It’s been four years since I found out who I really am. It took me awhile but eventually I got there and it's not such a bad thing. The only thing that’s hard is not telling my best friend.
Her name is Niut Parsons, and her name actually means nothing, no one knows what it means. It's a mystery for all of us, which is why she stands out so much. Me on the other hand, my name is Aletheia Greene, my name just means ‘honesty’ and I guess it kinda fits since I am a very honest person. I’m not the type of person to lie. Too bad everyone else isn’t like that.
I’m standing in the middle of a food gathering from our small city, it's kind of what we do around here since everybody knows everybody. So I’m trying my hardest to avoid everyone so they wouldn’t talk to me, but it wasn’t working very well.
“Good morning miss Greene, you never fail me everyday when it comes to those outfits, I love them.” says my neighbor, Ms. Ramsey. There it was, the foul taste of bitterness and sourness, soaking up my tongue. Lies, I can taste lies.
“Oh thank you!” I reply, thank God I couldn’t taste my own lies.
So now you know my secret. The secret I’ve been holding back from my best friend, I have the ability to taste lies, and only I know that…well now you do too. Right now I was actually heading towards her house, who knows, maybe I’ll tell her then.
“Can you believe it's today already! I mean, I wonder what we are going to get!” Niut exclaimed.
You’re probably wondering what she is talking about, well, let me tell you. Basically every five years for all those who are 16, you go on a mission. You get selected and put into groups, then we have to go on a mission to find a piece of something. There’s normally a certain amount of groups, depending on how many 16 year old there are, and we have to find a piece of something. We don’t exactly know what it is, and we wont until its put together.
“I just don’t get why you’re so siked. What's there to look forward to?” I asked, I really didn’t feel like dying.
“Aletheia, it's an adventure. Who doesn’t want to go on an adventure you weirdo.”
I smirked, “Okay fine, I’m a little curious, just don’t want anyone to die, including me.”
“Ale, no ones going to die.”
And there it was, the bitterness in my mouth. I felt my face twist, disgusted by the taste. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. I can basically tell the future, so if someone says something that may or may not happen in the future, I know if it’s a lie or not.
“Oh, Ale, are you okay? You look like you just ate something very sour. And don’t say you’re eating anything sour because I know for sure you’re not this time.”
I stared at Niut. Her bright green eyes were waiting for an answer, so I thought I should. “Niut, I have something I need to tell you.”
“Yeah sure, what’s up?”
“Ale, I c-”
“Hey girls, how are you? Aletheia, didn’t expect you to be here.”
Meet Niut’s mom. Her bright red hair and pale face, mole on her cheek. Just imagine The Red Queen from Alice and the Wonderland and you got what I’m describing. I’d rather not have you go through the misery of understanding what I’m describing. Her mom always freaked me out.
“Hi Ms.Parsons, I’m doing great, how are you?” I responded as nice as I could.
“Oh, darling. I’m doing just fine thank you for asking. Are you staying for supper?”
Why she talked like this, I don’t know. “Oh no I can't, I should actually start leaving now, get ready for the big night. Thank you though.”
“Always a pleasure.”
Ms.Parsons left the room, “So, what were you going to say?”
I stared at her blankly again, why was it so hard for me to tell her? “You’re mom scares me.”
Niut laughed, “She scares everyone, no surprise there.”
I laughed along, “That’s true, I can't be the only one.”
“You’re not that’s for sure, now come one, let's get ready for the big night. I can’t believe we are about to find out what our missions are.”
“Welcome! As we know, today is the big day! Many of you will be put into groups and go on a mission to search for a piece of an antique to finish our project. As I told the story five years ago, the big project is the key to make our city a better place, I cannot reveal what it is until it has been assembled together. The last piece is this mission so we count on all of you to find that last piece and bring it home!”
There was a chorus of cheering. Yeah, okay, cheer for the dead people.
“Now before I start calling out names and putting them into groups as assigned, I want to take a moment of silence for all of those who had sacrificed themselves and helped us gather together these pieces. I cannot be any more thankful for them, let's take a few minutes of silence.”
