This is the first installment of Life 2.0. For more information on Life 2.0 go to our Life 2.0 page. I hope you enjoy!
It was a grey, cloudy day in Sixeko, a prophecy of rain to come. Julian walked down the street, his younger brother trailing behind them. All the buildings were grey. The street was grey, with a mist smouldering everything. Pedestrians walked by silently on the street, wrapped in shawls and hoodies. Some in suits and ties, all quiet, as if in revery of the mist.
All except Julian and Marcus who conversed in not too candid tones.
“You’re blind,” Marcus whispered behind him. “It’s like you’re walking right to the edge of a cliff, and you’re going to fall off.”
Julian glared over his shoulder at his little brother, a whole head shorter than him. What could he expect from a freshman? He’d have to be patient. Julian kept walking. The tops of buildings broke out of the mist. They were headed home. Well, not home. To Julian’s dorm.
Marcus caught up to Julian and gave him a soft, pleading look. His dark hair drooped over his brown-grey eyes. He was wearing a hoodie, as usual, which was also grey.
Julian only clipped along faster. Why did hanging out with his brother always have to mean conversations like this.
“What do you want me to do?” he said, shaking his head at Marcus. “I already told you, I’m an atheist.”
Marcus threw his hand in the air, exasperatedly.
“Why would pick atheism of all things? You could have been Buddhist or Jewish or Christian like me. But atheism? Is atheism really worth it?”
A woman with a stroller paused on the other side of the street to give them a strange look.
Julian scratched the back of his neck and kept walking. Marcus looked a lot like him when he had been that age, three years ago. Now, he still had the dark hair and stern jaw. But his eyes were older, and he had gained a fair amount of muscle. He’d even grown a few inches in his first year or so of college.
He strolled faster, breaking through the slow, quiet hazy greyness without answering. Marcus kept pace and tried to keep eye contact.
“If atheism is the truth,” Julian said quickly. “Then I can’t pretend like I believe something else just to appease mom and dad. It’s the same way you feel about Christianity.”
“But Christianity is worth living for,” Marcus objected.
Julian gave Marcus a sharp look.
“And atheism isn’t?”
Marcus blushed. Julian guessed he hadn’t meant to insult, but it was what he believed. They walked. And walked. In silence. The mist seemed to grow, to shroud everything, till even the tops of the buildings could hardly be seen.
It wasn’t that strange for Sixeko. There were often mists in the city. The air was almost always moist.
What was strange was the fact that to Julian it seemed like less and less people were passing them by on the street. Maybe it was the noonday siesta or something.
“Excuse me,” Marcus said. His voice was always annoyingly soft, almost faltering. Another thing he hadn’t learned. . .poise.
Julian raised an eyebrow.
Marcus kept walking, silent, probably trying to gather his thoughts together.
“So, you know I think you’re wrong.”
Julian chuckled a little under his breath.
“Everyone in the family does. . .”
Marcus shrugged his shoulders and blushed a little, the fog around him making him look like one of those dumb paintings of Jesus, wrapped up in glorious cloud. He was silent. He probably didn’t know what to say.
Or maybe he was rounding up for a deadly blow.
Either way, he never got to whatever it was that he was or wasn’t planning to say because at that moment, the fog lifted. Just completely lifted. . .and Julian was sure he’d made a wrong turn.
In front of them, was white. . .unending white, sloping and falling white. Sand. Miles and miles of sand in front of them, and the sky was blue and the sun was bright and it wasn’t grey at all.
“We must have made a wrong turn,” Julian said, turning around to go back.
He stopped in his tracks. The mist was completely gone on this side too. There was not a cloud in sight, and there was only sand. Unending miles of sand and blue sky. And in the middle of the sand, two boxes.
“Where are we?” Marcus gasped.
Julian just stared blankly. He turned around again and again, just to make sure that the city wasn’t somewhere behind him waiting. . .hiding. That he hadn’t made some miscalculation. But he hadn’t. And it wasn’t.
The sad burned against the toes of his shoes. Everything felt warm and humid. His lips felt parched.
“Did you just go and lose us,” Marcus said, rolling his eyes. Probably to hide his anxiety, Julian thought.
“Fear not, and do not be dismayed,” Julian whispered under his breath.
“What?” Marcus said.
Julian turned his head at him with a smirk. “It’s from the Bible.”
He then turned away from Marcus and gave one long look at the two boxes sitting in the sand, well really more like cubes. They were both large and had doors. They didn’t look like buildings exactly. They were perfectly cubed. And they both only had one door. One of the cubes was black. It looked elegant and crisp and the corners of the box were sharp. It seemed to be made out of some dark metal.
The other box, or building. . .they really must be buildings, Julian decided. . . looked more warn. It also was black, but its edges were rounded and it had white stains on it, as if someone had scraped off some of the black paint.
For a minute Julian stared at them in silence, subtly aware of Marcus standing beside him, also looking at them.
On closer inspection, Julian noticed that the scraped one, the one that was partly white, had a red liquid oozing down its door. It looked exactly like blood.
Two thoughts crossed Julian’s mind almost at the same time. Someone’s in those buildings and The people in those buildings might not be exactly friendly.
Questions pounded into his brain, but he didn’t feel ready to discuss anything with Marcus yet. He didn’t even feel quite ready to acknowledge that he was lost. That they were both lost. He was the older brother, so he had to protect Marcus.
But what if the blood on that door was a human’s blood? What if whoever owned that building had killed someone and spread his blood on the door? Why would they do that?
And then the question that finally made up Julian’s mind. What if these people were the only people that could help him and his brother get back to Sixeco?
“Julian,” Marcus whispered. “I think we should go into one of those buildings.”
Julian nodded his head.
“The question is which one,” he said.
“I have no clue. They both look pretty creepy. . .” He smiled teasingly. “I’ll follow you.”
Should they. . .
Go in the building with the bloody door? Go in the black building? Split up?
Leave a comment to let us know, and chances are they’ll follow your lead!