~~Rubbing my tired eyes, I sat up with a yawn. Light flooded through the open window and into the room, revealing the dust flying off the floor boards. I shivered in the cold, frowning. I had to start remembering to close the window before I fell asleep.
Throwing the plain white comforter off of me and to the floor, I stood up. Stretching my back and my arms accompanied with another yawn I slammed closed the window, drawing the shutters closed before getting dressed.
I slowly slipped out of my nightgown and into my best tights. There was a small rip on the side of the left leg, but I doubted anyone would notice. Next I dug through my bottom dresser drawer, eventually pulling out a yellow spring dress I hadn’t worn since last year this very day. Slipping it over my head, I glanced at the old, cracked mirror hung on the wall above my bed frame. I looked much the same, perhaps my amber eyes held a bit more wisdom, or maybe I was taller and thinner. Tying my brown hair up in a messy bun, which I knew my mum would disapprove of on a day like today, I headed downstairs for breakfast.
As I walked down the creaky wooden stairs I smelled bacon frying on the stove. Entering the kitchen, I grabbed the pot of tea hissing on the stove and poured three glasses, sitting down at the table. My father entered the kitchen, bending down and kissing the top of my head before taking a seat at the head of the table. His eyes looked tired and I wondered if he got any sleep last night. Lately he’s been staying up working in his wood shop out in the garage.
Setting a plate of bacon and a biscuit in front of me, my mother smiled. “You look lovely today Mystara. Although isn’t that what you wore for the Election last year?” She laughed softly, the crinkle near her eyes deepening as her lips turned up.
“Yes, mum, it is” I smiled, picking up a fork. “If it still fits, why not wear it?”
My dad chuckled, shrugging his shoulders with a kind grin. “That’s a good point.” He said with a laugh. “Today’s a big day Mystara! You know, your grand-“
Sighing and looking over at him, I couldn’t help but smile. “I know dad. You tell me every year. Grandpa was voted as an elective when he was seventeen where he met Grandma, although grandma turned out not to have the potential and got sent back home, but not before you were born.” I said, reciting the story I knew so well.
Every year, five kids were chosen between the ages of thirteen, the age at which you finish school, and eighteen, the age at which energy potential diminishes if not previously harnessed. These five kids were voted in by the community. Generally the smartest, most athletic, or most creative kids got chosen because those were signs of having a surplus of energy in your blood that can cause the possibility of possessing magical ability.
It was an honor to be voted in, or have a relative voted in. The only down side was that you had to go and live with the Electives at their home. The Electives were supposed to keep the entire world safe, although I don’t believe there is anything more to the world then our little town. Wouldn’t we have gotten contact with other life in other places?
You are trained once you are voted on to unlock the energy if you have it, and then develop what element Elective you are, with the options of Fire, Water, Earth, Life and Death. The five basic elements of the world.
If you’re found not to possess the talent however, you’re sent back to the community. These people are often discriminated against, seeing as though they are almost like a waste of a vote.
Lost in these thoughts, I finished off my meal and set the dish in the sink. It would be such an honor to take after my grandfather. But I was sixteen. I only had two more chances. Just the thought of getting to see him was exhilarating. I hadn’t seen him in the past few years. I wonder what element he had harnessed, he wasn’t allowed to talk about it.
“Mum, dad, Ill meet you down at the Town Center in time for the voting. I’m going to go meet up with Jack, I promised him I would.” I smiled, hugging them both on my way out.
Closing the door on my way out, I took off at a sprint down the street once I was sure my mum wouldn’t see me out of the dirty window and yell at me for getting dust on my dress. The repetitive houses passed by in a whirl, each house the same tan color, all with small windows and doors nearly knocked off their hinges. It was a simple life but all the small community needed.
A little ways down the street I stopped at a door step and knocked, doing my best to brush off my wrinkled dress, also kicking the dust of my sandals.
A young boy opened the door, his curly brown hair pushed back off his forehead. His green eyes widened as he broke out in a smile. “Mystara! Hi!” He said happily, letting me in.
Sitting down in the boy’s living room with him, I played with his hair. “Hi Jack! Are you excited for your first voting?” I asked the young thirteen year old. Jack had been my best friend since I could remember, even though he was three years younger.
Jack nodded, smiling cutely. “I’m voting for you! Because you’re smart!” He added with a thumbs-up.
“Thanks buddy.” I told him, looking up as someone else joined us in the room.
“I’m sure you’ll get voted in Jack. You’re so hyper, it’s sure to be a sign of excessive energy!” The new, older boy teased as he took a seat on the grimy floor.
Rolling my eyes, I couldn’t help but laugh. Jack was a little crazy sometimes. “Don’t pick on your brother Rye!” I giggled, flicking the older boy in the ear.
Rye was seventeen. If he wasn’t voted this year, he only had last year until he lost the opportunity. He had been putting in a lot of work at school though, probably to make himself seem a worthy candidate, and he was the fastest runner in his grade. He had my vote, and so did Jack.
“We should leave soon, make sure we get our votes in!” I said and stood up, brushing off my dress. Jack and Rye’s parents entered the room, both dressed nicely to go and cast their votes. I greeted them both politely and the mother came over, giving me a hug.
“You look beautiful!” She said as she took her youngest son’s hand, Jack, and opened the door. We walked down to the Town Center, talking to the people in passing. Today was a happy day for almost everyone…except perhaps the eighteen year olds whose names wouldn’t show on the big screen at the end of the voting.
The Town Center was a big brick building with large glass windows. It was almost intimidating, as when the voting wasn’t happening it was the courthouse, and the market place all in one, although most of the merchants set up outside the actual building.
The stream of people flooded through the front doors and over to the voting table. All you had to do was write down five names, and the machine would read the names and keep tally itself. There was no need for people to count the votes.
Stepping up to a table next to Jack I grabbed a pencil from the counter and began to fill out the ballet. I scribbled down my name, Jack’s name, Rye’s name and two other girls from school. I wasn’t overly fond of the pair, but they were smart and knew how to work themselves out of a sticky situation.
Slipping my ballet into the machine I stood back to watch the screen begin to count the votes as the last of the people submit their names.
I took Jack’s hand as we stood back, every eye on the names flashing up on the screen. I saw my name countless times, and my heart began to beat quicker.
“Mystara look! MY name was up there!” He shouted excitedly.
I giggled but looked down at him scornfully. “Quiet Jack, you’ll upset the other kids who don’t see their name!”
Finally the screen went dark, and everyone seemed to stand still, not even breathing. The names began to spell themselves out. It took all I had not to scream and break down in tears.
I felt Rye’s strong arms wrap around Jack and I, and I caught a glimpse of my mother dragging my father through the crowd, a brilliant smile on her face.
“We’re electives” I whispered.