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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!26QIlMS4rVTploTGzv2Rposted on PENANA

                                                             “Imperfect”copyright protection123PENANAXHBBdetsd9

A short story by Alvin Atwatercopyright protection123PENANAWfgMYCyQG0

                                                                        Icopyright protection123PENANAMzp8YiPxOR

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 protection123PENANAoLyZnMdRer

Look at them! Stupid grins on their faces.  copyright protection123PENANA0aHhWFTvwA

I stood alongside of these mindless perfect teenagers, forcing myself to look “peaceful” without grinning. It was the only non-smiling option.copyright protection123PENANAviaVq8dfF1

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 protection123PENANA63NF3bsh2G

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 protection123PENANAJ3RqkO5ekC

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 protection123PENANAOPUYLk7YAM

            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 protection123PENANA0GQOmTZOb2

            “Nick, wait up,” someone called from behind as I sped out the door. Damn! I just want to get away from you freaks.copyright protection123PENANAvU5mlqbrFv

I turned around. Kelsey, one of my perfect classmates that always bugged me, scurried toward me. Though it’s totally not her fault…copyright protection123PENANA3ulXt6iA5S

 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 protection123PENANAm5zdUV7TKi

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 protection123PENANAWfd1CysOZ7

            “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 protection123PENANAj3BF05LiFQ

            “So, how’s your day?” Kelsey said after a minute into the walk.copyright protection123PENANAb1WKfRGmKq

            “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 protection123PENANAEGGSIiqb6q

            “I’m having a birthday party tomorrow with some friends. Will you come?”copyright protection123PENANAiqtU5uZRMF

Me, spend my Saturday with a punch of “Perfects?” HELL NO. I don’t want to!copyright protection123PENANAIXGEIVwoig

            “I think it’s best if you and the girls have some girl time,” I said.copyright protection123PENANAPWXvPGNfRU

            “No, this is a party for both girls and guys and I want you to come.”copyright protection123PENANAGak95qD5hq

            “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 protection123PENANAKZorE7navF

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 protection123PENANArkCpPr6DHX

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 protection123PENANAxn8SxejbjA

                                                                                    IIcopyright protection123PENANAC3A0vf8SqD

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 protection123PENANAySYaiOBosj

            “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 protection123PENANAmZGuSeJbp2

            “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 protection123PENANAM16n2BCau3

            “Hi Nick,” she said.copyright protection123PENANAO2VNcdBOB4

            “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 protection123PENANA7Y4OtW2c8s

            “Need any help with anything?” Kelsey asked.copyright protection123PENANAeUtlhwWUHr

            “No,” I replied.copyright protection123PENANAXwtSjG6VuI

            “Don’t be a loner,” she said, “I insist.”copyright protection123PENANAZCG3q90tl8

            “I’m just changing clothes,” I lied.copyright protection123PENANAVA3pVkVSfD

            “Okay. Well take your time. The party doesn’t begin until noon.”copyright protection123PENANAkc9N5ttbpY

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 protection123PENANATpAAt1Jtu5

            “Drop the act,” she said nonchalantly. “I know you’re the same as me.”copyright protection123PENANACpGFPC0Lvf

I was a bit startled but I had to maintain defense just to make sure. “What are you talking about?”copyright protection123PENANAoPsyCx16Ir

            “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 protection123PENANA4CQFdjHXNc

            “Wha—what’s going on?” I said.copyright protection123PENANA3pCJ5rm5cR

            “What? Surprised that I’m not acting like some kid’s cartoon character?”copyright protection123PENANAlAHN8kkaq3

            “Well, yeah,” I said. “Since when?”copyright protection123PENANACvGsbTMSQz

            “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 protection123PENANA4UYGD47Z9j

            “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 protection123PENANARuUyi3SCej

            “We’re the only normal people around here,” she said. “Why not?”copyright protection123PENANAGQOnj0g5S7

I shook my head. “On a serious note, I’d like to keep my imperfection a secret to the public.”copyright protection123PENANAEX1DDFHLFR

            “Are you rejecting me?” she said.copyright protection123PENANA5xmZ6E3Yhh

            “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 protection123PENANAiY87lr7CwZ

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 protection123PENANAKbWMPArxl7

            “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 protection123PENANApqELqKqtJI

