The white walls that surrounded me blinded me with their purity, and my neck was starting to throb with pain. I looked around, only me, alone, in the implantation room. I reached my hand up, and ran my finger along the small lump on my neck, the chip was in me, it was searching me, it was watching me.
"Cassia Dawson?" I looked to my left, a lady with blonde hair was stood before me. I nodded when she asked my name.
"You will be glad to know, that the implantation was a great success, you will be free to leave after a few tests" she told me, reaching into the pocket of her white uniform, and pulling out a small syringe. She stood next to my chair, and tapped the syringe with her long nails.
"Can you roll your sleeve up, please?" I rolled my purple sleeve up my arm, and then put my hand by my side. The lady placed the needle on my arm, and pushed it in. I winced as she pushed the liquid in. She then pulled out the monitor out of her pocket, and looked at the readings with pursed lips.
"Your readings are perfectly normal, but the serum might make you feel light headed, dizzy, and sometimes faint" she explained, "you may go now".
I slowly sat up in the chair, and then stood up, putting a hand on my head.
"Thank you" I said, walking over to the door. The door slid open, and I stepped out into the reception. There was a line of people queuing up outside of one of the implantation rooms, waiting to be chipped.
"Cassia!" I spun around, Olivia was looking at me, a large grin on her tanned face, "did it go okay?" she asked me.
"Yeah, what about you?" I replied.
"I haven't been chipped yet" she said.
"Well, you don't really remember anything, you just wake up, and feel...light headed".
"Olivia, come back here!" I recognized the voice as Lucas'. I caught his eye and smiled as Olivia went skipping back to her place next to Lucas in the line. I watched as the line got smaller and smaller, until all of them were in the implantation room. I sighed and glanced down at my plain black watch on my wrist, there was a message awaiting me on the screen.
Cassia, when you have finished, please nip to the Euphoria to collect the food. Mum x
I laughed at the message, how Mum always leaves a small X at the end of each message. She had once told me, that the X stood for 'kiss', and that the O stood for 'hug', so I would pull out the Pad every night, and practice drawing an X, and then an O, until I got it perfect. Then, after that, it was just the Dawson family tradition, leave an X or an O after each message. I swiped the message away, leaving a blank screen on the watch, and started to walk out of the reception. There was a bitter breeze, I could feel the cold through my plain blue jeans and purple long sleeved t-shirt. I looked around me, there were a few people walking around in plain grey coats, but no one my age, as it was Implantation day. This day was held every year, on the same date, because the chip would take a whole week to complete it's cycle, searching through your thoughts, memories, secrets. I would be interested in what it had found, the earliest memory I could remember was from when I had gone to the park, and met Olivia, but that was when we were seven.
I looked towards the park, it was filled with many of my memories. The park was simple, a few trees with red leaves, green grass, some benches and a slide, because that was what we were allowed simplistic things, because simplicity is one thing, but then greed is another. However, our society is not as strict with simplicity as others, I have heard myths about other societies, they aren't allowed to wear colored clothing, they aren't allowed Pads, or watches, or anything, they can't even go and collect their own food from the Euphoria. So even though our society is simple, I am grateful to be in this society.
I rubbed my arms, trying to rid myself of goosebumps, whilst walking slowly in the direction of the Euphoria. I could just about see the top of the building from the park, it shouldn't take long if I walked quickly. A few people rushed past me, heading towards the Implantation center, my guess, was that they were going to collect their children. I contemplated sitting down on the bench for a while, but if the latest collection time was five, I only had twenty minutes, so I kept walking through the park, searching the trees for memories. I loved it how there were no leaves in the winter, but in the autumn they were red, in the spring they had blossomed, and summer they were green. The trees were the only things that the society couldn't make simple, no matter how hard they tried.
I loved how the Euphoria was built in the shape of a sphere, it gave it a modern look, it gave it style. From where I was, I could smell the steaming hot food, my feet sped up and my stomach growled, quite a normal thing for me. The Society doesn't starve us, but they don't give us that much food, only enough to have a healthy and balanced diet, so three meals a day, different every day, but the same food rota every week.
As I neared the Euphoria, I noticed how small the line was, unusual, as it was normally half way out of the door at this time, but I found it best not to question the oddities of our Society and the way we lived, because I would be regretting it the moment somebody gave me an answer. There were mostly only adults in the line, it made sense, it was Implantation day. I looked down at my watch, in three hours time, Implantation day would be over, and every seventeen year old would have a chip in their necks, slowly searching through their thoughts. I had heard many rumors about how the chips work, some say that there is a set rota for how it searches, and some say that it is controlled by the Council, but most people just believe what the Society tells us, and nothing else.
