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Why Was I Born on This Era?

by Kayana

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Why was I Born in this Era?
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By: Kayana Collins
I woke up to loud thudding sounds. The ground shook like an earthquake was taking place, but it wasn't. My mom, who slept in the same bed as me, rolled over, her soft green eyes glanced at me. I could see pity and sadness flash in the depths of her eyes, she felt bad for me… for us. The thudding quieted down and my mom moved closer to me, stroking my hair to try and comfort me. 

I didn’t need to be comforted, this happened often, the thudding. I was born used to it. The ground shook just about every night. You might be wondering why? Aliens. Or, I suppose that’s the old term for them. We refer to them as “lorids”, they come in different subspecies, but that isn’t relevant. 
The thought of living next to lorids as a child terrified me, but I quickly learned to live with them. Very few lorids pass over to our side a day, to keep us working. You might also be wondering, “Why didn’t they just kill us all when they came to earth, or why didn't humans kill them?” It’s quite simple, actually, most lorids are stronger than us humans and they keep us alive to eat us, we are their main source of food. Some people are rich though and are able to pay to keep themselves alive or have other trading that they can do with lorids, they get to live because they have more worth. Poorer communities like where I live in, are a little bit different. 

My mom’s rhythmic stroking stopped, she fell back asleep, I wasn’t able to fall back into slumber as easily as her, although I wish I could. It feels like the only escape from this rancid world I live in. I sat up, the creaky old bed I slept on felt as hard as rock. My slender feet hit the floor of my small house, my back aching as I stood up. Fixing a cup of warm-ish herbal tea my mom made last night, I walked over to the door. Opening the old wooden door, the fresh breeze of morning air hit me. Some of the young men and women were up, they had to start their morning jobs, which was usually tending to pigs and other animals lorids eat. I glanced at The Wall, which partly separated mankind for the horrid creatures that lay beyond. 
1
I slipped my feet into the one pair of shoes I could afford for myself, the rough rawhide rubbed against my feet. Rumbling started again, this time it shook the ground and I almost fell to my knees. The Gate lifted, dust flying in the air. The people who were outside had this look of horror in their eyes, which is quite surprising to me. We’ve had to live with these creatures our whole lives and they still seem terrified of them. 
I stood tall and still as the creatures emerged from the dust, their gray-ish brown colored skin was hard to distinguish with the dust flying everywhere. Their dark eyes moved around, as the gaze of one of them fell on me, I felt squeamish. For some reason, rage started to fill me, these creatures slaughtered us like we do animals. I kept eye contact with the lorid, it’s black eyes seeming to be daring me to a staring contest. 
The creature slowly moved towards me, but in that moment, something pulled me back. I yelped, kicking out as it dragged me down the narrow, dark passageway between two houses. It let me go as we got out of sight of the lorid, I quickly turned to face it, thinking the worst. There before me, stood a tall, lanky teenager. His deep brown eyes shimmered in the dark, I felt almost mesmerized by him. 
“Hello, my name is Nathan, what’s yours?” , he held his dirty hand out, smiling, “Oh and sorry about dragging you, I didn’t have time to pick you up, my bad. You know it’s not that smart to be challenging one of those things.”
I smirked at his remark and took his hand, he helped me to my feet, “I’m Juliet and I wasn’t challenging it. The thing was staring at me so I stared back!” 
The boy shook his head, still smiling, “Well, I’m glad I got you out of there before it decided to have you for breakfast! You’re too pretty to die like that.” 
Rolling my eyes at him, I said, “I guess I’m glad you saved me, I’m sure I would’ve been fine though.”
He shrugged his shoulders, motioning me to follow him. I felt skeptical about following a stranger, but he seemed nice enough, so I followed. Nathan went deeper down the alleyway, the darkness almost fully engulfing him.
I slipped my feet into the one pair of shoes I could afford for myself, the rough rawhide rubbed against my feet. Rumbling started again, this time it shook the ground and I almost fell to my knees. The Gate lifted, dust flying in the air. The people who were outside had this look of horror in their eyes, which is quite surprising to me. We’ve had to live with these creatures our whole lives and they still seem terrified of them. 
