Chapter 1: A Yearning
Two grey round eyes yearning with youth darted back and forth the empty space, gleaming with curiosity. The young child cocked her head staring at the barrier in front of her, twirling and playing with a strand of shockingly white hair in her pale hands. After quickly looking both ways, the girl sneakily reached out her hand towards the clear casing surrounding her and reached out to it, rapidly poking the translucent skin. A small giggle erupted out of the child as the material in front of her switched from opaque to see through with each poke.
“Kai, you silly girl, you know you aren’t supposed to mess with the wall!” reprimanded a young woman appearing from behind the giggling child.
With a swoop, the little girl was wooshed into the air, face to face with her scolder.
“What have I told you about-” scolded the woman, putting on her best serious face to the child squirming in her outstretched arms. As the older girl began speaking, the child had stopped her squirming and sucked in her lips, squinting her eyes while putting her fingers on the bridge of her nose, imitating the face in front of her.
“Heh. I can’t even get angry at you, ya little cutie. Still, Kai you’re getting too old to be acting like this. At some point you aren’t going to persuade me to get yourself out of trouble. ” chuckled the young lady before patting the child on the head, who in turn rapidly shook her head in fury.
“Well, I gotta go, I have work soon.” Kylin said, dropping her sister to the ground.
As the young woman turned to walk away, she felt a tug on her forehead. Turning around, she saw Kai yanking on the waist length white braid dangling on her back.
“Kyky can I can I can I come with you to get food please? I’m old enough? Right? Right?” the girl badgered, clasping her hands and widening her eyes.
“You aren’t even 8 years old yet Kai, dream on. Besides, it’s only my second day.” scoffed Kylin, batting her younger sister away with her hand. Kai let out a huff of air and slumped to the ground, twisting her face into a scowl.
“Aww, you never let me do anything fun. Whatever, I can do it by myself” Kai complained, mumbling the last sentence under her breath.
“Just promise me you won’t try it yourself, ok? It can be really dangerous.”
Kylin pushed herself off of the wavy, shimmery floor, wobbling slightly, before patting her sister’s messy mop of hair. After flicking a piece of Kai’s hair, Kylin reached her arms to the sky, trailing her fingers against the clear ceiling to the sky above, reaching for something she couldn’t quite put to words. The sun glared at her, pulsing the rays of light and warmth Kylin knew she would never experience first hand. With that thought, she abruptly snatched her hand away from the tingling surface.
“Um Kyky, you okay?”
Brisking turning her head, Kylin saw Kai’s grey eyes widen with worry and concern. Kai had always had a knack for cheering someone up, even as a babe. She would grasp a teary person’s hand with her stubby fingers and beam a toothless smile. The people would always forget their worries and tenderly smile at the joyful infant. Even though she did get a bit more troublesome as she learned to walk and talk, she’d always stop to comfort people, especially her sister.
Unknowingly Kylin realized her hands were tightly clenched at her sides. Slowly unclenching them, she forced her mouth to curve up in resemblance of a smile. She blinked out the tears slowly forming at the ends of her eyes.
“Yeah, yeah...of course. Now off you go, ok, I- I’m busy.”
“Y-yep. Anyways, isn’t it time for you to go to school?” Kylin glanced at the necklaces that everyone in Oblicity kept on their neck. She grabbed the metal oval at the end of the silver chain and glanced nonchalantly at it. Even from here, she could hear the ticking sounds. These sounds were everywhere, being one of the few background noises in the city.
“Instead of playing with the bubble, you should have gotten ready to go! It’s 8 already, doesn’t the daycare pass by this area in 15 minutes?” Kylin called out, shaking her head and making tsking noises at the shocked child.
Kai frantically pressed her elbow at the wall, causing the area to darken to an opaque grey. She hurriedly yanked off her grey sleeping cloak, tossing it to rippling ground. Briskly walking a few steps, she picked up a wrinkled pair of clothes on the ground and sniffed them.
“Uh...Kylin I don’t think this is clean...” muttered Kai, holding the white tunic and trousers by the tip of her finger.
“What do you mea- Oh my, Kai...”
“Ok, ok, just put them aside to get cleaned. You have an extra pair, right?”
“Oh right! Can you take care of it for me?”
Kylin walked over and grabbed the musty smelling clothes off Kai’s finger and gently placed it on the ground. Kai grabbed a new set of clothes, sighing, as her sister scooped a handful of the soft translucent ground. She stretched the wobbling material in her hands, focusing intently. With the actions performed in the ease of someone who had done it countless times before, Kylin shaped a circular, thin clear skin around the discarded clothing. After evening out any wrinkles in the skin, she pushed herself off of her knees and grabbed the bubble she had created.
