Clouds to Storms- Part One

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Land Above the Clouds


This is part one of a story about a 14-year-old girl who lives in a world none of us have ever seen; the Cloud. Her home is always happy and bright, until mysterious storms come raging in. They
destroy her home. She needs to do something about it before it's too late...

Submitted: December 03, 2017

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Submitted: December 03, 2017

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The teenage girl, feeling stronger than ever, stood on the edge of freedom. At the point of two colliding worlds, she could choose whether to break out of her dictator’s lair and join the Cloud society or stay under the control of the Outside forever. The fire, so bright, reached out to her with a hand of flames. It burnt the tips of her long black hair. Behind her was the dark shadows and brick buildings of her past life.

Her whole life, she had been beaten. Through being an illegal servant, she had experienced the pain of punishment. The rejection, the hate. But now, she thought with a smile of pure revenge, I’ll be out. Gone with the wind to my life of glory.

She leaned forward, almost touching flames. They were boiling, but instead of burning her, it gave her strength. Just a little further...

“Wait!” came a voice from out of the shadows. “Stop!”

She froze and jumped back. The whip marks and bruises that dotted her legs ached at the sudden impact. She realised that the voice sounded close, and soft, like the person had been crying.

“You can’t go,” the voice sobbed. “That’s not fair! I was just like you, once, and I had to suffer a life of it. But you, you think you just get free access to the outside world? Whenever you want? It doesn’t work like that.”

“Who are you?” questioned the girl. No answer came.

“You can leave on a set of conditions; if you go to the Cloud society, you will be putting the future generations in a painful fate. In exactly one hundred years, evil will invade. If you stay, they will live on in an eternity of happiness.”

”What will happen?” asked the girl, her curious streak taking over fright. 

“I can only tell you this,” said the voice, steadier now. “None of the people will survive without the willpower that they do not currently have.”

Without a moments’ hesitation, she answered.

“Yes.”

A small cry of pain came from the darkest corner of the Outside, the memory of the day after her parent’s funeral drifting back to her. The loss had made her mourn, but it also made her grow stronger. She was ready to leave everything behind.

“You have chosen then, my dear.” said the voice, above a raging storm. And in a wisp of smoky, flame-filled air, the girl was gone. 

………

“Adira!”

My best friend Anya called out to me from across the road. The window from my house was fogged, but I could see she was excited. Opening the window, I called out to her. 

“Be there in a sec!” 

I slammed the window, jamming one of my pale, slender fingers. I cringed and held it to my face as I raced down the stairs. 

Once outside, I hopped across the fluffy pink clouds, letting them tickle my toes. As I ran, the neighbours poked their heads out of their windows.

“Hello!” they called to me. The Cloud society, where I lived, was always happy and bright, just like the weather. You could rely on people to be friendly.

“Hi!” I answered, then went up to Anya’s front deck and knocked on the door. Anya opened it almost immediately, her short blond hair flying in a rush of excitement.

“Guess what?” she said, gesturing me inside. “There’s a new girl in town! Her name is Dusk.”

“Dusk?” I asked, curious of the name. 

“It’s not that weird of a name.” Anya replied, rolling her eyes in frustration. I wondered how Dusk got her name.

We both raced each other outside to see her. Dusk was sitting in her front garden, birds chirping on each shoulder. 

Anya grinned a wide smile, flashing her pure white teeth.

“Hello! I’m An-“

“What business do you have here?” she snapped, violet eyes flaring. The birds flew away in fright on their delicate, colourful wings. The girl, looking about fourteen, had long black hair as silky as Mrs Ryder’s cat’s fur, and the midnight blue dress she wore seemed somehow familiar. I couldn’t remember, but it felt like I had seen her somewhere before.

“Just a...friendly, umm...hello, I guess,” Anya said weakly, clearly unprepared for such an aggressive response. 

Dusk glared at her.

“Be on your way, then!” 

We turned and tiptoed out of the garden, not wanting to interrupt anymore. Something was definitely up. No one there was ever mean, or had such abnormal names. She looked, too, like an evil spirit that was plucked out of the Outside world. 

