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 :)


10. Other subjects

The next morning passed like the prior, though much smoother as we had become more accustomed to when we had to rise, when we had to leave for breakfast, what we had to take to lessons,  etc. The day’s lessons consisted of those we’d not done the day before - gym and fitness, science and computer sciences. Tom quickly noted that this was only three rather than four. After consulting our watches though we found that gym and fitness was a double slot after lunch.

    ‘Maybe it’s an hour of gym and an hour of fitness?’ I suggested.

    ‘Gym is fitness, Toby.’ Evan replied as we walked to the science room, which was just the other side of the canteen from our accommodation building. When we got there we all started to wonder around the shop - though the other Slates had seen it before and usually just chatted prior to lessons or arrived perfectly on time, all the level 0s were amazed by the shelves of materials, equipment and tools. The one rule was ‘look don’t touch’, which we’d learnt via a harsh disciplining of Evan when he’d picked up a guitar in the music shop yesterday by the Work behind the desk. All the level 1s, 2s, and 3s couldn’t help themselves but snicker a little and Evan went bright red and scowled for 20 minutes after, though that evening he’d laughed about it too. In the science shop there were no guitars, but rounds of sample bottles, labelled with one or two letter names like ‘S’ and ‘He’. There were also shelves of textbooks and descriptions and many bizarre instruments, most of which I didn’t recognise. Soon everyone was queuing, our wrists were scanned and we ascended to the classroom. The layout was the same as all the others and we soon found our seats. The Work stepped up to the front. The six months between now and the next tests were split into three sections, she explained quickly to me, Tom, Evan and three other level 0s I recognised from administration and the tour (the other levels clearly knew all this, and chatted quietly behind us). Two months for biology, the study of the body; two for chemistry, the study of atoms, molecules and their behaviour; and two for physics, how and why things act as they do. This seemed rather intriguing and for the rest of the lesson we started biology with the study of the cell. Half way through I glanced over to Evan and Tom. The first looked close to falling asleep and rolled his eyes when he caught mine. The latter was acting quite the opposite - he looked fascinated by the structure of the things that make our body tick; for me it was rather dull, but not totally boring. After that was computer sciences, which took place in a room full of computers. We were taught about basic coding and security systems within computers and how they worked. It was quite a different lessons to the others - a bit more specific and niche, and the teacher running the class was very strict, almost military. It felt slightly more than just a lesson, but then what do I know? It was probably just the teacher’s personality.

    Lunch was a tomato pasta bake, which was pleasant enough. By chance we ended up sitting next to Emerald, Chloe and Alex on one of the large tables outside, though they seemed determined to not notice us, yet because of this I guessed that we’d interesting them - they’d might’ve even agreed to ignore us, and that requires then to have talked about us. These were my thoughts as Evan and Tom debated whether or not science was interesting or not. I stayed out of it and when consulted to give a decisive answer I diplomatically replied that I sat in the middle - it neither interested or disinterested me. It was stupid really, not their argument, but why our three neighbors, our fellow level 0s were so blatantly blocking us. It was stupider still that I was so annoyed by it. I was interesting in how they were finding it; which was their favourite subject; what they thought of the candy house. I felt constricted just talking to Evan and Tom whilst it seemed like everyone else had large groups of friends, both male and female, to chat with. I knew that trying to make friends across the levels was unlikely, especially the level 4s and 5s - they made it clear they didn’t have time for us lower levels. It just seemed right that our two rooms paired up - we’d bumped into each other so many times in these first, days; we’d even talked that first lunch time. Why were they ignoring us? I looked up at them once more and for a flash caught Chloe’s eye. She quickly flung her hair around and moved so her back faced us. This only heightened my suspicion of a prearranged pact between them. I tried instead to listen to their conversation. They were talking about the food. I quickly tuned out, they clearly had nothing interesting to say, or had decided to say nothing interesting. I caught myself for being overly cynical. Evan shoved my shoulder.

    ‘Toby? Come on mate, I’ve said your name three times already! We need to head over to gym and fitness or we’ll be late.’

    ‘Yeah, right.’ I shook me head, dispelling all thoughts of the other three and stood. We quickly returned our plates and speed walked over to the gym and fitness shop. It wasn’t a shop, that was my first impression. Instead, the space was filled with gym equipment, yet all attached to the floor with no token price - it was just a gym.

    ‘What’s upstairs then?’ Tom whispered to us, to which we shrugged. A level 3 overheard us.

    ‘A classroom, like all the other subjects, idiot.’ he sneered at us and walked off to his friends. Though we could’ve guessed this, it wasn’t that obvious and I did think the comment was a little harsh. I thought back to the very first thing one of the Slates had said to me after Sarge had left me at the top of the Avenue. I’m going to have to get use to being the little fish for now, there is no point challenging the big ones.

    The double session turned out to be one session in the classroom, which was covered in posters about the body, which was about the theory of exercise and all the learning around that; and one session in the gym downstairs, using all the equipment under instruction. I was amused to see my roommates reaction be the exact opposite as to science: now Evan was really enjoying himself whilst Tom just looked exhausted. Afterwards we were all quite hot and sweaty, yet the moment we walked outside were freezing - it was still cold and windy and our condition made it much worse. We all but ran back to our rooms and immediately got a shower.

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