In a world where almost everyone is dead, what will Quinn and Akane do to survive?
Friday, October 13th, 2037
“It’s not my fault the principal’s son is an asshole.”
What made my sister like this? There are people you keep your head down around, and then there are people you don’t even breathe around. I’m the younger one and I understand that better than she does.
“Akane, how are you going to explain this to Dad? This is the…” I paused, replaying all the fights that got the both of us expelled. Well, she was expelled, but I always get pulled out as well. Guilty by association or some crap. Forced sisterly love, I call it. Been around since the dawn of creation. “... eighth time?”
“Ring ding ding. We’ve got a winner. Get a prize for the lovely lady.” Akane rolled her eyes.
We were sitting on a park bench, a block or two away from the school. Once the principal’s son called Akane a bitch, I knew I wasn’t going back to Silver Valley High School on Monday. Akane threw a punch, and the freshman went ass over teakettle. Once he got up and started sprinting toward the school, yelling angrily that we’d get sued over his shoulder, I started contemplating home school. It couldn’t be that bad, right?
Akane picked up her backpack and started rifling through it. After a minute or two, she produced a pack of cigarettes. She slid her nicotine payment card into a slot next to the opening. It let out a sort of pretty, tinkling tone, and opened the lid. She took one out, and put it in her mouth. It was the newest type of cigarette, the self-lighting, refill type of cigarette. You put it back in the box when you're done and pay again when you want it. She looked up at me.
“Want one, Quinnster?” She smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. They never seemed to, anymore. Maybe they never did in the first place.
“I think you already know the answer to that one, Akane.”
She shrugged. “I’m not quitting, ya know. I say, if you can’t beat them, join them.”
We sat in silence. She puffed on her cigarette, and when it was done, she put it back in the box.
My sister is beautiful. I have always been envious of her. Ice blue eyes, flawless skin in that gorgeous asian tone, delicate features. Her mother was Japanese, and her father is American. It seemed like she was the perfect combination.
On the other hand, I have boring brown hair, and freckles sprinkled across my face. The only cool thing about me is I have heterochromia iridum. What’s that; you ask? I have one deep blue eye, and one rich green eye. I think it makes me mildly interesting, but hardly pretty.
Akane and I have a different mother but the same father. My sister’s mother was a beautiful Japanese transfer student, and our father was just another guy going to the same college as her. After a few years, they got married and had Akane. Not even a year later, my dad finds my mom. My mom started working at the same police station my dad worked at, and a workplace tryst took place. Of course, Akane’s mother found out and she went back to Tokyo. My mom had me, and there was a wedding not even three weeks later.
Akane often reminds me that my mom was the reason her mom left. She says she remembers it all. The girl with the photographic memory.
I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. There were only three possibilities. Dad, Mom, or Phoenix. I took my phone out of my pocket. Phoenix.
Phoenix: Hey, chickie! Alive and well over there?
I smiled. Phoenix was one of my favourite people. I don’t like people as a rule, so imagine my surprise. He has amazing red hair, and he compares his deep blue eyes to my left one. I sighed. I crushed on him a bit too hard.
Quinn: Alive and somewhat well, yes. Akane & I are probably switching schools again.
Phoenix: Ooooooh, what’s the sitch?
Quinn: Akane beat up the principal’s kid.
Phoenix: Never a good impression. Maybe you’ll transfer to my school? We can only hope for the best.
A LSHC interrupted my next text. Life Sized Holographic Calls are really annoying, since you have to have enough room for the hologram to be projected in front of you, but I think only parents who don't know better use it nowadays. I guess Dad got the news.
I pressed the bright green “answer” button, and Dad’s hologram was cast out in front of us.
She audibly groaned. “Knew the little prick would squeal to his daddy. ”
“You didn’t answer your phone, so I had to call your sister.”
“Whoops.” She said flatly.
He sighed angrily, “You were expelled, and I have to find another school for you. Do you know how difficult this is for me?”
“Not a clue, since I ain’t you.” She stood and stretched. She glared threateningly at the hologram.
