(Translated from Neo-Spanish to English)
June 3, 2213
Hi. I’m Zack. I’m 22 years old. This is my diary. I don’t know if someone will read this, but I wanted to leave a memory of myself. I imagine someone 100 years from now reading it and learning about the world that I live in, and my little life.
I live in New Portland, with my father in a tiny apartment. My mother died in the Northwest War of 2209, and I am an only child. When my mother died, my father became depressed.
My father is a computer programmer, and I will be, too. Almost everyone programs computers, because computers do almost everything. It’s kind of boring that way. I don’t really want to be a programmer, but that’s the only way to survive these days.
You probably want to know what happened to “Old Portland.” Well, it’s under us. Old Portland was so broken from a war that we built the new city on top of it. The old city was built for cars on the ground, anyway. Now we have flying cars, or “flyers.” So, we don’t need the ground. Our buildings are much taller, so people almost never go to the ground anymore.
Anyway, I’m getting tired. More later.
June 5, 2213
Hi again. I didn’t write yesterday because I was busy with some university work. Boring. It’s all on my computer, and I hate being on my computer.
The reason I want to write a diary is that I have some secrets. I want to tell you one of them. My friends and I hang out in the old city, on the ground.
Nobody from above goes down there, because we’re “not supposed to”, so we can be totally free. Most kids these days spend all their time playing video games, so there aren’t many places where kids can run free like we do down there. We play soccer, and other new games that we invent. I hope we never get caught going down there, because they’d tell us we can’t go down there anymore. That’s why it is a big secret.
It’s dark down there, and there’s some homeless people living there. They don’t bother us if we bring energy bars (our food) with us to give them. We have become friends with some of the guys down there. It’s exciting. That’s all the time I have right now, we’re going to meet up to go down there.
June 6, 2213
Yesterday, right after I told you about our secret place, I went down there with my two best friends; Bax and Andi. We climbed down onto the ground, and walked the streets as usual. It was dark, but you can always see clearly down there, because there are so many lights from the city above. But last night was different.
We were walking when we heard a strange, musical sound. It didn’t sound like the music that I know. We followed it to a side street. Down the side street, there were three men playing music with a real guitar, a real trumpet, and a real banjo. I had never seen people play real instruments before. People usually use the computer to make music nowadays.
We went a little closer, and we noticed that their clothing was strange, too. They looked like an image from the past. All of the sudden, I smelled something amazing. I smelled food, like I’d never smelled it before. Up in the city, only really rich people can eat real food. The rest of us have to eat these gross energy bars. These people had real stuff. We didn’t want to stay and find out why.
We made a deal to come back when we had more time before the curfew, then we went away silently into the night.
I’ll tell you more after our next adventure.
June 9, 2213
It took a long time for us to find a time when we could go again. We never talk about it on the net, because the police watch it. We only talk about it when we see each other in person. That’s why I’m writing this diary by hand, and hiding it under my bed.
This time, we didn’t hear music. I knew we were in the right place, because I remembered the old street sign: NW Everett and 3rd Ave. We walked quietly, looking carefully into the windows on that street. No smell of food, no music.
When we were about to go home, we heard a sound behind us. There was an old woman standing on the corner behind us. She was wearing a huge skirt that touched the floor, and staring at us with a smile on her face. She didn’t look homeless. She looked warm, friendly and mysterious.
We were surprised to see this woman because we were told that the old city is so toxic from the bombs that it’s dangerous to live there.
The woman waved to us, and we walked toward her. She had something in her hands. As I got closer, I realized they were cookies. I had never seen a real one before, and I almost cried. She held out her hand and gave us the cookies. We each took one and smelled it. For a few seconds, I forgot everything except that smell. It was like going to heaven. When we looked up, the woman had disappeared.
We ate our cookies slowly, and then went home in silence. I can still remember the taste of chocolate and sugar as I write this. My soul will never be the same. We have to learn more.
June 15, 2213
The weather was horrible all week. It was so hot outsidethat you couldn’t breathe, so I havebeen in our tiny apartment, going crazy.
However, today is different. Today it is raining. It rarelyrains here, so today is special. Even though we aren’t supposed to, people whohave windows catch the rain in bowls and buckets. They use the water from the rain to drink and wash.
Water is really expensive, so it’s smart to catch some. But, there is a companythat owns all the water, and thatcompany owns the rain, too. People must pay them for the rainwater, so theysometimes get in trouble. My neighbor was arrestedlast month for that.
My father just got home, so I have to hide my diary. We aregoing to the ground today, so I’ll write after that.
Later on June 15, 2213
We met the people who live in the ground today, but I haveonly a short time to write about it. We went to the place where we saw the oldwoman, and they invited us inside.
They farmvegetables on the walls with lights. They use bicycles to make electricity. They catch rain for water.They find things in the old city to use. Their whole city is a secret. They eatreal food all the time. Our tour guide was an old man named Rat. Rat was an electrician when he lived in theskyscrapers, so he’s important down here.
I don’t want to live in the skyscrapers anymore.
June 19, 2213
The strangest thing happened yesterday. We ate food down onthe ground. The “ground people” told us to stop eating the gross energy barsfrom the New City, so we did. When I woke up this morning, it was like someonecleaned out my head and my brain. I felt great. I felt smart and strong. I feltlike I could run, so I did. I went to the old city and just ran through thestreets.
Maybe you don’t understand what that means. That means thatthose gross energy bars have drugs in them. That means that the city puts drugsin the food. That means that someone was making me stupid all my life. I neverwant to eat one again.
We need to find a way to go to the Old City forever. I amafraid my father will notice that I am gone so often. If we go, someone willcall the police and they will find us. It’s dangerous. We have though aboutpretending to die, but they would need a body for that. Bax, Andi and I aredetermined. We will not give up.
The Old City is so amazing. We meet new people every time wego down there. I heard there are about 500 people living down there. None ofthem eat the drugged energy bars. That is the reason they eat real food. Andthere are more people who live in the mountains.
I am thinking about telling my father about the old city. Ifhelps me, I might be able to escape.
June 30, 2213
Today is my birthday, and this is our last day in the NewCity. This is also my last time writing in my diary. I will hide it somewhereafter I am finished writing this.
Tonight, we will go to the ground forever. We decided to“disappear”. I told my father I am going to leave and never come back. Helooked a little happy, actually. He said “whatever you want.” I remind him of my mother, so he canforget her now, and start a new life.
We hope the police don’t try to find us down there. We don’tthink they will. Because of the drugs they give everyone, the police don’t domuch (except arrest water-stealers).
I went for a last walk today in the “New City.” I knew thatI would never see it again. All the people in the New City are like Zombies. I can see that now, withouteating the drugged “food.” Secretly, I want more people to come down to the OldCity. I want people to see the truth about the New City.
One more thing—I met a girl last week in the Old City. WhenI first saw her… I had a wonderfulfeeling. People in the New City sometimes talk about “love,” but most peoplenever feel it. People in the Old City talk about love like it happens everyday.I don’t understand it. I think that what I am feeling is “love.” Maybe. You will never know, because this is the endof my story. I don’t know who will read this. Maybe no one. If you find this, Iwant to say one thing to you…
Always do what you feel is right, even if it’s different, ordifficult.
This feels right.