Critical Thinkers (short story)

Standard

Photo by Tabitha Mort on Pexels.com

Critical Thinkers (1st part)

As I laid on my bed in complete silence, I thought about the boy who I locked eyes with at the food court. His eyes were dreamy. There was something captivating about his mysterious eyes. He stared hard at me, contemplating whether secretly waving at me or walking away. Almost simultaneously, we looked away. I looked away for his safety and for my own wellbeing as well. I couldn’t forget his face. It wasn’t just because of his handsome exterior, there was a despondency behind his eyes. An overwhelming sorrow hid behind his almost concealed smile. Maybe he stood out to me so much because over the years I’ve been molded into a pure representation of sorrow as well.
There’s no such thing as “living” in my town, actually in my whole country. We’re alive yet dead inside. We live a life of no choices, options or freedom. Everything we do and who we talk to in the course of our manipulated lives is predetermined since the day of our birth. I spent hours questioning the meaning of life, asking myself, “How is this living?” The government gave us three laws, 1) Respect the government and presidential family, 2) Love the government and 3) Smile at all times.
As I lay on my bed, I feel my body shiver as the cold wind creeps through the crack on my window. My bedroom walls are filled with posters of our all mighty leader, President Trudent. Only in my mind can I call him President Evil. If anyone dares to speak in public of their distaste for him, they would be risking a painful execution. My thoughts about hatred and sorrow were interrupted by my little twin sisters screams.
“Serenity! Scarlett kicked me!”
“No, I didn’t! She’s being a little baby Serenity.”
Here we go again. Once again, they are fighting. I would have thought twins would be close and united. Scarlett and Evalyn were nowhere near united. My family is pretty wealthy, I guess all the money and toys turned my once adorable baby sisters into spoiled eight-year old’s. The money and toys never got to me. How could it while others are dying of poverty and agony? How could I even dare flaunt my money around?
“Serenity! Scarlett’s still hitting me! Get down here.”
I jumped in the elevator and in a matter of seconds appeared in the living room.
“What now? Scarlett stop hitting your sister. Hug each other and behave. Why are you guys arguing anyway?”
Little rebellious Scarlett jumped on the couch and exclaimed, “I want to be like president Trudent! Evalyn said President Trudent is stupid so I hit her.”
I was shocked and exasperated by Scarlett’s statement.
“Look at me now little girl. Actually, both of you look at me. Scarlett don’t you dare want to be like President Trudent. Evalyn don’t you dare utter those words outside of this home. I probably sound very confusing right now. Guys trust me, this government is nothing to trust. It is an oppressive mess… Just sit still and watch TV You guys are still too young to understand…”
They stood still, I guess my aggressive tone shocked them because surprisingly they sat down and began watching cartoons. Scarlett and Evalyn were never exposed to the evil of our government. They are being brainwashed by the educational system. I, on the other hand, was able to witness poverty and the evil behind our government before they were born. I was adopted by Scarlett and Evalyn’s parents when I was 6 years old. I still remember how my mother’s tears fell on my face. I was born to a maid who worked hard to keep me alive. Since I was born in the lower class, the government refused to educate me. Mother always said, “They try to keep us ignorant so that we can blindly follow them. I will educate you myself. I’ll keep you from becoming just another puppet under the control of injustice.” My mother told me the real story behind the government. The story that gets ignored and censored out of every history lesson taught to the youth of my country.
I remember the day my ears were opened to the story of how this country became the repugnant Roseland. I was a joyful 5-year-old. My mother came home, and I was watching the news with my uncle. President Trudent was giving his regular 5:00 speech.
“Fellow Roselanders, it is time to give our daily salute to me, your all mighty leader and to our beautiful, humble country. Our country which shines so bright! We must all be proud of our government, the best one on earth! Remember, smile at all times.” He gave the camera his typical bright smile. Such a beautiful smile on a pitiful and worthless man. After his moment of fake smiling, he said, “All rise.” My uncle and I stood up and we put our hands over our hearts while listening to the national anthem.
My mother just stood there and said, “Serenity, what are you doing? Put your hand down, he doesn’t deserve your respect…”
My uncle looked at my mother and in a concerned tone spoke to her.
