• Forever Forgotten
    By: Nikki Westerberg

    I woke up on a strange planet not knowing who I was or where I was. All the people around me have wings like fairies and green skin. But they aren’t normal size; they all are three inches shorter than me. But...I’m not like them. I have long ivory hair, blue skin and huge wings like feathers where on the contrary theirs are web-like.
    They all walk in a formation I can’t figure out, and it bugs me that they all cower away at the sight of me. Am I a threat to them? How do I even know how to compare them to other earthly objects? Did I exist in another life? How could I be fully-grown? It is all so confusing and not understandable. At least they don’t dare hurt me.
    I can’t get up. For some reason I ache all over. I cry out for help but all the little green fairies (that's what I will call them) ignore me or get scared and run away. I ask for food or shelter and the only generosity I get is from an older looking fairy that hands me an orange fruit. It tastes sour-sweet and is very fuzzy but soft as soon as you bite into it. It also heals me from my aches and pains. I am able to get up and I thank the old fairy. “Call me Ganza.” he says. “Do you have a place to work or stay?” he asks, “No.” I answer, so he brings me up to his little cottage on a high hill. Ganza shows me to where I will be staying. It is a small room he calls the ‘quest room’, but I figure out that it is really the cellar. There are jars of awkward shapes with weird-looking fruits and herbs of all different shapes and colors inside of them. In the corner there is a very large bed, big enough to fit me! The wall next to it is freshly painted, as if Ganza is trying to hide something. He tells me to 'make myself comfortable' and then come upstairs when I am ready. I’m not exactly sure what 'make myself comfortable' means because I'm sure he knows that I am too confused to be comfortable.
    When I walk back upstairs Ganza is waiting for me with a large shell-looking thing. He calls it a ‘helmet’, something to protect my head. Ganza leads me out back and onto an overgrown path. As we walk along I notice a patch with a whole bunch of the herbs and fruits I saw in the cellar, “It’s a garden,” says Ganza. We finally come to a rusty old door that opens to a long path of stairs, and I mean very long. After what seems like ages, we make it to a room. The room is full of fairy workers working on some metal things that I have no idea what to make out as. But, instead of entering the room, he leads me down even farther. The next stop is a room that looks just like the one above and just as before, we keep going. The next room is very cheery with little fairies 'on break' and colorful pictures of very good working fairies. Above the pictures is a sign that states ‘Employee of the Month’ and most of the pictures are Ganza, I wonder why? All the fairies seem to be busy with eating or chatting. This room we did stop in but only to grab some keys. Back down the stairs we go to a closed-off room with a big, rusty door where Ganza inserts the keys. The door opens slowly, creaky, and very, very eerie. “This is where the Crusher is located,” he explains “and where you will be working.”
    The Crusher is a large machine that crushes all of the unwanted pieces of metal and sends them on a 'conveyer belt' to the Recycler. The Recycler recycles all the crushed pieces into new sheets of metal ready to be brought upstairs. My job is to move the sheets into a box that transports the sheets to Room 1 and Room 2. They use those sheets for whatever metal things they make. “Never, ever go near the Crusher or the conveyer belt, we have had some incidents before.” Ganza tells me, a little suspiciously. I guess I could get so hurt from those that even his magic fruit and herbs won’t be able to heal me.
    On my first day at work I get an injury from the conveyer belt. Ganza gives me a purple fruit that is so sour it turns my face green! I almost spit it back at him but he tells me not to so I hold it in. His meal is delicious! There is even meat! During our meal he tells me I could go out into the town the next day to buy some new clothing (because mine got ripped on the conveyer belt) and to buy more meat. Ganza warns me of the fairies that might want to hurt me but I don’t believe him because they all seemed so scared. Why would they want to hurt me?
    Night time at Ganza’s is very unsettling. It is so silent except for the distant squawk of the birds and moaning of the animals. It takes a while but I finally fall asleep. I dream of a big blue fairy with long, ivory hair and beautiful wings like mine. She loves to go walking in the garden. But one day, a million small green fairies kidnap her while she is picking herbs and fruits. They take her to an underground workplace where they lock her in the lowest floor. And then it just ends. I still can’t figure out what it is supposed to mean. It probably has something to do with Ganza’s foreboding.
