The Other Side

It is three thousand years in the future, and much has changed. Instead of a democratic society where people can choose their life, there exists 'The Other Side'- The name of a concentrated civilian institution created by the world's most powerful form of government: the Depressors, ruled by an unseen God by the name of Omar. The only people who don't live under constraint are the Royal Family- supposedly chosen by Omar in a secret form of microchipping before anyone on Earth was even created.
But now a young girl called Safah is said to have the microchip- even though she herself comes from The Other Side.
Will Safah be the cause of the biggest revolution in history, and restore the world to what it was before?

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2. The First Phase

At first, when all of this started, I didn't have any idea what anyone was talking about.

Partly, it was because I was just a child, and I had no background knowledge of what form of government ruled in the 14th century; but mostly it was because the adults in Balaria kept so many secrets from us. As soon as the civil war was over and the Depressors had taken over there was no choice of radio, or T.V and certainly no choice of newspapers- propaganda ruled our lives. Children were sent to 'schools' to be taught the laws of Omar, adults had all of their money and property taken away from them and anyone who fought against this were severely executed. 

Balaria was now concentrated: deeply and purely; right down to it's very core.

As for me, I was inquisitive. Where other children would cower behind their parents, I would try and balance on their shoulders as the Depressors zoomed past us in their pods; turning up the dust rapidly in their wake. However curiosity was dangerous in Balaria and I was often punished for asking who Omar was: no one could or would utter his name unless in prayer. Omar was God over all people, and the Depressors lived by his rigorous laws which evidently meant more discomfort for the people of Balaria. 

The oldest executed was a ninety-seven year old, the youngest barely nine. Both of them and the rest of the victimised criminals had been punished for refusing to accept the rules of society. That was the first thing I had learnt at school. I still remember Miss Awan taking the chalk and writing on the board in big bold letters, 'FEUDALISM'. Next to it she had written three more words, slightly smaller but evidently of equal importance, "LORD, VASSALS, PEASANTS.'

"Can anyone tell me who these represent in Balaria today?"

Apparently, the Lord was Omar, the Vassals who lived under the Lord were the Depressors and the Peasants were us. I had always thought it strange how the Lord over all the people was a man who lived in the sky, unseen by any man who ever lived. I also wondered how the Depressors would follow his rules if Omar never told them any.

Standing on a pile of discarded pig bones, I stretched as tall as my body would allow and peered over the fence. Here, just around the back of my house, was the only place in the whole of Balaria you could see the whole of The Other Side. Huge emerald gates with guilded rubies was the barrier between their world and ours, and castles with turrets as high as the damp clouds were scattered over the horizon. I lifted my head up and let the sudden rain trickle down my face; my caramel ringlets danced in the wind. Where we lived, there was no sun, in every meaning possible.

"Safah!" My mother called. "Supper time. Wash your hands, dear."

I lived in Balaria with my Mother, Father and younger brother Asim. We didn't have much, but what we did have was each other. Because Balaria was so miserable a place to live in it made our community closer together, and we would eat supper with our neighbours every evening. Tonight I would see Judi again, the soul mate Omar had chosen for me when I was merely a cell in the vast universe, waiting for my mother to pick me to be born, as was the teaching of Omar. Giggling with the sheer excitement of being alive, I bent down to tie up the lace of my cotton shoe and thunder cracked in the purple sky above me.

"Coming Maman," I yelled into the tent as the next few drops of rain began to fall. 

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