ASHIRA *story of the future*


Imagine paradise,for a second, now imagine chemicals to soothe and escape your real world’s conditions. Conditions we’d forgotten about. They would watch over us, and in our child-like complacency, we could care less about where we were, or where we were going. Famously wealthy to the elects glaring down at us from their heaven. We stuffed our mouths with lies, prostrated ourselves to billboards, and blindly traded history for a lie and a prison.

For many years, Meridia has existed a floating world amidst tranquilized oblivion. My mother taught me many things about life after the wars. She spoke of a radical group, League of Dreams, who were growing in numbers. We rarely talked about religion, and we never brought up my father much less did I know his name or location. In this unwanted realm of constant flooding and ghetto technology, I was free to be myself. Still, there was always something innately calling to me. I would rebel—it was buried deep down to the core of my humanity, calling me forward.


This is one of the dreams I had as a little girl. I am standing on the edge of a high stone cliff, overlooking a vast blue ocean. A warm breeze tousles my hair, and suddenly a voice rises within me. It is as if the voice is breathing, singing, and crying all at once. The voice whispers, “You are the daughter of destiny.” A rush of calm settles over me. At once I fall to my knees, and tears start streaming down. The tears are everywhere, and they’re falling from the sky, becoming light.

Meridia was built upon the ruins of the most advanced technology known to mankind after the wars. It expands over the Atlantic ocean. Once a safe zone for weapons, left untouched for many years for those who have opt to wait out the re-habitation…I have two siblings. Molly was shorter than me, with short dark brown hair and freckles. I do not have freckles. Molly was the opposite of me in every way you can think of, aside from sharing my birthday in the month of July. My brother’s name was Bobby. All I know is that my father left for the military right after I was born in Meridia. It’s normal for fathers to abandon their families, no matter the race or class.

Bobby grew to be taller than Molly, even though he’d be the youngest in the family. He always loved to be spoiled. His hair was jet black hair, and on his cheeks were zillions of freckles. He also liked the color blue, like the ocean. My mother, Janet, was beautiful. She looked like an older version of me. My name is Sarah and I am the oldest of my two siblings.

This story begins with an important meal, as it would be our Last Supper together. One hot summer day, we were all getting ready to have dinner together. Bobby was gathering the utensils, Mom and Molly were out looking on the deck catching seashells, and I was getting water from the water pump. We were about to sit down, when a strange machine rose out of the ocean outside the dock. This machine was full of men in dark swim- suits with flashing armbands and bright orange helmets.

I remember how they had filed out one by one and then chaotically barged into the house. Bobby was put into handcuffs and commanded to sit on the couch. Then Janet was interrogated by an officer of some-sort an identifier, our stricken economy, and about her failure to participate and support those who needed us most. The phrases were alien to me, such as: consumer-capital and passcode.

I heard a scream. Then an angry male voice shouting. Then more screaming and cries for help, but I couldn’t make out from who. My mind was going dark, the screams seemed to reach everywhere, from every house, windows were shattered. People screamed. Mothers cried. And I couldn’t see my mother. The room was full of black smoke. My ears and eyes burned. Then a felt a thump, as someone dragged me by the shoulders out onto the pavilion. I feared everyone was dead. When I woke up I wretched into a bucket, my eyes refocused as mom bent over to hold me said that every male, including boys no matter how young, were taken away from Meridia.

They took my brother away. I knew we would never see him again. I wanted to understand. I cried at nights thinking, praying. I
would tell Mom that I wanted to participate. I knew that the war was all the mattered. The war for resources like petroleum, crystals, gold, diamonds, everything and more. There is an old saying which is that, “God shelters everyone, even the scum.” I knew that even though I’d never seen one; that the giant spider machines and planes also had to be a part of this foreign world I had never seen.

I saw it all in my head. Spiders, planes, big oil monsters gobbling up the ocean. In these nightmares I also saw my brother, Bobby.
He was standing in the wreckage of a battle. White crosses and rubble followed him everywhere he went. He would sit in one of these giant machines, and he would watch another free society go up in flames. Because burning bodies were the price-tag attached to his future, he forgot all about his family.

CHAPTER TWO: The New Foundation

Three years later and their economy rapidly transformed. Where ordinary citizens could at last rush to the top and stare down at their minions. The Great Foundation prospered and was branded into every essence of life.

The Great Foundation was written in 2019 as an outline of President L. Herbert’s dream of a peaceful utopian world. One where no
war or violence existed. He wanted to rewrite history and shape the minds of every living body on earth. Yet the crazed religious suicides, anarchist violent anger, and overall dissent sparked by the informed, crazy, enlightened or just plane revolutionary had not been enough for the wealthy. The Great Foundation was supposed to so many things.

Instead, a great awakening turned into endless tyranny and eventually silence. For soon those elect few decided that they were God-chosen to sweep this planet of her soul. Believing it was their time to quell the fever of freedom and rise of rebellion, they would
deal an unforgotten blow to this dissent, and pave their golden paradise with the death of the millions of resisters. Those chosen few went unscathed, and yet all would soon turn and beg for their salvation as this mass epidemic of sickness swept the planet and nearly
destroyed all life.