I joined the back of the line, the man in front of me wore a grey coat, as did everyone else, except from me. The line was going quickly, but the Servers were skilled at cooking, and probably just as skilled at handing out the right food to the right people at the right time. A Server was now in the station I was stood at, she looked at me with wide eyes and a large grin.
"What is your name?" she asked me, the usual routine.
"Cassia Dawson" I replied.
"Are you collecting for everyone?".
In front of her was a small carrier bag, it was plain white, and I could see the steam coming out of it. I took the bag gratefully, and said goodbye, skipping out of the line, and outside again. The bag was hurting my hands with the heat, and they were starting to go numb, but I didn't complain, because I knew that even though the food wasn't the nicest, it would be worth a few burns to eat. However, I was glad that our Pod was only a quarter of a mile away from the Euphoria.
In the year 400, the Society introduced the Pods, they replaced all of the colorless houses, so that everyone could afford to live cheaply in good conditions. The Pods weren't very big, only big enough to hold a maximum of six people per Pod, and for that reason, I felt sorry for the larger families, who had to spend most of their time apart, I was just glad that it was me, Mum, Dad and James. I approached our street, walking past the colored Pods, I never really understood the different colors, but someone had once told me that the red would mean don't disturb, the green meant that you were at work or somewhere else, and the orange meant that you were inside.
I spotted our orange Pod a few meters away from me, I took my time, trying not to drop the plastic bag in pain, until I reached the hovering Pod. Another thing I never understood about the Society, was how they made the Pod's hover just slightly above the ground. I knocked three times, so that they knew it was me, and the door slid up. I jumped up, and the door slid closed behind me. I greeted my family with a smile.
"So how was it?" asked Dad as I placed the plastic bag carefully on the kitchen side.
"It was alright, I didn't feel a thing" I said.
"This is so cool!" yelled James with excitement, touching the small scar on my neck. I hit his hand gently, and he squirmed back into his seat.
"Do you know what they do with the Chip after the cycle?" asked Mum, dishing up the food.
"No, they never told me" I replied, trying to fight off James, who was still trying to prod my scar.
"Well as long as your okay" said Mum, ending the conversation whilst taking plates into the other room. Dad and James followed behind her, slowly followed by me. I looked down at my watch before walking into the other room, there was a message awaiting me.
Cassia! I am now officially Chipped!!!!
I could guess immediately that the message was from Olivia, I looked around the corner, just far enough that I could see into the other room, they weren't waiting for me, so I started to type back.
That's great Olivia, so happy for you!
I looked away from the screen, because otherwise, I could just keep sending messages, until my dinner got cold, so I put my hand back down by my side, and walking into the other room, where Dad, Mum and James were sat in their usual places at the table. I walked over to them and sat next to James, who was flicking his food around on his plate with his plastic fork. I tutted at him, not that he would bother to listen to me anyway.
We sat in some sort of awkward silence, Mum was trying to start conversations, and when she did manage to, there was a quick yes or no answer to whatever she had said, a typical evening, is what I would call it.
"So Cassia." said Dad, my head snapped up when he said my name, "how is school going?" he asked. It had been a long time since I had thought about school, and work, but there had been so much going on lately, and school had been canceled this afternoon for Implantation day, it felt like ages since I had been there.
"It's good, Lucas are still waiting for our scores on our general knowledge test, and Olivia is still studying at the Herbatory" I told him enthusiastically, I had always loved school, and it was satisfying to talk about it.
"Good, do you think you did well?".
I shrugged, not because I didn't care, but because I didn't know, and I didn't want to know until I was ready, and I was definitely not ready. I heard him sigh as I shrugged, he liked me giving him full sentenced answers, not gestures. Before he could ask me another question, I pilled some rice onto my plastic spoon and pushed it in my mouth, the sweet sauce spilling over my tongue as I chewed. The taste was familiar now, as we would have the same sweet rice every Thursday, not that I didn't like it, but it would get boring after a while.
"What about you James, how is school going for you?" Mum asked James.
"Same old same old, bad test results, even worse packed lunches" he replied. I didn't think he was trying to be mean, but I could hear the bitterness in his voice.
"Can I please leave the table?" James asked politely, not waiting for an answer. He stood up and placed his fork on his plate, and quietly walked away. Dad cleared his throat, and I looked up at him. His mouth was by Mum's ear, I could hear his muffled harsh whisper from where I was sat. When he noticed me looking, he turned away from Mum and smiled.
