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    Default In the Light [Non-Pokemon]

    Welcome to Peredia, a future dystopian society. Peredia covers the vast expanse of land once known as the Americas. To control the population, the Government has created a new law - anyone they deem imperfect will be killed on the spot. People barely leave their homes, and when they do, they are very good at hiding their flaws. Mass shootings occur in the slums and there is chaos all around.

    This land is home to many people, one of them being Nicky Valentine, a sixteen-year-old girl. She lives alone with her eleven-year-old sister Tianna. One day, Nicky's world is changed forever by a drowning kitten and a knock on her door.

    This is her story.

    CHAPTERS:
    Chapter One *
    Chapter Two *

    Key:
    * Red - chapter needs editing

    * Blue - chapter edited and complete
    * Purple - chapter is a work in progress

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    Default Re: In the Light [Non-Pokemon]

    CHAPTER ONE

    Nicky Valentine strode by the shimmering water, her chestnut-colored curls shining in the moonlight. Her eyes were focused on the sky, trying to pick out what few stars were visible in between the gaps of clouds. Not that there were many stars in Pobres Almas, the fifth largest city in the country. It was a rather cloudy Sunday night, even more so than usual. Not a single star poked out, and even the moon was invisible. Slightly frustrated, Nicky sighed and gave up her search. Lost in thought, she sat down on a small white rock jutting out above the shallowest part of the Pobres Almas River. She had always wanted to see a starry sky, dotted with bright white lights, but that seemed impossible with the pollution rates. It seemed like it would be just another night of no stars. She would, of course, gladly move out of the city if she could, but it didn’t seem to be better elsewhere anyways.

    She drew up her knees until they touched her chin and focused her attention on the water, watching it smoothly flow from one rock to another. In the distance, she saw a girl walking. She looked to be about seventeen, a year older than Nicky herself, with perfectly straight blonde hair, about five foot six. She won’t die anytime soon, Nicky thought enviously. She thought of her own tan skin, icy blue eyes, and dark chestnut hair that tumbled over her shoulders in unruly curls. It made Nicky shiver every time she thought of death by imperfection. People were held to very high standards, ones she feared she couldn’t reach.

    Nicky’s Timechecker gave out a shrill whistling sound. Aggravated, Nicky smacked her pocket and the Timechecker fell silent. The Timechecker was set to let out a shrill whistle thirty minutes before minor’s curfew, which was ten thirty in the spring. In the late summer months it could be as late as midnight or one in the morning, if the operators were in a particularly good mood. The Timechecker flashed a giant ten, changing colors rapidly from red to blue to green to purple, then flickering off as if nothing had happened. Nicky rolled her eyes; the Police insisted the Timechecker was necessary and must be clipped to the outside of one’s pocket at all times, but secretly Nicky felt it was more of a nuisance than a help. She had confided this in her friend Marisol weeks ago, but Marisol had simply looked away and changed the subject hastily.

    Nicky picked herself off the rock and jumped to the ground, beginning her walk back. She looked up at the towering skyscrapers of the city, their lights shining, illuminating the world around her. Indeed, each blade of grass was clearly visible under the bright lights of the apartments. Ever since the population had started to gradually rise, more and more people had begun living in apartments. They were far more convenient and took up less space than houses. Soon, the Government required everyone to live in apartments. Apartments grew taller and taller until they cast shadows over the entire street. Nicky reckoned there were over one hundred floors in her own apartment. There was scarcely enough room in each apartment for one to be comfortable; there was a miniscule kitchen with a single counter and dusty old cupboard, a tiny little nook with a ragged couch and half-working TV, and a bathroom with a shower that had two temperatures: Nicky had sarcastically named them “burning in Hell” and “showering in Antarctica”. There was no bedroom; Nicky slept on the old, beaten denim couch. It was reasonably comfortable, though a bit hard. There were faint memories from Nicky’s youth of a comfortable, real bed that felt like she was resting on feathers, but over the years she had convinced herself the memory was false. If any such bed existed, it was in Liber, the only place in the entire country with actual houses, even mansions sometimes.

    There was a rustling from the bushes. Nicky paused, her eyes growing wide with terror. A million thoughts raced through her mind in that moment. She clenched her fists, ready to fight if anyone leapt out at her. Pobres Almas was filled to the brim with criminals and thieves – many people who couldn’t afford an apartment lived on the streets, fighting for their lives. In fact, the Police were constantly venturing into the slums, clearing them out before things got too messy. It was rare for one of them to venture into this part, but it had happened before. Nicky was about to kick the bush when a rabbit hopped out, twitching its nose curiously. Nicky almost collapsed from sheer relief that her life was not in danger. She had the strange urge to pick up the small, furry animal and hug it with delight. The thought was, of course, absurd. Animals and humans were not supposed to interact unless they were being killed for food or other activities that would benefit humans, such as squeezing the milk from a cow and selling it. Most certainly owning a pet was illegal, and children were taught from a young age that animals were to be treated as roughly as if they weren’t alive.

