Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Looking For Something Thought-Provoking? Here Is a Long Short Story... And a God Thought.

Here is a story I wrote for my English class. At first, it was written in the depths of being completely devoid of inspiration, and then BOOM. There it was. I think this has reminded me how much fun I have writing stories. You have this blank page that you fill with scraps from the very darkest corners of your brain. Seriously. You can do whatever you want with it. I was actually thinking about killing all the characters off in the end, only because I've never done it before. I thought, why not give it a try? Maybe I'm the next Shakespeare. Maybe comedic tragedies are my thing! Then, after I read the ending, I felt so bad for all the characters that I snuffed out, that I brought them all back to life. I just could not destroy innocent, unmentioned characters for no reason! Perhaps they have an inner, unseen purpose in this world that I've created that I may never know. 
As I write this, I've started to think about how much fun God must have had creating the world. He had control over every atom in the entirety of the universe. In fact. He created every atom... AND the entirety of the universe! What was it like bringing each individual star, planet, solar system, galaxy, into existence? What was he thinking when he made some in the shapes of footballs, and others in randomized spirals. Did he make them football shaped simply so that us humans would come to realize the significance and have a laugh about it? Was it so we would take this moment and wonder at God's massive imagination skills? I can totally see God sitting in his 'workshop upstairs' looking at these different body parts that he imagined, lying on the table before him, wondering where to put everything. I mean, look at the Proboscis monkey, the ant eater, giraffe, etc. It really makes you wonder. But, I can also imagine that it was nothing like that and that God had no trouble deciding what each individual creature that inhabits the earth would look like, what purpose it would serve, and how it affected its surroundings. This is because he's God, and he has no trouble in making decisions like us humans do. This then makes me think of the time span of it all. Did it really only take 7 days? How could God's creation of the earth even fit inside time if God is outside of time? Was it a figure of speech? Perhaps like '40 days and 40 nights' which does not always literally mean '40 days and 40 nights' in the Hebrew language, but simply a very long time. It says in 1 Peter 3:8,
"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
So, did he create the world in 7,000 years, or did he literally create the world in 7 days? The latter would explain how the earth so conveniently works around a 7 day week. One fact that possibly helps proving in God's existence, or at least helps prove the significance of the Bible in the history of the human race. But then again... God is good at taking his time. ;)

Okay. Here is the story. It was 12 pages long, so if you don't finish, I won't hold it against you. :)
This story is a personal narrative which I have so wittingly entitled: 
The Accounts of Madeleine Ogren - Sci-Fi Style
            “Maddy” A voice called my name. But I was too preoccupied with getting comfortable on the very uncomfortable train seat, that I didn't hear it. Man, who knew seats could be so uncomfortable? There were no pillows, the cushioning on the seats were very thin, and the windows were made of glass. It had been four hours since I had boarded the train with my two sisters, Jo and Pran, and still, not a single waiter or waitress had walked by to offer us drinks or snacks.
“Maddy” The voice said again, a little louder this time.
            What kind of vacation is this? I thought as I, again, shifted my position, trying to stretch myself across the three seats in the isle that I was sitting on. Long Lost Atlantis didn't sound like anything special. Who wanted to spend two weeks looking at a bunch of old buildings that had been buried under water for thousands of years? Not I. I don’t care how much quality time it gave me with my siblings. I would rather be back at home in Winona with my basketball court, friends, and technology. I missed my music already. Mother had forbidden it. “You need to start spending more time with society. Not with that brainless machinery of yours,” she had said the day we left, plucking my technology from my bedroom before I could pack it in my carry-on.
            “Madeleine Joy Ogren!” Jo kicked my foot, which was now hanging over the edge of the isle seat. I looked around.
            “What?”
            “We’ve been trying to get your attention, you doofus” Pran said, crossing her arms. “But you were off in La-La-Land trying to get comfortable.”
            “She was probably dreaming about her stupid tech,” Jo smirked, pulling her phone out of her pocket. “Luckily, mother trusted me with my phone.”
            “And mine,” Pran waved hers in my face as well.
            Jo and Pran, my older twin sisters, sat next to each other, across from me. Both were glaring at me. I could see them judging their youngest sister with those creepy green eyes of theirs. Their thick, curly brown hair had been tucked behind their ears with hair pins, and hung down their backs like a roiling, brown, cascade. Every now and then, Pran would pluck a lose curl off her forehead and tease it back into the rest of the mess. But right now, they were just staring at me, waiting for my reply to their insults.