And so the earth was remade. When the survivors couldn’t take it anymore, they begged on their knees to the Royal Elect to be saved. Then taken in to the remaining hospitals to be brainwashed, conditioned, and “cured”. Some few would pay millions for a BlackMarket cure, and a very few would steal the formula, forever in hiding until their children left them into the world happily.

"The only price for truth is our happiness, and to get happiness we pay for perfection,” once said a great and powerful member of The League of Dreams. I could go on for decades about how we became so corrupt, but I must continue my story. It was nearly four years after my brother was kidnapped from Meridia, that we learned of the threat. The kidnappers were coming to “save us” and we needed to flee as far as we could in hopes of getting away from what the citizens seemed to want: a perfect life. All the roads that makeup the highways are intended for "upper class travel” only. Much too expensive for us outcasts to afford.
They are for the factory owners and military police. The rest of us? Well, if you’re bound through RFID INK, you are allowed to participate in some of society.
Though, you cannot travel without a Lead who has that Official Clearance.

Even worse, if you are not legally bound through RFID INK. you cannot get a job, and are not allowed anywhere in society
because you are an outlaw. This is how the new system works and if you are not wanted in the system or unable to enforce it, you’re an outcast. It is out of their mercy that they won’t kill us. Of course, we don’t want to be citizens anyways. That’s why my mother
moved to Meridia. Outcasts here had joined together and formed a free society away from The Great Foundation’s.

Instead of using money, we use the old method of trading one resource for another. So, thus began our journey to the very place we feared and hated. My mother bought us tickets to board a large boat which would carry us across the water to The East Coast of
AMERA. t was so dark inside the ship, but at night I swore I saw a star. We were very scared that once we got to AMERA, they would
send us back home. The air was cool at night, but our hope warmed us and our curiosity seemed to keep the tears away. We were leaving, alone. Two young girls, outcasts, with no idea of where we were going.

There was always a hope that “The Goddess” was still striving within me. The beat of my heart pounded with the rhythm of the ocean. I knew I would find peace. It went Crash, crash, crunch, crunch, thump thump. We were carried like baby crabs out into the threatening sea. We would have had more time to prepare if we had known sooner. But, news caught on slowly to Meridia. How could these horrible men be coming again? This time in search of not just little boys, but young girls to fight their wars. “They’re stealing our
children!” I had overheard my mother exclaiming.

"Men and women are once again equal in the eyes of the military.”

This was the big headline all over the news. It had been a law for years that because it was only a woman who could have children,
women had to take up their responsibilities and leave the worker life to take care of children.

After the boys were well taught, “the disciplined young men” would be sent off to work and their mothers would spend the rest of
their lives finding a suitable home for their sons to come home to. The wife would then take care of the kids and so on and so on. The problem was that most men in those days were finding it too inconvenient to settle down, they were always on call or traveling. So now since fewer women were having children, fewer soldiers were out on the battlefields protecting profit and defending the future. That was when a genius thought up a solution to this little glitch.

“It is brilliance, pure brilliance, if I do say so myself!” said The Great Foundation’s Step Lord Roth Branes, “Now, I’m going to
give you all a great Bible Lesson, though some of you have heard it many times before. In the beginning, God created two separate bodies to live together in the Garden of Eden. They were called Adam and Eve and they lived in ultimate perfection. And, it was through the great fruit of knowledge that we learned to think for ourselves. Some have said that God told us not to eat the fruit as a test.

Well it was! It was a test of human strength! The strength to know the importance of sacrifice for happiness. The fruit was our creation,
and the fruit was also our initiation. Remember that all our greatest wars were fought because we knew that our right to freedom outweighed everything else. We knew that if we could win against Satan, as we all know it is the enemy of progress, that we would
have our Garden of Eden. Well, my friends, where does all my talk fit in? Well, today marks our first step towards getting back to theGarden of Eden.

It has been a very long time that men have forgotten to share the fruit of our knowledge with the female kind. We declare that from this day onward, all females will have all the rights of men! Every single law shall be amended for young females and boys. No longer
will a man be forced to leave his loved ones for battle or leave his children forever. Together we will march, side by side, man and
female; fathers and sons will be armed with love for the females will join in our great victory. When the evil enemy has died, our bonds will not be broken. United we are one. We are one! Now I invite our female sisters to come taste of the fruit and rejoice in salvation.”

CHAPTER THREE: The Great Foundation

It was still morning when we made it to the coast of AMERA. The coolness felt more comforting than the night before, and yet waking up in a foreign place left us feeling so empty, lost, and gone. We were like abandoned sea shells. Where was that creature inside of us? Had it been swept off in the storm? We were so afraid of being caught. So we did as we had planned all along, and jumped out of the boat to swim unnoticed to the shore.

We were lucky because it was too dark for anyone to see us. And although Meridians were allowed to travel to AMERA, there was a price that we weren’t willing to pay for this legal travel. It was six miles when we finally made it to the beginning of the highway.
They would not expect their missing passengers here.

You had to be crazy traveling without a license, but where else would we go? We wanted to make it out as far as we could from where they would find us. We were going to find the last free settlement. There, we would be safe. Or at least we hoped. Back then we didn’t know all of this, of course. We had a map and the words, flee or die, still fresh in our minds.

