Over the Balance Field
The music pounded through the whole yard. I’m not that kind of girl, the ones that get into so much trouble they don’t see daylight for months, in fact, I keep to myself. My mom remarried a strict business man, and it seems like the only way I can escape my hectic “family”, is going to the parties down the street.
“Candice!,” I hear my friend shout at me, “Is everything okay?”
Chloe and I have been friends since first grade. She stuck with me when my mom and I moved to my stepdad’s, enormous mansion all the way across the Balance Field. I gave her a nod, grabbed her wrist and pulled her on the dance floor. She knows me the best and she can always tell when I have a lot on my mind. I closed my eyes and let the music take me. It’s not everyday that my mom remarries. But she could at least pick the one one that wasn’t such a “noob”. Sure he was rich and paid off her debts but... she doesn’t even know him, not really. She just knows his money. And who is he to tell me what to do all the time, he’s not my dad!
“Chloe, I’m going to get a drink.” I called to her.
I gave her a smile and walked over one of the waiters and grabbed a glowing drink. I really like all the fancy drinks they have here. The drinks on the OtherSide could never compare. These drinks smelled like candy, the gummy kind that no one makes anymore, and it gave you so much energy. Just as I brought it to my mouth I see someone starring at me. My heart sank, Oh no. It’s security. Of, corse I wasn’t invited, I was a crasher. He pointed his finger and me and as he turned to his buddy I spun on my heals and started to fast walk back to Chloe. Oh, no, Oh, no, Oh, no!
Attempting to keep my head down I tried to make my way to the dance floor. Then I felt myself run into, what felt like a brick wall, someone. I spilling my drink all over their shirt.
“I’m sorry,” I tried to explain. The last thing I needed was to get caught in a fight.
I looked up to see who made the response. A guy with shaggy hair, blue eyes, sharp facial features, and tall. Just as I was about to explain my clumsiness, he grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the exit.
“Hey, I have to go back in their.” I declaimed as we raced for the door
“Sure, before or after we get thrown out.”
I looked behind me and sure enough the security was on our tail. I felt my eyes grow big when I saw the guys, they were huge! I rushed up next to the guy and notice that we were almost out the door.
“Do you have a card?” he asked me.
“Yeah, what do you mean ‘Do you have a card?’,” I gave him my card as fast as I could, “Don’t you.”
Everyone knows that if you live in the InSide (“Heart of the Balance Field”) you have to have a citizens card, otherwise you’ll get arrested and sooner or later you disappear. Out of sight out of mind.
He quickly scanned the card and throw the door open. Together we raced out the door and into the street.
“Will you follow me?” He looked at me with eager eyes. What was I supposed to say, No and miss out this crazy opportunity. Heck No! I nodded my head as an answer. He let go of my hand, and we started walking.
We walked about 3 blocks before he stopped. “I need your card again.” I passed my it to him and asked, “Where’s your card?”
He looked at me for a small second, didn’t answer and swiped the card. I heard the door unlatched and he quietly opened it. I have a very bad feeling about this. Why is he being so quiet?
“Ladies first.” he crooned. I couldn’t help but looked at him, no one says that anymore. My grandfather did when he was still alive. Which, by the way, was a long time ago.
I walked into a large building with a very high ceiling, and a real, old aged chandelier. “What is this place?” I gawked at the artwork around me.
“It’s one of the last buildings in the area.” he informed me. “Come on. We’ll take the stairs.”
Looking ahead of me I saw a door and a sign that lead to the stairs.
I was practically gasping for breath by the time we made our way to the top. “What are we doing up here?” A huge gust of wind took my breath away when he opened the last door. It’s the roof. There was no way, no way I was going out their with this crazy lunatic. I’ve had enough excitement for one night. I took a step back just as he reached his hand out to me. I shook my head and said, “No, no thanks.” He made a weird noise that practically said, “Get over it”, snatched my forearm and dragged me onto the roof. The air was colder and harder to breath in.
“Take it slowly,” he said. “You don’t want to pass out.”
