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(this is just for the record. If it isn't against the rules to change my entry, this is the one I'd most likely want to submit as I unknowingly ripped off Candle Cove with my other pasta. So yeah. If it isn't, this is going to be here just for the sake of being here.)

From the beginning, I was always told that I was special. My name was Isaac. As I got older, I realized that all parents talked up their kids like this, but when I was younger, I really believed it. I was always told that I should cherish my life, and know that no matter what, there was always something about me that was important. Even from people who weren’t my parents. Teachers, older kids, and even the guy my mother bought donuts from all told me that I was special. I remember having these big ideas. I always wanted to go exploring, see new things, and adventure. Yellowstone was a pretty neat town to explore. I also remember the times in my life where I would constantly get told “No.” And as I grew up, whenever somebody finally said “yes” to something, I would always get told “No.” for something else. It didn’t matter that I could now ride my bike all the way to downtown by myself. I was 16, and I could legally drive. But my parents said I wasn’t ready yet.

I didn’t mind too much, though. As far as I was concerned, life was pretty good. It seemed as if my life was better than other kids’ lives at the time. Mom always made delicious food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We lived in a nice, large house, and I got almost all the toys I asked for. My parents did have restrictions. I wasn’t allowed to watch the news with them. I could watch cartoons, but whenever my parents wanted to watch the news, I had to oblige. It was urgent for them. My dad worked as a police officer, and I knew that he had to keep up with current events. I got over it. Still, TV wasn’t all that important to me. Where I lived, the weather was nice all-year round. And as I mentioned before, I liked to explore a lot. My friends and I always played around at the park, and I had many adventures with them. Even though it didn’t seem as if I were all that special, the world that I lived in was good enough for me.

I live in a small town, but things still do manage to surprise me. I still remember the first time I heard the loud sound of the start of a rain storm. It always started out with a really loud “Clanking” noise, and then after a minute or two, rain started falling down. Mary told me that rain came out through holes in the sky. Too small for me to see. Mary was an old lady who lived downtown in a dirty, beaten up house. She had curly grey hair, emerald green eyes, powdery white skin, and a single diamond earring. I remember first meeting Mary in the police station where my father had worked. Probably not the best place to be making friends, but she never tried to do anything to me. Mary told me of all these stories that were a joy to listen to, but never really made sense. One of them that particularly interested me was the story of when the Sun fell out of the sky. Apparently I was alive when it happened. But if anything as large as the Sun crashed into Earth, we’d all be dead. She said when it hit the ground, there was a crashing sound, and everything went dark. According to Mary, we were lucky enough that it landed in a field. The strange thing about the story was I do remember a time when everything suddenly went dark. I was inside at the time, and my mother kept me in the house for the rest of the day. But it might have been a dream, because the next day, or at least when I thought the next day was, the sun was back to normal. Rising above our little town like it was the only one to shine over. Whether the stories were true or not, I always visited Mary, and I remember my parents loved hearing me tell her stories to them. They would always spend some time talking about it after, even when I had left the room. This all changed when my parents told me I could get a car.

When I finally graduated from Rockland High School, I asked my parents if I could finally get a car. The two of them talked it over a bit, but then said yes. But first, they laid out some ground rules. Rule number one was to never go outside of the city limits. The second rule was to help pay for it with my allowance. The third rule was that I couldn’t visit Mary anymore. I asked why at first, and they told me that she didn’t want me visiting strangers. Despite my protests, and me repeatedly telling them that I had known Mary for a long time, I had to agree if I wanted my car. Reluctantly, I agreed. I followed their rules. Now that I think about it, they really were simple rules, and I didn’t mind at all following them, save for the occasional times I was feeling nostalgic about visiting Mary. The car was a bit cheap, too. Really old model, didn’t look as polished as other cars I saw. Didn’t even have a damn radio. Eventually I would come to own my own house. The house was nice, it was near my job at the grocery store, so it just worked out for me.

