Grand-cat-ma

Melody has a problem. It's her grandmother. She thinks she hates her, but a wish could change it all. If Melody has the strength to search for answers.

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1. home-school

 I pulled the string back, the soft wood bended with the movement.  The tension in the wood was slowly getting closer to where I wanted.  I turned to aim for a fence post imagining a dot in the center.

A school bus raced by.  Kids were sticking their heads and arms out the window, which they weren't supposed to be doing.  I could hear the clamor form over where I was standing, it was about me.  I’ll regret that tomorrow I thought.

My focus went back to the fence post, and the bow.  I let go of the string.  

“Joy, get in here!” hollered my Grandmother from our porch.

I jumped and spun around.  “Grandma I just want to be alone,” I protested.

“And I need help with dinner, besides you have homework,” responded Grandma.

I obediently walked and pulled the arrows out of the fence, then walked inside.  Houses used to be nicer than they are now.  We are  in a land that had a war to deal with decades ago.  We lost and the land went to a group that no one had heard of till the war started.  When that leader died his son took over.  His son had gave every house electricity and running water, as a peace offering from his father's tyranny, in which I am told people had nothing but the clothes on their backs and legs to run before they were killed.  His son still however had held a lot back, such as the privilege to own weapons and any phones or computers.  The weird part was that we were allowed to go to school and read whatever we wanted.  Even if it was made in another county.  I got to learn about space, government types, other nations, math, science and we were still allowed to read fiction.  

This did come with some less than nice things.  For example if you wanted to go out after dark you had to be escorted by one of his patrols, and when we came home from school after dark we had to be herded like sheep, and we had to have an inspection every week.  In no way was this perfect, but it satisfied my Grandmother who had lived through the war.

Our house was rebuilt many times with the exact same design every time.  Two stories plus an attic and storm shelter.  The house was white with blue trim.  In a way it looked like a fairytale cottage.  There is a porch that wraps all the way around the house.  The front yard was two acres per side and was filled with vegetable gardens.  The back yard had an oak in it, two hen houses under the oak with one for eggs and one for breeding/meat, then ground cover.  On the outside it was a perfect house that made our neighbors jealous.  The inside was a cold hard wood floor.  We only use three rooms in the entire house.  My Grandma’s room, my room and a kitchen.  There is almost no decorations, just a table and four chairs in the kitchen with a stove, sink, refrigerator and counter.  

We had to sell all the nice stuff so my parents could get border passes and go to work at a neighboring country.  The nice thing was no taxes.  The government taxed half of your paycheck and nothing else.

I mumbled a few complaints under my breath and started washing potatoes.  The cold, winter made the hot water feal nice on my frozen hands.  Still I didn't take the time to enjoy the feel of it.  When I was done my hands would be frozen and the longer I enjoyed the hot water the worst it would feel.

I put the potatoes in a pot and started to boil them.  Then I grabbed a plastic bag of chicken from the refrigerator.  I looked at it with regret, we only had enough for tonight.  I cut up the last of the meat and waited for the potatoes to finish boiling.

Grandma came in with bloody hands.  I ignored that fact.  I knew that she had just strangled a hen.  

How does she do that anyway, I thought.  As soon as it crossed my mind I wondered why I was thinking about it.  The fact that you were ending another creature life had to be hard for her to do.  

Later at dinner when we where eating mashed potatoes with chicken mixed in I asked, “How do you strangle the hens”.

Grandma set her spoon down and made a clank on the plate.

I shifted awkwardly in my chair.

“Asked how I strangle them or how I can,” said Grandma.

“How you can,” I answered.

“I think of it this way, we need to eat,” explained Grandma.

“Don’t you ever think that we had the gardon and store,” I asked her.

“Of course I do,” said Grandma, then added, “then I remind myself we would never have proteins and that would not be good”.

I look at my finished dinner.  I never thought about where my food came from, or that all we would eat is corn bread if my family didn’t own this property.

“Your Dad is coming back tomorrow,” stated Grandma.

I looked up in excitement.  

My Grandmother grinned at me.  She was glad her son was coming home too.

“What about Mom,” I questioned.

“Do you think she’d let my blubbering son come home without her,” teased Grandma.

Now I could really not stop grinning.

“Go do your homework now,” ordered Grandma.

I got up and took the plates, leaving for my room I called, “I have a red-eye”.

 

Our schools probably look similar to buildings.  My school is inside and old train car.  The caboose is the office/health room.  The cars are classrooms, which are all boxcars.  The engine is the only car not used, by anyone other then me.  It’s an ancient steam locomotive with a library in it, while people play computer games with story lines I read books.  The school has all 12 grades.  School starts at age eight which according to my grandmother used to start at five and went till you were eighteen not twenty.  At the least we got something Grandma had’nt.  The last four years to learn whatever we wanted.  Whatever we did in those years opened up more options for jobs.  

I walked across the yard to an old beat up train car.  My classes car was the worst in clean wise.  I slid open the boxcar door and stepped into egg land.  The school gave us text books and our job was to study them in the year.  The teacher sat at a desk and we came up when we needed help.  At least that was what was suposed to happen.  My teacher for the year sat outside and read a book, the class had an egg battle.  

I started silently skirting the edge of the boxcar.  Towards the bookshelf where my books where.  The shelf was on the opposite side of the room.  

I was halfway there when an egg came at me.  I ducked and kept walking.  The class consisted of five girls including me and seven boys.  Mostly rich kids where in this class, I was in this class because of my house.  The rich and poor had been separated, it was a law that our leader had.  So far there was only three laws excluding murder, theft and rape, and there had been since he assumed power ten years ago.  

Sixth grade and fourteen years old, the normal.

I was two yards from the shelf when one of the boys backed into me.

“Watch it!” I snapped.

“Are you new,” he asked.

“No,” I answered then hotly added, “But you were so into your fight I guess you would think that”.

He scowled and lunged to punch me.  My short three foot, five body shot to the side.  I landed on the top of my feet and grabbed his arm.  Then I shifted my weight to the side,  it was torture to me not to keep going when he stumbled.  “Want to fall,” I asked mockingly, still holding his arm.

“Do it,” he dared.

I was so tired of being treated as weak, it was my height, the taller you where in this society the stronger you seemed.  I screamed at the top of my lungs, and did as he asked.

I did not bother to look as he fell, as the class turned to stare at me.  Till now I had melted into the background unnoticed, now I had made a stand.  My books feel heavy then they where as I walked outside and sat on the ground.  A guard approached me.  My heart started pounding.  Had my family done something wrong?  Where they safe?  Instead of all the terrible scenarios running through my mind he gave me a card.  Passes.  This meant I could be out after dark.  Relief flooded me, the passes were probably for tomorrow when my parents came home.

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