I sit in class listening to the digital teacher giving us instructions. An odd combination of noises run through my mind, I like it whatever it is. Quietly I mimic the stream of noises. People turn their heads and look at me with confused expressions.
“Claire what are you doing?” Someone asks.
“Nothing.” I stop entertaining myself to sit and wait for this session to be over.
“Class you are dismissed.” The teacher states in a monotone voice. I rush out the door and to the dorms, I’m sick of everyone thinking I’m strange just because I’m different.
Recently I’ve come across the words music and book. I don’t quite understand what they are, and when I asked my tablet it just shut down. I’m completely baffled as to what these objects could be, if they even do exist.
I walk down the hallway to my assigned dorm. A few girls walk past me, they are all dressed in their allotted pajamas. Everyone turns to look at me, in a world where fitting in is everything standing out isn’t fun. When I reach my room the door automatically recognizes my DNA and opens. A cool breeze blows into the room, I don’t remember opening the window, in fact I’m one hundred percent sure I never touched it this week. The distinct sound of the sink brings me back to reality.
“Hello?” Hello? Really? I can definitely see where this is going, ever seen a horror movie Claire!? I walk cautiously into the bathroom. I shriek as I spot a boy washing his bloody knuckles in my sink.
“Shh be quiet!” he demands.
“Why are you in here? And how did you get in here?” behind me I grab the curling iron.
“You’re not going to hit me with that so you can put it back down. If you’ll be patient I will explain everything.” He rubs his hands with a bar of soap. “Freakin’ cement building.” He mumbles under his breath. He splashes his face with water before turning the faucet off. “Oh, I’m Jaxon, nice to meet you in person Claire.”
“How do you know my name?” I back away from him.
“As I said this whole situation is a very long story so you’re going to have to cooperate with me.” Jaxon crosses his arms over his chest. He walks past me to the bedroom. “Where do I begin?” he sits down on my bed. “Have you noticed you’re different? Well I definitely did, I was looking through your government’s data base system when I found you on the close watch list, which is basically a program designed to tell government officials when you have even the slightest idea of something you shouldn’t. Crazy thing is you’re the only one on there, you’ve been on there for years now, so I monitored you for a while. I looked through your searches and found you’ve been looking for forbidden pieces. Forbidden pieces are books, music, art, and paper and so on. Your government believes everyone should be the same and if those pieces are given to the public the entire population would be different. They also believe that if the people are different that they’re much harder to control and contain. If I’m right you searched music and books last week correct?” I nod “So that means you’ve searched nearly every forbidden piece and that has put you on a high risk alert, one more unique move and you’ll disappear. Disappear as in bye, bye Claire.” He pauses to adjust his black hair “Basically come with me or die here.”
“You still haven’t explained how you got in my room.” I state blankly. This is all too much to take in.
“The window, you left it unlocked.” He pulls his hoodie over his head. “Are you coming with me or are you staying?”
“I don’t have any time to think about it?” I ask with horror. For all I know this guy could be lying to me.
“Die or come. Your choice, I’ll give you ten minutes.” Only ten minutes? Death, or leave all that is familiar with this strange guy who broke into my room and hacked the government’s system?
“How do I know you’re not lying?”
“You don’t, you’ll just have to trust me, but judging by the way you clutched the curling iron you don’t trust very easily.”
“You said one more unique move, so I can still live right?” I ask hoping he’ll confirm it.
“Yeah, but you can’t change who you are, they’ll find another trait or they’ll decide you’re too much of a threat and eliminate you.” He stares at the carpet “Six more minutes.”
“I’m going to try to stay.” I answer, this is my best chance. I can be normal, how hard can it be?
“Fine then, I’ll write you a nice eulogy.” He walks towards the window.
“What is a eulogy? And what is writing?” I question, he laughs.
“Oh gosh Claire, you’re a goner. Bye have fun dying.” He slips out the window and into the blackness of the night. I’m not going to die. This is all just a prank that the guy’s section brewed up to scare me.
