The man in the black coat walked down the street. The brim of his hat cast a shadow across his face so no one knew who he was. He turned a corner, and turned into a small building. Inside was a room, with a huge crowd surrounding a dead body, all their mouths wide open. Murmurs were going through the crowd as they stared. The man was confused. Was this the murdered man that had been killed three weeks ago? The man spoke:
"What is going on here?" he asked. He only knew a few people from previous experiences at work. But half of the people examining the dead body the man could not name.
"Oh, Detective Black! We're so glad you've come! We need you to find out who murdered this man!" said a woman with a pointed hat like a witch's.
The case had been covered weeks ago by a journalist that worked for the local paper, the Motown Chronicle. Not even the police had found out yet who had committed the crime and why. Strange things seemed to be happening. Detective Black remembered random murders like these back in the days of before he had destroyed his evil nemisis in a sinking ship. All of a sudden, a man dressed in a purple robe in front of a very old mantle, said to be as old as time itself, sighed impatiently as if waiting in a long line for something very important he needed to get to now. "Black Panther, come with me," he said, making motions with his gloved hands. Detective Black was startled by being unusually adressed by his secret agent name, the Black Panther. He followed the man in purple robes to a secret trapdoor right in front of the mantle. Everyone watched as Detective Black crossed the room, but when the man in purple opened up the trapdoor everyone's attention was drawn to the dead body on the floor. Reluctantly, Detective Black climbed into the trapdoor, not sure if the man in purple was a friend or a foe.
Black Panther (or Black for short) followed the man down a steep ladder that almost felt as if he were climbing on the bottom of the monkey bars it was so slanted. Sweating, Black landed on the hard dirt ground of the tunnel. He coughed as dust arose and caught in his chest.
The man in the purple robes fell gracefully to the ground almost without any noise. Dust swirled around him too, but he did not cough. Black tried to see his face, but it was covered by a purple mask. Of course, thought Black. Perfect. Now I don't even know who he is!
"You may be wondering who I am," said the man in purple with a deep, low voice that was somehow recognizable, but Black couldn't put his finger on it.
"Of course," said Black. "Anyone would be." He tried to sound calm, but really he was very frightened.
"I already know your name. My name is Maricous Brooks. I believe we've met before, when you tried to kill me not so long ago." The man smiled wickedly.
Black gasped. That's why the voice was familiar! It belonged to his evil nemisis, Maricous Brooks, on of the country's top ten most wanted criminals. Brooks cackled as staggering men with spears and ragged clothing came out from all around him, encircling Black. The detective pulled out his knife and slashed away, but magically the wounds seemed to heal without a single scar. He fought them off with his knife for what was like ten hours to him, but was really about five minutes. Exhausted, he stopped, breathing hard. Brooks laughed as his men bound his hands and feet with rope on a stick. As they carried him away, Black's head hit a rock. He blanked out for a long time, so long that Brooks even thought he was finally dead...
But was he?
Black awoke in a small, confined space. Trying to be calm, he realized he was in a coffin. Buried alive! he thought. He suddenly realized his throat was parched and his stomach was growling mercilessly. He searched his person for an apple or something, but nothing was there. In fact, he wasn't wearing any of his own clothes but instead was wearing a pair of flimsy, white, cotton drawstring pants and a plain white tunic with a nearly invisible vine pattern on the v-neck collar. He noticed the faint smell of cologne and aftershave. Black longed for his old clothing, but had no way to get it. Shivering, he drilled a hole using the mini power drill he kept in his shoe that was wide enough for his whole body to fit through in the lid of the coffin and pushed himself through the hard soil up into the night sky.
Black had no idea where he was, but he had his handy compass. Headquarters was North, but his apartment was East, and Black needed a long rest. He began to head in the direction of his house, but after a while he realized how far away he was. He had been walking for over thirty minutes and still wasn't home. in ten minutes he reached a harbor. Now he was very scared. He lived nowhere near the sea. What was going on?
