What was the point?
If the entire Community was going to die anyways, and I couldn’t stop them, then what was even the point in trying?
But then again, maybe if I tried I would at least make a small difference.
Maybe Samantha and Jonathan and baby Becca would make it out if I tried. And maybe Eliza and Randy and Ali and--
Don’t get ahead of yourself, girl, I told myself. Randy’s the Chief’s Son. He’s an Heir. If anyone has a chance of making it out, he does. And Eliza and Ali…I worried about them.
Eliza and Ali were sisters, daughters of the Shoemaker and his wife, who had died five years ago. They carried a burden of grief and sadness, then worry about their father, ill from a raging Coughing Disease. They were younger, twins at Seven, and I was Ten, but I treated them like sisters.
Samantha and Jonathan were my Guardians, or Mother and Father. They had been assigned me when they applied to become a match. At least one Child per household or match. Samantha had told me many times before that, although the picking was quite random, this time she knew they had picked the perfect one, both for Jonathan and her.
Baby Becca was my sister. She had been assigned to us a little over three months ago, and was still young, a little over six months. She had been younger than me at my assigning age, and yet she already loved and enjoyed Samantha and Jonathan very much.
Yet she was a baby. And this catastrophe coming on the way would wipe her out easily, and, despite how much Samantha and Jonathan protected her, if this was what I thought it was, it wouldn’t matter who was protecting her.
I thought all this as I was walking down Copplin Square, all the while looking for Alex.
Alex was a Young Adult in a Wheelchair. The Doctor said he was in a Wheelchair because his legs were something called Paralyzed. He had no cure, not yet.
I felt bad for Alex, but he said it was something anyone could get used to, no matter how much they depended on their legs. He was one of my best friends, apart from Eliza and Ali.
All of a sudden I felt a wave of water coming from the Lake. I closed my eyes. My mind was picturing it. It was tearing down houses, flooding the Community. This was the disaster. This was what I had to stop.
And at that moment, I knew, I knew how to stop it. I squeezed my eyes shut, imagined the huge fist of water curl up and fling itself back into the lake. Everything and everyone was safe.
A few days after I had prevented the water from the Lake, it was finally my first day of Community Service.
When you were two months after Ten, you began Community Service. It was basically like volunteer hours where you picked a job of your choice and tried it out for a few hours. As I was heading out the door, Samantha reminded me to keep a good attitude and only act happy about the things that made you happy, because no one is going to believe a liar, no matter how much they try. I hugged her and kept those words in my mind as I headed out to Copplin Square.
I had defeated the Lake in Copplin Square, and now, as I looked at the cobblestone path circling around the Fountain, I remembered that surge of frightening energy that had exploded from my brain into my body. Copplin Square was a great place to start volunteer hours because of the shops and the stands lined all around the circle. I didn't know why it was called a squared. It wasn't sharp-cornered; in fact, it had no corners at all!
There were so many different shops to choose from I had no idea what to go to first. I finally settled on a Book Shop, because I like books.
The man who worked there was Giraldo, a small man with a big mustache, even for a man who was 6' 8". I wandered into the shop. I looked around at the shelves covered in dusty volumes, leather coveres thin and worn away with age. All of a sudden, Giraldo popped up from behind the desk at the back of the shop.
"Volunteer hours, eh?" he said, smiling happily but gruffly. "Oh alright, you can help me stack these books, then help me go over how much I've earned this week." He gave me a pile of dusty books and told me to organize them by alphabetical order. When I was done with that and the money counting, he told me to pick out a book and read it until my Community Service hours where over.
I chose a dusty, big thick book entitled "Why We Are Here". I flipped through the table of contents, then went to chapter four and read the first paragraph:
Who made us?
There is life in us and it is a life so strong that no human being could ever attain it, at least not by themselves. They cannot create the energy inside us. It is just simply impossible.
The town of Lesli was created hundreds of years ago by faithful people who knew our fate and set out to change its course. Our fate was to clash was other people and be destroyed. They built this town to protect us and destoryed all other human beings so that not only are we protected but there is nothing to worry about.
The paragraph ended with a sort of and-that's-that sort of manner I didn't like. I looked at my watch and saw I had better be getting home now, so I thanked Giraldo, put the book away, and walked home thinking that I completely disagreed with the book. If human beings could not attain life from scratch, then the book had not even answered its own question: Who made us?