The Fall of Us

©Molly Looby CampNaNoWriMo '14 !

Enter the world of Tye. The Fall has devastated much of the world as we know it but Tye knows nothing else. He and his best friend Eeli are ready to leave their home as soon as they reach thirteen years so that they can be off on their own and be who they want to be and do what they want to do. At last.

Tye and Eeli could never have imagined how dangerous the real world was going to be.

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I don’t remember walkin in the direkshon of the lites. I don’t remember enterin the buildin wiff all the noise. I don’t remember sittin down at the only spare table in the room wiff Phee an Eeli. But somehow I must do all of those fings cause I’m sittin in this dark room filled wiff people an candles, watchin this man singin. Nimmo weaves in an outta the legs an he’s gone to the other side’a the room before I can grab him.

The man looks as tho he’s in his late twennies an looks more comfortable than I fink I’ve ever looked in my life up there on the stage. His hair’s bin brushed an his clothes are clean. His skin is gold like an he’s got dark hair. He’s got this charmin look on his face as he smiles upon his audience. I fink he’s probably the most handsome man there’s ever bin.

Behind him are a group of pepole wiff weird lookin musical instruments. They’re louder than anyfink I ever heard but somehow the man sings over them. Behind the music players are big curtains of different colours an patterns that look like they’re made of every bit of material that was around at the time. The celin stretches up higher than in any buildin I ever set foot in. Huge windows surround the walls so by day this place must shine.

The tables all around us are filled wiff bulky men, tall men, men wiff beards. Little women, young women, women wiff red lips. Brothers, sisters, chillren. Swayin to the side, holdin hands, starin at the man.

Tho it’s dark in here, the stage is lit like mornin wiff as many candles round the front that would fit.

The man holds the last word fer longer than Eeli can sit still and the crowd explodes wiff applaws when he finishes, everyone jumpin up outta their seats to celebrate, bangin their hands together as loud as they can, whoopin an cheerin.

I look to Eeli an it makes my insides clench to see the glow on her face.

The man bows an larfs. “Thank you!” He calls, raisin his hand. “Thank you all so much!”

A woman joins him on stage, takin his hand an they both take a bow.

“Kyan Perr!” She shouts as they return to standin again. She’s got long hair that falls almost to her bum like Eeli’s an it’s somewhere between the lightest brown colour I ever seen an the darkest blonde colour I ever seen. She looks the same age as the man, Kyan. She hugs him tite before he trots off stage an thru a door. Her face is clear an brite an young lookin. The candle lite bounces of the pale colour of her skin. She’s wearin a tite black dress that shows how much her wayste goes in compared to her hips. Like she don’t eat at all.

“Thank you all for coming.” The grin shows us beautiful cream teeth. “We’ll let Kyan have a break now and you can all top up your drinks and then we’ve got some more for you. My absolute fayvorit is coming up so don’t you go anywhere!”

Everyone in the room larfs an I look around myself, not quite believin it.

She waves as she too makes her way off stage an down to the table she was sittin at nearest the front. She’s swarmed wiff people at once.

I grip Eeli’s hand as the rest of the crowd jostles us, tryin to git to the counter at the very back where people seem to be tradin fer drinks.

“You ready?”

She nods, then shakes her head, then nods again. I pull her towards me an skweeze her as tite as I can.

“You can do this.” I whisper to her.

She nods once fast an we part before pickin our way thru the people to the serkle of admirers around who can only be Wren Song.

“S’cuse me.” Eeli elbows people outta the way, dartin in an out of little gaps.

Phee an me are stuck on the outside, no one budgin to let us thru. We end up standin on our tiptoes tryin to catch a glimpse of the middle of the serkle.

“Hello, Wren.” Eeli’s made it to the centre.

Wren considers her a moment. “Hello.”

“I’m Eeli Star an I would love more than anyfink in the world to be yer next singin star.”

She chuckles. “What makes you think you have what it takes? It’s not as easy as Kyan made it look.”

“I’ve always loved singin, it’s all I wanna do.”

“It’s true.” I call over the top’a everyone. “I grew up wiff her. She don’t stop singin most’a the time.”

Wren looks fer me in the crowd but she ain’t never gonna see me from back here. Phee’s talleren me an has found a gap to peer into. I’m stuck here seein nuffink.

“Can everyone give me and . . .”

“Eeli.”

“Eeli some room please?”

The people tutt and mutter but disperse anyway.

Phee an I stand behind Eeli an Wren’s lookin at us wiff big blue eyes.

“These are my friends.” Eeli glances at us fer a second. “Tye and Phee.”

“Could you give us a little privacy?”

I shake my head. “I bin travellin wiff Eeli fer days an days an days to git here.”

“We gotta see this.” Phee nods.

“Some strange friends you have here, Eeli Star. But okay. If you insist.” She sits up strater in her chair. “Why don’t you sing me what you can remember of the last thing Kyan was singing. It’s not a trick, I don’t mind if you don’t get the words rite.”

Eeli takes a deep calmin breath an begins. She must’a bin studyin the song cause she remembers more words than I do. It sounds so different comin outta Eeli’s mowf that I don’t believe it. Her angel’s voice makes it much softer, changin the meanin a tiny bit. I much prefer Eeli’s version an I can’t stop my eyes from dartin between her an Wren, prayin wiff everyfink I’ve got that she loves it just as much as I do.

Eeli holds the final word fer almost as long as Kyan did an then there’s quiet. The three of us stare at Wren, waitin. I can feel the blood rushin in my ears. I wanna take Eeli’s hand but I don’t wanna be distractin. I don’t wanna break the spell of this moment.