Black decided to ask directions to the East End Apartment Building, where he lived. But it seemed that only one fisherman spoke any English. All the others spoke some foreign language that sounded a lot like Russian.
And this man didn't even seem to know where Black was talking about. "Shop's closed," he said, but Black kept asking. "East End Apartment Building. Also known as East End Apartment Complex? Never heard of it? What is this place?" Black questioned the man.
The fisherman looked at Black cluelessly, then went to a shelf and pulled out a map of a country that looked nothing like America. Everything was in, again, some weird language. "I don't live here. I live somewhere else. America. Where am I?" Black said, confused.
The fisherman looked surprised. "America? America far. Not here. Can't help you. Sorry. Shop's closed." And this time it really was. Black, once again, found himself alone in the streets of a small Russian fishing village, with no money, no car, and no food. What was he going to do?
After walking aimlessly for miles, Black came across a huge glass dome fenced in with barbed wire. Desperate and a little curious, Black was able to squeeze his skinny body through a wide hole in the fence.
Black entered the dome through the unlocked front door and climbed through the rafters of the huge structure. There was a big machine in the middle of the dome covered by a huge blue tarp. Black heard voices and shrunk behind the rafters.
"...rid of Black, we can put our plan into action!" snickered a gruff voice. Black peered through the bars and saw Brooks and one of his comrades walking into the complex.
"Why so tense, sir? There's nothing to worry about! With Black out of the picture and no longer a threat, we can put our problems behind us and get to the heart of the matter--getting this past The Boss. Do you think he'll approve?
"No," replied Brooks simply.
"Why, sir?" asked the comrade, obviously confused.
"Because," responded Brooks, "Black is not behind us. He is in this very building."
Footsteps. Unavoidable footsteps. "Hello, Black."
Amelia was panting hard. Her breath was heavy against the silence. Her bare feet pounded on the ground, and the tattered reamains of her pink evening ball gown dragged on the hard earth. She winced whenever she hit a sharp rock or stone, but kept on running.
When she got to the cliff, she stopped, circling her arms back and forth to keep her balance. She heard the roar of the dragon behind her. A wave of heat splashed over her, and she knew that it had just spit out its fire. She was trapped, except for one escape.
She waited and waited. Finally, when the dragon's face was right behind her, about to emmit more fire, she threw herself over the edge of the cliff.
And then woke up.
In a startled jerk, she sat upright in her bed. The same dream every night. Running away from a dragon, coming to a cliff, jumping over, then waking up. Monika, a maid, came to Amelia's side. "Mistress, are you all right?" she asked. "You were sweating in your sleep, you were." Amelia felt her clammy forhead, beaded with sweat. "My breakfast, where is it?" asked Amelia.
"Right here, miss, we took the liberty of adding a vase of flowers if you'd like," said Monika. A small, pale maid named Rachel walked up to Amelia with a tray in her hands. Scrambled eggs, french toast and pancakes with syrup, chocolate-covered strawberries, orange juice and hot chocolate. Amelia smiled. She loved being a princess.
Later that day, Amelia was walking in the gardens when she heard a noise. It was a roar, so big and so strong, that she knew it had to be that of a dragon's. But dragons don't exist, she thought. Then she remembered her dream the night before. And she knew this had to be the same dragon. In the old stories, dragons always wanted someone or something because of revenge. Or maybe that something was just a treasure they wanted that they did not possess. Amelia had no idea what the dragon wanted. But she was determined to find out. So she set out across the maze of hedges in the garden, closer to the dragon, to see what he wanted.
Usually Amelia’s walks in the garden were fun but short because it was so small. But this maze of hedges seemed so…endless. And all of a sudden, she gasped.
In front of her was a huge monster, part lion, part cat, part human. A female human. Amelia knew, from the old stories her grandfather used to tell her when she was a little girl, that this had to be a Sphinx.
“What are you doing here?” asked Amelia, frightened. She took a step back, afraid the Sphinx might be dangerous.
