Grey

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
A dystopian world controlled by a dictatorship and fear.

Submitted: August 07, 2013

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Submitted: August 07, 2013

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Grey

The streets were long and uniform; grey square cobblestones with an equal distance between each one, tall metallic buildings lined the sides of the streets and people were walking in a single file line down the sidewalks. The people of The City wore the mandatory clothing of grey collared suits for men and women. Colour was not allowed and thoughts and ideas were oppressed in The City.

I walked down one of the grid locked streets and fell into the moving line of people along the sidewalk. I kept my head down and followed the grey collared person in front of me. We started to march as we got closer and the loudspeakers began to crackle and hiss as they prepared to make announcements. I shifted in my freshly washed suit as I came to a stop in front of the massive silver arena. The thousands of people’s reflections shone down on them from the arena, it looked like a giant silver bowl that was shaped as an oval and slightly unapportioned. Half way up the arena’s side The City’s slogan gleamed even though the day was cloudy. ‘Let Our Enemy’s Perish’ could be seen on several billboards and propaganda benches throughout The City. The people in front of me began to split into two lines with the men going to the right and women to the left. I followed the woman in front of me and lined up with the thousands of females before me. The queue shuffled forward slightly and the faces around me registered a look of false hope and desire that things will get better.

***

My parents used to tell me stories about things called ‘farm land’ and ‘democracy’, I liked learning about the ducks on the ‘farms’ the most. I asked my father to tell me that story every night before I went to sleep. They were born way back in the 70’s when life was less simplistic which to me seemed somewhat more desirable than queuing for rations that are meant to make your life easier. The government sent me away from my family when I was twelve to be properly educated about the country’s past and we studied in great detail the ‘Kahn Family Tree of Hero’s’. Before school my mother read me story’s that the Kahn government had banned because they were too controversial and not everyone understood the plot line. They were stories about peace and happiness and they often had pictures of animals that the Kahn Government called ‘made-up’ or ‘extinct’.

My mother used to read to me about an animal called a ‘bird’ and how they flew across the sky like the parade jets on Kahn’s birthday but ‘birds’ were a bit smaller. When I asked – and only if it was safe – my mother would pull out her long, gold necklace that she concealed under her clothes. On the end of the necklace was a small emblem of a bird that she called a ‘finch’. It was quite a cute bird but it was small and I had never seen one outside.

***

The lady in the white scrubs, hair net and bacteria mask clicked her fingers at me and I stepped forward beside her booth. She was positioned in a small cubicle and had a small window that she did the test through. I looked past the bacteria mask at her weak eyes and held my finger to the electronic pad she had slid through the open window. The scanner cast a florescent green light over my finger and the machine beeped. I pulled my finger out and the lady wrote something down in her log book.
“Number?” the lady in the scrubs asked bluntly.
“Ah, 4-7-1-0-9-3-8-7-7,” I answered, counting out the nine numbers on my hand.
“Please press the option that concerns your age group,” the lady said and pointed up at the small computer beside the booth. ‘AGE’ was flashing at the top of the screen and I pressed the ’20-30’ option. “Clear! Go through,” the lady in the scrubs said and pointed her hand at the now open gate in front of me.

The arena was filling quickly and I made my way to my assigned seat. My seat was roughly in the middle of the female section which took up one third of the arena, men took up another third and that last third was where the stage was. The podium was set up centre stage and surrounded by colourful flowers that blared out at the grey crowd. The seats filled methodically and I searched the crowd who – apart from a few hopefuls – stared at their leather shoes. Sunday morning meetings were compulsory but unnecessary and yet those who didn’t clock in at the meetings were sought out and killed by the firing squad. The firing squad usually consisted of members of the ‘KP’, which was a shortened version of ‘Kahn’s Police’. Originality lacks in The City, where ‘everyone wants to live, and no one wants to leave.’ Mainly because you can’t leave, apparently if you try to leave you get shot by the KP firing squad. Because of that I know other place than The City. ‘Why would you want to live anywhere else’ is another slogan instilled all over the controlled city. The guards marched out onto the concrete oval and the meeting started.

