The Filing

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
This was a short story that I had to write for English Class. I think it turned out great! Our only prompt was that it had to end with a character opening or walking through a door. Mine is based around a sort of 'utopian' community where Mag, the main character, lives. I don't want to spoil it, so tell me what you think in the comments! :)

Submitted: May 15, 2017

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Submitted: May 15, 2017

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My eyes gently close, and then open. Cold air blows behind me, and makes the tiny hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention. Like tiny soldiers who have been called on. They refuse to go down. They aren’t loyal to my command, but act on their own accord. If they had listened to me, then they’d be calm, collected, and dormant. My eyes scout around my current room. It isn’t anything special. Just a small room with a set of cabinets behind me and two couches facing each other. The color resembling hospital walls, and the warmth of a scolding train engine. I don’t sit. I can’t sit. It’s against the rules. The rules must be followed. I don’t sit. I can’t sit. It’s against the rules. The rules must be followed. I don’t si-

“Good evening, Mag.” I hear. My attention is grabbed just like the tiny hairs. I inspect the person who has just entered through the door. They were tall, with pale skin and a blank face. Judging by their clothes he’s a male. He wears a well fitted suit, with a white tie… like the couch. It’s burning my eyes. I meet his eyes… follow the rules.

“Yes, good evening sir.” I state. Follow the rules. The rules must be followed. My face resembles his, blank, emotionless. The rules protect us.

“I’m here to take your blood test.” The man opens the cabinet on the opposite side from the couches. I simply nod. My heart begins to race. No. Stop. The rules. “Please take a seat.” He says pointing at the couch while grabbing things from the cabinet. I can only assume it’s the medical supplies he needs. Move. Robotically my feet follow this order. I can sit now. I slowly take my seat and look at the man as he sets the medical equipment down on the coffee table in front of me. He begins to do his job and wraps the rubber tie around my forearm. He gives no warning. That’s against the rules. My skin crawls when he puts in the needle as I resist the urge to move away.

I watch silently as the blood flows through the needle and into the vial. We say nothing. Finally after what feels like an eternity he’s done. He takes out the needle without warning, but not roughly. I watch as he fills up the different containers, placing marks on each of them. He stands placing my blood inside the pocket of his suit. He takes the used medical supplies and disposes of them in the hazardous waste bin. He turns to me. “Mag, please follow me.”

We leave the room and he holds open the door for me. I follow silently. I am taken back to the room I know so well. My dorm room. He opens the door for me and I walk in. “You may tend to your business.” He states shutting the door. I do nothing until I hear the door lock. The click gives me confirmation. I turn around and my eyes meet those of my roommates. I heard a rumor once that we were siblings, but it’s not possible. Families are against the rules. We say nothing. I haven’t thought much about families since I got out of initiation. My body tenses up just thinking about that time. I take a seat on my soporific slab and open a book which was provided on my slab when I first arrived. I’d already read it a good twelve times. I open the familiar paper pages to reveal the words I almost have memorized.

I’m not sure how much time passes. I wish we had a clock. No. We don’t have one for a reason. Don’t question it. There are three other people here in our room normally, but right now one of them is gone. They were probably taken to the room I was in not too long ago. After all we do look the same age, and that’s what happens. I think I just turned sixteen not too long ago. Birthdays aren’t against the rules, but birthday parties are. I’m sure they keep track. I flip to the back of the book and scroll down the different words. The Filing, I found it. I look to the right of the word. Pages: 214-216. I begin flipping through pages, searching for 214. Finding the right page I begin to read:

The Filing is the time in an immigrant's life where they are filed, or put into the registry. This begins shortly after their sixteenth birthday. Part of the filing is deciding whether or not they will be helpful to the community. Sadly there will be many who don’t fit the quota of importance. We cannot have unfit or undeserving ones in our society. Those who don’t follow the rules or are defective will be disposed of. You can’t control your importance, but you can follow the rules. Make sure you follow all of the rules.

I skip a bit and begin reading the partlabeled IMPORTANCE.