“Young one, I am the Sphinx, here to help you and to warn you. I am the guardian of all those who choose to cross the Great Dragon’s path. In other words, I protect people from him. Why would you want to see him?” asked the Sphinx, her voice deep and booming, neither man nor woman’s.
“He has been in my dreams many times, and I want to know what he wants, because obviously he wants something,” said Amelia, stepping a little closer.
“He does, that is correct. And the fact that he has been in your dreams must say that he want whatever he does even more.” said the Sphinx.
“Do you know what he wants?” asked Amelia.
“He wants a sacrifice. Your great-great-great-grandfather angered him so long ago many thought he had forgotten, but the Great Dragon never forgets his sacrifices. Once he smells your blood and sees that you are one of his descendants, he will hesitate not to eat you whole,” said the Sphinx. “You must send someone who is willing to risk their life for you to find out what else will be a good sacrifice instead. I hear you are a princess and cannot die for then the kingdom will not prosper without a queen. You are too valuable.”
Amelia slowly turned away, staring at the Sphinx all the while. After walking for what seemed like forever, she, by what seemed like magic, arrived at the front entrance of the palace, left there to scratch her head and wonder about the Sphinx’s words.
Amelia was taking a walk through the gardens again. She was simply strolling, but secretly, she wanted to see if the hedges were back to normal and hadn’t stretched again like last time.
She wandered through them a little bit and decided they were safe. She pretended she was a fluttery fairy, light on her toes, quick on her feet. She twirled and skipped through the garden until she saw something that made her stop and twirl around to see better.
In front of her was a stray dog. He looked perfectly harmless, though, so the princess extended her hand for the dog to sniff.
“Hello,” she replied to the dog, trying to use her softest voice.
The dog licked and sniffed her hand a couple times, then said, “Come with me,” in a gruff, hardy voice.
The princess was shocked, but, scared, she followed the dog through the mazes of hedges in the garden. After what seemed like an hour, Amelia sat down on a large rock she had never seen before. They had to be lost.
“I’m so tired,” said Amelia, who, being a princess, had never walked quite so far before in her life. “We’re almost there,” said the dog, the only other thing he had said since they had started walking.
And indeed they were. In less than ten minutes the dog and Amelia approached a cave. A rock cave with a black center and a weird blue light at the other side.
“Is this a tunnel?” Amelia asked the dog.
“Yes, but it’s not a sideways tunnel. It’s a down tunnel,” replied the dog. “You jump down it and pray that Wamatash has remembered to put out the mattress today.” The dog’s reply startled Amelia, but all she could say was, “So like a downwards tunnel, like Alice in Wonderland?”
“Sort of,” said the dog, “Although my answer could be more precise if I knew what you were talking about. Now come, you must see Abugadi.” And with that, he curled himself up and jumped down into the depths of the dark tunnel. Not knowing what else to do, Amelia followed him.
She landed on a soft mattress after what seemed like a few minutes of falling and screaming and shutting her eyes back and forth at the same time.
“UGH.” said Amelia when she landed. The mattress had certainly softened her fall, but it had knocked the wind out of her still. She regained her breath as she looked around, mainly for the dog, mainly at her surroundings.
It was the strangest place she had ever seen. A forest, full of odd looking plants and trees that almost looked like--
“Candy,” breathed Amelia, standing up slowly. All of a sudden, a little man in a red suit with hair gelled up into a little curl tugged on the hem of her dress. Next to him was the dog.
“Felix here tells me you are needing of Abugadi’s service,” said the little man. Amelia nodded. “I suppose,” she said.
“Follow me,” said the man. “I work for Abugadi. My name is Frenklin.” And with that he led the princess away from the mattress, the hole in the sky she had just come through, and down a path to a huge castle made entirely of what looked like chocolate.
“Wow,” said Amelia. Her surroundings were magnificent. Everything was made of chocolate, and yet, it seemed like an exact palace of the castle at home. All of a sudden she knew where her bedroom was. She flew up the staircase. Inside was not a bedroom, though, but a storage closet. It doesn’t matter, she thought. I don’t need to see what my bedroom looks like with a chocolate interior.
