I've read the newspaper article I found at Gruesome Point at least seventeen times already, but I still can't make sense of it.
Construction Begins Anew on Road to Nowhere
Construction has begun once again on Mayor Orange's pet project,
the Roy G. Biv Highway to connect the towns of Somewhere and Nowhere
despite the earlier sabotage attacks (that have yet to be solved) and
the continued protests of Nowhere's Mayor Blue.
important that the highway project continue as scheduled,” Mayor
Orange said at a press conference this morning. “The Roy G. Biv
highway will be a boon to the economies of both cities, it will
connect our people, and it is a symbol of progress and of hope.”
The article was front page news in The Somewhere Times. That means there's a place called Somewhere, and they've heard of Nowhere. They've also heard about Mayor Blue. And they're building a road here. Does that mean they know about us--about all the kids that are trapped here? Are they trying to free us? I think they are, at least, all of them except for whoever is responsible for the sabotage on the road. Who could want to keep us trapped here? I'll bet it was Mayor Blue.
I've been following Scarlet home at night. I know it's wrong but I have to find out what he's been up to. And he IS up to something. I've known that ever since I saw him you-know-where. The problem is, I have absolutely no idea what IT is. And Mayor Orange trusts the deputy mayor just as much as he ever did. If I'm going to be able to sway the mayor's opinion I have to have proof. I have to catch Scarlet in the act.
And that's why I've been following him home. Whatever Scarlet's doing, he's not doing it at city hall. He's not stupid. So far, I haven't seen anything shady. But it's just a matter of time...
They just don’t get it. None of them do. I am the tuffest one here. I know it, and now I proved it. I didn't just do what Scarlet said--I went beyond. I got dedlier. And they saw me. I know they did, all those people from Somewhere. They saw me and they were scared. I saw the fear on their stoopid faces. I really made an impression on them. On everyone! Outlawz included.
I'm the baddest thing to happen to Nowhere since Mayor Blue. I don't care what Cobalt sez.
I think I may have found something that comes close to what hope feels like. It sure is better than stale hope and who knows? Soon I may not even need Scarlet, hope, or the Outlawz.
I keep hearing about this mystery man named Scarlet. I've never met him, but he seems to be connected to the Outlawz somehow, and that means he can't be trusted. Azure told me he gives them hope. Except she called it fake hope. I'm not sure what that means, but I do know one thing. In Nowhere the fear is real and the sorrow is real. We don't need fake hope here. We need real hope.
I don’t think about this often but I seem to be the only one of the Outlawz--maybe the only kid in all of Nowhere--who has no past or memory outside of this town. I guess I was born here? But whenever I say that everyone tells me I'm stoopid.
"No one's born in Nowhere. Mayor Blue brings you here. Everyone knows that."
Some of the other kids have visions or flashes or even full memories of a time before they were here. So why am I different? Do I have parents? I mean I know I have them, I was born. Duh. But did they let me go? Or did Mayor Blue take me when I was too young to have memories before here, or...?
Screw this, the Outlawz are heading out and I don’t want to think about this anymore. Time to show everyone why we OUTLAWZ are to be feared.
I've decided to stop taking Actify! every morning.
Yesterday I took a tour of the emotion recycling facility. I didn't tell Mayor Orange what I was doing, because I knew what he would say if I did. He'd say that Deputy Mayor Scarlet took that same tour not long ago, and he found their increased security measures to be satisfactory. But I wasn't there to inspect their increased security measures. I was there to see if I could figure out what Scarlet's been up to.
I didn't. In that regard, the trip was a complete failure. But I did learn something else, something that is probably irrelevant but which seems important to me nevertheless: Actify! is made of our recycled hope.
The label on every bottle of Actify! tablets states: “Every Actify! Tablet
is made from a patented blend of hopeful supplements, caffeine,
thiamin, niacin, and Vitamins B12 and C."
During the tour, Vice President Goldenrod confessed to me that the blend of hopeful supplements is really our hope--our recycled and concentrated hope.
Ardor Laboratories has convinced Somewhere residents that emotion recycling is medically beneficial, and they sell us the emotion actuators that make recycling possible. Then they purify and concentrate those emotions, put them in a tablet, and sell them back to us!!
