“The Tale of The Gold Girl”
by Sofia Manalo Kwaterski
My name is Aiko Akamine. I have a sister. Well, more like I had a sister. Her name was IA(ee-ah) and I lost her long ago. Before I get into that I better start at the beginning, but don’t be fooled even though I am writing this—it is her story. She was a sickly child and for a long time we didn’t know what caused it. I still think it would be better if we hadn’t found out at all. She had the fatal disease Lebriah. It’s something you’re born with, and there’s no cure. Everyone who ever had it had died before 5 years, so I wouldn’t even call it living. Anyway, because of her illness we had to move to an underground city that supposedly treated people. Little did we know that this so called city was actually a trap. The city was called Hirashima Ugi but everyone called it Hell’s Corner. And it was. The city was not a medical treatment station but a slave trap. Anyone unfortunate enough to step foot in that place would surely not see the light for a long, long time. And, unfortunately for us, it was too late to turn back.
As slaves, life was hard and the work was grueling. If you stepped out of line they would murder you without a second thought. We grew up with death all around us. No hope, happiness—no nothing. We feared for our lives but mostly we feared for IA’s. She was nearing 5 years and not getting any better. Till one day my mother and father proposed something in secret. They knew that IA would likely not live but they still wanted to give me a chance at life. They would make me disappear. The devised a plan to make it seem like I had died of hunger when in truth I was being sent to a better place-or so they said. It was better but I missed out on having a sister and I don’t know if it was worth it. But I left and no one was the wiser. Even my dear sister did not know that I was actually alive at the time. She learned the truth eventually of course, when I finally found her. So, I’m going to go back in time, to a time where IA was just 5 years old. Keep reading, don’t stop.
“Aiko has left,” “She’s just gone on a little holiday,” and “She’ll be back soon.” Mother had said these things over and over to me, but I knew the truth, Aiko was dead. I saw the man cart away her body that was wrapped up in a carpet. I tried to stop him I really did, but it was no use. Father hissed that the Absinthe soldiers would kill me, if I tried to interfere any more than I already had. She was gone, a year has passed since she died and I had moved on. Everything was fine now, no beatings, sure there were still executions but I lived with it. Everything was fine. Or so I thought.
Screams echoed throughout Hirashima. My father jumped up and ran outside to see what the commotion was. My mother was as pale as paper. She turned to me and said, “IA, I will go outside and see what is happening , you stay here and hide.
“No I won’t! I’ll come with you!” I protested.
“IA D Gold. You will do what I say right this instant!” I relented and hid while my mother left. There was a huge explosion that shook the whole house. I became worried that mother might have been caught in the blast. So I left to go find her. I ran and ran searching for her silvery pink hair, or her purple cat like eyes, I heard her voice east to me and headed that way. I spoted her with some of the invading soldiers.
“Why are you here?” She cried. “Just leave us alone. We’ve done nothing wrong!
“You Gold scum always think you’re in the right!” an unfamiliar voice sneered. “We came for the keys!
Now tell me where they are!”
The keys? I thought to myself. Oh yes! I remember now! (flash back 10 or so minutes before) “Oh wait!” my mother gasped. She quickly ran down stairs and when she came up she was holding something. 20 crystal keys that reflected light in beautiful shades. Each bore a different symbol. I was entranced by them. She put them in a little pouch and tied it to me.
“Why do I need these?” I asked.
“These are the Twenty Commandments. They are our sacred keys that have been passed down for generations. Keep them safe for I have a sinking suspicion that the reason they came were for these. I have to go now but soon—some day—all will be revealed!” (fast forward 10 minutes) I had the keys, my hand reached down to get them and save my mother from certain death but. She quickly looked at me, and did the smallest shake of her head. I stopped frozen.
“All right if you’re not going to tell me where they are, then your useless to me!” The soldier yelled. He unsheathed his sword and murdered her in cold blood without an ounce of mercy to share. I watched her fall to the ground. Saw the men cruelly laugh as if it was some kind of game. I turned around and ran tears streamed down my face, but still I kept on running. Away from the father that never really loved me, away the screaming crowds, the burning buildings and up the stairs and outside.
The sky was a brilliant blue and the sun was shining down. I shielded my eyes temporarily blinded. I had never once seen the sun or sky only read about it in my books. It was ironic really. My mother had just died and yet the sun still shined and the birds still sang. I walked for a long time. Till I came upon a town. It was surrounded by a wall on all sides. I stared up in awe at it.
“I don’t think I’ve seen you around here, who are you?” I turned around startled to see where the voice had come from. It came from a girl with brilliant red hair and mercury colored eyes, “Well? I’m waiting?”
“Oh, sorry. Umm, my name is IA, IA D Gold,” it was a miracle I even managed to get something to come out of my mouth.
“I see. Do you have parents?”
“No,” I said, sad to say.
“Well, you can come with me I suppose.”
She led me inside the town and through a tall metal gate. She talked to a grownup who looked down on me with cold unfeeling eyes. They talked some more and nodded.
“What was that all about?” I asked her.
“I asked Korose if it would be okay for you to stay here.”
“Oh, okay. My names Akane by the way.” She held out her hand and smiled a warm smile at me.
I shook it and asked, “Akane, what?”
“Huh,” she said confused. “Your last name.” I insisted, “What is it?”
“Oh . . . I don’t have a last name. Or at least I don’t remember it.” She looked down sadly.
“Well that can’t be helped. We’ll just have to give you one.” I said.
“Huh? Give me a name?”
“Yeah!” I said excitedly.
“Like what?” she inquired.
“Hmmm . . . well how about . . . Oh! I know! Your hair it’s bright red like the color of a red rose!”
“We’ll call you Akane Rose! Now I’ll never forget your last name. All I have to think about is your pretty hair!”
She thought about it for a moment and then answered, “I like it!” She grinned at me and right then I knew that everything was going to be just fine.