“Catherine, it is the law to salute to President Trudent’s speech. I would suggest you keep your child safe by showing her how to be a proper Roselander. Do you want to risk execution one day? Do you? Just do what you are told, even if it is faked. Just smile…”
With no hesitation, my mother replied to him.
“My daughter deserves a life where she can think for herself. Come Serenity, let’s go to your room.”
Being a young child, I didn’t understand my mother’s frustration with my uncle or government.
“Mommy why is it bad to praise Roseland and President Trudent. Why do you hate them so much?”
We entered my tiny, fallen apart room and she sat me on my bed and held me in her arms.
“You’re so young, so innocent. You’re so full of hope. I wish you could remain this way forever, but I need to open your eyes to the truth. It may destroy your innocence or fracture it, but I rather do it myself than let life slap you hard in your face one day…”
I remained quiet. I tried imagining life being a huge entity in the shape of a hand, getting ready to slap me in the face. I tried to envision how the truth would feel after the slap. Would it be scary? Would it destroy me?
“Sweetie 500 years ago in the year of 2556 our country had a different name. It was an extremely different place. One of our ancestors was a famous book author who during the years 2556 through the year 2575 documented how Roseland became what it is today in a journal. This journal has been passed down from generations in our family, in the year 2590 our ancestors secretly began circulating her journal throughout the lower-class citizens. Under a different name of course, if the government found out the origin of the book our whole family would have been annihilated.”
My mother quickly ran into her room and came back with an old-looking book. It was a copy of Marjane Cruz’s, my ancestors, journal.
“Really mommy? Wow! 500 years is a lot.”
My mother giggled and said, “Yes my child, 500 years is an extremely long time. Back in the year 2556, Roseland was a great powerful nation. It was the land of freedom, well that’s what the old government used to say. People were free to talk about anything and could talk to whomever they wanted to about anything. Back then people had the right to have an opinion.”
“People talked even about the president mommy?”
“Yes sweetie, even about the president. There was even something called, Public schools. Public schools were where hundreds and thousands of children were educated.”
“Wait! What? Wow, so kids studied together? That’s so different! The government makes kids study at home. My friend Laura has a neighbor whose rich. She said her neighbor studies in her house. Every rich kid does.”
My mother laughed at how excited I got and said, “Yes, kids could make any friends in school. Poor or rich, you were allowed to get an education. A teacher taught the students.”
“A robot teacher mommy? Laura’s neighbor has a robot teacher.”
“No sweetie they were human beings like us. People made of bones and flesh. People with emotions just like us sweetie.”
I remember being fascinated by the way my mother described this utopia that once existed in my dystopia.
“Mommy, if that year the government was so great, then why did things change?”
“Bullying, my dear. The bullying started it all.”
That was my first encounter with that word. I wondered what mysterious thing bullying could’ve been. The word didn’t sound scary, nor malicious.
“Bullying was the beginning of what caused Roseland to change. Bullying was the root of destruction. It’s intoxicating how us humans ourselves let bullying turn a utopia into a society where happiness has to be faked. Bullying is when you put down others because of the way they look, act or feel. Serenity imagine being constantly ridiculed because you’re poor.”
“That’s mean mommy, that would make me feel sad.”
“Exactly Sweetie. Kids, teens and even adults did this to each other. Bullying caused people to deal with depression. Depression makes a person never want to smile. It’s a sadness so deep that life becomes painful.”
“Mommy, depression would be against the law then. The law is 1) Respect the government, 2)Love the government and 3)Smile at all times. President Trudent must never get depressed because he always smiles.”
“Yes sweetie, depression, well showing your depressed would be against the law…” Anyways, President Trudent’s ancestor was what started this dystopia… Before he became the beloved president of Roseland he was a loving single father to a little girl named Rose. She was born with a mark that took up half of her face. She suffered from depression due to the constant bullying in her school. His love and protection weren’t enough to keep her away from the bullies all around her. Nor was it enough to help her overcome her depression. Rose ended her life at the age of 15.”
