I Once Believed The Sun Was A Legend
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.
It’s because of my skin color.
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.
I hate it. I’m used to it though.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I don’t believe one bit of it though. It sounds like total bullshit to me.
No one is allowed to go to The Heavens. We don’t know why, but they’re strict about it.
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.
Or you might call them superpowers...
A few people started acquiring Sukira, which are powers of those extinct creatures.
Sukiras aren’t rare, but they’re not common either.
I walk into a flower shop. Cans are placed on wooden shelves, each containing different types of flowers: Carnations, roses, irises…
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.
These flowers came from The Heavens. My mom always liked them.
And now, for more than three years, she’s been in the hospital. In a coma. Because of a stroke.
I hate it.
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.
Just stabilizing my feelings.
I knock before I go in. Not that anyone would respond. Just a habit.
Though, I hope that she will answer one day.
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.
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.
I sit on a chair next to her bed.
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.
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.
I cover her hand with both my hands and put it against my forehead.
“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.”
I take another deep breath.
“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.”
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.
“But, Mom, I promise you that I’ll come back alive.”
I tighten my grip on my mother's hand.
“I... just... please stay alive.”
A tear slides down my cheek. I wipe it away.
I gently place my mom’s hand on the bed.
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.
Luckily, I am one of them.
I turn to leave.
“This will be my last visit, Mom, I will visit you again after I come back from the sky.” I sadly say to her.
That’s if they recruit me. Which they will.
And that’s if I come back in one piece. Which I will.