August 6, 2009
By JulieBennett BRONZE, Oxford, New Jersey
JulieBennett BRONZE, Oxford, New Jersey
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

It was a bright sunny day, just the same as every other day in Camaram. The sun was glistening on the black tar that made up the roads of the most peaceful town in the universe. Every morning, in every residence, a breakfast filled with the necessary nutrients was dropped down the chimney and gracefully placed on the dining room table for all to enjoy. “Thank you to The Man who is kind enough to give us our meals. To stop obesity and starvation in Camaram, and unite us as one similar body.” As the McLaugh family congregated to say their morning salute to The Man, it was certain that every other family in Camaram was doing the same.
After the ritual, each member of the McLaugh family grabbed the syringe that contained their breakfast. Inside the tube was a mushy brown liquid. That surprisingly smelled like banana pancakes and orange juice. As the brought the syringe up to their mouths, they pushed the button on top, releasing every vitamin, mineral, and nutrient necessary to live a healthy and happy life. It was because of The Man that this contraption was created, health problems and diseases were no longer an issue in the community, and people got to live as long as their heart desired.
Little Jane McLaugh left the table to get her things ready for school. Before entering her closet she placed her palm against a sensor outside of her closet door. As it regonized her fingerprits, the large doors opened and a computer stood before her. Jane carefully touched the corresponding clothes that she thought would be most appropriate for her first day of school. After all, Camaran was all about image. Otherwise, why would technology such as this exist? Jane contemplated this thought for a brief moment before shaking it off and continuing the tedious task of deciding on what to wear. A voice from the closet suggested a few outfits that would be best for her body shape and size.
After a few minutes of browsing the online categories, she decided on a blue shirt, black skirt, and sandals. She skipped over to the large plastic tube that took up the other side of the closet and stepped in. Sealing the door behind her she pushed the gleaming red button in front of her. Suddenly, large robotic hands carefully took of her nightclothes and garnished her with fresh, vibrant, new clothes that she had selected only moments ago. Right when she thought the violation was over two other hands came down from the top of the tube, brushing her hair and styling it into the perfect bun. A pearl earring was placed in each of her ears and a strand of matching pearls around her neck.
On her way to school, Jane got the sudden urge to take a detour and pass the Weather Center. She had heard her peers talk about it before, but her parents insisted that they were just rumors and the result of over active imaginations. She carefully maneuvered her way through the broken pathway that was covered with overgrown weeds and rocks. Obviously, she was not welcomed here. In the far distance the beginning of what seemed to be an enormous antenna was slightly visible. Once she got up closer, she was able to read a sign that read, “Given to us by The Man to control our weather, prevent natural disasters and make Camaran the perfect place to live.”
“Natural disasters?” Jane spoke to herself as she gallivanted back onto her path to school. She had never heard of this word before, had never learned about it in school, but she was curious enough and came to the conclusion that she was going to ask her history teacher. Even with her detour, Jane still managed to be the first one to class, presenting the perfect opportunity for her to ask the question that had been rattling her brain for the whole walk. “Miss. Summer” she said in a sheepish voice, “what are natural disasters?” The teacher looked at Jane as an exasperated look came over her face. “Do not ever mention that again, that was a long time ago. The Man has taken care of it. We do not speak about what The Man has already taken care of.”
Little Jane McLaugh had never been reprimanded by a teacher before, and the tone of Miss. Summer’s voice sent chills up her spine. Nobody in Camaran was supposed to raise their voice, it was considered unnecessary and children were taught that it didn’t solve any problems. Shocked, confused, and ashamed Jane quietly took her seat and placed her head on the stone desk. With her head on the desk Jane was able to look around the classroom. She saw things in a perspective she had never noticed before, the walls around her were made of the same stone that the desks were, and the windows were covered with dark black curtains. There was nothing lining the walls, no colorful drawings or posters, and suddenly it hit her. This place that she was living in, this “perfect town” was caging her in. School used to be where she could run away to, escape from everything else and just concentrate on schoolwork, but now it was more like a jail cell that she saw in the movies she snuck from her parents.

When classes were finally over, Jane ran out of the classroom as fast as she possibly could. She wanted to get away from Miss. Summers and escape the jail cell that was supposed to be her learning environment. As she reached the stone path, Jane decided she would go back to the weather control center. From afar, she could see a blurry image of a tall man with dark hair standing alongside the sign that she had read earlier. Slowly she approached him and he spun around quickly when he heard her walking up behind him. Their eyes met and Jane could feel the kindness and wisdom through his eyes.

“Excuse me sir but would you mind explaining to me what this sign means?”
“It’s not really my position to be talking about young lady, but you seem trustworthy enough. Just about fifty years ago Camaran was considered a normal town. Everyone went about their own business and did as they pleased. Than a war broke out between The Man and the civilians. The Man promised that if they let him win everything would be perfect: there would be no diseases or death, no unhappiness. So the civilians gave in, and The Man took a few young children under his wing. For years they disappeared, nobody had heard from them, not even their families. Eventually those kids returned, but something was different about them and before anyone could realize it Camaran turned into the way it is now.”
Jane was absolutely speechless, she stood there looking at the weather control center, and far beyond the machines she could barely see an outline of a green pasture. “Freedom” she thought to herself, “that’s where I belong.” Her mind started to wander and she tried to picture her life without the syringes with their meals, her closet dressing her, the weather always being controlled and perfect. What if she was able to eat whatever she wanted, did she even know what normal food tasted like? What if she had the freedom to pick out her own clothes? What was the weather really like, could she ever know what it was like to rain or snow? Hundreds of questions ran through her head, and the green pasture in the distance seemed to grow closer and clearer.
She turned to the right and the tall man was gone. All she wanted was someone to help her get out of Camaran. Now that she had the knowledge of the outside world she no longer thought of her hometown as “perfect” like so many people describe it as. Her veins pumped with adrenaline and the yearning to be out in that green pasture. Than it all went blank, and Jane woke up. She was in a stone room with her head on a stone desk. Miss. Summer was in front of the classroom writing on the blackboard. Jane looked around and saw the empty stonewalls and the heavy black curtains on the windows. Was it all just a dream?

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