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Eventide

Short story for AP English Language about the year 2050

Staring out into the falling sun I was reminded of the colors that it used to hold. Such reds, yellows, and smears of the infinite shades that lie between. I often imagine them at all times of the day, not just at this one, when the sun lowers itself somewhere it can hide for the night. I only wish that I could do the same.

The nighttime is when the Mysteries come out. I think that they do. We are always told to never look. As soon as it is dark outside we are ushered inside and the doors are closed even if you’ve forgotten something and we are given our helmets and told to not move. We wouldn’t dare to anyway. The helmets used to be comforting, especially when I was younger. When I was nine I tried to stay awake while it was on and the things that I saw inside were so gruesome that I haven’t stayed up since. I don’t like talking about it but I remember that there were voices and small moving scenes. It was like I was in them, though I’m not certain. People were screaming and they may have been hurt but I only know what being hurt is like from Rumors I’ve heard. It made me sadder than I ever remember being before or after. I’m now scared of the power I know they hold. I don’t know why they would show us that in our helmets and I haven’t told anyone what I saw.

The only star I’ve ever seen is the sun. I know that there are others because I’ve heard Rumors and though Father tells me not to believe them I do. I believe in stories about the past because when I try to pretend like they’re not real I feel as though there’s no point in living.

I think that maybe the moving scenes really happened in the past and I don’t know how to feel.

I don’t mind that as much as when they first took away the colors. They were my favorite things in the whole world. I don’t care why they did it. I don’t get angry anymore, just sad. I’m not afraid of anything since Rachel died.

The Mysteries were projects gone wrong. People like the ones that made our helmets were working on a typical cloning process but there was a mix up in the DNA they were using. A batch of one hundred fertilized eggs were housing the wrong genetic maps. Great beasts were grown and they were habitually dangerous. They couldn’t be killed by their weapons so they released them into forests everywhere with only a warning. So far they’ve killed twenty five of us. One of them was my sister. They took a hiatus from cloning for two years after their mistake but the population took a dangerous dip. They had to begin again. I hope they’ve been more careful since.

At first I thought the Mysteries were the reason we had to be inside at night. Rachel and I used to sit under an old tree at high noon, right on the edge of the forest. We didn’t get in trouble because no one would notice. We would talk about the stories that we overheard others telling. They sounded make believe until Rachel had the audacity to inquire. We found out that all of these fanciful tales were real and that they had happened once somewhere. Our last conversation was about how people used to live in houses that belonged to themselves. “I couldn’t imagine a time where you weren’t around…everyone,” she’d repeat.

“I know,” I’d assure her, picking at a stray daisy in the grass. “I know.”

I remember seeing it but not reacting. I could show you exactly where it was standing if we went and stood out by the end of the field but we’re not allowed to anymore. It was close before I could see it from a distance and it was faster than I’d ever seen anything be before. It was large, dark, hirsute and holding her with one paw on her head and the rest of her in his mouth and she didn’t even have time to scream. It turned around and ran before I was unstupefied and I turned around and ran too and I don’t remember what happened after that.

I don’t know who believes this or not because some people feel sorry for me and others look at me strangely but they don’t have their own explanation for how she’s gone. I don’t know why they wouldn’t want to take me for being truthful. I think one of the worst parts is that some say I now have my own made up story to tell young people in the future. It can’t ever be a Rumor because Father says that Rumors might not be true and I know what happened to Rachel really happened. I was there for it, unlike other stories that took place before I was born.

Now I know that the reason we’re inside is for the helmets and the helmets are to show us these scenes, even though we’re not supposed to actually look at them.

I remember that her favorite colors were the ones of the sunset.

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