            “What can we do about it?” I said.copyright protection123PENANAL2HT93lgFS

            “Say something, take a stand—anything is better than this.”copyright protection123PENANAgq4ccTNEr8

            “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 protection123PENANAMQzqCZb3tV

I grabbed a fresh shirt, pants, and headed into an empty room.copyright protection123PENANAMeXt86wtmc

            “Hey, let me watch—I’m curious,” Kelsey said from behind.copyright protection123PENANAmDCqPPkDuL

            “Why?” I said as slowly closed the door. She placed her hand in front of it, preventing its closure.copyright protection123PENANALgClGelSiO

            “I never seen what a boy’s body is like,” she answered.copyright protection123PENANAO43LycS5Ff

            “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 protection123PENANAh1SUsIKMle

            “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 protection123PENANAx7u9sboN3G

            “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 protection123PENANACSLFDjRvox

            “What are you doing?” I said.copyright protection123PENANALGzDB1llNG

            “Nothing,” she replied, smiling. “Are you ready to go?”copyright protection123PENANAzlO3vgfT4i

            “Are your friends imperfect too?” I asked.copyright protection123PENANAAGbmmOGek5

            “Unfortunately, no.”copyright protection123PENANAM5LlJmn4Ib

            “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 protection123PENANALhwzl2QAVU

            “You don’t really care about my birthday, do you?” Kelsey said after he was out of sight.copyright protection123PENANATwB4TYTzce

            “Great minds think alike, I suppose,” I replied with a chuckle.copyright protection123PENANAEYjqk2NH7v

            “Jerk.”copyright protection123PENANASSNps9riJn

            “Really now.” I sat at my desk’s chair. “What do you expect from me?”copyright protection123PENANAdDUOINNBmZ

Kelsey smothered her head into my pillow. “Something. What about you? Are you expecting anything from me?”copyright protection123PENANAP1Y9rice0k

            “Not really,” I said.copyright protection123PENANAKSdxiFGJYq

            “Jerk face.”copyright protection123PENANA7b410MPOoc

            “Did someone piss in your cereal?” I said.copyright protection123PENANANedLnF4AT4

            “Whatever, jerko,” she said then sighed. “I’m taking a nap, wake me up in an hour.”copyright protection123PENANAUEX7bfNSZL

            “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 protection123PENANAj6Xn8Y9XMy

She sat up. “Alright, quit whining.”copyright protection123PENANA9AMnla2qKW

            “I would if I wasn’t woken up so early.”copyright protection123PENANAuFArMMHzEG

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 protection123PENANAlYNjlWhvU4

            “No thanks, I like living,” I said.  copyright protection123PENANA34EPr0ZtqK

            “Yeah right,” she sarcastically responded.copyright protection123PENANApVp0ncM4Lr

IIIcopyright protection123PENANAL7pzqLvIgp

“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 protection123PENANAMktraVraoS

            “Great,” I lied.copyright protection123PENANAUONkOawBfi

            “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 protection123PENANA20pszQd4yt

            “Can I leave now?” I said under my breath as I walked over to Kelsey.copyright protection123PENANAulOYMYTd8i

            “Hell no,” she muttered back. “You’re not leaving me with them.”copyright protection123PENANA636TnV4Twj

            “Are they not your friends?” I whispered with a chuckle.copyright protection123PENANAbzjB1TreYZ

            “Don’t screw with me.” She grabbed my shirt collar and continued to whisper. “This party wasn’t even my idea.”copyright protection123PENANAIslwq7uklC

            “Hey, hey, what kind of game are you two conjuring up like that?” Minson said as he walked over.copyright protection123PENANACrGIl3EqWb

I believed at the same time, Kelsey and I both thought, “Are you an idiot?”copyright protection123PENANAJ7K3JLXa0V

            “Nothing,” I said. “Anyway, Minson, I heard your brother’s getting married to Dana. Tell him I said congrats.”copyright protection123PENANAaInveOCJ8X

            “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 protection123PENANAmLp2uL58b1

            “Hey, don’t insult our great president,” one of Kelsey’s friends said. “Please, let’s turn your frown upside down.”copyright protection123PENANAjV94ZSPW3P

            “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 protection123PENANARdyfIM4lvd