I did take a moment of silence, but I didn’t say thanks, I said I’m sorry. I didn’t believe that they were making it a better place. I wish he was talking directly to me so I can know whether or not he is lying.
After a few awkward moments of silence, he spoke up in his microphone, scratching his beard, “Okay, now we shall announce the groups. There will be four groups of five, group A will have…”
He went off with names, I really didn’t listen because I just wasn’t up to it. He listed five names that I didn’t know and put them into one group on the stage. “And for group B, Aileen Jennings, Willow Poole, Niut Parsons, and lastly, Aletheia Greene,” there were a number of ooo’s and ahh’s.
Yes! I’m with Niut. I made my way through the crowd to get on the stage. We were instructed to stand in a certain area on stage and wait there. I immediately hugged Niut.
“So glad we are on the same team.”
“I KNOW TELL ME ABOUT IT!”
“Niut, you’re talking way too loud.”
“WHAT? NO I’M NOT!”
“Niut, I think a guy from Isolana Island can hear you.”
“SORRY, I’M JUST SO EXCITED. I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS MY WHOLE LIFE.”
“And you’re still talking loud.”
“HOW IS THIS?”
“Nope, still loud.”
“HOW ABOUT NOW?”
“Niut, you haven’t even dropped it one pitch.”
“Just don’t talk, just listen” I laughed.
She nodded her head while still smiling, I have never seen her this happy before.
The man spoke up on the microphone. By the way, his name is Mr. Hugga, I just didn’t want to explain to him cause I really don’t like him. But that’s him, an overweight guy with a beard, and he is bald, that should do it.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I now pronounce you group A, B, C, and D. They will all be led into the great walls of my home and be told what to do. These are who your hero is today.”
I think I might have thrown up a little in my mouth, did he just call us heroes? For what? Sending people to die and never come back? Never once has there been a time where everybody in each group survived, there has always been someone who died in each group, which was odd. There was this one time where two died in one of the groups but it was accidental, it was something about him eating Cheetos or something and one fell out of his hand while they were in the middle of an ocean and he jumped in and never came back out. There is always that kid.
“Now, off to your missions!”
“This doesn’t feel right.”
“Well isn’t that obvious, look at what we are about to do.”
“Okay, but it’s not exactly something I’ve done before.”
“Okay, none of us have, just go so we of us have to wait anymore.”
I stared down, the ground was so far away, what if this is how I die? “I don’t know if I can do this. It looks very far.”
Niut pushed me slightly, “Ale, I know you can do this, the faster you go, the faster we find the piece, come on, go!”
I felt a push harder than before and my brain began to spin. This is it. The end of my life. I don’t even know what my last meal was. I felt the smallest impact on my feet, shoot, I died so quickly that I didn’t even feel it. What were my last words? Did everybody else die too?
“Aletheia, are you okay?”
I lifted my head up, realizing I was just sitting on the ground, I looked up. Aileen was hovering over me.
“Here, let me help you” she gave me a hand and helped me up.
“Not going to lie, I thought I died” I told her.
“Well everyone does for their first time, it just takes practice.”
Aileen was a red haired girl with freckles. She looked so young but yet also looked old, it was weird. She even wore overalls. “Wait, you’ve done this before?”
She winked, “Nope, but I’ve dreamed of it too many times so it's at the point where I believed it was real.”
“Hey guys! Let’s get going.”
I watched the helicopter leave, “Where is this stupid thing anyway?”
Clarissa spoke up, she was a blonde and was practically wearing all yellow. Quite a bright person, “Mr. Hugga said it’s somewhere in a cave. It shouldn’t take long.”
“What's this thing even look like?” Willow said, she wore different shades of blue and even her eyes were blue, it looked good with her short brown hair.
“He just said we will know when we see it” Aileen said.
“Great, that’s great advice,” I said, this was going to be so fun, “how is he going to know when to send someone to get us?”
Everyone was quiet for that one, I take it that no one knows.
“Okay let's get walking. It shouldn’t be far.”