I stood tall and still as the creatures emerged from the dust, their gray-ish brown colored skin was hard to distinguish with the dust flying everywhere. Their dark eyes moved around, as the gaze of one of them fell on me, I felt squeamish. For some reason, rage started to fill me, these creatures slaughtered us like we do animals. I kept eye contact with the lorid, it’s black eyes seeming to be daring me to a staring contest. 
The creature slowly moved towards me, but in that moment, something pulled me back. I yelped, kicking out as it dragged me down the narrow, dark passageway between two houses. It let me go as we got out of sight of the lorid, I quickly turned to face it, thinking the worst. There before me, stood a tall, lanky teenager. His deep brown eyes shimmered in the dark, I felt almost mesmerized by him. 
“Hello, my name is Nathan, what’s yours?” , he held his dirty hand out, smiling, “Oh and sorry about dragging you, I didn’t have time to pick you up, my bad. You know it’s not that smart to be challenging one of those things.”
I smirked at his remark and took his hand, he helped me to my feet, “I’m Juliet and I wasn’t challenging it. The thing was staring at me so I stared back!” 
The boy shook his head, still smiling, “Well, I’m glad I got you out of there before it decided to have you for breakfast! You’re too pretty to die like that.” 
Rolling my eyes at him, I said, “I guess I’m glad you saved me, I’m sure I would’ve been fine though.”
He shrugged his shoulders, motioning me to follow him. I felt skeptical about following a stranger, but he seemed nice enough, so I followed. Nathan went deeper down the alleyway, the darkness almost fully engulfing him.
2
My eyes soon adjusted to the dark, he stood at the dead end, where the houses met The Wall. I was slightly confused as to why he took me here, but then he started climbing up, I watched in disbelief. Nathan looked back as if to signal to keep following. When I took my final steps towards the concrete wall, I could see little notches, where I could just get enough grip to pull myself up. 
It seemed almost impossible to make it up, there was about another twenty feet I had to climb, but I kept going. When I finally reached the top of the wall, I gazed over the lorid’s side. My eyes immediately widened, I’ve never seen this side of the world before. I could see as far as I could imagine, different subspecies of lorids littering the land here and there. I could even see the fairly large, freakish towns they built out of concrete and wood, it looked fairly similar to ours from what I could see. Their dusty appearance was easy to pick out in the green grass of their land. When I had finally noticed that I had been leaning over a bit too far, Nathan quickly grabbed my hand and pulled me back. 
“Sooo.. how do you like it?,” he said with a proud look on his face, releasing my hand.
“Well, it's quite amazing, beautiful in fact. It just doesn't seem fair how they destroyed our lives and get to live in a way better place than us. It's been years since I’ve seen grass as lush as that,” my eyes were still transfixed on the meadows beyond. 
“You have a point.. and once I find a way down this wall, I’ll be sure to take you!,” he said in a determined tone. When I finally glanced at him, I could see his big brown eyes staring at me. I couldn’t help but admire his milky brown skin in the sunlight.
“ That’s very sweet of you, but isn't that a little dangerous? What if we get caught on the other side? One of those things would kill us for sure,” I whispered in disappointment. 
Nathan turned his head to look down at the lush green grass as he muttered, “At this point, why do you care if you die? We’re both poor, we have nothing to lose, we’ll end up dying soon anyways. We are bound to be eaten within a few years.”
3
Both of us sat in silence for a minute, looking out on what laid beyond our reach. I pondered what he said. It’s true, I don't have much to live for, I still have my mom though and she needs me. I suppose.
Nathan got up, his head still turned away from me. “Just think about it, okay? I haven't even figured out how to get down. Plus I can protect you, from the lorids, I’ve already done it once,” there was still a hint of laughter in his voice, perhaps trying to lighten up the mood, even though I know he was disappointed. 
When I turned around, I saw his long, slender fingers disappearing down the side of The Wall. I sighed, turning back towards the green grass, relishing the breeze that blew at the top of The Wall. Is it possible that I’m losing a friend I just made?