            Suddenly, I didn’t care about how uncomfortable I was. I really missed home. My sisters, who had just arrived home from boarding school, were not very nice people. I had discovered this after the first few days they had been home for summer vacation. They had corrupted my mother’s trust for me, blamed things on me, and snuck around behind our mother’s back. But, my mother didn’t see any of this. She just saw her perfect twin daughters, and… the other one.
            “Oh, haha,” I sarcastically laughed, swatting Pran’s neon pink phone away from my face. “If you must know, I was thinking about how lame this summer vacation is going to be, and how old-fashioned everything is,” I gestured towards the interior of the train car. “This stupid train doesn’t even fly, and it must be traveling at a measly 60 miles per hour.”
            “Ah, that’s what mother gets for sending you to public school instead of boarding school,” Pran sighed. “No respect for the classics.”
            “What has happened to the world?” Jo flung her arms in the air in mock helplessness, then, let them flop to her sides.
            “You tell me,” I said, giving them a weird look, then, realized that they had so rudely interrupted my deep thinking. “What do you want anyway?”
            “Um, take a look out the window,” Jo pointed. “We’re stopping, you blind bat.”
             “What for?” I asked, confused. “Are we there?”
            “No, we’re not there,“ Pran scoffed and slapped her palm against her forehead. “Atlantis is way out in the ocean. Did you even look at the itinerary that mother gave us?”
            “Uuuh, it was on my to-do list…,” I said, digging through my backpack to find the white piece of paper that I had crumpled into a ball and shoved in my backpack a day earlier. “Arrive at train station in Winona at 9am, 4 hour ride to Chicago, blah, blah, blah.” I scanned the paper until my eyes rested on where we currently were. “Oh, we’re switching trains in an hour. “Great,” I said, lifting my eyes and looking out the window.
I hadn’t noticed the Chicago surroundings, then I realized why. The entire city looked to be covered in dense fog. The only sign that showed that we were stopping were the flashing red lights coming from the Chicago train station, signaling an incoming train. That was us.
Contrary to what people thought in the early 2000’s, the ‘go green’ campaign did not last very long, and soon the carbon dioxide and acidity rate in the air nearly doubled between the years 2015 and 2025. Especially in big cities, frequent smog and acid rains would cause chaos. Even in the summers, cities could be covered for days in a thick blanket, blocking out the sun and making it very difficult for travel and action in the city. The wildest parts of the United States as well, barely touched by humans, were now being brutally affected by this overhaul of air pollution.
            “Well” I said blatantly. “My first time in Chicago, and I can’t see a darn thing - how exciting.”
            Again, both my sisters glared at me, then both looked out the window as well, straining to see any of the famous Chicago landmarks. Not a chance. There was no sign of the city except for a faint glow. Other than that, all there was to see was fog. The train began to slow down, and I watched as the station came into partial view. Great, now we would spend the next hour sitting in a boring train station filled with fog. At least it was warm in here. I guess that the station would be brutally cold, judging by the weather outside. Maybe there was food there. Or maybe there was stuff to do, like the real train stations in other big cities, like New York, Colorado Springs, and Boston. They actually had mini shopping malls in their train stations. These days, every city was trying to one-up the others. I’m not exactly sure why they were modernizing ground train stations though. They were about to be removed from the grid permanently anyway.
Ever since 2030 when flying cars were put on the market, ground trains provided very little use, except for sight seeing. The flying trains were luxurious and high quality, providing food services, comfortable seats, and BubbleGlass; a new substance that provided a bit of leeway if you rested your head on the window, but hardened under extreme pressure. This made it impossible to break, and much more comfortable than Plexiglas, which is what the window, which my head was currently resting against, was made off. Judging by how thick this smog was though, I was actually glad that we weren’t flying today. That would be a horrible way to die. The train stopped, and the lights in the train dimmed as someone started talking over the intercom,
“Ladies and gentlemen, as you make your way off the train, do not forget to grab your free mask on the way out. The fog danger is orange, and may cause damage to your lungs and skin. If you do not have a long sleeved shirt on, feel free to take a recycled one-size-fits-all, environmentally green, long sleeved shirt out of the basket to the left of your chosen exit. Thank you, and have a nice day!”
“What a joke,” I muttered under my breath as I pulled on my jacket and shrugged my backpack on. My sisters were already heading towards the door and I hurried to catch up to them before the crowd of people blocked them completely from my view. I thought about forgetting the mask, and just dealing with the smog, but one whiff of the dense mist changed my mind, and I quickly placed the plastic air filter over my mouth and nose. So this is what the big city was like. How… magical.
