I live with Mary and John. They’re polite and uncomplicated. But their simple life gives me too much time to focus on the intricate and confusing web of my own. I miss everyone, Lacey. Jacob.
Sometimes at night I hear Father’s hammer or saw at work in the barn. Or Mother’s gentle hum as the rocking chair creaks against the floorboards of the porch. Even the thud of the pigskin landing in strong, wide hands brings quick tears to my eyes as I lay in bed.
I curse myself. I brought this on my own head. Too bright. I complained about a perfect world.
The grass glows green. It’s too bright, but no one else seems to notice. I lay back on the picnic blanket and little blonde ringlets block the saturated blue sky. Lacey’s giggling face fills my view. She’s all sunshine and daisies. A line from We Bought A Zoo comes to mind, her ‘happy is too loud.’
Does no one else sense something off about this too perfect, too bright world?
I force a smile and tickle her until she falls back on the blanket. Her happy getting louder.
Reaching for a too red apple, Jacob catches my eye. He and the other young men of our farming community are tossing a pigskin back and forth. Their bare feet seem to bounce too high off the ground like gravity has lost a bit of its power here.
Something is definitely wrong.
I can’t believe it. I try, but my mind just can’t seem to wrap around what’s happening.
The people around me move into action, setting watches and checking their ammunition. This feels more like a movie than real life.
In fact, just like a film, the world seems to slow around me as I watch the gates shut and something in my brain finally clicks into place.
I’m not watching World War Z, I’m experiencing it.
I never thought I’d see the world this way. A perfect resemblance of a YA dystopian novel. If I’d known how hard this life was, I’d never have entertained myself with hours of devouring those novels.
We’ve been traveling for days.
Bone weary and chilled through threadbare coats. There’s been nothing but grey stormy skies and frostbitten wind pushing at our tattered clothes. I can’t remember the last time I felt clean. Most of the streams we pass are frozen over and the places the water does still flow are green with toxins. Continue reading
It only comes back to me in fragments. But the feel of it remains with me long after.
I’m shopping. Laughing, having fun.
Only the store I’m browsing is filled with urns and coffins. Continue reading