The City

Set in the future, in a country called Norski, it faces threats from other countries. The Lords train up all of its people in to soldiers. If you do not qualify then you get sent to the city. No one wants to get sent to the city. Will Rose Fray be able to make it out before the final people get sent to the city or will she fail with the rest?

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4. The Picking

"Welcome" The gruff voice boomed through the microphone. The gruff voice belonged to a curt man. He had tightly curled sandy hair. His nose was too small for his face and turned up at the end and his ears stuck out sharply and his plump lips where turned downwards in a frown. Running his fingers through his greying hair he shuffled in his spot and gave the cards he uses every year a once over before depositing them in his pocket. He wore a grey suit that was faded from its use. The suit was brought out of his wardrobe once a year for the picking. His name was Richie Hyacinth. He worked at The City and whenever i saw him he was in the pale blue fighting uniform all soldiers and trainers wore. He pulled at his collar itching his neck clearly uncomfortable with the itchy fabric.

Mr Hyacinth stood on top of a low stage with 5 guards around him. Behind him was an even higher stage on which The Pickings children had to stand on once he'd called out the names and behind that the logo for our country rustled in the wind. Our town all gathered together in the Pavilion Square. There was an entrance way down the middle and the males on one side and the females on the other. Once Mr Hyacinth had started talking all the mumbling stopped and it went dead silence. So silent you could hear everyone breathing heavily with nervousness in unison. The day was humid and the sun was out, scorching our backs. The air smelt of sweat and plants as bushes ran high around the square.

"Today is The Picking" His voice droned on "It is the 54th Picking. The Picking is for those of you who have failed their family, friends, neighbours, teachers and most importantly their country. Today i will read out the names of those who have failed all of us. They will then come stand behind me on this platform." Hyacinth waved his hand behind him his dead eyes surfing the crowd. "The War of all wars started 128 years ago. The day Lako started war on Belgmann and Narhasko declared war on us. For 74 years we allowed failures, incompetent and useless people" his voice rose to a shout as he spat the words out "to allow this country to lose, to fail. But no, 74 years ago Sir Alan McLain came and he made this. The Picking" he sighed with admiration "now all you failures, your punished and your made better for this country or you are cast aside." Hyacinth sighed collecting cards out of his pocket. "Now i will read out the names of you incompetents."

Everybody's shoulders tightened as they all squirmed on the spot uncomfortably. Hyacinth cleared his throat before taking a big breath. "Ladies first." Hyacinth placed his glasses on to the crook of his nose as he looked down at the cards. "Amelia Dark. Scoring a measly 80 out of 200. You need 180 to pass. Abominable." A girl the age of 13 started weaving her way through the crowds until she got to the entrance. She had jet black hair tied in to two plaits rolling down her body until it got to the small of her back. She wore a pastel green dress reaching to her knees. The dress had a swirling patter that seemed to move with the flow of her movements and the wind. She had white shoes on with black laces which she kept stumbling upon as she made her way to the front. Her cheeks where flushed scarlet but she kept her head down staring at the dust she was kicking up with her shoes. She finally got to the front when a man dressed in the blue fighting uniform grabbed her shoulders and pushed her to the end of the platform. She went an even darker shade of scarlet and bent her head down. "Rebecca Kartirdge" A girl with blonde hair pushed her way forward. "150. Good but not good enough" She looked about 16. She had a shirt of navy blue with white jeans. She seemed confident as she held her head up high. I barely had enough time to look at her when he called out the next name. "Elisa Wood". I didn't see her until she got out into the entrance way. "103. Pityful". She was short with strawberry blonde hair. Freckles clouded her face reducing the scarlet to a pale red.

"Rose Fray" My stomach clenched together and my breathing stopped. I felt my insides turn to water as face after face turned to stare at me. I clutched on to my white dress as sweat started to gather. "175. So close. So close"

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