Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chapter 10 - Eve

Micah was my brother. I couldn’t believe that Mr. Isoli would really just kill him. But I knew, from the cold look on his face that he wouldn’t hear any more of my pleas to release him. Micah had embarrassed Mr. Isoli with his “Robin Hood” campaign. Micah’s good-hearted endeavors to save people was really his downfall. Even I knew the trial was a sham.
A ray of sunshine seemed to fall on me when Mrs. Isoli came down to dinner for the first time since the family moved to the East Wing. When I watched Mr. Isoli gently take her arm from the servant who helped her to the dining room and tenderly escort her to her chair, I knew his heart wasn’t completely untouchable

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chapter 9 - Micah

    I lay on the rough wooden bed in the corner of my cell for hours, just trying to up with an escape plan. I didn't get anywhere. I was too weak to attack the guards when the cell was open. Even if I managed to take them out, I wasn't going anywhere. My legs barely responded to my pleadings to move.
    Black silence muffled any chance I had of ever seeing daylight. The prison left me as a dead man. Barley moving, barely wanting to breath. Unable to see and unable to believe. Hate raged inside me. They took everything from me. My parents, my sister and my life. How could Eve side with something so dark? Why couldn't she see them for what they were? Had the comforts Isoli offered her lulled her to sleep and shaded her from reality?
    Now they took my hope. Earlier that evening a dark suited official informed me I'd be executed two days. There would be no trial, just an execution. I was an enemy of the state. A rebel. Too dangerous to treat like a human being.
    The soft clacking of high-heels broke the calm of the night. The silent guard rose up from his seat to greet Dr. Braga.
    "How is he?" Dr. Braga spoke abruptly with the gaping security guard.
    "Won't eat. Been lying on that wooden bed for hours."
    Dr. Braga stood next to the bars and waited for the guard to open the door. I rolled my eyes at the second guard that arrived with her. As usual he kept his paralyzer trained on me. She stepped into the cell and slid the metal tray of powdered eggs and turkey bacon to the side. She walked over to the wooden bed and stood next to where my head layed on the flattened white pillow.
    "You can leave." She spoke to the guard without emotion.
    "What? I can't just--"
    "President Isoli needs information from the prisoner. He wants to know the rebels location. You are not to hear this. You can leave."
    The startled guard cautiously backed away from the cell. "Are you sure Dr. Braga? But he's dangero--"
    "I can handle myself. Now leave!"
    The guard slunk down the hall and out of sight.
    I turned my head away from the doctor, angry at what I felt. I wanted to trust her soft, kind features. Her dark hair and especially her green eyes were different. Elite doctors and officials wives and daughters didn't have dark hair or green eyes. They died their hair blond and wore vivid blue contact lenses to hide their true color. Even her olive skin betrayed her from the rest of society.
    Her warm hand touched my exposed left shoulder as she spoke. "I'm not here to question you. I want to help you."
    "You can't help me, Dr. Braga. You know I won't fall in line. I'm not that guy."
    "I know you're not, but you have to trust me. And please Micah, call me Olivia."
    I didn't respond. I couldn't. Every time I heard her soft voice, I wanted to trust her. But Eve had left me unable to trust. I closed my eyes. Anger welled up inside me.
    Her calm voice soothed me. "You have to trust someone Micah."
    Again I was silent. She continued as if she could read my mind, "Eve is not your enemy. She's just naive. She wants to believe everyone is essentially good. She had it easy these past 3 years and so she's just forgotten what its like to have no hope of a better life. She's worried about you. I'm worried about you. Your anger and hatred are making you weaker."
    I exploded, no longer able to control my emotions. Words spilled out, unchecked, "What do you know about anger? What do you know of hatred? You talk like you and me are the same, but we're not! You've been sheltered like Eve. You wander around trying to help people, but you don't know anything about their problems!"
    Olivia pulled back her hand and stared at me, "Micah, I'm sorry, I--"
    "You don't have to be sorry. You just don't understand. You tell me to stop being angry and stop hating, but you weren't orphaned when you were 11 years old. Your parents weren't taken from you because a power hungry president decided to get rid of them. The barcode on your wrist isn't telling you that you're garbage."
    She moved her hand back to the stitches on my shoulder. "Micah, I know I don't understand. I came to tell you something my father says you have to hear."
    Her touch and her voice calmed my anger once again.
    "You need to know why your father and mother were taken."
    I felt a warm tear drip onto my shoulder. Olivia's hand moved down my side and held on to my own. Guilt wrenched inside me. I felt ashamed of how I treated her. I knew she was trying to help me but I let my anger and hatred blind me. I squeezed her hand and waited for her to finish.
    "Before we were born, our fathers worked at the University. They were doing DNA research for the government. President Dannah wanted them to verify the claims that DNA could be used to identify characteristics that would predispose individuals to certain jobs. Your father found that different genes could be identified that would help treat some genetic diseases, but they couldn't find anything to identify characteristics. The president was furious. He ordered them to falsify their findings. He wanted them to tell the public their research was a success. He threatened them. My father cut a deal with the president and promised he wouldn't reveal the research as long as the president didn't force him to give false findings and as long as his family was kept safe. Your father was brave. He took your mother and ran. They hid in the slums for 12 or 13 years. Just before your parents were captured, your father made a breakthrough. While working at the hospital under a fake name, he gathered evidence against the bar-codes. He finally had enough to go public when he was caught. They found your house and took your parents. When my father found out, he was heartbroken. He blamed himself for what happened. He wanted come help you, but it was too risky. If he did he'd blow his cover as a rebel. More people would've died."
    For the first time in my life, I felt freedom. I already knew my father died because he wouldn't give in, because he was against them. Now I knew why. And I had a mission. To publish my dad's findings. I had to finish what he started. I started to sit up. Olivia's free hand pushed me back down.
    "You need to rest. My father has figured out a way to get you out, he needs an insider to pull it off. I wanted to do it, but he says I still need to keep my cover. I convinced President Isoli's son Darion to do it."    
    I lay on the cold wood, stunned. "Eve really decided to do something?"

