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Us and Them

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"Everything you can imagine is real". - Pablo Picasso Set in a dystopian world ruled by the vicious leader Anweald, four friends embark on a journey through dark jungles, crystal ships and unknown lands to find their utopia, or do they?

Other / Fantasy
Holly Buckley
4.0 1 review
Age Rating:

Tomorrow Never Knows

A feeble light shot through a tiny crack in the window. The room was grey, dull, and tired and so was I. I lay there for a moment, which was a rare thing for me to do, as I would usually be woken and tormented by loud clashing of bells and buzzers and the hefty, bulky voice of Anweald through the crackling white box at the corner of the room. I looked at my dry, cracked lifeless hands and began counting the lines. I was always interested in Palmistry, I find it amazing that you can learn so much from the density and position of the creases on your hand. I think I saw a woman doing it once, but that was a long time ago... I think. Agh – It was probably just a dream.

What if this is a dream right now? Woah – stop thinking. Stop.

I lay on my side, my left side and looked at Ilari, my gefera. Both her eyes glued shut, her body tense, full of agitation and fear. Suddenly, her eyes burst open and my heart paused for a moment as the loud resonance of Anweald’s voice swallowed our tiny room. The four of us bolted up, that is myself, Ilari, Ac and Frod, and stood up straight at the end of our beds. Myself and Ilari dressed in our bottle green pinafores, with our thick white turtle necks and stockings. Our gefera-doure’s, Ac and Frod dressed in their milk-white overalls and steel toe bottle green boots. I often wondered why Anweald chose the colour green for our uniforms. Apparently, it is supposed to connote safety and harmony.


“CREATIVITY IS STUPIDITY. CREATIVITY IS STUPIDITY”, echoed the room as Anweald’s morning speech came to a close. I gazed in to Ac’s emerald eyes and he looked back with eyes full of affection. I’m happy that Ac chose me to be his gefera-doure; people respect him because of his green eyes, only three people in Irle have green eyes. Therefore, we happily stay under Anweald’s radar. Frod and Illari are another story, I look at them both and see the strong love they have for each other but with Frod’s history, I knew that Illari wanted a clean start, far away from that hellish place. I admire them both. Sometimes I would wake late at night, to a smothering sound and a vision of a struggling shadow against the wall. It happened often, but Frod never spoke of his whereabouts. I could see the agony in his eyes, but seeing Ilari alive in front of him every morning gives his eyes a new life, like they were repainted and glossed with a thick pigmented layer of chocolate brown.


I pushed open the heavy silver door, and Ac stood there waiting for Illari and I to clock out of our work place which was called ‘NEWSPEOPLE’ and drop off our writings. A long ten hours of writing and thinking finally ended. I was so lucky to share work with Ilari, people in the newspaper business were corrupt people. They were harsh and cruel. If anything was incomplete or incorrect at first glimpse, Anweald would be informed and involved. The crux of this disloyalty sprouted from one of the publishers, Delilah. She was weak, and would do anything for Anweald’s approval. She was the one that would inform Anweald if something was not in order. Last summer Delilah had an affair with a man from the fourth floor. She informed Anweald straight away that he had been sexually assaulting her, she continued with the affair until one day, that man disappeared without a trace. Out of sight, and out of mind without a trickle of guilt. It was not the first-time Delilah had done this to an innocent man. Every so often, Ilari and I would see her in the cafeteria, inconspicuously touching a different man and glaring in to his eyes, slipping a tiny piece of paper into his pocket. Thankfully, someone exposed Delilah’s folly after months and she disappeared too. Some people say that Anweald pushed her deep into the depths of insanity that one day she escaped from wherever Anweald was keeping her and she attempted to walk to the island of Bringlain via the sea.

People involved in the newspaper business are disgusting.

We dropped our final documents into Sir, and washed the ink stains from our palms. Even with all the tough scrubbing, the smell of ink never left us. I was relieved. Finally, I could go home with my geferas and my gefara-doure and relax. Ac looked extremely happy and excited. He smiled eagerly and hurried us in to his little car. Being in the car was dangerous, they were usually bugged with Anweald’s spies listening to every single word, so we would abstain from conversing in the car. The only advantage of being in the car is that no one could see us. It made me happy being in the car because Ac always ruffled my hair with his fingers and stroked my face. It was the only time we could touch.