My heart sank. I wondered how much pain a person had to feel in order to ever take their own life. Hearing the story of a young girl committing suicide didn’t destroy my innocence but it sure did in a way sadden my young heart.
“What happened after she died mommy?”
“Well, her father a couple of years later became president. He was known for his slogan, “I’ll help make us shine like a newly grown rose.” During his presidency bullying and suicide were so common that every week it was on the news. At this point, I think president Trudent’s ancestor was losing his mind. It seemed as if all he wanted to do was end bullying. He closed public schools. He became powerful and drove fear into the American people. People tried stopping him but president Trudent’s ancestor had a military and army weapons under his control. For centuries president Trudent’s family has been in control. Till this day they are and will always be our bullies… The man was right in a way, the only way to stop bullying is to become the bully of the bullies themselves…”
After the day my mother told me the story behind the government I viewed life in a confusing way. I loved it because I had my mother and uncle. I also hated it because the rich had it all, all smiles were forced, and our laws were based off fear.
After Scarlett and Evalyn stopped fighting I sat outside on my front steps. A group of teens ran passed me, they were wearing masks. Purple masks I’ve never seen before. I suddenly heard a voice say, “turn around.” It was the boy I locked eyes with at the food court. He handed me a note and a purple mask, then quickly ran away. He was smart, as long as he and I don’t vocally communicate the chip implanted in our bodies wouldn’t detect it. That’s how the government can tell when people outside of each other’s social classes are communicating, which is against the law. Once you are adopted, they switch the chips in your body to match the social class you were adopted into.
The letter read,
Remember me? It’s Haven. I know I look different now. I lost all the baby fat and cut my hair. Rebecca, Lilly, Joseph and I have been looking for you ever since your mother died… I hope you haven’t forgotten about us. After your mother’s death, many of us swore revenge on the government. It’s either now or never Serenity. We started a group called the Masked Rebels. We’re going to bring justice to your mother. It’s about time Roseland changes and for the better. We meet every Tuesday under the abandoned market. I’ll be around your house Tuesday at five.
I was shocked, Haven, my old childhood friend! I felt the 5-year-old in me awaken. Tears poured out of my eyes. They were warm, they were warm like the feeling in my heart. Although seeing Haven again brought back beautiful memories it also brought back the memories of my mother’s death. My mother was killed by a cop for disobeying the law. My mother’s biggest downfall was her big heart. My neighbors were being executed in front of their home after their 3-year-old daughter repeated the words, “I hate president Trudent,” in front of a cop. The cop questioned the parents where the child learned the “evil” phrase. They asked for forgiveness and said the child will never say it again. The cop with no remorse shot the father and mother. The baby was next, my mother ran and tried to stop the cop. She and the baby were shot…
My uncle wanted a better life for me and knew he wasn’t going to be able to provide for me. With pain in his heart, I was put up for sent to a government facility where the poor could place any minors for adoption. Adoption was a gateway out of poverty. Only the rich had the power and right to adopt. That day I slept with the note haven gave to me in my hand. I waited for Tuesday to come with an emotion-filled anticipation.
Tuesday came, and I woke up with a nervous feeling. “Serenity you’ve been acting strange, are you ok?” My adoptive mother was concerned, constantly checking up on me, bringing me cookies. I’ve grown to love her. She’s my best friend in a way. It hurt hiding the note from her and keeping a secret so big, but I knew if I told her she wouldn’t let me join the Masked Rebels.
Five O’clock finally arrived and I sat on my front steps waiting for Haven. He arrived at 5:01, he handed me a note. It said,
I knew you would come, put on your mask.
I had a pen and notebook to communicate with him. I wrote,
It’s about time we start a revolution.
I grabbed his hand out of nervousness and excitement then in silence Haven and I walked. At the meeting there was pure silence, everything we wanted to say was through writing. We were about 30 teens all from different social classes. Haven wrote on a smart board, 1) Gain followers, 2) Have faith, not fear and 3) Smile but out of joy. We all silently looked at each other and smiled, some cried but out of hope. That was the beginning of the Masked Rebels…
To be Continued…
The Journey Awaits

