A dark hue had begun to emerge in the clouded sky. Lana and her long lived childhood friend, Rey, sat on the rooftop of the condo, throwing small at the towering city walls. “What do you suppose is on the other side?” Lana asked.
“I have no idea, but we’ll find out soon enough.” Rey assured.
“You ought to think they are telling the truth about what's out there?” Lana tossed another stone.
“Absolutely not” Rey continued “They lie to us about everything, you can’t possibly believe what they say is true, do you?”
“I mean what reason would they have to keep us all contained in this city?” Lana queried, “what benefit would it have to them?”
“They hunger nothing more than to have power and complete control.” Rey began, "The majority of this city is blinded by the lies, but not us, I could never give in to such bait.” The wind had begun to throw a tantrum, rummaging through Rey’s blonde curls. Lana’s wrist began to blink red, shortly before Rey’s. “PLEASE GO INSIDE, A STORM IS EMERGING” the automated voice repeated “PLEASE GO INSIDE, A STORM IS EMERGING”
“I guess we should go now,” Lana sighed. Rey rolls his eyes and gently taps on his wrist. As rain began to descend, they carefully made their way back down the ladder back onto the patio, and into the condo “There's a Gathering today, Are you coming?” Rey brushed off his dull grey shirt and trousers. In the Aripool, wearing color was prohibited. It was beheld as an act of defiance against the elites, and anyone seen wearing colors would be punished by being docked Verres, their currency. However Red was the only exception, considering it was the color of their flag, but even then you would only see the citizens with a high amount of Verres wearing red.
“Yes, of course.” Lana answered “I’m going to eat first though, I'm starving”
“If you want to come early, They’re serving real food, not that repulsive government garbage.” Rey teased.
“Is that not illegal?” Lana whispered.
“Oh its forbidden” Rey covered his wrist with his right hand, then gestured to Lana to do the same. “But a little secret, between you and me, we have an insider, he’s able to bring us good food, and I heard he is also going to aid us in escaping the walls.”
Lana’s stomach dropped, the city was all she had ever known. She’d only known what the news told her, That there were dangerous man-made war creatures, and toxic substances in the air lurking about beyond the walls. It was almost impossible for her to imagine anything different.
“Well, I'm going over to Devon’s now” Rey patted Lana’s shoulder, “See you there?”
“See you there,” Lana reassured as she closed the door softly behind him. Lana then went over to the meal pantry. The pantry was a large stainless steel sealed-off door. On the door was a touch screen, and right below was an opening in which the food would come out. Lana touched the start button on the screen.
“HELLO LANI, IT IS NOW SUPPER, YOU HAVE 67 VERRES, THEREFORE, YOUR MEAL OPTIONS ARE: 1 CHICKEN SOUP, 2 BEAN CHILI , WHICH ONE WOULD YOU LIKE TODAY?” There was one thing Rey was right about, the food was certainly not the best, and having such a rebellious friend didn’t land Lana having much Verres. But she was just grateful she even had Verres, people with none were better off dead. Lana stared blankly at the screen, then looked at her watch and sighed. She clicked the ‘not eating tonight’ button. “ARE YOU SURE YOUR NOT HUNGRY LANI? ONCE YOU CLICK CONFIRM, I CAN NO LONGER OFFER YOU FOOD FOR THE REST OF THE DAY. YOU MUST HAVE 100 VERRES OR MORE TO OBTAIN A BEDTIME SNACK OPTION.” Lana violently presses the confirm button. She then throws on her black leather raincoat, shoves her flip phone into the pocket of her charcoal skirt and hastily makes her way out the door. By that time, the rain became callous, pouring down vengefully and the sky had darkened. Before her raven hair became completely soaked she lifted her hood. Eager to get a taste of real food, she began to pace faster down the empty sidewalks. She had remembered her parents somehow bringing home soft bread rolls as a child, the kind that just melt in your mouth. She longed for that comforting feeling once again. Lana paced faster almost into a slight jog. The water beneath each step splashed onto her bare legs. She then heard another set of footsteps a couple feet behind her. Hesitant to turn around, she thought it’d be best to keep going. As the foot prints from behind her drew nearer, Lana’s heart began to race and she began to run. “Come on Lana one more block one more block.” Lana could only see the shadow of a tall figure not too far behind her in the street lights, with Devon's condo in sight, she ran a little faster. Approaching the front door, she turned around to discover nobody was there. “Have I gone mad?” She wondered, then proceeded to knock on the door.
“Dreadful out there isn’t it.” Devon greeted Lana. Devon was a tall lanky figure, with hazel eyes and long auburn hair that he often had pulled back into a messy ponytail.
“Certainly terrible, either I’m going insane or I could’ve sworn someone was following me” Lana breathed heavily.
Devon then peaked his head out the door to scan the surroundings, “My dear the streets are nothing but a graveyard today.” He reassured her then gently grabbed her wrist and held a device over it. “TRACKING DISABLED” the blue light dimmed. He gently closes the door behind her.
“Lana, you made it!” Rey gestured her over to the kitchen table then hands her a bread roll. Her eyes rolled back as she sunk her teeth into the soft roll.