I followed behind Jo and Pran, watching as they stepped in sync with each other, as I entered the train station. Nope, this building was barely big enough to have a small Subway, much less any clothes shops. I took off my mask just as two large gentlemen in gray suits stepped in front of me, blocking my view of my sisters. I quickened my pace, trying to move around them, but the crowd was too packed together. Soon, the bright colors of my sisters’ outfits faded into the crowd, and I was left alone. Trying not to panic, I glared at the two large figures in front of me. There was nothing I could do. They were too intimidating for me to consider walking up to them and giving them a piece of my mind.
The two men, both at least 200 lbs in pure muscle, judging by how tight their coats were around their arms, seemed to be urgently talking into microphones in their ears. Perhaps there was a robbery taking place in the station, or a lost dog had made its way into a public restroom. Maybe there was some excitement to be had. Until that excitement showed its face, or my sisters decided to show theirs, I walked in the direction of the glowing Subway sign. Jo and Pran would soon realize that I was missing and come looking for me where they knew I would be; with the food. Thanking my mom for trusting me with my own money, I sat down at a table with my 5 dollar foot-long. I noticed the two large men in gray suits standing in line for a Subway sandwich as well. That was a site you didn’t see every day. However, when the two men made it to the front of the line, they didn’t order a sandwich. Instead, the first one, a tall black fellow with hair that spiked every which way, leaned over the counter and whispered something to the skinny teenage kid that stood behind the counter. The kid nodded, and then disappeared into the backroom. The long line of people behind the men in gray suits grew a little irritated. Some people huffed, others pulled out their phones and began texting, and still others began to complain.
“Can this line get any slower?”
“I’ve got another train to catch!”
One woman had the nerve to tap the second man on the shoulder and rudely ask,
“Is there a reason why you’re holding up the line?”
Man number two, a shorter man with a stockier build and thick brown hair, turned around and glared at the woman. He reached into his pocket, fiddled with something, and immediately the woman’s face fell blank. She walked back to her place in line and was silent. Was that a red beam of light that I saw? When the man had reached into his pocket, a small red dot had appeared, shining through the fabric in his pants; almost like an old fashioned laser pointer. How intriguing, I thought as I bit into my sandwich. Mmmm. I always loved the mayonnaise in Subway sandwiches. Something about the way it mixed with the cheap ingredients in the sandwich made it taste ten times better than a regular homemade sandwich.
Just then, I saw Jo and Pran appear out of the crowd, walking towards me with glares on their face. They were always glaring at me, I’m not sure why. Jo stomped up to me and put her hands on her hips in diva fashion.
“Why would you run off like that?” She whined.
“I didn’t,” I explained nonchalantly. “Those two guys in the gray suits over there stepped in front of me and I lost you guys. I was hungry anyway.”
“You’re lucky we weren’t switching trains right away or you could’ve been stuck here for the next two weeks instead of at Atlantis,” Pran huffed. “Although, maybe that wouldn’t have been so bad.”
Both my sisters giggled, and sat down, pulling out their own lunches from their purses. Each had packed their own sandwich, apple, and bag of carrots; how perfectly… bland. I grimaced at their meals, pulling a ‘I think I’m going to puke’ face, and opened the bag of sun chips that I had bought with my sandwich. My sisters ignored me, and began eating their lunch, being careful not to look at my face as I ate mine. Apparently they were disgusted by watching people chew; another thing that I had learned when they came home from boarding school. There was dead silence at the table, apart from the normal train station noises that flew around us. This was a normal lunch for my siblings and me.
The rest of the hour waiting for the train was spent in utter silence. Both my sisters sat texting on their phones and giggling while I sat and stared at random people. When you’re in a crowded place, it’s quite intriguing how many things you will find out about humanity. Across the station, a small little scene between a man and a woman was taking place. At first, they were talking quietly. The woman appeared to be crying, and the man looked scared. Then, the woman turned and swiftly walked away, shielding her face so no one could tell she was crying. The man hesitated, and then chased after her. He grabbed her arm and spun her around, saying something to her before kissing her on the lips. I tried to read their lips during this entire fold-out, and came away with,
“I’m sorry your seal is gray.”
“It’s the cheese puffs. They’re always wrong.”
“Don’t goat. You’ll reject it.”
“I already do.”
It wasn’t hard to know that the man had told the woman he loved her before they kissed. Before I could see the love story’s conclusion, a flicker of motion caught my eye. A man in a red coat shuffled past the young couple with his hands in his pockets. He was on the shorter side of the height scale, and was craning his neck, looking for someone, or something. The man appeared to be holding his breath. Then, a look of relief crossed the man’s face as he spotted the sign for the men’s restroom, and sped towards the door. A child was trying to steal a pack of gum out of his mother’s purse and a husband was secretly messing with his wife’s hair. Another young woman was blowing bubbles with her gum, then, embarrassed, picked the glob of gum off the floor after it flew out of her mouth when she had filled her cheeks with air to blow another bubble.
