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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11. Conversation

All dressed and clean, we sat down to get some work done - our bag were already full, two days in, of books and sheets and notes. As we worked, conversation floated about - sometimes we would stop just to talk for five minutes and other times we’d be silent for double than.

    ‘My legs are burning, gosh.’ Tom absentmindedly said as we dressed. Mine were undoubtedly sore but I suspected he was exaggerating. Evan had already jumped onto his bed and got out his pencil case.

      ‘What you rushing to do?’ I said, laughing, as I sat down and got out my Japanese worksheet.

    ‘Finish all this work.’ He said grumpily. ‘I think I’ll start with the body stuff - it’s fresh in my mind.’

    ‘Man that stuff is dull - I don’t need to know how the kidney and stuff works. I think I’ll do the maths.’ Tom replied, pulling out the sheet I’d done the previous night. Evan looked over to him and shoot his head, saying something about the fitness work under his breath.

    ‘The differentiation isn't too difficult. Well, that is if you were listening, of course.’ I joking raised one eyebrow and looked across to him, to which he responded by sticking out out his tongue. We all lowered our heads and pens flowing across paper was all to be heard for ten minutes or so. ‘What was the deal with those three at lunch?!’ I bursted out, for I’d been quandering the thought since we’d quietened.

    ‘Huh, they were acting a little weirdly -  but you know, four days ago we were in the white rooms. You remember that? Maybe they’re not adjusting so well.’

    ‘They don’t like us, obviously. Did you see the look they gave me when I asked about the watches that one time? I think I put them off.’ The two responded quickly enough to make me think they’d both been thinking about it too - they’d clearly taken the time to form opinions.

    ‘Interesting. I was thinking that they decided to ignore us. And that means…’ I paused, seeing if they were thinking the same as me.

    ‘Yes… and what does that mean…?’ Evan said eventually, irritated that I’d randomly stopped speaking.

    ‘It means that they’d talked about us right? One of them must have said “if those three guys go near us, pretend they’re not there”. Just a thought.’

    ‘But why? Odd behaviour. Maybe girls just do stuff differently? Right, Toby, what is going on with this? I can’t get this one question.’

    ‘Remember if there is no letter with the number it disappears. That probably it.’

    ‘I’m telling you, it’s because I scared them away with my stupid questions. Now they’re ignoring us.’ Evan sighed noisily.

     ‘C’mon man, it was just a mistake, I doubt it’s that. Could someone test me on this vocabulary?’

    ‘Sure, I need a break from this maths.’ Tom grabbed the list I passed to him. ‘Why Japanese? This looks crazy complicated.’ He complained.

    ‘Why any language, that’s the real question,’ Evan interjected. Tom ignored him and started testing me on the list. Again our discussion subsided for a while. After I got the paper back, feeling more confident with the list, I put away that subject. Two of seven done. I pulled out the music, why not. The interval of a perfect fifth has a frequency ratio of three to two. I read the text through. Slowly my brain began to process the going-ons of the compound: We are taken from these white rooms, in which we ‘become’ and are tested by blank Works; then we’re quickly shown about, but not really told much information; put in rooms with other Slates who we pretty much must like; and then instantly fed into an intense education, leaving no time for anything else - no getting to know others, or even roommates, no time to learn the dos and don’ts or explore the compound. I guess there is nothing to explore and they expect us to learn and make friends as we go? And then there was the question of the candy house. I smiled to myself. What an odd thing, yet it seemed quite natural to everyone else - even the other level zeros passed it quite normally, as if it was just another subject shop. Maybe it makes sense to have a reward system for hard work, or a place to take some time off, but does it need it’s own building? I guess they wanted some more life in the place so they added that, or maybe it’d always been there. Who even is they? Questions whurred aroung my head.

    ‘Guys, I’m curious - what is above the candy house?’

    ‘What?’

   ‘Just hear me out, right - all the shops are two floors, right - shop and classroom, canteen and kitchen, administration and hospital. But what’s above the candy house? No-one has said anything about that.’

    ‘You are random sometimes, you know that? Is it just were they make the candy or something?’

    ‘Yeah but surely they’d just do that in the kitchen, right?’

    ‘Look I dunno, but we gonna be late for dinner at this point, or at least not get a seat.’ Evan put his fitness book away, though I was surprised he hadn’t finished it yet, and stood up. I checked my watch and realised he was right. Together the three of us walked over to the canteen.

    ‘If we see Cal, we should ask about the candy house thing.’ I whispered to the others, though I didn’t really know why I was whispering.

    ‘Sure, whatever. I wonder what it is tonight. Smells like soup.’

    ‘Everyone is walking around with bowls, so you’re probably right.’ I sighed, because they obviously weren’t listening to me. I’ll ask myself, I thought. Dinner passed uneventfully though - we saw neither the three from lunch nor Cal, so ate and returned to the room. Now a few hours after the gym and fitness session my legs and arms were really aching. I went straight to bed, as did the others.

 
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