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Writer Alvin Atwater
  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
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Edited 4/7/2018
Alvin Atwater
Jun 10, 2016
31 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!sELDqNOEbLrgRXm8hYNDposted on PENANA

                                                             “Imperfect”copyright protection93PENANAUn2QiemVNg

A short story by Alvin Atwatercopyright protection93PENANAEfUqTleH0p

                                                                        Icopyright protection93PENANAtrGkp2sG1g

My ears wailed in pain as it took in the awful childishness of the World’s Anthem. Everyone else involuntarily loved the song but not me. Definitely not me. Well… I am the imperfection of this “perfect” world. They don’t know that of course.copyright protection93PENANAkVEmMXB8To

Look at them! Stupid grins on their faces.  copyright protection93PENANApxDjYwFceF

I stood alongside of these mindless perfect teenagers, forcing myself to look “peaceful” without grinning. It was the only non-smiling option.copyright protection93PENANACH7i2wlvdm

In a “perfect” world ran by Perfection Moderators and an unseen president, it was me vs. them. As long as they didn’t find out about me, I wouldn’t end up like that guy…copyright protection93PENANALyipU5nweg

Six years ago, someone suddenly became unhappy and spoke out against the Perfection Moderators. He only wanted things to be normal. The Perfection Moderators, with their grins, nodded and offered to discuss his ideals before our President, Maiden. No one had enough brains to realize that something was wrong. That legendary man was never seen again—and was announced dead by some accident. Life continued…copyright protection93PENANAUDOyXN5C0j

My ten-year-old childish brain couldn’t comprehend what happened at the time. Fortunately, I was smart enough to continue following the hellish rules of this place. And the most dangerous rule was never to be unhappy or else earn a trip to the Happy Chamber. What happens in there, stays in there.copyright protection93PENANAhC1pU3Wgy9

            When the shitty World Anthem ended, the bell rung, and it was the end of another awful school day. Time to head home like usual so I can ditch this annoying act, I thought. In the comfort of my own room, I could drop my “bright look” and relax. TV sucked and so did video games –all of them were “happy.” In my room, I could daydream about violence if I wanted. Even reading was out of the question. The internet was fully monitored—one hundred percent—including privacy by the Perfection Moderators just to keep this hell in order. There was no escape…copyright protection93PENANACkIUKC078e

            “Nick, wait up,” someone called from behind as I sped out the door. Damn! I just want to get away from you freaks.copyright protection93PENANAn3RcCOZHqZ

I turned around. Kelsey, one of my perfect classmates that always bugged me, scurried toward me. Though it’s totally not her fault…copyright protection93PENANA0IC27x53NE

 I just hope it’s not an order to keep an eye on me or something. It happened whenever a teacher suspected a happiness drop and forced “outstanding” students to “cheer” up staggering students.  “You’re awfully out fast—let me walk with you. We live on the same street.”copyright protection93PENANAdqYVlIylQH

So much for walking and daydreaming violence or something.  If I shot her down, that would   result in an instant trip to the Happy Chamber. Nice try teachers.copyright protection93PENANAzeLqqnfp4F

            “Sorry about that,” I said with fake sincerity. “Let’s go.” I wanted to slap myself for sounding so cheesy but that’s how this world operated. All perfect! Weird! Screw my life!copyright protection93PENANAp5o17vydzm

            “So, how’s your day?” Kelsey said after a minute into the walk.copyright protection93PENANARNMPJ7yhso

            “Great!” I lied. My real answer to that was: freaking horrible, followed by numerous complaints. I even wanted to add in a glare to enrich the effect.copyright protection93PENANAZ1CKs37Htc

            “I’m having a birthday party tomorrow with some friends. Will you come?”copyright protection93PENANAnSiLUphtCQ

Me, spend my Saturday with a punch of “Perfects?” HELL NO. I don’t want to!copyright protection93PENANAPuEBjnJSFb

            “I think it’s best if you and the girls have some girl time,” I said.copyright protection93PENANAhEdToGXwnq

            “No, this is a party for both girls and guys and I want you to come.”copyright protection93PENANAJLi1wdrNG3

            “I’m not su—” I paused my sentence as I noticed of Them, dressed in a hooded cloak walking past us. It was normal not to see the face of a Perfection Moderator when they were on duty. That’s why their identities remained unknown.  “I mean, sure, I’d love to go to your party if that’s the case.” I wanted to yell for throwing away my defense. My violent weekend!copyright protection93PENANAEvyi7SGQKl

The rest of the walk was me going with the flow of Kelsey’s “perfect” conversation. It ended with our goodbyes at her house and then I continued walking to mine.copyright protection93PENANA21ZfVoWSVj

Tomorrow was going to suck if I didn’t find a way to make it interesting. Nothing I can do about it except endure. Endure…copyright protection93PENANAiE5BFBO6pv

                                                                                    IIcopyright protection93PENANAa30Im7A2Yl

I awoke the following morning to the sound of repeated doorbell ringing. Honestly, I wouldn’t have this hidden anger problem if everyone weren’t brainwashed. Really now…copyright protection93PENANAo0mogiMcaH

            “Shut up already, I’m coming!” is what I wanted to yell. I dashed to the bathroom, turned on the sink, brushed my teeth, and splashed some water on my face. It took a few times to put on an acceptable look. Also, I wanted to make whoever bugged me this early wait.copyright protection93PENANAwtmB51dU8C

            “What?” didn’t come out, but instead, “hello,” as I opened the door. It was Kelsey. I internally strained not to give her a glare.copyright protection93PENANApiGq13xB6w

