“Hey, Green Brown!” A familiar voice called to me from the other side of the door. Quickly, I wiped my teary eyes and shakily stood up from my fetal position. I peered through the peephole. “Wanna let me in?” I recognized the voice as my best friend Blue Orange’s, and the face standing on the other side of the door confirmed it.
Blue Orange and I had first become friends around a year before, when I got a job at the local news station. I was new to the workforce, barely 22. I was the head writer and she was stuck being an assistant, despite having worked at the station for several years more than I had. She was the first person I met, the first person to introduce me.
Oh, and there’s one thing I forgot to mention. I am completely in love with her. We could never happen though, she’s hetero and I’m homo. She knows I’m homo, but she’ll never know my feelings for her.
I opened the door slowly, still sniffling.
“She hurt you pretty bad, huh?” I nodded, not trusting myself to say anything. She caged me in her arms, shushing me. “It’ll be alright. You’ll get through this. We’ll get through this.”
She straightened, placing her hands on my shoulders.
“Hey, how do you feel about a girls’ night out?” She asked. I looked at her dolefully. “Hey, it’ll be fun!” She attempted again. I kept staring. “C’mon! You can’t just stay inside and mope forever.” “Who says?” I responded, but I knew she had won the fight.
She skipped ahead to my bedroom, pulling me along.
“Ugh, we have got to go shopping together more.” She said, picking out a way-too-big sweater with a cheesy logo beginning to fade. Blue Orange gave me a look of disgust. “Seriously, who let you get this?” I rolled my eyes, smiling slightly.
She picked out a tight red dress from my closet. “Ooh, I like this one.” She said, wiggling her eyebrows. I let out a giggle.
“Sure, go ahead. I’m too skinny for it anyway.” I shrugged.
“Aww, c’mon hun, you’re gorgeous. You just need to start finishing your Rations.” She smiled.
I rolled my eyes. “We all know those don’t really make you healthier.”
“That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat them.” She said, her tone almost motherly.
“Fine.” I sighed.
A few seconds went by as she searched through my closet for something to wear.
“Heey, how about this one?” She pulled out a shimmery golden dress that poofed out at the waist. “I think it’ll look cute!” I took the dress carefully from her hands, shrugging.
“Sure.” I told her.
2 hours later, we were ready. Keep in mind, the whole time we were giggling and messing up each others’ makeup.
Blue Orange was about to open the door when I grabbed her arm.
“I’m not sure I really want to do this. We had enough fun just getting ready, can’t we just order a snack and stay in?”
“C’mon.” She responded and tugged me out the door.
“Okay, so we’re gonna meet Blue Black at the George Fountain and then head to the First Club. Sound good? Okay! Let’s go!” She said enthusiastically.
“I thought you said this was going to be just us.” I said, disappointed for more reasons than she knew.
“C’mon, he wanted to come.” She replied. “He won’t be any bother, I promise.”
“Fine.” I sighed, not really fine, but not wanting to make a big deal of it.
Grabbing my wrist, she tugged me out the door, almost forcefully. We went out into the hallway and rang for the lifter. Of course, being one of the youngest residents of the building, I am on the top floor. “BUSY” A sign flicked on above the elevator, responding to our ring. We would either have to wait for the lifter to climb the 25 floors to reach us, or we’d have to descend manually. Curse you, Age-Elevation system!
Not to be brought down from her happiness, Blue Orange smiled at me.
“Let’s just take the bumpers, okay nerd?” She smiled at me affectionately.
I hated the word nerd. It reminded me of my ex-girlfriend. She used to abhor the word, because she said it was really an insult. She always talked about words and language with such a pretentious tone, like she knew everything. I hated that about her. But that was over now. Nerd was just a word, she was just a person.
Blue Orange saw the flicker of pain in my eyes. She always knew how I really felt. “I’m sorry hon. I forgot-” She put her hand tenderly on my shoulder.
“It’s okay.” I flashed her a small smile. Her hand on my shoulder comforted me.
We took the bumpers to the bottom floor.
The sunlight beamed down on me harshly. I blinked quickly, squinting.
“Not used to the sunlight, huh nerd?” She joked, heading to a-
“Wow! How did you manage to get a Wheeler?” I asked her wonderingly. She grinned.
“I applied, and they said that I had enough activities and places I have to be that are far off that I needed a more advanced vehicle than a bicycle.” I shrieked excitedly. She opened the Wheeler door for me, bowing. I giggled, climbing in.
“I’m still learning to drive this thing,” she smiled at me, “so watch out!” I laughed, giddiness beginning to set in. Maybe this could be fun. Maybe I could be happy again, even after-
No. I was going to be happy. No more thoughts of her.
Before I knew it, we were at the George Fountain. As usual, there was a tour guide explaining the story of the George Fountain.