I get dressed in my plain pajamas and lie in bed. I can’t clear my mind of what Jaxon said, he has to be lying. He has to.
Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. I peel my eyes open, someone is knocking on the door, its probably Jaxon coming to tell me about his elaborate joke.
“Claire wake up you idiotic girl!” Someone whispers into my ear “Get up we have to go now!” Jaxon tugs me out of bed. “You’re going to die if you don’t get up! Okay so you might be mad at first but you’ll thank me later.” He pulls his hand back and slaps my cheek.
“Owe! What did you do that for jerk?” I groan as he pushes me through the window. My hands slip and I fall into the bushes beside the building, he lands beside me.
“Hurry! Can’t you run any faster?” Jaxon tugs me towards the train station. “When I say jump you jump into one of the open carts okay?”
“Okay!” We approach the moving train at a sprint. There’s a single open cart.
“Jump!” Jaxon orders, I do as I’m told. I hit the metal floor on my shoulder, a wince of pain escapes my mouth. “You are so stupid! Why didn’t you come with me last night? I got halfway home when I got an alert that the government marked you as a threat!” he sits against the wall. I don’t say anything I just sit on the opposite side, holding my arm to my body. “Now we have to sit in this cart for three hours, I hope you don’t need to pee. Darla is going to be so mad at me.” He runs a hand through his hair. Now that I have time to study him, I find his features highly attractive. All the boys I’ve ever seen in my lifetime haven’t been nearly as appealing. His hair is jet black, almost so black that it nearly gleams blue. “What?” Oh, I’ve been looking at him too long.
“Where are we going? My life has been perfectly normal and then all of a sudden some weird cute guy breaks into my room and tells me all these strange things. Then he wakes me up the next morning, slaps me and forced me onto a moving train. All I want to know is where we’re going.” I wipe a tear off my cheek.
“Somewhere far away from here. If they find you they’ll kill you and anyone else that knows.” He looks away from me at the passing landscape. There’s not much outside of the city, mostly dead trees and oddly colored grass. It smells of dirt and clean air.
“You didn’t answer my question very well.” I grumble unhappily.
“You’re government isn’t the only one. Only they don’t know that.” His dark eyes come back to mine. “From now on, I watch over you. You’re my responsibility, almost as if I’m your parent.”
“What is a parent? Some sort of guard?” I stare at him.
“A parent. Is someone who raises you, they take care of you and make sure you’re healthy and cared for.” He answers as though it was obvious information.
“Like a caretaker?” I ask, a slow smile crosses his lips.
“Yeah sort of.”
“Can you tell me more?” I lean towards him with enthusiasm.
“What do you want to know?” He pulls his hoodie over his head.
“What is music?”
“Music is a sequence of noises that are pleasing.” He lays down on the metal and rolls towards me “You want to hear some?”
“So it’s not an object?”
“Nope.” He pulls out a tablet and ear buds “Here” gently Jaxon places one inside my ear. He messes with the screen. He’s right it does sound rather nice. I have the urge to move around somehow.
“Why do I want to move to this? What is that?” I turn towards Jaxon, he laughs at me.
“That’s dancing, you want to dance.”
“Can you teach me how?” I shift closer to him.
“Not now, maybe later.” I can’t help but to smile.
“Okay.” I rest my back against the cold steal. We sit in silence, the wind makes a peculiar noise as it passes by almost like whistling.
“You have a long record of humming, they don’t like it when people hum.” He states out of nowhere.
“Humming?” I raise my left eyebrow at him.
“Yeah, like you make noises that sound like music in your throat.” His opaque irises study me.
“I did it this morning. That’s probably why they came for me…” I stare blankly at the opposite wall as the puzzle pieces fall together. I pull my knees into my body.
“Hey, it’s better now. You’re safe.” He reassures me.
“Am I safe Jaxon? Am I safe when they’re still after me? Are you safe?” I run my hand through my hair. “I may not know much but I know enough to understand that I’m a ticking time bomb, when they find me I destroy everything around me.”