            “Hi Nick,” she said.copyright protection93PENANAXuwjSNCFZM

            “Hey, uh, what’s up? What brings you here this early?” I let her in. Can’t be rude when They could be lurking around.  A sudden thought jolted in my head. My drawings. Often when I’m in my room and my parents were away, I drew things like swords, soldiers, historic battles lead by our ancestors—many things portrayed as violence. My ass would be grass if a “Perfect” spotted them. “Wait right here. I’ll be back in a sec.”copyright protection93PENANAmwgJ7mKlgS

            “Need any help with anything?” Kelsey asked.copyright protection93PENANAXGbE6cHEON

            “No,” I replied.copyright protection93PENANAaLiH5auHPu

            “Don’t be a loner,” she said, “I insist.”copyright protection93PENANAuc0LV87Gto

            “I’m just changing clothes,” I lied.copyright protection93PENANAzr5K5bWNQK

            “Okay. Well take your time. The party doesn’t begin until noon.”copyright protection93PENANAB1vTIA3diT

When I opened my room door, I felt someone’s hands touch my back. I immediately turned around. Before I could say anything, I noticed something different about Kelsey. The vibe around her changed—and she wasn’t smiling either. I mean neither do I but I always skate under detection by maintaining a false peaceful look. This wasn’t a peaceful look, this was…copyright protection93PENANAHM5Ix1QEIk

            “Drop the act,” she said nonchalantly. “I know you’re the same as me.”copyright protection93PENANA3hL81QkXEa

I was a bit startled but I had to maintain defense just to make sure. “What are you talking about?”copyright protection93PENANAIfbd8UOc76

            “Don’t play dumb,” she as she barged into my room. “You gave away your acting as soon as you appeared to be shocked about something.” She picked up a few of my drawings and glanced at them. “Not bad.”copyright protection93PENANA5PTbxqdo5V

            “Wha—what’s going on?” I said.copyright protection93PENANAI8ctgdkAbY

            “What? Surprised that I’m not acting like some kid’s cartoon character?”copyright protection93PENANALTeW7mRWyZ

            “Well, yeah,” I said. “Since when?”copyright protection93PENANA3EOWPmm2Lr

            “It doesn’t matter,” she said as she kicked off her shoes and slouched on my bed. “You need to clean up a bit, pig.” My mouth hung agape. “What? Don’t stare at me. If you’re still unconvinced then…” she leapt out of the bed and threw her arms around me. “Be my boyfriend.”copyright protection93PENANAXtAaXQniry

            “Yeah, no, you can risk getting sent to the happy chamber by yourself,” I said then moved away. I did let the thought sit for a bit, but one girl wasn’t worth it.copyright protection93PENANAhdsvazR1wq

            “We’re the only normal people around here,” she said. “Why not?”copyright protection93PENANA0z4PvUcRXX

I shook my head. “On a serious note, I’d like to keep my imperfection a secret to the public.”copyright protection93PENANAjUrT4oKsGc

            “Are you rejecting me?” she said.copyright protection93PENANA1Xptsz3kBz

            “That’s kind of irrelevant. You know the dating system. I value my life, so I’m not going to risk getting caught by milking it.”copyright protection93PENANALC9QrEKEwH

The dating system in this world was horrid. Anyone’s lover was automatically selected by President Maiden at age twenty-one and after six months, forced marriage. Anything before that was illegal, but in this “perfect” world, wouldn’t happen.copyright protection93PENANABQC2JHru97

            “You’re a coward,” Kelsey said as she slouched on my bed again. “Shouldn’t we take a stand against this shitty system? I don’t know about you, but I can’t continue living like this.”copyright protection93PENANAGb56FyFJTh

            “What can we do about it?” I said.copyright protection93PENANAiETsul6fZD

            “Say something, take a stand—anything is better than this.”copyright protection93PENANAXAtADdh4Hr

            “Like I said,” I said. “I’m not trying to get sent to the Happy Chamber.” As if I could win against the system…copyright protection93PENANAcoChuhPa0I

I grabbed a fresh shirt, pants, and headed into an empty room.copyright protection93PENANArjmkMRFS7E

            “Hey, let me watch—I’m curious,” Kelsey said from behind.copyright protection93PENANAw5fZFTcXXT

            “Why?” I said as slowly closed the door. She placed her hand in front of it, preventing its closure.copyright protection93PENANAo9h1qMjgWk

            “I never seen what a boy’s body is like,” she answered.copyright protection93PENANAYnElIqdojl

            “Are you being serious?” I said. “Look, this is not the time or place for that.” Perfection Moderators would be all over my house if I let this continued. The Happy Chamber wouldn’t make this worth it.copyright protection93PENANA3PqiO6c139

            “Oh, come on, don’t be melodramatic, you know you want to—just pull off the damn shirt!” she forced it off. “Whoa. I wish they’d teach us the difference.”copyright protection93PENANAVrjdsKZM0W

            “Alright, enough,” I said as I kicked her out and closed the door. I peeked out the window to make sure none of them were nearby or any drones scanning for anomalies. “You’re pushing us into the wrong genre here.” I quickly changed and then headed back to my room to check on Kelsey. She put away my drawings as I walked in.copyright protection93PENANA6ZkKl2ayrt

            “What are you doing?” I said.copyright protection93PENANAUujkN8rZ9u

            “Nothing,” she replied, smiling. “Are you ready to go?”copyright protection93PENANA94Wsiochbd

            “Are your friends imperfect too?” I asked.copyright protection93PENANAehcy1xAc62

            “Unfortunately, no.”copyright protection93PENANAF0wYlk6Mjg

            “Then why do you…” I stopped. “Before that, happy sixteenth birthday.” I watched from the corner of my eye as one of Them walked past my mailbox.copyright protection93PENANAhsldVDC7VN

