To Preserve and Protect
Chapter one: The Announcement
Now the first step of world domination is to blow up THE ENTIRE WORLD! ... Wait, if I blow up the world, then I won't be able to rule the world. Well, that just won't do… I could threaten to destroy the world, so the people will have no choice but to bow down to my greatness! It will be excellent, every King and Queen will be forced to give me all their money and power, and I'll be living in all this glory! The world will be all mine… No more people telling me what do, no, sir. From then on, they'll have to answer to me! And only me. And if anyone doesn't follow my rules, OFF WITH THEIR HEADS, I SAY! "MUHAHAHA… MUHAHA—"
Oops… Did I say that out loud? Ooh… I think I did, everyone's staring at me. Just smile and nod, Nilers, just smile and nod. They'll look away eventually… But they're not! They just keep staring at me! … They'll all be the first to go.
"Nila, are you okay?"
"What? Yeah, why wouldn't I be?"
"You were laughing mischievously just now, I thought you were possessed or something."
"Well… I'm not possessed—"
That oh so lovely person (sarcasm) is my older sister, Luci. She's always telling me what to do… ALL THE TIME! Just the other day I found this feather and it gave me this idea to build wings and fly! Of course, she thought it was the stupidest idea that ever came out of my mouth, but that's what she says about all my ideas. I, however, thought it was a genius idea and began to collect a whole bunch of feathers until I had as many as twenty… or less. I attached the feathers to a piece of cardboard and taped the cardboard onto my arms, got on top of my sister's bed (she and I share a bunk bed; she has the top, I have the bottom), and closed my eyes. I began flapping my arms rapidly as I leaned forward. Finally, I leapt my feet off the edge of the bed… I thought I did it, I thought I was flying, but everything began to go wrong. I could feel I was falling and the cardboard was breaking, feathers kept falling off… Okay, maybe Luci was a little right. Afterwards she screamed at me for, like, an hour. ("If it wasn't for Dr. Director catching you before you hit the ground, you'd be up in the hospital wing with a broken arm or leg… OR BOTH!")
Dr. Director is the head of this industry. She wears this eye-patch –one time I asked her about it, she didn't answer—I think she's a scientist or secret agent… I think a lot of people here are which makes me wonder who I truly am. My sister and I have lived here all our lives, she was three when we moved here, and I wasn't even one yet. So I don't know about our parent… Actually, I'm not totally sure have parents… I have this theory where we're actually robots and we're part of this top secret earth invasion—just as push of a button and my sister and I, and the fellow children that live here, become killing machines—I told Luci this theory and, of course, she said it was ridiculous. She probably knows more than I do about who we truly are, but I don't think she'd tell me, not in a million years.
Once a month they set each of us, the children who live here, individually and talk to us. We're required to keep our discussions with those people confidential, meaning we can't tell anyone. The questions I get are all about family and what I remember, but I was a baby so I remember nothing (although, I have been getting bored on my last three visits and began telling them crazy things to mess with their heads). "..I remember.." I would always begin with. I'd put on my best look of astonishment for them. Then I'd look around, making sure no one else was listening. They'd always lean forward in anticipation. That's when I'd close my eyes and place my hands on the sides of my head. Then I'd open my eyes quickly and widely, staring straight into their eyes. "What, Nila? What do you remember?" They would always ask me, clutching a pen in one hand and a note pad in the other. "Mooses, I remember mooses." The guy would always sigh and tell me to "take this seriously." Then the man asking the questions would get so aggravated with me that Dr. Director would always have to escort me out of the room. It's good have a hobby, I always say!
That reminds me, my feathers! Where did Dr. Director put my feathers? She took them in her office, maybe? I just hope she didn't throw them away!
I'm sure she didn't throw them away! It's a masterpiece! Who would throw away a masterpiece? Someone who's jealous, that's who!
I'll have to sneak out at night and see if she put them in her office. I don't want to start over again! I don't want to do that… That's just too much work to do. Do you know how many birds I had to grab to get all those feathers?
Okay, I'll steal one of the guards' keys, unlock myself out of my room while Luci is sleeping, sneak my way into her office and grab the feathers. It's full proof!
"Yo, earth to Nila, we're leaving!"
"What?" Nila blinked, coming back to reality. She looked around the room. Her sister stood in front of her, hands placed sharply on her waist, staring down at Nila. Her eyebrows raised up, wearing an amused smirk on her face.
Nila looked around the empty room, very confused. "Where'd everybody go?"