We arrived home to Frod cooking up some green beans and cabbage – again. He was in a cheery mood as was Ac. It was about nine ‘o’ clock. The sky was navy and purple. The last glimpse of light finally diminished at around 9:07. The room was grey – as always. We sat closely together around the fire nursing our cups of coffee. The sweet smell kissed my nostrils, and I felt at ease. Ac stood up and closed all the windows, blinds and curtains and got the blankets from our beds for us. The floor board creaked loudly as Frod began unscrewing the rusty bolts from a certain plank of wood which had three little cracks that reminded me of the lines on my palm. He reached in to this dark abyss and pulled out our only source of freedom, a book Frod found one day on one of the building sites, buried deep beneath the rubble and glass, there it was, a novel called ‘A Clockwork Orange’. That was three months ago, since then we’ve made it our Thursday night ritual to listen to Frod recite a chapter from it. We were the lucky ones. On Thursday nights, we were safe. Frod reassured us months ago, that Anweald began her nightly check on the East of the city, which gave us three and a half hours of reading, talking, and living without fear. Frod spoke brilliantly, he had a voice that would make a lot money. We loved when he read to us. It was the only source of hope left in our dark, dreary lives. Ac grabbed his satchel and picked out a plastic bag, the excitement on his face was impeccable. He took out three red apples. RED apples. No not green. RED. Juicy blood red like a thousand tulips in the flower fields of the Netherlands. The only other time we would see the colour red would be on Traffic lights or Stop signs. My eyes entered a world of ecstasy. I could not think of words to express that moment of true bliss. He gave two of the apples to Ilari and Frod, and the last and largest one, he gave to me. I felt euphoric inside and excited. I ran over to the cupboard and sliced up the apple for my gefara-doure and I. The knife slid willingly through the apple and little bubbles of juice jumped on to my cracked lifeless fingers. We sat and ate in silence – the silence of satisfaction, my favourite kind of silence.

After that, my memory became blurry. All I could remember was this huge monstrous creature towering over me yelling. I screamed and roared for Ac to help me. I could hear the piercing shrieks of Ilari’s voice followed by massive bangs and thuds. Suddenly, my face became level with the floor, feeling suffocated and vulnerable. I saw Ac with the corner of my eye. He laid there limp on our kitchen floor, like a corpse, a defeated soldier with half an apple still clutched in his fist. It killed me – to see him like that. Blood trailed down his arm and down his forehead. I attempted to move, using any bit of strength I had left. *BANG* I felt a heavy feeling come over me. I turned my head around, there she stood holding - darkness swallowed the room.

Time is a mystery. I don’t know how long we spent in that room, days, weeks, months, I guess we’ll never know. My eyes opened I was puzzled and frightened. I gazed around the perfectly symmetrical miniature dark exterior. It was surprisingly clean except the floor. The floor was smothered, smothered with old memories of others who had previously been here. I wondered where they were. What happened to them? Did they make it? I spent most of my time in a pensive bubble thinking about Ac. I dreamt that his soft words would bless my ears again. Mostly, I thought about a poem, which Ac would recite to me over and over when I was feeling defeated. I closed my eyes and pictured daffodils, dancing freely, bright yellow and full of tranquillity disregarding the hostile albatross. I pondered; this was certainly not a blissful solitude. After a while, however long ‘a while’ was, as I said ‘Time was a mystery’, I was re-united with my gefara-doure. He stood before me, pale white like a porcelain doll, his lucent green eyes shone and sparkled no longer and sunk deeply in to his skull. His eyes full of nightmares. Our bruises and cuts were not healed yet, blood still oozed occasionally from Ac’s forehead. This told me that we were not there long – unless those injuries were fresh, which was entirely possible. It was all very confusing. We did not feel hungry, which was rather surprising because we had no recollection of being fed, ever. We did not speak much as fear not dominated our lives. I felt safe with Ac, just seeing him there gave me hope and gave me courage. Before I slept, which felt like all the time, I thought of Ilari and Frod. I hoped they were okay. I hoped they were together. I wondered would I ever see them again?

