Ashes

"There comes a time in the world when a hero is needed. There comes a time... when a legend must be made.

This will be a story that deals not with happy endings, but instead, with new beginnings...

What do the people of this country live for? To be happy? To be free? To still be alive?

For too long now, we have let the government control us. Haven't you ever wondered what goes on outside of your neighborhood? What happens to those who move out? When was the last time you saw somebody weeping, truly weeping? Bellowing with laughter? Singing for no reason at all?

We are living a life of limits.

In an era where feelings are hidden and overshadowed and ideas ripped apart and stomped on, we must learn to speak from the heart!

Our hearts are where raw passion is born, and where we learn to love.

Our hearts are where only the purest wishes lie, where all of our greatest ambitions can eventually be brought to life.

Our hearts are the first part of us to live, and the last part of us to die.

We cannot win if we do not fight in the first place. One rain drop can bring a hurricane in a matter of minutes. Just listen to yourselves for a moment! Listen to your hearts, and think. Azilda, now is the time for change. Our country depends on your decision. We must spark a blaze to ignite a new light...

We must change our ways if we want to live again.

We must rebel against those who oppress us.

SOON WE WILL START THE FIRE!"

I stare at the tiny television through the glass window, along with twenty other silent, gray strangers of the town. The ice cold breeze is chilly and ominous, and there is a loud silence hanging dead and still in the air. I feel a snowflake drop on my nose. The feeling of it slightly alarms me as I feel it melt into my skin and freeze a part of my face. My bones are chilled, and in more than one way. It is a climatic morning here in the dell.

We are a wide eyed, unblinking group of people. We are mindless zombies. We are half-frozen humans. We are the scared children of Azilda.

The words are touching me in a way I have never felt before. I shiver as they flow straight out from the air and into my body. Unwelcome visitors. They hurt and damage me, tearing down my sense of logic and reason from the inside out, burning up guarded walls and infiltrating my veins with an invisible yet conspicuous poison.

I can tell I am not the only one in this group to be battling the words within myself.

Together, we huddle in the cold to keep each other warm. I keep my worn out, fragile Teddy close to me, locked inside my death-grip hug. Simultaneously, our huddle of warmth inhales, and exhales. For one second, I know the story of each person standing here.

We townspeople (although strangers) are all one person: one desperate, fearful child unsure of which fighting parent to listen to. It's a lose-lose situation. Somebody is bound to get hurt in the end, no matter what. And all we did to anyone was do as we were told, follow instructions as told, and be the obedient, quiet little townsfolk that everybody else always told us to be.

As I watch the crackling words disappear from the blue screen, blaring alarms go off throughout the roads. Wake up, they sing, it's time to wake up now. Something snaps into place within me.I feel as if I have been dead for a long time now.

All hell breaks lose when the screaming begins.

Fire, gunshots, and bombs. Black jets streaming like a flock of graceful swans across the red sky. The thumbs of dead citizens across the sidewalk. Blood turning the snow red and streaming down the gutters in the streets. My cries as I drop Teddy out of my grip, onto the floor and into the frantic stampede. Panic. Running to anywhere, any place that is safe. Running to nowhere.

Wake up, wake up, Linda! Keep running Linda! Do you here me? Wake up! The alarms are getting more and more frantic. I sprint as fast as I can on the ice. Fire is eating up the ground behind me, growing bigger and bigger the more it digests. This is the first time I have ever seen, heard, smelled, and felt a real fire before. It is a glorious, beautiful monster. Who could let such a thing escape out into the streets?

Broken noises skim my ears as I run. Televisions, radios, people. Playing the music of a thousand different words.

I am preparing for death. Rest assured, you will be happy here in Azilda. I hope Teddy is alive. The time to rise is now, people of the country! There is a mother fallen to the ground in front of me, a little boy nearby shaking her wildly as if he hears the calls of the wake up alarms, too. It is a bright day with another chance of snow, folks! A lovely morning! The cops are running around dazedly, unsure of what to do in such a situation. My leg! Tom! Where are you! Don't leave me! Mother and Brother probably don't know what has happened yet... Reports of a rebel attack in the valley are false, the people of Azilda must remain calm...

I'm just a kid, and already I see so many things wrong with the world. I want to stop running. I am not on any fighting side; both sides would not mind my dying...

It has been predicted to snow all week, yet I see the sun rising out from behind the clouds. Through all of the chaos, I am still running.

Somehow, I know should be alive to remember. I cannot forget what has changed the world today. The sun has given me a sign, a sign to live and fight and keep pushing on. Now that I am awakened, I know that I have been given a chance to survive and follow what ever fate I am destined to do. It is not yet my time to die.

Never giving up, I push through the maze of bodies and sometimes sidewalks. There is a feeling of protection that I experience as I dodge through the air. Bleeding, cold, and tired. These are reminders of the day the sirens woke me up. I do not look back once as I run, though I hear the wake up calls grow faint as I reach the edge of the city...

Panting hard, I slump down into the snow. I am safe for now, here on the hillside. Shivers run up and down my spine. I am not done traveling. The path to home is a long, dangerous journey from here. Charcoal rises in the red air, and I am surprised to find that I feel more alive then ever before. I have awoken at last.

I am eight years old when the war begins.