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June 14, 2019

It's dark down here. I can hardly breathe through the ashes of smoke. But I do not dare cough. Rule 987 of the rule book. Coughing is a sign of illness. Illness counts as weakness and everyone knows what happens to people that are weak. The lights suddenly turn on. Gasping, I wake up from my chair. "Congratulations Clara, on making it through your 14th round of the testing." Though I'm bursting with joy on the inside I can not let that show. Happiness is a sign of weakness. Getting off the white doctor looking chair, I feel dizzy from the simulation, but I do not show it, I get out of the room and then I run. 

Running is a sign of untidiness which is forbidden by rule 82, but when I run I feel free. The wind whips in my face as I invite the burning sensation of my bones aching. Making sure to stay hidden, I finally reach my house. I can't help smiling, I feel so... free. I knock on the door and as soon as it opens, the smile wipes off my face. I find myself staring into my dad's sad and concerned eyes. Looking behind him, I see my mum crying, her fingers shaking. Then it hits me.

I look around and realize Jacob is not here. My-seven-year-old little brother. Quickly, I walk inside and shut the door. "Harriet stop crying", Dad hushes her. No crying: rule number 63. If my mum is caught crying, we all know what the penalty is. "My baby", she cries, "he hasn't returned to me." "He will come," I say, trying to reassure her. But everyone knows if you don't return from the testing you have suffered the penalty for being weak, for failing the test. The penalty that everyone gets if they break a rule. The penalty no one dares speak of. Death.

There's a knock on the door, I open it to find my little brother looking baffled. Not hesitating, I pull him in the house and hug him tight, never wanting to let go. Tears fall down my cheek as I hear my mother let out a strangled gasp of happiness and sobs. Rule 893, no hugging. "Where have you been"? My dad asks while lifting Jacob in the air. "I got lost on my way back here," he says innocently. "I didn't mean to scare you." I can't help but laugh out of relief. I don't know what I would have done if I lost my little brother, he means the world to me, the only thing keeping me going in this disgusting, terrifying world.

Hours pass as we celebrate us all passing the testing. The testing goes from age 6 to 18, it's to root out the ones that don't belong, who don't follow the rules, the good thing is, it's only once a year. Only have four more years for me while Jacob's testing years have barley begun. Hours pass as my mum asks me to tuck Jacob in bed. I hold his hand, then cradle his light body in my arms. He giggles as I playfully chuck him on the bed. Tucking him into bed, I plant a kiss on his forehead. "I love you, little duck." "I love you too," he says and wraps his hands around me. "You'll never lose me," he says, as if he could read my mind, I'll always be here," he points to my heart. "I'll see you in the morning," Ruffling his hair playfully, I whisper another goodnight kiss and with that I await the next day.

The sound of alarms wake me from my sleep. Dad comes barging into my room. "Clara get up, quickly"! "What's happening," I say distress but still sleepy. "RUN"!!!

Right then the door barges open with a sleepy little boy in mums arms. I grab Jacob's arm and run. There are silent deaths and gun shots all over the streets, bright red splatters the floor, making my legs move faster. No one says or screams a word. Rule number 1, no screaming. I am so caught up in the moment that I realize Jacob's hand has slipped out of mine. "Jacob" I whisper harshly in the nights air. "Jacob," I say a bit louder. Starting to panic. But that's when I see it, a testing official pointing a gun at Jacobs head. 

"Stop," I say. "Please stop," I plea. Jacob's terrified eyes stare through mine. "Please don't kill him," I cry. "No crying," he says. He turns the gun and directs it at me. That's when I hear two gun shots, I shut my eyes tight as I get ready for the pain to come, but it doesn't, to my horror, I walk forwards and see the man lying on the floor, dead but what i see next, I was not prepared for.

‚Äč"Jacob," I whisper. Covering my mouth, I drop to the floor. "Jacob," I cry, not caring if people catch me. "No, no, I can't lose you, Jacob please," I beg! I put his cold lifeless hands into mine. "Jacob," I moan. I don't have enough words to describe what I feel, how could they do that to a little boy, who did nothing but right? Suddenly I'm mad. Madder than I've ever been. They ripped out a part of my heart. I don't care about the punishment, I scream. I scream on the top of my lungs. It feels good and I do not stop. I scream for this world, for the people, for my parents and... for Jacob. I vow to change these rules no matter what the cost, to change this society because in my heart I know it's not right. THIS is not right. I lie next to Jacob like I used to when he got a nightmare. "I promise, I'll make this world a better place...for you," I whisper in his ear. 


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  • June 14, 2019 - 5:27am (Now Viewing)

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