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This dystopian novel is about friendship, adventure and finding out who you truly are.

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2. Reform

Still smiling, I walk into the den and climb up on my bunk.  I am in the back corner of the second room, the farthest away from everyone and I am completely fine with it.  The bunks are above a set of drawers where we can keep our clothes and any personal items, not that any of us have many.  The only thing I have is a golden bracelet with a design of periwinkles around it.  I found the bracelet one day as I was walking back from that day’s classes.  I was following the usual path that we take home and I saw something shiny sticking out of the dirt by the side.  I bent down and scooped it up along with quite a bit of dirt and shoved it into my sweater pocket and walked quickly the rest of the way back to the building, past January and February.  When I got into the building I dropped but books onto my bed and locked myself in the bathroom.  I turned the sink on and let the cold water run over my hand, washing the dirt off until I was left with a small golden circle.  I put my hand through it and then quickly took it off, placing it, still damp, into my pocket.  I had hidden it under my shirts in hopes that no one would find it.  I thought it to be perfectly harmless, but I did not want anyone to find it incase that it did have something that could get me “taken away.”  I twirled it around in my fingers, pressing the smooth, cool metal to my lips and thinking about the choices I had to make soon.  Who was my mother?  I had asked Genevieve about two years ago, “Stop asking questions or it will get you into a lot of trouble later young lady, I am your mother now and you will do as I say. Do you hear me?” her face always got very red when I talked to her and though she was forbidden to hit any of the children, she would sometimes give me less food than all the others, or leave the window by my bed open a bit on chilly nights.  Then there was Emerald, the only other time I would see her would be at the ceremony.  Who was she? Sure she was a July, but who was she really, and what would she choose?  “All the questions will hurt you more than you know,” Genevieve’s voice echoed.  Then a thought occurred to me, does the Reign know that the Restricted do, or is it so secret that even they don’t know?  I closed my eyes as I continued to twirl the band.  I could hear bits of conversation from the six girls around our dorm, “What are you going to choose?  I really want to be a reader,” One girl named Lynne said, I helped her once when she was getting picked on by some of the March boys. “I want to be a ravager” Reyna said, “destruction!” she almost shouted, but lowered her voice to a point where I couldn’t hear. “What was the whole paper thing about anyway?” asked Robyn to Trina, they were probably the most irritating people you will ever meet.  “I don’t know, so I just drew the cute boy next to me,” Trina said in her breathy voice, sighing a bit.  It took all I had to keep in the snorting laugh that I felt bubbling inside of me.  Well, Emerald and I were not the only two people who were drawing, not so original. If the paper was some kind of test I bet “Trina’s cutie” would not score any kinds of points.  “I am really scared” said Sophie, who I had nicknamed Sophie the softie because she was basically incapable of doing anything herself, always complaining about her aches and pains.  “Oh I’m sure you’ll be fine,” said her constant support staff, Margot hugging her friend.  Well, I had no one to hug me, which I was cool with, as I tucked the bracelet back under my shirts and pulled my sheet over my head.  I never use a pillow because they make my neck hurt and because I don’t dream when I have one, and dreaming is the best part of sleeping. 

