Because We Were Different – Part 6

Hey everyone! This is part 6 of my sci-fi serial story! Hope you all enjoy! ~ C.G

Part 6

 Raidon led me into our room. It was actually a pretty nice room compared to my cell or the interrogation room. There was soft cream carpet on the flooring, and two twin beds on the left side of the room, each with a nightstand beside it. On the opposite side, there were two oak desks with nothing but a lamp and an empty paper organizer on it. To the immediate left as I stepped into the room, I noticed a door. “What’s that for?” I asked Raidon. 

   The door clicked shut behind us, as Raidon answered. “That’s our closet, see!” He opened the door, showing a nice row of uniforms on the left side, and a basket to the right on the floor. “That’s for clothes that need to be washed. Oh, and I may want to tell you…” He grew red, and started to laugh nervously. 

  I sighed. What could it possibly be now? “Yes?”

  “Well… I hope you’re not too picky about how things look, because — um —the only reason the closet looks nice right now is because we had a cleaning detail today, and I didn’t want to get in trouble. Usually the closet isn’t so neat… I’m awful at keeping anything clean for long!” He raised his brows then, as if remembering something, and then pointed at the door opposite the closet. “Oh, and that door leads to the bathroom.”

  I nodded, but didn’t answer. I was too worn out to talk, and I decided I’d only speak if I needed to. I had a feeling that if I tried to say anything, it would encourage him to talk more. I sat down on the bed nearest to the door exhaustedly and thought over the mission… the mission that would get Mai her freedom. 

I would just have to train real good for a few years, and capture some princess. Three or four years of training is how much Remington said I’d need, and so in only three or four years, and she’d be freed. Then I could somehow plan an escape. If I could figure out—

  “Hey! Hey, you home? Ainslie?” Raidon waved a hand in front of my face. 

  “Huh? What?” I looked up at him, then snapped, “and don’t call me Ainslie! My name is Ainslyn!”

  “Okie doke,” Raidon clasped his hands behind his back, looking nervous at my outburst. “Anyway, you may wanna put on your uniform. Dinner’s at seven sharp, and you don’t have much time to eat usually, unless they wanna fill you up and then order you out on a march. That’s when it gets awful. Oh, and then the push-ups! If you don’t have your uniform in perfect order, then you have to do forty-five push-ups! Then there’s—”

  I groaned, feeling sick to my stomach again. I liked working with my hands and my brain. That was what I was best at. I’d never been interested in sports, especially vigorous ones, and though I reckoned I’d do good at them, I wasn’t too sure. “Don’t — don’t tell me anymore.” I held up a hand, interrupting him. 

  “Okie dokie! Well, I’m going to go down and make sure there’s no more chores I’ve gotta do, or details that I wasn’t made aware of. Which… is entirely possible since I forget things all the time! I’ll come back and get you in time for dinner, since you don’t know your way around.” He opened the door, and waved. “See ya!” 

  “See you,” I answered, half relieved he was leaving. As the door was shutting, I heard a woman’s voice say sharply, “Raidon Zainab! Why are you slouching when you have no been dismissed to relax?!”

  I rolled my eyes as I heard Raidon’s laid back response. “Sorry ma’am, guess I wasn’t payin’ attention.” I heard multiple pairs of footsteps leaving the hall as this woman chided and yelled at Raidon, and I actually smirked. 

I then got up off the bed, and walked over to the closet, where I grabbed a uniform and put it on. I examined myself in the bathroom mirror. I did like the uniform; it was comfortable and looked at least a bit stylish, but it definitely showed I meant business. 

  I then sat back down on the bed, and laid back. It seemed like years since I’d last laid in a bed, though I knew it to be only about a year since our imprisonment. I didn’t want to fall asleep, due to the fact that I had been haunted by the same dream of our imprisonment every time I did. Yet I couldn’t help but think about it, the guilt washing over me in torrents. It was my fault… my fault…

   I had been twelve, and Mai ten. Our mother had awoken me and told me to get up for school. Then she said the same thing she said every morning. “Remember, don’t say anything about your father’s business to anyone! Anyone, Ainslyn. You promise?”