“But that’s impossible,” I said out loud. “No one can switch worlds.”

“Huh?” said Anya, screwing up her nose. 

“Never mind,” I replied, knowing that it was pointless in telling Anya. She was completely oblivious to these kinds of things. I would tell her eventually, but I would keep it to myself, for now.

………

Over the day, while I was at school, I saw no sign of Dusk. When Mrs Ryder finished marking off the role, her name wasn’t called out either. 

Something’s going on, I thought. And I was sure that it had something to do with Dusk.

“Now, pack up your things and get ready for the end of the day. As some of you may remember, there is something special on in about five minutes.” said Mrs Ryder.

Everyone got up and the noise of pencil case zippers and the clatter of pens filled the room. I knew what she was talking about. It was Portal Day, one day in the year that a specific portal was opened up. The tradition had gone on for exactly ninety-nine years, and this would be the hundredth. This year was very special, though; the Earth Portal, the most powerful one out of all of them, would be opened for two minutes on the dot. That would give me a chance to look through it. 

“Everyone, go to the hall and gather around the portal,” Mrs Ryder shouted over the shuffling as runners slid along the cloud surface. There was a lot of pushing and muttering “Sorry!” but I eventually managed to get to the hall, and then to the front of circle.

There, was magnificent sight that I didn’t know if I could believe. The one thing our whole society feared was this. 

The Earth Portal.

Deep black clouds circled under the rim, the small lighted candle in the hall illuminating it just enough to see. Purple and blue and grey jumped and mixed, creating a pattern that shone brighter than a thousand stars. I could hear the wind down there, it’s fresh smell billowing upwards. 

Someone tried to shove me out of the way, but I stood there, staring into the unknown. It’s not that scary, I decided. It was more pretty than frightening. I could almost imagine living down there, with my family, pets, friends…

Suddenly, a loud burst of noise filled the air. The sound rumbled, churning in the sky above us. My shoes started to absorb moisture, the cloud underneath my feet turning a dark grey. I was alarmed. Nothing like this had ever happened before. A toddler started screaming, and babies from parents all around the room were wailing. Even the other year eights around me were on their feet, scanning the room for the origin of the sound.

The sound had stopped.

The hall was so still, it felt like time had stopped. Everyone stood in awe and uncertainty. I couldn‘t believe the sight that had unfolded in front of me. Everyone was so focused on the unfamiliar noise but I, I noticed something else. A chain, misty and grey, reached up from inside the portal. It curled around itself, poking out just enough for a certain someone to see. It sent a sort of signal, then dived back to Earth. I knew it was directed at someone because I saw it catch someone else’s eye too.

That someone was Dusk.

………

The weather that came only got worse. The Cloud citizens called the loud rumbling ‘thunder’ and the bright flashes that occurred just before the thunder ‘lightning’. I missed the happy, sunny days when I could play skipping outside with Anya, or making daisy chains for the local preschool kids. If I even dared to try to do that, I would be drenched in a matter of seconds. There was no way around it; we were stuck with this weather.

About a week and a half after the first storm, the Cloud Council called a meeting. I had just finished sewing a device to keep out the water, so instead of catching overcrowded public transport, I walked. The council held the meeting in our school hall, so it wasn’t very far away. When I got there, I was welcomed with worried murmuring amongst the quickly-growing crowd. Anya was nowhere to be seen.

“Adira! Adira Carter!” yelled the familiar cold voice of the principal. She beckoned me over to the large group of year eights. As soon as I got there, Anya came bounding up to me, tears springing to her eyes.

“You made it! Oh, I thought you must have died.” she cried, hugging me. I frowned and pulled back, staring at her.

“What do you mean, died? This isn’t the time for joking, Anya.”

“I’m not joking!”

“Why do you think I died, then?”

She shook her head sadly. “In this weather, houses are collapsing! People are dying! Lauren got squashed by her own roof last week.”

Lauren was our Creative and Performing Arts teacher, one of the best teachers in the school. She lived close to the Outside boarder, where the worst of the weather was coming from. I was lucky to live closer to the middle of the Cloud city.