George founded our Community, and thus became the last George. He was also the one who founded our One-Name system, in an attempt to eliminate overpopulation. The way it works is that parents have to apply for a name before having their child. They have to have the name approved before they can conceive the child. If not, the child will be killed at birth. Somehow, though, murder wasn’t a big deal. “Cruel But Necessary” goes the slogan.
Blue Orange parked the Wheeler and we got out, searching for Blue Black.
“There he is!” Blue Orange shouted, waving. We headed down to where Blue Black was staring distractedly at Toy-O-Rama, a kids’ toy shop.
“Hey loser.” She said affectionately. He turned his head and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
“Hey love.” He told her. “You ready? Let’s have some fun!” He said, turning to me. I gave him a fake smile and we headed off to the First Club.
We paid the guard at the entrance 20 ent and headed in to the loud, pounding music and masses of people.
“I’ll get us some drinks.” Blue Black told us. I was about to head off with him when Blue Orange pulled her dress down and I got sidetracked by her cleavage.
“O..Ok.” I said.
“C’mon, let’s dance, nerd.” Blue Orange told me, and I snapped out of my brief distraction.
And we danced, and danced, and danced. Feet tiring but never complaining, bodies sweating, but not wanting to stop unless the beat stopped thumping. Drink after drink we consumed, until I couldn’t see straight.
“Okay, we should probably get you out of here now.” Blue Orange giggled. I didn’t have enough brain power to think for myself, so I said yes.
I staggered out, Blue Black and Blue Orange supporting me on either side, and they led me forward, heading towards…
“Wait, this isn’t the right way home?” I slurred.
And we were stopped. In a dark place, that I didn’t recognize.
“Don’t worry, we’re just taking a pit stop. This one’s gotta go.” She made a funny face and gestured toward Blue Black. I giggled.
“Hey, Perfidi, can you- Oh, shit.” Blue Black shouted, realizing his error too late. I giggled again. “It’s okay; not like I’m gonna steeeaaal your name.” I garbled. “Perfiidiii. That’s a funny name.” I cracked up.
“I’m Ebibi.” Blue Black, well, Ebibi I guess, told me.
“I’m Elise. My mom was like, a psychic, and she like, guessed that the name would be available. It was crazyyyy.” I said to them.
And then I realized my mistake.
They were there, blocking my path. One on each side, each holding a knife.
“No, no, no!” I screamed at this mysterious girl named Perfidi. “I trusted you, I trusted you.”
“I’m sorry, Elise.”
I sprinted, shoving Ebibi out of the way harshly. I thought I heard a thud as he hit the ground, but I couldn’t tell.
And then I was running. Running away, my legs pushing. Faster, faster. I couldn’t afford to look back, I couldn’t slow down. I couldn’t turn around, I couldn’t see the face of my former best friend, the face of the girl I had loved. I should have known. I should have known. She was always talking about pregnancy, getting married, having a kid. I never should’ve told her my name. How did she even know it was a nice name? How could she have known? The questions plagued me, like locusts attacking my brain. But still, I kept running. A fun girls-night-out meant to distract me from my breakup had turned into the worst night of my life.
I should never have trusted her. How could I have trusted her?
I couldn’t stop to breathe, couldn’t stop, couldn’t stop.
Waves of panic came crashing down, panicking, panicking.
Tears poured down my face, pouring, pouring.
Tears, forming little rivers down my face, rivulets cascading down, down, down.
Tears, turning into scars, cutting into my face, cutting into my skin, cutting into my heart.
I was wounded, fragile. But I kept running.
I ran and ran and ran and ran and ran, my lungs pumping, adrenaline rushing, but I could feel myself slowing, tiring.
I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t run. I was still too drunk, my feet still too clumsy. I stopped.
“Fine. Go ahead. Do it.” I cried to them. “Do it.”
“Ebibi-” Began Perfidi
“No. I want you to do it. I want Blue Orange to do it.” I told her.
She began to extend her knife, delicately pointing it outwards from her chest.
“I love you.” I said, stepping forward to kiss her. I felt the knife penetrate my chest, but I didn’t care.
The last thing I saw was her face, crying as she looked down at me.
“I’m sorry.” She said. “I love you too, Elise.”
A single tear dripped down her cheek.
A scream erupted from the Pregnancy Facility.
“What do you mean the name Elise is already taken!?” Screamed a lady, her eyes wide and feverish.
“I-I’m sorry ma’am, but there was a lady here just before you who took the name. She said a fortune teller told her that the name was going to-”
But the crazy lady was gone in a fury of slammed doors and people shoved out of the way.
Outside, sobbed, her face pressed to the dirt.
“I guess I deserved this. I’m sorry, Elise.”