99 Red Balloons

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Ava White has a secret that she released on a balloon at a school festival. When this secret is found, Ava has to start fresh, somewhere new. But her best friend has a surprise for her, which will stop Ava White once and for all
Really short, only 1606 words

Submitted: June 15, 2011

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 15, 2011



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At her funeral, they release 99 red balloons. This may have seemed like tradition, or a signifier of her life. This was in rejoice. Rejoice of the death of Ava White.

Three weeks ago, my life was as normal as a teenager could get. Shopping, movies and even the occasional date, all so I could keep my identity hidden. But then came the day we were all to release a balloon with a secret tied on, a school project. Giggling girls wrote how much they loved the boys in our year, the depressed emo kids wrote how much they hated life, and I wrote something I shouldn’t of.
I wrote what I had done for the past four years of my life. I wrote who I was.
And then I had the stupid idea to write my name, seeing no one would ever know. ‘What’s the harm?’
I wish I could’ve travelled back in time and slapped myself across the face.

My name is Ava. And this is my story.

The principal held up his balloon, holding onto the red string lightly. “On the count of three guys. One…”
“What did you write on yours?”
“Will he hurry up?”
“Damn, I let go of it already.”
The kids surrounding me were giggling and shoving to get to the front, as a photographer from the local newspaper stood, camera ready, for everyone to release their balloons so he could get a snapshot.
My grip loosened on the balloon, fingers ready for the command.
One thousand and eighty six balloons floated into the air, and cheers came from the crowded students. I could feel the weight lifting off my shoulders, with just a little less guilt crowding me, seeing the secret was floating away on my balloon. There was a one in ten million chance of it being found, and who would believe what they read if they found it anyway.
Everyone was huddled in small groups around the stalls. Today was the ninety ninth day of the year, and our school had it’s annual fair. It was April the ninth, and even though it was a Saturday, the whole school turned up. The smell of cotton candy and popcorn hung thickly in the air, and jumping castles, game stalls and food venders had been set up. The school really had gone all out.
“Hey Ava, come check this out.”
My best friend (well, actually, my only friend), Hayden, was walking towards me with a stick of cotton candy twice the side of his head. He poked his head around the side and grinned devilishly.
“Do you plan on eating that anytime soon?” I giggled. It had already begun to melt.
“I’ve started, there’s just to much.” Proving his point, he bit into the candy and pulled away with enough to stuff a pillow.
“Why’d you buy so much?”
“Who said anything about buying?”
I stared at him incredulously. “You stole it?”
“My dad’s working the shop,” he laughed as he threw his arm over my shoulder, enjoying the look on my face. I scowled and swatted at the arm. It was such a happy moment. I wish it didn’t have to end.
With incredible speed and stealth, a hand came down on my shoulder and jolted me away from Hayden, something cold and metallic slamming on my wrists. I didn’t even have time to respond, bar the gasp that flew from my mouth. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw the glint of handcuffs, and the two men dressed in police uniforms.
“Ava White?”
“Who wants to know?” I managed a sneer, my wrists trying to work their way out of the cuffs to no avail.
“You’re under arrest for mass murder.”
My eyes widened, and I spotted Mr Gregory, my science teacher, with a bright red balloon in his hands, deflated. It must have snagged on a tree. A look of imminent guilt crossed his face, cheeks flaming. I gave him the most evil glare I could manage.
Hayden looked at me, face drained. Despite the guilt I felt, I couldn’t let them lock me away. I couldn’t let them do anything to me. I couldn’t be executed. I. Would. Not. Die.
I swung my legs out, knocking the knees out from under the guy who’s hand was on my wrists. I pulled my arms over my head and brought my hands to the front, thankful for the training I had taken since I was a youngling. With ease from doing this hundreds of times, I whipped out the pocketknife I always carried on the strap hidden under my skirt, popped out the smallest blade and pressed it to the artery on his wrist, then slit his neck. It only took a maximum of 4 seconds, my longest time, and then I was on the other one. A knee to the groin, a kick in the chest, and he received the same fate. This was all before anyone thought to react. The victims hadn’t even made a sound.
Sprinting to the fence, I leaped over and ran for it before anyone else could notify the police. I knew where to go. I just had to keep running.

It took two hours of full-fledged running. I dove under the rocks in the cave entrance, the small slit to the side of the door that was impossible to see unless you ran your hand along it. I had built this when I was twelve, after I came to earth. I was sent to eliminate those who knew too much, those who were a threat to the people I loved and cared about, even though being assigned to this mission meant I would never see home again. I didn’t mind.
Food, warmth, light; I didn’t need any to survive. I never slept. It was fascinating how humans needed such things just to survive. But it was a weakness my kind never had. A disadvantage to humans. That’s how it was so easy for them to die. The blood that ran through their systems; with it gone, they couldn’t live. Get rid of it, get rid of them.
I’d feel guilty if I wasn’t doing it for the most upmost importance. I couldn’t let the people I loved be one of their test subjects.
So I waited.
Twelve days of my disappearance and they were sure to think I was dead. Twelve days in a cave was very uncomfortable, but manageable.
I crept out of my confined space, and went searching for my next victim. The humans were not foolish, oh no, but were learning too much. I needed to travel on to the next continent, where I could continue my work.
I froze, a stupid instinct. My ears strained for the sound, and I recognised the voice.
It was foolish of me to have an attachment to a human, but he was a persistent one, and my guard slipped.
Two miles due east. As the crow flies.
I sprinted to his side, and he stumbled back at the speed I approached him. Examining his trembling frame, I saw something hidden under the long sleeves of his coat that confined his hands.
“A gun?” I mumbled shaking his head. It wouldn’t kill me, but he didn’t know that.
“You killed people Ava,” his eyes were bloodshot, hurt, confusion and hatred taking over his features. He lifted the gun and fired off two bullets, one tearing through my chest and the other my neck.
“God, so you think it’s right to kill me?” I winced, betrayed.
He came up and pushed me, forcing me to stagger back, even though I was much stronger.
“You took lives.” He grabbed my shoulders and forced me back.
“You hurt innocent people.” He pushed me against the rock wall, annoying points digging into my back.
“And you lied to me. What are you even?”
I forced forward and kissed him, my only tactic. His lips were soft and warm, like a human’s. But it wasn’t a romantic gesture.
I reached behind and placed my hands on his neck.
I’m sorry, I thought.
In one fluid motion, I snapped his neck so fast and hard he didn’t have to feel any pain. He knew too much. His corpse collapsed onto the sticks and rocks on the ground, crunching leaves.
I took off.
I could feel the bullet draining my body of the energy. What was happening? I shouldn’t be feeling weak, I was immune to ammunition… unless…
I stopped and sat up against a tree to pull a bullet out. Wrenching it from my breastbone, I cracked it in half, using more effort then I should have needed. What was inside it was my answer.

It was a metal only to be found on my home planet, the only thing that could kill me.
Was Hayden really human?

Breaking news;
Fourteen days after mass murderer and alien ‘Ava White’s disappearance, her body was discovered two hundred kilometres south from the school, as the crow flies.
Her body was burned, the ashes scattered from the next rocket that left earth. As it took off, the 99 red balloons were released, for without the balloon on that day, she wouldn’t have been exposed. A student which was classified as Ava White’s friend has gone missing, and search parties have searched endlessly for the missing boy.
Scientists have discovered a planet not far from Pluto, about the size of Russia. Life forms have been discovered, and are now being tested in labs.

Sometimes we give it our all, but it’s never good enough.

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