To Be the Chosen One

Post-War Earth and there is less than one million people left alive. They are ruled by the mysterious Glitterati whom no one has ever seen. The Glitterati will solve all our problems, they are our saviors. All they ask in return is a donation of five children. Unfortunately the Chosen are never seen again. Blaze was only sixteen years old when she was chosen. She must endure a perilous mission to escape her fate and show everyone who the Glitterati really are. With the help of the other Chosen she faces many dangers on her path. It's a pretty big world out there and she's only just beginning to realize it.

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1. Selection Day

It started with a rumour. A rumour that there was a way we could still save ourselves. I have heard the rumour many times, told by many different people with different versions. They all have the same basic message though: We will win. I was not alive when the war took place but I can still see the effects of it. There are the houses and buildings that lie half collapsed in the middle of towns and villages. No one dare re build them. Society will take care of it. Society takes care of everything for us. The Glitterati are our leaders now. We don’t know who they are as they never leave the Establishment but it is they who provide us with food and jobs. If not for the Glitterati we might all descend to war again. We learn about the war in the Academy. It is the first thing they teach you. You walk in, in all your five or six years and learn about what our ancestors did to ruin our world. It horrified many and some left to cry but I sat and listened the whole way through. I was in awe that people could do that to other people, hurting children and innocents alike. It is commonly called the Blood War. Which was a good name for it since that is the reason our streets are still tinted red. I heard there were billions of people in the world before the war. I find that hard to believe considering how few there is now. Our colony is the biggest, with ten thousand odd civilians but there are other colonies with as few as five hundred in them. We are all led by the Glitterati though. It is what makes our society so wonderful.

 

‘Blaze, are you listening?’ My teacher scolded me. I felt my face grow hot. I often black out of conversations, preferring to sit and think rather than participate. I was never good at participating and I had very little friends as a result. Hana and Grace were my only friends. We were the terrible trio. Teachers often had a word or two to say to us as we often got ourselves into trouble. Hana was the shortest girl in the class. She made up for it with her surly attitude and temper. Grace was the quiet one, she was taller than some trees I’ve seen. She kept her untidy brown hair tied up in a bun most of the time. Everything about Grace screamed untidy. She was the messiest girl I have ever come across. I was the normal one in our group, by normal I mean I didn’t try to stand out. I wasn’t small or tall, I was average. Some people accessorized the brown uniform of the Minors but my mother insisted I keep mine simple. The only thing different about me was my bright blonde hair. No one in our village had blonde hair and everyone always wanted to touch it. Mother insists I keep it long and loose though I would much rather shave it all off. I hate attention and having blonde hair just adds to the stares I must endure. That was why when my teacher scolded me I could only mumble my apology which just made her angrier.

‘Blaze Du Perris, if you think I am putting up with your mumbling you can sit outside the classroom for the remainder of class.’ Ms Blanc scolded.

‘Sorry Ms Blanc. It won’t happen again.’ I said clearly this time. I looked up just in time to see the worried look she gave me.

‘Now children, listen closely. Today is Selection Day. You are officially old enough to be entered. The rules are simple, when we go outside you stand in your lines. No one is to leave their line for any reason. You must not look the Superior’s in the eye. You keep your head down at all times and keep your mouth shut. That means you Hana Lang.’ Ms Blanc said pointedly. She seemed even more on edge than usual today. Her fingers trembled and she ran her hands through her hair so often that it was officially messier than Grace’s. Topher put his hand up to ask a question. He was excited about the Ceremony.

‘Ms, how many of us will they take?’ Topher asked, smiling. Ms Blanc gave him a pitying look before answering his question.

‘Five, Topher. They always take five.’ She sighed.

‘Will we ever see our families again?’ A quiet voice said from the very back of the room. I had never heard him speak before now. I didn’t even know his name. Though I had only been in this new class for a week and there were fifty of us.

