Chapter One - Lillian
103 NA (New Age)
“During the 17th century people would hunt witches and other humans who they believed to be demons of some sort...” I drowned out the dull voice of my history teacher and gazed out the window. We were close to the edge of the dome, so I could see into the desert outside it's walls. I'd rather learn more about how the dome came about than this old stuff from way back.
“Now as you know we have a field trip today. Some of the oldest archives and objects we were able to recover from the old world will be on display.” The women continued. I shuffled after the others and got on the bus. When it lifted up into the air I felt the familiar ill sensation. I watched the ground fall further away and my curiosity began to appear as I watched the building disappear below me. Just how far up was this museum? I'd only been as far up as level three, when I was ill and went to work with mum once. But I watched as we passed the big signs.
“You are entering level four...five...six...seven...” I let out an audible breath as the bus finally stopped and we got off. Level ten, the highest level in the dome. I knew this was the only museum we had, but why place it on the most important level? I felt my breathing come easier, the air was never this fresh down below.
“I hear they have dead bodies from centuries ago!” I overheard one of the popular boys saying. The pretty girls he was speaking to made grossed out faces and he shrugged, turning to his guy mates who were much more enthusiastic. One of the pretty girls caught me looking and a cruel smile took over her face.
“Looking out of your league level two?” She said and I felt my cheeks blush. No, I hadn't been looking. But I was still embarrassed. The only reason I was on at a level three school was because my mum was a researcher in it's partner university. Most people in the school didn't care, they mostly ignored me. But the more spoilt ones liked to drop comments here and there. At least I wasn't from level one. I'd only heard stories about what its like down there and hope to never visit the place.
“Lillian, don't get lost,” I tore from my musings to see the teachers assistant motioning for me to follow the others. The main hall of the museum was how I'd imagine one might've looked before the disaster. It looked like the ones I'd seen in in the old movies my dad would salvage and make me watch as a kid. Mum never understood our obsession with the past, she was always busy concentrating on the future and how to improve it with her science stuff. I had yet to find out what she really did, I knew it was complicated. I wasn't really smart like her though. I never failed any of the tests we were given, but I never got top marks either.
“These are some of the old books that were recovered. You can see by reading these old academic textbooks that their knowledge was very limited compared to ours. Its believed that their limited knowledge was the reason the disaster happened,” The guide explained. I could already feel his monotone voice sending me off to sleep. So what if these people didn't know everything? They were still a stepping stone to where we are now. I noticed the teacher and her assistant were absorbed in the guides words. If I was going to escape, now was my best chance. I slipped away and down a random corridor. Looking at the various objects littering the walls. I noticed a sign saying which era the items were from.
How ironic I thought. I preferred to learn like this anyway. I wanted to see, not hear about old times. I walked into a side corridor, this was darker and dusty. I guessed visitors weren't really meant to go here. I sneezed as clouds rose with every footstep but kept going. Hoping no one in a security uniform heard. I found myself in an open area and gazed around. I was surrounded by huge blocks. Some were made of wood, other's stone. I realised I'd found my way to tomes, the dead bodies that guy had spoken so reverently off. The first was a huge stone coffin. There was still rotted moss clinging to it. I'd never see a plant so close up. I knew it was dead but I reached out to feel it. It was slimy, but remained in tact. Any plants were kept in the domes highly secure centre on level 10. Looked after by specially trained garden-keepers. It was their job to keep any plants alive so we could keep breathing. It was the reason the air quality wasn't too good on level two.
I noticed some carves writing on the stone and tried to decipher it. I learned on the stone, because it was almost my height. I felt something budge and pulled away fast, cursing slightly. The stone was rougher than I'd expected. Usually things were smoothed over time right? I starred at the swallow graze on my hand. At least it would heal fast enough. I'd just have to be careful to hide it from the teacher.
I looked up at the sound of stone gritting against stone. I realised the tomb was opening on it's own.