    The rabbit hopped out of sight with a few swift bounds, and Nicky watched it go, a small smile making its way up her face. She had been born sixteen years and five months ago, and the hatred of animals had not been ingrained in her like it had been ingrained in her sister Tianna. When she was three, she remembered owning a cat named Mittens, black with a white paw and muzzle. Mittens had run away when she was five, and the law against animals passed when she was eight. She still thought about her cat once in a long while, and wondered if she was still alive somewhere. Perhaps not, as many animals were killed every day by the Police, every time they ate food reserved for people. It was not that people did not have enough food; they had plenty, but the Police were very greedy and wanted to keep it all for themselves and for the people.

    Nicky could see her apartment looming ahead of her. It was a very tall building, stretching up and up into the sky. An old, battered sign hung above the entrance on the first floor, simply reading, “Riverside Mansions” accompanied by a poorly painted picture of the river. Nicky produced a small golden key from her pocket and unlocked the door, slipping inside just as the Timechecker ringed, signaling curfew. Breathing a deep sigh of relief, she jabbed the elevator button labeled ‘UP’ and almost immediately an elevator sprung open. It was dusty and dingy with the paint peeling off the walls and the carpet torn into pieces; quite possibly it was the worst condition an elevator could be in. Trying not to gag, Nicky stepped into the elevator and pressed the button for the twenty-second floor.

    Nicky strode quickly to her apartment door, trying not the get caught up along the way. Unfortunately, her neighbor Mr. Grant was outside. He was a tall man with reddish-blond hair and a round face. He opened his mouth to talk, but Nicky muttered something about being in a hurry and swiftly closed the door.

    She drew the purple dotted curtains back and flicked on the light. Staring outside, she could see the river, so far below. She could see far across Pobres Almas, from the many ominous Police buildings to the twinkling lights of other apartment buildings. There were a few trees here and there, but trees were endangered and it seemed not much was being done to protect the ones that were left. Suddenly, Nicky spotted something pink on the ground. Her sweater! It must have fallen off when she was coming back. If someone else found it, there would be terrible consequences. There was only one solution – Nicky would have to sneak out and risk her life to get her sweater back.

    The elevators were too risky. There were probably cameras rigged inside them, just waiting for someone to sneak out so the Police could arrest them. Who knows what would happen then, Nicky thought grimly. She would have to take the stairs; nobody took the stairs, so there probably wouldn’t be hidden cameras. Nicky crept down the stairs as quietly as possible, hoping her neighbors wouldn’t come to investigate the inevitable thumping sound coming from the stairs. Taking her shoes off helped the noise, but the staircase was slippery so she decided to just leave them on. By the time she reached the bottom of the stairs, she was tired and panting, not even wanting to imagine how much harder going up would be. She grabbed her sweater and slung it over her shoulders, grateful that the night patrols hadn’t found it before she did.

    Suddenly, there was a high-pitched shriek from the river. A small kitten had fallen in and was thrashing around wildly, fighting for breath. Its eyes were squeezed shut with terror and its mouth was gaping, showing tiny white teeth. Without thinking, Nicky plunged into the water, newly rescued sweater and all. She felt the water around her, making her clothes much heavier and weighing her down. Forgetting the dangers, she shrugged her sweater off and fought her way to air, the blood pounding in her ears and the smells of the river flooding her nose. Once she was above water, she looked for the kitten. It was a few feet away, still thrashing and mewing pitifully. In one large stroke Nicky was beside it, scooping it up and out of danger. Now to get us to safety, she thought, looking around. She stretched out one leg experimentally, but the water was too deep for her to stand in. She could see the shore, but it would be hard to swim without dropping the kitten. She was treading water now, but she was growing tired and it would be hard to keep it up for much longer. She felt herself start to slip underwater, and kicked violently against the river. Hang in there, little kitten, she thought fiercely. Just a little longer, and then we’ll all be safe and sound on land.

    “Let me help you with that,” said a voice, and a small hand reached out. Stretching her arms as far as they could go, Nicky could just reach her rescuer as she and the kitten got pulled into the shore. Gasping with exhaustion, she looked up and grinned. Her rescuer was a small girl, about age twelve, with long light brown hair going down to around her shoulders. She had blue eyes akin to Nicky’s and a friendly smile.

    “Thank you so much, Tianna,” Nicky murmured, hugging her sister. “What are you doing back from the Nature Scouts trip so early?” Tianna had been on a weekend getaway with the Nature Scouts, and was not supposed to return until the next morning.

    “Some animal stole our food – I’m guessing a raccoon – so we had to leave,” Tianna explained. “Everyone was really mad, especially the counselors. Some of them even wanted to take a rifle or too and go raccoon hunting. It was pretty funny.” Tianna smiled a little and played with the strings on her hoodie, as if she was keeping a part of the story to herself. Then she looked up and peered curiously at the furry bundle in Nicky’s arms. “What do you have there, Nicky? It looks like some kind of animal. In my opinion, you’re way too friendly with those devilish creatures.”

    “Tianna, animals aren’t bad. At least, not all animals. This one seems really nice,” Nicky said, stroking the kitten’s head softly. “I rescued him from the river – I came down to get my sweater since I left it out past curfew, and I heard this little guy crying from the river. I didn’t even think, really, I just knew I had to help him. I think I’m going to keep him,” she decided.

