Day 80 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write about two worlds colliding.
Shannon: “You’ve been messing with the book again, haven’t you,” my brother stormed up to me with pure rage in his eyes as he slammed the leather manuscript folder down on the table in front of me.
“I think we should meet them. I know you tried to trap them because you were afraid of what they could do, but I think they could help us. Maybe even save us,” I defended my actions.
“You don’t know what you’ve done. You’ve really screwed up this time, and if you don’t tell me where you hid the typewriter everyone is in danger.” He didn’t doubt his belief for a second. “I’m sending them back.”
“I’m not telling you where it is,” I shook my head, and I, on the other hand, absolutely doubted whether or not I was making the right decision. “And if you’re scared you should go, because they’ll be here soon.”
“Here,” he spoke as if he had gotten the wind knocked out of him, “Now?”
I nodded, starting to feel a little bad.
“I can’t leave you alone with them,” it pained him to say it, but he wasn’t going anywhere.
“You told me yourself that you weren’t trying to create monsters. You know what they are. You know their purpose. They just need to be understood,” I explained.
He breathed out and I could tell he was processing the idea, until a scream from outside distracted both of us. “They’re here,” he raised an eyebrow, showing a spark of confidence.
Erin: “Back in your grandma’s day there was a large wall. The elected had created the barrier many, many years before even I was born. The bricks served to separate the elite from the undesirables. The day of sorting came not long after we could talk. Unsurprisingly, with the sorting came separation from family members and homes. Those who lost their own in the sorting ceremony would be expected to take in the other separated.
The east was for the people who were charismatic, outgoing, and constantly wanted to be surrounded by people. The west was for those of us who would spend more time alone, and could speed too much time thinking and not enough talking.
It didn’t take long for the East’s infrastructure to wear down. By pressing an ear to the wall, you could hear the pulse of the others. There rumbling must have been the cause for the demise of their buildings, The sound of them through the brick could still drown out us in the west. While our government and city became more and more organized and effective, all of our bars had closed down and there could be a tendency for many to lose sight of a work life balance.
It wasn’t until the wall collapsed that we learned the beauty of the others. My mother was an east resident. When we met she talked for days and I listened. When she was fully finished, I gave her my observations of the great separation and she listened. Our societies brought art and ideas to each other that beautified both of our lands.
The sorting was a terrible idea. Most of us that grew up in the time can agree on that much. There was one good thing that came of the experience though. The easterners did realize the equality of the westerners. We may not always be as flashy, but they need us just as much as we need them.”
Put some different things together and see what happens.
Ever since I can remember, there was a wall to the east of our city; no one knows who built it or for what reason or what was on the other side. It was a fact that the wall existed for our protection, but no one knew or cared why. Stories were told to the young ones about harrowing journeys over and around the wall that ended in loss of life and limb. When it was our generation’s turn to sow the seeds of distrust in the wall, as every generation before us had, we sent scouts as far north and south as anyone had ever gone. After two years, they stopped waiting for their return and the names of those brave men and women went onto the list of those lost to the wall.
On our side of the wall, the safe side, calmness and serenity ruled; everything was an eerie shade of blue, though no one knew why. Legends told us that, on the other side of the wall, savages ruled over burnt plains with fury burning red-hot in their hearts and hatred spread like a plague across their lands. Not many still believe in the old tales, but it doesn’t matter what’s on the other side since no one can get there anyway. There could be fountains of gold and rivers of wine, for all we know or care.
I stood before a grand, gilded mirror, watching something swimming behind the grey eyes of the well-dressed child. Upon the young woman’s head sat a delicate silver tiara, resting in a nest of jet locks that hung in ringlets down the sides of her soft face and reminding me of how young she was. When she self-consciously reached to straighten the diadem, I glanced down at the formal garb that adorned her slight frame; a loose-fitting aqua blouse that bunched at her shoulders and wrists, flared pants made out of a luxuriously silky material and traditionally bare feet. Matching the silver crown on her head was a choker, sets of bangles and rings that sparkled with amethyst, sapphire and emerald.
Carefully stepping to the side, I continued to admire the striking loveliness of the fabrics flowing against my skin. But when a furious pounding came to the door, I felt the dread settle back in my stomach and the stunning attire was no longer so fabulous. “Come in,” I spoke in a child’s voice, as heated and mournful tears stung my eyes; my elder sister was supposed to be doing this dreadful task, not me. Instead, she was gallivanting about the realm with her friends, leaving me to marry the stuck-up prince from a far-off land.
When the door finally creaked open, the guard not having heard my call, my mother burst through the doors and stood irately in the center of my lavish chambers with her hands on her hips. Speaking in short, forceful sentences, she scolded my tardiness, “You, Talia, are meant to be at the ceremony already. They’re awaiting your arrival to begin, and you’re admiring yourself in the mirror like a commoner who’s never seen royal dress before.” In reality, I’d only been near clothing of this calibre, and even then, it was on my sister so I wasn’t allowed to touch it.
Sighing as the tears vanished, I nodded curtly and stepped back from the frame, waving goodbye to the sixteen-year-old I’d been only moments ago. In a matter of hours I would be the crown princess of [insert name of crappy township I was being traded to] and would no longer have time or will to be a child.