“So Lana, have you called your aunt Lea and told her about these gatherings?” Devon began, “I'm sure she’d love what we have going on here”
“Oh, no” Lana gulps' “ but now that you mentioned I think I ought to call her right now.” She reaches into the pocket of her skirt only to find it empty. She then pats down her jacket, empty as well. “Hm, must’ve dropped my phone outside” Lana sighs.
“Well you better get that then before the rain does” Rey beckons
“I’ll be back'' Lana opens the door and runs to scan the sidewalk. she hears her ringtone go off. Oddly the ringing was coming from the opposite direction in which she came from, but she followed anyway. With the plummeting rain blurring her vision it was hard for her to see much. She then saw a tall figure ahead of her, the same one she saw as a shadow on her way to Devon’s. “No way, he’s holding my phone” her heart began to jump. “Excuse me,” Lana stuttered, “That’s my phone you’ve got sir.” Without saying a word, The man hands her phone to her. “Thanks?” Lana stutters again, then turns back around. Immediately after, she feels the grasp of the man's cold hands, one around her throat and the other over her mouth. She Struggled an attempt to throw her elbows back, but the man was cutting off her airways. A tear rolled down Lana’s eye as her vision slowly faded away.
A high pitched ringing noise pierced Lana’s ears, as her vision became more clear, as she became more aware of her surroundings, she tried to move but then noticed she had been cuffed to a chair, seated in front of a table. The table was neatly covered with dishes of food, and the aroma it emitted was heavenly. The walls in the room were a soft white, with paintings of landscapes, like the ones she saw in fairy tale books, except these ones looked so real. She then feels a slight breeze on her neck, She turns around to a woman, in a dark blue pants suit, entering the large glass doors behind her. The woman had tan skin and jet black hair that was neatly pulled back into a bun. Her eyes were a sharp green, they almost seemed fake. Following her, was a tall man, with pale white skin, and short brunette hair. His eyes were large and dark.
“Hello Lana, My name is Vale” She gracefully sits in the chair across from Lana “Cyrus, would you mind unbounding our guest please?” Cyrus nods and then proceeds to unlock each hand cuff then stands to the side of her. Lana recognized Cyrus’s Large cold hands, he was the same man who had taken her.
“You must be wondering why I brought you here today,” Vale began.
“You mean kidnapped me?” Lana interrupted.
“I do apologize, Cyrus can be a bit, well, Violent, as you would call it. But I can assure you we mean no harm to you.” Vale pulls out a little black book and a red pen. “So, I can see that your wrist chip has been disabled, can you tell me more about that?”
Lana stared blankly at Vale. “Maybe the rain?” She muttered.
“Ah but you know our chips are buried so deep under the skin, it would almost be impossible such a thing to even occur.” Vale clicks her pen. “Tell me Lana, how would you like to have all this food in front of you? How would you like to be able to see places like that, with your very own eyes?” Vale points to one of the landscape paintings.
“That's real?” Lana gasps.
“Yes Lana. You see there are so many places, so many things, so many opportunities ahead of you,” Vale continues “So many unknown wonders, just waiting for you Lana. It would be a shame if you threw all that away by, lets say, escaping the walls?”
“Oh my, who would even do such a thing?” Lana acted surprised.
“I'm no fool Lana. Don’t think I don't know anything about your little… Gatherings?” Vale tilts her head. Lana’s heart begins to race. “So here’s what we're going to do, Lana, I'm going to give you this book, and this pen, and you're going to write down all the names of the member’s from your gatherings.”
“You’re going to hurt them.” Lana rejects the book.
‘Hurt them?” Vale Laughs “Oh Lana, what have they taught you? We are not monsters here, we just wanna give everyone a chance at their best life. I would do no such thing as hurt them. What we do is bring them into our own hands, to give them corrective counselling, and let them see what they’ll be throwing away if they do decide to leave the city.”
“You mean you’re going to brainwash them?” Lana sneered.
“No Lana, I'm going to give them a second chance, just like I'm giving you,” Vale continued, “How does Twenty thousand Verres sound? Fair?”
Lana’s eyes lit up, “Twenty thousand Verres?”
“Did I stutter? you right down the names, I grant you the Verres. The choice is yours Lana.”
“You promise no harm to them?” Lana slowly reaches to take the book from Vale's hands.
“I guarantee.” Vale replies. Lana begins to write a list of names down. She decides to exclude Rey from the list, if Rey was right, and these people really were liars, the last person she would want on that list was him. She hands the little black book back over to Vale.
“That wasn’t so hard now was it Lana?” Vale looks through the names then pulls out a small touch screen and begins typing. “CONGRATULATIONS, YOU HAVE BEEN GRANTED 20,000 VERRES” the automated voice emitted from Lana’s wrist. “So, I can just leave now?” Lana pointed at the large glass doors.
“Oh yes,” Vale eyed Cyrus and nodded her head slowly “Cyrus, would you mind escorting our guest out?” Cyrus nods, and grabs Lana’s arm. “Gently please, Cyrus” Vale snaps. Cyrus nods again and loosens his grip on Lana’s arm. Lana then feels a small sharp jab in the right side of her neck, before she could do anything, her body tenses up and she falls to the ground. As her vision begins to fade, she see’s Vale standing over her, “Oh Lana, did you really think it would be that easy? Thanks to you, all your friends are gonna die.” Lana’s body becomes cold.