Falling. The wind roared past my ears and the hot summer breeze suddenly became much more cool and chilling. The small toy cars changed gradually from tiny to huge. I was suddenly aware of how close I was to the ground. I panicked at first, but I knew that that was a natural feeling. My eyes zoomed in on the target below—a black circle with a blue outline. A split second later, my feet hit the trampoline at full force, and I knew immediately that something was very wrong. My right ankle gave out from the pressure and twisted 90 degrees. My neck hit the trampoline, causing a brutal cracking sound, and I blacked out.
When I woke up again, my vision was blurred. Even from the blurriness, I could make out the cast on my ankle, and feel the itchiness of the cast on my neck. My whole body ached, but I couldn’t feel any pain that I was expecting. I reached out to the nightstand for a cup of water, but my arm didn’t move. A shuffle outside the door caught my attention.
“Paralyzed?!” I heard my mom whisper urgently.
“Yes, her whole body. She will barely be able to even move her head.” The doctor responded tragically. Too much for me to handle, I passed out once more.
Two weeks, I was told. I was in a coma for two weeks. My ankle had shattered, leaving the bone completely destroyed, and my neck was in an even worse condition. The bones in my neck, including a few bones in my spine, had snapped, causing the paralysis.
My flashback started. From the time I saw the man on TV when I was five, I knew that this was it. I was willing to risk my life to trampoline skydive. Since the time of training, which was just a small jet flying overhead a trampoline, to now, which was flying thousands of feet in the air, I loved the sport. I imagined my whole life dedicated to the one thing that I was truly in love with.
But now, in the hospital, with too many tubes to count, I couldn’t accept the facts. Within seconds, my whole world had crumpled into a million pieces. I didn’t think I could live without trampoline skydiving.
“Honey…” My mom started saying, but my own thoughts drowned out her voice.
I was a fighter. I was stubborn. I was relentless. But most of all, I refused to live without what I was living for. I was going to find a way out of this mess, put the pieces of my life back together, and no one was going to stop me. I wasn’t done, and I never will be.
They Are Coming
The x-eyed face is everywhere; on the trees, houses, cars, and even signs. It’s almost a rule—one face per object. The face is deeply engraved into the object, then brushed with a rotting dark grey paint that looks like powder. The slightly unnerving smile of the face makes you want to look away immediately, with the eyes as dead as the roadkill found beside it.
The police tried washing the face off, to at least remove the powder paint. No matter what they did, the face would reappear exactly as they left it; it’s empty, lifeless eyes staring straight through your soul.
Everyone tried to ignore it. The world went on with their daily lives, even when from each and every family, one member had mysteriously died. No one talked about it, though, in the fear that they would come sooner. No one wanted it confirmed, but it could not be denied, either. It had been anticipated for the last hundred years.
“They” are coming.
The thick, stuffy air seemed to swallow everyone. And the eerie silence didn’t help either. The school was going through a lockdown drill, only this time, it wasn’t a drill.
The man barged through the front door, not even bothering to disguise himself as the mailman or something. Within minutes, three classrooms and the office were filled with corpses.
The whole school seemed to shut down, with kids and their teachers in each classroom packed against each other, with the sweat that dripped off noses and breath mingled together to make a stench that could be smelled miles away. The air was ringing with silence, only to be broken by the occasional sound of gunshots.
Room 379, though, was blatantly oblivious to any danger whatsoever. With the overhead speaker broken and the CD player blasting a “Beatles” album, no one got the message of the school-wide lockdown. Only one observant girl, Luna, felt something completely wrong. She opened up the classroom door, just slightly. Without hesitation, her teacher yanked her back in.
“What exactly do you think you’re doing, young lady?” Mr. Vandorich scolded.
“I’m sorry, but something seems wrong. The school is way too quiet!” Luna exclaimed, the worry showing on her panicked face.
Mr. Vandorich considered this for a couple of seconds before saying, “I’m the teacher, you’re the student. I’ll go see what’s going on. I’m sure it’s just a simple misunderstanding!” He stepped outside, peering around for anything odd, as Luna watched him anxiously.
But, before he could take a second step outside, he collapsed as a gunshot fired, footsteps rushed toward the classroom direction, and the rest of the class went mad.
I have a problem.
It all started yesterday morning in English class, when Mrs. Candal caught me doodling in my notebook. She gasped so loud, I thought she had some sort of seizure for a second.
“AMBROSIA!!!” She shrieked, yanking my notebook away.
Then, in a tone so quiet I had to lean in to hear her, she whispered to me, “Be careful, Amb…they could be watching.” Mrs. Candal nervously looked around the room.
Ever since the monarch government took over, art, writing, and any other form of creativity was banned in order to control people’s individuality. They supposedly watched over everyone and everything, but I didn’t believe that until…
The next morning, my daily pill was nowhere to be seen. The pill appeared on a special table every day when the government delivers them to each person in each household through the advanced programming technology system. People have to take exactly one pill between 7:55 and 8:00 a.m. or they would be severely punished. If you don’t get one, who knows what will happen to you, like my best friend, Chrysanthemum. One day, she wrote these cool stories and the next, I was attending her “funeral”, except no one knows where she really went.
I glance at the clock, which displays 7:58. This is probably because of my doodles, I think to myself anxiously. Maybe they’re late with the pill delivery? I try to comfort myself, but I know I’m in big trouble. The government is flawless, meaning it’s never late.
As my parents and brother take their pills, my mom casts me a horrified glance when she realizes that I don’t have one. I’m just opening my mouth to ask her what I should do, when an abrupt sounds disrupts me.
Click! The clock just reached 8:00 when a hologram of the Pill Director appeared out of the pill table.
“Ambrosia Tiffania Sante,” he recites, “Please wait at your house. A government official will pick you up shortly.”
Goodbyes I’ve Said
I’ve said goodbye to New York,
The first 3 years of my life.
I’ve said goodbye to tricycles,
When I ditched them for a bike.
I’ve said goodbye to daycare,
Where I could nap, throw fits, and pout.
I’ve said goodbye to close friends,
When class schedules didn’t work out.
I’ve said goodbye to elementary school,
Where children cherish their youthful days.
I’ve said goodbye to shyness,
When my boldness began to blaze.
I’ve said goodbye to others’ rude comments,
That made me tougher than ever.
I’m prepared to say goodbye to school,
To be vulnerable to the real world forever.
I’m prepared to say goodbye to family,
When they sing me to sleep with lullabies.
I’m prepared to say goodbye to Earth,
As I make my way to Afterlife.
Black metal gates,
Gray stone walls,
Curved triangular doors,
And decorated walls.
Illuminated glass lanterns,
Polished wooden benches,
A broad spider web ceiling,
And windows framed like fences.
Zooming up and down,
While the lobby right below it,
Barely has a sound.
I see all these things,
From the bottom of the Cathedral,
But I know that nothing else,
Can even come close to being this regal.