The girl wandered the moonlit streets, darting, barely visible, in and out of the dark shadows. She had jet black waist-length hair, blue eyes, and she wore a loose fitting grey jumper and black jeans. Tall stone buildings rose up around her, creating many ominous alleyways branching off the main road. The girl paused in a slim shaft of moonlight filtering through the cloudy sky.
She crouched down and leaned against a dirty grey wall, her head in her hands.
“Dakota,” a voice whispered. She looked up, alarmed.
A tall brown-haired boy walked out of the alleyway to her left, grinning. A flicker of recognition crossed her face, and she smiled weakly.
His smile faded slightly as he walked over.
“Hey, are you alright?” He said gently as he sat down next to her, his legs splayed out on the pavement.
Dakota looked down at the dirty concrete, and a tear trickled down her cheek as the events of the previous months played through her head.
This dirty, un-cared for city was once a happy, enjoyable place. That was before. Back when this civilisation had been ruled by a fair and generous King. But the day he disappeared, everything went wrong.
The Society had ruined everything. The Society was the elite group of people who took over after the King disappeared. Their identities were kept secret from all but very few.
But they were not ready to be in control of such a large civilisation. The Society were the ones to find out what happened to the King, but that information was also kept highly classified. All the Society paid any attention to was war, and the military, and the city had become a sad and desolate place.
Soon after they came to power, the Society decided their army wasn’t big enough, and the forced many people to leave their families and fight. Dakota’s mother and father were both conscripted to fight for the army. The same fate had come to Alex’s parents. No one who went to fight had ever come back. This was 2 months ago now, but Dakota was still struggling to come to terms with it all.
But Alex had been there the whole time, always there to support her. He had found food and shelter for them both on the nights where Dakota couldn’t cope, became overwhelmed by her emotions. Alex had been her only hope, and he had never let her down.
“No, Dakota, please don’t cry,” Alex whispered, bringing Dakota back to the present. She looked up at him, her eyes burning with tears. He cupped her face with his hand, brushing her tears away with his thumb.
“It’s okay Dakota, we’ll find a way out of this somehow.”
Dakota rested her head on his shoulder, letting herself be caressed by his warmth.
“I’ll make it up to you. I promise. One day, I will find a way to make up for all the time you’ve wasted on me,” Dakota choked, trying to hold back her tears.
“Just remember that I’m always here for you. You don’t have to make it up to me. I wouldn’t try so hard to protect you if I didn’t think you were worth my time.” Alex whispered.
“I love you Alex,” Dakota murmured, as she let her tears spill down her cheeks. Like that she fell asleep, caressed by the full warmth and strength of Alex’s protective aura.
Dakota awoke to weak sunlight trickling down between two tall buildings. She was panicked; the sort of feeling you would get after having a disturbing dream. But she was reassured by the soft, rhythmic sound of Alex’s breathing.
She was amazed at how patient he was with her. Even with all her random outbursts of anger or emotion, or how some days she just couldn’t cope, Alex never faltered. Dakota loved him for that. He was her best friend, and often her only source of hope.
Dakota stood up and stretched. Maybe I can find something for him to eat, She thought. Her battered white sneakers made almost no sound as she crossed the cracked road. It wasn’t long before she came across an abandoned block of flats. One of the doors was hanging off its hinges, so she could easily push it open. There was a couple of tins of food in the kitchen, so Dakota shoved them inside her jumper pocket, and made her way back to Alex. He awoke on her return.
“Hey,” He said, smiling. “Where’ve you been?”
“Oh, you know,” Dakota laughed arily. “Just doing what you do almost every morning.”
She handed him one of the tins.
“Thanks,” Alex laughed, running one of his hands through his ruffled brown hair.
Dakota smiled, enjoying this moment of innocent happiness. She sat herself down and began to eat her fill.
After a while, Alex stood up.
“Fancy coming for a walk?” He said, reaching his hand down to Dakota.
She took it, and Alex pulled her up.
Dakota looked up at the cloudless sky.
“Sure,” She replied.
The park was the only place Dakota could really think. Overgrown and bushy, no one really went there. As people began to appear from their houses, Dakota and Alex started to stick to the alleyways.
Those people were the lucky ones. The families who hadn’t been torn apart by war or trauma. As Dakota and Alex approached the park, the breeze picked up and a few fluffy clouds scudded across the sky.
Dakota made her way to a large rock at the edge of the park and sat down, closely followed by Alex.
Surrounded by trees and grass, she could finally clear her head. How long is it going to be like this? Dakota wondered. How long are we going to keep living like this, doing the same things, over and over? She sighed. We’re alive, but we aren’t really living.
She so badly wanted change. Two months seemed like an eternity, but who knows how much longer things could be like this.
The sun had begun to dip below the dirty cement buildings. The gental breeze from before had turned into a strong wind, blowing thick, grey clouds towards the city.
Dakota and Alex walked down the cracked street, the only sound being their synchronised footsteps. Dakota watched as people entered their homes and shut their doors behind them. It was almost impossible to see through the clouded, dirty windows, people no longer caring about what others thought of their houses.
Dakota followed Alex down the long alleyway that contained the discarded mattresses where they usually slept.
“You seem out of sorts,” Alex remarked as he plonked himself down on the mattress.
“I guess I just have some stuff on my mind,” mumbled Dakota, leaning against the wall.
“Yeah?” Alex said curiously, patting the space next to him on the mattress. Dakota reluctantly sat down, crossing her legs.
“I guess I just... I want change. I can’t live like this forever,” Dakota sighed. “I wish someone would do something about it.”
“People are scared Dakota. They don’t know anything about the Society, and no one really does,” Alex explained.
“I know,” replied Dakota, “but that just makes it even more frustrating.” She lay down on the mattress, looking up at the first stars of the evening, appearing in the dusk sky.
“I guess so,” Alex sighed, lying down next to Dakota.
All I want is change, Dakota thought. Is that really so much to ask?