            “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 protection123PENANAjRYIUsuZBF

I don’t know how this was scientifically possible, but while holding Minson’s hand, they both vanished.copyright protection123PENANA1UBbZA4Ow7

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 protection123PENANAEokcE3ZJov

            “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 protection123PENANAWHnVqhoUhZ

            “Yea—yeah.”copyright protection123PENANAAiUbtTMyIj

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 protection123PENANAFnH0Am3z5s

            “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 protection123PENANA52asXBKlw1

I took her into the house and locked the doors.copyright protection123PENANAl6jfiN94lR

            “Are you okay?” I asked.copyright protection123PENANAn1e51Os5ox

            “Do you even care?” she said softly.copyright protection123PENANAytzIWxkGTQ

            “Kind of,” I replied. “Look, you should be used to this by now.”copyright protection123PENANAHeW1ufODka

            “What do you mean, used to this?” she hissed. “I’ve never seen anything like that—that was electricity, Nick!”copyright protection123PENANAvHbJNdyfjX

 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 protection123PENANANRqnAnVU3O

            “Look. Relax,” I said. “Do you see what we’re up against? Do you understand why I’m keeping undercover?”copyright protection123PENANALL3IMxXBah

            “It doesn’t change the fact that you’re a spineless coward,” she spat.copyright protection123PENANALFZXpNbY3u

            “As harsh as ever, even after that,” I said.copyright protection123PENANAVQmmeWJ9RN

            “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 protection123PENANAYCy1lkyiWJ

            “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 protection123PENANAAHpzFOnQNq

            “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 protection123PENANAlIhH5vEPFw

            “Fine,” I snarled, “but I’m not getting involved.” I headed toward the door.copyright protection123PENANACD9bFuwdMs

            “I don’t care—who needs you!? I’ll go see Maiden myself.”copyright protection123PENANAXmamWPbjGY

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 protection123PENANAK1H1JNxoCc

            “I’ll fight.”copyright protection123PENANAUfQ3qvxWJk

            “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 protection123PENANAoHHz3EoeX5

            “Hey, Nick, where are you going?” a “Perfect” asked.copyright protection123PENANAdH7VJRIgfk

            “Sorry chaps, I gotta get going.”copyright protection123PENANAs9zjd0OKWy

They all gasped. “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you right. What did you say?”copyright protection123PENANA5lfMUjrjyo

 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 protection123PENANApL6wGPoo6D

Kelsey didn’t end the party therefore I was stuck there.copyright protection123PENANAJyMjSZjHKg

IVcopyright protection123PENANAfPBvCwO3Pm

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 protection123PENANAsf8zMPpadv

            “Oh, I’m just…” I stopped mid-sentence as one of Them walked toward me. “Kidding.”copyright protection123PENANANX4zgWzzDj

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 protection123PENANAPT9roMXdQN

            “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 protection123PENANAzi2ISOxhYL

            “Hey Kelsey, where are you?”copyright protection123PENANANMIRlYOVys

            “In here, jerk-face.” She was in the living room sipping on coffee.copyright protection123PENANAfolpQKbOX2

            “We have to rejoin the party, quickly.”copyright protection123PENANABxlEfdtMvs

            “Nope, I don’t want to. I’m not partying alone with those guys.”copyright protection123PENANAxiefaAeYvN

            “Look, I won’t leave. In fact, I can’t leave. And we have an uninvited guest.”copyright protection123PENANAqLcMa2wmQu

She stood up. “What did you do?”copyright protection123PENANAos1J7gXB3s

            “I tried to leave your party,” I confessed.copyright protection123PENANA3ALiQVS5Uo

            “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 protection123PENANATk957k7DGY

            “What—look, now is not the time for that,” I hissed. “If we don’t—”copyright protection123PENANA75r9OypM9t

            “All-day, all-night party—heyyyyy!”copyright protection123PENANAed30vUWo0Q

            “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 protection123PENANAMTbWYig6WW

            “In other words, you have a plan,” Kelsey said.copyright protection123PENANA541wdQ5CCf

            “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 protection123PENANA6RsaSY4Om4

Vcopyright protection123PENANAE9XP5W8l24

2 AMcopyright protection123PENANAi78kElaJYN

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 protection123PENANAY4FrexqjlM