At the top of the stairs she saw another short man dressed in red velvet with a cape and a gold staff. He had a crown circling his gelled, curly-cued hair. “Amelia, of the Kingdom of Beckett. Here to receive information about the Sacrifice of the Great Dragon. I can help,” he promised. “I am Abugadi,” he said, “the Leader.
“I need help with something,” said Amelia in the throne room a few minutes later. “A dragon wants my soul and I can’t give him that. What will it mean for the future of my kingdom? Mere subjects who don’t even know what they’re doing will be elected and I don’t want that. And, I expect, sacrifice is painful,” said Amelia, sweating towards the last part. “But I don’t want to make the dragon angry. What do I do?”
Abugadi clapped his hands twice and two little red men with the curly hair brought up a gold case with letters on it.
“This is the Black Sword, passed down from generation to generation of Watookies. (That is the type of people we are.) What the dragon wants most of all is the Sword, but he’s searched all over the globe and cannot find it. He has not looked in the land of Watookies, though, and that is where it is. The Black Sword has a power like no other. If you give him the Sword, it will either kill him or give him immortality. The only way to get rid of him is to pierce his heart with the thing he’s desired all his life, and that is the Sword. Take it, trick him into taking it, then trick him into blindness, henceforth destroying him. It can only be done by the chosen sacrifice, which is you,” said Abugadi. Felix looked up at Amelia. The case was in her hands now. She looked down at the little dog pleadingly. “Take me home,” she said. Felix did.
But just then, in front of them dropped the dragon, green and scaly. He had fangs longer than Amelia's arms, and his breath stunk! He roared and spit out fire through his nose. Felix, barking, ran off and Amelia ducked out of the way of the billowing flames.
Amelia started running. But as she did, the dragon decided to run after her. The ground shook with every step he took. "Come back, you foolish girl!" he bellowed with a deep, loud, raspy voice. Amelia didn't stop, though, until she tripped on a root. She fell to the ground, flat on her face. The wind was knocked out of her stomach, and her long, billowing, dirty pink satin dress was caught on a sharp stone. Tugging at her dress did nothing, and as the dragon advanced, she knew she was going to be his supper. But just then, Felix jumped in front of the dragon's flames. When the fire cleared, all that was left was a solid gold statue of a dog identical to Felix.
It was Felix.
Amelia cried out. It seemed she was hopeless now. The dragon roared, angry he had missed his target. Frustrated, he spit out some mor fire, but this time, it circled around him like a glass case and he disappeared with a gray poof of smoke.
Amelia started at the little gold dog. She was so sure Felix would be able to help her--it seemed as if he knew everything. But just then, Abugadi spoke up: "I can help you bring Felix back to life," he promised.
Amelia blinked. "You can?"
Abugadi almost laughed. "Of course! You have a lot to learn, young one. Come. I will teach you the ways of the Ancient Beings and how I will help you accomplish the many tasks that lie ahead of you." Abugadi walked off, deep into the palace. And, once again feeling hopeless and lost and without any other choice, Amelia followed Abugadi deep into the palace.
Once Abugadi and Amelia were in the palace again, Abugadi invited Amelia into an elegant parlor with couches and a beautiful coffee table standing on an ornate rug--all out of chocolate. "Come, child, and sit with me," said Abugadi. "I promise that by the time you go home everything will be explained and clear," promised the old cheif. Hestitant, but desperate to help her friend, Amelia sat down, hoping Felix would be alright.
"I must confess to you that I am not a normal Watookie. I was chosen as cheif for my magical abilities. I still have those abilities and use them every day. I have invented many spells before, but this one has been passed on for generations. Watookies all over the world haveused this spell countless times to escape the wrath of the Dragon. But for this spell to work, you need to very specific ingredients--the blood of the dragon, and the Blue Flower of Life. In order to get the blood of the Dragon, the most important ingredient, you must slay the Dragon. Again, this can only be done by his chosen sacrifice--you. Do you understand so far?" said Abugadi.