  “Yes, Mom,” I said, promising the same thing I did every morning. “But what’s so bad about Dad inventing things?” 

   “Don’t ask that, Ainslyn. You will understand soon enough.” She walked gracefully out of the room like she always did, after giving me a kiss on the forehead. 

   I slipped out of bed, and put on my school uniform. I grabbed my book bag, and stuffed my books into it, and I was just about to go downstairs, when I spotted my pocket knife. It wasn’t just any pocket knife — it was one my dad had helped me make. It had new gadgets in it, like an alarm, tiny flashlight, and all sorts of other things. I was so proud of it — Dad and I had made it ourselves! “I’m sure Mom wouldn’t mind if I brought it to school and showed it to my friends!” I said to myself as I stuffed it into my bag. Besides, it wasn’t telling anyone my dad invented stuff. I ran out my bedroom and down the stairs. 

   Mai was sitting at the table, quietly eating her breakfast. She already had her bag at the door, and was almost finished eating. 

   “You’re late, Ainslyn,” my mom shook her head as she pulled out a bowl and spoon for me. 

  “Yeah,” I grinned cheekily, pulling up a chair and sitting beside Mai. “I can eat faster than Kit-Kat can anyway, Mom,” I said, using the nick-name I’d always used for my sister.

  “Maybe, but you better hurry. The shuttle will be here in a few minutes to pick you up.”

  “Yeah, I know.” I grabbed my bowl and poured some of the cereal that Mai had out into it. “Why can’t you tell us now what’s going on, Mom?” I asked.

  My mom sighed. “Ainslyn…” She ruffled my hair, and I pulled away, not wanting my hair to be messed up. “It’s something that you wouldn’t understand right now. You just need to trust us. We love you, very much, and only want what’s best.” 

  I sighed, staring at my bowl. “Yeah. I guess.”

  “Now here.” She smiled at Mai and I as she pulled out two little envelopes. “These are for you to open on the way home from school. They’re just a little surprise that your father and I wanted you to have. Mai, not now,” she chided as my sister reached for hers. “You don’t have enough time to read it before the shuttle comes.”

  “Yes, Mom.” Mai looked down, flushing guiltily. 

  “Now, I’m going downstairs to help your father — I’m trusting that you two won’t open those until you are on the way home from school.”

  “Yes Mom,” we both said in unison. 

  “Good. I love you.” 

  “Love you too, Mom,” Mai and I said, as Mom gave us both a kiss, then went downstairs.

  “I wonder about Dad’s new inventions,” I then murmured to myself, recalling a previous conversation I’d recently overheard. “They said somethin’ about smuggling something out to some weird place.”

   “What’s smuggling, Ainslyn?” Mai asked me, and I jumped. I hadn’t meant to say that out loud.

  “I think it’s hiding stuff and moving it, or something like that, Kit-Kat.” I took a big bite of my cereal. “It’s like Mom says, we’ll understand when we get older. Maybe Dad’s making a surprise for someone or something.”

  Mai shrugged. “Maybe. I wish they didn’t act so funny though. It makes me nervous.”

  I laughed. “Oh, c’mon, Kit-Kat! Dad’s been working in the basement for the past two years! Nothing’s happened, and I don’t think anything ever will.” 

  “Shuttle’s here.” Mai slid off her seat, and grabbed her envelope and book bag before dashing out the door, clearly done with the conversation. “C’mon, Ainslyn!” 

  I gulped down the rest of my cereal in two big bites, then grabbed my book bag and started towards the door. “Bye, Mom and Dad!”

  I heard my parents reply, “Goodbye, love you!”

  I scrambled into the shuttle, and then found a seat beside some of my friends. “Drat,” I said, checking my pockets. “I forgot my envelope!”

  “You forgot what?” one of my friends said loudly, trying to suppress laughter from some joke he’d heard or something. 

  “Nothing,” I said quickly covering up my mistake. “Oh, I’ve got something to show you at recess! Remind me.”

  “Ooh, yes!” He grinned. “This’ll be fun!” 