"Don't get too excited. She doesn't know. She's still convinced that Isoli will let you go. "

I was deflated. "If my potential execution didn't sway her then I don't think anything will."

"She's trying, Micah. In her own way. You're brave. You'll convince her." She got up to leave.

"When will I see you?"

"Maybe in three days. Darion will break you out. Then I'll visit the rebel camp. "

"Three days? The execution is in two. You'll be too late."

"They moved it back. The people are rioting. They want a trial. It appears you're too famous to just kill. The people won't let their "Robin Hood" die." She smirked sarcastically.

I grinned sheepishly, and she turned to leave.



"I'm sorry. You do understand."

She smiled. The first one I'd seen in days. The room was still dark but somewhere inside me a light turned on. Olivia slid the metal bars shut and disappeared into the dark.

I smiled. My first genuine smile in years.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chapter 8 - Eve

I tried to ignore the plush feeling of the soft carpet beneath my feet, hurrying along the hallway to Mrs. Isoli’s new room at the Capitol. I’d seen pictures of the old presidential home, The White House, in Washington DC--both before and after pictures. The structure of the Capitol didn’t resemble it at all.  Like it’s protected position in the heart of the country now, the Capitol looked more like a high security prison from the outside. But the luxurious trappings on the inside made one forget the stark vision on the outside. Today I was more comfortable with thinking of it as a prison, and not as a palace.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chapter 7 - Micah

Chapter 7 - Micah

I waited three days to see if she followed me. Nothing. For the first two days I assured myself that she’d come. I told myself that she had to know the difficulty of breaking into Isoli’s residence. But she didn’t come. So the last day I spent making plans to break in.

