They say this city is beautiful. But it's ugly. It's disturbing to look at. The buildings are abused, barren. The streets are wastelands. The sky is grey with the sight of a thousand deaths. It looks down upon this strange land. It watches everyday, unable to avert it's gaze. It longs to help the creatures below it, though nothing can be done. The sky hides away behind the clouds and contemplates the life below – what is left of 'life'.
It vaguely remembers the past, the good, the strong. Everything that once made this city triumphant. It wonders where everything went wrong, why the creatures became so wrong. The sky thinks over and over, asking itself questions with no one to answer them. It weeps, and weeps, washing away the dust on the pavements. It soaks the creatures below and they run for their shelters.
The sky wonders if anyone has thought the same, if the creatures can be saved. It holds on for the hope that the leaders' perception of beauty will change; it wants them to know what they've done, to wake up.
There's one thing the sky does not know, despite having seen everything, that I can hear it. I know everything it has ever felt - every pain, every heartbreak, every tear. I feel it, I am one with it. I know I must help this city, my home. But this is not my home. It is not the place in which I live. I have no life here.
My name is Annora. I am 16 years old. I run with a small group of people who, like me, believe our lives need to change. We call ourselves the 'Resistance'. It sounds so cliché, but in our world everything is real. Everything you've seen in movies, or read in books, about those who fight back – that's everyday for us. Under the cover of night we fight, when we cannot be seen. We act like stealth. We stand together and fight alone. But everything we do is in secret. This city has leaders – leaders with power. At the snap of their fingers they could take down the Resistance. That doesn't mean we'll let them. We will stop them, no matter what it takes, no matter how many of us.
We need hope. I need reason. I'm expected to lead the people closest to me into battle. Honestly, I'm terrified. All I can do is tell everyone it will be okay. But it won't, not right now. We have no plan. We don't know any weaknesses, loop holes, something that can take down this city. And that's the only thing we need. It will be hard for definite. I've been in the Resistance for as long as I can remember. Ever since – devastating times, unspeakable events. Events that have fuelled my hatred for the leaders and this city. Events that have shaped this world.
Each second in my life has brought me to here – on the edge of the world. If one little thing goes wrong, I fall. If everything goes right, I am saved. I know it will take time, but I've learnt to be patient. Those devastating times, unspeakable events, have shown me so many things.
I am strong because I have been weak. I am brave because I have known fear. I am wise because I have been foolish. I can know love because I have known pain.
And I would relive every corruption to save our lives, but also to have a reason to have saved them.
But I can't do this alone. The Resistance can't do this alone. I need you, my conscience. You follow me everywhere. You are loyal. You are feel every word I say. But in the depths of my despair I have hidden many truths from you, things that you need to know! And that's why, before we continue any further, I must explain my origin.
I am an orphan, a lost child of war. I joined the Resistance when I was very young, though not out of choice. Everything was sunny and brilliant in my life until I joined the Resistance. My life was perfect, and for a while I saw this city as beautiful. My mind was corrupted by the society I lived through. I hated the Resistance for taking me away from my perfect world. I could no longer play in the streets with my friends. I begged everyday to roam the satin streets. I wanted to skip along the pavements barefoot, feel the stones bounce off my feet. I missed grabbing my parents' hands and being swung in the air, like every little kid did. I missed it badly. I wanted that single moment in which I felt like I could fly, where I was at one with the birds, where I looked the sky in the eye and felt everything it saw.
The Resistance, however, did not see the city how the young-me did. They did not see the golden lamp posts, or the 3 suns setting on a clear, warm summer's night. They never felt the wind brush through their hair. They never sat in the golden corn fields, leaping from left to right, becoming so dizzy that they fell onto the ground only to be saved by their childhood sweetheart.
They never had a childhood.
My parents had shown me so much to life. They were blinded by society, told the city was prospering. They invested so much money in the hope that I would have a more brilliant future. I didn't think my life could be any more brilliant than it was. But I was a child, I did not understand. Like my friends I did not see the consequences of this prosperity that lay ahead. Why should we? We were innocent, not guilty of having seen too much.
But my perfect world was not bullet-proof. People started to ask questions. The leaders were accused of misusing the civilians' money. The newspapers reported scandal after scandal. No one had control over the city. This was when my life changed. The glass box protecting me was shattered. The city was corrupted. Riots broke out. I don't remember much apart from that they got my parents.
And that was the moment I was left alone in this imperfect city.
At first I believed I was dreaming. All of my friends were unaffected. Their perfect worlds had stayed perfect while mine was breaking. Their parents still had jobs and they could afford to move out of the damaged areas. I had nothing, no one. I hated the Resistance for tearing me away from my life. I didn't care if I slept on the streets, I just wanted everything I had before, whatever it took.
Over time the Resistance felt more like home. It became all I knew, everything I had. I had no choice but to accept the consequences and move on. I had to grow up and create a new world for myself, even if it meant smiling when I could have killed myself from the despair I was in. I made friends and gradually saw them as family. But as the Resistance became my life, I changed. I was no longer that innocent, little girl who thought the world was sunny and brilliant. It became darker, uglier, imperfect.
Once again, my life was controlled by society. I was told what to believe. They taught us to hate the city. They wanted justice for the events that had taken so many lives, that had taken my parents. These events fuelled the hatred boasted by the Resistance. These events fuelled my hatred for what had once been my life. I was mindless. I am mindless.
Now I just accept everything I have been told. We don't have perfect lives, but if we fight they can be better. We can believe they are perfect if justice is served. The Resistance has promised happiness to those the leaders forgot. But sometimes I doubt all of this. I have seen so many things. I have felt everything the sky has seen. I know there is another side to this story. I just need to find it. Maybe we will turn out to be the corrupted ones. Maybe we are the ones being brainwashed. Maybe if we surrender there is a better life waiting for us. How can I be sure everything I know is right? I don't; but I have no choice. I just have to go along with everything, fake a smile and pretend I'm fine.