I cringed slightly. I hated it when Akane did that. Her eyes could tear you apart.
“The last school left in this district that will actually accept you is Forest Lake High School and-”
I jumped to my feet. “Forest Lake? Yes!” Phoenix went to that school! Maybe that principal’s son really deserved it!
Akane and Dad looked at me curiously, but neither commented. They both went back to scowling at each other.
I sat back and thought about what I would wear and what I should bring while Dad and Akane argued for a few more minutes.
“Akane… I swear to God… Just bring your sister home.” Dad said irritably.
The call ended abruptly, leaving us alone on the park bench.
I glanced to Akane, who was still glaring at the spot Dad was cast. “So… are we heading home?”
I sighed. “How did I know you were going to say that? Smoke your last cigarette and let’s go.”
Akane turned her head to look at me quickly. “Don’t tell me what to do, Quinn.”
“You’re only a year older than me, Akane. I know you’ve got a little more teenage angst in you than I do, but Dad’s going to have our heads if we don’t get going now-”
She suddenly grabbed my arm. She dug her nails painfully deep into my skin. I suppressed a whimper.
“Don’t make me hurt you.” Her eyes bored into mine. She let go.
I pulled my arm away, and five crescent-shaped divots remained in my skin. Two of them were already bleeding.
Akane has always been like this. It's starting to take a toll. It's getting harder and harder to be around her, and I hate that. I'm her sister, for god’s sake, I'm supposed to be there for her.
She had already walked a few feet away, paying for another cigarette refill. “Go home. I want to be alone.”
It's not like I want to be around you anyway… I thought.
I started walking home. Not even a minute later, I jumped when I felt my phone buzz in my pocket.
Phoenix: Heyyy…! Read my texts!!!
Quinn: Sorry, I got a LSHC from my dad.
Phoenix: Ah, I see. I just wanted to tell you my big announcement.
Quinn: Oooh, what is it?
Phoenix: I'm pregnant.
Quinn: Oh no, I can't handle this! What is it really though?
Phoenix: I got a job at Sweet Street! On the weekends, from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.
Quinn: Hey! Good job!
Phoenix: Come to the workplace! We can celebrate with doughnuts!
Quinn: I've got an exciting announcement as well. I'll tell you when I get there.
Phoenix: Aw, making me wait.
Crap, do I stop by the house? I paused on the corner of Edison Drive and Hazel Avenue. Sweet Street was on Edison, and the house was on Hazel. After a moment, I decided that I would just walk to Sweet Street and take the lecture later.
I approached the cute little shop and saw Phoenix sitting at a table near the door. He looked up indifferently, but once we locked eyes his face seemed to brighten.
Phoenix: Hey!! You made it! I was worried I was going to end up waiting here for two hours…
I smirked. “That was one time!”
He shook his head, amused. He looked down at his phone again and began typing away.
Phoenix James was mute.
He was young when it happened. A man that lived in the apartment next door came bursting in and came upon his neighbor’s crying infant. He had been doing meth and had been up for three days, listening to the child cry continually. He grabbed Phoenix and slit his throat. Fortunately, an off-duty police officer was in the building, visiting his daughter. The psycho’s sentence was only twenty years, but Phoenix’s was for life. Phoenix survived, but could never speak again. He could never speak again, because a psycho couldn’t sleep.
Phoenix: I want a dozen chocolate doughnuts please! Yeah I left my wallet at home but you’ll pay right?
Phoenix: Aw, every time. But I really want a couple of chocolate doughnuts please, I’m starving.
I nodded. Even though I have had to be his voice since kindergarten, it has never been easy. I absolutely hate talking to people I don’t know, because I don’t like people in general.
I entered the shop, and there was a soft ring of a bell. I quickly observed my surroundings.
Tessa was never a really nice person. In fourth grade, it was join her ever growing mass of idiotic followers or prepare for the constant pain of getting glue out of your hair. That ultimatum continued throughout the rest of elementary school, middle school, and most likely will end after college. Now, her and her “close friends” (also known as lackeys) were all crowded around the pastry display case, staring at me.