‘Yes Thorin. You will have a week after the selection in which you get to say goodbye to everybody. You will have to stay in the Official housing though and all of your visits will be supervised.’ Now Ms Blanc’s lips were trembling, she tried to steady herself and set her face to a blank expression. It was obvious how scared she was for us all but we were always told how wonderful it was to be chosen. We would only get one chance at it since they only had Selection Day once every three years. Everyone in my class was either fifteen or sixteen. I was one of the oldest, at almost seventeen.

‘What if you don’t want to be chosen?’ I asked her in a tiny voice. It was Topher who replied.

‘What idiot would turn them down? It’s the highest honour to be chosen.’ He said in a mocking tone.

‘Now Topher, calm yourself. There is no choice Blaze. If you are chosen then there is no backing out.’ She looked as if she wanted to say more but at that moment an Official walked in.

‘We are ready for them Ms Blanc, please lead them out onto the courtyard.’ He stated in a curt voice then walked out.

There was a hustle where everyone stood up and started talking excitedly, Ms Blanc talked over everyone.

‘Quiet children! You must be quiet on the courtyard, no talking. No eating Nefin! Grace please tidy your hair.’ She said in her usual exasperated way. While everyone lined up alphabetically, Ms Blanc put her hand on my shoulders and looked me in the eye very seriously.

‘Listen Blaze, we don’t have much time. You will be chosen, I’m telling you this now. There is no way they would turn you up when they haven’t even seen a blonde in years. As soon as you see an exit run for your life. Being chosen is not a good thing.’ She pleaded. I gaped at her, trying to comprehend what she was saying. My fate was already chosen for me. She pushed me into the line and we all headed out into the bright sunlight. The other two classes in our year were already lined up and waiting. I was in the third row from the back between Nefin Drew and Raff Dyes. We stood with our heads down as told until all three years were lined up in the silent courtyard. I couldn’t see the Superiors but I knew from my mother that they would be sorting through the first line right now. It was a slow process. They either knew straight away that they didn’t want you or they poked and prodded and scanned you with their portable machines. When they got to the row ahead of me I got a glimpse of them. There were two in our row, no doubt there were more checking the other groups. There was a rotund male with a curling grey moustache and a red face. The woman was his polar opposite. She wore the official robes of a superior (the startling red with orange piping) and had long brown hair which was the average of our village in a plait down her back. She was quite young to be a superior, the youngest I have ever seen. She looked around her late twenties in comparison to the male’s late fifties. I had never recognised a Superior before but for some reason this woman looked strangely familiar, a woman from a dream perhaps.

I was so involved in my own thoughts I barely heard them muttering to each other while scanning Nefin. It was my turn and I swear I heard the male gasp a little. I told you I was ordinary, I had ordinary features and nothing special anywhere else except my hair. They stroked it and ran it through their fingers in awe of it. She grabbed me firmly by the shoulders and dragged me out of the line. ‘This one.’ She said out loud in monotone and marched me to the front of the courtyard where everyone could stare at me. I was not the first to be chosen, beaming at me from his pride of place was Topher and beside his looking downcast was that boy Thorin. Strange that they would both be chosen, since they both either really wanted it or really didn’t. Most people don’t care either way. For Topher this was a huge honour, his brother had been chosen a few years ago and his parents hoped he would follow in his footsteps. The other Superior’s came back dragging another boy and a girl. The boy looked older, maybe eighteen and the girl I knew. She was Saida Pound. She lived in the same row as me. I knew she was in the year ahead of me and was seventeen years old. She gave me a small smile to show everything was going to be ok, I must have looked pretty worried. The large man from earlier asked us all our names then took to the stage and coughed into the microphone.

‘Welcome, welcome. It is a privilege for us to be here today and pick from you our chosen five. They are destined for great things! Without further ado here they are. Topher Gostin, Ms Blanc’s year group. Thorin Sparks, also Ms Blanc’s year group. Oswell Horn, Ms Cambern’s year group. Blaze Du Perris, my my! Also Ms Blanc’s year group and Saida Pound, Ms Silver’s year group. They are this year’s chosen. How about a round of applause?’ The man was too cheery. It was disorienting. The applause was harsh and too rounded, as if everyone was clapping at the same time. The Society hated disorganisation. 

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