Chapter 1 v2

Chapter One I watched the sun rise and sipped my coffee feeling content.

I always make sure to rise early to watch the sun rise. It‟s one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I am told that the sun was not always this beautiful. That it ended humanity over twenty years ago. But it gave me a new beginning. A new hope. I place my mug on the desk and start brushing my dark hair. It‟s the day of graduation at the school of division 8. I have waited long for this day to dawn, for many reasons. One being that I am finally an adult and that I have the freedom to do what I want. It sounds cruel when I think about leaving my parents and my little sister. They have given me everything. A loving home. A beautiful life. But for some reason I do not wish to live all my life in division 8. I feel like I am destined for .. something more. I felt myself fingering the silver locket around neck. I got it as a gift two weeks ago on my seventeenth birthday. My mother placed it on my neck and whispered the strangest words. “After all these years.. it’s something that belongs to you” The locket had a strange design on it. A falcon with wings spread outward. It was a pretty old locket so the design was not too prominent. I looked at my reflection and straightened my dress. My mother made it for me. I only wore it on special days like birthday parties or the town mayor‟s annual address to the residents. Today is a special day for me. Today I decide on my future. I quietly walked out of my room, afraid that I would wake my family up. When I tip toed to the living room I found them all seated waiting for me. “Thought you can sneak out?‟‟ my father asked me with a grin. I turned red. That was my intention really. “I didn‟t want to wake anyone else up” I said clutching my shoulder bag tightly. “Why do you always wake up so early?” my sister Hemera asked rubbing her eyes. I shrugged. I was always a morning person. Always. My mother comes over to me and says nothing but gives me a long hug. I hug her back and she looks at me with her brown eyes. “We are so proud of you Ariel “ she says. “ no matter what you choose , we are always going to be here for you” . I almost tear when I hear this. “I know mum” I say softly. My sister joins the hug. And I playfully push her away. “Happy graduation, Ariel“ she says smiling. “Thanks monkey” I tell her. She looks at me with her brown eyes and narrows them at me. She looks so much like my mother. I move close to my father and give him a hug. “All the best kiddo” he says hugging me tight “Thanks dad” I give them a final wave and head out to my bus stop. It‟s about a thirty minute drive to school. Which is why I liked waking up early. Hey! A voice startled me I turned around to find my best friend Giselle , smiling brightly at me. You’re up early? I asked smiling. Hmm .. well had to make an exception today. She walked closed to me and sighed. “Today‟s the day ..” Yes it is “I seconded. And when we reached school there were a total of 67 students outside the school hall waiting to hear the graduation speech. Back in the day graduation was different. Parents used to be a part of it and students wore robes and hats. Things have changed since the stage 1 apocalypse. That‟s when the sun rose from the west. When the sea rose over 100 feet and crashed onto our land. When the sun‟s death rays burnt everything . When the ground split into two. When islands sunk down in hours. I was not even born then. But I learnt about

them in school. Natural disasters that finally ended humanity. Most of it anyway. There were a handful of nations who did survive. And they all wanted something. Power. That‟s when the war started. World war three. And now .. we have something called a ministry. The ministry rules 11 divisions and the high society lives in the first 5 divisions. It was not easy learning the history of how we ended up like this. But at least we have hope that someday things are going to get better. Giselle and I walk among the other students towards the hall. The hall looks nice today, maybe because of the lights. I couldn‟t help notice the paint peeling off the walls and the dusty ceilings. If only division 8 had enough material to re build this place. We find ourselves to a row of chairs arranged in front of a podium. I spot my friend dimitri two rows ahead of us. He waves and asks us to come forward. “No you come here!” Giselle mouths loudly. Dimitri looks around and jumps over the chair almost tripping the entire row of chairs over. “So are you guys excited?” his blue eyes twinkling with mischief. “About what?‟‟ I ask He and Giselle exchange looks. I try to look bored. But we all burst out laughing. “You are such a lousy actress “ Dimitri says pinching my nose. Dimitri treats me like a child sometimes. Maybe because I am not as tall and curvy like the other girls. Is this seat taken? A deep voice asks me. I take my hand off the empty chair as soon as I hear the voice and look up. It was Gordon. Dr. Arthur‟s only son. I open my mouth but no words come out. He stands there awkwardly waiting for a response. “No that seat is not taken Gordon, you can sit down with us” Giselle fills in and smiles brightly. Underneath the chair I feel a kick. Stupid. What is wrong with me? I„ve known Gordon, all my life. My mother works for his father. I have been to his home countless times. I have even been to his room. I blush at the thought now. I clear my throat and smile at him. He flashes me a set of dimples. I try hard to think about it and focus on the speech our professor is about to give. But I can‟t help notice his strong arms next to mine. I don‟t know what really has gotten into me today. Is it because I know I may not see him again? I wonder what my mother would say if I told her about the strange feeling that came over me. I wish my parents could be here. But then again none of the parents are here. Once you select your field of work, it‟s all about dedication. As a division we are still growing and rebuilding our land bit by bit. Every minute counts. I watch as our head professor finish up his speech and start calling the graduates by name to accept the diploma. The first two rows are almost up when; Dmitri and Giselle walk over to the adjoining line. I stand up and walk behind them not turning back to look at Gordon. Giselle and Dmitri are talking to Kane, another class mate in hushed tones. I try to listen to their hissing. “… alliances formed “ I managed to hear. Alliances? “ you mean it‟s here in d 8?” dimitri was questioning him. The line was getting shorter. Two more classmates and Dmitri was next. I couldn‟t catch Kane‟s response because he went up to collect his diploma. I grabbed Giselle‟s arm. “What was that about??” Dimitri proudly collects his diploma and winks at us.