When I asked Mr. Goldenrod if he believes that this is truly an ethical business practice he got all huffy and started talking about how the emotion reclamation process is patented by the Ardor Labs corporation and how they deserve to be compensated for their work.
Well, I for one do NOT want to have anything more to do with the whole thing. So I flushed my remaining tablets and I won't be buying any more.
It's only been two days since I had my last dose of Actify! and I'm starting to feel a little funny...
WHAT A RUSH!!!!! The Outlawz well, mostly me, showed them ALL! ALL!!!! We have been working for some schmuck named Scarlet, attacking tracktors and blowing stuff up to stop some road people want to build.
Who needs a road? Like anyone wants to come to Nowhere anyways.
This day we were given a BIG job and I finished it. ME! Not Cobalt or any of the rest of them. They all think they're so big. But who got the job done? NAVY. Some of them even quit the group after! It was amazeing. The power I felt blowing up that diner was better than any hope. Well. Just as good anyways. Scarlet gave us a box of dynomite and told us to blow up a well-known place to eat. Cobalt just about said that I was gonna punk out but I didn't.
I'm no punk.
More than ever now I am ready. For whatever comes next.
Proponents of the Roy G. Biv highway project got a rude awakening
this morning, when it was discovered that construction was halted
before it could even begin, and for a shocking reason: an act of
SABOTAGE has been committed at the construction site.
Police Chief Burgundy reports that a group of unknown vandals
attacked the site overnight. “Dynamite and tools were stolen, and
all the construction vehicles were sabotaged. Whoever did this
intended to cripple the project, and they have. It'll be days if not
weeks before construction can begin again.”
Moreover, Somewhere's only cellphone tower was also sabotaged, and
probably by the same group.
responsible party obviously wants to isolate Somewhere, and hamper
our ability to find them. But they won't.”
Traditional or so-called “landline” phones have not been
affected by the sabotage, and neither has internet access.
Mayor Orange estimates damage costs to be upwards of $350,000.
Repairs to the cellphone tower began immediately, but will take
some time to complete. For now, highway construction is slated to
begin a week from Tuesday.
Some days I hate being the oldest kid in Nowhere. I'm in charge of everything: from feeding the little ones, to washing their scrapes, to rocking them to sleep at night when their homesickness is too much to bear. And honestly, I don't mind any of that stuff. Most of it is actually pretty gratifying.
It's the other stuff I hate. Like when the Outlawz prank us, or when Mayor Blue attacks.
He attacked us last night. He took one of our own. And poor Indigo was right there to witness it. Her name was Catalina. She was ten and came to Nowhere from San Diego. I met her at Gruesome Point like I meet all the newcomers. She'd only been here for a week when it happened.
Indigo saw it happen. They were in
the kitchen. Catalina wanted a drink of water but was too scared to
go by herself because it was dark so she took Indigo with her. Indigo
said that Catalina had just raised the glass to her lips when he took
There was a ripping sound. She
said it sounded like a giant ripped through thousands of pieces of
paper all at once. Catalina dropped the glass. It shattered on the
floor. Then she screamed, and something yanked her backwards. Indigo
couldn't see what it was. She said it was like something picked
Catalina up off the floor and yanked her backwards into the air. Then
there was a pop, like the air shook, and she was gone. But Indigo
could still hear her screaming for almost a full minute after.
This is the nightmare that we live with everyday. We are trapped in this place we call Nowhere. Trapped with the evil Mayor Blue. He can take any one of us, at any time. We know this. And there is nothing we can do but stick together, and find whatever reasons to smile that we can.
And hope. All hope is never lost. Not even in Nowhere.
I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your serious consideration of our mutual problem. Ardor Labs and the Friends of Somewhere's Recycling Committee have been applying a fair amount of pressure on the police department to solve the ongoing thefts from the recycling center. This is a law enforcement issue but there is definitely room for political action. Magenta Vermillion, head of public relations at Ardor Labs, is calling the thefts industrial sabotage. But we must not rule out other possibilities: for example, diversion. The stolen hope may have been sold on the black market. I doubt there is a demand for illicit hope in our own city, but what about other places? Nowhere, perhaps?