  School seemed to drag out that day. I thought it’d never be recess. I fidgeted in my seat, and passed a few notes to my friends, which I got punished for. I also failed my math test — my mother wasn’t going to be pleased, but whatever. Math is math. It’s mental abuse to humans. At least that was my argument. I guess not studying for my test helped me fail too. But hey, I had been too busy making my pocket knife to care about that!

  But finally recess came. I was met with a group of boys who my friend had told that I had something to show him. Normally I would’ve been upset that he’d gone and told ten other boys that I was going to show him something, but I was proud of my invention, and the more publicity it got, the better! Or so I thought. 

  “Whoa! Where’d you get that?!” one boy gasped in awe. 

  “Gee, did you make that?” another said. 

  “Yes, I made it,” I said, puffing up proudly. “I made it myself!” 

  Most of the boys started begging me to make them one too, but before I could reply, I felt a hand on my shoulder, and looked up to see our language teacher. “Hello, Mr. Khoner.”

  He looked at me critically through his big round glasses. “Where did you get this, Monsieur Paine?” he asked me, motioning towards my knife.

  I shrugged. Why was he so curious about my knife? Did he want one too? “I made it,” I answered. 

  “Oh.” He raised his brows, then gave his typical oily smile. “Will you come with me, Monsieur Paine?” 

  “Fine,” I said, standing up. 

The boys started grinning and laughing lightly. “Goodbye, Monsieur Paine,” they mocked Mr. Khoner’s monotoned accent.

  I grinned, as I was led away by him. My smiled faded, however, as I saw him leading me to the principal’s office. “Hey!” I jerked my arm away from him. “What’d I do wrong?”

  “Nothing, nothing, Monsieur Paine,” he answered soothingly. “The principal only has a few questions.” We entered his office, and he went up and whispered something to the principal. 

  Principal Dunkey was a strange man. The kids always made fun of his name by calling him “Principal Dunny” but kids who had been sent to him had always come out with a certain amount of respect for him. I could understand why, when I stood before him. He was an older man, with a balding head, but his eyes were firm and hard. I couldn’t see a bit of compassion in them. When he stood, he towered over me, and even Mr. Khoner, who was a good six feet.

   “I see,” I heard him say to Mr. Khoner. Then he raised his voice, and looked down at me. “You — invented — a pocket knife?”

  I noted that he used the word ‘invented’, but I shrugged it off. I hadn’t invented the pocket knife, but I had invented one that had all these gadgets on it. “Well… I guess I sorta did.”

  “I see. And who taught you to make that?”

  I bit my tongue. My mother had made me promise not to tell of my father’s business. Wait, she’d only said his business! Not that he had helped me invent this knife! Maybe they were looking for an inventor to help teach at the school? “My dad did!” I said proudly. “He’s the best inventor ever!”

  “Ah, I see,” Mr. Dunkey nodded, with the slightest interest in his voice. “Khoner, take Paine outside my office and make sure he stays there. I will tell him when he can go home. You are dismissed.” 

  As I was led out, I looked back to see Mr. Dunkey pick up his phone and say, “Call the Secret Service please.”

   “What’s he want with the Secret Service?” I asked Mr. Khoner. 

   He seemed uncomfortable. “I-I don’t know — don’t ask things like that!” he snapped, and I looked away. He sat me down on a bench outside the principal’s office, and I stayed there, kicking my feet impatiently. “C’mon, when can I go?” I asked for the fifth time, before Mr. Dunkey came out, and said that my sister and I could go home early. 

   Now that was a rare treat! Getting to go home early! What I had done I was still clueless about, but I could go home and work on more of my inventions! I dashed outside the school to meet my sister who was standing there waiting on me. 

  “What’d you do?” she asked me in an incriminating tone. 

  “I don’t know, but who cares! No more school for today! You should be happy, Kit-Kat!”

  She shook her head, and I saw little tears forming. “It’s a disgrace to be sent home early, Ainslyn!”

  I rolled my eyes. “Oh, now c’mon!” We got into the shuttle waiting to take us home, and it only took ten minutes until we were let off in front of our house. The shuttle, the moment we got off, zoomed away. 