“Ok, take this to the Oblicion on your way home if you can, if not I’ll do it later.” Kylin announced, throwing the clear sphere of clothing at Kai, who promptly caught it.
“Thanks Ky- look the school is here! Gotta go!”
Approaching the two sisters’ home was a large bubble, made of the same materials and shape as their home. As it approached closer and closer, one could make out a sea of messy shoulder length white hair and attentive grey eyes inside. An adult stood inside the bubble, her white hair in a pristine bun, the wrinkles on her face sagging with age. She stood in front of a group of children that halfheartedly listened to her speak. Two girls lounged on the ground already fast asleep, while another child began to shape little stick figures from the moldable bubble ground. The elderly teacher turned, and seeing Kai, waved, broadly grinning.
Kai walked in the direction of her approaching school, with a bubble containing her dirty school uniform in her hand. The bubble full of students slowly approached the bubble in which Kai awaited, before merging together and spitting out a white glob to the Outside. As it merged, a small tunnel formed between one bubble and the other. With a wave to Kylin, Kai walked into her school, grinning at her fellow classmates.
Soon after, the bubble split from Kylin’s own and Kai’s own bubble. Kylin strained her eyes as she watched the daycare slowly drift away in its scheduled path in the sky.
“I guess it’s just me now.” declared Kylin, throwing herself to the ground. Her father and mother were both working, as most parents were in the city of Oblicity. Sakey, Kylin’s mother was a school teacher, while her father, Hoan worked for the Oblicion.
However, although she took pride in her father’s job, many of her friends and their families had no knowledge of what her father did. Being in the Oblicion was not something the majority of the 1,500 citizens in Oblicity were familiar in, or cared to be familiar of. The Oblicion was the head of the city, where the mysterious ancient founders met with families to give out the supplies for the week. The clothing on their skin, the school systems, and much more was all organized by this secret committee. While only certain people were able to work for the Oblicion, like Kylin’s father, the group of people who signified the Oblicion itself were much more secretive. All Kylin, and even the majority of Oblicity’s citizens knew was that the Oblicion were quite old, old enough to have come from The Down Below, a well known controversial myth.
The Down Below was both scoffed at and pondered at by many. School children whispered what they knew to others in hushed voices, and adults would casually talk about it in bed when the sky was dotted with stars. While not everyone believed in the idea, most of the members of Oblicity knew what it was, even if the Oblicion forbade talking about it in public.
The Down Below was a strange world of vibrant colors, colors that did not exist in Oblicity. What Kylin found most interesting about the myth was the idea that the people, known as humans, looked vastly different from each other. Some had curly hair, some had short hair, and some had no hair at all. Skin wasn’t just the pale, white skin that people in Oblicity had, but a variety of shades. Instead of floating in the sky, people walked on a solid surface that never ended. The hardest part to believe, however, was that these humans lived in large solid places that never moved, out of solid material found from the surface. At this point many people stopped believing the myth, calling it nonsense. Even people who were interested in it still didn’t really believe it, thinking it as more of an interesting story to tell if one was bored.
Occasionally it would be used as a careless threat to younger children, with parents telling their kids that they would throw them to the Down Below if they misbehaved. What confused most of the people of Oblicity is the fact that the Oblicion were filled with so much hatred against what was just a myth.
Kylin turned over on her stomach and pressed her face to the clear ground beneath her. She focused her eyes down below, sighing when realizing all she could see was an endless amount of blue sky. Was she that hapless believing in a silly bedtime story?
On an impulse, she stuck her hand into the ground, sinking it deeper and deeper into the bubble, suddenly stopping halfway through the ground. After yanking her hand out, she sighed. Don’t be stupid, she reminded herself. She could always go out in the orbs like a usual person could. Besides, it wouldn’t even have worked anyways.
She took a quick glance down at the desperate hole she tried to dig. It had already began fill back in as if there was never there in the first place. Although she was curious, she knew she should never even think about seeing if the myth was true. It would do no good to believe in a lie, no matter how interesting it seemed. Besides, she was happy living with her family, living a calm and peaceful life. Right? She had everything here, and what good would it do to hurt the odds? Yes, she was fine. Instead of dillydallying what she should be doing is getting ready to start her job and ignore her impulses.
Yet somewhere, deep inside, was this unexplainable tingling feeling that she knew she couldn’t hold in for much longer.