Disclaimer: This is all the legal, intellectual property of Sarah Berry. No reproduction nor sale is allowed without my EXPRESS permission!
Summay: "I remember when I first met Angel...she was so young, so innocent; then she changed. Utopia changed her, just like it changes everyone else."
Project Utopia: A 5th dimension totally in your mind. It bends to your every wish and will, letting what you imagine become real. When Angel, a young abused girl discovers her Utopia, she thinks it's bliss. Later though when her fears start coming to life as well, she sets out a journey to defeat her fears once and for all.
It was about a week later and I hadn't found the time to try Utopia again. We had just gotten back from a three day weekend, so school was rushed to catch up. I was caught up with hours upon hours of math equations, and lists of scientific terms to define. Sometimes being in the 3rd grade was difficult…
I slipped the door open and slid smoothly into the house. I could hear Dad snoring loudly from the bedroom and knew Mom was in there with him. I scampered into the kitchen, looking for something to eat. I dropped my dirty, worn and slightly threadbare bookbag onto the floor as I usually did. I tugged the fridge open with some difficulty. The suction on the door didn't want to release per usual. I pulled it open with one fierce tug, my feet slipping out from underneath me and sending me tumbling to the ground. I groaned as my backside came in contact with the hard, cold, linoleum tile. I groused and grumbled as I picked myself up, dusting my too big, dilapidated, gray trousers off. They'd picked up a layer of dirty from the slightly greasy floor. Mom never really got much time to clean.
I rummaged through the fridge, not even cringing when my hand brushed against a lump of a suspicious looking, purple congealed substance. I grabbed the plastic container of grape jelly and then proceeded to shut the door with my foot. I set the jelly on the counter and then ran over to the large cabinet. The door was stuck shut with a glob of gloop, but it just didn't bother me. I yanked the cabinet open, nearly ripping the door off in the process. I grumbled in annoyance and pulled out the peanut butter. We were running low on peanut butter. I could barely feel the weight of the jar in my hand. I set the jar of peanut butter by the jar of jelly and proceeded to try to find some bread. All that was left in the plastic bag of 'healthy', white bread were two heels. I didn't make a comment and just carefully spread a thin layer of peanut butter onto one heel and then proceeded to nearly drown the other slice in my favorite flavor of jelly. Mom called it jam, but I called it jelly. I squished the two slices together into a mushy sandwich and took a bite, making sure to keep my food over the counter. I didn't want to add to the mess on the floor. As I chewed, I wrinkled my nose. The bread was stale. Oh well. Take what you get, right?
I had finished my homework to the accompaniment of the musical styles of scuttling cockroaches in my walls. I was scrawled on my hard bed on my side, staring intently at the wall. I had a book of fairytales in my hand, but they were too depressing to read. It was the same thing over and over again. Princess is happy, princess is in danger, and prince saves princess. I was always jealous of princesses. They always had someone there to jump in at the end and save them from the evil bad guys. Who did I have? It didn't really matter though. I wasn't a princess after all.
I had just been lying in bed for nearly half an hour when I heard Dad's snoring stop. The beast had awoken. Moments later, I heard a thudding sound and a squeak of pain. That would be Dad shoving Mom to the floor. I wasn't bothered and just rolled over. I was tired and I wanted to nap. I heard Mom starting to argue with him and just let out a bored sigh. Over the course of ten minutes, their argument evolved into a screaming match before I heard Dad shove Mom and Mom's scream as she hit her head on the dresser. I heard the shattering of a vase as Mom threw it at Dad's head. Their fight continued, their words muffled by the soggy, mold soaked walls.
This wasn't fair. My friend Allison had a nice family. Her mom and dad didn't fight! They loved each other and Allison was showered with love. Mom cared about me, but she never exactly showered love upon me. I often wondered what it'd be like to have a perfect family…white picket fence, whitewashed house, red door, a loving family…I was relaxed by now, imagining my family. My dad would have a good job in banking and my mom was a stay at home mom who always had cookies for me after school. Just like in all those stories. I closed my eyes, imagining this perfect family. Suddenly I felt the feeling of being disconnected from the real world, and the-
My eyes flew open. I wasn't in my bedroom. I was standing on a sidewalk in a quiet neighborhood. It was peaceful. I could hear birds chirping in the trees and there were no piles of trash on the streets. All the houses were well painted and the gardens well-trimmed. It was like a neighborhood I'd read about in a book. I was standing in front of a white, clapboard house with a white picket fence. There were flowerbeds in the front of the house, all perfectly tended and weeded. It was exactly out of a picture book. I looked down, realizing my dress had changed. Instead of my old, tattered and dirty clothes, I was wearing a creamy yellow sundress with white polka dots. It had frilly straps across my shoulders and I had a pair of cute, strap on, light pink sandals. I felt a little odd. The large bruise on my shoulder was visible, but, it was the dress I'd always wanted. I'd always wanted to wear a dress like this, but Mom never had enough money, Dad was too drunk and neither worked, so I never got my dress. As I stood in front of the two story, white house, I spotted the red door and recognized it. This was my house! I opened the gate and walked up the red brick path, my heart pounding in my chest. What would my mother look like? How would she sound? She would love me, right? The thought petrified me, but I trusted my imagination.