“How much further do we have to go to get to the nearest gas station?” Molly asked.

“We have seven miles to go.”

There were many more gas station cities then. Molly, being my younger sister, had never heard of such a thing. She was afraid, but determined to survive.

“When are we going to ever see mommy again?” Molly had asked between sobs.

“Soon,” I would say, “As soon as we can get out of this place.”

I knew inside, and she knew deep down, that there was barely a chance of ever seeing her again. No one caught us from the time we left till we made it to the gas station.

The trucks were lined up and men were unpacking. Molly and I were to try and get into one going south. But Molly insisted on
going to the bathroom. I admit, my bladder was about to burst. Molly did well going in and out without being noticed, but my features were easily caught and a man behind the counter took me back for questioning.

This is it, I thought, there is no way I can make it out of this one. I told him I was lost. “Why, a girl so young away from home?”

“Who is your mother?”

“No. No, I don’t have a mother,” I lied.

He said he would let me go, for a price.

“Work for me for a few days, and I’ll forget this ever happened…” Then he smiled a big yellow smile.

I had to go along and I felt sick. I secretly hoped Molly would wait for me. But every time I kept trying to go out he wouldn’t let me leave. I had to work if I was to escape ever. Because if I didn’t, he would make one call and they would send me, mom, and the whole of Meridia to prison. I became a slave to him. I had to work all day and half a night. No one else had to work as much as I did. I
would cry at first, every night, thinking of my sister, Molly. She was my sister. She was the only person I had left. She was my family.
She was gone.

I was scared and alone. I spent my days toiling away like some slave girl. I mixed and poured chemicals and substances into the water.
I began operating their new highly technological machines. In this daily routine I supplied my lonely days with smells from the sea substituting the smell of chemicals, gasoline, and smoke.

When I stocked the shelves, I secretly held the seashore freshener close to my nose. It smelled artificial and made me nauseous,
but I craved the smell so much. When the boss was out, I would pull out the air freshener from under the cash register and silently
daydream of the sea.

I had gotten so used to the patterns of work and the shifts, but most of all I think the fumes really got to my head. I began to forget nearly everything about my home and my past life. Time simply slipped away. I just knew that I really like that smell. I longed for it and craved it.Then one day I woke up and the smell was gone. I searched in vain for anything recognizable. I had lost my sense of taste and smell! My mind felt empty all the sudden. I had to get out. The fear of losing my senses had woke me up. I hadn’t known how long
I had been there but I knew I had to get out.

I walked out the door of my bedroom, out of the office, and stood for awhile in the middle of one of the lots until I finally
remembered. Inside the doors, all my answers were inside those truck doors. I was about to try to find out how to get in when a car full of teenagers spotted me. They told me to get in the car. I figured that maybe I should, if only to find Molly. So I climbed into the back
seat. I was cramped with two young women and in the front were two young men. The women were much older than I was and kept asking me questions.

“Who are you,” they asked and then, “Where did you come from?”

I didn’t remember. They were a little unsure about my honesty. At first they didn’t trust me and thought I was odd. But, when the guy in the front asked me how long I had been at that place and I said, “As long as yesterday and tomorrow and forever,” they realized
that I had been a prisoner. So they gave me some magical candy.

“It’s good for you,” they said.

I got really happy and soon we were laughing and talking together. We were all high, I guess. I fell asleep for a good while and when
we stopped again I was awake and feeling nauseous again. I was truly better, they told me, and sure enough I could remember

“It’s the laughter,” they said. “It’s really good for the soul.”

I had never heard of a soul before. Mother never told me of a soul. “What is a soul?” I asked.

"Oh. Well… it is your will, your freedom, your…you. It’s the reason you’re here. Nothing can stop you because of it.” The driver,
Hal, said this with such uncanny certainty.

“You mean like the ocean?” I asked him.

“The ocean, well, kind of like the ocean…I guess.” Hal got quiet then and I didn’t feel like asking any more questions.

I had had enough of the candy after that, and when I had a drink of that special water, my sister was all that came into the forefront.
“Where is my sister? Does my sister also have a soul? Maybe she escaped. Could she have been caught? Where is my sister?”

After awhile, I got up my courage to ask if they could help me find her. “Please. Will you help me find her?” They agreed. It took some arguing. Yet, finally they agreed that we would have to find my little sister.

“She could be anywhere, though, and the chances of finding her are slim,” said the other man, Tim.

We spent two weeks looking for her, but by Monday our spirits were getting soar. If only I hadn’t been captured, I thought. Theo ne thing that did make us stop was when we reached an unexpected checking area and this is what I remember hearing Oh, no. Do
you see that ahead? Crap! We’re in this together alright! Do you think we’ll be able to make it through there? I don’t know. Just be still…

They said that all of their cards were counterfeits and that they had mapped their route perfectly. Well, up until looking for Molly, they
had been certain there was no new tracking booth along here. We slowly approached the end.


“You have to get out, Sarah!”

They said to run or the men would catch me. I didn’t know where to go, and I knew the officers wouldn’t let me escape. They
approached on either side of the doors. Hal locked the doors to delay the officers.