Dinner had been hard, having to watch Mum and Dad pretend that they weren't arguing, and having to talk about the Council meeting, but finally I had given up, and gone to my room. Now, I lay on my bed, looking through the transparent ceiling of the Pod, and looking up at the stars. I loved the stars, I loved how some of them would dissapear for a few seconds, and you would wonder where they went, but then they would be back, as if they were never gone. I sat up on my bed, reached my hand up, and placed it on the ceiling, lining my fingertips up with the stars. Part of me wished that I was not stuck inside of the Pod, but sat on a cliff, looking out at the stars that rested peacefully in the navy blue night sky.
I suddenly heard a soft knock on my door, I stood up and slowly walked over to the door. I pushed the white button on the wall, and the door slid upwards. James was stood in the doorway, I could see his tear streaked cheeks in the dim light. I didn't say anything, but I put my arm around him, and led him over to my small single bed, where he sat down next to me.
"What is it?" I asked him, but I already knew the answer.
"Everything, Mum and Dad, School, Tests." he stuttered in between tears.
"It's okay." I reassured him, pulling into a hug. I could feel his tears soaking through my shirt, and his body was shaking as he cried. I rarely saw my brother like this, torn apart, but I could tell that even when he was laughing, inside he was in pain, and there was no one to save him. James looked into my dark green eyes, and a ghost of a smile appeared on his face.
"At least I can count you." he whispered as he stood up, still holding my hand.
"Go on now, go back to bed." I said, gently pushing him forwards to my door, which was still open.
"Thank you Cassia." he told me, and then he walked out of my room. I pressed the button once he had left, and the door slid closed behind me. Seeing my little brother cry, made me want to cry, but I knew that I was stronger than that, I wouldn't give into my weakness. I sighed pathetically and climbed into my small bed, pulling the thin sheet over my cold stiff body, and looked once more at the glistening stars above my head. I thought about the day ahead of me, school, work, friends. That was one of the only reasons that I kept going to school, because of my friends, I didn't have many, but they made me determined to go to school. I gradually closed my eyes, still thinking about the day ahead of me.
It was the first thing they taught you in school, before learning how to flush a toilet, and before learning how to chew, but the first thing they taught you, was how to see the patterns in the Stars. I had been four when I started school, I remember all of the bright primary colors that made our small classrooms happy and cheerful on a daily basis, and I would wake up early every morning to go and stand by the large black gate, and then when it opened, I would skip inside, and smile to myself. However, my favorite thing, was seeing the patterns in the Stars, I loved how they would give us a HB pencil and a small A5 notepad, and tell us to draw the Stars, and then, they would tell us to find some patterns in our drawings. I remember two of my patterns, a horseshoe, and a small flower. I had been so pleased, and I would have run home to our Pod, and Mum would have to wake Dad up, so that he could see the patterns too. After that, it just stuck, and I would remember it, and when I looked up at the Stars, I would see many patterns.
In my small rucksack, I had my A5 notepad, and a HB pencil, just as I would have done when I was little. I knew where I was going, it was where I used to go with the primary school, the highlands. I loved the highlands, there were so many cliffs to choose from, but I knew the exact one I wanted to be on. I looked down at my watch, for what felt like the a thousandth time, 9:27, I had ages until sunrise, but sunrise was not what I wanted, all I wanted, was the Stars. Already the highlands were towering above me, tall and proud, as they had been for the past twelve centuries.
I placed my foot onto the bottom of the cliff, some of the stone crumbled away, and fell down next to my other foot, which was still firmly in the ground. I grabbed onto a large bit of stone with both of my hands, and pulled myself upwards, I was no longer touching the white chalky ground. The rough edge of the rock was digging into my hands, and I felt a warm liquid trickle down my fingertips. I looked up, squinting my eyes to see the top of the cliff, I would estimate it was about one hundred meters, a deadly drop if I were to let go. I held my breath as I removed one of my hands from the sharp rock, and felt along the rough face of the cliff for another stable rock. My hand rubbed against a small hole in the cliff, I held onto it firmly, and found two more foot holds, I then hoisted myself up again, nearly breathless. It's okay I reassured myself, but deep inside, I knew that it wasn't. I suddenly felt a sharp pain across my foot, my foot slipped off the rock, I was hanging by two hands.
Tag der Veröffentlichung: 25.07.2013
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This book is dedicated to my two best friends, who love writing as much as I do!