    “No way!” Tianna shrieked. “Animals are illegal. Do you want us both to be killed?”

    “Aw, Tianna, no one will find out. We can keep him in our apartment, and I’ll smuggle some supplies from the stores. I have a cardboard box somewhere we can use as a litter box, and we can use two of our unused cereal bowls as food and water bowls. I can get some mice from the market, and say I’m trying to catch a loose snake. Cats eat mice, don’t they?” Nicky looked up at Tianna with pleading eyes. If Tianna said no, there was nothing Nicky could do. Even if she agreed not to tell, she could still let something slip by accident if her heart wasn’t completely into it. Tianna’s face was thoughtful; her eyes were narrowed and she was chewing her lip slightly.

    “Fine,” she muttered at last, glaring at the little kitten. “We can’t just cast a living thing out to die, even if said living thing is a filthy animal. We can keep it in our apartment, and work out everything from there.” She spun on her heels and marched inside the building, pressing the elevator button. We have an excuse to use the elevator now, Nicky thought gratefully. We can say Tianna got back from Nature Camp and I was escorting her up to our apartment. There are exceptions to the curfew law if you get back from a Nature Scout trip.

    She wrapped the shivering kitten in her sweater and followed Tianna into the elevator. She lifted the sleeve and took the time to get her first good look at the kitten. He was mostly white with a few ginger patches on his body, the most noticeable on his back and over his eye. He was probably around four or five months old. He opened his big amber eyes and opened his mouth. Panicking, Nicky held his mouth shut, glancing around the elevator. He’s probably hungry, she realized with a start, or thirsty. I wonder what we have in the house.

    Finally the elevator opened on their floor. Nicky rushed out and didn’t stop running until she and Tianna were both safely in their apartment. “That was too close for my liking,” she breathed. She carefully unwrapped the kitten and set it down carefully on the floor, where it lay shivering. She got one of their unused bowls from the kitchen and filled it with water. The kitten padded over weakly and started drinking thirstily. Within five minutes it was looking quite better. “I can stop and get some cat food from the store tomorrow. I’ll say I want to trap a wild cat that’s been bothering me,” she decided. “Meanwhile, we should think up a name for this little guy.”

    “How about Talisman?” Tianna suggested. “A talisman is like, a good luck charm. I learned that from an old book. He can be our good luck charm.” She touched the kitten, and then quickly drew back. “He’s strange,” she said, “but I kind of like him.” She sounded surprised.

    “Talisman is a good name,” Nicky agreed. “We have a problem, though. Talisman might be sick, and we can’t afford an animal doctor.”

    “They’re called veterinarians,” said Tianna matter-of-factly. “I learned that from an old book, too.” She smirked.

    Nicky looked at her, surprised. She had never known Tianna to be such a reader. “Well it’s no matter what they’re called,” she said briskly. “If we can’t find one we can’t find one, and we most certainly can’t go looking for one. We’ll get turned in to the Police and killed in no time. There’s got to be some other way. Do you know anything, Tianna? Anything that can help us?” Talisman brushed his muzzle against Nicky’s leg as she spoke, purring softly. Nicky reached down and patted the kitten’s head softly.

    Tianna bit her lip and scrunched up her eyebrows. “I could try to get my hands on an old veterinary book,” she said finally. She sat down on a beanbag chair, sinking so deep in the cushions Nicky could barely see her, and with a mew of delight Talisman jumped on her lap. “You see,” she explained, “I get all my old books from Mr. Pence. He runs the library at our school, and he’s always showing me the latest artifact. A few weeks ago he dug me up an old, dusty book called Lord of the Flies that’s quite old, but still good, though some of the words are hard to understand. And last month he gave me The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. I can ask him if he has any old books on veterinary medicine – I’ll tell him it’s for one of my classes. He won’t say no to that.”

    Nicky considered this carefully. “All right,” she decided at last. “But you’re not to tell anyone else about this, you hear?”

    Tianna nodded, grinning. “Of course not! I’ll be off to bed, then; I need my rest for school tomorrow. Good night, Nicky! Good night, Talisman!” She gave a little bounce and then raced into her room, almost slamming the door behind her. Nicky grinned and shook her head at Tianna’s energy and enthusiasm. Talisman had passed out from exhaustion, his fur still sopping wet. Nicky flopped down onto the couch, closing her eyes and envisioning the future. Things would certainly be a lot more interesting.

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    Default Re: In the Light [Non-Pokemon]

    how to Peria One day,the Government has created a new law thanks

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    Default Re: In the Light [Non-Pokemon]

    Very good start to the story America! The plot is interesting and a little bit 1984esque; I'm excited to see where it goes next. It'll be interesting to see how they hide a cat from their neighbors when everyone lives in close together apartments. One of my favorite parts was the two shower settings. It made me laugh after being in showers like that before.

    My only complaint would be that I was a bit confused web she immediately went from the bottom of the stairs to the river. I feel like there should've probably been a wall or a door between those two unless the stairs were outside.

    Altoogether, it was a very interesting start and I look forward to reading more! ^^
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