Welcome to Reality
It was the usual monotone color of her room, that overly pale blue color which left no impression, but for some reason, that day, she found it interesting.
As if it had become a habit, she had awaken at around half past five and, not even the exhaustion she felt from going to bed late last night, helped her drift off once more into dreamland.
“In the end, I’d rather be awake than dream about carnivorous snakes..” she concluded, sinking as far as she could into the soft mattress.
However, as if to condemn even more her day, her alarm went off louder than usual. She ought to that that heavy metal sounding alarm, she could no longer tolerate waking up with a heart attack.
Days like this had the tendency to go wrong till the last chime of midnight. Exactly what she felt as she tapped her seatmate on the arm to get her attention.
Her head felt empty, as if a virus was deleting all the data stored inside, her body numb, as if her soul was being sucked out, and her senses flaring, as if she was about to faint.
Like an unstable baby, she walked to the door of the classroom, voices coming and going. She could focus no longer on the world before her, and so she closed her eyes and succumbed to the darkness.
A beeping sound. A cold atmosphere. A soft bed. A heavy heart. Another life.
“That’s right,” she thought, slowly opening her eyes. “...It was all just a game.”
She had been pulled back into her reality. She was no longer a character of that game. She wasn’t going to stare at that monotonous pale blue wall again. She wasn’t going to be called by that name again. She wasn’t going to live that life again.
“Your parents are here to pick you up,” informed a woman. She was most likely in charge of monitoring how the girl was doing in the game and in real life.
There was no need to answer, no need to interact with someone you will never meet again.
As she got up, she noticed just how much her hair had grown while she was out playing the life of another person. Her long boring brown hair, she couldn’t exactly say she had missed seeing it.
Whispering reached her ears, apparently, while she was gone, she had become the gossip of the rehabilitation center.
“It isn’t that much of a surprise... Considering I’ve been in the game for four years,” the teenage girl thought, walking with her head held high.
Her perfectly leveled bangs, trimmed just above the upper eyelids, and cheek-length sidelocks together with her porcelain skin made her silvery-blue eyes stand out even more, and her all overall appearance.
Many would label her as a beauty, while others as just an average girl, claiming they had seen better. It didn’t matter who was right, the girl could care less.
“Miss Kingsbery, your parents are this way,” instructed a man, while gesturing towards a long corridor.
She had no other choice but to follow him, she couldn’t quite place herself at the moment. Fortunately, it didn’t take long to reach wherever they were going.
Cautiously, she opened the door before her and took a step in. As soon as she was fully inside, she was tackled to the ground by a brunette girl.
Being ambushed was not what she had expected, even less was hitting her head so hard on the floor.
“That freaking hurt..” she groaned, sitting up as best as she could.
“I missed you a lot, big sis!” cried the weight on top of her.
She recognized the girl as her 14-year-old little sister Robin, who had grown considerably well whilst she wasn’t round. Though it seems that personality wise she hadn’t changed much.
“I missed you too dummy but... Don’t ever attack me like that.”
The two got up from the floor and hugged each other. They’ve always been close siblings, even with the small three years gap between them.
“Welcome back, dear,” greeted her mother, smiling gratefully at seeing her daughter awake.
Her mother was still the same beautiful person she remembered, slightly older but time had that effect on people.
“It’s great to have you back,” commented her father.
Like always, he was standing right next to his wife, one arm around her shoulder. His fear of her disappearing will probably never be cured, that traumatizing night will haunt him forever, however his young appearance and calm demeanor didn’t let it show.
“Yeah..” her tone wasn’t enthusiastic, she was happy to be back but she was not glad.
Her parents quickly caught onto that, they knew her better than anyone else, however it was also true that they knew nothing of her.
“Let’s go, Helena.”
“I’m sorry...” she thought, sighing inwardly at her own behavior. Her family was there for her, however it was as if she was alone in the world.
She felt incredibly empty, yet she didn’t know why. There was surely something missing from her life, a part of her was missing but she couldn’t remember what it was. Furthermore she couldn’t remember why she had closed herself in the game for that long, there must have been a reason.
Helena forcibly stopped her thoughts at that point, whatever it was, it was stirring her heart in an unpleasant way.
Looking out of the car’s window, she noticed that the world had hardly changed. It didn’t matter that she hadn’t been around for four years, everything was as shining and cold as she remembered.
The buildings built with tons of windows to reflect the many lights of the days, and height so high that they towered over the people. The world was distant, suffocating even. It wouldn’t be a surprise if people felt as if they were living inside a birdcage.
The teenager always found that scenery to be cold. Buildings who couldn’t shiny by themselves were a lonely sight while their impossibly high heights made them seem like detached beings.
“Don’t look out!” shrieked Robin covering her eyes so she could no longer stare at the crude world.
Gently, she placed her hands over her sister’s and removed them. She held her hands in hers, they were extremely warm, alive and delicate.
“It’s alright, Robin. I shouldn’t divert my eyes from the world.”
