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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7. Roommates

I woke the next day rather more refreshed than I’d felt the previous night. For a moment I lied still on the bed, feeling every muscle in my body, letting them all relax. I had a lot of thinking to do left over from the day before. This is the place in which I’d live for the next who knows how many years. Did I like it? It was clean and secure and the people, both Work and Slate, seemed nice enough, but on the other hand the whole operation felt a little secretive and controlled. I thought to that watched feeling I had during the beginning of Test Two. The feeling had yet to go: it sat just behind my temples like a bad influence. The shops and the classes made logical sense as an efficient method to teach and regulate an education but the concept of the Candy House seemed incongruous with it all. And using tokens to motivate students? It felt like bribery to me. Why shouldn’t they want to learn just for the fun of learning? I decided I must wait and see what it the learning to resolve that query. Then I heard shuffle of bedding from across the room. My roommates were stirring.

    I looked over to the bunk pushed against the wall. On top, one of the boys stretched up his hands, as if reaching for an invisible item, and uttered a small groan. Bellow him the other boy gathered his duvet in his hands and turned over to face me. For a moment our eyes met but I quickly looked away. I dared not to be the first to speak but wanted to at least learn their names prior to the day beginning. Eventually the boy on the top bunk spoke up. ‘Do you two feel as confused as I? It’s like I’ve been dropped into a whole new world and left to pick myself up and get on with it, but really I just want to return to the nice white rooms.’ Whilst saying this he swung round and let his legs hang over the edge of the frame. The other boy also got out from under the duvet and sat crossed legged on his mattress.

    ‘I felt like that when I left the white rooms for the first time but I’m starting to get used to it now. Expect the unexpected. What are your names?’ I looked at both of them questioningly.

    ‘Evan,’ replied the boy on the top bunk, peering between his legs to get a look at the boy pirched beneath him.

    ‘My name is Tom. I think I’m in between you two: I’m confused, yes, but I’m getting used to the noises and the smells of this world and hey - from what I’ve gathered, this is home so we better get used to it.’ I nodded my head, this was true. Tom, Evan and Toby.

   Our conversation continued a while: we recounted our experience of the white rooms; which subject we thought would be our favourite; and whether or not we liked Cal. We were then interrupted by a lone beep that came from the door. Being the closest I got off my bed and walked towards it. A panel had seemingly appeared beside the door. On it was a screen. It read: ‘All Level 0s have a day to look around the compound, get to know their rooms and roommates and go to Administration to acquire some necessary equipment. DO NOT enter any buildings apart from the canteen or Administration, especially the accomodation of the opposite gender, or go near the gate.’ I read this message to the others and rejoined them.

    ‘We should get changed and look around the room first, then go look around the compound. You two agree?’ Evan suggested, to which we both nodded. ‘Good.’ He descended the ladder, passed Tom and onto the floor. The three of us stood together and began to look around the different rooms. In one, which we’d gone in the night before, was a toilet, shower, mirror and sink. When I look in the mirror I saw the same figure I’d seen in the mirror of the white rooms but it looked less scared but still slightly confused. It smiled when I did. Whilst I was pumping portions of the different soaps onto my hands and checking if they tasted nice (they didn’t) I heard I shout from Tom.

    I walked over to where he stood in the room we’d slept in. ‘What is it?’ I asked.

   ‘There are three big compartments in this wall. Look!’ He pushed the wall slightly and suddenly a section of it slid forward. It contained clothes, a backpack, empty notebooks, pens and pencils and some other small items. He closed this one and did the same maneuver on another part of the wall and then another. All three were identical. ‘I reckon there is one for each of us, with the basic stuff we need for classes and living.’ I nodded. By this time Evan had joined us from the third room in our small apartment.

   ‘I’ll take this one.’ He said, pointing to the one closest to his bunk. Me and Tom also took the ones closest to our bunks. ‘The other room has two desks for writing, a sofa for sitting and relaxing and a manual for what to do in every scenario possible. I going to sit in there for a bit and think this all through.’ He left the room. Me and Tom then decided to get changed and familiarise ourselves with the boys’ accomodation building so we didn’t get lost finding our rooms. We stripped of our old clothes from yester and put on the crisp level 0 uniforms from our draws. While we were doing this I noticed how much thinner his arms and body were compared to mine and Evan’s, despite being the same height as us. Then we told Evan our plan. ‘We should stick together,’ he said, ‘give me a moment to get changed and I’ll come with you.’ We did so and together left the room. I remember that to find the front door the pattern was left, right, right, left. We followed this and came to the main exit. There we met another boy, wearing a green badge. He smiled at us in passing and then noticed our white badges.

    Level 0s, huh? So this must be your first day, if you’re not in classes get. I remember my first day.’ He laughed to himself. ‘I locked myself out of my room when to I left to look around. You three got keys, right?’ We looked at each other.

    ‘I thought you had a key, Toby,’ Evan said. I shook my head, feeling stupid in front of this older Slate.

     He laughed again. ‘Don’t worry - if you head to Administration, they are used to level 0s locking themselves out. You can get your watches at the same time as well.’ Then he left the building.

    ‘I thought you had the key!’ Tom said to Evan. I sighed and together we left the building and started to walk toward Administration.

 
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