Joyhaven. Always thought of as being my “home”. Yes, I grew up here, but does that
truly make it a home? How could a home destroy you to the point that my home has tried to
destroy me? It’s not right, in my opinion. It never has been. My home should always protect me,
Oh wow, look at me, trying to get ahead of myself already! I guess I owe you all a little
introduction now, don’t I? My name is Sara. Sara Lee, if that is something you want to know
about me. I’m 19 at the moment, so I have finished all that I have had to do for high school, I just
don’t have the money at the moment to continue on to another educational institute. Not like I
would want to anyway, all they teach is stuff that I’m not interested in.
I am a citizen of Joyhaven, I have been all of my life. I know, the name of this place is
pretty ironic, isn’t it? Wait, you don’t agree? Oh...Wait, I haven’t even explained why this place
is so horrible. Silly me, always getting ahead of myself all of the time. You see, what I am doing
at this very moment is illegal.
Before you say anything, no, I am not doing any drugs whatsoever. No, what I’m talking
about is writing. That’s right, in this “wonderful” town of Joyhaven, writing is a crime that is
punishable, meaning that if someone were to catch me doing this right now, they could report me
and I could be put in jail. Not to mention, if I write about anything involving the government, I
could be put to death.
So, now do you guys see why Joyhaven is such a terrible place? Great, I’m glad we’re on
the same page. Haha, get it? Pages? Like in books and writing?..You know what, never mind, it
wasn’t that good of a joke anyways.
Getting back to what I had been talking about earlier, if the government were to find
something written about them-
I quickly jumped up at the unmistakable sound of my mother walking up the stairs, and I
quickly hide my writing, pulling out a random textbook and flipping to some page about how
robot spiders came into existence. I looked at the pages blankly, trying to appear like I had a big
interest in what I was reading. My mother walked into the room, without knocking like most
sane people would do.
“Sara, it’s time for dinner, get your nose out of those textbooks for once” she complained
for about the billionth time this year, before going back downstairs with the rest of my family.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my family, but they are too much like everyone else, and I just
don’t fit in at all.
I sigh to myself, putting the book aside before going downstairs, and sitting with my “too
normal for my liking” family. I looked over at my mom and dad, both eating their food in a
mechanical sort of way, kind of robotic in a way? I’m not sure how else I could explain it. I turn
my head to see my little brother, doing the same. He was pretty advanced in his skills for a kid
his age. Although, it seems like every kid in this town is.
I sigh internally before looking down at my food, trying my best to hold in my groan of
disgust when I see the play dough looking food sitting on my plate. For some reason, this food is
considered to be normal. And funnily enough, this is the most colorful thing that can be found in
I pick at the food, until my mom finally complains about me not eating it. I groan
internally before taking a bite into the tasteless play dough, immediately wanting to vomit as it
settled into my stomach (and while no one was looking, I fed the rest to our dog). As soon as we
were all finished, I went back upstairs, not very interested in their conversations about the
weather, and our “oh so great” government ruler.
I got into my room and locked the door for the night, as we all do. I grabbed my writing
journal once again, flipping through the pages, before stopping on a page I entitled “Things the
Government Defiantly Does That People Continue to Refuse”. I know, great name, right?
I looked over the pages, reading every single word. I liked to do this sometimes. It
reminds me of why I write, and I can add anything I could be potentially missing.
What I truly believe the government is doing:
1.Mind Control-I mean, yes, it sounds absolutely crazy, and I know I am not affected by
it, but what if everyone around us is being controlled by the government? It is a very realistic
2. They are killing citizens-Okay, if you don’t think this is really happening, then I am
seriously thinking that you may be one of those people who is being controlled by the
government. Recently, a lot of people have been disappearing, but when I ask the people around
me about “x” going missing, they claim they don’t know who that person is! Isn’t that a bit
freaky...I think so.