Nightmare

Standard

Heres a little halloween themed post since we are in october! It is an excert from a book I am working on. Hope you guys enjoy.

I woke up in the middle of the night with sweat running down my face. Someone was touching my feet. I looked at the foot of my bed, but no one was there. I tried going back to sleep, a few seconds later I felt someone tug my foot. I screamed. I heard loud music playing in the living room. I walked to the living room thinking it was the Bluetooth radio again. Sometimes my neighbors would accidentally connect to my Bluetooth radio. Once I walked into the living room the music stopped.
I looked into my mother’s bedroom, she wasn’t there. I began hearing a man’s voice say in a taunting manner, “Here comes the boogie man.” He repeated that phrase and his voice just kept getting louder and louder. I yelled, “Whoever you are, I took karate classes, I will fight back.” I ran to the kitchen and grabbed a knife. The man’s voice got louder and closer, I could hear him breathing and chuckling but had no idea where he was.
I yelled, “Show yourself!” He said, “Don’t you remember me?” I listened to his voice. “Guardian angel?” Suddenly the man I knew as my guardian angel appeared in front of me. It was a reflex of mine and I swung the knife. It went right through him and he was uninjured. “Hello darling, I have been thinking on our deal you know, and I am here to clarify something I expect from you.”
I looked at him confused and said, “You never said I owed you anything.” He chuckled and said, “I play dirty, unfortunately. I did tell you I wanted some powers from you, well let’s say the biggest power I can take from you is your soul.”
I panicked, “Is he the devil?” I thought to myself. He said, “No I am not, but some people would say I am.” I said, “How did you hear that. Listen there is no way I am giving you my soul. So, fuck out of here you demon.” Now, some may say I am pretty bold for talking to him like that, but that’s just who I am. He was shocked at my response and said, “Feisty, aren’t you. Listen here child, nothing’s going to happen to you. You aren’t going to die. All that’s going to happen is I own you now. I send you to do things for me here on earth and in the afterlife.”
“Wha… what do you mean?” He picked his fist up and opened it and showed the flame once again. This time the flame was black. ‘My child, I am death. I come to people when they die, and I take them to the afterlife they deserve. You will do my job from now on from the hours of 3am and 8am.”
“But why me? What I ever did to deserve this?” The flame got bigger, and it turned into ice and he handed it to me, “It’s all part of a bigger picture. I won you fare and square” I was so confused, nothing made sense. I held the piece of ice in my hand and it melted before my eyes.
“Why me?” I asked. He said, “Just luck I guess.” I got annoyed, “Luck? How is taking dead people to heaven or hell everyday luck?” He disappeared in front of me. A gust of cold air entered the room.
I heard my mother’s voice from her room. “Eva, everything ok?” I ran into her room. “Mommy, death came in here and wants me to do his job and he said he owns me. I am so scared.” She cut me off and said, “You must’ve been having a bad dream like when you were little. Go back to bed and get your rest sweetheart.” I knew she wasn’t going to believe me, so I decided to shut up. I asked her if I could sleep in her room that night.
I slept next to her in her room and thought about if all this was just a hallucination and I, in fact, was just going crazy. I managed to fall asleep around 4am. I kept dreaming with my grandmother, asking me to pray so when I woke up, that’s what I did, pray…

The daughter they won’t speak about (From the mind of Viviana)

Standard

She twirls around.