A speaker near us started to crackle, then a clear male voice came through. It was our Head Council member, also known as the Leader.

“I give a warm welcome to all the citizens of our incredible Cloud society,” the Leader started off. My palms were getting sweaty with tension. I waited for him to speak again.

“I am now forced to inform you that nothing will stop the weather if we all stay here and do nothing about it. We have decided to send the daring down to investigate, as we are sure that connections with the Earth Portal have something to do with it.

“You will be fed well and given water and shelter if you decide to go down. We will try to give you the safest gear possible. None of this will be guaranteed to the people that stay. If you are willing to go, now is the time to raise your hand.”

The speaker stopped. As I looked around to see if there were any hands up, I thought about what was said. I will be a lot better off down there, but do I really want to go to an uncertain place when I could just stay here? I wondered, then realised that no one had put their hands up. An electronic sigh came through the speaker.

“Since there are no volunteers, I’ll have to pick it out of a hat. If your name is called out, please come to the front of the room.” said the Leader. Names started to be called, most that I didn’t recognise. Danny’s aunty was called, and Amelia’s stepfather was called too. Most were just regular people, with regular jobs and regular lives. I felt sorry for their families.

“Miss Dee Brown, and the last person…”

I held my breath, even though I had no doubt in my mind that it wouldn’t be me.

“Miss Adira Carter.”

I looked up in surprise to see the shocked faces around me. Anya burst into tears, some of my other friends shoved their way to the front, but the majority were just onlookers pitying me. I didn’t believe it. I couldn’t. Out of the hundreds of people that could have been picked, it was me. Me.

“Miss Carter, please come to the front of the room,” the Leader repeated, staring suspiciously when I didn’t move. My mind a blur of thoughts and worries as I forced my feet to move forwards. People immediately moved out of the way, giving me a large booth to walk up. My face was burning. My parents were crying. This was not how it was supposed to go at all.

“Well, that concludes our meeting today,” the Leader said cheerfully. “I hope you have a great time down in the unknown.”

“You’re not going with us?” I blurted out, then clamped a hand over my mouth. No one spoke, or laughed, just looked at the Head of our Council. He smiled crookedly and headed into another room, separated by a thin, silky red curtain.

I was shoved another way.

………

Our local food shop.

“Here you go,” said an adult, handing me a big pack. I opened it up. Inside, it had warm clothes, sunglasses, packets and tins of long-life food, bottles of water, a sleeping bag, a first aid kit, an old pair of shoes, a helmet and some sort of equipment. I got it out and looked at it from all angles, but I couldn’t work out what it was.

“That’s skydiving equipment, if you get out the helmet as well.” said the person leading us through the Earth Portal. She was wearing a name tag that said ‘Julie’. I assumed Julie had all our shelter and transport.

“What’s skydiving?” I asked her as we put together some extra food hampers. She handed me some kind of manual.

“You don’t need it now, but it explains the concept of skydiving,” she said, then added with a wink, “It’s free-falling out of the sky.”

I didn’t know what that was, but I kept quiet. At least Julie seemed trained and qualified to go down to Earth. That made me feel a lot better about going down there.

The adult that handed me the pack walked past, herding me and the other people that were chosen out the door. We walked into the hall, now empty and messy. It looked like there was a protest or something violent; legs of chairs were broken, there were scratches all over the floor that weren’t there before, and blood splatters were covering the great majority of the walls. This wasn’t the Cloud. It looked more like the Outside.

A scream caught my attention. The first person had jumped through the Portal, their yelling echoing upwards. Julie was rushing them all through. The Portal would close in two minutes, and if everyone didn’t get in, they’d be left behind.

“Adira, you’re up,” said Julie, pulling me towards the same beauty as I had seen just weeks before. The clouds within it had not changed, though now they had bright pink and orange in them too. They were swirling around, ready to take me away. It was time. I knew I was ready.

I took a deep breath, then jumped.

Word Count- 2521

 

 

 

 


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