I believe that our joint efforts will clear up this matter in a timely fashion. Hopefully, before the completion of the Roy G. Biv highway.
I showed them today! Denim and the others think they are so tough, they never treat me like they should but I was the one who showed them what to do when the Hope is stale. ME. I knew hanging that look-a-like doll today would be a great idea and they did it, too. (Azure called the doll something. It has a name, but I forget.) Just like I knew they would.
They will see, this will change everything, I am going to show the Outlawz I am not to be messed with, not by Scarlet or anyone else. This is just the first step. When we get more Hope the other guys will see that I know what I am doing and they will look to me as the guy who got them Hope.
I've attached my initial findings for your consideration. I hope I'm not speaking out of turn when I ask if you knew about any of this before you started planning for the Roy G. Biv highway project. The data is startling to say the least. I can only imagine that the president of Ardor Labs would not want to locate their new facility on contaminated land. I'm not questioning your judgement, sir. I want this highway built as much as you. I'm going to continue my research. Perhaps I'll be able to find other sources of information that prove that this data is faulty.
Median age of Nowhere residents: 13
Unemployment rate: 100%
Average Highest Level of Education Achieved: 7th grade
Mayor Blue isn't the only bully in Nowhere. There's also the Outlawz.
God, they piss me off. As if the little ones didn't have enough to worry about. First they're stolen from their homes and families and locked up in this god forsaken town, then they're terrorized by Mayor Blue. And now they have to deal with those stupid punk Outlawz? It's simply too much.
If Denim, or Azure, or Navy, or Cobalt show their dumb faces around here again, they're gonna have to deal with ME! That's a promise.
54% of Residents Polled Look Forward to the So-Called "Road to Nowhere" while 45% Call the Mayor's Pet Project an "Impending Disaster"
Fern Viridian, staff reporter
I spoke with Mayor Orange today, less than a month before construction is scheduled to begin on the Roy G. Biv highway, about his feelings concerning the project. I also asked him about public opinion polls which show that only a mere fifty-four percent of citizens are in favor of the future highway.
"What do you say to those who call the highway a vanity project?"
Mayor Orange frowned. "I'd remind them that the Roy G Biv highway will create jobs--good, stable jobs with sizable incomes. The sorts of jobs that fuel the American dream. Without the highway the new Ardor Labs facility would just be a proposal sitting on a shelf in an office somewhere, ignored. It would be a pipe dream. Instead, by this time next year it will be open and there will be hundreds of new opportunities for Somewhere residents."
"That brings me to my next question. Detractors are saying that the highway itself isn't a bad idea, but the location of it is. Why a road to Nowhere? We don't trade with Nowhere. And you yourself have stated that Nowhere's Mayor is opposed to the project."
"Mayor Blue may be opposed to the highway but I suspect that the average Nowhere resident would favor it, if he understood what it could mean for his quality of life. Nowhere is...strangely cut off from the outside world. We don't know much about that city. And Mayor Blue is an enigma."
"My mother used to tell me tales about Mayor Blue when I was a child."
"Oh yeah?" Mayor Orange chuckled.
"Yeah. I never used to think he was real. To me, he was like a boogeyman."
We had a pretty good day here at the Hopeful House. Periwinkle and Indigo helped me make jam out of our blackberry crop. We ate it slathered on thick slices of homemade bread.
Oh, God, sometimes I hate myself. "Homemade bread." Why did I write that? Like there's any other kind in Nowhere. Like I could run down to the Piggly Wiggly and buy a loaf of ready-made bread if I wanted to. Sure, I can gather up the kids and we could walk down to the Piggly Wiggly. There might even be a few loaves left on the bread aisle. But I'd hate to see the condition they're in.
The bakery and the milk man don't deliver in Nowhere. Indigo and Periwinkle and all the other little ones I've watched over the years know that. In Nowhere you have to do for yourself. If you want bread, you have to grow the grain and make the dough. If you want jam, you have to grow the fruit.
If you want to live, you have to keep your head down and stay away from Mayor Blue.
What was that thud? Indigo's crying. What's going on? Here comes Periwinkle.
Damn it. The Outlawz are here. They threw rocks at the girls' window. I've got to handle this. Be right back.