My eyes continued to scan the station, resting on the two men with gray suits. I had forgotten about them. The Subway line had started moving again, and the two men were at the register, still waiting for the teenage boy. Finally, the boy appeared at the doorway to the backroom holding a small box. The box was handed over the counter to the large black man, and as he pocketed the box, both men walked away. I blankly stared at the place where the mysterious men had been standing, my mind floating off into space. By the time I snapped back to reality, with a kick from Pran’s shoe, I had gone from suspicious black boxes to wondering if the mole on the teenage boys chin was cancerous or not.
“It’s time to go,” Pran said, as she and Jo put their phones back in their purses and stood up. “It’s better to be on that train earlier than late.”
“Okie dokie,” I said, popping up and grabbing my backpack.
“Where’s your suitcase?” Jo asked, as she pulled hers around behind her.
“I didn’t bring one,” I said. “I can fit everything in a backpack now that I don’t have any tech with me. All that’s in here is clothes, toiletries and that book mom gave me to read.”
“Wow,” Pran said. “I’m actually awed that you were able to fit all that in your backpack.”
“It’s all in the order, Pran, my sister,” I said, giving her a knowing smile.
As we made our way out of the station and fitted our masks back on our face, I again spotted the two men boarding a train. Well, that’s the last of them. I thought to myself, before realizing that my sisters were making their way towards the same train.
“Wait, we’re going on that one?” I asked, pointing at the train, my voice muffled by the plastic mask.
“Yep!” Pran said. “Aren’t you glad? We’ll be flying this time. We’ll be at Atlantis in two hours tops.”
I was somewhat glad that we were going to be in a more modern train this time, but did not exactly want to be stuck in a flying object with those two mysterious figures. They were a little too sketchy for my taste. For all I knew, they could have been carrying a bomb in that box. I didn’t voice these thoughts to my sisters. This was partially because I knew they wouldn’t listen anyway, and partially because I knew myself, and I have a tendency to blow things out of proportion a little too much to take my own worried thoughts seriously the first time I think them.
We boarded the train, and passed through the first car and kept walking until reaching the car that we would be sitting in. We all sat down, and I rested my head against the bubble window. It was soft and warm, yet I could still see out the window clearly. Not that there was much to see through the fog. I unzipped the front pocket of my backpack and took out the book that my mother had given me in case “you find yourself in a situation in which you and your sisters aren’t talking”, which translated to “in case your sisters start ignoring you”. This would be about 80% of the trip so far. I had thought I would wait until we actually arrived at Atlantis to start reading the book so that I could stretch it out over the two weeks that we were there. However, after the way my sisters had been ignoring me the whole trip, I couldn’t really take two more hours of pure boredom. I pulled the book out and read the title. A compilation of three books written by C.S. Lewis, it read, including The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I sat up against the window as the train started to move, and opened the book.
Just then, I looked up and saw a gray piece of fabric through the spacing between Pran’s window seat and the window itself. The two men in the gray suits were sitting in the row behind my sister. Before I had even begun my book, I couldn’t concentrate on it. I put it back in the front pocket of my backpack, earning a weird glance from Jo, and crossed my legs nervously. The train had now picked up a little speed, still being connected to the tracks, then slowly lifted into the air one car at a time. Slowly but surely, the train picked up speed and height. Soon the city lights of Chicago were far behind us, and just as quickly as the train was up in the air, Tall Gray Suit (the name in which I bequeathed the taller black man in the grey suit) stood up and walked towards the bathroom at the end of the car. Luckily, it was on the end that was not behind me, so I had a clear view of his head bobbing its way down to the bathroom without having to twist around and attract my sisters’ attention. Just then, there was a slight bump in turbulence and Tall Gray Suit went out of sight. I heard the bathroom door wiz open, and then shut. I could not shake the feeling that Tall Gray Suit still had the black box in his possession.
After a few minutes of fidgeting, I heard the bathroom door wiz open once again, and saw Tall Gray Suit’s head bobbing above the seats. Hoping he wouldn’t see me, I slouched down in my seat, and then bent over to retrieve my book from my backpack. As soon as I heard him sit down, I zipped my backpack up again, with the book still inside it; again, earning a weird look from Jo.
“Are you going to read that book or not?” She asked.
“Um, no,” I said, standing up. “I have to go to the bathroom.”