As previously mentioned importance is taken into consideration. People must fit their role in order to stay. A quick review on roles. Girls are to always wear a dress or skirt. Boys must wear a suit or shirt and pants. Girls above the ages of sixteen will need to attend The Offering once every two months. Boys above the age of sixteen must attend The Offering every four months. The Offering will be explained once you are put into the registry, but for now just keep that in mind. Being nervous is bad, trust in us. Don’t doubt us, and don’t doubt the rules. Other things such as physical traits will als-

The book continues on, but I shut it. It’s quiet, it’s always so quiet. I turn to my roommates. “Good evening.” I say casually. They turn to me and stare. Their eyes have tears in them. Don’t they remember it’s against the rules to cry? The book says that younger ones most likely will cry and won’t understand the rules. We’re supposed to tell them about it. I freeze. Do I tell on them? It’s the rules… but last time. The memories flood back, like the dam on an irrigation tube being broken. I can feel tears well up in my eyes and I turn away. No. Don’t break the rules.

I can’t help it. I am swept away by the waves of memories. I’m back. Back to when I first arrived here. We had been placed in a crowded room together, with not even enough room to stretch. It was dark minus the few flashing lights that would appear over our heads every few seconds. I wasn’t able to see anyones faces, and all I could hear was screaming and the crying of children. We had been pushed into separate rooms after not too long. I had been attached to a group, an older woman and four other kids. Three of them were girls and the oldest looking was a boy. All of us looked very similar, and most of us were scared. People in white suits began unlocking the chains, which held us together. One of them grabbed my arm, I had screamed and tried to run. The boy had tried to help, but with a flash of light he fell to the ground holding his side. Another person in the suits had jabbed him with a flashing stick.

I had screamed and cried until they had thrown me into a small room by myself. I remember curling in a ball and crying. Soon after a woman had greeted me. She had been on the other side of the door bars and only smiled sweetly. Her eyes had held no comfort though. They had been just as cold and the stone floors, and as burning as the white walls. She had began softly with the smile that never left. “Good evening.” She said. “What’s your name?”

I had stared at her too afraid to speak. “Mag.” I had said after a minute.

“Well hello Mag, I’m here to teach you the rules. All you have to do is repeat them to me.” She said smiling and writing something down. I hadn’t known what she meant.

“Where’s my mommy?” I asked.

She lifted her head with her eyes narrowed a bit. Without a warning a flashing stick came from the wall and punched me in the gut. I fell to the ground, pain going through my entire body after hearing a sickening crackle. Tears had started falling from my eyes. “First rule. No families. You don’t have a mommy. You never had a mommy.” I had looked up at the woman and she had only smiled down wiggling the flashing stick thru the bars on the door. “Repeat it.” I hadn’t understood what she was doing. It took a lot of times with the flashing stick before I had fully learned.

I blink, tears fall down my chin. The rules protect us. We need the rules. I hear a click. Immediately I lay down facing away from the door. I hold my breath as the door opens. “You may tend to your business.” I hear. I take in a deep breath and wipe the tears from my eyes trying to see like I was just sleeping. “However could you please bring Mag here?”

After hearing a quiet “yes” my shoulder is gently nudged. “Mag, please wake up.”

I yawn, trying to play it off cool. I was just sleeping. “What is it?” I ask cautiously, although I already knew what it was. After a short conversation I am following the man. I was not the same one who had drawn my blood previously. Their voices are different, although they look basically the same.

We reach a door that he leads me through. “Wait in here until someone from the other door comes out, and calls your name.” He says. I nod and look around the room as he leaves. There are four people sitting in the corner together. What a bland room. The only furniture is a small couch beside the other door. I turn towards the couch, about to go sit down.

However a voice that catches me off guard draws my attention. “Hey you there!” A female voice calls. I turn towards the group of people a shocked expression on my face, before it returns to it’s neutral look.

“Yes, can I help you ma’am?” I ask politely.

Her eyebrows rise giving her a surprised look. “Come over here with us.” She then smiles. The smile was weird, not like the smile of the woman from initiation. The smile seems… real. I mentally shake these thoughts from my head and walk over to the group. What’s wrong with them? Why do they act so weird? The girl who called me over has blonde hair and is wearing jeans and a dirty white tee. Two of the boys are… grabbing one another’s hands? What are those two doing? Why are they breaking the rules? The other male looked normal.

