Children of the Desert.

All Anuru had ever known was a strict, regimented life, obeying the harsh rules of Aronath. Trapped by the high walls of the citadel, her life was ruled by exams and regulations. That was until she met Lalia.

New to the city, Lalia befriends shy Anuru and opens her eyes to life beyond the strict laws of Aronath. With Anuru's quiet logic and Lalia's free spirit can they escape to the freedom of the desert beyond.

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3. The new girl.

Anuru kept her head down in school. She felt humiliated, angry. Today was her last day before she had to find a job. She had to meet other people with the same Rank. Despite her embarrasment she was a little excited. She was going to meet Lalia,the girl from the Ranking. Everyone was talking about her afterwards especially Kazia, who was a little jealous of Anuru for getting to meet her.

Anuru walked through the grey halls, staring at her feet whilst trying not to bump into anyone as she wrestled her way to her class. She pushed open the door to find a small group of people sat in a circle, all facing a tall woman in the usual grey uniform. She held a clipboard under her right arm as she walked briskly towards them.

"Hello children. I'm Mrs Sayid. And firstly may I congratulate on last night I thought tha..."

"This is a joke right, I mean come on! You're gonna congratulate us on a Rank J. A J!" a girl named Erotha cried out, "I don't need this right now." she said as she got up and left. Two others followed her out leaving just me, Lalia and a boy who just sat staring out the window. Mrs Sayid went on for what seemed like a year about how Rank J wasn't the end of the world and when we were older we might be promoted floor manager or mine overseer. Anuru just zoned out. She thought about her Father down in the mine and how he never wanted the same for her. She thought of how her family were now completely dependent on Kazak and Tyrik to get a good Rank. She thought of her little apartment and how her family desperately wanted to get out.

Anuru finally left her thoughts when she heard Mrs Sayid finally say,

"Well there's nothing more I can do for you, I'm just not getting through to you three am I? You have an hour left of school before you leave forever to go out into the big, harsh, unforgiving world where noone is going to help you, noone cares. I'm going to leave you with that happy thought, have fun." she said sarcasticly as she got up and left.

"What did you say to her? She seems pretty upset." Anuru asked the other two.

"Nothing, I think she realized we couldn't take much more of her 'J's still good, you'll be okay in the end, bla bla bla, I love Aronath bla bla bla.'" said the boy, immitating her ridiculously squeaky voice. The other two laughed, glad for the more relaxed atmosphere. "I'm Naveed by the way."

"I'm Anuru."

"Lalia."

"We all know you," said Naveed, "That was so cool what you did, you know, at the Ranking."

"I didn't do anything, I just turned up." Lalia replied, puzzled.

"You didn't wear uniform. That's like rebelling in Aonath. You were lucky you were new so you had a decent excuse." explained Anuru.

"Where I'm from we wear what we like. And what is a Rank anyway?"

"It's based on how well you do at school and on your loyalty to the city. It decides what job you can get and how much money you earn. We couldn't have got much worse." sighed Naveed.

"At least we didn't get a K. That means you can't work. Noone wants a K." Anuru said, remembering Mundo with a mixture of pity and sadness.

"Your city confuses me, your told what to wear, your told what to say and do. Why are your jobs based on school results, where I'm from it's based on individual skills." Lalia asked, totally baffled by life in Aronath.

"Where are you from?" Naveed asked curiously, "It sounds good.2

"I'm from the desert outside. I travelled around, my people never stay in one place."

"Why would you come here when where you're from sounds so good?"

"Because we were poor, there was no food."

"There's no food here if you get a K." Naveed interupted.

The three children talked until the last bell rang, cutting them off from the safety of school forever. Anuru was scared and filled with shame, but she was relieved to have made two friends. She had a feeling it would be okay if they just stuck together.

 

 

 

 

 

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