Authors: Colin Ososki
Milo walked in the shadows of the snowy night, avoiding the odd-looking lights that illuminated the streets at the bends of metal arrows. He was not supposed to be out of bed at this time, but something had called him to escape his small, old home. A sort of clamor had occurred, just down the street from where Milo lived, a sort of clamor that rarely occurred in his town. Milo lived in Salem, the third-most well-known town in Pæraleth. Salem was the town that housed the Prime Minister, and a great number of Parliament members.
He stood now under a bridge, protected from the falling snow, where he was able to observe the event. Lying up against the riverside was something large; Milo couldn’t quite tell what it was. More people, citizens of Salem, were appearing from the darkness now, approaching the thing.
They must have heard the noise too.
Milo’s thoughts were buzzing gently around in his mind, perhaps aiming for a place to find their answers. He then stood back a bit in his place under the bridge, for now people were showing up quite near, and he would easily be scolded at for being here at this time of night. A shout came from someone nearby, and then it became apparent to Milo what the thing on the riverside was.
It was the body of a man, dead. A cry came from a woman in the street, “Who did this!” Milo’s stomach turned. He was interested, however, so he continued to observe from under the bridge.
Who is it? Who had done this?
One man, wearing all black and a large hat, which Milo quickly identified as a Parliament member, raced up to the body. He lifted the man’s face up into the light for a moment, and then gently set it back down.
He turned back to the group of people and said, “Doctor Wayne.” The group was silent, as was Milo. “Get me Mr. Alwin,” said the man in the hat, “This must be addressed.” Milo knew of Doctor Wayne, one of the more popular people in the town, although Milo didn’t know him well; He hadn’t really ever seen him. Milo’s father, who was also a doctor, had worked with Wayne.
Milo turned from his small hiding spot, taking a last look at Doctor Wayne and the group of people, and then began to crawl out from under the bridge on the opposite side. Once he was out, he ran. Home was where he was headed, for he feared his father might be out due to the noise. However, his father might not get angry at him for leaving in the night when he discovers the reason these people were out there. He and Wayne were quite good friends. Milo feared how his father would take it, and realizing this, a sudden sadness came upon him. Death is nothing of good nature; it is the harrowing edge of life.
Milo came up onto the street and slowed to a stop under a lit area. He stood, panting. He looked up to see the light above him; a flame, captured in glass, suspended by twisted metal. From birth, Milo always thought these things were odd-looking. His face was shown in the light, previously a shadow. He had an ordinary pallor, a face not too odd, and dark hair. He squinted his eyes, for the light was too bright. He looked away, refocusing his eyes on the city he stood outside. Salem –his city. His father had told him before that his grandfather, Walden Parker, had been the one to purchase the city after it was built. Walden then moved to Wonder City, the business capital of Pæraleth. Milo slightly remembered visiting there one time.
Milo was young, around eight. He and his father stood outside the largest building in the world, the Pelagicus, on a large, glass stairway. The stairway handles and the rims of the stairs were all shaped in gold metal. The Pelagicus was the same, bodied in glass, and had a structure outlined in gold. It was magnificent. All around, people of all sorts; business people, visitors and citizens, or highly respected politicians from Salem, walked about the entrance area. Walden walked down the stairs to greet his family, and then they were shown inside. “I’m glad you’re here, Milo,” he had said, “I have been waiting to show you some things here. I think you’ll find this place interesting.” Milo smiled.
“Yes,” started Milo’s father, “he does have that great curious mind!” His father waved a finger at Milo’s head, motioning to his brain. His gloves touched Milo’s skin and it felt warm. Milo simply smiled again and continued to follow them through the entranceway. Once inside, Milo could distinctly remember his eyes widening until they couldn’t anymore. From the outside, looking through the glass you would see a large, empty, bright white room. It was nothing too interesting, he thought. However, on the inside, the lobby of the Pelagicus was filled with great machines of all sorts. The room swelled with a mysterious joy, as the machines were all working, making something. Milo loved machines of all sorts. He marveled the idea of creating something that would then create even more. Machines, to Milo, were the future.
Milo’s grandfather had passed away a few years ago. The rights to the city had then been given away to the Parliament. Walden didn’t actually do much for Salem, but for clean up its streets.
“How much do you know about our planet?” the voice came from Doctor Rivers, in a chilling tone. He was speaking with a man Milo had never seen before. Both had drinks in their hands and had been communicating for the past few minutes.
Just another citizen, I suppose.
Milo had been watching Doctor Rivers the entire time while he sat at a large, wooden table towards the back of the hall, near the windows farthest from the lobby doors. They were at a small dinner, all twenty politicians, plus Doctors and Milo, who had been unexpectedly dragged there by his father, Doctor Parker. It was a fancy dinner, The Election for the new Prime Minister of Pæraleth was tonight. Only two men ran for this position, neither of them Milo liked.
There was Mr. Alwin, who was thin, several ages ahead of anyone else, and had a head full of white hair. To Milo, he sort of looked mad. Mr. Alwin had strange ideas that he had been talking about in speeches that Milo’s father had talked about. Running against him was Mr. Charlie, a less thin but massively tall man. He was bald and wore a monocle on his left eye. Milo’s father had told him that Mr. Charlie was not the right man to vote for, due to his lack of attention towards the more important problems in Pæraleth.