Amelia stood up from her couch, enfuriated. "There you go again! Yes, of course I understand! But now I think YOU need to understand something-- I'm not slaying any dragon! I can't! I couldn't if I tried, because I just don't know how!" Amelia shouted.
"I don't think you understand," said Abugadi, obviously confused. "You have to, to save your kingdom, Beckett, to save Felix, to save everyone. It is vital you carry out your mission." Amelia was getting angrier and angrier by the minute. No way she was going to do something as stupid as to try and kill a dragon.
But then she looked out the window, at the little statue of Felix, the golden dog, and felt so bad. He had saved her, and she wasn't even willing to same him. She swallowed all her fears. "Okay, tell me the spell," she said bravely, staring Abugadi straight in the eye.
"Okay, here it is," Abugadi said. "Mind you, you're being very brave. Okay: 'Puppy of gold, whose ever so bold, come join me.'"
"That's it?!" said Amelia. "Why didn't you tell me it would be so easy?!"
"It's not," responded Abugadi. "Remember? The Blue Flower of Life? The Dragon's blood? You must do that all by yourself, but I'll tell you where to look."
"Okay, shoot," said Amelia.
Abugadi's eyes widened.
"Okay, okay, just tell me where to look for your stupid flower and your stupid dragon!" Amelia shouted.
"The flower will be found in the Valley of Life, which is not in the Land of Watookies, but beyond it. There are millions of flowers there, but if you get to the Valley on time and before the dragon slaying, all the other flowers will be orange. The Blue Flower of Life is, well, blue. That would be the easy part," Abugadi explained.
"And the dragon?" Amelia asked, cringing, hoping he would change his mind and tell her not to slay the dragon, the spell would work without it, please, please, PLEASE--
"The dragon lives in his cave in the Hushkan Mountains, completely on the other side of this world, the world you are in right now," Abugadi explained, but it made no sense.
"So you mean...it's different from where I live?" asked Amelia.
"Yes, completely. Anyway, one more thing: the dragon's cave--it moves around wherever it wants, and the dragon is not always in it. Sometimes he escapes to your world, the world of your palace. If he is up there too long, he will start on maybe the others of the royal court--your family, friends, everyone you love. So you must hurry! Time speeds up when you're down here, so while you may be gone for days down here, it may be weeks up there. Good luck," he said
"Wait--no! You can't just leave me like that! I need to know where everything is! I need someone to help me!" Amelia cried out in frustration.
"Of course. That is why Max is here," said Abugadi, smiling kindly.
A little man younger than Abugadi by a lot staggered in, smiling. "You said my name, your majesty," the little man said. He bowed down in front of the cheif.
"Ah, Max. Rise, young one," said Abugadi. Max obeyed.
"Accompany Amelia on her quest for the Blue Flower of Life, Max. Help her find and slay the dragon. You two have so much in common, you'll be great companions," said Abugadi.
"Great, you know something, Max? You're probably the only one in this place with a name I can actually pronounce, now let's go," said Amelia hurriedly.
"Oh, and one more thing," said Abugadi. He snapped his fingers, and out of thin air there appeared a backpack, full of first aid, food, water, and everything else the two needed. "Take it. Store the things you collect along the way in here. it will help," said Abugadi. Amelia took it. She and Max left the palace, and, on her way out, Amelia carefully pushed the little gold Scottie into her bag, ready to go and help her friend, ready for anything.
There was silence in the nest. The sounds of the crickets chirping was the only noise for miles. The stars twinkled and the sky was black. And yet, something amazing was happening.
The sound of cracking eggshells broke the silence. It was a gentle sound but a harsh one at the same time, interrupting the quiet. Slowly, a small, orange beak poked out of the egg. A baby bird was hatching!
