Chapter 1: Phoenix Wall's
I stare out the small rectangular window as the green fields and large shining houses pass by. The bullet train is silent except for the dull drum of the train pumping down the metal rails. The inside of the train is posh and elegant the twelve seats in the first status lounge are lined with fine white leather, each handcrafted. The floor of the train is covered with an almost light blue silk carpet giving the compartment a sleek silver finish. Unlike the B-status class which was often full and even overly packed, the first status class or A-status was empty except for me and my travel companion. We were traveling beyond the second wall to the outer boundaries. I could only remember one other time I had been allowed to leave the inner boundaries of the second wall, which held the upper-class citizens including all federal buildings. The lower class or B and C status citizens lived between the outer wall keeping us safe from the mutated and the wall keeping the upper class from the lower.
My hand instinctively pushes my long brown locks behind my right ear. Letting out a small half breath, my eyes wondering to the tall lushes’ tree’s as we passed them. The large wall is always in view anywhere anyone could possibly go, and yet only when you get closer can the eyes make out the many dents, bolts, and other smaller details that do not immediately catch the eye. “Your nervous.” My handler speaks up quietly as if her words would disturb phantom passenger’s around our quiet cabin. My eyes wonder to my small boisterous handler. I stand at the height of five feet and six inches, while she stands five feet on her tiptoes. Even though she presents small and unthreatening with her feminine hourglass figure and long blonde hair now curled perfectly at her shoulder. Her shining hair coupled with her vibrant blue eyes and olive skin made her no doubt the heart throb for every male in her status class.
“I’m not nervous, just preparing myself.” I try to reason but I was in a way scared. I had only left the inner wall once before, long before our civilization had fallen into its overpopulation issues. Back then the houses were quant, and each painted with vibrant colors, but I do not doubt it changed for the worse since the changes in regime and command.
“I received word from your father early this morning, but I thought it was best to give it to you later, if you would like you may read it now?” She tries to comfort me. As my handler she did not necessarily need to do so but over the past year we have spent together she has become more of a sister to me than anything else. Like me she was born into A-status meaning we were part of the small upper class together. She comes from the honorable Judge George Westlake, the chief judge. As such Clare Westlake was the talk of the town, and now the talk of special operation handlers. She was here to watch over me and to keep her eyes on me.
I guess someone could say it was an odd relationship, but I no longer felt odd with her always being by my side but a cold comfort. “I’d rather not hear my dear father’s words at the moment Clare.” I tell her half minded as our body slowly feel the stop of our train at the gate of the inner wall. As cautionary the walls were built with two tunnels on either end of the inner wall, before someone is allowed into the inner bureau’s or out of them the whole train is scanned for any signs of contagion. Another one of the many ways we have protected the lives of every citizen around us. Luckily, the original virus that begun all this has all but been eradicated. The real disease that kept us in the wall’s is the infected or forsaken. Mutated humans now more beast that ravage human is, their saliva, blood, anything of that sort could kill and mutate anyone. I watch as the large metal arms travel down the outside of the train with bright Laser beams shooting through each window. The lasers are meant to detect anyone with the mutated genes in their body. Luckily, I have been given a special concoction to keep the sensors from triggering when they hit me. To distract myself I turn to Clare my eyes falling to her hands scribbling notes into her small black book. When we were first placed together she would always pull the book out and I would spend hours asking her what she was writing, and every time I asked her she simple shakes her head and said ‘Nope’.
“How long will it be before we reach the station, Clare?” I ask her. Clare looks up from her book and peers down at her old watch. “We should have a good hour and a half, that’s including the time it will take for the train to be scanned.” She speaks up her eyes looking up as she calculates how long we still must travel. I pull the lever to my seat allowing for the chair to fold out. I lay down on my back ignoring the annoying bright lights from the scanner. It has been three years since someone is come down with the virus in the twin wall perimeters. I guess you could call it the calm before the storm, it always seemed that years of complete peace and health of the community were followed up by an outbreak or two. The virus now a days was whispered about, a topic meant for dark corners and locked rooms. No one was keeping it a secret but rather it was a fragile topic for those in the cities, every single person lost family or ancestors to the virus. It’s something we all know about and have thumping in the back of our heads when we hear someone sneeze and yet most would rather pretend they had a life of perfection, with no fear of what’s waiting just outside our doors.
