Prologue: Letter of Farewell

2nd day of Helix 1000

Jack,

I never thought suicide was something I’d ever consider. You probably won’t even believe this letter. You’ll go look for me. I know you will. After all, you really taught me everything I know about life and religion and so you know me better than most. But you won’t find me. I won’t be at home. I won’t be in the forest…and I won’t be in the secret place you gave me to meditate in. I don’t know where I’ll be, but it won’t be here.

I know taking my own life isn’t supposed to solve any problems, spiritual or psychological. After all our discussions, I understand that truth. But, I’ve realized that though I do have those problems—doesn’t everyone—that they are not the reason I’m doing this. And I’m not justifying or submerging my emotions. Trust me. I do know that what I’m doing—what I’ve done by the time you read this letter—is suicide. Although, maybe it isn’t since Manny and Zoe agreed to do it with me. Not that a joint effort changes the nature of running eyes-open into a death ray.

Well, they’ve already pursued their rays—gold and silver. We’d been hunting them. But you already knew that. Oh, by the way, we figured out how to bypass the freeze-ray movement problem. I wish I could have told you about that but I knew you would disapprove. I simply could not have endured the disappointment on your face.

Ugh…

Jack, I saw them taken! I saw them die. The rays didn’t spit them back out or send them back because they weren’t chosen. They were simply taken, gone. And I should have been sad, you know, like I was with Joy and Mom, but I wasn’t. Because Manny and Zoe chose to go. What I felt, after watching them disappear, was courage and hope—the first sense of hope I’ve felt in years. They had taken control and I knew I could too.

I was going to tell you in person. I thought I owed you that after all you’ve done for me—all of us really. Yet, you and I both know you would have succeeded in talking me out of it, and I couldn’t have that. Not this time. I’ve got to do this. How else can anyone learn the truth about the death rays: where they come from, who’s behind them, and most importantly, the logic behind who gets taken when and where? Beliefs and faith aside, you have to understand! Well, maybe you don’t have to, but I hope you will.

Please don’t hate me, Jack. And, if I really do have an eternal soul, like you’ve taught me, then I hope your prayers for me—for us—will make a difference in whatever nether-realm we end up in. Utopia, here we come!

If you’re reading this, I’m already gone. Gone… Wow, it’s weird to write about that.

If, by some miracle—since you say miracles exist—you see me again, Jack—then I’ll have the answers I’ve always craved since that horrible, horrible day. And you’ll be the first to know what I’ve learned.

If you don’t see me again, I’ll miss you Jack. You were the father I never had. You were the best friend I never expected to find. Thank you for not being a Peach.

Sincerely, 

Fern

Read from the beginning!

A Search for Utopia – 1: Joy and the Peach

Joy and the Peach  I’d seen it before—a narrow column of blinding silver light, way off in the distance. Usually it was so far from me physically that it was distant emotionally too. Sometimes the light was more golden, or white. But it was silver that I saw most: a cold, metallic vacuum sucking...

A Search for Utopia – 2: No Charge for Truth…or Dinner

No Charge for Truth…or Dinner It took me a week to leave my room. I didn’t go to school. I ignored my mother’s pestering to talk. I felt bad about that, knowing that she was grieving too. But somehow, I justified my unkind behavior to her. I knew she’d seen the rays take others—far more than I had...

A Search for Utopia – 3: Bank Deposit…and a Plan

Bank Deposit…and a Plan I felt a sense of apprehension as I walked to Jack and Dora’s house. I took the path through the Learen Forest on purpose. Retracing my steps from the day Joy died brought all my questions back afresh and reminded me why I was doing this. I was going to get answers, one way...

A Search for Utopia – 4: Brains and Brawn

Brains and Brawn Manny and Zoe had both recently turned sixteen which was why they could work. I had a little bit of time yet. But, when I did turn sixteen, I was going to get a job, too, to help out my Mom. She hadn’t had help supporting our family since Dad was taken by a golden ray right after...

A Search for Utopia – 5: Jack’s Sermon on Light and Death

Jack’s Sermon on Light and Death My mom had a car, but she could barely afford the gas for going to and from work. If I took it, not only would she freak wondering where I had gone, but I would use up the gas she needed. She would have to find another way to work, too; because we couldn’t afford...

A Search for Utopia – 6: A Little Silver and Gold

A Little Silver and Gold Manny was not shocked at my declaration, but he knew that Zoe and I knew that he was the one to do it. If I said we had to steal a car, he would be the one to take the risk—not us. Manny wasn’t only skilled at video games and weight-lifting; he was a loner with a random...