“Why? Would you leave me here?” I joked. I took slow breaths and moved at my own pace. I could see the whole InSide and bits of the OutSide of the Balance Field. The InSide was sparkling with traffic lights and home lights, but the OutSide looked dead, everything was just black. I turned around to find him relaxing in an empty chair. “Why are we here? And, why don’t you have a card?” Those were the two questions that were begging to come out. I flopped into one of the chairs. “Well,” I started.
He looked out at the view before answering, “Coming up here give me space to think and I can’t get up here without a card. I don’t have a card because I’m not an InSider.”
I was shocked by his honesty. There was no guy on this planet who would just tell a stranger something like this. “Why are you telling me this?”
He shrugged, “Why not.”
“I’m Candice.” I spoke after and uncomfortable silence.
“Ryan.” He responded and smiled
All I could do was just smile back. Suddenly my phone went off and it made me jump. I looked at the text I.D and remembered why I should’ve stayed at the party. Chloe.
Where are you? she texted.
I’m fine, I got spotted and had to run for it. What about you?
Got a ride home with a friend from school.
Sorry. I finished.
“Should we get back?” he asked
“No it’s okay,” I answered “,my friend just wanted to make sure I’m okay and that she got a ride home.” There was another awkward silence. He nodded his head. “I have one more question,” I looked at him and made sure he was listening “Why, out of all the other people at the party, did you pick me to come with you? Or use my card.”
“You looked alone and board, until the security saw you. Then you looked, umm.. alarmed.” he answered.
“I like your choice of words.” I commented the way he tried to find the right words.
We sat up there talking for a long time. And by the time we left the sun was rising.
“Great, I’m grounded for life.” I mumbled, mostly to myself.
“So, when did you become and InSider?” Ryan asked
I flinched. How did he know that! No except me, my mom and Bill knew that. “Um...,” I started. “ my mom remarried. He was from the InSide, so he for us to come live with him.”
He nodded his head as if he understood. “Do you like him?”
“No, he’s secretive and I’m pretty sure he lies to my mom.” I replied.
“What’s his name?”
“Bill.” Why was he asking so many questions now? I looked over at him, he seemed deep in thought.
By the time we reached the place of the party the sun was up. It must’ve been around 7:30 or so. I needed to get home before 8 otherwise my mom would really be upset. “I should get going.” I said.
“Waite, leme see your phone.” Ryan urged.
I handed it to him, I feel like I can trust him now. Just as he reached for it I noticed a tattoo on his right forearm. Tattoos mean a lot of thing. But the one he had, looked just like mine. At sixteen we are all given a tattoo based on numbers. If two people have the same number, there were to be couples forever. It’s not random, in fact people on InSide determine the tattoos and the couples. But some people don’t play those rules, and their other half is left matchless forever.
“There.” he said as he handed my phone back. I looked at it to see what he did, He put his contact number in there. I looked up at him and he smiled and started walking down the street. I texted him the first thing when I got up the next day.
After a few weeks of nonstop texting and calling, I finally invited him to my... Bill’s place. I picked a day when I knew Bill wouldn’t be there. I don’t need him bothering me or being evil to Ryan. When the door finally rang, I ran down the stars like a crazy person and opened the door. It felt different to see him now, I was extremely happy to see him again.
“Come on in,” I open the door for him, and he walk in. “It’s a lot bigger then you then what your used to huh.”
“Wow,” he looked past me and looked into the house. “This is a house!” I smiled at his remark. It was the same thing I thought when I first moved in. Four houses could fit in here!
“This is my house,” I commented. “Well, it’s my step dad’s.” I closed the door so he could take a look around.
“Bill, right?” he asked
“Yeah.” I remembered that he had looked tense when I mentioned him last time. “Do you know him?”
“Everyone on the boarder knows him.” He paused and looked at me, “He’s a main reason people like me get caught and disappear.”
I was astonished. It explained a lot of why he would leave at random, to think of it, he never talked about his job. “How do you know that?”
“A friend of mine got caught.” he paused.
