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The twelfth chapter of
September 2, 2010
After waiting for four long years in prison, Leah gets the chance to leave for a week-long "parole" to Alice Springs.
Leah sat on her bed, looking around at the all too familiar cell. Spending the last four years meeting the other residents had done nothing to lessen her wanting to escape. Rose and the others had good advice, but it just wasn't enough. They had unfairly taken her from where she was meant to be, only for something she never even knew she was.
Worst of all, I never had a chance to say goodbye to her. I left her, running away without a word. Mom would have done anything in the world for me, and I stabbed her in the back by running away. I should have realized that I was wrong about how Mom would've dealt with my Avatar State. Mom wouldn't have written me off as a freak of nature; she would have found a way to deal with it. If she knew about the Avatar and benders she surely would've known about the colonies.
Leah thought over this, rage boiling inside her. What right did they have to bring me here? NONE! They ambushed me! Brought up the storm to weaken me! The cowards! If they really wanted to capture me, they should've faced me directly!
Leah stood up from her bed, and stomped to her bathroom, bending the water out of the sink and toilet. Carrying her sphere of liquid to the glass wall, she began to slice angrily at the locks, hoping for the slightest scratch to appear.
Leah, stop now. You are in violation of our rules.
"You've taken my life from me!" Leah screamed, still slicing away.
This is your last warning Ms. Sanchez. Stop your attacking or we will be forced to subdue you.'
Leah ignored the warning, slicing faster and without focus, her attacks landing all over the door. Suddenly, without warning, a whirring sound pierced the sound of splashing water. Leah felt the bullets pierce her skin, burning her and eating her inside out. She fell to the floor, screaming in agony. The glass burnt her insides, sapping her energy like an hourglass. Before long, her screaming stopped, the room silent, and Leah woke up with a cold sweat and a startle.
Leah's extraordinary nightmare continued to haunt her throughout the day as she continued her normal routine throughout the prison. Shockingly close to her real day life and thoughts on escaping. Despite her strong determination, she still had no plausible way to get past her first obstacle, the walls of glass. Hearing testimonies from residents of all elemental power, it seemed as if no show of power or force could leave a mark on the ever-present enemy.
Even if she could find a way past the walls before the bullets arrived or they sucked the air out of the room, the Enforcers would be another issue. They watched the prison hallways and cells day and night, preventing any element of surprise for her escape. If she could even get into the elevator, there would be no way to continue it if they shut down the power or cut the lines.
The Enforcers also patrolled the area around Uluru. If she could get out of the main compound, getting away from it would be another issue. If she could get out on a day when the tourists were visiting the park, that may eliminate the chance of a violent pursuit.
Either way, life in the compound had become first nature for Leah. Breakfast was served promptly at 7:00, with leisure time until noon for lunch. Depending on whether the tourist area ouside was open, there was the training courtyard, along with every other service and convenience. Dinner was served at 7:00, with final curfew back to your cellblock at 9:00. Nights out in your own cell was at 10:30, then to have the cycle start all over again the next morning.
New arrivals were espiecally rare, considering how hidden the colonies were to the BDA. After Leah was brought to the compound, only three people, two waterbenders and one airbender, arrived at the prison in the four years that had pasted from that fateful blizzard. Rose took it upon herself to introduce them to the residents, with Leah being slightly cold-shouldered to the new arrivals.
The only thing that kept Leah distracted from her constant thoughts of escape were the training sessions with Don, Rose, and occasionally Lee and Joel. Leah's skills in earthbending were unsurpassed except for those of Don, as she had quickly surged through the basics and advanced, leaving only one technique left for her to be declared a master.
Leah's waterbending skills were getting better as well, being able to freeze and compress at will. Rose sometimes hinted at other techniques of waterbending, but never clarified. Leah often suspected there was more to waterbending, more doors waiting to be opened than Rose let on.
Fire and airbending were difficult for Leah to start, being used to the stubborn and fluid motions compared the aggressive and passive motions required for them. Leah could only make punches and streams of fire, with Lee promising to show her an advanced move soon. Airbending was challenging for Leah, being so used to being rooted in one place. It was also exhausting, considering the constant movement required for it.
But all these paled in comparison to her 16th birthday. The BDA imported an extravagant cake for the event, and reminded her of the Leader wanting to see her in one week. They celebrated in the courtyard, with Leah lighting the candles, and blowing them out with her only mastered airbending technique. Rose, Don, Jane, Lee, Peter, and Adrian all applied for presents to be brought in, and she was met with a device called an "Ipod", used to listen to music, along with new clothes and various other things. Don and Jane sculpted a statue of her in the earthen walls of the courtyward, strikingly accurate. Rose supplied a picture of Leah's family, something she hadn't had since her detainment. Adrian, Lee, and Peter all pieced in to create a new bed for her cell.
