The year: 5200—My release is upon me
Purple Hair Dye
CHAPTER
1
“How did we end up at the edge of the universe again?”
“You don’t remember? It all started when we tried to dye my hair purple.”
“Well...did it work?” I leaned forward, looking at Jemina expectantly, feasting my eyes on her shock of neon purple hair.
“Of course it did, dummy! But the problem was not that it failed, it was what the dye did…”
“And…” I hardly dared to say it—Jemina looked like the kind of girl who could punch my face in and then serve me coffee at Starbucks, even though she was my older sister. “What happened?”
“Wow, did you take a twig to the head or something? You really don’t remember?”
I shrugged. “Yeah. A dozen years in space prison makes you forget everything—even why you were there.”
“Thora! You even forgot me?!” Jemina looked shocked.
“Sorry, Jem…” I looked to the floor, at my oversized Converse Hightops.
“Thooorraa!!!” Jemina punched my arm playfully. “Don’t beat yourself up! Here, let me help.” She reached over and pinned a lock of my orange-and-green hair out of my face with a clip. I smiled meekly.“Now let’s get us some chairs—the edge of the universe is waiting.”
After grabbing two pop-up lounge chairs and settling on the edge of the giant canyon that had suddenly popped up, almost overnight, in front of the Washington Monument in D.C., we made small-talk.
“So...will you tell me why the Grand Canyon has relocated itself in Washington D.C.?” I leaned back in my chair, ready for the full scoop.
“No, Thora, you tell me why you’ve been in Space Prison for twelve years, out of contact to your fellow siblings,” she pointed to herself, “and the rest of the world?” She spread her hands wide.
“Fine, Jemma.” I smirked, because seconds later came the growl of Jemina getting ticked off:
“Don’t call me Jemma!”
“ANY-ways...” I continued, ignoring my older sister. “I was riding an illegal motorbike on Space Intersection 23.”
“Is that so?” Jemina raised an eyebrow and then checked her wrist. “Then why does it say ‘Charge: Stealing, Crime-Fighting, Violence’ on the description for the recently released Prisoner 8385267, also called Thora Tabon?” Jemina’s hands flew to her Smart-Watch, which was showing a projected image of Prisoner 8385267, a.k.a. Me, Thora Vega Tabon. Circling my picture were the words “PRISONER DISCHARGED AS OF 13/78/5200” in wayyyyyy-too-unnecessary capital letters. It was true, I was discharged as of last Friday, Day 78 in Month 13, Year 5200. Apparently, my oldest brother Lenn, who’s pretty good with mechanics, had hacked into Space Prison’s network to discover my release date, because as soon as I stepped out into the too-bright sunlight of the real world I was whisked away by Jemina to D.C.
“Where’s the rest of the gang?” I looked around; the capital of the U.S. seemed pretty empty to me.
“Oh, you mean the other 5 boys who share our house? They’re—”
I cut Jemina short. “What do you mean, 5?! I thought we only had 4 boy siblings!”
“No, there’s 5 of the boys.” Jemina started to count on her fingers from the oldest to the youngest kids in our family. “Lenn, Dex, Red, Me, Thora the Criminal—”
“Hey!” I complained, but Jemina rolled onwards with her list.
“Ty, and Fritz.” Jemina concluded.
“Who’s Fritz?” I pondered aloud.
Jemina laughed like I had just said an amazing joke. “Our youngest brother, silly! Didn’t Mom send the Prison a Baby Announcement?”
“No…” I stared at Jemina, wondering… “When was he born?”
“Year 5190, Day 3, Month 5. Fritz Genesis Tabon, Boy 5 in the family. He likes old videos of DIY projects and has a steampunk-themed room. He’s 11.”
“But...that would make Lenn...29! And Dex and Red 28, and you 27, and me…” I gasped. “Me...I’m 25?!”
“Yep.” Jemina pulled a Jawbreaker from who-knew-where and began to suck on it. “You’re 25, Ty’s 19, and Fritz is 11.” As though to surprise me more, Jemina added as an afterthought: “Mom’s pregnant again.”
“She’s WHAT?!” I almost fell off my chair. “Girl or Boy?”
“Yet another boy. He’ll be called Von Kitt Tabon, due on 3/14/5200.”
“That’s three days from now!!! And did you forget to tell me this, or are you having fun with the fact that the Space Prison gave me memory-sucking food 24/7?”
“Neither. I’ve been distracting you from this…” Jemina pointed. There, coming towards me, was a large truck. And at the wheel was Lenn, with the rest of my brothers piled inside the old vehicle.
“You’ve got some explaining to do, Thora!” I heard Dex call from the passenger seat.
I sighed. “I’m so dead.”
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