            “You don’t really care about my birthday, do you?” Kelsey said after he was out of sight.copyright protection93PENANAl94yH55iic

            “Great minds think alike, I suppose,” I replied with a chuckle.copyright protection93PENANAkXdRWzb3mv

            “Jerk.”copyright protection93PENANAjDXFQSis0e

            “Really now.” I sat at my desk’s chair. “What do you expect from me?”copyright protection93PENANAfmnkU5q0oI

Kelsey smothered her head into my pillow. “Something. What about you? Are you expecting anything from me?”copyright protection93PENANAcJFqACZMGl

            “Not really,” I said.copyright protection93PENANAh0YfFP8Yh8

            “Jerk face.”copyright protection93PENANAcxuARoGhp4

            “Did someone piss in your cereal?” I said.copyright protection93PENANAZBNF2oi1aY

            “Whatever, jerko,” she said then sighed. “I’m taking a nap, wake me up in an hour.”copyright protection93PENANAnrYmGEbOCt

            “I don’t think so,” I said then sat down. “It’s like you’re trying to get sent to the chamber. Are you? Because so, leave me out of it.”copyright protection93PENANAXO1spSR5ag

She sat up. “Alright, quit whining.”copyright protection93PENANA9aSWQUl8Wv

            “I would if I wasn’t woken up so early.”copyright protection93PENANA7jX6FEKRsm

For a second there, I saw what looked like a flash of guilt. Just a flash. “Fine,” she said. “But, I’m not giving up on you. I know deep down you want to fight the system.”copyright protection93PENANAkqbmTAfLFp

            “No thanks, I like living,” I said.  copyright protection93PENANA2OAULqP6zL

            “Yeah right,” she sarcastically responded.copyright protection93PENANACG4zNKdxBG

IIIcopyright protection93PENANAUW75i0GxLl

“Hey, how are you, Nick?” greeted a few of Kelsey’s perfect friends in unison. Yes, as creepy as it was, I just had to bear with them until the end of the party.copyright protection93PENANAXOaxIWYx2x

            “Great,” I lied.copyright protection93PENANAjFene17rzJ

            “I see,” Minson said. The blonde boy looked like some girl’s dream guy off some messed movie involving vampires that sparkled in sunlight.copyright protection93PENANA7tGfzYffw1

            “Can I leave now?” I said under my breath as I walked over to Kelsey.copyright protection93PENANAAuPK2yH06J

            “Hell no,” she muttered back. “You’re not leaving me with them.”copyright protection93PENANAxppMMDNU5m

            “Are they not your friends?” I whispered with a chuckle.copyright protection93PENANAEdQkspjHEQ

            “Don’t screw with me.” She grabbed my shirt collar and continued to whisper. “This party wasn’t even my idea.”copyright protection93PENANAJfkz0m7Hne

            “Hey, hey, what kind of game are you two conjuring up like that?” Minson said as he walked over.copyright protection93PENANArUDQHqtuky

I believed at the same time, Kelsey and I both thought, “Are you an idiot?”copyright protection93PENANARZLHjd7CVM

            “Nothing,” I said. “Anyway, Minson, I heard your brother’s getting married to Dana. Tell him I said congrats.”copyright protection93PENANAsF1Ne1amIx

            “Of course! Our president has arranged…” suddenly he stopped talking and something shocking happened. His smile vanished. A “Perfect” had lost its smile. Oh snap! He sat in a chair, with an expression that appeared to be half angry and half depressed. Everyone watched in shock, though we couldn’t actually show this on our faces. “I liked Dana for some time now,” Minson continued. “I didn’t know how much I did until now, when you brought this up, Nick. Everyone is forced into marriage at twenty-one, but that bitch Maiden, she who never freaking shows herself, bent her own damn rule! My brother’s twenty-one but Dana is only sixteen. Maiden cheated me!”copyright protection93PENANAA9se09EtEZ

            “Hey, don’t insult our great president,” one of Kelsey’s friends said. “Please, let’s turn your frown upside down.”copyright protection93PENANA2vYOdh2lUY

            “Shut the fuck up, you fucking weirdo!” Minson snarled. “All of you—you’re a bunch of freaks!” Suddenly, he jumped up and nearly slugged someone but just in time, one of Them appeared from literally nothing and emitted what appeared to be hundreds of volts from a stun gun, dropping Minson to ground.copyright protection93PENANA7nD8aSakfS

            “Violence is wrong. You have to be punished for being unhappy—you know that’s a big rule. But don’t worry, fortunately for you, one trip to the Happy Chamber should prevent this from being brought up to our great president. You’ll be back to normal and feeling good about yourself once again.”copyright protection93PENANASP2k42uIw8

I don’t know how this was scientifically possible, but while holding Minson’s hand, they both vanished.copyright protection93PENANAHzEFnSXqdR

Kelsey and I looked at each other. What we witnessed, wasn’t exactly an imperfect, but a case of the unhappy. Had that scene happened in public, he probably would’ve been forced to pay Maiden a visit and like that guy six years ago, killed.copyright protection93PENANAoke1tpUDK9

            “It’s good that he’s going to be cheered up,” one of Kelsey’s friends said. “Let’s get back to the party.”copyright protection93PENANAvCZyX3BrL8

            “Yea—yeah.”copyright protection93PENANAAtHe9566wk

I could tell from that crack in her voice that Kelsey could barely hold up her act. I don’t know what got over me, but I decided to care just a bit.copyright protection93PENANAXUEcW8CQLm