We walked out onto the patio. Bill had a big in ground pool with a large backyard. It was lined with tall hedges and torches that were lit at night.
“He was a few years older then me, so we weren’t really that close.” he paused. “Anyway, all I remember is it was at night time, he pushed me in between buildings and men grabbed him. I remember one of them called out to Bill, and Bill just yelling orders.” I looked over at him when he was done talking.
“And..” I pressured.
“That’s how I got into the InSide.” he smiled like he knew something I didn’t.
“Enough about me,” he started, then pointed out onto the grass, “wanna go for a ride?”
I couldn’t help but laugh. The ride he was talking about was a little kids bike. I babysat kids every now and then and they left a set of bikes and other toys here. I took my chance and sprinted to the bikes. I heard him laugh and before I even got the chance to look, he passed me.
“That’s it,” he challenged like he was suppressed. He took the bigger bike and I was stuck with the little one. We both took off, looking absolutely ridiculous. We circled after each other for a long time. Push. Push. Knees to the chest. Knees to the chest. It felt impossible to ride this bike comfortably and my kneecaps literally hit my chest every time.
“You’ve been marked?” he looked at me surprised. I glance at my wrist and pulled my shirt over it. Of corse he saw it.
“Yeah.” I mumbled. I didn’t want to risk the chance that we weren’t matched. I liked him, “like” him. (Even though this is my second time seeing him. But we texted for a few weeks now, so... I practically know him.)
“Can I...” he started. I nodded my head to let him know that it was okay. He grabbed my hand and pulled my shirt sleave up. I watched him for a reaction. It looked like he was reading it over and over trying to figure it out. “23714” he said. I saw his Adams apple jump when he swallowed. He let my arms go and his fell to his side. Doubt spread through me. What were his numbers? I reach for his wrist, 23779. I just looked at it. Does this mean we cant be together?
Then it hit me, my mom was tattooed, but Bill wasn’t so who cares! I weaved my fingers through his and held his hand. It doesn’t matter, their just numbers right. He closed in on me and hugged me not letting go of my hand.
“Candice, I’m leaving.” Ryan broke the silence.
“Leaving? Where are you going? Why?” I felt dumbstruck.
“I’m going to the other side of the balance field.”
“Oh.” It was all I could say. The other InSide was on the other side of the balance field. It’s much bigger and less strict. People there lived on the new technology that was being made every year. Unlike here, people tried to be traditional. They say the closer the way it was on Earth’s surface the better.
“Candice!” a voice boomed through us.
I could pick out from anyone, and anywhere on the balance field. Bill. I spun around and looked at him.
“Yeah,” I replied.
“Inside, now!” he ordered. His face was red and the veins on the side of his head were sticking out.
“K, fine. I’m Coming.” I replayed. I turned to Ryan, “I’m sorry. I’ll.. I’ll walk you to the gates.” He smiled and nodded his head. Just as we started walking I heard Bill yell out to me.
“Candice! Get inside NOW!”
“I’m coming.” I yelled back.
“Candice go ahead.” at that, he slipped something in my hand.
At my remark, Bill stormed down the patio to Ryan and I. Oh my gosh! He’s going to blow his top.
“Candice, Go Inside!” he said calmly. I looked at Ryan helplessly, and headed inside. Bill had a voice on him, if you made him angry you’ll be sure to know, as well as the neighbors. So I didn’t want to push my luck. When I got into the kitchen I opened the window a little so I could hear what Bill was saying, but it was useless. I could only see them. Bill had a serious face and Ryan was calm. How? How can he be so calm? What were they talking about? Then suddenly Bill walked away. I saw Ryan look back once before disappearing.
“You stay away from him.” Bill told me. “He’s nothing but trouble and an OutSider.”
“Right, because my mom and I weren’t one. Hey, I thought you were on business?”
“Came home early?” Bill looked very grim at me. I was pushing it. He walked over to me glanced at my wrist and walked away.