I quickly walked down the isle and made my way for the bathroom. It was just a hunch, but I had a feeling that Tall Gray Suit was not going to the bathroom. Short Gray Suit and Tall Gray Suit were too out of place to simply be enjoying a ride to Atlantis. There was a specific reason as to why they were here, and it wasn’t for the thrill. When I reached the bathroom, there was a sign hanging from the door by a magnet that read, ‘Out of Order. Please Make Your Way To A Bathroom In The Next Car Or At The Other End’, and had two arrows pointing in the direction of the nearest restrooms. I pressed the button, but nothing happened. Looking back at the seats, I could see that both Tall and Short Gray Suit’s had their heads bent, as if they were looking at something. I looked back at the restroom door. There was a manual latch attached to the door, just in case there happened to be electrical issues. I took a breath and pulled at the manual latch softly so as to quiet the small ‘click’ that it made when the door opened. I silently opened the door just enough to squeeze in, and then shut it. Letting out the air that I had been holding in, I looked around the small space.
There did not seem to be anything unusual about the bathroom. I looked in the toilet, on the floor, and even opened the trash. I realized the box had been too big to fit through the small hole that led into the trash, so maybe it was all in my head. There was nothing strange about those two men, only me. I sighed, and reached for the latch to open the door. Just then, I heard a small ‘bleoop’. Cocking my head, I listened hard. There it was again; that small ‘bleoop’. It was barely noticeable under the sound of the air that was making its way out of the vent in the ceiling. The air vent! Quickly, I stood on the sink and toilet and put my ear to the vent. The ‘bleoop’ was slightly louder now even with the air blowing in my ear. I had never heard beeping noises coming from restroom vents in any previous trains that I had ever ridden in before; but, I hadn’t been looking for them either.
I surveyed the surface of the vent, searching for a button that would allow it to open. On all four corners of the square vent there was a small round bottom that was labeled ‘screw’ in small letters. I pressed each one, and the vent cover opened like a lid, folding backwards onto the ceiling without a sound. Craning my head to see the inside of the vent, I glimpsed the outline of a small box with a blinking red light that turned red in sync with the ‘bleoop’. HAH! I wasn’t imagining things after all! There was definitely something very suspicious about these two men. Then, I realized that I might be looking at a ticking time bomb. Slowly, I reached towards the box and turned it. I didn’t know a thing about bombs except that they blew up when someone either pressed a button or when the timer went ‘ding!’ The box did not appear to be attached to any wires, and was very light. I picked it up, and sat down on the sink. What was this thing? I turned it around until I saw a small screen on one side. On it was the word ‘menu’. Nervously, I pressed the word. ‘Menu’ disappeared and in its place were three options; ‘overview’, ‘detonation options’, and ‘view current settings’. I pressed ‘view current settings’ and watched as a series of numbers and words appeared on the screen. The only phrase that caught my eye as I scrolled down with my finger was ‘tech control setting – danger level low’. So this wasn’t a bomb, as far as I could tell, anyway. Even so, as soon as that thought had developed, I knew that I had to do something with it.
Pressing the back button, I searched the entire menu for some kind of button that canceled the detonation. This was done with luck. Whether or not it was a bomb, this thing could be dangerous and it needed to be taken care of. I wasn’t exactly sure how, but I figured it would be safer in my jacket pocket than in the air vent. Sliding the box into the inside pocket of my jacket, I stood on the sink again and closed the vent. Once I was back on the ground, I took another breath and silently opened the restroom door manually and looked out. The two men were still hunched over, looking at something, or perhaps they were sleeping. I quickly stepped out of the restroom and closed the door. I looked around the train car. No one else seemed to notice me, so I relaxed a little. Until I noticed the bulge of the box that made me look like I had a cube in my stomach. I sucked in my belly, and shoved my hands in my pockets, trying to cover up the ‘bleoop’ sound that was reverberating out of my jacket. There was a small indent on the bottom of the box that the sound seemed to be coming from, so I placed my thumb over it through the fabric that separated my hand from the box.
As I passed the row of seats that the Tall and Short Gray Suit’s were sitting in, I noticed that they were both leaning over small screens that they must have had in their breast pockets. Both were watching a video of a very old man, with gray hair, and eyes, who seemed to be talking urgently, but seriously. Not wanting to appear suspicious at all, I walked by without slowing and sat in my seat, both my hands shoved firmly in my pockets. Pran and Jo looked up from their phones for a split second before both leaning down again to proceed with whatever it was that they were doing.