    It’s just a dream, a very scary dream, though! I can’t believe I would ever dream about something like that. I know that those little fairies are creepy, but I also know they are too scared to try anything like that. It’s just a dream…
    Going up to see Ganza, I find that he is already up and cooking. “You still have some time before breakfast is ready, so why don’t you go pick some fruits to trade for clothing?” he asked me. As I walk warily down the overgrown path to the garden, I see something out of the corner of my eye. What was that? I ask myself. Making me feel uncomfortable, I take off automatically into the sky. I soothe myself thinking, there’s nothing there, and I’m just being paranoid. I pick six of the orange fruit and only two of the purple fruits; I also find different looking herbs that Ganza has labeled for me as ‘Important’. I bring them back in time for a warm and satisfying breakfast.
    The fairies’ town is very busy! There are a lot of fairies heading to work and even more heading into stores. I go to the first tailor shop only to see the little fairies staring angrily at me. Like Ganza said, I don’t want to anger them so I ask politely, “Do you know where I could get some new clothing?” The fairy at the counter starts shouting in a language I can’t understand to her little worker fairies then turns to me saying, “Young Blunimble, please follow me.” I go to ask her what a ‘Bloo-nimbel’ is but before I can say anything she answers, “Honey, don’t you know your own kind, whatever, please follow me.” The room we enter has a circle platform in the middle with a mirror on each wall. In between the mirrors are pictures of her ‘masterpieces’ that she apparently treasures a lot. She laughs as I clumsily get onto the platform and says, “FYI, I can only make masterpieces so don’t be like the other lowly fairies who ask me for something ‘plain’.”
    I spin majestically on the platform in my new lily-based dress that has huge lilies strung together and lily pads lining the top and bottom. She takes a picture of me spinning and tells one of her workers to frame it to go with her other masterpieces. I thank her again and again and just to get rid of me, she lets me have the dress for free! I don’t even have to use those ‘Important’ berries! Happily, I skip to the meat store on one of Ganza’s errands.
    The meat store reeks of raw meat, dried meat, and blood-dripping meat! The only thing on my mind is getting out of the store into the fresh air. I ask the man for what Ganza normally buys and he laughs at me. He tells me he recognizes me with a very strange look. I tell him as he readies the meat, “One day I just woke up here not knowing where I was!” and he just laughs! Jeez, what’s his issue? I ask myself. In response to my expression, he tells me “Oh, I sure do believe you, its just I remembered something else funny.” I wonder what is so funny.
    When I get back Ganza tells me to hurry to the workplace. “And without any side stops!” he exclaims. “What’s the rush?” I ask hurtfully. “No worry, it’s not that I don’t want you here, it’s just that the Chief Fairies are coming. Um, and they like their privacy.” Maybe they feared me? On my way to the workplace I see some distant figures in the sky headed for Ganza’s house. Hopefully he will be okay.
    On my way home, I realize that something is different. Ganza isn’t out in the garden like he normally is. After I circled around the hut twice, I find him lying on the floor! What had they done to him…and why? Is it my fault? Is it because he is sheltering me? To my surprise, when I pick him up, it is really easy. I am strong enough to carry him to his room! I give him the orange fruit that he had given me and he wakes up right away. He has a look that looks scared, wary, and damaged all at the same time. It worries me that they could have severely hurt him, enough so that even the orange fruit can’t help. “I’ll be fine,” he groggily says, “just some rest and I’ll be better tomorrow.” I don’t argue about the hour because I am too worried about his health.
    The next morning I realize I have had the same dream again! There is also a few scratch marks on the wall, probably from me being so frightened in the night. The scratch marks reveal only a few words: beware, forever, remember, and fairies. I also make out some tick marks, probably counting the days in the cellar. It frightens me enough that I run quickly upstairs for breakfast.
