The door begins to unlock and, even though my heart is breaking, I'm filled with excitement. All I can hear are the muffled sobs of my little brother and my dad's worried, shaky voice as he attempts to console him. The sunlight begins to slowly drift onto the uneven asphalt walkway, parted only by unusable train tracks. The door opens up completely and as the sunlight blinds me, my enthusiasm and taste for adventure silences every sound. I run as fast as I can into the unknown.
This had always been my plan and my father hated me for it. I turn my head to face the gigantic painting. Only a few artifacts were protected when we all escaped the mainland. Due to my fathers high rank, he was given this painting as a "welcome to the force" gift. I loved it not because it was rare and priceless, but because I could look at the flowers and dream. Claude Monet, whoever he was, was long dead but he gave me a place to dream and drift off too. I asked my father for the name of the painting and the flowers within it, "water lilies" he told me, and now the flowers with a name are my favorite. Most morning I lay here and stare into it. Wondering what it must have felt like, smelt like, sounded like to watch the frogs leap from leaf to leaf and to watch the water lilies bloom. Each a different color and each a different smell. Where Would I be in place and time to see such delicacy? Who would I have been if I wasn't doomed to a life in the darkness. I lay here and wallow.
Then I turn my head to say goodmorning to my mother. Turning my head to the left I looked at the mannequins.In every room there is an equal amount of mannequins for each family member. So five people in one family equals five mannequins in their home. We began with and still currently have four mannequins. Shortly after my little brother,Ian, was born my mother passed away. They said she suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and by not getting the help she needed, my beautiful loving mother eventually took her own life. I look over and speak to the mannequins often as a sense of comfort and nostalgia. We kept our mothers mannequin the exact way that she left it. Even though it's been years, it's like you can still smell her around. I wipe a fresh tear off my cheek. I still call her mannequin "mother" but I dare not do this in front of father or Ian. They are still grieving heavily and we all miss her but none of us talk about it, or her. We all suffer in silence from her absence. The mannequins used to be an intimidating presence but they're now a Rosebud community comfort because we've all lost someone but their love stays with us just like their mannequins.
Mannequins are all equipped with a black full body mesh suit with a single Maroon rose on the chest. Although, your family rank does determine your clothing quality. Then everyone gets a maroon fleece leather jacket that's fashionable and Also keeps us warm enough to maintain homeostasis. When there is a group of us all in one spot, due to height and weight differences, we all look like a large Maroon rose and I have to say it looks pretty rad.
"Today's the day mother" I spoke wearily, "today i'm going out to the mainland... do you think dad will ever forgive me for this?"
I hop down off of the second bunk and begin to dress myself. I slide on my metal toed boots and zip them up on the side. Slowly walking crouched over I begin out of our home and down the flight of stairs on the right. I go down two more flights of stairs and look around before I crouch under the red “restricted area tape”. This floor is off limits unless you were someone of high rank like my dad and the other generals. I ran across to the closet door that holds everyone's Coats and extra jackets and caps. On the bottom left corner of the closet there is a large piece of Maroon and black plaid striped wallpaper plastered on the wall. I found this playing hide and seek with my friends when all of the adults had their mandatory meeting. Naturally, my friends never found me but I found a treasure tunnel. I lift up the plaid wallpaper and begin to crawl through the hole on the wall. Then as soon as my entire body is in I flip my body over, close my eyes, take three deep breaths and then I open my eyes in awe. The underground cave is embedded with blue goldstone and it shines like stars in the night sky. Sometimes I feel like some of them are winking at me so sometimes I make wishes. The main wishes have been to have my mom back and to have my first experience of adventure out in the mainland.
“Good morning Rosebud homeowners! Breakfast will be served promptly at 7:30 am. Please walk promptly to your assigned line and have the first nourishment of the day! Don't forget to bring your appetite for this evening's feast!” Speaks Mr. Godly through the Rosebud intercom.
Mr. Godly was his name. Needless to say no one really paid him much mind because he already praised himself so much that no one else needed to. He decided to use the extra bits of wallpaper we had left and use them to cover up every spot of blood around the Rosebud. There were quite a few residents who couldn't handle the lock in and went mad. One guy cut a smile into his face and used white permanent glue to color his face and then dyed his hair dark green. He said it was some superhero reference that only two other people understood. Other people killed themselves in very dramatic ways, always leaving gigantic blood stains over the walls and the ground. Mr. Godly made it one of the laws to cover them up with maroon wallpaper. Instead of creating comfort it created eeriness and started all of our Rosebud ghost stories.
In a way his ignorance created something for everyone to bond over. Every two months we all come together in the middle of the garden after a hard day's work. Each family puts their rat onto the gigantic pit in the middle. Everyone takes turns and it feels like we are all one and equal and just a huge family. The kids run and play in the fields of the garden. The teenagers, like myself, huddle up together and share our newest discoveries in movies and songs that were last recorded and invented in the mid 2000's. The adults get the food ready and sip on cranberry lemonade and finally look relaxed. Sometimes my group of teen friends all just stop and silently watch our parents and caregivers. With new eyes we see them, because sometimes it's the only time we hear them laugh and see them smile.
My dad hasn’t looked me in the eye for three days now. The Entering Operator, The safety general, The front line troopers and my father all stood stiffly and silently in the conference room waiting for the Safety General to begin the meeting.
“I just don’t think it’s a good Idea for her to leave no matter how many troopers you put on her” My father barked angrily.
“Yes, and we understand your concern but-” the Safety General began in a rebuttal until I chimed in
“BUT, Father It is my choice and I seriously want to do good and I'll come back-”
“YOU don't know that Anna! When you walk out those doors you’re as good as dead and I won't be able to save you. I already lost your mom. I can't lose you too!” My father screams as his eyes become clouded with murky tears that defyingly flow down his cheeks.
“I love you Papa, I will always be with you” I walk over and wrap my arms around him in a stubborn vain attempt at hugging and consoling him. We set the run for the next morning giving me the night to say my goodbyes and pack only what I needed. The Rosebud, My vault, My home, my family, I love you!