  “Gee, he must be in a hurry to somewhere,” I said. “C’mon, Kit-Kat.”

  Mai held back. “What are we going to tell Mom and Dad?” she sniffled. 

  “Don’t worry, I’ll explain things to them.” I looked at her. “You coming in or not?”

  She sat down on the curb. “You go in and explain it to them first, then if they aren’t angry I’ll come in.”

  I sighed a bit irritated. “Fine, I’ll go first!” I marched in. “Mom! Dad!” I stopped short, as I saw that the house was a disaster. Muddy footprints were tracked through the house, and everything was upturned or destroyed. I carefully stepped over a broken chair, and something cracked under my shoe. Our family picture. I picked it up and dusted it off. “Mom? Dad?” Now I was a bit concerned. Had one of Dad’s inventions gone awry? 

  “The basement!” I cried, as I saw that the door was ripped off the hinges. I scrambled down the basement stairs, trying my best to step over bits and pieces of little wires, glass, wood, and the like. The lights were on downstairs, and I knew my parents must be down there! They had to be!

  I stopped short when I reached the bottom, and looked into the room. I couldn’t speak at all. All of my father’s wonderful inventions were destroyed! Ripped apart! How could anyone do such a thing? Then I noted something else. Little holes in the walls — from bullets! And the walls… had splotches of red all over them…

  I didn’t want to go any further into the basement, but my fearful longing to know what had happened got the better of me. “M-mom? D-dad?” I stepped carefully over little wires that were still sparking with electricity. I saw something behind my father’s desk — a shoe! My mother’s shoe! I climbed on top the desk. “Mom?” I looked behind the desk, and my heart just about stopped. My parents — both shot to death! I screamed, and jerked myself back, off the desk, to try to get the image out of my head. I ran up the basement stairs panting, and trying not to cry. But I couldn’t help it. I started bawling when I reached the upstairs, and I walked into what used to be the kitchen. I shoved broken glasses and ripped up papers off the counter, and I put my arms on it, and buried my head into them. I sobbed for a few minutes, when I looked up, and something caught my eyes. The envelope that my mother had left for me. It had been ripped open, and half burnt, but a little note at the very end of the letter written by my mother read, ‘…we love you, and are proud of both you and your sister. Always take care of each other. We love you so much. Love, Mom and Dad.

   “I love you too, Mom and Dad,” I whispered, wiping my eyes on my sleeves. “But how will I tell—”

   A shrill scream from outside startled me, but I recognized it as Mai’s. “Kit-Kat!” I dashed outside to see two men in uniforms holding her — Secret Service uniforms! I suddenly remembered Principal Dunkey’s call… he had done this? No, wait… had I… no… it couldn’t have been me… it couldn’t have been!

  “Let my sister go!” I screamed, dashing out of the house. “Let her go!”

  They looked at me like I was mad, and I dashed at them, before I felt my own feet give way. I found myself being held by two other soldiers, who I struggled and fought against, but to no avail. I was merely  thrown into the back of a truck with Mai, which was locked behind us. 

  While in there, I was forced to tell Mai about our parents, and by the time we arrived at the prison, we were both too worn out to fight. We were thrown into a cell together, and from then on out, the days were a mix of staying in the cell, having brainwashing attempted on us, and threats of what would happen if one of us tried escaped. It was always horrid… the terrible brainwashing that they would try to force on us was the worst. I resisted it well enough, and with me there to strengthen her, Mai would too… but now that I wasn’t there… would she…

  “Hey! Hey, wake up!” 

  I jerked my eyes open, realizing I must have fallen asleep. “R-Raidon?”

  “Yeah, it’s me, and like, man, are you okay?” His big brown eyes were looking over me with worry. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost!”

  “I’m fine,” I answered gruffly, rolling over on the bed to ignore him.

  “Well then, you better hurry! Dinner’s in a few minutes, and I wanna be one of the first people to eat, so that we get more time! And hopefully you won’t get scolded for a messy uniform since you’re new. If not, you may have to do forty some pushups! Now c’mon!”

  I sighed, and wiped a piece of my hair from my eyes. “All right, I’m coming.” I stood up and followed him out the room. 

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