It took five minutes, if even, to find the cave. This felt like it was going to be a quick mission.
“Okay, let's get in there and get this over with” Willow said.
“Okay well, I don’t mean to sound like a baby but we don’t have light” Niut said.
Aileen smirked, “Guess we should all get to know each other more,” she burst out a flame from her hand, “you forget what my name meant? Torch of Light.”
“Wait, okay, before we go in, what can we all do?” I asked.
“Well, I have 20-20 vision and can hear very clearly and pretty far too. My name means bright and clear” Clarissa said.
I looked at Willow, she spoke up, “Oh my name means a symbol of healing so basically I can heal anyone or anything if it gets hurt.”
Niut looked at me, “Well I know you guys know that my name is a mystery, no one knows what it really means. So I actually don’t have anything.”
Everyone was staring at me, I felt my heart begin to race, I forgot I hadn't told Niut. “Niut, I haven’t told you but I’ve had my powers for like four years.”
“Guys I hate to break it to you but we don’t have time to argue.”
“Right, sorry, it's okay, I’m not mad. What can you do?”
I took a deep breath, “I can taste lies.”
Everyone gasps, “That is the best thing ever” Aileen said.
“Yeah but it tastes really gross” I said.
“Okay let's see, you’re very ugly” Clarissa told me.
The bitterness returned to my mouth, I felt my face twist, “Ugh, why did you do that.”
“And you weren’t lying, I actually think you’re very pretty.”
“Okay guys let’s go.”
Aileen led the way with the flame in her hand.
“I can hear a strange buzzing and it’s not far ahead” Clarissa claimed.
She wasn’t wrong, it was just a few steps into the cave and the weird piece was just in right there, sitting on the ground. It was golden and a number of symbols on it, shaped in a form of zig zags.
“See, that was easy, I’ll grab it. See Ale, no one has to die this time.”
I just remembered how I tasted the lies before this even started, someone was going to die, “Niut, wait-”
Then something dark grabbed her from behind, making the piece fly into the air and land into Clarissa’s hand. Niut screamed, calling for help but everyone was frozen. Niut’s screaming abruptly stopped, making the sound of humming return and silence filled the distance.
“Lets go, now, hurry!” Aileen said, leading the way again.
I felt someone grab my hand, I felt frozen, I couldn’t move.
“Ale come on!” Willow said, pulling me. She managed to pick me up and run out of the cave. You could hear the helicopter waiting ahead.
I still couldn’t speak, my mouth was dry, my eyes were dry, everything was dry. Someone put me in the helicopter and I felt it raise up. Something wasn’t right, there was a sick feeling in my stomach and it wasn’t from Niut. It didn’t feel like she was gone.
After a long while of the helicopter flying home, I stood up quickly, “How did you know we were coming? How did you know when to come?”
Mr. Hugga looked at me innocently, “I came just on time I guess.”
There was a small sourness of my tongue, “But it took us less than ten minutes to find that piece, were you here the entire time?”
I heard the girls start mumbling, they knew I was right.
“Yeah pretty much.”
The sourness got stronger, I managed to keep a straight face. “But I saw you leave, what exactly is this piece for?”
“I told you, it's to make our city a better place.”
It got stronger, my face flinched but I handled it.
Mr. Hugga smirked, then snapped his fingers. From the corner of my eye, I saw all three girls drop dead. Who was controlling this helicopter?
I gasped, “What did you do?”
He only remained smirking, “You’re getting too close to the truth. So they are dead now.”
My eyes widened, “How did you do that?”
He shrugged, “After all, we’re only human.”
There it was, the strongest I’ve ever tasted in my life. I drop down to my knees as I gagged at the taste, feeling every organ raise up. It was such a foul taste, it felt as if it burned my tongue and melted away my teeth, my eyes even began to water.
“Just as a thought, you can taste lies, far too risky for me. I plan to take over the city by putting together a weapon. Great job, you caught me just like everyone else who died. But you can say goodbye now, I’ll let everyone know that you didn’t make it, besides, everyone dies a hero right?”
I heard laughter right before a snap and the darkness took over me.