Milo didn’t pay much attention to the election. Instead he paid much closer attention to Doctor Rivers, who was only at the dinner in the interest of speaking with Milo’s father. Milo didn’t know what he wished to speak with him about, but he knew it wasn’t something very positive. Milo’s father was a very smart man, one of the only Doctors in town.
For the first time on this night, Milo let his focus drift away from Doctor Rivers and decided to take a look around at the hall where the dinner took place. It was a very large place. Everything was made of either marble, rich wood, or of smooth brasses and bronzes. The hall had a warm feeling to it, with all the lights shining a yellow-orange. There wasn’t much to make up the hall, just a large open space. There were two floors in the hall, the first being the lobby, and the second floor had a balcony which overlooked the lobby. Milo looked up at the balcony, which was only occupied by a few people. One of those people caught Milo’s attention.
It was a girl. She was about Milo’s age, standing on the balcony. He could not quite see her face, but Milo could tell that she was very pale, which made her dark hair seem even darker. She was looking at a large grandfather clock that stood at the top of the staircase, which was just to the left of the section of balcony she stood by. Milo had never seen her in the town before. She then took her gaze off of the clock and looked down over the balcony. Milo turned away, catching just the slightest glimpse of her face, but not enough to recollect.
He tried again to focus on Doctor Rivers. Milo looked around, but could not catch sight of him. Doctor Rivers had left somewhere, and Milo was now searching the room with his eyes. He looked to the front doors, which were in a more empty area, and didn’t see him. He looked to the small room that extruded from the lobby next to the large center table, finding the same results. He looked directly ahead at the buffet table, loaded with delicious fruits, chocolates and pastries, but didn’t see anything other than a bowl of fruits that were calling to him, drawing his hunger.
Milo decided to give up on his search and let the night unfold how it should. He stood from the table and trekked across the marble floor to the buffet table. There were not many people in this area; most of the party took place in the center of the lobby, where Milo sat just moments ago. He picked himself a couple of juicy, red berries and began to eat them. The taste was delightful. This was the most expensive dinner of the year.
A sight in the corner of Milo’s eye made him freeze. At the other end of the buffet table was the girl he had seen moments ago. She looked around at the chocolates and other foods on the table, then at him. Milo still stood looking at the stained glass windows across the room. He felt her gaze. After a quick moment, she walked away, back towards where she came from. Milo walked away from the table and sat back at his seat, looking down at the wooden table.
Milo looked up, and the first thing he noticed was what he had hoped wouldn’t happen. Although, now that it was, he didn’t feel the same way. It was her again, on the balcony with a gentle gaze towards him, and standing very still. Her eyes, which were looking directly at Milo, seemed to be an even deeper grey than his. This was very strange. She lifted her arm and waved at Milo.
Is anybody else seeing this?
She then motioned to him, her hand telling him to come to her. Milo pointed at himself, questioning it. The girl nodded. Milo shot a glance around before getting up from his seat. He saw Rivers in the corner, still speaking with the man he saw before. Milo dismissed this.
Milo made his way up the stairs to the balcony. He was still a bit frightened, he had never seen this girl before, and the town he lived in was not very big. When he reached the top of the stairs, he got a closer look at her face. He spotted a scar on her cheek, a thin mark that went from her left eye to her chin. Although he had thought her smile was a bit odd before, it now felt more comforting. But it was so strange that the people on the balcony didn’t even seem to notice her.
Is she supposed to be here?
“I don’t think I am,” she said.
Did she just respond to me?
The girl blinked for the first time Milo had seen her. He wanted to say something, but thought about it first.
She just knew what I spoke in my mind.
“You can trust me,” She said. She smiled, “Can I trust you?”
He was silent for a moment, confused, but then said, “Yes.” He had many questions. He decided to start with a simple one. “Who are you?”
The girl looked away, down at the first floor below the balcony. They were silent for a long moment. Milo then felt something lightly strike his mind. This girl almost looked familiar.
Where have I seen her before?
Milo looked closer, but could not understand why he felt that way.
In a dream, perhaps? No, I couldn’t have seen her in a dream.
I don’t dream.
Then she picked her head up and looked back at Milo, as if remembering something. “Have you ever seen a lynx?” She asked.
“I don’t think so,” Milo replied. “Aren’t those extinct?” A lynx was a creature that Milo had thought to be extinct since the last one was hunted years ago. They were scary, yet marvelous creatures, giant cats that hid deep in the snowy forests.
“No. I’ve seen one before,” she said. There was a pause. Milo kept considering questions, but quickly rejecting the will to ask them. Then the girl spoke again. “I can take you to the place where I found one, if you want. Just in the forest, outside the hall.”
“A lynx? I would love to see one but,” Milo looked down at the dinner below, “I don’t think I am allowed to leave the hall.” His voice drifted away from him, silencing him. “Would we have to sneak out?”
“We could do that,” she said.
Milo was shocked at the events that were occurring. “But-”
The girl simply replied, “Trust me.”
Milo and the girl entered the forest, under her instructions to be careful and quiet. The long walk from the dinner hall through the open field and to the forest was very silent, with only a few words exchanged from the two, most of them from Milo. The ground was covered in a light frost, and the deeper into the forest they walked, the thicker the frost grew. Soon, they were in an area where there were a few inches of snow, and the sky had changed to a dim blue color.