3. Writing is banned-Okay, this is a big one for me. As you can see right now, I write A.
Lot. So knowing that I am not allowed to do this very thing, is frustrating. But what really
infuriates me is that they have not given a reason why. Why would we not be able to express
ourselves in such a way? Is it because they don’t want rumors? Is it because they don’t want
people to imagine too much? What could it be??
I sigh and close my writing journal, hiding it between my mattresses before laying down.
Am I going insane? Or have I always been this way?
I close my eyes, hearing only the familiar hum of the computer on my desk. The walls in
all of the houses are soundproof now, making it eerily quiet during the night. I never liked it, but
it seemed like nobody else minded it. That just proves my idea of everyone being under some
sort of mind control!
I sigh and roll onto my side, facing the wall as boredom washed over me. I would go and
talk to people, but I couldn’t make any friends at my school. I am considered to be different
compared to other people, so nobody really wanted to talk to me. That is one of the biggest
reason why I am alone most times, left to my own thoughts, and writing them down with no
intent to ever use what I have written.
I sit up in my bed, stretching and yawning, feeling boredom sinking in. I sigh softly to
myself, getting up and trudging along to my door, and going downstairs.
When I reach the doorway of the living room, I see the rest of my family watching the
news on the television. Or what I like to call it, the little white lies the government uses to hide
the truth. I mentally roll my eyes, before putting on my coat and shoes, walking out the front
door and into the chilly November air.
Welcome to Joyhaven, I guess...
I walk out into the street, not feeling too concerned on whether or not a car might come. The traffic around this city is extremely low in the night, as everyone has gone home. There are very few people that wander, most of them falling into the mind control of the government…I’m telling you, it’s real!
I walk in the middle of the road, something I do too often to be normal. I look around at the stores beginning to close, already knowing the destination I am heading for.
I walk into the small coffee shop at the end of my street, breathing in the all too familiar aroma of the shop. This is where I like to go most nights, as they stay open later then most places, and they still stick to the “old fashioned” way of making coffee, which is considered quite different in comparison to all the other coffee shops in town.
I approach the counter, the worker smiling at me as I got closer. He seemed to be the only person in this town that got where I was coming from. We would discuss our opinions all day, if we could do so safely.
“Hey there, stranger” he says playfully, laughing to himself as I sit at the table nearby, laughing as well. “The usual?”
“Of course!” I smile, sitting back as he starts to make my coffee.
“So, how has life been treating you?” he asks, bringing the coffee to me and sitting across from me, as the coffee shop had practically emptied out.
“Life has been the same as usual” I shrug, looking down. “It has still been shit, and I still haven’t been able to find a job, so not much has changed”
He gives me a sympathetic smile, and I smile right back at him, taking a sip from my drink. I wince slightly as I burn the tip of my tongue, and he laughs, going to get a glass of cold water for me. I smile and look around the shop, taking in even the smallest of details.
The shop had a vintage vibe to it, while also trying to stay with what is popular at the moment in this town. I liked it, the way even the shop looked could affect me. It felt…like a home. It felt like a cozy place where I could write, even though I know that any attempt at that could end miserably.
I was snapped back into reality by the worker setting the cup on the table in front of me. I never have gotten the chance to learn his name. I never bothered to ask. And it was the same way vice versa. I smiled and thanked him, and he walked back behind the counter, smiling as well.
I hear the familiar ring of the door being opened, and I focus back in on my drink as the customer approached the counter. It wasn’t as easy to talk to him when someone else is there. When there is someone else in the shop, it becomes harder to speak up, and we run the risk of being reported to the government. So to put it simply, it was not easy, living in this town and having no one to speak to.
When the customer left, the worker came back over and sat across from me, and we both sat in a comfortable silence, none of us having much of an idea as to what we could potentially talk about. We both just looked out the big windows of the coffee shop, watching the city’s usual sound die down, which indicated the end of his big shift. Not very many people entered the shop after this, other than myself. The only times people have, they have been other citizens like the worker and myself, and although it took them a while to open up to us, we ended up always having never ending discussions about our theories, which has always given me more to write about.