As I feel the train begin to move once again and push along into the tunnel that travels through the inner wall, I can feel my eyes grow sleepy as I am lolled to sleep.
Scream’s filled the air as hundreds of people are push past one another all racing to get away from the danger they could never escape. My eyes watch as buildings burn toppling to the ground as its residence scream as their burned alive for help. No one stopped to help, no one cared. They run past fear complete in control as they tackle and attack one another. Suddenly the loud emergency sirens blare out through the sky cutting out the scream of pain and fear. “This is an emergency broadcast from your government of the twin walls, at this moment we are experiencing a code 2 outbreak in sectors 1 through 4, all residence report to you homes or seek shelter while our outbreak specialists find and eliminate the threats.” The siren blares out on repeat. As I stare out the window of the small house placed in the outer sectors, I can hear Aunt Noelle rushing about shutting and locking the doors and windows. My eyes land on it. A mutated as it stands passively breathing heavily. The crowd had dispersed leaving the road deserted and quiet.
I had never seen an infected let alone a mutated. The thing that was once human stands slouched down hits long bloody and matted hair blocking its face. Its body was half clothed its pants ripped and without a shirt. Its bodies pale with its stomach pulled in as if it were starving, my eyes taking it the many cuts and bleeding pus like boils covering its body. I watch it for a while, as the siren continues and houses burn behind it, I gently rest my head on the windowsill as my eyes watch it. Suddenly a group covered in contamination proof suits appear, suddenly the mutated man moves, bolting through the street hungry to spread its disease--”
My eyes bolt open as my heavy breathing and thumping heart trap me in confusion. It takes me a moment to remember where I am. I hated that dream, and yet it was the most peaceful one I have ever had. It usually takes me a moment or so to realize where I am but once I do, I can usually calm my heart and breathing. I push myself back up putting my face in my hands rubbing away the sleep and the nightmare I had moments ago. “30 minute.” Clare says pulling my attention to her. Clare has not moved a muscle from when I had fallen asleep. “What?” I mumble.
“We have 30 minutes before we reach the station.” I nod understanding what she had said.
“The same dream as before?” I say looking up from her small black book.
“Yep” I reply popping the P.
“Hmm, you really should get new nightmares. I’ve grown bored of yours.” She says, scrunching her nose in that small snobby way she does.
“You and me both Clare, I got an Idea, how about you describe yours to me?” I say half heartedly and sarcastically. Clare just looks at me in a bored, way rolling her eyes one hand going to twirl her blonde curls. “I think not. I’d rather not have you in my head.” She replies going back to her black book.
I laugh a little at her off handed insult, “Yeah, I thought so!” I taunt her. That is the thing about Clare, she very easily came off as a posh A-status girl from the inner wall and yet she was a genius in the book’s and with people. She could read anyone fast and easily. Not to say she is not a good fighter because she is but her true skills were with her mind not her fists.
For the rest of the ride I watched out the window as the bullet train pass through the wall and to the outer wall sectors, the contrast between the two was enormous. While the inner wall housed those in the government and A-status and many B-status families the outer wall housed hundreds of thousands of the lower class consisting of C and D-status groups. While the inner sectors held large extravagant houses of the latest models each with large green lawns and gardens, the outer sectors on one half of the sector on the right held housing. Small trailer buildings stacked one atop of the other, small one room huts built out of rubble and old trash. Some look more like huts made out mud and dirt. People liked to call it the ant farm, the place all the workers and lower class citizens lived in a large town built up onto itself of huts and houses made out of old rubble from the old lands with trash littering the streets. On the left side sits the fields, designated farmlands to feed the citizens of the Twin walls.
The fields are each filled with different colored food’s and like always the biggest field and a few smaller ones was filled with the most important commodity, Wheat. The life blood of keeping us alive. The train goes down a large bridge lowering us down from the wall to the ground, Giving us a better view of the large olden time city. Most buildings are ones that existed from before, in the Old lands. As I fall away into my own thoughts, I suddenly feel Clare’s hand on my knee pulling my attention.
“Were here, put on your hood.” She whispers. And so, it all began.