Author: AlluredStep PM
If you had everything taken away from you, what lengths would you go to get it all back? The journey of a boy in a dystopian world, willing to sacrifice everything to reclaim what's his.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Fantasy - Chapters: 4 - Words: 9,689 - Reviews: 14 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 08-13-11 - Published: 10-10-10 - id: 2854715
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Brother! Layne! Wake up!"
Her cold hands intrude the privacy of my warm bed, and my skin shivers when she shakes my legs. Funny, her hands were always so cold. The loud, whiney voice pierces the deep slumber I'm in, and I struggle to get back to sleep. I take my hand out from under my pillow and make a waving motion, signaling her to shoo off.
"Go away... lemme alone..."
She doesn't back down, and continues shaking me. I fake a deep sleep, hoping she'll get bored and go away. To my misfortune, it doesn't work. She gets to the point where she jumps onto my bed, clenches my sheets tightly, and throws them clean off the bed. The cold morning air immediately wraps around my body, causing me to shiver in response. Still, I'm not giving up. I guess she stays still for a while and I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I know she's jumping up and down on me with her tiny stature.
"Wake up, wake up, wake up!" She screams joyfully, waving her arms up and down in the air. I open one eye to look at her. She's having fun.
The bounces, while not painful, eventually make me crack. I exasperatingly open my eyes and sit upright on the bed, throwing my hands in the air.
"Alright, alright, alright! I'm up!"
She jumps off the bed and lands on the floor, her dark black hair fluttering up and down. She smiles brightly.
"Goody!" She gives me a second to adjust to the waking world, then grabs my hand and leads me off the bed. "Now come with me outside!"
"Wait, I'm still in my-"
She doesn't give me a chance to retaliate, and marches me straight out of my room and through the front door. Despite the fact that my hair's a mess, I'm in my bright-blue pajamas in broad daylight and wearing slippers in the backyard, I don't quite mind anymore. For a ten-year old, she's quite persuasive.
I step outside and smell the fresh breeze of spring. The air's kind of chilly, but relaxing at the same time. She leads me to the garden of cherry blossom trees we have in the backyard, which were in full bloom, and stops in front of the biggest one we have.
"Look there," she says, pointing a finger at one of the branches. I squint my eyes, look carefully, and see nothing but a clump of pink flowers dotting numerous branches.
"Um, which one?"
"That one! Over there! The really pretty one!" She stands on her tiptoes and stretches her left arm ahead, while her right one is still clutching onto my sleeve. I stand there, trying to pick out which she's pointing at, when I see it. It's a giant cherry blossom that is three times the size of the ones around, and a delicate shade of bright white and pink. It looks radiant compared to the dull brown color of the branch. I see why it appealed to her; it really was kinda pretty.
"Yeah, I see it," I reply, sending my gaze back down to her.
She turns toward me.
"Can you get it for me? Please!"
"You want me to get that?" I look back up to the cherry blossom. It's really up there. "I dunno, it looks high..."
"Please? I really, really, REALLY want it! You don't have to get me a birthday present!" She looks at me with big brown eyes, tearing up a little, clutching my left hand with both of hers. Her quivering lip trembles, and she looks like she's on the verge of bursting out into tears.
Man, not that face again. She knows I can't resist it. I try to stand my ground.
No. I'm not risking my good health to do something for her again.
No, no, no, no- don't look at her-
"Yay!" She jumps for joy, clapping her hands loudly.
Now I can't turn back, after getting her hopes up. I let go of her hand and face the giant tree trunk, cursing myself that I let her take advantage of me yet again. I'm not in the best climbing wear, but I'll go anyway. I kick off my slippers and hug the trunk, hoisting myself up with all four of my extensions.
"Yeah! Go, go, Layne!" My sister pumps her fists in the air, going through some dance-cheer moves. I hide a grin at her silly routine, then turn back. Clenching my teeth, I go upward once again, my fingers white from holding onto the trunk too tightly. I focus on climbing, tuning out my sister's yells in the background. I go into a state of pure workout, just climbing inch by inch, foot-by-foot, like I'm in my own world. By the time I'm halfway up, I look down.
