Amber Skies: Part 6

Cover art drawn by Ashley Landers.

Cover art drawn by Ashley Landers.

Mackenzie Pence, Assistant Editor

Fifteen minutes pass with us just lying, there processing what just happened. I don’t know what it is about fire, but it has become my best friend. All I seem to do now a-days is burn stuff to the ground.

We can’t really leave, since it’s still night time, but if we stay near the fire, we should be safe until daylight. I raise my bloody arms to evaluate them, and the sensation of pain all of a sudden fills my body. I look at Carter’s face, where he still has a giant claw mark on the side of it. They bleeding has slowed, but not by much. He looks at my arms and feels my blisters carefully, so gingerly that not a single one gets popped. I stroke the side of his face, and he winces. There is so much dirt in the gash that it looks black.

“We’re just a couple of troublemakers aren’t we?” he says, stroking my hair back behind my ear. I grin and hold his face in my hands. I kiss his smooth lips, and he kisses me back. It makes everything seem okay, like there is nothing wrong with the world. When we back away from each other, I’m reminded of the reality of our situation. The whole forest is burning down, and the only choice we have is to travel the unknown path ahead of us, hoping to find some sort of shelter. I try not to think about it as I lie beside Carter, waiting for the sun to rise.

A couple hours later, just as the forest smolders in a pile of dark ash, the sun peeks out from below the horizon. I know we need to get started on our journey to try and find somewhere to go, but I don’t have the energy. I don’t want to get up from sitting here in the presence of this amazing boy. I like that when I kiss him, I get lost in a fantasy that I will be okay. That we will be okay.

He stands and reaches for my hand to help me up. We face the opposite direction of the once luscious forest and head into the mountains leading to God knows where. There are so many hills, bumps and valleys that I just don’t think I can go on. At one point, Carter gets halfway up the hill while I’m stuck at the bottom, too weak to go any further. He urges for me to keep going, but I can’t. I’ve reached my limit.

“Come on! Just get up this hill and I promise we can have a break.”

“What’s the point?” I say. “All we ever do in this world is try to survive, but we never live. This isn’t living!” At this point, I’m just so frustrated. I’m tired of walking, tired of being here. I just want to go back to thirteen year old Melody, the one that loved life and was excited about her future. While I sit here and gripe about how awful everything is, Carter gets to the top of the hill and almost jumps out of his skin. He yells for me to come and see.

Now usually if someone asked me to come look at something, I would just ignore them and carry on with whatever I was doing, but considering it’s Carter, I had to go look. And I needed some type of motivation to leave the bottom of this hill.

After what seems like an eternity, my burned arms lift me to the top of the hill. There is no mistaking the smile on Carter’s face. He’s grinning from ear to ear. I look in the direction of his gaze, and my jaw drops. “So, this isn’t living, huh?” he says almost jumping up and down. ”I bet that’s pretty darn close to it!”

I hop up to my feet as I take in what I’m seeing. Civilization.

I hug him, on the verge of tears, and squeal with excitement. We walk arm in arm to the concrete walls with guards standing on top. The front of the huge complex has a giant gate big enough to fit military tanks through it. Barbed wire fencing covers what looks like the whole bottom perimeter of the walls. We stop at the entrance as the guards standing on the walls point laser-sited rifles at our heads. We put our hands up and a guard opens the massive gate from the inside. He has a team of other people around him that are all armed with pistols, ready to fire. He holds up some sort of device to our eyes, although they are clearly not amber.

“All clear,” he says into his walkie-talkie. The crowd of people around him lowers their guns, along with the guards on the walls. “Come on in,” says the guard, “We’ll get you cleaned up.”

I look at Carter and he looks at me. With smiles on our faces, we enter the community that we will call home. And as long as he is with me, that’s exactly what it will be. Home.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

We are not just a couple of stupid kids who found love and don’t know what to do with it. We live together in our tiny house on the far corner of the community. We think each other’s thoughts, breathe each other’s air, and live together in the past, with many scars to prove it. I now know that it isn’t as important to live a perfect life, but that you live the life you are given in the best way you can. But even with that said, sitting in this little house with him beside me, sipping his coffee, I don’t know how life could get any more perfect.

I’m Melody Jay, and I don’t live alone. I have a family and the best boyfriend anyone could ask for. I’m not the last one left, and I’m thankful for that every day of my life.