The bird finally burst out of its shell in a flurry of sqwaks and tweets. It slowly lifted its curled head away from its chest and looked around, ruffling its wet, oily feathers with dignity. It looked around, at the night sky, at the stars, at the nest he was in. He suddenly remembered he had to have a name. He remembered his first word. Tweet. So that would be his name.
Tweet looked around at the eggs next to him in the nest and wondered if there was anything good to eat inside of them. Boy, was he hungry! He had been poking away at that shell for a whole day, all the while a larger bird watching over him, which he came to understand was his mother. He also knew that the other larger bird beside her had been his father. He hoped that, wherever they were, they were getting food, although he had no idea what he wanted to eat anyways.
All of a sudden, he saw the two eggs in front of him shake and shudder. One cracked open, and then the other did the same. His brother and sister were hatching!
He watched, interested. His sister hatched first. The first thing she did was flap, so her name was now Flap, at least in his mind. Then his brother made the weirdest sound. It went something like "FWAAAAAKKKKKWA!" Tweet didn't know what to make of it, so he just abbreviated it to Fwak and named him that.
Flap and Fwak ruffled their oily feathers and cocked their heads at Tweet.
"Tweet tweet!" he said, which in bird language means, "Hello! My name is Tweet! And you must be...?" (A lot for two tweets, isn't it?!)
Flap and Fwak nodded. "We're Flap and Fwak!" they said excitedly.
Tweet, Flap, and Fwak told eachother about what had happened in their shells. Not much for Fwak and Tweet, but Flap said she had felt her egg falling. It landed on something soft, but she didn't know what it was. Then she felt that she was being carried upward and landed softly again in the nest, although she didn't know who had rescued her. Fwak and Tweet looked at eachother with that look that brothers give eachother, and this time it meant they were glad that they were all together. Tweet was glad that he had a brother and a sister and that was very happy.
All of a sudden, there was an eagle!
A yellow eyed, white headed creature with a curved beak and razor-sharp talons just waiting to strike. Baby birds would be a wonderful, helpless, refreshing treat for a bald eagle!
Where is your mother when you need her? wondered Tweet as he looked around at Flap and Fwak. They were jumping up and down nervously, flapping their wings as if they could fly out of the nest by themselves. But maybe...
Tweet knew what he had to do. He gathered up Flap and Fwak and squeaked them some instructions. They all nodded, trembling.
Tweet took one last look at the nest he had once called home, then opened his wings and flew!
Fwak and Flap quickly followed behind, clumsily at first, but then following Tweet's movements they regained control and were soaring through the air, the wind whistling against their feathers. Tweet had never felt so alive. Not that he had had much of a chance to yet; it was only the first ten minutes of his life. But still...
Over the forest they flew when Tweet remembered his mom and dad. "Guys, we need to find our parents! I got out of my shell and they weren't there. At first I thought they were out hunting food, but how long does it take for them to do that, really?" called Tweet to his brother and sister over the wind.
Tired, his siblings encouraged him to go but decided to stay behind themselves. "That was enough flying for me," said Fwak. Tweet guided them back to the safe nest, hoping they would be alright. Then he flew out into the wind again, letting his feathers ruffle against his little body.
Once Tweet reached the edge of the forest again, instead of soaring over the treetops, he did his first dive, folding his wings against his warm body tightly. He landed on a tree limb something less than gracefully but he did not fall. He straightened his tail feathers and ruffled out his wings to give himself space. As he looked around at his surroundings with his light-accustomed eyes, he spotted a sleeping Horned Owl snoring on the end of his branch. Every couple of seconds his ears twitched. "Hello?" squeaked Tweet, hoping that this owl could help him find his parents.
"Hello," said the owl, eyes still closed. Tweet jumped. "How may I help you? My name is Hoot. I am an owl. As you can see," said the owl. He slowly opened his eyes, revealing big brown globes with smaller black dots in the centers.
"I am looking for my parents. They look just like me. Will you help me find them?" asked Tweet to Hoot.
"I will help you. Don't worry, we will find your parents. Follow me!" said Hoot and flew out into the night with Tweet following close behind.
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?