“Don’t worry about me. You’ll be safe I promise. I’ll keep you away from harm.” He responds quietly.
“I just don’t understand, why are you doing this you’re going to get hurt.”
“Because I couldn’t leave you back there knowing you were going to die okay.” His tone becomes slightly angry.
“Because I know what it’s like when someone innocent is killed because they knew something they shouldn’t and it was my fault!” he shouts, his breaths are deep and rapid. I attempt to shrink into the corner. “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to yell.” He puts his face in his hands “It’s just a sensitive subject.”
“I’m sorry I asked.” I whisper, he turns towards me.
“Are you frightened? I wouldn’t have hurt you.” He shakes his head. “You’re tired just get some sleep.” I curl up in a ball, my feet touching the wall.
+ + +
Rut. Tuckt, Tuckt, Tuckt. My eyes flutter open, the entire cart is vibrating.
“We’re slowing down.” Jaxon explains. The top of my head is pressed against his thigh, last I checked I fell asleep against the wall. “I’m taking you directly to my house, if anyone asks you’re new to town. The less everyone else knows the better off they’ll be.”
“Thank you for this.” I sit up with my back against the wall.
“Look” He points towards a cluster of buildings.
“Which dorm do you live in?”
“I don’t live in a dorm, I live in a house.”
“In the country side. We have another hour or so until we get to the city and drive there.”
“Who is Darla?” I remember him mentioning something about her earlier.
“My sister, you’ll love her.” His features turn soft as he talks about her.
“What is love?” My head tilts to the side.
“It’s hard to explain. It can’t really be defined it has to be felt.”
“Oh okay, sorry if I get annoying or sound stupid.” I can feel my face heat up with embarrassment.
“You don’t sound stupid.” The train comes to a stop. Jaxon jumps out of the cart and onto the soil. “Come on just jump.” I push myself to the edge and fall off, barely landing on my feet. I follow him to a sort of contraption. “It’s a truck.” He opens one of the sides for me, I get inside.
“Much more comfortable than a train.” I state.
“Yeah much more.” He closes the open door on my side to get in on the other side. “Prepare for thirty minutes of driving by cows.”
“Cows? Like real cows?” My eyes widen.
“Yeah, moo, cows.”
“I’ve never seen an actual animal in real life.”
“Never?” He asks, as though that’s the most bizarre thing he’s ever heard.
“Only pictures.” I stare out the window. Small blobs of color turn into black and white cows. I can hear Jaxon laugh as I stare in amazement.
“Who knew seeing cows could make you so happy?” the window begins to go down. “Watch stick your hand out into the air.” I pull my arm away from my side to hold it outside the truck. The cool air blows against my skin, I move my hand to change the winds movement through my fingers. Who knew life could be like this?
Jaxon turns into a patch of dirt in front of a small building.
“This is a house, this house is mine, and yours now too.” He explains. He steps onto the wood porch. “If you liked the cows you’re really going to love this.” Jaxon opens the door. “Dash.” He calls. A large dog races towards the door, its tongue hanging out of its mouth. “This is Dash, Dash this is Claire.” I gape at the hairy miracle. “You can touch him, he likes to be pet.” I look at Jaxon for conformation before I run my hand over Dash’s smooth fur. “Are you hungry?” I shake my head no.
“Jaxon? Where have you been all night?” A girl asks from inside the house.
“Places Darla.” Jaxon answers he cringes as she walks in.
“What places?” She questions further, her long blonde hair is pulled into a ponytail. She turns towards me, finally noticing I’m here. “Have you been with a girl all night?”
“No, not exactly.” He grins.
“What’s your name?” Darla asks.
“Claire.” I respond She turns towards Jaxon.
“Claire? As in Claire, Claire?” She shakes her head “I would say you are stupid but I’m pretty sure you already know Jaxon.” She looks at me “I’m Darla, this idiot’s sister.”
“Nice to meet you Darla.” I greet politely.
“I’ll start dinner.” She says.
Author Notes: I would like as much feedback as I can get, I'd like to know if I should continue or not.