“What is it that you need miss?” I ask again, folding my hands together against my blue and white dress.

“Dang, she really is like them.” The ‘normal’ boy states.

“Leon, don’t say that in front of her!” One of the other boys states.

“Why not?” He questions. “It’s true.”

“As rude as it is, I must agree with Leon.” The girl states. “So, why is she here? Did you get into trouble?”

I look at her confused. “What do you mean? I’m here because that man told me to stay here.” I say. Oh, no. Did he know I was crying? Am I in trouble?

“Do you know where here is?” She asks calmly. She grabs my hands gently but I flinch as she guides me to sit with them.

“No. I don’t. Asking questions is against the rules. Everything happens for a reason.” I state. I find myself avoiding eye contact with her. That’s against the rules too though. Eye contact shows respect, so I force myself to look at the blonde. Her eyes have such a disappointed and sad look in them. They all have a concerned yet somewhat surprised look.

“The rules are bad. They only keep you trapped here. We all shouldn’t live like this.” She states not giving me a time to speak. “Look, we have a plan. We’re gonna leave this place. If we stay we will be killed.” Her grip on my hands has tightened.

“So I didn’t pass.” I whisper looking down. “I don’t understand.” I say tears welling up in my eyes for the second time today. “After Initiation I always listened. I did everything right! I can’t fail The Filing.” I say ripping my hands from her. The words from the book ring through my head. Like a giant bell being hit relentlessly. You can’t control your importance. Slowly I look up at the blonde girl. “How are you guys gonna leave?” I whisper.

She must’ve heard me because her eyes light up. “We’re g-” She’s cut off and looks to the door. It’s open and a cart with a large black bag is being pushed out by two tall men.

The ‘normal’ boy, Leon, stands up. “She’s dead isn’t she!” He yells at them walking closer.

“She had to be disposed of. Please don’t break the rules and go sit do-” The man pushing the cart doesn’t get to finish his sentence. A split second later Leon was punching him. My eyes widen as I watch the scene unfold. After only a couple seconds though Leon was hit with the flashing sticks. I flinch at the sight of them and hug the blonde next to me. I’m breaking the rules. Hugs are against the rules. Being scared is against the rules. I hear yelling and I look up. Leon is on the ground curled in a ball as one of the tall men gives him a final jab with the flashing stick. The men then ignore him and push the cart calmly out of the room.

Everyone around me runs up to him, and I follow. “Did you get it?” They ask.

Leon looks up at everyone. His lip is busted but he still smiles at us and lifts up a small set of keys. They all cheer happily. I follow them as they begin walking to the door and look around. Nobody is coming down the hallway. We open the door and I follow them out into the hallway. What am I doing? The rules help us, but Leon just got beat up because he broke the rules. Is that okay? Of course it’s okay the rules are important. I walk into someone and immediately jump back. I was lost in thought I suppose. They didn’t seem to care though. I take in a deep breath. That was there plan I guess. Take the keys from the others. My mind reminds me once more of the rules. Would I be able to run back to the room?

They quickly unlock the door, and a blinding light shines into my eyes. I cover my eyes, as warm air blows through my hair. A loud alarm sounds through the halls, and the sound of feet pounding down the hall fills my ears. Almost like a stampede of elephants who were scared by lions. Only they weren’t elephants, they were the lions. I uncover my eyes. The blonde is holding the door open and staring expectantly at me.

“Come with us!” She yells to me. “We’ll be free, no more of these rules!”

The rules are all I know though. They protect us. Do they really? Do I leave? Should I stay? I want to leave! My heartbeat quickens, boom boom, boom boom. I flick my head to the corner. Men in the white suits whom I remember so well are running towards us. Tears sting my vision and I run. The blonde looks like an angel with the light against her. I grab her arm jumping through the door as I hear a slam. This is the right choice. I fall to the ground and look up. She smiles down at me, that true smile. The rules are gone… what are we gonna do?


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