I gripped the doorknob and took a deep breath, pushing it open and bracing myself. What if I woke up from this seemingly impossible world?
I didn't wake up. I walked in, struck by an intoxicating aroma of beef and potatoes. We never had good food like that! I shut the door behind me, hearing a high, feminine voice humming through the house. I ventured towards the sound, my heart thumping in my chest. I tiptoed down the hallway, my eyes wide and a mixture of fear, adrenaline and hope was shooting up through my veins and making me lightheaded. I rounded the corner and came into the kitchen. I thought I could feel my heart stop beating for a second.
I could only see her from behind, but already she was perfect. Her light auburn hair cascaded down her back in a slightly frizzy waterfall, a much lighter than my nearly black hair. It was clean for once, and she had it worn in two loose, low pigtails. She was humming a happy tune, leaning over the stove and stirring a pot of boiling water. She was wearing a pale, tan colored, knee high dress and no shoes. I was petrified. What if she saw me and yelled at me? I had to take the plunge though.
"M-Mom?" my voice came out as a whisper and I was sweating, hands shaking. The woman jumped and turned around, her eyes wide. She visibly relaxed when she looked at me, breathing a sigh of relief. Her expression softened, her eyes brightened and she gave me a huge smile. She looked exactly like Mom did, except happy and clean. Normally, Mom looked exhausted, dark circles under her eyes and a layer of dirt caked over her face. Now, she looked radiant.
"Angel, you're home late! I was getting worried." she tittered, putting her tiny hands on her small hips. I blinked, gasping from shock. Her brow furrowed into little lines and she looked concerned as all the color drained from my face and I stared at her. I couldn't believe it. I'd never seen Mom so happy. I couldn't stop myself before I rushed over and threw my arms around her, burying my face in her chest.
"I'm sorry I'm late!" I managed out, my grip tight on her as I refused to let go. She quirked her eyebrows, looking surprised.
"What's with the show of affection?" she gave a cute giggle, putting one arm around me and patting my hair. I just shook my head, breathing in her smell of baking, lilac perfume, fresh sheets and old books; all my favorite smells. After a few moments, I pulled away from her. I didn't want to let go. She felt so solid…so real! She just shook her head at me and patted my head.
"When's Dad getting back?" I asked eagerly, sitting down at the pine kitchen table. Mom turned back to the stove and stirred the pot of what I assumed was boiled potatoes.
"Dad should be pulling up in a couple minutes. If he gets here, tell him I'm checking on your baby sister." she said kindly, kissing my hair before leaving the room with a happy sigh. I blinked. I was shocked. A baby sister? I hadn't imagined that…then I remembered something.
Mom had been pregnant. Not recently, but a few years ago. I'd heard her talking to Dad, telling him that she was going to be having another baby. Dad started to yell at her, and I heard him telling her that she had to get rid of it. Mom had started screaming really loud, and I couldn't understand what she was saying. Mom and Dad argued for days until Mom left for the doctor's. She came back and was absolutely silent. She wouldn't talk to Dad and she just cried. I never did get my baby sibling. I had just assumed that Mom had gotten rid of the baby like Dad said to…
I was so caught up in my thoughts, I didn't hear the door open or the footsteps coming up behind me. The next thing I knew, someone had grabbed me up in their arms and was spinning me around. I screamed in fear, utterly petrified. Whoever was holding me quickly set me down. As I gained my bearings, my eyes fell on a tall, male figure: Dad.
He was Dad, but so different at the same time. His dark black hair was neatly trimmed, his bangs swept to the side and his hair a bit long in the back. There was no smell of alcohol on his breath and he was well cleaned. I'd never seen him like this. He was even dressed well! He was in black slacks and a white button up shirt, the top two buttons undone and a loosened tie hanging from his neck. A puzzled look was in his auburn eyes. I felt my heart skip a beat. Dad had never looked so caring in his entire life…he frowned, kneeling in front of me so we were eye to eye.
"What's the matter, Angel?" he questioned, looking worried. His concerned eyes fell on the vivid, black, blue and yellow bruise on my shoulder and frowned in anxiety. "Is something wrong?" I just numbly shook my head, unable to get the words out. I just threw my arms around his neck, burying my face into his shoulder. I nearly knocked him over, but I didn't care. I felt his warm, strong arms enclose my small body and I nearly cried. No one ever hugged me. No one wanted to.
"Nothing's wrong, Dad." I choked out, red hot tears burning at the back of my eyes. "Nothing's wrong." I repeated. "Everything's just perfect…"