This was not one of those nights.
We sat in silence, the occasional small talk falling from our lips when someone thought of something to say. This kept up until 10, when he closes the shop, and I help him, despite him saying he could do it himself. I always simply rolled my eyes at him, doing some of the work, and we headed out together, normally going in two completely different directions.
But tonight was different.
As I started walking in the direction of my house, he stopped me, and insisted he walked me home, scared something in the darkness would come after me. Despite my confusion, I walked with him, not worrying about why he was doing it.
The air around us was cold, and you could see every breathe you released. It was just like most nights in this town, the crisp, cold air only appearing at night, with the giant government energy heaters warming us up during the day. They never left them on during the night, since no one was ever out, and they wanted the real, everyday air to circulate at some point.
We don’t have seasons here, but I heard they used to be something that happened quite often. No, here, the temperature is always the same, never changing heat produced from the giant machines. I hated it. It always felt so…fake. This is why I liked the night time. This was the only time everything felt, and was, real.
I walked up to my door, biding goodbye to the worker as he left towards his house. I went up to my room silently, the rest of my family already asleep. I walk into my room, locking the door and laying on my bed, grabbing my writing journal from under my mattress. I turned to the page, dedicated to the worker. Okay, so I had a slight crush, so what? He was one of the only people I have been able to talk to in this town, and he was nice!
I always recorded the many opinions of his that stood out most to me, not wanting to forget them too quickly. I was always amazed by what he had to say, no matter what it was…Does that make me creepy? I don’t think so…
I sat and wrote about what had happened today, and how he had walked me home tonight. I found myself blushing at the thoughts, a big grin resting on my face as well. I slide my journal under the mattress, laying in my bed and shutting off my lamp. I relax, closing my eyes, and falling into a deep sleep.
I woke up the next morning, stretching and yawning loudly. Because of the walls, I can’t tell if anyone else in the house is up. I step onto the cold floor, standing up, and walking out of my bedroom. I hear no sounds downstairs, so I assume everyone else is still asleep.
I walk into the bathroom, locking the door behind me and taking a quick shower, hoping to get an early start to my day. It wasn’t like I had much of anything to do, I just needed to find something to do, somewhere to go. It’s one of my goals for each day, to do something and not sit around my house.
I got out of the shower, drying off and dressing in the clothes I laid out for myself. My clothes were different from my families, but I always tried to be different in some way, shape or form. I brush through my hair (with great difficulty) and I put my usual makeup on, before walking out and heading downstairs, greeting my parents in their usual morning rush to work. They both kissed my cheek quickly, running out the door with my little brother to go to school. This was the way it was everyday, but I wasn’t complaining.
I look through the cupboards, grabbing some cereal and getting the milk from the fridge, preparing myself some breakfast. I cringe at the bowl of cereal before me, the same goopy mess always displayed when I make that cereal. I don’t understand how anyone could eat this stuff, but I somehow force myself to eat it every morning. I take my first spoonful, cringing when the taste of it hit my tongue.
I somehow managed to finish the rest quickly, and without throwing up, which was a big accomplishment in my book. I throw the bowl into the sink and put my shoes on, grabbing my phone, and walking out of the house, locking the door behind me. I was always back before everyone else anyway, so I didn’t have to worry about anyone coming home before myself.
I start walking towards the coffee shop, smiling when I walk through the door. The worker waves to me, smiling brightly and I wave back, walking up to the counter. It wasn’t until after I ordered my drink that I noticed how empty the coffee shop was, the only people there being a small group of people, looking to be around my age, who were huddled around something. I look at the worker with a questioning look, but he just shrugged in response.
I grabbed my drink and I sat myself close to them, curiosity filling my senses. I really wanted to know what they were doing exactly, but I didn’t want to make it too obvious. When I sat down, I noticed one of the girls at the table looking at me. I turned my head to look back at her, but her gaze quickly moved away, and back to the middle of the table.
