Midnight Rebellion

I had only been in town for one day before the Rule was enforced. Now, no one was allowed to come to or leave the town, and every single face was concealed by a mask. Take it off, and you wouldn't last a day. It was mandatory. The government killed anyone who didn't obey, but I was almost ready to take that punishment.

That was until I met the Midnight Rebellion.

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1. 01.

"Are you serious?" I asked. My mom sat in the front seat, clutching the steering wheel with annoyance. New wrinkles were forming on her pale skin, something she constantly worried about but lacked the time to fix. "This is the new school?" Mom nodded, tapping her fingers. She was waiting for me to open the car door, to step out into the sunlight and meet new people.

 

There was a smile on her face. However, I knew my mom better than that. It wasn't a smile full of encouragement, or a smile meant to wish me good luck. It was a get out of the car, I'm going to be late kind of smile. The kind that made me want to crawl underneath the car.

 

"Aren't you going to come in with me? Meet the principal, and that sort of thing?"

 

“Cara, get out of the car. Just get out of the car." I rolled my eyes as Mom looked out the windshield. I eyed the dried up vines crawling up the sides of the school. To my mom, this place was good enough for me. To me, it was less than habitable. I wished my mom would understand, that she would wrap me in her arms and say: Cara, honey, if you’re not comfortable here, we’ll find someplace better for you.

 

Unfortunately, my mother would have her insides turned out before she would say something like that. I wearily looked upon the other students. They seemed so relaxed, so at-home, whereas my heart was slowly rising up into my throat. I ran a hand through my hair, took a deep breath, and gave one last argument. “Fine. But if you ever think I’d love you like a daughter should love her mother, you’d be dead wrong. Absolutely dead wrong.” I was pleased as I saw my mother’s eyes widen with surprise. I refrained from complaining as much as possible, so she could never see the anger constantly filling me up every time she chose work over me. Besides, I was an only child. That meant that the only person I could trust was myself.

 

With that, I pushed on the handle of the car door, stepped onto the rough pavement, and slammed the door shut with my elbow. Through my thick wall of anger, I thought I might’ve heard a small voice whisper, “I love you, Cara.” But I knew it couldn’t have been Mom. She was probably on a work call by now, giving some made-up excuse about why she was going to be late.

 

Eyes all around me either rolled at the sight of me or couldn’t stop staring. I couldn’t figure out why I had moved here, and I didn’t think they could, either. Yes, I knew I had moved here so that my mother could get a better job. The odd part was that there were no businesspeople strolling the streets, and for that matter, there weren’t any large-scale businesses around. It wasn’t exactly the sort of tropical town anyone would want to go to. There was a certain smell of smoke that lingered in the air and stuck to my tongue. I wondered why my mother had chosen to move us to such a polluted place. Crumpled balls of lined paper were scattered around the sidewalks, and flattened bits of already-chewed gum seemed to paint the area.

 

I put most of my weight on my heels as I walked to the door, trying to make the sound of my footsteps as loud as possible. I wanted everyone to know me, to be annoyed by me, to try to get away from me. Maybe then, Mom would see how unhappy a girl like me could get.

 

The sleek, long brown locks of my hair bounced along with my steps. I didn’t bother to bring a backpack. I knew I wasn’t going to do anything today, and I was certain Mom knew that too, somewhere in the back of her mind. Although it wasn’t noticeable, I could feel my hands shaking with excitement. I was going to cause trouble, and I was going to have fun.

 

I pushed open the entrance with a rebellious kick of my heel. The sound echoed, both inside and outside of the school. It seemed that the whole world stopped to stare at me. In response, I smirked. “I’m looking for the main office. Can anyone direct me there?” It was more of a challenge than a question.

 

There were a dozen students or so, all stopped in front of me. They were slowly walking away. Some still stared at me. Others wandered towards their classrooms.

 

My heart started to beat a little faster. It wasn’t working. These kids had obviously dealt with people with harsh personalities, as they were completely calm. I thought very hard about what I could do to phase the students. The best possibility was to just go with my gut and let out my anger.

