Chapter 4 - Breaking the Rules
1660 days ago
I lay in my bunk bed, thoughts swimming through my head, adrenaline pumped up to my ears.
Is this what it´s like to be excited?
I clutched the charcoal sheets and snuggled down deeper, shivering from the chilly wind that curled through the gaps in the brick walls.
I felt another spring snap, and I fell downwards 5 centimeters.
I winced slightly at the shock.
Tashie snored gently in her slumber on the bunk on top of mine.
I heard the thundering snores from the boys in the room opposite.
I felt the damp of my bed encasing my body, so chilled that it was moistening.
The usual night in the life of Mackenzie Ravenglass.
I hear the slight turn of a page, and could only be Luka reading again. I think that´s the only way she can really put her mind to rest, the only way to free all the static chaos in her head, to let it all spill out like a funnel through her tired eyes, peering at the pages.
Though her books are something to do, there´s nothing uplifting, or tense, or exciting.
Eventually, after a sleepless night, the alarm I was told to trigger last night sounds, a piercing, ringing sound, like every morning, and we all form a line, like every morning. I lead us out to the cafeteria. Everyone sits down as I slump to the kitchens.
As promised, the fridge is stuffed with dried fruit, packs of porridge, tubs of yogurt and loafs of seeded bread.
I pick some of them all and cut them up, place them on two dozen plates and wait at the Exchange Window.
Aurora walks up to the window and I give her a plate.
Then comes Felic, Tashie close behind.
Then all of them.
I treat myself to some dried apricot.
When everyone finally collected their meals, I sat with Aurora who faithfully waited for me. I also notice Ryder sitting across. He starts only when I sit.
Could this be out of the goodness of his heart, or just plain coincidence?
I begin to shovel forkfuls of grape, bread and oatmeal biscuits into my mouth, washing it down with a chug of our chemicalized water.
I linger about a bit to wait until Ryder finishes, stacking plates, shoving cutlery in the wash, and roaming about.
Eventually he leaves, catching up with Winter and Scout.
I nip to the loo before checking on the Smoke Machine and outside.
And if you have such a mind to think about what colour our excretion is, then all I´m saying is grey.
All these cursed jabs.
I go to the Smoke Machine.
You must be thinking at this point that the Earth mustn´t be able to cope with 9000+ Asylums pumping smoke 24/7.
The thing is, the Earth has been around for a mighty long time now.
And it still hasn´t reduced to a smoldering pile of ashes as warned.
You see, smoke is very powerful. It can suffocate a victim within minutes of arriving.
And it´s going to sound silly, but the Earth takes in only what makes it stronger.
The cavemen back in the years of 2000 didn´t know that.
But it´s true.
Anyway, I journey to the Smoke Machine, and my heart jumps about nervously at the prospect of what I´m about to do.
I´m doing it.
My hand hovers over the power button.
The power button is pushed with a click, and the numerous cogs and dials grind to a halt.
The lights all fade.
Maybe those tutoring hours from Miss Yolksom really did pay off.
I spy a hammer lying on a stool.
Mackenzie, you´re one of the trusted four.
They trust you.
But don´t you want to be free?
I walk to the hammer, and before I know it, a spray of shattered glass greets my face.
A few sparks of blue fizzle out.
Wires hang from the wreckage of the smoke machine, now concocting it´vs very own little smoky blanket.
I beat out the flames with a cloth lying on the side.
Walking outside, my heart quivers uncertainly. What did Mackenzie Ravenglass just do?
I expected to see clusters of fresh glass when I stepped outside- instead, I saw a rather disappointing stretch of mud, same as yesterday.
A much weaker stench of smoke greeted me today.
Though the ghost of the smoke machine still lingered in the sky, it should be gone within the continuing few weeks, bringing back more ´seagulls´.
The next day was same-old.
As was the next few weeks.
The carpet of filth of the ground outdoor began to fade away as the first stubble of grass began to form- though weak and charred from my persistent treading and the clutches of the smoke, it was working its way to the fresh air.
Soon the grim roof of gas began to dissipate.
The others were oblivious at first, but noticed the changes soon enough.