The second I was born, my sister tried to kill me. The second I was born, I became a predator, but also prey. Living in a race where everyone is at each other's throat is not an easy job.
It is Year 4052, and the human race has changed considerably since Year 2008. The world is burning hot, and there is hardly any water. Machines are incredibly rare- left over from the last era- and even your best friends would kill you to get one. The only machines still being created now are to manufacture things. Things like sunglasses. There was one plant for them in the entire world, and they provided your first pair when you were born. Going outside without sunglasses spells out certain blindness after an hour.
In the year 3898, it all started. We had finally destroyed the ozone layer, and the heat made water scarce. The oceans had begun to dry up. World leaders tried to keep order, but fights began to break out. The first fight was July 30th, 3898. In a grocery store, two people reached for the same water. Driven by the heat, one man shoved a knife into a man's chest and stole the water. Fights like that continued, and they closed down grocery stores. Animals were dropping dead everywhere anyway, having no water to stay alive. But fighting still continued- only it was much worse. Did you know that the human body is made of sixty-five percent water? Well, the people began to figure that out. And, in order to get that, they ate them. Yes, the human race became a race of cannibals, and politics fell. Money fell. Rules fell. The human race had finally hit the floor.
Now, even after sixteen years of life, I do not understand this way of living. There is no one you can trust- "friends" may have you planned for their next supper. Family is an even weaker concept, as my sister has tried to kill me numerous times. I think of my parents as more of a hunting party then anything else. They were also my teachers- they taught me how to hunt and how to live. But my grandfather- he was the one who told me everything else. He taught me of everything before this madness, and he is the only person whom I have ever loved. Love, in this world, has been forgotten. And what had become of my grandfather? He was made into someone's dinner. Now, all I have are a few novels, detailing a world too beautiful to imagine.
As much as I long for that world, I live in a different one. That is what I think of now, as I lay crouching behind the reeds in the Eerie Desert. I have become a vicious hunter- almost unstoppable. The years have granted my family adaptations- sharper teeth, longer nails, lighter bones. I am faster, stronger, and more deadly than my ancestors. At birth I took on the name Antigone, against birth. My sister had sealed that name for me.
My improved hearing can sense someone in the reeds behind me. I chuckle quietly to myself and flip backwards just as they run at me. Now I laugh outwardly as I turn the tables on them- coming down with a skull-crushing kick to the head. This person is sturdy though, and they climb back up from their space on the ground.
"Antigone," I growl.
"Obsidian," he replies, as is tradition.
He is a tall boy, about the same age as myself, with deeply tanned skin and messy raven black hair. The way he is angled I can see behind his sunglasses that his eyes are as pitch black as his hair, and his angular face is marred with scars. He has survived many fights. But, then again, so have I.
By his expression, I can tell that he is measuring me up as well. I am tall for my age, 5'11", with long platinum blonde hair tied into a high ponytail. My eyes are a piercing gold, and I have tiger stripes tattooed across my lean, deeply tanned arms.
As soon as his muscles begin to tense, I assume my fighting position. The transition is seamless for me, placing my left leg bent in front of my right, with my fists clenched in front of my body. Soon, he assumes a similar stance. I lower my head, inviting him to attack first. His thin lips twist into a smirk, and I know he is accepting.
I predict his next movement before it comes- his muscles twitch like crazy. I lunge to the side of his knife right before he stabs at me. Seconds later, though, I find myself falling toward the dusty ground. Intelligent- he had predicted my move and tripped me. Working with your weaknesses was the mark of a great warrior.
I was not defeated yet though. As he lunges at me again, I kick up at his chest with my feet. My force is so great that I am propelled back onto my feet so that I am standing on his chest. I notice that he has coughed up a tiny bit of blood. Smirking, I lower myself down so that I am straddling his chest. Releasing my claws from their sheathes, I raise my hands to deliver the final blow and-
I retract my hand and look up at the sky, confused.
Plink. Plink. Plop!
Suddenly I stand up. Was it really… raining? A sudden crackle of electricity answers my question, and it begins to pour. Re-sheathing my claws, I lend a hand to Obsidian, helping him up. There is no fighting when it rains- there is no need. Rain is precious and beautiful; this rainfall is only the third I've experience during my lifetime.
Suddenly it is cooler, and the land is a blue-gray shade. The sun is well covered by the clouds, and I allow myself a small time without sunglasses. My nose is filled with the soft, calming scent of rain, and my sun burnt skin relishes its silkiness. I sit down on the ground and close my eyes, getting lost in the constant whirr of the falling rain. Then, I feel Obsidian's presence lurking right behind me. I snap my head around to growl at him, when I see him sitting there reading my book.
I leap to my feet.
"Give that back," I growl.
Obsidian doesn't answer right away, clearly lost in my book. When he finally looks up, I can see that he is crying- something I've never seen before. I've only read about it in my grandfather's books before this.
"You have tear ducts?" I ask, eyes wide.
"Yes," he replies. "My family has kept them always."
"How does it… feel t-to cry?" I ask hesitantly.
"At first, your chest just tightens, and then you feel this sort of pulling in your face… and then you just start to cry. It feels like all of your troubles are pouring out."
"Then why are you crying now?" I ask, sitting down beside him.
"This world is… wrong. The way it is in these stories, that's the way we're supposed to live: in peace and-"
"-In love," I finish. "Does love even exist anymore?"
"I think it still stands a chance," he says.
Our eyes catch each other for a brief second before he turns to look back at the ground.
"You might just be right," I say, looking at him, and I swear I see a smile flutter across his face.
Maybe it's time that we start over.
"I'm Antigone," I say, holding my hand out to him.
"I'm Obsidian," he grins at me, and we don't look away for the longest time.
Maybe starting over applied to more than us. Maybe, somehow, we could help this entire world start over; little by little.