The sun finally started to set. I picked up my pack and stared out into street. I barely made the sidewalk when I heard the grind of gravel on pavement. I turned quickly to see a man dart behind a garbage can and into another alley. I quickened my pace.
I only traveled four blocks when another dark figure came around the corner in front of me. Crap. I’d left my pistol in my back pack. I didn’t expect any resistance in the slums. I turned to run but a familiar voice stopped me.
“Micah, you can’t to tonight. They’ve moved to the east wing already. Security is too tight. Give me three more days, and we can put a team together. We have a better chance of extracting her we take a team.”
Relief swept across me as I realized who spoke, “We can’t talk here Tanner, it’s not safe. Someone is tailing me. Hurry. To that alley!”
I started towards the alley but Tanner stopped me.
“He’s one of ours. He was just there to alert me if you left.”
“I’m supposed to protect you.”
“Says who? I don’t need protection.” I started towards the Capitol. Annoyed at the lack of trust, and confused at why I was being protected. Tanner stopped me again.
“Listen, I didn’t think you’d wait so I brought this. It’s the floor plan of the East Wing. It looks like Eve’s room is on the North side, but you’ll need to go in this entrance on the South.” He pointed to what looked like a utility entrance that faced the back alley.
“What kind of security are we looking at. How many guards?”
“Too many fight with a gun. You can’t take your weapons. We need to work with deception. The night guard switches at 11:30 PM every night. 15 minutes later the night janitor enters through the south utility door. When he comes you’ll need to take his security badge. Don’t worry about switching clothes. Your coveralls are similar enough that no one should notice. Once you’re in, you’re on your own. Good luck. Oh, and if anyone asks, I tried to stop you.”
We shook hands, and Tanner slipped back around the corner. I stared at the floor plan. It would take at least five minutes to go from the south entrance to Eve’s bedroom on the north side. My new disguise as the janitor should get me there unnoticed but getting out would be difficult. I left the escape unplanned, trusting that Eve would know the quickest way out.
I reached the Capitol in less than 30 minutes and concealed myself on the south end. 11:00 PM. I sat and waited, trying to control my breathing. After three years my chance to take back my sister had come. At 11:30 the guard switched just as expected. I waited the last 15 minutes for the unsuspecting janitor to show up. At last his car pulled into the almost empty lot behind the alley. The man crawled out of his beat up, 2-door car. I regretted what I was about to do. He was one of my kind. He walked right passed my spot in the bush. I didn’t hesitate. I jumped up and in one motion slammed the butt of my pistol into back of the his neck. He immediately crumpled to the ground. I caught his arms beneath the arm-pits and quietly drug him back into the bush. I gagged him and tied him up to make sure he didn’t awake and alert the security guards. I reached into his front pocket and pulled out his security badge. Jacob Wheeler, janitor. I made sure he was well hidden and then continued on his path to the south entrance.
I reached the entrance in about a minute. I checked to my left and right and could see the silhouettes of the new security guards. I slid the security badge down the magnetic strip next to the door. The red light briefly changed green and the latch released the door. The room was pitch black, but I already knew where I was headed. The 30 minutes waiting in the bush was more than enough time for me to memorize my path to Eve’s bedroom.
I made my way to the north side of the building without any incident. Eve’s bedroom was on the west side of the wing. I quietly slid down the east hallway closest to the new President’s bedroom. A sliver of light crept out from beneath his doorway. I held my breath and crept closer to Eve’s room. Too quickly I heard a click and Isoli’s door was opening. It was still dark in the hallway, The President wouldn’t recognize the back of my head. Jacob Wheeler’s hair was dark like mine. I continued down the hall hoping Isoli would say nothing.
I paused. Not knowing whether I should run or stay put. I slowly turned around, hoping the dimly lit hallway would hide my identity. “Yes, Mr. President?”
He reached for the light switched and turned it on. Light flooded the hallway. “I need you to--” He stopped. Terror swept across his face. Of course he recognized me. It didn’t matter that I was 3 years older than my last government photo. At least 5 most wanted lists showed my simulated picture in the number two slot next to my name and the nickname “Robin Hood.”
I tried to pull my pistol out from the inside of my coveralls before I remembered I didn’t have it. I took a step toward Isoli, needing to silence  the smaller man before he could sound an alarm. Too late. He was already around the corner and into his bedroom. I bolted toward Eve’s room. Ten steps from her door, the siren went off. Red lights flashed at every corner. I slammed open Eve’s door and flipped on the light. She was already awake from the sirens but still not fully alert.
“Darion? What’s going on?”
“Eve, it’s me. Micah, keep quiet.”
“Micah! Oh, Micah, what are you doing? You should’ve come in the day. I could’ve met you. I wanted to see you so bad!” Eve grabbed my arms and pulled my in for a hug. She sobbed uncontrolled on my shoulder.
“I didn’t come to see you. I came to save you. I’m getting you out of here. We can be a family again. Do you know another way out? They’ll be here any second.”
The sobbing stopped, and Eve pulled away from me. “Save me? From what?”