    It is the afternoon and as I skip to go pick more fruits, I see something out of the corner of my eye. Automatically, I fly up into the air out of anyone’s reach. Then, I see some of the green fairies. Why would they be stalking me? I wonder. I slowly fly back down to resume my picking of the fruits when I realize something; everybody has had something against me lately. Maybe if I follow them, I can find out why everyone hates me so. So as I see them turning to fly away, I creep along the ground silently enough so they don’t feel my presence.
    They lead me to a door that sticks out in the middle of woods in a meadow. Apparently, whatever this is, it is something very secret. I wait for about three minutes after they go in and I creep up to the door. It says ‘Top Secret Headquarters, No Trespassing’. If I go in, there might be guards at the door and it will ruin everything. I think to myself. So I circle around the door to see if there is anything, and to my delight, their is a window on the ground. Inside the underground building it is very dark. All the little green fairies look serious, dressed in grays and blacks. They are all gathered around a long table murmuring about something. All of them talk at once and it is hard to understand until a taller, more masculine green fairy with hair so short it makes him look even tougher. He has scars all over his face and as he enters he yells “QUIET! You useless Greenbles,” So I’m blue-skinned and I’m called a Blunimble and they are green-skinned so they are called Greenbles. I get it! “Remember what we’re here for, to talk about the Blunimble. Again and again we have tried to kill their kind and again and again they have too much strength,” I gasp. “What, WHO IS THERE?!?” he shouts. They all look up to the window. “How long has she been listening? Never mind, GET HER!” I fly all the way back to Ganza’s house but they are already there so I flee. I am fast, but they are still close to me. All of a sudden, memories are slowly being processed in my brain. “Wait a minute!” I shout “I remember my name! I’m Niki, the Blunimble from planet Blue!” I hear them laughing as we continue the chase. As I fly over the town I hear shouts from the crowd “She has remembered!” one shouts, another sighs and says loudly “Not again, how ridiculous, why don’t they dump her home?” All of this confuses me so I just speed up until I reach the town limits. “And, and, I faintly remember something else…but I just can’t see it!” I shout in such a frustrated tone. They all laugh at this comment, making me even more frustrated. How can they be so cruel? Do they want to try and kill me too like the other avengers? I could only ask questions until finally, I ran out of energy. They have been chasing me for hours now and my strength is dwindling. Although, their strength had begun to dwindle miles back, they still push on to come and get me.
    Capture, not one of my favored states. I am being painfully dragged down the steps of the workplace while Ganza is flown overhead; apparently they can’t lift me, but I can tell they like to drag me across the jagged rocks anyway. What are they going to do to me? I think vigorously. What did they do to the other avengers? I panic to picture something nice of the outcome of this, but I can’t for I know they donn’t want me here. I remember that Ganza had warned me about their temper. About how they don’t like change, how they hate differences. Maybe that is why they walk in a weird formation. Maybe that is why they all practically dressed the same.
    They take me out of my net, but I can’t escape. There are a million of them and they all want the same thing. They keep yelling in their weird tongue, too loud for me to hear Ganza’s soothing words. They strap me to a conveyer belt that is rusty, old, and moves slowly. I remember the awful dream. How does the dream end? I ask myself. I want to go to sleep. I don’t want whatever they are going to do to me. I just want to be me, safe on my own planet.
    I hear the faint sound of mashing and crunching. Then, it hits me. I am on the conveyer belt to the Crusher! I am on this planet for an exploration and they had put me through the Crusher before. The Crusher must have given me amnesia but now I remember again! Have they put me through the Crusher before? How long has the crushing, amnesia, remembering, and crushing again cycle gone on for? Months, years, decades, maybe even centuries? “Ganza and the meat butcher and everyone else knew all along!” I scream. “Help! Please?” I scream to anyone who hears, but all I get in response is evil laughter from the Greenbles. I keep yelling “I remember!” and “I know all of you!” to the Greenbles but they only laugh and laugh and laugh.

    I woke up on a strange planet not knowing who I was or where I was.