Tossing her bright blonde hair, Tess glared at me. “Well, girls. Isn’t it the little test tube ‘tard.” Her ass-kissers snickered. I glanced out the window to see Phoenix staring back, looking worried. I returned my gaze.
“Nice to see you too, Tessa.” I smiled ironically. “Now, you’ve had your laugh. Can I just get some food?”
“I don’t think you need it, fatty!” One of her goons piped.
“Get moving, freak.”
“Hey. Cut it out.” A voice behind me spoke. I turned to see Phoenix standing awkwardly next to my sister.
At the sight of Akane, Tess’s confidence seemed to deflate.
“Now,” Akane took a step forward, and the nearest goons retreated behind their near-plastic ringleader, “Get you and your Botox Club out of here before I melt your plastic asses. Got it?”
She glared at her, and then at me.
“You better watch your back, test tube.” She hissed at me. She motioned for her lackeys to follow her. They filed out of the shop, but not before my sister stuck out a foot and tripped the bleached blonde leader of the Botox Club, Tessa Johnson. Sniffling, she got up and limped away.
Phoenix: Well, I guess we’re ordering a “ Fuck You Tessa” cake too. This is great, I would laugh if I could.
I smirked. Why not?
This was the only time I was confident ordering anything at all.
“One small cake please. We want ‘fuck you Tessa’ written on it.”
Phoenix: In pretty writing!
“In pretty writing, please.”
Friday, October 13th, 2037
I sat alone after shooing Quinn away. I just wanted a break from everything for a while. A break from the rules. After putting my cigarette back in the box to recharge, I started walking toward my favourite park. Tall but easy to climb trees, beautiful flowers, lots of wildlife scurrying around.
I finally approached a tall enough tree, and started climbing. Having checked the time on the way there, I figured I would be home by midnight. I pulled myself up onto the branch I was going to sit on. I had to have been at least fifty feet off the ground. I was given a beautiful view of the place I called home as a reward.
Zeon City used to be four different villages. Over time, it grew into one huge city. It has to cover at least 700 miles, and in 2030, there were at least 35 million people living here. I’m surprised the trees aren’t fake here, especially with the annual vaccine drench.
After a long, long, long battle with the “vaccines cause autism” crowd, President Jaymes Becking approved an annual aerosol douce of the United States; he also worked on flying this high-tech version of a crop duster over other parts of the world, but his efforts were futile. His successor, Taylor Ovesen, somehow managed to get the rest of the world on board. Then began the famous Vaccination Arms Race. It started on February 9th, 2023, Russia being the first to produce its try. It ended when The Xerox Vaccination Proclamation was signed by every leader in the free world on September 10th of 2025. The things school teaches you.
Returning back to reality, I saw a squirrel sitting at the very end of the branch I sat on. I coaxed it over softly, and it cautiously pattered up to me. I let it hop onto my hand, and pet behind its ears gently. It leaned into my hand.
It was so strange how these small animals were no longer afraid of humans.
They should be even more afraid now than ever.
A twisted grin grew on my face. It was at my utter mercy. I quickly tightened my fingers so I held it by the neck. It squeaked in protest. I brought my face up to its horror stricken own, whispering. “You’ve got to understand, little one,” I said with fake sympathy. “ In this world, it's kill or be killed.” My voice had quickly turned into a psychotic growl. I snapped its neck and tossed it to the side, chuckling quietly as it fell.
Another one started to approach. Didn’t it see I was dangerous? Stupid, stupid, little thing. Powerless-
My phone buzzed loudly in my back pocket. The other little squirrel scurried away. I groaned loudly.
Just when I was getting comfortable…
Phoenix: Uh, mayday, where are you?
Akane: None of your business. What the fuck do you want?
Phoenix: Queen Bitch and her guards are here. Quinn’s in the thick of it. Get here pronto.
Akane: Why should I?
Phoenix: I can’t defend her; I can’t talk! Be my voice, please.
Akane: Fine, but you’re gonna get it later for pissing me off.
Phoenix: Okay, fine. I’ll pay you if I fucking have to. Get here nowwww!
