So 90% of what I post on fiction press is English work, and what a surprise, this is English work. But! I'm changing it up! This is English work, but it wasn't set to me, it was set to my sister and I looked over her shoulder and thought the prompt was intriguing ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Anyway, enjoy and leave a review :)
It's not an everyday occurrence that you're casually doing homework in your bedroom and suddenly you feel a hot gust of air on the side of your face, turn and see a glowing circle appear in the middle of your bedroom, that a small brown-haired girl tumbles out from. But that's what just happened.
I stare dumbfounded at the girl in a heap on my floor, who immediately jumps to her feet, and stifles a scream when her eyes register my presence.
"What just happened?!" She squeaks.
"What? Who are you?" I demand. "What are you doing here?"
"Where am I?" The girl looks utterly terrified.
"Who are you?"
She doesn't seem to hear, and is looking incredulously around at my room. Then her eyes widen, and she stares at me. "Wait. When am I?"
I'm still so shocked; all I can do is reply with the answer. "Er… the 19th of April… 2020."
Then she narrows her eyes, and says something which confuses me even more.
"Oh no, I should not have said that," she mutters, running a hand through brown choppy hair.
"Hold up, what? Calm down! But what?"
I look at the device she is holding in her hand. I've never seen anything like it before, it looks so… high tech. Wait, what had she asked? When am I? Was this girl from… the future?
"Are you from the future?"
"I think… I am." She looks at me in despair.
"What's your name?"
"Mini," she says with an impish grin.
"Also did you just call me… Auntie?"
"Yes. Sorry. This might come as a shock. But you're my Aunt."
"How do you know what I look like… now? As a teen?"
"I have a photo of you- future you gave it to me. If it were of just you, you wouldn't have kept it, but it had your family as well."
"Ok," is all I can say- I'm more than a little confused.
"Oh, you wanna see what you're gonna look like?"
Before I can even answer, she slaps her wrist, and a… hologram? beams out. It's unmistakeably me, but this older version looks so… wow. So sure of herself. My hair has grown out wavy and gorgeous, no longer frizzy and dry, and it's tied back with a dark red band. My grey eyes are piercing and knowing.
She sees me staring in awe and flashes her teeth. "Yeah, you're pretty cool."
And then it hits me. If I'm her Aunt, then… "Wait, so your mother is…"
"Europa," she says proudly.
"My sister. My 6-year-old sister. She's your mother?" Imagining Europa as a mother is really difficult.
"Wait, was? In the future…?"
"My family? Dead. I barely knew them."
"Why are you here?"
"Because things in the future are really bad. Really bad."
"Just come and see for yourself. Come on, get a better look at it." And before I can say anything she's grabbed my hand and pulled me through the portal. I shiver and screw my eyes shut- it feels like I've been doused in cold water, but I'm still dry.
The world beyond is… unlike anything I have ever seen before. It's a barren wasteland. The skies are orange. Ruined skeletons of buildings are half-sunk into dry, rough sand. Windows devoid of light. Clusters of ragged scraps of cloth, one with a solitary flicker of light inside- the only indication of life.
In the distance, a building grows into the sky, many strands of steel and glass like the stems of a wild plant, organic in shape, coming together and parting. All around it are similar buildings in smooth, fluid shapes, shrouded in plant life, everything is pure white and green. It's breath-taking. Beautiful. The whole city is sheltered in a glass dome, and running along the edges are train tracks. The city is surrounded by tall white stone walls. But it contrasts what is outside the walls so starkly.
"The government turned their technology on the world. They flooded it with pollution. They reduced it to this-" she waves around at the desert, leached of colour. "Then out of the ashes they offered a brand new solution to end all the suffering. It was perfect, irrefusable," she says bitterly. "They ruined the Earth, solely for their own benefit, to be worshipped as the saviours of the planet. They created this city. Beautiful on the outside, deceitful within. And in the ignorance they caused, the fake sense of security, they continued. The population lived obliviously, kept going by the suggestion that one day they would be able to move back outside, when in reality the government just wanted everyone in one place. With the whole population inside these walls, they were free to do what they pleased with them. And what they wanted to do- what they still want to do- is purge the population of anyone who poses even a minute threat to their ideals. Brainwash everyone left into their perfect image of a person. They were told they had to stay inside the walls for our own safety, but it was a prison."
"Wait… they? Were you not there?"
"This happened in the year 2033, and I was only born in 2034."
"How old are you?"
"So you're from the year 2045?"
"I was born after it. I don't even know what life was like before, only from stories. But it sounded great."
I see the glimmer of eccentricity in this girl, but it is as subdued as the barren environment, like the fun has been sucked out of her. It's not fair that this has been done- she's just a small child! But already, because of what's happened, she's been through so much, she seems so mature.
I try to put this into words but all that comes out is, "Hmm. Ok, so what happened next?"
"Some people realised what was happening. They tried to tell people, but they were quickly rounded up and… silenced. The others realised they had to keep quiet. When they were being transported to the new city, they stole away. And now we live outside the walls. At first we didn't know what to do, but then you united us. You were a beacon of hope for all outside the city walls."
"Why did you have to come back? Why can't future me do something about it?"
She gulped. "One, this problem is so big we need to stop it before it ever started. Two, future you…" she looks at me apologetically, "…is dead. I'm the only one left."
"They know we're here. The government inside the city. They don't want us here. There are regular patrols of soldiers. They have to be avoided. They are trying to get rid of us because they think we will attack. And we would have. Someday. But when you died, it all went downhill. People started getting caught left, right and centre. Until it was just Hallie and I left. And then… Hallie sacrificed herself for me."
"Wait a second, Hallie? Like Hallie Iverton? My best friend?"
"Yeah, you were so close."
Wow, we're still friends after so long.
"I have to do something, I have to save everyone in the city!" She says earnestly, pain in her eyes.
It must be so hard on this girl. She feels like she has to take on a responsibility. But she's only… 11 years old. Right now her biggest problem should be her homework. What to buy for her friend's next birthday. Not trying to save the world from oppression and a corrupted government.
"After Hallie was killed, I was so scared. I ran to hide in your tent, and I hid in a box. Inside, I found a strange device. When the soldiers had gone, I tiptoed out and looked at the device. There was a button, so I pressed it, and this portal thing appeared! I didn't know what to do, so I stepped in, and I appeared in your room."
Suddenly, her eyes focus on something behind me, and I turn around sharply to see what has captured her attention. A faint black line appears at the walls of the city, getting bigger by the second.
"Oh no," Mini cries, "Those are the soldiers!"
I gasp as she yanks me back through the portal and the cold feeling washes over me again, but this time it is nothing compared to the indignation that burns all over me.
"W-who did it? Who decided to do this?"
"A man named Hanzel Marth. He started it all."
"Can we stop him?"
"I think so. I don't think he started doing anything until… well, it kicked off in 2033. I don't know how long he was planning it before. But probably not 13 years."
"What do we do? We can't just walk up to him, presuming we can find him, and just tell him what he's gonna do in the future, and that he can't do it!"
"No, we can't."
"And how are we going to find him?"
"I know where he works. Finitra corporations. And I think that with this device I can take us to any point in time. So if we do find him- and we need to find him- then we can bring him to you. Future you, that is. And the rest of the leaders. Before they were all killed. You'll know what to do."
"Then we have some work to do. We need to find this man."