“Get out!” He yelled. I finally figured out what he meant.

He meant to climb out through the window. The window was small, but I was able to fit right through. I slid out then with just enough time to sneak away and I ran and ran in the opposite direction. I was running as far as I could get from the hundreds of booths,
booths with men, men who would find me. They were men without souls but who were armed with guns. They were men who were officers, yet just who were they protecting?

Toll booths had to be more efficient so they decided to make hundreds upon thousands of toll booth rows. In the rows upon rows,
people would stare blankly ahead, waiting for hours at times. When would it be their turn? That’s all they ever worried about or cared
about anymore. But so many chemicals and so many entertaining delusions were made to keep them happy. It was the way the system worked.

They all chose, of course, to buy these tools that created their personalized bliss. There were no warnings. There were no dangers.
There were no labels. It was simply how you did things. I didn’t understand any of it. How did no one see me? I caught a glimpse of
what appeared to be a conscious man in the window, yet his eyes were so fixed. His stare was so focused on nothing but a point on the horizon. He didn’t look up when I screamed into the car.

So I kept running until I realized there was no where left to run to. The traffic and the noise sent me spinning in circles, and the flashing
lights made me nauseous. I could go to the right and follow the line all the way to the end, but would this line ever end? I could follow the left, and I knew less about where that would lead other than darkness and possibly more guards.

Where was the end? I kept turning around in circles. Cars were on every side of me soon. Car horns poured into my ears. “Get out of the way! Get out of the Way! Get out of the Way! Get out of the WAY!” Everyone was suddenly screaming at me, but no one moved
anything but their mouths. Their eyes were still focused on that one point. I got sick and sweat rolled down my face. The fear had sent me falling to the ground as the world collapsed beneath me in a big jolt. For awhile I lay there without sound or light, in between the lines. It felt like it was over, but by some strange coincidence or awesome luck I was picked up by Anna the “outlaw”.

Anna was helping children just like me. She’d rescue them and hide them in her authorized emergency vehicle which was able to
go anywhere. Anna, who had once been a doctor’s assistant, saw me. She had jumped out and quickly grabbed me. She took me in and
put me in the ambulance so fast that not even the guards saw her from that distance. Then she drove me in right through the checkpoint. I was laid on a bench in the back, and when I regained consciousness I saw more benches filled up with people. I found
myself with other children. Some of the children looked sick and some looked sad. Was I being rescued again? Soon, many of the children introduced themselves and told their stories of how they got there.

My story, I found out, was different than many other stories. Most of the children had been abandoned; some had never seen their
parents and some had escaped the most hostile conditions. It made me feel different and a little guilty. How could I possibly ask about my sister? The question was like a hole eating away at my insides. Deep down, it was sucking my life away. Too much fear, too much
sickness. It had made me feel desperate and cold. I just couldn’t feel like I used to…not for anyone. I was alone, still alive… but always so alone.

“Where are we going?” I asked.

“Where we can be free, of course.” was Anna’s reply. “A long time ago doctors were free to roam the highways in search to save the sick and dying. All you had to do was press a red button, the ER button, and we would be able to find you anywhere.

That was when ambulances had all the same rights as the police did. “Save and protect.” That was our motto. Half the roads were blocked off for safety travel. Signals connected to our vehicles, would trace us through the shortcuts to every emergency imaginable.
We would come to you…I felt proud of my work.

And really, it was the only way we could have done it. If we didn’t have those roads available, we couldn’t reach anyone in time through the traffic.

Sadly there isn’t even a point for the safety roads for us anymore. All the doctors have been called to aid the soldiers in our wars.
People are sick everywhere, but there’s no one left to help them. That’s why we are fleeing to the wasteland.”

“Don’t you have to stay here and help all those people you were talking about?”

“Even if we tried, there is no chance,” she replied. “The roads have been blocked off from us since we were called away years ago.
Let’s just hope our New Foundation can help itself.”

The words shot like bullets to my chest. New Foundation? W hat kind of a foundation was this? If nothing else, I knew we had to
find my sister in The Wasteland. I was going to The Wasteland to find my sister at last. If this was the only place left we could go, then
no matter what we were going to find her; if my sister knew it too, she would be trying just as hard as me to get there, to find me…at least I hoped.

How I would find her…now that was a question…“How big is The Wasteland, anyways?” I asked. Anna didn’t reply and so I figured she didn’t know. The thought of finding my sister brought new hope and life back into me. I was feeling less nauseous. I was lucky. My
brother was not so lucky. Maybe I’d find him someday too.

I had been thinking about my brother a lot. What were the chances of meeting him in The Wasteland? Were there any? He was taken to war, not the end of all wars, not for a free settlement but a war that stomped out freedom. I knew it. He could be dead by now.
But the thought almost ripped out my insides. I had to be calm and be happy to be stay alive now. I had to blend and I had to pretend.
When you lose hope, you lose all chance of survival; hope is what keeps you alive and keeps you struggling to do what is right. As long as I knew I had a chance, I could keep myself alive.

