I can’t believe it. I can’t believe he’s gone. I look at the pouch in my hands and sigh. I won’t see him again, no matter how smart or strong he is, he won’t be able to survive three whole years. Even if he does, will he even be the same afterwards? Surely seeing all that blood and dead bodies changes a person. He won’t be the same afterwards. He won’t be the Jacklinso I know. The one who calls me french fry and gets me candy.
“Whoa, it’s so pretty,” I suddenly hear Lyra’s voice. “I haven’t seen one in a long time,” she continues. I open my eyes to find her looking at a glass orb. One that looks suspiciously like mine.
“Lyra,” I call her, “That’s mine.”
“Oh, I know,” she states, “You dropped it and I just wanted to take a peek.”
I put out my hand motioning for her to give me the ball.
“I’m not a thief, Ellie,” she says handing it back, “Unlike you.”
“Who said I stole it?”
“You don’t even know what this is, do you?” she asks.
“A pretty ball,” I say, scowling at her, she’s not usually this annoying. Maybe it’s because Liz left and there’s tension in the room.
She continues talking, “They’re sold in pairs, you take one and give the other to someone else. The darker the colour of that smoke,” she says pointing at the ball, “The farther away the other glass orb is.”
I look at the ball in my hand and realize she’s right. The smoke was very light yesterday but now it’s so dark that I can’t see the fish inside it. It reminds me that JC is far away, probably as far away as possible.
“What’s in it,” Lyra asks.
“Huh?” I say stupidly.
“Well, there’s supposed to be a figurine in them, what’s in yours?”
“A little fish.”
“My father gave me one but it broke,” she sighs and I remember that Lyra wasn’t here as long as I was. She came when she was 11 and she was well dressed and although he doesn’t see her training a lot, JC says she’s pretty skilled.
“That’s right,” I say, “You weren’t here when you were still a toddler, how’s that?”
“My father was a commander. He had a high enough rank to provide enough protection for my siblings and me. We didn’t have to fight, instead, we were in one of these anti-extinction areas.”
“It’s a nice way of saying reproduction facilities,” she states rolling her eyes, “It’s part of this whole spaceship we-”
“Spaceship?” I cut her mid-sentence.
“Yes, Ellie. You really thought we were just in a floating metal box?” she asks laughing, “No, no, humans are just not creative with naming things. We live in a huge circular spaceship. The capital, which contains the government, important jobs and food storage, is in the middle of the spaceship. At the edges are the factories that produce food, medicine, clothes and combat-related equipment for the war. There are also a few cities there but only the richest people and most important politicians live there. The part we live in is made of a hoop. It’s made of smaller, box-shaped spaceships which are connected together with tubes. The hoops orbit the mothership. The inner hoop is mostly important people. Their children don’t have to go to war or to the anti-extinction facilities, they just work in the main spaceship when they’re old enough. The next two hoops are the anti-extinction hoops. There you basically have to choose a partner when you’re fifteen and you have to provide babies so that they grow up and become soldiers.”
“That’s awful,” I whisper.
“Well, where do you think all these soldiers come from? It’s not like we live long enough to create a family once we go to war. I was in one of these boxes but when my dad died my siblings and I became orphans so we were sent here. The outer hoops, where orphans are sent to be taught and trained for war. There are only 1000 boxes in total so we’re probably the farthest away from the mothership,” she sighs, “Explains why this box is in such a state.”
I take a moment to absorb all this information. I didn’t know all of this existed. Motherships, factories, rich people and reproduction facilities.
“Why don’t they teach us about this stuff at school?”
“Well, Ellie, they’re not stupid enough to tell you how to escape. Teaching us about the layout of this spaceship is just like giving us a map. I only know this because of my father’s position. He also insisted on my training for war, I suppose he knew he would die.”
“Breakfast!” Madam Bindles shouts cutting through our conversation. Kathryn wakes up and Lyra and I take it as a cue to stop our conversation.
“How’re you feeling, Kathryn,” Lyra asks softly.
Now I get why she’s so nice. She lived with her family until she was 11. She had a satisfactory life. She was loved for 11 whole years. I envy her, I always thought she was soft. I thought that’s why she was so kind to everyone, but she probably pities us. She pities that we lost our families at a young age. I head into the bathroom, scowling and cursing all of humanity.
I splash some water on my face and remind myself of the promise I made to Jacklinso. I won’t do something stupid. I won’t break the rules. I won’t take stupid risks just for the fun of it. That’s when I hear it.
A scream. More screams. Horrible, terrifying screams. And in just a second I’m taken back 11 years. On the night of my 4th birthday when our town was bombed. I wonder why I lived in a town then? Was it like the anti-extinction towns Lyra mentioned, or where we important enough to live on the actual mothership? Would I have lived an ignorant li-
“ELLIE!” I hear a scream far off in the distance, “ELLIE! WE NEED TO LEAVE,” it’s a crazed voice, panicked. Why am I not panicking? I feel like I should. I should scream, too. Then why am I not?
“ELLIE!” Lyra’s face comes into view and I’ve never seen someone so terrified, “WE HAVE TO LEAVE! ELLIE!” she’s shaking me frantically now pulling me out of my trance.
“What’s going on, Lyra?”
“WE’RE GONNA DIE. WE’RE GONNA DIE,” she says shaking and sobbing, “DIE, Die, die.”
“Lyra!” I say panicked, “Lyra, calm down. Tell me what’s happening.”
“OUR BOX GOT BOMBED! Half of it doesn’t even exist anymore,” she whispers, “The only thing that saved us is the emergency wall. We’re lucky it wasn’t damaged. It popped up and blocked us from space. It’s just luck. Lucky. Lucky,” she curls up on the ground and starts rocking back and forth. I don’t know what to do. I can’t comfort her.
Stepping out of the bathroom, I run to the orphanage’s front door and step outside. I can hear Madam Bindles shouting my name in the distance but even she’s too horrified to do anything. As soon as I’m outside, I instantly notice it. A giant metal wall sprung up from seemingly nowhere and divided 915 into two. It’s just as ugly and plain as the rest of the box, but for some reason it’s much more dreadful, like a dark omen lurking in the background, a hunter waiting to pounce. It’s unsettling and I hate it.
I look around and that’s when I notice the door to Box 914. I remind myself of my promise. But there are no guards at the door to the previous box. Don’t break the rules. The door is wide open. Don’t break the rules. The hallway to 914 is empty. Don’t break the rules. The other side is safer. I’m sorry, Jack, I must break the rules. Even if it’s one. Last. Time.
Oh dear, well guess you guys will have to wait till the next chapter comes out. This chapter was slightly shorter than usual but it doesn’t matter cuz it was still amazing. Till Friday. ✨Cya✨
Comment this emoji 😱 if you’re excited for the next chapter. It’s gonna be wild.