“Well.” Wren nods. “You certainly have a pair of lungs on you.” She larfs. “What a beautiful voice. I’m going to be completely honest with you, Eeli, I didn’t think you could cut it but that was simply gorgeous.”

“Thank you.” She says it all clear like the Whites tort her but I can hear the tremble underneath.

“Kyan knew this day would come. With a bit of practice you’ll outshine him, Star.” She reaches to the table behind her an gives Eeli a piece of paper. “Sing this one.”

My heart drops.

“What?” Eeli looks at Wren.

“This one. This is what Kyan’s singing next. It’s my fayvorit by far. I’d like you to sing it.”

Eeli shakes her head. “Could you sing it to me first so I know how it goes?”

“No, I want to hear how you put it together. Everyone sings it differently. Go on. Don’t be afraid. There’s no rite or wrong.”

Eeli’s breathin fast an her hands are grippin the paper tite. A little tremor’s runnin over her skin. I can tell by the way she’s blinkin too much that she’s tryin not to cry.

“What’s the matter?” Wren screws up her face.

“I . . .” Eeli looks around an takes a deep breath before meetin Wren’s look again. “I can’t read.”

“What?”

“I ain’t bin tort how.” She takes a step forward. “But I got a great memory. I can memorize every song ever if you want. An I’m a fast learner. I could learn no problem.”

The desperation in her voice is devastatin.

Wren snatches the paper back. “What makes you think I have time to teach you your letters? I’m not your mother.” She stands up. “You have to be able to read to sing for me. Simple as that. But thank you for your time.”

An wiff that she turns an struts thru the door Kyan disappeared thru.

Phee an I look to one another but neither of us move. Eeli’s hands are clenched into fists an it’s obvious now that she’s shakin.

“Ee?” Phee reaches out his hand to touch her an I grab it, shakin my head.

One touch now an Eeli’ll collapse. Not soemfink she’ll fank us fer later.

“Eeli, let’s git our table back. I’ll git you a drink, yeah?” I use the softest voice I can.

She takes a deep breath an holds it before makin her way back to our table. She’s tryin to hold off her frown an it’s makin her lip wobble an her forehead crease. She’s holdin her cheeks back to keep the sob inside. Her eyes are lost in the water of tears.

I have’ta bite my lip to stop from cryin myself. My eyes are all filled up an I have to look to the high celin an blink a lot.

Nimmo reappears an sits by Eeli, lickin her hand, almost like he knows what’s goin on. Stoopid dog.

I clear my throat. “I’m gittin you a drink, Eeli Star.”

She shakes her head. “It’s just Eeli now.”

Phee grabs her hands before I can stop him. “You’ll always be a star, Ee. She’s just one stoopid woman. This wasn’t yer only chance.”

The sob comes out loud an hard, shrill in my ears, cuttin strate thru me. Her head is in her arms on the table an Phee wraps hisself round her like he can stop all this.

“I’m gittin you a drink anyway, stoopid. I don’t care what yer name is.”

The counter’s a little quieter now an I can skweez my way to the front. The man behind the counter is cleanin a glass wiff a tea towel. There are all sorts of bottles wiff different coloured liquid an I have no idea what any of it is.

“Hey, kid.” He strolls over to me. “How can I help?”

“Erm.” I scratch my head. “I ain’t never bin to a place like this so I dunno what to ask fer.”

“Depends what you want from it. An what you got to trade o’course.”

“Well, my friend over there would like a drink.” I point to Eeli.

The man larfs. “I gottcha. I know what you want.”

“I’ve got some good food if yer interested? This posh family gave us some.” I root around in my rucksack before I find what remained of the Whites lunch and dinner extravaganza.

He leans on the counter. “You ain’t never traded before have you, boy?”

I shake my head. “Can’t say I have.”

“But you’ve seen others doin it?”

I nod.

He chuckles. “Keep yer little picnic. What else you got? Anyfink of use?”

I dig around fer a while and pull out the string. It’s the only fing I have that I ain’t gonna miss if I give it away. “String?” I feel stoopid holding it up.

He larfs an snatches it outta my hand. “I’ll let you off this time because you don’t know what yer doin.” He gits the tiniest glass I ever saw an fills it up wiff clear liquid. “But never try an trade wiff string again, it kills me.”

I look at the tiny glass an its contents. “That’s it?”

“Yep.”

“It looks like water.” I pull it towards me an know it can’t be water as a little bit that runs over the side makes my fingers sticky.

“Trust me, it ain’t.”

I sniff it but it don’t smell like much at all. The man behind the counter goes to talk to somebody else so I take the drink to Eeli. She’s pulled her head outta her hands an is playing wiff somefink at the table.

As I git closer I see it’s one’a the pretty fings from the house we stayed in before we met Phee. I dint fink she’s taken anyfink. It’s a small creature wiff a sort of shell. It’s got four tiny legs and the smallest tail ever that can’t do much waggin or nuffink. It’s shiny and green in colour. I dunno whether it’s of a real animal or a made up animal. Either way I ain’t seen one in real life.

“Here you go, Eeli.” I put the drink down in front’a her.

She don’t ask questions, she just drinks it. All in one go.

She makes a sound of disgust, pullin a face an stikin out her tongue.

“I don’t fink that was worf my string.” I sit myself down.

“I feel warm now,” Eeli whispers. “But I fink Jax was rite. Whiskey’s better.”

I larf an pull her tite in a hug. She clings to me as tho her life depends on it an Phee comes round the other side of her to hug her round the back. I don’t mind tho. Not in that moment. All that matters is that Eeli’s alrite, regardless of if she’s a star or not.

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