The world would never have my confession. I was fleeing, escaping with souls who also would never give up. But unlike the others, I
knew someone who was waiting for me on the other-side. Unlike the others, I still had a family, didn’t I? Even if I couldn’t find them,
they would remain a part of me until the end. No matter where they were, I wanted them and needed them. I had to hold them and to
love them and protect them. I knew they all loved me back. Family, friends, home: a lullaby in a storm, a kiss goodnight, but not a wave goodbye.

For what seemed like an eternity, we traveled. We had to hide the ambulance when we stopped. We were following the current of
desperation. We were not always feeling hopeless, and we talked and joked every once in awhile. I met this boy, and we would talk
about everything. Our hopes and fears. He would say the nicest reassuring things to me. I would be sad and he’d make me feel better.
When we would have to stop for supplies, he would always hold my hand because I used to be so afraid of getting caught.

His hands were so warm. It felt like I was being pulled into rays of sunlight when I was next to him. He never left my side. Weboth knew how much we loved each other, but we never said it. Maybe it was because we were surrounded by people, or maybe it wasone of those things that went without saying. The end of the world couldn’t tear us apart, but sadly enough, it had to.

CHAPTER FIVE: A Taste of Freedom

We had reached a resting area where we had found a safe place to park. Anna told us that at last we were allowed to run. So we ran
around these long deserted fields, feeling so much liveliness and happiness. It had been three months since I had been outside. The air
seemed clear and perfect. This was a small taste of paradise!

We ran in our bare feet as far as we could go. Anna never called us back, so we kept going. The ocean was becoming faintly alive in
me. We kept running. It was as if God had decided to greet us and I think God also was hoping we’d find what we did. At first I thoughtit was the ocean. I was so excited.

“It’s the sea! It’s the sea!” I cried out. “Sarah it’s not the sea!” Jess called out.
As we came to the bank we cried out for joy while Jess, who was the boy I loved, picked me up and swung me around in his arms.

“This is NOT the sea!” Someone exclaimed.

“It’s a sea today I suppose,” said Jess, “Listen up my fellow citizens and welcome to paradise; really, it’s the best thing you could
ever dream of. Look into the future!” Jess yelled out. Then he grabbed me. Before I knew it I was being drenched underneath the water
with Jess. When I stood up in the water, Jess looked at me with those big brown eyes shaded by streams of red hair.

“I guess that’s it. The leader broke the rules.” They all screamed and laughed before everyone else jumped in and for once swam away our terrible curse. We swam until we all had to come in before we would get sick. Everything was fine, we thought, until we reached the ambulance. Inside, someone was crying. We found Laura and she’d hurt her leg really badly. She was so quiet about it,

and no one had seen her in the dark. Laura had passed out from the sight of the blood.

It was Anna who was crying because she had sold all her leftover supplies to get food for everyone. Laura’s knee was bleeding
really badly. Everyone was scared and didn’t know what to do. Were we going to have to go back to try and get some bandages? Some of the boys took off their shirts and the girls brought their blankets in. We poured water on it and held it with the shirts and blankets. It seemed like we had helped. It was all we had. Anna said we would need more.

The thing that scared me most was her unconsciousness. She just lay there as if she were dead. We had been so happy and care less that we hadn’t expected anything this bad. Where was God now? Surely he hadn’t planned this; had he? We decided to go back and try
to get supplies. It was all we could do. We couldn’t let her get infected. Laura woke up within the hour and was screaming in pain.
When we had reached the place she was silent. It was so dark outside and the sight of the place sent me shaking. This time I knew I
was ready to throw up. Jess tried to comfort me, but I could see the fear in his eyes.

Anna looked back at us then and said, “Remember. No matter what happens we will always be together. You are my family, after-
all, and nothing will tear us apart in truth.” She got out and ran to the gas station while Laura was lying half unconscious and really
pale. I wondered why it was taking so long.

Someone said, “They are probably questioning her about needing bandages at so late at night and why she wasn’t at home with her

“They could be arresting her,” another kid said. “Maybe they know she escaped the war.”

Nobody spoke after that. Even after it was said, the words echoed in the engine. Finally, the silence broke but not by Anna.

“Please get out of the ambulance! All passengers are under arrest for trespassing and violation of safety codes. Get out now and no
one will get hurt!”

No one moved a muscle. We were all so scared. What now? We can’t die, I thought. I ran up and opened the doors. One girl cried
out, “NO! SARAH!” Suddenly, streams of men came charging in with electric clubs. The men were screaming, “QUIET! NO ONE WILL GET HURT. COOPERATE OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES.”

I ran before they cuffed my friends’ hands and pulled them away from each other. They were told not to speak and were threatened
with weapons. I spun and dodged and kicked and no one cuffed me. “JESS!” I screamed as I ran, “I’m sorry Jess! I’m so sorry. I didn’t want anyone to get hurt!”

I couldn’t say goodbye to Jess but I saw a longing in his eyes. A tear rolled down his cheek. Then I was caught off guard as a tall man lumbered towards me. I couldn’t think of anything else to do, so I kicked the man right where it hurts most. Then I ran. I was running with the beat of the ocean crashing behind me.

The cars were zipping by as the men chased me. They could never catch me. I had life inside of me. I had visions of sunlight and
wet sand, not dark streets and flashing lights. Not of screaming headlights and honking horns and angry voices yelling into your ears.
Not machines, sending fear to the very insides of you. Beware of us! We are mad! That was their language. That was the language of
the new foundation.