The height frightens me, and I almost lose my grip and pummel to the ground. I see my sister, but her yells are merely small mumbles now. I look back up, trying to forget how high I am, trying to forget that if I get distracted, I'll fall, trying to forget that falling will cause internal bleeding and- this isn't working.
Instead, I look at the cherry blossom my sister desires. It beckons me to reach out for it, and it looks like it's sparkling in the morning sunlight. Mustering my courage and strength, I continue.
It's a painful process, but I eventually get to the point where I can lay my feet on the branches. The worst part is over, and I rest my limbs and arms on top of the trunk. After a quick breather, I scurry up the branch where the cherry blossom is, trying to get this whole ordeal over with. I crawl up the branch like a drunk monkey, almost falling at times. Finally, the large cherry blossom is within arm's reach. With a quick swipe, I snag the blossom from its spot and it's in my palm. I admire it closely, poking the soft petals gently.
My sister is jumping up and down, overjoyed at the sight of seeing me with the flower. I smile gently and wave back.
Another big mistake.
I lose balance and trip over another branch, causing me to free-fall three feet before getting caught in a tangle of wood below, blocking my fall. The flower blossom's still in my right hand; instinctively, I reach out for a safety branch with my left. A clutter of leaves fall down from the tree. I clutch onto a branch just before the branches below me give away, and now all that's between me and a plunge is my left hand grabbing onto a branch. I have scratches from the small fall on my cheek, but my light pajama clothes protected me from most of the injuries.
She yells, "Don't worry! I'll be right back with a pillow!" Her voice is full of worry. She scurries inside the house, leaving me half-dangling from a tree with my non-dominant hand. Great.
My fingers feel like fire by the time she's back, but she has a giant stack of pillows in her arms. She looks up at me and tries to position the pile of pillows to where I should fall. She'd better hurry up, because my arm could let go any second now.
Fortunately, she makes it just before I fall, and I land in a comfy mess of feathers. Relieved that I'm all right, I breath out gently and get up. She's next to me, breathing a sigh of relief too.
"Hey," I say to her. I hold out the cherry blossom she wanted- undamaged- and place it in her hand. She couldn't be more happy. She yells out happily and grabs my neck and hugs me tightly.
"Thanks, Layne," she says. After a while, she pulls away from me and smiles at me with the most beautiful smile I've ever seen come from her face.
When I saw that smile, all the pain and exhaustion melted away.
When I saw that smile, it made all that effort worth it.
I wake up.
The cold air pierces through the holes in my thin blanket. I'm looking at an underside of a green leaf. I realize where I am.
I was dreaming again. The last memory I held dear to my heart. Crystal-clear in my mind.
My fist smashes into the hard ground beside me.
Why couldn't I stay asleep?
The comfortable spring breeze, my silk pajamas, and her smile all fade away suddenly. My friends, family, house, it all goes down the drain... cold, harsh reality smashes itself into my mind, and the flashes of memories fly across my brain.
Apocalypse. Great Storm. Gone. Disappear.
It took everything from me. From everyone.
My eyes gaze at the gray sky, filled with ashy swirls of clouds. Finally, I get up warily, getting my small pack. I have with crumbs of crackers and the water I could salvage. I pack the few possessions I have. Small food portions, a tiny hunting knife, some rope. My hand wavers over my last, most valuable possession.
A large cherry blossom. The last thing I have of her. When I look at it, stinging tears ford at the corners of my eyes. I get up and throw my backpack off hastily. I close my eyes and face my head toward the sky. I scream. I let it all out. I curse.
I curse at the world, at everything around me, for taking her away from me. The hatred burns deeply in my veins. Feelings of anger and pity boil inside my heart, eating me inside out.
I'd give anything to get her back. And that's what I'm doing. And I'd be willing to sacrifice anything to see that smiling face once more.
I let it all out, and face downward, eyes closed. I rest my hands on my knees and pant.
I'd sacrifice anything to see you once more,