The world is a life-size canvas, a canvas waiting to become something beautiful. Well…at least it was. White walls hide the unseen beauty and snatch away our freedoms. These walls, since I was six, have been up- and now I’m seventeen. Nothing has changed in eleven years except the paint strokes and blood splatter. But even if I can’t see Mother Nature’s beauty, I can at least see the clouds.
Its times like this are I glad that we kept the tire swing on the tree. Whenever it was a bad day, or I was just in bad mood, I would go on the swing- swing as high as I could and look up at the sky. With the image inn my head, I’d paint it into my feelings. Feelings that made me feel like I still had some sort of freedom. In the middle of painting a blob of white (which would eventually become a cloud of sorts), I heard a gunshot outside of the house- causing me to jump slightly. Following my family out of the house (mom, dad, and little sister Lizzie), we stood in the narrow entrance of the wall.
A group of children lay on their backs, bleeding and not breathing. The police, with their eyes covered by squarish sunglasses, glanced around at each of the families who peeked behind the narrow opening of the walls that hid their homes.
“Let this be a damn reminder that age doesn’t make a difference.” An officer hissed as he paced around in front of me and my family.
Without meaning to, I gulped before the man had a chance to walk by me; he turned on his heels to face me and slowly leaned forward. The leather jacket making a sound as it rubbed against itself.
“‘got something to say kid?” he asked with a heavy southern accent.
“N-no sir…” I managed to reply, despite the fact that I nearly choked on my own spit. However, the man didn’t look away or move an inch.
“Got a hobby?”
He straightened himself, making a few gestures towards the officers behind him- each of them immediately moved in sync with each other to the dead children.
“Show me yer room, kid.” He ordered and I jolted slightly before spinning around on my heels towards the porch. My heart was pounding too hard, making it difficult to breathe. For a moment, I wasn’t sure why he wanted to see my room until I thought about it. He probably suspects me of hiding something because I gulped.
Anyone suspected of planning a revolution, boycott or anything else of the sort was to have their property inspected. You can’t even mention the word “council” without people believing you’re trying to overthrow the Council. The Council is the overhead seer of the Recon District, a.k.a the Walled City. We were once a city of nine-thousand people in Memphis, Tennessee. A group of males created a group of ten called the Council, fighting to earn the rights that were taken away by the President. They came up with the plan to somehow get rid of the President only after two weeks of assembly.
Before we knew it, a wall was built. Families were separated; some were killed when they tried to climb over the in-construction wall. We weren’t sure as to why the wall was built until June 12, 2012. We were told on television that the wall was built to lock away those who had different beliefs on how to run a country. None of that made sense, especially to me. I was still just a kid who watched the wall become higher, and higher each day. Each home slowly hid behind its own wall when someone had tried to invade. Everyone’s life went from sky high to the wall and below; hidden from the world.
Last year, my little sister Lizzie who was only seven years old, was shot by misfire. I can still hear mom’s agonizing cries; I can still see her reaching desperately for Lizzie with officers holding her back. Dad tried to hit one of them but was arrested, nearly escaping execution. It was that day did I realize how dark my world became. When I realized what I would eventually become. A week after I went through the woods, as far as I could go, until I began to see the wall where I found a paintbrush.
It was brand new, incased in glistening plastic and it laid by itself on the grass covered in dew. Using what I remember learning from school, I painted the sky- I painted the birds that flew high overhead. I asked dad to help me find a tire and rope where we made a tire swing. The never ending sky, the feather light clouds, the free birds was the only thing that helped me stay calm. The one thing that made me feel like I was a bird, a free soul eventually finding its way out of a dark hole was the sky.
Every wall, every inch of my room is hidden behind canvases. Each canvas just a little bit different, each cloud painted on it morphing into something new- each reaching higher and higher. The ceiling was the universe, the brilliant stars the glowed in the night with the moon. When I painted the stars, I made sure stars made a constellation with each other yet when you first look at it; the stars just look scattered across the galaxy. That is what the man, the officer, saw. He had to stop his jaw from dropping as he slowly removed the sunglasses.
“Ya painted all ‘is?” He asked, turning to face me and I simply nodded. “…Certainly opens yer eyes…My name, ya wanna know?”
“It’s Stephen.” My eyes followed Stephen, watching as he picked up a sketchbook and flipped though it; stopping midway. “An angel fightin’ another?” He turned the book to make it face me. A winged man, leaping from the clouds, had a bow ready to fire at a black winged man in silver armor; surrounded by demons and wolves.
“No, sir, the angel is going to kill Sin.”
Stephen glanced at me, a thick eyebrow raised and his eyes asking for me to explain.
