The Slates

A distopian Futuristic novel about a world where overpopulation and pollution are critical and the government rule all. Can a small group of Slates, young boys and girls undergoing rigorous state education, discover the true agenda? My first novel of magnitude so be kind :)

N.B. this is a first draft and once the story is complete I am going to revise, edit and complete the book so please ignore any pesky typos, awkward English or minor plot holes. thanks :)

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8. First Day

We made our way to Administration. The kid we’d bumped into in the accomodation building had mentioned a watch, which must be the equipment the mysterious panel in our room had talked about. ‘What do you think the watch thing does, guys?’ I asked the others.

    ‘From what Cal said, we will go from class to class and have lunch and stuff so it’s probably so we know where and when we need to be places. It might even have our timetables coded in, and games even!’ Evan said excitedly, trying to look closer at the wrists of the Slates we passed, who seemed to all be gravitating towards the canteen.

    ‘After this we should check out breakfast. I’m hungry.’ The others agreed. Soon we were at the front door of Administration. We walked in. The lady on the first desk (a different one from the last) saw us enter and noticed our white badges.

    ‘You three come for your watches? Nice and earlier - I like it! If you’d go and talk to Dillon, third on the right, and he’ll sort you out.’ We walked down to where this smiley Work sat.

    ‘Hello! Three watches? Well, here you are.’ He pull three watches the same as all the others we’d seen from a draw in his desk. I looked at Evan, signalling him to speak. He sighed.

    ‘We also need another key for our door because we left without a key on us.’ All three of us looked to our feet.

    ‘No need to worry! What I can do is load one unlock onto one of the watches. Just place the watch next to the lock and the door with open.’ He handed us the three watches and Evan took the one with the unlock loaded on it. We turned and walked out of the building.

    Main Avenue was much fuller than when we’d previously been on it, but not as hectic as the gap between classes we’d experienced on the tour with Cal the day before. As we walked towards the canteen I looked into the shopfronts of languages, music, business and economics and across the avenue, computer sciences. Together we entered the canteen. It was a reasonably large room with tiled white walls and long benches everywhere. At the back three Works were serving food to a large line of Slates. All three of us stopped, mildly stunned. The smell was so strong of bread and vegetables and other foods, and the chatter of so many kids in what now seemed like quite a small room was overwhelming.

    ‘Move along, please.’ Cal had entered the door behind us. With him we walked over and joined the queue. ‘How you three finding this place? I see you’ve got your watches, which is good. After this I recommend going to each of the subject shops and seeing what it is like but don’t get in anyone’s way as they’ll be… quick to move you out of it.’ Cal laughed and moved to get his food (Works obviously got priority) before waiting for an answer to his question. Eventually we got our food: a plate of one slice of toast, some beans and some vegetables. It looked appetizing enough. We clearly hadn’t been as fast as Cal had advised because when we left the canteen to eat there was not one place to sit. We spotted Some other level 0s sitting on the floor in the field and agreed to go join them. It transpired that the group was formed of Emerald and her two roommates, Chloe and Alex. We sat with them and ate our food.

    ‘You three have got your watches?’ Evan asked, clearly irritated by our silence. All three girls looked up like he’d scared them. In almost mime like comedy the three of them looked to their wrists and back to Evan.

    ‘No,’ Alex said. ‘We are going to get them after this.’ Evan nodded his head and accepted failure: the group returned to silence. When we all finished, the girls left to go to Administration and we went to go and check out the shops as Cal had suggested. We did this till lunchtime. They were are interesting enough, filled with lots of things to learn about, equipment to learn and instruments to play. After we’d eaten a rather plain lunch of potatoes and vegetables we made our way to this shop hidden in the top right hand corner of the compound, the Candy House. Inside was like a cafe. There were a few seats in the front and a counter further back. The place was quite desolate due to it being in class time but the shelf looked alive with vibrant colours and shapes. The Work manning the shop clearly didn’t notice our white badges for she asked if we wanted anything, to which Evan politely declined. For five minutes after that we just stared at the different sweets.

    ‘When I have enough tokens I’m totally getting that one.’ Tom said excitedly, pointing at a colourful one at the back.

    ‘Nah, this one looked the nicest.’ Evan signed towards a rich chocolaty one on the left. We’d been in the compound two days and they were already planning how to use their tokens, I thought. I thought it silly, though I did creep into the back of my mind: what would I do with my tokens? After this the lady behind the counter felt obliged to kick us out the shop for ‘being noise and having no intention to buy.’ After this we walked around the compound talking for a bit more until dinner. Again, we queued up, got our food and were to slow to get a seat. ‘Lets eat it in our room. I’m tired anyway.’ Evan suggested. Though it felt to me like this was probably illegal we’d not been told otherwise and I was hungry. Me and Tom exchanged a look and nodded in agreement.

    We walked over to the Boys’ Accomodation and opened the main door. Right, left, left, third on the right. I remembered, leading the others through the corridors. After we’d turned right from the main entrance we quite literally bumped into a large Work who had been strolling down the corridors. ‘What do you three think you are doing with food in the accommodation buildings? Have you any idea how many hours I spent cleaning, well, telling others to clean, these floors? It specifically says in the manual in your rooms, page 52, that food is only to be eaten outside or in the canteen if you are a level 5, not in the accommodation. It’s within my rights to confiscate that meal from your hands right now and make you go hungry tonight but I’ll let off because of those clean white badges on your tops. I won’t be as kind next time!’ He stomped off, grumbled. The three of us looked at each other, shocked. As we were walked back outside we bumped into someone else, though luckily only a Slate.

    ‘Sounds like you three met Nick. He is the Boys’ Accommodation manager. I suggest kissing his shoes if you ever see him around and reading every word in that manual.’ He laughed and walked off. We ate our dinner and went to bed. Evan’s watch did open the door. It was a long first day and once more I slept like a log.

 
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