The Herd

A dystopian future, a few hundred years from now, the horrendously massive city you live in is monitored by Prosperity, you are monitored by The Shepherds. You, are The Herd.

Everyone wears a high-tech wristband which shows your class depending on its colour, and this also carries the information which gives you your predetermined workplace.

At 17, you get given yours.
What if something goes wrong?

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1. Prologue

Prologue    


        The charcoal pencil blackens my fingers, lacing them with a coat of murky dust. I am careful to not let them touch the smooth, neat paper before me – I’m fully aware they could ruin everything I’m trying to create. It doesn't take me long to steady myself, and soon enough my hand begins to sweep and curve across the scrap, my other hand clean, for steadying my work.

It’s a good thing dreams are no longer monitored, so there’s no evidence to prove my deviation from sleeping. I have to do this. Any more time spent away from my secret creativity, and I would have caved. Swallowing, I leant back gradually in my plain wooden chair, staring with alert eyes at the curved black lines I had etched. A sullen woman gazed back at me, eyes ashen, and cheeks slender, slight. Her hair cascaded in strong strokes around her shoulders, some strands falling carelessly over her eyes – which themselves were bleak.

It was a shame such careful work had to go to waste. It was also a shame her carefree looks weren't equal to my own. Pushing myself away from my chair, I took the picture and hid the piece of charcoal behind my desk. It wasn't long before I was standing in the dark of my kitchen, incinerator lit before me. I took one last, longing look at the self-portrait before letting it go, watching it flutter into the small pit. The flames grew higher for a few mere seconds, and then burner turned itself off.

 

My breaths are smothered,
my heart is bereft

-

 

06:00


“Harper Fox, you are due at Gallery Hall in two hours.”

My eyes snapped open. The electronic device placed on my desk sensed the deterrence in the room and switched itself off. I blinked a few times; remembering - today was the day. I have to travel to the city central to get introduced to my future. That’s how it worked around here.

It’s been like this for a long time, so nobody knows any better, all we know is that we are The Herd, and our Shepherds guide us in the right direction to live the seamless life. Sometimes I question the likeliness of that notion, but for the last, I don’t know - few centuries, this system has never failed us. We've grown to adapt differently, and our technology has advanced, but we still have our routine. My heart races in anticipation, and I haven’t even gotten out of my bed yet.

My right hand gingerly rubbed at my left wrist, and I stared down at my cereal with concern spreading across my face. I could feel my brow furrowing gently. I knew the bracelet was coming; my parents had them assigned to them when they were 17, too.

“Harper.” My mother warned, not turning from her spot by the sink, she must have felt my unease. “Finish your food, you need sustenance.”

I stopped tenderly feeling the skin at the base of my hand, and took the polished spoon in the other, digging it under the flakes in my bowl. I’d left it too long, as they had already begun to clump together and become soggy in the milk. My appetite dissipated further. Looking up slowly, I was met with the caring eyes of Andrea, my mother. Her dark hair was pulled back into a bun, alike mine, and every other female whose hair had gotten to the correct length. Her slimming white dress was taut against her body. She was beautiful, somewhere under that normality.

My eyes drifted back down to the plain looking flakes. I wish Prosperity would make them less tasteless, but I know we had to get the perfect amount of nutrients in our day; our meals were all monitored. I’d get the wrong kind of attention from the higher supremacy if I didn't eat the rest.

“Harper.” My mother warned. I could sense the tension in her words. “Finish. You will be late.”

I know under those stern words, she cared for me. I also know that she was right; I would be late if I didn't hurry up. My chest ached, reminding me that today was one of the most important of my life. I know I am the same class as my mother, but still I fear for what Prosperity has to offer me, what life I will lead.

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