“The Visitor” – Short Story

Happy Saturday, dear readers! I’m excited to share another day with you. Today, I want to share another short story from my microburst assignments. This one is Young Adult and a bit dystopian. Let me know what you think!

The Visitor

By Cathy Marie Bown

Being dead felt amazing, Lorelei thought as she looked out on the lush field surrounding their temporary home, and she smiled to herself. Nobody else was around since Jackson was fishing in the nearby river. They hadn’t seen another person in months since they ran away from home and discovered this oasis.

At sixteen years old, Lorelei was assigned by the society to her forever placement as a private chef hours before they ran away. Jackson had been in his forever placement as a maintenance technician for two months when Lorelei told him she was running. Of course, he ran with her. It was never a choice for him.

When they left the sphere, they both knew there was a good chance they would die immediately. That is what they had been raised to believe. Death was imminent when you left the spheres. Everyone who had ever tried to leave had died. They knew inside the sphere, everyone assumed they were dead.

Lorelei tensed as she saw Jackson running toward her. As he got closer, she saw him waving his arms wildly, so she ducked inside the cave they had turned into their home. Inside, she didn’t wait for him before following the small path inside the cave to the farthest they had explored. As she weaved through the tunnel, the walls closed in on her until she could barely squeeze through a narrow opening. On the other side, she grabbed the weapons they had created and stored, just in case they were attacked. When Jackson squeezed through moments later, she handed him a spear, which he took gratefully.

“What’s going on?” Lorelei asked, her singsong voice tense with fear.

“Someone saw me fishing. I ran.” Jackson was out of breath and speaking in a low whisper.

“Jackson?” A voice echoed through the tunnels, reaching the two teenagers and startling them.

“I know that voice,” Lorelei whispered. “It sounds like Brandon.”

“Lorelei?” The voice called, getting closer.

“Brandon?” Lorelei whisper-shouted through the opening.

“Oh my gosh! I found you!” Brandon’s voice sounded relieved.

“Stay there.” Jackson boomed, motioning for Lorelei to follow him out of the hiding spot, but he didn’t leave the spear. Lorelei carried her weapon, a rough ax-like tool, which she held in front of her as she slowly followed Jackson.

They inched toward the large central area. Standing in the center was Brandon, his clothing torn and his face dirty.

“What are you doing here?” Jackson asked roughly, pointing the spear at Brandon.

Taking the motion as aggression, Brandon raised his hands above his head and turned his face to the ground, a society-enforced motion designed to show submission. Seeing this, Jackson lowered the weapon, and Lorelei followed his lead.

“I’ve been searching for weeks,” Brandon whispered.

“Stand up,” Jackson said.

Brandon stood up. “Do you have any food?”

“Of course,” Lorelei said, busying herself with making them breakfast of foraged food. Brandon talked to them about the sphere.

“They told us you both died in an explosion.”

“A what?” Lorelei asked, confused.

“They showed us a video because we didn’t believe them. They said you were talking to Jackson about your new assignment and a heating duct exploded. The video showed your dead bodies.”

Jackson looked at Brandon with confusion. “If you saw our dead bodies, why didn’t you seem surprised to see us?”

“In the video, before the explosion, it was you guys. Afterward, it wasn’t. I couldn’t figure out why they would lie unless you were still alive, and they didn’t want us to know. I just knew you were alive. I’ve been searching for a while. I was about to give up; it’s been so long since I saw another person. But it’s not like I can go back now. I’m sure I’m dead now too.”

“For sure,” Jackson said.

“So, what’s next?” Brandon asked.

“What do you mean?” Lorelei replied.

“What are you guys doing out here? Why did you leave?”

“Well, that’s complicated. We are just surviving. We left because we had to.” Lorelei answered him.

“But, why did you have to?” Brandon asked.

“I keep having dreams. Something is coming. So, we hid, and we built weapons.”

“Lorelei had a dream the night before we ran. In her dream, she died. So we ran.” Jackson said.

“But, why did you follow her?” Brandon asked. Jackson raised his eyebrow at Brandon, then reached over and slipped his hand into Loreleis. She started to recoil her hand but then clasped harder. Lorelei was afraid to reveal the truth.

Hidden deep in Lorelei’s memories, there was more to the dream than she had revealed. For as long as she could remember, Lorelei had dreamed of the truth, the future, the past, and things that could be. The dreams had always shown her good things, but when she had seen Jackson starting a fire in the sphere after she died, burning their homes to cinders and destroying everyone, it was more than she could take. She hadn’t known the depth of Jackson’s love for her until that moment. 

So, she had run away with him, telling him exactly what she knew it would take to get him to go. She had approached him, whispered that she loved him, wanted to have babies with him, and was ready to go. He had logged off his portal, taken her hand, and never looked back.

The society would never have allowed the two of them to be together or to have children. Her plan worked perfectly, and she had never regretted it, not as she held him in the cold, not as they had nearly starved trying to find food, and not as they watched the sunset from the mouth of their cave. Brandon showing up was perfect.

Now, she had the people she cared about, and they had their freedom. Whatever happened next, they could handle it together.

Well, what did you think? Love it or hate it? Think I should go further with it?

Until Next Time,

Cathy Marie Bown

Published by cathymariebown

I am a writer and student looking for my place in the digital world.

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