt; their strength in height and weakness in depth. Dante's halting hand reached out as Sam began to dig at the perimeter of the entrance. Before he could stop him however, Tom moved between the two giving Dante a hard stare. Then, turning on his heel, he placed a hand on Sam's shoulder, beckoning him to listen openly.
'Your digging is quite useless Sam. Not only may it be a waste of time, but this might very well not be what we think it is'. This made Sam's multicolored eyes come straight up to meet Tom's green ones, as he jumped up defensively.
'What else could it be other than the prison? They took them here and I promised their families I would help them escape.'
'You heterochrome, all you know is how to make a mess of th-'
Although lacking in height compared with Sam, Dante pushed the two apart and created distance between the boys.
'That's enough. This is a team,' he hissed, 'we make decisions together. Now if you'd like to stand alone, leave'.
Enormous brass city gates arched high above the clouds, spirals of intricate curves all lined with silver. Worn, skin-showing jeans and frayed grey jackets, it only took one look to be certain that these villagers were far from home. Although it was unknown where they had come from, one thing was clear: they had not arrived this far by accident. Towering buildings bellowed like trees, demanding to be contrasted with the barren fields which stretched beyond them. Cement for soil, bricks for branches - the sole difference between this nation to the next was the darker shade of the sky.
This is the moment when April interrupted the silence with her chant, her lustrous voice barely audible over the bristling grass while the breeze turned blonde as the wisps of her hair.
'There is a wall in Season's Slow,
Where grey plants halt and green does grow,
By sight of eyes and light of some,
No fluorescent bulb yet stealth of sun.'
April's words had always shut moving mouths though this time they froze wandering thoughts as well.
'It can't be,' whispered Sam under his breath; but they all knew it could, as for years such a sight had only been seen within the most psycho-kaleidoscopic of dreams. Dreams for imagination and never interpretation.
Since 4014, the world had been running on renewable power. Wiped clean of all fossil fuels, humanity had had no other choice than to rely on newer methods. Seems no one was ever told that too much of anything could be significantly more problematic than none of it.
A panel-less sky was rumored to appear in distant nations' skies. A place where the air was clear and light shone through, lone open spaces which caught any of the rays the gracious sun could let them have. The covered land of most other nations demanded a constant light source during the night to insure continuous growth for their plants. Yet here, strategically placed far from society - the world's hidden crop industries. 'Gold-Gated nations' were in fact supposedly the main crop industries of the world and thus the only possible source of vitamin C available. While being the only means for remaining healthy, these had been the most feared nations for centuries being that the sun's UV rays could kill a man within 50 days of encounters with the skin. Being that the entire rest of the world was it's own powerhouse, humans existed under the solar panels which lined the sky leaving no gap to risk a UV ray passing through them. Within it's brass walls, natural sunlight burst through at dawn and set in the evening unlike the unchanging electrical bulb system most of the world was accustomed to. Often people would glance at the lit clouds and remark that they had seen a ray of sun through them; the multiple rolling of eyes was definite while the possibility of the statement was zero as stray beams were merely figments of a once safely sunlit past. It was as if all natural sunlight had been rejected by humanity as they attempted to continue to ignore their consequences and further worsen them. Dante's mind fell back to his aunt Nicolette at home back in G7, like a soft whisper of goodnight, her voice whispered into his thoughts just as it had so many nights before; 'Where are the roots? In our land. Where is the water? In our hands; and what of the government? Reprimand'.
The very thing proposed to save our lives was also destroying us.
Filled with a grey reality, a view of the sky was at the top of the 'most wished for' list on the daily page. The panels were wide and interlinked, nearly sewn by cement and significantly impassable. A single question hung in the crisp air where no one dared voice it; what would happen were the source to be switched off?
Dante, Sam, Tom and April sat exactly 7 yards from the perilous gate yet faced away from it, watching white bulbs fade into a soft pink as if to mock a dark, forgotten sunset. Then, turning back towards their latest discovery, marveled at the real thing.
By the time the four had created a large enough hole to pass through, the panels behind them had switched to matte black while the sky behind the bars shone a brilliant navy. Hundreds of equidistant lights blipped across the plastic atmosphere, their distribution lessening any realistic features they had sought to obtain. The bulbs were clearly attempting to live up to the spectacular, random arrangement of far off fiery masses floating up in space. The doubled crescent moons from both skies crossed over through their reflection in a small stream which passed through the main square just beyond the gating's main door. Apart from the trickling of water, silence was the only food. The buzzing of electricity from the solar panels above caused a white noise effect and created an indescribable yet equivalently uncomfortable atmosphere. Sweating and clothes soiled, Sam pushed through the last of the dirt, spitting as a metallic taste manifested on his tongue. April pulled herself up a few moments later and recognized a large iron door which had been seen behind the gate from the other side. Sam reached the door first and pressed the palms of his hands to it's cool surface. As he reached for the handle, April stepped forward.
A faint whistle sounded from behind the iron doors as they opened; a fine green light ran down the length of Sam's lean body.
'It's scanning you,' spat April in annoyance at her friend's ignorance. 'We haven't got a chance'.
A robotic voice spoke from the speaker overhead.
'Samuel Dalton, welcome back to EVAS incorporated'.
A sharp click and the door opened into a narrow passageway, which was a tunnel under a canopy of trees.
'Back?' enquired Tom skeptically; but he was silenced as the four stepped forward onto the soil filled path.
'I felt a drop of something on my shoulder,' continued Tom finally.
'Maybe you've finally gone insane then,' smirked Dante; but his smugness was immediately replaced by fear as the sky began to shed water onto them. Bark cutting into their shoulder blades, the faces of the four visitors were full of terror.
