Lionhearted (Chapter 1)

by Sad Machine
Maybe it was about time I actually woke up? I grumbled and slammed my face into my pillow. It was normal I could just hear my mother’s screaming to try and get me up. Sitting up slowly, I stared at the pastel blue walls standing at the end of my bed. I slowly massaged my forehead with my fingers.
“Nathan! Are you up!?” that was mom… Always screaming at me in the morning.
I glanced at the date on the calendar, 6/12/4016.
My stupid alarm goes off… I slam my hand down onto the chrome button. My plastic night stand topples over on to the not so soft carpet. Rough, plastic carpet. Just like everything else in this “new age.”
I must write an essay today. I'm home schooled of course. Mom didn't like me to go outside, we have to wear gas masks or cover our faces when we walk outdoors. The world has, “gone to hell.” as mom says. This essay of course is going to be about when this world, “wasn't a complete mess.” I wasn't alive then… But I can just imagine the beautiful flowers, the skies clear of smog, crystal clear lakes, and wildlife.
I stumbled out of bed and peered out the window. The skies are grey… Like always… A thick layer of smog lingered over the tall skyscrapers that just spew the smog out into the already polluted skies. I shook my head, and walked out of my room, running my hands across the white walls. My mind was buzzing all sorts of sporadic thoughts. Mom was in the living room reading. She peeked up from the book and tsked,
“You're finally up, Nathan.”
“Good morning to you too mom.” I remarked back with a smart ass smile.
“Just like your father.” she muttered and flipped the book’s page.
“Too bad he wasn't still here, we could've both ganged up on you with our smart remarks.” I chuckled.
“Do you have your essay all planned out?” she questioned, absolutely disregarding my comment about father.
“Yes, I do, I bet dad could have helped me on it as well…”
She slammed her book shut and tossed it on the white cushion next to her.
“Stop bringing things up about your father! He's gone Nathan, you know you can't change that.” she sighed after somewhat yelling at the top of her lungs, “Just please, get your essay finished.”
I stomped past her in the small apartment living room. I flipped on the light to the office. My cellphone was sitting on the computer desk.
(5) missed calls from Lynia
What could she possibly want? We were on the rocks anyway! I picked up the small device and hesitated for a while to give her a call back.
“Be a man.”
That stupid little phrase was ringing in the back of my head. Five missed calls… damn. Probably something important. I sighed loudly and tapped her icon, hovering over the call option. I “toughed up” and called her back. An immediate response that shocked me.
“Nathan! Good you finally picked up your phone for once.” Lynia exclaimed from the other side. I could vaguely hear wind in the background.
“Hello to you too.” I said, rolling my eyes and taking a seat in the computer chair.
“You'll never guess what I found!”
I spun around in the chair looking up at the low ceiling.
“What…?” I asked back, enthusiastically.
“Don't tell anyone but…” her voice got real quiet, almost inaudible.
“But what?!” I said, basically sitting on the edge of the chair.
“I found a way out of the city. That essay you said you absolutely HAD to write. I am thinking that outside of the city will be the greatest first hand experience for you to gather all you need for your essay.”
“What!?” I repeated.
I heard a sigh from the other end, “Yes, Nathan, I found a way out of the city, my auntie claimed that she's been out there before. That there's no pollution beyond the borders. She claimed that there were miles and miles of beautiful pastel flowers, and fields of emerald green grass.”
“This sounds so made up.” I said with an aspirated laugh.
“Are you calling me a liar…? Listen, so do you want a good essay or not?”
“I do… But is it worth it?”
“That's for you to decide for yourself.” and with that, the phone call abruptly ended.
“Rude…” I muttered and slipped my phone into my pocket. I glanced at my notebook. Lynia never did give me a place to meet at… Maybe it just isn't worth the trouble. I felt my leg vibrate. A text from Lynia.
Meet me on the north edge of the city, ;)
Read the text.
North side…? The shady part of the city, of course.
I gathered my back pack that leant against the wall.
“Mom?” I called out and stepped into the living carefully.
“What?” she mumbled between a sigh.
“I am going to meet Lynia at the park. She's gonna help me out with the essay.”
Mom looked up and flashed a disapproving look.
“You both are alway causing trouble. How should I know to trust you two?!”
I looked down at my feet and brushed my brown hair to the side.
“I don't know… But mom, I really need to go! This essay is going to bring my grade way up!”
“Be back by seven.” she said very clearly.
“Thanks a ton mom!”
I lightly pecked her cheek and grabbed my things. I swung my bag over my shoulder and dashed out of the door. The hallway was just big enough to fit two people into. I tried my best not to run into my neighbors while dashing down stairs. The lobby was bare, as usual here. I needed to dash to the North side as quick as possible. Lynia has zero patience. Many people crowded the streets and the smells of smog and pure filth filled the air. I pulled my mask out of my bag and quickly placed it over my nose and mouth. I weaved through the crowd. The city began to get shadier as I got closer to the North side. I looked around and saw that someone had taken some spray paint and written on a wall, “It's the end of the world.”
Such a common thing to see. The words read always seem to read the same cliché saying. Mom said that the world had already came to a halt a long, long time ago. Great optimism, am I right?
The dingy streets were lined with abandoned shops and the homeless. The smell always gotten worse around here. The deceased homeless would stay there for months on end, no one bothered to get rid of the body.
I could see the steel walls in the distance. Thousands of feet tall… They are the very things that trap us in this bowl of filth. Animated boards made the city look glorious.
I felt something tug on my bag. It tugged me back into an alley. I flailed my arms and looked back… Only to find it was Lynia. “I was tracking your phone.” she chuckled.
“You track me!?”
“That's what every good girlfriend does, trust me.”
“I have to be home by seven, got it?” I interrupted. She bursted out laughing, “Cinderella has to be home by a certain time or she turns back!”
“I am serious, Lynia .”
“Whatever, let's just go, and stop yelling about everything.”
“What-” she shushed my mouth with her index finger and started down the alley. I stepped into the oil and water mixture that saturated the ground. These allies always were the worst. She glanced back at me through her long dirty blond hair. “Watch where you are stepping, slick.”
“I know, I've been living here all my life.”
She took a sharp left and stopped at the infamous steel wall. “Great, the wall. I thought you knew your way!”
“I do, now stuff a sock in it backpack boy.” Lynia gently placed her hand on the steel wall. There was so much oxidation on the steel panels and beams that a small portion of the wall slowly fell over. I gasped in utter horror at what was behind the wall.
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