Bam! Bam! I woke up to the usual noise.  But this time the banging sounds louder and more like the booming voice that blares us from the speakers, reminding us not to ask questions and talking about reasons.  I separate my lips that have gotten stuck because I fell asleep clenching them.  Clenching all of my body hoping that tomorrow wouldn't come.  But then it was today.  We are all shaking as we climb out of bed, some excitement, some fear, most just out of anticipation.  No one but the eligible and their den mothers know what goes on in the room, or where ever the choosing was held.  No one was sure how it worked exactly.  You had a choice, that is what we know.  Genevieve stormed in, her face a flaming shade of red.  “Skylar-”  she never called me Skye like most people, ever if none of the people in my dorm were my friends, we were at least decent to each other.  “Brush you hair and try to make your self look more decent,” Thanks.  I think, nice subtle way to tell me I look messy.  “I have laid out the dresses that you are to wear to the ceremony, it is a tradition that will continue on,” Genevieve continues to all the other girls.  The dress is the most ridiculous piece of clothing I have ever seen in my life.  It is white, way too white, and it has little fringe around the bottom that made me cringe even thinking about having something like that around my legs.  “Quickly now stop goggling at the dresses, we don’t have all day,” Genevieve said to the other girls who’s excitement and awe at the dresses was equally matched by my loathing.  I slipped it over my head and tied it at the back with the satin white ribbon.  No only the fringe at the bottom, there was also some kind of puffy thing at the sleeves.  The other girls helped each other and tied the ribbons tighter then the should be, making their breasts look bigger.  I rolled my eyes and quiet slipped on a pair of shorts under my dress.      I packed up my things, something I was told to do last night and put tied on a tag with my name on it.  I took the gold bracelet and put it in the pocket of my shorts that were hidden very well among the ruffles and general whiteness of the dress. I picked up my bathroom kit and ran into the hall, hoping there wasn’t a line.  Just 1 person inside and no one waiting, thank everything.  I locked the door behind me the minute I stepped in and opened my bag pulling out eyeliner and scissors.  The eyeliner was the only not white thing about my get up, a little spot of darkness amongst all that light.  Kinda how I felt in the dorm.  I curled the wings up at both ends perfectly, and I got to work on my hair. I never go it cut with the other girls, I always did it my self.  It never ended up just how I hoped but it also never looked as bad as Genevieve complained it to look.  My bangs stayed long, I liked it that way, almost a place to hide, and the back was rounded but a bit choppy still.   I cleared the hair off the counter and shook some from the back of my dress.   I get some looks as I go back and stuff my bathroom bag back into my bigger bag and run to stand in the line that all the girls and boys had formed.    Genevieve was giving a debrief before we left for the ceremony.  “Your bags will be given to who ever is the leader of your Aggregations and will be taken to your quarters or accommodations.  Remember to stay quiet and seated until you are chosen, then do not talk unless you are spoken to by the official. Do you hear me?”  “Yes Genevieve,” most of us answered in a monotone, along with “okays” and a sarcastic, “what ever you say” from me.  We went into the main room for a quick meal and then began to form a line in order of which day we were born on, from July first to the thirty-first, and then we join up we the rest of our year in one big line as we walk to the aggregation sorting complex.  The silence was erie as we all entered and took our seats waiting for instruction.  There were almost two hundred faces all staring down to the front of the room. A woman in a long dark purple robe walked onto the stage.  She moved with such a lofty posture that she looked almost like she was floating   “Welcome to the sorting,” she said in a deep, rich voice.  “In just a couple minutes twelve of you at a time, one from each month, will be called up,”  she raised her hands in a dramatic swooping way.  “and you will enter through one of these doors.”  I jumped as the curtain behind her opened to reveal twelve doors set into a wall, each with a number caved into it.  One through twelve.  I counted off on my fingers, March is three.  “You will exit the other side to go and be with your aggregation and your belongings will be sent to your new home.”  Home.  I thought.  My home has been the March dorm for as long as I can remember.  This would be a new home, a new place, new people, new questions that I couldn’t ask.  I fidgeted with the frills of the end of my dress as I waited to be called.  People who I had spent my life with in the dorm were called.  They said goodbye to their friends, with hugs, some of them more tearful than others.  I looked over towards the July dorm and saw Emerald, her black hair stood out vividly amongst all the white dresses.  “Skylar from March,”  I was called.  I saw Emerald turn towards me as I stood up flattening my dress.  She smiled a bit as I walked down the isle and I smiled back as I left the March rows. No one to say goodbye to.  No hugs and tears for me.  Friends left behind would only make this harder and I silently repeated that to myself as I stepped into the third door.  There was another door on the wall directly across the square room.  A bald man sat at a table with an empty chair facing him.  “Sit please,”  he said in a voice that was not commanding but you could tell that if you didn’t listen their would be trouble.  “Are you with the Reign?”  I asked as I covered my self into the blue plastic chair. “I’ll ask the questions,”  he said. He was wearing the same dark purple, sweeping robes that the floaty woman was wearing. “State your name,” he said, this time it was a command.  “Skylar X,”  I said looking around the perfectly square room.  There were seven camera’s facing me above the bald man, I stared at them wondering who was watching.  The bald man wrote on some kind of tablet. “Good,” he said.  “We have been monitoring you and have selected some that you would be a best fit in.  What Aggregation would you like to become your home?”   he pushed the tablet over to me.  At the top of the screen there was my name, and below that there was a list off Aggregations. “You said you picked the ones that were the best for me, this is just all of them,”  I said looking at the list Ravagers, Revolutionaries, Reapers, Reinforcements,     Rescinders, Restricted, Redeemers.  “We have selected the ones that you would be a best fit for,”  the man said again in a monotone voice.  “Okay,”  I said, beginning to get frustrated.  I had known about these all my life, trying to choose, and I have settles on many ones but now that I had to make a final choice I froze. “I’ll choose if you answer me a question,”  I said, trying to make a deal with the large, bald man.  “We have selected the ones that would be a best fit for you.  You must choose one,”  He said.  “Why do you keep saying that?  Are you even human?” I asked, standing up. One of the video cameras above the man’s head turned so it faced directly at me. “We have selected the-” “Shut up!”  I said cutting him off as bringing my finger down onto one of the boxes.  “Alright, I chose.”  He tilted his head at me and smiled.  “Welcome, Skylar.  To the Restricted.”  The video camera that had turned moved up and down in what looked like a nodding motion.  As I stood up my breath caught in my throat.  I had chosen the Restricted.  The one that no one knew anything about.  I clenched my fists as I aggressively pushed the chair back into the table.  “There will be others that will lead you to where you will go. Remember, you have chosen you a reason and your place in our society will be important for our success.”  The bald man said, not moving from his place at the table as he pushed a button and the door swung open.  “Thanks you,” I said forcing a smile as I curtsied and slammed the door behind me.

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