I ran up to my room with the paper still clutched in my hand. I couldn’t believe I forgot about it. I didn’t dare risk the chance of my mom or Bill even seeing it. When I felt safe, I collapsed on my bed and opened the little piece of paper.
Meet me at the train station at 10 tonight. Don’t bring you card.
I was astonished. He wanted me to runaway with him! Adrenaline rushed through me. Go to the other InSide. I dashed to my closet and grabbed a small suite case. I threw in some clothes when it hit me. My mom. I can’t just leave her. We both came into the InSide together, and we came with Bill. There was noway I could leave her with him, all alone. I sat down and slouched on my bed. I crossed my arms over my knees and started to tear up. I cant stay here. The first time something good happens is about to leave. But I have to stay here.
“Candice, dinner.” my mom told me through the door.
“I’m not hungry mom.” I forced myself to sound calm.
“Are you sure.”
And just like that she left.
The clock said 9:30 P.M. and my heart was pounding. Part of me felt like I was letting myself down and an awful feeling sank in when I realized I would letting Ryan down. I kept reading the note over and over “10 o’clock, tonight”. I looked over at the clock again and it said 9:35 P.M. This night would never end!
Right on cue, my phone rang. I got of my bed and trudged over to my desk. Ryan’s caller I.D. popped up. I stepped back from the phone and let it go to voice mail. I couldn’t tell him why I couldn’t go. Though he deserved to know. I sat back down on my bed and looked at the packed suit case and note.
The clock read 10:15 before I finally gave in. Did he leave without me?
I was still on my bed when I heard a knock on glass. My head shot right up. It was practically impossible to get to my window without a latter. But sure enough Ryan was out there.
“Ryan.” I whispered.
“You didn’t show up.”
I turned to look at my bed for my suite case.
“If you didn’t want to leave, I get it. But I wanted to hear you say it before I left.” he was hugging me.
My heart was pounding and my mind was racing telling me to go with him. “Let’s go.” I agreed.
I walked over to my bed grabbed my suite case, the note and ran to my window. Ryan was already on the ground. I took one last look into my room and heard someone racing through the halls, I duck out the window.
Ryan was parked a block away. By the time we got in and started to leave, we heard a ruckus going on over the street.
“Let’s go..” I started
He nodded his head and we started driving to the station.
My heart was beating like crazy and I notice I was shaking. What will happen when Bill finds out I’m gone? What will he do when he finds out I’m with Ryan? Before I had the chance to ask Ryan how far we were to the station he grabbed my hand. I looked at him. What’s wrong?, was the first thing that flashed through my head.
“Please, stay in the car.” he looked at me then in front of him. I followed his gaze and saw two cars in the middle of our way. Ryan unbuckled his seatbelt, opened his door and step out of the car. Still looking ahead I saw someone step out the bigger vehicle across from us. I couldn’t get a good look at him.
Ryan step closer to the man and it seemed like they were talking. Suddenly the man pulled he fist back and punched Ryan right in the cheek. He collapsed on the hood. I saw a bloody line come from the side of his eye. The man grabbed the calor of his shirt, pulled him off the hood of the car and took another swing at him. I knew he told me to wait in the car, but I was not going to watch him being hurt. I got out of the car to stand up to the beast.
“Stop!” I shouted. I herd my voice break when I say the man. “Bill!”
I ran to and stopped his arm from making another blow. He spun me around to another man, who eventually snatched me by the arms and pushed me into a car. Suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my neck. And everything suddenly got blurry. I heard a cry.
“Ryan!” I yelled
My vision blacked out.
I woke up in my room and my mom was sitting next to me.
“Mom,” my voice was groggy. “Where’s...where’s Ryan.”
“Bill!” she called out. “Hang on sweetie?”
“Can I talk to her alone.” Bill walked into my room and asked my mom.
After my mom left Bill started to talk, “Ryan’s gone.”
I started to get angry. “What do you mean he’s gone?”
“He’s gone. Over the balance field. He’s not coming back.”
I felt my heart fall. “Leave me alone.”
I’m going to find him. I will.