She blinked twice as after reading the plan. “I’m surprised someone as cowardly as you wrote something like this.”   copyright protection123PENANAoZVmP1iXml

            “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 protection123PENANA2EtaY7w9Ru

            “No more hesitation. We have a deal and from the looks of things, deep down, you want to go through with this.”copyright protection123PENANAWQzChO9I7u

I sighed. “We’ll start the attempt in the morning. Any questions?”copyright protection123PENANAuwuqSkrahO

            “Yeah, I have one.”copyright protection123PENANAvjtZur61BX

            “What?”         copyright protection123PENANAvyO5a5UjO1

            “Can I sleep here? I really don’t feel like sneaking all the way back home.”copyright protection123PENANAOjxjJqDbAU

            “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 protection123PENANAZ6es5JUcKw

Kelsey chuckled. “Coward.”copyright protection123PENANAag4Yme4gyS

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 protection123PENANAimbPFVgi6Q

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 protection123PENANAd6Xsz3cufW

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 protection123PENANA0pd4ozjsPR

            “Alright, let me say this, from here on out, you’re on your own,” I said.copyright protection123PENANAk7ewXUrddy

            “What do you mean—are you abandoning me?”copyright protection123PENANA4rE2Te56Il

            “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 protection123PENANA3ILgN9Q6BG

            “Why? I don’t want that!” Kelsey snarled. I revealed the revised edition of the notebook.copyright protection123PENANAYWNcsL6UZj

            “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 protection123PENANAs4K76EmbK4

            “Someday?”copyright protection123PENANAwNNh4AqUH2

            “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 protection123PENANAAFZoRsaYma

Kelsey sighed and accepted my handshake. “So lame. Let’s just get this over with.”copyright protection123PENANAhPe2XkGjwr

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 protection123PENANAn2fbkjMLet

VIcopyright protection123PENANAOO8Nd0foYB

“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 protection123PENANAyfrMho7YHD

            “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 protection123PENANAp5GEh0Y3Lc

            “What are you doing?” I said.copyright protection123PENANAwz1FnfFCDD

            “Excuse me?” She seemed a bit disorientated and I only just began.copyright protection123PENANAebTGYb45aM

            “Are you satisfied with your life? Such a bore and what’s up with your hair?”copyright protection123PENANAJzSpe9qddb

            “My hair?”copyright protection123PENANApJLqp9G4Lj

            “Let it down sometimes. You look like a—”copyright protection123PENANAI0vCGuNKAX

            “Hey, how dare you insult my hair, you jerk!” She gasped. “What…I feel weird.”copyright protection123PENANAxjxqIMA8ZN

            “No, you’re regaining real emotions. Look around. See what Maiden done to these people.”copyright protection123PENANAkox6PWfv11

            “Oh my gosh, you’re absolutely right,” she said.copyright protection123PENANAPK1kmIO9to

            “Yep,” I said, “now start insulting and doing whatever I takes to wake these people. We need a mob and fast.”copyright protection123PENANA70IEqrq1Aq

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 protection123PENANAOUPl1Eihaj

            “Your marriage life is horrid, isn’t it?”copyright protection123PENANAiZ3kkp29zv

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 protection123PENANAyGwglXIMYi

            “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 protection123PENANAcNc18eGrvQ

            “I don’t know what you’re talking about kid, but from the looks of things, I guess I have no choice.”copyright protection123PENANAKOQO9beclN

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 protection123PENANAHTueaPcSBb

I sat on a park bench and rested. Continuous talking sure can took a lot of you.copyright protection123PENANAaNYnP7Bvy7

 Just then, someone sat by me.copyright protection123PENANAljWc75olhJ

“You look worn out.”copyright protection123PENANA9ZCDeNtqG4

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 protection123PENANABQSAeHHPcf

I stood up and turned to the Perfection Moderator. “You don’t sound like a “Perfect.” So tell me what’s going on?”copyright protection123PENANAXyyTLGY92g

The Perfection Moderator laughed. “Do you think you’re in a position to be giving me orders?”copyright protection123PENANASbfvPtiiUY

He looked up and noticed the crowd surrounding us. Everything was going just as I planned…copyright protection123PENANAnvPf63XNTa