As we took the steps to the staging room one-by-one, I ran my hand along every silky surface in the castle, committing the cool and smooth feeling to memory; soon I would be surrounded by the cold, unyielding natural stone of my new home. Though both towns had similar blue colouring, as all places in our world did, ours was of the soft and comforting kind. My prince came from a place where the blue hues had settled like a frost upon every surface, imbuing the place with a near-magickally cold quality. In my deepest nightmares, I’d never imagined being forced into a wretched place like that.
Coming upon the staging room, my mother turned the knob, ushered me inside without warmth, closed the door forcefully behind me and slid the bolt home; she didn’t want me escaping my destiny. Though I knew it wouldn’t budge, I jiggled the handle just to be certain before collapsing into the plush couch on the opposite side of the room. From here, I could look out the window at the extravagant wedding preparations, as well as the hundreds of conservatively-dressed diplomats from all our capital cities as they milled about. Some wore garb similar to mine in stunning shades of purple, blue and green, where others sported tight suits or dresses. Tradition dictated many things, but, when it came to social gatherings nothing was off limits.
Gently resting my elbow on the tempered-glass window, I watched a bird flutter on the tree mere feet away with a painful longing. It was so free, flitting wherever it wanted, all the while singing lovely melodies that anyone would love to hear, while I was a prisoner with no voice to speak of. Singing its melancholy melody through the glass, it hopped about the branch before taking off to some unknown meeting. I sighed and continued observing the guests making the rounds with benign interest.
When something hit the pane, I jumped back and waited patiently for my heart to steady before leaning to see what had struck. Deliberately moving forward, I glimpsed a set of brilliant ocean-shard eyes staring back at me. Rayn mouthed, “Hi,” and motioned pointedly to the windowsill from behind a great prickly bush that made the castle appear to float from some angles. Cranking the bottom pane open, I laughed at the torn clothing my big sister was wearing under a muddy cloak.
“Oh, yeah, and your wedding getup would last months in the wilds,” she pouted, letting her grin spread to her eyes. Carefully glancing around, making sure no one could see us, she whispered, “Come on. Let’s get you outta here. I have so much to show you,” nodding to herself, Rayn started to unhook the frame from the outside. After seeing my stunned, frozen look, she stopped and sheepishly explained, “Look, I never meant for you to take my place in this insanity. Yeah, it’s great that we’re making strong connections, but that’s not our responsibility.” Taking a breath, she continued, “I’m gonna show you an amazing place you won’t believe.
After twenty minutes of struggling with the window, interspersed with periods of Rayn hiding quietly in the bush as I lounge on the sofa, we got the pane pried off. Slipping out the gaping opening, I dropped onto the dewy ground and crouched close to the wall, feeling exposed. Rayn hugged me fiercely for what seemed like hours, murmuring reassuringly into my hair. When we finally broke apart, I looked up at the windowsill, where the pane of glass had rested, and looked to my big sister for guidance.
Lifting the glass back up, she whispered, “Okay, just put a couple screws back in and we’ll steal away into the light.” When she smiled, I did what she said and we picked our way past the honored guests and into the treeline. We stood under the protection of the pines for a while, watching the festivities unfold, before Rayn took my arm and led me through the underbrush and into the unknown. For what seemed like hours, we hiked under massive trees and over babbling creeks before we came to the wall, looming mightily above us.
“I’m gonna show you how society should be, my dear Talia, and you won’t believe your eyes,” as she spoke in an awed voice, she knocked thrice on the wall. It creaked and a door swung open, exposing us to brilliant yellow sunlight that hit like a wave of fire. Shivering in the sudden warmth, we both stood for a moment to bask in the light, before a tall figure blocked it out and stepped through the doorway.
His outfit, baggy orange shorts and a sleeveless shirt were completely alien to me. When he spoke, it was with passionate and excitement, “Ladies, please step in or out of the wall, no dilly-dallying.” Raising an eyebrow, he sauntered back through the door and disappeared in the brilliant glow coming through.
When I turned back to Rayn, she shrugged her shoulders and followed the tall man, gripping my wrist with claws that dug into my skin. Through the door, which sealed itself behind us, was a paradise where people from the legendary heated side of the wall mingled peacefully with our calm side. It was an entire village planted right alongside the divide, where the arctic chill still reached its gnarled fingers through to freeze any possible tension, but the warm, happy glow of the other side permeated every inch. Perhaps this was what the world was supposed to be; a happy medium between the cold, analytical, peaceful side and the passionate, excitable, heated side. It seemed like the best of both worlds to me.
Created to Write:
Heather stares out the window, watching cars pass below her. The sounds of the city reach through the glass. She can’t see the rooftops of the buildings across from the apartment. The sky is a dark gray and cloudy as night comes. She stares passively for a second, then stands and stomps to the door.
Steve jumps at the sudden movement. “Where are you going?” he asks.
“The park,” she answers, stuffing her feet into her sneakers.
“I don’t care,” Heather says.
“It won’t be safe-”
“I can’t handle this!” Heather stops, looking at him. Steve is watching her, but she knows he’s surprised at her outburst. “…I’m not used to this, Steve. I need green, quiet, fresh air and natural lighting and peace,” Heather stresses, “Not glaring neon, noising cars, tall buildings, and gray. I can’t handle being cooped up in a small apartment and breathing air with pollution. This is just…” Heather looks down, kicking the carpet, “it’s not me.”
She doesn’t look up until she sees Steve’s feet on the floor in front of her and a gentle hand on her shoulder. She sees warmth and a little amusement in Steve’s eyes.
“I’ll grab my coat.”