“Those who commit a sin believe what they are doing is good. Angels are seen as holy and divine beings who can’t commit sins. So the angel with black wings is the manifestation of every sin created by us, wanting to rid of whatever good there is left.”
“Lloyd, come on, it’s six-thirty. Wake up.” Dad whispered as he gently shook me my shoulder. With a soft groan, I rolled onto my back and sat up in a swift move; making myself light headed. He chuckled softly, helping me get out of bed and move outside. The sun blinded me until my eyes adjusted at what felt like forever later. Everyone who began to walk outside had groggy expressions and bed hair which honestly made me want to laugh.
I slowly inhaled as I looked up at a perfect circle opening in the clouds- I squinted and leaned forward slightly as if doing so would help me see what was happening high above me. The fuzzy image of wings on a silhouette suddenly became clear along with the sound of a trumpet or a siren sounding.
All of us stopped, becoming quiet. But as soon as we became silent, the silhouette just vanished into thin air. Whispers filled the air, eyes glancing around until Stephen fired his pistol; everyone, including myself, jumping with a sharp gasp.
“Shut the fuck up! Get back in front of your name house!” he shouted, clearly agitated. I glanced over at my father, whose dull brown eyes were casted at the gravel. It’s hard to believe he can call himself the man he once was before Lizzie died. Before her passing, he always stood tall and never looked behind him- at the past. He said the past was written in stone, and whatever happened should be left alone. His arms were thick with muscle but it didn’t look like he was on steroids unless he became livid which was always rare. The closest as he would get would be enraged.
Mom was different before too, she was a cheerful and lively woman. Everyone within five blocks knew her for her amazing cooking skills and interesting fantasy stories that grasped the interest of little kids. Her wavy reddish brown hair waved in the gentle breeze, hazel eyes lit up at the sight of seeing me and Lizzie. However, now, her hair is tied into a messy bun and has dulled in color and life. Her eyes did the same and her once loud voice became as silent as a whisper. Dad rarely mentions how much he misses the woman he married but hardly talks; he drifts away from the only family he has left.
It’s sad to know that ever since the wall has been built, my family along with everyone else’s behind the wall, has slowly drifted apart.
The full moon faced me through the window that overlooked my bed, creating disfigured shadows over the room. For whatever reason, I couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t because of the shadows, or the eerie silence. But something else. Maybe seeing the winged silhouette vanish in air. My brain jumped to the conclusion that I needed to find out what it was, even though I had no idea where it might have gone to or if I was just seeing things (along with thousands of other people). I swing my legs over the edge of the bed, tossing the thin blanket aside and throw on a jean jacket as I walk to the door. But the floor is squeaky, no matter how slowly or softly you tip toe. I turn on my heels, climbing onto my bed and push the window open; sliding through the narrow opening before smacking onto the grass.
“Ouch…” I groan quietly whilst rolling over onto my stomach and picking myself up. I glance around, peeking out from behind the wall and stepping out onto the gravel. I felt a shiver travel up my spine, having this been the first time I stepped foot onto the gravel in three years. “Alright…I can do this…” My feet took me towards the woods, to the right of my house- the woods where I found the paintbrush. Whatever I was searching for, or whatever I hoped to find, I hope it isn’t something that can kill me.
The trees creaked and groaned as they swayed in the cool night breeze, leaves waving against each other. The wind whistled and blew fallen leaves along the grass where I saw a black figure hunched over ahead. Cursing silently under my breath, I darted behind a tree and covered my mouth to keep myself from screaming despite how badly I wanted to. The moonlight seemed to change direction of itself, shining down on the figure right when large wings fanned out high above him.
A man stood up straight, hands balled into tight fist at his sides. I blinked rapidly as if the man would disappear. His wavy blond hair hid his eyes from my view but glowed a faint emerald green in the moonlight which outlined his perfectly sculpted figure.
“Do I…scare you..?” he suddenly asked slowly in a hushed tone, tilting his head ever so slightly. I jumped and stumbled out from behind the tree like something had pushed me. He looked at his wings for a moment and they slowly lowered once he looked back at me. “I apologize.”
“No, no! I mean…” I trailed off, not knowing what I meant actually. I was too enamored by his stunning beauty that he possessed.
“What is your name..?” His voice was gentle, harmonious, it sounded as though he was singing a slow romantic song to the piano.
“Lloyd…Lloyd Wilimar.” I whispered as he stepped closer to me through the bushes; revealing that the lower part of his body was covered by a white cloth of some sort.
“Lloyd, I promise to make-up for this inconvenience but can you help me in any way? Perhaps shelter? I cannot return to my home…Ah, my name, it is Raphael.”
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