'Maybe this is the real trap,' whispered April, 'a kind of poisonous shower of some sort,' staring up as she wondered aloud about how such water could fall from the sky.
Dante paused for a moment and turned his palm to face upwards, 'History class of '43, some said water would leak from the clouds above, reach the soil at our feet and then ascend back to great heights. Mr Phelps had furthermore termed the phenomenon'. Dante felt the word on his tongue. 'Rain.'
At the end of the passage, Sam's attention was caught by a shining bright, white light which was blinking at a whipping speed as if being faltered by the wind. A piercing pain shot through his arm and through to his entire body. Sam felt overcome by a feeling he could not describe and hence kept it to himself, pushing forward towards the glowing orb. His legs began to stiffen, both knees buckling and forcing him to the ground as he became unable to continue any further. Confused faces muddled into one until finally, all Sam could decipher were the mixed colors of the rain flooded flowering trees, their leaves dancing in the wind.
'I should've warned you,' came a new voice from the darkness. April grabbed hold of Dante's elbow and he protectively pulled her behind him. Tom kept his stance, swiveling his body ever so slightly towards the spot where the words had come from. A hand shot out from behind the nearest birch,
April, previously the coward and yet curiosity completely spiked, grabbed the hand he had extended and shook it, first loosely and then more firmly to show sincerity. Muttering words of distaste, Dante took hold of their linked hands and pulled towards April. A tall, lank looking boy stumbled forward, auburn hair to his shoulders and black sweater past his knees.
'Noah,' he repeated now offering his hand to Dante. Ignoring his act of kindness, Dante glared at him,
'Warned us about what,'.
Dusting off his sweater from the leaves which were stuck to it, Noah did not lose his composure.
'It isn't meant to be easy to get in here you know; when it is, whoever's accepted's taken to base. You lot ought to follow me'.
Interrupting Dante's groans of protest, April motioned Noah to consider Sam. Without instruction, Dante began to lift Sam into his arms. Yet Noah shook his head. They would have to leave him behind now that corporate knew a being had entered their premises.
'Leave him,' April whispered, helping and slightly forcing Dante back to his feet.
Dante's facial expression was incredulous, most definitely everyone had gone crazy; maybe it was the rain. Tom however proved to be slightly braver than Dante had previously suspected as he shot up to show his agreement. Noah simply shook his head silently. Staring at April; he could tell she understood.
'He'll be fine, they won't take him as a prisoner as he's done no wrongs far as we know'
'So it is a prison-'
'They'll search for 'im and find us all then there'll be no one left to get any of us out, is that what you want?' No one spoke after that as finally realization set in. Dante felt his face boil and he focused on an old tune to calm himself to his normal self once again; roots, land, water and hands.
Leaving Sam alone where he lay, the altered group pushed their way into the birch trees where Noah has previously been hiding, Covered by the heavy arching branches, a black cloaked figure stepped through a door none of the group had noticed and dragged Sam's body through. After what seemed like seconds alone, the door shut and Noah motioned to the rest to follow him further away from the lit path. Dante strayed close to the back of the group, taking in their surroundings and trying his best to map the way back to the hole. The hole.
'Noah, the hole,' cried Dante as he shot forward to reach Noah's lead.
Noah's frame went rigid and his lean figure halted as if it had hit an imaginary wall.
'I was wondering how you all managed to get through the first barrier,' pondered Noah with glassy eyes, 'now that I know, I haven't got a plan and we can't go back anyways...not with them watching the entrance now that your friend's entered. Honestly they'll probably just assume he dug it alone and not that you lot helped him out'.
Not another word was uttered until the group had reached a low ceilinged cave which opened into a wide lodging ground.
'Oi No, where ya been?' echoed a croaky voice from somewhere in the depths of the cave.
Noah shuffled his feet and kicked a stone across the rugged ground.
'I've uh, I've got a situation, Brett'.
'Mate it's too late for one of your life analysis', can it wait till t'morrow-'
After an exasperated sigh, the bundled pile of blankets stood and transformed into a young man with a muscular build. With his back to the group, it was clear he had not noticed their presence. Pulling a brown t shirt over his head, he reached for a bottle of water and chugged down half of it.
'Where's that whiskey we were saving? I think you owe me a shot or two for this'.
No one moved an inch nor breathed a full breath as Noah continued to nervously rock. It was then that this 'Brett' turned around, his eyes narrowing and his brows furrowing in confusion to finally set a cold hard gaze on the only person he recognized in the room.
'Noah?' he motioned cynically to the three tatter clothed individuals invading his makeshift hideout.
'Their friend was taken to base, I-I couldn't just leave them-'
'Rhetorical Noah, you weren't supposed to answer that because it was rhetorical'
'It wouldn't be right to leave people where they could-'
'Oh give it a rest man, I thought we had settled this'.
'Situation's changed though'.
'You created the situation, said it yourself before. What ever happened to keeping to ourselves hm? Privacy is key' - Brett imitated Noah's voice two pitches too low but got the accents right where he'd have put them - 'or was everything we built this method on just a bloody excuse to keep your sorry ass safe? What would your mother think of you, oh I can tell you that, Claire's call bull on you just as you did for her when-'
'I'm warning you,' hissed Noah, his eyes had now gone a darker shade of red and all previous signs of his faltering anxiety had disappeared completely.
'Fucking shoot me then will you,'
With that, Noah stalked off through the entrance of the cave but not before muttering 'maybe I will' as he turned.
'He ain't even got a gun folks,' laughed Brett with a smirk on his face. He picked up a handmade spear and motioned for the group to follow suit.
'It'll be dark in an hour or so, let's teach you lot how to hunt then, shall we'.