            “Alright guys, I gotta have a little birthday chat with our birthday girl,” I told her friends. “We’ll be right back in a sec.”copyright protection93PENANA0hZZPX3rpP

I took her into the house and locked the doors.copyright protection93PENANAAZihdrnkyT

            “Are you okay?” I asked.copyright protection93PENANAEvOjIKrkBd

            “Do you even care?” she said softly.copyright protection93PENANAHBuHBkEFL3

            “Kind of,” I replied. “Look, you should be used to this by now.”copyright protection93PENANAul2NDgf1BN

            “What do you mean, used to this?” she hissed. “I’ve never seen anything like that—that was electricity, Nick!”copyright protection93PENANAVgjJA1u1m5

 Nothing like this happened for six years—of course she wouldn’t. It’s incredibly rare to witness someone become unhappy but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more cases. This won’t be released to the public. “Perfects” don’t gossip or spread any kind of news unless instructed to do so.copyright protection93PENANAe3HJKj3pYP

            “Look. Relax,” I said. “Do you see what we’re up against? Do you understand why I’m keeping undercover?”copyright protection93PENANAssaufOLuQm

            “It doesn’t change the fact that you’re a spineless coward,” she spat.copyright protection93PENANAhLCAvcCZeY

            “As harsh as ever, even after that,” I said.copyright protection93PENANA5t2MdN5gc3

            “That’s even more of a reason why we should fight the system,” Kelsey said. “If the Perfection Moderators were really for fluffy and cupcakes, then why’d they subdue Minson like that? Something’s really fis—”copyright protection93PENANA5FwgaM5VgV

            “Dammit, I know,” I snarled. “I’ve known ever since I saw something like it six years ago. You speak of fighting the system, but with what? There’s a difference between a coward and someone using their head. What can you do against that kind of power?”copyright protection93PENANAiyHV9c8Mbn

            “Even if it’s one hundred against one, I still want to change things.” Kelsey pushed me away. “Unlike you, I’m not going to sit around and live like this for the rest of my life.”copyright protection93PENANALgQO34B8kO

            “Fine,” I snarled, “but I’m not getting involved.” I headed toward the door.copyright protection93PENANAcqtJHDvMzM

            “I don’t care—who needs you!? I’ll go see Maiden myself.”copyright protection93PENANAIRlpNuBVhN

I stopped right before my hand twisted the doorknob. “That’s suicide. Besides, do you really think they’d let you see her so easily?”copyright protection93PENANAi239Q7dsgy

            “I’ll fight.”copyright protection93PENANAgsYKcFoHsY

            “How naive,” I said. “Come speak with me later when you’ve regained your senses.” I glanced at my reflection through the glass of the door’s window and made sure I had my false peaceful look and then headed out.copyright protection93PENANAtaQOzDjbzB

            “Hey, Nick, where are you going?” a “Perfect” asked.copyright protection93PENANAYRD21u9eWp

            “Sorry chaps, I gotta get going.”copyright protection93PENANAMdSLY4qmLS

They all gasped. “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you right. What did you say?”copyright protection93PENANAlf3b4DOoOn

 Shit…NO! Another rule I forgot is that a “Perfect” can never leave the party until it’s over, unless a Perfection Moderator overrides it.copyright protection93PENANAZMfDOg7Yv4

Kelsey didn’t end the party therefore I was stuck there.copyright protection93PENANAnihf3fjuC5

IVcopyright protection93PENANAmXkq9p3XNR

Silence… Awkward silence. If I didn’t do something about this, I’d get caught. I avoided parties and get-togethers for a long time now, so this caught me by surprise. But wait… They’re “Perfects.” Cheesy humor is their thing.copyright protection93PENANAlMEBqtSxrn

            “Oh, I’m just…” I stopped mid-sentence as one of Them walked toward me. “Kidding.”copyright protection93PENANACOFT4I9ocM

The Perfection Moderator stopped walking, possibly debating whether to buy this or not. “Perfects” make a lot of cheesy jokes, but this one was pushing it. Then…the Perfection Moderator, already halfway in the yard, took a seat in one of the chairs. No one seemed to notice him but me. This jerk was going to keep an eye on me until convinced that I’m “untainted.” THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANT! I goofed.copyright protection93PENANAtzJOZSd3Q1

            “Hey, go check on Kelsey, as it’s time to mingle!” Bradley turned on some music (lame happy jingles) and started dancing like an idiot. As much as he normally made me want to rage, the guy actually saved my ass, whether he knew it or not. I carefully closed the door behind me, feeling the prying eyes of the Perfection Moderator in the distance. Fortunately, he didn’t move from his spot, expecting me to rejoin the party with Kelsey in due time. If I didn’t, then game over.copyright protection93PENANAUcOzOe2GMt

            “Hey Kelsey, where are you?”copyright protection93PENANA3oiJhnrrLE

            “In here, jerk-face.” She was in the living room sipping on coffee.copyright protection93PENANAdfdX3dQhgH

            “We have to rejoin the party, quickly.”copyright protection93PENANAjbU7KIlMo7

            “Nope, I don’t want to. I’m not partying alone with those guys.”copyright protection93PENANAgswzbNWDfH

            “Look, I won’t leave. In fact, I can’t leave. And we have an uninvited guest.”copyright protection93PENANAhsWuq0IgiZ

She stood up. “What did you do?”copyright protection93PENANAYBaSJVA4IZ

            “I tried to leave your party,” I confessed.copyright protection93PENANAcYsIyDwugL