"It's lunch time, Nila," her sister said, shaking her head and walking towards the exit, "but you, being you, have better things to do in your own little world, of course."
Nila felt her stomach growl. "Hey, wait a minute," she called out to her sister, leaping up out of her chair and running to her sister, who was outside in the hallway already.
"I'm so hungry, I could eat a moose," Nila said as they walked into the small cafeteria, "Actually, don't you think the more appropriate term would be 'eat a pig' or 'eat a cow,' because we actually eat those animals, am I right?"
With a long, bored sigh, Luci nodded her head and they went to get their food.
Luci, real name being Lucille, was a tall, thin young girl. Her pale complexion complimented her slender form, her eyes blacker than dark, along with her shoulder length hair. She was calm for a thirteen year-old. Her sister, on the other hand, was the complete opposite. Though they shared the pale skin tone, Nila's curly, out of control hair was a lot like her personality: wild, and some would even say crazy. She was definitely Hermione Granger when it came down to her messy, black hair. She's also very short compared to her older sister and has a square figure, unlike Luci's. In fact, the only part of her body that is even remotely beautiful, in her opinion, are her emerald eyes that always have a look of wonder in them.
Though the two are complete opposites, they always seem to be glued to each other. Yes, they have their arguments, but every kid who has a sibling argues with them. And it's not even arguing. It's more like Luci telling Nila not to do something and then yelling at her because she did whatever she wasn't suppose to do.
Luci felt it was her duty to protect her sister from any danger that comes near them, knowing they didn't have any parents to do that for them. Yes, they have guards and scientist all around them, but they don't take care of the kids the way Luci takes care of Nila. All they do is make sure the kids aren't doing anything that could get them fired, watching each of them carefully as if they were dangerous criminals, making sure the kids don't escape.
The two grabbed their lunches and went to sit at a table in the back of the small room. Nila started to stuff her face the moment the two sat down, sucking up corn and meat like a vacuum. Luci stared at her sister in disgust, not noticing that someone had walked up to her.
"Shouldn't the beast be out in the born?" The voice spoke; it was fierce, yet had a boyish tone.
Nila stopped chewing her food, having a large piece of bread sticking out of her mouth, and looked up at the person who had spoken to her, Luci looking too.
The voice was no other than SJ, a boy, who Nila thinks, fancies Luci. He had short dark brown hair and tan skin. He always acted like he was better than everyone else, just because he knew who his parents were. His family was wealthy enough to pay Dr. Director enough money to see their child, a benefit that made the other kids envy him.
"You're going to get fatter if you keep eating the way you do," he spoke again, his nose facing up toward the ceiling in an obnoxious manner, "just saying."
Nila glared at him, removing the bread from her mouth and squeezing it with her hand, pretending it was SJ's head. "You might want to get surgery for your head; it's looking more and more like a butt everyday… Just saying."
He looked at her darkly. Nila, noticing his eye twitch, seemed to be pleased by his reaction and continued to eat her food, moving on to the mashed potatoes.
"What do you want, SJ?" Luci said, focusing on her own tray of food and placing her napkin on her lap.
His eyes moved from Nila to Luci, a smile quickly forming on his face: "Dr. Director is about to inform us with… pleasant news. Out of the kindness of my heart, I thought I'd share it with you."
"Thanks but no thanks," Nila said with a mouth full of potatoes, "it's against our policy to be given any information by butt faces, or anyone in the butt face family. Thank you and goodbye."
Ignoring Nila completely, SJ leaned forward toward Luci. "It's pretty juicy info… If I were you, I'd listen to me… It could be vital information."
"And if it's not," asked Lucille.
"Then you got the lovely gift of talking to me," he said, wrapping his arm around her.
"So, then, what's the news," she said, removing his arm from her shoulders.
"Don't encourage him, Luce," Nila commented, frowning at SJ.
"The girl wants to know the news, Pig-face! You can't stop her from that!"
"Don't call her Pig-face," Lucy said, standing up from her seat.
"Settle down, Lucille," said a voice behind her, "and take your seat."
It was no other than Dr. Director herself. She wore her usual frown as she placed a hand on Luci's shoulder, forcing her down back in her seat.
"Sit down, Señor," she commanded to SJ, walking to the center of the room.
"Children," she shouted, making everyone stop what they were doing and look at her. "I'm afraid I have some news… It's neither bad nor good, in this case."
"Miss…" Nila interrupted, raising her hand, "may I be the first to stay that your eye-patch compliments your dull figure."
"..Thank you, Nila," she replied blankly, "but none of you are in trouble… surprisingly."
