Chapter 1: The Forgotten Sun Remembered
She awoke to the sharp fleeting jabs of sunlight as they snuck through the cracks in the curtains and directly into her eyes like they were the only destination they had ever known. A wince on the outside and a long exasperated moan on the inside overcame Jennesis simultaneously as she flung the covers off her body in a desperate promise to herself that “she’s getting up this time and she means it.” Unwilling in body and a procrastination of the mind (mixed with a little OCD) forced Jennesis to go over the mental checklist she makes every morning while Sonny and Cher continue to bleat in the background;
1) Change ring tone on alarm
2) Get up
3) Eat breakfast
4) Leave the house for work at least 5 minutes earlier than the last 3 months
5) Forgive yourself for missing #2
6) Then forgive yourself for missing #3
7) Lunch break: Eat breakfast for reals
8) Try not to punch “Red” Ryerson in the face
9) Make it home with as little interaction with people, RR especially
10) Don’t stay up too late watching TV
11) Promise yourself to really do steps #2 and #3 tomorrow
By the time she makes it to the car ride to the refinery is where Jennesis puts it all together and realizes where she is. Showers, clothes, and the “10 minutes late” hustle out the door have happened without so much as a hiccup for so long that they’ve all blurred together like the photo negatives of the most predictable movie you’ve ever seen. Even the sunlight managed to turn everything into a grayscale backdrop fit for a Tim Burton wet dream. The irony was lost on Jennesis, as was with most Rebels, on the natural shine from Oz’s closest star being the very cause for washing all color from the dreary, granite landscape that lacked any liveliness to begin with. What always brought her back was the music. With her hands gripped tight on the wheel, her hair feeling like “it will do,” and the ambition of a soul yearning to be alone so bad that she’s willing to interject herself amongst people to earn that introversion it’s always the song on the radio that brings her to an alternate reality; a place where she can feel.
Some songs invoked sadness; an understanding she needed yet never knew. Some brought with them an essence of hope that made her fantasize about a new job, tropical vacation, and a comfort that had a perfectly etched puzzle piece in her heart yet carried no occupant. Some songs even brought about a fire that unveiled the cosmos as her landscape for living and she could move mountains with the stroke of a paintbrush in her mind. The magic however was that every song made the aroma of her morning coffee weave its way through her nostrils with the inconspicuousness of a marching band, the flavor attack her taste buds with the intensity of a winged monkey, and the warmth emitted from her purple go-cup (her favorite color) feel like a Warrior’s heart radiating in her hands.
Leaving the car always carried a moment of hesitancy. Jennesis could never figure out why she would walk away from the one place in her day where she actually felt more than just existed, yet she never found herself questioning this fact long enough to become a detective. “Acceptance is the friend of the patient” she heard constantly as a formerly-defiant little girl whenever her mom was reprimanding her. Out of all of her Mom’s quirky sayings Jennesis heard growing up, it was that one that rang in her head the most. Even harsher in this moment was the glare from the refinery windows piercing through her squinted eyelids as she locked her car with a pretentious “BEEPBEEP!” reminding her that her car wasn’t worth rifling through in the first place. It was the burst of these obnoxious light rays that had the power to suck her right back into the depressing scenario Jennesis so desperately wanted to escape…
Making it past the glare only meant she had arrived at her point of suffocation destination. Trade in one miserable moment for another. “Acceptance is the frie…”
“I know Mom. Trust me, I know.”
Maybe she missed it? There had to have been a continuation of the words of wisdom that went beyond simply being patient. You’re never done growing after all, and with a Mom taken from her too soon Jennesis felt lost. Like she had never quite read ahead to the next chapter and was simply piecing together her life like a piece of “Munchkea” furniture without the instructions. Sure, she made something resembling a life… but why were there so many leftover pieces that didn’t quite fit right? What was the compliment to patience?
“Who’s the friend of the miserable, Mom? I need that friend…” she pleaded silently as she begrudgingly greeted the new receptionist. Guess she could cross out achieving “#10” off her to-do list.
Just what would make a dingy-by-default day even dingier… a new perfect bodied Rock Republica ready and willing to shame her drab existence every single time she stepped foot through those glass doors. Behind her sun-radiant smile and eyes wrapped in seductive innocence she’s sure she’s a good person, but the red from ANY Rock Republic automatically gave her a fit of imploded anger that was obvious to no one through years of practice that manifested itself only when no one could see it. Hating every new person she comes across was old hat by now made especially easier if the object of that hate donned the red of the rock.
Before she could make it to the elevator, Jennesis felt a shadow lurk behind her. The light bouncing on the wall in front of her took a different shade before blanketing out completely. Wheeling around abruptly she found herself peering out through the very glass doors she had so painstakingly walked through moments prior. It was what she saw that made her stomach lurch with the combination of fearing what was to come and thankful she had even made it THROUGH the glass gateway to her own personal gauntlet in the first place. As Jennesis surveyed the terrifying phenomenon, she glanced left and right at her co-workers looking like they had been caught in an awkward still-shot photograph. It only took a second to realize she was far from the only one confused.
As a sudden darkness loomed the realization of a sudden life-changing event hit Jennesis like 2 tons of bricks. She heard the shattering of her purple go-cup before she had even realized she dropped it. With her eyes wide open, chest tense with fear, and fists clenched tightly Jennesis braced herself for the something wicked this way coming. With a darkness taking over the likes of which the State of Rebellion had never seen, not a single Rebel could have possibly been ready for the blackout to come…