I was crazy with fear. I knew I couldn’t possibly outrun those men. I kept looking forward but all I could see was the highway, the endless road to oblivion. I ran faster. Maybe, just maybe, someone could help me. Who could? I mean, how could they? Then a car
came up to the side of the road and a man yelled out the window to “Get in!” I hurried up, and the men were so close behind me. I was fast enough to make it right as the stranger was forced to slam the door of a big cargo truck before he swerved to the right.

All the police cars were gathering around on us. We sped forward zooming as fast as we could, stalked by our predators like fresh
meat. “Who are you? Little Girl?” He asked me. The police could keep pace it would be impossible for them to reach us in the moving
traffic.”I’m Sarah,” I said. “I have to get my sister.”

“Why? Is she lost?” I felt like I had so much to explain with so little time. “Because everyone is!” I yelled as we quickly swerved
to the left and again to the right. We sped up fast and looked like all was clear, then the man slammed on his breaks. All the lanes were filled with police vehicles.

We looked up to realize the police cars had surrounded us and the men were getting out. I climbed on the back of the truck through
the window and yelled in fear. I felt a jerk when suddenly everything was moving again. The police force had gotten back into their
cars…but why? It took me about two seconds before I realized the truth. They were trying to crush me. I held on tight in the cargo area as the driver sped up again. There were only a few lanes that citizens were still using. When the driver, who I didn’t know, swerved too
fast, I practically flew in the air and landed on top of another car.

The guy in the truck yelled to me. “What the heck are you doing?” I couldn’t listen this time though. It was the best for all of us.
The traffic jammed again and I leaped onto another worker truck as it honked so loudly I closed my eyes. The traffic would start again
and all I knew was I had to jump. With the slight movement I braced myself; the angry driver sped in all directions trying to get me away. I stood level and then I leaped as hard as I could to the destination. I was flying, and then I was landing. I landed on the back of
black truck this time. Then it sped up so fast that there was no possible way for me to jump off. It went like this a good long time until the traffic stopped and the man yelled out.


“Do you want me to help you?” He asked.

He told me to stay low and he would take me there. Finally he got out and helped me into a hiding place in the back of the truck.

The sun was out and it was beautiful, or at least I thought it was the sun…it took away my fear and feeling of danger. I had lived. I felt

free again and momentary peace. I traveled with this man who called himself Leonard for so long. Maybe I thought I could trust him.

Then I realized the mistake I had made.

I read the large glowing sign.

There they stood. These were the people I wanted to get away from. I wanted to cry. There were guards and police waiting outside a large fence. Then doors closing were behind us as we drove along an ugly winding road.

“Welcome to the Wasteland,” my captor said as he smiled.

We were greeted by men in green uniforms, and taken in through a large door that opened and shut like a knife on the ground. I looked
around at the hundreds of children in white uniforms. Some looked happy. A kid was hanging by his feet with a mask over his head;
another girl was sleeping in a plastic bubble.

“What do we have here? Hmm. She looks bright enough. What is wrong with her?”

“She tried to run away, numerous times, and I can’t watch her anymore. She also…” He whispered into the old guy’s ear and I thoughthe said something about mother. I screamed and then suddenly someone put something on my eyes, everything was funny and

I woke up and I couldn’t see. They blinded me. I screamed and screamed until finally I heard a voice booming from somewhere, wallperhaps? “You are not blind, child, you are free and happy. Now come with me to a beautiful world…” The voice began lulling me into
a dream, and a virtual world. There was nothing but blinding white lights covering the walls and the floor and the ceiling and every
time I blinked out of the dream, I felt pain. I only felt pain.

“We can see everything about you,” a voice said from the walls. “We can see all your memories, and we can make you live them as if
they were your own. We can take you on a journey that will never ever end. You can live forever, or you will think you can when you
join us.No, we’re not all trapped like you are. But you are a failure. You are garbage. You are lucky to be given such paradise in
America’s New Foundation. You get happiness and paradise. It’s all you ever dreamed of and more. Don’t be mad, get glad! Don’t be sad, be happy!”

The booming voice came from everywhere and it wouldn’t go away. I wanted it to stop but I was afraid to show them that I was resisting. I sat there and never moved. The lights bore into me. I don’t know how long I was in there. It felt like a whole lifetime. I saw things, beautiful things and terrible things but none of them were real. I remember that beautiful final moment. It was the end. The program shut itself off. I was in blackness. I was told to stand up and walk forward.

“Press the red button!” The wall said. “I was afraid, but I touched the wall and it opened to reveal a series of buttons and a window, where I could see the people who were watching me. They didn’t look surprised, they didn’t look upset or anything. They looked right through me, I wasn’t sure. I only saw my own face reflected in their eyes. Was I always living in a false world? The torture and what I
saw can be left to your own imagination. What I will tell is that the scientists were wrong. They thought I would become a slave to
their false utopia.

The program was finally over so they stuck me in a metal room with four others. The others said they pretended they were blind. We quickly set to work on our escape plan. No matter how hard we deliberated, we couldn’t think of a way out.