“Later” Giselle hisses and walks up to collect hers. Confusion rolls in my head. Why would they keep something like this from me? I walked up to the podium and half grabbed the diploma. The professor eyes me in surprise. I rushed over to the trio and opened my mouth to demand an answer when Kane excused himself and walked off. I pulled dimitri aside , and I pulled him so hard he dropped his diploma. “What is going on here??” I asked again. He looked at Giselle. “Can you stop doing that and tell me what‟s going on?” I begged. “Have you.. have you heard.. of the prophecy?” Giselle asked softly. Her voice was barely audible. “Prophecy?” I asked not realizing that I was loud. Dimitri shushed me to a corner. “The prophecy of the last division?” he asked. I shook my head. How long have these two been keeping secrets from me? “It‟s in the book of revelations.” Giselle begun. “ .. that an alliance will over power the ministry and take rule for forty years and restore mankind” “Are you serious?” I ask laughing. Are they playing me for a fool? “Why would I lie about it?” her voice heavy she glanced at Dmitri. I have heard about the lost book of revelation. It had predicted everything that happened but no one has actually seen it. Which always struck to me as odd. Maybe even a myth. “The alliance is already being formed as we speak “ Dmitri tells me seriously Does this mean there is hope for us? For a better future? A better future for Hemera? “It sounds scary” I say finally unsure of how to respond. Would I ever be a part of it?

We all head back home in the rickety old bus. Division 8 has only 5 buses. This how the residents travel. I can‟t stop thinking about the alliance. The thought of a rebel force building up somewhere away from here .. seems.. unreal. I walk towards my house and take a moment to look at it. The house I grew up in for 17 years. All my happy memories. All the unhappy ones. Like the time my grandmother fell sick with the viral flu, and eventually lost her life. The time when we heard that the ministries were going to cut down on oil supply so we had to give up the usual transport service of 12 busses to 5. I open the door and find the house empty. I just remember that I m home early. Parents at work. Hemera at school. Even though the house is small, it feels big when it‟s empty. I sit down on the settee and think about my future.

What future do I have at division 8? I open my bag and pull out a list of jobs that the school recommended. Teacher Warehouse administrator Nurse Just three recommendations by my professor. I wonder what Giselle got. In three days I have to submit my job application. What do I choose? Maybe if I choose to be a nurse like my mother.. I can be around Gordon, who is more likely to work with Dr. Arthur. I shake the thought away, frustrated with myself for being frivolous about my future. I sit back and close my eyes. For just a second.

I wake up 3 hours later, dazed. Did I sleep that long? The loneliness makes me sick. I walk over to Giselle‟s home and knock on the front door. She opens the door, a few minutes later, her dark brown hair in disarray. “Want to go for a walk?” We walk towards the beach, which is closer to where we live. The sea looks dark grey and the sand feels like gravel. Dimitri decided to join us the moment we said beach. Sometimes I feel like he is the brother I never had. Giselle walks right down to the waves and lets her feet hit the water. “So what did you get” I asked. Truck driver Warehouse administrator Soldier Dimitri replied tossing a stone towards the waves. Filing clerk Nurse Hair dresser Giselle sighed. These are careers we never wanted. “Do you guys ever wonder what‟s out there” I asked looking at the sea “Always” they replied in unison. “I m leaving d 8 “ Dmitri continues. It doesn‟t come to me as a shock. It‟s an idea I ve always played with myself. I ll come with you I tell him. Will you he asks. “Hey what about me? “ Giselle moans. “I don‟t want to be a hairdresser ! Not here anyway!” “I‟m leaving tomorrow” dimtri continues.

How long has dimitri planned this I wonder Giselle grabs Dmitri‟s shoulders. “This has nothing to do with the alliance right?” Well he did get a soldier job recommendation. Maybe he aced all the male sporting activities. He didn‟t answer Giselle. „The first bus leaves at 6 am tomorrow. „ Giselle looked at me with tears in her eyes and walked away. “It‟s time we grew up “he says looking at the horizon. My heart sinks to my knees. He is right. I head back home and tell my parents during dinner that I have decided to leave division 8. Hemera bursts into tears as soon as I mention it and it takes a while for me to calm her down. She is only 13 and I ve watched over her all my life. I try not to think about how much I will miss her. My parents don‟t seem to be affected by my decision. It‟s like they knew I would never stay here. When I get to my room I hear hemera‟s sobs from the next room. I feel selfish. Am I really thinking this through? Deep down I know this what I really want. I start packing my bag with extra clothes and basic necessities. And take some extra money I have saved over the past few years. It‟s only enough for meals, but even without I might be able to manage. I pack my water canteen into my bag and zip it shut. I close my eyes and think about the sunset. Tomorrow 6 am. A new day. A new hope.

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