Mitchell Kahn strode up the large podium in a pastel blue suit with his regular white fur cape floating pathetically behind him. Kahn was the descendant of previous rulers and was supposedly reasonably attractive in his prime. His bibliography and autobiography that we studied in excruciating detail in school say that “Kahn the Leader was the life of the party and all the girls loved him.” Unfortunately for The City’s population, schooling didn’t teach you how to read and write so that others understand you, they just teach you the basics. My parents taught me so I always excelled in school.

However, when Kahn strode up to the podium today he looked like a fifty-year old paedophile that had perspiration problems and quite a large beer gut.
“People, people, people of The City, welcome to a new week,” he started, his voice boomed into the microphone and filtered evenly through the arena. “I have good news, the ROA has stopped their attack on our beloved country for the time being and therefore training will be cut down to one hour a day for civilians meaning another two work hours! Also, new rations have been drawn up and on your way out of the meeting you will receive your new card. Exports have dutifully grown to 150% and imports have lessened to 100% so that is a 50% difference which is quite good but we can always do better, my people, we must do better! That will be all for today and I hope you all enjoy your Sunday’s. Work, however, will start at 12:05 PM as per usual. ‘Let Our Enemy’s Perish’, in the name of The City, the Kahn Government and the people we thank everyone’s hard work, amen,” Kahn finished and crossed his chest with a triangle.
“’Let Our Enemy’s Perish’, amen,” I muttered along with the rest of the crowd.

Kahn turned and left with a swish of his fur cape and the sound of a commemorative gun shot. The KP soldiers marched out and the people formally made their way out of the arena.

***

I looked at the small slip of paper fluttering between my fingers in the wind and counted out my weekly rations. I had lost over half from last week. I looked at the woman beside me’s ration card and saw the exact same thing. The woman seemed unfazed, as did most people milling around outside of the arena. The billboards that were plastered to buildings came to life and Mitchell Kahn’s square face came onto the screens. He was clearly airbrushed and his eyes had been made to look brighter. The screen flicked to shots of Kahn shaking hands with several different people in grey collared clothing. I shook my head and looked around at the people surrounding me. I began to spin around and look at the people who were confined and unable to choose what they wanted to do. I looked at the armed guards that directed the traffic of people who were all walking to work. I stopped spinning and walked out of the mob of people until I was looking out at everyone around me.

The speakers crackled and I turned towards them.
“KAHN GOVERNMENT, BETTER FOR YOU!” the speakers were positioned on every corner of every street. The twelve o’clock horn blared through the speakers and people dispersed into buildings. The guards took no notice of me standing in front of the arena in the open and turned and went inside their buildings. I stood alone on the uniform street and no one even blinked an eye. I pulled out my mother’s necklace that she had handed to me when the government took me away and I rubbed the finch emblem between my fingers. I walked swiftly towards the tall concrete wall that surrounds The City and ran my hand over it. It was cold under my hand and I began to walk and run my hand along the wall. I walked beside the wall for about a kilometre until I came to a door in the concrete wall.

The door was made of a rusting metal and had a large wheel in the centre. I let go of the necklace and let it bump against my stomach and placed my hand on the wheel. I turned it until it finally squeaked and there was the sound of a latch opening inside the door. I heaved on the door and was greeted with a thick gust of wind. Before me was a rich field of colour, which colour I could not be sure but it covered the ground and climbed up the oddly shaped buildings I had seen in children’s books. It was a field of colour and hope; hope that can apparently be reached without dying. I looked back at the grey, lifeless society I was born into. They had me fooled for years, they had us all fooled. I thought it couldn’t leave but all I had to do was open the door and walk away. So why was I still standing here?

My whole life had been a controlled lie designed to keep me in a city where security was rarely needed because the people were too scared to rebel. The City was simplicity and uniformity at its finest. Individuality was oppressed and only those in power stand out. I looked up at the tall buildings whose windows you couldn’t see out of and the equal, square cobblestones that lined the streets. But then I noticed something. The cobblestones were lined with larger cobblestones. And in the middle of the street, one single grey cobblestone had been painted pink.

There is one thing that power and hope have in common, both don’t last forever. I stepped out into the field of hope and colour and individuality and shut the door behind me.

 August 5th, 3013


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