Untitled by Gage Banks

We were seen as exiles for fleeing the walls of the city, and for that we were seen as dangerous. Those in higher powers tried to maintain a state of constant filtered information. To the civilians, the government formed to defend against what horrors existed outside the barriers. In truth, there was nothing except open land. Beautiful beasts grazed green fields and fed upon the grass. Their horns stretched far and fur hung low. Unfortunately, time to sightsee was cut short due to the armed soldiers firing lethal rounds at Frorb and I. The farther we ran, the farther we approached the cliff hanging over a sea of crashing waves. Luckily a gigantic rock gave us ample cover for a few moments. 

Frorb was a bit of a stone brained and stone bodied soul. Nothing seemed complicated or worrying to his stoic mindset. Even standing in the face of gunshots and a sheer cliff, he stared emptily into the sea in front of us. Frorb remained silent. Then, he had a brilliant idea. 

“Pert, do you trust me.” Frorb never asked or exclaimed anything in a proper form. He stated his mind in a questioning manner, but never in a questioning tone. 

I hesitated, his empty eyes showed no fear, but also no true thought. “Yeah, Frorb. At this point, I’ll do anything.”

Without a moment of delay, Frorb nod forcefully and jumped out from the cover of the boulder. Gripping his comically tight black shirt, he tore it off of his body. A bright light burst from his muscular and toned torso. The soldiers, taken aback by this splendor, became blinded.

“Dear Lady, it’s just so…” One soldier began to sputter.

“Beautiful…” Another soldier squeaked. 

The squad of men dropped their guns, kneeling to the ground Frorb stood on. I saw the opportunity and ran towards one of the soldier’s guns. 

“No, Pert. This is our true chance.” Again, without giving me a moment to process, Frorb whipped around and swan dived off the cliff.

I stood in awe. Turning back to the soldiers, I found that they were now unconscious thanks to Frorb’s oddly healthy body. Given the state of our world it never seemed quite right that he was so fit. In even more awe, I turned back to the cliff that Frorb dived off of. Then, as if being held by angels, Frorb magically began to rise. 

“Are you coming.” Frorb spoke plainly. “The water really isn’t that deep, we can move along the edge of the water to avoid being tracked for a bit.”

Taking another look at the edge of the cliff, it was maybe a four inch drop. Adrenaline must’ve exaggerated the fall. I nodded, and both of us trudged through the knee-deep water. Now that we had a moment to process, multiple questions flooded my mind. 

“Frorb, you seem awfully calm for what just happened. We just fled the city and now we’re no better than wanted fugitives. What’re we going to do?” These questions I asked must’ve been too much for Frorb.

Frorb turned on a dime and stared at me. “Listen, Pert. I have seen this time and time again. This nation rises and falls like flowers in the turning seasons. It’s all temporary, and you’re just another pawn in the game they play. Me, though, I stand at the top. I’m a god damned main character and you’re going to see the finale of this cycle. Understand your purpose.” Frorb stopped suddenly. Clearing his throat, he calmed himself. “You’re going to help me reach the end, where we can dismantle this tainted government.”

I wanted to say more to Frorb, but fear of being scolded again filled my mind. With no words, our trudging continued. Eventually, once we’ve surely ruined our brand new kicks, we stepped on solid land. Frorb nosedived to the ground and began sniffing the sand wildly. Limbs sprawled into all fours like a spider, Frorb crawled forward violently sniffing the sand.

“This way,” Frorb muffled through the sand. I followed cautiously. 

Frorb froze after catching the scent of what I can only imagine was a sand crab. Oddly, I was right. Not even a second had passed before Frorb shoved his entire arm into the sand, reaching around for what he smelled. 

“I hid a letter here long ago, ages before this day,” Frorb scoffed as he spat sand from his mouth.

Like clockwork, he pulled his arm out of the sand, holding a tiny sand crab in his hand. I was a bit confused, as that was clearly not a letter. 

“I’m going to bet you’re thinking this is clearly not a letter, Pert. Think again.” Frorb confidently put the entire crab into his mouth and began to chew it.

It was at this time I questioned why I left with Frorb. We went to class together, yet Frorb rarely attended after he began to ask questions to our teacher about the history of our city. After that, we were lucky to see him walking in the streets at night. Then, as if he hadn’t missed a beat with me, he urged me to see the beauties of the Wild. I was hesitant, but something about this Wild drew me closer. 

Now, I went over and over it again in my mind. Am I special? Or do I just serve a purpose to Frorb and his plan to free us from the government? I never had much time to think about what drove me to abandon my entire life. At the moment, the reason seemed to be so Frorb could eat an entire sand crab raw. Was this the Wild?

Frorb’s chewing halted, as he spat out nothing but a folded piece of paper. 

“I bet you’re also thinking you saw me eat an entire crab, but you’re wrong. Crabs are not native to this land. It was never a crab. Open your eyes. You were injected with lies from the days you were born. I simply washed off the time. Artificial crabs, Pert. they simply manufactured a crab’s body and it must’ve ate this paper by mistake.”

Nothing made sense to me anymore. What in God’s name was happening in front of me? I just watched the boy I grew up with consume an entire crab and spit out a letter from it. Where’s the rest of the crab?

“The letter is full of detailed instructions to an organization of people. People like me, Pert. I plan to use them to get us to the head of the government. If we can just finish her off, her men will have no reason to exert their force on us. They’re afraid. Just like you are afraid of me. Don’t be. This is how it is in the Wild. Grow up.” Frorb then stood and opened the letter, which was a map seemingly drawn in crayon, with a big red X traced by spaced black lines.

