We lived in their artificial world.
They had taken control of our innocent, naive minds. We got up each morning and combed our hair and put on our freshly pressed uniforms. We walked to school, down the streets of identical houses and small, rectangular plots of clipped lawns. At school we pledged to their flag and learned their history, calculated endless lists of numbers in our heads, and memorized long lines of censored literature.
We were safe, they told us. Protected. We learned of gigantic mountains that erupted red-hot liquid, waves a hundred feet tall that washed over entire cities, places where the ground shook and buildings toppled to the ground.
Our sky shone a crayon-blue, and our weather was always the same; Controlled.
Order. Cooperation. Those were the values we were taught as kids in school. Those were the values that would keep us safe.
Order. Cooperation. Those were the values that killed us. Those were the values that crushed who we were, what made us individuals.
We walked down our paved, clean streets, looking up at our crayon-blue sky appreciating what we had. Appreciating our safety, our homes, our Controlled weather.
But it wasn’t just the weather that was Controlled.
We were Controlled.
We would do anything they told us to. We would follow their order. We would cooperate. They instilled fear in us, told us they were keeping us safe. And we believed them.
We didn’t realize the sky could be any color but blue, that it could be a swirl of oranges and pinks and that white, puffy clouds that looked like dragons and rabbits could float across.
We didn’t know that the leaves on the trees weren’t green all year round, that they became oranges, browns, and golds, and blanketed the ground in a beautiful season called Fall. Then fluffy white feathers would drift from the sky and cover the bare branches of the trees. When the snow melted, blossoms unfolded in brilliant hues of yellow and pink and winged creatures called birds flew from tree to tree.
Inside their artificial world, we didn’t know seasons. We didn’t know birds. We didn’t know freedom.
But the time would come. And all of that would change.