‘Almost thought we made it home, But we don’t know this place at all, That’s enough now dry your tears, It’s been a long eleven years, What you confuse for glory’s fire, Is fire from the tongues of liars. What you confuse for glory’s fire, Is fire from the tongues of liars. Oh send your rain.’ Fire Fire by Flyleaf
The old scrolls kept in the secret room of the divine one was written by those in leadership after the new laws determined the division. It was written that there would never again be another to rise up and rebel like the one with the dark hair and dark eyes.
The Keepers had to make an example out of someone, so they had to choose what was rumored to be the first of the wanderers.
I guess every story has an origin. This one came with viper’s poison to keep any other wanderer from feeling hope. The Keepers would broadcast the scroll on the court appointed channels that would only be seen in the wanderer’s alley. It would be seen in the rundown cities, back alleys, and garbage pits that the wanderers would try to hide in from the ones who were hunting for them.
The scroll was repeating the same fear-soaked story over and over. This is the story we all came to believe was true.
Hear ye all Wanderers
The dark-hair girl is a thief,
She is a witch and a deceiver,
She will give you false hope,
She has come into this world with a double-edged sword,
It has cut through the throats of all the divine,
She cannot be held up as a martyr for your salvation,
She is one of the filths who came into the world to shed lies,
We have told you of these liars in the scrolls of old,
We have warned you that this time would come,
Hear us now all Wanderers,
For what we say now is true.
The dark-eyed girl is a murderer and seeker of souls,
It is she who will take you to the bad place,
Beware of her false tales of other realms and safe places,
This is how she will take you away,
And you will never be seen from again.
If you wish to be saved from her poison come to the spiritual emergency room,
We have plenty of supplies at hand to heal you of doubt and fear,
And never again will this blasphemer darken our houses.
We all grew up with The Keepers scroll in our heads. Many of us believed that version of the story over the ones told to us by the few that followed the tale of hope. Hope is something that many wanderers wanted to believe in. Maybe you live in a world where hope is an everyday thing. If you are one of those people you are very lucky. All this world has ever given us is fear and being hunted.
I spent about 11 years of my life in the “orphanage factory” since that is around the time it occurred to me there was no such thing as hope. People are in it to save themselves these days. They are all about surviving on their own, and not bother having friends along the way who will betray you or die in the end.
When I was a child my mother would tell me what she believed to be the real story of the dark-hair lady. She never believed the scroll that would be broadcasted several times a day with the hunters all cold-faced looking for new targets. She always admired and even loved the dark-hair lady.
I remember getting all cozy in her arms as she would tell me over and over about the only wanderer who ever stood up to The Keepers. How she fought until the bitter end with all her strength. If she had not been alone in this war maybe the poor girl would still be alive. No one wanted to fight with her. That was always the saddest part of the story, is that she had no friends to help her through it. My mom always had tears in her eyes when she would tell the story.
If you were lucky in my world you could cozy up to your parents and let them share whispers of hopeful heroes in the dark with you. Lots of children were not so lucky. They had their parents taken to the bad place when they were too young to remember them.
I had a twin sister named Sonja who is hard to talk about. She came with me to the “orphanage factory” when we lost our mother to the bad place. Our mother was deemed sad all the time. I know now that it was something much more real than just sadness.
The twins had to be taken care of since we would turn out just like our overly sad mother. We were dumped in a terrible place filled with the orphaned wanderers. The place was like something out of a Charles Dickens novel. I remember finding his books in the rundown library, and they brought me a lot of comfort.
Sonja and I were as close as twins could be who had lost the only person on this earth they loved and held dear. We stopped believing in the stories mother told us about the dark-hair lady. If those stories were true our mother, who believed in them the most, would still be here with us.
We put coal and lava around our hearts and built walls of brick and ice to keep everyone out. We never talked to anyone outside of ourselves. That all changed when we were caught sneaking into the grounds for the good stuff. I was the one who did the bad thing. Since we were identical twins it was Sonja who took the blame. They took her away from me to the bad place. I never saw my sister again.
I grew up just outside of the b-b-bad place and could hear all the s-s-screaming from my r-r-room.
It was the only w-w-way daddy could get a good j-j-job to support the f-f-family. I n-n-never told anyone at the factory this. I didn’t w-w-want them to think I was a r-r-rat.
Mother died when I was a b-b-boy of illness. I m-m-miss her every day. She would tell me the story about the d-d-dark h-h-hair lady. I think she was a-a-afraid the scroll was right. That the d-d-dark h-h-hair lady was bad. She w-w-would do the bad thing of taking the children to the other r-r-realm.