            “What’s wrong…? Oh. I forgot about that rule.” She then she grinned as I frowned, feeling her idea form. “I could hold you prisoner here until you agree to fight the system with me.”copyright protection93PENANAcye93FaLVs

            “What—look, now is not the time for that,” I hissed. “If we don’t—”copyright protection93PENANAKT4VMNQnSy

            “All-day, all-night party—heyyyyy!”copyright protection93PENANAn4xPN5tjzK

            “Alright! Okay! Dammit!” I barked and punched the wall. She got me... “But, we’ll fight the system on my timing and my shots alone.”copyright protection93PENANA5MikVlZ56V

            “In other words, you have a plan,” Kelsey said.copyright protection93PENANAxRPCMBqDYi

            “Shut up,” I muttered as I face-palmed. I had a plan for several years, daydreamed and recorded in a notebook, but executing it was a different story.copyright protection93PENANAbmnJbbOEuo

Vcopyright protection93PENANAoAaGV52Ub9

2 AMcopyright protection93PENANAPJ0FlNgLqf

Kelsey and I decided to hold a risky meeting in my room this late. Risky since we were past the 10 PM curfew hours, but that’s beside the point. I pulled out an old notebook from under my mattress and revealed the last pages.copyright protection93PENANA4CBsmNDbr8

She blinked twice as after reading the plan. “I’m surprised someone as cowardly as you wrote something like this.”   copyright protection93PENANAzQIKxDQzy1

            “It’s nothing more than a dream,” I said, “And I’m not a coward! I’m just smart. You know going through something like this may fail, right?”copyright protection93PENANAIoKI36wkSX

            “No more hesitation. We have a deal and from the looks of things, deep down, you want to go through with this.”copyright protection93PENANAAXzcpVZ27r

I sighed. “We’ll start the attempt in the morning. Any questions?”copyright protection93PENANAaHhTrOxin5

            “Yeah, I have one.”copyright protection93PENANAk6t5OxclS4

            “What?”         copyright protection93PENANAis1SFqOEtV

            “Can I sleep here? I really don’t feel like sneaking all the way back home.”copyright protection93PENANA6DCox3c4mA

            “Don’t be stupid. We can’t have your parents causing an uproar in the morning. It’d ruin the plan before it even kicks off. Now good night!”copyright protection93PENANA9HGDMvbZQ3

Kelsey chuckled. “Coward.”copyright protection93PENANA39v51awPPZ

After she left, I pulled out a second notebook and spent an hour rewriting my plan. I couldn’t afford to fail. If I can just get to Maiden.copyright protection93PENANAKVDmjaqweM

Morning came quick and the sun’s rays peeking in through the curtains refused to let me sleep in. It was time to either save this pathetic world or die trying or whatever they did in the Happy Chamber. However, there wasn’t a single part of my plan that included getting sent there. Hopefully what happens there will remain unknown to me. Right now, it’s urgent to dethrone Maiden.copyright protection93PENANA7ouO1hjcga

Kelsey arrived at my place early and from there, we headed to the most crowded place in town, Central Plaza. Funny how this is the same place that legendary event from six years ago happened. It’s time to attempt to grant that man’s dreams.copyright protection93PENANAfkjLpkWWaL

            “Alright, let me say this, from here on out, you’re on your own,” I said.copyright protection93PENANAVUHzg0JGxY

            “What do you mean—are you abandoning me?”copyright protection93PENANAtEmYsofMBv

            “No, idiot,” I hissed, “let me finish. No matter what happens, you and I have no ties. We don’t know anything about each other and we will no longer speak to each other. We’re going to become strangers.”copyright protection93PENANAXRQhCgCycM

            “Why? I don’t want that!” Kelsey snarled. I revealed the revised edition of the notebook.copyright protection93PENANAk8G1HX2qEz

            “In order for us to win, we have to look like two different people wanting freedom. If we look like friends or old lovers, it’s going to look idealistic and the plan will immediately fail. And failure is not an option. I didn’t come here to die.” I offered a handshake. “Maybe we’ll meet again someday.”copyright protection93PENANAo7eL5H9luK

            “Someday?”copyright protection93PENANARsBHJeXmM9

            “Once Maiden is dethroned, I’m getting the hell out of this city. I’ve been accepted into a university elsewhere. Anyway, that’s not important. Let’s begin.”copyright protection93PENANA87hP8YMbpq

Kelsey sighed and accepted my handshake. “So lame. Let’s just get this over with.”copyright protection93PENANAKOyZzEGIZb

I chuckled. “You begin talking with that half and I’ll talk with the crowd over here. Like what happened with Minson, the right words will distort the brainwashing and cause the unhappy phenomenon. Having only one unhappy person makes a Perfection Moderator’s job easy. But.” I smirked. “They can’t stop mobs of them.”copyright protection93PENANAtQD4ynivJ5

VIcopyright protection93PENANAFScWHlVuwl

“Hey you,” I said to my first target, a girl about the same age as me. Teenagers should be easy targets. There’s nothing like exploiting natural rebellion. Even if they’re “Perfects.”copyright protection93PENANAVh9ugJ8Xr8

            “Wha,” she couldn’t finish her sentence, probably stunned on how I called out to her. “Perfects” have cheesy manners, especially when they’re approaching someone.copyright protection93PENANA9VZMZx9i3T

            “What are you doing?” I said.copyright protection93PENANAoILBEsWAXt

            “Excuse me?” She seemed a bit disorientated and I only just began.copyright protection93PENANAVSK5m1OvZg

            “Are you satisfied with your life? Such a bore and what’s up with your hair?”copyright protection93PENANAE8bDVbb5te