Dancing and humming to a song her older sister used to sing.

A sister her mother does not want to speak about because she is “wild.”

A woman must be poised, quiet, and serve her husband her mother always says.

Viv jokes in her head, ”Yeah right, that’s if I even desire to ever have a husband.”

She throws confetti in the air and says “I can’t go to a party, so I’ll bring the party to me.”

She FaceTimes her friends who are dancing together.

She laughs with joy because being home alone means no one can judge her at this moment.

No one to tell her, a woman can’t dance provocatively or hang out with guy friends.

She can be whatever she wants to be right now.

She hangs up the call.

She pretends she is a singer next. She jumps on the couch and sings to her favorite song.

She dreams about being in front of a stage performing.

Either dance or music.

“It’s my calling,” she says.

But when she hears her mother turn the doorknob, she sits on the couch.

Prepares a lie for why there’s confetti on the floor.

She looks in the mirror after saying hi to her mom.

She notices her smile has vacated her face once more.

She picks up the confetti, and in her mind, she says, “This is what she wants me to be, an everlasting maid. The girl who sings and dances and throw confetti on the ground is me. What’s so wrong with being fun. My brother can do whatever he wants. Never cleans, cooks or takes care of anyone.”

The list of unfair chores she’s had all her life arise before her eyes.

“I am wild, excited, a kindred spirit. Why must I be poised and quiet? Why must I be what she wants me to be.”

Why must I, why must I, why must I be a person I am not meant to be.

Women are taught generations after generations what to act like, what is expected of them.

“I am more than just a being created to take care of a man and be a mother.”

I am more than, I am more than, I am more than.

She goes into her room.

Writes in her journal.

“Dear diary,

Is it possible to ever be free without becoming, the daughter they won’t speak about?”

From the Mind of James (Character in an upcoming short story)

Standard

The worst and absolutely terrifying thing of losing touch with reality is that society becomes a dimension I am just taking space in.

It becomes a dimension where my mind is too chaotic to take part in.

So I stay home.

The worst thing about not sleeping, is you feel your body deteriorating, falling apart each night you don’t rest.

The worst thing about being told, “control yourself,” is I have been “controlling” myself since I was a teen.

Do you really think I enjoy looking like an odd creature, wondering, lost in insanity.

Maybe what I need is a special potion, a special something to bring me back to reality.

The world around me just looks so fake,

Am I going insane?

Is this insanity?

Excerpt from my story “Guardian Angel”

