A Perfect World

Big gated cities full of large communities of upstanding people, it's perfect...except for the "unruly and savage" tribes which travel the plains between the cities.
Perdita belongs to one of these tribes, and when captured by a city Government for an unknown reason, she finds herself hopeless and wanting to run. Alex is an Alliance citizen born and bred - raised to respect authority no matter what - but when Perdita comes into his life, he finds out his life wasn't as perfect as it seems...

Originally inspired by a writing competition called "The List", in which we had to include every item on a list - funnily enough ;) - I'm reposting it here. Mind the dust? I will be re-editing.

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2. A New World

AN: Sorry they go from hate to acceptance so quickly, when I edit I will fix this!


The door opened and a middle-aged, sad looking woman walked in. "Jemima?" she asked nervously. Wearily I nodded, I didn't have the heart to correct her and was bored of correcting people in any case. She lifted up the tray - with a plate of a couple of squares of something like crispy batter in a gridlike shape, and a mug of hot chocolate -  in her hands. "Breakfast? You've got school today."
"School?" I frowned at the unfamiliar word - I  didn't know what it was. Whatever it was, we hadn't had it in the camps.  

"Yes, they want you settled in as soon as..." she had been mumbling to the floor but now she looked up and, seeing my confusion, she backtracked. "You've never been? How did you learn?"
"We had tutors. Some had been officially trained, some simply had an interest in something." Everyone from four to sixteen had had compulsory lessons every day, but some of us carried on going past then.

"Oh. Well school is like that, but it's in s building and there's more people," she said. She walked over and put the tray on the bedside table before leaving. She stopped at the door and turned. "Your uniform's on the wardrobe." Huh? Uniform?

---

I met Alex out by his car, a metal thing with wheels. He was fixing something with a wrench. "Hi," I greeted unenthusiastically. He looked up.

"Hey, Jemima. Ready for school?" he asked. The words were friendly, his expression was not. He looked kinda incensed. I nodded and he slammed down the thing over the front of the car before chucking the wrench aside. "Get in the back."

I looked at him quizzically. He opened the back door with a sigh and I got in and closed it as he got into the front.

A little way down the road, Briar got in. "How's the raider?" she asked, like I wasn't there at all. That said, it wasn't like I hadn't been expecting that. He snorted.

"A bit retarded it seems," he replied. I bristled but kept quiet.

The rest of the car journey continued with the two of them insulting me, and I silently hoped that at least it couldn't get much worse.

I was wrong. It could get a lot worse and it did. The bullying in the corridors, the whispers, the fact that every lesson seemed to be revolved around how raiders were wasteful nuisances. Geography was the worst.

"So Miss... ahem, Williams, what's east of this city?" the teacher, an old man with a nasally voice called Mr. Grey, asked. He glared down at me, but his eyes gleamed with a vicious anticipation which immediately made me wary. My home would be the correct answer, but it'd be the wrong answer to give. Most of the class was looking at me in anticipation, but Alex just looked bored.

"Nothing," I answered finally, hating myself for my resigned acquiescence. I heard Alex's sigh of relief from the other side of the classroom while the rest of the class looked away, disappointed.

"And what would that make anyone living there?" Mr Grey asked. If I could have kicked myself I would have, I should have known where this was going to go. My answer was quicker, if quieter, this time.

"Nothing, sir."

"And where do you..." the teacher was mercifully stopped when Alex raised a hand.

"Sir, perhaps it would be best if you stopped victimizing my... sister," he said, shooting a meaningful glance at Mr. Grey. Whatever it meant I didn't know, but I wasn't asked any other questions all day.

At the end of the day we met at Alex's car again, where Briar told us she wouldn't be getting a lift home with us because she was staying with a friend who didn't want to be in the same car as a raider.

Alex nodded and she left. I went to get into the back before he motioned for me to get into the front.

He got in the driver's side but made no move to start the car.

"The worst thing about this us that you're so.. human. I expected you to be some savage or something, but you aren't. It's just like my dad said. He started sympathising with you lot and then the Government got suspicious and sent him in to take out an entire camp. It was unprecedented, but I never doubted that the Government were right. It was why they're running things after all. There wasn't enough of him for a burial," Alex said.

My stomach churned. My camp had been the only one around this particular city for decades, which meant that Alex must have meant his father was sent to mine. Only, I knew someone with a similar story...but the reason there wasn't enough for the burial was because he'd stayed. He and I had both stayed as I was with him. I stared at Alex. Knowing who the man was made me uneasy - more for the ramifications it had rather than anything else. Because the man Alex was talking about was my father.

"Alex," I said. "Your dad's alive."

AN: There's a last chapter, but it needs so much editing I'm not even going to bother putting it up at all yet. Hopefully will be up by the end of the weekend!
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