Nathan’s POV
I can’t stop thinking about Juliet, I can’t believe I’ve finally talked to her, I’m glad we became friends. Well, at least that's what I hope she thinks of me.. A friend. My hands were cracked and bleeding by the time I climbed down the steep wall. Maybe I should have warned her about that, I looked back up, I could barely see her light colored hair flowing in the breeze. Maybe we should be more careful up there, we would get punished or killed if a lorid found out we’ve been up The Wall. 
I trudged back down the alleyway, when I got towards the opening, there was a lorid standing there. The same one that she had been glaring at, it’s been waiting for us to come back out. I hadn’t expected it to wait there this long. The creature’s eyes bulged from it’s skin, I’ve never been this close to one before. I could see bumps all over its body, menacing hand-like claws flexing. When the creature noticed me, it started to move forward. A bad feeling filled my stomach, I felt like I was going to throw up. The lorid made a distinct sound, one I’ve heard before, when it’s really angry.

4
Juliet‘s  POV
I could stay up here forever, it seemed like a real escape from the bland place I’ve always known. Where I do the same job everyday, from noon to dark. When I finally felt ready to go back down, I saw a shadow-like figure running towards The Wall. It must be Nathan, but why is he in such a rush? I looked back farther, there was something chasing him.
Panic filled me as I realized it was a lorid, I couldn’t let him die. He saved me. I started frantically climbing down. 
“Stay up there! Get back up!,” I could hear Nathan shouting from under me as he started to climb.
Reluctantly, I dug my feet and hands back in the crevices. Hands burning from the rubbed off skin, I made my way back up. Nathan followed close behind, I could hear his heavy breathing. I was afraid he wouldn't have the strength to make it all the way up. 
I tried my best to pull him up when I was at the top, I could see the lorid making its way up slowly, it was big and not as great a climber as us. 
“What do we do now? It's bound to climb up here and kill us,” I wailed, my arms wrapped around his neck. I’ve never felt this terrified in my life, the thought of dying from one of those things was all too real. 
“We are gonna have to find another way down,” he stated, grabbing me and throwing me over his shoulder. I was surprised he had the strength to carry me.
Nathan made his way across the top of The Wall, looking for a way down. I was limp in his arms, I was too shocked to do anything, but I could merely make out the lorid getting to the top. Nathan picked up his speed, I could tell he was getting tired though, by his short breaths. He must not have much strength after climbing up and down the crevices he made in The Wall. 
The lorid was faster than Nathan, it was slowly but surely catching up, Nathan noticed and he muttered something I couldn’t distinguish.

1
5
Nathan jumped off The Wall, I screamed, I felt as light as a feather as I dropped twenty-five feet down. I heard the thud of us hitting the ground before the pain started. My stomach felt like it had just been punched. Nathan had landed flat on his back, holding me tightly close to his chest so I had something softer to land on.  I scrambled to my knees, ignoring the stabbing pain all over my body. We landed on the lorid’s side. Who knows how long we can make it here before one of them finds us? Or if the one that chased us can jump down this far… 
I got on my knees, facing Nathan, his eyes closed and his face was twisted in pain. I took one of his hands in mine and shook him softly to try to get him to open his eyes and look at me. His soft brown eyes opened slightly, he smiled when his eyes met mine. He looked so peaceful in the soft green grass, his fine brown hair shining in the morning sun. My mom would be awake by now.
“We need to get out of here! One of those things is bound to find us soon,” I almost shouted at him, my heart pounding.
“I can’t… I’m pretty sure my spine broke when I landed on my back, I won’t be able to move. Juliet, please, go and save yourself. I’m sorry I got you in this situation. I shouldn’t have jumped down onto the lorid’s side, I just wanted to touch the green grass before I died.” Nathan avoided eye contact with me as he said that. I shook my head, tears forming in my eyes.
“You know I can’t leave you, Nathan, you're the only one who I feel alive with in this world!,” I shouted at him, anger filled my voice, my hand squeezed his. I couldn't believe he told me to leave him here to die.
Nathan winced as I shouted at him, I immediately felt guilty. I was helpless in this situation, that made me hate myself. 
The brown eyed boy then laughed, slightly, maybe he saw my guilt and felt sorry, “Juliet, I know you don’t know, but I’ve always been with you. I mean, watching from a distance. You just never noticed..” his voice trailed off as if he was trying to keep his emotions in check, he probably felt bad he didn’t come up to me earlier in my life, “You’re different, from everyone else, not afraid of anything. You have so much to live for, please leave me.”

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