I sat back and looked out the window. Now that we were higher in the sky, it was actually bright outside and the sun could be seen far across the clouds. It was a beautiful sight. Why was I not blinded yet? The windows in the train had three layers that acted as sunglasses, ultraviolet protection, and provided a clear view of the outer world. It was convenient. I entertained myself for the next hour, guessing the types of clouds that swiped by underneath the train, and creating shapes out of the roads and field patterns far below me. I always liked the sky.
About a half an hour before the train landed, Tall Gray Suit stood up once again, and walked to the bathroom. This time, I scooted to the end seat and peaked out into the isle. The tall man looked around when he reached the restroom, and I looked down in case he saw me, closing my eyes and slouching down. Then, I cracked one eye open. Tall Gray Suit had his hand in his pocket, with his gaze turned back towards the door. I saw a small red light blink in the man’s pocket, and the door slid open, this time without a sound. That was odd. The man stepped in and disappeared behind the closing door.
What were these red dots that seemed to make things do whatever the men wanted them to? I thought back to the red dot that had lit up when Short Gray Suit had glared at the woman. She had walked back to her spot without a word or protest. Again, that was odd. I stared at the restroom door, waiting for it to open. No more than 3 minutes went by before the door slide open, Tall Gray Suit stepped out, and the door slid quickly shut. I shifted back to the window seat before Tall Gray Suit saw me, and proceeded to stare out the window. I heard the man sit down, and then low muttering.
“-not there” and “-start early” was all that I heard.
I’m not quite sure what their plan was, but I most definitely was now scared. What did this box do, and what were Tall and Short Gray Suit starting early? Perhaps the tech control setting was the detonation option, and they were going to start it early. The muttering continued, quiet and urgent, and then it stopped. Both men stood up and began walking towards the exit that led to the front of the train. This was probably not a good thing. I made brief eye contact with them as they passed by, then looked away quickly. As soon as they passed, I turned and watch them exit the car. I looked away, not wanting to attract the attention of my sisters with my weird behavior and shifted back to the window seat.
I looked up; both my sisters were still looking at their phones. Man, even I’m not this bad with my tech. How did they manage to keep their stuff and I didn’t? I thought. Then, realization dawned, and the streams of said realization gushed into my brain.
“You guys sneaked your phones, didn’t you?” I said accusingly.
“Um… No,” Pran looked up for a second, blinking fast as she said it.
“I don’t believe you,” I said, crossing my arms. “Why would mom allow you two to have your phones, and not me, if this were supposed to be a vacation in which we spend more time together? She knows as well as I do that you two are way more obsessed with those things than I am.”
Jo set her phone down and glared at me, “So what if we did sneak them. What’s it to you?”
“Um… Everything,” I stared at them, disgusted. “This whole entire trip you two have made me feel like an outsider because you were too busy talking to you stupid friends to realize that your own sister is sitting right in front of you the whole time!” With this, I grabbed Pran’s phone and looked at her screen. “Who are you talking to, anyway?”
Pran gave a strangled squeal and grabbed her pink phone back, growling, “It’s none of your business.”
“I can’t believe you two,” I huffed, sitting back.
Just then, I heard a ‘bleoop’ sound come from my pocket. Both my sisters stared at the pocket.
“What was that?” Jo asked, raising an eyebrow.
“N-Nothing,” I said, putting my hand in my pocket and coving the small indent on the box.
“Sounds a lot like some kind of tech, to me,” Pran said, sitting forward to grab my jacket.
“Wait!” I said, pointing out the window. “We’re here.”
Both sisters whipped their heads towards the window and gasped. It was now very bright out, and we could see the sparkling blue of the Gulf of Mexico beneath us. Up ahead, a large bubble protruded out of the water like a blister, a sign that Atlantis was there, no longer hidden by miles of ocean. While some had thought that Atlantis was somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, perhaps even buried underneath miles of sand in the Sahara, a Mexican scientist proved them all wrong.
In 2027, Miguel Marco, a marine biologist, had taken his new submarine out for a week vacation in the Gulf of Mexico, determined to discover new depths in the ocean that no one else had discovered, or been able to discover. This submarine could last weeks under the ocean without coming up for renewal of oxygen, and could reach a total of 900 kilometers underwater before beginning to crack under pressure. It was the latest model. When he had reached the deepest part of the Gulf, instead of finding new species’ of fish like he had hoped, Marco found city ruins.
Now, after more than 20 years, Atlantis was a tourist site in the middle of the ocean that many came to see. The ruins had been cleaned up as much as they could be, the wall surrounding it was rebuilt, and hotels, souvenir shops, and mini malls filled the space outside of the wall. Our mother had won a trip for three to the City of Atlantis from some rally she had gone to with her friends a couple weeks before. And now, my sisters and I were flying towards a long lost world wonder.
