Jillian Wadley
You Belong – Kristen Hardy

I laid there on the couch, predicting and planning out what was going to happen. I was going to go to high school after two years of waiting. There were going to be hundreds of people-just like me-desperate for the life other kids were blessed with. 

The door beeped open for my roommate, Tessa, so she could step into our complex with the package. Jealousy never got anyone far, but I couldn’t help it when it came to her. Tessa had beautiful, long hair that went half way down her back. It always swayed back and forth whenever she walked, just like it was now. My roommate held a large box with a special royal blue sticker on it.

I bolted upright, “Did it come?”

“Sure as hell did, Amazon really saved my ass with that one-day delivery,” Tessa muttered. 

I ran to the box to see the sticker in closer detail. It was navy blue with a golden bangle on it. Tearing it open revealed the clothing. It was perfect. The white button-down shirt had nice diagonal striped sleeves that perfectly matched the skirt. There even was a small golden bangle embroidered onto the coat. 

“They are a work of art!” I smiled, as I started to hug the soft material closely to my chest and laid back onto the couch. 

Tessa replied with a distracted “uh-huh”. But, then she looked me straight in the eye with a rarely lit-up face.

“I almost forgot! I got you a little surprise! You wouldn’t believe how hard it was to get this for you, but, I remember you saying this was your favorite movie as a kid.”

She then pulled from behind her back a cracked and torn CD protector. On the CD it had cursive writing spelling out “Rosa”.

“Tessa!” I freaked out, “That’s illegal! Put that away!”

She laughed and ran to the family room’s CD player. The girl was too fast for me, so I decided to let it past, only this once. I sat down on the couch as the movie opened with a familiar Disney-like tune. Tessa plopped down right next to me and smiled, “Yes, I know, you’re welcome.”

I laughed, “Thanks Tessa, I owe you one.”

She held her hand out and placed her index finger on my mouth, “Now shut up, I gotta see why the government banned this one too.”

We sat there in silence in the soft blanket. The movie started by showing her. It was Rosa. The girl I had always wanted to grow up to be. Rosa created peace between the people and the citizens unfortunate enough to be born with poisoned blood. This blood rarely granted humans inhuman abilities. The blood that Tessa and I, and everyone transported to Russia contained in their system. My mind wandered to the nights I would curl up with my mom and dad, naive to the system the government had put in place. I had been completely oblivious to how real the movie really was. I missed those days when it was even legal for me to go to regular school, and talk to my friends and family, before the government had divided us. 

I continued to stare at the movie screen, nostalgia spreading through my chest. It was cold not cuddling my parents. This world was way darker than it was in Rosa’s, but I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of hope as I saw Rosa kick another bad guy to the side. A feeling of hope made me think about a world just like hers. 

In the final scene, Rosa held her lover in her arms, kissed them goodbye, and at that, she sacrificed herself to banish the bad guy from their Utopia. Of course, it being a kid’s movie, she survived and helped establish a peaceful society so people like me and normal citizens could live together. 

As the end credits started to roll onto the screen, Tessa shut it off and sighed, “I really wish the government wouldn’t be so salty about a cartoon character running a more logical system than he ever could.”

I laughed, “I mean you aren’t wrong.”

Tessa leaned over and looked me in the eye with a rare expression of concern. It had occurred to me that my eyes were filled with tears, and they were falling off of my face. 

“I guess I just really miss my parents… sorry about that,” I muttered, wiping them furiously. 

“Don’t be, it’s chill,” Tessa responded. 

I smiled, my roommate wasn’t the nicest person in the whole world in other people’s eyes, but she was to me. She only let a few people into her life, and knowing that she let me into her small circle always put a grin on my face. Tessa did whatever she could to make sure I wasn’t hungry, upset, or stressed. I wrapped my arms around her and buried my face into her shoulder. It was nice hugging someone after two years. Two whole years.

“Can I just stay here for a moment?” I asked.

“Yeah, I don’t care,” she reassured. 

The bright light shined through the thin curtains as I laid there on my side looking at my alarm clock. I noticed that my roommate had tucked me into my sheets delicately from the night before.

Something in the pit of my stomach felt off, but I ignored it and tried to organize my thoughts. Think Kira, think! The smell of something burning straightened my mind just enough to remember that it was the first day of school. 

“Kira! Get your toast already!” Tessa yelled from across the apartment room.

I grabbed the piece of burned toast. Usually, I would grin and bear the wretched taste but my stomach was already queasy. 

“I’m really sorry, I’m not hungry.” The charred toast crumbs fell onto the plate.

“Well don’t blame me if you starve on your first day!” she retorted.

Tessa left the house with the door wide open as usual. I would normally yell at her, but instead I looked at the doorway out in awe. I rarely left the house, due to strict regulations on times certain “citizens” could exit and enter their homes. My roommate was allowed out nearly every other day for some reason she never explained. 

I tore off my shirt and pants quickly. The skirt slipped up and zipped perfectly while the buttoned up blouse felt a little stiff. I barely even noticed, because next thing I knew Tessa was slamming on the horn for me to hurry up. I strained my eyes to look outside, with the reflective white snow not helping in the slightest. The wind blew into my face bitterly as my foot took a single step outside. It was something my fourteen year old self took for granted, being able to walk out of a building whenever. I shook my head, trying to remind myself that thanks to the new school, I would be able to go outside everyday. 

I shut the shotgun’s door behind me to prepare for a drive.

“I don’t really get how you liked that movie so much as a kid,” my roommate said with her hand on the steering wheel.

I laughed, “I just really like the idea of peace.”

She looked behind her and backed up, adjusting the car’s driving mode.

There was more silence as my mind began to fill my head with worries about classmates, classes, and how to meet new people. And what if-

“You know we can make Rosa a reality?” Tessa interrupted.


“Y’know if we just overthrew the government or something.”

I stopped looking at the plain repetitive scenery to look at her face. After two years of knowing her, Tessa was really hard to read. And sure, overthrowing the government did sound nice but our powers would be useless if our wristbands were kept on our wrists. Even if we managed to get them off, alarms would blair and the “professionals” would have to deal with the ordeal.

“I’m not going to give you any ideas…” I muttered.

Her eyes met mine for a brief second from the car mirror, “That’s fair, but I already have a plan.”

“Tessa… not another plan of yours, I always take the blame for them while you get away untouched.” 

“Don’t worry, you won’t be involved at all. And, even if I got caught, the school would be too afraid to do anything to me. Plus, I bet you’re just too obsessed with your father’s old position.”

I sat there quietly. She knew I didn’t like talking about myh dad. My roommate would only bring him up if she was really serious about this plan of hers. She must’ve been desperate for this dumb thing to work. But, if I pushed her she wouldn’t spill anymore. 

I turned back to the window to see the plain scenery change dramatically. The blindly white snow had been replaced with artificial-looking flowers that were colored royal blue and a bright yellow. Our car raced past a big sign reading “Welcome to the Lucky Black Cat Academy.”