Here’s the first chapter to Uncharted Stars! I know that it’s off to a slow start, but I hope it won’t be a disappointment. (By the way, thank you for all the compliments I got on the Prologue- they motivated me to get writing.)
To read more about Uncharted Stars, click here.
UNCHARTED STARS- CHAPTER 1
Sleep is one of the most important things you can get in the world. You enter into what is known as a dream, and dreams are pretty good stuff, really. Once you go to sleep, you enter a fantastic utopia where you are no longer bound by the rules of reality. Nothing matters anymore in a dream. It doesn’t matter what sort of a person are you, it doesn’t matter that you do something that is really embarrassing, it doesn’t matter what kind of things you do in your dreams- because they aren’t real. That’s why they’re so much better than reality. In a dream, you are no longer yourself, but instead you may be whoever you want, doing whatever you want. That’s why I don’t like to leave the world of dreams. Reality isn’t a pleasant place. At least not for me; I know there are some people, maybe pop stars, who are in love with reality, but I’m not. Reality is a crappy place. I have no desire to live in it, but of course I don’t have much of a choice. It’d be nice to be able to learn how to hibernate, so that my dreams can last for maybe about six months, but I’m not sure how many scientists are working on making hibernation a reality for people who find the world unpleasant like me.
It doesn’t help that you’re leaving the kingdom of sleep for school, either. Leaving it at six in the morning is a serious pain, and it’s hard to stay awake in the shower. A hot shower does help, though. Sort of. But after the shower I want to go back to sleep, so maybe it doesn’t help that much.
What is good about reality, though is that in reality you can eat real food, whereas in a dream you eat dream food, which is just a dream about eating, so you’re not really eating anything. (It’d great if you could eat while sleeping). One particular morning in August, I went through my normal routine: I dragged myself out of bed, dragged myself into the shower, dragged some clothes onto myself, dragged myself out of the bathroom, and more happily walked out of my room for some breakfast. I seated myself on the dining table, where a plate of fried rice was already sitting. I ate quietly as my aunt and uncle walked out of the kitchen, both holding a mug of coffee.
“Hey Pete.” my uncle said. He was a successful businessman who had quite a bit of property in Hong Kong. In fact, the fact that he had been more successful in Hong Kong than he had been in Thailand probably accounted for the fact that he was living in Tsim Sha Tsui district of Hong Kong, which also explains why I live here too. Both my aunt and uncle had felt it a responsibility to take the best care they could of me after my mother died when I was five; eleven years later, they still felt that obligation.
“So Pete, anything exciting today?” No, aunt, there never is anything exciting in my crappy life. That was the answer I wanted to say whenever she asked this question, but I could never bring myself to be rude to my guardians; after all, no one else in the world was here to take care of me, anyway.
“Not much, I guess. There’s a presentation I have to do on charismatic leaders in history, and I chose Steve Jobs. I have the presentation first period today. Not looking forward to it all that much.”
“Have you rehearsed?”
“Yeah, kind of.” That was a lie. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it well, anyway, so I hadn’t bothered to rehearse. I just said that to make my aunt feel comfortable.
“Good luck with it.” my uncle said. “Is this a group project?” I knew he was going to ask this. My aunt and uncle were both obsessed with making sure I socialize and that I have friends. It’s like they don’t notice that I’m an introvert and I don’t like hanging out. And I don’t like speaking to people whom I don’t know that well. And since I only consider about three people in the world to be people I know well…well. I simply told him that no, it was not a group project, therefore dissolving all hopes that I would be forced to interact with people in this assignment.
“I’d better get to school now if I’m not going to be late.” I said. I waved them goodbye as I picked up my school bag and walked out. TST International School (Tsim Sha Tsui International School) wasn’t so far from the apartment. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter, because in Hong Kong, the subway lines stretch out everywhere anyway, while in Bangkok the subway and sky trains don’t even reach much farther than the heart of the city. That’s a reason why Hong Kong is a better place to live than Bangkok. The weather in Thailand and Hong Kong during August isn’t that different, but on average Hong Kong is a cooler place to be. In Bangkok, you’d burn your skin if you had to walk for too long.
Tsim Sha Tsui is a bustling district, full of shops and distractions. I enjoyed walking through them every day, gazing at banners and restaurant menus. The sound of Cantonese could be heard all the time in the streets; it was a lively place. A funny thing about myself is that while I hate having to speak, and I certainly am an introvert, I did not mind being in a noisy place.
It took me about ten minutes to walk to school. When I reached it, I sighed. I was not yet ready to face something called ‘real life’.