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 :)


6. Tour

We all followed Cal out of Administration and into the avenue, into the mayhem. I braced myself for the chaos of all the Slates that I’d earlier experienced, but the avenue was significantly clearer than before. There seemed to only be a few Slates hurrying around as if there was something chasing them and some Works emptying the bins, trimming the trees and clearing the floor. We turned right out of Administration and started walking down Main Avenue. Cal stopped by the first of the shops. After a few moments of shuffling we gathered in a circle around him.

    ‘Before we start, some of you who arrived earlier might be wondering why it is so much quieter at the moment. This is because you might’ve had the misfortune of arriving during the gap the Slates have between lessons, when they all have to move from one place to another - it is always pretty crazy then. Now they are all in their respective classes and therefore the Avenue is quieter. Right….

    ‘This is the first subject we’re going to look at. Each one has its own building. On the ground floor there is a shop for supplies, help on homework and any other queries about that particular subject and upstairs are the classes in which it is taught. The shop we are beside now, if you haven’t figured it out yet, is that of Languages. Where you end up being a Work might not be in places like this, where we speak English, but in other places were they speak other languages and it is very important to be able to communicate. The shop contains dictionaries, audio books to practice listening and bot programs to converse with. Now to the next subject, which is just down here.’ (the group all walked ten metres down the avenue and stopped in front of another shop) ‘This is the music shop. Just like Languages, and all the other subjects for that matter, there is a shop just here and a classroom above. You will learn a lot more about each individual subject when you have your lessons in it. My job is to acquaint you to the lay out of the compound so you don’t get too hopelessly lost on your first day of lessons. Right, the next subject is Business and Economics…’

    In this fashion we slowly made our way round each subject. When we complete the right hand side shops (Languages, Music, Business and Economies, Health and Fitness) we crossed over to the left side. At this point a bell rang and a few moments later kids started to poor from all the shop doors, minus that of Administration and the Canteen that’d been pointed out to me by the woman earlier.

    ‘This is the gap I mentioned before.’ Cal said, looking slightly irritated. ‘We shall all sit on or near this bench for five minutes or so, till it subsides, and then continue.’ We did as we were told. It seemed like the Slates which passes us were familiar with the phenomenon of a group of Level 0s sitting on the floor, as we were often given an odd look when first noticed, followed quickly a realisation of what we were. Five minutes passed and everyone had found their way to they’re next subject’s class. ‘Right!’ Cal declared, standing up. ‘Let us continue. This is the bottom of the Avenue. The flat space ahead of us is called the field and the big buildings either side of it are the boys’ and girls’ accomodation. Once I am done with the tour I will show you to your rooms. For now though we have five more shops to talk about. This one here is the Canteen. Every mealtime, that is breakfast lunch and dinner, everyone comes here and gets their meal. The top level Slates, the level 5s, eat their meals in the Canteen but it isn’t big enough to fit everyone in so all the other levels, like you lot, eat in the field or the avenue. A word of advice is that you need to be quick to get a spot on a bench or you will end up eating on the floor. Above the Canteen is the kitchen, pretty standard.

    ‘If we walk up here, toward the entrance, we get to Computer sciences. Shop underneath, class above, learn about computers, nothing out of the ordinary there. The next shop is Science, this is one of the fundamentals…’

    Cal continued like he’d previously done. Science was followed by Maths and then The Candy House. This was one confused me and the rest of the group, by the looks on their faces. The Candy House? Both the name and the concept seemed out of line with the others. ‘Look at all those confused faces!’ Cal laughed after he’d first introduced it to us. ‘This is a special shop. The Slates get tokens by doing well in their subjects and increasing their level. With this they can do two things: either make a purchase from the Candy House of, hence the name, Candy;   purchase items for sale from all the different shops, though it is free to borrow anything for two days. This is a simply way to motivate people to do well and hey - it’s a bit of fun.’ He smiled at us and said we were going to the rooms now, as the tour was complete. We all followed him as he marched down the avenue and to the field. There we met with an older girl, wearing a black badge.

    ‘This is Clara. She is a level 5 and will be showing you girls to your rooms - it is against compound rules for us boys to go in there. I’ll show the boys to their rooms. Bye for now!’ The four girls said goodbye to Cal and scampered off after Clara, who’d started to march towards the girls’ accomodation. Cal turned to us three boys and smiled, turning to face boys’ accomodation and walking off. I looked round to the long hair of Amber flowing behind her as she hurried to catch up with Clara and then hurried myself until I was walking beside the other two. We then entered boys’ accomodation. The inside seemed to be a labyrinth of corridors lined with numbered doors. We followed Cal through it. Right, left, left, third on the right. ‘This is your room, boys - you are to be roommates. Number 52. To find the front door it is left, right, right, left. To find your room from there it is the opposite, that is common sense. In there you will find everything you need - towels, clothes, toiletries and the like. You can fight over who gets which beds. Here are three keys. I need to get back to Administration. It is getting late so get to sleep quickly - you’ll thank yourself tomorrow. Bye.’ He turned away and left.

    After we’d unlocked the door we looked around the room, acquainting ourselves with the space. We then chose beds, which was easier than I expected: one of the boys wanted the top bunk, another the underneath and me the single. Easy. After that We all went into the bathroom together, undressed and had showers. Finally we went to bed. I wanted to get to know the others but we were all tired and overwhelmed after all the information we’d received that day. I slept soundly.

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