Behind The Gray Walls

This is for a school contest, so I REALLY need feedback. Thanks peoples!


1. Behind The Gray Walls


I ran my hand down the cold, steel side of the faded, orange bus. My fingers traced the chipped away lettering that once spelled out real words. And in the cracks were years of built up dirt and grime. The black stripe down the side of the bus was barely visible, and the number had faded off. A bus’s number was its identity; this one clearly didn’t have a name anymore. Like countless other pieces of garbage in that junkyard, it had been thrown away, abandoned because no one wanted it anymore. The screws that hadn’t fallen out were rusted into place. All the air had leaked out of the tires. I knew that the gas tank was full of holes, but even if it wasn’t, the engine was too old to purr; it wouldn’t even sputter and then die because it could never be started in the first place. Grass had twirled its way around the tires over the years in a fuzzy blanket. Buses like that had stopped being used before I was born. Everything was broken down here with no hope of repair. As depressing as the junkyard was, there was still no place I’d rather be. It was home, so I’d just have to make the best of it.

The city wasn’t any better though. Not with the permanent stink of sewage in the air and the coat of dirt that covered everything. Even the sparse rain hadn’t been strong enough to give all the buildings the hard scrubbings that they so desperately needed. The children needed scrubbing too. We were all dirty and had to start wearing our soiled clothes over and over again because we couldn’t get get them washed in the first place. The water never came here and we knew that wasn’t going to suddenly change.

There were shortages on everything, and the buildings had started to crumble. Some of them weren’t even safe to go near anymore. Everyone was crammed into the few, tiny apartments that were left standing. Sanitation was no longer an everyday thing; it was something that alluded my people. If one person fell ill, we all fell ill. There was no way around it. Not with the bombs still going off day and night. Not with the soldiers who were just as likely to shoot you as they were to give you something to eat. Not with our country shattered by the civil war. We were just the people. No matter what happened, we were expected to obey the orders given to us. The city was a foul place. It reeked of death and decay. It showed what we had lost. No longer was it a safe haven, but a prison with a wall to best that of the Berlin Wall which had first gone up so many decades before. We were trapped here.

With the city being such a dangerous place and my treasonous words coming out entirely on impulse with no restraint whatsoever, the junkyard was the safest place for me. You could see the wall from there if you looked hard enough. The wall was gray, and the world was gray. Everything blended in; it was the same. You couldn’t tell where the sky met the trees and the trees met the ground. This was a place without colors of any kind, not even figuratively. The people were broken by war. The city was on the verge of collapse.

And I was on the verge of breaking. There’s only so much a person can take and I had near reached my limit. I was an orphan. My adopted parents didn’t want me the same way they didn’t want their seven other mistakes. Because that’s what we all were here. Blunders. Misprints. Unwanted. The guns never stopped firing, the bodies never stopped falling, and all of us combined didn’t have enough fingers to count the dead. Our government had left us behind those walls to die. We were all going to go down in the end.

I am Alexis Vane and I won’t go down without a fight. Something has to happen to save us and I’m determined to be the one who makes it happen.

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