The Hunger Names

The future of Earth is long since here and nothing's really changed. People are poor and people are rich though not in the sense they are today. Today we are rich with money. In the future, money isn't so important any more. Nope. To be rich now, your name has to be good.
You see, everyone's name has to be different and people want the nice, pretty ones, Rosalyn or Eve.
And when you're stuck with KyraStar1 or alicegal02 , you're going to do anything to get yourself a great name.
Even if that means kill...

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3. alicegal02

The knife in my hand is getting harder and harder to hold, because of my sweating palms. Beads of sweat trickle down my forehead.                                                                                       

"One cut, one cut, and the name Alice will be yours." I whisper to myself, raising the dagger above Alice's head. "Just Alice. Not alicegal02. Just Alice." I think wistfully of all the wonders I could get with a name like that. I look down at Alice. She's a girl in my school. I never really knew her that well, which would make it all the easier to kill her. I've decided then. I bring the knife down fast and hard. 

Only, not fast or hard enough.

Alice rolls out of the way, her red hair fanning out behind her. Rolling in a ball underneath my legs, she jumps up behind me, startling me. I twist my body round to face her too late. In a few seconds, the blade is in her smooth, unscarred hands and I am at her mercy. 

"What's your name?" she asks me roughly, her voice catching in her throat.

I blink back tears as I see another possible future lost. "Alicegal02."

She sniffs haughtily, then pockets the dagger. Neither of us will die today. But every time I lose a name I die inside. My face the colour of the blood I should see dripping from Alice's neck, I humbly climb down from the platform to the boos and hisses of the watching crowd. They want death, and lots of it. They want to be peasants elevated to royalty, and then they want to watch the new royals killed. Alice and I disappointed.

Racing mortified through the sweating throng of people, I cough and raise a hand to my mouth. Something hot and sticky appears on the palm of my hand and I see that it's blood. I wince. Alice's hits were harder than I thought. 

As soon as I reach outside I exhale, letting the cool fresh air wash over me. I kick a stone in annoyance. Why can't I ever win a better name? Every time, every time in the arena I pause just slightly too long before striking... At least Alice is no longer held captive like many of the other Futes, people with a name worth living for. By defeating me, she's earned her freedom until she's caught and locked up to fight again. 

But still, living with the name Alice is enough compensation. 

Even my sister has earned herself a name. Ruby doesn't live in my house anymore, it's too dangerous when she could be killed at every corner by kids like me driven wild with hunger for a name. I see her every Monday at 5:00, the only possible visiting time.

And then I have an idea. One that could make my life, or break it.

It's next Monday at five o'clock that I'm planning to kill her.

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