And speaking of a radio, I finally got a listen to it while my friend was driving us out to a bar. The broadcasts were really strange, though. Something about geographical safe spots that were fit for life because they were powered by geothermal heat. It was kind of interesting, actually. I had always been intrigued with outer space. I had no idea why they would be broadcasting something about the space program on the news of all things. But I guess in a world where the sun possibly fell out of the sky, that kind of stuff would be important. They then started going through the list of hotspots. “...Bridgewater, Raritan, Gali, and Yellowstone have all been confirmed fit for human life.” Obviously, the last one caught my ear. Huh. Pretty cool that we were able to be named something in space! I really am special I thought to myself sarcastically, remember my mother's constant preaching of the idea. I wanted to listen to the broadcast more, but we were already at the bar.

But one day, I got an idea. I was an adult now, and I was a person of authority. I was 24 years old, and I haven’t done something like what I had been thinking of in all of that time that I was here. I decided that today was the day I leave the city limits. I took my car and started driving. However, something peculiar happened. When I had started to drive, I quickly noticed

after going a few miles out I saw men in white suits blocking off an area. I pulled over and rolled down my window to talk to them. “What’s going on here?” I asked them.

“There’s been an emergency with a nuclear reactor just outside of the city limits. We can’t let you pass this point.” I saw no such thing in the distance, and I didn’t hear about it on the news, which I was a frequent listener of now thanks to my local internet cafe. I turned around, except this time I went a different route. Far away from the men in the white suits where I was once again stopped by… another roadblock. There were more men in white suits, except these were different. “What’s going on?” I demanded. “The meltdown couldn’t have affected this area too, I’m far away from it!”

“Sir, please turn around.” One of the men said.

I replied with a deadpan “No.”

I gunned the gas, and sped right through the roadblock, my tires were screeching against the pavement, despite the protests of the men in suits. I was almost away from them when I started hearing really loud noises. Gunshots. They were firing at me. I heard a pop, and I was starting to spin out of control. There was a sudden jolt, and I hit the car windshield. And I was out cold.

I woke up, but could barely move. Suddenly, a wave of pain hit my head. I lifted my hand to it, and that’s when I noticed I was hooked up to an IV. I started to take note of my surroundings. I was in a hospital bed. But this was no ordinary hospital. I was strapped down to the table, unable to move. The room was all metal. Illuminated with a bright, fluorescent light that revealed that this room had nothing but a steel door. I could move my head, and that’s when I saw my hospital roommate. And I recognized her immediately. She had curly white hair, emerald green eyes, powdery white skin, and a single diamond earring.

Mary.

“What are you-” I began, but Mary cut me off.

“Let me explain.” Her voice sounded more frail. Less ambitious as before. She breathed like each one was hard labor for her. I didn’t know how old she was, but it was clear she wasn’t capable of much anymore. “You have never been told the truth, Isaac. Never. You were the second attempt at making this world the way it was before. This world is artificial. From the air you breathe, to the sky you look up at. You see, long ago, there was a nuclear war that wiped out almost everything. In the process, we’ve damaged our planet to the point where we were no longer protected from solar radiation. We had to live in environments isolated from the sun. As such, these domes were created as a combined effort for nations. The only way we could’ve kept ourselves warm was to go to geothermal locations like Yellowstone. It was the only way of survival.”

“But why did you keep it from me?”

“I didn’t keep it from you, Isaac. I’ve been trying to tell you all this time. I’ve been trying to get you to realize. They planned to have all of us wiped out of any memories of the outside world. They wanted us to forget our past. I was the first attempt. But I found out. The government was going to have me killed. I faked my death, and have been tracking them ever since. You were the second attempt. Ever since I found out, I’ve been trying to tell you. The sun is a spotlight connected to a rail that turns on and rises every morning. The rail used to be too weak to support the spotlight. The rain came through openings in the ceiling after going through intense chemical treatment.

“But why did nobody else tell me? How come everybody else was in on this from the start?”

“We tried to tell you, Isaac. All of us. You always were special.”

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