When we stopped, we were deep in the orange grove, panting. Harry, who was still holding onto Ima, recovered first and glared at me, his furious eyes glinting at me in the dark.
“What,” He commanded, fuming. “And I mean what, is going on, Jennifer?” He shouted.
“I have an idea.” I replied. “ Remember the dream place that our parents went searching for?”
“Obviously. Not really something you can forget.” He replied shortly.
I saw in his eyes that I had accidentally hit a soft spot. Mentally cringing, I continued. “I think that we were looking in the wrong place. We should get a ship, and look for an island.” He was silent. Mo, who remained on my back, and who I was pretty sure was asleep, shifted slightly, gripping me tighter. “I mean, just think about it. The war back then was on the main lands. There’s bound to be some island or two out there that wasn’t touched by the pollution. There has to be someplace better than this. Nevaeh isn’t safe anymore. But some place out there has to be. For all we know, there’s another city like ours somewhere out there. Maybe they can help. Maybe...” I cut myself off there. I was beginning to ramble. “We have to look. We have to try. It’s our only hope.”
Finally, after seconds that contained an eternity, Harry opened his mouth and broke the silence. “What are you talking about?” He asked. “There’s nothing out there! We’re the only ones left! We! Us! Nevaeh City! We’re all that’s out there!”
“You know that’s not true.” I said, my voice barely a whisper. “ YOU OF ALL PEOPLE KNOW THAT’S NOT TRUE!”
“OH YEAH? WELL MAYBE I FINALLY GAINED SOME SENSE!”
“WELL WHAT IF YOU'RE WRONG?”
“Well what if I am? What can you do to change my mind?” His voice was suddenly deathly calm and quiet. In his arms, Ima mumbled and shifted slightly, readjusting her grip on Harry’s shirt.
“I know this is the way” I said simply, my voice mirroring the change in his.
“I can prove it. And I will, but only if you come with me.”
“And risk my life too? Abandon my mom and little Ima? Oh, no not gonna happen. Not with me, any way. When I think about it, I bet you’re just don’t want to stay here. I know, as your best friend, that you hate working in the orange plantation.” Harry’s normally blue, intelligent eyes were full of fire.
I looked straight into those fiery eyes and said the words that I knew would win him over. “You’re father would have wanted you to come along.” And that did it. It was as though a door was slammed on the flames, and all that was left was a dead end.
“MY FATHER,” he bellowed, “IS DEAD! D-E-A-D, DEAD! HE DIED…”
“Hold it,” I interrupted. “I know what you’re going to say. ‘My father died on some ridiculous, pointless, unplanned, wild goose chase’. But in case you’re wondering, he didn’t. He died fighting for what he believed in. And by the way, both my parents, and my brother, died with him.” Tears were now streaming down both our faces. This was a very touchy subject for all of Neveh City, most of all Mo, Harry and I.
“Well,” Harry managed, his voice shaking. “He was wrong, wasn’t he? He went and got himself killed, just like your family.”
Ouch. That was not the reaction I was expecting. “Well, the Harry I normally hang out with wouldn’t have been that harsh, but if you’re going to put it that way, fine. Count yourself out.”
With a slightly hurt expression, Harry pushed past me, heading back towards the crowd with Ima pressed up against his chest.. I guess he thought I would put up more of a fight.
I’m going to tell you right now, the next week was miserable. There was a drastic shortage of supplies, and the people that lived in the building were forced to sleep outside due to a shortage of space. That was made worse by it raining almost all stinking week long!
After a lot of arguing, I finally convinced Harry, Rachel, Richard, Mo, and Jack to come with me. How I managed it, I still have no idea.
We had decided to use the town’s fishing boat, Junior, and to launch around midday the next Wednesday. We spread the news around Nevaeh City, and collected as much supplies as we could with how much the town could spare.
When the day finally came, we all gathered at a tree outside the meal hall during breakfast, not able to bring ourselves to eat due to nerves. We stayed there till it was almost time to go, sitting in silence, tension slowly mounting. Together, the six of us headed for the beach, where a crowd of at least fifty people had gathered to say goodbye.
After a lot of hugs and half hearted fist bumps, it was time to set off. Mo, Rachel and Richard climbed in, while Harry and Jack started waiding into the water, gripping the sides of the boat, ready to push. I went over to a pole sicking up out of the ground to which our boat was anchored, about to untie the rope.
Then, out of the blue, the realism hit me. We were leaving. Today. Within the next ten minutes, even. The chance of us dying was easily 97 out of 100. This could be the last of it. The end! But then again, I thought, what about that other 3? There’s still a chance, even if it is a small one! I say make the world a better place, and if it means taking a chance, a risk, then so be it! As my Dad use to say, “Shoot for the moon! Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” So, with shaking hands, I reached down and untied the knot that held us to the world we had always known.
Running into the water, I joined Harry and Jack in pushing the boat out into the Atlantic Ocean, and was the last person to jump in, soaked and grinning.