Everyone in this new world has a number. From 1 to 789000, that is a person's name. The Evens are the police force, the government, the rulers - the Odds are the criminals, the rebellions.
I am 987. This is my story.


1. Obey the Evens......

'987? 987?'


763 looks annoyed. 'Next time you daydream, don't make it so obvious!'

I straighten, wiping a small smear of dribble from the corner of my mouth, opening my eyes a little wider. Our teacher, Even 125, is looking with narrowed eyes in my direction. We are supposed to be fascinated and in awe of this "noble" class, but all I find it is boring.

Numerology is not actually to do with maths, like it was about four hundred years ago. It is about our citizenship. What number we are, what that number means, how our numbers suit us, other important numbers.

I am 987. You could say that's my "name", which is what it was called a long time ago. Instead of numbers, people used strange words to distinguish each other. Sometimes there were people with the same word. With numbers, everything is a lot simpler. There is no other number like yours, so you are always recognizable.

I look at 763. She has dark chocolate-brown hair, quite curly, almost black, going down to her waist but plaited back. Dark eyes. Tan skin. Tall and willowy, with rosebud lips and a beauty spot above her top lip. Not like me.

I am short and skinny, with  shoulder-length plain brown ponytail, pale skin, freckles and pale grey eyes. Every kid in this class is sixteen years old and dressed in the regulation clothes - plain grey suit trousers, black lace-up shoes, a plain grey round-neck long-sleeved jumper and plain tied-back hair. The boys have the same clothes but their hair is neatly cut and combed.

'When you have quite finished talking, 987 and 763,' Even 125 says crisply, 'we are on to other important numbers. Who invented the Pod?'

'Even 12,' we chant flatly back at her.

'Who caused the Eiffel Tower Attacks of 4050?'

'Odd 72.'

'Who founded the first Protect Evens?'

'Even 46.'

We carry on this way for a few minutes, finishing with chanting our motto.

'Obey the Evens and happiness is high. Become an Odd and you will surely die. Numbers are simple, numbers are good - everyone has a number, because they really should.'

'Dismissed!' bellows Even 125, and we begin to pack up.




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