www.whyville.net Nov 8, 2009 Weekly Issue

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I was unsure at this point how much longer I could outrun them, and so I knew that they would eventually reach me, and I would die.

Looking back at my life, I sometimes wonder how we got here; why us, why now? It was as if the planet was a time bomb, ticking away and just waiting to erupt. Though we weren't always so informed. In fact, I had lived a pretty normal and innocent life up until a few years ago. It seemed like everything had begun to change after my estranged father died. I didn't feel particularly upset by his death, but I was confused as to why he had willed me his old scriptures when his faith in them -- and mine lacking -- were what had severed our relationship.

Then there was talk of an augur who had foreseen dark things, omens, and the elders had spoke of a prophet. I would sneer at these remarks, "Ha! The hopes of old men." I ignored their whispers and mumbles. "A storm is coming," one would hiss, "We have wasted our resources, and now we must accept responsibility for our own ruin." 'Crazy, old men,' I thought. My father used to be one of them. They relied on the ancient texts and myths, but they were just folk tales. Though, these stories were in fact the only remaining pieces of our history; they had been preserved, translated, and passed down for generations. Now, it seems as though the Fates had decided my generation to be the last keepers of our past, but at the time it seemed more like fortuity had thrown our dice. Nevertheless, I considered myself unlucky.

But then there was Calista. Calista. Whose red curls and fierce green eyes sent chills up my spine like spiders on gooseflesh. If only I could just lose myself in her eyes each minute of each day, and trace the soft line of fuzz around her full lips, and feel her warm breath melt into the palm of my hand. I loved her, and she was mine. Oh how she gave herself to me, and her trust, wholeheartedly. She fought for my sake when my own colleagues had dismissed all of my warnings. She spoke with conviction amongst a skeptical panel of cold blood and black suits, who nonetheless terminated my elite position there. They said I had become like "one of them", the crazy, old men, who were constantly looking into the past for the answers, and they needed someone whose focus was on the future, the "Vassal's future".

"You must know that I have the Vassal's best interest in mind, otherwise I wouldn't be telling you these things, but you must listen," I pleaded, "Something catastrophic is about to happen and --"

"No," he stopped me with a stern stroke of his index finger, the platinum ring glinting in the artificial light, "I said, that's enough."

"Please --"

The chief shook his head, with a rage in his eyes, "That's enough." His words resonated across the others faces as they glared at me with such loathing and disgust, as if I had just vomited at their feet. They just didn't understand that I was actually foretelling the future, and it's a shame because my predictions were in fact true.

Calista snatched my hand and hastened towards the exit, but it slipped out of her tight grip. I could tell she was infuriated. Her palms would always get clammy whenever she was angry.

Calista hadn't always believed me, at least not the first time I had tried to explain everything to her.

"The elders were right, Cal. We've dug ourselves too deep of a hole, and now we're in way over our heads."

"Can't we reverse it?" Calista was undyingly optimistic; one of the things that I loved most about her. I was cynical on the other hand, but always realistic.

"It's too late." Three words which I had been afraid to say out loud. It was too late to undo the damage which we had inflicted for centuries. Now the Fates were making us pay the price, and something was stirring inside the planet.

"There has got to be a way out." Her voice trembled with fear as she spoke.

I shook my head. "Even if I could convince my own Vassal, there are too many others who may not be so persuaded, and by that time whatever is coming will have already hit," I gulped down the words as I spoke them; how could I assure Calista of the world's fate when I could hardly believe it myself? "Besides," I continued, "the Liege Lords would never grant us permission to leave with such a profusion of resources. If anything, they would want to reserve them for the majority of the members who would be remaining for a longer duration. They would want to delay general insight of the severity as long as possible."

"And why would they want to do that?" Calista asked as she scrunched up her nose in disapproval.

"The planet would erupt with panic, anarchy! Do you really think that everyone would be able to just pick up and leave?" I didn't realize how harsh my words had sounded until I saw the look on Calista's face.

"I'm scared," she whispered, her brow furrowed and green eyes wide. I gently clutched her bare upper arms (I remember her skin was always softest there) and pulled her into me.

"I know," I whispered back, as I nudged her right ear with the tip of my nose. Her hair smelled of persimmon and sandalwood. I didn't know how else to comfort her because, the truth was, I was scared too.


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