Rylie Sterling lives in a world divided by letters. A's are the highest and the Z's are the lowest. Rylie has been a lowly Z all her life until an incident leads her to believe that she was wrongly placed. Her life leads into mishap but all she wants is a normal life again. Can she live peacefully and also keep her family from harm or will she have to lose all that she has ever known?


2. ONE


I was taught that this world once used to beautiful, like heaven. But now it has turned in to an unforgiving hell. And I don’t just mean metaphorically.


New York City. Once a city that was known for its diversity, its richness in culture, its tourist attractions, and its memories. Now it is just a filthy place divided into sectors. People used to come here in hope for freedom but things went downhill ever since World War IV. People just never recovered from that war.

They came up with a new compromise. Everyone would be placed in levels. Starting from A and ending with Z. They thought that this was a better way to find lasting peace. You were placed according to your intelligence, your looks, and your strength. There was a lot of controversy over this compromise and there were even uprisings but the government quickly shut them down.

I am a Z. The lowest level possible. We are the underdogs of the city. They threw us into the alleys where we were left to eat garbage and bathe in sewage water. Who would care about us? Every day, the people from the A’s would look at us and laugh at how dirty we were or how we smelled really bad.

They didn’t know that even if we didn’t have the best places to live we had the will to live.


15 years ago

The day Rylie Grace Sterling was born was the happiest day of Marie and Eris Sterling’s life. Tears came out of Marie’s life as she held her baby in her arms. Her dad and mom were overjoyed to see her grow up to become a beautiful little girl. When she turned 7 years old they immediately rushed her to the Testing Center. She would be tested to see where she would be placed in the letter coded society. If the child was smarter or prettier than their parents then their level would be immediately changed to a higher one. Families were driven apart because of this test.

As much as Rylie’s parents wanted Rylie to be with then, they also wanted her to be a stronger and better person than them.

The doctors were all Level C’s and their badges were shaped like a C. They took her into the room and sat her on the table. She obediently listened to them and cooperated as they stuck needles and wires into her body. The wires all connected to a large machine that started whirring when the doctor pushed a button. They took her blood samples, pieces of her skin, and looked at her brain waves. When the test was done they printed out the results to look at them.

They were happy with the results until they reached a graph that had oddly shaped lines. The doctor gasped and motioned at the other nurses to check out the piece of paper. Rylie noticed their astonished looks and wondered what they say.

The doctor suddenly crumpled up the piece of paper right when Rylie’s parents came in. The doctor threw the paper away and hastily said, “Your daughter is a Z.” They were relieved that their daughter could stay with them.

When they left the doctor took out the paper from the trash and smoothed it out. She was going to keep this paper but not show it to anybody. If anyone knew about Rylie Grace Sterling’s test results then they would hunt her down and kill her. 







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