We now present the
seventh fourth and final installment in the epic tale of Harry Potter Kate Sigal.*
(Oh, yeah, that’s her last name, by the way. Since I haven’t mentioned it until now.)
Something I couldn’t identify flashed in his face. “I don’t know,” he told me. “When we talk on the Network, I feel like…like you understand me. Like you’re the only one I could possibly share this with, the only one who might want to leave with me. It’s strange…but I feel…close to you, Kate.”
Then he leaned in, and I knew what was about to happen, and in an instant I made my decision. If she was in this situation, Angela would leave in a heartbeat. She loved her freedom, and she loved adventure. Being in an Apartment her entire life wouldn’t suit her.
I was not Angela. When faced with the bear, I could not stand and accept my fate. I ran and hid.
“Stop,” I said. He leaned back again, a hurt expression replacing his previously determined one. I continued, “No, it’s not that—that I don’t like you, it’s just…I can’t. I mean, I don’t know you, not really, and I don’t have a clue what you think you’re going to be doing, and how do I know you’re not lying to me?” Every word felt like a miserable excuse, and I fumbled over them while trying to get everything out at once. I took a deep breath. “The truth is, you thought wrong. I’m too scared to leave. I can’t. I’m sorry, Jayden.”
Jayden just looked at me for a moment, and then he nodded. His next words cut into my heart like a knife. “No. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come. You’re not ready for this. I have to go.” He let go of my hands, and instantly I wanted to feel their warmth again, but I knew that was foolish.
The Reader mocked me once more: “Rule Twenty-Five: It is unhealthy for any citizen to receive everything he or she desires.” I desired Jayden and escape, and I had chosen not to have them. I had chosen to follow the Rules. What was left of my heart sank, leaving an empty place in my chest, and still I could not work up the courage to follow my old friend. I was not Angela. I was a citizen.
Before he walked out of my life, though, Jayden Wallace gave me a parting hope: “I won’t be gone forever. One day, when it’s safe, I promise that I’ll come back for you.” He smiled a little bit then, as if he knew what I was feeling, as if he knew that when he came again I would be braver. “Good-bye, Kate Sigal.”
It occurred to me, too late, that I loved the way he said my name. He reached out to me one last time, touching my face, my cheek. It was so nice, the feel of his fingers on my skin. I closed my eyes and clung to the moment. When I looked again, the door was closing and he was gone and I was alone with his promise.
A week later, when I went into the courtyard to water the carrots, I almost stepped on a strange bright something in front of the doorway, something slender and green with a burst of purple at one end. As I picked it up, I gasped aloud, suddenly realizing what it was.
It was a flower.
It was his promise.
I’ve been waiting ever since.
So there you have it. Cliffhanger ending, so to speak, but I’m afraid there’s no sequel this time. What did you all think of my attempt at dystopia, readers?
I guess I mostly wrote this the way I did because a) I wanted to do something different with dystopia, something that I didn’t think many people had done before, and b) I had been thinking lately about how social networking at its most extreme could definitely kill off face-to-face interactions. Now, I’m not saying it’ll come to that, but it was interesting to imagine what a world would be like in which this kind of social limitation is seen as an acceptable thing.
The hardest part, I think, was trying to put myself in Kate’s shoes. I had to imagine that I had not been in contact with another human being since I was a little girl. It was really hard getting a suitable reaction to Jayden’s arrival in her Apartment.
Oh, while we’re on the subject, do you like the term I gave this society’s accommodations? Apartments. Simple, but brilliant in that it’s an already existing word that works so well for the situation. I have to give credit to a close friend of mine for that bit of wordplay.
I didn’t win the contest this was for, but it was fun entering. This is the first, like, creative writing-type contest I’ve ever entered, and it makes me feel that much closer to being serious about this authoring thing.
Well, I guess that’s it. I really enjoyed sharing this with you.
*A play on the description on the dust jacket of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I hasten to add that I am not in any way comparing my little story to the splendid magnificence that is J.K. Rowling’s work.