In then out. This is what I long for today. The silent, unobtrusive slip into a building, then the silent, unobtrusive jump out. Of course, we humans seldom get what we so desire, but one can hope. Silently, and without hesitation, I slip into the patchwork shadows behind the house, careful not to rip a single thread of the dark fabric that could so easily reveal my presence. Deep, molten moonlight streams off my back and outlines my silhouette, a dark stamp on new paper. I crouch, arching my back before springing through the window and onto the soft, carpeted floor below. I land on my haunches, quietly, precisely. According to my calculations, perfectly. I listen. I sit. I wait. The lights under the door flicker on and off, the bright yellow illuminating then dimming. And I hear a voice. A man's. He's talking to someone. "Mi
pájaro cantor" He calls her. "My songbird." I only took one semester in Spanish, but I still know that's what he used to call me. And now he calls her that too. I fight the bitterness rising in my throat, pressing behind my eyes. I can't let this get in my way today. I need to be focused. I need to do what I came here to do.
You'd think, to someone like me, who'd been living off of thievery and luck for 13 years, nothing would come as a surprise. You'd think I had heard it all. You'd think I could've just brushed it off. You would've thought wrong. I've been hiding from the government since I turned 18, legal space age. I've been stealing from random houses just to make a living, and yet I still ended up here. At this abysmal place where lies and deceit know no bounds. At his house. I snap back to the present. Not now. I tell myself. You can't do this right now. You have to focus.
I rise slowly, turning the handle on the door in a trance. It creaks and I jump before slowly darting out into of the dark foyer of the house. It's just as I remember, paintings of cheese and wine and all the other things rich people enjoy hanging on the walls. Rich people who can afford to buy their name out of that giant lottery. Rich people who can afford not to spend their life in fear. I start as I realize I've subconsciously gone to the corner of the kitchen, the place where I would hide from him on his bad days. The place that was my veritable prison for 3 years. Just get the food and leave. That's why you're here. I stand, grabbing just enough food from various locations around the kitchen so it'll just seem like someone had a midnight snack. Maybe they won't even notice. They don't have to ration their food anyways, so why would they? I swallow the bitterness that's started rising again. I slink back to the office, open the door, and jump back out of the window and onto the lawn.
The next day, fog hangs in a low lying blanket over town, beads of precipitation clinging to anyone who ventures out past the front porch. Of course, for the people like me, the ones who hide and run and stay in denial of the harsh reality that has become life on the planet earth, we don't have a choice but to brave the weather. We don't have a front porch to go past. But today, more than any other day, we are reminded of our rank on the social food chain. Today is the moon festival. Every year, on the winter equinox, children run and play, eating government rice cakes and throwing paper airplanes as their parents wait in fear. Every year, one person is picked to be sent to the moon. No one knows what happens to these people, but we see how they come back. With long, jelly-like bodies and scars across their face. With crazy dreams that send them screaming through the streets. Sometimes, they don't come back at all. And the kicker is, your name goes right back in the lottery for next year even if you've already gone. But the rich can opt out for a large fee, and avoid this ordeal all together. I find this as just another one of society's rules meant to inherently separate us and keep the rich rich and the poor poor. But, if you drop off the grid, the chances of your name getting pulled drop drastically, because if you are legally a missing person your name is removed from the running. However, if you drop off the grid and no one reports you as missing, you're out of luck.
We sit, all of the people who have given up our lives to avoid the government, tense in a large huddle around the TV that Randy commandeered for us long ago. Watching as our president pushes one button to stop the spinning of the wheel. One button that determines the fate of another human. A whole family of humans, even. Presses that button with a casualty bordering on pure indifference. With a stony, expressionless face. The flashing names slow on the screen, grinding to a halt as the tension builds. Finally, Finally, the spinning wheel stops. And it stops on me.
My heart plummets as my picture is shown to the world. This is impossible. I had my boyfriend report me as missing. Then it dawns. He didn't do it. He was proabably either to drunk or too high to care what happened to me, yet he calls her ""Mi
pájaro cantor" just like he called me. I am too lost to care anymore, and as I stand and walk towards the big town square, no one even tries to stop me. They're too busy being glad that they aren't me.
I board the rocket in a padded suit tailored to my body, slowly climbing the ramp into a marvel of modern technology that man has only used to separate itself. I climb, not caring where I'll end up of knowing where I started. I climb. I climb. And I climb. Finally, I'm in the rocket. I strap myself in with numb fingers, then hold on as I am launched into what I can only assume is the moon.
When I land, I step out of the rocket onto the hard, grey surface of the thing I looked up to every night. I look around. There is nothing here. There is no one here. The only thing here is an american flag, the colonizers attempt to colonize what is beyond their control. I am totally alone. And I only have Half an oxygen tank left.