We were briefly awed in silence before a piercing sound rang out of the box in my hand. Forgetting about the indent, I covered my ears in agony. What was going on? My sisters sat, frozen at the window, as if they hadn’t heard a thing. I looked around the train car. No one else seemed to have heard it either. In fact, everyone seemed to be frozen. Some were looking out the windows, others reading, but most were looking at their phones. I pulled the box out of my jacket and looked at the screen. It read, “Detonation – Phase 1”. The box had initiated the tech control detonation! I scrunched my eyebrows together in confusion. Nothing had happened. I looked up at my sisters’ again; their faces still had a look of unblinking awe. Then, realization decided to dawn once again. They were frozen. I looked around at everyone else in the train car. Everyone was frozen! What was this tech control detonation, and why was everyone but me affected by it?
I stood up, slightly panicked. I needed to find those two men, and fast. For all I knew, the pilots of the train could have been affected as well. I ran down the isle, towards the exit door that led to the front of the train, pushing the ‘open door’ button. Nothing happened. I pushed the button again. Still, the door would not open. Then, I noticed a small round magnet in the middle of the door, the exact same one that had been on the bathroom door. I pulled the magnet off, and pressed the ‘open door’ button again. This time, it opened. I walked through and noticed another magnet attached to the other side of the same door. The attraction of the two magnets must have messed up the wiring in the door’s mechanism. I walked towards the other door, pulled the magnet off, and opened the door. One more car and I would reach the front of the train.
When I was through the other two doors at the end of the second car, I could see that the waiters and waitresses were also frozen in position in their little portion of the train car that was connected to the front. I passed by them, trying not to touch them, and weaved around their bodies. I came to the door that lead to the ‘cockpit’ of the train, and could see Tall and Short Gray Suit inside. I knew it! I thought to myself before pulling a magnet off of the door and pressing the button to open it. Lying behind the driving seats were the two engineers. Both looked as though they were sitting in invisible seats with blank expressions on their faces. Tall and Short Gray Suit jumped in surprise, and turned around to see what had opened the door, only to find a girl holding up a small gray box.
“What…“ one said.
“How did you….“ started the other.
“What is this and why is everyone frozen?” I asked without thinking.
Both men sat, shared a glance, then grabbed for the box. I whipped it out of their reach, only to find myself grabbed.
“We don’t have time for this,” Tall Gray Suit said.
“Let’s just tie her up and move on with phase 2,” Short Gray Suit replied, turning around.
“Sounds good to me” Tall Gray Suit stood up, and grabbed me by the back of my shirt, lifting me up and reaching into his pocket. He pulled out 4 long pieces of plastic that looked familiar to me.
“Zip ties,” I said, finally recognizing the pieces of plastic, “How… Old fashioned of you,” I managed to get this sentence out before Tall Gray Suit shoved me up against a wall with one hand on my mouth, and the other pulling my wrists together. Short Gray Suit put the train on auto-pilot and zip tied my wrists and ankles together and looped one of them around a wall railing, then went back to his seat, taking auto-pilot off.
“Should I take the box from her?” Tall Gray Suit asked.
“Nah, we should have at least one person to witness our genius before we destroy Atlantis,” Short Gray Suit replied, turning the train sharply towards the bubble that stuck out of the ocean.
“Wait, what?” I asked, straining against the zip ties.
“Should you explain, or shall I?” Short Guy Suit asked.
“Go ahead, I’ll steer,” Tall Gray Suit answered. “I’m bad with words anyway.”
“Alrighty then…” Short Gray Suit turned in his seat and faced me. “It’s like this,” he said, pointing at the box, “that box is a radio wave magnet. When detonated, it can increase the radio waves coming from any piece of technology and mix with brain waves. It’s the newest thing. That is why everyone is frozen. The radio waves in their technology are heightened at an equal frequency with their brainwaves, causing their brains to loop between the equal frequencies, stalling the rest of their bodily movements. The only reason why you aren’t frozen is because you happen to be holding the box that heightens the frequencies, allowing you to be protected from it if you don’t hold any technology, which I’m guessing you don’t. The only reason why we’re not frozen, is because of the mini versions we have in our pockets.” With this, Short Gray Suit pulled out what looked like a small remote from his pocket.
“That’s what you used to make that lady shut up!” I gasped, remembering the small red light that had shown through his pocket at the train station in the Subway.
“You’re an observant little fellow,” Tall Gray Suit muttered.
“Not observant enough to do anything about it,” Short Gray Suit laughed, turning back to the front window.
