Twisted

Bella has never enjoyed living in Sector G. It's dull, lacking in colour and charisma and everyone is so involved with their own personal life she is left alone.
So when Transfer Day comes, she has her one chance to escape.
But the choice she makes could kill her.
And with every step she takes, she is watched...
So when she meets mysterious H, a boy with shining talents, who offers to help her, she wonders if something about her is different.
There is.
*Cover credit goes to @LilyAnnaNightshade!*

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3. Preparations

To me, the whole process of being prepared for Trading Day is a waste. It is the one time we can purchase new clothes (although the colour still black) and when we get our hair done in a different style, not the usual straight down brown. Mother doesn't want me to dye my hair and neither do I. All I can dye my hair is black. Then there is the whole memory booklet, with old family photos, one of each member and the good byes. In our family, we say good night.

Usually the Father takes the daughter out on a meal. My Father is busy out at work and they do not allow members of work to take time off, even if it is for their daughters Trading Day Preparation. So Brent is taking me instead.

I and Mother wave Brent off to school, watching him be swept away in a torrent of excited friends and frightening older kids. For some reason I laugh as he tries to wave a last time but in his hand is slapped a trading card and he looks at it, then disappears. Mother turns to me with a small smile.

"Come on Bella," she says and takes my hand.

"Lets get shopping." We wander down from the school, leaving the loud shrieks and yells behind us, and enter into the Shopping Town. A light breeze hangs in the air, whipping my hair slightly and the sun shines bright. I hope it is like this tomorrow. 

The Shopping Town is a place I hardly ever visit, apart from the occasional purchase of a new dress after the other is torn. Besides the bakery and shops supplying new every-day clothes, the rest are for Preparation. Three quarters are for the girls, crammed with lacy dresses, and the other quarter for boys, with smart suits and bow ties. Looking your best for Trading Day is incredibly important.

"Which one do you want to go in?" Mother asks and I observe them all, choosing on the one that is less crowded. A large black banner with gold writing saying: PREPARATION PARTY PEOPLE and underneath, in smaller and italic letters it says, here for your Preparation needs.

It is quite clear that the owners didn't have a lot of time to think about the name. Only a few girls waft around, feeling the different fabrics, holding up certain dresses to judge size. I begin to look around, holding up thick and heavy dresses, piling them up in my arm. My feet carry me lightly around the shop, my arm selecting dresses and placing others back. In the end I have three dresses I want to try. In Sector G, your Mother has to approve your selected dress. This is what I worry about.

My Mother likes plain, traditional dresses with hardly any shape and thick material. I, on the other hand, like floaty, patterned dresses with curves and light material. We are completely opposite, yet identical at the same time.

I go into the changing rooms, pulling the long curtain along the rails and slip out of my ordinary dress. I select my first chosen dress and slip it on. It is very heavy, incredibly thick, and instantly I feel hot. It goes down with no curves, a black zip at the back, and a long neck that comes up to my chin. The end comes below my knee, with a frayed hem. Mother had picked this out and you could tell.

I step out and Mother's eyes stare at me. She purses her lips, puts her hands under her chin, and then shakes her head. She waves me back into the changing room.

She'd said no. Was she finally changing? Or did she not like it? Could she see I didn't like it? Whatever the reason, she had not approved and therefore I could not wear the dress.

Slipping on the next one, I look at myself in the mirror. I'd selected this dress. It is light with floaty fabric, but it felt like I'm wearing hardly anything. There is no fabric underneath, and the black isn't very dark so you can see underneath. It is short, too short, and without leggings it is entirely the wrong length. The neck is too low down, revealing too much, and I shudder at the sudden cold.

Stepping out, Mother immediately shakes her head. I nod in agreement and step back in. My last dress slips over my head with ease.

It is the best one out of the three. The top bit, coming down to my stomach, is very thick and heavy, but curves in at the waist. It then merges into a light, floaty material that has a black piece of fabric underneath, and stops just above my knee. The neck is normal, a turned out collar, and there is a tiny bit of sleeve on each shoulder.

Looking at myself in the mirror, I visualise myself at the Trading Ceremony, the stunning beauty compared to everyone else. Then I laugh and step out. Mother's eyes shine as I walk out. I spin, the fabric at the bottom swirling around, and stop in a giddy halt. Mother laughs and then, slowly, nods her head. I smile broadly and then get changed, walking out the store with my new dress.

In Sector G, we do not have money, because it is not appreciated. Everything is free, and I think it is the same in Sector J.

We walk into the jewellery store called JEWELLERY STORE  (ironically) and then start looking. In front of me is a spread of glinting gold and dull black jewellery. For the Preparation we can wear one gold item. Gold is not a sign of betrayal in any Sector, but no one knows why.

I start searching amongst the gold section. Everything sparkles in an alluring light and I pick up things, turning them over and examining. There are pins with different things on, like the sign of Sector G and tiny houses, rings with snakes sneaking around the gold with a black lining and clips with various symbols and animals. Nothing I see catches my eye, it is all the same to me with no meaning.

Mother comes over and places something into my hand. It is a gold butterfly attached to a clip that can slide into my hair. I smile, hug her and then clutch it tight. This will be what I wear.

                                                                        This will be my symbol.

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