Shafts of soft moonlight slant into the darkened room and glisten on the carved spines of half illuminated books. I pause and run my finger along one of them, my eyes straining to make out it’s elaborate title in the dim light. I shift my glasses higher up on my nose and move on, my bare feet sticking a little on the cold marble floor.
It’s…. A little hard to explain why I am in the only library in the world at three in the morning, but there is a book here that I need to find, and I don’t want anyone to see me with it, because if I’m caught, my whole plan is ruined and I’ll be either jailed for life… or executed immediately.
A crashing splintering noise and a sharp pain abruptly bring me back to my senses. I see the broken shards of marble that have been thrown across the floor, and I realize that I must have walked right into a sculpted bust. I curse myself and spin around as the sound of distant footsteps echo dismally in a neighboring corridor.
I flee into a maze of towering bookshelves and I rush past streaks of moonlight, the sound of my slapping feet filling the room. I see the heavy oaken doors past the bookshelves and I run faster than ever, my lungs searing. Suddenly I burst through the doors and fly into the opposite wall with a shriek.
I lay against the wall gasping for air, sweat dripping down my neck and dampening my hair. My glasses slip down my wet, hot face and dangle off the end of my nose. I think about what a close call that was and I know that the library must be guarded now. Swift footfalls break into my thoughts, and I leap to my feet, my blood pounding in my ears, trying to decide whether to run, hide, or play it cool. “Echo?”
Relief breaks across my face and I rush to meet my friend, Arrow. I leap into his arms and he presses his forehead against mine, his fragrant warmth flooding my senses, his dark hair falling into my face. We twirl around in the wide hallway and slump against another wall and he whispers “I heard a crash. I thought you’d been caught.”
“No.” I breath “ I got away in time. “
“This time... “
“Arrow…! This is important. More important than anything we’ve ever done.”
He sighs and flicks me between my eyebrows. “ I know, Echo. You're just my best friend."
I press my face against his chest and I murmur “I know..."
He asks gently “Do you wanna go to sleep, Echo? It’s been a long night.”
I pull away from him and I say “Not yet. We need to stop by before we can sleep.”
He takes my hand and we creep along the shadowed corridor, searching for the right door. Finally we find the right one, and my fingers fumble with the knob in the dark; after a few moments, the door creaks open and we step inside. Arrow closes the door behind him, and the room falls to utter darkness.
I step forward tentatively and I let my whisper floats on the air. “Dune!”
I hear a sudden movement and a slightly panicked whimper of “Ember...?”
I half run to Dune’s side as she sits up in bed and surveys us, her green eyes hazy with sleep. “Echo? Are you alright…? Do you have information on my family?”
I grasp her hand nervously and say “I was just making sure you were safe. We know the doctor can’t be trusted.”
She grimaces and sits back with a slight groan, the bandages around her hands a little bloody. I sigh and grab a roll of fresh bandages from a shelf nearby and I begin to change Dune’s dressings, keeping my medical training firmly in the front of my memory. Dune’s sleepy murmur rises from the bed “Why did you become a nurse for this horrible place, Echo?”
“I didn’t do it on purpose.” I growl, and I can feel Dune recoil.
I sigh and immediately regret my tone. “Sorry… I just didn’t choose to be a nurse. The decision was made for me, because the doctors noticed my abilities. At-at first I refused. I tried to escape with my family, but we were caught and they were killed. My mother, my father, my brother… they were killed in front of us all as a reminder to what will happen to us if we oppose them.
“They say they imprison us here, and control our minds, and decide our futures because they want to protect us from the harsh Outside. That’s why they’re keeping you a secret. They don’t want anyone to know that you can actually survive out there. They want everyone to believe that this is the only safe place.
“But that’s what I’m doing in the library, Dune. I’m searching for answers… I’m searching for a way out. For all of us.”
Dune’s eyes glisten as she hears my story. She pauses as though she wants to say something to me, but then she nods, and turns over on her bed.
I stand up and cross the room and knock softly on the door. A moment, and a reassuring knock on the other side let me know that the coast is clear. I open the door and I step back into the cool hallway.
Arrow smiles slightly and the sight of my worn face. “Finally ready for bed?” he asks, a little tease in his voice.
“Definitely,” I giggle, pushing him a little bit as we make our way back down the hall.
“That girl sure does wear me down.” I joke.
“As much as me?” he asks, laughter in his eyes.
“Not quite that much.”
We reach another familiar set of doors and we pause.
“Goodnight Arrow, see you tomorrow.”
A scream. A scream of horrible familiarity cuts through me like a knife. I sit bolt upright, the stale, early morning sunlight hitting me in the eyes.
The screams continue and I scramble out of bed, not stopping to get dressed or even to grab my glasses.
I burst out of my room, my heart pounding. It all comes to me in surreal flashes. Guards. Soldiers. Guns. Blood.
I see Arrow thrown onto the ground, I see a faceless person in a splattered uniform point toward me. I still hear screaming and I realize it’s coming from me.
I feel myself thrown onto the ground beside Arrow. I hear a voice declaring that a traitor has been found in the midst of our peaceful and organized society.
I hear a voice giving the order for Arrow’s death instead of mine.
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Whoa, wait you can't leave it here??
:P Hehe hopefully I'll write another part this week!
CFC, ok this line is such an amazing hook! "... there is a book here that I need to find, and I don’t want anyone to see me with it, because if I’m caught, my whole plan is ruined and I’ll be either jailed for life… or executed immediately." Soooo, cool! I haven't finished the story yet, I just really like that part. :)
Yaaaaay! Thanks so much! I so glad you like my stories! :)))
Great story, I love the way that you have crafted it. Hope you will also read my story :)) ~Palak Shah
Yeah, of course! :)))
Heeey!! This is part two of The Perfect World! I hope you enjoy! :) ( I followed the prompt as best I could, I hope it's good enough :/ )