It had been 3 weeks since the teachers had left, and though I wake frequently in my attempts to get some shuteye, this was different.
The air around me...the air whistling through the narrow cracks in the bricks...it was all...clean. Not full with deadly fumes, choked with throat-drying chemicals- it seemed clear, natural, fresh.
I reach a foot out of my saggy mattress, careful not to wake Tashie above me.
My feet pick up grit and scratchy granules of stone on the vinyl floor.
The telltale jingle of the keys on my belt clank worryingly as I shove the door.
I wince and clamp my hand across the keys.
"Mackenzie?" Luka peered at me, book resting on her knees.
"Hi, Luka," I whispered. "Just, uh...going to do my jobs."
"I know what you´re up to, Mackenzie."
I shuffled uncomfortably. "You do?"
"You´re trying to get life to grow here, aren´t you?"
"I fully support your idea, Mackenzie. Be careful about Aster and Robin. They won´t approve."
I nod. "Positive. Farewell."
I exit through the door and make my way towards the garden.
I looked up to the sky. I knew it.
There wasn´t a single puff of smoke to be seen.
Unfortunately, there was no ´Moon´ to show me light; the sky was completely clouded over tonight.
I could see navy patches peek through the clouds.
I felt my eyes glitter, my mouth hanging slightly open, moving about on bare feet, completely in awe.
I then felt the bristle of grass prodding my sole.
I looked down.
Where there was once a stretch of dirt was now a carpet of spiky, fresh grass. The colour wasn´t clear; the sky was too dark to see much- but it was life. Black beetles crawled in the dirt, worms squirmed in the soil.
I sat on the ground, raking my fingers through the grass, nails beginning to cake in mud, grass encasing my body.
I lie back, embracing with the wildlife.
I close my eyes.
Only the soft, calming whisper of the fresh wind was to be heard.
It soothed me, lulled me, till I was in a half-sleep state.
Something awakened me.
A warm sort of glow illuminated the inside of my eyelids.
I peer through my eyelashes.
A faint speck of light greets me.
I open my eyes and kneel.
In front of me, glowing fiercely, was an orange firefly.
I couldn´t believe it...
The way it sparkled, it gleamed and shone so brightly in this eternal darkness.
It overpowered me, engulfed my whole being and meaning on this planet, it showed me...light.
It was colour.
Real, actual colour.
It was beautiful.
It was my wish.
My arms reach for it of their own accord.
I wake myself up, and urge myself to pull my eyes away from this new found glimmer of hope.
I scramble back inside to fetch Aurora and Millie- and perhaps Tashie. But if I got Tashie, then Felic would have to come, and if Felic came, then Winter would have, and it would have been a complete waste of time getting everyone to wake their friends.
So I just decide to rouse everyone...except for Aster and Robin, of course, who were staying in the teacher´s quarters.
"Aurora," I whisper in her pale ear. I shove her more, eager to break her slumber.
Eventually, she turns and moans groggily in her half-sleep state.
Her eyelids slot open to reveal those grey eyes, the mute expression of sleep that overruns them.
"Hello, Mackenzie," she says.
"There is a firefly outside," I say.
I see a glimmer of pure hope run across her eyes.
"There´s a firefly outside!" she shouts loudly, jumping from her rough bed.
She shoves everyone in the room, shouting and shouting, "There´s a firefly! There´s a firefly outside!"
Everyone runs for the door.
At the sight of the firefly, Tashie staggers to fall on her rear, Felic grabs a door to stay on his feet, Winter clutches Luka and the others basically drop to their knees.
And, even though it was the millionth time looking at it, it still made my knees weak.
The firefly floats silently towards the mesh.
"Don´t go," I find myself whispering.
And it doesn´t.
Instead, millions of other fireflies join it, drifting calmly and quietly towards the original firefly.
They made a small army, only the slight hum of their wings breaking the silence.
And, before I realize what they´re doing, they singe the metal of the wire fence that caged us. The iron begins to liquidize at the fireflies touch, and they seared a hole in the mesh.
The hole grew.
Eventually, it could fit a person through it.
An awe-filled silence followed in gratitude for the little flames.
"We could do it, you know," Aurora finally breaks the quiet. "Run away."
The next dose of utter silence was mingled with thought.
Before any of us knew what we were doing, our feet find themselves walking towards the Third Form kitchen, filling our satchels with all the food and drinks found in there.
Next, we proceed to the bedrooms we sleep in- retrieving our belongings, saying goodbye.
And then is the heart-crippling decision of grouping off.
We know that we´re probably not going to see each other again, if the Capitol find us or if we merely die of exposure.
The farewell was painful.
Not a smile was exchanged, a tear fallen.
Though I wish I could of done so.
After discussing the topic for a while, we eventually decide our groups. We´d go in fours.
Ryder, Aurora, Octavia and I were one group.
Ryder claimed of having no trouble with staying with girls.
Then was Faye, Winter, Scout and Paige. The last group was Tashie, Felic, Millie and Luka.
I was incredibly not pleased with Millie´s partition from me and Aurora.
I guess people in the Capitol would call it being ´upset´.
We exchange hugs, handshakes- all physical contact that otherwise might have been banned in Asylum 310.
Before each of us take a different route, Luka hands me one of her books.
"My baby´s first..." it read in black lettering on the front. The book was cold leather with black and grey prints of teddy bears and bows covering it.
"Why are you giving me this?" I query, untying the navy ribbon that closes it.
"I think you, of all people, need it the most." Luka stares at me with her short crop of silvery hair, her metallic eyes boring into me.
I flick the canvas pages, and see photo holds reading ´_____´s first smile,´ and little notes of paper tucked into slots saying ´______´s first tear,´, and occasionally even a little recording box which shows the words ´______´s first laugh,´ or ´______´s first word´.
Luka slowly pushes the book to my chest. "Fill it. For me."
She even slings her very own digital camera around my shoulder.
I can´t help but collapse into her for one last hug until we part ways.