VIIcopyright protection123PENANA3RIBKthJDk

“Speak up, Moderator!”copyright protection123PENANAZvvf0lJjDD

“Yeah!”copyright protection123PENANAi197hfae24

“You better start explaining!”copyright protection123PENANAo6V7HGAZpe

“Fix this!”copyright protection123PENANAjpJPFKao3O

“We’re sick of it!”copyright protection123PENANA1lPbt6qElt

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 protection123PENANAIJzEQhkrhJ

            “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 protection123PENANAFB9pqO9Bcd

            “I don’t!” snarled the Perfection Moderator, “but Maiden is too powerful. I’m not dumb enough to fuck with her.”copyright protection123PENANApezfq2lQGH

            “Take me to her,” I said.copyright protection123PENANAkpqU3hcnIt

            “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 protection123PENANA7o4gOv5X6i

            “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 protection123PENANAbvxKLXN6Ot

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 protection123PENANAN8Te3Wvfke

            “Thanks,” I replied.copyright protection123PENANAJsDOJrjOpp

            “Here, take this.” The woman from earlier handed me the stun gun. The two men released the Perfection Moderator.copyright protection123PENANA6AVEkGB7Np

            “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 protection123PENANABByuPBrlRM

            “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 protection123PENANAABedpXEIL4

            “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 protection123PENANA7SE3wZJ87w

VIIIcopyright protection123PENANAxI76dXIFiz

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 protection123PENANArSaF6zDLio

            “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 protection123PENANAPphtsOtcWA

            “How long do you intend to stare,” she said. “I know you’re there, come out, Nick Stars.”copyright protection123PENANAIujQAxNic6

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 protection123PENANASEY2k4CXQU

            “Huh? You’re not going to kill me?”copyright protection123PENANAlFkD9NrCZn

            “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 protection123PENANAdISwys4mKg

            “I want to know… Why do you have humanity living like this?”copyright protection123PENANAsCVqFfvicm

            “Simple. I’m preventing wars, conflict, disease, and all sorts of things,” Maiden replied.copyright protection123PENANAdy1xbblCNk

            “But this is so wrong,” I continued. “You have no idea how hellish this utopia is—you know what’s bound to happen.”copyright protection123PENANA013SyBlCX6

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 protection123PENANATpIOQo4mGg

            “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 protection123PENANAITOKr0VMCJ

            “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 protection123PENANA7DKawjMSVK

            “Nope, you didn’t,” I said.copyright protection123PENANAYPaHE15IoM

            “What?”copyright protection123PENANAY6GNR7NMUq

            “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 protection123PENANAv14gcAzZtv

            “And what do you know, human? You’re good for nothing but conflict, anger and—”copyright protection123PENANAJrkU8YVeHj

            “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 protection123PENANA0FqGthNg4I

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 protection123PENANAGAJKQWlqVO

            “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 protection123PENANAWFggzofvCX

            “Hey, what are you doing? Get off me, rapist!”copyright protection123PENANAPDDgj6x7mC

            “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 protection123PENANAP3czO3vauq

She stopped struggling and held still. “Go ahead, have your way with me. You could create the first half human, half fairy child.”copyright protection123PENANAYq6eHGDXbg

            “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 protection123PENANAU0TxgcDOj0

            “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 protection123PENANAr93EIRHd1c

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 protection123PENANAE0CLfjrSgC

            “You’re fucking sick,” I said.copyright protection123PENANA8aD2IUelJy

            “Your last words,” she said, “I’ll make you gurgle—”copyright protection123PENANAlaHpOqhwEi

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 protection123PENANAIijk4yEvrU

            “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 protection123PENANA7A5LCOFR9o

            “You’re a fool,” Maiden snarled. “Without me as its ruler, this world is going to tear itself apart.”copyright protection123PENANApvz7UnybTc

            “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 protection123PENANAuBvOWznA4O

            “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 protection123PENANAvcpBX2pDTy

            “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 protection123PENANA2j4BrZZ0bS

            “You! I’ll kill you!” Maiden hopped up, but was sent back to the ground with more volts.copyright protection123PENANAcFuHtrgR1l

            “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 protection123PENANAGxx58v8x82

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 protection123PENANA6bmaMO9LOk

 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 protection123PENANAE009IuAZlC

To be continued….copyright protection123PENANAk19S7ingPw

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