The answer was yes.

Our hands were glued together like a locket, a gesture of love and security. The hot golden egg in the clear topaz sky embraced every inch of our skin, giving us warmth. We walked for hours through the bright green grass, giggling continuously without a care in the world. Minute after minute passed and a cacophony of noise still lingered through the air. Today, the monkeys were putting on quite the show. The little gymnasts swung from vine to vine in a fast motion trying to gain our attention. Three evidently older monkeys with fuzzy white beards sat above the rest, like three wise men looking over what they have successfully created, ready to dish out words of wisdom when needed. Ac stood in awe with a massive grin on his face, fascinated by how ‘utterly human’ they were. We skipped away from this loud and crazy din and entered a more peaceful world known as the Asian sanctuary and there we saw them, the most beautiful creatures, the red pandas. Ac and I loved the red pandas, they were our favourite animals to visit at the wildlife park. Their furry faces lit up brightly as they began approaching us crawling from the high bottle green trees where they just finished feasting on exotic leaves and exotic red and purple berries. The mother panda leapt into Ac’s arms in a hugging position slowly followed by two baby twin pandas. Suddenly another one appeared from behind the tree, and another one! I slowly sat down and let them rest in my arms. Cold cinnamon fur as soft as silk rubbed against my cheeks and two pairs of innocent yellowish eyes sparkled with happiness. I could see a family of leopards in the distance out the corner of my eye. They were trapped in a cage which was clearly too small for the great family of five. The infant stared in to my soul and for a moment, I almost felt like –




I woke up, puzzled. A heavy cloud of sleep pressed down upon my head making it hard for me to hold my head up. It felt as heavy as a gigantic boulder. The room was grey. I looked to my left and saw Ac, still asleep. I looked to my right and there was Ilari, rolled up in a tight ball like an armadillo. My poor gefera, she looked like a ghost. I stared at her left leg, it was bright pink and there was barely any flesh left. A sudden weight left my body, I was so glad she was safe and here with us. But then I wondered, what happened to Frod? After a long perpetual silence, Ilari spoke two words, “the horror”. These words cut through my body like a knife. Her voice was cracked and broken, she was cracked and broken. I lay there wishing for the return of normality, even though normality wasn’t even that great. I gazed around the room in search of answers and I saw something I have never noticed before, a window. The window was a small square decorated with cobwebs, watching over me from the top left hand corner of the tall grey room. It did not allow much light in as it was quite small and grey. We were moved to a different room. But when? How did I not notice this before? I hauled myself up with every bit of strength that I had left, leaving out multiple crackly coughs and breaths. I examined the wall up and down. It was possible to climb up due to the cracks in the brick wall. Thoughts meandered through my brain, I just might be able to escape. For the first time in my life, I was experiencing hope. I thought of Dickinson’s poem, “Hope” is the thing with feathers and recited it in my head over and over. She was right.

There was a creek, from the outside, followed by the empty sounds of high heeled shoes meeting the ground echoing through the building. Every step grew larger in sound and came closer and closer until finally the rustling of old chains were heard from outside the massive metallic door. The door swung open and there stood a woman nearly six feet tall with a hideous face. Mountains of black thick serpent curls were swallowing her hideous face, she reminded by of the monster Medusa. I gazed deep in to the black holes in her face in hope I would turn to stone, and this would end. “All right listen and listen good”, she said in a very nasty tone. “You all have been here for three weeks now and it is nearly the sixth of June (this was kind of like Mother’s Day but instead of buying gifts for our mothers, Anweald insisted on being treated) so I’ve decided to give you one luxury item, choose wisely”. Her voice was heavy and powerful, it perpetuated the room and bounced off every corner. I write about this every year for the newspaper, Anweald’s master propaganda plan. A picture is taken of her ‘caring’ for her prisoners by bringing them blankets and delicious food in the cell, this year, it was our turn. “A cup of coffee would be amazing”, Ilari blurted out carelessly. I looked at Ac and his face dropped and filled with anger. We tried to change the order but Anweald would not listen, it was too late. Three weeks living on a cup of water a day and green beans, no blankets, or pillows and barely any clothes and Ilari requests a cup of coffee…

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