After the letter, Elsa became wild and reckless, and for the first time, when she talked of escaping she was completely serious. We had both been freed, in the worst possible way. We were two abandoned children with nothing to left to lose.
Our biggest problem was the implants, chips that were inserted into everyone’s arm at birth, giving the government the ability to know your exact location within Haven. But they served an even more sinister purpose, for the moment you set foot on the barrier, they would blow you out of the sky. Elsa cried most nights, after she thought I had passed on into the world of dreams, and I thought the tears, the sobs sending convulsions up and down her body, catching in her throat, were of sadness, and at first they were. But I think now that eventually they were caused by the fact that she knew the only way past the barrier, and it terrified her. Then one day, while we were working in the fields planting the new crop, she had informed me, with the strained smile of someone trying to be brave, that she had thought of a way we could get past the barrier, which she would elaborate on once we got there. We planned to set out in a week, and I felt a fierce excitement at the pit of my stomach, like my insides were simultaneously freezing, melting, and twisting together. We had been sneaking supplies for months, a bit here and a bit there, so as not to raise any suspicion, and with a few additions, we were soon ready for the trip. I took with me a book that had been my mother’s most prized possession, a book of poetry by a man called Robert Frost, my namesake. The book was ancient, but the words were magic. He spoke of snow and rivers and grass, of a world that could have been another planet, but was in actuality an echo of our Earth’s past. Perhaps Utopia looks like a Frost poem. I had speculated to myself and when I asked Elsa she had smiled and responded,
“You’ll have to write lots of poems about it once we get there. Words are memories, Bo. And we should never let the wonderful ones fade away.They are like flowers pressed between the pages of a book, we must record what is most beautiful in the world, or when our darkest moment comes, we will forget that the warmth of the sun has ever touched our faces.”
Elsa brought with her a photograph, removed from the frame beside her bed, of her family, when they had all been together and alive.
We had both brought parts of the past, memories of a ‘once upon a time,long ago...’ that had been lost along the way. Like reading a history book, part of you cannot believe that it ever actually happened.
The night we left there was a terrible sand storm raging, but luckily the farmhouse was not far from the border and we made our way there quite efficiently, despite the wind screaming in our ears and the sand being hurled at us like tiny missiles, stinging our bare hands and skin. The sandstorm actually worked in our favor, though. No one could see more than three feet in front of them, so we scaled the fence easily without any of the guards in the watch towers spying us from their perch far above us.
To keep the sand from their eyes, everyone had hoods sewn onto the back of their clothes that could be pulled over their faces. There was a small rectangle of mesh sewn into the so one could at least see a vague suggestion of whatever it was that was that happened to be in front of them. It didn’t keep all the sand out, but it was better than nothing.
At the bottom of the fence we crouched together, I still remember her words, shouted over the wind, “I have a plan for setting off the bombs; once they have gone off, it will clear the path for us, so once you see the explosion, wait a few moments and then run in that direction, the path should be clear. Don’t wait for me, I’ll catch up with you. Just keep running. Do you understand?” Her face was covered by her hood and I could not see her face.
“Yes,” I called back. I could feel the adrenaline running through me, and my hands were trembling, with fear and excitement in equal measure.
“I have to get a bit closer, I’ll see you in a bit,” her voice broke on the last sentence. She gave me a quick hug and pulled a fluttering piece of paper from her pocket, which I later realized must have been the picture of her family, and charged out into the howling storm. I noticed that she had somehow managed to leave her backpack full of water and supplies behind, so I slung it over my shoulder along with my own and pulled myself into a crouch, waiting for the explosion to add to the inferno.