I examined the people there, and I noticed the hand of one of the guys there moving across the table, almost like he was…writing? No, it can’t be! There are no other people as insane as myself who would be writing, right? And in public?! I would be crazy to assume such a thing!
But then again, this could be why they are all huddled so close, so that they can hide what they are doing from everyone around them. Okay, I really need to stop assuming things, there is a huge, huge, HUGE possibility that they are not writing.
I notice the worker sit across from me, looking at the same direction as I was. So, he was just as curious as I was. It wasn’t much of a shock, really. It was almost like we had the same mind, I would be concerned if he wasn’t even the littlest bit curious.
I look over at him, and we start writing on napkins to each other, a habit we started quite some time ago.
Waiter: What do you think they’re doing?
Me: I’m not sure, what do you think?
Me: There is no way…
Waiter: But look! That guy looks like he could be writing!
Me: Yeah, but…
I give him a look and he sighs, shrugging and throwing the napkin out before anyone sees what had been written. We had to be cautious about it sometimes, the last thing we needed was to be reported.
We both watched as the group of them got up, the guy who looked like he had been writing putting a piece of paper in his pocket, and they all walked out together, walking on the side of the road. The cafe was left in silence, and the worker and I don’t look at each other, neither one of us wanting to comment on the situation.
Don’t get me wrong, I kind of hope that they had been writing. I think it would be quite cool if they were. Then it would give me the chance to see that I am not alone in all of this, and that I should be able to write without as much fear, just like they had.
I down the rest of my coffee, sighing softly, and throwing the paper cup out, before sitting back down with the slightest frown etched onto my face. Alright, maybe I was just the tiniest bit disappointed that I didn’t do anything. But that shouldn’t be affecting my mood, right?
I sigh and get up, bidding goodbye to the worker (with the promise of coming back tonight), before heading outside, walking along the sidewalk to the local park.
Parks aren’t used much here, so we were lucky we still had one around. Even if it is barely ever used, it’s still something to make the town look better then the dump it is now. I sigh softly to myself, walking through the park and seeing how deserted it was, even with the beauty of it. This park has been in this town for ages, which has just made the beauty of it grow and grow. I smile and sit under one of the trees, sitting up against the trunk and taking my phone out, putting some headphones in, and letting the music fill my senses. I closed my eyes, leaning my head back up against the trunk and smiling, letting the feeling sink in. This is something I do regularly, since no one really goes to this park. I never have to worry about anything.
I open my eyes again when the first song ended, and the second one started up. I look around, before stopping on an office building near by. This was where my mother worked everyday, doing the exact same thing all the time. I never found an interest in her work, or my father’s, making “Take Your Kid to Work Day” very torturous.
I get up after a while, brushing myself off before continuing on my way, entering a restaurant that I have started to get quite familiar with.
The worker at the cafe had told me about it, talking about how amazing the workers were. I will admit, I was skeptical about the place before, but I soon built up the courage to go in and try it out. Saying I love the place would now be an understatement. The place was unreal!
I walked in, and I was the only person there, as the restaurant wasn’t quite popular, or known about. I take a seat, and was greeted by one of the waiters there, who I have come to know as Jessie.
“Hey Sara! Want the usual?” she asks me, with a smile on her face. I nod, and she heads to the counter, telling the people working there my order. I sit back and relax, the waiter bringing me my usual drink. I thank him, taking a sip as a smile crosses my face.
I look out the window, watching as the day went by at it’s usual slow pace. It was always the same routine everyday for everyone around me. But I couldn’t do it. I could never imagine being forced into one schedule, and having to live through my life at such a slow pace. Where are people’s sense of adventure? Where’s their creativity?
I snapped back to where I was when the plate of food was placed in front of me, and I thanked the waiter, starting to eat happily.
Today was just a typical day.