We had to be c-c-careful when we talked about the d-d-dark h-h-hair lady since we lived so close. When daddy couldn’t take c-c-care of me a-a-anymore I went to the o-o-orphanage.
It was going to be fun since I would have other children l-l-like me to p-p-play with. Daddy lied since no one w-w-wanted to play with me. I had no friends until I saw a l-l-lonely girl at the w-w-window. She needed a f-f-friend too.
Sasha is my b-b-best friend.
My father was a journalist trying to discover the truth about the divisions long before I was born. It was this old typewriter I am writing on now that was his pride and joy. He would talk about the glory days before the division. My father is one who tries to uncover truth when truth is busy making up for all the lies.
Mom skipped out on us when I was a little boy since she didn’t care much about having a boy. She also didn’t like that father named me Justice. Father told me that’s my name since there is none of it in the world. It is my job to be the Justice in the world. He would say that as he tipped his old hat and gave me a wink before typing like a mad man on his precious typewriter.
I would be picked on for having such a useless name. It is right up there with hope, joy, love, and even sweetheart. No one wants cute names that remind them how bad the world has really gone. They want you to have a normal name like John or William.
When those scrolls went by on the broadcasters no matter where we were at the time; my father would just give a belly laugh and shake his head. ‘well gosh damn, that girl is a spitfire, if these stories are based in any truth, she is a spitfire son. A spitfire who can set the whole world on fire.’ He would say the same thing every single time, and give another belly laugh of admiration to an unnamed myth.
Father would sit in the shops if that is what you can call them and put his typewriter on the counter as he would type up his latest thoughts on the broadcast of the day. It was a running joke between us, since the broadcast was the same every day, and so were my father’s thoughts on them.
Sometimes I genuinely thought my father was in-love with the myth talked about in the broadcasts more than he ever was with my mom. Maybe mom figured out the same thing, and that is the real reason she left.
However, when father gets really serious and his eyes get scared the feelings I have go away. Now I think he is just chasing that myth around like a journalist in need of a good story that will change the world.
I found my way to the crazy house after my father was found in a bathtub with slit wrists and an empty bottle of Jack Daniels floating in the thick bloody water. No one will ever tell me that my father killed himself. My father was not one of those. I am not one of those. I don’t belong in this nuthouse.
I just want to finish what my father started.
I spent my whole life behind a glass wall. My parents were very miserable and forgot they had a daughter most of the time. The only thing that kept me going were the stories.
I would hide the copies of the ‘real stories’ given to me by a gentle old wanderer I called ‘gram gram’ in my room. I would get them out to read when my parents would fight. They would fight a lot. It is never easy being the oldest.
I had a little brother named Joel. He was my first friend. We did explories as he called them. He was a lot younger than me. My parents thought having another baby would stop the fighting and The Keepers would show them more mercy. Both of these things are wrong.
The Keepers are the coldest hearts I have ever seen. My parents fought more and more over the new baby being a waste of time. It was going to die anyway just like the girl. I had to keep track of our names since our parents forget them the second, they were given to us.
No one forced me to the factory. I went there on my own right after my parents nearly killed Joel. He had gotten outside when I was upstairs studying the court appointed works.
Joel fell in the pool and nearly drown at the age of 3-years-old. I knew at that moment if any hope existed it had to be outside these glass walls. I took him and we went into the factory. There were a ton of scared and angry children there. One table had what would be my tribe. Sasha, Felix, and Justice. My friends on this crazy ride. Joel would get sick and die after a week in this hell hole. I would never forgive myself..
That is when I stopped believing there was a safe place for people like me.
We are all just pieces of another person’s story linked to other stories. I think that is why it is so important that we stay on the same road. We need to get to someplace good. I have often wondered what that place would look like. I am glad I am able to share my friend’s stories too. I forgot that I made them write those before we left. It was all crumbled up in my journal.
I think it is safe now for me to continue. I have been silent for hours and daybreak is coming. I must get back on the road and find my friends. There is still so much to do and say about what happened to us.
It was Justice who said it best, “I think since my father was a journalist, I should be the one to name our band of outlaws … WE are the Destiny of Four.”
We all liked the idea. We all loved each other. This little band of outlaws was the only family we had left. Maybe there is a true story out there. Maybe dark hair lady is a savior of the broken or maybe she is a villain of serpents.
We only had a brief amount of days to figure it out. I could feel the man with the ice-cold blue eyes watching us. He would hunt us down like he did to her. He would make us pay for all of our sins. We would all disappear too.
I throw my backpack over my shoulder after the journal is carefully placed in the hidden pocket. I think on my friends and the smile on my lips gives me the strength to carry on. We are all on the same road.