 

“I’m talking to you! Look at me!” I shouted, my throat burning from the power I had used in my voice. This time, most of the students turned towards me.

 

“Good. Take me to the main office.” I proclaimed, folding my arms over my chest. No one said anything. No one even moved. I grunted. “Take me to the office now. I haven’t got all day, you idiots!”

 

My cheeks flared up in annoyance. The tiled floor and dozens of lockers surrounding me swam in my vision. My eyes fell onto a scrawny boy who was frequently pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose.

 

I walked over to the boy, snatching his glasses off of his face and watching as he squinted. “Hey! Give those back!” He said with a trembling voice.

 

“Bring me to the main office.” Slowly, the boy nodded, and I smiled in reply. I grabbed his hand with a sudden force, prying his fingers apart and pushing his glasses onto his open palm. The boy put his glasses back in the place. He sniffled, then turned and started walking away. Smirking, I followed him.

 

“What’s your name?” I asked.

 

“Charlie.”

 

“Certainly fits your personality.” I mumble.

 

In a flash, I’m pinned to the wall. Charlie has a firm hold on the collar of my T-shirt. There was a determined look in his eyes that made them shine. It was something I admired slightly. A boy who could pack quite a punch but hid it all away. “I’m not who you think I am. If you’re smart, you’ll get to know people before you judge them in this town. It could lead you to some very bad places if you don’t do so. Alright?”

 

Charlie’s breath felt hot on my face, his teeth bared in a defiant sneer. His feet were spaced apart in a fighter’s stance. This time, it was my turn to be shaky. My hands were trembling ever-so-slightly. I knew I had to compose myself. I had to regain the tough attitude I had worked so hard to pull over other peoples’ eyes. “Whatever. I have to get to the main office, as I’ve had to say too many times, so if I’m not there in the next minute, I swear to God—“

 

“Relax. It’s just around the corner.” Charlie glared at me. He obviously wasn’t happy, but something about Charlie made me wonder why he was even in high school. He was so analytical in the way he walked, talked, even how he stared at me when I questioned his knowledge.

 

I felt a sudden dip in the pressure around my collar as Charlie released me. I stumbled for just a second, but soon found myself looking over my shoulder at Charlie as I walked away. A door stood a few feet from where I stood. There was a label next to it, reading, “Main Office.” So that little Charlie brat actually brought me to the right place!

 

Again, I practiced my door-kicking maneuver. The stout lady at the front desk had her cheeks covered in a bright pink blush. I took my time, not bothering to walk through the doorway just yet. “I need to talk to the principal.”

 

Sadly, this day wasn’t going to be the best it could be for me. The door hit the wall on its hinges, then swung closed from the momentum of my kick. It slammed shut, right in my face. When it clicked shut, it barely touched the tip of my nose. My eyes watered up in embarrassment. I heard snickers that weren’t even there, and nonexistent whispers flew around my head.

 

Right as I was about to open the door again and recover my confidence, an alarm rang. Not from inside my head, or inside the school, but all around. I ran to the emergency exit, groaning at the high-pitched wailing. As I headed outside, I realized that the alarm was still just as loud as before. Maybe louder.

 

That's when I saw a sky-high beacon, red stripes spiring up the sides. There was a red light at the top of it, furiously blinking. Next to the light was a giant speaker, almost moving from the amount of sound that it was emitting.

 

So it wasn't the school, or the main office that the siren was coming from. It was the entire town.

"Everyone stay calm," The speaker blared with a mechanical voice, "and gather in the center of town.”

 

A crowd of citizens ran past me, hair whipping around them, screams coming from their mouths. They didn't exactly seem calm. But hey, at least I didn't have to stay in school.

 

Silent as ever, I followed the crowd to the center of town, as I didn't know the way myself. A man stood on a platform, his crisp suit standing out in comparison to everyone else's casual clothing. His hand was outstretched. Sitting in his hand was a white mask, shining with a plastic glow.

 

"Get ready." The man said with a voice filled with authority. "A new era is coming."

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