A Search for Utopia – 7: Light-Filled Dinner

Light-filled Dinner For the first time, in a while, I wished I had a job. Something to keep my mind off two horrific upcoming events. First, was dinner with Jack and Dora, where I was sure my resolve to steal a car and break into a Peach school would be tested to its limits; and…oh yes, stealing a...

A Search for Utopia – 8: Betrayal on the 51st

Betrayal on the 51st I sat on my bed, ruminating over the pleasant dinner. I hadn’t laughed that much in as long as I could remember. Now, it was late. But I couldn’t go to sleep yet. I was in my pajamas: an old pair of grey sweatpants that had a growing hole in the inner seam of my right thigh,...

A Search for Utopia – 9: A Peachy Tour

A Peachy Tour I don’t know what I expected a Peach School to look like, but 413 Bilton Avenue was not anywhere near it. It was palatial, to say the least. And it looked as if it was a relic from another time and place. It looked to be made of marble, from top to bottom—and perhaps cement, but not...

A Search for Utopia: 10 – Four-dimensional Disillusionment

Four-dimensional Disillusionment Zoe’s freckles faded in the red and blue flickering light of the torches. I knew she hated her freckles. Even though she had dark brown skin and black curls—from her mother’s genes—those freckles were a sign of the father she wanted to forget. He’d had red hair,...

A Search for Utopia: 11 – Overlapping Realities

Overlapping Realities The table in the room was full of objects and books. I ran my hand over several statues of angels holding crystal spheres, thick stone carvings of moons, stars, and suns that looked like extra thick coasters for a coffee table, silky white cloths with understated ivory...

A Search for Utopia – 12: Table Talk

Table Talk I sat at Jack and Dora’s kitchen table. The glass of milk in front of me was only half full. I could see where the film of the milk still clung to the sides, hinting that more milk had been in it a few minutes ago. I stared at the milk remaining. My stomach was as numb as my heart. I...

A Search for Utopia – 13: A Positive Spin

A Positive Spin “Chase the rays?” Jack asked, though rather more calmly than I expected. He fixed me with an interested gaze that left me feeling like perhaps I hadn’t really thought my idea through. I swallowed. This was it. “Ever since I was old enough to understand the rays… No, that’s not...

A Search for Utopia – 14: Death Becomes Real

Death Becomes Real Five days. I had five days until I sent my best friends to another dimension, or alternate reality, or an…afterlife. Five days until I finally got all the answers I’d been wanting for years. Five days was too long, as well as altogether far too short. I sat up in bed on the...

A Search for Utopia – 15: Hot, Cold, and Lukewarm

Hot, Cold, and Lukewarm “I think we have no way of knowing what it all means,” Jack said to Zoe and I, as we drove back from the Peach School. Harold had wanted to come, since he couldn’t stay at the school any longer. But Jack had forbidden him from joining us, calling us, or meddling. Harold had...

A Search for Utopia: 16 – A Stoney Perspective

A Stoney Perspective Three days. Three days until the New Helix rays were supposed to come. I sat on a vast hilltop on the other side of town from the Learen forest. It rose out of the landscape uniquely, giving a beautiful view of Sharanville—my town—and a distant glimpse of rolling hills, small...

A Search for Utopia: 17 – New Helix Rays

New Helix Rays I woke up from a dead sleep. I felt alert, and anxious. The morning was bright and clear, yet quiet, matching my mood. I dressed quickly, brushed my teeth, tucked my hair into a ponytail and gathered up the bag with the artifacts and a backpack full of snacks and water. I glanced at...

A Search for Utopia – 18: An Unexpected Sacrifice

An Unexpected Sacrifice I woke up, just like the morning before, full of quiet anticipation. I had puzzled it out in the night while remembering my experience with Zoe in the secret grove. I remembered yesterday morning when we’d sent Harold, possibly, to the silver utopia. I remembered the day...

A Search for Utopia – 19: A Pillar of Light

A Pillar of Light People use the word “surprise” far too much to apply to a general sense of unexpectedness or awe. We surprise people with parties and presents. We show up unexpectedly at an event. But, never in my life had I truly understood the full meaning of the word “surprise” until Jack...

A Search for Utopia – 20: A Place Outside Death

A Place Outside of Death At first, I thought I couldn’t feel my body. Then, as the light around me persisted I noticed that instead, it was only that there had been a severe drop in the painful prickling I had felt when I stepped into the ray. My mind began to reach out—to feel. I could feel my...
Angela Tempest
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Angela Tempest

Fiction Author

Hi! My name is Angela Tempest. I write fiction that entertains, takes you to another world, and fills your life with truth. I hope you’re enjoying A Search for Utopia. If you love it, there’s more. Check out my author page to read my other stories!