After her birthday passed, Leah's longing for the outside began to grow stronger, with thoughts of driving and dating presenting themselves in her dream. Before long though, Leah's meeting with the Leader approached, with a stereotypical BDA agent coming to escort her.
Leah brought down the earthen wall to the Leader's office herself, literally slamming the door in the agent's face. She turned to face him, the same cool, satisfied smile on his face.
"Well hello Leah. My it's been long, hasn't it?"
"How did your birthday go?"
"It was fine."
"You don't seem as happy to see me as last time."
"Is that a problem?"
"No, I suppose not."
"Then why am I here?"
"I see that four years in the compound have done little to you patience. Anyway, I'm sure Rose has told you that every four years as a reward for good behavior, we let you out for a one week parole to Alice Springs."
"Well, your behavior has been extraordinary these past few years, so myself and the other leaders of the compound have decided to let you have this oppurtunity."
"You're...you're letting me out?"
"For a week. If you choose to accept this.."
"I..I accept!" Leah whimpered, a small tear gathering in the corner of her eye.
"Well then, one of my agents will come to escort you to the garage on the 30th of November at 7:00 sharp. We need you to pack up enough clothes for a week, along with anything else you wish to bring. However, if you wish to be enrolled in the high school at Alice Springs, I need you to make a decision now."
Leah stood there, utterly shocked at the proposal. School? I haven't been to school since before I was brought here. How am I going to fit in? How will I know what to do? How..
"I'll do it."
"Fair enough. We will enroll you at the local school. During this trip, we will give you two thousand in Australian money for the trip. However, we expect you to use this for lodging, food, school supplies, and anything else you wish to do in the city. This trip will be completely free from our surveillance, however, we will simply need the location of your hotel."
"But Rose said you bring a holding cell for the trip."
"We used to, but the local authorities got a little touchy about it. Like we said, we will leave you alone during the trip. However, if you attempt to escape from either the escort to the city or from the city itself, we will not hestiate to take you out. Are we clear?"
"Alright then. Go get packed, and we'll see you on the 30th." he said, dismissing her with a wave of the hand.
Leah rushed back to her room, packing the instant she returned. She later regretted this, as her short patience came, and packing was something she could've done to ward off the boredom.
The following days leading up to the trip passed impossibly slow. Leah insisted on training as much as she could, leading to irritation from Don and Rose. On the last day leading to the trip, Don fell to Leah's pleas.
"Alright Leah, the final technique is called the Seismic Sense. This technique is perfect for learning to bend other kinds of earth besides the original source. Once you master this technique, you will be able to bend anything with earth in it. First, we will blindfold you, and I simply want you to slide your way along the earth, trying to get a feel for it." Don taught gruffly.
Don came up to Leah, blindfolding her before backing away. She slid her feet on the earth, detecting only the slightest vibrations. She stomped her foot, amazingly creating an almost sonar wave of earth, allowing her to see anything the earth was connected to. She tried it some more, her clarity of vision improving with every minute passing.
"Good, good. Now I want you to deflect my attacks, still blindfolded."
Leah cringed in anticipation, then sent out the sense, revealing the earth wave Don was setting off. She launched her self, then cushioned her landing and sending earthen shrapnel at him. Don dodged and sent an earth line at Leah. She jumped off of the line then launched a pillar at him, sending him flying across the courtyard. Hearing the crash, she returned her sight and went back to check on him.
"You okay?" Leah asked worriedly.
"Yeah," he groaned. "Very good though. Now I want you to apply it to other sources. I applied for a metal box to be brought here. I will lock you in the box, it'll be your job to get yourself out."
"Are you kidding?"
"No, get in."
Leah walked apprehensively into the box. Once it was shut, it was pitch black inside. Unsure of what to do, she began banging on the box, hoping for something. Before long, to her absolute shock, she detected miniature particles of earth within the metal. She took control, tearing a hole in the box to escape.
"Well Ms. Sanchez, I can officially declare you an earthbending master. Now that you've mastered this, you can do anything with the earth."
The escorts arrived on time, picking up her bags and escorted her throughout the compound. Arriving at the garage, they packed up her things and left the compound for the first time in four years with two other jeeps of agents. It took hours traveling through the desert to reach the city, but the vision of freedom awaiting in that joyous city was well worth the wait.
- Thanks to Dragon of the West for correcting some grammar issues
For the collective works of the author, go here.