I

Michaela

"They've promised that dreams can come true, but they forgot to mention that nightmares are dreams too." -Oscar Wilde

You would think the end of the world would happen in a fiery explosion, but for me the fate of the universe was held in the hands of an evil bald guy. You could say that my friends and I were the heroes of this situation, and I wouldn't disagree.

But with all great accomplishments comes great tragedy. My mother always told me that if you were going to succeed in life, you would have to sometimes give up what is most important to you. I now realize the power of those words as I think of what I have given up in order to be living here today.

The day that I lost my family, I knew things would never be the same. Nobody expected the bombs. The government explained that it was all a tragic accident, but I wouldn't believe that for a second. But the people of Hydropolis weren't me, and they believed everything that the government told them. Even if it was so stupid that my little brother could read between the lines.

But the problem was that I didn't have a little brother anymore. No one to annoy me when I needed to work, no one to spend my leisure time with, no one to help me when I needed to study for World Languages because Jacob was a natural at learning languages. As much as we resented each other, we were siblings and we loved each other. Past tense.

When I woke up in the morning my body was covered in sweat, my hands shook as I pulled back the covers, and my hair was sticking up in all sorts of places. My eyes were still red and puffy from crying and I could feel my neck becoming sore from another restless night. I cursed under my breath as I climbed out of bed, leaving the warm cocoon of blankets behind.

The same recurring nightmare had haunted me again, and all I wanted was for my mother to be here to comfort me and give me a warm, reassuring hug. But that was no longer possible since my mother was gone, along with my father and Jacob.

I slipped into the Cooking Area and my hand trailed along the cool plastic countertop as memories from past meals and times with my family flashed before my eyes. I wandered around the Pod before making my way to my parents' sleeping room. My mother kept all of the family heirlooms there and now they were mine. When I was younger I dreamt of the day I could get my ears pierced and wear the family jewelry, but now it all seemed like a hazy dream, like getting new eyes and seeing the world for the first time.

I made my way back around the pod and ended up back in my room. The words felt foreign on my tongue, as if I was re-learning Mandarin. I had always shared a room with Jacob, but now the days of sharing were over.

I screamed with frustration. I missed my family. The ones that would be there for me forever. But forever is never long enough. I felt the pressure behind my eyes and before I knew it, my eyes stung from fresh tears. I had thought I had run out of tears, but that was proven wrong as they streamed down my face and brought a fresh wave of sadness."Where are you?" I sobbed. "When I need you most you aren't here."

Most people would stare at me, appalled, speaking as if there was a person in the sky and not speaking to Rodney Banks himself, but I was far from caring what other people of this deranged world thought of me.

I screamed again as I threw my hands against the wall. By now the tears were like a downpour, my heart was being ripped in two for the third time today. I tried to shut them down, but each memory played back in my mind.

I grimaced at my homework, trying to decipher the complex Mandarin assignment. My parents and Jacob had gone with our neighbors, daughter, Lily, to the Arena to pick up a new set of clothes for Lily and Jacob, since they had grown out of theirs' already. They had been gone for too long— Stop. I commanded myself. The recurring nightmares were bad enough, I didn't need to be haunted by their death in the daytime too.

The pain of their deaths still fresh in my mind. I couldn't breathe. The sobs echoed through the corridors of the Pod and I knew that no matter how much I tried and hide them, their death always found a way to escape the walls surrounding my feelings.

I heard a sharp knock at the door, and memories tried to resurface, but I held them down, along with the tears of pain and misery. I shuffled to the door and opened it a crack, making sure that the Official didn't see my nightclothes.

"Hello Miss Winchester, is anyone else home?" The Official said humorlessly.

I snorted, "What do you think?"

The Official ignored my comment, "You have three hours to gather your things and meet me back out here to move in with your new family."

"What?" I shrieked opening the door all the way. "I have a family already."

"Article Two, Section Three of the Hydropolis Constitution," The Official started, taking out an iRod, "states that 'If a child's parents pass on before they are scheduled to be removed, the child will start living with a family that needs another child of the age and gender requirements.' and since you, Miss Winchester are under the age of 20, female, and in need of another family, you meet the requirements of a family needing another child."

"Like I said before, I have a family," I replied with a glare.

"They are dead Miss Winchester," The Official said with no emotion evident on his face. "The law states that you get assigned a new family."

I slammed the door in his face and slid to the floor.

"See you in 3 hours, Miss Winchester," The Official called.

"See you in 3 hours, Miss Winchester," I mocked.

I slowly walked back to my room. This day had turned from terrible to tragic. I needed to clear my head. All of the kids my age were in their last class of the day and I had exactly three hours until I had to meet the people that would become my guardians. I couldn't say family because they would never, ever be my family.