from the OTHER archives: Socks, Part 3, Chapters 24-26

Welcome back to another installment of From The Other Archives, where I lose my will to live through reliving all the repressed memories attached to the books that I wrote in middle school. We left off last episode with two very hormonal teenagers stuck inside of a tent during a rainstorm. I smell a new character in the mist.

“Oh, looky here. Some more bottles. Almost enough to get back to the real world.”

But if that’s the world that you live in, then why don’t you consider it the real world? Are you just catering to your friend’s delusions that there’s a separate dimension that you two desperately need to get back to?

Timothy and I were looking around the border for lost bottles of permathium, like the ones that had broken in the cart that one stormy day. I had found more than Tim so far because I could run faster. The ‘perfect’ operation had turned my muscles into something stronger, lighter…

Snooping around the border? I don’t think Donald Trump would like that.

See, look at what you’ve done. You should feel bad.

If I had been giving Emma that description, she would have said, “That brings up bad memories.”

What kind of 2012 “triggered” is this? Have I made that joke already?

There was no time for thinking about what those bastards had done to me. I had one goal right now, and that was to get to Emma.
“The last bottle, Maxi,” Tim said, jerking me from my thoughts. “Now we can get to Emma, just like you wanted.”

Sigh… G, why do you always use suggestive verbs? I mean, you were pretty emotionally repressed and all, but I thought writing was supposed to be your safe space. You don’t have to mask things in seven layers of doubt and self-hatred.

Night was now falling; it had been only five o’clock when we had started. Whoever was piping permathium into Oblivion had a rickety cart or else they wouldn’t have dropped so many of the precious bottles. Although I have to give them this: they were good at hiding their clumsiness, or else we wouldn’t have found so many because other people would have taken them.

Thanks for the drugs, rickety peddler!

Tim was putting the bottles into a bag that he had brought with him. We would have to use them tomorrow because I didn’t think that Emma would appreciate being woken up in the middle of the night, especially not with a boy in tow. A cute one would be even worse.

Gah, blarghey. What was I coming to? I had feelings for Tim; we both did, but not the mwah-mwah-kissy-kissy-making-out kind of feelings.
Long story short, we are technically not romantic together, although we did feel a connection.
Whatever.

Please buy me this in retribution, Algeria.

This time, we camped out by the woods; the trees would make good covers so that the fairies couldn’t find us. It was probably only the middle of the night, but I wasn’t tired.

Of course you weren’t. On the contrast, I am always tired, but I persist so that I can display my dank meme collection.

Then, out of nowhere, there was a whimpering. I crawled out of the tent to see where it was coming from, but it probably came from the heart of the woods. Great. I didn’t need a flashlight because the operation gave me excellent night vision. As I drew closer, the whimpering grew louder, and I eventually ended up at an alcove, with a small child curled up in it.

Why is the child alone? Did she get lost? Did her parents abandon her? Maybe she’s a main character of another book and you’re about to kidnap her from her plot line. Don’t do it, Algeria! Don’t hit complete rock bottom!

She was probably 5 years old. She had golden, curly hair and was wearing a simple white dress. The girl had no shoes on and was barefoot.
She noticed me and looked up. “Who are you?”
“I’m Algeria,” I said. “What’s your name?”

“Princess Sparklypants. I was created as a five-year-old Mary Sue through which my author lives out power fantasies. I don’t understand why I have to beat up so many people, but it pays the bills.”

“Luna,” she said. “My name’s Luna. I’m tired. Can I come with you?”
I carried her back to the tent. “Who’s this?” Tim said.
“This is Luna,” I explained. “I found her, abandoned, in the forest.”

Good luck explaining that one to the police.

“Interesting.” He took Luna and gave her a water bottle. She sucked it dry in a flash. Talk about thirsty.
“Speak up, Luna,” Tim softly yet firmly commanded. “Where are you from?”
“The Laboratory,” Luna piped up. “They were trying to make someone who looked like an angel.” She shifted her dress a little, and her wings slid through the slits on her dress that I hadn’t noticed before.

Of course you didn’t notice despite your superhuman vision. Of course, because how then could you make that “saddening” plot point?

Her wings were brilliantly feathered; they were the purest white that I could imagine, and only slightly tarnished in some spots from the ground. She really did look like an angel.

Okay, I guess.

She had also been an experiment, just like I had been.
And I would do anything possible to make sure that never happened again.
I realized later that I failed.

Nice foreshadowing, G. This herring is so dead that I have no idea if it was even supposed to be a herring in the first place.

“Who’s Abbey?” I asked as Tim roasted a marshmallow on the fire for his morning s’more. “You would know. You’ve been at the Laboratory longer than I have.”

How did you build a fire? Did your pack contain fire-building materials? And where’s Luna? You’re a horrible kidnapper.

Tim pulled the toasted marshmallow out of the fire. His was almost perfectly cooked, but Luna’s was on fire. That was the third burnt marshmallow today; good thing that she liked them burnt or that would have been a lot of wasted s’mores.

I thought there was no such thing as perfect, Algeria, at least according to you. You can’t even keep your own canon straight.

“Abbey’s a scientist there. The funny thing is, she’s the only one there that isn’t at least part fairy.” He shrugged and took a bite from his s’more. “I saw her one day, when I was really little. Turns out I have great long-term memory, or I wouldn’t be telling you this. She mentioned someone- a Momta Radine. You know her? ‘Cause I don’t.” He took another bite.

“But of course! Genetically modifying human embryos is the family business!” Algeria rolled her eyes. “It was on my file, smart one.”

Luna smirked at me. She was holding up on her stick a marshmallow that wasn’t burnt. Finally! Little bugger, burnt marshmallows. Gah blarghey.

It’s not working.

“Wait- what’s that thing in the sky? I can’t see as far as you can. Not everyone’s ‘perfect.’” His air quotes unsettled me.
I looked up in the sky, and my heart skipped a beat.

That’s happened to me before, and let me tell you, it’s painful as hell. And I thought you were perfect? How is your heart wonking up like that if it’s perfect?

Tomorrow was finally ready.
Ready for payback.
Ready to exact the revenge she’d been waiting for so long.

Back at the Laboratory, when Algeria was just a couple months old as a baby, they had all but abandoned Tomorrow to care for the new one. They had all gasped in surprise when they had learned that this attempt had failed. This attempt could fly, but their attempts at coding the genes responsible for appearance had gone out of whack, causing everything to be the opposite of what had been intended. Taller than normal height. Brightly colored wings. Pale blue eyes.

Tomorrow, of course they’re going to play with newer and shinier toys. Everyone loves a Mary Sue, because if they don’t, they usually get injured or killed!

But the biggest surprise was when Algeria was 5 years old, and she had proven to the scientists who studied her that she had FEELINGS and a SOUL. She wasn’t a hollowed-out shell, ready to do their bidding, whatever their bidding was.

You do realize that personal agency is a thing, Tomorrow? I mean, I assume that you’re intelligent since you managed to find two teenagers in the middle of nowhere, and even then, that doesn’t take that much skill once one has the equipment. You didn’t have to follow the instructions. You could have hijacked the book and become the protagonist…

Tomorrow hurt inside from the feelings of being tossed away because Algeria was more interesting to the pseudoscientists. And the cause of those feelings was about to be eliminated.
Forever.
By her.

I guess, next episode, we’ll see how many of Tomorrow’s jimmies get rustled, and how many triggers are pulled… okay, I admit, that wasn’t a good joke.

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