Akane: I'm on my way.
I quickly climbed down the tree, and jumped off the lowest branch. I sprinted toward Edison Drive at full speed.
I got there in almost no time, but stopped to catch my breath before entering. No weakness could be shown in front of anyone- especially bullies- or they would crush you for it.
Once I had caught my breath, I spotted Phoenix. He was staring at me awkwardly, pacing. I grabbed him by the front of his shirt and pulled him to my face.
“Come on, mute. We gotta go save your little girlfriend from the Botox Club,” I said.
Phoenix: Botox Club… call ‘em that when you get in there. They’re being bitchier than usual.
I opened the door, Phoenix awkwardly following, to find the little 5’2 ringleader of bullshit insulting Quinn. I felt my anger erupt inside of me.
No one insulted my sister.
“Hey. Cut it out.” My tone was deadly. Tess looked up at me fearfully, and I stared straight into her eyes. She couldn't hold my gaze. Pathetic. Even more pathetic than a feeble squirrel. I glared menacingly at her.
“Get you and your Botox Club out of here before I melt your plastic asses. Got it?” I growled. She quickly made way to scurry out of the sweet shop.
“You better watch your back, test tube,” she muttered to Quinn.
I tripped her on her way out.
But I had wanted to do so much, more.
I had wanted to rip her heart out.
I glanced toward Quinn, who was looking at her phone with a ridiculous smile on her face.
She turned to the counter and saw a man standing there. She grinned. “One small cake please. We want ‘fuck you Tessa’ written on it.”
Are you fucking serious? No thank you?
Her phone pinged. She glanced down at it, and then looked up at the man again. “In pretty writing please.”
My sister is a fucking idiot.
Phoenix had an amused look on his face, but when he glanced at me, he quickly stopped smiling.
Quinn turned to me and immediately hugged me. “Thank you so much, Akane. I love you so much!”
“You too.” I said in a bland tone of voice.
She quickly separated herself from me, and I didn’t need to look at her face to see I had hurt her feelings. I smirked.
Good job, Akane. Now to get back to more important things…
I left Sweet Street and looked up at the sky. It had to of been 8:45 at least, but the sun went down quicker since fall had hurtled by and winter took its place.
I had already made it twenty yards before Quinn and Phoenix came out holding a brown cake box. Quinn’s face was a light red, most likely because her little puppy dog complimented her. I loved and hated seeing Quinn like that. I loved and hated Quinn in general.
At least she doesn’t act like her mother… her mother would already have pulled him behind the dumpster and his pants would be down by now. I thought bitterly.
I felt my phone buzz in my pocket. It better not be that little puppy prick back there asking for love advice…
New Email: We Need Your Help
Hmmm… somebody finally sees the light in me. I opened the email.
🔒 only to me
Dear Akane Catherine Winchester,
We have noticed that your intellectual levels have far surpassed those many years above you. We would like to present you with an offer we know you cannot resist. If you wish to see what this offer is, meet Cross at the grey house on 2046 Readmond St.
I grinned. This looks like fun.
I walked down the dingy street, one that reminded me of the neighborhood Phoenix lived in. Whenever Quinn wanted to visit him she always made me come along, so she wouldn’t get murdered. I smirked at the thought of it. It’d make my life a hell of a lot easier if she were to kick the bucket.
I saw the grey house. 2046 Readmond St. It wasn’t very big, and had gang signs strewn across the whole exterior. I didn’t hesitate to walk inside. I instantly scrunched my nose in disgust. It smelled like there were multiple corpses in here or something. I grimaced. The only light in the room was the sun -rays coming from the door, since the windows had been boarded up long before.
Slowly recognizing my stance in the situation, I knew I wasn’t in a good place. I couldn’t see another way out. I guessed if I clawed at the boards long enough I would be given an escape route, but-
The light quickly disappeared, and I turned to see the door slam shut. I was engulfed in an uncomfortable pitch black.
“Hello, Akane. I’m so glad you could make it.”
I could hear the strange note of giddiness in his voice. “Who are you?”
“Call me Cross.”