            “My hair?”copyright protection93PENANAYSWJtBcpb9

            “Let it down sometimes. You look like a—”copyright protection93PENANAT71DcoF1UF

            “Hey, how dare you insult my hair, you jerk!” She gasped. “What…I feel weird.”copyright protection93PENANAhyOscJEnP8

            “No, you’re regaining real emotions. Look around. See what Maiden done to these people.”copyright protection93PENANABN0yxt9JTl

            “Oh my gosh, you’re absolutely right,” she said.copyright protection93PENANATMtVqFj6Hd

            “Yep,” I said, “now start insulting and doing whatever I takes to wake these people. We need a mob and fast.”copyright protection93PENANALYMArYj5l9

I caught up with my second target, a middle-aged man. This may not be easy, but here goes. I’ll have to make a wild assumption.copyright protection93PENANAeXXevuHFeB

            “Your marriage life is horrid, isn’t it?”copyright protection93PENANA07nt2O9mVR

He turned around and to my surprise, the smile on his face vanished. “What the hell did you just say to me brat? Well… you’re right. Wait…what am I saying?”copyright protection93PENANAAGPmghkAnG

            “Congrats, you can now think like a normal human now,” I told him. “Look, Maiden has everyone under deathly brainwashing. It’s a long story to how I was unaffected, but in order to get rid of it, you must speak unhappiness or insult someone.”copyright protection93PENANAJBDGP9bxOp

            “I don’t know what you’re talking about kid, but from the looks of things, I guess I have no choice.”copyright protection93PENANA8PwwjzltVg

As an hour passed, I noticed more normal people walking around and undoing brainwashing. Since “Perfects” don’t insult or spit unhappiness, Maiden didn’t see this coming. Little did she know, that one miss of her brainwashing could crack down on her entire plan.copyright protection93PENANAkvX9RdrcOO

I sat on a park bench and rested. Continuous talking sure can took a lot of you.copyright protection93PENANASypvffEqMt

 Just then, someone sat by me.copyright protection93PENANAPVimsBVN4R

“You look worn out.”copyright protection93PENANA3om0yee0q3

I didn’t turn to look—seeing the hooded cloak out of the corner of my eye. “You don’t have to say anything, since you already know the type of trouble you’re in. We don’t know who else is involved in your scheme, but I’ve had my eyes on you for a while now. To be honest, I allowed you to get so far for my entertainment, but now it has to end or else, President Maiden will question our ability to keep the place secured.” The Perfection Moderator sighed. “The number of people with your infection is doubling every second. It’s going to be a pain in the ass to get them all in the Happy Chamber.”copyright protection93PENANAOiBeOQtshg

I stood up and turned to the Perfection Moderator. “You don’t sound like a “Perfect.” So tell me what’s going on?”copyright protection93PENANAW6cetEPprU

The Perfection Moderator laughed. “Do you think you’re in a position to be giving me orders?”copyright protection93PENANAgvjCwRRLRh

He looked up and noticed the crowd surrounding us. Everything was going just as I planned…copyright protection93PENANAOGzqVohoRy

VIIcopyright protection93PENANAFNFR18vRxX

“Speak up, Moderator!”copyright protection93PENANALOt4rZWiLO

“Yeah!”copyright protection93PENANAzAv90qxhPo

“You better start explaining!”copyright protection93PENANAPucvmdDS5b

“Fix this!”copyright protection93PENANAQQZjVqjSI5

“We’re sick of it!”copyright protection93PENANAGiFbrFCZXr

I smirked. The Perfection Moderator didn’t know what to say. He slowly reached for his pockets, but just in time, two men tackled and pinned him to the ground. A woman from the crowd took away his stun gun.copyright protection93PENANAoNWAijOWbT

            “We’re tired of this shit!” one of them said. “Why would you want to live in a world so hellish like this? Everyone acting without real emotion—artificialness!”copyright protection93PENANA72K7lFyFxh

            “I don’t!” snarled the Perfection Moderator, “but Maiden is too powerful. I’m not dumb enough to fuck with her.”copyright protection93PENANAKezpq05203

            “Take me to her,” I said.copyright protection93PENANAuoQrZ9KO5W

            “Do you think I’m going to listen to you? I’ll dump your ass in the Happy Chamber instead and then we’ll just gas everyone here.” He laughed maniacally. One of them punched him, stopping the laughter.copyright protection93PENANAHdYrlk7TZE

            “Look, if you don’t want to live in a crap hole like this any longer, then let me see Maiden. What do you got to lose?  Even If I’m killed, you’ll be untouched behind your title. But if I can stop this, then we’ll be free.”copyright protection93PENANAaJTJ9jKelL

The Perfection Moderator thought for a moment and then nodded. “You have a point. It’s a win-win for me. I’ll take you, but if you fuck up kid, it’s on you, not me. Understand? You better fix this shit or else, die.”copyright protection93PENANAhQa8h9i1Xo

            “Thanks,” I replied.copyright protection93PENANAYFCW6XgeRg

            “Here, take this.” The woman from earlier handed me the stun gun. The two men released the Perfection Moderator.copyright protection93PENANAS1ZLL95wnr

            “Take my hand. I’ll drop you off at the back entrance. From there, you’re on your own. I’m not getting involved. You’ll see for yourself why you it’s pointless to confront Maiden. However, if you want to strike a light of hope in my head, I won’t get in your way.”copyright protection93PENANAhFhsOyB7Az

            “Don’t doubt him!” Kelsey popped out of the crowd and hugged me. “Saying that we won’t meet again. Don’t be ridiculous! I’ll be waiting for you.”copyright protection93PENANAvzf7vm5MAW