Standard
black and gray angel statue decor

Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Pexels.com

It was a time of puffy coats, chilly air, and stuffed noses. One month left until the end of the fall semester. I was out with my boyfriend at the time, David. He took me out to a restaurant in 42nd street. He was a horrible boyfriend but enjoyed taking me out to eat. We were arguing back and forth our whole train ride there. He said as we got off the train. “You are being a bitch, why don’t you shut your mouth and listen to me for once?” He thought I was cheating on him with a classmate. The day before, my classmate Austin texted me to discuss the final group presentation for my anthropology class. Of course, David would unlock my phone without asking for permission and question why I was talking to Austin. David was an egotistical jerk with low self-esteem. I failed to realize how badly he treated me. Well, I did realize he wasn’t treating me right, but my eyes were blinded by loneliness. The reality of it was I stood around with him because I felt lonely and isolated at that point in my life. At this point in my life, I understand the only reason I stayed with him for so long was that he was giving me something I always craved, attention. I was a lonely 21-year-old. I lost all my friends because of him. He found ways to make me so lonely, the only “friend” I had was him.
As we sat in the restaurant I begged him to stop arguing with me. I felt like I was about to burst and just yell at him in front of everybody, but I had to remind myself, I am not like him. I calmly tried to explain to him that I can have friends other than him. He called me irrational for sharing my feelings and saying he was being jealous. I got up from the table and said I was going to the bathroom. I almost went into the bathroom but instead just walked out of the restaurant. I needed to cool off without having the risk of him following me. I was accustomed to him following me when I needed my space. I stood outside the restaurant trying to get the strength to be strong and break up with this jerk.
Suddenly, a handsome man, wearing a black coat walks up to me and says, “I know what you need.” I said, “Excuse me?” I was prepared to scream for help. He said, “Calm down. Not trying to sell you drugs. I know what your heart needs. That jerk in there is not going to give you what it needs.”
In a perplexed voice, I asked, “What do you mean? I don’t know you.” He waved his hand and said, “Watch this.” As soon as he put his hand back down, time stopped. The clouds, the trees, the people, the cars, everything stopped moving. I panicked and yelled, “What are you?” I’ve seen way too many scary movies to not think the worst. He reassured me he was my guardian angel. I believed in that kind of stuff. I, in the last couple of months, had been trying to get signs from my guardian angel on what to do with my life.
I had two failed jobs, quit because I would let stress and anxiety get the best of me. I had no money, school was stressing me out and my boyfriend was no help. He said, “I am here to make a deal with you.” I said, “This is the sign I have been asking for, you exist. What is the deal.”
He smiled and said, “All you have to do is shake my hand. I will give you everything your heart desires if you agree to become immortal.” I began to think of the money, the friends, passing my classes, a job I can handle, my mother getting better with her health. I was about to shake his hand, but I realized something strange, “Why do you want me to become immortal?” He placed his fist in front of me and opened his hand, a glowing purple flame illuminated from his palm “Every couple of years, I make one human being immortal, in return for some extra power. I lose power if I don’t give power in return. Just trust me. I can give you everything you desire, and you will never die.”
I hesitated, but he finished the proposal with something I couldn’t refuse. “If you agree, and shake my hand right now, I will cure your mother of her sickness. I know how much longer she has. The doctors are going to tell her next week that the cancer is back. I can stop that from happening. She only has two more months left. Do you want her to die now, or let her live a long life so she can see your children grow one day?”
My heart started beating faster, “No… Not my mother. I can’t live without her. It’s a deal.” I shook his hand. I felt a surge of energy flow through my hand and into my body. He smiled and said, “I knew you would pick the right choice. Now go back in there and get rid of that jerk. Good things will come. As soon as you wake up tomorrow you will feel the difference.”
I thanked him and started to ask, “Will I see you again,” but he disappeared right before my eyes. The cars started moving, the people and 42nd street became alive again. I felt so confident, I walked into the restaurant and said to David, “David, do you prefer I say it here in front of everyone or outside of the restaurant? Your choice.” He looked at me confused and said, “Whatever you have to say you can say it right here.” I smiled and said, “It’s over.”
He got up and quickly began telling me how no one will ever love me the way he does and how he is my only true friend. “Blah blah blah. Whatever, I had enough of your bullshit. You have disrespected me, caused me to cry and emotionally abused me for the last time.” I picked up my drink and poured it on his head. “Good luck. Peace out.” I walked out. He yelled, “You stupid bitch.” I blew him kissy faces as I walked away and the whole restaurant just stared at him as he tried to dry his shirt and face.
While on the train home I felt so alive, so powerful. I felt free. I’ve broken up with him before but this time it was different because I had no sadness, or the intense urge to get back with him. As I waited for the train, I blocked his number, his Facebook, his Instagram and erased all our photos. When I got home, my mother was watching the news. “Eva, how did the date go?” I sat next to her and joyously said, “I showed him who’s boss mommy.” I told her what I did, and she scolded me at first for making a scene in front of people like that but then she congratulated me. “I’ve been telling you for two years to leave him. I learned that only you could make that decision and nothing I would say mattered. I am glad you finally opened your eyes.” I was about to tell her about my encounter with my guardian angel, but I knew she would never believe me. So, I just said, “Mommy great things are going to happen.”