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The young man shuffled down the main street of Alliston. He wheezed as he walked trying to get some air that contained the vital gas that he needed to breathe; oxygen. The small town that he remembered as a child had all but vanished. Alliston was now a thriving metropolis, it had merged with Nickolston on the east side and Everett on the north. The parks that had grass and dirt in them had been replaced by 'safer' rubber pavement. The woods were all gone... what little was there when he had been a boy. Even the sod farms that used to be on the outskirts of the town had been paved over to make way for houses. The small river that had run through his community had turned a sickly colour of green and had looked like gak. After a while the people of his mother’s time found out that it had been the ‘sludge’ that had been spread on the fields north of it that had made the Boyne river undrinkable... before it had been paved over that is. Charlie had fallen into it as a little girl, he was only three years older than her but he remembered how sick she had been after he had pulled her out, she had been in a coma for weeks... he on the other hand had only been out for twelve days before he had came to. The doctors were really surprised when they lived without any noticeable mutation or lasting sickness occurring in either of them.
He remembered stories his mother told him of her sisters and their Grandpa Al boogieing on down the road to swim in that little river. She said that they only had to wear their shoes in to be careful of broken glass; the water had been just clear enough to see their feet in a foot and a half shallow. He had tried to imagine what a natural body of water would look like clear and clean. All he could come up with was a heavily chlorinated pool the size of a king sized bed, of coarse with pavement surrounding it. He scrunched up his nose at the thought of swimming in a dirty natural pond or stream. He had almost gagged when she told him. He doubted that anybody in their right minds would ever go swimming in one any more. Now they bought their water privileges right from their local government four times a year and had to ration their water between family members. This was a relatively new form of water preservation, he thought it sucked royally and was just one more way that their government was controlling them, but what could he do? He gave a soft sarcastic laugh. ‘We are all lemmings’ he thought.
He was on his way to Earl-Row Park to meet Charlie. They were going to take a bus to a healing lodge. He wasn't really into those kinds of things; he found that if you listened to a preacher from any religion they sounded as if they were talking circles around your brain to convert you to what they believed to be right. He hated people like that, they didn't answer questions even if they were asked directly, they just kept talking in circles until you were so confused that you just gave up and said you understood. He felt like hitting every one of them... but this was for Charlie. She wanted him to be spiritually strong, though he had no idea why. She was the most important thing in his life and probably would always be. She had been like a little sister to him for as long as he could remember, even though they were actually cousins.
His train of thought cut out instantly when a beaten up old ford all but stopped on his toes.
"Andy! man where ya goen'? Need a ride?"
"Sure" Andrew Grumbled as he got into the truck, barely glansing at the dumbest fuck in the entire world. Jeffrey Stewart. He was the kind of guy who thought those supid reality shoes were funy, the ones where people intentionally do things to physically injured themselves
“What is with you lately? Every time I turn around you’re loosing your temper! First it’s the lady at the bus stop, then it’s the guy you pissed on because he wouldn’t get out of the bathroom on the bus, now the SHAMAN we are supposed to be learning a lesson from!”
“He’s not a shaman, he is a ‘native elder’ and he’s talking in circles- ok! It’s all just a bunch of fucking brainwashing shit! The only thing that this religion crap is used for is to manipulate impressionable girls like you Charlie!” He said with mild distain.
“How the fuck can you study this shit?”
“What a horrible thing to say! I am only trying to help you ya know!”
“- I know! I know. I know you’re just trying to help me. I appreciate it, I really do, but I am just not ready for this crap right now.”
It’s not crap…”
“Ya- I know that too… I’m just not ready ok?”
“Andrew, you haven’t been ready for going on four years now. It’s about time you life had some direction. And it is also about time that you started dealing with all of that anger instead of exploding at me all the time.”
“ I know… I’m an asshole.”
“Yep, but only because you choose to be! The fuck with you! I’m done!”