"Oh thank goodness," Nila said, letting out a deep breath of relief, relaxing in her chair.
"You'll all be excited when I tell you… But I must warn you," she looked around at all the children, "the world has changed since you've been living here. Any slight memory of the outside world, will be replaced with pain and threat to your life."
What was she trying to tell them? What was all this about?
"Our job is to keep you safe, and do so until we can no longer provide that for you," she explained sternly. She paused for a moment, a look of sadness in her eye. "We can no longer protect you."
The cafeteria soon filled with side comments and gasping, and Nila, terrified, turned to her sister for comfort, which she gave gracefully, putting an arm around Nila.
"Now," Dr. Director began again, silencing the room once more, "you'll head to your rooms immediately and pack your things, your …parents… will be here first thing in the morning for you."
More gasps filled the room, eyes widened as they looked around, expecting the guards to be laughing because they just pulled a horrible joke on them, but no one was laughing. This was no joke.
Everyone watched as Dr. Director walked hurriedly out of the room, still wearing that frown.
The children were silent, all stunned from the news that was just given to them. Nila looked up at her sister and gave her a small smile; Luci returned with a flushed face and a frown.
"YOU HEARD HER," shouted a guard. "GET TO YOUR ROOMS, ASAP!"
Luci grabbed Nila's hand and quickly dragged her out of the cafeteria and into their small room.
"Luci, our parents," breathed Nila, happily, "our real life parents. I wonder if—"
"Stay here," commanded Luci. "I'll be right back."
She slammed their door shut, leaving behind a very confused Nila.
Luci sped walked into a crowd of children, all making their way back to their rooms. She looked around the room on her tiptoes, trying to locate a certain person. After getting bumped into for the third time, she took a deep breath and walked to a room.
She knocked on the door ferociously, calling out "SJ" every so often. Finally the door slid open and a smirking SJ eyed Lucille.
"Back for more, I see."
"I need you to tell me why they're doing this," she said sternly, inviting herself into his room.
"Now, Lucille," he teased, sliding the door shut, "you know it's against the rules for two people of the different sex to be in the same room together, assuming they're not brother and sister."
"I think we both know that the rules don't really matter right now." She crossed her arms. "Tell me what's going on."
He frowned sadly, not making eye contact with Luci. "They have other priorities now with what's going on in the world…"
"What's going on, then?"
"My parents won't tell me exactly… All they told me was to prepare for destruction."
"Why are they releasing us, though?"
"We're no longer important to them. There's something bigger out there that they focus on."
With a long sigh, he took a seat in his desk chair; his room was much nicer than Luci's and Nila's.
"Just go pack, enjoy the fact that you'll be seeing your parents tomorrow."
She didn't speak another word. Her pale skin became even paler as she exited the room. The crowd of children all rushing to their rooms didn't seem to bother her as she, herself, made it back to her own room.
Nila was stuffing a bunch of underwear in an old, beaten down grocery bag by the time Luci got back to the room. Nila stopped what she was doing the moment she heard the door slide open, and with a big smile on her face, she ran up to hug her sister.
"Just think, Luci," she said happily, breaking the hug and continuing to pack her underwear, "by this time tomorrow, we'll be with our parents! I wonder what they're like, don't you? I bet they're awesome!"
"I don't think we should go," Luci said softly, sitting down on Nila's bed.
"What if one of us looks like our mom? I bet she's beautiful," Nila continued, not hearing her sister. "And our dad! You think he has a mustache? I'm going to force him to shave it off if he does…"
"Nila, I'm not going, okay," Luci said, forcing her sister to look at her.
"You don't remember them like I do, Nila," Luci replied sadly.
"You always told me you didn't remember," Nila said, taking a seat beside her sister. "Of course I kind of though you were lying, but still…"
"I never… I told you I never remembered them because…" A sigh escaped her mouth as she looked to the ground. "We were just kids, they didn't even say goodbye. She didn't even look at us…"
"They—more like dad—woke us up one day… and we drove for a long time… They wouldn't even look at us, Nila, not one glance."
"But… Do you tell them this when you have those private discussions every month?"
"Of course not, it's not of their business."
"But you heard Dr. Director, they can't protect us anymore. Where will we go?"
"When have they protected us, Nila? All they do is give us food and a place to sleep… But we take care of each other."
Nila opened her mouth to speak, but retreated and thought for a moment. After a long silence, Nila grabbed Luci's hand. Luci looked up and stared into her sister's eyes. "I'm not leaving without you, Luci. Wherever you're going, I'm going to."