If you didn’t contribute to the economy in any way, you were treated like scum and forced to live as complete outcasts. It wasn’t that simple to even be an outcast though because all citizens were equal.

We were treated like celebrities even in our own jail cells of cities. No complete “citizen” in America could go hungry. All the money
was distributed equally to all who paid for freedom. Consumers were satisfied with their brainwashing products, and company owners were always fifteen steps ahead in society than the workers. Outcasts were slaves, garbage, discards of the new world.

So we figured since they thought we were brainwashed or stuck in fantasyland, they wouldn’t try very hard to contain us. The men
came in one day and escorted us out of the cell through hundreds of other people. We faked the blind stare and pretended we could
only respond to those commands. Other people were looking with disgust at us as they pushed us and tied up our hands.

One of the officers made a comment, “Don’t waste that strong rope, men! You won’t even need to.” Then he looked into my eyes, I

almost blinked. He continued joking meanly.

“Are you sure about that? This one still has light in her eyes.”


“This one was on Leveled out completely, there’s no way she’s still conscious of her surroundings.”
I wanted to scream. Then the guards shrugged and with mocking
laughter untied our hands. We were led into some sort of metal cage. Once the wall we’d been pushed through started closing my heart was pounding. We figured no one could hear us now so we began to whisper what we thought we should do. The two boys thought we were done for. The other girl and I said that they were planning on drowning us like pests.

It was pretty easy to tell this was true by the fact that there was water dripping from the walls and the giant pipe behind and in
front of us. It was horrible because we realized that there was no way for us to escape. The pipeline in front of us, that we were sure led
to the dirty river they were talking about, was barred over. The other pipe, we guessed, was where the water would pour out from. It was also barred off.

There was only one solution. One boy was very skinny and looked like he could fit, with some work, through bars in the exit pipe. We decided to try to fit him through. He didn’t want to go in of course and thought it was a bad idea, but it was the only way. We thought that if somehow he could get to the other side, he might be able to open up the bars so we could escape. It was so dark that it was too hard to tell where anything was. The plan was so foolish at the time, but our insane desperation was what was driving us. It took a lot of twisting and turning and help before he got out.

He searched forever but could not find anything that would somehow assist in our escape.

“I’m going down,” he said.
He slid down the pipe, but all of the sudden we heard this big thump.

He yelled that the opening was sealed up and he was stuck inside. We screamed and yelled to him. Suddenly the pipe behind us began
to stir. With a huge gush water blasted out it went straight through the cage into the sealed pipe where we knew our friend would

“No!” I screamed.

I was not about to lose another friend. It seemed that every friend I ever made I was forced to lose. I just couldn’t. I began shaking
the cage. I kept shaking it and shaking it. Screaming and crying all at once. My friend was going to die! We were going to die! It was all over. We all grabbed on to the top of the cage and helped each other’s feet up so that we were the highest possible.

The water filled up to the very top of the cage where we were, but then it stopped. The cage bars lifted and the water rushed us into
the pipe. We fell down a long dark tunnel and eventually flew out into a giant river where we were rushed by a heavy current, downstream. Water was pulling me under and pushing forward at an intense speed. I was worried for my life just as much as I was worried about my new friends’ lives. The thought of once again losing my only companions was also just too much to bear. Bits of
debris flowed everywhere. The river was disgustingly orange in color.

My arm got slashed by a pyramid shaped object. I had rushed right into it. As the river rushed me forward, I tried to get a hold of
it, but it was too slippery. I fell directly on to the top point of the triangle and could feel it pierce into my stomach. It was a terrible pain.
As blood poured out, all I could think of was the horrible pain. Finally, I managed enough strength to pull myself off of the edge and
hold myself in front of the object so I couldn’t be rushed away. I waited there, for what seemed like hours. I was waiting for the end.

My friends were already dead by now unless they had found some way to safety, and even if they had they would never find a way
to me so in a sense they were dead no matter what. All my hope seemed to be carried like the blood from my cut, by the current: far
away. My tears began to pour out. Pitiful horrible sobs began to break free from my troubled mind. Thoughts of nothing but despair
and sadness filled me. Dark shadows clouded my mind. I could almost feel the empty roads, the dirty streets, and the mindless people. I
could almost sense the dying lives of all who rebelled. So many people tried to stop it. I felt the pain as the last light in me flickered

The rebel me vanished into a wild dream where I was walking for miles on a long desolate plain. People cried out to me in all directions. They were hungry people. They were starving people. People who were alone just like me. Finally I came to a giant cliff. I
began to climb it. With each step regaining more of myself. I began to feel lighter too. The air began to smell cleaner. As I turned to the sky I noticed it had no longer looked black, but grey and as I kept climbing it eventually turned to a clear crisp blue.

I was almost to the top. I focused so much on the cliff that when I finally got up to the top I was taken aghast by what I saw. There was a valley of beautiful flowers and green grass. There were great big trees with fruit I’d never seen. Everything beautiful that had
ever been on earth was there. Feeling true happiness overflow, I smiled. It was a something that I had done so long ago.

But this was only the beginning. There, sitting in a patch of daisies, was my sister Molly. I tried to call to her but she didn’t seem to hear me. Finally she did hear me, and turned around. She was smiling and waving. I began walking towards her. But then, just as soon as I got to the valley all the beauty began to disappear.

