What If

June 10, 2008
By Tori McGruer, Dover, MA

It didn’t matter what I wore to school. All my clothes were the same; color-wise, that is. I did have different styles but I never had to “match things” which supposedly is what we used to do, before our world got rid of color because consumed too much energy. I just put on whatever shirt was clean and went down to have breakfast. This particular day the cafeteria was serving oatmeal. Our world only had food that we could store easily so it we wouldn’t immediately run out.

“Your bike is repaired,” my mother told me from the table

“Thanks Mom.”

“You’re welcome, but hurry up; you are going to be late.”


I got on my bike and turned into the right lane. I sped up and then screeched to a halt as a two person tricycle turned right in front of me. I continued. I passed the power plant which had wind turbines running up to the surface. I pulled into the school building, parked my bike, and sat down in my first period science class.

My teacher, Mrs. Brown, said “Class, please open a new note page on your desk.” I touched the screen that was on the face of my desk and pulled out my keyboard from underneath. “We always think of digging down right? Why don’t we dig up?” I had never thought about that before. Wouldn’t it just be more dirt? “My theory is that we would eventually reach something right because dirt can’t keep going on forever.”
On my way home I looked up at the street lights but all I could see above, it was just blackness. This was the only place I had ever known. How could there be somewhere else? I have walked around the perimeter of our whole town. That is my world. What was at the surface? I walked into the boarding building and inserted my key into the door to room 11a. This room had tiny rooms going up and down each side and the lighting was very dim to save energy. There were carts running up and down each column of rooms to drop people off. I got in my cart and typed in my room number C12R6. My coordinates stood for column twelve and row six It immediately zipped off over to my room. It had its own balcony where I could get off of the cart and into my room. My balcony also had a door leading to my mom’s balcony. I crawled into my room. The whole floor was a bed and on either side were shelves, where I kept my personal belongings. In the back were drawers that came out of the wall. My Mom opened the gate on the balcony between our rooms and asked the usual question-

“Kiley, how was school?”

“Well, I got a Social Studies paper.”


“Anyway I have to go run over to Em’s dorm, ok?

“Alright, but meet me in the dining room for dinner”

“Kay, see you then” I walked onto the balcony and pressed the button for the Zoom cart. There was one on its way. It stopped at my balcony, and I stepped in and typed in her name into the coordinates. The cart screen popped up with C6R32 Y/N I pressed the button that corresponded to Y for yes, and the cart sped off. It first went over six rows and then up twenty-four. When I got there I rang the bell that was on her balcony. She pressed a button and the door slid up reveling a room almost identical room to mine.

“Come on we’re going to be late,” She said.

“What are we going to be late for?” I asked.

“I signed us up for a tour that should help us with our essay on the history of our world.” I gave her a confused look “Here I’ll show you” She said, and pulled out her desk it was like the ones that we had at school, with the touch screen, but you could move it around with you. “Look, it says a tour of the above ground. The adventure of a life time:
“Can I intercom my Mom that I won’t be back for dinner?”
“Sure but make it quick, I will call a cart.” Em crawled out of the dorm. I pressed the intercom button, turned the two dial to C12R7
“Hi Mom, I’m going on a tour for our social studies paper with Em so I won’t be back for dinner.”

“Ok, but be back by 20:30”

“Yep I will.”



“Kiley, the carts here,” Em called

“Ok” I crawled out and climbed in. Em typed in C0R0 and we started down. “Where are we going to meet the tour?”

“At the end of Main Street at the community center.” We reached the bottom and walked out into the town, where we got our bikes and I fallowed her down Main.

I pulled into the community center lot and took out my bag. Inside I had brought with me a rec-writer. It recorded what the tour guide said and then sends it to my touch screen at home and translates it into words, this way I would have it when I got there to use on my paper. When we got there the tour was about to leave. We hurried up, and they introduced us, handed us a tool bag and we headed out. We all piled in an enormous cart and instead of going down we went up. Then a glass case formed above us. The tour guide explained this was to protect us from the harsh environment that we were heading to. They also handed us glasses, but they weren’t clear they were blackened so you couldn’t see anything when you put them on. It was dark. Nobody could see anything everything around us was dirt.

The tour guide started by saying “We are about to go above what we know. Most of our world doesn’t know that this place exists. When we go above you can not take off your glasses.” Now I was getting scared. Did the government know about this place? What about Mrs. Brown? Is she expecting us to learn about this for our paper? “5…4…3…2…1” The shaded glass cart was filled with more light than I had ever seen before. At first I couldn’t see anything but once my eyes adjusted to the light I could make out dirt, but it wasn’t black or white it was different than anything I had ever seen before. “The dirt is yellow, which is a color, and if you turn around there is a multi-colored sun set.” It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen before. Using the terminology our tour guide gave us the top was pink than it slowly turned to an orangey color and than to a bright yellow. “Over there is the weather station the government has set up” He looked at his handheld screen.” It is currently blowing 200 knots and is 250oF which is way above what humans can withstand which is why we live under ground.”

Another Passenger asked “Has the earth above ground always been like this?”

“Great question.” Our tour guide answered “Humans did once live on the surface of the earth but the way we lived made the world like this. In other words instead of riding bikes we drove cars, trucks and airplanes and even though these vehicles didn’t need manual power to run and they drove a lot faster they polluted our environment until it was uninhabitable. Then the government who was desperate to keep the human race alive moved us underground and set up a city. The scientists in the weather station are currently trying to make the Earth habitable by humans again, but until then it’s our job to make people aware of what the real world is like. We will return in 5…4…3…2…1” we went flying downward I looked at Em she gave me an adventurous smile as we returned to the world of black and white.

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This article has 1 comment.

jenna3 said...
on Nov. 10 2008 at 1:02 am
Wow this story is really cool- its really creative and is very mysterious- awesome!

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