The day that the decision was passed was just another ordinary day for me. It flew past me without the slightest of acknowledgement but in the end, it was the council’s decision. The general told me the next day. At first I had questioned why I was not asked to explain the virus but then I thought of the situation. What was the pinion of a child compared to that of experts? The general had control of the situation and so I had no choice but to trust him. I was simply a cog in an engine and fuel for a flame. Alone, I wasn’t much but in the greater picture, I was a vital component in a much larger machine.
The vaccination began two months later. Across the country, a single syringe of transparent liquid was injected into the bloodstream of each and every person on our side. Rolling up my sleeve, I expose my untainted flesh to the woman wielding the needle. Trying not to flinch as it broke through my skin, the clear liquid was deposited into my body. It was an odd sensation to know exactly what was inside of the tube but as it was taken out of my arm, I knew that it was for the best. It was coming, climbing over the horizon and leading us into freedom and peace. One more month, one more month they had promised, one more month until the war was destined to end.
‘A fantasy’ they called it. ‘A lie’ those around me insist, but I knew the truth; ‘Project Red’ was nearing its close.
The broadcast would air at the end of the month as the virus would be let loose before the prying eyes of the nation. They never mentioned that it was my invention, my creation, they looked at all of us as a single person. I wanted to feel hurt but to be fair, I didn’t want my name on what I had done. After this was all over, I wanted to find a new life but until that, I just had to wait for my superiors to act.
Standing up and letting my sleeve fall down my arm, I looked back at the streams of men, women and children as they waited for their vaccines. Freedom was just around the corner and yet they remained blind and cloaked in a veil of darkness.
Forcing my legs to carry me through the doorway, I was relieved to see Evan waiting for me. Becca was nowhere in sight, but it was safe to assume that she was lost in the tide of men and women. She wasn’t going to be joining us for a while. Holding out his hand, I gratefully took it as he pulled me close and whispered in my ear.
“Come with me; I want to show you something.” The rest of our night was free and so I saw no harm in following Evan after all, I had nothing better to do with my time. Pushing through crowded doorways and making our way out of the complex, the fresh air was a mercy on my lungs. The sky was painted a mellow shade of blue as the clouds descended from the realm above. Orange slowly began to seep into my vision as the sun began its decent beneath the horizon. Trees danced in the light breeze as grass gracefully swayed from left to right. Closing the doors behind us, after so long trapped in endless noise, the sound of silence seemed almost eerie. Fingers entwined, he led me deeper into the forest’s grasp. The air, cold and fresh, seemed almost unfamiliar to me and yet liberating in a way words refused to describe.
“This way…” he murmured as the grip on my hand tightened. Creeping under the surveillance net, for the first time in years we were truly alone. Continuing to walk, we finally reached our destination: the crater where we sat on the night my parent died. Walking into the centre, I realised how special this spot was to me. It represented both lives to me: the one before and the one after. On one side I had my mother and my father and on the other Becca and Evan. I had grown to love and appreciate each world as much as the other and know only looked back in fondness rather than hate. Standing in the same spot where I had sat all those years ago, I looked up at the sunburnt sky as the light retreated from my gaze. Peering through the mantle of leaves, for the first time in my memory, I felt nothing but peace fill my mind.
Gently placing himself down on the ground, he beckoned for me to join him on the blanket of grass. Not letting go of his hand, I lowered myself to the floor and let the emeralds cushions engulf me. Neither of us spoke as we lay back and witnessed the shades of orange bled into the very fabric of the sky. As if in silent agreement, we just lay and watched as the light faded and darkness took over the sky above us. Hours passed but in each other’s company, it felt like mere minutes.
“Look at the stars, “he told me. For once, it was quiet and calm with no screaming and the thought of war, distant in our minds. It was just the two of us, gazing into the darkness, alone but yet together. Mystically swaying in the darkness of the night, the trees elegantly danced above us, rustling in the light breeze. The moment was perfect. We were perfect and the conflict seemed to be forgotten for a precious few moments.
“They’re so elegant,” I remarked as streaks of light ran across the edge of my vision. They flickered for a few moments before fading into the black which engulfed the sky.
A warm feeling seemed to spark inside of me as his eyes met mine for an endless moment. A warm feeling of joy, a feeling of love which I had never truly experienced before seemed to wash over my every thought. A sense of clarity as well as floods of thoughts overwhelmed me as I stole a deep breath. Moments this perfect were not to be rushed or wasted but cherished and enjoyed. For the first time, I began to consider my life after the war and my future with Evan. I bathed in the cold glow of moonlight, everything was still and calm. I could almost believe that there was peace again and we were no longer victims of terror and conflict.
“You’re beautiful, you know that?” I blushed as he leaned closer to me until our eyes were only centimetres apart. For a never ending moment, we just looked at each other, gazing longingly into each other’s eyes. As our lips touched, a burst of warmth rippled through my body. A feeling of love filled my heart as I softly pulled away.
“I love you…”
Sharing a moment of pure tranquillity, the empty feeling in my chest was gone now replaced with a spark of hope. No matter what who won the war, I knew that everything would turn out okay and in the end, I would have the happy ending that I had always dreamed of.
Little did I know how wrong I was.