            “Alright, enough with the sappy emotional garbage and let’s go,” the Perfection Moderator said. Kelsey released and whoosh! Winds burst from nowhere. I shut my eyes against the intense pressure. Seconds later, the wind died, allowing me to open my eyes. We were behind a large church-like building. “I could offer some words of encouragement, but all I can say is good luck with your suicide mission. I’ve seen Maiden’s power myself, but like I said before, if you got a plan, then whatever happens is a win-win for me.” He vanished. I glanced at the door. Who is Maiden? An old bag with political power? A figure? No. I know for a fact that if she was either of those, my plan would be too easy. Then I would be ashamed for not executing it years ago. I opened the door and stepped inside.copyright protection93PENANA2sX2eJbjgz

VIIIcopyright protection93PENANALxf2Z4BBbc

A Bedroom? It was huge! Paintings of people I never heard of paraded the walls. There were at least six crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.  The room smelled like candy. In fact, let’s get to the strangeness. Every few feet or so, I saw huge piles of candy on top of desks. Giant Lollipops were mounted on every corner. Chocolate lamps, chocolate statues, and no ants.copyright protection93PENANAbGLqOhMT3m

            “This is weird,” I said softly. Just then, I heard the doorknob turn and dove behind a hill of candy. A girl, who looked about the same age as me, sat at one of the desks. She placed something on it, picked up a nearby comb, and combed her hair. And speaking of hair, it was long and white. Pale white. In fact, it was giving off some kind of white glow…or radiation.  I turned my eyes to the object she put on her desk. It looked like a stick with a diamond attached to it. I thought it about it for a bit. Brainwashing, minions that can literally take you anywhere within a second, the glowing of the girl’s hair, and Imperfects. I didn’t want to believe in something as silly and ridiculous as magic, but that was the only thing I could conclude. The strange girl before me was none other than Maiden herself.  The girl stood up and gazed at herself in a hand-held mirror. Narcissism much?copyright protection93PENANAP6PN94wloM

            “How long do you intend to stare,” she said. “I know you’re there, come out, Nick Stars.”copyright protection93PENANAU9kabkfNWq

I stood up. “Hmm, from the looks of things, it seems like you were flawed for a while now. Years. Another glitch in my system.” Maiden unwrapped a chocolate bar and took a bite. “What do you want?”copyright protection93PENANAZ87LzV2lP6

            “Huh? You’re not going to kill me?”copyright protection93PENANAIEdysmCYH1

            “Kill you? Ha! You’re not worthy enough to make me raise the blade and besides, it’d be a waste. I’ll listen to what you came all the way here to say. I mean, you found my home after all.”copyright protection93PENANALCa6Nmr29n

            “I want to know… Why do you have humanity living like this?”copyright protection93PENANAs9wAU5wXql

            “Simple. I’m preventing wars, conflict, disease, and all sorts of things,” Maiden replied.copyright protection93PENANA490hHsEkrl

            “But this is so wrong,” I continued. “You have no idea how hellish this utopia is—you know what’s bound to happen.”copyright protection93PENANAlcYwjLTKO3

Maiden laughed. “I haven’t had a conversation in so long and not one this intense in like six years. You humans are something. So, what’s bound to happen?” She smiled.copyright protection93PENANA8gcER7Jn4a

            “It’s simple. We adapt. Soon we’ll be immune to your brain washing,” I said. “You know humanity’s able to adapt to nearly any condition. They’d come after you. Then an even bigger war would rage over whoever gets to kill you and then take power. Dictatorship in the hands of humans isn’t what we need. So I’m requesting you to please be reasonable. Restore things to the way they should be.”copyright protection93PENANAI9kJq2b4mC

            “That man six years ago told me the same thing,” Maiden said as she turned around and gazed at her dresser’s mirror. “You’re a little different than that man. Unlike him, you came here prepared. Which means, you saw the incident six years ago and took precautions. Humans like you are worth a lot.” She picked up her wand and walked over to me. I was careful not to move at all. “You both failed to see my power though. It’s a shame, really. Did you not think I took a little precaution myself to avoid failure?”copyright protection93PENANAqIPof8a8SY

            “Nope, you didn’t,” I said.copyright protection93PENANAb1foG6vpuA

            “What?”copyright protection93PENANAAdJVW9X7ek

            “You didn’t,” I laughed. “Because if you did, I wouldn’t be standing here today.” I walked to her dresser and watched her in the mirror. “You’re lazy. After your world domination scheme succeeded, you left it in the hands of your minions to keep it under control. Look around. Candy, gold…whatever this thing is,” I tossed the object to the side. “You don’t even have any active desires anymore. Why do you want to live such a boring eternity?” I turned around to her. “You have power but no one to share it with. Boring.” I walked closer to her. She looked down.copyright protection93PENANAJE2y3hGdqz

            “And what do you know, human? You’re good for nothing but conflict, anger and—”copyright protection93PENANAcBBrZhyvH2

            “Bullshit,” I interrupted. “Humans probably have a history of it, but that’s not what we’re all about. There are many people with different personalities, interests, and goals. Keeping their minds caged up and forcing your idealism on them—that’s not going to move things forward. That’s not going to open ways toward new opportunities.”copyright protection93PENANA5ifPdbZajd

Maiden sighed. “You sure talk a lot, Nick. I’ll give you some props there but you got here on a fluke. A tiny glitch in the system. I’ll make you into a Perfection Moderator and you’ll spend the rest of your life doing something even worse than your predictions and that’s keeping my world the way it is!” She laughed.copyright protection93PENANAu2SxBVOi9f