I couldn’t realistically come to terms with what was happening in my life. A man who consumed an entire crab and pulled out a map drawn by a child from its missing artificial corpse is telling me to grow up. Is any of this real? 

Frorb studied the map diligently, checking the direction of the wind with sand, sniffing the ground, giving the map the works. “Yep, just as I thought. It’s one of those Hoary Popper type deals.” Frorb’s eyes locked onto a nearby tree, the only tree on the entire beach, in fact. 

“Don’t tell me-” I began to say, before being interrupted by Frorb.

“Yes, we have to cut down that tree, drink the sap, and go on a trip to find this hideout.” Frorb stomped forwards toward the tree. 

I was happy that we couldn’t actually get through the tree. With no ax, how are we supposed to do anything? I sat smugly on the sand, playing with another sand crab. The raging urge to see if it was fake or real entered my mind. I tolerated the feeling and refused. 

“Pert. It is done.” Frorb’s voice was a bit exasperated. 

I looked up at Frorb to see the entire tree split in two, and smoke rising from Frorb’s fists. This isn’t real. 

“I bet you’re wondering how I did that, and questioning if this is real. It’s too real, Pert. She’s going to be here soon with more men than we can count. Leave her to me when that time comes, Don’t panic. I can tell she’s coming by the awful smell in the air. Only one person could make a stench most foul.” Frorb turned back around to the stump of the tree and licked the flat surface. Within an instant Frorb was under control and dashed full speed into the ocean. 

My disbelief could only be overwhelmed by the immense stench of fish in the air. Yet we were beside the sea, fish were driven to extinction by the city. With no excess land to raise cattle, fish were the only way we could survive and sustain ourselves nutritionally. There wasn’t much time to stand and wait for Frorb to come back from the sea. Hesitantly, I sniffed the stump. Before my tongue met the rough surface, Frorb sprung out of the water with such divine grace. Outstanding. 

“Pert. I spoke with the group. They’re willing to help our cause. At a price of one of our lives, They will fend off the soldiers that She brings. I hope you don’t mind being fish food.” Frorb’s words did not seem to process at the time, so I stared at him in awe. “You need not worry, Pert, as they won’t dine on you until after we’ve taken the city back.” 

What did he mean by back? The Lady has always watched over us, seemingly never aging. Who is Frorb, really? Where did he go during school all those days? I had no time to think again, as was the fashion of my life. A bullet flying past my head and into the deep sea interrupted any mental cognition.

“There is no time to think, Pert. Take up your arms. We fight for our homeland, now.” Frorb made an odd guttural scream as thousands of fish sprouted from the blue abyss. They weren’t very large in size, being no larger than the average fish. However, what the fish lacked in size they made up for in strength. Tiny footsteps battered against the sand as they formed miniature squads among the perimeter of the beach.

One of the fish stood on its tiny legs, facing the legion. “My brothers and sisters. Today we lay down our lives for our king. Too long has the wretched Man-Queen lived on our turf and slaughtered our kin. For this, even my blood boils in the chilled sea. I ask you, not as a general, but as a brother, a neighbor, a friend. Fight with me, men!” 

The legion of fish began to flop on the sand wildly, I’m supposing in a manner of celebration. The flopping ended when the army of the Lady drew near. The soldiers stopped quizzically at all of the dead looking fish on the sand.  Frorb stood valiantly in front. The Lady approached Frorb unarmed. 

“Frorb. It’s been a year if not longer. The air in the city has felt all the more clear since your escape.” The Lady snickered quietly, eyeing Frorb’s ‘legion’ behind him. “Is this your defense? Fish? Dead ones, at that. 

Frorb began to take off his shirt, attempting to blind the entire group once more. 

“There is no use for this, Frorb. I am gay. You’ve no effect on me any longer.” The Lady stepped back into the army. Once she was safely away, the men charged. Frorb stood steady, ready to fight. Once the men entered close proximity, Frorb began to grab and throw the fish that lay dead on the ground. The soldiers fell like flies to the flying fish of fury. With every one fish, two men would fall. One from impact of the fish, the other from fear of said fish. 

Once each soldier had met a fishy demise, Frorb gutturally screamed once more, and the fish sprung to life, flopping their tails and humanoid fists against soldiers. A landslide victory. 

The Lady lay defeated. Frorb approached her, fish in hand. 

“I will give you a choice. Run, never return, and you will live. If you refuse, you will become the new fish food. You’ve tainted the information of the city, telling them lies and slander of the Wild. This land is real, it is safe, and it gives back what is done to it.” Frorb’s words were stern.

The Lady took a deep breath. “Nobody will listen to your truth. I kept them inside those walls to protect them from the ugly truth. Out there, it is unknown danger and solitude. In the city, nobody is alone. Everybody stays safe. You cannot truly believe you’re going to change the minds of thousands.” 

Frorb wasn’t a man of patience. With a clap and a whistle, the fish mauled The Lady bit by bit. Once the herd had dispersed and fled into the sea once more, Frorb and I returned home to be welcomed by a solemn few. With their help, slowly we built the true history back into the schools and libraries of the city. I had no true helping part in this adventure, but it sure was neat to get out of the house for a while. Nothing made sense, and nothing became any more clarified than it is right now. This is to leave room for the sequel of an awful dystopian story and make millions off of it.

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