Chapter 0:

A Way To The Heavens

I Once Believed The Sun Was A Legend

DisgustedBookmark here

All I see are disgusted faces looking down upon me, as I walk down the busy streets, heading to the hospital. People stop whatever business they’re doing, just to gaze at me. Not because I’m homeless or dirty looking. Nor because I’m some type of villain.Bookmark here

It’s because of my skin color.Bookmark here

My light bronze skin. I don’t blame them that I look this way, but it’s not my fault either. I don’t know why I look like this.Bookmark here

I hate it. I’m used to it though. Bookmark here

I pull my black hood up and hide my hands in my pockets, as to not displease their eyes. The reason people look at me this way is because everyone in district four, probably everyone in Underground, has pale white skin.Bookmark here

Sigh..... Underground.Bookmark here

A place where the ground hasn’t seen something called ‘the sun’ in more than seven centuries. It’s claimed that meteorites covered this half of the earth. How and why? No one has a clear answer to that question. Underground is a dim, cold, and damp place. Only humans roam this part of the earth.Bookmark here

I look up and can barely make out the outlines of boulders. So dark! Public places are always lit from top to bottom. The lights are scattered on every building, street, and market, as those are the places where people need them the most.Bookmark here

On the other half of the earth, a place called The Heavens, people live a completely different lifestyle, they say. We get our food and oxygen from them; the oxygen is forced into Underground through huge exhaust fans. People there have the sun as a normal part of their daily lives. The sun not only brings light, but warmth. They also have something called a moon. Stars. Planets.Bookmark here

I don’t believe one bit of it though. It sounds like total bullshit to me.Bookmark here

No one is allowed to go to The Heavens. We don’t know why, but they’re strict about it.Bookmark here

However, that’s not the major change that happened. As plants and creatures became extinct, (again, according to the official narrative) some people started to get peculiar side effects. They later called them Sukira.Bookmark here

Or you might call them superpowers...Bookmark here

A few people started acquiring Sukira, which are powers of those extinct creatures.Bookmark here

Sukiras aren’t rare, but they’re not common either.Bookmark here

I walk into a flower shop. Cans are placed on wooden shelves, each containing different types of flowers: Carnations, roses, irises…Bookmark here

The shop keeper, an old man, puts a canned daisy on the counter. He always knows what I want, from how many times I buy it from him. I pay him and grab it, then continue my way to the hospital.Bookmark here

These flowers came from The Heavens. My mom always liked them.Bookmark here

They’re simple.Bookmark here

And now, for more than three years, she’s been in the hospital. In a coma. Because of a stroke.Bookmark here

I hate it.Bookmark here

I enter the hospital and go straight to her room on the 3rd floor, ignoring the reception as always. I stop by the door and take a deep breath. I get emotional when I visit her. Bookmark here

Just stabilizing my feelings.Bookmark here

I knock before I go in. Not that anyone would respond. Just a habit.Bookmark here

Though, I hope that she will answer one day.Bookmark here

My mother is the same as I last saw her. Covered with a white blanket pulled up to her neck, with tubes up her nose. The beeping of the machines is the only noise to be heard.Bookmark here

I open the canned daisies and replace it with the old ones from next to her bed. It’s like a visit to her grave each and every time.Bookmark here

“Tch......”Bookmark here

I sit on a chair next to her bed.Bookmark here

She has her black locks going down over her shoulders. Unlike me, and like everyone else, my mother has pale white skin. But I have her hair and her dark blue eyes.Bookmark here

I take out a piece of paper from my pocket. A Way To The Heavens, the title reads. A yearly recruitment to the sky, sponsored by the Underground government. They’re generous to those who are drafted, giving them enough money to support them and their families for the rest of their lives. This is the only way I can keep my mother alive. If the recruited survive their mission, they can go to The Heavens, which I have no interest in.Bookmark here

“Mom...”Bookmark here

I cover her hand with both my hands and put it against my forehead. Bookmark here

“Now, I know that you wouldn’t allow me to do this, but it’s for your sake... No, it’s for my sake. I want you to live.”Bookmark here

I take another deep breath.Bookmark here

“I sold everything we own of value. House, jewelry. I currently live in our car. No one is hiring me because of, well, how I look. So, I’m going to go up there, to the sky, Mom, to keep you alive. I know it’s dangerous. In fact, they say the chance of survival is just one percent.”Bookmark here

I smile weakly as I imagine her scolding me right now for making such a ludicrous decision. But it isn’t. I want the only person who has ever cared about me, the only person who has never judged me by the way I look, the person who gave me life and nourished me, to stay alive.Bookmark here

“But, Mom, I promise you that I’ll come back alive.”Bookmark here

I tighten my grip on my mother's hand.Bookmark here

“I... just... please stay alive.”Bookmark here

A tear slides down my cheek. I wipe it away.Bookmark here

Sniffle...Bookmark here

I gently place my mom’s hand on the bed.Bookmark here

If the government recruits me, my mother will live. But they wouldn’t just recruit anybody. It is required to be one of those people who have a Sukira to enroll. Bookmark here

Luckily, I am one of them.Bookmark here

I turn to leave.Bookmark here

“This will be my last visit, Mom, I will visit you again after I come back from the sky.” I sadly say to her.Bookmark here

That’s if they recruit me. Which they will.Bookmark here

And that’s if I come back in one piece. Which I will.Bookmark here

I’m confident.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.