“Why are you doing this?” I asked. “What did you say about destroying Atlantis? Why would you do that?”
“That’s where it gets complicated, my little lady,” Short Gray Suit said. “Let’s just say we have a higher genius mixed in that does not like to tell us why we’re doing anything. We,” Short Gray Suit gestured at himself and his companion, “are doing this for the money.”
“But what are you doing?” I implored.
“Like you said,” Short Gray Suit put his hands back on the controls, “We’re destroying Atlantis.”
That being said, Tall Gray Suit opened a small window by his seat that allowed the air from outside to gush in. He pulled two small canisters out of his pocket, pressed a button on the top of each one, and dropped them out the window. Instead of falling, the two canisters opened small portals in their bodies and shot towards the bubble. Short and Tall Gray Suit’s turned their controls so that the train turned in the direction facing away from the bubble.
“Looks like our job is done,” Tall Gray Suit said.
“Back to the train station we go,” Short Gray Suit agreed.
I stood in the back, tied up, and watched as the bubble went out of view. Not before I saw a small explosion at the top of the bubble.
“That’s it?” I said.
“No, that’s just the beginning.”
“But that thing is made out of BubbleGlass,” I said matter-of-factly. “It’s impenetrable.”
“Not when a high amount pressure is pinpointed in one spot,” Tall Gray Suit explained. “A crack will form on the top, and spread until it shatters.”
“Would you like to see?” Short Gray Suit asked.
“No” I answered, straining against the ties, trying to break free.
“Well, I would,” Short Gray Suit smirked, turning the controls once again, so that we were facing the bubble.
I looked out the window and could see tiny black lines spreading across the surface of the bubble, showing that cracks had already started to form. They spread faster and faster until the spread of cracks disappeared underneath the level of the ocean. Everything about the bubble was normal for a moment, besides the spider web of cracks that were painted across its surface, and then the top of the bubble collapsed in on itself. In less then 5 seconds, the entire top of the bubble that had protruded out of the Gulf was now gone, falling hundreds of miles to the ocean floor. Suddenly, the ocean, no longer kept away from the inside of the bubble by the glass, poured into the hole, engulfing the spot where the City of Atlantis was. I watched in horror as the ocean crushed the glass under its pressure and collapsed entirely on the city. The water crashed, and roiled, creating gigantic tidal waves that rolled away from the spot.
“No!” I screamed.
Atlantis was buried, again. There had been people in that city. Who knows how many tourists were in there when it collapsed. The waves that had proceeded the engulfing would probably destroy parts of the Texas and Mexican coast lines judging by their immensity.
“What have you done?” I cried.
Neither of the men answered my question. Instead, Tall Gray Suit said,
“Do not worry yourself. This will all be a dream,” as he raised his arm and knocked me over the head.
I flinched awake in a cold sweat, with the shadow of this horrible memory in my mind. It was only a dream. I thought as I sat up in a hospital bed, and noticed my mother sitting in a chair at the end of my bed, asleep. She, too, jolted awake, and sat up, looking around.
“Maddy!” She cried in relief, walking over to the side of my bed. “I’m so glad you’re awake!” She grabbed my hand and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
“W-where are Pran and Jo?” I looked around the room, searching for other hospital beds.
“They’re waiting outside,” my mother pointed towards the door, “You were the only one injured on the train.”
“Apparently your train ran off course and landed here in Texas,” My mother explained. “And thank goodness it did. Atlantis collapsed!”
I was now fully awake, parts of my dream coming back. “What?”
“Atlantis collapsed!” My mother repeated. “Apparently a bolt of lightning hit the surface center of the BubbleGlass and created a crack, weakening the entire shield. The city is completely gone. It’s all over the news.”
“B-but the people…” I started
“Nobody died, silly!” My mother patted my hand. “You didn’t read the brochure I give you. There is a built in safety bubble that generates when a crack is formed in the main bubble. It stayed up just long enough for everyone to be transported to the submarines before that, too, completely collapsed.”
“Good.”
Suddenly I remembered the face of Tall Gray Suit when he had raised his arm to knock me out. Was it all real? Was I dreaming? This large amount of information, panic, and stress overwhelmed me. What a vacation. I thought before slipping into unconsciousness. 

Woke up at 5am on
 Thanksgiving  Day to go
 hunting. Jordan was a
little tired. ;)
After hunting, we shot arrows
at a piece of cardboard and
lost 4 of them in our field.
Abby and I raked the field
clean and found only two of
them. We felt very accomplished.

 Pictures from this past week....

I turned 16 on Tuesday.