Her eyes were unbelievably cold as she said that, they were reflecting exactly what she was feeling.
Empty. Cold. Dark. Deep down, she was no longer the sister the girl knew once.
“What truth, big sis?” the younger sister thought distressed. She was tired of just standing on the sidelines as her older sister suffered, even if it meant invading her private space, she was going to do something for her.
The family of four lived in the outskirts of the city, where one could live surrounded by nature in a peaceful environment. The house with many windows, to let in as much light as possible, emerged from the green, blooming near a small artificial river with white and brown bricked walls.
“I will be in my room if you need me,” informed Helena, walking up to the third floor.
The house had three floors: the first consisting of the living area, with living room and dining room; the second with two bedrooms and a guest bedroom, while the third was Helena’s floor. Under normal circumstances, she was supposed to be on the second floor with Robin but due to her powers going out of control very often, it was decided that she should be on the third floor.
“This place is so nostalgic..” the girl thought, closing off all the windows and revealing the starry ceiling. Her parents made it that way so she will be no longer afraid of the dark.
She threw herself on the bed and lied there unmoving for a long period of time, resembling a corpse from how still she was. Eventually she closed her eyes and fell asleep.
“Nice to meet you.”
“I was abandoned by the ‘world’.”
“There is no such thing as ‘love’.”
“I love you.”
“With you, even this ‘world’ looks beautiful!”
“Unfortunately, this is... Goodbye.”
“Stop!” Helena yelled from the deepest corner of her heart. Memories she had no recollection of were trying to invade her mind, and pierce through her already weak heart. Probably her four year confinement were due to her heart breaking for the first time.
Slowly she sat up on her bed and looked around her room, trying to distract herself somehow. A sigh escaped her lips not a second later.
“I really don’t understand why they call it Void when all I can really do is make things float around,” the girl mused as most of the objects in the rooms were flying around.
The items were subject to the second form of her Void, Void of Gravity. Her power had only 3 forms, all very docile contrasting with the catastrophic name her power had been given.
People like her were called Alters, those who underwent a genetic mutation during a catastrophic event 15 years ago. It was not by will nor by the principle of the ‘chosen one’, all those whose immune system was weak or incomplete or nonexistence were affected.
The catastrophic event, which would have been otherwise seen as the most breathtaking and natural event ever, radically changed the world. IK Pegasi, a binary star system of the constellation of Pegasus, had gone supernova 150 years ago, the light of the explosion taking 150 years to reach earth and illuminating the sky for 12 days. While all that was a scientifically-explainable astronomical phenomenon, what began changing the world that day was not something that could be explained by any kind of science.
All over the world, many kids under the age of 12, pregnant women and people affected by autoimmune diseases died in masses, while those who survived developed strange powers.
The rate of survival was unpredictable, no one knew who was going to make it through the night or under which conditions one made it out alive. The only known thing was that whoever came out victorious was definitely going to change the world, in one way or another.
Subsequently the 12 days of new creation, named such by a famous writer who directly went to speak with infected people during the days, a new set of laws were issued especially to keep Alters under control.
Commonly, Alters are considered as an ulterior evolution of humans, trying to adapt to the new environment. Even though it’s already been a century, people are not about to forget that Earth is no longer the one it used to be. The core of the world began malfunctioning, slowing down during the periods in which it is farthest from the Sun and speeding up during the periods in which it is nearest to the Sun. The world united under one government, one language and one name, Heart.
“Sis, dinner is ready!” called Robin from the stairs, since no one was allowed in Helena’s room when she was inside.
Robin as well was an Alter, being victim of the mutation while she was still just an embryo. Her power was called Space Distortion, she could create distortion within space, and it had 3 shapes. For some strange reason she was exceptionally good at controlling it.
“Coming!” the older sister answered.
Eating with the family was something normal for them, yet Helena couldn’t set aside the feeling that something was wrong. Was it because there was a four year gap between them? Whatever it was, it was making her uneasy, she didn’t like it, not one bit.
Sitting at the dinner table and thinking that your parents were strangers? She loathed it.
“What a horrible person I am...” she concluded that the problem was her. Her parents were still the same and her sister, though grown, was still the same as well. The only one who was strange, who was alienated was her.
“Thanks for the food,” Helena mumbled quietly, standing up and leaving the dinner table without another word.
Her room was as quiet and as dark as she had left it, not like she was expecting it to change with her presence there once again. Objects began floating once more as she ventured further into the room, trying to search for her bed.
“Annoying...” she groaned, forcefully cutting the connection with her powers.
All the items fell to the ground, gravity effectively bringing them where they belonged: the floor. The girl suspected some things might have broken due to the sudden impact, but the dizziness that suddenly hit her prevented her from checking.
“Right... Cutting of the powers is something dangerous and only done in extreme cases,” she remembered, quietly falling on the bed. Her body felt heavy, just like it did right before she exited the game.
Slowly she closed her eyes to the world, not thinking of anything in particular. She was simply going to sleep, yet it felt like she was locking herself up in a fantasy world.