“From what?” I stared at her, incredulous. “From the monster that took you three years ago and made you his slave.”
Eve’s expression tightened. “I’m not a slave, Micah. I’m the head housekeeper for the new president. Even you should be impressed I got far above what Headmistress Mason expected. I don’t need you to save me.”
I shook my head, still surprised at her attitude. “You deserve more than to be the servant of some elite slob. You’re talented, Eve. You can actually help people if you come with me.”
She leaned away. “I can help people here, too.” She closed her eyes and then reached out for my hand. “Micah, trust me. I can take care of us if you let me. I’ll find you a good job. I can convince Mr. Isoli you’re not dangerous. You’ll do it for me, won’t you? So we can be together again.” Emotion clouded her face, and she choked on her next words. “I can’t lose you again, Micah.”
I backed away, already scanning the room for a way out. I’d drag her away if I had to. “I’ve chosen my side, Eve. Isoli isn’t who you think he is. He’s a two faced schmoozer. You’re blinded.”
The door burst open before I could find an escape and two guards crashed in with their paralyzer guns aimed at my shoulder. Isoli followed close behind.
Eve jumped out in front of me. “Wait! Don’t hurt him! He’s not dangerous! He’ll do what you say. Just give him a chance!”
I paused. If Eve could indeed convince Isoli like she said that would at least give me a chance to escape.
The gunmen hesitated waiting for the President’s orders, their paralyzers still trained on their target.
“Take him out.”
A familiar explosion followed. My body crumpled to the floor, just like Jacob’s. The guards rushed towards me. Once again I couldn’t move. Again I couldn’t save her. But no one can save someone who doesn’t think they need to be saved.
Eve resumed her sobbing. “Please, Mr. President. Give him a chance, please. I can help him. He’ll be good, I promise. I’ll convince him to fight on your side.”
“He’s a rat, Eve. He’s not like you. The sooner you understand that the better.” The President left the room and slammed the door behind him, Eve’s cries seeping out behind him.
A pretty face hovered over my head shouting instructions. A needle jabbed into my shoulder. My vision blurred. Then just black.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chapter 6 - Eve

I almost didn’t recognize the man staring at me from behind Mrs. Isoli’s beloved, orange lantana shrubs. But somehow, I saw shadows of Dad’s features on the face of the tall stranger.
“Micah?” The whisper slipped from my lips, sounding more like hope than surety.
He hesitated, looking back at the tall, blond man beside him.
“Not tonight, Micah,” he whispered. I don’t think he meant for me to hear, but the drizzling rain--already melting into the humid air--seemed to muffle everything else.
My feet stumbled forward, down the stone steps. “No. Wait.”

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chapter 5 - Micah

I stared down at the crumpled up piece of paper Jarvis gave me the day Isoli took Eve  Just three lines stared back at me.
Aloisio Braga
1850 W Madison St. Phoenix, Arizona 85007
I threw the paper on the floor in disgust. It had to be a trap. The address on the paper was dangerously close to the capitol building.

Soft footsteps outside of the alley where I constructed my make-shift shelter broke my concentration. I peered out the cloth entrance through a slit in the fabric. Just a night watchman making the rounds. I carefully put the worn out paper back into the bag and placed the bag in the corner of the room.
Aloisio Braga was actually Dr. Aloisio Braga, chief M.D. on President Dannah’s staff. After three years of research, I found nothing that would indicate Dr. Braga was anything but loyal to President Dannah. So for three years I avoided the address on the paper.
I glanced at the battery powered clock in the back of the room I found the previous day. 9:30 PM, in just 30 minutes I would be meeting with 15 other people who shared my hatred of the government. They were mostly janitors or garbage men like myself. Smart guys at the bottom of the heap because of their bar codes. Strong fighters driven by hatred boiling under their skin.
After Isoli's men took Eve that night, I laid there motionless for hours, letting resentment build and curdle inside me. I waited for Seazan to come for me. I waited for Isoli's men to come back and finish the job. But they left me there. Alone. So the minute I could move my legs, I ran. And I did the only thing that made sense, the only thing my bar code allowed: Garbage.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Chapter 4 - Eve

My eyes flew open. The pitch black room suffocated me, pinning me, terrified, in my bed.
Where am I? Where’s Micah?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chapter 3 - Micah

        The walk to school the next morning was silent. I tried to stay a step ahead of Eve so I wouldn’t have to talk.
        We got to the school and hurried into the line to go through “the checker.” As usual I had to fight the urge to choke the “cashier” who scanned my arm and pompously declared, “Garbage boy.”
        Eve pushed me through the line. “Be good Micah.” She put on her best fake smile and headed for her section of the building. She really was beautiful, and I watched the other guys ogle at her as she gently made her way down the hall. What I wouldn’t give to get her a nice dress or a new pair of jeans.

Just as I was about to head for class, I noticed the headmistress making a bee-line for Eve. It wasn’t abnormal for Mrs. Mason to greet Eve in the morning. After all she was one of Mrs. Mason’s favorites, but the headmistress looked particularly distressed, so I immediately tailed them as they headed for the headmistress’ office.