I cried out to her and she cried out to me but it was no use. We both watched each other silently as she faded into nothing. The sky
grew dark again and the horrible wasteland returned. I was so confused and full of disbelief. I wondered if I was really dead or in some-sort of dream I could not wake up from.

Was I doomed to wait on this mountain for eternity? I decided I should try to climb down, but there was nothing down there. On
every side of me was black dark space and I was left there alone and trapped. I lay down and dreamed again. I dreamed of how thingscould have been if none of this had ever happened.

I tried to understand. When I opened my eyes and saw that I was still on the cliff I felt true despair for the first time in my life.
Then I jumped off into the space even despite my fear. It was emptiness and darkness.

I knew I would remain floating the dark space forever. But then I began to hear words. They were mocking words of others who
could see me. They told me it was my stupidity that brought me to that place: it was my foolishness and failure to cooperate. I told
them I wasn’t theirs to control. I told them that the war was over. Then I screamed, “I am not yours to control!”

Red light filled the darkness, then colors. I felt myself regaining consciousness as faith and hope returned once more. The voices turned into nothingness. Finally…but then suddenly, everything was pain again. Pain! The program hadn’t ended. “No no!” I moaned…I
woke up and saw people looking down from over me. Then I looked down and saw blood all over my stomach. At my side stood my
friends and at my right stood my sister, Molly.



She looked so little with her hair slightly tangled and her face so childish, unlike mine. She didn’t speak to me for a minute and then
her face turned slightly red.

She had been holding back tears, “I missed you.”

And then the tears started streaming from my face, “I missed you too! I’m so happy you’re ok."

She just stared. “Do you think it’s too late? I want to find Bobby.” Then another girl put a hand on her shoulder. They took me to a place hidden by giant boulders; there they helped to bandage my wound.

“I waited for you for so long. I waited until it became dark. I thought you would come back,” Molly told me this as if she had wanted
to say it for so long. I felt like she didn’t want to say anything. She continued, “I started crying and was confused. I decided my last hope was to get into the right truck, but I wasn’t sure which one. I finally saw the name that you had mentioned and tried to get in but this cruel man caught me.

He took me to what they call The Wasteland. They tried to control me, to drown out my thoughts with rules and games. But something
happened. It was like a miracle! Like I took over! I found these people here, these people Sarah…she whispered into my ear, "they
came from stories. They told me you would be coming here. They knew you were special, that we both were. We are survivors.”

“I’m glad you’re all still here, but how are we…” I said but I was shaking.

Molly replied, “We can’t let ourselves die in this age. We have to keep the dream alive, no matter what the test. We have to keep stay true to God.”

My eyes got really wide as Molly simply nodded. “Yes, we are dead but still alive.”

I didn’t know what to say. I had found her; I knew it in my heart. This was the real Molly. And that huge building with fences and
police men and tortured children could not tear away the bond of two sisters. I looked down to see the shadows of souls forever trapped in the struggle to survive.

Later I couldn’t shake the thoughts of my dream away. Why did that dream seem so real? These were like the people in my dream, the ones I had called out to who I wanted to help in so many ways. I said a prayer to myself. And for the first time, I realized that I didn’t need to wander anymore. I was safe. I didn’t need to be afraid as I sat there with Molly. We watched the great building that towered around us as it lit up like some sad star lost in outer space. I watched the sun set over The Wasteland.

Once, people believed that time was something outside of them. That was before the revolution was complete. Nothing was left but a frayed book, that she threw into the sea. With it was her story, of how the world disturbed her in all its terrorism. She lived in a floating city, one closed within a prison, but that longed to reach out and unlock the doors. No one understood why she was disturbed, why she would wake up in cold sweats with burning limbs and fear the temperature dropping and rising with each tick of that false clock on the wall.

She recalls that night when she ran her fingers upon that book, the world unraveled its pages and showed her something that could not be destroyed. Her brother was taken in the night, by soldiers in submarines, and she and her sister ran from the settlement to find him as the soldiers were taking the children, and turning them into murderers like they’d grown to become. That’s what the new world had ordered, slaughter and war–a pancaked face smiles down at the innocent kids in the massive institution.

I went to the institution. I went there at first, thinking it was to see the truth. I was brainwashed to believe that I was a human, but then I was visited as the seconds drew to an end and stars burst into finite shards of existence. In that instant, between the knowing and the drawing closer to the end-you can’t forget, you become a falling star, and so I hung on to those threads woven across the skies. Her brother leads the 3rd World Revolution, after he is taken–4 years later–he escapes and with him, the wings of our future civilization-one where humans are not animals or savages, but pound fists on their chests, with the strength of champions.

Every third year, the whole world celebrates with humility, and respect, to remind ourselves of who we are. We are not savages, we are not animals, we are the fallen angels of the universe. Thus begins the longest stretch of peace humanity has ever seen, over a decade of advancement, achievement. We know now what it means to draw a line in the sand, and we are the sand–because to be called a coward means more than shame. It is a different time than now, which centuries have looked back in awe at the corruption and tears at the bravery of those who stood for peace.