            “What a bad taste in jokes,” I said and then tackled Maiden to the ground. She went down surprisingly easy, like a normal girl…or even frail. Probably from lack of exercise. The wand she held rolled away.copyright protection93PENANASlQtMQKkls

            “Hey, what are you doing? Get off me, rapist!”copyright protection93PENANAnqKCfXOe87

            “Shut up!” I snarled, keeping her pinned to the ground. If she got to that wand, I’d be toast. “What are you anyway? Judging by the way you speak and even use this weird power.”copyright protection93PENANAsCak9LfY3p

She stopped struggling and held still. “Go ahead, have your way with me. You could create the first half human, half fairy child.”copyright protection93PENANAdVK3pxTaSf

            “Oh no, I’m not falling for that old trick. Let my guard down and poof, you turn me into some kind of frog. And fairies? Like the fairy—”copyright protection93PENANACfFmSVkGas

            “Don’t you dare call us fairytales! And you’ve got the wrong idea about my powers. I liked what you doing to me. But it’s your loss.”copyright protection93PENANAOD4YXeKdcN

Her eyes flickered a bright blue light causing some invisible force to throw me backward. My back hit the dresser hard enough to stun me. Damn. Maiden walked over, squatting next to me. “You kind of hurt my pride. Are you saying I’m not good enough for you?” She laughed like she said a punch line from a joke. “I think you were warned about my power plenty of times, so why did you attempt this suicide mission?  At least humor me before I turn you into a frog.” Her wand floated from where it rolled, to her hand. I didn’t respond. “Fine, I’ll just have you sent to the Happy Chamber. You’ll forget everything if you survive. As for everyone else, who only became glitches due your words, I’ll drown them in happy gas.”copyright protection93PENANACqJnu8UoiM

            “You’re fucking sick,” I said.copyright protection93PENANADV2jhUeCBp

            “Your last words,” she said, “I’ll make you gurgle—”copyright protection93PENANA4p29o0o8eA

Got you, bitch. She screamed in agony as hundreds of volts dropped her to the ground. I stood up, pocketed the stun gun and snatched the wand.copyright protection93PENANAWR1FevN8T6

            “Maiden, you got a bit cocky there and underestimated me a little too much,” I laughed. “Overconfidence much? You knew I came prepared but didn’t act on it. And a child from you would’ve been the biggest mockery to the human race since you took over.” I sighed and shook off the tension. “Can’t believe it worked. Distracting you with words you’d disagree with while evaluating you. I think I have a theory for your weakness. If this wand meant nothing to you, why grab it anyway?” I snapped it in half. She screamed again. The glow with her hair faded, bringing a smile to my face. “I didn’t come all the way here to fail or spend the rest of my life as your puppet.” I walked over to her. “That wand is like a heart for your power, isn’t it?” I smashed the diamond-shaped object. “Without it, you’re almost human. Or at least very low on power.”copyright protection93PENANAVw1XPjR4Vs

            “You’re a fool,” Maiden snarled. “Without me as its ruler, this world is going to tear itself apart.”copyright protection93PENANAt0SwahxypL

            “And that’s where you’re wrong, nutcase. I didn’t write such a lengthy plan for years for nothing. I wrote out every possible outcome of this mission and took precautions for each one. Even if I somehow ended up at your little Happy Chamber, I would be eventually sent back to my old life. I have contraptions set up to knock me off balance and pads with written events that would instantly undo your brainwashing. In your six years of laziness Maiden, I written out something to defeat you right under your nose. I even written how I would react if you were to somehow overtake me right now.”copyright protection93PENANA9lDa1RFO0y

            “You…” Maiden sighed. “So then, how are you going to get this world to run the way you want it. Without me, it’s going to be chaotic.”copyright protection93PENANAVV4WTUgKYc

            “Nope,” I said. “I had letters delivered and emails sent to all of your appointed leaders all over the world. All of your brainwashing should be gone too. Democracy should be formed, and it’d take a while, but things will rebalance themselves.”copyright protection93PENANAdsc6YnnwVN

            “You! I’ll kill you!” Maiden hopped up, but was sent back to the ground with more volts.copyright protection93PENANAi58VfaNVYN

            “Like I said, I didn’t come here to fail,” I said. “Your cockiness gave me an opening.” I clapped twice.  The doors opened and the Perfection Moderators that walked in pulled off their cloaks and tossed them in a pile. “Guys, take her to the Happy Chamber. Her punishment will be to have a taste of her own medicine and then live the rest of her life as a human. I still don’t know much about fairies or if there are more of them, but this one has dominated our world for too long.”copyright protection93PENANAtUJyQCs7nr

I sighed as they took the screaming criminal away. The Perfection Moderator that kept emphasizing her power, didn’t faze me at all. If I wasn’t prepared for anything, then I wouldn’t have made up my mind to confront Maiden. I was five steps ahead of her and I knew it. Intelligence outwitted power any day. In order for my plan to work, for the things to rebalance themselves, I won’t take any credit for saving the world.copyright protection93PENANAjATwHRT4oP

 I headed out the backdoor. Sorry Kelsey, but when I said we couldn’t meet again, I meant it. A college life awaited me and a fresh new start. Whether or not I have to deal with someone like Maiden again will talk in its time. For now, I’m going to treat myself to some candy bars. I’m not afraid of a bunch of fairies. Really now, fairies? I think I’m changing my major to something that will allow me to study them. Research subject: Maidencopyright protection93PENANASGU1Cabp5a

To be continued….copyright protection93PENANAdz4W7VzA2W

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Alvin Atwater - An alternate version and a sequel to this is coming soon. If anyone cares..
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